Mike & Joyces Travel logs
Home ** 2005 Travel Logs**
Pictures of this part of our trip are available here: Texas pictures from 2005 trip---Galveston, Bay City, Victoria, Cuero & Goliad March 19 & 20
Texas, Gilchrist -rollover pass, Galveston, Freeport, Brazora, Bay City, Victoria, Cureo, Goliad
Saturday, March 19 RV-Park of Victoria, Texas $20 50-amp FHU including basic cable concrete interior streets and pads N28° 53.541' W96° 59.644'.
We were on the road by 9:15 this morning. Not real early but early enough to beat the spring break crowd along Galveston Beach's famous Seawall Boulevard.
Upon leaving the campground we continued to follow the coast down a narrow spit of land that separates Galveston Bay from the Gulf of Mexico. Cattle graze north of us between the highway and Galveston Bay. South of the road is a steady ribbon of beach cottages. The small community of Crystal Beach had 4 or 5 RV-Parks and a number of restaurants. It looked like a place to check out sometime.
We followed the road to the ferry dock where we boarded the ferry bound for Galveston. They loaded the motorhome and tow car as if we were just another automobile. We were jam packed to say the least. We were so close to the vehicle next to us that we could not open the door to get out. Like the other ferry we rode yesterday we stayed in our seats for the entire crossing. Many people got out of their vehicles to feed the gulls. This must be a normal form of entertainment for this crossing.
The drive through Galveston was uneventful. The throngs of spring breakers were not out and stirring yet. We traversed Seawall Boulevard in moderate to light traffic. At the west end of what appeared to be Galveston Beach (at least the populated area) we saw a large campground located on the Gulf. From where we were it looked like an extremely large parking lot with hundreds of RV's. A little west of there we saw a Texas State Park that also had a campground on the Gulf. Galveston Island is a long narrow strip of land with a long ribbon of road traversing its length from east to west. Toward the western end of the island we crossed a toll bridge. There was a commercial campground and a county campground there at the bridge. The county campground appeared to be on the water.
From that island and the beach community of Surfside we traversed a tall bridge over the extremely busy Intracoastal Waterway into the industrial town of Freeport. Freeport looks like a giant refinery and all the chemical companies that spin off. Then it was just a hop, skip and jump to Brazora a small river town named for the Brazos River that flows through town. We have friends (Preston & Betti Ann) that have been studying Texas history around Brenham, Texas. Just north of Brenham is the small town of Washington on the Brazos where much of early Texas history took place. The Brazos River finally reaches the Gulf of Mexico here at Freeport, Texas.
From Brazora we head west through the hamlet of Cedar Lane and on into Bay City. Somewhere in this area land use switched from ranching to farming. We could see rice patties as far as the eye could reach on the extremely flat land. In several of the small towns we saw rice processing plants. Rice isn't the only thing being grown. On one large tract of land we saw corn already up about 3". While most farmers are plowing their fields this fellow already had corn out of the ground.
Farming, rice and other row crops dominated the landscape all the way to Victoria.
We can see rain on the horizon as we were setting up in the RV-Park. We made it just in time to set up for the night.
Hard rain with small hail rolled through several times. The weather radio blared warnings for hours. In addition, the weather radio listed rivers and creeks that were likely to reach flood stage.
Sunday, March 20 RV-Park of Victoria, Texas $20 50-amp FHU including basic cable concrete interior streets and pads N28° 53.541' W96° 59.644'.
The small town of Cuero is located around 30-miles north of Victoria. Cuero has been named wildflower capitol of Texas during the month of April by the Texas legislature. Cuero has capitalized on their title by developing and publishing wildflower trail/loop maps. Joyce and I had programmed these wildflower loops into our Street Atlas 2004 mapping system with GPS. We headed out in our Saturn to cover as many of these loops as possible.
Before we discuss the wildflower loops I want to describe the topography in the area. As we drove into Victoria yesterday we transitioned from coastal topography around Freeport to mixed & scattered farming and cattle operations in Brazoria (about 20-miles NW of Freeport. From Brazoria to Bay City (30-miles west) the land became flatter and richer looking and farming quickly became predominant with cattle operations fading. From Bay City to Victoria (60-miles west) the land was extremely fertile flat soil. Rice patties were in evidence as was row crops. We saw several rice processing plants in the small towns along the way. One field of corn had sprouted and was about 3" tall. East of Victoria is farm country.
North of Victoria cattle operations are prevalent with very few farm operations. Along the coast the Virginia Live Oak tree was common. North and west of Victoria the post oak has replaced the Virginia Live Oak as the dominant tree. In addition to post oak trees mesquite trees dot the landscape.
Wildflower fields are generally along the highway rights of way and in pastures. In order for these wildflower drives to be spectacular both the state of Texas and local ranchers have to corporate. They do this in several ways. Ranchers have to keep cattle off the fields near the road where drivers can see the beautiful fields. As you might suspect not letting cattle eat the flowers would certainly enhance the effect. Ranchers can also spread wildflower seed. They do not need to sew seed every year because the wildflowers reseed themselves if treated properly. After blooming ranchers need to let the field stay ungrazed until the seeds have time to form.
The State of Texas highway department also participates in the promotion of wildflowers. The highway department does not mow the rights of way during wildflower season allowing the flowers to develop seeds before mowing.
It is this cooperative effort between the State and individual ranchers that has created these spectacular wildflower displays. It is amazing how many of the area ranchers are participating in the wildflower movement. It is obvious, to even the casual observer, which ranches are and are not participating.
I have created a page on my website http://travellogs.us/ filled with pictures we took on this drive - you can find those pics under either Texas or under Pictures.
After doing all the wildflower loops we dropped down to the historic town of Goliad. Goliad was a prominent community in the development of Texas. It was a frontier town when the new settlers were banding together to declare independence form Mexico. A lot of blood was shed in these parts during Texas struggle for independence. We stopped by the Court House located on the City Square. This Court House has a definite European flare to it. The famous "Hanging-Tree" made famous in the 1800's when this area was frontier still stands on the Court House lawn. It is a stately live oak tree with massive limbs spreading in all directions. A lot of men died hanging from the limbs of this old tree.
As we returned to Victoria a ferocious storm was brewing to the north of us. A funnel cloud was trying to dip down and touch the earth. Joyce grabbed our digital camera and took a few pics. By the time we got to our motorhome the bottom was falling out of that black cloud. You can see those pictures as well as the court house and hanging tree on my website http://travellogs.us/ - you can find those pics under either Texas or under Pictures.
Monday, March 21 Artesian RV-Park Brenham, Texas $14 (with veteran's discount) 50-amp FHU gravel interior streets and pads N30° 11.359' W96° 31.712'.
We transitioned the MH from Victoria to Brenham a distance of 101-miles to the north today. The majority of the drive was up US-77 through the towns of Schulenburg and Lagrange and finally Round Top before finally pulling into Artesian RV-Park on the west end of Brenham.
entire trip today was through range country. Farm operations were not evident.
Lush pastures with rolling hills and post oaks and occasional mesquite thickets
provided the scenery.
Pictures of this part of our trip are available
here: Texas pictures from 2005 trip---Galveston,
Bay City, Victoria, Cuero & Goliad March 19 & 20
Until next week just remember how good life is.
Mike & Joyce Hendrix