Everything Is Bigger in Texas
Wow, when we finally arrived in Texas, our first stop was a gas station off the highway. There were Texan flags up and down the street, huge trucks, and the people looked hard as hell! When I walked in I was greeted in a gruff sort of way. “What can I get cha?” I quickly paid for gas and didn't linger. I thought it was so cool that I was finally getting to see Texas. Those signs too were everywhere! “Don’t mess with Texas! Buckle up”, “Don’t mess with Texas! Don’t Litter.”, “Don’t mess with Texas! Just don’t.” Haha geez. They really know how to drive that home.
We were approaching our destination, just a random part of the beach that I chose from Google maps, from the East to Bolivar Peninsula. We passed miles of grassland and cows. Just endless vast swabs of land. I thought about just pulling over right there, but I knew Ale would be keen on getting to the beach so we trucked on. Just before we arrived to our destination, there was construction on the roads all along where we wanted to pull off and then there were housing developments. We needed gas so I figured I’d pull into a gas station and ask someone. Just before we pulled into a gas station we saw a sheriff. Being the whitest guy I know, I asked Ale to roll down the window so I could speak to him. She kinda gave me a look like, “You crazy dude?”, but rolled down the window anyways. The sheriff was a super chill guy who told us we can stay for a while but we would need to buy a camping pass for $10 to stay on the beach and that we could acquire one from any store in the area. I drove the Hillbilly Hilton into the next gas station just about 50 feet away from the officer, filled up on gas, and asked where the best spot to get onto the beach was. They just pointed down a road in a friendly/”Don’t mess with Texas!” kinda way. Driving past the construction vehicles and the workers was a feat and a test on my cognitive abilities after such a long haul. I really didn’t want to kill anyone so close to the destination. We made it though and parked right on the beach. One thing we noticed when we get to the area was that the house there were all on stilts. We looked up why and found that a hurricane had completely decimated the area and left only like 1/10 houses standing in the area. It was cool to see how far people will go to live in the places that make them happy.
We stay on the beach boondock for around 2 weeks. Every 4-5 days we would go load up on groceries and water and return back to our spot just enjoying the waves, beach, and sun. The water wasn’t too nice though - actually we were later informed after a week of staying on the beach that you there are different levels of bacteria present in the water posted online for the public to stay informed.
On the final day of our visit before we headed west to Prada Marfa, I had to finish work, rest up, and drive the next day. It was during my shift that I noticed the tide was getting far too close for comfort but I was stuck on the phone with a motor mouth and I started to panic a little. I finally was able to claw my way away from her and finish with her computer failure when I noticed the water was about to reach the tires. Ale and I reacted like a super squad! I started digging like a manic dog at the tires with my bare hands, Ale got me the shovel and the link levels to put under the tires… So, I started digging at the tires and hopping periodically into the van to try and wiggle out of the sand that was already building up around our tires. We began to sink further into the sand and it was beginning to look hopeless. I called a tow truck company nearby and thought to myself, “I’m a lucky person, there’s no way I’ll get stuck and need someone to pull me out.” So I gave it one more shot before the tow arrived. I dug out each tire and created a gentle ramp with the sand and the links. I finished digging with Ale on all four tires and thought “This is it! Am I lucky?! PUNK!” I cranked up the Hillbilly Hilton and gave her a little pat on the dash. I whispered, “Come on ol’ sexy.” She roared to life and I floored it, wagging the front tires left to right, rocking back and forth, and all the while yelling like a cowboy “WHEEEEEEEEWWWW!” She came right out of there and I didn’t look back. I left Ale behind as I sped down the beach through the tide and sand. Every foot I drove I could feel the Hillbilly Hilton sink a little and slow down and I would floor it again. At last when I reach another exit, There were people blocking the road, I slowed down for a split second just to give them the idea that I intend to get off this beach with or without you in the way. They scurried off the road just in time for me to whiz by them as I yelled “SORRY EH! I drove back to the road near where we stayed and parked on the grass. I went and got Alessandra who was looking for something. When I walked up to her she said, “Where's my workout bands? I left them on the back of the RV.” We both knew they were gone but thought we could still put in the effort to look for them. So when I finished my shift from work, we went on our last stroll on the beach. It was a beautiful day. The previous days were a little windy and cold, but that day was sunny and not too hot. We walked down to where I turned off of the beach and looked around a little for the bands. We didn’t find them. As we were going to go on a little further I stepped on something sharp…
I didn’t think anything of it because I had been stepping on burrs, thorns, and shells the entire time I was in Texas. I looked down and to my horror, I saw a syringe. I quickly plucked it out before the panic ensued. I inspected it and it had been used and still +had blood in it. I thought about not telling Alessandra, but that’s not something you keep from someone you’re traveling with. So I told her. As you can imagine, she was horrified and shocked, like me. I noticed it was small and the needle was bent. So at least who ever used it, didn’t want it to be reused and it had to have been used for diabetes or something. I squirted it and blood trickled out. Both of our faces fell with panic. She said that’s it. We are going to the ER. I agreed, not wanting to take any chances. I walked the whole way back to the RV in the salt water thinking that the salt water could sterilize the wound at least.
