Homeward-bound, Tuesday, 11/25/14
This is a catch-up post ... we're safe at home in Nevada City, California,, watching welcome rain fall, snug inside, with the fireplace warding off the damp chill and keeping us toasty. We eyed this potential rain on the 10-day forecasts, trying to time our departure so as not to get caught in icy winter storms like we did last February (both en route to and leaving from the Southeast).
That being so, we left my sister's home near Baton Rouge, LA, the Tuesday BEFORE Thanksgiving, which I know was uncool, but we felt we had to (sorry Nannie). Our aim the first day out was the town of Cameron, which is in the southwest corner of Louisiana on the Gulf of Mexico. It held a special meaning for me and Jimmy ... we spent our first weekend together in tiny Cameron in Autumn of 2000. I told him I'd heard Cameron was a birder's paradise and wanted to see for myself. He said he wanted to go bird-watching, too . We stayed at a bed 'n breakfast and we really did go looking for birds!
Some of you may recall the years 2004 and 2005 were especially hard on the Gulf Coast ... hurricane-wise. Cameron sustained major damage from Hurricane Rita in 2005, but Hurricane Ike leveled Cameron on Sept. 14, 2008, with a 22-ft storm surge. Ike destroyed over 90% of the homes and caused catastrophic flooding in every part of the parish. Jimmy and I were aghast to learn that only one building was left standing. The bed 'n breakfast was washed away.
As years passed and we drove back and forth along I-10 in our motor home, we talked about returning to see what was left of Cameron, to see if people had rebuilt, and finally this year we did. The short answer is no. We saw a multitude of driveway inlets from the highway to ... nothing. Where homes once stood, only bare slabs remained, with weeds and grass taking over. The few homes we did see had been rebuilt on stilts or a "hill." We figured stricter building codes and high insurance costs probably sent most former residents elsewhere. Mobile homes and even RV's were perched on some bare slabs, hooked to electric boxes on poles leaning in the soggy ground, wires sagging. It was not pretty. It was sad. We didn't stay; we didn't even stop.
On our way, we spotted several large (water-logged) fields of migrating birds, mostly Snow Geese like in the above photo. Greater white-fronted geese, Ibis, Herons and Egrets were also abundant. Blackbirds, too. Wonderful sight!
Mutt and Jeff! Aren't these two cute together?
This was a fine place to eat lunch. We didn't want to unhook Smartie, so we drove the three-mile loop in Tergel and scared up every critter around, darn it! Gray skies and a biting wind kept us from walking the boardwalk.
Encountered this handsome Anhinga at the VC. Didn't seem to mind it's picture being taken.
Beep, beep! Tergel coming through!
The NWR was full of waterfowl.
And the occasional American alligator!
Glossy and White Ibis mingling roadside.
Fishing boats and oil rig supply boats along the Gulf shore seemed like the only signs of life in Cameron.
On the ferry, crossing the Sabine River into Texas.
Gosh, this is the first thing to see in Texas!
Driving toward our RV campsite in Beaumont TX. We couldn't find any place to overnight in the Cameron area.
This day was both neat and depressing. We enjoyed the birding, but returning to Cameron kinda hurt. Now we know and we won't go back. So be it. My next post will be a trip wrap-up.