Thursday, January 1, 2015

Escape

The title pretty well sums up how I am feeling today.  Sinus headaches will do that to a person.  Add in an approaching weather system that sets off every arthritic joint in a being ...  Well, enough of that.  The last couple of months seem to been a whirlwind of activities and short road trips.  This series of adventures began the first week of November with a three day camping trip to Inks Lake about 60 miles one way from our apartment.  This trip is documented in photos on my Wordpress blog here and here.

source:  http://www.durangotexas.com
The longest road trip was 1000 miles round trip (1600 km) to the Gulf coast and back.  Neither of us had been to Padre Island making this a new adventure for us.  Being a native Texan the distance to South Padre from Austin should not have surprised me but it did.  What made me think it would be like a 3 or 4 hour drive?  More like 6.5 hours with senior citizen rest stops.  I really should have made it a 3 night stay instead of just 2.  There was a deadline to return for festivities surrounding a very important graduation.

To the end of making our deadline we decided to use Interstate highways instead of our preferred byways.  So the quick adventure began.  Travelling I-35 from Austin to San Antonio took us through the eastern edge of the Texas Hill country.   Visitors to this region can expect to see rocky hills dotted with cactus, yucca, scrub cedar and live oak trees.  There will be cattle, it is Texas, cattle country after all.

The next leg of the trip was south of San Antonia.  We turned off on I-37.  We are now in an area of flat, grassy plains known as the South Texas Plains or Rio Grande Plains.  Mesquite, scrub oak, some palmettos and an occasional cactus can be seen from the highway.  These plants tend to block the long views the flatness would allow.  Slowly the landscape gives way to the farm lands of The Valley as natives call the area.  The landscape is post harvested fields with random plumes of fire.  The fires are from oil and gas well vents.  Again, it is Texas, oil country.

The last two legs of the trip were US Hwy. 77 and Tex. 100.  We were travelling in the Gulf coastal plains. The soil is sandy and vegetation is coastal.  These legs were traveled in a misty, foggy dark night.  We arrive during an unseasonably cool snap.  the hotel is set on the beach with an unusually long path from the parking lot.  It was 46 degrees with a blowing, damp wind at our back as we worked to get baggage and ourselves checked in.

Once in the room I opened the doors to the third story balcony.  We could hear the surf pounding though the fog would not afford a glimpse of the waves.  The morning light gave no better view as the fog was still surrounding us.  The air was still cool but near 70 by the afternoon. This area of Texas is a favorite area for human snowbirds, Winter Texans.  These are folks living in colder areas of the States who spend the late fall, winter and into early spring basking in the warmth.  South Padre is a summer destination for all things beachy.  The businesses reflect this locations primary purpose, escape.

Three trips of 400 + miles round trip (645 + km.) to holiday gatherings with family and care giving to Mom. The shopping trip to Fredricksburg with a drive through the LBJ ranch for a total of about 300 miles (480 km.) round trip in one day.  We, Husband, Cousin and I, walked the Main street of that old town sightseeing and window shopping.  We added about 3,000 miles in 6 weeks to our car.

The months of November and December passed so quickly it seems a dream.  I sit here on January 1 thinking and reliving the days and times.  All too fast.  So fast there was hardly time to enjoy or to grieve.  All too soon it is just another dreary, rainy day.  No party, no visitor, no ballgame, just life!  Life can be at its best in the dreary, rainy, plain days.


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