“Come on in”cried Dayna as we walked into Bicycle science in Beaumont. We couldn’t see her at first for the bikes and merchandise, but there she was waving us over to the counter, wrench in hand. Soon she was in her element, taking my Surly apart to repair my battered rear wheel.
Eric soon joined her and we got into a long conversation about the difference between cold brewed verses hot brewed coffee and life on the road, before he disappeared off to serve another customer. He has this wonderfully slow patience with people and the world, his grey locks clearly a symbol of his inner wisdom.
We stayed a few hours, sharing tall tales and meeting a few of the customers who all exhibited the same patient pace of life. “Heck, I got all day” said one old timer, who had come for parts to restore his old 57 Schwinn. He took a seat and took in the atmosphere. There was also Johnnie Powell, who needed some advice and a wrench before getting on a flight to west coast to complete in the Malibu half Ironman. A gentle soul with a beaming smile. We swapped addresses and he was gone. Good luck Johnnie, we’ll be watching.
Eric sat and started folding up dollar bills into the shape of bow ties. Reminiscing about past times travelling through Central America and leaving these as calling cards along his trail. Much the same way we leave bandanas trailing ours.
Wheel repaired and hearts full we set out at noon. Picking up on his recommendation to head north to Silsbee and a West Texas style BBQ, that he stated “he would be the place he would take Michael Jackson if he came back from the dead”.
The West Texas BBQ
It took us a few hours of detour to reach it, doing whatever we could to remain cool in the searing humidity. Texas storm clouds brewed in the east, that seemed to trailing us as a constant companion up the road.
It was an unassuming place with, as the sign says ‘good food and mean woman’. We were treated by a high pitched ‘How you’ll doin’’ that was clearly not from this side of Texas. We ordered ribs, slaw, sprite and an endless supply of shaved ice. We took our time to recover and wait out the worst of the days sting.
It was a worthy detour.
We traveled east and south in the shade of wooded roads in to the twilight dusk and dark. It was out first night camping. Sleeping in hammocks as they lazily swung in the cradle of two great trees. I lay there, looking up to a full and distant moon and I wonder if we could all do with a little more of Eric’s slow patience. Perhaps this is what people mean by southern charm.