Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tropical Storms Are A Breeze Down Here

What was it that weatherman Bill said back in Corpus Christi? Tropical Storm winds start above 39 MPH. That's right, 39 MPH. Well yesterday winds were 15-25 MPH gusting to 30, but today they were up to 40 MPH with wind gusts predicted to be higher. That would be tropical storm weather, and one would think that people would be concerned, but they're not. It's like a bit of snow falling for us Winnipeggers, it happens all the time.

Ward was talking to a fellow at the gas station about the high winds. He said winds do pick up at this time of year, and he is off the water, but it does not stop him from doing anything else. And people just lean into the wind when walking to and from their vehicles. It's just a bit of wind.

We were getting ready to leave Port Lavaca yesterday, gassing up and getting air in one of our rear tires. The gas was easy enough, but the air proved to be a bit more tricky. The tire that needed the air was one of the back duels, and we were not able to get the air hose onto the valve. We needed a hose with a different attachment which would allow the necessary angle. After trying three different gas stations I pulled into the service area at the Walmart, hoping they would have a better attachment for filling tires. No luck. So, I headed in to the Walmart, looking for something that would allow us to put air in those tires. Maybe we would get a small air compressor with the particular air hose attachment we needed for that sharp angle to the valve.

When we got to the automotive department I found a small air compressor that plugs into a cigarette lighter, you know the kind. It was inexpensive and would serve the purpose just fine. Then we took it to the RV, plugged the electrical cord into the cigarette lighter and stretched it over to the rear tire. Too short. We missed it by a good foot. Now what!!

Our set up allows 12 volt electricity from our batteries, but the air compressor has a cigarette lighter, not alligator clips. After pondering the situation a while, and trying a few different options, we headed back in to Walmart and picked up a secondary cigarette lighter with positive and negative wires. I attached connectors to the ends of the wires and hooked it up to the deep cycle batteries on the back rack of the RV. Then the air compressor was plugged in. And voila, a functioning air compressor, with the ability to be hooked up to the valve on the back tires. We were in business.

After a few minutes of filling we were able to get the air pressure back up on the tires and were set to go. Well, except that our air compressor ordeal took several hours to complete. We decided to spend the night at Walmart and head out the next morning. We check the weather and knew the winds would be gusting over 40 MPH and prepared for an early start.

We were up by 7:00 am with hardly any wind at all. I thought we would be able to get a head start on the day before having to endure the high winds. But by 7:30 am, when we left Port Lavaca, the winds had already started. They were coming from the North, hitting the left side of the motorhome as we went tacking down the highway.

After about 30 miles of driving in the wind we reached the quiet little hamlet of Palacios. It is known as the "city by the sea", and is quite a nice little town. Ward and I took a break from our journey at one of the parking lots by the piers along the water. Then a quick scenic drive down Main St, Palacios, past stores called "Oh My" and "A Cute Place". I was hoping to take the bikes off the RV and drive around town looking for murals. Apparently there are 6-8 murals in town that depict their history. But with the high winds, we decided to do the quick tour of town and head down the road to the Brazosport Area.

By the time we got into the Brazosport Area the winds had died down a bit. Ward was getting hungry, and so was I. We started to look for a place to pull over. Soon after turning on to Hwy 36 heading south toward the Gulf again, we came across an historic marker. I pulled over to find an old plantation site, the Ellerslie Plantation.

Across the street, Ward saw another historical marker, which proved to be a second old plantation site, the Old Oakland Plantation.

Both were owned by members of Steven F. Austin's original 300 Colony, the first settlers of what is now known as the state of Texas. Prior to that the area was part of Mexico.

After taking a few pictures of the sites we headed down the road to a rest stop for lunch. The rest stop has several oak trees, providing great shelter from the wind, and is our new campsite for the evening.

We will be enjoying a BBQ of a burger we got at the H-E-B food store in Port Lavaca. The burger was being sampled at the store when we were shopping on Sunday and is a custom blend of that location, with peppers and cheese mixed in, along with a smokey flavor. If you go there looking for it, it's called the cowboy. They have several other flavors of custom burger, including one loaded with jalapeno. The burgers are huge, and we already split the first one. They look to be close to a pound each. Tonight Ward will BBQ the second for us to split once again.

Then tomorrow we are off to Freeport and Surfside Beach, then back toward Brazoria up Hwy 332 for an historic tour of this first settlement.

Stephen F. Austin, where are you!

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