“A Smile is the same as Sunshine; it banishes winter from Human countenance”
~ Victor Hugo ~ [Les Miserables]
We are just starting out, just as this Sunrise is, but our path is going to take much longer, not just a day, a few more. That is how I feel tonight while packing the too familiar bags, then unpacking and repacking. Games of the mind. This wonderful ECamper has been sitting here going nowhere, the trailer on which "Old Faithful" would be parked on while rolling down the road is filled with garbage bags and the remains of the past tent torn apart waiting to be taken to the dump, the forecast is for, well, not cold but cool… I just now threw everything on Sherpa’s back and with some remorse, but I better get use to it, that is how we will be leaving.
The ECamper is a wonderful aspect, there is no "anxiety" as to where we will sleep when the days shorter these present times seems to come so much faster near their end. The traveling part is of course not the same, yet what I am finding out is I am enjoying my photography in the sense of an easiness when stopping. Grab the camera, step out, take the photos and step back in. Even if it is for "that one", the one photo I sometimes bypass, without having to remove gloves, glasses, helmet, at least one ear plug, put back the glasses on, use the camera, put it away, glasses back off, ear plug in, liner and helmet back on, glasses back on, and finally gloves again. Yes? for those who ride with a full face helmet as I do. Not a big deal when one has done it over a few thousands of times, it becomes a habit, the alternative "is" nice though. Again, I cannot ever have regrets whichever way we are moving, everything lays in the acceptance of compromises. There is no one perfect way to accomplish anything.
We are up early. I am anyhow. Spirit has it made. All he needs to do is get up, eat, run around, do his thing (s!) and jump on the seat. How nice that must be! It is colder than thought or am I getting softer than thought? I am getting softer. No doubt about it. The resistance, the acceptance toward "non comfort" has diminished this past year. The thrill to freeze up is just not the same as I don’t think "thrill" is now even the word. Today, we can leave anytime, the shelter of a metal cage makes up for the lack of the shorter days as I believe the clock is even changing this weekend which does not really phase me, just the knowledge that it is.
No plans, just going on eastward. I remember a very cool Museum in Del Rio, a "hole in the wall" Mexican food stand in Uvalde, Amistad Lake where camping is available. All I know is we are going as we will also encounter some good food stores and bring back some provisions with us for some new recipes. And mentioning "recipes", my Dear Friend and Webmaster "Justin" not only went on vacation and swamped with work when he returned, but also has been very ill and we have delayed the opening of the "One-Pan Recipe" store. This weekend maybe as I have about to start 16 recipes laid out. It will always be another project in progress and I have to say a bit excited to finally setting it all up.
We are now camped on the shores of Lake Amistad near Del Rio. How nice is that! 250 miles away, a bit uneventful road to get here, strong wind on the nose made me appreciate Sherpa. So yes, it is obvious, I have a bit of a hard time with the concept but it keeps getting better and better. Will be fine when “Old Faithful” follows us from point A to point B! The heater was on part of the way, new downloaded Music, (Otis Redding, Sarah Mc Laughlin, Van Morrison, James Taylor… Old School), it was comfy. I met two motorcyclists in Alpine, I wished we rode! Half way here I realized I forgot my coffee grinder. Big commotion! Pow Wow time. Buy a new grinder? No. Buy some already ground coffee? No way. Drove an extra 15 miles or so to the first food store which happened to be a Wal-Mart, yes… and used their grinder to grind my own. I even had the wonderful greeter stick a yellow tab on my Ziploc bag so no one would think I was stealing ground coffee since I was not buying anything else. Sherpa was a good shelter for Spirit while I ran in and out. Of course he has a service tag and I would normally take him inside with me, this was easier.
Welcome Center, map, Visitor Guide, we are the perfect tourists and scoping the campgrounds we took possession of #5, “Governor’s Landing”. The best one, the one on the point. $4 a night, the other campgrounds are $2. That is with my "old man’s discount", my Lifetime $10 National Park Pass. How nice is that? You have to live this long to get one. The weather is now perfect as I sit outside after not cooking tonight, it is too late. Winter jacket is on, nice breeze, the moon is 3/4 full, the ECamper went up so fast that it leaves me a bit stunned always wanting to put in a bit more effort. And Oh! I have a real pillow. It is going to be a good night sleep for the both of us.
