Day Fifteen: Silsbee, Texas to Coldspring, Texas - Destination Unknown - CycleBlaze

October 24, 2021

Day Fifteen: Silsbee, Texas to Coldspring, Texas

I was concerned when I went to bed that it would be a rowdy Saturday night at the motel, but after some overheard conversation outside one of the rooms a few doors down from me, it was quiet, and I slept soundly.

I got up early as usual, did some chores, got dressed, and walked outside to check the skies, which seemed mostly clear. Most of the workers' trucks were still parked outside. Maybe they were sleeping in, or they had Sunday off.

Heart 1 Comment 0

My room, which seemed decent enough yesterday evening, looked bleaker this morning, and had some odd features, such as this exposed, near-antique breaker box. I'm not sure if I've seen that in a motel room before. But I've stayed in so many places like this, I probably have, and have forgotten about it.

Heart 1 Comment 0

I dawdled getting things together. I wasn't enthused about riding back onto the busy highway, even for a short distance, and I further delayed my departure by making a few phone calls.

I was so late getting out that the motel's owner actually knocked briefly, then opened the door to my room while I was still occupying it. I'm sure he thought: "What kind of touring cyclist is this guy, waiting until the sun is this far up in the sky before leaving?!"

Finally, though, I rolled out, forgetting, for the first time in many, many bicycle rides, to turn Strava on. I wouldn't remember to do that until I'd already ridden six miles.

After about a mile on the busy highway, it wasn't too bad getting into downtown Silsbee, at least on Sunday morning.

Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0

The Southern Tier route had me leaving Silsbee on a reasonably quiet street that became a reasonably quiet state highway until I reached the next town, Kountze (population 2,123.)

Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Unfortunate acronym. Kinda shitty, actually.
Heart 6 Comment 0

In Kountze I turned onto a smoothly paved, quiet country road. Finally some great riding in Texas. The area seemed more prosperous than anyplace else I'd been so far in the state.

Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0

After several miles, I reached an intersection, and the small community of Honey Island, which seemed to consist of a few churches and a general store.

Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0

I walked into the store. A girl who was maybe eleven years old was working the register. A woman who appeared to be her mother was in the back, making to-go breakfasts for locals who wandered in. I took a seat at a table. Except for a young couple who were engaging in some mild Public Displays of Affection at a table near me, no one else was in the place.

The scene was very different than the country stores in Louisiana. No one said hello or asked where I was going. Not unfriendly - just uninterested. The people didn't say much even amongst themselves. It was a very laconic vibe.

I ate my egg-cheese-biscuit and hit the road.

Salt shaker.
Heart 2 Comment 0
The general store where I had breakfast.
Heart 5 Comment 0
Jesus, and the rest of his crew from Mexico are constructing it right now.
Heart 1 Comment 0

Traffic picked up now. Annoying. Also annoying was the rumble strip which rendered the minimal shoulder useless.

The rumble strips are full of water - I must have just missed a shower.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 2
Mark BinghamAre you sure this is Texas? I see 3 trucks and a car instead of 4 trucks.
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Jeff LeeTo Mark BinghamYeah, you're right: Very strange. I didn't notice it at the time, because I was more interested in the fact that apparently so few people actually attend services at some of these country churches.
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Heart 4 Comment 0

A touring cyclist approached. He waved at me to stop, and I crossed over to his side of the ride and had an enjoyable conversation. Sergio was riding the Southern Tier from San Diego to Florida, and seemed to be having a good time. Surprisingly, he was yet another self-supported cyclist who was doing the entire coast-to-coast route with no camping gear, staying in inside lodging exclusively, and not reserving rooms more than a day or two ahead, if at all.

Is this a new trend? It definitely seems risky to me. I asked him about it, and he told me that the only close call he'd had so far was in a large city, when it was difficult to find a room because a Formula One race was being held in the area. He'd been a victim of major price gouging when he paid $140 for a terrible room that normally would have cost $50.

Sergio. Sounded like he was having a good time on the Southern Tier.
Heart 3 Comment 0

After a while I reached a busy crossroads.

