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The hugely successful Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail winds through 43 Texas counties, encompassing the entire Texas coastal region. Completed in April 2000, the Trail features 308 distinct wildlife-viewing sites. There are maps available showing all the best spots to stop for birds, wildlife, and wildflowers.
Just get in your car and drive the back roads of Texas.
Written Jan 31, 2005
This is a picture of a Texas Welcome Center. As you can see, it is very different than most welcome centers you may see on your travels. The staff here is really nice, and won't even ask you to sign a register to get your free map and travel guide! Not to mention, the grounds are clean, and the architecture is really neat, especially the giant star located at the very front.
Updated Dec 5, 2005
Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is located in central Texas, just on the outskirts of Austin. Relatively new, this airport opened May 23, 1999... almost 2 months to the day before my arrival here. It was estimated that over 6 million passengers moved through the terminal in its first year alone. Servicing International and commercial flights.
There is a shuttle service, as well as Buses and Taxis available at the airport.
The airport is located at 3600 Presidential Boulevard, Austin.
Updated Oct 21, 2004
Texas has 4 different road systems instead of 3 like most states.
There are the:
1) Interstate highways (an "I" and the number on a blue shield)
2) US routes (a number in black on a white shield)
3) Texas state routes (a black number on a white square)
4) Farm to Market roads (a black number on a white outline of the state of Texas with Farm Road written in the corner.
These roads often have both a name and a number designation.
I would have assumed Farm to Market Roads went back to pioneer times. But when I looked it up, I found that according to
"HIGHWAY DEVELOPMENT." The Handbook of Texas Online. [Accessed Sun May 23 9:14:05 US/Central 2004 ].
"The most dramatic years in the history of highway development in Texas came after the war. The greatest changes in this period included the development of the farm-to-market and interstate highway systems. As early as 1945 the highway commission authorized the construction of 7,500 miles of rural roads to be financed on a fifty-fifty basis with federal and state funds. The first contracts for construction were let in January 1946 in Randall County. Once the program got started, it became popular, and the demand for rural paved roads grew. The law that really got Texas farmers "out of the mud" was the Colson-Briscoe Act of 1949, which appropriated $15 million a year to the highway department from the Omnibus Tax Clearance Fund to be used in the construction of local roads that did not have sufficient traffic volume to pay for their construction and maintenance. In 1962 the legislature increased the appropriation so that not less than $23 million a year would be available for the construction of new farm roads. In the same year the commission increased the size of the farm-road system from 35,000 to 50,000 miles. By March 31, 1989, the Texas FM system included 41,755 miles of pavement and was the most extensive network of secondary roads in the world."
Written May 23, 2004
Phone: (512) 463-8588 (Texas DOT info)
Driving in the USA is on the right side of the road. The speed is measured in miles per hour and generally the speed in Texas is 70mph on the freeways and 40mph in more built up areas. Be careful of the speed signs because they can drop dramatically in certain areas.
In most situations you can make a right turn on a red light providing the way is clear. At a 4 way intersection the 'first come first go' rule applies but if you are unsure, then give way to the right.
Drivers and front seat passengers must wear seat belts as well as children under 17. All children under 4 yrs or less than 36 inches tall must ride in a federally approved child safety seat. Your rental company should be able to provide these for you.
Updated Nov 24, 2003
Texas has several airports, bus service, and passenger trains, but if you're going to explore all of Texas these means of transportation won't take you to most corners of the state. Texas is a vast territory, and to see it all your only reasonable alternative is to drive.
Thank God for car rental agencies who allow unlimited mileage. On my last trip to Texas I flew to Houston, and rented a vehicle for a week. I drove through more than 50 counties, put many hundreds of miles on the car, and still saw only a relatively small section of the state.
I remember the first time I ever rode across Texas with my Dad, when I was 10 years old. We started near the Arkansas/Texas state line at sunrise, and when the sun set that evening we were still not to the Texas/New Mexico line. It was July, hot as blazes, and that was before the days of air conditioned automobiles. As we rode along my Dad taught my brothers and me this poem:
The sun has ris;
The sun has set.
And here we is,
In Texas yet.
Updated Mar 3, 2005
The best way to get to Galveston is by car. coming from downtown Houston, take the Gulf Freeway (I-45 south) all the way. You will go over the Galveston Bridge which is an arched bridge and quite impressive. You can get a good view of Moody Gardens off to the right.
After crossing over to Galveston, the interstate becomes Broadway, Galveston's principal street.
The Ferry runs from Galveston to Port Boliva and back and gives great views of Sealwolf Park and the Bolivar Lighthouse. Visitors and residents can drive onto the ferry or just park and then take a ride.
End of Ferry Road on Hwy. 87
The Duck Tours
The Duck Tour picks up at 21st & Seawall Blvd and is a special vehicle which travels on land and in the water. We were dying to do this but ran out of time. Apparently the Duck Ride takes you on a 90 minute tour through The Strand and even into a little of Offats Bayou (that's into the water), then through the Historical District. Sounds like great fun.
Galveston Island Trolley
The turn of the century trolley cars runs from 2100 Seawall Blvd to The Strand Landmark Historic District and Pier 21. You can catch the trolley every 20 minutes at any given stop. The trolleys run about every 40 mins.
Carriage and buggy rides are available throughout The Strand Historic District.
Pedal Surreys were just the cutest things all lined up ready to be hired. I saw a family of 6 very easily accommodated on them although not sure about all that weight to pedal. You can rent these colourful jalopies by the hour at "Strolls by Surreys" at 4712 Seawall Blvd.
Written Nov 24, 2003
Things come BIG in Texas, and I have never seen bigger or finer Travel Information Centers than those that are operated here by the Texas Department of Transportation. There are 12 official centers, located at strategic points around the state, many being on Interstate Highways near the state line, but others are found in popular tourist areas. Locations of the Travel Information Centers are:
At all or most of these Travel Information Centers you can find:
An information desk
Free maps & brochures
Video Theatres on Texas Attractions
Updated Mar 8, 2005
Texas has Visitor's Centers on the major highways coming into the state. These centers are almost always worth a stop. Usually (and Texas is no exception) you get a free official map and can also get travel information about the state. There are also bathrooms.
The centers have been in operation since 1936, when Texas celebrated its Centennial year. The centers are at or near Amarillo, Anthony, Denison, Gainesville, Harlingen, Langtry, Laredo, Orange, Texarkana, Waskom, Wichita Falls, and the state capitol visitor center in Austin.
Written Mar 28, 2006
Although I have never seen jets land here, it appears that jets do land here and are serviced. However, I DEFINATELY have not seen any commercial aircraft here, so I assume that this airport caters to private jets and general aviation needs. This airport is located between Sherman and Denison. If you have your own plane and want to travel to north Texas, this may be a cheaper way to do it.
Written Feb 16, 2005
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