Part 29: Nocatee, FL to Huntsville, TX


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The Trip

We visited our friends Faith and John at their brand-new home in Nocatee, FL.  When I say brand-new, I mean that they had accepted the house from the contractor 3 days before we arrived.  Things were still somewhat chaotic, but we had a great time.  After Nocatee, we headed west toward Baton Rouge, LA and then Galveston, TX.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

A view of their house with my new 18mm Zeiss lens.  Many landscaping actions remained to be completed including a pool and deck.

The neighborhood that they were in still had many undeveloped lots for sale.  We parked across the street in an empty lot.  Note the setting sun through the dense brush and trees in the distance.  This is the indigenous vegetation for this area.

The kitchen and family room was massive and beautiful.  The quartz counter was almost 15 feet long.

The family room is open to the second story providing room for an impressive fireplace.

Faith had ordered a new dining room table and it arrived during our visit.  The table was made of reclaimed Russian oak.

The downstairs bathroom was magnificent.  Tile and marble everywhere.

Behind the house was a lake, complete with 'gators.  The sod will be replaced with a pool and decking.

After we completed our visit in Nocatee, we headed north through Jacksonville on our way west.  En-route we passed this cool bridge.

The elevated causeway gave us a nice view of the Jacksonville skyline.

We traveled to Tallahassee and saw the above sign on the rear of a crane.

We spent the night in a Florida state park at Falling Water.  This seemed curious to me as Florida is pretty much flat.

Next to our campsite we spotted this huge spider.  This fellow was perhaps 2 inches across and the web was at least 3 feet across.

Falling Waters explained.

The waterfall is only 73 feet, but apparently highest in the state.

The falls were essentially dry.  Only a trickle came over the lip.

The bottom of the sinkhole was quite narrow.

Large bodies of water demand large bridges.  The railroad bridge ran parallel to the highway across a bay near Mobile, AL.

From the highway to the east of Mobile we could see the battleship Alabama, on the left in the photo above, and a WW-II submarine that were part of a museum.

The south has huge expanses of dense trees surrounded by swamps.

We spent the night at Tickfaw State Park to the east of Baton Rouge.  Next morning we continued west and crossed the Mississippi River.  Big water demands big infrastructure.

This was a huge bridge that spanned the entire Mississippi River.

This truck was a disaster narrowly avoided.  He passed us going quite fast (relative to our 60mph) and then we saw something roll into the trees on the right.  The rolling object was his right steering wheel as it separated from the truck and went into the weeds.  He managed to maintain control and got the truck to the shoulder.  Kathleen looked at him as we passed and reported that his bumper was on the ground on the right side.  This could have ended very differently.

From a high bridge near Lake Charles, LA we could see the massive petrochemical plant next to the highway.

We continued west to Winnie, TX and then headed south to the Gulf.  On the coast highway we saw houses built on stilts to protect them from storm surge.  It was a sobering sight.

We took the ferry from Port Bolivar to Galveston.

From the ferry we got a nice view of a passing tanker ship registered in Monrovia (Liberia).

The ferry landing on the Galveston side had plenty of infrastructure to prevent the ferries from moving during loading and unloading.  We visited our 1017 friend Len who took us out to an awesome dinner on the Galveston waterfront.

Sadly, we could only stay one night with Len so next morning we headed north.  Along the causeway we passed this railroad bridge in the elevated position to allow passage of boat traffic.

We traveled north to Houston and then took the ring road east to bypass downtown during rush hour.  We had to cross a huge bridge that was tall enough to allow large ships passage underneath.

The approach to the bridge allowed a clear view of the port infrastructure.

The port area had a huge petrochemical facility in addition to grain and coal loading facilities.  Note the serpentine conveyor belts.  These presumably carry coal (the black area at the left of the photo above).  The freighter "Ocean Glory" (also registered in Liberia) is being maneuvered by a pair of tugs.

We traveled north toward Dallas and as the sun was falling we found a nice RV park outside of Huntsville.  The park was mostly empty but there was one nice rig parked several spots away.  If you have $1M, it can be yours.

Due to travel and other considerations, we missed lunch so when we hit camp Kathleen made BLT sandwiches.

Many thanks to those that hosted us; we greatly appreciate the hospitality.  Thanks to Len for the awesome waterfront dinner.  And congratulations to Faith and John on their spectacular new house.

Tomorrow, we continue north to the Dallas area to visit our U500 friend Vince.  From Dallas, we will set our sights on a return to La Junta to complete maintenance actions.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2017, all rights reserved.
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