After some brutal cold, windy days in Louisiana, I decided to haul ass to Florida. Not only has it been MUCH warmer here, the weather has been fantastic, gorgeous days (until last night) and The Dude has really enjoyed being able to walk around without a leash, in his own yard again.
Living in the Beach Compound has allowed me to do some long needed maintenance, and start cleaning the rig, fore-to-aft. Being able to park somewhere, drain oil, replace leaking seals, and throw all my crap out into the yard is a really big deal. Where else can you do this?
Not just maintenance is going on. For the first time in many years, I have done some REAL exploring of the area. In the past, I was only here for a weekend, or at most, a week for family functions, and then a run to the beach, or other standard attraction for a bit of vacation. I have never paddled the river that is within walking distance, or done much exploring of the state forest that I can throw a rock into.
Until this week.
I have spent almost every day riding, burning a tank of fuel blasting down dirt roads, running up and down the beach, exploring the, Park, looking for spots to drop a boat into, and have been blown away by what I have found.
Expect to see lots of paddling in between Cypress swamps and rivers, SCUBA, and maybe some sailing?
After coming in from riding downtown almost all day, I realized I had been in town already for 4 days, when I had intended to only spend the day meeting up with some skoolie guys. I have always hated Houston, as I never slowed down enough to experience it, and it was REALLY ugly from the Interstate. Like New Orleans, it was always too big, ugly, and unappealing.
All that has changed.
After meeting Don Tucker, the city seemed to unfold and bloom. He simply pointed out a few of the marvels, and took me to a few – one, a sculptor right down the street. David Adickes makes HUGE concrete statues because he wants to. Inspired by a trip to Mt. Rushmore, he decided to take up sculpture. He even has an installation on the side of the Interstate called Mt. Rush Hour.
After exploring on my own, what Don told me about this town became obvious – Houston is an art town. Art is everywhere, and it is beautiful. Parks every few blocks, amazing architecture, and Don is right in the middle of it all. He makes faux bois – or false wood, from concrete, and was the first person in history to teach how to do it. And he also runs a studio for other artists. And he is building a school bus RV (a real one) from a 1946 Wayne school bus. And he does goofy stuff like this custom VolksgrillWagon, installed at his favorite pub.
It was very cool 5 days, hanging with cools folks, in a town I totally underestimated.
Rolled into town yesterday, and rolled around for a bit trying to find my perfect spot, turning around in a gas station, I figured I could roll around the back side….a very narrow alley that led to a laundry window, then scraaaaaape. I thought at first it was the low hanging tree I had passed under, but the Houston PD officer pointed out as I exited(his car was blocking my turn) that I had just damaged the awning :(. I explained I thought it was the tree, and walked inside to exchange info. After the employee walked outside, he stated it was probably not that big of a deal, and would pass the info onto the owner. He seemed more interested in what I was up to than getting to the bottom of the accident. So I scooted around the city, looking for a good place to overnight, and I found a pretty good one.
Note the awesome skyline in the background, and across the street in front of the bus is a brewery – guess what I will be doing tonight? I did meet yet ANOTHER of Houston’s finest last night – exiting the bus to walk the dog, I noticed he was parked behind me, and asked if there was a problem – he said, nope, “simply finishing paperwork.” So, I guess I will spend another night – downtown Houston?
A truly amazing place, I am surprised I only spent 5 days there. I think it had to do more with the fact I felt like I was sinking in the sand (the sand I was bringing into the bus) and I also felt the need to keep moving east.
The influx of fishermen on the weekend did not help any – it went from a serene, deserted island, to a Daytona Beach racetrack on Saturday. I guess if I would have moved further down the beach it would not have been so bad. It was really never THAT bad, I was simply spoiled by the perfection at the beginning of the stay. My only suggestion is arrive on Monday, and leave Saturday morning.