The Great Ride: Days 52-58
September 19, 2021

I wrote a blog for Ultimate Bet that can be found here talking about my ride across the rainy south, getting me from Panama City Beach on day 52 to Dallas on day 55.

It was nice to spend time with Lars in Dallas.  Lars is an old friend of mine.  Ten years ago he hired me as the "Jr. High Intern" at Bel Air Presbyterian Church to co-lead the Jr. High ministry for an interim period until they found somebody full time.  He got me into whitewater rafting, and has been the closest thing to an adult mentor that I've had in my entire adult life and it was really good to see him.

I wish there were more people like Lars in the church.  I've felt for many years an attitude completely contrary to the biblical paradigm that I've read and understand.  Instead of the church welcoming the broken, forgiving openly, and reserving judgement for our creator, they've turned the church into a "hospital that won't admit bleeding people".  In Colorado Springs, I was told by a local pastor that was mentoring me that he would not meet with me any longer unless I stopped playing poker.  I was a part time youth pastor at the time and used poker to make it possible for me to hold the position in the church; at $900 a month I couldn't have done it without poker.  But instead of helping me continue to grow, young in my adult life without a father, there were conditions put on our relationship.  

I feel like the church does that often too; they place conditions upon your relationship with Christ, or with the members.  I do miss fellowship, I do miss the ministry, I miss working with kids, but I haven't been regularly in four years.  I don't miss going to church.  

Maybe as the older and traditional generation moves on and is replaced by this emergent generation things will change.  Maybe people administering a holy organization are just doomed to human flaws.  I dunno.  But thanks Lars for being one of the few that keep me hoping.  

I left Dallas under a cover of clouds intending on getting as far as I could before the $1k WCOOP LHE event.  I made it to Vernon, TX, played the WCOOP, had a tough table and never could get anything going.  I busted around 8pm no-coast time, hopped on the bike, and left the Super 8 heading down the street downtown.  I made it in three blocks, found cars at one place only, the steakhouse.  I stopped in, sat at the empty bar, ordered a Shiner Bock, a bacon wrapped filet, green beans, and a side salad.  Tasty, but not nearly as good as the one Lars prepared the night before.  I asked the bartender while chatting where the place to go was, she said Crazy Mike's, so after paying I headed there.

I walked into a standard dive with a dozen heads in it.  Found a place at the bar, made friends with Kevin and Deborah, and had a decent time.  At one point it was just me sitting at the bar with everybody else outside smoking.  Then around 10:30, the steakhouse staff showed up, three chicks and a dude.  I went and chatted with them a bit, enjoyable crowd for sure.  One of the girls' purse was realtree camo with rhinestone detailing on the corners and a celtic cross on the front.  Most fabulous purse I've ever seen.  Another one was a city girl who ended up here because her parents bought the movie theatre, which has earned her ownership of a house in town but has left her complaining about unintelligent, prejudice country boys.  Another girl was quite loud and entertaining; at one point the group of them were at a comedy club, and the comedians were bad, so she heckled enough to be called out by the emcee.  Apparently she stole the show; pretty impressive imo.  The dude was named Woodie, after his last name Woodward, and had it tattooed on his neck.  He had plenty of piercings too, was a cool dude, and complained about how conservative everybody was.  He appreciated Austin and wanted to "keep it weird."  As long as Justin West stays there I think that'll be no problem :).  

So, I found a group of friends, and they after one beer were leaving to the Counrty Boll, a bar in the middle of farmland a couple of miles out of town.  They invited me, I hopped in the back seat, and we made it out there around 11:15, in time for one beer before they closed at midnight.  Drunken cowboys are entertaining.  Then we headed back, dropped off one of the girls, I grabbed my bike so I could leave when I wanted to, and we headed to somebody's house party/porch hangout time.  I met a half dozen or so other dudes, and by the end of the night another ten people had showed up.  All super awesome people, very hospitable, very outgoing and friendly, and I had an excellent time.  My first random house party in 57 days; good times.  I eventually hopped on the bike, got lost on my way back mostly cause I didn't ask for directions and thought I could figure out the back streets.  I was in the middle of neighborhoods no clue which direction I was going, heard a train whistle, turned around, and headed toward the sound of the train, because my hotel was centrally located near the freight yard.  That brought me downtown and I found my way back.  I was proud:  no directions asked :).

So I've done the same thing today, have ended up in Amarillo, TX, busted the WCOOP 2k 8-game event quickly, running poorly from hand 1.  I'm still in the UB $300+20 100k guarantee, 27/50 remain, then will head downtown when done.  

Peace and good luck, 


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