I am in the Motel 6 in Huntsville, overlooking I-45. This is not what I meant to do. I meant to do about 70 miles and camp, not ride 97 miles until after dark to the 6.
Here is what happened. I planned to stay at Double Lake State Recreation Area. Nobody in the vicinity knew if there was camping there or not. I checked the map, and it seems I could go around Lake Livingston to the south and stay at Double Lake, or I could go around it to the north, where there were bigger towns and possibly commercial campgrounds. West of the lake it's all Sam Houston National Forest, and you can always rough camp in a national forest. I decided to go north.
There were no commercial campgrounds on the lake, so I pressed on to the national forest. The national forest turned out to be a bust. Instead of nice forest where I could go in a ways and set up my tent, it was all houses, farms, and flea markets. But the road was nice and smooth, and the hills had flattened out, and the sun was not going down so fast. I decided to push on to Huntsville to a motel.
As soon as the forest ended, so did the shoulder on the highway. And the sun went down. The last 7 miles or so were really bad. Every other pickup truck was driven by a jerk who felt the need to honk their horn as if I wanted to be riding on a two lane road with no shoulder in the dark. What jerks.
When I got to the center of Huntsville, and I saw the sign to the interstate, I just knew the 6 would be there waiting for me.I've done 199 miles in two days. I'm pretty exhausted. Tomorrow will be a short day, only 50 miles to Bryan.
A cold front came through this morning, so the weather was overcast and cool. There was a light misty drizzle in the morning, but it was starting to clear by sundown.
This part of Texas is hills and valleys, with small towns and farms. All morning it was in and out of valleys, which was pretty strenuous, and it slowed me down. Lake Livingston is a recreational area where people go to fish. There were huge flocks of cormorants on the lake. Between Lake Livingston and Huntsville, there are a mix of shantys and large ranch estates with horses. There are a lot of Hispanics west of the lake, and lots of Mexican restaraunts, but few to the east. There are a lot of log trucks, and the woods are pine forest. The lakes are ringed by cypresses, and are full of aquatic plants.
The have real big trucks in Texas.
Here is the view from behind.
Here is the highway crew raising the traffic signals in town so it can come through.
This guy is a 50 wheel rig. I asked the folks by it what was in the tank. They said it's empty, but this is only half of it. It's going to a factory in Little Rock, they said.
I saw this in Woodville, where I had breakfast in a small cafe. Lunch was in another cafe in the middle of Livingston. Two days in a row now I've eaten lunch in cafes in the center of small towns run by ladies in their 50s who can't smile or be nice. The lady in Livingston would not help me find an outlet to charge up Allen's cell phone. Lunch wasn't so good either.
Places like the cafe in Woodville might not be as fancy, but people are friendly and you get to have conversations with people on topics like "Do kids in Texas ride horses to school?" It turns out that there was a kid riding his horse to the local high school in Woodville, but some mean kids were tormenting the horse during recess, and the pricipal made him stop.
Here is the map for today. Check out the hills in the morning.