Tag Archives: Galveston

Texas Independence Trail Motorcycle Ride Day 3 May 2013

Map of Day 3 Ride Route

Map of Day 3 Ride Route

Today is an easy ride. I am only riding 110 miles.  I am riding to my sister Edna Jean’s to spend the night and visit and catch up on what has happened with her and her family.

Rolling down Hwy 35 toward Palacios

Rolling down Hwy 35 toward Palacios

There are no stops at any historic sites today just riding through nice coastal scenery.  I have another cool, clear sky riding day today. It’s been a very long time since I’ve come this way so I was taking it slow and easy allowing me to take it all in and remember the many days gone by. Leaving West Columbia, my ride today will take me down Hwy. 35 through Bay City, Palacios to Port Lavaca where I pick up Hwy 87 to Victoria.

Tres Palacios Bay at Palacios, Texas

Tres Palacios Bay at Palacios, Texas

I must say my ride through Palacios was the highlight of the ride. As you ride into Palacios from the east on Highway 35 it takes a sharp right. If you look to the right you have a good view of Tres Palacios Bay. When I saw the bay I continued on to East Bay Blvd to a boat ramp. I parked to stretch my legs and take in the view and enjoy the nice breeze coming off the bay. It was nice walking around the pier watching the fish jump and Seagulls hovering looking for their next meal.

Palacios (Spanish for palace) is midway between Galveston and Corpus Christi. Palacios is a small town of 5,000 and is the Shrimp Capital of Texas. I love small towns and this is another good little town.

Palacios is a favorite for tourists from all over who enjoy its palm-tree lined bay front, parks, fishing and boating as well as its year-round beautiful, mild weather and it is a favorite with birdwatchers.

A seawall walkway is a great place for a stroll; the adjoining fishing piers offer a good spot for fishermen to try their skills. There is a beach area for swimming and for sunbathing.

There is a lot of lodging in and around Palacios, so I may have to come back and spend some leisure time here away from all the hustle and bustle.

On the bay at Palacios

On the bay at Palacios

After 30 minutes or so I was back on the road. My rides across Carancahua and Lavaca Bays gave nice views from the bridges.  Views from the Lavaca Bay Bridge are exceptional.

I got to my sister’s around 5:30 and spent the rest of the day visiting and catching up.

On the Texas Independence Trail

On the Texas Independence Trail

A short easy ride today but a very nice one…

You can read the other posts about this ride here…

 

Texas Independence Trail Motorcycle Ride Day 2 May 2013

 

Map of Day 2 Ride Route

Map of Day 2 Ride Route

I was staying with my son Tony and his family. They were sleeping in so I loaded the bike and slipped away. I stopped at Denny’s for a leisurely breakfast. There was no hurry because it is only 50 miles to the San Jacinto Monument. I hate driving in Houston traffic on four wheels so I really hate Houston traffic on two… Even though I rode through Houston it was a nice ride. The weather was 67 degrees with just a few clouds and very light Sunday morning traffic…

Early Sunday Morning I-610

Early Sunday Morning I-610

I have a love/hate relationship with my GPS… I had more GPS problems today. When I tried to enter my first stop, “The San Jacinto Monument”, the GPS couldn’t find it! I tried to enter the address 3523 Independence Parkway but still no result. I looked at the GPS map and found the street to be labeled Battleground Road instead of Independence Parkway. Using 3523 Battleground Road worked. What a hassle… So if you are heading that way and using your GPS please take note… Once I found the road… the signs use both names… The map people didn’t get the memo…

You can see the monument for miles before you actually get there. It is an impressive sight.

San Jacinto Monument

San Jacinto Monument

There is no charge for the monument unless you want to see the view from atop the monument. You take the elevator up to the Monument’s Observation floor, 489 feet above the Battleground. Once at the top you will have a beautiful view of the city, Houston Ship Channel, harbor and surrounding area. The San Jacinto Museum of History is housed in the base of the San Jacinto Monument and has priceless artifacts, dioramas, 250,000 documents and 40,000 books chronicling more than 400 years of early Texas history.

