On To Ray Roberts State Park… or am IPosted: June 14, 2013
Got up at dawn once again. Being the night owl I am I went to bed a bit late and felt blurry eyed to say the least. I passively packed my gear still not really feeling like I have an order. It’ll come, but for now I feel like a bird collecting sticks for a nest. I was half tempted to leave the whiskey bottle on the picnic table for the ranger, but I figured bad DNR karma and I am going to need more than one pass before this is all over.
Onward and outward I headed into the early morning light feeling relaxed about the short ride I had ahead of me. I was heading Ray Roberts State Park just shy of 40 miles away.
Again with the wind to my back I made good time. Having eaten my rations the night before I was on the hunt. I decided to get some miles behind me before stopping. Very quickly I realized like a train without fuel this little engine couldn’t so I stopped in a Wal-Mart Market thinking I could get everything I needed in fell swoop. Turns out Wal-Mart Markets are glorified grocery stores. After meandering aimlessly for a time I got frustrated and put everything back except a ham sandwich, fruit, and bug repellent. I headed back outside and let my phone charge by the floral department watching it from a distance eating my “Landshire” sandwich. God, that thing was nasty. I said things like “a great source of protein and calcium” and “made fresh!” on the package. As far as I could tell it was a great source of disappointment and cruelty to taste buds and texture. Chastising myself for wasting money on Wally Worlds pre-made sandwich I headed back to the road.
For the next 15 miles things went swimmingly. I was able to ride mostly bike trails through Denton that followed a public tram track. While crossing over a highway I saw those golden arches. It was time for calories and sodium. As I rounded a bend there were four city workers, one watering the grass, the other three, “managing”. Two of them said “howdy” as I rolled by. I chirped back “hey”. Midwest, we really need to start using “howdy”. So much better than “hey” or “hello”.
I was sad to find the McDonald’s was Drive Thru Only. My phone in desperate need of a charge and body in need of not 98 degrees I pressed on. Quickly enough an Arby’s came into view. I strolled in dripping with sweat and asked the heavy set young man for a calorie chart while the only other patrons, a crisp looking elderly couple, stopped eating to see what sweaty mcbeardy wanted. I ran my finger down the list until I found the Turkey Bacon Ranch listed at 800 calories. Colin, the cashier, said, “That’s the most hoss!?” I assuming his incredulity was due to my two dimensional appearance and made the false assumption I asked to see the nutrition list to eat healthy. I told him that was not the idea. “I’m on my bike and need the calories. How much is it?” Damn thing cost $7 for just the sandwich. Nay Nay I said to that. I continued to the value area of the menu and chose the chicken sandwiches and a chocolate shake, which came to about 700 calories, but cost $3.28. Colin told me I should get enough from that. He kindly brought my food to where I was fiddling with my phone and I feasted.
While sitting there another employee came in apparently late and asked if she was fired. The manager chuckled and said “No. Don’t worry about it.” The employees began into some banter in the back, their laughter echoing through the mostly empty restaurant. They were so enthralled with the story exchange they didn’t hear a new guest come in. A woman in her 60’s tried in vain several times to get their attention, asking rhetorical questions like “Are you open yet?” She did get service before I left and as I walked out the door I noticed a bell that had a sign reading, “Ring if your service was excellent.” I feel confident that bell did not get rang by that woman.
Onward to Denton Library I pedaled. I asked the librarian if my bike and things were OK out front and she said, “Hmmm… not so much in this neighborhood. You should move it closer to the door.” I did so and went to the computers. To my horror someone had acquired my password and username for my back up savings account and emptied the balance by sending it to another account a few days before. Understand this money was for if catastrophe happened, and to give me a buffer when I get back, so I am not broke. Losing $500 sucks any way you slice it. I changed my info and disputed the transfer, but as far as the bank is concerned I made the transfer and it was too late to cancel it. The jury is still out on whether or not I’ll get it back. Sidenote: If you enjoy reading the weblog or just would like to help out on the trip cost, please donate here. Nothing expected, anything appreciated.
