Saturday, May 10, 2008

07-08 Beaumont to Blessing Texas and...

Gulf Coast Rv Resort. Beaumont Tx. Passport America Campground, limit 2 nights half price. Perfectly manicured lawns, all sites have concrete drives and patios. Full Hookups. Cost $17. Including free continental breakfast and waffles that you make yourself in the shape of Texas. Cool.

Chaparral Rv Resort. Blessing Tx. Passport American Campground, unlimited stay, $11 a night. Basic campsite, full hookups and cable Tv, small concrete pad. Similar rates available to anyone if you make your reservations online.

Beaumont, Tx
Blessing, Tx
To ..Corpus Christi, Tx

You know the most interesting thing about the Rv lifestyle is that you meet such a cross section of society. Not all of them are camping or traveling as I do. While I was at the Bay St Louis campground, there were whole families still living in the FEMA trailers. Trailers that were designed for weekend use, not “full-timing” with a whole family. By the way, I understand they are all supposed to be moved out by June 1st in Mississippi and by the end of July or Aug in Louisiana.

I wasn’t planning on driving almost 200 miles today, Sunday, but when I got to my destination, the campground was full up. So I called ahead, something I should have done before heading out this morning, and I’ve ended up in Beaumont Tx. I had to stop and talk to a big tall dude, as he was watching his little kids play outside in front of the biggest 5th wheel camper I’ve ever seen! He told me he’s not there much, but his wife and kids are. He’s usually off in Kazakhstan these days, working on Oil rig ventures for his company. Now why they are living in a camper, with a big 450 ford and a sports car too boot, one can only guess at. He said it’s amazing that most of the oil is found in the most desolate places on earth.

I’m sorry I can’t tell you much about Beaumont since it rained out for the two days I was in town. I do know that it was the location of the start of the oil boom in Texas and the town is noted for having a ton of museums. None of which I saw.

On Tuesday, I headed out towards the Gulf of Mexico via a short ride on I-10 to hwy 124 and then I followed 87 along the coast. The drive to the coast itself was interesting. I passed many catfish farms along I-10 and even some rice paddies. Heading along hwy 124, it was almost like being in the everglades in Florida, except the flat marshy areas are true bayous, with rivers and lakes in between the low lands dotted with small oil well rigs, bobbing up and down.
Oh, I forgot to mention the 20 mile bridge on the west end of Louisiana. It goes over those bayous, and I could see fishermen in their boats, in between the submerged trees and the bridge pilings. The water was very high as the Mississippi and other rivers draining into the Gulf of Mexico are at their highest this time of year. Hard to tell where the river ended, a lake began or the Tree filled Bayou began.

Traveling along the hwy 87 on one of the barrier islands that forms part of the Inter-coastal waterway, I saw many older stilt homes along the water. Newer stilt homes being closer to Galveston, where I got a ride on a fairy across Galveston Bay.
The fairy ride is free and I got a chance to watch the big oil tankers coming and going out of the harbor. A lady pointed out a concrete ship that had sunk in the harbor. It had been built many years ago as an experiment and sunk not far from shore. The top half still visible. I remember growing up in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in Houghton, where a man in my home town was building a concrete boat as well. I believe he finished it, but at the time I heard about it, he had no idea how he was going to get it to Portage Lake. Wonder if he ever got his boat to float?

Driving along the miles of road along the Gulf, much of it unspoiled, a big rat ran across the road in front of me. Grass and sea oats covered low sand dunes separating me from the Gulf of Mexico. Some areas the road edging closer to the water. I eventually crossed back over onto the mainland and headed towards my next stop, Blessing Tx.
My goal is to get to the Corpus Christi area and Brownsville, to see if I like the area as a possible winter residence.

In this coastal area of Texas, I’ve had difficulty finding Ultra Low Sulfur diesel fuel. Most of the gas stations in the small towns only carry Low Sulfur diesel fuel. I wonder how many people with newer 07 diesel engines put in the wrong fuel without even knowing it.

Lovebugs! Yuck! Yuck! Yuck! I thought only Florida had love bugs. Boy, was I wrong. Spat! I’m having to wash the front of my truck daily and the front of the camper each time I move it. What a mess.

Blessing Tx. Pop. 861. Median age, 32. Household income, 25K. This is a poor community in rural America. 50% white and 50% Hispanic. Mainly rundown mobile homes with a sprinkling of newer well maintained homes. Many of the young workers here have children in the 4-5 year old range. Dogs are allowed to run free. I’ve only seen one neighbor that keeps their dog tied up. The town, what little there is of it, has a small bank and gas station. It does have the first designated Historical building in the county. The Blessing Hotel. The town was named Blessing because the railroad decided to come through here. A life line in past years for delivering goods but more importantly for getting their farm produce to market.
I had a buffet lunch at the Blessing Hotel. I would NOT recommend eating there. Lots of over cooked veggies, pasty tasting gravy, overdone rice and something fried… not sure what it was.

I’m staying at the Chaparral Rv Resort…. Well not exactly a resort. There are no niceties. Well ok, they do have a Laundromat and cable Tv, but that’s it. It’s another in between place, and I wouldn’t rush back here to stay. Next time I would stay in a small seaside town called Palacios Tx. It has the largest shrimp fleet on the Gulf of Mexico. Or maybe Port Lavaca. They have a county park right on the bay.
But Blessing is an ok place to chill out and relax before getting to my next destination, Corpus Christi Tx.

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