Texas is a big state… a very, very long state, particularly when you’re driving it from west to east. Or I guess from north to south, or any which way for that matter. We’re following our schedule and with it crossing the country for the fourth time this summer. Our remaining itinerary includes three shows in this expansive state before moving on to our final two backpacking clinics of the 2015 Get Out More season in New Orleans and Jackson Mississippi.
First stop is in Fort Worth where I have a long lost cousin I haven’t seen in nearly two decades. My cousin Shawn and his wife Susan along with their three very likable dogs have taken us in for two nights. Shawn is actually my Dad’s cousin making him my second cousin and a little older than Becky and I. But in actuality he falls right in between my Dad’s age and my own. I have memories of Shawn moving out from Montana to Seattle where we lived and sleeping on the couch in our basement family room. I was five at the time and in my impressionable adolescent mind I remember him living with us and sleeping on that couch for at least six months, maybe even a year. To my amazement Shawn enlightened me to the fact that he resided on the couch in that crowded two parent, four kid house for only a single month. I’m surprised he lasted that long!? We always had an uncle or cousin living with us in those days and thinking back to my childhood I’d always likened it to the TGIF comedy Full House.
Becky fell in love with Susan and Shawn’s three adorable dogs (especially Janie their attention hoarding xxxx). We were spoiled both nights as they cooked us dinner, played tour guide taking us to the historic western down town area of Fort Worth and even attended our GOM clinic at the Backwoods gear shop. Thank you cous, hopefully it won’t be another 20 years till we meet again!
Leaving Fort Worth we had a show in both the Austin and Houston area before some planned much needed play time and break from the urban sprawl of city living. But first, I know it’s not truly “getting out”, but no trip to Houston is complete without a visit to the Johnson Space Center. I’m actually a huge space nerd and now I have the official blue baseball cap with the NASA insignia to prove it!
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Getting back to “getting out”, we raced to the coast for some quality time on the water. Located south east of Houston on the Gulf coast is Sea Rim State Park. Here we arrived just before dusk to find a full campground. As we made a loop through the parking lot and prepared to move on in search of an unoccupied campground, we had already resigned ourselves to setting up in the dark. Just then a friendly couple with a dog offered to let us camp with them for the evening. We have had an abundance of this type of good-natured hospitality shown to us this summer. And this has been true throughout our experience no matter where we are in the country, people are kinder and more generous out on the trail or in a campground. If the whole world worked this way think how wonderful it could be!