Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 23 (Wed, 13 Mar)

Today was a day of riding back country roads, steeper rolling hills and riding through the Sam Houston National Forest – a great day for seeing East Texas.

I rode from Brenham, TX to Huntsville, TX today.  71 miles and about 2,600 ft of solid climbing throughout the entire ride, with some relatively steep hills on the back roads.  The ride started out on some local country roads near Brenham, then on Hwy 105, Hwy 90 and then on Country Road 149, Country Road 1791 and then Hwy 30 into Huntsville.  I’m pretty much straight north of downtown Houston now and I also just passed over I-45 in getting to my hotel. 

Weather: ditto with just about every day of my trip – gorgeous day – sunny all day with Temps in the 50s and then high 60s in the afternoon.  The best type of weather for riding!!  I rode into a 5-10 mph headwind most of the day – not too bad but with the hills, it made for a good work out, but pleasant.  The roads in this part of Texas are not nearly as rough as West Texas, but definitely still not “smooth.”

Flat tire #5 today; early in the ride just leaving Brenham.

The ride was mainly to the Northeast today, but as I continue to head on an easterly direction, there is progressively more and more signs and smells of spring – very nice.  Significantly different than even just 2 days ago west of Austin.  Birds singing, crickets in the fields, the smells of new blossoms and a lot of rivers and ponds.  Also, you’ll see from the pictures – a lot more trees and GREEN!

On to the pictures!

Sunrise in Brenham this morning.

The Blue Bell Creamery - I hear that they make great ice cream.  There were about 100 people lining up outside for their factory tour - the place smelled awesome from 50 yards away!!  They opened in 1907.

Local countryside.

Country roads that I was on for most of the day.  A nice change of pace from the US and State Highways that I've primarily rode on thus far.  Plus/Minus for these roads compared to the major highways - there is a lot less traffic, you can ride safely on the road (rather than shoulder)/this is generally smoother than the shoulders in TX and I was looking forward to some steeper hills today (the pluses); there are dogs everywhere and I rode a bit slower given the steeper hills (minuses)!

Not a lot of agriculture in this part of Texas, but lot's of country homes and small grazing fields and ranches.

Some type of small antelope I believe.  They look like it in any case.  There is at least one buck in the group.  They were in someone's yard.

As mentioned in yesterday's post - the Texas declaration of independence (from Mexico) was signed in this part of Texas.

If you can zoom in on this picture you'll see an observatory in the middle background of this picture.  This looked to be in someone's private home - wow, cool!!

French guy who was slain by his own men in 1687 near this area (Navasota, TX).  Check out his long name!

That's a steakhouse restaurant on the left; on the right is a cattle processing plant - bound to have some fresh steak there...

Church on a hill in Anderson, TX.

Lot's of cattle and small barns/ranches in this part of Texas.

"Old Rusty Stuff"!

Yellow flowers in the field; Spring is here in this part of Texas - nice to see some colors rather than various themes of brown that I had seen for 1500 miles.

Cool little BBQ place off of a small country road.

Entering Sam Houston National Forest.

Something new today - lot's of tall trees (pine in this case and lots of them) AND some shade on the road...

I saw quite a few trees in spring blossom today.

Old, small horse barn near the National Forest.

I believe this is a type of Texas Longhorn cattle.  Pretty unique - first one I've seen in person (at least alive!).

Entering Huntsville.  A good sized city for this part of East Texas.  

From Wikipedia: Huntsville became the home of Sam Houston, who served as President of the Republic of Texas, Governor of the State of Texas, Governor of TennesseeU.S. Senator, and Tennessee congressman. General Houston led the Texas Army in the Battle of San Jacinto - the decisive victory of the Texas Revolution. Houston has been noted for his life among the Cherokees of Tennessee, and - near the end of his life - for his opposition to the American Civil War, a position which was a very unpopular in his day. Located in Huntsville are two of Houston's homes, his grave, and the Sam Houston Memorial Museum. Houston's life in Huntsville is also commemorated by his namesake Sam Houston State University, and by a 70 ft (21 m)[4]statue. (The towering statue, "Tribute to Courage" by artist David Adickes, has been described as the world's largest statue of an American hero, and is easily viewed by travelers onInterstate 45.)

Updated map!  Nearing 1,700 miles completed on the trip.

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