West of Austin, Texas
We crossed the 3,000 mile point! In total, we are 3,148 miles along, almost 1/3 of the way. We also estimate something in the neighborhood of 1,469,066 pedal strokes. Each. Amazingly, we both remain mostly injury free and healthy. Also, on 85 days on this trip we have gone to sleep in a different location than we started the day. That’s a lot of packing and unpacking of gear! To date, we have really only “lost” one item, and it happened to be a washcloth at a hotel (assuming you don’t count the food stolen by varmints). The Freedom Pedaler train keeps rollin’ along.
Some Recent Highlights:
The Most Challenging Day Yet
Yes pardner, we are now in Texas. Riding across the Lone Star state has been challenging in spots due to rolling hills and just two days before getting to Austin, we encountered our toughest day yet. The morning started off with rain and 30 degree temps, changing to sunshine and warm. Along the way, we had our third flat in three days. To shave off about 19 miles, we took what we thought was going to be a good shortcut but ended up on a washboard gravel road (thanks Google Maps). The hilly country roads combined with fully loaded touring bikes and a puppy cart, forced us to push bikes on multiple occasions. We were sure glad to return to pavement as we had only a few remaining miles and sunset was fast approaching. The last section of road turned out to contain the steepest hills (although short) we have yet encountered. There was simply no way to pedal up them without falling over, even with our super low gearing. And listen, pushing a fully loaded touring bike up hills is no picnic. We arrived exhausted to camp just before dark to find some of the nicest, warmest and cleanest bathroom facilities we have encountered in the last several days. After a tasty meal of homemade soup (thanks Shelly!), all was right again. Hopefully days like that aren’t common in our future
One of our planned stops was in Austin, where Mark has a friend he has known since he was four (a very long time). Brett and his family showed us some amazing Texas hospitality and we left well-rested and well-fed. We also had a lunch with a couple of friends from previous employment, and it was great to catch up on each others lives over a fantastic meal. Over and over again, we are faced with the fact that the best part of this trip is the people we meet (the ones we already know and the new friends we’ve added along the way). Austin was certainly no exception.
A location on a map, and…
Ladies and gentleman, meet Savannah, Georgia.
The New Barker
While we were in Florida, we were interviewed by a Florida pet magazine called The New Barker. Tina, our contact and interviewer/photographer recently sent us this snapshot of the current issue indicating that we’ll be in the next one! Well, we say “we” but it’s really all about the adventures of Junebug and Biscuit. Are they photogenic or what?! Such cute dogs.
We continue to head west towards Phoenix and intend to stay south while the temps are low. We’ll be in Texas for quite some time, as we are crossing at its widest point. We aim to time it right so that once spring starts to arrive and temps rise a bit, we’ll curl north and east and ride through Utah, Colorado and on to Kansas by late Spring. At least, that is the plan which assumes that the mountains are rideable with the puppy cart in tow. Wish us tailwinds and downhills, or at least minimally steep uphills!
Mark, Georgia, Junebug and Biscuit