First kilometers out of Austin showed me a lesson on cycling that I have forgotten a bit and I had to renew. After all this will be the terrain of the countryside that is ahead of me – Texas Hill Country. First I will have to climb some hills before I reach the desert. And the initial climbs sometimes shocked me so much, that I had to dismount Lou and push it uphill.
One of Austin’s suburbs through which I went offered me a nice surprise. In search of a library where I would be able to connect to the world I found a bookstore. Well stocked bookstore. And they had maps (not one, but several of them and different) of Mexico. And I bought one. This way I will at least know where I’m going (roughly).
A good map is becoming of vital importance. The countryside is more and more desolate, sparsely populated. And it’s good to know this in advance and prepare yourself for it. Especially important are the points where you can get water. You really do need water when you are cycling at temperatures that are still above 30°C. If in the past I could have counted on getting water at the first house by the roadside, Texas Hill Country require a different approach. There are no houses by the roadside. Only endless fences with signs “Privet Property! No Trespassing!” Everything is fenced up and not a soul in sight. In most cases you do not even see a house from the roadside let alone there would be someone outside.
Faced with this reality I have to adjust my route and daily distances to points where I have access to water. These are normally smaller towns, sometimes just a road junction with a gas station/store. Long stretches of nothingness in between. Bushes, individual trees and lots of fences. On these long stretches the brains go their own way. And I let them. So last time, on one of these long stretches, thinking of pursuing one’s Dreams sneaked into my mind. About how lucky I am that I’m able to follow my Dreams and also about how grateful I am for that. At the same time the thought of courage also appeared. And here I’m not talking about the courage to quit one’s job or to say goodbye to family and friends since this is subjective. Different people perceive this topics differently. I’m talking about something more objective. Willingly setting off into the unknown, leaving access to truly vital commodity (not sure if this is a proper way of naming it, but for the lack of a better expression, it should do) – water!
On this day I woke up in a small town where I had access to the greates luxury, water. There were other luxuries as well such as cold drink, relatively good coffee, air conditioned library… But here one realizes that the greates luxury is actually water. Since ahead of me there was 130 kilometers to the next town where I could realisticaly expect to get water, I had stocked up on it. I took with me almost 12 litres. This should do for a day and a half of cycling including camping somewhere in this wastness. And in doing so, I did my duty to prepare myself as good as I possibly can for what lays ahead. After that one has to gather courage and knowingly set off into the unknown. Convinced that you have prepared yourself well and that you did your part of the task, you peacfully set off into the unknown and let the Life take care of the rest.
After 60 kilometers I have reached the first houses (3-4). The map has told me about the existance of this place as well as the fact that I cannot realisticaly expect anything here. But still I got a pleasant surprise of a long closed down sotre that nevertheless offered me shade and also had a faucet that produced a nice, drinking water. Other houses might have been inhabited. Haven’t seen a living soul.
After filling up and full soaking in the shade I have set off. In the evening I have found a nice little spot by the roadside where I was able to pitch my tent. Sheltered by bush and actually about 10 meters above the actuall road I erected the tent and made myself dinner.
After that I sat and observed how one by one millions of stars light up, happy that I was able to live this day and that I had the courage not only to dream of it, but also to Live it!
With a Smile on my face, until next time!