Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Headin' to Texas and more Gulf coast

Sunday, January 27
Today we head further west to Texas. We are booked into the Wilderness Oaks RV Park in Rockport about 30 minutes out of Corpus Christi.
Headin' west on Interstate 10

We stopped at the Texas travel center. Some helpful folks here.

Sunday traffic is a bit light thankfully.

Lots of refining activity near Beumont.

Heading into downtown Houston. I wouldn't try this during a busy weekday, but Sunday traffic wasn't too bad.

Some tight underpasses.

Wide open freeways.

Flat and straight

Lots of Navy T6-Texans doing touch and go's at the airport adjacent to the campground.

Our site. Nice to have an end site. Doesn't seem so crowded.

Busy campground. Very nice folks and well maintained.
Monday, Tuesday January 28, 29
On this portion of the Gulf coast there are barrier islands just off shore that protect the mainland from storms. The islands are mostly sand, have great beaches and of course are popular with tourists. The islands are fully exposed to the elements and are constantly shifting and being rebuilt. Hurricanes have hit this area as they have in other areas of the Gulf. The most recent was Hurricane Harvey that hit the Rockport area in August 2017. It was very devastating and costly. Damage was estimated at $125 billion which ties with Katrina for the costliest hurricane to hit the US.

Some prosperous areas

Still rebuilding

Lots of work yet to do.

Heading over to Port Aransas.

Three drilling rigs in dry dock.

Heading across the channel to Mustang Island

A free ferry ride across the channel. They had four ferries running across the channel so the wait time was under 15 minutes. The ferry ride takes under 5 minutes.

A quick trip across town to the beach.

Always a breeze. Great for kites.

Ships make their way through the channel to port.

Great kite-surfing weather.

Miles of solid sandy beach to traverse

More remote beaches too.

Although some of these beaches had some very soft sand.

We made our way further south from Mustang Island and then onto Padre Island.

Padre Island has been occupied by many folks in its history. Natives, the Spanish, cattle ranchers and oil companies have used the resources of the Island. Now much of it is protected by a National Park.

Vast grasslands cover the sand dunes.

The Gulf coast collects a lot of 'stuff' The water and wind currents bring in material from a long way. Sea beans from South America have appeared on its shores. Along with a lot of garbage too, unfortunately.

You can drive down the beach for 60 miles. Just don't get stuck. It can cost you thousands of dollars for a tow!

We only went a mile down the shore.

 We spent a great couple of days exploring the beaches, dunes and islands along the coast. Next we'll head into Corpus Christi to have a look around.

....and that was Our View From Here!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

The Creole Nature Trail

Friday, Saturday January 25, 26
We headed down the Creole Nature Trail. This series of roads takes you past some great birding sites and interesting locations. The Creole trail starts in Sulphur and heads directly south about 40 miles to the Gulf. You can then branch out West along the Gulf coast toward the Texas or head east along the Gulf to some small towns in Louisiana and back up to Sulphur. We went West first, then backtracked to the East. Whichever route you take will give you awesome views of water channels, bayous, fields, beaches, and birds everywhere. It's a great drive.

Barges use the shipping channels to move goods deep into the heart of Louisiana.

Cranes! Not the bird version. Petro-chemical plants are numerous in this area. They are building new ones and expanding others. Lots of construction in the area.

Much of the water level here is controlled.

River Otter

A popular spot, nice view and above any flood that might occur. But what is it? No idea.

We turned right toward Texas.

The Gulf of Mexico.

Some nice homes along the way.

Lots of oil and gas operations out this way.

The Sabine Channel. Just of the bridge is......Texas!

The TomTom mapping car made a visit. I was sure to smile!

Oil rigs in the channel

Great roads. Hard to see over the tall grasses though.

We saw dozens of Egrets.

The Gulf of Mexico

Colorful homes along the beach. Looks like they could handle a significant storm surge.

You can't get much closer to the Gulf!

Great sand beaches

Look at all the shells!

Lots of variety.

We took the free ferry across the Calcasieu Ship Channel

We had to wait for a ship to pass.

Tons of birds in the ponds.

Bridge over the Intercoastal Waterway

The Intercoastal Waterway

Solid birds!

Water everywhere.

Back in Sulphur, the following day we stopped at the Visitor Center.

They had some great informational displays.


River Otter
Next stop was the Sulphur Museum where learned a bit about the towns history, like why it was named 'Sulphur'. Turns out the town was founded around the sulphur mines that we present here.

They had a great model railroad and a model of the town of Sulphur. The yellow is the sulphur depot.

They figured out a way to liquefy the sulphur and pump it to the surface. It would then cool and solidify.

We just had to stop in here. A drive-thru liquor store!

Yep, you drive through the store.

Just stop and let the girls know what you want, they bring it to you, pay them, and head out the other side.

Another drive-thru! You pull up to the window, tell them what you want and they hand you a big bag of fresh, hot crawfish.

We just had to try Crawfish boil.

We ate and ate. The crawfish were very sweet. You just twist the tail off and pull the meat out of the tail. Sort of like lobster but I liked these better. The corn and potatoes were very good too.
We enjoyed some great meals in Louisiana. We tried a number of Cajun dishes including frog legs (I'm not a fan), Gator tail (I'm a fan!), oysters, and of course shrimp. I also discovered Boudin sausage. It's made with rice and ground pork, sometimes chicken liver, and onions and spices. You can get them rolled in balls or traditional sausage casing. Each manufacturer makes them slightly different, and of course theirs is the best! I liked them all.

Some good local beer.

Cheesy crawfish stuffed bun on left. Very tasty. Boudin balls on the right.

Pork sausage and rice with green onion and spices. These were the best I tried.

After all the driving lately the truck had earned an oil change. The transmission and transfer case oil was also due so I had all that done Saturday morning. We have driven over 18,000 miles (about 25,000 kms) since leaving Red Deer at the end of July! Sunday we head out of Louisiana and into Texas!

.....and that was Our View From Here!