Tale of the traveling gardenia


When a potted gardenia ended up taking a 19 mile bike ride across Houston, I knew that 1) I had a problem and 2) it was time to start writing about it.

Accidental, all-day, and generally not very sober bike rides, have somehow become a “thing” for my husband and me over the past year.  They have been oh so much fun, most definitely not our smartest idea, and have made us both fall in love with our adopted hometown of Houston. But those tales are for another post.  On to the gardenia.

Sweet husband and I hopped in his jeep to head to Buchanan’s in the Heights to pick up one plant.  About a block from home we decided it was a beautiful day and we should ride our bikes….I have basket secured to the back of my pink beach cruiser with bungie cords so we’d be fine.  Off we went.  As we biked past Porch Swing Pub, I said we should stop on the way home for queso and a beer and that is where we went terribly off-course.

Gardenia purchased and secured we decided we wanted to take the White Oak Bike Trail towards home. On our way to the promised food, we got stuck by a train so instead of waiting with all the cars we detoured, as we always do.  We knew that Holler Brewing was somewhere in the Sawyer Warehouse area so we aimed for that.  The route was circuitous at best and took us past ramshackle wooden houses that looked like they were the next piece of Houston history to be torn down and replaced with soulless town-homes.  I digress, we ended up in a wonderful area of warehouses with graffiti art down the entire corridor ending at the Success Rice silos.  Very cool detour!  We never made it into Holler Brewing because the train cleared and we wanted queso.

At this point we were starving so we figured Beaver’s was closer and they have a nice patio….but do they have queso?  Kind of like if you give you a moose a muffin, we somehow decided to head to  Last Concert Cafe instead..only 2.4 miles ( the wrong way from home).  It sounded like a good idea to the woman toting a 20 pound plant on her bike. Across railroad tracks, under and around highways, skirting the jail and bail bondsmen, we arrive.  Sigh, they don’t open until 4:30 and it was 1.  It was hot, we had no water and no sunscreen so we needed shade and hydration.  The sensible thing would have been to head towards home and find somewhere along the way, but we had queso ingrained in our minds and somehow margaritas had wormed their way in there too.  So there was no stopping our search and we decided Ninfas on Navigation, while WAY out of the way, was the right place to go.  We happily arrived,  parked our bikes and plant with the very nice valet and in we went.  Queso, margarita and water were divine and it was time to head home.  But how do we get home from there while avoiding highways and traffic~through the 3rd Ward of course.  We watered the wind-beaten, thirsty gardenia and headed out, again riding under and around highways, past trash strewn lots, falling down houses and 2 beautiful old churches.

The coolest of our 5 kids, 17 year old child #4, had suggested that we might want to stop at a new, hipster coffee spot in the 3rd Ward called Doshi House….so hey, why not?  It was so worth the stop.  Pulling up, it was not much to look at and certainly the neighborhood was not one in which I’d normally linger.  Doshi House was packed with people of every race, religion and socio-economic class you could imagine.  It was wonderful.  We were too hot for coffee (remember no water) so we got some smoothies and headed off towards home.  We had to make a quick detour at our staple hammock garden, Axelrad.  Honestly, it was way too crowded with lots of little kids hanging from the hammocks so we decided to abandon that plan.  And home we went with our bedraggeled and beaten gardenia.  And that is how a gardenia rode 19 miles on the back of a bike across much of Houston.

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