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I absolutely love everything about road trips – the adventure, the exposure to new places, even the monotony of long drives, heavy traffic or the panic of being lost. If you are a control-freak/type A personality like me, the traffic, detours or missed exits give us a much-needed reality check. And while I am a Funky Traveler who finds very high-end lodging and destinations boring and soul-less and you may like more decadent surroundings, here are the five Road Trip luxuries you shouldn’t travel without. These ARE in order of priority
#1 Road Trip Luxury – Coffee Kit
It’s official. The Big Ass Crawfish Bash grabbed the Guinness World Record for the most crawfish served in an 8-hour period on April 1. Almost 15,000 people consumed nearly 60,000 pounds of crawfish served up by 87 boiling teams. The Bash also raised a record $100,000 for Camp Hope, a place that helps veterans and their families cope with PTSD.
Tiny Guidry had been all over Houston radio stations banging the pot, so to speak, about the coming “craw-tastrophe.” If the traffic on 1-45 south didn’t alert you, huge flocks of seagulls circling Gulf Greyhound Park that day let you know something very big was going down.
How the crawfish bash started
I’d never heard of the Big Ass Crawfish Bash before a friend started talking about it a few months ago. Where had it come from, how had it started and why were so many people going to it?
A few years ago, a funeral director, an electrician and a pipeline inspector were sitting around a fish camp on Moses Lake at Dickinson Bayou. Mark Crowder, Quentin Severin and Tiny had spent the day boiling up pots of crawfish and feeding a big bunch of friends.
Now they were relaxing over a few beers. “We ought to get everyone to make a donation to help pay for the beer and bugs,” one said. “Yeah, and anything left over, we can give to charity,” someone added.
Maybe Mark, Tiny and Quentin were overheard, or more likely, someone did some drunk dialing, because they started hearing from people interested in joining them. The Bash was born.
Monster event is born
That first year, plans for 500 pounds of crawfish grew to 3,500 pounds and then to 4,800 pounds almost overnight. Two weeks before the event, it was moved from Marks Fish Camp to Diamond Jim’s on Loop 197 in Texas City.
By year two (2016), the Bash had a logo, website, beer sponsor and 75 teams. With 9000 wristbands sold, 75 boiling teams and 35,000 pounds of crawfish, the Bash took over Highland Bayou Park. Mark, Tiny and Quentin and their volunteer friends had created a monster event and given $25,000 to charity to boot.
As the donations got bigger, the Bash foundation scrutinized charities to see where their money would go the farthest and do the most good. The three founders already had an affinity for veterans. It hit home when a veteran friend that Tiny had made on social media killed himself due to PTSD.
Camp Hope was a place for people like Tiny’s friend. Faith-based and run by David Maulsby, Camp Hope would use 100% of the Bash’s donation to provide interim housing and care for veterans and their immediate families who were coping with combat related PTSD. The Bash folks met with Maulsby, toured the camp, and realized they’d found the focus for their event.
The Bash moves to Gulf Greyhound Park
2017’s Big Ass Crawfish Bash took up over a million square feet of paved space at Gulf Greyhound Raceway. By 3pm, 14,988 wristbands were scanned. Then the scanners broke. Still the crowd poured in. The massive parking lot was full. Cars were parked four deep at the long, winding entrance to the parking kiosks and all along the road and in retail parking lots.
Teams from companies and restaurants like Bubba’s on Tiki Island (last year’s winner) boiled against community groups from San Leon and the Hitchcock Fire Department. Team FOIL from Galveston challenged people to figure out what their name stood for. “I’m local and proud of it” is the G-version. Everyone was offering you a plate of their special crawfish.
Mudbugs, Music and Mayhem
On the big Budweiser stage, Lafayette hard-country band, Doublewide, played music that made you feel like you’d wandered down some dirt back road in Acadiana. Outrageously costumed teams drummed up support to win the gloriously tacky Big Ass trophy.
Focus on the Veterans
Opposite the stage, 95-year-old Col. Joe McPhail (USMC-Retired) kept the focus on the veterans. Col. McPhail, a Marine pilot who flew missions in WW2 and Korea, signed autographs and took pictures with the crowd in the USAA tent. He bought home the heroic exploits that the quiet man or woman sitting next to you may have done while in uniform.
Because big, lasting, important things can be won by the efforts of one brave man or woman. Just like a crazy, wonderful, funky event can start by three guys relaxing with a couple of beers. Just check it out below.
Big Ass Crawfish Bash Photo Gallery
Taking your dog to the beach is fun for both you and your pup. But sometimes your dog bolts and gets away. Bad people sometimes bring their dogs and cats to the Texas coast to leave them.
Cash got lucky
That’s probably what happened to Cash (short for Johnny Cash), a four-month old Australian Shepherd mix. He was eating out of a garbage can outside the Denny’s on South Padre Island, his stomach distended. Cash was very lethargic. Some caring Islander drove him up Padre Boulevard to the South Padre Island Friends of Animal Rescue storefront. After seeing a vet and getting treated, he recuperated nicely surrounded by two-legged and four-legged companions.
A tiny and humble animal rescue group
The southern tip of the longest barrier island in Texas (and the world) will be overrun for most of March by Spring Breakers. In April, Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week) will bring thousands of families from throughout the Rio Grande Valley and Mexico to the beach.
South Padre Island Friends of Animal Rescue storefront will take care of the lost or abandoned animals like Cash. Others are like Hope, hit by a car and left on the road until somebody carried her to the Friends. Now minus her front leg, Hope is a bit of an island celebrity. And this tiny and humble no-kill animal rescue is a happy and uplifting place. It’s not the big budget organization that runs depressing, late-night commercials of sad-eyed dogs and cats who then haunt your dreams.
Hop-a-long Hope at the South Padre Island Friends of Animal Rescue
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Commit right now begin living big and bold by growing your adventure outlook. It doesn’t necessarily take time, money or courage. You do need an open heart and mind to respond to those nudges we usually choose to ignore.
You can practice by getting comfortable with discomfort. Sit on the other side of the conference table at work, take a seat across the aisle and up front at church or stand somewhere else during your workout. Build up that mental muscle to slap down your inner voice when it says something like, “You’re going to do WHAT?!” Then start using these five steps to grow your adventure outlook. I guarantee you interesting travels!
1. Take suggestions from anywhere
My father left my brother and me two pieces of desert land that we paid a pittance of tax on every year. Each year when I wrote those checks, I wondered about these places. One late night, I saw a old movie filmed in one of the places, Deming, New Mexico . On impulse we booked a flight to El Paso, rented a convertible and took a road trip to see our holdings. We discovered outlaws, Native Americans battles and first use of military aviation along with deeper insight into my dad, who passed along his adventure outlook along with my blue eyes.