As we left the campground at Lake Livingston State Park, instead of heading directly back into town the same way we came yesterday, we took a gamble, and followed some back roads that appeared to lead back to the main highway on the western side of town. This turned out to be a good choice, and we ended up reaching the highway and saving about 4 miles.
We stopped for a snack as a gas/convenience store in the town of Onalaska. There was still lots of hurricane damage and no power; this store again was open just for cash sales. We passed through a couple of police check points where they were turning some people away, we guessed in order to cut down on storm sight-seeing and looting, but they let us pass through without any problem.
We got to the city of Huntsville about 48 miles into the ride. The hurricane damage appeared to be getting less and less as we rode west, so we were hopeful that we’d find food and other services open. As we first got into the city, this was not the case, though, as many neighborhoods still had no power, and most businesses still weren’t open. However, we eventually got to the other side of town, which appeared to be the main shopping area, with a mall and other plazas, and most things in this area were open. We settled on lunch at Chili’s.
As we headed out of town after lunch, Ray got another flat tire, so we had another short break as he took care of fixing it. 52 more miles brought us to the city of College Station, home of Texas A&M University. We asked a couple people if they knew of any campgrounds nearby, but they just shook their heads as if they didn’t even know what a campground was. We stopped in at a hotel called the Inn at Chimney Hill. They had one room available, but it was a rather expensive suite. As Ray stayed outside to fix another flat tire, I talked to the woman at the counter. She was very nice, but warned us that most hotels in town were booked with either hurricane refugees, or people coming to town for the football game this weekend. However, she was nice enough to call about a half-dozen more economical hotels in the area for us, until she eventually found that the Days Inn had a room available, and asked them to hold it for us. We thanked her profusely, and headed further down the road.
It seemed that the Days Inn really did hold onto that last room for us. When we walked into the office, the woman at the counter said “You must be the bikers we’re expecting.” Immediately after we checked in, she had to turn away two other customers looking for rooms. We checked in and got dinner at the Kettle diner next door.
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