Thursday, January 15, 2015

Moving Day (Goliad to Choke Canyon)

Location: Choke Canyon State Park; Three Rivers, Texas

(click pictures to enlarge)

I pulled out of Goliad with a cold wet mist hanging in the air. The temperature was 41 degrees and there was a haze or slight fog. You could feel the wetness in the air around you as if the water was suspended in mid-fall to the ground. It sounds nasty, but it wasn't too bad until I had been in it for an hour as I was hitching up and emptying my tanks. I pulled out of the campground around 11:00 with a short 80 mile tow ahead of me. 

I stopped at the Walmart in Beeville to stock up on some things. I knew there wasn't going to be many shopping options around Choke Canyon so I got enough groceries to last me the 4 days I planned to stay there. As usual, anytime I'm in Walmart, I pick up things that aren't on my list. I think they have subliminal messages playing in the background to entice people to buy stuff. But that's OK with me because I am a Walmart believer. They are usually located near a main roadway with a parking lot large enough for me to pull in hitched up. They are what America and the free market system is all about. Old Sam Walton started with nothing and grew into the giant chain of stores around the country. As far as the Mom and Pop stores that are put out of business when a Walmart comes into a town, I think that is the natural progression of things. If Walmart does not meet the needs of its customers, then another store will come in and replace them. Chances are, that Mom and Pop store that Walmart put out of business had put a store or trading post out of business when it opened up. The customers decide what their needs and wants are and it is up to businesses to provide that. Free enterprise at work. 

I did get two surprises as I approached Three Rivers, Texas. The first appeared out of the misty fog. The weather had turned to a drizzling rain/fog. The wipers were slapping about every 20 seconds and the visibility was about 1/2 mile. The landscape was typical flat cattle range with an occasional farm. Down the road, something very tall appeared, but I couldn't quite make it out. The fog would clear for a couple of seconds, just long enough to give a hint as to something being out there, then the fog would cover it again. The ghostly appearance of something large, dead ahead, that could be faintly seen one second then disappeared the next was a little worrisome. Visions of old Sci-fi movies were brought to mind. I glanced down at the speedometer and I had unknowingly reduced my speed by about 10 mph. Finally after what seemed a very long time, but was actually only 5 minutes or so, a tall smoke stack and vent pipes appeared. I had seen things like this before. It was a refinery. But why was it located here in the middle of cattle country. I later found out it was the Valero Three Rivers Refinery. Strange place for a refinery of this size.

This is what was appearing in and out of the foggy rain

Finally it cleared enough to see the refinery. It was a surprise since I wouldn't have expected one to be here.

The second surprise was I noticed I was in the middle of what looked like a boom town area. The dead give away for me was the number of RV parks located in every piece of empty land along the road. Most were in fields that had become nothing more than a mud hole, but was full of RV's, some of which were very expensive. Most of the parks seemed to provide a wooden pallet to be used at the door of the RV's. I had seen this kind of stuff before when the Haynesville Shale Natural Gas find was opened up back in Louisiana. Sure enough, the other confirmation was the large number of salt water trucks on the road. Mud was everywhere as trucks were pulling in and out of every little driveway along the way. After checking online, sure enough, I'm in the middle of the Eagle Ford Shale Natural Gas find. Freedom and Liberty are both dirty from mud everywhere.  

Based on the number of new RV parks I saw on my way in, I was a little concerned the state park may be full of people. I shouldn't have been, because the park is only about 10% full. The nice lady in the Park Office was interested in full time traveling so I gave her the address to the blog. While driving to the campsite, I was greeted by what looked like a dozen deer. One just stood alongside the road as I drove by. 
I think I heard her tell me to slow down.

While setting up Liberty, several more deer came out of the brush in the empty campsite next door. One was a buck with about 8 points. There is no way I could shoot one but I am glad that others do. When I was in the Northeast this last summer, I saw dozens and dozens of dead deer along the road that had been hit by vehicles. I was told it was because of the drastic reduction in hunting days by the state government. I wonder how many people were hurt or killed by those vehicles hitting and dodging deer as they tried to cross the road.I have a feeling they are going to be frequent visitors and I'll need to break out the fancy camera with the bigger lens.
The buck is just beginning to come out of the brush

The buck was broadside in this picture. 
After setting up, I took a few shots of the lake. I can see it from my campsite. The temperature was still in the mid 40's with a slight drizzle so I wasn't going too far. The weather is due to improve and the temperature is suppose to get close to 70 degrees by this weekend. I believe the only exploring I'll be doing will be around the campground, but that should make for a relaxing 4 days.

My homeplace for the next 4 days.

The lake. This is about 100 feet from my campsite.

Looking East with a nice tree in the foreground

And for balance, looking West.

Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road. 

1 comment:

  1. I was the project coordinator for the design and construction of that refinery at Three Rivers. It has been changed a lot from when we finished it in 1982. Seeing Choke Canyon being developed and filling is part of my memories. On up the highway to Tilden used to be two or three more public boat access points. Just across the lake on highway 99 is another public access point. The wilderness area on the north side of the lake may be closed for hunting but it has some interesting public access points also.
    Alligators are a big trouble in that lake.