LONE STAR STATE TWONovember 15, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 24 °C
We stayed for 3 glorious days in Wimberly, in the Texas Hill country, with kind friends. We ate Real Texas Barbecue, visited an olive orchard, swam in the Blanco River, and had a tour of President Lyndon Johnson’s ranch (known as the “Texas White House” because he spent a lot of time working there.) I never realized how much Lyndon Johnson and his wife “Lady Bird” did for social policy in the US — pro-education, anti poverty, pro-environment, implementing desegregation. It was fascinating.
We then made a last stop in Austin for an electric bike tour around Lady Bird Lake. I really liked having that extra battery power to zip me up the hills when needed. It was almost like having Jabba or Boots attached by a harness — when they see a rabbit — super-charged.
Then we drove south to the Gulf of Mexico, to the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge. This whole Gulf Shore was clobbered by Hurricane Harvey in August, and has not completely recovered. But the migrating birds from the north have returned as usual, including the Whooping Cranes. They were magnificent. Unfortunately our binoculars were lost earlier on this trip, so we had to make do with our own eagle-vision, but there are high platforms with good views of the habitat — coastal plains where there were 20 - 30 of the tall gawky white birds staring in the water in groups, fishing, occasionally lazily taking off and gliding around. In the background, pelicans circled and dove for fish in the shallow ocean beyond the swamps. We saw many other birds including vultures, gulls, hawks, herons, and egrets.
After Aransas, we carried on to Galveston Texas on the shore of the Gulf of Mexico. This is a beautiful long white sand beach protected by a sea wall built after a hurricane in 1900 wiped out the city entirely. It is also a site with lots of oil tankers and rigs off shore. The Gulf water is and clear and clean, and about as warm in November as Malagash water in August. I swam for a short while but was a bit cautious of the strong surf with no life guards — I have great respect for the power of the ocean.
Today we drove East to Louisiana, and are staying in Lafayette which apparently has great Cajun food and music. We are heading out for the evening to find out for sure.Read more