Our friends Rudy and Carolyn live east of Baytown, TX which is east of Houston. They are full-timers but have a nice home base. It has a covered space to park their coach and cars and it looks out on a fairly good-sized lake which is where a sand pit used to be. There are quite a few lakes like this in the area. There are fish and turtles and birds and ducks and even a beaver. And once in a while an alligator will stop by for a visit.
There is space for another coach to visit so that is where we parked. Douglas and Amanda also came by to visit. There was space for them as well just down the road.
Rudy and Carolyn took us to a good burger joint, Tookies. To them it was just down the road. To us it seemed like it was half way across town. Not really but Texas folks seem willing to drive a long way.
And we had to go to the Monument Inn, probably even further away but great food. It is right on the Houston Ship Channel and at the end of the road. There is a ferry-boat that takes cars across but we went by road. The San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site is right near the Monument Inn. It commemorates the defeat of the Mexican Army in 1836 after the Texans were massacred at the Alamo. For Texans this is where independence was won.
And nearby is the dreadnought Battleship, the USS Texas. It is the last remaining battleship to serve in both WWI and WWII. Commissioned in 1914, she was one of the most powerful ships of the time. She was the first US battleship to have anti-aircraft guns and directors and range finders to control gun fire. After WWI she was converted to oil burning boilers, added armor against torpedoes and was equipped with one of the first naval radars.
At the beginning of WWII She was the flagship of the Atlantic Fleet and participated in D-Day in 1944. Her final battle now is against time and rust.
Back at the Monument Inn dinner was wonderful. Everyone took home some leftovers. During dinner a pretty big thunderstorm blew through and every cell phone in the place sounded the severe weather alert. Amazing. It rained heavily during dinner but by the time we were ready to leave it had stopped.
Off in the distance Exxon was burning off oil and gas. Rudy said that they only do that when there is some sort of problem. All of the refineries and chemical plants are interconnected by pipelines. The output of one plant feeds several more down the pipe that do more processing. If something breaks down further along there is no stopping production or storing anything, they just burn it off. They were burning off a lot!
Some of these fire plumes were a couple hundred feet high. On the way back we had to make some detours to avoid flooding. And back at the lake we could see the flames burning and hear them too. They sounded like jet engines at an airport and burned most of the night.
Amanda made a handsomely decorated cookie bar in honor of the South Shore Expedition. Ralph took this picture and entertained us with Texas Humor. He should have been a standup comedian. We ate some cookie bars and then the youngsters played Quidler and Uno. A&D keep us up late enough until they win. What fun it is to have good friends.
And then it was time to leave. We are heading for Quintana Beach and Amanda and Douglas were heading for Livingston, TX. But first we had to go to Buc ee’s for fuel. These are giant gas stations and everything else stores often with a hundred pumps. Diesel was $2.14/gal and Rudy has a discount card that made it $2.04. Between the two of us we bought more than 250 gallons!
Some waiting was required.
And then after what seemed like Minnesota Goodbyes and lots of hugs we were off.
Roger and Susan