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Old 12-30-2010, 08:43 PM   #1
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TX,wildlife refuge and Freeport coast

I took the week off of work for the Christmas and New Years holidays. After getting the okay from my lovely wife I planed out a general course for a quick day trip on the Texas gulf coast. Here is a map of the route that I took.

Since it was my vacation I slept way in and got up at the crack of 10:30am. Yawn. My honey cooked me breakfast, double checked that I had my cell phone fully charged and made me promise to be careful.
Yummy, ham and eggs (& a glazed donut that didn’t survive to have its picture taken).

Then off to the end of the Galveston Seawall for a few photos. This sea wall was constructed after the “Great Storm” of 1900 to prevent another tragic loss of life. Still in really good shape for a 100 year old sea barrier.

This is a goofy looking building. I don’t think anyone lives here anymore and would have to wonder what that would be like in a storm. Makes me think of the old children’s toys the Weebles ("Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down”).

Brown signs seem to suck me into their grasp. The expanse in the background is the habitat preservation and stretches as far as the sea mist would allow me to look.

The habitat was right next to this abandoned structure.

I had passed a water tower and thought “I don’t remember that, oh well” then I saw this one under construction and knew that they were both new since I had last traveled on this road. Later I saw a sign for the location of, at least, the third one of these. Water is critical to local survival in the event of a natural disaster (hurricanes anyone?) and the infrastructure here is quite antiquated. So it is good to see the effort to build these. I don’t think banning living here is a viable option.

When my love and I first were looking for a house to buy we had looked at these newly constructed homes and town homes, but the price point was well outside of our range. Pretty though

This is the Galveston Toll bridge. They charged me two dollars to go across, but before I did I decided to see what was underneath

The mighty off roading Shadow VT750DC!

Laughs in the face of deep water crossings. Heck I didn’t even check the water depth before plowing across

Coastal waters.

Spartandude screwed with this post 12-31-2010 at 02:28 PM Reason: apparently these weren't coming up well for people. Let's try it now.
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:46 PM   #2
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More offroading prowess.

If you thought of it you can’t do it. Okay?!

The Shadow tiptoed like a ballerina through these. “Eep, don’t get me wet!”

Onto the toll bridge.


The sea mist was most impressive. Visibility was poor and it felt like I was in a cool fog.

I wondered if the sand would hold the kick stand up.

This bridge was far more impressive and they didn’t charge me! Woot!

I couldn’t remember how much fuel I had burnt so I topped it off. Not bad.

I decided I needed fuel. Delicious “Figgie pudding” that my sweetheart made for Christmas.

and fluids too.

While I ate this gorgeous Porsche pulled off to the side of the road. Unless he knows something I don’t this guy was a tool. The engine stalled (probably still cold) and he started it back up and revved the snot out of it. Poor thing.

Union Bayou Dow Chemical plant. The Square looking loop like things are expansion joints (I think).

Freeport down town has a historic museum and I had wanted to check it out. Unfortunately the interwebz (sp) had failed to yield hours and the telephone had not been answered when I called. This is why (I stopped by on a Thursday).

Still the tiny town was quaint. It kind of reminded me of back home in Michigan, but with wider streets.

They have a levy system to protect the port and the town and this massive gate is a sea lock.

Spartandude screwed with this post 12-31-2010 at 02:31 PM
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Old 12-30-2010, 08:51 PM   #3
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I then headed away from the coast and towards Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. On the way I noticed the road was parallel to a disused railroad.

Wow, off roading gets this thing dirty.

Here is the entrance to the refuge.

This wind mill was spinning, but I couldn’t tell if it was pumping. The mosquitoes were horrific here.

I saw a single lane dirt road with a sign saying “fishing” and decided to follow it. On the way I saw this sign. Gators huh?


took some pictures of the lovely flora.

Dirty, dirty bike. I had seen the sand on the radiator and was watching for the temp light, but it never came on.

Hmm…I wonder what he is taking a picture of?

Oh, that’s what.

The picture people where nice enough to let me take a picture of them. They had an accent that sounded Slavic, but my stupid butt didn’t ask where they were from. Oh, well, maybe next time.

There was about three miles of this scrub on each side of the road.

Speaking of road.

Finally at the fishing spot.

Well crabbing actually.

This guy was doing pretty well it would seem.

