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ON THE WAY TO THE COAST:  First the fog, then Pandora with no boxes or anything interesting, beyond that the coastal flatlands, then the coast. 

Water, water everywhere and none of it's fit to drink.
Story & Photos by IRA KENNEDY

I had this fool notion that once Ms. Intrepid checked "The Coast" off her to-do list I'd have heard the last of that tune.  I should'a known better.  
We had planned to spend the night somewhere near Port Lavaca
but fate delt a better hand
when Ms. Intrepid decided otherwise.

I reckon you're wondering what's so wrong with staying over in some quaint little cabin with a view of the coast, the sun glaring off the water, the incessant lapping of waves on the shoreline, and the sounds of sea gulls quarreling over food as they soared on a gentle 40-mph sea breeze.   Well I'll tell you.   It's Ms. Intrepid saying, "It sure would be nice to live down here".   That's what.

L.jpg (6914 bytes)ike I said, our original plans were to spend the night on The Coast, but the holiday season is pretty hard on spare time. Like a ball rolling downhill time tends to pick up speed near the end of the year and before you know what's happened it's over. Naturally, we kept putting off the road trip until we ran out of weekends and were down to days.  So, on the last weekend day of the year, we headed out at nine in the morning.
       We were going straight to Victoria and pick up the trail from there to Port Lavaca.  I managed to get just enough coffee in me before we left to get me half awake. With a little more for the road we were gone.
       The morning fog was so thick we had to use the wipers to scrape the stuff off the windshield.  (Where was the fog plow anyway?)  I don't know why this escaped my attention before, but did you ever notice that when you're driving in fog you don't seem to be going anywhere?  It's like some highway version of a treadmill.
       But if your driving east early in the morning, fog sure is easy on the eyes.  An hour or so later the fog started to lift and we were nearing Pandora, Texas.  I thought it might be a good idea to pass through there to see if the community had built some big box as a tourist attraction.  And if they did was it opened or closed?  You might as well know now, there's no box, no nothing.  
       That got me to pondering.  What holds folks to a place stuck somewhere beyond nowhere that's busy disappearing?  Here's another question I've yet to answer: Is it a "wide spot in the road" if everything is all on one side?  Wouldn't that be a half-wide or semi-wide spot?  If you even think about blinking you'll miss Pandora.
       While Ms. Intrepid was busy dividing her attention between driving and pressing the search button on the radio (God help us) I studied the map with my brand new magnifying glass.  That's when I spotted Indianola.
       Back in the 1840s Indianola was where thousands of immigrants first set foot on Texas soil. A major Texas port, people and supplies were offloaded onto piers that reached a half mile out into Matagorda Bay. Everything from camels to ice came through Indianola and the town was alive with prosperity.  It stretched three miles down the coastline, had four newspapers, numerous hotels, a military post and was by any standard the hub for transportation into the interior.
       Then came the Civil War.  Shelled by Union gunboats, then sacked and occupied -- Indianola survived.  Then yellow fever epidemics threatened to disappear the town.  Indianola survived.  Then came the hurricane of 1875 which wiped all but eight buildings in the town.  Indianola rebuilt (sorta). Then the hurricane of 1886 which took the lives of over 900 people and wiped out what was left of the town.
       Today the place is considered a ghost town which I reckon isn't any too comforting to the folks living there.  I suppose, if they were up on their history, they'd clear out pretty quick.
Flatland.jpg (11747 bytes)       The closer you get to the coast the flatter the landscape.  Even up around Lubbock you'll see more wrinkles in the land.  
       We were pretty surprised when we passed the offices of   the Guadalupe-Blanco River Authority.  Well, actually the Guadalupe River runs through these parts so that makes sense.  But legally the Blanco isn't really a river at all. It is a tributary to the San Marcos River which it empties into the Guadalupe.  How the Blanco was elevated to such a high status is a mystery.
       A few miles before reaching the coast we passed some estuaries and Ms. Intrepid let loose.  "The Coast!  The Coast!"   In no time at all Ms.TurnA.jpg (4971 bytes) Intrepid was wading barefoot along the shoreline, breathing salt air and talking about the available property on the market in Matagorda. 


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An article on The Camels of Camp Verde -- which were imported at Indianola -- is available on Enchanted Rock Archives: Vol 1. / No. 8 (Annual subscription $15)

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Texas Hill Country Wine: Torrie de Pietra Vineyards and Winery near Fredericksburg