| Well, I wanted to see some more of this beautiful country so I need to leave Texas. Before I left, I traveled the short distance south from Port A to North Padre Island National Seashore, a part of the National Park Service. The sun finally decided to shine although it was windy and a little cool. This park is working hard to preserve this beach as close to its natural state as possible. It is the longest undeveloped barrier island in the world. I recently finished Texas by James Michener and he wrote about the challenges early settlers had in approaching this vast land by sea due to the difficulties of landing ships on this wild coast. This strip of land was originally inhabited by a tribe of native Americans, nicknamed the Krank(I can't remember their full name) who were reported to practice cannibalism. When I saw this beach with my eyes, my mind could see those early mostly Spaniards who battled the sea to land here.
Eddie was finally feeling a little better so he was able to see a little bit of this beach also.
There were great flocks of birds, waiting on tasty morsels
Inside the headquarters building they had several informative exhibits about the area like this series featuring the Kemp-Ridley turtle, an endangered species native to this area.
This shows one laying her eggs
and this one hatchlings trying to climb out and make their way back to the sea.
Thousands of volunteers join NP employees each spring patrol miles of this beach to help protect these nests and give the babies a fighting chance. This shot was taken from the top of the observation deck above the park display building
and this proves I was really there
I also took a few minutes to listen to this park volunteer lecture about some of the items which can be found on the beaches here.
After seeing Dr. Deb, the Port A vet, to take Eddie's staples out, we boarded the ferry to head north.
The first stop was Goose Island State Park, just a few miles north. It is home of a live oak known as "The Big Tree"
This tree is known to be at least 1000 years old - just think about that - it was here before Christopher Columbus was even born! It is so heavy that it needs a little help like these
My last night in TX was spent at Galveston Island State Park which was hit hard by Hurrican Ike and only re-opened for camping this year. The office and the showers were in trailer-type buildings, like you often see schools use when they need more room and can't afford to build. See how close I was to the water
This was the view from the camping area
The southern end of the island seemed to be in good shape, but it was hard to know how much damage had been sustained since I had never been here before.The next morning I continued north on the island and I could see more signs of damage. The famous sea wall in downtown Galveston is being repaired by cranes lowering giant boulders into place. I couldn't get a picture since I was driving but I did take a few on the ferry.
This ship was making its way thru the channel while I was in line.
And once out in the Bay I took this one of ships waiting to enter? not sure really what they wait for.
I planned to spend the next night at a friend's house in Abbeville LA and punched her address into my GPS. Instead of routing me from I-10, it took me across the Bolivar peninsula and then on US 82. Please look at an atlas or google maps and note how close this is to the water. It included numerous high or long bridges over water and another ferry ride at Cameron. I also saw lots of boats, including a whole fleet of shrimpers. It was pretty and interesting country but like many US or state highways there are not rest stops and very few places to pull a rig over for a break. See this photo from a small church parking lot just across the highway from this bayou.
Often the road was less than 100 yards from the Gulf! Next post will chronicle the eastward continuation through New Orleans, Mississippi and into Alabama.