Detours and Drivelines

Through the magic of time travel, you can relive our most exciting weekend to date.


I fall asleep while watching the office with Tara. It’s about 8:30 pm. The excitement of the day has been too much to handle and I can’t stay awake. We are boondocking off BL-20 in Odessa, TX. This is our second of at least four nights here. It’s not that we are here because there’s so much to do in the Midland/Odessa area. We are here because they are the closest Allison Transmission service center.

Where did we end up? Is this Texas or the UK?


Earlier that day:

Shortly before the passing train some 300 feet away gets the chance, my alarm wakes me. It’s 7:50 am. I have slept nearly 4 hours. I groggily brush my teeth so I don’t offend the service center reps. I walk in to let them know why there’s an RV in their front lot where they surely didn’t have one yesterday. Continue reading Detours and Drivelines


Aransas National Wildlife Refuge

Last week we took a day trip to Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, in Texas. This is the winter grounds for the endangered Whooping Crane. The numbers are a bit hazy, but in 1941 they were down to around 15 birds in the wild. Today there are an estimated 500-600 (about half in captivity). They were even able to introduce another population in the state of Florida, though they are still teaching them how to migrate by having them follow an ultra-light. Getting to see this extremely rare bird was the primary reason for our visit. Another reason…. Alligators!

The refuge is mostly drive through with a few designated trails that are all under 1.5 miles each. Right across from the visitor center is an alligator viewing platform. We were up there with another couple when the lady excitedly told her significant other that she saw one. I was able to get her to tell me where she saw it and I found it in our binoculars. I pointed it out to Tara. Since they had forgotten their binoculars I let them borrow ours to get a better view. This was the first alligator either of us had seen in the wild…. but it wouldn’t be the last.

first alligator

alligators and other wildlife

Shell we dance?

shells on table 1

I remember finding shells when I was little.  They were treasures, instantly put in a pocket, or held firmly in a fist.  Later, they were transferred to a bag or a box, maybe even kept in the pocket, to await the journey home from the beach.

And that was it.  Once I got home, the shells disappeared after a couple of weeks.  There wasn’t much to do with them and they lost a lot of their magic off the sand.  As I got older, I started to leave the shells on the beach.  The next person who walked by might appreciate them longer.

Then we came to Padre Island National Seashore

And I’m five years old again.

rachel running
Those are shells all over the sand!!! What?!!

rachel running 2
Rachel is super excited about the shells too.

Continue reading Shell we dance?

Words of the Sea

“Sometimes we are lucky enough to know that our lives have been changed, to discard the old, embrace the new, and run headlong down an immutable course. It happened to me … on that summer’s day, when my eyes were opened to the sea.”

-Jacques Cousteau

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“Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.”

-Robert Henri

“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of time.”

-H.P. Lovecraft

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First campsite on Padre Island National Seashore, it’s free!

I get the absolute pleasure of writing this while we are staying at Padre Island National Seashore.  I decided to keep this post simple and just share some quotes about the ocean.  Last year, in the dead of night, over multiple days, Michael had me watch The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.  I didn’t get to watch all of the documentary and I honestly don’t remember much of it, since it was viewed at my bedtime.  But I do remember listening to John Muir’s words.  They resonate deeply and I can’t imagine anyone reading or hearing the things he said and not wanting to immerse themselves in nature.  And after being beside the ocean for a few days I wanted to find some poignant words (since I haven’t found my own yet) to express how deeply the sea touches us all.

Luckily, the internet gives full access to all kinds of beautiful quotes about the ocean.  Enjoy.

Continue reading Words of the Sea