Lumberton, TX. Friday March 30
Rice, ranching, and roseate spoonbills; our day in a nutshell. We left our great B & B in Lafayette, the Savoy B & B, with fond memories. Overnight the area received a real soaking of rain, the morning began cloudy but cleared up as the day went on.
Back roads continue to be our primary choice. We use Google maps more frequently now than the Rand McNally atlas; choosing less traveled options, roads that frequently are not even on the atlas. The view is a more varied countryside, hence the views of rice paddies today and sugar fields the last two days. We pass run-down homes and sub-divisions of large, expensive brick homes.
Twice in the last week though, Siri has dictated errors from the Google Maps plan. Once we were routed off a portion of Interstate, reversed direction, and had to turn around at the next interchange to get back to the planned route. The other time when the traffic got slightly heavy, we turned at the next signal light, making a right, left, right and rejoined our original road two blocks farther along. You wonder what is happening but don’t have time to stop and check the directions before you arrive at the questionable direction location.
Our route today took us along Creole Nature Trail, the road closest to the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf was not normally in view but marshes and waterways next to it were. As we were driving along, we came across a mass of birds in the fields, numerous roseate spoonbills among them. Their pink color made for a great contrast to the white and black of the other birds. This road was so little used, we stopped the car in our lane and took pictures with no worries of cars coming up from behind us.
The Rand McNally was used to direct us to a side trip to see the Gulf. Chris said it was just a five-mile jog to a public access beach. The view was not overwhelming, there were some oil rigs in the distance, but a pleasant diversion.
Much more interesting was Pintail Drive, a three-mile trail in Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge, south of Lake Charles Louisiana. (We ran into a Minneosta couple here that had also been on our swamp tour in Lafayette, LA.) A forty-five minute slow drive showcased alligators, turtles and countless birds of types we could not identify.
Did you know alligators do not eat during the winter months? When spring comes, they need heat more than food to get their body back into full operating mode. Once they heat up and get energy, they will start eating-and then go onto mating.
Video-alligators use an open mouth to help regulate body temperature
A final stop before bedding down for the night at the Book Nook Inn in Lumberton Texas was the Spindletop-Gladys City Boomtown Museum. Spindletop was the first true oil gusher in 1901 and really ushered in the wide-spread use of oil as a fuel. Mobil/Exxon, Gulf, and Texaco all got their start here.
I had been confused by pictures showing oil derricks in the hundreds sort of cheek to jowl. Evidently in those early days, lease rights were parceled out in lands as small as 1/64 of an acre. Spindletop’s big push lasted only 10 years but it gave the impetus for this stretch of Texas and Louisiana to produce and refine oil and for cities like Port Arthur to become shipping cities.
Ed and Chris. Lumberton TX. March 31