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My Van Life: Day 57

Friday, October 15, 2021

La Grange, TX – Round Top, TX

I can hardly believe I’m even putting these words to paper, or I guess in this case to the keyboard? It’s not quite as poetic when my fingers are moving across the keyboard as it is when the pen is moving across the page, but you get the idea. You guys, I woke up COLD! Yes, I know, I can hardly believe it myself but it’s true. I did the standard hands in between my legs to keep myself warm in the middle of the night trick because I had tucked the blanket into a corner underneath my pillow making it utterly impossible to unfurl it in the middle of the night especially in a state of semi-consciousness. We were jolted awake by the sound of the shower organizer falling early this morning which seemed as good a time as any to move from on top of the covers to underneath. It’s funny because last night we were trying to remember the last time we actually used the blanket. Truthfully before last night I couldn’t tell you. I couldn’t tell you the last night I didn’t sleep on TOP of the covers. Well that quite unfortunate streak has officially ended!! It didn’t last long however because today was another hot day with temps in the upper 80s and humid as all get out but I will cherish that brisk night’s sleep for as long as I possibly can.

I popped into Walmart this morning to pick up our groceries for the week before making the twenty minute drive to Round Top. Round Top really is "small town USA" so it was wise for us to pick up our groceries now while we still had options beyond just a local drugstore or something. I’m not even entirely sure where people grocery shop in Round Top to be honest. I'm sure there are places I just haven't seen them before. After our trip earlier in the year to Round Top we were familiar with general areas and decided on Henkel Square to post up for the morning to take care of some work and grab a cup of coffee. It is Friday afterall. We arrived fairly early, early enough to secure parking in an open lot quite easily. It was starting to heat up but not uncomfortably so so we packed up our little day bags and visited Royer’s Pie Haven for a morning cup of coffee. There was tons of outdoor seating available so we posted up at a table and got to work. Thankfully the area was covered in shade so we didn’t have to worry about the sun beating down on us just yet. This was probably one of our most cherished memories from Round Top earlier in the year, visiting this little square full of modern shops and boutiques as well as lots of room to sit outside and enjoy the big Texas blue skies and sunshine. Which there was plenty of today.

By the early afternoon Adam had to pop back to the van to take a few calls and he took Coco with him so I could bop around town and take care of some of the shopping in the area that I knew he wouldn’t be as interested in. Plus that way Coco didn’t have to worry about walking around in the heat, she could sleep the afternoon away in the van. Because the heat sure came on strong early afternoon. It really does feel suffocating here. That’s the best way to describe it. Just like a wet towel draped around your shoulders. Except instead of being a cool and pleasant treat on your shoulders on a warm summer's day, it’s hot. Like a washcloth you’ve just warmed up in the microwave. ICK!

I didn’t really find a whole lot, well nothing I couldn’t live without, and more than anything I was getting quite uncomfortable. It was nice popping in and out of some of the shops in Henkel Square as the air conditioning was on full blast but once you emerged back into the outside world you immediately wished you turned around and marched right back in the door you came out of. My biggest success of the day came from The Little Cheese Shop. Adam is a big cheese and crackers fan and joked about me going into the shop to see what they had so I poked my head in and was shocked to find the most incredible array of goodies. From pesto to jams to cheeses to olives and everything in between, the cheese shop had something for everyone. Truly! I mean even me, someone who doesn’t really eat cheese couldn’t say no! I picked up a couple cheeses for Adam, some sourdough flatbread crackers in addition to olive pesto (!?!?!) and truffle aioli. The cheese shop was THE stop of the day.

After Adam was done with his calls we drove to another favorite just down the road, Junk Gypsy. Again, I did my bopping around inside, admiring the beautiful display and everything inside but nothing quite caught my eye plus it was nearing dinnertime and I realized we hadn’t eaten anything. I was getting hangry. The clouds were moving their way in and the breeze was picking up, ushering in cooler temps so we decided to head back to the van to make a late lunch/early dinner. At this point it was time for us to figure out where we were staying for the evening and we hadn’t heard from the Harvest Hosts we requested so we decided to drive over and see if we could talk to the people directly.

The Blue Mule Winery was just outside of town, not too far at all, so we popped over there to at the very least enjoy some drinks and hopefully call it a night at our resting stop for the evening. It can feel quite limiting at times, van life. It’s like you’re always trying to figure out what to do. With Coco in tow, it’s even more limiting and we quickly were reminded of that at the winery. Unfortunately Round Top got heavy rain earlier in the week so the outdoor seating area was a little muddy which meant we were relegated to wine tasting in the van. Adam picked up a bottle and we sat with the door open, enjoying the wide open country spaces and our Blue Mule Winery purchase. Unfortunately we weren’t able to stay there as they don’t allow dogs but they were extremely welcoming and friendly and even recommended Busted Oaks Cellars down the road which was another Harvest Hosts location that allowed dogs. Bingo! Adam picked up the phone to call and within 30 minutes we were there.

We just so happened to visit on Open Mic Night which was an added bonus – listening to live music while enjoying a wine tasting under the stars. It doesn’t get much more small town Texas vibes than that I will tell you. I couldn’t stop smiling the whole night. At one point everyone out on the porch got up and danced to this country song – one I’ve never heard of so I can’t give you much more detail than that – but it was a line dancing song that everyone knew the choreography to. While I, of course, didn’t get up and join, I thoroughly enjoyed the experience even from the comfort of my chair, wine glass in hand. It’s these moments, in these spaces when I understand. I understand the appeal of small town Texas. I understand the appeal of the south, growing up, raising a family in a place like this. It’s just a different feeling. It’s palpable. It’s in the air. The way people approach you and speak to one another. There’s this established sense of family, of respect, of togetherness and honestly, I think we could all use a little more of that in our lives.

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