For our June 7th Incubator Meeting, we received a presentation from our friends Pete and Sophie about their cross-country camping trips, specifically their Winter 2017 road trip from Southern Texas and up the California coast. To open up the meeting, participants shared memories of a fun place near their home or a funky bus station, train station, or airport they have visited. Our group shared colorful stories from across the globe. We talked about bus stations in Greece and Morocco, a lush riverside in Sparta, Greece with bamboo houses, memories of a childhood in Puerto Rico, learning how to fly airplanes in New Jersey, a memorable Buddhist Temple in Hong Kong, and flashbacks to beachside amusement parks. We were truly traveling through time and space, enriching ourselves on the different cultures and fun sites across the nation and around the world.
After our introductions, Pete and Sophie shared their exciting journey with us, in depth and with plenty of visuals to help us envision the wonderful sights they were able to witness. Being seasoned campers, the duo decided to invest in a Volkswagen camper five years ago, so they could travel in comfort. They took this camper for a road trip, riding down to Big Bend National Park along the southern border of Texas for their first big camping destination. They took a short trip to Austin, Texas a hub for music and good beer. While having their breaks fixed, they stayed at an AirBnB with Jerome, a photographer and elaborate pirate costume enthusiast. This trip afforded them the opportunity to make a strong connection with a new friend they may have never met otherwise. They had a handful of stories about the quirky people they met along the way, at different camp sites and Texas dive-bars and cafes.
They had plenty of beautiful landscape pictures to share, from Texas, Mexico, and California. Their ambitious hiking trips took them deep into deserts, mountains, and canyons. They were able to cross the Mexican border over the Rio Grande through a very small but surprisingly sophisticated customs office; their they visited a small town and enjoyed cold beer and snapped pictures of native wildlife. The two noted that the workers of Big Bend National Park care deeply about their Mexican neighbors, even training them to be firefighters in case of emergency fires in the park, as the nearest US city is 2 hours away. They also sold their handmade walking sticks in the park store. After Texas, they traveled up the California coast to visit their daughter in Northern California outside of Sacramento. Their full journey took them a leisurely 3 months to complete, beginning in January and ending March.
At the conclusion of their presentation, we opened it up to a question and answer session with the participants. The group was curious as to whether or not they felt safe and secure through their trip at such isolated, off-the-grid campsites; to which, they asserted that they never felt they were in danger as they had each other, and the other friendly campers around them. Participants were also curious as to whether or not they encountered any severe weather; they did face a windstorm at Big Bend, but noted that they were able to simply stay inside their camper to keep themselves out of it. The group expressed appreciation for the insider look at the camping experience, and for the opportunity to catch a glimpse of other areas of our nation.