Day 63: Local Sierra Club activists Bruce Drury and Bruce Walker laid some beautiful groundwork for us by arranging a press conference at the Big Thicket National Preserve. We chose that location because Keystone XL threatens to contaminate several rivers and creeks upstream from this biological wonder. Also joining us there was Maxine Johnston, matriarch of the Big Thicket Association and 1996 recipient of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Citizen Conservationist Award. Covering the event were reporters from The Examiner, the Hardin County News and the Beaumont Enterprise, as well as the local ABC and NBC news affiliates (which ended up running three evening stories and two morning pieces on the ride).
The past few days have seen the weather turn in our favor for the final push to the Gulf Coast. Highs in the 70s today and swimming in humidity. Made our way to Kountze, where Bruce Walker treated us to some good old fashioned southern lunch fare. The closer we got to Beaumont, the heavier the traffic became, so Bruce trailed us for the final push into the city. 53 miles from where we started the day, we rolled down a quiet lane to the home of Bruce and Kathryn Walker, where we unloaded our gear before negotiating the city’s new bike lanes to a nearby outdoor bar for a meet and greet, where we were once again treated to dinner and drinks by our most generous hosts.
Less than 30 miles now remain to complete the ride, which will end in Port Arthur, TX. Will be using Beaumont (home of “Spindletop,” where the modern oil industry was born)
as our staging area for the next few days to plan the ride finale. A big thanks to Bruce and Kathryn for putting us up while we finalize our plans. Here’s another Lone Star story on the ride by The Paris News: http://tinyurl.com/7ajwaw2.