A couple of broken spokes and no real chosen routes, there were a lot of unknowns to the day. A completely clueless kind of a day. I went in search of salvation, riding a quiet Galveston in the humid early hours and leaving Horse in his slumber.
This old port town has a charm and history that is pure Texan: rebellious, entrepreneurial and proud. It ‘s full of well salted backstreets with their shuttered bungalows, eclectic victorian era manor homes and old cotton houses down by the wharf. The place a cool retreat in a hot land.
With a few running repairs and good advice from the Island bicycle company, we both packed and got back on the ferry with a modest wobble in the rear wheel. It was already noon.
On the Bolivar
The Bolivar peninsula has a singular and relatively straight road spanning some 45km from the ferry landing at Fort Travis all the way through to High Island. People are slowly moving back in from 2008 Hurricane Ike that levelled the collectIon of small beach communities all along Texas 87. It’s scares replaced with pastel shaded still homes, whirling shore birds and the endless green grey surf.
We battled a continuous yet welcome sea breeze east down the trail. Stopping to regularly hydrate and hunt out those rare outposts of shade in the inferno, before finally collapsing through the door of a 711 at High island. Recovered, we continued north with the wind at our heals and made good time in the late afternoon heat to Winnie. Climbing the huge span crossing the East Bay Bayou, provided us a rear vista over the landscape. One of those few times in my life that I’ve seen flat and endless ground spill over the horizon. Perhaps the world is flat after all.
We made record time to Winnie, the last our of sun screen shielding giving way to the suns low late afternoon snap and burn we had come to dread. We were in a need of shade and a store. Mischief came in a bottle and we needed the lift.
The night ride
We’d left Winnie late and we knew it. It was near 6.30 before we made for Beaumont, still another 35km riding away.
Travelling the last of the low light. These old east Texas roads, with their elegant trees slowly bowing to greet the green fields that were rising to meet them. A slow formality lost in the speed of our modern world. I could only imagine what it must have been like to stroll along the rails of those warm shaded fields, with the ‘shissin’ of the field crickets and the jingle of loose change fumbling in my pocket. Biding my time, just biding my time.
We rode on until dusk eventually turned into dark and the night. Our guides now became the yellow tungsten glow and flame of the refinery, and the distant beauty of a high cloud lightning storm far too far to hear. With inadequate light we rode on, lost in the blackness and silent witnesses to the beauty of heaven.
We finally got to rest in Beaumont at nine. Exhausted restaurants already closing we settle for gas station nachos with liquid onion and cheese. An ending undignified for such an elegant day.