Keeping calm & carrying on – for now:

DAYS 7&8 KIRBYVILLE TO KOUNTZE (69 MILES)

Having cycled 330 miles in 6 days we are spending two nights in the small town of Kountze, Eastern Texas. First job was to find the launderette. As it turned out, a new facility with far more washers and dryers than the population warrants; they must be very clean here! The owner, a cyclist himself, refused to let us pay – such kind people. By the way I apologise to the good people of Newton Abbot, one of whom helped out a friend who found himself short of a few bob in Aldi.

Beautiful bark on a Loblolly Pine Tree

The official Southern Tier route between Kirbyville and Kountze is on the shoulder of busy highways, whilst quite safe, the constant noise gets very waring. With the aid of Kamoot’s excellent mapping we were able to take quiet, adjacent roads through leafy lanes and farmland. The only downside is unrestrained dogs, some of which look fairly ferocious and chase after us. Thank heavens for the Dazer, a device which emits very high frequency sounds audible only to the dogs, in most cases they turn tail and saunter back home.

Our ‘rest’ day was spent in The Big Thicket National Preserve, a leisurely 10 mile cycle along a pristine, bespoke cycle path. The Big Thicket, an area of dense forest, once spanned over one million acres. Today just 3% of that acreage remains encompassing 9 different eco systems. During the Civil war draft dodgers hid in the forest, originating the name Bushwhackers as they were termed the Confederate army sent in to round them up. A three mile walk through diverse forests and areas of bayou was most peaceful.

Knees (roots) of Swamp-dwelling Bald Cypress Trees stick out of the water allowing them to breathe.

A couple of passers by, having just heard, informed us that flights from the UK and Ireland have now been included in the USA’s travel ban in its attempts to halt the spread of Coronavirus. We intend to carry on with our trip as planned, in anticipation that the situation will have eased by our return date.

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