If you’ve ever traveled through the South….
….these images ought to look mighty familiar to you.
Éva and I started calling them tree tubes.
Green tree tubes.
Mile after mile after mile after mile of green trees on either side of the highway – any highway.
I had hoped to avoid Texas entirely on this trip. I had absolutely no desire to come here. Zero. Zip. Nada. None. It’s just not my cup of tea, to put it politely.
Read – “Welcome to Texas. Watch yer ass.”
I mean, I’m traveling in a beat up old van with California plates – you do the math.
You saw that coming, didn’t you?
But, Éva and I both wanted to see Austin. For those who don’t know, Austin has a reputation for being a bastion of liberal wonderfulness in the middle of (deepinahearta) a very conservative Texas. It just sounded fun and friendly.
So, from New Orleans (a few lingering thoughts on that at the end of this post) we drove to Beaumont, Texas and spent the night in a parking lot. We were so dirty and grungy and just dying for a shower, but knew we needed to make it one more night before stopping at a campground (and hence, a shower) in order to save money. Leaving Beaumont early, we made our way over to the KOA campground in Bastrop (we kept wanting to call it Balthrop – who names a town Bastrop?!) and here are a couple of pics on the way.
We even got to see the Staypuft Marshmallow Man!
Welcome to Austin.
The obligatory picture of the capitol building.
We crossed over the bridge to South Congress where there were some nice places to hang out.
Austin was, indeed a nice city. An easy going place to wander around. Nice people.
Maybe I’m a little city’d out, though, you know?
Think I’m ready for a little country life.
We saw (and heard) these birds everywhere since Beaumont. So scraggly looking! Funny sound, like an alarm. Strange birds.
I liked Austin. It was a somewhat big city, but not overwhelming. But, it’s time to move on.
Here are a few of those lingering thoughts about New Orleans: The morning we left the city, it was the 10th anniversary of Katrina. Of course, I knew there’d be memorials and ‘celebrations’ of a sort – celebrating the survival of the city. I thought about staying, but felt odd about it. Almost as though I would have been a ‘party’ crasher. It seems to me that what happened during and after Katrina was a very personal thing for New Orleanians (hope I’m spelling that correctly).
I would have felt rude as an ‘observer.’ Everyone there was very kind and I’m sure they would have been welcoming, but – it’s hard to put my finger on it – somehow, to me, it didn’t feel right. I’m an outsider. So, it was time to leave. Out of respect. It was their day.
And just a couple things I forgot to mention in the N’awlins post: we heard music coming from here and there, down the street, from a bar. A trumpet player, a saxophonist, a fiddler. We watched and listened to a band playing some blues out in the street. Really good musicians.
And, last, but not least, we ate jambalaya. Yum. Truly. Yum.