This is the beginning of a New Year for us. This is the perfect prescription for this present mind set. It has taken me a while to get here, the lessons have been tedious and I know will continue to be so, but a brilliant ray of Sunshine has made it’s way brightening up this path as I am now so responsible making sure the switch stays on. I am resigned to let let go of my denial and face a reality that has been so enlightening these past years. We are in for a ride of a Lifetime I am thinking! We shall move forward in slices of 5 years…
Morning comes around and this area suddenly feels as a giant light bulb has come on full force blinding me and skipping my thoughts already into future times. Where have we been when such gems are for the taking only 250 miles or so from "The Oasis". It was a full day as also planning to visit the Museum tomorrow. We left Governor’s Landing in search for the little hole in the wall Mexican food I thought would be in Uvalde. It was not. I did not even remember Uvalde being that large. Must be the next one, 8 more miles, Knippa, can’t turn around now. It was not either. Has to be Sabinal, another 11 miles. It was. "Nora’s". She has expanded just a bit from four years ago, the porch with the car seats is gone, the kitchen has taken over that space, and around lunch time people are in line, they were leaving with bags and bags of food, obviously called ahead.
The picture does not give it any justice. The perfect grilled beef tacos, "all the way" one must order. Guacamole, Pico de Gallo, grilled onions and peppers and…. homemade tortillas. The Tamales are even better. Just the right amount of a thin layer of "masa", unlike the rip off joints charging $3 a piece for 2 grams of filling, fluffy, moist, tasty, just right. I am stuck now with 3 more, no cooking tonight again, none tomorrow either.
Thinking about turning around, back to Governor’s Landing, this mission was accomplished. As the crowds dissipated and we started chatting, she insisted, that would be Nora, we must go to this State Park through another quaint town call "Utopia". “Lost Maples”. Sounded promising. We met Robert and Cyndi there in town and as the same way so many flag us down when riding, it was my turn to flag others down. And, they did not even have a dog, but it is not every day we see a sidecar. A beautiful set up done exactly like "Old Faithful", except for the bike itself being a different twin. I sure hope I have the names right.
On to "Lost Maples". Last curve and a sign is present I cannot miss. A Motorcycle Museum. “Lone Star”. Surprise. Brakes are on, gas pedal back on, I thought I better go on first and check the camping situation. They are full, to my surprise. Who would have thought. I turn around to walk out, around again as she calls me, a cancellation has just come in. Yes, I will take it. No senior discount here, but showers are present. A bit overpriced for $20 a night… Karma. It will be fine. We have more Tamales!!! Without looking at the assigned site, we are then on our way back to the Museum. Luck again, they don’t close till 5. But I know him, he knows us, we had met 3 years ago in Big Bend while he was out on an annual run for English bikes. He is now trying to retire and only open Friday through Sunday. A mere $5 to droll (and wipe if you do!) on the beauties laid out in the large showroom complete with the “Ace Café” serving as I understand the best burgers around. Tamales and Tacos it was though, full, no go on that scenario.
I cannot even begin to describe those fully restored motorcycles, I cannot begin to relate all the chatting which ensued. I think we did solve the World’s problems. The solution being, everyone needs to own a motorcycle and ride, and continue riding. What fun this has been. This is the perfect taken path when wandering the roads with no destination.
We wake up to rain. I thought I had heard the gentle sound of water drops throughout the night, but I sleep so soundly, it could have been a sounding mirage. Coffee, Mr. spirit does his thing and is served breakfast, ECamper is down quickly giving me this feeling I am forgetting a step, I double check and we are on the way. The rain is now stronger. Will we find Sunshine today? I had planned on some hiking this morning, I should have let go of the Museum visit for today! Yet, I do not mind this weather with a thermostat set on perfect. What becomes interesting now is the fact that we are dry and listening to my morning Music. I know, everyone has a car. This is new to us, my consternation is at it’s peak, this is a crucial moment, Henry Ford would have been proud of me, I am sold on this concept. Mixing it up will be a good solution. No two ways about it, we are suddenly braver than the elements. No wet tent. No rain gear, we are headed toward sunshine.
Back to Governor’s Landing, we avoided Garner State Park, rain and more rain, deep gray clouds, the gems where not as brilliant as the day earlier when we should have taken advantage of their trails. Next time. We met up with “The Oasis” the next day, she welcomed us with her always present gift of a Sunset like no others. Suddenly it feels even better being here, I sure must like silence as it is. Not a bad “Base Camp”!
Till next time.
"I have been juggling my Book, my “one-pan recipes”, “Spirit” and myself and also Smugmug is starting to look good if I may say so myself with now 6 Galleries. There will be more, adding daily as I go through these past years photos…”
Take a look. “Smugmug” stands for quality. Thank you.
Be well, always.
Ara and Spirit