A week ago we were sitting in the living room of an 85 year old Texas woman, watching the torrential rain come down. A tornado warning was in effect too, just to add a little something something to our reluctance in setting out. "You boys will have to go back to your area." she said, in the manner of a schoolmistress shooing the nerds outside at recess. Our "area" was the attic zone of her barn where, metal cots lined up in neat formation, cyclists were allowed to sleep, provided they be out by 10:00 am. It was 9:58.
We could have stayed another night, I think. Chances are, if I distracted her, and Emer put a sack over her head, she could have been subdued. Maybe even calmed. But when an 85 year old woman shoos you out of her house, and it's 9:58 in the morning, and you have a choice between counting cots in a barn for 24 hours or, just possibly, landing your bike on Glinda, Good Witch of the North, all roads lead to Oz. So we bundled up, put our heads down, and ventured - nay, adventured - into the denture of the wind and rain and rain and rain...
That was a week ago. Since then Louisiana and East Texas have experienced historic and record-breaking rainfall and floods. After approximately fourteen years crossing Texas, we were thwarted in our first attempt to enter Louisiana (a virtuous state) by the first of multiple road closures along our route. A passing Game Warden informed us that we had to go north about 70 miles before we could find a road open going east. Shut up, I said. You shut up, he said. Just kidding, I said. I'm not, he said. At that point Emer intervened with a magic trick, defusing a potentially ugly confrontation.
By the way, for those of you tracking every detail of our progress, Emer's all better. He blames his brief illness on some Jif peanut butter that we bought from a tiny store in Hill Country. We might have twigged to the product being somewhat dated by the fact that it was 29 cents for the jar. But we didn't. The grey colour didn't slow us down either. We reasoned that this must be Texas wood-fired peanut butter, and ashes a delicious part of the package. We're reasonable people, after all. Speaking of reasonable people, we've started encountering cyclists coming the other way.
The rain and detours have disrupted the delicate balance that is blog production, hence the delay between postings. By tomorrow we'll be back on the original route, having only lost a couple of days and, maybe, I'll get back on track. When we arrived in Newton, Texas a couple of days ago, a state of emergency had been declared, and the fire department was set up to receive all the evacuated population from the flood zones. Despite our protestations that we weren't exactly homeless, they treated us to free food and drink and let us pitch our tent beside the hall with more than usual firefighter kindness - good people.
We finally entered Louisiana yesterday, and it was worth the wait. The father and son shared-experience can go to some weird places. Just sayin'. Peace out.