on the road again

(as always, click to enlarge pictures.)

Sorry for the long break in action here, folks. I got so excited about getting back out again; and then wifi was scarce… all good things, though.

It took a good week and a half to get Foxy sorted again, and although this is an ad-free site, I need to give my thanks to Lone Star Glass for being the ones to finally come through for me. To avoid extra body work to the van, we put plexiglass in to replace the busted window. It’s functional.

I think Foxy’s just the slightest bit less photogenic after this experience, but not everyone agrees. In the neighborhood where I was staying in Houston, a little wizened, bent-over Asian lady stopped mid-crosswalk and just… stared at my van. Five, ten seconds later, as I’m still waiting for the intersection, I finally called out, “Hello!” through my open window. That broke the spell, and she broke into a wide smile. “Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!” Her arms spread wide as she gestured at Foxy. I think I got 5 or 6 beautifuls in a row. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” She was on the driver’s side, too, where Foxy got bumped. It’s good to know she’s still beautiful.

Our first stop out on the road was Goose Island State Park, where Hops and Foxy and I spent two lovely nights (although the second was mosquito-ridden. Wtf, December in Texas?). I found an oyster bar! It had been far too long. Hops has entirely mastered the art of sleeping in in the van.

We took a hike to see The Big Tree:

The Big Tree

which is one of the largest coastal live oaks around. Her trunk is 11 feet in diameter and 35 feet in circumference; she is 44 feet tall and 89 feet across her crown, and approximately 1,000 years old. A remarkable tree is always worth my time.

Also I finished up the last of my stock of my favorite beer (in three flavors) and am anxiously awaiting a resupply from my friends at the brewery!

Wrapping up for today, I will just say that vanlife is delicious, and thank you Peggy for this yummy guajillo sauce which is sweeter than I expected (?) but delightful on, well, everything so far.

See you on the other side!

the Menil Collection

Making the best of my time in Houston by visiting one of my favorite art museums. (As always, click to enlarge.)

No photography allowed inside, but I especially appreciated Yves Klein’s Blue Rain, a few paintings by Joe Overstreet, an untitled piece by Ruth Asawa, and as always the Michael Heizer outdoor sculptures, like this one, where Ritchey used to run and chase tennis balls under the oak trees.

Thanks, Tobin, for the tips.

live music and an exercise in patience

I’ll know where I’m going when I get there
…And I’ll know what I’m doing when I’m done

Todd Snider at Main Street Crossing, a lovely little venue in Tomball, Texas: I had a beautiful time with a dear friend. I’d never seen Todd live before and I enjoyed his storytelling and performance.

I got up the next morning, walked Hops down to White Oak Bayou, and put a pinch of Ritchey’s ashes in. That makes his fourth waterway so far, because we visited Canyon Lake, the Guadalupe River, and the Blanco River before we left our central Texas home. I’ll be scattering him in all the waters we find on our trip that he would have loved to swim.

White Oak Bayou (see tiny Hops at left)

And then I met an old friend for coffee, and he told me that a small thing I’d done years ago had large and positive effects in his life; he helped me top up my oil and check a few other fluids, and I popped back into the coffee shop to use the bathroom before hitting the road for Big Bend. And when I came out? A big truck had just hit Foxy and was in the act of fleeing the scene.

So, for my first exercise in patience and flexibility, just days into the adventure, Hops and I are stuck just hanging around in Houston while waiting for Foxy to get fixed up – most importantly, to get a new little window installed so we can sleep warm at night (and keep the rain out). The good news is that this is my hometown and it’s the place where I have the most people willing to put me up, and it’s giving me a chance to see a few more friends before I’m gone. The bad news, of course, is that I was anxious to get out to the desert; I’m impatient with the delay, and frustrated that Foxy was hurt (and that the bad guy ran – accidents happen, but the running was bad).

On the whole I am remaining philosophical and hope to be rollin’ again soon.