American Southwest: First Conversations

The first days of biking through the American Southwest have been sunny, hot, dry and dusty…in other words, very Southwestern. I rolled out of my driveway in Houston, Texas to start the tour and, after 10 days of hard pedaling west and some 500 miles, I've made it to....still Texas! I've had the privilege of chatting with a very Texan group of people, including a rancher, a cotton & pig farmer, a hip Austinite, a gun shop owner and a WWII veteran who ran a farm equipment business alongside his wife for decades. Here are the voices of a few of the folks I've spoken with during the first few days of CWU's third tour.

The first Texan I spoke with was Mike Lewis. Mike is a concealed-carry instructor and co-owner of Sanctuary Arms, a small firearms shop in Bellville, Texas. We sat at a BBQ restaurant chatting about gun ownership in America, with his two daughters jumping-in from time to time. Here, Mike shares one of the reasons that he keeps firearms handy.

When Leonard Meuth returned from the war, he married Rosemary and they opened up a farm equipment sales business. Things went south with his partner, leaving him with an enormous debt. He relied on his relationships in town, including with his local banker, keep his business going.

Austin, Texas is weird, and proud of it. Paige Applin explains what draws people to punk culture, something for which Austin is well known.