Good bye Austin, New Orleans here we come

We said goodbye to family this morning and headed east. Our original plan was to drive to Lake Charles, Louisiana and stay at a casino tonight. On the way we made some cool stops, saw some neat things, and we ended up deciding to stop at the Rio RV Park again for the night. (See our review of Rio RV here.)

Burton, Texas train depot. Built in 1898 to the specifications of the Southern Pacific Railroad, this structure replaced the original from 1870 that had burned.

Neat old building with signage stating “Burton Auto Co.”. Might have been an early gas station.

Burton Farmers (Cotton) Gin built in 1914. Originally steam powered, it continued in operation until 1974.

New Mural in Brenham, Texas

Detail of mural painting

Built in 1870 for prominent banker, lawyer and landowner Jabez Giddings, this historic mansion in Brenham is known as the Giddings-Stone house.

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Blue Corn Harvest Bar and Grill is a near perfect casual dining experience

The Austin, Texas area is home to many great restaurants. Cedar Park is home to the Blue Corn Harvest Bar and Grill. This causual dining restaurant offers both inside and, weather permitting, outside dining under the canopy of beautiful trees. Using local sourced ingredients whenever possible, the menu features varied items with a definite Southwestern flair.

Casual and comfortable dining room.

We dined with our family at the Cedar Park location. (A second location is in Georgetown, Texas.) Between the five of us we enjoyed a nice variety of menu items. All of the entrees were delicious, and portion sizes were larger than your average restaurant. Of note was the chicken fried chicken which I enjoyed. What a large portion, with delicious veggies and terrific mashed potatoes! Corn bread muffins, moist and sweet, were kept on the table at all times.

ROASTED VEGGIE SANDWICH
Grilled farm fresh vegetables and New Mexico cilantro cilantro pesto.

BLUE CRAB STUFFED CHICKEN
Grilled chicken breast stuffed with crab meat, jack cheese and sweet roasted peppers with Cajun cream sauce, cheddar seared potato cake and farm fresh vegetables.

CHICKEN FRIED CHICKEN
Chicken with peppered gravy, mashed potatoes and farm fresh vegetables.

The service was excellent, and our meals were delivered in a very short time. This is most definitely a must dine spot in the Austin area for anyone who wants to enjoy a great meal at a great price. The quality of the food is really superb and the presentation is great. Get there early or make reservations. We were lucky and arrived before the evening crowd and were seated immediately, and shortly thereafter there was a considerable wait for other patrons arriving after us. Five stars for Blue Corn Harvest Bar and Grill. Here is the website for you to check out.

We enjoyed a nice day in downtown Austin

With temperatures in the low 60’s and partly sunny skies we had a great day to tour Austin. Fortunately we were able to find acceptable parking for our RV enabling walking jaunts for photo ops. Below are some of the results.

The awesome Texas State Capitol building in the heart of Austin

Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium has been home to the University of Texas at Austin Longhorns football team since 1924

The Santa Rita No. 1 oil rig first pumped oil in 1923. The rig was re-erected in 1958 on the University of Texas campus.

Grave of a Confederate veteran of the Civil War in the historic Oakwood Cemetery in downtown Austin. The grave of Sam Houston is here, as are other famous Texans.

Bishop’s Palace in Galveston Texas is remarkable

Known as Bishop’s Palace, this Victorian style mansion was originally the home of Josephine and Walter Gresham. Gresham was a railroad magnate and hired famed architect Nicholas Clayton to design the home. The structure was completed in 1892, and it survived the disastrous 1900 hurricane.

From 1923 until the 1960’s the house was used as the residence of the Bishop of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese. It is now owned by the Galveston Historical Foundation. Guided and self guided tours are available for an admission fee.

Sandpiper RV Resort on Stewart Beach at Galveston Texas

You can’t miss the Sandpiper RV Resort after you get off the free ferry and drive towards Seawall Blvd. Sher and I saw the large sign for the park as we headed towards a local CVS store.

