Back on track, well sort of.


Irving, TX to Houston, TX 

249.9 miles ridden. 

Slow start to the morning but as I gained momentum I just kept working and got the bike loaded and out on the road a bit before noon. That included time to eat breakfast and to install the atlas throttle lock that had come in on Saturday morning. 

I rode to a sheet metal shop in Dallas that was recommended when I called around. No one answered the phone but I ran over anyway. Nice guys but no time for several days to get to building me a dash plate for the GPS so I left and headed for a smoothie shop to get a healthy liquid lunch. A final stop for gas and a drink before heading out and starting towards Houston. 

I made mostly good time, though the throttle lock failed to work fully and will need some tuning. Stopped for some food and fuel at a road side place with an Arbies in it. Had a few sliders and a Rockstar spritzer before making the final run into Houston. 

Once into town I went straight to Sun & SK8 to meet up with Orlando. We hung out for a bit and then I got to skate with the Houston Roller Derby Rec league and be a set of eyes for the draft pool process for the home teams. 

Yup, it rains in Houston
After practice I went to dinner with O at Buffalo Wild Wings, where we had kettle chip nachos and some wings. It was interesting to find that I was able to be startled by the waiter. O and I had been talking VA bullshit and doing some military reminiscing which had actually let me slip out of hyper vigilance in public for the first time in many months. It wasn't something that upset me either. It felt good to have been able to let down my guard for even a little while. 

After dinner I followed O's Uber back to his place where I got unloaded and stayed up too late talking and writing.


Houston, TX

24.9 miles ridden 

Slept in later than I should and got a shower before calling around to sheet metal shops. Got a referral to a semi-retired sheet metal fabricator who agreed to take on the project and look at the bike in the morning.

I waited on O to wake up by watching some Gotham on Netflix. Did laundry before heading out for errands. The now usual smoothie for breakfast on way to Sam's Club for underwear and some snacks that would hold up on the road.

After supplies, I went to Cycle Gear for a phone mount and an alarmed disk lock that was on sale, but ran into issues with them not having adequate stocks of the disc lock as advertised. Went from there to Best Buy where I grabbed an electric trimmer to try and tame the mess that was my beard. It was a fast ride back to O's to grab my derby gear and use the trimmer before running to practice.

Practice was a league practice but I was only able to really work in for two strength and endurance drills. It was all coaching from there. While I teach fundamentally different techniques, I worked on giving guidance in accordance with what O and the other instructor were teaching their skaters. 

After practice we went for dinner and beers at the Mexican restaurant across the street and had a nice time. I ended up ordering crab stuffed shrimp and some taco fixings to make them into tacos. I also had up about one and a half tall blue moons with dinner and ended up a little loose lipped. Some how didgeridoos came up and I cracked a circular breathing joke about it being the only reason I was popular in high school. When asked how I learned I said "Eat a lot of pussy and you'll figure it out." Needless to say I was a little relaxed and not being quite so proper.

After riding back to O's I got ready for bed, talked to Cat for a bit, and watched an episode of Gotham before bed.


Houston, TX

69.4 miles ridden.

I had to get up early to make it to the fabricators shop so it was a bit of a rushed morning. I had some of the granola bites and jerky that I got at Sam's for breakfast and mounted up to ride.

I got to the address where I was told to go and was happy to find that the guy was a Vietnam era veteran. His name was Robert Scott and sadly he wasn't working anymore due to arthritis making it hard for him to walk or stand when the weather changed.

He and I talked about my plan for the dash plate and drew it out real fast. He said it would be no problem and grabbed up some 16 or so gauge galvanized-steal scrap off the garage floor to use for the project.  Due to his arthritis flaring he had me do a bit of the running around to get tools and materials for the fabrication. All said and done I was there for a little over an hour and when he was finished he refused to let me pay anything for the project.

A quick touch of paint and then it was just mounting
I left the shop and went in search of hardware to mount it, a smoothie, and cycle gear for the phone holder and alarmed disk lock.  I managed to get all three without issues and went back to O's to mount it all up and get everything ready for departure.


Houston, TX to Laredo, TX 

387.6 miles ridden. 

Slept in a bit later than intended but figured it was best considering it was going to be a long day in the saddle. Got the laundry folded for both O and I so I could pack and go. Took till about noon to get it all done and was surprised to have O come out of his room mid packing and for me to be surprised by him, but again to not be freaked out by having been startled. I could get used to having normal reactions again.

The bike packed easy enough and I was able to get on the road smoothly. I had forgotten to program Google maps to avoid toll roads and had to pay $1.75 to get free of the toll route. 

My first meal was a smoothie again but this time from a different outlet. The road was good but fuel and bathroom stops ate up too much time and I had to rush again to make my last minute addition of coaching in Laredo. 

There were four skaters from The Belles of Chaos who showed up and since they were all pretty inexperienced I ran edging drills and some slide to stop work as well as showing them Out and backs.  Took the better part of two and a half hours but went well. It was my first taste of mixed language coaching and it certainly took some doing for me to make myself understood in my less than stellar Spanish. I ended up having one of the skaters translate for those who didn't speak English.

Had dinner at another "Where the locals eat" from google maps and was pretty happy. 

Ended up staying at the Extended stay for the night and being too tired to get much done. Tomorrow I move into Mexico and am scared about it to say the least.


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