A Week in the Texas Hill Country: The Upsides and the Downsides

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The view at night from the porch with the light and flash on.  Spooky!

The Downsides of Country Livin’

  1. Solitude is nice — unless you’ve caught the cabin on fire, a coyote is making a meal of your leg, or you’re out of salsa.
  2. Well water, especially the hot stuff, literally smells like rotten eggs, because it has sulfur in it.
  3. You can’t find your own ass after dark without a flashlight. Some scenes from the classic 1974 horror movie Texas Chainsaw Massacre were filmed not 10 miles from here. See the dark picture up there?  Spooky.  ‘Nuff said!
  4. Save for that one time the neighbors showed up on their daily walk and I was dead asleep in a nap, the roar of airplanes, the howling of coyotes, the very loud rain on the tin roof, and even louder electric or fire hazard gas heaters, it’s really mellow and safe out here.
  5. Speaking of heaters, it’s cold or hot until you turn something on. So peeing in a bucket at night is what you do to avoid a chilly trip to the bathroom.

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    Hmm, shouldn’t pee buckets be yellow?
  6. Tonight I couldn’t find a plug for a light in the dark, and hit my forehead on a shelf I forgot was there. Then I tepped off the raised floor in the living room and nearly fell over.  Still couldn’t find a light.  Stumbled into the bedroom.  Cabins!
  7. The road is gravel, dirt, clay and mud — bad for cars and horrible for bikes. It’s getting really boring walking back and forth.
  8. You can literally be up the creek. Because of the steep incline, you could be trapped here in a gullywasher.  (That’s the scientific term in Texan for flash flood.)
  9. The paved road to get in has no shoulder but does have hairpin turns, crazy hills, and speeders, drunks, or speeding drunks. Not fun for cycling although people do it.  You gotta have a car out here and once you’re on the highway, it’s always a drive and rush hour is a big hot mess.
  10. The neighbors are all polite so far, and a few are model citizens who help with the dog or house, or give a city boy advice.  But some are pretty private or their dogs don’t play well with others.  I’m also still waiting on that first home-made pie.  Like Waiting for Godot, I imagine.
  11. Coyotes, bobcats and snakes, oh my!  Haven’t seen any of them, have heard the wild dogs, but I did see a mouse in the house.

The Upsides of Livin’ in the Country

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Buddy helping me read Waltter Mosley’s latest Easy Rawlins mystery
  1. Things and time do move more slowly.  I’m good with that!
  2. Peeing outside is pretty cool, especially if you’re a dude.
  3. Nobody cares if you’re nekkid. Elaine on Seinfeld is still right though, “Naked is not a good look for a man.”
  4. Peace and quiet, very little traffic noise. Nothing compared to where I stay in the city with its garbage trucks waking you up at 7 am, cop/fire/EMS sirens and Jehovah’s witness.
  5. All the comforts of home, heat, wi-fi, running water, electricity, but none of the pollution.
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    Buddy looking fly in his cold-weather wrap, checking out the woods

    You don’t need to lock the doors; if there’s crime I haven’t heard about it.

  7. Being surrounded by the natural world of trees, dirt, birds, and wildlife is how we’re supposed to live.
  8. “The stars at night / are big and bright / [clap clap clap clap] / deep in the heart of Texas.” (It’s the fight song of the University of Texas Longhorn sports teams.)
  9. Compost right in the garden, or anywhere.
  10. There’s a lot less to distract you so you tend to do more walking, thinking, resting and reading, and a lot less stress eating, tv-watching, or going on wasted trips to fast food or convenience stores.
  11. Buddy the dog may be the happiest dog around and he’s what his owner called strong medicine.  I need my Buddy prescription refilled please, doctor!

I could go on but I think you get the point:  I really like the number 11.  (Well, it’s true, I do!  Because one plus one makes two!)  But seriously, it’s different, but it’s still life.

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Dew drops on the tree limbs don’t show up well in this picture, but I was trying to show that it’s still winter here

ADAB Roundup

  • No biking, still too cold and wet, and I wimped out on a trainer ride, using how it bothers the dog as a reason/excuse.  That means tomorrow I’ll have to do SOMETHING.
  • Mosley’s book is really good; I feel like I know the characters and they have something to say about the time and place — black people in Los Angeles in the late 1950’s.  I didn’t consciously check this book out of the library because he’s an African-American author and it’s Black History Month (yes, the shortest one, but perhaps the most powerful becauese of that!), but it’s interesting timing along with just seeing the reception of the movie Black Panther.
  • There has been conversation about it serving as a real role model for young kids of color who usually don’t have a super hero who looks like them on the big silver screen.  I’m also in touch with a Kenyan blogger, Twalha Fakhi, who lives in Kenya.  I’ve really enjoyed a few of her posts and her nice comments about mine.  Go check out her blog, Cafe ave Twali
  • Speaking of Kenya, the movie, and Africans and African-Americans, here’s a link to an interesting Washington Post interview with Larry Madowo by Karen Attiah, Global Opinions Editor.  He’s a Kenyan journalist and broadcaster.
  • Cleaner diet, higher energy and better sleep, plus catching some TV shows and movies, and of course bicycling are things still not happening as much as I’d like.
  • Walking, yoga, work searching and networking, reading, blogging and engaging with other bloggers, plus typing for a friend — all these things are happening.  As a Libra, I’m always searching for balance.  Soon, having to work will probably wipe out alot of my extracurricular activities.  Such is life.  C’est la vie.  Asi es la vida.
  • Or, to quote Austin-area resident, Lincoln talks-to-himself spokesmodel and Oscar-winner Matthew McConaghey“Just keep livin’.” 

