Cash problems, monuments and a pair of boots

Trip Start Sep 27, 2010
Trip End Mar 23, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Saturday, February 5, 2011

We just hopped a short way to a campground between Baytown and Beach City, still within striking distance of Houston but we are travelling the right way and staying within our Passport America discount campgrounds (most economical when staying less than a week anywhere)

The area that we have just moved on from around San Leon had a few interesting touches that we omitted from the last blog, normally we might say "…Oh well never mind" – but we think if we did that you would miss a flavour of the area. Once famous for its strawberry and fig growing now more are involved with tourism and water sports. We took a stroll along the waterfront and as we gazed across the bay I could hear some birds, but for the life of me I couldn't see any. This is usually because they are high up hidden in the trees, but when I eventually found them I was most surprised…

On other explorations we found some interesting RV sites, maybe this one is trying to tell us something?

There was also 'our paper' too.

Anyway, sorry Malc for the interruption you may continue;

One thing we wanted to do from here is the San Jacinto monument, this is the world’s tallest war monument, in memory of the battle that basically won Texas back from Mexico – remember the Alamo? (another story - thank you John Wayne). There is loads of info about the battle and a little history if you care to search here.

We were keen to go up to the nearly 500ft high viewing deck within the monument for the views.

Our trip from the campground more or less took us through Baytown, so needing a few readies of the green paper variety we popped in the address for the nearest ATM to downtown thinking we would have a little look around too. OK, we all know stories about gps guided journeys… Eventually we ended up outside a closed/derelict bank (thank you recession?) Driving up and down through Baytown on our way we came to the conclusion there was no need to have a walk around (sorry Baytown, you have a very sad looking downtown). Next ATM we programmed in took us to an empty lot – don’t think there had ever been a building there at all. Third go took us to a bank, unfortunately it was the corporate building and no actual banking facilities. Enjoying my day so far and abandoning all hope of monitory gain from a gps, I did some old fashioned looking around and spotted a real bank with drive thru’ facilities just down from the next junction – felt like I had been led right up the junction… Got some cash though :)

Off to the monument then – it was a beautiful day, sunny, clear but a cold wind. We had to cross between Tabbs Bay and Black Duck Bay, this took us on the Fred Hartman Bridge, a rather spectacular structure that we had crossed on our way to the campground on a rainy misty day, now we got to see it in all its splendour. This was pretty much our journey (in and outJ) over the bridge.

This time the gps got us to the main road up to the monument, unfortunately the road was closed off and we had to turn around at the entrance to one of the many refinery/storage facilities here to go back up and enter the main park entrance that is also the entrance to Battleship Texas (would you believe I didn’t feel the need to go on to the ship?)

At the base of the monument is a museum to many aspects of the battle as well as the civil war, all free and extremely interesting. For a small fee we took the lift up to the viewing deck, this is inside and you can only look out through windows but we had a pretty clear day so took a few pictures, as we do… (I think this blog may be a record – even for us). Betsy had brought along binoculars we have with an inbuilt camera and since we lost a camera in the Guadalupe River she was keen to get taking pictures again. Up at the top she realised that there were no batteries in the bino’s :(

Back down at the base she popped over to the museum shop (of course there’s one)

Unfortunately they don’t sell batteries but fortunately the lady there called up a friend of hers who had some spare batteries (as you do?) and 5 minutes later Betsy was back up to the top snapping away…

Though it was a nice clear day there was a fair wind and it was actually bitter cold so, although we set off for a little hike in the grounds of the monument, over the swamp/marshes on a boardwalk to a nature trail we didn’t linger too long. Happy to see a few spoonbills and white pelicans we also came across an armadillo, this time alive and snuffling along through the undergrowth.

Back to Scoobie, we were onwards to downtown Houston, well a couple of destinations that we researched beforehand and something rather unique.

Almost next door to a Target store is a warehouse/yard and studio full of giant sculptures – presidents’ heads and the Beatles. These are the works of Texas artist David Adickes. We found the place easy enough, one of the sculptures was having a little TLC with an angle grinder… there are sculptures of every president, including Obama, each bust reaching almost 20feet high. They have resided in a number of places, originally a sculpture park in South Dakota – we saw a few other sculptures up there on a previous trip – remember? This time we were able just to wander around and explore the making and structure as well as marvel at the enormity of David’s projects. Seems to be, at the moment, they are looking for final resting places, a sculpture park, without the park. Of course, we loved the photo op.

Finally to round off, we visited a "junk shop" well I have been fancying a pair of cowboy boots for a while now and I have been finding it hard to part with the money they cost. At $150 and up I am a bit loathe to buy, especially as at this lower price most seem to be made in China, though I could cope with the thought of cowboy boots made in Mexico, China seemed a bit of a cheat. If you want a pair made in America they are to be found but the price tag can be $300 and up. The Texas Junk Co. was a revelation and apart from being crammed full of “interesting junk” there was more choice of boots than you get in many of the new boot outlets. I came out with what I feel are a really great pair of boots – hardly worn, American made and at just under $70 a real bargain. Leaving borax inside them for the next day I now feel fine walking in an unknown someone else’s shoes (boots).

Walk with me a while – our journey continues…

Oh, actually it did continue, we took a “short cut” home back through the San Jacinto battleground and on over the waterway, this time via the Lynchburg ferry Much quieter than the Fred Hartman Bridge but we were the only vehicle that wasn’t a truck! – good old Scoobie, you fitted in fine :) A free ferry – we thought of you, Gill.

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Larry on

Make sure you get a cowboy hat to go along with those boots!!

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