Matthew Spicer greeted me on arrival at the public launch near Cameron, Louisiana.
I left my rowboat in the shade in a boat stall.
Frank Hughes was happy to see my rowboat safely loaded on the rental truck.
Tom Lynch with his daughter Katja who had grown so much taller over the last 5 years!
Pedaling under the southern sun
June 27, 2012 32.6299N,96.4493W
I am near Dallas in Texas now, struggling to cover some miles under an intense heat. The afternoon temperatures hover around 104°F (40°C) with high humidity. One reason for these record temperatures this early in the southwestern USA, is the developing an El Niño on the Pacific. In addition, the Tropical Storm Debby, now a post tropical cyclone heading ENE toward the Bahamas, lingered near Florida for a while blocking the eastward progression of the high pressure system now over me. With resulting intense sun without cloud cover, the ride became an ordeal. I hope to encounter cooling monsoon rains in the afternoons as I gain some altitude beyond Amarillo, Texas.
After my landfall near Cameron, Louisiana on 27 May, our friends at Spicer-Hughes Marina in Hackberry became our finest supporters in Louisiana. They contacted the local TV channel KPLC for a news piece. Later, we were able to secure my rowboat in one of their "boat stalls" where she stayed in the shade suspended out of the water in straps while I flew home to meet Nancy and to prepare my cycling rig.
Next, I flew to Baton Rouge where we had been able to locate a flatbed rental truck. Frank Hughes at the Spicer-Hughes Marina had arranged four truck tires. With a convincing call from Frank, AAA Construction provided a mobile crane without charge which was already at the marina on my arrival. We loaded my rowboat on the flatbed over the four truck tires, strapped her down and I began a miserable drive due west. The air-conditioner in the truck was not working well, making the cab a sauna especially in the afternoons under the westerly sun. I had to take breaks mid-day, and felt too drained to drive at night. Needless to say, the drive took longer than I had anticipated.
Short of Tuscon in Arizona, I made a phone call ahead to my high school friend Rick Bowers. We had been on the same cross country and track teams at the Brussels American High School in Belgium. Those were the days when ABBA, BeeGees, Star Wars and Jaws were all the rage. Already an accomplished photographer, Rick had studied wildlife ecology in college then taken up cataloging birds of North America. He and his wife Nora had published a book on the subject, which was helpful in identifying some of the migrating birds that I had encountered during my last row. Rick thought that I probably saw a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird north of the Yucatan Peninsula. These have a red chest and pollen may collect giving the yellow hues which I thought I saw. The little bird in my last dispatch was an Eastern Wood-Pewee. The broad winged, all-white birds migrating north in flocks of 10-15 with long legs and a crooked neck had to be a Great Egrets. These egrets have been ubiquitous all over the marshes and lakes during my bicycle ride.
Tom and Sveta Lynch had kept my trailer in their yard ever since my July 2007 launch from Bodega Bay for my human powered circumnavigation. I picked up my cycling rig which had already been delivered to Sacramento then drove straight to their home in Guerneville. We had a long overdue reunion with the friends of the late Peter Bird whose logo I have carried on my rowboat since 2007. John Cramer then hosted me for a couple nights, also helped in the transfer of my rowboat from the truck to her trailer. One-way rental on the truck had not been possible, so I began the torturous return drive back to Baton Rouge after securing my rowboat in Tom’s yard. All that I carried on the flatbed was my bicycle; the rest of my rig was stashed in the crowded cab.
Frank Hughes went out of his way to pick me up after I reached Baton Rouge, a 2.5 hour drive from Hackberry. He and the Spicers had arranged a barbecue so I could meet once again with their families and workers. On the morning of 21 June, my rig was ready for the ride. Frank Hughes and Matthew Spicer, who had brought out my friends Bill Hinsley and Graeme Welsh to find me at sea, took me down to the public launch in the Calcasieu Pass where I had touched land on 27 May. Since then, I have been pedaling despite the sweltering humid heat.
In short, many thanks are due to those who made my transition to the last land phase of the circumnavigation an easy one.
I should conclude this update with a noteworthy announcement:
Jason Lewis of Expedition360 is ready to distribute his 3-part, "The Expedition" book series. The first one called Dark Waters, will be available in the USA in August. For more information, please see: this link. Jason is the first and still the only person in history to have gone the distance for a legitimate claim on a human powered circumnavigation. His account of that journey should be a riveting read. I will announce the link to purchase the same, once that is made public.