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MeetUp WordPress Themes Class; SCORE Mentoring Call; and I Reach My 100th Follower!

Newer fellow bloggers may find this of interest, and more experienced ones may have something to chime in about.  I can publish a blog, but that’s about it.  Hiring a webmaster is not in the budget, so unless one jumps out of the bushes (a distinct possibility out here in the country – but probably something creepier), learning how to improve www.ADudeAbikes.com is up to me.  So I attended a class.  I also had an interesting conversation with a mentor from SCORE, a program of the Small Business Administration that I will summarize.  And oh, I received my 100th follower of my blog today! Continue reading

Car Hits Truck, Which Kills Austin Cyclist, Racer, Author & Dad on a Group Ride Saturday

NOTE:  Many folks may not have seen my Sunday, February 18th post, which I had inexcplicably moved to the trash and didn’t notice all day.  I restored it and would love for you to read it, so here is the link for “27-Mile Brushy Creek Trail Ride + Peddler Bike Shop Stop.”  After all, a blog mostly about bikes needs some ride reports sometimes!

Andrew Tilin:  Rest In Peace

Andrew Tilin
Source:  Mark Matson for the Austin American-Statesman

Today’s post is more bad news, I’m very sorry to report.  Yet another Austin cyclist, Andrew Tilin, was killed on Saturday, February 17, the same day I wrote about Leonel Hernandez, who was killed under mysterious circumstances back on January 29.  There isn’t even a picture of Hernandez available yet that I can find.  There are photos of Tilin, still young and in the prime of his life in his 40’s.  I didn’t know him but I’m heartbroken for those who did. Continue reading

27-Mile Brushy Creek Trail Ride + Peddler Bike Shop Stop

Sunday Started Without Any Sun

On a balmy, grey, at first foggy, then later somewhat sunny Sunday, A Dude rousted himself from his slumber and busted out a decent distance of a bicycle ride.  It was the first longer ride in a while, and it was done because that’s what he does, for fitness, fun and so on.  But also it was in order to make his 50-mile goal for the week and to have something to blog about.  So in a way, if you’re reading this, you’re partially responsible for making it happen! How is that for participation? And you didn’t even have to get up off your couch and bike 27 miles.  Here’s the quick map / video from Relive. Continue reading

An Aborted Ride in the Rain Due to a Flat Tire, but Buck’s Bikes Came to the Rescue!

Finally I made it out to ride my bike, but then it rained and I got a flat.  I had a jacket and was warm enough, and could have replaced the flat myself, but I had a bike date, if you can believe that, so I couldn’t be late.  Also, since I had just replaced the tube recently, I knew something was going on that required more expertise.  Luckily I was literally stopped right outside a bike shop when I noticed the flat. Before I go any further, please click on this link to see a cool short map video of my ride: Continue reading

Another Austin Bicyclist is Killed by a Vehicle. Who Will Stop the Car-nage?

Cyclist Dies, No One Goes to Jail.  Again.

The local newspaper reported yesterday, February 15, 2018, that “Bicyclist found lying injured in Southeast Austin yard was likely hit by car, police say.”  The piece quoted heavily from a statement by the Austin Police Department:

“A bicyclist who died last month was likely struck by a hit-and-run driver.”

The article in the Austin American-Statesman is by breaking news reporter Katie Hall.katie hall  It goes on to say: Continue reading

I Rode My Bike Trainer for 60 Minutes at 17 Miles Per Hour, but Those 17 People Shot in Florida Are Still Dead

Guns Don’t Kill People, the National Rifle Association Does

A Dude Abikes does not live in a vacuum.  That would be weird, dark and gross and would literally suck.  OK, that’s a bad pun about a literal vacuum.  I don’t watch much TV news, but the heartbreaking information that 15 kids and two teachers were shot to death on Valentine’s Day by a former student at a high school in southern Florida still made it to me.  There’s not alot I can add to the debate over guns.  So I will do my thing and write about my day using a bike trainer.  But I do so with a heavy heart and deep awareness that perspective is key and believe that attention must be paid to this national disgrace.  There’s an epidemic of car violence that kills cyclists and pedestrians, too.  But it’s not as sexy when only one person dies at a time. Continue reading