[in which Micah and Erica trade off writing in a line-by-line fashion, starting with Erica]
They say "You can't get the hell out of Texas," and in fact, when we had driven over 880 miles and finally passed exit 1, only to then hit exit 0, this was proving, uncomfortably, to be true.
Our journey through Texas started on an inauspicious note, in Indian Springs Campgrounds on Holland Cemetery Road. Perhaps it would have been wiser not to have camped in a haunted Indian Burial Ground, but your options in Texas are limited to the Days Inn and various approximations of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Some would say that the Days Inn isn't all that bad, but apparently those sorts were not in charge of accommodations.
So we arrived in Big Thicket National Preserve (it's delicious!), about which we discovered only that the name was accurate. We didn't explore the forest, on account of the unearthly stillness and the horrifying, bloody ghosts which no doubt populated it. Really, you're going to go that route? We almost died due to someone's camping decision, so yes, now it's getting talked about.
Well, the cabin we had been promised was no longer available to us due to the late hour and the fact that the proprietor did not remember renting us a cabin, or that he owned a campground at all, as I deduced from the "You're where?" when I called to alert him of our presence. He wasn't the only one alerted to our presence; as we discussed the stillness of the campground and the lifelessness of its RVs, I swear to you that the trees began to drip ectoplasm onto our heads. "If this turns out to be blood," says Micah, "I warn you I can run faster than you." Whatever, I'm not proud.
So one short quarter of a Texas-Ohio football game later, the proprietor shows up to check us into our clean, safe and relaxing accommodations. The initial relief that he was not carrying an axe quickly turned back to horror when he revealed the RV in which he expected us to spend the night. "Why don't y'all get yer sleepin' bags?" he said, while moving far too many DVD players from the stack of foam mats he implied would be our eventual resting place. Final resting place. That was implied! And now it's been said. Fine.
Anyway, so there we are in an RV full of trash in a campground apparently empty of any life but us. I began cleaning things up and asked Micah, "Do you see a trash around here?" to which he quite accurately responded, "Yes, everywhere!" The chill of the grave was seeping through the RV, possibly due to the unlatchable door, which rattled fitfully as if tried by a spectral hand. Perhaps even spookier than the rattling door, however, was Micah's complete inability to comprehend how the door-latching mechanism worked, but who am I to judge? The one who booked us in Chief Grinning Skull's Serial Killer Resort, that's who.
"So the business plan of this campground," says Micah, "is:
1. Buy an Indian burial ground
2. Buy RVs and fill them with trash
3. Keep no record of travelers in campground, and
4. Put travelers in RVs with trash?"
This model seemed a bit flawed, but perhaps it made more sense from outside of the recreational garbage cans. I stop quaking in my boots long enough to remove them, and as we climb into our beds, Micah, who has been harshing on this perhaps-not-entirely-reasonable place since we arrived asks if I think there might be turn down service? And a mint!
"You know," I say to Micah, "the only people who know where we're here are you, me, the creepy proprietor, and someone from online whose real name I don't even know." To avoid the terror engendered by that thought, I contemplate exactly what the proprietor's job description is; what range of unsatisfactory options he is authorized to offer people in place of the promised cabins. "Here's an overturned dinghy you can drag your tarp underneath!" Erica suggests a dumpster: "Y'all go get yer sleepin' bags while I move some of this garbage around." "We gave away your four star room, but you're welcome to this bed of nails. Hang on, I'll get some cobras."
So as the midnight hour approached, we attempted alternately to laugh and cry ourselves to sleep, and waited to see if we would wake up dead. Our alarm must have been set earlier than the serial killers', as we found ourselves unmaimed in the morning. The Camp (g)Host signs us out in the morning with a surprised "I didn't know that RV was ready for habitation! (--neither did we, I reply). We are given a piece of paper and some vague instructions to give it to the proprietor, but instead we peel out and never look back. In retrospect, this experience would make breaking down without gas in west Texas two nights later seem minor, but that was still in our future, which lay ahead of us as broad and as endless as Texas.
Music: You Can't Get the Hell Out of Texas