Surfing and Golfing in San Angelo
The last time we stayed with a couchsurf host was with the fabulous Art in Fairbanks. We ended up staying with him for much longer than intended, and he welcomed us back with open arms when we arrived on his doorstep unannounced after the crash.
We have put in a few couchsurf requests since then, but either no one was available to host, or we didn’t end up being able to get to them as expected due to bike troubles.
All that has changed now that we have reliable (ish) bikes again, and we returned to our couchsurfing ways in San Angelo, Texas.
It was an uneventful, if slightly windy, ride from Carlsbad to San Angelo. We knew we were in Texas because of all the oil pumps and pick up trucks everywhere.
We pulled up to Jo Ann’s corner house and were warmly greeted by Mark, a film school friend of Jo Ann’s who was also staying with her. In fact she had so many guests already (Mark, Rev Tom, her dog and four cats) that we ended up pitching our tent in her back yard.
Jo Ann wasn’t home when we arrived, but Mark invited us inside and fed us the most delicious pumpkin cake I have ever eaten. He also had baked chocolate chip cookies. This man knows how to bake, and we were very willing recipients of his efforts.
One of my favourite parts of couchsurfing is meeting people who we otherwise would never have met, and hearing their stories. I find it fascinating to discover what people do with their lives, their passions and challenges. Mark was one of the most interesting people I have met in a long time.
He’s in his 50’s (doesn’t look or act it) and is not all that sure what he’s going to do next. He was working at the IMAX at the Grand Canyon for a while, and had many stories about his time there. His father owns a pizzeria in Panama. (Yes, we’ve already been in touch with Ray and will be seeing him when we get there.) We spent our whole visit encouraging Mark to meet us at his father’s place in a couple months.
Mark is really passionate about two things: writing and baking. He’s writing a screenplay at the moment. He has two sons, one who is in rehab. Sounds like he’s a talented boy, 18 years old, but fell in with the wrong crowd. He seems to be taking to the rehab well, and I hope very much that he turns his life around.
We took Mark to play disc golf at the course around the corner for their house. He took to it like a pro. Phil is a good teacher, and had his work cut out with me. I’m determined to be better at it by the end of our trip.
Jo Ann’s other lodger was Rev Tom, a jovial man who gave Phil a taste of his Scotch and was keen to talk to me about his trip to the UK.
Although we were only there a few hours, I felt that our presence brought some excitement, and I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation and stories.
To make up for lost time, we had another couchsurfing host lined up for the next night in Austin so we headed back on the road with a wave and a smile.