Walking the Battleground there are granite markers designating locations of the Texian camps, the Mexican camps, the advance by Texian forces and other information about the battle.

San Jacinto Monument

San Jacinto Monument

If you are not a Texan you may be asking yourself… “What’s the big deal?” Well… the Texans had lost the battles of the Alamo and Goliad. The men at those locations fought a fierce fight and died horrific deaths for what they believed. Santa Anna thought he had it all wrapped up except for finishing off Sam Houston and his men… few in numbers and corner at San Jacinto. Two of the plaques on the on the monument sums it up best.

With the battle cry, “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!” The Texans charged. The enemy, taken by surprise rallied for a few minutes then fled in disorder. The Texans ask no quarter and gave none. The slaughter was appalling, victory complete and Texas free! On the following day General Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna self-styled “Napoleon of the West” received from a generous foe the mercy he had denied Travis at the Alamo and Fannin at Goliad.

Measure by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here lead to the annexation and the Mexican War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma almost one third of the present area of the American Nation, nearly a million square miles of territory changed sovereignty.

The fight lasted just 18 minutes. About 630 Mexican soldiers were killed and 730 captured, while only 9 Texans died. Santa Anna fled the battle disguised as an enlisted man. Santa Anna was captured the following day and held as a prisoner of war. Three weeks later, he signed the peace treaty that paved the way for the Republic of Texas to become an independent country.

Text on base of the San Jacinto Monument

Text on base of the San Jacinto Monument

Text on the base of the San Jacinto Monument

Text on the base of the San Jacinto Monument

So this is a big deal for us Texans and we are proud of our history and culture. All the historic sites of the “Texas Independence Trail” help remind us of where we have come and help us to be mindful of our responsibility to our past and future generations.

For more on the battle click here ( http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qes04 ).

San Jacinto Monument Reflecting Pool with Battleship Texas

San Jacinto Monument Reflecting Pool with Battleship Texas

While at the San Jacinto Battleground and Monument you may want to spend some time at the Battleship Texas, located just across Battlefield Road. You can see the battleship when looking down the reflective pool from the monument. The admission fee is $12 for everyone 13 years old and older. The tour is self guided and there is a lot of history to be seen about the battleship and World War II.

Beach at Galveston

Beach at Galveston

The rest of the ride was very enjoyable. By now it was overcast and it was in the low 80’s. From San Jacinto I rode to La Porte and rode down Hwy 146 to Galveston. Hwy 146 parallels Galveston Bay with many nice views of the bay all along the way. When I got to Galveston I rode Seawall Blvd. to the northeast end of the island before turning around and heading southwest to Surfside. There was lots of swimmers on the beach today and traffic on Seawall Blvd. was rather heavy.

Rolling down San Louis Pass Road

Rolling down San Louis Pass Road

San Louis Pass Road

San Louis Pass Road

I rode to Surfside via Seawall Blvd., San Louis Pass Rd., and Bluewater Hwy. There is a toll ($2) bridge where San Louis Pass Rd. ends and where Bluewater Hwy starts.

Because I forgot the GPS was set to avoid toll roads, it kept trying to route me around this bridge. I forgot about the toll bridge and was a bit annoyed with the GPS… again… When I got to the bridge I realized what my problem was.

Rolling down the Bluewater Highway

Rolling down the Bluewater Highway

This leg of my ride was a nice leisurely ride with cool sea breezes, over cast skies and great beach views along the way. At Freeport I picked up Hwy 36 and rode to West Columbia my final destination for the day.

First Capital of Texas at West Columbia

First Capital of Texas at West Columbia

West Columbia is my hometown and was the “First Capitol of Texas”. Around 1833 Leman Kelsey built a story and a half structure.  In 1836 West Columbia then known as Columbia became the first capital of the Republic of Texas and this building was one of two that housed the new government of the Republic of Texas.  The Congress convened here and Sam Houston took the office as President and Stephen F. Austin as Secretary of State.  In 1837, the government moved to the new city of Houston. The 1900 storm destroyed the original capital. A Replica was built at this site in 1976-77. The replica depicts how the interior and exterior looked during 1836.

