Houston, we got rain, help, art and raingear

July 4, 2010

I took off from Austin around noon, Actually when I was done with coffee and looked at my watch it was 10:10 (watch is still on pacific time) I thought that was a good sign.

After a full day off I was just chomping at the bit, I was glad to notice that, I found a little spot to do my yoga in the morning, had espresso, what more can you ask.

I followed the GPS directions out of town. The sky is overcast, heavily overcast. I know it ‘s going to come down… the question is how much? People around here say that usually you get one big dump and it’s gone. I got my hopes pinned on that. But I am not worried, I got rain gear.

About 20 miles into the journey the skies ahead turn black. That means we’re about to get wet. I pull on the side of the freeway, I got jeans, socks, boots, a swimsuit top and my leather jacket on. I add the rain pants, the booties, the rain coat and the.. ahem… dish washing gloves. Yellow. I know. Ugly. Not stylish but leather can’t win against rain.

I got on the bike, got rolling, first gear , 2nd, 3rd, boom RAIN. That fast. My timing was impeccable. I’m feeling really smug. I’m dry. It can pour buckets, I got Vancouver, West Coast, rain gear. I mean I’ve ridden downpours in January along the coast. I did Vancouver-Seattle in the winter so what could possibly go wrong.

It’s coming down. Non-stop. I rode until the gas tank was close to empty, then when I stopped to get gas that is when I realized that I wasn’t as dry as I thought. I was actually soaked through, leather jacket, jeans, boots, socks… all completely wet. The redeeming factor is that it’s warm so contrary to Vancouver you can go on soaked without freezing your butt.

When the going gets tough, the wet keep going.

I finally make it to Houston. Big city. A completely different feel than Austin. After a few zigs and zags and GPS farts I get to the motorcycle shop PNP (I learned that the GPS can make mistakes if the cloud cover is really heavy, and it was)

I am in a pissy mood. I mean, the inside of my helmet is soaked. Drenched. My jeans : as if I had them in a tub of water and just pulled them out. My beautiful leather jacket weighs about 30 lbs. It’s close to 4 PM I hope to God that they will do the tune up… and it still rains and rains and rains.

The guys at the shop are incredibly welcoming and my mood switches immediately. “Jesse! Jesse! The Canadian is here!!” yells one of the mechanics. I had emailed them the day before to make sure that I could bring the bike mid-day to get the tune up as many shops don’t want to touch your machine if you don’t bring it first thing in the AM and leave it there. So they knew I was coming, but they thought it was a joke from another biker… How would someone from Canada come in their shop?

The mechanic told me that at first they thought my email was a joke from someone there. “She’s here! She’s here!” he yelled out. How funny. Here I am dripping wet like a wet rag and I am received like a hero.

Thankfully the stuff on my OR bag is totally dry. I change into tights and camisole, take my boots off and hang out in the office with one of the mechanics girlfriends, she is beautiful, 25, she is full of questions, We talk about all sorts of things, like life.

the mechanic, his beautiful girl and yours truly

The bike is ready. I pull out my leather pants, thankfully they are dry. I have to get new rain gear. My stuff is shot. It was bicycle gear to start with and I think the wind just did everything in. Outside it still pours. I can’t even confront the thought of going out in the rain. And I have to go buy some rain gear if I want to continue on…

At PNP Cycles

I ask Jesse, one of the owners where the closest Cycle Gear is. (motorcycle gear store) It’s pretty close. I look outside : moonsoon… Sigh…

Then Jesse said : I’ll drive you there.

I said : Really?!?

he said : sure, come on.

We get in his car. We chat, have a good time. He’s from Europe, he’s an intense character. Been around Europe, Around the USA. He now owns the shop with two other guys. We get to the store and he helps me finding the right gear. Rain coat, pants and overshoes. Wow. I hope they will not fail me!

We drive back to the shop. I get dressed. Leave there the orange raincoat that had so faithfully served me until today. My sister had given it to me years ago. But I can’t carry extra stuff especially if it does not work anymore. the cycling booties also get dumped. Jesse says : if you are still around tomorrow lets have lunch. It sounds good, it would be fun, but each day brings it’s own agenda so we’ll see.

I get to the Hostel in the dark. I get off the bike. It’s hot and humid. I really am in the south. There is a cacophony of night critters singing, creaking, humming, buzzing. The roads are covered with frogs! The hostel is somewhat dismal. It looks dirty, they want $5 to use the wi-fi for the night (!) $3.50 for laundry (I pair of jeans, a shirt, socks and underwear) I do have to wash as I only have one pair of jean and they are soaked. $10 for key deposit… There are some bizarre characters there… Cats everywhere, carpets are highly suspicious. Oh well.

I met Mary, she just arrived from Ireland. She is lovely, she seems exhausted. Bed time. Hopefully my stuff will dry off some so I can leave tomorrow. I look at my watch 10:10 Hmmm…. Same time the day started…

In the morning I end up going with Mary to the Museum of Modern Art in Houston by complete accident.

Me and Mary from Ireland, love you Mary take care on your journey.

We get along great. She is a sweet girl. We spent a good hour or so looking at amazing art.
one of the famous roman bronzes I have seen in books...  I am overwhelmed..

another thing I have always been mesmerized by...

The visit at the museum is an unexpected emotional journey. First the antique sculptures… I’ve seen these things in books, now I am right there, I can see the chisel marks, feel how they were made, Oh my. I am moved to tears.

then the paintings of Charles Russell. I was so taken I forgot to take pictures… Again, overwhelmed by the sheer talent, the emotionality. His sculptures are pure brilliance. Yes, yes, Montana, I will come see you.

We get back to the hostel. Hugs to Mary, put on the rain gear and I head out of Houston. I have a thought for Jesse… but there isn’t time. It’s already late. I have to get going.


2 Responses to “Houston, we got rain, help, art and raingear”

  1. Lourdes Escalante Says:

    It was very, very nice to meet you!!! I still can’t believe you’re out on this journey! I think you’re amazing and hope you enjoy every bit of it!!!! I was telling my coworkers and friends about you….everyone thinks you’re the coolest!!! =) Be careful!!!

    • Hi Lourdes,
      the pleasure of meeting you was certainly shared, you are a beautiful sweet soul. Thank you again for all that you have done for a wet stranger! The world is full of beautiful and generous people.

      all my love

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