Along the Natchez Trace

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Making Ourselves At Home....

We visited some of the National Wildlife Refuges along the coast yesterday...
Although Anahuac and McFaddin are very close to each other, the connecting road has been closed for years so it takes a while to travel from one to the other.  Anahuac has a great auto tour road and of course we had to see what it had to offer while we were there.  We decided to head to High Island and find an RV park to spend that night, but after driving there it looked like the only RV park was a real dump...  and charged $50 a night to stay.  On we drove to Port Arthur...  stayed at a Walmart and had a very comfortable night there.

The next morning (Tuesday) we headed south.  We wanted to visit Texas Point and McFaddin refuges before heading over to Louisiana.  Neither has much public use but walking along the Gulf coast and seeing some shore birds and pelicans and the such was definitely worth the drive.

This area is where a lot of the oil and gas companies have their refineries and other processing plants....
The size of these complexes is just overwhelming!
Valero was the most prominent name, but I also saw Conoco and Phillips represented along the way.
These areas look like entire cities in their size.  I have no idea how many folks these companies employ, but gas and oil is definitely the main economy here.

We crossed over the intracoastal waterway...  and into...
Route 82 is a 2 lane coastal road.  About the only traffic is oil/gas related, or tourists.  Much of this area was completely wiped out when Hurricane Ike hit it hard in 2008.  
Bill & I volunteered at Cameron Prairie NWR in 2005, and shortly after we left Katrina hit the coast, followed by another hurricane then Ike.  Towns like Cameron and Holly Beach were totally gone.

Since then Holly Beach has rebuilt...  we drove past it on our way to take the ferry across the channel that ships take up to Lake Charles...
We had just missed it, so had to wait about 20 minutes for it to return.  The channel isn't very big...  it doesn't take but about 15 minutes to get across.  But as it happened, the ferry master came down to our rig and told us that it was low tide and that the off ramp was a sharp dropoff...  that our hitch might drag.  The picture on right shows Bill walking up the ramp to see how bad it would be....  For us it was a "No Go"...  we had to unhitch, turn the rig around, rehitch the car and take the long-way around...  up through Hackberry, Sulphur and Lake Charles, before heading back down to the coast.

Like I wrote, we had volunteered at Cameron Prairie in 2005.  At that time Sabine, Laccasine and Cameron Prairie all had their own offices and personnel, although they were part of the same complex.  The hurricane destroyed the buildings and much of everything else on these refuges and when they rebuilt, Cameron Prairie became the complex headquarters, housing most of the personnel from all 3 refuges.  There is a maintenance shop at Sabine now and I don't know what is left at Laccasine.  We've visited here since that all happened, but since we're in the area we had to stop by again.

The Pintail Auto Loop is maybe a couple miles long and you can see a good representation of what's in the area...
 Black-necked Stilt
Blue-winged teal

Just a very few of the variety...  we saw ibis, roseate spoonbills, yellowlegs,  herons, egrets....  we saw well over a dozen alligators sunning themselves....  the list just goes on.

We will be heading to Maine in late May, and it's still a little early to head back to Ohio for a visit...  so we inquired about volunteering here for a few weeks.  There are resident volunteers here, but an extra heavy equipment operator is usually welcomed.  Bill will start back to work tomorrow this afternoon.
Also, the folks who are volunteering here all leave next week, so if we end up staying a couple weeks or more it looks like I may find myself being useful as well.

Of course any of you who know Bill won't be a bit surprised at this bit of news....

Oh yes...  before I close....  last night we had dinner at Steamboat Bill's....  a Cajun restaurant in Lake Charles...
Yep!  That's my Oyster Po'Boy...
Boy!  Was it Good!

That's All For Today!


  1. Not fair showing that Po'Boy! ;)

  2. Isn't it nice to have nothing but time.

  3. Wow. Now that's what I'd call a drop-in volunteer gig!! Have a great time...

  4. Now you got to tell me, how did you get that alligator to pose for you? I can never get them to open their mouth like that when I have a camera. When I don't have a camera they do.

  5. Oh yeah a Po'boy its been a while since we had one and some good cajun food would be awesome!

  6. Nice series of photos! I'd love to see some of the NWR's you go to. The sandwich looks pretty good too! lol

  7. Back to work you go--you are in the land of great food!

  8. I've heard the food down that way is out of this world and they know how to use spices too! I hope you'll show more photos of all the food you eat while in Louisiana. Can you tell I have not eaten breakfast yet?

  9. Hi Sharon, just spent awhile catching up on some of your past posts and travels. It's great fun reading about your adventures and seeing the wildlife you capture with your camera. When you visit Maine in May, where will you be? Now that we are living in New England (Nashua, NH) we will be doing a bit more exploring around the area once nicer weather finally arrives after a very snowy winter. You can always sent me an email and maybe we can meet up as meeting fellow bloggers is great fun.