Welcome to carbonstories.org. On this site you can learn about Michael Johnson-Chase and follow my blogs. With some exceptions, this site follows "theme based" cycling tours focusing on social and climate related issues. Slowed down observations of the world over days, weeks and months at 10 to 15 miles an hour can reveal a depth and quality of understanding about our environment often missed by faster modes of travel.

Southern Tier, Post 29

Day 31, Post 29: Today started with a great ride through two parks on little traveled and lovely roads - Bastrop and Buescher State Parks. Really beautiful ride! I had been warned I would see forest scarred by a forest fire from four or five years back. I remember reading about an extreme drought in Texas a few years back. I learned yesterday this fire occurred toward the end of that drought. Since it broke, the rain has been record breaking in its intensity. This pattern of vacillating weather extremes conforms to what climate scientists tell us will happen - as the earth warms, weather of all kinds will become more extreme.

At least some of the locals here are thinking similarly. Yesterday the owners of the KOA (where I stayed) mentioned that very phenomenon in a conversation when I told them where I would be biking today. Imagine how climate change will affect business for campground owners in the future - it will become more and more like running a ski resort has been in the last decade. Maybe there will be snow, maybe there won't. For campground owners, maybe there will be extreme heat, maybe there won't. Maybe there will be extreme rain, maybe there won't. One thing is certain - our capacity to predict over time is going to become increasingly more difficult. And what will happen when the equation becomes, maybe we can grow food, and maybe we cannot?

In the meantime, central Texas is very beautiful indeed right now. In a general way, the landscape reminds me of the more verdant parts of the Midwest, such as northern Missouri or southern Wisconsin- but in July, not March. I cannot believe the intensity of the plant life at this time of year... or insects, for that matter. I watched a wasp crawl into a nest about six inches from where I had parked my front tire, and then noticed a beautiful butterfly perch on my bike seat for a few seconds.

I am fine, currently well-fed and content. I heard recently from fellow cyclists Phil and John, who are a day ahead of me. Phil had a pannier stolen - with his clothes, bike tools meds, and contact lenses in them. What a shame! Stories like that make me more vigilant. However, I haven't yet felt personally threatened, which I think speaks well of Texas in general. I would have guessed otherwise prior to coming. Just the idea of being in a "conceal and open carry" state made me nervous. (Frankly I am appalled that there are more handguns in the US than there are people.) Yet, most of the people I have met in Texas are friendly, courteous and genuinely caring. Fingers crossed I continue to have such good fortune.

Check out my road cycling activity on Garmin Connect.
https://connect.garmin.com/modern/activity/1639993891

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Pic 1, The Colorado River in central Texas

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Pic 2, Buescher State Park

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Pic 3, An entire field of Goldeneye.

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Pic 4, My campsite for the night.

More to come,

Michael

 

Southern Tier, Post 30

Southern Tier, Post 28