With a long day of driving ahead of us Gustaff and I said goodbye to the sunrise and set off from Pensacola Beach, Florida around 7:30 am on Friday, February 19th towards the sunset in Texas. It didn’t take us long to cross the state line into Alabama, and then right away into Mississippi. The landscape had quickly changed from ocean and beaches to the southern bayou. Although it was unique, it didn’t have that wow factor that the Florida coast had.
Once we got into Louisiana we had the pleasure of stopping for lunch with my future captain, Linus Wilson, at a Cajun restaurant. I honestly have no idea what it was that I had but it tasted phenomenal. I do know that it had some crawfish and catfish in the dish. It was really nice finally getting to meet Linus too, and I look forward to our trip after this tour (stay tuned for that).
From there we b-lined it to Missouri City, picking up a fellow vagabond on the way who was hitch hiking to West Texas after spending some time with his aging father in Pensacola. We made it just in time to host a devotional at a lovely Persian family’s home that same night. If you know the Persian culture you know that we received the most generous hospitality that could ever be possible. For those that don’t know what a devotional is it’s one of the many activities offered by the Baha’i faith that we use to unite communities through prayer and fellowship. Just as all activities are in the Baha’i faith, it is for people of all backgrounds. Gustaff and I have a devotional program prepared that we perform for this trip with the theme being devoted to women, and the equality of men and women, with sub-themes of peace, love and unity. The house that night filled with around 40 new friends who all seemed to really enjoy the program and our music, despite how exhausted we were.
Many of those same faces we got to see over the next few days which gave us a great opportunity to really get to know a few of them and build an even deeper connection with this community. They arranged for us to play a little jam the next day and then another devotional Sunday morning at the communities Baha’i center. We were overwhelmed by the love and support once again, and I know that I have made some long lasting friendships in Missouri City.
On our way out of town on Sunday afternoon Gustaff and I made a quick detour to Brazos Bend State Park just south of Houston. We ended up spending the entire afternoon there soaking up the atmosphere. I kept my shoes off to really connect with the earth again, as I climbed trees, wandered through the woods on muddy trails, looked for alligators (I found one!), listened to and watched the birds, and gazed over lakes and rivers. It felt so refreshing to be deep within nature again. Unfortunately it was getting late and we still had to make the 3 1/2 hour drive to San Antonio, so we made our way back to Consolo (our van), set the gps to our next address, and hit the road while the sun, behind the clouds, dropped below the western horizon.