A car drove on to the grass and shone its bright lights on the thin orange fabric of our tent. “Come out” boomed a loud deep voice. I clambered out. A burly police man was waiting to talk to me. Two minutes earlier, the Walmart security man had come to evict us. Ken left with him to talk with “management”. A second police cruiser arrived. Security must have sent for back-up. We could be dangerous.
Ken did some good diplomacy and we were allowed to stay on Walmart’s back lawn, behind the containers. We shared to area with mice. Twice in the night, I woke up and saw a mouse running right over the top of our tent.
It turns out that while Walmart welcomes “overnight campers” that does not include those in tents.
In this region of few campgrounds, we have stayed in interesting places. These are the places we stayed in the holiday week.
Dec 25 was our last night house-sitting Jim Stevenson’s very comfortable home in Galveston. We had room to spread out, all modern conveniences, and most important, a 4 burner stove and oven.
On Dec 26 we camped on the expansive lawn behind derelict batteries at Ft Travis, built to protect shipping in Galveston Harbor. It was windy and we sheltered behind a small tree.
Dec 27 we stayed at a neat and tidy RV park. The bathroom was full of tiny jars of potions and lotions, the kind you get at fancy hotels. The shower curtain had leopard spots. During the night it poured with rain and the lawn turned into a puddle. Our sleeping bags were soaked. The laundry room came in handy in the morning - we dried everything in the machine.
Dec 28 we arrived in Port Arthur (Janice Joplin’s hometown) as the sun was about to set. No campgrounds were nearby. The kind women at the Visitor’s Center stayed open a few more minutes and arranged for us to stay behind the YMCA. You can guess what I was singing all evening.
Dec 29 we rode into Samuel Houston Jones State Park near Lake Charles LA in the dark. I was thrilled the next morning to find that we were beside a bayou. I’ve heard so much about southern swamps, but never seen one. This was exactly like what I’d imagined. Malkolm made a thorough search for Ivory Billed Woodpeckers .
Dec 30 we arrived in Crowley just as the sun was setting (hmmmm). We asked at a gas station and a boiled crawfish stand whether there were any camping spots available. The crawfish vendor referred us to the Sherriff’s office, which we did not find. However, we did find the Firehall. The firemen invited us to stay with them. They couldn’t believe we preferred to sleep outside than indoors on a couch. They invited us to share their meal. “This is real Cajun food”, said the fireman stirring a blackened cast iron pot of bubbling shrimp gumbo. It was a very enjoyable evening.
On New Year’s Eve we didn’t want to combat camp when everyone would be setting off all those fireworks we’ve seen for sale. Not to mention guns - we heard people like shooting guns to welcome the New Year. We phoned all the motels in New Iberia, and chose one. It was $25 cheaper than one big chain hotel and $75 cheaper than another. The management was relaxed; no-one minded when I fired up the camp stove outside our door to make supper. The only thing about the room was you didn’t want to walk barefoot.
As usual, we went to sleep well before midnight on New Year’s Eve. We did not even get woken up at midnight. Heck, Canadians are noisier than the folks in this neighborhood. In Canada, people hollering and hoot and bang pot lids. Here, nothing.