Replica of the First Capital Of Texas Building

Replica of the First Capital Of Texas Building

Replica of the First Capital of Texas Building

Replica of the First Capital of Texas Building

Much of my family still lives in the area. When I say much I mean much… I have over 40 first cousins and many aunts, uncles and second and third cousins! I will be staying with my brother Gary and his wife Ginny tonight.

It was a fun and busy day riding and exploring just a small part of Texas’ history…

You can read the other post about this ride here…

 

Texas Independence Trail Motorcycle Ride Day 1 May 2013

 

Map of Day 1

Map of Day 1

After seeing an article in the “Texas Highways” magazine about the “Texas Independence Trail” I thought it would be a good motorcycle ride. I have seen the road signs in the past many times but hadn’t given it much thought until seeing this article. The Texas Historical Commission has charted out a good motorcycle adventure with its delineation of the Texas Independence Trail region. The trail is an area that winds through the Houston/Galveston area following the coast to West Columbia and Victoria. The trail then continues on to Goliad, San Antonio, Gonzales, Bastrop and Brenham. All along the trail are sites rich in Texas Independence history and much more.

Texas Independence Hall @ Washington on the Brazos

Texas Independence Hall @ Washington on the Brazos

 

Texas Independence Trail road signs.

Texas Independence Trail road signs.

Here is a timeline for those of you not familiar with Texas history. It will help you unravel what happened and maybe you understand what I was seeing…

  • December 1821: Stephen F. Austin settles the first 300 Anglo families in Texas.
  • April 1834: Santa Anna takes control of Mexico and repeals Constitution of 1824.
  • October 2, 1835: The first military engagement of the Texas Revolution.
  • February 22/24 1836: Santa Anna attacks the Alamo.
  • March 2, 1836: Texian delegates (comprised of Anglo and Mexican) gather at Washington on the Brazos to sign a declaration of independence and create a government.
  • March 6, 1836: The Alamo falls to Santa Anna and the Mexican Army.
  • March 27, 1836: Col. Fannin and his men are massacred at Goliad.
  • April 21, 1836: General Sam Houston and the Texas Army defeat Santa Anna at San Jacinto.
  • October 1836: The first permanent government of the Republic was elected under President Sam Houston, and met at Columbia in the fall of 1836.

100_6195   Due to the logistics, I wasn’t able follow the exact trail. I did follow it as much as possible. There is a lot to see on the trail, but I was limited by time, so I tried to hit the most significant points along the way. These were my goals…

Janet was in San Diego so she wasn’t able to go on the ride. My cousin W. D. was going but at the last minute he had to put his scooter in the shop and he is waiting on a part. I thought about not doing the ride. I decided if I was going I needed to leave the next day. Late that night, I packed everything and loaded the saddle bags to leave the next morning and hoped I hadn’t forgotten something. When I left the weather was perfect, 66 degrees and partly cloudy. I headed out and was about 20 miles from home when I realized… I had left the camera! I had to have the camera… so back home I went. I lost about an hour but I had lots of daylight left. The total mileage for today was 198 miles, excluding the miles for going back home for the camera.

Texas Independence Trail motorcycle ride

Independence Hall @ Washington on the Brazos

My first and only stop today is Washington on the Brazos the site of Texas declaring its independence from Mexico. The ride to Washington on the Brazos was a good one. The spring wildflowers were still blooming and added a splash of color to the green from the recent rains. Along my route were many gentle hills covered in trees and open pasture areas. There were some nice gentle curves along the way, too. It was a cool ride both figuratively and literally.

