It’s 72°! All is well. We had a nice night at The Harvest Host location and walked across the street so that Greg could eat donuts for breakfast. He loves donuts as much as Homer Simpson. He bought six donuts, ate two and then decided to get a cinnamon roll as well and ate that. Meanwhile I’m eating 6 blueberries for breakfast and gaining weight.
From there we found a nice park right on the Intercoastal Waterway. Peaceful, quiet and private. Spent the entire day there. Barbecued and enjoyed watching the tugboats go by pushing their loads of oil. I am just fascinated with this industrial area on the gulf coast.
We then drove further south to the beaches to see if we could camp overnight right on the beach. There were a couple of spots to get on the beach but to us it didn’t seem like enough actual beach and the high tide was gonna come while we were sleeping so we didn’t want to risk it and decided to keep moving on. We went over a bridge and entered Texas and immediately found a spot right on the water. It’s a state park with a few very tight, sardine tight, RV spots. We went past that and decided to park by the picnic area. Hopefully tonight we won’t get the dreaded knock knock, cause we’re not really sure if this is a spot or not. There is absolutely no information about anything in this state park.
It was quite the uneventful night. But woke in the morning to some very thick fog!! couldn’t even see any of the oil rigs right across the water.
Once the fog burned off, we headed west to a town called Crystal Beach. We found an Rv park with our Passport America Membership that offered tent sites for 12 bucks. We were due for a shower and the comfort of resort bathrooms. Plus we needed to do Laundry as well. We arrived about an hour or so later and picked a great spot away from everyone. Set up and then went to go check out the facilities. Much to our chagrin, there was a sign on the restroom door that read, CLOSED INDEFINITELY!!! No bathrooms, no showers and a laundry area that looked like it was from the 50’s. So no laundry either. I don’t understand how they can even offer tent camping without a bathroom. Thankfully we are “sort of” self contained so we can adjust. We set up our shower tent and put our water jugs in the sun. Then went for a bike ride on the beach. When we got to the beach, we noticed some campers and vans and trucks on the beach with a sign saying that you need a permit to drive on the beach. We looked into it further and found out that the beach permit only cost 10 dollars per year. So tomorrow we will camp on the beach. I’ll probably “shower” in the gulf of Mexico. Greg is currently showering in the shower tent. I may or may not use it. It all depends on how warm the water is.
So I decided to do the outdoor shower in the tent cause Greg insisted the water was warm. We have very differing opinions on what is warm because I did not find the water to be very warm. I took the fastest shower of my life and basically washed my hair with a wash cloth. I feel way cleaner so I guess it worked.
Next day we headed out to buy a beach permit. Tried 4 different places and they were all sold out. The beach permits are for a year and so the new permits start in January. the stores we went to for the permit all insisted that nobody is checking permits in December and that we will be fine. The worst possible scenario is that the sheriff sells you a permit on the beach if you don’t have one. There’s also no rules regarding beach driving, unlike the beach permit on Long Island that has a million rules and all this equipment that you must have with you. This whole beach experience here on Bolivar Peninsula was the complete opposite of our experience beach camping on Long Island. We didn’t even have to pretend to fish.
This beach was also hard packed. We put the van in 4 wheel drive but really didn’t need to. We were even able to ride our bikes in the beach. Regular cars and golf carts were all enjoying the drive on the beach. The sunsets and sunrises were amazing here.
We spent two wonderful nights relaxing on this beach. The weather was perfect and restaurants and food trucks were only a bike ride away.
On our last morning there, the guy who owns the tourism center and promotes this beach came over to us to ask some questions and do a little interview. One of his questions was, “do you miss anything living this kind of lifestyle?” My answer right away was yes, I miss chocolate Italian ices. He didn’t even know what an Italian ice was. I tried explaining it to him but he just kept thinking it was like a slurpie or slush puppie. Anyway that’s really what I miss the most being on the road. Italian ices seem to be a NY thing. A few hours later, A lightbulb went off in Greg’s head and He wished he would of thought of this to answer the question of what Greg misses the most. He misses not wearing flip flops in the shower. I kind of miss that too but not as much as chocolate Italian ices.
We left the beach around lunch time and continued driving west. We took the free ferry over to Galveston and actually found a Rita’s Ice store!!! All this talk of Italian Ices and now I find a Rita’s!!!! I had plans on FILLING the van freezer with chocolate ices!!! I walk in with a HUGE smile on my face only to find out that they are out of chocolate!!! Yup, no chocolate. Quite a disappointment. I got a small root beer ice and we continued on our way. We found a place in Passport America that looked and sounded liked they had amazing showers and bathrooms. And this time, I was not disappointed! The bathrooms at this RV resort and the club house here were amazing!! There even was a camp cat to keep us company.
From the resort, we were on our way to Victoria, Texas. Have never been here or heard of it but we decided this trip to stay off the interstates and take the back roads of America out west. Victoria didn’t disappoint. It had an amazing Chinese buffet. Never would have thought, such a small town with such a big buffet. They also had a really cute zoo. So many animals up close, in person. There were more animals than people.
