Tag Archives: alligator

Brazos Bend State Park, Texas

Brazos Bend State Park CampsitesBrazos Bend State Park is a good stopping point as we make our way from Crockett, TX to the Aransas Pass Wildlife area near Rockport, TX.  Brazos Bend is just south-west of Houston, in Needville.  Alligator warning signs are everywhere! We got a couple great campsites together as we were travelling with my parents.  We asked for a site where we’d get a better satellite TV signal.  This loop doesn’t have as many trees.  We paid $20 for the site with electricity and water hookups.  But they also charged us a $5 entrance fee for EACH of us.  So, $30 total for our site.  My parents have a Texas State Parks pass (which would have cost us $60) that waived the entrance fees for them.

Brazos Bend Alligator
Scary, huh?
Well, we wanted to see some alligators, so Dad and I went for a walk around one of the lakes, while Don went fishing.  It was a cold day but the park attendant said the gators will be out in the sun.  There is a fishing pier and a great observation deck on opposites sides of the lake.  We saw lots of ducks, egrets and a sandhill crane.  I was trying to watch the edge of the water as we walked but then Dad started telling me a story.  I got distracted and neglected watching for alligators.  As I glanced to my side, I saw this guy staring back at me.  He was only about 4 or 5 feet from me when I saw him and I felt a tingle on the side of my calf where he could have bitten me if he’d wanted.  Dad was just rambling on, like someone with poor hearing does when they can’t tell when someone is trying to interrupt.  I jumped and gasped and still didn’t catch Dad’s attention.  Finally, I jumped in front of him, said, “DAD!” and pointed to the alligator just 10 feet from us at that point.  Then Dad jumped and gasped and held his chest.  I was laughing by then but it took him a little longer to laugh.  I think the gator had one eye open but he didn’t move a muscle as we took pix.  Well, I took pix.  Dad thought he was taking pix but didn’t end up with any – hahaha
Anyway, Brazos Bend State Park is a nice, well-cared-for park.  Texas is allowing fishing in their State Parks, now, without a fishing license.  They also have fishing gear for loan at most of the parks.

Mississippi, Alabama

We were impressed by the plantation-style Rest Areas in Mississippi. This was actually a visitor’s center but still very impressive. We stopped to get some info on campgrounds near the beach. The good one, Buccaneer, is still closed from hurricane Katrina damage. The one we found was not on the beach and not too spectacular but it was after dark and we were ready to stop.
We saw lots of cotton fields. Marian took me to a field for some closeup shots. Starting with the left pic: before the pod opens; next: pod is just opening; next: fully opened cotton pod; last: cotton ‘modules’. They are not called cotton ‘bales’ anymore. Modules are larger than the old bales. They spray a defoliant on the plant before the can harvest the cotton. That is so the cotton is not colored green by a live plant; which decreases the value of the cotton. Marian remembers, as a child, having to get into the cotton containers and stomping it down to compact it. These modules are compacted by large equipment similar to the garbage trucks that compact the contents using hydraulics. I just think it is amazing that you can make clothing out of a plant!

This is our friend’s, Gil and Marian’s, ‘nut farm’. We learned all about pecan farming…well, not ‘all’. They made it look simple but they have been working at it for years and Gil is a natural when it comes to farming anything. They were very gracious hosts and we loved spending time with them, as usual! Their farm is a beautiful and peaceful place.
They treated us to all the sites in the area too. We saw Pensacola Beach. I guess this water tower is a ‘must have’ for the spring break picture-taking crowd. They took us to the Pensacola Naval Air Station. The lighthouse was closed but we toured the great museum. Don was interested in how those Navy guys adapt airplanes for use on the water.
They also took us on a boat tour to see dolphins! That was great fun. I couldn’t believe how white the sand is on the east side of the Mississippi River! I grew up closer to Galveston and that beach sand is the color of mud (it’s down-current of the Mississippi). The beach pic is at Gulf Shores, Alabama.
They fattened me up for days for the next outing; threatened to feed me to the alligators. We went to Alligator Alley. I held a 4-foot gator (after he taped his mouth shut)! One amazing fact we learned is that gators only eat about 10% of their body weight per year! This gator, on the right, is eating a chicken and that’s probably the last thing he’ll eat this year. How could you grow on that kind of a diet?

Gil and Marian drove us everywhere! But before we headed back west, we noticed our odometer rolled over 100,000 miles on the ole’ Dodge.