“Hey look at this.”
“On Facebook. Bubba and Kat. They’re in Lake Charles. We’re going that way.”
“I’ll email them. Maybe we can see them.”
We met Bubba and Kat last year at the Rubber Tramp Rendezvous (RTR). We just happened to pick a spot next to them. Nice people living with their dog, Emma, in a forty plus foot trailer pulled by their Peterbuilt semi tractor named Grace. They were making a living work camping around the country and waiting till they were old enough to get their pensions and retire.
“TipsyMarlinTravels?” I say point to the back of their trailer.
“Yeah, that’s our YouTube channel. We just started it.”
Lake Charles, Louisiana is not on anyone’s tourist list. It’s big, rough and dominated by the oil, gas and chemical industries.
“Sure, Come on down we’d love to see you. We’re at Intracoastal Parish Park. 30.0661, -93.3457. Twenty three miles south of Lake Charles on Route 27.”
We turn off Interstate 10 and head south on 27 into the Louisiana swamps and bayous that make up coastal Louisiana. As we crest the arch of the drawbridge spanning the Intracoastal Waterway we can see the park below. “Turn right 1/4 mile” gps says. Around under the bridge to a few buildings and some camp sites on a strip of high ground a couple hundred yards wide.
“There they are.” Lorraine says.
I wave and 2 seat figures wave back as we back into an empty camp site. We’ve been following them on YouTube since we parted ways last January.
“How the heck are ya, buddy.” says Bubba striding across the lot. “We’re so glad you came.” says Kat, her arms out for a hug. “You get yourselves settled and then come over. We got some catchin’ up to do.”
A bit later we’re seated by their trailer.
“Well we did the beet harvest.”
“Yeah, That was a bitch this year. It was either rainin’ or it was cold. But that’s it we’re done.”
“You mean you finally got your pensions?”
“We sure did. We don’t have to work no more.”
“We might do the beet harvest again. I mean the money’s good.”
“Oh, it’s crazy money but you’re out there everyday and this year it was cold and they didn’t stop the harvest so you’re out there 12 hours a day on top of a machine, twenty something degrees and the wind blowin’. We’ll have to think about that one.”
“And I have to tell you. Emma is no longer with us. She just got so she was too weak to get up. We had to put her down. It was so heartbreaking. Well I haven’t got over it yet. I still keep her toys right where she liked them.”
“Yeah, it was hard but she had a good life and she got to see a good bit of the country.”
“You remember Carol? The lady with the dogs in a class C?”
“Sure. She’s a lady you don’t easily forget.”
“We ran into her near Amarillo about a month ago. She’s doing real well. I think she was heading back to Memphis.”
“We’ll have to give her a call. See if she’s heading out to the RTR this year. I think I’ve got her contact info somewhere.”
And so it went for the afternoon. Catching up on the news of people and places from all over as the tugs pushed barges slowly along the waterway behind us carrying oil and chemicals between Lake Charles and Port Arthur, Texas. In the fading sun the drawbridge clattered as cars drove over the metal grates and in the distance was the industrial hum a LNG (liquified natural gas) plant but as we walked back to the trailer a heron flew along the banks and fish jumped catching the unlucky insect.
“We’ll get together for coffee in the morning.” Bubba says.
“Sure. We won’t be leaving early.” I reply.
We got hold of Carol that evening. She’s spending Christmas in Fort Lauderdale then heading out west in January. She wants to see some national parks this time but not anyplace that has snow. We promise to keep in touch and perhaps our paths will cross.
The next morning with the early sun streaming down the waterway Bubba looks out and says, “Ya see those barges there. Each one comin’ from someplace and each goin’ to someplace but out here they meet, even if only for a few minutes. It’s kinda like us. We’ll be goin’ our separate ways but we’ll meet up again someday. Safe travels buddy.”
“Safe travels, Bubba.”
We left Bubba and Kat standing in front of Grace. They’ll be heading to Biloxi and then on to Florida for the holidays. Kat’s Mom has a family cruise planned for March. After that who knows. You can follow Bubba and Kat on Facebook or YouTube at TipsyMarlinTravels.
We’re off to the Gulf Coast for some time by the sea.