Day Twenty-Five

Waxahachie, TX to Granbury, TX

This was a hard day. The forecast called for winds from the south at 15-20 mph, gusting to 30 mph. I had made reservations in Granbury a couple days earlier, almost straight west of Waxahatchie. Unfortunately, there was no direct route--I had to zigzag, which had me fighting the wind all day.

It was 15 miles to Venus, the first town of the day. Naturally, I sang Shocking Blue's " Venus" --not just on the way to Venus, but all day. It kept me moving. The farm roads were good, but the hills that I missed yesterday were back with a vengeance. At one point I saw a handful of cyclists turn onto the road ahead of me. This was an unusual sight for me, the first time since Montgomery, AL that I saw more than one rider at a time.  For a moment I sped up, thinking I could catch them. Then I remembered the load I was hauling. Not a chance.

After a quick water stop in Venus, I got on US 67 headed west-southwest. The wind slowed me down a lot. The next town was Alvarado. My wife's grandmother used to live there, and this was the first time I returned since she died. I was surprised how much the town had changed, at least on the main drag. There were four stoplights, a Sonic Drive-In and a Subway. Maybe someday they'll even build a motel there, especially since US 67 is becoming four lanes all the way to Dallas. For once, I stopped for a real lunch, a meatball sandwich at Subway. I definitely got my money's worth in free refills of Pepsi.

I fought the wind to Cleburne on US 67. My original route was through town, but I decided to take the bypass to cut off  a few windy miles. When I stopped at the edge of a bridge to have a drink, it was so windy that if I had peed off the side, it would have landed in Oklahoma. From Cleburne to Acton, I rode on another great farm road. There were no services, but fortunately I had just enough water for the warm day. Once, downhill with the wind at my back, I reached a new top speed for the trip of 35 mph. I got to Granbury fairly early, around 3:00, took a quick shower and walked about two miles to downtown Granbury. It happened to be the weekend of the 24th Annual General Granbury's Birthday Party and Cookoffs.  There were craft booths and BBQ grills all around the gorgeous courthouse. I arrived too late for most of the festivities, including the " Outrageous Outhouse Race," but I went to a book shop on the square that featured many Texas books. I spent too much, or more accurately, I bought too much weight in books.

The first was Kinky Friedman's Guide to Texas Etiquette. For those who don't know Kinky, he is a legend. How many other Jewish cowboy country singer-songwriter-authors can you name? In the seventies, he achieved modest notoriety with his Texas Jewboys singing such classics as " @sshole From El Paso" (to the tune of " Okie From Muskogee" ) and  the anti-hate anthem " They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore." In the eighties and nineties, he wrote mystery novels with such intriguing titles as God Bless John Wayne, Elvis, Jesus & Coca-Cola, and Armadillos &   Old Lace. His latest effort is the Utopia Animal Rescue Ranch, a place full of lovable mutts that were taken from shelters before they could be euthanized (along with some cats and other animals).

Remember when I mentioned peeing off the bridge and into Oklahoma? Well, I wasn't sure whether I should leave that in, but Kinky set me straight:

The only thing that differentiates Texas from any other place in the world is the proclivity of its people to urinate out-of-doors and to attach a certain amount of importance to this popular pastime. Urinating outside goes much further than merely meeting the criterion of what is socially acceptable it is the way of our people... If you're urinating outside anywhere in the great State of Texas (always be careful never to take a whiz on an electric fence) it is very much within the realm of acceptable behavior... If you're urinating say, on the shoulder of the highway, passersby may be seen to nod their approval, some even honking encouragement from their vehicles.

Granbury was another town that I had visited before with my wife, and I was looking forward to dining at a restaurant where we had a fantastic lunch about four years ago.  The Pearl Street Pasta House was  easily the fanciest place I had eaten on the whole trip, and it was a challenge to find something to wear. It wasn't worth it to carry nice clothes on the entire trip just for rare occasions, so I had to make due. I wore a black wool cycling  jersey and black cycling  pants. I didn't think it looked so bad, but the hostess seated me in a dark corner anyway. That's okay, I just wanted a quiet place to read my new books. Italian food was hard to come by in the South, so I was really looking forward to dinner.  I was not disappointed.

As I walked back to the motel in the dark along a busy road, I recalled the words I wrote in Mississippi about how if I got hit by a car, it would be more likely while walking rather than riding. And there I was dressed all in black, albeit well off the road. I came up to a restaurant were cars were backing out onto the highway. For some reason, it occurred to me that if these people were leaving oblivious to their surroundings, then someone could be pulling in similarly. I looked over my shoulder just in time to see a car's headlights coming right toward me. We saw each other at the same time--he slowed down and I ran out of his path.

I got a shock when I was flipping channels tonight--on CMT, they were showing Jason & the Scorchers, the legendary eighties cowpunk band. They even interviewed Jason Ringenberg. On another channel, I saw an interview with Kid Rock. I think the guy makes obnoxious music, which is really sad considering that during the interview he showed that he had good influences--Lynyrd Skynyrd, John Lee Hooker, Bob Seger, George Thorogood and  Hank Williams. Something somewhere must have gone terribly wrong in his musical development.

Totals for the day: 60.53 miles in 5:25:14 for an average of 11.1 mph.

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