December 16, 2008 GMT
Texas

TEXAS
Texas is big! One of the first things we saw after crossing the state line was a road sign, bearing the news, “El Paso 857miles”texas.jpg
Texas was not what we were expecting. I had in my mind many pictures of what I thought I would see in Texas, Oil pumps in fields, tumbleweed, ghost towns, prairie fields and Cacti, what we had instead to welcome us into America’s largest state was a whole lotta rain. It was warm, in fact at almost 80 degrees , it was the warmest day we had had for a long time, which made conditions inside my rain suit almost sauna-like! During our 337 mile ride, we experienced rain, heavy rain, light rain, drizzle and “biblical” downpours, at one point we simply had to pull off the road and let it pass. Fortunately, aided by the ridiculously strong winds that accompanied these sections of heavy rain, the weather usually moved quickly. By the time we had got into Whataburger, soaked the whole floor- prompting the staff to surround us with bright yellow “WET FLOOR” signs-and downed a coke, a coffee and a couple of mighty tasty burgers, the road was once again rideable.
wataburger.jpg

The staff and customers of this fine establishment took great amusement at our predicament, and even more at our accents, and after giving us a pair of free cookies, we were once again on our way down the I 10 to Austin.

We stayed ahead of the heavy rain the rest of the way into Austin.grey sky.jpg I kept my waterproofs on, as well as my home-made custom waterproof footwear, in the shape of a pair of plastic bags tied over my trainers as we rode on under threatening skies, but stayed dry apart from the sweat inside my rain suit. There were a couple more unplanned stops on the way to Texas’ capital. One at a classic car showroom, full of old Stingrays, Cadillacs and Thunderbirds and others, and the other at a the opposite end of the scale, a Hot Rod builders garage, backing on to a junkyard full of rusty old relics.rusty car.jpg
We made it into Austin just as the sun was setting and the temperature dropped rapidly from mid 70’s to mid 40’s. I followed the GPS instructions right o the door of Wholefoods, a special treat I had planned for Jacquie to give her a burger break. It was justifiable as Austin was the birthplace of the Wholefoods chain, and this was the world flagship store. We got our food and went and sat down next to a couple of guys, and once again, within minutes, we were chatting away, swapping stories, and after a couple of beers, the two guys were on their respective computer and telephone, trying to find us a cheap motel.
A few hours later, we were on our way to the Super 8 , in freezing rain, with an open face helmet. Not a good combination. The temperature had dropped to 30 degrees, and the sleet on my cold face felt like I was being pinched-hard!
Fortunately we only had a couple of miles to go, and as we looked out the window of our budget accommodation, the sleet turned into snow,snowseat.jpg then that turned into torrential rain. This kind of put our plans for the rest of the evening in the Live Music Capital of the World on hold.

Posted by Dan Shell at December 16, 2008 02:57 AM GMT
 
 

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