The dictionary defines a “Bucket List” as “a list of things a person wants to achieve or experience, as before reaching a certain age or dying.” Some of us have worked our whole life and have spent many hours thinking about the things we want to do when we retire. That long-awaited time after a lifelong career in which we no longer have to think about going to the place of work and endure the many hardships a job brings to our day-to-day routine. Some people have long bucket lists with daring activities that under a normal circumstance won’t even be discussed. Others have no clue of what they would do when the retirement time arrives. Whether you do or not have a bucket list it is healthy to look forward to an activity to find fun around the corner. Find an adventure that will bring your adrenaline high and some excitement to your life. Some say the happy one is the longer one lives!!! Terri and Mitzi’s bucket list included an adventure driving the Southern USA route from New England to Arizona. They have kept us abreast on their journey and have served as trailblazers for those of us who someday will be following their footsteps. Terri Polverari, our columnist, has been recording their journey, cataloging their photos and reviewing campsites for us and has remarkably narrated the next installment of their journey. Terri writes …
“On Monday, January 23rd we hit the road again. With many miles to cover, we packed provisions and clicked our seat belts readying for the long ride through The Lone Star State. Once again we rode the I-10 corridor enjoying the quiet solitude of a road less traveled. We often marveled at the low volume and long exchanges between rest stops, gas stations and populated towns.
After nearly a day of driving we celebrated crossing the Texas State Line at 4:30 pm. Having decided to drive on for a bit longer, we stayed in a very welcoming rest area in Hankomer on our way to Galveston Island. The night was cold and we were grateful for the comfort and protection of our traveling home. Galveston state park was great, just down the road apiece from the city limits.
The weather was chilly and foggy in the morning with enough clearing during mid day to enjoy the beach and wandering around town. We visited a well-known bakery for another muffalatta for Mitzi while I zeroed in on a bag of Italian fig cookies. The town was quiet because it was off-season which allowed us to drive around and get used to the different traffic patterns. At one point Mitzi nearly cursed someone entering the main drag only to be told in the nicest way, that we were entering an exit area. The young woman invited us to go on ahead of her with a blessing for a peaceful day. The 28 mile beach which makes up the Galveston Gulf Shore was churning with wild waves while we there. It seems we arrived on the tail of a strong rain storm that was lifting debris and causing deep dark brown water. Once, while sitting in Elliott, by the shore a woman drove right up behind us to ask about our bike rack. We spent nearly a half hour chatting with our new friend J.J. about bike racks, the coastal waters and the history and charm of Galveston Island. JJ had an uncanny resemblance in so many ways to my dear friend Deb who recently passed. Her easy laugh, sweet slow accent and way of looking directly at you as she spoke, was pleasantly unsettling.
Despite the little bit of rain and wind we enjoyed lots of good food that Galveston is known for. We ate at Joe’s Crab Shack, oh and Jimmie’s on the pier was one of the best burgers we’ve ever had as we said goodbye to this part of our adventure. From this point forward we had another 700 miles to cover through Houston, San Antonio, El Paso and into New Mexico. The ride was long and the traffic kept us from making planned stops in those areas. We had considered staying overnight and exploring the bigger cities but huge crowds had become so foreign now that we decided to pass them by for quieter destinations.
New Mexico greeted us with bright sunshine after several days and seemingly endless hours of Texas countryside. Cattle ranches and oil refineries commanded the landscape as we made our way west. We saw beauty and blight and gained insight and perspective on life in the western United States. Rockhound State Park in New Mexico became our home for the next three days. Being aware that Ms. MaeMae also needed exercise and fresh air, Mitzi dressed her in her little harness and took her out for just that. In very short order MaeMae was loose and wandering around our camper free as the breeze. It was frightening for a few moments until we collected her. Luckily she is a true “scared cat” and doesn’t go far when she is on her own. Life was nice here with rates so reasonable it was amazing. Our site with water and electricity was only $14.00 per night! The camp hosts were wonderfully informative and directed us to so many great places. They also told us we were only 30 miles from the border of Paloma’s Mexico and it was a must see destination. So, the next day we were off.
We spent most of our visit at The Pink Store which is a shop, a bar, a restaurant and a meeting place. So typical of the lifestyle of Mexico! We shopped we ate and enjoyed the day big time. Since we were just over the border, I, of course was cognizant of the water and Montezuma’s Revenge. So when the waiter brought me a tall glass of water and I asked for a bottle of mineral water as well he just smiled and said Si Señora. There was a Mariachi trio playing while we dined to add to the ambiance of our experience. We made our purchases, wandered around the town square for a while and made our way back toward Elliott who waited on the other side of the border. Now, we were also advised by our camp hosts that all that was needed to cross over and back was a driver’s license. As we stepped up to the gate for re-entry, we learned that the rules have changed. There was no wall yet, however, the rules were not so welcoming, even for U.S. Citizens. We were advised that passports are now, required and of course we had none with us. After a short lecture we were allowed to cross back into our home country again and speaking for myself, feeling less welcoming than just a few short hours before.” This was one experience we will never forget and as we crossed through the US border we were once again reminded of the privilege we enjoy of being an American!!!
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