Goings on in Brownsville

It’s not until we’re in place for a while and I sit down to blog that I realize how freaking content-rich the traveling life is. When we’re still, I have no cogent theme to write around. How do bloggers bind everything together so neatly when you don’t have a tidy timeline of change to follow?

I did write a post about the dumb things I’ve done recently because I haven’t been sleeping, but that writing turned out to be one of the dumb things, so I deleted it. But, because I already uploaded those images (and they’re not boring writing), I might as well include them, right?

Getting Stuff Done

An item on our to-do list since this past spring in California was to update the beer bottle cap map I gave Tracy our first Christmas on the road. It seemed like such a good idea then. But state after state of trying to find good, local, bottled beer (it’s all canned now), with interesting caps—then storing the bottles so they don’t break—has been a pain. You’d think finding and drinking beer would be a no-brainer for us, right? Make it a to-do list item, and suddenly it’s a chore.

Tracy caught us up in California, the Pacific NW, and Louisiana, but a bunch of states we’ve been to are not represented. The former-associated-with-cartographers person in me is a little bothered. Plus, we have caps from Canada and an idea involving popsicle sticks, but that was just too much for the first time attacking this in a while. Baby steps, and all.

We do have so many items on this list. Tracy’s been doing mechanical stuff to the truck and trailer, and I’ve been buying things. Yes, gender stereotypes are at play here.

I bought the replacement sofa I’ve been longing for, but look what I ended up with.

A camo sofa. I don’t know what happened, but I’m not going to send it back now that I have it. Like I joked in the bad-writing post, maybe I’ll take up reclined hunting. And it does match our tent!

I also finally bought a new duvet cover that I like and that matches our strict nomad criteria. (The new one is on the left.)

The one I bought for the road originally (red and blue boho, aka wacky) fit the bill: not solid so dirt doesn’t show, not white so dirt doesn’t show, cotton so it’s washable for the rare times we’re near laundry long enough to dig into the literal laundry list for the duvet cover. But, man was it bright and busy.

Because the trailer was such a blank slate when we started out (at right), I thought that’s what we needed, but now that all our crap is inside, I’m all for more bland and tan.

And that, dear readers, is the last time in a while I’ll show you something I’ve bought, I promise. Here’s something we did.

Fun Night, Bad Karma

We joked on our way to an outside bar that it felt like we were going on a date: we were both clean, wearing standard, non-hiking or kayaking clothes, and we were driving out to where other people would be, not to come back until dark! Geez, haven’t done that in about three years. And it turned out to be a great date.

A real bar, with local beer and food trucks and a band. A lot like old times. Even a lot like Bethesda: the beer was over-priced, as was the food. But we really enjoyed being out.

In fact, I got super excited about the whole night, having had back-to-back double IPAs. When I went to do my usual schtick for the band before leaving, which is to put some cash in the tip jar and say something complimentary, I got carried away with the band leader guy. I was just so riled up about being out, hearing a band in a bar-like situation, and he turned out to be very pleased that I’d said something (Tracy and I were the only people there paying attention to the band other than their families).

We talked animatedly for way too long, him giving me the whole history of his learning how to play guitar, and me trying not to slip up and say something stupid since Tracy and I had had the most fun that night identifying the real writers of cover songs this guy had misidentified. For example, no, Darius Rucker did not write “Wagon Wheel.” To this guy’s credit, he is young.

At one point the guy suggested I follow the band on facebook (no problem, of course I want to encourage local acts), and, as I was trying to spell his name, he took my phone and typed it all in for me and pressed a couple of Facebook buttons.

The next morning I discovered I’d not just followed the band but also befriended the individual, and I figured this out because he’d already liked several of my Facebook posts. I don’t know this guy at all, so I unfriended him. To which Tracy responded, “Great, now we can’t see that band again because that guy thinks you’re a jerk.” Good point.

I tried to reduce the Facebook karmic damage by messaging him, saying that I have a small friends list (he’s one of those Facebookers with 1,000 friends and I have maybe 100, which is a lot for me). He responded to my awkward backpedaling with, “God bless,” and then I felt like I’d refused to drive him to the hospital or something terrible. I ended with, “See you at the next gig!” And added the guitar emoji and the dancing lady.

I think my facebook karma is still in bad shape over this. But that’s not going to stop us next time from paying too much to hear a rookie band outside in the cold!

I’d like to end this modge-podge of a wrap-up with photos of all the stray dogs I’ve seen lately so y’all who have contacted me with sympathy for the dogs I’ve complained about will see the real situation.

They’re everywhere! A few days ago while I was walking on the bike path, a pack of three large ones were rooting around the ditch right off the path, and I kept on going, eyes ahead. Don’t make eye contact, I kept repeating to myself.

Problem is if I’m not making eye contact, I can’t get a photo for y’all. These are the best I can do right now, but I’ve got plenty of opportunity for the next two months.

Maybe I’ll even get one of Ollie the Chihuahua who ran around under the tables on our date night, demanding with barks that various patrons drop food for him. Chihuahuas do not back down, either. Tracy was harassing me about my wussy animal-scare tactics (when I tried to “scare” one of the local cats away, she just turned over to show her belly for more petting) so I jumped at Ollie suddenly to show Tracy that I can scare an animal. Exactly then a waitstaff guy walked by and said Ollie’s name affectionately.

Come to think of it, I don’t have good karma with this whole bar. But I’m not letting chihuahuas stop me from finding fun there the next time.

4 thoughts to “Goings on in Brownsville”

  1. For what it’s worth, I think taking someone’s phone and friending yourself with them shows lots of chutzpah, and I would have unfriended him too! I don’t think having 1000 friends counts if you friended them yourself!

    1. True! I was looking on as he was pressing buttons, so I was responsible, ultimately, but I’ll take this funny version as my memory of it. Ha!