10/23/17 – Shepherd to Silsbee, TX 

I have really good sisters. It sure was nice having Janette down for a visit yesterday, and I really appreciate her putting in the 10 hour round trip drive to see me. 

After dinner, I showed her around to the various rooms and cabins the group was staying in, and the three bathrooms, one of which was entirely outdoors.  She ran me to the store to pick up a few items the guys with lunch duty today had forgotten, then we settled in to go to bed.  We laid in bed and talked for a few hours, then fell into comas, at least I did, and woke at the crack of dawn for the normal breakfast routine.  We were able to spend a little time together before I had to start riding. It was going to be another 60+ mile day.  

Ed and I rode out together and swore that we were going to take it easy today and not push ourselves.  The riding conditions were great, with much less hill climbing and not much in the way of wind.  Hallelujah!  We caught a break. But today, weather wasn’t the problem–dogs were.

Riding out the 1.4 mile lane from Shepherd’s Sanctuary to the main road, we encountered a pack fo 5 dogs that took chase.  Ed was in front, so they were after him.  We pedal, pedal, pedaled, and somehow, none of them bit either one of us, but one of them did manage to get his paw under Ed’s front tire, and yelped up a storm.  Poor thing. I felt sorry for him, and if he hadn’t been acting like he was going to hurt us, I would have gone back to make sure he was okay.  But at that moment?  No way!

We had easy riding all day long as we passed through several little towns, rode along side the Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge, and crossed the Trinity River, several creeks and bayous.  

At one point, Ken caught up to us as we were taking a break and rode ahead of us.  

Just when he got a couple of blocks in front of us, a couple of dogs ran out to chase him.  Ed and I could see the writing on the wall for another dog encounter.  

Pulling out my mace for the second time ever, I switched it into the ready position, and sped up to try to out run them.  There was no oncoming traffic, so I moved across the road, in case they had some sort of mental boundary in their head that would keep them from crossing the center line.  Luckily, once the dogs got through chasing Ken down, they veered off to the right and didn’t even try chasing us, and we survived to see another day.

There were two highlights in the day, both involving food and hospitality.  The first was our lunch in Kountze.  A man in a grocery store parking lot told us about the two restaurants in town, both of which are a block from each other, so we rode down and chose the one with the most cars in the parking lot–Mama Jack’s 

Ed ordered a burger and fries, and I ordered what everyone else in the place was eating–the $10 lunch buffet. I passed on the fried chicken and country fried steak–I’ve already broken records on the number of times I’ve eaten that on this ride. Instead, I sampled all the home cooking, of which there was a bounty. All kinds of veggies, salads, breads, and deserts. I hated stuffing myself, but had no regrets. It was delicious.  

Before we left, I attempted to gas up my bike with the pump next to the cash register.  Do I get points for trying?  
We rode on to Silsbee where Ken’s deceased brother’s widow lives with her 12 year old daughter.  This may sound a little odd, but she had invited us to camp out in her front yard, and we really appreciated being able to be at a home, instead of an RV park.  

She opened her home to 10 hungry, sweaty cyclists, and let us shower, do our laundry and charge all our devices, and on top of all that, she prepared a fabulous dinner of chili, salad, homemade bread and cornbread, and cake for us.  We enjoyed talking to her, and she and her daughter were entertained by our stories.  

All of us turned in early and slept like puppies.

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