Day Eighteen: Keep Austin Weird, Writers too, and Galveston

This will be a short blog update today. Lots of driving, and other than having a terrific lunch with friends in Austin, that’s about all we did.

The seeds for this Lap Around America were actually planted in Austin, in March. That’s when I attended something called The Smarter Artist Summit, put on by the folks who run the Self Publishing Podcast. Those three days were brilliant, edifying, and went by way too fast. On the plane home, though, a thought hit me: I really want to be a writer full time. That was not new. Then, this thought hit me: Maybe now is the time. That was definitely new.

Dawn picked me up at the airport, and we headed for our favorite place: Long Beach. On the drive there, I broached the subject of both of us leaving our jobs, moving to Long Beach permanently, and me making a go of it as a writer. Dawn being the awesome person she is, was completely supportive. Five months later, we had both left our jobs that we loved, given up our big house in Orting, and found a funky little beach house in Long Beach, WA. By the way, here is the house we will be going back to in October:

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It looks like it belongs at the ocean, doesn’t it? We are absolutely loving this trip, but we often think of this little house waiting for us.

Okay, enough backstory. 🙂 Today we woke up early in San Antonio and drove to Austin, which isn’t far away at all. We saw enough traffic on the short trip between the two cities to make us instantly nostalgic for the wide open roads we’ve been traveling. We were scheduled to meet two writer friends, Marlayna Glynn Sanders and Bobby Adair, for lunch in Austin. By the way, those two links lead to their Amazon author pages. If you’ve never read their stuff, it’s wonderful. Marlayna writes memoirs and has a new horror series out, and Bobby writes post-apocalyptic and zombie books.

We got to Austin a little early, so we walked up and down Commerce Street, which is my favorite part of Austin. It’s like Broadway in Seattle, only more “out there.” My kind of place. We window shopped some of the offbeat shops and even picked up a gift for someone back home. Sorry, can’t tell, it’s a secret.

At lunch, the stories flew fast and furious, as stories tend to when a bunch of writers gather around the table. Dawn and Marlayna’s husband, Alan, more than held their own. I would like to point out that some of the stories told were even true, although we try not to let facts get in the way of a good story. Here we are at the end of a wonderful lunch:
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Yes, we are a happy bunch.

After lunch, we hit the road and drove east all afternoon. My goal in life was to get to the Gulf of Mexico without going anywhere near Houston. I don’t know if you’re aware of how freaking big Houston is, but tipping the scales at around 4,000,000 people, I didn’t want any part of it on a Friday afternoon. So we drove the back roads to the coast, which made for a relaxing, happy drive, traffic-free.

We reached the Gulf of Mexico in the early evening, and we immediately headed for the sand. Dawn was only slightly put off by this sign:

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We are not used to alligators potentially being part of our beach experience. One other note about the Gulf – everything felt “off” in my head. I have been going to the Pacific ocean for more than 50 years. Everything has a rhythm, a place in the heavens. It felt notably odd to be standing, looking out into the water at sunset, with the sun over my right shoulder. Everything inside me said that I should be staring directly into the sun as I always had. It was an oddly discomfiting feeling, like the earth had shifted on its axis.

I did like this shot of Dawn Adele, finally getting to stand in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

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I also got a shot of the Galveston equivalent of our seagulls, in flight. Considering my poor skills with a camera, that made me happy.

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Galveston gulls, by the way, are remarkably smaller than the ones we see in Long Beach.

By then it was late, we were tired, and we just had time to grab a bite to eat and retire for the night. Truth be told, Dawn has been swimming in the pool while I’ve been writing this update, but close enough.

Tomorrow, we will spend some time exploring Galveston, then head across the border to Louisiana. New Orleans isn’t far away now, and we are both very excited about that.

Cheers, and safe travels!

10 comments

  1. Yes, Houston is gigantic. The Betlway (highway 8 that more or less circles the city – plus or minus a touch) is, if I remember correctly, an 80 mile loop. Yes, I was bored one Sunday and decided to do circle the city. 🙂

    If you’re in Galveston heading to Lousiana, and taking backroads I assume you’ll be taking the car ferry from the east side of the island to Port Bolivar and over to Port Arthur, hometown of Janis Joplin. It’s a nice drive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, that’s the plan. Not too much fuss about Janis in Port Arthur though. I did see that her childhood home is for sale. Homes in the neighborhood are selling for 60k or so, and they are asking 500,000 for it. Only the doorknobs are original to the time period, though. I think we will pass. 🙂

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  2. So cool – so you’ve made it as far as a body of water that I’m at least moderately familiar with, being Floridian! And yes, Alligators may be present through your next few days of travel; my folks live on a canal on a big lake in the Northern part of our East-Central-Florida county and they keep the gator-getter’s number on speed dial. We’ve actually gotten to watch him dispatch a 12-footer before, LOL! Some people may not like it, but in Florida it has to be done – they are not discriminate, and will eat pets or people. This guy processes them though and is licensed to sell or share the meat.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I understand how Dawn Adele feels about alligators! Your place in Long Beach is very classy for LB…we live in Seaside and most of the houses in both towns are very old and funky. There is lots of history in this area, as well, so I bet that will be something you enjoy. After the hot weather there you hopefully will enjoy the rain, marine layer and fog that we have 99% of the time!! Not for the faint-hearted, or easily depressed…you’ll fit in perfectly 🙂

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