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.