In the early 80th I worked several times for a few weeks in Houston, TX when I was still living in Germany. During one of these stays I took a few days off and drove from Houston to the Big Bend National Park taking my newly acquired Mountain Bike with me. Firstly, Mountain Bikes in the early 80th where a pretty new thing and secondly, I realized that I had absolutely no idea how big Texas really is (hard to believe, but there were no GPS or Google Maps at that time). Thirdly, I had never been in a desert before. What I saw in West Texas blew my mind away.
Once I moved permanently to the USA I took a week of vacation in the early 90th and traveled to West Texas again to enjoy the Big Bend National Park. I camped, visited some landmarks, hiked in the park and had a good time. However the impressions were not as intense as they were during my first visit.
Well, here I am again in West Texas. This time not in the Big Bend National Park but very close to it. I do love the West Texas landscape. It is rugged and beautiful and so are the people living in it. In order to survive in West Texas one will have to put in an honest day of work. There is no room for slackers around here.
We spent a few days in Marfa, a small community that has attracted an interesting mixture of individuals. Minimalistic arts have established roots in Marfa and lovers of that art form have followed. With the art came a modest amount of tourists and independent young people that have re-vitalized Marfa. The inflow of new blood has possibly saved Marfa from over-aging and decline like so many other small West Texas communities.
The 450 miles stretch from Marfa to San Antonio represented a major transition. Moving from an elevation of 4700ft to 650ft, from empty and harsh desert landscape to the lush and rolling hills of central Texas. Suddenly there was green grass and trees. Gone was the dry and cool air of the desert and now we are in the warm, sticky and humid air characteristic for states bordering the Gulf of Mexico. There are almost daily rain showers and thunderstorms. During the days large numbers of squirrels are doing their business and in the evenings there are lightning bugs. It is a very different world. The dogs were visibly confused.
In San Antonio we visited The Alamo and took a walk along the river.
The I-35 corridor from San Antonio to Austin is essentially a 70 miles long strip-mall stretched out between the two cities. I remember there used to be open fields and rolling hills in the early 80th. Who needs all this stuff? What are we doing to this country and to ourselves?
In Austin we enjoyed a nice variety of good Texas BBQ at “la Barbecue”, visited the Capitol and enjoyed the marvelous Redbud Dog Park.
At the moment we are boon docking at a public beach near Port Lavaca approximately 30ft/10m from the waterline of the Gulf of Mexico. This location will probably be the southernmost point of our 2017 travels.
A one-week stay near Galveston will mark our final destination in Texas. After that, we will move east to Louisiana. Soon we will have to turn left to escape the summer heat in the southern US.
Not bad hmm? In my book that kind of stuff easily beats a day in the office. As they say, it’s not over until the fat lady sings, so you better stay tuned.