APR
23
2014

Shiner

I have to admit that I’ve been humbled here in Kemah by the incredible people we have met, and the generosity of all of them. We met up with our friends, the sugar-cookie-family, for dinner last night, and I really just can’t believe the goodwill that they heaped upon us. Thanks again to everyone in the cruising capital of Texas.

I feel like we sort of slipped out of Kemah while it was still asleep. We woke up this morning sort of half-planning on visiting NASA. But by the time everyone was dressed, and the kids had both skinned their knees for the first time of the day, we had wordlessly decided that it was a gray day worthy of the road.

Getting out of Houston without driving on the Interstates is no small task. Mainly because instead of just busting it out at ninety miles an hour (or fifty-five, whatever) we were doomed to drive through what seemed to be just one giant suburb. We passed seventy-three Domino’s, one-hundred-sixty-seven McDonald’s, and three Chik-bigots.

The worst part of the mornings escape wasn’t the suburbs themselves but the stoplights. Stoplights have become our nemesis. Yellow lights are designed for cars, not ten-thousand pound drum-braked RVs. Even though I’m traveling anywhere from five to ten miles an hour under the speed limit there is about a hundred-foot window where there is no way I am going to be able to stop in time without putting down two feet Fred Flinstone style, but I am also not going to be able to run through the light while it is still yellow either.

So these days whenever I’m driving on a road at over forty-five miles an hour and I see a traffic light ahead I have to focus every ounce of my energy and concentration on that green—my foot light on the gas, ready to pounce on the brake if it turns yellow before a certain no-turning-back point.

Man, I could really use just one more second on that yellow. Just one. All right, three.

We eventually got out in the country and headed west—San Antonio on the radar. It’s springtime, obviously, and the wild flowers are out in force. To the point that you can smell them just driving down the road. It’s quite pretty in that flowery girly sort of way.

We were far busier in Kemah the past few days than we are used to. Our social calendar is usually left blank, and we could tell that the kids were tired. But we weren’t prepared to see them both fall asleep just thirty minutes into the drive, at ten o’clock, for a two-hour nap. Oh, it was heavenly.

The town of Shiner was our stop for the day. It was late afternoon and we happily stumbled across an empty—but big and clean—municipal park with RV hook ups.

Apr21 1 Apr21 8 Apr21 2 Apr21 3 Apr21 4 Apr21 5

I love skate parks. No gravel and no cracks means no wipeouts.

Apr21 6

There really should be an RV design school.

Apr21 7

Dinner with great new friends. These two girls were so incredibly sweet to Ouest. Such a great evening for all of us.

Apr22 1

One great thing about being in Texas is the taquerias. Complete with all the religious stuff and the 13″ tv in the corner blaring Spanish language telenovelas. We had gorditas that made us feel like we were sitting in a market in Mexico City. So good.

Apr22 2

Ali was in love with these bird houses. “It’s like they have their own apartment complex.” I scoffed. Until I saw that they have unit numbers on them. Mind blown.

Apr22 3 Apr22 4 Apr22 5 Apr22 6 Apr22 7

I discovered in the past couple of days that I’m leaking a fair bit of oil while the bus is running. I’ve been adding oil semi-regularly but thought it was just the engine burning a bit of it. When we pull into a place at night and shut off the engine there isn’t a drop on the ground. The next morning when I fire it up and let it run for a few minutes before taking off I can see a pretty substantial puddle. I’ll get under there in the next couple of mornings and see if I can’t figure out exactly where it’s coming from. Shouldn’t be too hard to spot with how much it’s losing.

Also discovered tonight that we’ve lost our brake lights. That’s more worrisome. It’s definitely not safe driving this thing around with no stop lights. I crawled underneath and confirmed that there is power going to the hydraulic switch when the brake is pressed, but there is no juice coming out the other side (the wire to the brakes). Gave the fitting a few good raps with a screwdriver, but somehow that didn’t fix it. Out of ideas. I’ll be stopping at every auto parts store along the way tomorrow. It’s a stupid $8 part!

Texas BBQ

Bum friends had a BBQ today with us as the guests of honor. I have to say that I’m not really the most social guy...

Kemah

We had plans in Kemah, so Galveston got a bit shortchanged by us. We were there for a couple of really bad weather days...

Galveston

We drove Louisiana backroads yesterday, taking whatever squiggle led towards the coast. We eventually hit the brown...

West

We are inexorably drawn to the West. We really tried to convince ourselves to go East on this trip. We woke up yesterday...