There’s at least a million different roads to travel if you’re crossing America. Since I left San Diego, I’ve been following a map that’s intended for cyclist who pedal the southern tier route, until it fell out of my pocket a few weeks ago. Since then, I’ve been exploring, finding my way as I go. And that’s how I ended up here in Brenham, Texas.
After leaving Austin, I had planned on taking it easy, riding fewer miles each day while my body is on the mend. The antibiotics and the allergy meds combined have been wiping out my energy level while at the same time, restoring me to good health. If it’s not the Guaifenesin then it’s the Pseudo-ephedrine that’s making me feel like I’m being featured in a Zombie Apocalypse scene. The feeling is obscure. I’m not sure if I want to go the distance of a marathon or take a nap. So I did both. And it’s beautiful out here.
The rolling hills and narrow shoulder-less ranch road from La Grange into the town of Burton were as comforting as the 15 mph headwind I was facing. I kept my head down and pressed on eventually reaching a junction where I pulled into the only gas station. I chatted with one of the guys there for a bit as I ate some snacks and downed an iced-coffee. The caffeine had no effect on me, so instead of jumping back on my bike, I laid down on the concrete under their awning and slept for hour. Jo napped in his wagon.
The next fifteen miles were a breeze. After making my way into town I stopped at the McDonald’s for dinner. I’m really grateful to have a card in my wallet that allows me to dine complimentary at any of their locations. It’s a real McGift that they’ve given me.
Chris Beland is a buddy of mine, a singer-writer who I met in Bend, Oregon. A lot of people know him and love him. As I write this, he’s recovering from surgery after donating one of his kidneys to a person who simply asked him for it.
A few years ago he came to know his biological father through an online connection that was made somehow. Everyone followed the story. They both are talented musicians. His pops, John Beland, flew with the Flying Burrito Bros, from 1980 to 2001, a country rock band that also featured Gram Parsons in the earlier line up of band mates.
The whole point of me telling you all of that was to set the next part of the story up. John Beland’s first kiss was Mary Diebold, formerly, Hyland. I met her at Mt Bachelor a few moons ago when I had a gig in the bar. I would later bump into her at a watering hole in St Charles, Illinois, near her home. I was making music there that night.
And then she and her husband, another John, a year or two later, came and stayed with me for a few days in Bend. Her John and I hiked up South Sister in the middle of the night, watching the dawn break and the sun rise. And another time, Mary and I met in Kansas City and toured the town together.
The Burrito Brother, John Beland, lives in Brenham, where I’m at now. I was hopeful to see him while I was passing through, make a connection, and chat over a coffee… or a burrito. But we didn’t and instead I’m here at the Coach Light Inn where Shoeless Jo is hogging the bed.
And now after all of this burrito talk, I’m hungry. So I’ll leave you with a poem I wrote…
Tortilla, O’Wrapper of All That is Tasty
At first there were twelve limber, pale pastries
Tortilla O’Wrapper of all that is tasty
Eleven, ten, nine, and then I ate eight,
Leaving seven tortillas to soon land on my plate
The sixth I had filled while still in a dream
with cheeses and eggs and bacon and cream
The fifth was purely a Masa Harina obsession,
Asada, beans, rice, now in my possession
Frying the fourth, I load it with cheese;
Melted muenster and jack have me down on my knees
Three, there they are, a friend stopping by,
sharing the second, dusted cinnamon we try
Just one left in the kitchen, I become hasty
Tortilla O’wrapper of all that is tasty