The Texas Road Runners !!!!!
Road Trip Adventures, Roadside Attractions, Crazy DIY Projects, Texas Fishing, Rock Hounding and more......
Thanksgiving Road Trip 2003
Sites visited were : Carl's Corner, Inner Space Caverns, World's Biggest Boots, Natural Bridge Caverns, Guadalupe River State Park, San Jacinto Battlegrounds, the Battle Ship Texas and More Roadside Attractions!
Forward : More time on my hands. (As always, click on the picture for for a larger image and click on the links for photos surprises.)
As you can see from above, I finally found myself with a little more time on my hands. So I got busy on a new profession. I am still trying to determine my fees. There was going to by a small family reunion at my parents in the Houston area for Thanksgiving. Therefore, I decided to take the long way down to explore more of the Texas Hill country and other sites around Houston and up I-45 for my way home. I was just itching to see another cave. So, hold on to your armchair for another Texas Road Runner Adventure.
Star Date : 11/22/2003 : Saturday - The Drive down.
I first woke up early for my favorite show. I headed solo down south on I-35E from Waxahachie until I hit Carl's Corner at the intersection of I-35E and FM 2959. Here sat the frogs of Carl's Corner.
I made my way back south on I-35 all the way to Georgetown till I saw the sign just off of Exit 259. Yes, my first stop at Inner Space Caverns. They had a nice visitor center where I picked up another refrigerator magnet for my collection and paid my discounted fee of $12.00 from a coupon I found on the Internet.
We took a small trolley deep into the depths of the cave and arrived at the cave entrance. One of our first sights were a couple of stalactites and stalagmites and soda straw formations from the ceiling. We next proceeded to a room walled with dolomite in which Danielle, our guide, proceeded to clean my old dirty copper penny by rubbing it against the wall. We walked by more formations which included a column and some nice calcite flow. Then Danielle point to a manhole shaft which lead to the discovery of the cave. Apparently, as I-35 was being built in the area, work crews kept loosing their drill bits. Therefore, they decided to drill a man-size hole to find their drill bits and discovered the cave. That poor construction man also discovered a mountain of bat guano at the same time.
As we continued our journey, we pasted by more calcite flows and entered the "Imagination Room" where if one could imagine hard enough, the formations could be different objects. As we progressed, we passed by a concrete wall which held back loose dirt from an out side sink hole. Animals from the Ice Age were painted on these walls. We continued our tour passing by another soda straw room and a small pool within one of the caverns. Although I thought the formations were great, I think they could have done a better job with the lighting. many of my pictures did not come out.
It was time to head south again on I-35 and of coarse the traffic through Austin was just awful. I finally made it to my motel room and planned for tomorrows adventures. At least Monster Garage was on!!
Star Date : 11/23/2003 : Sunday - Another cave and another park.
There was a knock on the door and there was Gina, an old friend who wanted to hit the sights also. I had my morning planned and we were going to Natural Bridge Caverns. But, I had heard about another roadside attraction in San Antonio at the North park Mall, the worlds biggest cowboy boots. My motel was on the northwest side of Loop 410 and the mall was on my way to the cave. I easily found the mall and the giant cowboy boots!
We got back on the 410 Loop and headed north on I-35 again until I found Exit 175 and took FM 3009 north. From there we just followed the signs to the cave. We were first greeted by dinosaurs, this seems to be a common theme among commercialized Texas caves. They too also had a mining sluice for kids to buy a bag of dirt with gem stones and use the flowing water to find their gems. Additionally, there was a tower to either climb or repel down. We then entered the visitor center which also had a nice gift store. Yes, you guessed it, another refrigerator magnet was procured here for my growing collection. It was also here we obtained our tickets and then waited for the tour to begin. While waiting, I found the natural bridge which was produced by the sink hole which created the entrance to the cavern.
We finally began our tour down into the sink hole and obtain another perspective of the natural bridge. Without going through a lot of commentary, just click on the links below for photo's of all the formations that can be seen :
Imagination Room 1
Imagination Room 2
Imagination Room 3
More Bacon of the Walls
A Cave Canyon
Another Cave Pond
Again, my only disappointment was the lighting. The formations were great! Unfortunately, more light was needed!!! The cave was quite warm and humid, to be expected of coarse. Unfortunately, when we all emerged out, a cold front just moved in. Also nearby, is Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. We were going to visit it, but we heard about their zebras.
