Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Long Road to Texas

Well, after spending a wonderful week in New Orleans with Faithe, Woody and the dogs we decided to make haste and get to the tip of Texas in time for Thanksgiving, so that we could head into Mexico the next day and have a little more than three full weeks south of the border. Thus, we filled our tanks with po-boy veggie oil and set off, managing to drive almost 800 miles in just under three days along the Gulf Coast of Texas. We spent a night in a state park and a Wal-mart parking lot (no we didn't buy anything from them), before pulling up to El Valle del Sol rv park. Getting veggie oil in Texas proved to be quite difficult, most likely due to the prevalence of bio-diesel production in this area. Good for the environment, bad for hippies trying to save money. Anyways, we spent way too much time looking for decent oil dumpsters and were quite sick of the whole thing by the time we found a couple of good sources. We finally ended up getting about 45 gallons of good looking oil from a chinese buffet. We did however have to pay the restaurant manager $10.00, because the people who regularly emptied his dumpster had begun paying him this amount every time they came to suck it dry. We obliged and snickered at having to pay 20 cents a gallon for fuel, the first time in 4,000 miles we have paid anything for used veggie oil.
Interestingly enough, when we finally arrived at the RV park, it turned out to be a community for "winter texans," mid-western retirees who drive down to southern Texas for the cold months. Erma, the manager, set us up with a nice little place to park our bus at a reasonable rate, and we were even able to make use of the pool and hot tub in the warm Texas sun. The next day we were invited to Thanksgiving dinner with a few hundred of the winter texans. It was like having a holiday with 200 grandparents, which of course, was awesome. It would have been a very lonely Turkey-day in the little blue bus, otherwise. We also ended up having a description of our journey and veggie-bus announced part way through the dinner, so of course there were many interesting questions and conversations after dinner since most of these retirees travelled in huge diesel camper rigs.
As Friday came around, the 90 degree Texas sun decided to hide and allow a chilly 40 degree rain to fall and freeze us, so that we would appreciate the fact that we would be in Mexico for December. During this dreary drizzle we had some unexpected guests drop by the bus. It seems that word had spread around this largely mexican community that there were a couple of kids planning to go down to Chiapas. One local family, made up of Rosie, her husband Jesus, and their son Joshua (don't forget the "J's" are pronounced "H") were so overcome by joy that we were visiting their home that they decided to drop by and let us practice our horrible spanish with them. Before we knew it, Rosie had called her brother in Tonola, Chiapas and gotten the okay from him for us to come down and visit. Also, Josh, who spoke excellent english with absolutely no accent gave us a ride to the bank and then the bus station, where we hopped a crowded shuttle to Reynosa, Mexico, an large industrial city just across the border from Mission, Texas. This family was so nice, we can't wait to see them when we get back to Texas.
Once in Reynosa we had a long wait in a cold bus station for the next bus to Veracruz. We met several nice spanish speaking people, and Betsy practiced her conversation skills, all the while wishing she had a better teacher in college. After 4-5 hours we finally got on our bus, only to find that they had the air conditioning cranked and the bus was even colder than the freezing cold bus station. Thank god we we heading south, because the first several hours of that bus ride sent us into states of hypothermia. Betsy was quite literally curled up in a ball whimpering about how she couldn't feel her feet. After a few hours of this, the outside temperature finally warmed up enough that we were able to stop shivering and fall asleep.

Track Our Journey

Track Our Journey
The journey continues. . . 5 years later