3 Weeks in Texas

April 13, 2021

Is like a week everywhere else.  Specifically, it took us 19 days to traverse Texas starting in the northeast at Martin Dies Jr State Park in Jasper, to the northwest at Midland, Texas.  Yes, Texas is big, vast and diverse in its topography, geography, production/how people earn a living, its people and their opinions;  Rice fields, cattle production, energy production (oil, solar and wind), farming, logging and of course, horses.

Martin Dies Jr. is the first state campground where we wouldn’t use the shower for its uncleanliness.  While the park was clean, well-kept and situated lakeside (Steinhagen Reservoir) with Piney woods (in addition to bayou and alligators), great walking trails and large campsites, the bathrooms/showers were like dark caves; no problem, we will use our on-board shower.  We look forward to our next destination as it is coastal on the Gulf of Mexico.

From Jasper, TX, we head south and east, through lush rolling hills and trees (think logging), through the center of Houston to the Gulf of Mexico.  We arrive at Goose Island for a 2-night stay. Goose Island State Park is on the Gulf of Mexico, Rockport, TX and is a beautiful park full of different birds and deer.  They have ocean-side campsites as well as regular camping sites.  Its good to be near the ocean and we find a beautiful beach down the road in Rockport, TX, a quiet coastal community.  We swim at the beach with the other folks under 4 ft tall (kids); while we find the water perfect, it’s too cold for the rest of the “adults”.  As we leave this coastal haven, we notice the vivid change in topography and climate as we head to San Antonio deep in the heart of Texas, gone is the lush green and rolling hills, it is flat and dry and sandy. 

We arrive in San Antonio and stay at the Hyatt Riverwalk.  We are staying at a hotel because we need some maintenance work done on the RV and we are in the center of the city, as Sean’s brother lives in the King William neighborhood in San Antonio; it’s a lot like Cambridge along the Charles, but smaller.  We enjoy a VERY nice visit with family and friends with good food, long river-walks and thoughtful discussions, its been too long since we’ve seen Kevin and his family.  History is different in the Republic of Texas and is a more recent past; not like at home where Hull was established in 1622.

From San Antonio we head north to Austin, a hip, Texas town where we stay with friends, Brandy and Steve, at their home on Lake Travis.  Up to this time, any non-ocean water we’ve been close to has been various shades of brown and murky.  Lake Travis is a welcome surprise with its blue color, clarity and depth (over 100 ft in some places).  We cook, eat, drink, sail, have pleasant and controversial exchanges and feed the critters who visit nightly.  LOTS of juniper and cedar trees in Austin; glad to be lakeside and in nature. From San Antonio we head to Dallas.

I want to go to Dallas because that is where my investment platform is and a team of folks who I have worked with for about 7 years, but haven’t met in person.  Surprisingly, we find their office (and a parking space) with ease and have a nice lunch and meet the team.  They are as nice in person as they are on the phone, and they load us up with fresh water and snacks.  Who knew that chocolate-laced popcorn would become a new favorite snack (Thank you Donna!). We let them get back to work on Maundy Thursday and head to a county campground right outside of Dallas at Lewisville lake.  This is a really nice municipal park with a campground. 

Lewisville Lake municipal park and campground has good showers and laundry facilities and we have a lake-side site.  There are so many amenities; we go drive some golf balls at the range next to the public golf course and take in youth soccer games (fond memories) and get street taco’s from their “snack shack” and enjoy the fun. We go out for dinner with our neighbor-from-Hull’s brother, Bob and his wife; nice to catch up and hear his side of stories.  LOL.  Also, Bob, a biologist by profession, gives us some understanding about the different vaccines, as we hear competing reasons why and why not to get vaccinated.  We’ve  been traveling for over 2 months and we are healthy.  We thoroughly enjoyed our stay but are awakened by many gun shots on our last night there and gratefully head out Easter Sunday morning to Abilene, Texas.

No stores are open on Easter so pick up a few things at convenience stores along the way.  We are heading into West Texas, oil country and conservativism.  At Abilene State Park we arrive and don’t really like our campsite, no showers there.  We take a walk to find the showers and find all these empty campsites.  We call the ranger and ask if we can change and they say yes!  So glad we made the change and first time ever we’ve found ourselves in this predicament.  We are now in a large campsite, rather private with a back path to bath and showers.  We have a fire every night here.  We ride the motorcycle into Buffalo Gap where we pick up some provisions and pick up the local “free” newspaper that describes itself as “Serving Conservative – One Silent – Americans”, quite an interesting read; you get what you pay for as it’s filled with opinions about what’s good and what’s bad in America, loosely based on Christian beliefs.

Our last stop is in Texas is in Midland, Texas, the heart of Oil country.  We take the back roads as we go to and leave Midland for the full affect of this area of the country; great vistas dotted with energy sources.  Besides the countless oil wells there are fields of solar panels and wind turbines.  We have a wonderful (and too short) of a stay with our friends, Lyn and David.  Midland is in the middle of the desert and oil country AND it’s a lively town with a population over 100k.    Oil production is the main source of commerce here AND surprisingly, it has the highest gas prices we’ve paid during our entire trip.  While there, we find a place to get the J&J vaccination – thanks to findavaccine.org.  I easily schedule Sean and I at the local grocery store pharmacy and we get our shots together on Thursday at noon.  Friday we leave for New Mexico and the vaccine has hit us both a bit hard.  We take ibuprofen and later Tylenol to make it to our next destination in New Mexico.  We remain in the desert, traveling to our next destination and are fascinated by the differences. Hot Hot hot during the day and temps down to low 40’s at night.  We find an oasis in the desert. 

Throughout our Texas tour, we’ve had wonderful discussions with friends and family we spent time with, we agree and disagree, inquiring and asking into the subject to explore our differences with shared enthusiasm for discovery. We enjoy mutual regard, love and respect and with that comes thoughtful exchanges and a deep appreciation for what we have in common besides our differences.  Acceptance, we find, is the difficult part.

So far, we’ve logged 4,826 miles.  On to New Mexico and Colorado.

Til we meet again,

Sean and Kelly