Wherever the Road Leads

Texas Trip – the Lost Pictures

The View

 

Finally, here are the remainder of the pictures from the trip to Texas, from the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge in Louisiana to the Brownsville-Matamoros bridge in Brownsville Texas, at the Mexican border.

The first time I crossed the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge was years ago, long before cell phones. Driving along I-10 in Louisiana, I kept seeing signs that read, “No Telephones for 20 miles”. At some point, I looked over to the span going in the opposite direction and could see that we appeared to be crossing a swamp. We kept going, and going and going, this bridge seemed to never end. Finally the significance of the sign dawned on me. Almost unbelievably, the bridge was twenty miles long.

The Atchafalaya Basin Bridge is a pair of parallel bridges in the state of Louisiana between Baton Rouge and Lafayette which carries Interstate 10 over the Atchafalaya Basin. With a total length of 96,095 feet (29,290 m) or 18.2 miles, it is the fourteenth longest bridge in the world by total length.

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When we crossed it, we were fortunate to be headed west. Those headed eastbound were in for a very, very long delay. There was a wreck not far from the end of the bridge, eastbound. There’s nowhere for those to go who are following behind. They sit and wait until the troopers, the ambulances and the wreckers arrive to clean up the mess before anyone moves an inch.

A great deal of windshield time later, we made it to the Rio Grande Valley and Harlingen Texas. Naturally, we could not be this close to the SAS shoe outlet in Brownsville without paying them a visit to see what great deals my mother simply couldn’t live without. Hungry work, requiring a stop for vittles in Chi-Fil-A.

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On a more somber note, the main reason for the trip was to visit my father’s grave and to visit with the small church in La Feria Texas where we have always been so welcomed.

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The Texas Welcome Center in Harlingen is beautifully landscaped…

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… and almost within walking distance of everyone’s favorite office supply store.

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The Iwo Jima Memorial

The original plaster working model for the bronze and granite memorial statue stands in Harlingen, Texas at the Marine Military Academy, a private Marine Corps-inspired youth military academy. The Academy also is the final resting place of Corporal Harlon Block, who was killed in action on Iwo Jima.

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From the driveway of our hosts and dear, dear friends, the Reverend Earl and Mrs. Oneita Kilpatrick, in Harlingen. (Miss Oneita has the good sense to be from Alabama, no doubt making her deserving of an extra ‘dear’ in that description.)

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We returned to Georgia a slightly different route, coming through Shreveport Louisiana and allowing a visit with a grade school friend who I haven’t seen, well, since grade school. Karen was a most charming hostess, especially given that she had returned from a vacation herself only the evening before. What forty-five years? It seemed like only the summer break had separated us.

If the Good Lord takes me tomorrow, I’ll die a happy man as, on the way to Shreveport, we passed though Nacogdoches, Texas.

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The exit for Chunky, Mississippi. My cat  is named for the Mississippi city, “Tupelo”, however, this town perhaps is more appropriate. “Chunky the Fleabag.”

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It’s pretty country through Mississippi….

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Can you feel it, the excitement? Nearly there…..

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Sweet Home, Alabama!!!

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An unanticipated benefit of visiting Karen was that we returned via the more northerly I-20, rather than I-10. This brought us through the Capital of the South, the most important city, the home of the University of Alabama and the Alabama Crimson Tide football team, Tuscaloosa Alabama. I nearly wept. I was so excited I couldn’t hold the camera steady.

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Nighttime driving after eight hours of being on the road through the tore-up city of Birmingham, but at least I was in familiar territory. You’d think that the closer you got to home, the easier it would get but the final hour of the journey is “The Watermelon 500″… I-285 that circles Atlanta and I-85 north. In this situation, knowing how to drive like a northerner really helps, especially when one’s “skills” have been honed in the city of Chicago, THE single-most ignerrt drivers I have ever encountered.

But eventually, 2,600 miles later and feeling rode hard & put-up wet, we returned home. There iddn’t anything like your own bed.

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Comments

  1. Young Lady  September 24, 2013

    I enjoyed reading the post and seeing the photos. The twilight one of Nacogdoches is especially pretty. Nice to see Wilma, too.

    reply

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