Sunday, March 31, 2019

Trip Wrap-up

Location: New Rockdale RV Park; Mansfield, Louisiana
Circle Route in Texas

I'm back in my usual campsite in Mansfield, Louisiana. I'll be here at least a month or more. Summer will be here before we know it and with it some typical hot Louisiana weather. The hottest two months of the year around here are July and August. Maybe I'll be somewhere up north in Yankee-land or maybe the north-west during those two months. I'm just not sure yet. 

The trip was a short one by comparison to some of my others. This one latest one only 4 weeks and covered about 1200 miles. I stopped at a total of 5 campgrounds with 2 being Corps of Engineers campgrounds, 1 was a County owned campground and the other 2 were privately owned. They were all adequate and reasonably priced for what they offered. I would not hesitate staying at any of them again in the future.

Freedom did well on the trip and she now has about 110,000 miles with 40,000 of those miles towing Liberty. Both are about 5 1/2 years old. I did get confirmation from an RV repair shop near my last stop of the trip that Liberty's bedroom air conditioner needs to be replaced. I was hoping it was going to be a simple fix, like a capacitor needing replaced, but nope, the whole thing needs replacing. Except for one night, I've lived in Liberty since I bought her, so, the appliances in Liberty have been in used a lot when compared to other RV's that may only be used every other weekend for the summer. I'm guessing this A/C unit will be the first of many appliances replaced, but I can't complain too much. Everything has held up surprisingly well, for the amount of miles over sometimes very bumpy roads she has on her.

Some of the highlights of the trip was visiting Dealey Plaza to see the JFK assassination location. It was a strange feeling being at the place where the path of our country was changed by a couple of bullets fired by one or more people. Another highlight was visiting Longhorn Caverns. They are not as big or nice as Carlsbad Caverns, but they were still worth a stop, even though they have a higher entrance fee than Carlsbad. The Gulf of Mexico at Quintana and Bolivar was nice. To me, the Gulf is always a place of peace. All large bodies of water is nice for me, but there is always something special about seeing the Gulf. I know this will surprise some readers, but the weather, with it's sometime cold, dreary, foggy, windy and unpredictability was also a highlight. It is always nice to see what nature has in store for us, even bad weather.  

I took this while walking on the jetty that outlines the entrance to Freeport, Texas. It was a chilly, stormy morning at high tide. Waves were crashing over the jetty and I was the only one out there. This will probably be my most vivid memory of the trip.  

But even when the storms are blowing and the waves are crashing everywhere, there is always a path back home.
Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Bolivar Peninsula (mostly pictures)

Location: Bolivar Peninsula RV Park; Crystal Beach, Texas

All Pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell Phone

I pulled out of Quintana 5 days ago with another overcast day in which to travel. Once I arrived at Galveston the skies cleared and the sun came out. After riding the ferry over to the Bolivar Peninsula and setting up camp, the weather was very nice. It was a little chilly but still the way I like it. The weather has cooperated for my entire time here at Crystal Beach. Tomorrow is moving day so my fingers are crossed that it remains nice. 

I've been to Bolivar/Galveston several times over the years so I don't feel like a tourist/explorer in a strange place as I do when I travel to places I haven't visited. I guess that is why I've been slow at posting to the blog. 

I think it will be best to make this post with pictures and captions.
Crossing the Intracoastal Waterway as I'm leaving Quintana Beach. It gives an idea of how flat the terrain is along the coast. That is the Gulf of Mexico in my side mirror. Seems a lot of things have been in my side mirror. 

A view from the same bridge but looking down on a small part of the industry in this area. 

This is about half way to Galveston. You top a bridge and "bingo", another refinery/industry. It is a good picture showing the comparison of heavy industry on the left
co-habitating with the nothingness of nature on the right.

Speaking of industry, that is the smoke coming from the petro-chemical storage fire in south east Houston. This picture was taken from the Bolivar/Galveston Ferry.

That's Liberty in the middle on a nice weather day. The front part of the campground is only about 20% full. It is a Passport America campground so I'm getting 50% off for the first 4 days. 

This is Rollover Pass. It is located about 10 miles north/east of Crystal Beach. The pass connects the Gulf of Mexico with the upper reaches of Galveston Bay. The pass was cut and dredged in 1955 which created what we see today. Before that it was just a narrow piece of land on the peninsula used by smugglers to offload illegal cargo from ships in the Gulf and transport it across the narrow strip of land where it was loaded on smaller boats in Galveston Bay. Today, fishermen flock to this location to try their luck. 

This is looking back towards the bay which is on the other side of the highway bridge. I've been here before when every foot of the wall has been taken up by fishermen. 

