Day Fifty We finally took a fun day and went to the Do-seum and to the Alamo. We ate at Potbelly’s for the first time and loved it, then we headed in the direction of Copperas Cove. We parked for the night at the Walmart about 20 miles south of our destination. That Walmart had very loud music playing over their speakers and after two hours of trying to ignore it, I moved the van to the other end of the parking lot. It was quiet, but as soon as I had a sigh of relief, the music started on that side of the parking lot, too. Apparently, this Walmart does not want overnight parking. If I had noise canceling headphones, it would be great, but no such luck.
So, I headed in to town and found a somewhat abandoned-looking building. I parked in their parking lot. Little Bean slept through it all though.
Day Fifty-one March 20, 2021; Saturday. Copperas Cove. We went to my childhood home. It was run down and trashy. We parked out front for a while so I could have a moment. I studied the house, the yard, the stairs to the front door. I stared at the driveway and looked up and down the street. Memories returned with a freshness that confirmed she is still there. Five year old me still lives in that house.
This is the house where I learned that men leave. Where I learned that I wasn’t good enough. That emotional unavailability is normal and that I don’t deserve to be loved. This is the house where I learned that abandonment and rejection are crushingly painful and I should avoid them at all costs. This is the house where I learned to walk on eggshells; where I learned that my job was to try hard, care for others, ignore my own feelings, and pretend that everything is just fine. All while I suffer alone.
Younger me has remained in this house, frozen in time. Forever waiting. Waiting for the first man in her life to return and apologize for ever leaving in the first place. Waiting for a rescue. Waiting to be held.
Forever trying. Trying to be accepted; trying to be good enough, pretty enough, smart enough- anything enough just to be loved. Trying to survive.
Forever hurting. Forever frozen in the very moment of unbearable rejection. Unable to understand why or find healing.
Today, I called her out. I called her into a new day. I told her it wasn’t her job to be a doormat and that she never should have learned all of the things she learned. I told her she was beautiful and loved and that she didn’t have to wait anymore. I called her into freedom.
Day Fifty-two Galveston. We met friends we haven’t seen in five years! They were there on vacation from another state. We walked on the beach, ate lunch and shopped for souvenirs. It was so great seeing them and getting a chance to socialize.
Day Fifty-three So Galveston is riddled with No Parking / Tow Zone signs. Everywhere. We finally found a spot on the street next to the community college’s parking lot. No one bothered us and we slept well except for a burst of heat and humidity that happened around 3 am.
Around 8 am, we arrived at Seawolf Park on Pelican Island. It’s a remote, beautiful spot with grass, picnic tables, grills, and an amazing climbing structure. You have to drive into the Naval Museum area and pay a parking fee to get to it, but it is worth it. We didn’t realize it would be so amazing or that there would be grills for public use, so we didn’t come prepared. (Seems like our theme, really.) We considered going to grab some things for a small cookout, but there is no free re-entry. Being on a budget, we decided that paying for the same parking twice in one day felt wrong, so we stayed for a few hours then took off in search of other adventures.
We registered our time for Awesome Possum today, and got approved. We’ll be heading out there after our time on the coast. We can’t wait to get some help building Eliza! If I haven’t mentioned it yet, I cannot seem to get the screws through the metal wall. I’m guessing it’s the lack of strength.
Day Fifty-four No worries with overnight parking last night! We parked in a shopping center in Webster that already had a handful of overnight vehicles. We backed in to a space near an advertising sign that blocked our license plate.
We worked (roadschooling and remote work) all day then drove to League City, TX. We had a great work out at the best Y we’ve been to yet. Plus HOT showers for a nice change.
Day Fifty-five We stayed in a day care parking lot in League City last night. We just couldn’t leave the town without conquering that overnight feat (the town has many No Parking zones). We parked next to their transportation busses and hoped that we blended in. It must have worked. It’s such a rush every time we successfully overnight stealth park.
If we weren’t set on roadtripping, or if we could find more places to park overnight, we LOVE League City and would want to stay longer.
We bought the City Pass and went to the NASA Space Center in Houston today and had a great time. Their facility is impressive. We even took the tram tour. It was weirdly cold, though. The weather is super overcast and drizzly.
We drove to Pearland, went to the Y there, got a great work out and nice shower. We asked the guy at the front desk if we could stay in the back of their parking lot overnight. He was like, “Um… I don’t care. Go ahead.” So we did.
Day Fifty-six Staying there was the best decision. We pulled to the back of the parking lot near the fields. It was dark and quiet all night long. Nine hours of sleep for me and 11 for little munchkin. If nothing else, we are well rested again. This feels like a turning point as far as the overnight sleeping situation. We have both felt comfortable at travel stops and have had anxiety over stealth parking, but I’m not sure I want to go back to the bright lights and noise of a travel stop again.
We found a laundromat then went to my old teenage home in Houston. It wasn’t there. In fact, 90% of the neighborhood wasn’t there. I flagged down a guy on a bike (Lance) and asked him what happened to all of the houses. He said a flood wiped out the neighborhood about 15 years ago and they never rebuilt. They turned the place into a disk golf course. It was kind of sad, but also anticlimactic. I was expecting to see the old house and get flooded with memories and do some more emotional processing.
We grabbed some Tex-Mex, did some digital nomad work then headed back to the neighborhood to overnight park.
Day Fifty-seven. Going back to the old 'hood was a bad idea!! We got our first knock last night. It extra sucked too, because I was so exhausted – like one of those days where every cell in your body is just done. I was overly tired by the time we settled in at 8 pm. Kate fell right asleep but I was struggling. Right when I finally drifted off around 11 pm, I was startled awake by a VERY loud pounding on the window along with yelling, “Sherriff, Open up. We need to talk to you" repeatedly.
I knew this night would come, but ugh, really?
I had to argue with them to get their flashlights out of the crack in the Reflectix so I could see if they were actually officers. I told them several times that their lights were blinding me and I need to see who they are before I open. They finally did. I opened the window and they said that there were reports of a suspicious looking vehicle. I asked how it was suspicious when we were parked; not even near anyone’s house, and not doing anything. They said, "It’s unfamiliar."
Kate didn’t even stay awake long enough to hear the whole conversation, but I was up for hours afterwards. Thanks, fight-or-flight system.
In the morning, we switched our service provider from Verizon to T-Moblie, did some printing and scanning at Staples, then went to the Houston Downtown Aquarium. We saw some beautiful creatures and rode a couple of rides.
Single mom and kiddo set out on a nomad, van life, roadschooling lifestyle. Watch the beginner diy van conversion, first time homeschooling, first time build, first time on the road experiences, newbie family van life adventures unfold.
We will share van life travels and tips to encourage other people to get out and explore the open road.