Sunday, March 29, 2009

East Texas/Anahuac/High Island

Trip starting March 26th.

I left Schertz with the trailer at about 10:00 a.m. and drove to Winnie, TX. I took I-10 to the I-610 North loop to loop up around the downtown part of Houston, and with the road construction, I missed the I-10 East exit. So I went down one and came back to head for "Beaumont". Got to Winnie and parked the trailer in a RV park being ran by Winnie Inn and Suites and RV Park. It is about 30 spots all paved pads with full hookups. No bathroom or shower building but that's fine. Nice green grass with pine trees around the perimeter south and the bad part I-10 running on the north side. Several other RV parks around on the south side of I-10, but they don't compare to this one. I haven't been north of I-10 yet.

To go home I decided that I would try to see if I could go back the coastal route. Plan to try from Winnie, south on 124, then west on 87 to Galveston. Will either stay on 87/I-45 to highway 6 exit all the way to I-10, or go across the south part of GI and head to Brazos Bend State Park.

March 27th
We were covered in fog and low rain clouds. I left Winnie and drove to Anahuac to get it marked on the GPS just in case it was foggy Saturday. Looked down and noticed that I had not gassed up before I left. I stopped at the Exxon in HI and filled up with $2.10 gas. Drove down to Boy Scout Woods and walked around the area. First site was Gray Catbird others seen and heard Ruby Crowned Kinglet, Blue Gray Gnatcatcher, White Eyed Vireos, Common Yellow Throat, Blue Jay, BH Cowbird, Northern Cardinal, Ca Wren.

I left and drove west on 87 toward Galveston Island. What a disaster left by Ike. The town of Gilchrist has been totally destroyed. Okay 6 houses left with 2 being see throughs. All of the everything else is gone. No store, no bait house, no boat rental/docks, no bicycles abosolutely nothing. I know a guy that had a house there. I'll have to contact him and see how he stands now. Rollover Pass next to Gilchrist is gone. On to Bolivar - I'd say 3/4 of it is gone. So sad. Things scattered all over the area. Same story for Crystal Beach. Actually, Crystal Beach Palace was still standing. It is once more being gutted and re-furnished. This was the first hotel I stayed in on a beach birding trip with Rosie Cutrer. Then Ron, T and I stayed there on a trip.

It was sprinkling and turning to rain and back to sprinkles all the way to Galveston. I was looking for La Fatetes (sp) housing area as there was a birding/walking trail through this area. I never did find it. It was raining pretty steadily in Galveston. On the way back, I found the housing area as it was across the ferry on the way east on 87. However, many of those new homes were standing (built on hurricane stilts about 15-20 feet up) but had lots of damage and the walkway, I felt would not be a good idea. One is was raining and 2 the area was still cleaning up. I retraced my road trek to HI and then made my way to Winnie.

March 28th

Awakened early to leave at 6:00 a.m. for Anahuac visitor center. Thank goodness for nice clear weather this a.m.

On March 28, Saturday, the Friends of Anahuac conducted two rail walks at the Anahuac tract on FM1985, 7:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

The first walk starting at 7:00 a.m. had 9 participants. The running rule is that you never find a rail until someone falls down. Once someone makes the 'falling sacrifice' a yellow rail will be found. The sacrificial fall was made by our leader, David Sarkozi. We managed to scare up 2 yellow rails pretty quickly and then part of the group continued up and around and scare up 2 more yellows, a sora and virginia rail. We completed that and returned to the visitor center about 8:30. It was very difficult to walk in terrain with the 'borrowed' boots.

The second walk at 10 participants, two of which were at the morning walk. I made the decision to sacrifice my hiking boots to the water. The borrowed boots were to wide and a bit long. Every time I tried to lift my foot the foot came up out of the boot. Partly that was because the boot was too large and the other part it was sucked into the terrain. The area has about 1/2" of water and it is muddy/mucky. On with the walk. The sacrificial fall was made by participant Art this afternoon. It did take a little longer to scare up rails and the first two popped up unscared. The first was a Virginia and the second about 3 seconds behind it was a Yellow. They were flying into the wind so it caused them to 'hold' in the air. We went back and got the Yellow to pop up again and what a classic look that ended up being. All the nice coloring and patterns just like it was supposed to be. Much closer to us and better view than the morning looks. Alas, no Blacks showed up. We did have 3 Yellows and a Virginia. We were thru by about 6:55 and I was back in the trailer in Winnie by 7:45 p.m.

Stopped and filled up with gas at the Exxon in Winnie - price $1.99

March 29th
Okay so today I got a late start. I forgot to take my thyroid pill early and ended up remembering about 8:30. It's 1 hour before or 3 hours after - otherwise it doesn't dissolve. Also 4 hour difference for vitamin D. Ugh I really don't like taking pills, but they keep me moving. I finished breakfast, loaded the car, put my boots and hiking shoes both out on the hood of the car to dry a bit. started the camera battery to re-charge as I forgot to do that last night. Decided to check my e-mail and make an entry to my blog. Otherwise I'll get the days mixed together. When the battery is thru, I'll get some PB crackers and couple of drinks and hit the road. I plan to go to HI again then the beach south of there.

Will try to get back to prep for leaving in the morning. Will need to call and see if Brazos Bend has a spot for one night. I am about to run out of jeans, I didn't expect I'd trash 2 pair so quickly. Only have 2 pair left one of which I had to dry out as they got soaked in the Thursday rain.

I still have to post about meeting a nice couple from Ontario. Paul and Lorna (oops or was it Lenora). Oh well, I got the trailer setup Thursday and was walking around when I saw them head out for the trash. I waved and then later when they were coming back I asked her if she was a birder, had she seen anything, and were they here for the rail walk. Ends up they didn't know about the rail walk, so I gave them the information. They had planned on leaving Friday but decided to go for the walk then leave. She is an absolutely great photographer and is also into doing butterflies. He was such a nice gent. They farm wheat, soy and something else I don't remember. Both are quite knowledgeable and have been traveling quite a while now. I think they would be great to caravan with.

Okay battery is charged, afternoon snacks in the bag and I am ready to head out.

March 30th
Wow what a trip home. I left Winnie around 11:00 a.m. and it was cloudy and windy. Decided since it was later than I had wanted to leave, I would have to skip stopping at High Island and just keep driving.

My route home was different than going over. The westward bound ended up being longer and taking more time, but the traffic was much less harrowing. I took highway 124 south to 87 (at the ocean – turn right!) and stay on 87 as it merges and becomes I-45 towards Houston. Take the exit 7B to highway 6 (this is a left exit). Stay on highway 6 to I-10. Highway 6 starts out a 4 lane highway but becomes a 6 lane highway with 10 miles. It is a really nice road all the way. To join I-10 it is a right exit and then immediately a left for the frontage road and then a ways maybe ½ mile you enter I-10. You can take highway 6 to business 35 and go southwest to the Port Lavaca area. Also, you can take highway 6 to 59 and go that same general direction. Either of those ways would be a great way to eliminate going thru Houston.

I did arrive home about 6:00 p.m. after I left the trailer in storage.

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