Dec 21: Winter solstice and the half way point of Bird Year. We have travelled 6924 miles and Malkolm has identified 417 bird species. We have had about 40 flat tires, and exactly 13 broken spokes. We have consumed 1,800,000 calories and burned up slightly more. We have slept 147 nights in our tents and eaten rice, beans and tortillas sixty times for supper, thirty times for lunch and once for breakfast. We were in Galveston when we took our official half-way portrait. It was 66
Before we started Bird Year, I worried most about angry drivers, the kind who might want to rid the world of cyclists. We have encountered very few of those.....and NONE HAVE SUCCEEDED! Two drivers in a Texas border town came pretty close, within half an hour. But this blog is about the happy encounters we have had on the road.
Several times, in a construction zone, we have coasted alongside a line of parked cars and been stopped by the flagger. The flagger has waved us through, giving us the whole lane. Other times, a pilot car has followed us, keeping the other vehicles back. That’s fun.
Out on the open road, train engineers toot their whistles at us. The first time it happened, I didn’t think the train was whistling at us. I figured it out when the whistling stopped after I waved back. Truckers honk their horns in a friendly way. It’s like there’s a fellowship of the less-travelled road. Motorcyclists wave when we are out in the country, but not in town.
On the Texas Gulf Coast, causeway bridges cross many of the bays. We knew there was a bridge several miles long outside Port Lavaca, so we went into extra-safety mode. We put on our bright yellow jackets. We rode in a tight little line: me, Malkolm, Ken. The shoulder was narrow and dirty. I concentrated on riding straight, just outside the white line. When I dared to glance in my rear view mirror, I saw black pickup close behind Ken. Ken shouted that it had veered over from the outer lane. It followed Ken, forcing the other traffic to go around us. Dang! It was protecting us. With considerate drivers like that, who needs extra-safety mode? Before the end of the bridge, the black truck took off. Instead flashing blue and red lights brought up the end of our procession. This must be how it feels if you’re a visiting head-of -state! Without even asking, Team Bird Year had a Police escort.