I wake up feeling good. The sky is grey with clouds but it is not raining. Charley, the cyclist that was going to meet me in Austin, for whom I was slowing down, cannot make the trip right now due to medical issues, so I decide to ride more quickly. I ride 60 miles by 10:30AM.
I cross over into Texas! Yay! My body has many bug bites, even behind my ears, and I’m looking forward to camping in dryer climes.
In Silsbee Texas my rear wheel starts feeling wobbly. A brake is rubbing. I check and there are two broken spokes. I must get this repaired, as soon as possible. Google tells me the closest bike shop is in Beaumont, 26 miles south, out of my way. I call and they do have a spoke cutting machine. I head off down the four lane at 22 mph, a little aprehensive with my wobbly wheel.
I arrive at the Kick Stand bike store and am greeted by Bhavani- pronunced Vivani- who wonders how I got there so fast, and tells me her husband, who is the wheel expert, has left to run errands so he could be there when I arrived, which they figured would be hours from now. She allows me to take my bike apart in the store, and we enjoy talking.
When Tom arrives, we get cutting. He cuts and I replace the spokes in the wheel. The shop closes at 6:00, and as Tom is truing my wheel, I move my bike out in front of the shop for assembly, so they can go home.
Then it starts to pour. There are flash flood warnings on the news. It is almost dark. My bike is in pieces in front of the store. I am confident things will work out, I just don’t know how yet. And then Tom offers to drive me and my bike to a hotel, which I happily accept. A bike store customer then offers to let me stay at his house! See, things always work out! I can’t begin to tell you how often this sort of thing happens!
Tom negotiates the lowest rate for me at the hotel, by telling the receptionist about my adventure. Then we sneak the bike and all it’s parts past the receptionist by using a side door, nabbing cookies on the way. I am exhausted and have a lot of work to do. I am really glad to have met Tom, and feel like I have a new friend.
It’s been another one of those roller coaster rides of good things and bad things.