Well, onto Guadalupe River State Park for lunch. We continued north on FM 3009 and then headed due west on Hwy 46. Just before the Hwy 281 bypass, we saw some folks digging into a road cut for fossils. I will have to remember this site the next time I am down here. We turned north on Park Road 31 and into the park.
Just before the trail to the river, were the park facilities and a playground for the kids. We then headed down and made it to the river. Unfortunately, the cold front made it much to cold to go in, so we amused ourselves by skipping stones with this couple. Part of the park was closed due to public hunting for deer season. It was just too cold for a picnic, so we headed back to the room for lunch. Gina said her good-byes and I planned for my next day onto mom and dad's
Star Date : 11/24/2003 : Monday - Onto mom and dad's.
It was another early start and there were roadside attractions to be seen. It was tough figuring out how to get out the city. I looped the 410 Loop southeast and hit Hwy 16 south till I got to Poteet, TX. There, I quickly found the fire station and the biggest strawberry in the world. Heck, they even painted their water tower like a strawberry! Apparently, this city is known for their strawberries.
I then back-tracked and took Hwy 90 east to Seguin, TX. Right there in the middle of the town, in front of the Guadalupe County courthouse was the biggest pecan in the world! Seguin also has a Texas Historic State park, Sebastopol State Historic Park. Its significance is obviously because it is old, and one of the city's mayors lived there, but also because of its construction. all the walls are made of limecrete, a type of concrete.
Then I headed east on I-10 to Luling, TX. Right behind the city police station was their water tower painted like a huge watermelon! Apparently, this city is known for their watermelons.
It was still cold, but I managed to gas back up in Luling and continued east on I-10 to Katy, TX to visit Forbidden Gardens. In the 3rd century B.C., the first Emperor of China, Emperor Qin, had himself buried with life-size terra-cotta figures of his servants and his army to serve him in the after-life. So, some local fellow in Katy, TX reproduced his tomb.
I finally found the place off of Franz road. Unfortunately, it was closed, but I heard an awful lot of activity. They were having a special tour for a church group and I was allowed to join them! Jesse James from the Monster Garage must have built their bus. There was the Emperor and his army. The figures were almost life-size. They even had a recreation of the city of Beijing known as the Forbidden City.
Well, it was time to move on and I was getting hungry. I finally made it to mom and dad's and my wild and loud niece and nephew. There is a prison nearby lake Jackson, so I know I'm close to home when I see this.
Star Date 11/25 - 27/03 : Just the holiday stress.
No real adventures to report here. Just time with family and to celebrate the Thanksgiving holidays. I passed a lot of time reading a new book, "Roadside History of Texas" by Leon C. Metz. It a great book for anyone interested in the history of all those Texas towns we travel through. It shed a new light to many of my past adventures and travels.
I tried teaching Sara how to work Papa's computer. But I finally gave up. At least mom's computer got fixed.
Star Date 11/28/03 : Friday, Trip back home.
I guess with all that roadside history of Texas I was reading and since I had to drive through Houston, I decided to check out San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site and the Battleship Texas BB-35 State Historic Site.
From Lake Jackson, I headed north on Hwy 288 and took the 610 Loop northeast around Houston to Hwy 225 east. Then I took to Hwy 134 north to the San Jacinto Battleground Monument. It is suppose to be taller than the Washington monument in Washington D.C. and it even has it's own reflection pool also. The first floor does have a gift shop and a museum display artifacts found around the battleground area. For a small fee, you could ride the elevator up to the top.
But, if I going to spend some money, I'd rather spend it on the fee for the Battleship Texas! So I headed down the road a little further, found the visitor center and bought a token to go through the entrance an on-board. I was first greeted by some ladies manning some ant-aircraft guns. These guns really do move around! Of coarse my nose found the galley. The sailors apparently also slept in the hallways of the ship and I found the main engine room. Yes sir, those were some mighty big guns!
It was once more time to move on. I took beltway all the way to I-45 on the north side of Houston and continued to Huntsville, TX. It was here that I stopped to stretch my legs again and take in a view of the most photographed statue in all of Texas. Yes, the Sam Houston Statue! They too had a nice visitor center and gift shop.
I got my photo and continued north on I-45. Just south of Corsicana was the last roadside attraction that I would see, the biggest fishing pole in the world!
After this photo-op, I managed to make it home, unload and then hit the bag. Christmas is coming around soon, so I will have to think up another adventure for another trip back to mom and dad's. Oh yea, sorry mom for not helping to put up the family Christmas tree.
So, until next time, take care and I'll See you... on the road, or in the workshop, (which is really just my garage) !!!!
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