To Sam Houston National Forest

Submitted by Ben on Wed, 01/12/2005 - 09:46

Today was hot and sticky; I started the day in nothing but a T-shirt and shorts, and by midday I wished I could wear less.

I stopped for lunch in the tiny town of Roberts.  I have never waited so long for a hamburger in my life.  I saw the waitress put it on the griddle right after I ordered it, but the griddle must have been cold or the burger frozen, because it was at least 20 minutes in the making, probably more like 30 judging by the number of country-music videos I watched.  I had plenty of time to stare at the menu and estimate what the bill would be, and I left what I thought was a skimpy tip due to the unreasonably slow service.  But when they rang up my order, it was several dollars less than I expected.  I objected, saying I had ordered extras on my burger, and the staff thought this was hilarious.  They said, "You may have to pay for tomatoes and jalapenos up north, but here in Texas those come with the burger!"  I played along, though in my experience you're as likely to pay extra for tomatoes in Montopolis as in Minneapolis.  I was happy to pay less for the burger, and my stingy tip was now quite generous...

Shortly after that I rode into the Sam Houston National Forest, the first federal land I've passed through on this trip.  (I passed close to Manistee National Forest in Michigan but didn't go inside.)  It's beautiful and very peaceful.  The first campground I came to had no running water, but I had plenty of time to ride on to another.

When I went to boil my water for supper, I discovered I'd left my stove in Navasota... I never took it out from under the campsite's grill last night.  I took this setback as a challenge... I soaked a rolled-up bandage in fuel (methyl alcohol) -- a little less than I use in the stove -- and used it to start a pile of twigs on fire.  I've never seen twigs burn so fast and hot!  My water was ready in half the time it takes with the stove.  Of course the twigs generated a lot of soot all over my cooking bowl, but that was easily cleaned up.

39.1 mi