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Published: June 25th 2017
Geo: 27.7963, -97.4035
We had an ambitious plan for today, but we completed it, saw a lot of Texas, and managed to check into our hotel by wine hour…and shouldn't that be the goal of every day? I am sitting here sipping from a Red Solo Cup half filled with a chilled Pinot Grigio. Ahhhhhh.
We left Beaumont, TX at 8:15 AM and 61 degrees and pointed the car west on I-10. After driving past our first rice paddy since we were in northern California, we came upon the Goodyear Chemical Plant which produces synthetic rubber. It is a massive facility with incredibly complex towers and pipes and tanks covering acres and acres of land. Check out the photo and multiply what you see by 10 in 2 directions. There have to be lots of jobs available there. (Thank-you Gov. Perry.) We saw other chemical plants along the way to Houston. They are not a pretty sight, but I couldn't take my eyes off of them.
We reached Houston in about an hour and a half, and since it was a Saturday, we decided to drive around town, not fearing any issues with traffic. We started on the north side of the city.
The first building of interest was the home of the Houston Astros, the Minute Maid Stadium. It is right there in the city. From there we planned to work our way toward the south, but every turn we made ended in a blocked street. All of the streets going east/west were blocked from one end of the city to the other. We drove around in circles on the many one-way streets, that all seemed to be going in the same direction, and finally gave up and headed out of town. As we were driving past the city on the highway, I saw a parade under way and we knew we had come on the wrong day. Oh, well.
The drive to Galveston took us about an hour along a road that was wall to wall commercial…hotels, restaurants, car dealers, malls, and strip malls. It was clear that the major Houston/Galveston Metropolitan Area is well populated for miles around. After a brief reprieve, we were in Galveston, an old, quaint town, offshore on it's own island, with a working harbor and a beach. We headed down to the harbor first. We found what appeared to be an oil rig, right by the
wharfs. It is a mock-up of a real oil rig, but it is actually a museum and open to the public. It is a pretty amazing sight and it offered us a glimpse at the real thing.
The town was a mix of old and not-so-old buildings. I snapped a few of the old mansions on the main road through town. And churches…there are lots and lots of churches, many built a long time ago and some incredibly beautiful.
After touring the city, we turned south along the coastline. The beach from Galveston and south extends for miles and miles. And the land is very flat from one side of the island to the other. Homes on stilts seems to be the requirement and we saw a lot of them. They were all along the beach and across the highway, varying from a single line of houses to up to 4 and 5 deep, many boarded up for hurricane season, in all the colors of the rainbow, every kind of style and from very small to huge mansions…all on stilts. The only thing on the ground level was the garage, if there was one. The stilts varied from wooden 4X4's
and poles resembling telephone poles, to huge steel I-beams painted in colors that matched the house they supported. If a Tsunami rushes through this island, it isn't going to have anything on these homes.
We drove our car onto the beach where we had lunch and Beamer had an opportunity to investigate the smells and sounds of the area and leave his gift to the environment and any dog that followed behind him. The waves were small and the land flat. And two people fishing from the water were out about 100 yards, yet only up to their waists in water. Offshore we could see the silhouettes of several oil rigs, dimmed by the haze from the ocean waters.
After reaching Freeport, we turned inland and drove through many miles of farm land and some cattle country. Most crops had already been harvested leaving rows and rows of furrowed land of rich black soil, waiting for the next season of crops to be planted.
We drove for several hours before reaching our destination…Corpus Christi. The center of the city is right along the gulf and I can only imagine the views from the corner offices of the high-rise buildings on
the hill. With a working harbor and miles of refineries heading out to the west along the bay, this is another booming area where jobs must be plentiful. (Thank-you Gov. Perry.) And overlooking the refineries is a wind farm, with tall white wind turbines gracefully turning in the breeze and mocking the petroleum industry with its complex menageries of twisted metal and piping, filling the air with the smell of natural gas. It seems at least one of these plants was using that to power its refinery.
We checked into our hotel at about 5 PM and settled in for the night. Tomorrow, San Antonio.
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