ruthshepherd-1280

10 February – 9 March 2015

Countries Mexico & USA (total 17)
Distance 1,775.23km (total 25,522.27km)
Climb 7,640m (total 226,971m)
Longest day 138.04km, Navasota to Shepherd in Texas, USA (longest so far: 160.11km)
Top speed 50.1kmh (fastest so far: 68.8kmh)
Punctures 6 (total 43; Will leads 28-15)
Touring cyclists encountered 3 (total 94)
Best breakfast We’ve been making the most of our return to the world of ludicrously huge breakfasts, and never more so than at the Filling Station in the Texas town of Navasota, where Will’s monstrous morning feast (fried catfish, grits, biscuits, two eggs and a trio of Frisbee-sized pancakes) required no fewer than three plates
Worst hill A combination of a headwind and a hangover made the attractive rolling ride through the Texas Hill Country to Austin rather tougher than we were expecting
Most indispensable guidebook As always during our trips to the US, it’s Jane and Michael Stern’s Roadfood; without it, we’d have missed the rich barbecue at the Salt Lick in Driftwood, the sweet potato pancakes at Dwyer’s Café in Lafayette and the glorious soul food served at Brenda’s Diner in New Iberia
Rudest drivers In our first five riding days in rural Texas, we received more abuse from witless hicks in pick-ups than we’d had in the previous 19 months combined, including several who tried to run us off the road; happily, everyone else has been lovely
Most unexpected name change Perhaps due to the presence in Texas of so many Mexicans, several people misheard Ruth’s surname as ‘Chávez’; we rather like it
Jettisoned en route Ruth’s threadbare rear tyre, which managed 11,000km without a puncture but then suffered three in the space of a week; and Will’s broken tablet
Lost in transit Some of the Spanish we spent 16 months learning; since we started riding across Texas and now Louisiana, with Mississippi and Alabama to come, we’ve instead had to learn to speak Southern, y’all
Biggest mystery With torrential rain and thunderstorms forecast for at least the next three days, whether we’re ever going to leave New Orleans
Biggest surprise We’re nearly there, at least insofar as 2,500km – the distance by road, more or less, from London to Bucharest – qualifies as ‘nearly’

from New Orleans, LA, USA