When we got back to the RV, it wouldn’t crank. Like what the hell?! Seriously, now I have to deal with a dead RV and the syringe? I pushed that negativity out of my head. I looked up in the book I bought from a parts store and came to a solution. I found the fuse line to the battery from my fuses and disconnected them. I scrubbed them clean of any build up or corrosion. I put them back together and tried one last time to start the RV. She sprang to life with one easy crank. “Thank god.” I thought to myself. I truly am lucky. We crossed the ferry to Galveston once more. While crossing, we were pretty much silent. Fearing the worst, hoping for the best. I knew the odds of me actually contracting something was slim, but not impossible. I had to keep reassuring Alessandra, telling her what I was thinking and how very unlikely it was that I was in danger.
It took us a while to park the RV with all the height restrictions. Hospitals were not exactly built with RV’s in mind. Once we got a parking spot, we walked in the closest entrance. We checked out the Hospital map and started to navigate over to the ER. That was a super long walk. The distance was like at least 2 miles of walking in and out of corridors. We were so lost, we kinda just happened to stumble into the ER waiting area like, “Oh!”
I walked up the the front desk and told the employee there I needed to see a doctor. He asked why of course. I told him what happened and it was like he sprang to life. “Oh man. That really sucks. OK, come with me and we will take care of you.” He brought me to an area with a few people kind of rocking in pain. I could actually feel their suffering. That’s why I stopped working at hospitals in my younger days. I’m far too sensitive to other’s suffering. Anyways, once I filled out the form, the triage nurse came over and got us and sat us down. She very robotically began typing away at the computer and asking general question like date of birth, address, and the whole spiel. Then she asked me why I was there. “I was walking on the beach barefoot, and I stepped on a syringe.” The nurse, the patient attendant, and the registration person kind of all stopped again. It was like they were being snapped out of a loop or something. She said “Oh that’s terrible. I’m so sorry!” We chatted for a while and she told me they would help me out and get us to a doctor right away. The patient attendant walked us to a private room where we waited.
A while later, the registration person came in and she began taking my insurance information. The doctor arrived shortly after her and asked what happened. He was the only one that was not in this weird robotic mood most people, it seemed, were in. He said, “It happens. Don’t worry. If you’re worried about contracting a blood borne pathogen or something, HIV dies right away outside of the body, Hepatitis dies a few hours later, and this was on the beach, in the sun, exposed to salt water? Yeah in my opinion, You’re safe. Stop worrying.” That was such a huge relief to hear someone reassure Alessandra and I, who by the way kept looking at me as if I would explode into a million pieces at any second.
Doctor Mat began chatting with us about our travels as he disposed of the syringe. He was giving us advice on surfing, hiking, and places to see as we traveled west. He was the person that recommended we go to Enchanted Rock and then make our way down to Fredericksburg, TX. It seemed like the only thing missing was a couple of cold ones. We could have honestly hung out with the good doctor for a while. He told us before he was in med school, he used to backpack and hitchhike the States. He told us he surfed a lot when he was younger and saw so much of the U.S. He told us we were lucky to be doing what we are doing and not to take it for granted because this is going to be an experience that we can live with for the rest of our lives, knowing that we lived our lives the way we wanted. What a cool guy man. I never thought about it that way. I just thought we were being crazy and reckless like a couple of bums. He inspired me to think differently about our travels. Now I’m much more confident in what we are doing and I feel re-inspired.
With our new found teaching from Dr. Mat, and a prescription for antibiotics, we headed back to the RV in the parking lot. Somehow, the walk didn’t seem as far this time around… We got back to the RV and planned out our next course of action. FOOD! We went to a nearby wood oven pizza joint called Russo's New York Pizzeria. We sat at the bar and had a couple of delicious beers and amazing pizza. The bartender was cool because he got my Pokemon references when he offered us an “Arbock” beer.
Our were stomachs full and our spirits were lifted as we headed back across the ferry to stay one more day in an RV park call Bolivar Peninsula RV Park so that we could “Pump and Dump.” We did our laundry and took showers there because there was no telling how long it would be until we could get that kind of comfort again, knowing that we would be crossing the desert.