April Road Trip: Eastern Texas and Louisiana

We were bummed to leave my aunt and uncles house but we had to keep going. We got stopped the first of many checkpoints. Something we knew nothing about. Basically they just look if you’re carrying immigrants in your truck or acting suspicious. We didn’t even know they could do that and didn’t know it was extremely common in Texas. The five or six we went through were all different – with us even showing our passports (since we had them) at one to get them off our back.

Uvalde, Texas

Our plan was to stay in Uvalde, Texas since it was the “honey capital of the world” (according to their website). Turns out it’s probably the nothing capital of the world since there was nothing there that every other American city doesn’t already have. There were only fast food, big box stores, and motels. Boring. Everything that was advertised as being in “Uvalde” was in the county, not the city. So bummer. We did have a lot of fun at the HEB though. We tried to stay at an RV park but we arrived after hours and we didn’t have the bathroom codes. So we would’ve been locked out of the bathrooms all night. After getting eaten alive by mosquitoes we decided to just eat the cost of a motel.

San Antonio, Texas

We hit the road early and made it quite quickly. We were staying in a nicer hotel as a treat- Hyatt Regency San Antonio which was right on the river walk. When we had been doing research for San Antonio everyone said the river walk was the best thing ever. Almost every Pinterest pin was about it and every guide recommended it.

It’s just a restaurant district. That’s it. Everyone is there with a date and they walk hand in hand taking up the whole path. So you get to see the restaurants very, very slowly. After you’ve eaten, well, you can walk around and scout for the next meal, or buy over priced alcohol.

We just don’t get it. People had acted like there was so much shopping (there was, but only if buying tourist trinkets counts) and culture and mystery and wonder. It’s pretty. Yes. But that’s it.

Not to poop on San Antonio more but we also went to the Alamo and didn’t really get that either. You wait in line for 30 minutes, they force you to get your picture taken as if it’s a Disneyland ride then you go inside. It’s supposed to be hallowed ground but everyone is taking selfies and shouting at their kids and pushing. Then you get funneled into the gift shop area which has “The Alamo” written on literally every noun that stood still long enough to have “The Alamo” written on it. We wanted to see the museum but it was packed like a subway car. We could barely get in the door. It’s really the only thing to see and once everyone figures that out it’s packed.

We ate at Casa Rio for TexMex one day and Lone Star for Texas/Southern food the other day.  Both were fine. Honestly there are coupon books everywhere and you shouldn’t go into any restaurant without a coupon (we got a free heap of deep fried pickles at the Lone Star with a coupon!). On our way out we went to Charlie Wants a Burger (now closed) for breakfast because it was the only restaurant open for breakfast (this was near Easter but sheesh).

San Antonio is a fine enough place, it just didn’t work for us. If you’re introverted, or you really don’t care about chain restaurants, or you have seen a river before and enjoyed that enough then we wouldn’t recommend the river walk. We would recommend straight up finding a real river and, I don’t know, packing a picnic there.

Anahuac, Texas

We had to drive near Houston to get through Texas. So it got really busy but we made it, finally. We picked Anahuac because we didn’t want to drive 8+ hours to our next destination. We were looking for a cheap and easy RV park to sleep for one night and then head out. We found Alligator Alley which was a real adventure. The owner was insanely nice. The place was mostly oil refinery workers staying there long-term. After dinner one gentleman came to visit us. And we wrote down what he said because it was our favorite:

“Hey, hey. Hey. This a real nice trailer park. Hey, this a good trailer park, I mean a real nice trailer park. Hey. You’n go fishin’ ovah there. Hey thems some real good fishin. I mean some good fish. Hey, we just ate them same fish we just caught. Jus’ fried em on up.”

Then he told us about how he “hey” works at the refinery for 12 hour shifts and it’s “hey tha’s some real hard work. Hey.” But then he got to probably his original point. Up until then he was just being polite and making conversation.

“Hey, it’s safe here. Tha’ lady always around(the owner) . N’ the otha’ one, too. Hey it is real safe here. Jus’ leave yo’ stuff. Ain’t no one gonna take it. And, hey, if you need somethin’ you hollar’. We all come out with guns. Cuz’ you know we all got ou’a guns. No body locks nothin‘ round’ here. Hey, you can just leave anythin’ out in the open. Cuz we got guns and it’s just no problam.”

Here we are. Just two young people sleeping in the back of a truck. We look down on our luck maybe more than we look like RV-ers.

So I think he thought we were going to be living in their neighborhood for a while. So he rolled out the ol’ hey-welcome-wagon and also we’ll effing shoot you if you steal. And we’ll keep y’all safe. Hey.

We walked around the town and met some more really nice people.  Many asked where we was from and what we was doing and if we was enjoying our vacation. We visited the park and read these huge signs that detailed the history of the town. Some Juan took over a building for a while, but don’t worry, Texas got it back. We’re genuinely not making fun of Anhuac, or the people there, it was genuinely one of our favorite experiences on this trip.

Sulphur, Louisiana

We ate some cheesy grits and grapefruit for breakfast. The true breakfast of champions. We had seen the Creole Nature Trail online and wanted to drive it. We had planned on winging it but at the last second made a tiny detour to the “Adventure Point.” This is just a visitors center. It advertises itself as an interactive thing that sounded mostly for kids. We’re glad we decided to go. The man gave us some good tips about where we could see the most alligators. Also the food section in the back had loads of recipe cards for local food. Finally the nice man gave us a restaurant recommendation, LeBleu’s Landing. It’s 2 minutes from the nature trail. I got some fried catfish, hushpuppies and cole slaw. Chris tried “boudin” balls which we had trouble pronouncing because we’re not from these parts.

We hit the road and the city faded away to trailers high up on stilts for the flooding. This faded away to just wetlands and bayou (bayou means it’s moving, apparently). We passed over the Intracoastal Waterway – something we had never heard of. A 3,000 mile waterway going from Texas to Boston. It’s pretty critical for our trade so we were surprised we had never heard of it before.

We stopped at the Blue Goose Walking trail and the Wetland Walking Trail. We saw our first alligator partially submerged at the Blue Goose one and didn’t see any at the Wetland one.

These were great to just go at a leisurely and quiet pace. Be vewy vewy quiet, we’re looking for awigators. 

We were bummed we didn’t see hardly any alligators.  We saw Holly Beach then took a 4 minute ferry across a little inlet thing. The nice man had given us one last tip. Based on the temperatures and sun and stuff the alligators like to hang out on a levee somewhere by Cameron.  So he showed us where that was and sure enough that was where all the gators were.

You could drive around and just take pictures out of the window. They were all sunning themselves on the grass (and road) so we got to see them better than when they were in the bayou. We counted 11 (this number would shoot up to 63 when we made it to Florida).

We had a long drive to Palmetto Island State Park. It turned out to be pretty expensive to just park our truck for one night but it had really nice showers and a great little walking path. If we had had a kayak we could’ve taken their many water-trails around the area. We still walked as far as we could before the path ran out.

While I was showering a bunch of armadillos came to visit Chris. Then the German family staying next to us warned us of the “wild pork” which turned out to be boars.  The boars ended up staying all night rummaging through the leaves aside of the truck. Their snorting and leaf ransacking put us to sleep. We woke up to a woodpecker looking at himself in one of the side mirrors. He didn’t like what he saw so he was going to town trying to attack himself in the mirror. He pecked at it then would fly away and get a running start to smash into the window. These were strange sounds to wake up to without context.

 

 

 

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