Y'all should know we're finally out of Texas!!!


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North America » United States » Louisiana » Lake Charles
January 22nd 2009
Published: January 22nd 2009
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We left Texas, we left the Lazy Days RV Park, and we left the Hitchcock Public Library (the librarians were really starting to wonder about our constant presence) and we're back on the road!

I'd love to say that we've cycled the whole way and camped in fantastic locations every night, but it's just not possible. We were limited to cycling on the Interstate in some places (aka the worst road in the history of time), and even when we were able to cycle on smaller highways we are constantly greeted with signs reading something like this: "Shoulder ends ahead".... not good news. Or it just ends, without even a friendly warning. Texas likes to do this thing where everytime there's an intersection, railway tracks, or a tree, it likes to build a REALLY BIG bridge. Unfortunately, everytime, they go more up than side to side. So we'll be cycling along a completely flat, rather dull highway for miles and miles and miles and a small bayou will appear ahead. The bridge will go about 400 feet up in the air, and the shoulder will turn into a concrete wall, leaving us with little choice other than putting up the thumbs (the alternative, in the most insane traffic volumes I have ever witnessed in my entire life, is not so pleasant). We even have a "no shoulder ahead" sign of our very own now (the cardboard variety).

Yesterday we got thrown in the back of a pick-up truck when we asked for a ride. Picture the most hill-billy couple of guys you've ever met. Good. Now make sure to complete the picture with a giant pick-up truck, a couple beers, 80 miles per hour speeds and a roaring engine, and a deep south accent. They picked us up just this side of the Louisiana border, at one of the bridges mentioned above, and told us to "jump in, quick" and "keep yer heads down so we don't get no ticket" and off we went! Probably quite the site for all the truckers we passed - two kids in helmets in the back of a pick-up in a complicated arrangement of legs and necks, tucked in next to their bicycles. It was a blast!

Our first ride over a "bad bridge" we didn't ask for. A nice man, an avid cyclist, just pulled over with his two kids and told us about it and picked us up (no, I'm not sure what an avid cyclist was doing in Texas either).

We've also gotten a ride from Debbie, who pulled over on a particularly dull stretch of Texas highway while we were pulling teeth out of a dead alligation with our pliers to ask if we needed a hand. She offered us a lift over the next bad bridge. It's really interesting to see who picks us up - Debbie was a classy lady, who I don't think would normally associate with the likes of low life bums like us, but something compelled her to stop and check on us - she'd never picked up anyone before in all her life. I guess there's a little bit of understanding of adventuring in everyone!

And, finally, Darryl the rancher with the open bottle of Crown Royal in the back seat and a motor bike in the back picked us up and loaded the bikes up next to his motorized variety, amidst shotgun shells and beer cans when the highway turned into a narrow two lane road with no shoulder and lots of truck traffic.

It's been fun! We're really lucky that people have been picking us up, because I can't emphasize enough how insane these bridges are!!!

Here's my impression of Texas. DON'T GO THERE! Too much money and too much... what do you call it.... red neck.... With a GDP the size of all of Canada, you'd think someone would have made the place a little more civilized. But motorcyclists don't where helmets, individual beers are sold (on ice) in gas stations (duuuh) and cigarette ads are everywhere. I TRIED to be open minded. Really, I did. I like a little redneck once in a while, but this was just a bit much. Oh well, I digress.

O-kay, one more comment. There is NO recycling!!! Not even beverage containers. We have a jumbo sized garbage bag full of cereal boxes, tin cans, plastic Heet bottles, etc that we've been carrying around for EVER. I look particularly homeless, as it's a clear bag, and spills over the entirety of the back of my bike. Pleeeease let there be recycling SOON! Although it hardly seems worth it when you see what the rest of the world is doing with their garbage (i.e. Texas). For example, leaving Anahouac, we spotted the most thick and deep purple-grey plumes of smoke rising off the horizon, and assumed it must have been some terrible explosion. Nope, Darryl informed us it's just routine burning of all the garbage from the hurricane. Sure enough, we didn't see a sunset that night, as the sun was obscurred by more inky black smoke over the horizon. Oh well, every little bit helps! At least we get some crazy looks when we ask if there's recycling in the neighbourhood.

We are definitely in "the swamps" now... we haven't seen any real, live alligators yet, but we have seen a lot of turtles. The first couple we saw I didn't even stop for, as I was sure they were the plastic lawn ornament variety, sitting on a log in a swamp on the side of the road. I thought it was a bit of a peculiar place to put plastic turtles...

Also worth mentioning is the hurricane damage. It's NUTS! One of the neat things about being forced to hitchhike is getting to talk to all the locals and hear their stories about the hurricane. Barges drifting inland 20 miles and blocking highways when the water receeded, dead cows floating down roads, furniture floating from room to room because of the flooding, etc. Everyone seems to have been hit pretty hard.

So, despite having to bush-whack under bridges, clamber over railway tracks, hold on for dear life in the back of pick up trucks, and beg on our hands and knees to get RV parks to let us pay them $20 to set up a tent (they usually don't), and haul a jumbo garbage bag worth of recyclables, it's been good. Lots of new and exciting (if not challenging at times) adventures every day. New Orleans is our goal destination, then on to new adventures!!!

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23rd January 2009

What a trip
Hi Mike and Sharon - which one of you is doing the writing on the blog???? You are impressive which everone it is. I borrowed Kerry's notebook and your blog was there. What a trip- at one point in the back of the pickup did you think - what are we doing - will we ever been seen again. Our life just seems so mundane after reading your adventures. We shall sit and read of your adventures and freeze our butts off. Shandra and Doug says Hi - they are as boring as me!!!!! love you take care love Gin

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