Archive for December, 2010


Posted on December 30, 2010 by 13 Comments

Happy Birthday, Jason!

“A man is not old until regrets take the place of dreams.”

– John Barrymore


Filed Under: Texas

Texas Outlaw

Posted on December 29, 2010 by 5 Comments

As a kid, about this time of year I would scour my bedroom for all the spare change I could find and head down to the fireworks stand for some pyro. I never managed to blow off my fingers, put my eye out, or start any house fires – but I did come pretty close on all three counts. Maybe that’s why some of those fireworks are now illegal. And, only certain areas of certain counties in Texas allow fireworks at all. Angela’s parents live in one of those areas.

Bode and I needed to go for a walk.

Oddly, even though this part of the state is a tinder box of pine forest and dry needle-covered roofs, fireworks are permitted here. In other areas where one might think the danger of fire is low, they are not. However, concealed firearms and automatic assault rifles are perfectly fine throughout the state.

I took a good look and didn’t see many of my childhood favorites.  They did have some that looked similar, so I started asking questions. I had a pretty entertaining conversation with the two guys behind the counter about what each thing did. With each description, Bode’s eyes got wider and wider and he threw in an “awesome!” every now and then. They did sound pretty awesome.

Despite all the available awesomeness, we ended up with a pretty tame haul. It still made for an evening of good fun.

Bode Drives the Bus

Posted on December 27, 2010 by 9 Comments

We’re starting to wrap up our time in Texas and preparing to resume our trip in Ecuador. One of the things on my to-do list is to make backups of all our photos, documents, etc.

This is also a great excuse to browse through our collection of memories. There are quite a few. Even I’m a little impressed with how much we’ve done in the past year.

We’ve generally avoided taking any videos on the trip, but here is one time in Costa Rica that I’m glad we did. There isn’t much to it, but watching it just makes me smile.


Filed Under: Costa Rica, Texas

The Card

Posted on December 24, 2010 by 5 Comments

We out-did ourselves last year in the obnoxious seasonal card department. This year, not only did we lack our bus for such a production (it’s parked several thousand miles away,) but we completely lacked the energy to pull anything together before Christmas. Even last year, I think we decided that we were better off with a “New Year’s card” instead of the classic Christmas card.

We’ve heard some even more extreme opinions on this. In fact, some people seem to think the format is dead. Regardless, we did finally get our act together – just not in time for Christmas.

So, if we have your address, we will hopefully manage to get our non-holiday-themed late well-wishes to you before the new year starts. If not, then merry Christmas and happy new year from us!

If anyone on our mailing has happened to relocate over the past year – well, send us your new address!

And, if anyone else out there in the ether would like a 100% genuine  paper and ink card, just drop us note with your address to And, best wishes and safe travels to everyone over the holidays and in the new year!

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Filed Under: Texas

Clean Tap Water and Other Stuff We’ve Missed

Posted on December 23, 2010 by 3 Comments

In two weeks we will return to South America and resume the road trip.

Even though we’ve been back in the US long enough to feel at home, it did take us some time.

We are drinking lots of tap water, sometimes accidentally speaking Spanish (poorly), and having to remind Bode that he can flush the toilet paper. It’s all very exciting. I’ve also spent more time shopping in the last few weeks than I have in the entire 16 months since we left Alameda.

Family and friends, of course, are the reason we are here in Texas for the holidays. It’s been great to spend so much time with them.  Because we lived in California, it was easy to forget that in addition to his cousins,  Bode also has a whole slew of step-cousins, 2nd cousins, etc here in Texas that he has never met. Not to mention that we have friends with kids he has never met or seen in a very long time.  We’ve really enjoyed spending time with all of them. Especially Bode.

We’ve also eaten a ton of great food and added a few pounds in the process. The other night Bode devoured 12 sushi rolls whole – despite  the clear unease of his aunt, uncle and those watching from neighboring tables. I’m not sure there’s anything (healthy) he loves to eat more.

We’re also pretty sure he will eat an entire gingerbread house before we leave.

As far as the blog goes, although all the recent extraneous VW-related stuff might be a bit of a bore to some, I really, really appreciated the break from photos and blogging. Jason – you may consider this my Christmas present. It is within our gift guidelines, inexpensive and fits in the van.

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Filed Under: Texas


Posted on December 22, 2010 by 4 Comments

Of course, no childhood winter is complete without the mandatory photo with Santa.

Here’s Bode’s.

He told Santa he wanted some video games, some action movies, and a new computer. A kid of the digital age, for sure.

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Filed Under: Texas

Stuck in Belize

Posted on December 20, 2010 by 3 Comments

The other day we got an email from some fellow travelers in Belize – a place we have never been. It turns out they are on their own VW bus trip, but having a few problems. In fact, they were stuck and in need of some major help.

What could we do? Well, I know a guy in Central Guatemala. He knows a guy in the north, etc – that’s the way the VW family works. Anyway, after literally pushing their bus across the border to Guatemala (it probably sucked at the time, but makes a great story to tell later) and connecting with some friends of friends, they are on the road again.

It’s a nice feeling. Even though we’ve been taking a little break from our road-trip for the holidays, we are still connecting  to other travelers and making some new (virtual) friends. Best of luck to Sarah and Marc – maybe we’ll see you down the road!

Jason!  Thank you so much for your help and for putting us in touch with Francisco in Coban!  After 2 weeks of having different mechanics in Belize try to fix our bus (her name is Bella), we finally had her towed to the border and pushed her across, then had her towed to Santa Elena where we contacted Francisco.  He sent a friend of his to find us and bring us to a vw mechanic….. 2 hours later we are finally back on the road.  We went from feeling like our trip was falling apart to feeling like finally someone was willing to help and ABLE to help.

Thanks to your blog (which we read a lot of before leaving on our trip) and thanks to your willingness to help, we are back on the road.  Let’s hope it stays that way :)

A million thank yous

Sarah and Marc Labelle

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Filed Under: Texas

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