The Big Thicket In Southeast Texas was once an immense, impenetrable forest blanketing 50,000 square miles. Resistant to human dominance, it was a sheltered refuge for Confederate non-combatants seeking to avoid impressment into the service. Eventually the forest fell to quench the lumberman's thirst, and now has been reduced to a few segmented but federally protected tracts. While the wilderness has been replaced by productive land, that place of sanctuary has been destroyed. It is comforting to have places available where we can escape the demands of our lives. In the absence of physical places, we need other forms of respite.
This morning I drove to the outskirts of Houston to give three high school talks. They were a great group of students housed on a university quality campus. I have been very impressed with Texas schools, and the Teens in the Driver's Seat program. We started our pedal late, and were doused by an afternoon thundershower. The rain turned an segement of road repair into a two mile mud bath. We had to use a pressure washer to get the mud off our bikes and Seth. Seth broke his chain in the middle of nowhere. Unassisted by a bike shop, we were able to repair it with our friends at google. Some very friendly Texans offered moral support. The landscape gets progressively flatter, wetter, and greener as we approach Louisiana.