Day 105, Wednesday, August 7 – After several calls yesterday, we knew we needed to head toward Texas. Jacin talked with two state parks in particular, Martin Dies and Inks Lake, which were ready to have additional help in their parks now. We were told that our background checks could be pushed through as quickly as Friday, so we thought we’d head to Martin Dies (the closer of the two) for the weekend to scope it out and see if it would be a good place to call home for a while. We took our time packing up and eventually headed west. About an hour into our long day, we passed the turn off to Grand Isle, which is a small island off the coast of Louisiana. Jacin absently stated, “This will be our last chance to see the ocean for a while,” and that settled it. We headed south and grabbed a spot in Grand Isle State Park, which is right on the Gulf of Mexico, separated only by a sand levee. While we were still in the humid Louisiana heat, the proximity to the ocean offers a constant breeze which cools things down a bit (aka it blows on the sweat that is constantly flowing from your body, thereby decreasing your body temperature slightly :)). We walked the beach for a while, then stopped at a neighboring camp to see what was in the buckets next to their camper. Lo and behold, they were full of crabs. We must’ve made an impression with our questions and curiosity, because roughly an hour later they invited us over to share in their feast. They schooled us in the art of de-shelling, and we were off! I have no idea how many crabs we ate, but we were stuffed full by the end of it (except for Justice, who couldn’t even stand the smell let alone attempt to put any of it in her mouth, so didn’t even hang around for the great conversation). We learned so much about the Grand Isle area, which is one of their annual vacation spots, as well as New Orleans, which is their home. Some time after dinner, we headed back down to the beach to catch the sunset, but we got down there a bit too late to see it. That didn’t prevent us from enjoying some more time in the water, and we also bumped into our crabbing neighbors, who gave us a quick tour of their crabbing pots, which were already starting to fill up after only a short time in the water. What a wonderful day!
Day 106 – Jacin and I got up early to see the sunrise of the Gulf of Mexico, only to get down to the beach and find quite a build up of clouds. We enjoyed our quiet time together, listening to the waves and watching the sand crabs work on cleaning their homes. It was quite entertaining, really. Jacin headed back to camp to work on some apps and I ran a few sprint drills on the beach, finding treasures along the way. I went back to the RV and grabbed Nation to come along with me. On the way to the beach, we found our smallest frog yet, smaller than Nation’s pinky nail. Next we found a large fish spine with the “ribs”, which looked like spikes from a sea monster. Then we found several beached jellyfish and set one out on a picnic table to see what would happen (we found that all that was left the next day was a little bit of shiny film on the table). Jacin and Justice joined us shortly, and we took a long walk along the beach, picking up shells as we went and finding several still inhabited by hermit crabs. We had a late breakfast, then later took our bikes down to the beach. Justice road along the coast through the incoming waves, then came to a crossing and decided to go for it. She found out the hard way that it was much deeper than it looked, and ended up waist-deep in the water. She was quite surprised, but pushed through it and came out laughing. Later, after changing into dry clothes, we took the kids into town and checked out a souvenir shop, as well as taking a self-guided tour of the historic houses in the town, all of which were built in the mid- to late-1800s. The island was settled by pirates, and most of the people living there can trace their roots back to a pillaging past. We also explored a local cemetery, with the above-ground tombs, and marveled at the houses on stilts – even the school was built up off the ground! After dinner, Justice was experiencing major discomfort, so I worked on her a bit then sent her to bed with a heating pad. We all prayed over her complete recovery.
Day 107, Friday, August 9 – Jacin and I were up early again to attempt to see the sunrise, but were met by another cloudy morning. So, we again just took in the sights and enjoyed some alone time together. Once back at the RV, Jacin cleaned himself up and headed into town to find work. We have all fallen in love with Grand Isle, and it is the first place that feels like home. Justice headed out for a walk on the beach while I worked a bit, and Nation and I joined her later. We met Jacin back at the RV, and he informed us that he had spoken with a local construction company that could offer him work, as well as had found an RV park that would let us stay for free in exchange for some handyman help. We were all very excited! So, Justice and I headed to the showers to get ready to check out the RV park and make the move. When we got back, Jacin was on the phone, and we could tell our plans were quickly changing. When he hung up, he said, “Well, I got the call.” THE call, the one he has been waiting for since last October, finally came when we were ready to settle down for a while. God works in mysterious ways. We decided to celebrate with a meal out, and found a quaint little diner called The Starfish, where Jacin and I were treated to a seafood-stuffed baked potato, Nation had a shrimp patty, and Justice had the best hamburger ever. After lunch, we decided that rather than head to Dalls right away, since we didn’t need to be there for almost a week, we would enjoy a couple more nights in paradise. But, we had to switch campsites because our spot was reserved for the weekend. We found our new neighbors to be just as incredible as the last ones. We took a quick ride along the beach, and got fairly wet from a quick rainstorm. When we returned, Bob and his brother John (our neighbors) got their shrimp out that purchased from a dock in town and showed us how to prepare them for cooking. They cooked up red fish and shrimp, and we supplied the veggies, and we all shared a meal and stories together. We even enjoyed a treat off an ice cream truck that came through the campground right after dinner. It was another great day. Thank you, Lord!
Day 108 – Jacin woke me around 5:30 to see if I was up to heading down to the beach again. I just couldn’t do it, and it was not too hard to convince him to sleep in with me. It sounded windy and not too promising. After breakfast, Jacin went for groceries while I worked and the kids kept busy reading and walking along the beach. We had another nice dinner of fish and shrimp again with Bob and John, then headed down to the beach for the last time, until we return again. Truly, besides Morro Bay, CA, this is the first place we’ve truly fallen in love with. We are all grieving somewhat about leaving, but hopeful that God will allow us to winter here.