Image not found :(
Heart 1 Comment 0

I stopped and walked into a busy, new-looking "Fuel Maxx" gas station, and sat a while inside, drinking Gatorade and Diet Pepsi, and observing the stream of people walking in and out of the place.

Image not found :(
Heart 1 Comment 0

The next several miles were pleasant. Traffic seemed to have died down a little.

Image not found :(
Heart 1 Comment 0
Image not found :(
Heart 1 Comment 0

I made a turn onto a quiet country road. It was so hot and humid now. I stopped at a church to rest. I observed a small, lizard-like creature on the church wall.

Image not found :(
Heart 2 Comment 2
Bill ShaneyfeltGreen anole, often called chameleon because they can change quickly from green to brown or reverse. They can be interesting characters!

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anolis_carolinensis
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Steele HintonYup, anole. They used to be sold as chameleons for pets, including in my grandparents’ Variety store. My uncle -their younger son- lived in Houma, Louisiana, where I saw a few inside his house.
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Image not found :(
Heart 4 Comment 4
Bill ShaneyfeltI like that shot!
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Mark BinghamThose were everywhere in the area where I grew up, but we just called them lizards. I just looked the little guy up, and he's called a green anole. As kids, when we tried to catch them, the tail would break off and continue wiggling to confuse/distract us "predators" as the lizard would make his escape.
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Jeff LeeTo Bill ShaneyfeltThanks. I spent longer than I should have following that guy around trying to get a decent photo.
Reply to this comment
1 year ago
Bill ShaneyfeltTo Jeff LeeDone that myself... usually without success, but like a lot of life, a tiny success is enough to keep trying! I think I sort of understand compulsive gambling as a result.
Reply to this comment
1 year ago

After several minutes of my pestering him with my camera, he finally had enough of that bullshit, and darted into a crack in the wall.

The next several miles, to the town of Shepherd (population 2,319) were very nice. Probably the nicest ride in Texas so far.

Heart 3 Comment 0
I don't know what happened here, but I would not be thrilled if I had to clean it up.
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0
Heart 2 Comment 0

I rode several miles on Texas State Highway 150 to Coldspring, my destination for the day. This was a great road, with an enormous, smooth, and uncluttered shoulder. Not that much traffic, either.

150 from Shepherd to Coldspring was great.
Heart 3 Comment 0
This church eschews the typical, cute little slogan on their sign, and gets right to the point.
Heart 1 Comment 0

Coldspring has the typical ancient shitty motel, but also something my map called the "Sunday Houses" just outside town, cottages which didn't cost much more than the motel. I called the retired schoolteacher who owns the cottages, reserved one, and rode through Coldspring.

Heart 0 Comment 0

I made a stop at a grocery store a mile and a half from the cottages and purchased a two-liter of Diet Pepsi (finally: I'd usually had to settle for the inferior Diet Coke for days).

The friendly girl at the register asked if I'd been riding a bike, and if so, how many miles. She seemed amazed that I'd ridden 70+ miles today (which is of course nothing special), and that I'd ridden 1,000 miles in the last two weeks (also nothing special, really, for a bike tour.) "That's awesome! That's amazing!" etc.

Her enthusiasm seemed pretty over the top, but of course I'm jaded. And it's actually refreshing to talk to someone, especially a young person, who is interested in bicycle touring.

I strapped the two-liter on the rear rack and rode to the Sunday Houses, a nice little group of cottages with kitchens.

Heart 3 Comment 0
Heart 1 Comment 0

After talking to the friendly owner for a while, I did some chores, did some minor cooking in the cottage's kitchen, then did laundry for the first time on this tour.

I talked to BJ, my friend now living in the Houston area, and made plans to ride up tomorrow and meet him at his hunting club 40 or fifty miles north of Coldspring. If that worked out, tomorrow would be my last day of riding. on this tour.

Heart 1 Comment 0

Today's ride: 78 miles (126 km)
Total: 1,061 miles (1,708 km)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 8
Comment on this entry Comment 0