20/1/17. One day of sheltering from the rain turned into two. With time “to spare” we were in the fortunate position of not having to move if we didn’t have to and, with the rain starting to fall as we woke and the skies looking unrelentingly grey, we took the executive decision to stay put.
The morning passed pleasantly with a late brunch, games, reading and podcasts. Of course the rain stopped late morning, calling into question our wimpishness, but we felt comfortable with our decision to stay put, even though we had the accompaniment of the main road, the adjacent railway and assorted local dogs to keep our ears in working order.
Stephen again made a break for Walmart in early afternoon (prompted as much by the availability of the latest podcasts including, of course, The Archers now that he has outed himself, as the “need” for food – and beer) and this time he didn’t get a soaking, thank goodness.
Friday was supposed to be wall-to-wall sunshine according to the last weather forecast we saw a couple of days earlier. Obviously things had changed as we woke to a grey, misty morning. But at least it wasn’t raining.
We took a leisurely breakfast and sat around reading as the tent dried – slowly.
By 10 o’clock it was nearly completely dry and Christine, in particular, was itching to be under way. We made our way along a quiet road that ran parallel to the main drag of the us90 although we were both watching out for loose dogs whenever we passed houses which did not make for a relaxed ride.
Christine had suggested a stop for wifi (that available in the campsite was rubbish – “weather related” apparently) at Mcdonald’s which we would pass after about 15 km but we spied the “golden arches” somewhat earlier and dived in for the internet update and coffee/hot chocolate – all of which was very pleasant. The downside was that we had to blank the Fox News coverage of the inauguration of the bequiffed orange racist/misogynist clown that was being shown on every TV screen.
We set off again, this time along US90 (where there was a shoulder) across a floodplain – lots of squelchiness in evidence through the trees on either side of the bridge/causeway. It was pleasant and interesting if we could ignore the traffic noise racing past 6 feet to our left hand side.
At the second Mcdonald’s (no further patronage of Ronald) we turned off and headed along a dead straight more minor (and thankfully quieter) road. The marshiness had disappeared and the countryside was very pastoral with several signs proclaiming “Such And Such” Ranch with many more cows in evidence (all those Texas steaks have to come from somewhere!) However, it was not a good career move to live on that road if you are a frog – we must have seen at least 50 dead ones on the shoulder.
On entering Huffmann we turned north on a State Road through the forested area on the eastern shores. This was OK for a while until we reached a sign that said something to the effect that state maintenance ceased and county funding took over. At this point the shoulder disappeared and we joined the cars and trucks on the narrow main carriageway. Fairly quickly Christine experienced two “near misses” which really shook her up to such an extent that she dismounted and walked the next 5 km.
Stephen didn’t have the same horrible experience, for which he was very grateful, – perhaps because one of the cars that passed very near Christine realised their error and waited patiently behind Stephen, and the other turned off immediately after coming very close to Christine.
We decided that Stephen would press on for the campsite as time was passing to get things set up while Christine recovered. However, he aborted this decision when he passed a couple of largish dogs who were loose and lying close to the road. They made a half-hearted attempt to chase him and he carried on for a km or so before reflecting that it was a potential problem for Christine and so turning back to help her past the dogs.
While he was waiting it started to rain (not forecast!) and by the time Christine turned up the dogs had disappeared (presumably their guard duties job description did not include sitting out in the rain!) so his Good Samaritan act was unnecessary – but not unappreciated!
We soon reached the turn to the Lake Houston Wilderness Park (a Houston City park, not a Texas State one, so our new card was of no use – but a total cost of $13 for the night so very affordable). By now the rain was setting in with frequent flashes of lightning and the occasional clap of thunder, and darkness was falling after the late start waiting for the tent to dry and faffing about in Mcdonald’s.
There was a shelter to cook dinner and we ate it crouched in the tent while the rain fell. The lightning kept Christine awake for about 5 hours but Stephen dropped off as soon as he stopped reading. He was woken when an enormous clap of thunder went off right overhead but went back to sleep straight away while Christine waited for the storm to pass.