One of the great things about Texas is you can drive on a lot of the beaches. You can drive and find an isolated spot to park and look out at the Gulf. In this case, I parked in hopes of seeing the full moon rise. The sun is setting directly behind me and the shadow in the picture is Freedom's shadow.

It was a little bit hazy when the moon came out. And this picture is not very good because I don't know how to take night pictures and I'm generally too lazy to learn since I rarely take them. But, the experience is still in my memories (silent echoes),,, at least for a while. 

One of the sunrises from the campground. 

This was another late afternoon visit to the beach. The pelicans put on a show by diving into the water for their supper. It was nice and peaceful.

Good morning sunshine. This is taken from my little slide window looking over my neighbors RV. There was a low fog in the vacant field next door which gave a mixture of emotions when looking at it all.

The Commodore Motel. Memories from a long time ago.

How is this for a view while gassing up Freedom. I wonder if the locals get used to the view and not notice it anymore. It would be sad if they do.

Can't ride the ferry without seeing the gulls

Still on the ferry while looking out in the Gulf at the Ships in Parade line waiting to enter the harbor.

Ships all the way to and past the horizon

A couple more ships and a gull. 

People feeding the gulls on the fantail of the ferry.

This is the north jetty of the entrance to Galveston Bay. It stretches a couple of miles out into the Gulf. Waiting ships. 

This is as far as you can walk on semi-smooth concrete. It is about 1/2 mile from shore but still almost 2 miles from the end of the jetty. I didn't go any farther since there was danger in walking on the uneven blocks. One misstep and I could be in trouble with me being the only one this far out.

Looking back to shore for the jetty.

There is a lot going on in the is picture. It is taken for the jetty looking back towards the harbor entrance. You can see the ships going in and some waiting. The two mounds of earth on the right side are old gun emplacements at Fort Travis used in the past to protect the harbor. The Fort is also the location where Jane Long fooled Jean Lafitte and his pirates into thinking the fort was still manned. You can read about his from my previous visit there. Look on the archive list on the right side and find the post from 10/30/2014 to read about the Mother of Texas.

This is an old picture from 2014 showing the "Tea Pot House" on the southern end of Galveston Island. I usually drop by to see how it is doing whenever I'm in the area and for years it has been vacant. 

But things rarely stay the same for very long in this life. Someone bought the old "Tea Pot House" and remodeled it, even added a deck. I had to look twice to make sure what I was seeing. I think it is good that someone is giving the old place a new life, but I wonder if there will be a need to make the drive to see it next time I'm on the island. Oh well, "if things don't change, something is wrong."

Tomorrow is moving day. I'll be camping at a campground in Duson, Louisiana near a privately owned RV shop that I have an appointment on Monday for them to check out the bedroom A/C unit on Liberty. They have certified technicians so I'm starting out confident they know what they are doing. If I get good vibes from them, I may have them check some other things. It is hard to find a good RV shop without it being a dealership. While in the area, I'll make a quick stop to check on my sister and her family. I'll come back for a longer visit in the near future. Unless things change, I'll be back in Mansfield at my usual campground by Monday or Tuesday afternoon.

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

Monday, March 18, 2019

Last Pictures from Quintana Area

Location: Quintana Beach County Campground; Quintana, Texas  (south of Houston)

All Pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell Phone

The next campground is only about 2 hours away so I plan to pull out around 10:30 or so. There are two routes to get there, both of which are equal in travel time. One is passing over the San Luis Bridge that connects to the southern end of Galveston Island. It is a long and very narrow bridge. I crossed it many years ago while traveling in a car. At that time there was a shifting fog which varied from having to almost stop to being able to see out into the Gulf of Mexico. It was the kind of weather and narrowness that would make a person question why he's on the bridge. The second route is slightly inland and passes through the Coastal Plain. Like I said, both route are equal in terms of time, I wonder which way I'll choose,,, Duh,,,, I'm choosing the Coastal Plains. Wish me luck.

Since I'm on 30 amp service, I use propane to power my water heater. To do so, I have to flip a switch. It usually takes about 15 minutes to heat up the water, so I figured I would post the last of the pictures I've taken around the area while drinking my morning coffee and waiting on hot water. I hope I don't run out of propane. 

Here we go, last of the picture, with captions:

There are two man-made things in Texas that all visitors should see. One is a H-E-B grocery store (think Whole Foods, but better) and the other is a Buc'ees gas station. I've noticed some smaller Buc'ees on this trip, but make sure you see one of their "big'uns". 

Same Buc'ees except I liked the way the flag was flying in this one. I was waiting in the car wash line while taking this picture. It wasn't the best car wash, but it was worth the $10.00 to get Freedom almost totally clean.