When I stopped later at the office, a very nice fellow told me that yes, they did have a back in space available. At $40 (using a 10% senior discount) we decided to stay, considering that I was told that the park WiFi had been upgraded last summer and was very strong.

Paved roads, level concrete pads.

This is a nice park. The sites are all on concrete with paved roads. It has full hook-ups including cable TV and the so-called upgraded WiFi. Yes, that is our only complaint about this park. When we were able to connect to one of the several routers, the load speeds were very slow, and connections kept cutting out. This was very disappointing as the office had said the WiFi was strong.

If you don’t care about having good WiFi then staying at Sandpiper RV Resort is a decent choice.

On the road to Galveston, Texas via the Bolivar Peninsula

Today we headed to Galveston Island from the town of Winnie, home to the large flea market known as Larry’s Trading Days. The direct route took us down to the Bolivar Peninsula, a very narrow spit of land with the Gulf on one side. Most of the way the road ran right next to the Gulf shore.

We stopped at the sign for a historical marker and ended up at a fascinating park that was once an artillery battery that was built in 1925. Fort Travis had several gun emplacements and several magazines.

There’s our RV on the ferry

View of Galveston from the ferry

We then went on down to the free ferry that runs daily from the south end of Bolivar across the water to Galveston Island. We had a little delay for the ferry, as we did not make the cut for the first ferry that came to the dock and had to wait for the second ferry boat. The ferry ride was really pretty cool as we saw lots of large ocean going cargo ships.

This is a Pilot boat that leads the huge cargo ships in and out of the harbor

Sher and I are planning on seeing the sights here in Galveston for at least a day or two. We’ll let you know what we see, and we’ll give you all another campground review as well.

Rio RV Park has recovered from Hurricane Harvey

When looking for an RV park east of Houston that accepted Passport America Rio RV Park on Turtle Bayou made my short list. We ended up stopping here after our drive from Austin. I did call ahead to make sure there was space available. The Passport America rate was $22.00/night.

The park is right off of I-10 near Wallis. A very nice husband and wife couple are managers. We were escorted to our site, and given a choice. We opted for a newly placed concrete pad, a back-in site.

New, level concrete pad with full hook ups

The hurricane had flooded the lower level of the park. Our hostess said that four (4) units were swept away and the water level was neck high! Our site was part of the reconstruction.

Looking up to the upper level, laundry restroom building on the left

This is a very nice park that is gated at night. Local over the air TV is more than adequate, and free WiFi is available anywhere in the park. The WiFi service is pretty good, however it did slow considerably in the evening. There is a nice restroom and laundry building. We recommend the Rio RV Park. Here is their website.

This First Watch restaurant in Austin gets a big thumbs up

There are First Watch restaurants all over the country. Tagged as “The Daytime Cafe” these upscale eateries are open for breakfast and brunch only, with the Northcross location in Austin open from 7:00 am until 2:30 pm daily.

CHILLED PEAR CIDER
Red Anjou pear, Fuji apple, organic
ginger, lemon and cinnamon

The service was excellent. We hit the door at a great time, about 9:30 am, and were immediately seated. The coffee was strong and hot. Sher enjoyed a local menu specialty drink: the chilled pear cider was made with Red Anjou pear, Fuji apple, organic ginger, lemon and cinnamon.

CINNAMON ROLL WAFFLE topped with cinnamon syrup, cream cheese frosting, toasted
pecans and cinnamon powdered sugar

The food was served in good time, and was hot when delivered. The pancakes I had were huge, and the eggs cooked to perfection with the fried potatoes. Our son had a Chimichanga with fried potatoes and fruit. Sher had the Cinnamon Roll Waffle, complete with cinnamon syrup, cream cheese frosting and more.

MULTI-GRAIN PANCAKES that were huge, topped with a couple of fried eggs and a side of seasoned potatoes

We highly recommend the Austin Northcross location of First Watch. The staff is great, the ambiance is inviting and the food is excellent! Visit the First Watch local website here for directions and other information.