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Saturday, February 16, 2008

Day 4:Victoria, Goliad, Refugio

It was another busy day exploring but looking back now I would have dropped Refugio off the schedule and stayed closer to the shore. I ended up driving over 200miles in a loop and gaining no more than 40 miles on my route. Hopefully this is the last day of long mileage until I hit the central Rio Grande Valley at Del Rio.

I was up at 5:30am and eating breakfast an hour later, then went to the Best Western to use the computer because my laptop for some reason wouldn't let me log on to the Blogger. I didn’t leave the hotel until 7:30am, but it had just gotten light enough to explore. I got on Hwy 87 and headed northwest to Victoria, about 30 miles away.

I stayed in Victoria just long enough to walk around the town square. It was Goliad that I focused on this morning, where the second independence was signed with Texas and Mexico. I stopped at the Fanin meorial ten miles north of town for a quick homage.

I got to the park by 10am and stayed two hours, walking a mile-long nature trail along the San Antonio River. I didn’t see any new birds, but the tranquility was nice: cypress roots exposed along the banks threatened a few trees of toppling over, and it was apparent from looking at the river that several trees had already done so. The river has been flooding over recently and with every heavy rain more trees get knocked down. The old missions were also very pretty against the blue sky background.

Goliad State Park was a lovely little park just outside of town, with a camp site filled with full-sized trailers from Iowa, Mass, Texas. I would have stayed here had I arrived later…but I had a whole day ahead of me. Cecilia Kelly, the ranger inside, wished me well on my trip. She recommended I stay at Goose Island State park for some good birding.

The drive to Refugio was boring: flat fertile lands on either side, with white-grey cumulus clouds overhead. The news this morning out of Houston said more rain was due in this weekend, bringing more cold temperatures. Would the rain come down my way, further south?

This drive on Hwy 77 south was the most boring yet on my trip. The one good thing were the hawks along the road. Refugio itself was a sleepy town and the first thing I saw was an overweight black woman walking down the street and throwing a fast-food Styrofoam cup on the ground. I had to do a double-take, but she most certainly threw the cup. Seeing that angered me because I’ve spent countless hours picking up trash after others and what I had just witnessed was a flagrant violation of the anti-litter laws. The woman walked down the street without a care. If she doesn’t care, why should I?

Wind was picking up now. I walked around the town’s square where the doomed men of the Texas cavalry were hanged in town. The statue and a few historic (old) buildings were all that were worth seeing in town. I went back east on FM774, a flat, shoulderless Farm-to-Market road with a speedlimit of 60mph, directly to Aransas Natl WR and drove up at 2pm.

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