Feeling a bit shaken I thought I should go check out my bike to make sure everything was still there. I had taken out things like my camera, phone, and wallet, but wanted to make sure my underwear and tires were still there. Yes those are the things thieves steal after electronics. To my relief my gear remained unmolested. I turned around and see the librarian with my electronics I had left sitting 30 feet behind me. Apparently someone had nabbed my computer when I got up and the young man sitting next to me brought my things up concerned I had left and forgotten them. Robbed and protected in a matter of 30 minutes. Takes all types to fill this planet up.
I thanked the guy and made small talk. He showed me videos that made him crack up and I nodded and smiled. Eventually another computer opened up and I was able to finish the PC work I came there for.
After finishing at the library I headed on to North Lakes Disc Golf Course a few miles away. Two other guys were getting out of a small SUV as I pulled up. The shorter of the two said, “You’re not scared of the heat, and neither are we!” “It’s not going to get better.” I said with a smile on my face but a bit of a grimace in my heart. It took me a moment to reapply sunscreen, lock up my things, and get out my discs. By then the two gents were a hole ahead of me. I caught up quickly and asked if I could join them. They amiably agreed. The shorter of the two who had spoke up earlier was Zach, a former marine and current nursing student. The other was Chase. He had a degree in sociology, spent the last few years cleaning pools, and currently worked for the gas companies acquiring land and going to nursing school as well.
We played at a leisurely pace stopping in the shade often and letting other players over take us. Zach and Chase offered me Miller Light tall boys, which I happily accepted. We exchanged life stories, discussed world matters, the differences between our home regions, etc. By the end of the round both Zach and Chase had invited me to stay at one of their homes for the night. While they had told me Ray Roberts was a pretty great park, I was planning to ride out early the next morning. Saving money, a shower, and A/C sounded grand. Zach was going to a birthday in Lewisville and I did not care to be that far from my gear since I needed to leave early. I agreed to stay at Chase’s after Zach assured me Chase didn’t have a basement to cut me up in. Zach pulled a big stick of beef jerky and gave it to me saying he wanted to contribute to my ride. Such a nice guy. We shook hands and Chase took him home. I went to the department store to get some things I needed and then followed my GPS to Chase’s small but very nice and neat home where he introduced me to his pitbull Shade, and his sister’s basset/terrier mix Tedo (SP?). I unloaded the Ruckus and he let me use the shower. It had two shower heads! Such luxury. I had hit the jack pot. I got out shaved and clean for the first time in days to find him prepping hamburgers and sausages for the grill. Jackpot to be sure. He offered me a beer and went to cooking. We feasted and watched part of the Heat game.
About the time we finished our food Chase’s sister, Britney, got home from dinner with friends. She, he, and I took the beers to the back porch where we sat with the pooches telling more stories, having drinks, and having an all around good time.
Chase also let me do my laundry and Brittney made a bed up for me on the couch. Unbelievably kind. I met this guy that day and he and his sister has improved my situation in nearly every way possible.
The next morning they got up and while I gathered my gear they made a delicious breakfast of banana pancakes and sausage. Mind you its 7AM and they do not have any other reason to be up except to send me off well fed. Just awesome.
After eating Chase put some music on my phone including the new Vampire Weekend. We said our good byes and I headed out having a daunting 65 miles to cover.
So far today the ride has gone well, but I am tired from going to bed a bit later than I should have and today was the fist time I hit gravel roads for any length of time. They are a lot rougher here than up north. That being said I am on course and on schedule to make Eisenhower State Park in plenty of time. It’s a just a matter of making it the next 35 miles without succumbing to fatigue. I will play the waiting game with the heat until push comes to shove. Here’s hoping.
http://t.co/Yq9HxMtQTH Chase and Britney. THANKS!
Drive fast. Take chances. Thanks for reading.
PS. Pardon the awful picture layout. Unfortunately they were uploaded by a PC from 2001. I will ammend as soon as possible. The first dog in Shade. The second, Tedo.