Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Beaumont, Victoria and San Antonio, Texas

As promised, we stopped at Suire’s Grocery and Restaurant on the way out of Louisiana. We had the Turtle Picante, that the New York Times described as the best anywhere. It was really good. Turtle meat is dark and lean. If asked, I’d bet that most people would guess they were eating beef. We also had Texas Toothpicks - deep fried strips of jalapeno and onions, as well as Pistolette, a bun injected with crawfish and then deep fried. It all came on one big dish, accompanied by a small helping of potato salad and a small piece of chocolate cake too.

People were lined up, mostly duck hunters, for both take out and eat-in, the whole time we were there. You’ve never seen so much camouflage clothing in one place.

Pictured is the lineup at Suire’s. It doesn't give much idea of all the camo clothing, but try to imagine that this lineup never goes away.

As we followed Highway 82 along the coast we witnessed a lot of destruction left behind by 2008’s Hurricane Ike. Any rebuilt structures, including mobile homes, look kind of silly elevated on ten-foot stilts.

Arriving at Beaumont Texas around three o’clock, we checked into Hidden Lake RV Park under cloudy skies. The huge puddles everywhere were evidence of a lot of rain, and there was more in the forecast.

I saw the second half of the Packers beating the Bears in the NFC final and then the Steelers beat the Jets in the AFC final. While I didn’t mind the results, they were both poorly played, boring games. Those multi-million dollar coaches for the Jets should all be fired. Here’s hoping those games weren’t any kind of harbinger of this year‘s Super Bowl - two weeks away.

Monday morning we took a drive around Beaumont in the rain. We saw some of the grand old houses from the age of the oil boom and shopped for groceries at a mega-store named H. E. Butts. The best part was the 7 Deadly Zins priced at $11.00. The same stuff that we pay $28 for at home.

Most of the afternoon was spent hunkered down in the trailer, attempting to plan some kind of itinerary. We knew San Antonio was on the list. We loved Austin when we there years ago, but we know that will cost a bunch of money because we’ll want to see lots of the live music. Big Ben National Park has also been recommended but it’s a long way from anywhere, and it borders Mexico. Hmmm...

It continued to rain heavily all day. We decided on driving to Victoria, Texas, about two hours from San Antonio. We didn’t get on the road until about 10:30 because we slept in until 9:00. It was still raining when we left - I had to put on flip flops to hook up the trailer, otherwise my shoes and socks would have been soaked in the deep puddles.

By the time we got to Houston, the clouds had parted. While eating my tomato, red onion, basil and Provolone cheese sandwich, lovingly made by Janice at a mall outside of Houston, somehow I bit down too hard on a bottom tooth. The pain was so sharp I thought I had broken it. It was still in place when I checked, but it was too sore to wiggle it enough to see if it was loose.

Pictured is Janice's drive-by shooting of Houston.

We got to the Lazy Longhorn RV Park in Victoria about 3:00. My tooth was still sore so we walked to the grocery store and got some ice cream and eggs. There was already a Yam on board so, considering the tooth problem, Janice had planned to make Yam Soup for dinner. The ice cream was for later, the eggs for the morning - scrambled. I did my best not to whine too much, so, when we got back from the walk, she poured me a big Scotch on ice and we went and sat in the sun by the pool. Nice.

It was the next day when we were leaving Victoria that it revealed some of it's beautiful architecture, pictured below.

The drive to San Antonio took about two-and-a-half hours and was Texas-like. That is to say, scrubby, with the odd ramshackle abode stranded on an otherwise desolate landscape.

We pulled into the Mission Trail RV Park, just outside of San Antonio around 2:00 and then took the five-minute drive to the city. The RV park is right next to the highway and, believe me, ther's nothing special about it but, it turned out to be just five minutes from San Antonio's River Walk. It made getting in and out of San Antonio a breeze.

I'll stick my neck out here, without Googling it or anything - The River Walk must make San Antonio one of the most livable cities in America.

Pictured are some shots of the River Walk in San Antonio. Also pictured is The Alamo. You might notice one building cropping up a lot. It brings to mind one of Vancouver's most grand pieces of architecture, the Marine Building.

We thought we might drive southward, hoping to ensure some warm weather, but the draw of Austin is just too strong. We know it might cost us some money but, after all, it's the Live Music Capital of the World - gotta' go, ya' know?...

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