The sun was just peeking through the foreboding skies.

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Old 12-30-2010, 08:53 PM   #4
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Lunch time! It is crackers in the foil package.

I saw this heron and decided to stalk it. Squeak, squeak, squeak…stupid boots…I could see it was watching over some young ones in the underbrush.

There it goes.

This kid set up as I was getting ready to head back out.

“What? Can’t I pretend to be wildlife?”

The refuge has some hiking trails (bring bug spray) and driving tour routes. I decided to take a left at this fork in the road.

While taking this picture I was beset upon by a horde of those evil blood sucking skeeters. Yuck. Decided to leave, before I got bitten too badly.

Big Slough. No wonder there are a lot of mosquitoes.

Ooo, twisties!

This trail looked promising, but it was gated. Oh, well.

Back out of the refuge and on the road I found this burned out bridge on that railroad from earlier.

Cool texture on one of the beams.

I saw a sign for “Demi-John Island” and turned. It was a cool community that had been hit by a hurricane. It looked like it was well before Ike so I couldn’t tell you which one.

The residents seemed to resent my presence so I took a picture of this guy’s cool toys and high tailed it back off the island.

Being a little troll again.

I thought these old electric boxes looked cool.

A fishing park. Fishing would appear to be quite popular.

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Old 12-30-2010, 08:57 PM   #5
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“Go that way!”

Mail boxes.

Troll house.

There were about seven of these access points that lead over the remnants of the railroad.

And back to this area. The mosquitoes where horrible and the mighty shadow was scared of the mud.

Which was a hunting area for water fowl.

Bye railroad.

Long straight Texas road.

Green pastures.

Hey, I don’t think you should be there.

Liverpool? How did I get to Liverpool?

Postal history of a tiny out of the way residential town.

The only store here is boarded up.

I wonder what this contraption is?

It has a spigot.

And a gauge that reads 1 qrt, gallon and 1 gallon. Fuel pump maybe? I would think that would require more than a max of 1 gallon.

I couldn’t go down this as there was a huge no trespassing sign.

And now for a shameless product placement. Disclaimer; I am not affiliated with Coco-cola, WeeMart or any subsidiaries of these companies. I am not being compensated for this advertisement.

If you find yourself by the WeeMart…

Grab an ice cold Cococola…

And quench your thirst.

Thank you. We appreciate your business.

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Old 12-30-2010, 09:09 PM   #6
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I saw a line of rainclouds heading towards me and just barely squeezed by north of it with just a few drops of rain.

These concrete buttresses are all that is left of the Zeppelin hanger that was there. These things were massive. I wish I could have seen one. Sigh, maybe I will take a trip up to Akron, Ohio.

After the old hanger I hit civilization again and road on the super slab to Tiki Island where I had seen a historical marker. Turns out it was to commemorate the construction of the Galveston Causeways. I moved here in time to drive on the old causeway and to be inconvenienced by the construction. It is so nice now that I can hardly remember the construction head ache.

Across the street and almost absorbed in brush I saw two more markers. The first is for the confederate defense fortification here at Virginia Point. This was the staging point for a dawn raid to take back the port of Galveston. The confederate army maintained control of Galveston till the end of the Civil War. Galveston was the larger of the two ports in Confederate hands at the end of the war.

And the second is a short blurb about the privateer James Campbell. Whom I had never heard of before.

I attempted to find the cemetery, but could find no path open that did not say “Keep Out” or “No Trespassing”. Being law-abiding is no fun sometimes.

Older Railroad causeway. I love the old cobble stone.

Old and New. Rail and road.

Graphiti on an abandoned structure. I could only guess that this might have been a switching house for the railroad.

Tall switch grass.

Almost dark, so goodnight all and safe journeys.

Spartandude screwed with this post 12-31-2010 at 02:39 PM
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:10 PM   #7
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I found some more information for you about the Privateer James Campbell whose marker I had found at Virginia Point. I think I shall take a visit to the Library that put this up.

Originally Posted by
James "Jim" Campbell originally came into contact with the Lafitte brothers in New Orleans in 1815 (Block, 1991). Born in Ireland in the late 18th century (sources do not agree on the exact year), Campbell immigrated to Maryland with his family at a young age. Campbell was an apprentice ship builder in Baltimore in his youth and enlisted in the US Navy just prior to the War of 1812 (Articles, 1998 & Block, 1991). During wartime, Campbell played an active role as a naval midshipmen and dockyard ship builder, and served under Commodore Perry at the Battle of Lake Erie.

