Things I learned on this trip


The difference between a bay and a beach.  Now I know some readers (hi Greg, hi Amy) who are frequently on the water might think this is obvious and it IS obvious, but something I just didn't think about.  I love water.  I love looking at it, seeing it sparkle in the distance.  I would love to move to a big city by the water.  But I realized last night while I was walking on Lavaca Bay that it isn't just any water I like, but the sound of the waves crashing on the beach, something you don't find in bays.  When I was looking at a map of Texas trying to figure out where to escape to I was just looking for places on the water.  Any water.  And while any water is beautiful to look from bay water to pool water, the one that really does it for me is the ocean (or the Gulf in my case).  I rearranged my admittedly sketchy plans and found myself at Matagorda Beach this morning and it was exactly what I was looking for.  

I don't hate to drive.  I think.  I have in the past talked about how much I dislike taking road trips because I am not a fan of driving.  It's boring and long and I would much rather fly than drive.  This is especially true of my twice yearly trips to San Antonio.  I always end up driving because it is cheaper. But this wasn't so bad. It took me about three hours to get down to Port Lavaca because I took back way and it took me FIVE hours in the car on the way back.  I took the long scenic, meandering way.  And I didn't hate it.  I had interesting things to listen to and the scenery was for the most part interesting.  I disliked the drive from Galveston to Houston so maybe I don't like freeway driving when I take road trips. I have been told that the drive between San Antonio and Houston is extremely boring so maybe that's it.  Or it may be that I was just that close to being home and was ready to be there (see next paragraph). I'm not quite ready to give up my "I hate driving" badge, but it is much more faded than it used to be.

I am focused on arriving at my destination or staying on my chosen route.  One thing about road trips is that I am not one of those people that easily takes side trips.  The journey isn't part of the adventure.  Arrive and then the adventure can begin.  Yesterday I passed a huge gathering of motorcycles that would have presented some great photo opportunities, but I didn't want to turn around and go back.  I wanted to get to the motel.  I did a little better today, but there are still things I passed up because I'm just not a "go explore with my car" type of person.

I like nice hotels.  The place I was at last night was serviceable and clean, but I would say it was one step below a La Quinta.  The towels were rough and it just felt well, one step below a La Quinta.  La Quinta is about as low as I want to go.  I am not a "roughing it" type person.  I definitely like my hotels to be on the newer side which causes a problem when planning trips to small Texas towns because a.) La Quinta's aren't cheap and b.) not all small towns have something like that or c.) what they have is older.

Small towns are my relaxing getaway.  People talk about getting away to the country, but when I visit my relatives at the farm it is the farthest thing from relaxing for me.  I am NOT a country girl.  So isolated.  So alone.  So away from anything.  Too rustic. But driving around last night I realized that small towns are the perfect getaway for me.  They have a much different feel than the massive city of Houston.  I am forced to relax and chill because things close early.  9 p.m.!  Or don't even open on weekends.  Yet if I need to get to Walgreen's there it is two minutes away.  

It is easier to clandestinely change into a swimsuit in the back seat of my car than it is to change out of a wet swimsuit in the backseat of my car.

The waves take away my thoughts.  For a time today (the best time I spent today) I sat on the beach and the water washed in and out over me.  I stared at the waves crashing in front of me and thought about..... nothing.  People talk about how getting back to nature helped them work out problems at home or at work or helped them come to a big decisions, etc.  Today sitting on the beach even if I tried to think about how I want to handle year 38 or what I want to do from here, the crash of the wave would take that thought away.  Minutes would pass before I realized I hadn't thought of anything but just staring ahead watching the water or playing with the sand.  For someone who is constantly analyzing everything every minute of every day it was the best kind of relief.

My Corolla can drive on the sand.  Sorta.  It made it out onto Matagorda beach fine, but had a little trouble and wheel spinning right before I got to the pavement on the way back in.  As I was driving back to Houston I went along the coast and scouted possible beach locations closer to Galveston, but I am a little skittish about driving back out on to the beach.  I'll just have to choose my tracks carefully.  75% of the cars I saw on the beach were trucks and SUVs but I did see small cars like mine so I know it can be done. 

I will have to be a morning beach person.  I got to Matagorda around 10:30 a.m. and there really weren't many people.  I did love parking on the beach because my car was so close.  I left about two hours later and more and more cars were arriving.  On the way in I saw parts of the Galveston beach that didn't have many people and then other parts that were thick with people.  I prefer the empty one, not just because it is more peaceful, but I could be in the water and not worry about anyone getting into my stuff.  On a crowded beach I'm not sure what I would do about my stuff like my keys, phone etc. when there are swarms of people and I want to be in the water.  I have a feeling the beach in the morning is more deserted, but I am not a morning person.

I like dunes more than the seawall.  I really don't know Galveston very well despite living an hour away for 15 years.  I've never really gone to the beach there because the beach by the seawall just felt really weird to me having grown up on South Padre Island and it was always crowded.  One of the reasons I drove back the way I did (from Surfside to Galveston) was to scout new beach locations. Driving along I found that all the beaches along Brazoria and Galveston are what I am used to and the seawall is just a small part.  I like the chair and umbrella rentals along the seawall, but then that would leave me back with my previous problem of someone making off with my stuff.  Better to drive a  little further to a more deserted location.

Walgreen's is your friend. 

Checklist 37 Wrap-up