Somehow, despite driving nearly 1000 miles due north, Texas greeted us with heat unlike anything Mexico had offered. Granted, in cities such as Oaxaca, we did have elevation on our side. Despite some optimistic forecasts, South Padre Island disappointed in the wind department. We spent most of our days there hiding in cafes and breweries sipping away at the slowest possible rate to savor the available air-conditioning, then heading to the beach to take advantage of cool water and free outdoor showers.
When we finally gave up on the prospect of kiting, our drive towards Austin was a game of hide-and-seek with Tropical Storm Bill. While Bill may have provided plenty of kiteboarding inspiring winds, we cautiously declined riding them and headed to what promised to be a beautiful campsite on the Padre Island National Seashore near Corpus Christi. Wasting no time to take advantage of the campsite’s showers we were barely left an hour to soak up the scenery before the local ranger came by to kick us out.
Bill was on our ass again and our campsite was supposed to get hit hard. The whole place was being shut down. For the first time ever, Follow The Wind was being followed by the wind. Goodbye beautiful campsite and hello WalMart parking lot.
So far our fun-filled-pre-motor-swap time in Texas was lacking a bit, but we are not to be deterred. San Antonio was a gem of a city which also included an unexpected visit with some of Jacqui’s family who happened to be in town.
Finally settled in Austin, our campsite is unbelievably situated close enough to downtown that driving is almost completely unnecessary. However, the grand scale of adventures we were having in Mexico and Central America do seem to be on hold for the moment. All work and no play until our new motor day. The clock is ticking down until Penny’s heart transplant begins.
And I’ll tell you here and now, with 75 and 80mph speed limits all over this state, I can’t wait to be above 45mph when the wind is in our face especially after an unexpected Texas Vanagon meet-up had us drooling over plenty of modified vans. It's amazing, for all the pain and problems our little van has given us, in some magical way she's a ticket to experiences no other camper could provide. There isn't a place we camp or park that some person we otherwise wouldn't have chatted with, starts asking us questions. The rules of VW conversation starters are even international. I'm sure some of you remember our crazy weekend getting adopted by a Mexican family that all started with the son wanting to buy our van: From the Mountains to the Hunt.
We're spending our last couple days exploring Austin and meeting up with friends. Katie, one of Jacqui's roommates from college, has lived here for 10 years. We saw her when we passed through in our Dolphin what seems like an eternity ago. So now was the perfect time for a second catch up and second adventure vehicle show off. Living on the road, especially when you're really bad at driving to South America, seems to be the best way to stay connected with far-away friends. Another of Jacqui's friends, Nichole, was in town for work so we were lucky to be around at the same time and catch up over a drink. It seems that coincidental meet ups all take place in Texas.
Visiting Sea Turtle Inc in South Padre Island and keeping an eye on Tropical Storm Bill in Corpus Christi.
Exploring San Antonio: The Alamo and the RiverWalk.
Meeting with friends in Austin: New Vanagon-owner friends, brunch with Katie, Jacqui's college roommate, and Nichole, a close friend from SF who was in town for work.