Friday, September 02, 2005

Austin to Corpus Christi, Texas

Guy Le Roux and his "four wheel motorcycle". I last saw Guy in Southern California in about 1987 or 88, when he worked at "Wind Surf Magazine" in Dana Point with brother Drew. (Sorry for the green light!)

11:30 p.m.

Just returned from dinner with Guy Le Roux and his friend Susan. We went to "Taqueria Acapulco", an excellent Mexican restaurant. I last saw Guy in Southern California in the late 1980's, when he worked with my brother Drew at "Windsurf Magazine." He moved to Corpus Christi in 1988, buying a house on land just high enough that a storm surge won't effect it. Leading the life of an artist-musician-sailor, I asked him "why here? It seems so remote." Because of the fresh air and affordable homes, he replied.

Earlier in the day, Guy picked me up at my motel, and showed me around his town. He then toured me through his home "recording studio", with his great collection of guitars, and even played a few of his compositions, including "There's a burro in the yard."

Guy sharing one of his songs. He composes and performs in Corpus Christi.


Yesterday, I had remained at the "Little City" coffee shop for seven hours, updating the blog. When I noticed the sky growing dark, packed it up and went down the street to "Baja Fresh" for some dinner and to figure out my next steps.

Before leaving Austin, I drove downtown, where I found a very interesting westside district full of restaurants and clubs. I wish I had known about this area before I went to "Baja Fresh" (which was pretty mediocre.)

Considered returning to McKinney Falls State Park again, but that would only delay my reaching the border. So, I drove south toward San Antonio. Once into that city, I pulled off the interstate downtown and into a gas station to consult a map. Nearby, a crew was refueling their fire engine and one of the firefighters walked over to see if he could assist.

I told him I was looking for "The Alamo". He gave me detailed directions, then asked where I was headed next. When I told him I was on my way to the border, he said his mother owned property south of San Antonio and I was welcome to camp there.

Easily found "The Alamo", brilliantly illuminated, shining in the black night. It was very quiet on the streets, with only a few people walking around. Very tranquil. Feeling no hurry, I set up my tripod and camera to take some pictures, occasionally taking with an Hispanic police officer standing watch.

"The Alamo", San Antonio, Texas

When I mentioned heading across the border, he kind of shook his head and said he wouldn't recommend it. "People just disappear there." He said Nuevo Laredo was the worst area. Not encouraging, but my mind is set upon going.

Between San Antonio and Corpus Christi, near Three Rivers, there were two state campgrounds shown on the map. I planned to ride until I reach one of them.

After riding a dark, lonely stretch of Texas highway for a couple of hours, I came to Three Rivers, home to a huge "Valero" refinery, its sodium lights casting a coppery glow above the town. A "Best Western" motel advertises "free carpet" on its marquee. Several miles west, along a country "FM" ("farm to market") road, past the Federal penitentiary, I found Choke Canyon State Park. It's gate was locked, and cable strung from both sides to eliminate after-hours entry. A second camp site about five miles further was also locked. This one I could probably have managed getting around, by driving across a lawn, but in the end, I decided I'd rather not piss off some local official.

Resigned myself to driving on through to Corpus Christi. Lightning flashing in the blackness ahead, I tried telling myself "I LIKE lightning!" As you drive through the night between flashes, it's difficult to gauge the distance of the storm.

I never did reach it. The lights of Corpus Christi came into view, it's refinery complexes "sparkling like diamonds", a shimmering Oz-like city.

After checking the "Hampton Inn" and finding the rates too high, I settled on a "La Quinta Inn". "Julie", a real sweetheart, let me check in before 5:00 a.m. and gave me their "promotional rate" of $79 (versus $99) for the holiday weekend. Not the greatest motel, but the fact that I was getting it for over 24 hours mitigated any disappointment. (Plus, they serve waffles for breakfast!)

On the TV, Paragon Properties is running ads offering land in Costa Rica ( I fear for it's future, as that country becomes an exclusive resort for the privileged. "Monetary imperialism" is today's evil. It's pretty difficult to conquer nations militarily (though we're trying in Iraq.) Better to just buy them up.

It's tough to get much "blogging" done in motels lately. With access to the news, I can't help but constantly watch the coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster. Coffee shops, such as the one in Austin, are, for me, much more productive environments.

After getting some rest, got up Friday afternoon with a list of things I wanted to locate. But with horrible (long weekend) traffic, heat and exhaust, I was soon hating this place. I went searching for some new jeans (my two pair are wearing out faster than expected, since I wear them every day.) No luck finding the correct size.

I also wanted to find a spare "Petzl" headlamp, the one I have proving invaluable. However, when I inquired, nobody here knew what I was talking about.


Bob said...

Good memories of rag top Corpus cruising, 80 degrees mid winter, and great conversation, as always. Thanks for that.

For what it's worth, I'd say the site could stand some photos of the blogger, himself. It may seem self centered or gratuitous, Tim. But most readers will want to see The Guy- as well as Guy (Le Roux).

Great blog, thanks. Hope to catch up in Brazil.


timtraveler said...

Thanks for your comment, Bob! I'll see what I can do about getting out from behind the camera.

Anonymous said...

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Bob said...

Guy's a cool crooner and terrific guitarist. A trenchantly satirical songwriter- but with a light touch.

All the photo lacks is audio.