Last week brought us from Florida's panhandle to the Gulf Coast of Texas. Our first stop: a meeting with a man whose nature photography I've been admiring for a few years but, until now, we had only met online.
When John realized we would be literally crossing paths (he's traveling to Florida from Texas) he suggested we try to connect. I'm so glad he did.
We met in a State Forest near Pensacola where we shared a boondocking campsite and a lovely evening. Randy made his company specialty, "Pasta Bolognese" and John was the first dinner guest in our RV on this trip. The evening ended with a sneak preview of John's next slide show.
His photos are really amazing but none of them are commercially sold or copy righted. John simply states, "the more who enjoy the pictures, the better." That statement is very much in keeping with his personality.
Quite the adventurer, John has been traveling full time in his Alaska truck camper for the past seven years and, before that, spent seven years living on a sailboat.
Continuing west, in Louisiana, we camped one night with Boondockers Welcome members just north of New Orleans and a second night on a beach with very few other people in sight.
On our first stop in Texas, we threw our kayak into a peaceful cypress swamp to paddle with the alligators. Actually, we were told there were lots of them around but we didn't encounter any.
Midway through our paddle trip, we tied up to a tree, I turned my seat around to face Randy's, and we enjoyed our onboard lunch. I still think this is one of the neatest (and totally unadvertised) features of the Sea Eagle two-man kayak. Of course, the fact that the craft is so stable that I can pretty well stand upright while I spin the seat around helps a lot.
We finally hit the Texas Gulf Coast and are revisiting some of our favorite haunts here. This is our first time in this part of Texas since Hurricanes Ike and Rita hit so we weren't sure what to expect. Virtually every home on the Texas coast north of Galveston has been replaced - in fact, we saw almost no building that was more than five years old.
At the Galveston Visitor Center we learned that thousands died in Hurricane Ike and many bodies never found. The inner city of Galveston was spared the worst of the storms but everything on the seawall there did endure severe water damage. Galveston's historic district remained, thankfully, unscathed.
We were amazed to see long lines of RVs, set up for camping legally and for free along Seawall Blvd. This was certainly not what we remembered from our last trip. It turned out, the city allows this only for four days per year - through the Mardi Gras parades. Very generous, even though we passed it by because we already had found a much quieter free camping option nearby.
Did we stay for the Mardi Gras party? We certainly were tempted but we didn't want to be late for an even better invitation. Stay tuned for the details....Days On The Road at time of writing: 25
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