After leaving Louisiana, we had planned to head straight to San Diego, no messing about, do not pass go, do not collect $200. But at the last minute we took a little detour down to Big Bend National Park. We had stayed the previous night with a couchsurfing host in Fredericksburg and were up late chatting about camping and hiking, so we were in the mood for some isolated wilderness.
It’s so nice when you stumble across a place that suits you just right. There are quite a few isolated car camping sites spread throughout the park. We stayed two nights at a couple of really sweet spots out in the middle of nowhere. With beautiful desert landscapes as far as the eye can see and a night sky so dark that the stars really twinkle.
We only had one visitor…
The park gets its name from the big bend in the Rio Grande river. This river also forms the international border, so we took a drive down there to have a peek at Mexico. It was kind of weird being so close to the border, but knowing we wouldn’t be crossing it for another few weeks and a few hundred miles from here.
Mexico on the left, USA on the right. Becci in the middle.
One of the best things about vanlife is waking up with the sun. And after another perfect sunrise breakfast we were ready to tackle the road again.
There’s an old saying about everything being bigger in Texas. But, I reckon “Everyone is friendlier in Texas” is more fitting.
Once again this was proven when we pulled into an isolated campground at the end of a long gravel road. Within minutes, Veronica wandered over and invited us to their camp, “We’ve got plenty of chilli and beers for y’all so come on over whenever you’re ready”. The offer was to good to pass up.
After a few beers and a few bowls of chilli we felt less like wayward travellers and more like we were just on another a camping trip back home, with friends we had known for years. (You can tell that Becci has a new friend when they starting talking about poos).
They introduced us to their favourite campfire treat, honey cups. Basically you wrap some raw croissant pastry around the end of a stick and roast it until it comes off as a perfectly baked little cup, then you fill it with honey and try to eat it all in one bite before the honey drizzles all over your arms and clothes. So it’s delicious and fun… and way better than smores.
In the morning after they treated us to breakfast, we showed them one of our go to snacks… vegemite and cheese quesadilla. No one gagged or anything. These people are the real deal.
Thanks so much to Andrew, Veronica, Taylor, Garret, Ashley and Bryson for a great night and for your amazing hospitality.
Texans sure do love their football. I’ve always wanted to go to a high school football game in the USA but for some reason we always seemed to be camped out in the bush, too far from town on a Friday night. We finally got our chance.
The school in Corsicana, Texas has a 10,000 seat stadium! One grandstand is for the home team and on the other side of the field is the visitors grandstand. You can spot the lights from miles away.
It seemed like everyone in town was there to catch the Tigers take on their rivals at home.
We got there just in time to see the visitors, the Nacogdoches Dragons, stage their dramatic entrance before the action began.
We’ve watched a lot of movies about high school football in America. I used to think that maybe they were a bit embellished or exaggerated for the big screen. But let me tell you, it’s all true.
They had marching bands.
Mascots and cheerleaders.
And even homecoming queens.
The skill level and intensity of the game was incredible. It was a pretty close game and by the fourth quarter the crowd, us included, were all stomping their feet in the grandstands hoping to spur on a home team win. They were only one touchdown away from tying the score with minutes to go, but in the end the Dragons were just too strong.
Friday Night Football… probably my favourite cultural experience so far.