Family Adventures

Banana Bend on the San Jacinto River —

It had been 30 years since he’d last seen the place, but my husband Nico insisted on taking Baby and I on a family adventure to see Banana Bend on the San Jacinto River.  I was a bit skeptical; picturing a run down, or shut down, remnant of what once had been a fun party place on the bend of the river.  Boy…!  Was I ever surprised!  –In a very good way.

I had already found myself quite charmed by the tiny ferry boat that had carried our crew of three across the ship channel, quite a ways inland and up the waterway from Galveston Island.  Able to carry not even 20 cars at a time, The Lynchburg Ferry was like stepping back in time, in a way.  Unlike the Bolivar Ferry — which we’ve ridden often — The Lynchburg Ferry looked a bit unstable at times, and traveled much slower than its much larger neighboring ferry (Bolivar Ferry).

So I snapped one-after-another photos of our crossing, and we were on our way…yet-again, down the road, searching for that place Nico had left in his past…until this day.  Bumping down the two lane road in our old VW Camper Bus, we stayed on the look-out for a sign…any sign, to let us know we’re heading in the right direction.  Then…we spotted it!  — Banana Bend…Just Ahead.  The sign said, in a nutshell; though Nico was going too fast for me to read the small print.

A few miles down the road, we came to an overpass that Nico didn’t remember ever seeing decades ago when he last visited Banana Bend.  So…we turned around and went back to the sign he’d sped past in such a hurry at last pass.  Sure enough, in small print, it had listed the street where we should have turned before.

Making our turn onto a much smaller road — a Farm to Market road — we continued on our adventure, searching…searching.  Then…there we were: facing two yellow kayaks planted vertically in the ground, reaching up into the sky, with a sign in the middle telling us we had arrived.

A nice little man was working the entrance gate, and let us in to look around since they were soon to close down for the day.  I felt like we had entered an island hide-away…on the river!  Palm trees everywhere, along with tiki palapas style cabanas and picnic tables.  And it was all so secluded, you’d never know it was there…unless someone told you.  I was thankful to Nico, for bringing us to such a charming island escape as Banana Bend.

And even though we were only able to stay for a short time before dark was beginning to fall and we had to head back and try to catch the last ferry, we had already began to plan a day trip to our new island escape (or escape from the island).  Having recent bouts of island fever, I know Banana Bend is just the place I’ve been needing all along.

*Here’s to new adventures, inland…and beyond!*

**NOTE to Families**  Recommended Family Days – Saturday/Sunday Afternoons & Weekdays (off-season): After careful research, it seems that BB is quite the party place during summer months and on weekends.  We visited late on a Saturday during the off-season, and all was peaceful and quiet.  It’s best to do your homework before visiting, to know of which events are taking place on any particular day or weekend.  Visit Banana Bend on Facebook.    

Our ALMOST Road Trip

Last week, we set out and headed West down 3005; bouncing happily down the highway in our VW Westfalia ‘Peniki’.  Our destination…?  Lake Belton.  We had been planning this trip to Bus Fest for months and months, and I could hardly wait.  I spent weeks sewing Hippie Bus applique pillows to donate to the fund raising auction that next day.  The only problem — so I thought at the time — was the fact that I hadn’t mapped out our travels until a day or two before we were to leave.

That was the day I felt like the air had been let out of my balloon of enthusiasm.  Leave it to me to misjudge the distance of our destination by hundreds (and I mean hundreds) of miles.  I was completely deflated!  And if I had only seen the zip code that had been right in front of me for months and months, I would’ve realized that the town of Morgan’s Point where the festival was to be held, was not the same Morgan’s Point that is just 40 miles or so from where we live.   I would’ve known the event was instead several hundred miles away…one way!

If I had noticed all of this…I wouldn’t have sent in our pre-registration money for the event I had wanted to attend so badly.  And…I certainly wouldn’t have made all those lovely pillows to donate to an auction I would never make it to, and as a result…would let some nice folks down.  No telling what they thought about me not showing up with my auction items, I pined away for days.   But I just can’t worry about that, I finally convinced my weary self.

I knew, deep down, that Peniki wasn’t yet up for such a distance.  So…if I had noticed the actual location–or taken the time to look at the map, or plan our route–I never would’ve been so bull headed to think we were ready for such a road trip.  Poor Peniki tried the best she could, against the wind all the way.  But after getting lost and going 10 miles out of the way, going through half of our very tight travel budget before we were even halfway there, and after Peniki kept trying to stall out on us out in BFE (which wouldn’t be the first time…believe me!), we decided to just cut our losses and turn around.

We had made it not even half way there, and were in some little town called Wallis when Nico looked at me, and I looked at him…and we knew; this trip was not meant to happen.  I had been experiencing that dreaded feeling; you know the one that tells you something’s not right about what you’re about to do?  Stupid me…!  I ignored it and just kept on coarse for our impending travels.  Deep down…I felt we shouldn’t go after I realized I had misjudged the distance of our destination so badly.

I just wanted to go hide in a hole somewhere, or in Peniki, and cry.  Funny how that feeling of disappointment I felt so often growing up, never seems to feel any better now that I’m grown.  Perhaps I’ve never actually grown up in a lot of ways.  Planning ahead is probably one of them.  But I guess that’s also why the saying goes: With age…Comes wisdom.  Seeing on the bright side; this must mean I’m still young at heart.  I refuse to think that I might’ve ‘momentarily’ lost my good senses.  I often miss the blissful state of ignorance I frequently had when I was younger.  Though, I find, it still visits me quite often.

Many Blessings your way & Safe Travels too.