Ha’ Past Texas. 14 Years Ago

My most recent post tickled an ancient memory.  Where have I heard the phrase “Half Past Texas” before?  When my memory cells found it, I had plagiarized myself! 

Just before the turn of the millennium, I indulged myself in ten weeks of playing hooky from work.  I left the Bay Area in my mini-van in November, bound for the annual Levenson Family Turkey Excess, and coasted through the rest of the year and a few weeks more.

Even in those days I was given to self-indulgent journaling and inflicting the outpouring on friends and family. 

Below is the sixth post of that trip.  Who knew I was only apprenticing for the current three-plus years of back-roads tumbling and tens of thousands of words of observations outward and inward.

You sharp-eyed folks will notice I spent New Year’s Day in Austin, Texas in 2000 and again in 2014. 

So join me in a little nostalgia trip:


6. Ha’ past Texas — day 58

“There is no place in Big Bend National Park that is not a good place to watch the sunset,” the ranger said.

I arrived late in the morning of January 2.  I left Austin on New Year’s day, which I spent with my Puerto Rican sailing buddy, Vitin,  as soon as it appeared that Alabama was going to blow out Texas in the Cotton Bowl.  I logged 300+ miles across some of the loneliest landscape in the country and ran out of popcorn in Langtry, Texas, where I parked in the parking lot of the Judge Roy Bean visitor center.  Then upanatem for the last 250 miles (there are no short hops in Texas) to the southwest corner.

Fort Lauderdale was a faded memory, although I had stretched the nostalgia trip out visiting a couple of pals in west Florida.  I depressurized with a couple of days in Apalachicola NF before taking the slow route along the Gulf coast of Florida.  (Anyone who thinks California is a long state has never done the Gulf coast of Florida).

The battleship Alabama is within sight of the interstate.  So I pulled off and indulged my lifelong interest in naval architecture and maritime history.  The Alabama is a very well-restored battleship.  A floating gun platform and awesome weapon at the outbreak of WWII and obsolete by the time the war was over.  The park also has an aircraft pavilion with several superb WWII aircraft as well as a B-52.  I spent the day.

On my way to see some friends in Houston, I saw a sign for the Battleship Texas.  I went out of my way to view this WWI-style battleship.  Impressive technology for its time, a ship that still served in WWII.

On to Austin for New Year’s Eve with a long time sailing pal from Puerto Rico.  His kids are the only kids in the world allowed to call me Grandpa.

Big Bend is a nice place to get to:  T-shirt weather during the day, with nights in the 20s.  On the last leg of the drive into the park, I noted that I had passed the 10.000-mile mark of my voyage — that is a long wake for any ship.  I am giving myself another ten days to wind down this trip.  Carlsbad in still ahead, so is Lew in Arizona, and Ruth in Monterey.

Home by ha’ past January.

Leave a light on.




About allevenson

Writer (of stories, journals, email dialogues), Reader (of books written by friends, recommended by friends, and works-in-progress of friends), Hiker (never met a trailhead I didn't like), Biker (more scenery for the buck than hiking) and lately, Blogger (about my Year on the Road at www.allevenson.wordpress.com).
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5 Responses to Ha’ Past Texas. 14 Years Ago

  1. karen wittgraf says:

    Al- Jerry is reading this and he is intrigued by the 3 battleships and the B52 bomber and would love to see it. How is the old motorhome running? I’m so happy that you’re enjoying your travels and karen lets me share this with her. Thank you, Your friend, Jerry.

    • allevenson says:

      Hi, Jerry. I’ve been fascinated by old warships for many years. Alameda where I used to live, has the *Hornet*, a heroic carrier from WWII, restoration is slow and steady. The carrier Midway is in So Cal and they’ve done a great job on it. The submarine memorial in Hawaii is wonderful and solemn. The Arizona will bring silence to your heart.

      Alabama is the best restored ship there is. Seeing the Texas and the Alabama one day apart is a good deal.

      I’ve missed the Yorktown in Charleston.

      The motorhome keeps on going. Engine runs fine, accessories and household stuff fails and some I can fix, some I need a Jerry for. But I keep on going. I think I can squeeze another year out of this life before going to part-time.

      Thanks for the note, buddy,


      *AL * *Ride with me and Lightnin’ **on our Year on the Road at **http://allevenson.wordpress.com or the new blog at* *http:allevenson2.wordpress.com *

      *Don’t threaten me with love, baby. Let’s just go walking in the rain.

  2. Linda Brown says:

    Al, have you really been “on the road” for three years? Your journal keeps us in touch but somehow I missed the Austin visits. Big Bend is on my must-see list of places to visit. On your return, consider the Marfa lights.

    Will we see you in the Bay area anytime soon?

  3. Michael Joyce says:

    Al, it has been a pleasure sharing your journey. Please call when you get back in the Alameda area. I’d be honored to buy a lunch and ask some questions.

    And you are the only guy I know with a motorhome older than ours!


  4. Colleen Rae says:

    i’m sorry I missed the up-side of Texas. I remember the long, plain, boring trip across the state. Then there was the painful memory of being kicked out of town. Luckily we left, otherwise we might have become a statistic. Thanks for your reminising of memories. Someday I may get to Austin again. LIked that town.

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