Mesa to Pitt 2015

Mesa to Pitt 2015
Mesa to OBX

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Cajun Riviera to Winnie Texas - Feb 25

56.34 in just under five hours. We woke up in the morning to a thick wall of fog, so I went back to bed! When Pam started to tell me about an impending wind change, a high wind warning, dangerous thunderstorms and possible hail, I figured I better get up and ride into what was potentially a dangerous and miserable situation. Pam wanted to get the Rv to our next destination before the high wind affected her ability to maneuver a 37 foot wind interceptor.
We put a few LED lights on the bike, and I wore my brightest orange jacket, and I was on my way, with the wind out of the southeast, at my back.
Mike starting out in the morning.  So glad I bought him that jacket!!
A foggy start to the day.

 All was good, except the fog was preventing me from seeing very much scenery. I had a scary dog incident that turned out to be pretty funny. I was riding along in the foggy conditions, and I saw what appeared to be three dogs come out of the high grass along the road. They crossed, pretty far in front of me, and based on the sightings of a dead coyote and a dead wolf over the last couple of days, they started looking less dog like, and more dangerous. When encountered by a pack of potential wild wolves, my hair has a tendency to stand on end, and a plunger full of adrenaline shoots into my arteries, where it is pumped quickly through my body. Under these conditions, I can pedal a bike pretty damn fast. One of he dogs only gave me a token chase, but the other two brought all they had. I got up to about 25 mph, and realized the two dogs were working their asses off just to stay even. They can't take a chomp under those conditions because they are too busy running. It's the closest I have come to pulling the car antenna that I carry taped to my bike for just this occasion, but I didn't. As we were racing along, one of the dogs, who was running in the grass, suddenly went ass over tea kettle. I think his front paws sunk in some mud and he looked like the Tasmanian devil spinning and throwing mud. The third dog was in hot pursuit, and didn't want to quit until a tanker truck came by, and scared him off. As I rode off into the fog, I yelled back at the last one to 'go back and check on his buddy' because he may not have realized he was the last one standing. Seconds after that was over, I realized that my quads were on fire, and I was sucking wind pretty hard. 25 seems to be about as fast as a dog can run. Which is good to know.

Doggy friends came out of the high grass.

The area I was riding in was grassland, bayou, cattle range, mixed with natural gas refinery areas. While I was still in Louisiana, I saw a pretty big alligator, another pink ibis, and tons of ducks and egrets, mixed with several curious cows that stared at the orange streak going by in the fog.
Louisiana suddenly ended with a huge bridge that rose into the fog over the Sabine Lake that separated Louisiana and Texas. As I was taking a picture of the bridge, Pam went cruising by in the Rv, so I took her picture too. I came down off the bridge into Texas at about 30 mph, wind still at my back, fog and clouds getting darker.

One of many tanker farms

Pam rolling down the highway

The first of the two large bridges that we crossed

These are the masts of huge fishing boats

 Port Arthur, Texas was a huge oil refinery, or so it seemed, as I rode for miles with the refinery smell, and the smoke stacks with gas burning off in the fog. Every kind of truck imaginable was in the area, but all were safe and courteous to a biker, which is way more than I can say about the trucks in the Washington County area, which scared the hell out of me. Another huge bridge took me over the Intercoastal Waterway again, thru more refineries, which were so huge, they made the old steel works in Pittsburgh look like a small operation.

The second bridge we crossed.  Had a heck of a view!  

Only 2 more miles to the campground......

Soon after Port Arthur, I turned onto Texas route 73, which was a 25 mile long, straight shot into the wind to Winnie, Texas. The wind had changed from southeast to due west, while I was riding north for a short time. Texas better not be like this everyday, or I'm not gonna like it. It became very desolate, with some cattle ranches, and flat scrub lands for as far as you could see. I did see four antelope, which were pretty cool. As I progressed over the 25 miles to Winnie, the wind gradually picked up. I was going 12 into the teeth of it, then eleven mph, then ten, then struggling to go nine, then eight mph. Holy crap! The last ten miles I was just trying to keep moving, as the wind continued to get stronger. Pam said we had wind gusts up to 38 mph! Previously, the wind going into Key West was the worst I had encountered, but we have a new champion!
The day ended on a great note, with the clouds clearing up and the temp going into the mid seventies as I battled the wind. We sat in the sun for a short while, then headed across the street to  AL-T's Cajun Steakhouse. We had a meal that was the best of both Louisiana and Texas. Appetizers were boudin ( boo-dan) links with ranch dressing and a cup of étouffée. Boudin is like stove top dressing in a sausage skin, breaded and deep fried, and étouffée is like a thick gumbo. We then had out first Texas ribeyes. They were huge, cooked to perfection, and there will be more Texas steaks consumed, even though we are now out of coon ass country, so the Cajun food may be about done.

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