The Big State of Texas, Caving, and the Desert!

We arrived at our sister-in-law’s house on a hot, humid day.  How did we remember that it was hot and humid?  Every day in Texas is hot and humid when you get into the month of July!  When you just stand in the heat of Texas, you can feel the drops of humidity fall off your fingertips onto your shoes!  It’s like hitting a brick wall when you leave any location with air conditioning.

Our sister-in-law was in the process of building a beautiful, grand home near the Galveston Bay!  It was almost finished, but not quite!  The inside was livable, but it was still a work in progress.

Judy's Home in Texas

Judy's Home in Texas

We parked our little 19 1/2 foot home right next to her big, grand home!

Our Little Home Parked Next to the Grand Home

We visited with Judy for a few days, but before we left we just had to swim in Galveston Bay!  We just had to!  Judy warned us that there had been a major oil spill in the area about a year before on July 30, 1984 which spilled 65, 500 gallons of crude into the bay near Louisiana.  The oil traveled smack dab into the very beach we wanted to go to which was on Galveston Island.

Upon arriving at the beach, we noticed a few articles of debris that had spotty, black, oily splotches, but it didn’t concern us.  It was the only time during our trip that we were going to be in the Galveston Bay.  We decided to chance it!  Hey, there were other swimmers enjoying the water, so we figured it couldn’t be too bad!

Bill waded out into the water…

Bill in the Oily Water at Galveston Island

He wore flip flops as Judy had also warned us that this particular area of Galveston Bay was covered with rocks and sharp stones.  While in the water, Bill didn’t see any oil, he didn’t feel any oil, heck, there’s no oil in this bay.

Then he promptly walked out of the water, and gasp!  His flip flops were covered in oil!  They were black as coal, and he ended up throwing them into the garbage can right there on the beach!

Laurie, being the more hesitant  and cautious of the two, decided to stay real close to shore.  She didn’t venture out into the oil field!

Cautious Laurie at Galveston Bay

The remainder of the day, we soaked up some rays and started on our tans.  Being from New York, we had no tan, and we really wanted to take advantage of the beautiful day!

We stayed in Bacliff, Texas for a few more days, then we set out on July 11, 1985 to travel across the big, wide-open state of Texas.  Upon leaving the Houston area, we were caught in a torrential downpour (once again).  We really started getting paranoid about taking this storm with us all the way to California.

When we arrived in New Braunfels, Texas around noon time we stopped to visit the Natural Bridge Caverns.  Natural Bridge Caverns was discovered in 1960 by a small group of college students from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.  The cave is celebrating it’s 50th year since it’s discovery this year in 2010.  How amazing when you think we visited it 25 years ago, only half the time since it’s discovery!

Natural Bridge Caverns is a living cavern.  A living cavern is one where there is a constant drip of water which sustains the many formations within the cave.  The constant water supply also means that the formations are ever changing.  Natural Bridge Caverns has a guided tour that offers a dazzling sight of lustrous colors and formations throughout.

The cave was named in honor of the majestic (we do seem to like that word, don’t we) natural limestone bridge that spans the entrance of the cave.

Natural Limestone Bridge

Inside the cave, the lighting wasn’t always the best; and you have to remember this was 1985 so we really were limited with our little 35 mm Pentax camera.

The different areas of the cave have some very appropriate names.  This particular picture shows the area dubbed, “The Castle of The White Giants.”

Bill Among the Giants

The Castle of the White Giants

The area of the cave named “The Broom Closet” had a lot of very interesting formations, including many of these strips that look like bacon.  In fact, they call them “Bacon Strips.”

Bacon Strip

Other really impressive formations were in ‘The Broom Closet” too!

Formation in The Broom Closet

More of The Broom Closet

And some more unique formations throughout the cave!

Unique Formation

At the time we visited Natural Bridge Caverns there was a lot of water that covered some of the walkways.  Unfortunately, due to the excess water we were unable to see the entire cave, but we did get see most of it.

Here’s an example of some of the pools of water that had developed within the cave.

Room Partially under Water

When we finally ended our tour of Natural Bridge Cavern, we started out traveling toward New Mexico to an even bigger and better cavern!

But before we could reach the beautiful state of New Mexico, we had to drive miles and miles and more endless miles across the Texas desert!  We saw tumble weed.  We saw road runners.  We saw cactus.  We saw a lot of this:

Then we drove through some more of the Texan desert, and saw some more of this:

More Texan Desert

Finally, in the middle of the Texan Desert we stopped at a little state park named the Lady Bird Johnson State Park.  What appeared to be in the desert somehow smelled very much like a cow pasture.  In fact we believe that the Lady Bird Johnson State Park was indeed a cow pasture.  We could hear cow, we could definitely smell cow, and we were getting eaten alive by the biggest mosquitoes that we’d ever seen before!  Of course, Texans always brag they do every thing bigger and better in Texas, and we know for a fact that they grow bigger, meaner bugs in Texas (most especially at the Lady Bird Johnson State Park) than anywhere else that we visited along our travels.

We really didn’t mind the bugs, the smell, or the heat at that point as we were so tired; we just went straight to bed.

We hope you enjoyed our travels through Texas.  Come join us next time as we enter New Mexico.  No one answered our question from last time as to what famous cave lies within New Mexico – so you’ll need to stay tuned until next time to find out the answer as we travel along down the road in our home on wheels.

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2 Comments

Filed under Texas

2 responses to “The Big State of Texas, Caving, and the Desert!

  1. fiveboysmom

    Ooops. I had intended to comment on that question and forgot. I’m cheating a bit though as my aunt and a cousin live(d) in New Mexico and I’ve been to Carlsbad Caverns. Neat place. I would like to have seen the bats but my cousin didn’t want to stay that late so we only saw the Caverns. That was 1972–somewhat before you arrived in New Mexico.

    Yeah, West Texas has a unique smell to it. And also a unique look. Cow and Flat. I kind of prefer my landscapes without either.

  2. Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winner – fiveboysmom! Carlsbad Caverns – it is!

    We noticed a large difference in the scenery once we entered New Mexico almost immediately!

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