A week in beautiful Alpine, Texas, to attend the Writers’ League of Texas Summer Writing Institute held unparalleled adventure for Gale and me.
It started with getting lost about twenty miles from home and ended with finding a dead banana at the bottom of my Austin Mystery Writers tote bag.
In between lay
- being rear-ended at a red light;
- missing a turn but arriving at our destination anyway;
- finding the motel room severely deficient in electrical outlets;
- wallowing on the floor, trying to plug an extension cord into an outlet installed behind of the leg of a bed attached to the floor “for your safety”;
- abandoning my camera in the Museum of the Big Bend;
- being informed that the hood of the car I’d just driven for seven hours through the Texas Hill Country and the Trans-Pecos, and into the Chihuahuan Desert, wasn’t properly latched;
- finding the hood up again two days later;
- recovering my camera;
- losing my cash;
- knocking the back off my mobile phone;
- scattering my purse, my camera, a take-out box of Creamy Bolognese over penne pasta, and myself all over the sidewalk in front of La Trattoria;
- wallowing on the floor wielding a broom and a flashlight, scraping my cash from under the far side of the bed;
- abandoning my purse in the cafeteria;
- recovering my purse;
- leaving Alpine, missing another turn, and winding up in Marathon;
- watching Gale lean out the window to ask a man where we could get petroleo;
- being told petroleo was in Alpine (26 miles) or in Fort Stockton (58 miles), but not in Marathon;
- on advice of residents (“There’s nothing out there”), giving up impromptu plans to swing through Del Rio;
- retracing our steps to Alpine for petroleo;
- on second attempt, not missing the turn;
- arriving at home without further incident worth mentioning.
I will mention that
- Karleen Koen’s class was up to her usual standard: As I’ve written before, she’s honest about what she can
and cannot do for her students, but she shows them ways to increase their own creativity;
- the reading at the Alpine Public Library allowed student writers to share pieces written in the various classes, including a Sudan native’s account of learning to speak English, which was a scream;
- evenings out with friends at El Paisano (Marfa), the Reata (Alpine), La Trattoria (Alpine), the Stone Village Market, and the Hotel Limpia’s Blue Mountain Bistro (Fort Davis) were fun;
- having the Cowboy Plate at the Bread and Breakfast is a fine way to start the day;
- the highway up to the McDonald Observatory is neither as winding nor as precipitous as I’d remembered;
- thanks to recent rains, the Davis Mountains were green and, as always, very grand;
- cool mornings and evenings felt wonderful (and hot days felt like something else but weren’t as bad as Austin’s);
- we’re sorry our limited time didn’t allow us to visit Big Bend National Park;
- a mobile phone will work perfectly if the back is held on with a rubber band, and, when presented with said phone, a husband will laugh and reattached the back without a rubber band;
- I was not responsible for the rear-ending;
- Simple Green will probably remove dead banana muck from inside the Austin Mystery Writers tote bag; it will also probably remove the remnants of Creamy Bolognese from the outside of a camera case.
- A package of Oreos lifts the spirits immeasurably.
Gale has just published a post on the Austin Mystery Writers blog about the Writers Retreat. She focused on what we learned in class.
But I prefer to focus on extracurricular activities. There’s an education to be had in them, too. Especially the part about the Oreos.
17 thoughts on “Adventure in the Far West”
I’m SO glad the camera ended up being recovered! Beautiful shots and hilarious report.
I am, too. Long ago I’d tucked Gale’s card inside the case. So officially, it was Gale’s camera I lost.
Must…get…coconut oil…I was introduced to a big tub of coconut oil by the author of this article in Alpine. Slathering it on my parched skin really helped at night. I love it out there, but it is a tad dry. Now, the hunt for a tub of coconut oil in Hutto.
You might try Whole Foods. Or GNC. I might try some, too.
I will try HEB.
love reading your posts – they never disappoint – and a big smile always accompany them 😀
Thanks much. My philosophy is, If you can’t lick ’em, you might as well try to laugh at ’em.
It sounds like you had quite an adventure. I won’t complain about what happened to me in Florida. That’s nothing compared !th.
Sent from my iPad
Abbie, never pass up an opportunity to complain. It’s all material. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Walgreen’s carries two kinds of coconut oil, I use it all the time. Buy the organic one.
Isn’t Karleen Koen so lovely in person? I love her!
Wow. That was an eventful stay, Kathy 🙂 Your photos and words make me war to get up and travel to the same places. This was a whiff of adventure.
I hope you will travel to the same places, Kate, after first stopping in Austin, of course. When you do, I hope you’ll have more success hanging onto your possessions. The most important thing is–when planning your trip, keep an eye on the thermometer. Summer days are hot out there.
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