This is the fishing pier that is part of the City of Quintana Beach.

A few guys leaving he fishing pier with their fishing gear as I arrived. They said nothing was biting.

Now it was a chilly morning and I'm in long pants with a wind breaker on,,,, but apparently surfing in a wet suit is warm enough. 
Apparently when a "rip current" warning goes out to warn swimmers of dangerous conditions, it is like a dinner bell for the surfers.

Surprisingly, close to half of the surfers were women. 

Night fishing capabilities

Meanwhile, on the other side of the fishing pier are the Surf Fishing Persons (again, about half were women)

From one of the wooden walkways in the campground. Freedom and Liberty is in the picture somewhere.

I think this metal sculpture is to warn Non-Southerners about our flying friendlies. 

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

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Waves Across the Jetty and Pictures

Location: Quintana Beach County Campground; Quintana, Texas 

All pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell Phone

Nine days is too long to stay in one place when I'm traveling. I keep re-learning this lesson. But the porch lights are almost on and I'll be heading home soon. Tomorrow is moving day and I have reservations at an old familiar campground. I'll be staying 6 days at Bolivar Peninsula RV Park in Crystal Beach, Texas. It is just ferry ride away from Galveston Island while I will be taking several times during my stay. There has been lots of thinking time while staying here at Quintana since the weather restricted a lot of things I had planned. I may continue that and finalize some things at Bolivar. 

Until then here are a few pictures I was able to take when I was able to get out and about:
Another large ship entering Freeport harbor. There are a couple of large parking lots with new cars near the campground. I'm not sure if they are coming or going, but this ship looks to be part of the plan.

I was lucky in catching a small storm and high tide at the same time while walking alone on the south jetty. I wasn't able to make it to the end due to large waves crashing over the jetty.

You can see the waves crashing over the end of the jetty. It was a very powerful feeling. I liked it.

Looking back towards land. This was the best experience I had here at Quintana.

This was on a quieter day while driving around the community of Surfside. That is the north jetty on the right in the picture.

Looking at the north jetty. The tide was in again on this day. It was also very chilly outside with the wind blowing.
Old Glory is looking pretty good against the dark sky

Beach-house living anyone???

Maybe a little too close to the water???

The beach is about 20 yards out the back door. I wonder if you get tired of the view after a while? 
Ya'll take care of each other. I'll Cya down the road.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Weather, Weather, Weather

Location: Quintana Beach County Campground; Quintana, Texas (south of Houston)

all pictures taken with Nokia Lumia Icon 929 Cell Phone

Ever since I've left on this short trip the weather has been an issue, one way or the other. It seems if it wasn't cold, it was windy or raining. Well now that I'm on the coast, the temperature has gotten right with the daytime temps in the low to mid 70's and the nighttime temps falling into the mid 60's. But even though it has been dry, warmer and only breezy, the weather people have still found a way to mess things up. This time it is fog. Not just morning fog that burns off once the sun comes out,,,, nope, this stuff stays around all day long. It gets dense too with visibility down to a couple hundred yards. Being unfamiliar with the area, trying to drive in it would be crazy. It will tease you a little bit and lift for a few hours but then comes back that evening. Strange stuff. 
I found a pair of benches to watch a large cargo ship enter Freeport Harbor. The fog had lifted just enough for the ship to safely enter. It started fogging up again a few hours later. 

A close up of the ship as I enjoyed the benches.

The ship made it safely into the harbor leaving behind the two long jetties that protect the harbor and guide the ships in and out. If the weather cooperates, I hope to walk to the end of one of them. 

This is the beach in front of the county campground/park. The fishing pier in the background and of course the umbrella/Copacabana like things on the beach. I'm sure it is packed with people on a nice summer day. 
I've been forced to follow the current weather and forecast closer than I usually do because of this strange weather pattern that seems to be following me. It seems to this uneducated traveler that the cold fronts coming out of the north are just strong enough to make it to the Gulf coast before stalling out. After they sit here for a day it changes to a warm front and moves north to collide with the next cold front coming down, causing rain and wind. This pattern seems to be repeating itself over and over. What is needed is a strong enough front to blow everything through the area an into the Gulf. Almost like erasing a blackboard. Oh well, even though the fog has kept me inside more than I wanted, at the wind is strong enough to keep the mosquitoes at bay when I am able to get outside. Always a silver lining, just have to look for it.
From my favorite National weather site. It is from the National Weather Prediction Center (1/2 to 2 1/2 days out). Just a mess everywhere, but Kansas better watch out. 

I'll be here through Sunday before heading on a little farther north and closer to Louisiana. I'm thinking about heading to the Bolivar Peninsula after leaving here. I've stayed there a few times in the past and it suits me well.  

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