Posts Tagged ‘Lake Texana State Park’

  Day One

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? It’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and its good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” — Jack Kerouac

The Bridge to Nowhere, circa 1939 ... Photo by Pat Bean

The future Bridge to Nowhere ... Photo by Pat Bean

Come take a jaunt with me from Texas’s Gulf Coast to the Panhandle of Idaho. I plan to make the not-as-the-crow-flies 3,000 mile trip in about six weeks. My traveling companion is Maggie,

Maggie in her favorite spot in the RV ... Photo by Pat Bean

a 12-year-old cocker spaniel I rescued from an animal shelter. She’s a great traveler, excellent company and a comfortable foot warmer on cold nights. And she doesn’t complain when this directionally handicapped driver takes a wrong turn.

My journey today began with a crossing of the old Bridge to Nowhere that spans the Brazos River into Brazoria. Bridge to Nowhere? Yup, that’s its official name, according to a Texas Historical Marker at the site. It got the nickname in 1939 when it was built to replace a 1912 bridge that fell into the river.

Having once lived in Brazoria County, I have a fondness for the concrete and rusting steel hulk that I’ve crossed many times. The bridge, however, may soon be no more. A huge new bridge – in my opinion way too large for the traffic that now passes this way – is being constructed nearby.

Maggie has her own opinion. She woke up to bark at the rusting girders of the old bridge as my RV rumbled across it.

A landscape quilt of bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush ... Photo by Pat Bean

Roadside wildflowers brightened the drive on this overcast day that now and then dropped its load. My windshield wipers were working furiously when I passed through Bay City, canceling my plans for a brief visit to the Nature and Birding Sanctuary located on the western edge of this city where one my grandsons is employed at Texas’ first nuclear power plant.

The rain had let up, at least for a little bit, by the time I crossed Lake Texana. I briefly stopped at the state park here to bird. It’s Site No. 20 on the Texas Coastal Birding Trail. The rain may have chased the birds into hiding, however. I found only a moorhen and a great egret to add to the other birds I had seen along the way.

Back on the road, the rain picked up again and was coming down like water pouring from a pitcher when I skirted San Antonio on Loop 410. It continued until I turned off Highway 90 at Sabinal and dropped into the heart of the Edwards Plateau and the Texas Hill Country. It was as if I left one country and traveled to another.

Scissor-tailed flycatcher

 Suddenly the sun was out and scissor-tailed flycatchers sat on the utility wires, their graceful tails twitching beneath their white and salmon colored bellies, as they watched me drive past. Everything was green and lush. Many who had not been here might have thought the landscape as fanciful as the Tolkin’s imaginary Shire. Near the small town of Concan, I passed tube carrying Frio River floaters, waiting for their shuttle ride, I guessed. They looked sunburned and happy. If it had rained on them, who would care. I know. I’ve tubed.

Another few miles down the road and I pulled into Garner State Park. What a great day it had been. .

Birds seen this day: Brewer’s blackbird, red-winged blackbird, double-crested cormorant, crow, mourning dove, white-winged dove, cattle egret, great egret, snowy egret, scissor-tailed flycatcher, snow geese (a big flock flying overhead), common grackle, great-tailed grackle, kestrel,  killdeer,  eastern kingbird,  meadowlark, mockingbird, common moorhen, eastern phoebe, rock pigeon, starling, barn swallow,  black vulture  turkey vulture

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