In 1817, James Campbell moved to Galveston Island and Campeachy with his wife Mary Sabinal, a ferryman's daughter from Crow's Ferry, located in present-day Sabinetown, Texas. After serving Lafitte in mostly administrative capacities throughout 1817, Campbell was appointed the captain of the schooner Concordin early 1818. The Concord was a privateer ship fitted with 5 large guns and a crew of 75 men (Articles, 1998). From his first cruise under Lafitte until his last in 1820, Campbell's ships led all other Lafitte ships in the quantity of booty and commandeered cargo. Lafitte would regard Campbell as one of his "best secret officers" and he "liked and trusted him very much" (Block, 1991). Despite the authority granted by the letters of marque for Campbell's ships to liberally attack and commandeer enemy ships, the captain usually released the crews of captured vessels after arriving on land. A cabin boy named Charles Cronea serving under Campbell aboard the Hotspur remarked that he'd "never seen a single man murdered" during his time spent with the captain. Lafitte also employed Campbell on various clandestine missions to New Orleans and even entrusted him with the task of acquiring a new gunship from Baltimore, Maryland (Block, 1998). The line between legal privateering and illegal piracy was a fine one. And while Campbell and several other privateers under Lafitte always maintained that their operation was legal and within the bounds of the maritime regulations, incidents of piracy among Lafitte's men were well known. Lafitte established a judicial system at Campeachy to deal with renegades who deviated from attacking only designated Spanish cargo ships (Block, 1991). Captain Campbell was one of the five presiding judges on this court. Those found guilty by Lafitte's court were sometimes hanged. Nevertheless, President James Monroe received complaints from the Spanish ambassador concerning "legitimate" Spanish vessels being pirated by Lafitte's ships, prompting Monroe to send an emissary to investigate the situation. This chain of events ultimately put an end to Lafitte's Galveston operation (Block, 1965).

Following Lafitte's departure from the Texas coast in 1821, James and Mary Campbell remained in the region, ultimately settling on a plot of about 1500 acres at Campbell's Bayou (Articles, 1998). Captain Campbell became a farmer and remained so until his death in 1856. He was a reserved man and remained largely uncommunicative about his days serving under Jean Lafitte (Block, 1991). The Campbells' daughter Diana grew up to marry Solomon Parr, another local farmer, and their children and descendants comprised some of the region's first official residents (Services, 1930). A nautical telescope that once belonged to James Campbell is presently on display in the Texas Room of the Texas City-Moore Memorial Public Library.

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Old 12-31-2010, 02:23 PM   #8
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Old 12-31-2010, 02:42 PM   #9
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Tman66 let me know that my posts were jacked up. Thank you sir. I hope my edits make this easier to follow.
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Old 12-31-2010, 03:00 PM   #10
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Looks like a great day of exploring the upper Texas coast. Thanks for sharing
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Old 12-31-2010, 03:15 PM   #11
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Looks like a good day on two wheels and you managed to keep the rain at bay!
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Old 01-01-2011, 05:58 AM   #12
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Thanks for taking us along. I love seeing our local routes.
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:04 AM   #13
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great pics!we moved from galveston after ike.many wonderful memories.thanks for taking me back.
24 hours,maybe 60 good years,it's really not that long a stay.........jimmy b.
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Old 01-02-2011, 02:38 AM   #14
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Thanks so much for the ride report and pictures. My hat is off to you for riding a bike as was intended, what ever and where ever. I've pretty much explored the Coastal Region from Intracoastal City, Louisiana to Sabine Pass, Tx. And then from High Island to the Galveston Ferry. I see that I now need to start extending from Galveston on down to Corpus now.
Thanks for the history lessons of the area.

A '00 KLR 650 40,000 miles, A '07 1250S 74,000 , A '03 5.3L Chevy Truck 78,000 + '43 style dude , Simper Fi ;-)
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Old 01-02-2011, 03:56 AM   #15
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thanks for the trip down memory lane. That kind of weather just scares the stuff out of me and I would rather see it on screen than in person. Something must have happened to me on a dreary day like that.
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