Houston Arboretum, and beautiful neighborhood trees

3/5/22

What a full day today! It involved some intense (good) conversations with several people; receiving several wonderful donations (to any of you who may be reading, thank you again!); lots of cycling; meeting my wonderful new Warmshowers hosts; eating some delicious food; and, as the centerpiece to it all, beautiful trees both within the city’s arboretum and outside of it.

The bad news? Yeah, these Houston drivers aren’t too keen on cyclists. Heading out of the arboretum, I was honked at for simply being on the road. But I made it through my day in one piece, and I’m grateful for that.

I left Ed’s place in the late morning, and cycled about an hour to an Asian vegan restaurant called Trendy Vegan, where I savored some eggplant with green beans.

Afterward, I continued on about another half hour to the Houston Arboretum. Admission was free, and it was a large space with many trails; I didn’t have time to see all of them. The arboretum is contained within Memorial Park, a huge greenspace west of downtown.

The other bad news? I am now officially in the land of humidity. It’s funny, because yesterday as I enjoyed Hermann Park, the moisture in the air felt surprisingly refreshing. The combination of just the right temperature and just the right humidity reminded me that on rare occasions, humidity can actually feel pleasant, almost like a warm embrace from the air.

But today was more like the humidity I remembered actively having moved away from more than 30 years ago. In fact, as I first headed out, a light rain was beginning to fall. I know that I can expect a lot more of this rain-in-warm-weather phenomenon for the rest of my journey; I have officially exited the arid West.

But today, the drizzle stopped soon, and for the rest of the day there was no rain.

After the arboretum, I pedaled about another hour and a half north to reach my new Warmshowers hosts, Ken and Liz, who welcomed me with wonderful Southern hospitality, including a home-cooked dinner of red lentil stew and basmati rice, and lots of great stories of their own bike travels as well as their previous Warmshowers guests, who sound like fascinating people.

I’m still deciding whether to leave Houston as planned on Tuesday, or to push it back three days to catch the next train, in hopes of securing better weather in both New Orleans and Atlanta. Some of this will depend on where I can find hosts. It’s always a fun puzzle to figure out these logistics of travel!

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