I definitely feel like I’ve entered the Southeast US – a Texas version of it, but a notable change from the Austin area and Western Texas that I had been in for the past week!
I rode from Austin, TX to Brenham, TX today. 87 miles and about 1,600 ft of climbing – most of the climbing was around the Austin area for 20-30 miles and then the landscape is now starting to flatten out a bit. The ride was mainly on Texas Hwy 290 (a pretty safe highway except there was 20-30 miles with little/no shoulder – so, I spend most of my time on those sections riding with high attention and caution). I’m about 60 miles Northwest of downtown Houston.
My elevation in Brenham is about 300 ft above sea level. It’s pretty cool to note that basically since Cloudcroft, NM (Day 13) I’ve been working my way down each day from 8,600 ft in Cloudcroft to where I am today.
I continue to get very lucky with the weather. Another completely sunny day, all day. Temperatures started out in the high 40s this morning and were in the high 60s and low 70s for most of the day. Winds today were very light (5-10 mph) and primarily a crosswind that was not much of a factor in the ride.
Today, more so than any of the other rides, I passed through many small towns. Roughly, one every 10 miles or so. That’s pretty cool as each one has some interesting history or aspects to it that you can quickly check out in passing through the town.
A few firsts for the trip today (I can’t say that any of these are “earth shattering” but, hey, when you spend 6 hrs on a bike every day – its nice to see new things, no matter how trivial they may be!): 1) a frog (dead, but a frog nonetheless), 2) butterflies, 3) an “All You Can Eat Crawfish” place in Brenham (a popular food in the Houston and New Orleans areas).
On to the pictures!
Sunrise just East of Austin.
Buy 1, Get 11 Free? Seems too good to be true!
Perhaps the silliest thing I've seen so far. A Day Care center right next to a Fireworks warehouse...
Local History of one of the small towns I passed through today.
Typical landscape that I rode through today. A Lot more trees and nice open fields.
More trees and 1 bike rider! I didn't have a chance to speak with them as they were on the other side of the divided highway but I saw two other Long Distance riders today, heading West. It looked like a husband and wife and they each had rear & front pannier bags, so likely they're tenting during their trip.
I find the murals/advertisements on the sides of old buildings in these smaller towns to be interesting. Bull Durham - I had been aware of the movie that came out in 1988 (Kevin Costner was in it) but there is actually a tobacco company with that name - learn something new every day. To me, the neat part is that these types of advertisements on the sides of buildings are all pretty old - I don't think anyone does that today (billboards, Internet, TV, etc make more sense).
Typical field in this part of Texas.
Old Rusty Theme (in this case, also missing a few key components).
An old peanut processing plant.
Old railroad station in Giddings, TX.
Building mural in Giddings, TX.
Wide open roads, that were not too bumpy today. In this case showing a huge riding lane for cyclists - nice!
Couple of donkeys keeping an eye on me. Looked like a mom and foal.
Washington County is the county in Texas known for the Convention of 1836 where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed.
Lot's of small lakes and ponds in the part of Texas (I had seen none west of Austin).
Classic old car.
On the far left of this picture is a HUGE BBQ smoker. The size of a semi truck - wow - I was hungry thinking about all of the BBQ ribs you could put in that!
Downtown Brenham - pretty vibrant downtown, which was great to see given that this is definitely not the case for most older US towns today.
Courthouse in the central square of Brenham. One thing I've noticed is that in many TX towns I've passed through where there is a central square - they have a courthouse. Interesting - in New England you'll always see 1 or more churches around the town square (and no courthouses). Religion is very big in Texas, but the founders of the towns seemed to put more initial emphasis as they built their towns, on processing the bad guys than building their churches...
New Orleans style architecture in downtown Brenham.
Old railroad station in Brenham - I look at building like this and while they're pretty desolate today I can definitely imagine this as the central hub of activity for the town 100 years ago when trains were the primary form of traveling between towns.