Texas State Railroad “Happy Hobo Express”

Setting up our campervan, the smell of BBQ was undeniable; the seductive scent of giant pits carefully preparing chosen cuts of meat. Meats slowly cooked into submission, seasoned to perfection, and smothered in homemade super-secret sauces. In the South BBQ is an art-form, a near-religion, and all preparations were being made to usher us into heaven. Read more

Sea Rim State Park “Sun and the Beach”

No chance of rain in the forecast, a “mild” 102 degree Southern Summer weekend, what to do? The woods are too overgrown, and due to recent flooding there are no accessible sandbars on our favorite kayaking rivers….. Hum. We live an hour from the beach! Read more

Old East Orange, The lost city of Casino’s ?

 

Paddling across the Sabine River, I couldn’t escape the feeling I had forgotten something important. One of those nagging feelings in the back of your mind which sort of makes your stomach turn, but you don’t know why. Shoving this down I looked back at times to check on Lauren paddling 20 or so yards back. I was raised on these waters, what could I have possibly  forgotten? Pushing my paddle under the washed out bank I hoped  if there were a nesting alligator it would choose the paddle over my leg. Read more

To climb or not to climb?

I felt the arid heat of this terrain drawing vitality from us as it’s splendor encouraged exploration. The sun lived in this valley,  against its rays my pale ginger skin stood no chance. If I removed my shirt at midday the radiance of my pale glow could blind everyone, at-least for the two minutes before I burst into flames. Read more

A Mexican stand off with Texas Bison.

 

A snake in the tent, a random blizzard, or attracting the undesired attention of a large predatory cat, and yes all of this has happened to me. By its nature Adventure requires random variables which surprise and at times frighten us. I am a meticulous planner, an obsessive details driven, often over-prepared person.  Yet somehow Adventure always finds me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Read more

Caprock Canyons a Victory

 

Ecology and Environmentalism are topics I am not qualified to discuss. Yet, after the  semantics, who with any sense of conviction doesn’t love nature? I was raised in deep South East Texas a place where hippies don’t chain themselves to trees in protest of deforestation. As a child we burnt our trash in a metal 55 gallon drum; on a side note there is nothing more redneck  than throwing aerosol cans into a fire. It is safe to say my views have changed greatly. But, then again no great southern story ever starts with a deeply studied, well dressed  gentlemen saying, hold my salad and watch this? Read more

Are we there yet!!!

 

I was one of those lucky kids whose parents took them camping every summer break. Now to context that statement, long rides in a cramped vehicle drive me insane. It was always she’s touching me, and are we there yet. As a ginger before SPF 60 I would smolder and smoke in direct sun light; so I was not allowed to leave the camper from 12pm-5pm. I watched as other kids rode bikes and swam while I took extended classes to combat dyslexia. I would complain but reading and writing is so much better than melanoma. Read more

Swamped

 

As the weekend approached we packed our D.I.Y Campervan setting our sights and bikes upon Louisiana. If you have never visited, you are missing out.  Louisiana  has an attitude and atmosphere  somewhere  between  “no worries,” “southern hospitality”, gambling, and kissing an alligator while buying hard liquor and ammo from a gas station. We wont even discuss Mardi Gras,  a party, I will not admit attending …wink….wink… Read more

tree hugger.

 

Charlie, Zach, and Ray, had never been camping, yet for some insane reason  they excepted our invitation to car camp and hike Boykin Springs.  Ray quickly caught on to the axe wielding lumbar jack bit, as Zac set up tents, and Charlie as our little sister somehow managed to watch as we worked. Around the campfire Lauren and I shared the history of Boykin Springs from the lumber boom to the C.C.C restoration project my grandfather had worked in planting trees. I told one of my many how not to hike stories in which I was stuck in a giant briar patch during sleeting rain with only a compass and an off scale map. Sometime around 9:30pm I emerged upon a dirt road looking as though I had lost a Mortal Combat death match with 1000 crazy ninja cats. Read more