This morning was the warmest morning we have had so far! It was completely overcast, but very warm and humid. I was in short sleeves from the beginning (usually I, at least, have my sun sleeves on). I saw in one of the towns we went through that it was 77 degrees.
We didn't have too far to go today so we took time in Shepherd to stop at the library for wifi. We also needed groceries. We had ridden past a couple of small minimart type stores. I figured there had to be something more than that. If a town has a library, it must have a larger grocery store. Once again, I pulled out my phone and opened up Google Maps. It didn't show a grocery store, but it showed we would be passing a more major highway. I figured there had to be something there. Sure enough, there was a medium size grocery store. We were able to get everything we wanted (Christian really likes the flavored mashed potatoes. They're not too bad and they are quick to fix--boil 2 cups of water, dump them in and, voila, dinner! I usually add some canned chicken for protein.).
Once everything was loaded into the "kitchen" and "pantry" panniers, we left Shepherd. The road was really nice--wide shoulder, smooth pavement, no real hills. I was maintaining about 12.5 mph without pushing it too hard. I was listening to my music on my little Volcano speaker while I was cruising along. It was still overcast and threatening to rain, but very warm. There was, as usual, the wind, but, I swear, I've gotten used to it!
I tend to go faster than Christian and this was no exception. I pulled off in the town of Rye at a cafe. I thought Christian would like to have some lunch. It said it was open from 8:00-4:00, 7 days a week. Apparently, they have a different concept of 7 days a week, and this happened to be the day they are closed! It was a shame because the place was called The Cookie Jar Cafe. Sounded good to me! Instead, I went over to the little store and bought an ice cream bar and a little pecan tart. I ate the ice cream while waiting for Christian. I saved the tart for later. Since this was lunch, I thought I should have something healthy, so I also ate an apple. Christian had arrived by then. He bought his usual coffee.
From there we didn't have much farther. Our destination was an RV park in Thicket (another one of those blink-and-miss-it-no-services "towns"). I arrived ahead of Christian. The place didn't look too promising. As I was about to wrap my head around doing another 33 miles to get to Silsbee, a gal came out of a nearby building and said, "Can I help you?". I rode over to her and asked if there was camping here. She said yes, but she didn't have any available trailers. I told her we had tents. She said we could set up wherever we wanted and that she would leave the door to her hair salon unlocked overnight so we could use the bathroom. She said she wouldn't charge us--some more of that Southern Tier Hospitality! She also warned us it was going to rain.
We set about getting our tents up and everything protected before the storm. It had already started raining a little bit. We both retreated to our tents for awhile. I managed to set up my camp chair in my tent and read my Kindle. The rain seemed to mostly stop, so Christian and I came out of our tents. We walked across the street to a church that had vending machines. I bought a Dr. Pepper. When we came back to our tents, we brought our chairs outside. It was still very warm. As we were lounging in our chairs (BEST purchase EVER!), I remarked how, if this was what they were calling rain (it was lightly misting), then we were fine. Oops, shouldn't have said that! Not 5 minutes later, it started raining harder, and the thunder and lightening started. We quickly returned to our tents (I brought my chair back in with me). The temperature must have dropped about 15 degrees. I pulled out my wool jacket, gloves, and buff. I zipped the legs back on my pants. Then, I went back to reading.
An hour or so later, I was getting hungry. I formulated a plan in which I would go into the salon, get water in my platypus containers, and we would walk across the street and cook dinner under the shelter of the church building. Christian thought that was a good idea. I took my containers into the bathroom. It was a little tricky getting them full, because they didn't quite fit in the shallow sink. I used one to fill the other bit by bit, then found a coffee mug and filled the other one. By this time, Christian had joined me in the salon. My food panniers were still under the vestibule of my tent. At this point the rain really started coming down. We would get soaked if we tried to go over to the church. The salon had a small awning over the doorway, but it wasn't big enough to keep the porch from getting wet. Still, I thought I could put the stove just outside the door and cook that way. When there was a lull in the rain, I ran out and retrieved the food panniers. My plan worked and we had a good dinner of pasta, chicken, zucchini, and carrots. It was a good thing we didn't go to the church because there was some function there tonight (probably Wednesday night church or something). That would have been interesting trying to explain why we were sitting there cooking pasta! But, then again, maybe we would have been invited in for a meal??? We'll never know!
Anyway, it's never a dull moment in this adventure! We went from the warmest morning to one of the coolest afternoons. It's still thundering and lightening, and raining of course. To top it off, there is a horse in the pasture next to us that keeps galloping by. I thought it was the thunder!