Alley Springs
The dolomite cave I slept in last night at Alley Springs. I awoke to a viper slithering over my sleeping bag.

Houston, Missouri

The moist, cold ground on the cliff woke me up around 6 AM. I unzipped my bag and jumped into my thermals.  The tarp did its job last night though it only drizzled.  I pulled on the elastic band and placed my headlamp around my head.  Without light I could not see my hand in front of me.  I carefully climbed down the ledge and grabbed my panniers and bicycle.  I spent a few minutes properly adjusting my gear and pedaled to the pavilion where I realized my phone would not charge.

Instead of reading for a few hours I hit the road hoping I would find a local store with a USB cable.  I ended up in Summersville after about 23 miles and read “Kite Runner” for a few hours while I waited for the Texas County Public Library to open.

Once the library opened I tried finding the nearest store that sold USB cables, but being out in the country made it tougher than expected.  So I resorted to Amazon Prime, however, I could not find anything less than three business days due to my location.  I asked the librarian who suggested I stop in Houston at the local Wal-Mart, which was 23 miles away in the next town over.  I finished working on the computer, updating my blog and replying to emails and made the trek to Houston.

The scenery left me in awe and despite the drizzling and downpour the views outweighed the gloomy, damp weather.  I stopped at a quarry off of Route 17 right before Cedar Lane Rd. and Westview Dr. there sat what seemed like a huge crater of earth filled in with dark blue water and as my eyes gazed up the walls of the cliffs they appeared to be endless.  This made for an awesome cliff jumping spot despite the fact it was private property and the cliffs looked every bit of 90+ feet.  The view left my mind at ease and for the first time that day I did not fear the rain.

I scooped up my bicycle and pedaled down the road entering Houston.  As my eyes read “Entering the city limits of Houston” down came the wrath of the clouds.  I looked for nearby shelter and ended up at a Baptist Church, which randomly ended up in a Bible Study, two hot dogs, and twenty dollars.  I did not ask for anything.  I sat on the porch and smirked as I beat the rain once again.

In doing so I met Lou who offered me food and listened to my story.  He could not believe at the young age of 24 I traveled to Missouri by bicycle, by myself, sleeping outside most nights and my destination another 2,000+ miles away in Washington.  Apparently, Wednesday was Bible Study and they asked if I’d stay.  I felt obligated, but they gave me food so I figured I’d be respectful and listen to their brainwashed babbling.  I actually agree with some points, but I will always remain agnostic and never push my views upon someone of altering religion.

I told everyone in the room my story, where I was from and going.  They all looked the other way and made snide remarks like a crazy man entered the room.  I didn’t care.  in order to live you have to be willing to be a little crazy and make sacrifices.  Mine are showering, food, shelter and comfort among others.  I just giggled and nodded my head from their remarks.

The sun set and darkness brewed above me.  Campgrounds ceased to exist in this town, but they directed me towards a pavilion down the street and Lou gave me a number of a kid who knew in Fort Lewis outside Seattle, Washington.  They asked if I needed anything and I insisted “No thanks.” My stomach is shrinking and I cannot eat as much food.  My stomach full to the brim and I just grabbed three days of food at the grocery store.  They respected my modesty and gave me twenty dollars.  I refused.  It felt like begging and charity money, but they continued to insist so I took the money and used some to eat at an all-you-can-eat buffet across the road.

I’m not going to lie; I gorged.  But I ate just enough that I won’t need breakfast in the morning.  I set out for the pavilion down the road, which ended up just being picnic tables out of view.  I will set up camp in a few minutes before I doze off into a peaceful sleep.

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Brian Cray is not a cyclist. He’s not a hitchhiker. He’s not a train hopper or an adrenaline junkie. He’s just an ordinary man with gypsy blood in his veins, who can’t seem to settle down. Nothing defines him. He goes wherever this world takes him on this journey we call life, roaming the world, at will, by any means. He aspires for a life of indefinite travel, a tiny home in the woods for him and his wife, and any work that keeps him wanderin’. Brian Cray is a travel writer at heart, sharing his stories with the world one keystroke at a time.

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