Note: I couldn’t get this out in a reasonable amount of ‘wordage’ so I did the more tag thingy. This way you can read half or go the for full reading.
After leaving Caddo Lake State Park, TX heading for Galveston Island we were feeling life sure was grand. What with the great day mining for crystals in AR and our luck at getting a campsite at Caddo lake, we were sure we were leading a charmed life.
However, it took longer than we thought to get to Galveston Island. We were hot, tired and crabby. I was so done with driving. The terrain was flat a few smallish trees scattered about. Depending on one’s mood the landscape could be considered as desolate and bleak as the drive across North Dakota on Highway 2. But our moods were still up so it felt like an exotic tropical locale. The campsites at Galveston Island were not fantastic but acceptable. Each site had a stone shelter over the picnic table. We didn’t pitch a tent. After all we were only staying for one night. Our van has a bench seat that folds down in the back and is just big enough for the two of us. I am about 5’7” and Mike is a bit shorter than I so it works for us.
It was three o’clock in the afternoon and while the other people who pulled into the campground the same time as us were setting up their tents, we went on the beach. The surf was gently rolling. The beach was clean and went on for ever. The sky a perfect blue. Angie loved the salt water. We romped and ran in the water together. It was good.
That nightwe set up our chairs and watched the stars looking for constellations, however, we’re clueless when it comes to astronomy. It seemed the big and little dipper were everywhere. The air was moist, salty and with a slight breeze. We slept with the back door open in the van to bathe in that cool breeze, that is till it got too chilly.
We were up before sunrise ready to begin our grand adventure to Mustang Island but first we sort of wandered back to the beach. I took a bazillion pictures of the sunrise. Angie found a large ball and was chasing it. Everything looked good. We should have stayed there. But no, we had to go to Mustang Island. We had to revisit happier times when we were there 15 years ago when Mike said, “When we come back, we are going to ride horses on the beach.” And now I was saying, “This time Mike, lets rent a four-wheel drive and drive on the beach looking for the ship wrecks.” Yeah, we had stars in our eyes. We left Galveston Island smiling all dreamy-eyed.
It took nearly 8 hours to get to Mustang Island. We went through Houston and took highway 59 which is being worked on to become the new Interstate 69 corridor. Around Sinton we veered off to highway 181 so we could take the free ferry over to the island from Port Aransas. The ferry was fun. We laughed about how cool it was and I kept saying we were at Port Your Anus because that was what it sounded like when Mike pronounced it. Mike spotted a dolphin. I looked over and saw it before it was never to be seen again. According to the Working With Animal Spirit Guides web page, some of the wisdom that dolphin brings is: change, wisdom, balance, harmony, communication skill, freedom and trust. I think the dolphin was bringing us a message. We were not thinking of that now, for now seeing the dolphin only meant the beginning of great adventures to come.
We reached Mustang Island in the afternoon and checked in to do the beach camping. We had visions, of a fire by the ocean. Peace. Solitude. Listening to the waves. Breathing in more fresh salty ocean air. Here is what we got.
The lady at the desk told us the air was classified as red, meaning that red algae somewhere in the gulf was blooming and in the air. It’s called the red tide. It was likely to cause respiratory problems. But we were healthy, didn’t have asthma, we thought it was ok. Right? Apparently not.
I drove us on to the beach looking for our campsite. We could camp anywhere we wanted. The beach was our oyster. No one was in sight. Finally, at random Mike said, “Let’s just camp here.” Why not. I pull over and we proceeded to get out to unload.
As we are working we are coughing, hacking and sneezing. Even Angie was having trouble. It was terrible.
“I can’t take it,” I finally said. “Let’s go camp in the RV campsite.”
We threw the stuff into the van and I get behind the wheel We have a 1999 Dodge Van. Not four wheel drive mind you. Just a regular old front wheel drive. What do you think happened? That’s right. We got stuck in the sand. I sunk us deeper into the sand. I asked Mike to take over thinking he could do a better job. It only got worse. We took the hitchhaul off that we were carrying camping equipment on. I felt guilty. After all it was my fault. I was the one to drive onto the sand. Mike felt guilty. After all he is the man. He should be able to get us out.
As we try to use all of our Wisconsin know how with getting unstuck in snow and ice to no avail I see a park worker driving on the beach in a dune buggy picking up trash. I flag him down and give him the low down. “Can you help us?” I asked.
“Yes, I can. I just need to get a different vehicle,” he said. And off he went. He brought back a truck, hooked us up to a chain and pulled us onto the harder wet sand. One, two, three. We thanked him profusely and drove back to the headquarters to get a site in the RV area.
It seems unbelievable to me what is considered camping nowadays. The RV camping area was basically a parking lot. When we went to our site we found we were sandwiched between two big rigs. The one closest to us had water dripping from its hook up. On the up side, the air wasn’t as bad but for us the ambience left something to be desired.
“This isn’t working,” I said. “We have to get out of here.”
“But what about your dream of driving on the beach,” Mike said.
“What good is that if you can’t breath,” I answered. After much discussion we finally agreed that we can’t always go back, and having huge expectations can blow up in our faces. We realized we needed to live in the moment and not say, next time this or next time that. There may never be a next time, whether we ever actually get to do it or if we do, things cannot be recaptured as the way they were. Cue the song Memories by Barbara Striesand. With that in mind, we agreed that leaving our expectations behind and moving on was the best option. Possibly the dolphin wisdom of change, wisdom, balance, harmony, communication skill, freedom and trust helped us turn this harrowing experience into a lesson well learned.