A Breath of Fresh Austin

After a much longed-for shower we headed to Austin. We’ve traveled to all of the lower 48 states, and somehow always missed it. I’ve dreamed of seeing this vibrant, musical and arty city for years.

All new places offer surprises and push out the silly pre-conceived notions we harbor in our minds. I swear that I knew Austin is a city and yet still found myself surprised that it is huge (should’ve known, since it’s in Texas and all). It also caught me off guard being slammed with traffic… on a Sunday!

Navigating a city in an RV, is not generally fun. The oh so narrow streets, the traffic, the miniature parking lots, need I go on? This city, with well over 900,000 people is the 11th largest city in the US according to Wikipedia.

We spent most of our time in Austin driving around and enjoying the art. Taking a ride is among our favorite things to do. It’s all about the journey… the destination is only the ending. To truly get the most of this city, a car would be preferable, or alternatively a stay in town and renting the ever-present bicycles and scooters to get around. We did stop at “The Picnic”, a little gathering of food trucks and other trailers selling their wares represented a must-see. Their free parking lot accommodated our 27 foot baby and the picnic tables gave a place to sit and enjoy. After a brief stop the ride continued and then we tried to sneak right out of town, but that’s a tale for another day.

Just over half way through our journey to Seattle… and more than 3000 miles behind us!

Texas Yeah!

So happy to be in Texas, but the Austin food truck dinner was a fail. We settled for highway level fast food and a campsite in a lovely state park, after a couple of traffic incidents. One such incident involved dozens of horses with amateur riders and a young lady making the unfortunate choice to jump off of a moving vehicle. Don’t ask, all I can say is she lived.

Off to Jim Hogg Park we went. They offered electric and water for $22. The best feature of the facility is the availability of same day online booking. I may be a little in love with them for that. For some unknown reason all of the women in my family are phobic about making phone calls. We can do it, but it represents a last resort. Most campgrounds won’t allow online booking on the same day— we don’t plan ahead on a road trip— so you can see my Dilemma.

Driving into the campground we saw a doe and fawn, frolicking bunnies and stars popping right out of the sky. Yes, it was after dark. Backing an RV into a space after dark is a little like gambling. The jackpot is a crash-free landing.

Austin should happen Sunday, with a plan to see Chip and Jo on Monday and then work our way out of TX. The road often takes us to unexpected places… and that’s why we do it.

Calamity and Mayhem

Okay, so it’s only minor calamity and mayhem. When on the road, little life annoyances seem magnified. It’s partially due to the need to do a full on research project to find a mechanic, a tire place, a veterinarian, a whatever. You never know if you’ll find someone honest or someone who will take advantage of a stranded road weary traveler.

On the last full day in Florida Mr. Dog (not his real name) decided to fall ill. Waiting a couple days would be my response in an established location, but a journey loomed in the morning and we went to a vet right away. We got a family referral to vet and they set him up with many potions. After a few days his little tail started wagging again.

He felt so lousy he stole his friend’s tiny bed and did not want to leave

The next morning we boogied through the pan handle, whipped across Alabama and collapsed in a rest area in Mississippi. Crossing the border just before sleep, for the simple joy of saying we did.

The Moss Point Welcome Center has cool sculptures made from trees destroyed in a storm

We tried for Texas the next day, but alas, so very tired. We found A Plus Motel and RV Park in Sulphur Louisiana. It was more than our usual limit of free, but quiet with wonderfully hot water showers… pure bliss.

Louisiana has fun ads and food

And fun names for things… this was along an 18 mile bridge (The Atchafalaya Basin Bridge)!

New Texas Plan: Make the 4-5 hour drive to Waco TX and stop by Magnolia Market at the Silos (shout out to America’s Sweethearts, Chip & Jo). Our plans were quickly dumped when we discovered a low tire.

Mavis Discount Tire, a gem, found right around the corner from our campsite. The outside tire looked low, but it turned out the inside tire was the culprit. Our new friends at Mavis attempted to fill that pesky inside tire. There I sat, minding my own business, inside the RV, when I heard a gunshot! That cacophany actually turned out to be our own exploding tire! Thankfully our new friend scrambled out from under that rig just before the explosion and no one was hurt in making of that particular movie (phew!)

We lounged in the camper, while the guys worked in the 100+ heat index without a lift, (the camper was too tall for their bays). Four hours later, we were good as new and on our way. An hour into the drive to Texas and we realized, we would never make it before closing. On we pressed with a new plan to boondock and check out Chip and Jo’s place in the morning.

Another hour in and it hits me: tomorrow is Sunday… in Texas… there’s no way those shops will be open tomorrow. A peak at the wide world of web confirmed this little bit of sadness. Plan C: Reverse course and headed for Austin. Food trucks for dinner, woot woot.

A 6000 Mile Journey!

He keeps his eye on the road

Woohoo, finally on the road. We cleared out the house, with a lot of assistance. A big thank you to the family and friends who offered to help, and showed up too! People who are generous with their time and labor are such a blessing.

We hoped to leave last Thursday, and missed the mark by three days. Good thing we didn’t have a plane to catch. I attribute the slow departure to basic stuff denial. Despite my “declutterfication” of the past several years I still have too much stuff. We donated at least 15 pickup truckloads. Some of our loved ones were kind enough to take stuff off our hands. I am still not sure if I should feel happy for them about the freebies or guilty for adding to their stuff burden.

Adventure comes with a price. Our old home, neighbors, loved ones, the view, and my work will all be missed. How to begin a 6000 mile adventure? Start with a plan, give stuff away, say farewell, and take a big leap of faith.

Goodbye Sweet View
Hello Open Road: coming into Hartford, CT