After the zoo, we found a nice basic camping spot in the towns rv park. Very basic with electric and water for 12 bucks.
Next day we headed to San Antonio!! What a fun place this is!! We found a spot to park right on the road in front of the Wyndham Hotel overlooking the RiverWalk. A great spot to overnight out of the way of all the hub bub of San Antonio yet close enough to walk to all the hubbub. Perfect spot for people like us.
That sidewalk in the above picture winds all through out San Antonio,s river walk where there are restaurants and shops.
We ate at the Original Mexican restaurant. Food was great. The company of ducks was fun too.
So many hotel lobbies to relax in and charge batteries and take a rest from all the walking.
Next day we headed to the Alamo. We took the free non guided tour because I’m not a fan of listening to people trying to educate me. Hahaha. I also had a bad experience the night before when we took the 30 minute boat ride. Our tour guide on that boat was just not good. She thought she was funny but she was the only one on the boat that thought she was funny. So I didn’t want to risk it and have another lame tour guide. Besides it’s was good for us to just go at our own pace and read all the info and watch the videos. Quite a story and bit of Texas history there at the Alamo.
Next stop Del Rio, Texas and a spot at Governors Landing Campground. We found a great 10 dollar spot with an amazing view of the lake below and the colorful skies above.
Had some Tex Mex for dinner . and chatted a little with our Van dwelling neighbors. Had some questions for them about the whole border fiasco that had been going on in this area. The van dwellers had been here a week and have had no issues at all with any border crossing nonsense. They said the National Guard has basically taken over the area and there’s a strong presence of military. Basically it’s pretty safe here. We did notice a bunch of low lying military planes on the way in so I guess they are on top of it as best they can be. The van people also said that the National Guard took over one of the campgrounds down the block as well. Border Patrol has also been in and out here every hour or so. I’m not too worried.
The next day we switched spots and then had lunch down by the water.
Next day drove 30 minutes to Seminole Canyon. This state Park has been closed for a month to everyone except hunters. It reopened the day we went and we got a nice primitive spot for 10 bucks. We also signed up for the guided tour into the canyon to check out the petroglyphs.
Drove to our new spot, I think about two hours to the town of Marathon. we were here last year and really loved this town. It’s got such a great small town feel to it and a great southwest vibe. We stayed at a primitive tent site for $15. We went to the Mexican restaurant in town. I had a brisket taco which was the greatest taco I have ever eaten. If I knew it was going to be that good I would have just ordered those but I order it in a combination meal with other things that weren’t nearly as good as that brisket taco. .
The night skies here are in the dark skies registry. It’s super dark. There are no outdoor lights on purpose. The skies are amazing. This place we stayed has a cute little courtyard with a fireplace. We enjoyed the fire with a few other fellow travelers.
Woke up the next day to 22° outside. Brrrrr. Thankfully we have a Diesel Heater this year so we were able to warm the van up in no time at all. For breakfast we went to the towns coffee shop.
I found a Catholic Church in town that supposedly has a 12 noon Mass so we walked down there and waited and waited and waited. No body showed up and the phone number was disconnected.
We headed to town where we saw a sign for a Sunday Gospel Brunch. We joined the locals in the yard behind the grocery story for a fun afternoon of music.
Our next stop would be 45 minutes away in the town of Marfa where we heard about this cool campground.
Ok, so the campground was pretty cool but more like a boutique type motel where you can rent campers or teepees or yurts or tiny houses for the night. They offered tent camping as well but did not allow cars on the property. Basically not for people like us who have their whole lives in their vehicles. So we continued in to an Old Historic Ranch in the town of Fort Davis. Talk about secluded! We basically had the entire ranch to ourselves and the place was huge with so many unlocked buildings that were on the grounds. It was pretty cool exploring this place which had a feel like the dirty dancing set or a girls summer camp from the 70’s. There wasn’t even any one around that worked there so we found a spot and enjoyed the evening.
We woke up the next morning to 22°. This ranch is at 5500 feet elevation and that certainly affects the weather. We turned in our WeBasto heater and watch YouTube until the sun came up over the mountains.
The temperature eventually got back up to 72° and we headed into town to do some laundry and have lunch. We had a nice TexMex lunch of brisket tacos and then went to the Fort Davis Drug Store which is a vintage soda fountain and old school ice cream parlor. Greg had a vanilla malt which was delicious.
We were going to continue west, but after checking the weather, we saw that this cold front that we experienced the last two mornings was still going to be around so instead of heading west we headed south in search of warmer days. We are currently half a mile from the Mexico border in a town called Presidio. We were at this Campground last year. They offer $10 primitive sites basically in a dirt lot. The people are friendly and the bathroom is clean so we will stay here a few days until the cold front moves on. I’ll post more photos of this place and this town in the next installment of the blog. Until then, enjoy the Holiday season.