ilove bonnie

Monday, February 9, 2009

Boca Chica State Park, before and after

This blog post will be excessively about me, because for the first time in the trip, there are quite a few photos of myself. Usually, I am the one behind the camera, because lo! the motorcycle has exploded! Eek! the motorcycle has died on the highway! Egads! the motorcycle needs more work! That is when Ben is fixing the motorcycle, so there are plenty of glamor shots with him up to his elbows in, well, elbow grease.

Therefore, I feel no shame in producing this Jen-tastic blog post, because I have a substantial number of photos of me looking fairly lovely and I must take advantage of the opportunity to narrate them.

This weekend, we decided to get out of Gulu and Tessa's hair--we've been here too long and I am already getting nostalgic for being here, an oxymoron, because we haven't really left yet. This is what happened in Galveston though, and I can just taste Mexico; Gulu and Tessa live less than fifteen minutes from the border, as the crow flies. So we traveled east to Boca Chica State Park, which first required Ben and I finding lots of phone numbers for the Texas State Park folks--Boca Chica is listed on regular maps, but it is unlisted on the Texas State Parks website. It is one of those liminal places where people can go, for free, and camp there, probably forever if they wanted to, in a tent. Not that you would want to do that. There aren't really rules there. Too many people leave trash at the beach, or as we found out, even worse: too many people listen to trashy trance music blasted on their car subwoofers at two in the morning on the beach. Otherwise, it is a beautiful, lunar landscape at night, and a hazy, limitless distance of sand, ocean and blazing sky during the day.

On the way to the beach, I was stung by a bee! I had to finally use our designated emergency signal--me patting/smacking Ben repeatedly on the back until he pulled over. This was very effective. Good response time, Ben! We pulled over, I jumped off, and had him pull the stinger out of my wrist. Mom: Good news, I am not allergic to bees. Then with his help, I bandaged myself up with a get-better-you-deserve-it Hello Kitty band-aid:

We got to the beach right as the sun was setting, and we drove up and down the packed sand, until we decided we should park as close to the dunes as possible, to avoid the tide line. We, of course, got stuck. Then with the help of some plastic soda bottles and Yankee ingenuity, we got ourselves unstuck. We headed back to the paved road and parked there, finding ourselves a nice spot where we could see the ocean, the beach, and especially the motorcycle from the front flap of the tent:

The first day we got up before the sun rose. This photo was taken at sunrise, which is why I look out of my mind, and Ben looks ecstatic:

We spent the first day trying to find clams (there aren't clams in the Gulf, by the way), and then later oysters. We found an oyster bed with helpful advice from a Winter Texan, but all of the oyster shells were filled with mud, but mysteriously still held together. I sunk into the mud at one point up to my knees and had to get Ben to save me by pulling me out. After we were both cut and bleeding and without a single oyster to our name, we decided this was probably a Bad Idea and gave up.

For the rest of our three nights and two days on the beach, we spent a lot of time cooking:

a lot of time catching tiny animals (and setting them free):

a lot of time staring at pelicans:

a lot of time getting sunburnt; some time collecting interesting seashells:

and only a bit of time contemplating this creepy eyeless, babydoll head on a cross before we decided to leave it, and the two other memorial crosses, to be creepy by themselves:

The babydoll cross is the only thing that trumps availability of multiple photos of myself to strew across this post.

On the second full day, we headed over to Port Isabel, to see the lighthouse, where Ben took some nice photos of me:

the lighthouse:

of me:

a fake pirate galleon that we could see from the top of the lighthouse:

and a series (to be fully uploaded once we get some good Internet access) of ridiculous pictures of him, and me:

Later we headed to South Padre Island, to figure out what all the tourist hubbub was about. South Padre Island was uneventful, except for a last minute conversation with two college professors. If you are reading this, hello! Maybe we'll see you in Guatemala, Fernando? They were hilarious, and saved South Padre Island at the last minute from being a charmless, history-less, friendless version of Galveston Island.

On the way back to Gulu and Tessa's, we stopped at a barbecue joint and split a brisket sandwich. There we met Joel and his son Tevin, who rides bulls for fun!!! He is maybe three-quarters my size, half my age and already way more badass then I am. Actually, this photo trumps the babydoll photos. Do you see the look on his face? That is the face of a genuine bull rider:

Smoking Joe's was just off the side of the road, somewhere between Mission and Brownsville on Route 281. Here is a photo, so when you are going there to eat barbecue, you will know it when you see it:

We also got to take a photo with Smoking Joe himself, in front of huge his carousel smoker:

This was a success, as Ben and I had had some lousy barbecue in Kingsville, TX. This redeemed Texas barbecue in Ben's eyes. Mine, too, but I haven't eaten enough barbecue to really know anything about it except that this barbecue was really fantastic and its crossed our minds to "accidentally" end up back on Route 281. So hello! and thanks for the good food, Joel, Tevin and Joe.

Whew. If a photo is worth a thousand words, then I must've written a dissertation. Ha, ha.



Mike said...

Great pictures! Don't forget to take pics of your BBQ to keep our taste buds watering...

Andrew Jasper said...

hey Jen! I just started following and I'm excited to see how the rest of the trip goes. I'm pumped I stumbled across your blog because I've been trolling craigslist for the past couple of months for motorcycles. I will have one sometime this year and your trip with Ben serves as inspiration and motivation to make sure it happens. keep up the good work. thanks!

Bikermom said...

Hi, Jen n' Ben, I loved your story and stories! You best be writing a book right now! You two are so fabulous together - You make my hair fly and feel so free!! Keep up the great adventures and call me soon! Love and Hugs, Mum

maureen said...

jen! isn't brisket made out of M-E-A-T?? i hope you said "don't tell maureen!" right before or after you gobbled it all up. also, i am going to scotland next year for the year maybe. if they will have me. we will see. (my personal statement was ridiculous). anyway, i miss you and i ate boot pizza tonight and wished you were here. i am glad you are having fun there though. yer too cute.

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