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Day 146 - Hard Days Drive to Texas (Photo's Added)

We made it to Lake Jackson, Texas this afternoon. Stormy & Rainy drive most of the day.

storm 42 °F

Our primary objective for today was to get to my cousin's house so we could spend the weekend visiting. It rained last night and throughout the day, mostly a heavy rain.

This morning we had a chance to see a little more of the Sam Houston Jones State Park we had stayed in last night. This part of Louisiana still has a lot of bayou's and cypress swamps. This is listed as a pond on our park map, but looks more like a swamp or bayou to me.

Day_146_-_..ones_SP.jpg

After taking a picture or two and loading up, I did a quick walk around the RV before heading out as I often do. To my surprise and dismay, we had a flat tire. This was especially surprising because I had stopped for over an hour in New Iberia yesterday and had the tires checked (forgot to put that in the blog though I think). It was the left rear outside tire, and since there are two tires on each side, I decided to limp along to the nearest tire store rather then try to mess around with jacks and the spare. Two hours later (maybe it just seemed that long, I think it was more like an hour), the flat was fixed - but the tire store couldn't find any reason for it to go flat. There weren't any nails, holes or visible damage, it was just flat - so they refused to charge me for fixing it!

This was at Service Tire & Auto Center in Moss Bluff, LA (near Lake Charles). It's too bad I don't know anyone in that area, they definitely deserve the business. Makes me feel kind of guilty at how jaded I get sometimes when I feel I've been given a bum deal, that maybe all small businesses are shady and out to get you. However, on this trip we continue to run into honest, fun, decent people and businesses. I may have to reassess my 'poor me' attitude.

The tire store wasn't so sure, but I suspect the cause was the terrible roads we'd been driving on in Louisiana. At least one trucker's survey rates them the worst in the country. VT had bad roads, as well as a couple of other places we've been - but Louisianna's were clearly the worst. I tried hard to slow down and miss the worst of the potholes, cracks and bumps, but it wasn't always possible and I had hit some really, really hard. The RV is also heavier than a regular car, so when I hit a bump, it really hits hard. Yesterday I had knocked some things around in back that don't normally get knocked around, so my guess is I must have hit a bump so hard that it knocked the bead loose. Maybe, maybe not - but it's my guess.

Anyway, I kept a careful check on the tire for the rest of the trip, so far it seems to be holding up. When you read about some of the problems and breakdowns the early pioneers had to face, this seems relatively mild. If you break a wooden wagon wheel while crossing the Rocky Mountains, now that would be tough (and it happened, a lot).

So we lost some time to the bad tire, plus the hour I spent before leaving the campground trying to find someplace willing to work on my propane tank - so effectively used up all our sightseeing time for today. Given the bad weather, maybe that's just as well, I pretty much got soaked every time I got out.

We did take a couple of pictures as we drove along - this one is an oil refinery in the Lake Charles area, it's hard to believe how massive these things are - it was on both sides of the freeway with large pipelines crossing over & under the road.

Day_146_-_..efinery.jpg

The rain continued and was quite heavy. Driving visibility was terrible, combined with frequent roadwork so we often had concrete barriers right along the lane edge on the right, then big semi's passing us on the left - quite a challenging drive. Mom got stressed out by it all and she didn't even have to drive! I asked her to put a smooth jazz sampler in the CD player, which helped calm things down a bit (for me at least).

I stopped at the Visitor's Center just after we crossed into Texas ("The Lonestar State") - thought this giant star was cute.

Day_146_-_.._Center.jpg

The staff there was very helpful and when I explain we were on an eight month trip to circumnavigate the country, they suggested we were welcome to spend our eight months in Texas. I picked up a fairly large sack full of brochures and maps - probably more than we'll have time to do even in eight months, but I think we'll enjoy our stay here regardless of the weather.

The rain got a little lighter as we got to Houston, then thru the toll loop (ugh - very pricey) and then state highway down to Lake Jackson. It stopped raining sometime along the way and is beginning to dry out a bit. It is much colder here than I expected for this time of year (all along the gulf coast really). I guess I looked at the atlas and figured because the gulf states are so far south, it would be more like the LA/San Diego area. But maybe because the weather patterns curve south eastward across land, vs the ocean, it just is colder in the southeast then the southwest. Too many new things to learn...

Mom & I enjoyed spending some time with my cousin & his wife last night, I lost track of time and didn't leave enough to update the blog - so am doing some catch up this morning. Great Internet signal here (I guess Sprint was right this time, their network problems were limited to Louisiana and eastward). So, time permitting - I'll go ahead and try to get some video's uploaded from St. Augustine.

BTW (geek speak for "By The Way") - If you want to check out any video's I've uploaded for the trip, without having to wade through old blog entries, you can go to YouTube and type my user id in the search box: jl98584

Logistics:

Miles Driven - 212, Cumulative 14,241
Camped at - My Cousins house in Lake Jackson, TX

Provisions Secured:
Gas - 11.239g for $31.46 at 124057 (Baytown, Tx)
Afternoon Snack, Crackerbarrel at Baytown, Tx (mostly to get off freeway for a bit)

Animals Sited:

Domestic - Cattle, Horses
Wild - Deer, Various Hawks, Black Vultures, Egrets

Other Observations:

Oil Refineries in both Louisiana and East Texas - lots of them
Rice fields in both Louisiana and East Texas

Posted by jl98584 20:38 Archived in USA Tagged family_travel

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Comments

I'm glad you got there safely, and I'm sure you'll all have a good time together. I talked to Margaret tonight, and she doesn't use the computer much but told me to tell you she'd love to have you stop at their place, too.

by msj

So you finally made it to Robert and Kathy's place. I am glad the internet signal is better in TX. I just got back from Portland. The seminar was great, the weather was cold and still is. There was snow at some places, mostly out in the country. Have a a great time visiting with Robert and Kathy, say hi for me.

by drque

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