Monday, March 1, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and the Pretty

Hi all - Dianne here.

Alternate titles for this blog could be: "It's spring in South Texas!" -or- "What NOT to do when exiting Interstate 37 onto Texas Route 77." More on that later!

We left Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort Sunday morning on our way to Goose Island State Park near Rockport, Texas.


Along the way,

we started to see beautiful wildflowers in full bloom. No Texas bluebonnets where we were,

but they'll be blooming in a few weeks. Texas is famous for its wildflowers, and now I understand why.

We stopped at a picnic area and I took some close-up photos for my Indiana friends and family, who I know

are starved for spring right now.

We went through our first

border patrol checkpoint as we
headed north out of the Rio Grande Valley. We waited patiently
in line, and when it was our turn a drug-sniffing dog gave us a
quick whiff, and the agent asked how many occupants were in
the motorhome. He made a point to make visual contact with
both Roger and I, then waved us through.

Note the photo of the white car being torn apart by the border patrol agents. It's no joke when you go through these checkpoints! They can tear your car completely apart if they have cause to think you're smuggling drugs or illegals.


The route we drove was Texas 83 to Texas 77, then a brief jog onto Interstate 37, then back onto Texas 77 over to Texas 35.

While on Interstate 37,

I noticed a sign for Victoria, Texas. I innocently asked Roger a question about the book "Texas" by James Michener, which I read in January and Roger is reading now (part of it takes place in Victoria, Texas.) We were in the exit lane, preparing to exit back onto Texas 77.

What we didn't realize was there is an exit right there (not on the Texas map that we were looking at) that led one-way down to a boat ramp, then under a low-clearance bridge to a local park.

By the time we realized we were on that park exit, it was too late. We got to the bottom of the hill and there was no place to go - we were too tall to make it under the bridge!

There was no alternative but to stop in the road and unhook the tow vehicle (because you can't back up with it attached), then back up and park, wondering what we would do next. We couldn't go back the way we came because it was one-way. Even if it wasn't, it would lead us back onto Interstate 35 going the wrong way!!

Roger was quizzically scoping out the bridge underpass, wishful thinking that maybe we could squeeze under it. It was 12'6" and we know that with our Motosat and other items installed on the roof, we were close to being that tall, if not over. (Mental note: we need to measure it exactly and post it where we can see it while we're driving.)

While he was doing that, I noticed two patrol cars parked way down at the entrance of the exit ramp, talking to each other. I suggested to Roger that he run down there and ask them what we should do. You know the old saying, where is a police officer when you need them? This time, they were RIGHT WHERE WE NEEDED THEM! (Thank God).

The officer Roger asked wasn't sure what we should do (it wasn't his normal territory), but said he'd find out. He came back to say that this happens quite often with 18-wheelers, and they usually have to back all the way out (with help). At least we could turn around. The officer put on his lights and led us back up the one-way ramp, past the interstate entrance, and onto a side road where we could at least re-enter the interstate going in the correct direction.

You might be wondering why in the world I was taking photos while this was going on; I wasn't. I took these photos after the fact, after we re-entered the interstate and very carefully made sure we didn't make the same mistake again!

Now the good: We made it safely to Goose Island State Park. We stayed here for two nights. This was our view out the front windshield of the motor home: A panoramic view of Copano Bay,

just inland from the Gulf of Mexico.

Roger will update soon about our stay at Goose Island.


Ernie and Janes Travels said...

Hi! finding yourself in a spot where you have to unhook and turn around is something that happens----well, once is too often. But we have done it several times. Enjoy your blog. Ernie and Jane Clashman.

Margie and Roger said...

Wow! Thank goodness the police were there to help out. We haven't had that particular experience....yet.

Tom & Dianna said...

We did almost the same thing last year except we were trying to go to the south part of Aransas Pass via Ingleside and missed our exit. We took the next exit because we were about to cross a long bridge and end up in Corpus Christi. It was exactly as you described, 12'6" clearance. We had another couple with us and he helped us measure and it was actually higher than 12'6" so we very carefully eased under! Tom & Dianna, Class of 05