Saturday, June 8, 2013

Escaping Houston and taking the road less traveled down the Gulf Coast

As we dropped down from Central Texas avoiding the Houston sprawl, our road quickly became laser straight and flat. The dryness of the Eastern and Central Texas climate quickly gave way to an enveloping shroud of moisture that brought back memories to me of living in the south many years ago. A glance at our in-car temperature gauge showed 84 degrees and compared to the previous day's 98 was deceiving. We could smell and feel the moisture and water of the Gulf wafting up across the verdant landscape as we drove. Any oversight of the landscape now could only come about when an occasional highway overpass bumped us up momentarily. On these occasions we could look out over the tops of mega-churches to catch the shiny reflections of the triple layered barbed wire encirclements of recurrent prison camps. I've heard that Texas excels nationwide in the prison business. The state gets cheap labor, the prisons cheap land, everyone gets lots of money, and the prisoners...ah...get the opportunity to share their troubles with their cell mates? Well, signs everywhere here say, "Don't mess with Texas." Damn! I'm driving exactly the speed limit.

We celebrated upon crossing a steep and long bridge over the border between Texas and Louisiana and began a 100+-mile drive along highway 82 with the Gulf of Mexico on our right and the Bayou on our left. Along our road every house and structure was elevated on stilts to avoid flooding.

As we drove we speculated about the difficulty of escaping from an impending hurricane or the consequences of these storms destroying homes and property. This day we were driving would be a real estate agent's dream sell opportunity. We, however, thought about this scenario:
 Coupled with trying to escape if possible:

We stopped along our several hour coastal drive to walk over and wet our feet in the bathwater warm water.
This was the first time Ruth had experienced the amazingly warm Gulf water compared to that of our bone chilling Pacific. It was idyllic. The only problem was that there were no Home Depots, Best Buys, Starbucks, K-Marts, McDonald's, Piggly Wigglies, Bucky's Burgers, Auto Zones, gas stations, liquor stores, Walgreens, outlet stores, and just about the same old crap that we have enjoyed in every small town from California to the Gulf Coast...if we lived here, we would be despondent!

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