I tried to get air again but many petrol stations just didn't bother to keep the machines working even though they would make a Dollar out of it.
Defunct air and water machine
The roads are great now in Texas but occasionally the hard shoulder disappears and with the logging trucks and hunters hurtling along it can be quite hazardous.
Signs telling you what you can and cannot do are plentiful and I am wondering whether it has more to do with litigation or legislation. It seems you cannot go anywhere or do anything without being instructed or told how to behave. I have collected over 100 sample signs which although some are meant in jest many have a serious undertone.
I ended up stopping quite late at a bar before Grovesville. I could hear a hubbub coming from inside and was keen to get a drink. After the Country and Western music ended I opened the door. You could have heard a pin drop. All faces were turned to me so without hesitation I said "Hello can anyone come in here" big smiles all round ensued and I was made to feel very welcome which grew even more after I explained that I was't there for the hunting season but cycling across the States. They wouldn't let me buy a drink and even let me camp next to the bar until the next morning.
The toilet was something else. They simple had a pull cutain screen so not much privicy there.
You might also guess what their political leanings were by the following picture!
I awoke to a frosty morning and was soon on my way for what turned out to be an eventful day. Karen told you about my chance meeting with the President of the Houston County Republican Party and that she kindly agreed to do an interview regarding the current state of politics in the USA. This proved to be somewhat enlightening.
As I left town I also popped into the local cattle auction only to hear how really impossible it is to understand what anyone is saying! I made a short film of the proceedings just to remind myself of the atmosphere within.
Just as I was 12 miles from Centreville it happened again. The County Sheriff was on my tail and I thought he might be just interested in the machine as he had not switched on his lights but I soon pulled over. He gave me the usual warning. Someone had complained that I was parked too close to the road edge sometime earlier - which I denied. He said that although he could not stop me proceeding it would be dark before I got to Centreville and he didn't want me to end up in a mess in his area of jurisdiction. He escorted me several hundred yards to a truckstop and came up with a solution. He would get his Deputy to pick me up with his pickup truck at 8pm in order to transport me to the nearest motel. It was around 5.30 and the truckstop would be closing at 7pm so I was not too pleased with this idea,
Fortunately a real cowboy with an $800 Beaver hat and spurs came to my rescue. Chris as I now refer to him and Christi his wife offered to put my machine on the roof of their vehicle and take it to their smallholding where they train quarterback horses. They have six wonderful and well behaved children, three boys and three girls who I got on extremely well with. They made me a campfire next to their house and we sat around it and chatted before heading off to the nearest restaurant for a meal.
It is incredible who I am ending up meeting, as Christi is from a well known oil family and who's grandfather was the business partner of a certain ex US President. The story of their lives is an involved and intriguing one and not for publication here.
Chris is amazing when it comes to dealing with horses and has worked on ranches all over Texas and New Mexico. He explained how he 'cures' horses that have either been mistreated or have develop dangerous traits which involves the whole family getting involved in the process and can take up to several months work.
Needless to say that they have sort of opted out of mainstream American life and are extremely health conscious and try to live in balance with nature.
Their 12 year old daughter Alena is quite sure that at 35 years of age she will become the first female President of the USA and reckons that the only woman that might pip her to the post is Sarah Palin! I asked her why and she said "look how well Alaska is doing - you don't hear them bitching and moaning do you?"
.....and now for some things I thought funny from places I have visited.