The closer we drive to the ocean the more we noticed flat land, water in the ditches, fish in the ditches, low laying grass and marsh land. When we arrived at Sea Rim State park, it was raining and lots of puddles. The next day, we go outside and all the puddles are still there, nothing has drained. Us landlocked Canadians aren’t used to this wetland, but we will take it over snow!
There is unending ocean and beaches is a site for sore eyes too. The Sea Rim State park is a small park with about 15 RV spots (50 amp and water at each site) and right on the beach – all this for the high price of $20 (I know all you Canadian campers have fallen off your chairs!). Our first day in the area was a bit cool, so we took it as a driving day and headed in to Port Arthur. We knew it was a big refinery town and must have had/or has a lot of money so we toured around to see what was there. Turns out, we ended up in the bad neighborhood, all we saw was dilapidated abandoned buildings and non-stop police cars. Of course we had to google, and apparently Hurricane Harvey basically destroyed Port Arthur, and people walked away from their houses. We also learned that before Harvey, you could drive from Galveston to Sea Rim on the ocean highway – that doesn’t exist anymore.
Another day we spent in Beaumont – this is basically the city / area that started the oil industry. Here, we went to the Texas Energy Museum. One of the many bonuses of travelling off season is you get to see things and go places with minimal other people. This museum was $5 to get in and we were the ONLY people there! This museum was Todd’s pic, and it did not disappoint. The first floor was all about technology – let me tell you, for someone who doesn’t work in the industry, the presentations were really well done so that the concepts were in in basic terms and I learned a lot. Todd knew/understood all before he even went, but he still really enjoyed it. The second floor of the museum was all about the SpindleTop gusher. On Jan 10, 1901 the largest gusher the world had seen was finally drilled after 4 failed attempt,s through an existing salt dome. It was said by many that there was no oil in the gulf (ranching, rice and wood were the main industries) This gusher produced 80,000 barrels a day and took 9 days to cap, making Beaumont the first world oil production ever! As a result, this accelerated the US as the superpower. Isn’t that some crazy ass history?!
The next place we pit-stopped was at the McFadden Ward house. The McFaddens were ranchers, and they owned the land that the Spindletop gusher was on! There was a bunch of cool history about them, and this museum was the house they lived in and also included a carriage house (where the help lived). This museum was FREE!
If you are ever coming to this area, I would highly recommend both of these museums.
In our first 4 weeks in Texas, Todd and I are both in agreeance that we LOVE Texas! Here are some reasons why:
- everyone is SOOOOO friendly (Kind of like Calgary/Canada in the 80’s) and they genuinely care (which is also what we loved about Australia, but seems to be missing in other places in NA)
- Whataburger (a Texas burger chain, Todd reported that the burger was way better than Mc’d’s)
- No state tax!
- Texas seems to be very self-sufficient between the power plants and refineries. They have their own power grid that is between 10-20% cheaper for both commercial and residential compared to their national grid (8-10 cents / kw hour – compared to AB at 16 cents)
- in our opinion, things just seem to get done here (between road construction, industry/manufacturing and below) less red tape and more action.
I feel like we need to do some comparison between AB oil/gas and Texas oil/gas (after learning so much this week)
|Population||38 million||29 million|
|# of refineries||14||27|
|# of barrels per day||1.9 million||5.9 million|
|Biggest production||Irving located in New Brunswick – 320,000 barrels / day||Motiva located in Port Arthur – 600, 000 barrels/day|
Checkout the video of us: Driving through the refinery
This is some interesting math for us Albertans! Looks like we need more oil production and hence, a national pipeline across Canada (just sayin’).
We enjoyed out last day at Sea Rim walking, biking, boating through the marsh, chatting with neighbors and having a campfire.
And when we moved, it wasn’t far – another 80 miles down the road, we stopped for the night at Bolivar Peninsula for a night of boondocking on the beach.