#notwhatiplanned

8 Feb

One of the reasons for the blog’s recent silence is #Instagram. It’s true what they say: A picture really *is* worth 1,000 words. And, indeed, the first 17 days of my Epic Homeless Vagabond Couch-Surfing Roadtrip (hereinafter EHV-CSR) is well-and-truly told in that media space. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I urge you to consider doing so: http://instagram.com/justadventures/.

But that’s maybe kind of a cop-out reason.

The REAL reason for the silence is that although I like to say that I’m currently enjoying an extended period of #funemployment, in reality, this whole EVH-CSR thing is pretty much akin to full time job — with lots of overtime. The driving. The bike training. The eating. The drinking. The cavorting. The exploring. The navigating of all that is so very much unplanned. All while taking care of the myriad chores that come along with trying to live a life on the road, with a dog, … It doesn’t leave much time for writing. Tonight, however, you’re in for a treat.

I’m currently in Baytown, TX.

A town for which I had ZERO expectations.

A town that simply would be a convenient long-term stop-over between Austin, TX and New Orleans, LA.

A town in which my host would most likely to leave me to my own devices and not manage to actually *plan* anything for us to do (because he has never, ever planned ANYTHING in his life…)

A town that would give me pretty much nothing to write about, but plenty of time to write about all the other amazing, odd, wonderful, unexpected, confounding, joyous things that happened in all the other towns leading up to this.

#notwhatiplanned

This hashtag has proliferated my Instagram account and it encapsulates my Baytown experience, fully. I am writing to you tonight, because my host is MAKING ME sit down and write and he won’t give me back my car keys until I do. He’s taken control in a way that no one could’ve ever predicted or expected (even him!).

It’s late and I’m tired, so this post will be limited to the what happened in Baytown — because what happens in Baytown needs to not stay in Baytown (apparently).

Baytown, Day #1 (Thurs)

While in Phoenix, I learned that Zolie really, really does not like cats. We never had any experience with them in L.A. and I didn’t think to add them to her EVH-CSR training regime. My bad. She really, really hates cats. Like: Cannot control her rage kind of hate.

So, when we unexpectedly had to wait for our host to show up–even after I had taken a diversionary trip to a local, old-skool, totally legit BBQ joint for a big bunch of beef–both Zolie and I were taken by surprise when Stinky the Cat pounced upon my car hood, precisely at 3:30pm, thus delivering the favorite (so far) of all my #333project photos.

IMG_3112Ay-yi-yi, this was #notwhatiplanned!

Zolie and I remained pretty much trapped in the car for about an hour (because it was W-A-Y too cold to venture out; and because of the C-A-T). When our host finally showed up, he realized that he didn’t have his house key. He’d only moved into the house the day before. He must’ve left the keys at his prior place. In Houston. ~45-minutes away.

So, off we all set, in the very freezing cold to go hunt down his keys and to find a place to stash Zolie while we drank a couple of much-needed beers and chowed-down on some not-so-much-“needed”-but-oh-so-very-welcome seafood gumbo and creole shrimp pies. Mmmm, pies!

We finally made it into the house at close to 10pm that night. I left my prior abode at 10:00am. So instead of my nice-and-easy 3-hour-drive, I endured enjoyed a 12-hour commute instead. #notwhatiplanned. Good night.

Baytown Day #2 (Fri)

I was supposed to do a quick 1.5-hour ride on Thursday. That plan got hijacked by the above-described shenanigans. It was 32* when I woke up. Normal temps at this time of the year are in the high-60s/low-70s. #notwhatiplanned.

I donned 5 layers of clothes and set off into 18mph headwinds. #notwhatiplanned

My host had recommended that I follow the I-10 frontage road. My host is clearly mentally deranged. I would have died, for sure, if I followed his instructions. Instead, I followed the advice of my host’s 83-year-old father who has Alzheimers and headed to the Baytown Nature Center. This place is cray-cray, y’all!

Officially, it is described as a “costal oasis.” And I guess it is, technically, insofar as oasis means: Fertile area in a wasteland.

Birds of all sorts (including the trecherous, hideous, terrifying Pelican) hang out in these “wetlands” reclaimed from a neighborhood that was repeatedly victimized by hurricanes. The most magnificent thing I saw (twice!) was when a falcon (or maybe it was a hawk, or an eagle — I don’t know birds) divebombed into the water and came up with a still-flopping fish, which it carried across the sky for several hundred meters. It was incredible. It was EXTRA incredible to have it all happen against a backdrop crowded with fire-and-smoke-belching oil-and-gas refineries. Baytown looks like a massive biohazzard, but here was nature in its most resplendent form. #notwhatiplanned.

After my ride, I got cleaned up an headed into Houston to visit a friend at her law firm. We talked at length about the Holocaust project that we’ve both been involved with for ~8 years. It seems that no matter how much I like to pretend that I’m “done with” law, it will continue to grab me when I least expect it. #notwhatiplanned.

My host got caught up in some work stuff, so I had a few unexpected hours to fill. I’ve been to Houston before and have already “done” all the things that one is supposed to do in that town. Still, I decided to check out TripAdvisor to see if it had any gems for me. Boy, did it ever! Listed as #11 out of #106 attractions, the National Museum of Funeral History is woefully under-ranked. This place is Top-5 (maybe even Top-3) material, for sure!

I got there just 45-mins before it closed; completely convinced that that would be plenty of time to check out whatever might be there. Boy, was I wrong! I EASILY (and happily!) could’ve spent 3-4 hours in that place. Fascinating doesn’t even begin to cover it. At first glance you say: Gee, those are some neat Hearses. Or, Golly, those are some fancy coffins. Yawn, Yawn. Moving on

But as you move on, and as you start to read the placards and guidesigns, you get deeply sucked into an endlessly interesting world of “Well, I never thought of that…” and “Geez, I can’t believe people would do that….

My ability to write about this experience is currently being disabled by my extreme tiredness.

And I haven’t even got to Baytown Day #3, where I received (among other things): 2 marriage proposals + what has GOT to be THE BEST COMPLIMENT ever from a third man (and that’s the story my host REALLY wants me to tell).

I’ll tell it in the morning.

#notwhatiexpected.

Good night, y’all.

2 Responses to “#notwhatiplanned”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Disruption | JustAdventures - May 28, 2015

    […] another day. Something came up. The tales are disrupted even before they’ve begun. Sorry. #notwhatiplanned, but shit […]

  2. REALLY #notwhatiplanned | JustAdventures - June 4, 2015

    […] W-a-y back on Feb. 8, I left y’all hangin’ with a truncated/not-at-all-finished report written on Day 17 of my Epic Homeless Vagabond Couch-Surfing Across the USA Road Trip: #notwhatiplanned. […]

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