Day 1: Quarterbacks, pitchers, professional wrestlers, Noriyuki Haga:  I feel your pain!

Distance: 492 Miles - Maximum Elevation: 2,600 ft

[see the flash postcards]

  • Day 1: Houston to Post
  • Ready to go
  • Brenham
  • Break Time
  • Coffee

More on the subtitle line later.  The reality is that there could be quite a number of subject lines for the day.  They would include things like 'The Oddest Collection of Journey Creatures' because of the hyena-shaped giraffe in zebra skin that hangs from one of my bags, and the collection of roadside animals that adorned the journey, including black billed ibises, innumerable flycatchers, more ponies than I have seen in my entire life, llamas, a dead porcupine, goats, donkeys, horses, cows, horses, and then, to seal the day, the largest flight of longhorn beetles ever, as we ride into post.  It could also be called 'Smells and Aromas of the Road', for the constant presence of skunk perfumes, and the essence of sulfur from oil wells.  This chapter could be 'Gardens of Innovation', for the towering windmills that generate electricity outside of Snider, glistening in the sunset, while surrounded by crops as ancient as man.

More fittingly, it should be called 'The Best Sunset', for that glorious moment when the sun went down between a small mesa and a peak, in the brightest, deepest red my few brain cells can remember, and that make me think of a very rare Indian cabochon ruby, perfectly polished, and bathed in God's light.

But alas, back to the title, I need to say that we left this morning at about 7:30 am, after prayer and final preparation.  Along the way we stop in Brenham for coffee and scones, and keep on going.  About two and a half hours into the trip, I start feeling that my right contact lens is starting to get cloudy, and I pull over into a paved shoulder.  I stop, and slip on the pea gravel, slamming my elbow into the ground.  All of sudden my shoulder hurts a lot.  I am afraid I have broken my collaborne.  On the first day?  After just a couple of hours?  But DT assures me there is nothing funny looking there, and I can actually use my hand.  It is only certain movements that cause me pain.  So we ride on, pushing forward for about fifty miles into Temple, TX.  We find hospital, and check into the ER.  The Mohawk seems to cause a quite stir everywhere around me.  I am checked in quickly, and nurse Olivia, how sweet is that for those in the know, makes sure I am OK.  She checks my vitals, and after a doctor comes in, I am moved to X-rays.  In the mean time, it looks like everyone here takes dirt biking accidents as something that is part of life, even though I explain repeatedly that I am not dirt biking, and that my injury does not have the glorious undertones of motorcycling.  I slipped and fell, and I used a motorcycle to take myself to the hospital.

After a while, I am told that indeed nothing is broken, I do have sprained rotator cuff.  So, I am given a shot of some pain-killer, and I am sent on my way.

We ride on, and my arm feels mostly OK, even though pain comes around with certain movements.  I come to develop a new sense of brotherhood and understanding with all these athletes, like baseball pitchers, wrestlers who get slammed on rings, or 'Nitro' Noriyuki Haga, the World Superbikes rider, who experience, or avoid, this kind of injury in their daily lives, and continue to perform, because the personal dreams are beyond the pain.  Along the way we are treated to the aforementioned experiences.  I also think about how many things in life are changed by small things.  A shoe lace, a few days ago, gravel the size of peas, can derail a plan  as easily as a deer, a truck, or a train.

But as a result of all these events today, we were also treated to a fabulous sunshine.

  • Bug Splat
  • Stopping ALL traffic
      • Rubber meets the road
      • Sun setting on day 1
      • Frown