#21 A Ride with Ana

2006 May 27
211 miles

On Saturday, May 27th, I met up with a new friend from Katy for a ride around her neck of the woods. She showed me some great little roads that provided some nice photo opportunities! Thanks Ana for being a great Road Captain on our two-fer a ride.
We ate at Orsak's Cafe in Fayetteville.

In 1845, the Republic of Texas chartered Baylor University-Independence.

Claye and Ana in Anderson, TexasGrimes County Courthouse in Anderson, Texas Looking out from the second floor of the courthouse.Notice the Texas State flag flying at half-staff?  This was to honor Lloyd Bentsen, former US Senator (1971-1993) who died May 23, 2006.

#20 Bryan & Bellville

2006 May 22-23
345 miles
I made a couple of day trips while staying with a friend in Magnolia, Texas.

On Monday, May 22nd, I rode to College Station/Bryan to visit with Jamie, an old friend from Orange, Texas. We took a ride to Brenham, where we enjoyed a leisurely lunch, shot some pool, and did lots of "catching up," since we hadn't seen each other in over 4 years.

Snook, Texas

The next day, I traveled through Hempstead, Texas on my way to Bellville to meet a new-old friend. Highway 159 crossing the Brazos River. The Brazos River, Pecan trees and Johnson grass...this must be Texas.Bellville, TexasThe Old Austin County Jail...now a museum. "Cowboy" is the blacksmith at The Blacksmith Shop in Bellville.

#19 Friendswood

2006 May 14-17

Sunday was the first time, this trip, I got caught in a severe thunderstorm. I left Orange in the middle of the day headed to Friendswood. I got hit by a pretty good shower west of Beaumont, but I pulled over and let it pass. I continued when it let up. It eventually stopped raining and the pavement even dried out. However, about the time I turned south off I10 toward Friendswood, it started again. Soon the rain was pouring down hard and getting heavier and heavier as I rode. By the time I got to Baytown, visibility was so bad many of the cars were pulling over or driving slow with their flashers going. As bad as it was, I proceeded to cross the Hartman Bridge. When I reached the top of the bridge, the effects of the wind were more pronounced and I could feel the bridge swaying and see the rain blowing sideways. These sensations gave me feeling of vertigo.

As I descend off the bridge, I began to question my judgment -- I decided this was just STUPID to be riding in this weather, so I pulled over a couple exits past the bridge. I was soaking wet by then...of course. I got fuel at a Shell and sat and watched it pour down for another 30 minutes or so. I took my chance when the rain let up and drove the last 20 miles or so to Friendswood.

When I made it to my next stop in Friendswood, I changed into some dry clothes and watched it rain for another hour or so. I think I'll try to avoid rain for the next few days. That was enough!

A couple days later, I crossed the same bridge from LaPorte to Baytown (Fred Hartman Bridge) in really nice weather -- it was actually a very pleasant experience. What a difference the weather can make!
Tuesday (May 16), I back-tracked to the Baytown area to visit a friend I hadn't seen in probably 18 years. Spent the afternoon with her, ate wonderful fajitas, met her daughters, and just caught up with each other.
Claye, Emily and Marisa on Fleeter.
Lisa posing for a quick picture with Fleeter and me before I pull out. It’s been a long time since she last rode with me in the early 1980s.
My new little buddy, Agnus, the toy schnauzer.Webster, TexasOn my way to meet a new friend in Pearland, I rode by NASA. I spent the evening getting to know a fellow motorcycle rider. She's a serious rider -a certified Iron Butt member. To qualify as an "Iron Butt," you must ride 1,000 miles in 24 hours or less.
Thanks for sharing your time with me, Barb!The Challenger 7 Memorial Park on NASA Parkway.
My Friendswood friends, Katie and Jeanie, took me to Kemah to eat on the Boardwalk my last night in Friendswood. This was one of our views while eating at Landry's at an outside table.

#18 NOLA to Orange

2006 May 10-14

On my way to Texas, I stop in St. Amant, LA to mail a package home of used maps and things I've collected, but don't need to carry with me as I continue on my adventure. Leaving St. Amant, I am distracted with a nice road following a bayou. It’s such a fun road; I follow it even though I find myself heading northeast...that's not the heading to follow if I want to get to Texas!
Leaning into the curves...

East of Baton Rouge, I find I12 and ride it back west through Baton Rouge and on to Lafayette. Then I turn north to Opelousas before turning back west again toward Texas on US190.

Railroad museum in De Quincy, LA.
Near Vinton, LA
LOOK! Is that a "Welcome to Texas" sign up ahead?!
Virginia to Texas: I accomplished the first half of the goal of this trip. I had never crossed a state line riding a motorcycle. Now, I have. Several. I'm kinda liking this roaming around on Fleeter stuff.I make it to Orange, Texas on Wednesday afternoon just before thunderstorms hit.
Fleeter is safe in my friend's garage. Sorry Jerry...I beat you to your spot! Carolyn said I could!
The last time I saw Amber, she was 7 years old and on her way to dance class. Now she's 23 years old and a nurse at the local hospital. Today she wants to go ride with me on Fleeter! FLEETER HO, here we go! We take a short 60 mile spin around southeast Texas.

#17 NOLA

2006 May 5-10

In Mississippi, I had to give up US90 since the bridges were still out after being demolished by Katrina. Therefore, I hopped on I10 and rode into New Orleans.

Riding across Lake Pontchartrain from Slidell and into New Orleans.

Apartment complexes, damaged and abandoned, lined I10. In New Orleans, everywhere you look, you see signs of the devastation wrought by Katrina and the floods. Reading the messages painted on the buildings by the rescuers, gives one a sense of eavesdropping on the pain and anguish of those that live/lived there.

These are the battle scars that the city displays as a small sign of what New Orleans has lived through.
Along a few streets you can see where some have managed to obtain a FEMA trailer (or provide their own trailer) so they can set up in their yard or driveway and begin the long, emotional task of starting over.This is one house ... horrible to see, but the reality is this is just a corner. What's worse is that every street, every corner has its own horror story. It is just inconceivable to drive through neighborhood after neighborhood and see this kind of destruction corner after corner, street after street. Of all the houses that floated away from where they had set for decades and cars that were left askew in unexpected positions ... This was a very odd sight.
A motorcycle was found, still in an upright position with its flat rear tire buried in what was once mud and silt. The landfills are full...where to go with the rest of the debris? So it piles up, higher and more widespread in what were once beautiful medians. Residents have come to expect to find things in odd places...buses, bulldozers, boats...A boat left in the median since the flood. The background is the famous St. Roch's Cemetery. All around are signs of people making do the best they can.
Situations that wouldn't have been tolerated before Sept 2005, now hardly raise an eyebrow.
This bus has an electrical extension cord running across the street. They apparently make use of extended outdoor living space...when the mosquitoes aren't too many.With the city police overworked and understaffed, neighborhood residents have banded together to look after their own.

Cafe Du Monde is back in operation serving coffee and beignets.Looking down the street toward the Farmers Market in the French Quarter.

This is a small coffee shop, Marigny Perks, less than two blocks from where I was staying with my friend. I hung out here a couple hours in the morning while I caught up on emails.
Worth noting: New Orleans, ALL of New Orleans, is now a wireless hot spot. My friend's single shotgun home in the Marigny neighborhood near the French Quarter. The photo is fuzzy from the N'awlins humidity on the lens. After staying several days in New Orleans visiting with my friend, it's time to move on down the road to TEXAS!