Washington on the Brazos Visitor Center

Washington on the Brazos Visitor Center

Washington on the Brazos, the birth place of Texas, is now a state park. You can walk the grounds where there are markers telling what was where at the time. Everything is free unless you want to take one of the guided tours or tour the new “The Star of the Republic” museum. The museum is administered by Blinn College. Independence Hall is revered as one of Texas’ most significant historic places. The original building burned sometime around the turn of the century but a replica of Independence Hall marks the place where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed and the government of the Republic of Texas was created.

Washington on the Brazos, Texas Independence Trail, motorcycle , ride

Independence Hall

Also at the park is the Barrington Living History Farm where you can travel back in time to participate in the daily activities of an 1850’s cotton farm. You may take part in seasonal activities, daily chores, games and toys of the time. I could have stayed longer at the park… there is a lot to take in… but it was almost 1:00 and I was starving. So I was back on the road looking for a good place to eat…

Texas Independence Trail

Texas Independence Trail

I had made good time in spite of the late start. Now it was on to visit my son Tony and his family in Spring. The ride was more of what I had seen earlier in the day. Gentle hills and curves with wild flowers beside the road and in open pastures… It was nice, not too warm and traffic wasn’t bad. I was dreading Houston traffic and was relieved that it was not too bad… This was partly because it was Saturday and I had some good luck. I stayed the night with Tony and we had a nice visit. Savanna, my granddaughter, wasn’t too sure about me and the motorcycle… but since grandma wasn’t with me (she is a grandma’s girl) it didn’t take her long to get over it. She had to show me all of her dolls, toys and her new big girl bed. Tomorrow it is on to the San Jacinto Battleground and Monument… Stay tuned… You can read the other posts about this ride here…

Mel’s Hard Luck Diner Branson Missouri

Mel's Hard Luck Diner Branson Missouri A visit to Branson is not complete without at least one meal from Mel’s Hard Luck Diner, a 50’s style restaurant, home of Branson’s original singing servers. The diner’s servers, hosts, cooks, and cashiers are also professional singers, song writers, and musicians. You are always greeted with a smile, served great food and entertained by great singers. A show for the price of a meal… This is our third trip to Branson in two years and of course we ate at Mel’s again. My brother Gary and his wife Ginny were our travel companions on this trip. Gary and Ginny have been to Branson many times but they have never been to Mel’s until now! They will be back! Singer Kelly Bryant Mel's Hard Luck Diner Branson Missouri We discovered Mel’s on our first trip to Branson two years ago. We eat there every chance we get. On this visit when we being seated, I ask if Kelly Bryant was working and if so I wanted to be seated at one of her tables. We met Kelly two years ago and she is my favorite singer at Mel’s. On our first visit, Kelly sang the gospel song “I Call It Home”. I had never heard the song before and immediately loved it. After buying one of Kelly’s CD’s with that song, it has since become my favorite gospel song. Singer Kelly Bryant Mel's Hard Luck Diner Branson Missouri Kelly was working and it was a pleasure visiting with her again. On our first visit Kelly (a displaced Texan) ask where we would go on vacation in Texas if we had the choice between Galveston and South Padre. We told her South Padre hands down. So I had to ask Kelly were they ended up going. They chose South Padre and Kelly excitedly told us how much She and her family enjoyed it. I know we weren’t the only ones who gave her that advice but it was nice to know she and her family really enjoyed South Padre. South Padre is Janet’s and my favorite Texas beach. I requested Kelly sing “I call It Home” again. When she sang, she said it was her favorite song too. Kelly did a great job as usual and we enjoyed it very much. Singer Kelly Bryant CD "A little Bit of Heaven" If you are ever in Branson you have to eat at Mel’s and if Kelly is working tell her hello for us. I’m no talent expert but I know what I like and I like all the singers at Mel’s.  Each singer has CD’s available for purchase. So help them out, they always appreciate your support. Mel’s… great atmosphere, great food and great entertainment… we will definitely be going back on our next visit. I hope we see you on the road somewhere… Ride safe…