5/12/1996 - S.French
45 miles, approx 14.5 mph

Alan, Anne, and I headed out from our house about 8:15am (Sunday) and went north to Celina, TX. We parked at the Laundry-Mat next to the convenience store (why were there so many flies zipping around the Laundry-Mat?? Never did figure it out!). It was overcast and 64 degrees with a light east wind (very unusual). We prepared our bikes and headed out. We went through town and took the standard left turn onto the country road just west of town. The ride was very, very nice, with a nice tailwind. About 15 miles (or so) in, Alan took a right turn that headed back to Celina (he was taking a shorter route than Anne and I). We took a left and headed toward Pilot Point. At Pilot Point we took a short break and ate some fruit and stretched then got back on the bikes and headed north. We had never been on this route before. The wind was starting to shift around then and was coming out of the southeast, still kinda light but picking up a bit. We entered Tioga, TX, took a sharp right on hiway 121 and picked up a pretty good headwind heading toward Gunter, TX (pop. 850). I got a chance on this route to use my teargas spray!

We got chased by 4 dogs. The 1st caused Anne to bite her lip (ouch!) when she took out her water bottle to spray him. 1 was a Rottweiler that chased Anne and Alan for a while until a car almost hit him. He got the fear of god in him and veered off. Another, bigger Rottweiler was standing off to the side watching as I went by (I was behind Anne and Alan, the dogs tend to chase the lead bike, then circle around and pickup the others). His hair was standing up on his back, but he didn't chase me (thank god!). He seemed to be better trained. Later, after Alan and headed back, I got chased by a couple of mutt dogs. I sprayed the first one right in the face and he immediately veered off. I sprayed the second one when he got closer and he veered off right away too. Worked great and I didn't get any of the stuff on me.

We were chased by cows too! They were behind a fence, but when they saw us on the road they took off after us. There must have been 30 cows running along side. Wow! We also saw some strange cows with long, mule-like ears. They didn't chase us though.

The wind had shifted again and we were headed directly into a south wind on the 10 mile trip from Gunter back to Celina. But it wasn't as strong as the Muenster ride. There is beautiful scenery on that route too. From some of the hills I could see maybe 20 miles off to the west and south. I got into the habit of looking for the water towers of the small towns. From a hilltop I could see the water towers of the town we left and the town we were heading for (and sometimes others from the surrounding towns!). Pretty cool.

When we arrived back in town we passed an old guy shuffling along the road waving at everyone on his walk to the convenience store. Also, this trip featured strawberries, grapes and tangerines which made for very nice rest stops. And the wildflowers were the best we've seen this year.