Painted Fields of Texas

I am in Austin, Texas, visiting a dear friend I hadn’t yet met. We’ve been online friends for almost six years, but this is the first time we met in person. As with all my online-now-offline friends, there wasn’t even a blip of hesitation when we met — we just seamlessly continued our friendship, though with an added filip of joy.

I will be meeting someone else I know for lunch, a fellow author from Indigo Sea Press, Norm Brown, whose book Carpet Ride was inspired by a road trip he once took. I sure hope I don’t find any dead bodies during this great adventure of mine!

Then I will head north to meet another online-soon-to-be-offline friend. I’m looking forward to getting back on the road, though I will be taking it easy. Rain storms are expected, but I am not planning on driving in the rain. (Though things have a way of working out differently than I had planned.) It seems as if Texas has been working hard to paint its fields for me, as if to make up for the drabness of my first Texas days, and I will be interested to see what it rolls out before me today.

I did get to see a bit of Austin, but I find that cities, especially young, hip cities, do not speak to me. I thought I wanted to visit San Antonio’s Riverwalk, but now that I am so close, it holds no appeal. I’m more interested in wild landscapes and intamed waterways. Most waterways, anyway. I do have to admit to a bit of trepidation about woman-eating mosquitoes as I near the swampy portion of my trip, but I am holding fast to my belief in the magic of this journey, which gives me some comfort. That belief sure kept me calm during a hugely windy night on Padre Island, when my tent kept being blown down on top of me! Luckily, each time the tent righted itself. The only damage was some rust on a couple of poles. (Rust? In only four days? Yikes.)

Before I leave Austin, I want to send a virtual wave to dance friend Jan Blondet’s relatives. ~~~ (Can’t find a symbol for waving, so that will have to do.)

Also a virtual wave and a “come on, let’s go” gesture to all of you who are following my adventure.

Let’s find out what’s in store for us!

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(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

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Ready to Move on Down the Road

After four days of hiking on the hard sandy beaches of the Padre Islands, listening to the waves come crashing in, watching long streams of brown pelicans fly maneuvers over the gulf, feeling the weather change from misty and windy to clear, sunny, and windy, I am ready to move on down the road.

Ready for whatever comes next.

Today marks four weeks on the road (though I haven’t actually spent much time on the road. Ten days were spent visiting friends, and several days were strictly camping with no traveling at all).

I have enjoyed all phases of my journey so far, though some of Texas’s back roads got a bit tedious. Mostly I just coasted along at fifty-five miles an hour and let the road warriors fight for supremacy among themselves.

Surprisingly, I haven’t been as alone as I expected. At most campgrounds I ended up talking to people, some for quite a while, even exchanged blog information or telephone numbers with a couple of people. Since so many of us at this particular campground are leaving today, we had a farewell bonfire on the beach last night. I felt sad to leave my newest friend, though we are so simpatico, I am sure she and I will meet up again someday. But the journey beckons, and I have a new new/old friend to meet in Austin. (The visit in Austin is with a sister in grief who has been my support during the past six years. This will be the first time we meet in person, a meeting that is long overdue. I’ll also be meeting another Indigo Press author — Norm Brown, who wrote Carpet Ride.)

It is funny that people are both the best and the worst of this journey. There are great folks who are eager to learn about others and share the journey. And there are those who have no care for anyone but themselves. They run generators and use bright lights all night despite strict rules against such usage, and they think leash laws don’t apply to their nasty little beasts. Luckily, these folk are in the minority, and I haven’t let them ruin the wonder of my adventure.

And what an adventure I am having!

Even better, there is more to come. I’ll check in when I can. And when I can’t get in touch? Know that adventure is coming my way.

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(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

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