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I’d mentioned a hope to get some pecan pie during my time in Texas as I’d seen lots of pecan trees. You can imagine how excited I was then when I got to the house to find June had prepared home-made waffles with pecans in the batter. While we were eating breakfast, her son-in-law brought over 3 of his children as June would be looking after them. They had such energy and happiness and were a pleasure to be around. After breakfast and playing around outside I had to head off to Austin. When I packed up and rode off they followed me for a while and then shouted goodbye to me until I was out of sight.

The most impressive thing about the ride to Austin was the anticipation. People in all 29 states I had been had spoken positively about it. The most negative thing I had heard was that traffic can be pretty horrendous as it’s grown (population of 800,000 or 1.8m) much more than expected. I took a combination of windy country roads, rolling frontage roads and for the final few miles the shoulder of I-35 which is definitely not something I would recommend for the faint of heart. Especially without my mirror, every exit had a little panic as I tried to get across before the almost constant stream of traffic flowed again.

My first day in Austin was spent in a very different way than I’d expected. I’d thought I’d drop my bike & bags off and then go and explore. It turned out that Zoe, my host, was at her friend Hilary’s place and had plans for the day which involved lots of festive eggnog and a marathon of the Twilight movies. While I’m not the largest Twilight fan in the world, it turned out to be a spectacular way to spend the day and yet again proved the glory of staying with people rather than in motels.

I plan to now spend a few days in Austin. The most important thing being going to REI to sort out a replacement tent. After my time here I’m planning on heading east to Houston and then out of Texas into Louisiana and New Orleans where I might be for Christmas.

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