I have an area of geographic competence within the state of Texas that extends from Brownsville-south, Austin-north, Victoria-east, and Freer-west. Just turn that into a rectangle and you’ll see the section of Texas where I could be dropped by kidnappers and find my way home. (You have to delete the part that’s in the Gulf of Mexico.)
We took a trip to visit Bob’s son, Drew, over 4th of July. He lives north of Houston so we picked Huntsville State Park as our drop zone. If you are ever in north-east Texas, it’s a nice place to light. The bad news is that there are alligators in the lake which puts a whole different spin on the admonition to “swim at your own risk.”
If you want to see that park or any TP&W park, you can take a YouTube tour. While the video extols the lake fishing, it does NOT mention the alligators so there’s a credibility gap. The park information says you may “occasionally see an alligator”, but they don’t clarify that with “…that’s more 4′ long.”
We discovered why there weren’t many takers in the tent camping areas and it wasn’t the alligators. It was the incredibly oppressive heat. There was a breeze but it couldn’t make it around the dense foliage. It started cooling down about 1 a.m. so we were night owls.
We got a chance to do a little exploring in the piney woods part of Texas. One of the nice things about Bob is that he’s a secret nerd. I have a penchant for side trips and historical markers; surprisingly enough, so does Bob. I felt sorry for Drew who rolled his eyes and started texting whenever Bob would exclaim, “Look! Another historical marker ahead!”
We got to see a roadside antique car collection as we drove down S.H. 19. There were 10-12 cars parked inside a fence, all restored to mint condition. It was like finding buried treasure. We passed it, then hooked a U-ey to be able to stop and gawk. Tourists!
One of the problems with fishing at our state park was the crowd on the pier who kept throwing hot dogs to the resident pet alligators who decided to stick around and snatch fish off the line. We ended up driving toward Lake Conroe to find a new fishing spot and in the process found Montgomery, Texas, the birthplace of the Texas flag.
We only saw 10 of the 297 historical markers within the county’s 1,044 square miles. My favorite is the one in front the town’s community center about the Town Goat. The plaque in front of the goat statue reads:
“On a hot dusty day in 1906, a goat wandered into town-whether it belonged to someone or was on the loose, is not know for sure. The goat soon realized that if it hung around the town well long enough, some kind soul would haul up a bucket of water and give him a drink.
As time went on, the goat learned that if he went to the saloon, he would be given beer and food handouts. Other business around town would also give him handouts. It is said that after a handout, he would let his long beard be pulled. The billy-goat seemed to realize his celebrity status and would station himself at the well, waiting for attention. Many times he would jump on top of the well door and wait for someone to arrive to draw water.
It is not known if the goat was ever given a name or exactly how long he stayed in Montgomery.”
Since I got home, I looked up the Texas Historical Marker website(http://atlas.thc.state.tx.us/). There’s a total of 1,654 registered markers in the 4 counties that we drove through on our side trips and we saw less than 50 of them.
Can’t wait for the next trip to NE Texas!