So the vacation is over and it’s time for the long ride home from Mustang Island to Irving. Honey was too tired to hit all my planned courthouses on the way down but he really came through headed north again so let’s hit it!

Aransas County Courthouse, Rockport, TexasFirst was the Aransas County courthouse in Rockport, Texas. Don’t even bother with a trip to see this one. It’s a blah 1970s building with exactly zero character points. A UPS guy was coming out as I parked to take my pictures and I asked him if there was an original courthouse somewhere in town. He scratched his head then said he thought they’d torn it down “a long time ago.” I mean, how long ago does he think the 1970s were anyway?

A plus was how pretty the ride was from Mustang Island to Rockport, including the ferry ride again (more time waiting than actually being ferried but still fun). The town itself, as well as the surrounding area is full of ocean front houses and water “teasers” as you ride through town. It’s not haute living, but more like “comfortable retirement” homes – the kind of thing I might be able to hope for someday.

One more benefit of hitting Rockport was we got a picture of our Hog chapter’s “I’ve Been Everywhere in Texas” rider challenge. Nothing like killing two birds with one stone!

After that was done, we turned back towards the mainland and licked up FM 136 to take us to Refugio for a picture of the Refugio CountyRefugio County Courthouse, Refugio, Texas Courthouse. While the building isn’t ancient, parts of it are still quite old. It’s been added to over the years with wings and other additions. There were a lot of historical markers on the site which I read but did not retain. Good thing I took pictures of those, too.

There was also a city library across the street and I took advantage of the restrooms there as well as the air conditioning. I couldn’t resist walking through the shelves of books. I haven’t been in a real library in years but remember the years I spent working in one through college as well as the many visits to our hometown library in Irving to try to cut down on my costly book habit.

Goliad County Courthouse, Goliad, TexasAfter Refugio, we picked up Alt US 77 (that road is so significant that it takes two versions of it to cover all the places it needs to go). That took us to Goliad, a very old courthouse, indeed. It’s on a beautifully revitalized town square with several eat joints and even a bed and breakfast. The courthouse is huge with lots of trees and a large memorial to the citizens of the town lost in World War II. This is a trend I see more and more as I visit courthouses throughout the state.

While we were trying to decide which of the three obvious eat joints to patronize, the county sheriff stopped by to talk to us. He had been walking his rounds around the square and stopped to greet us (or check us out, albeit in a friendly way) and ask where we were from, where we were headed. Honey asked him the best place for lunch and he said he patronized all three regularly but was going to the Emporium that day for lunch so we decided to join him…sort of.

It was an old, old restaurant in an old, old building and they were just finishing up the lunch crowd. They had a little of everything, include a fantastic taco salad in a bowl you could eat (something I haven’t done in more than a decade) and which I enjoyed immensely. I paid later, but who cares? It was vacation.

Goliad is also a town we needed for our Hog chapter challenge so we got pictures in front of the town library as well as the city limits sign.

Dewitt County Courthouse, Cuero, Texas, with CocoIt was well into the afternoon and the heat was turning up, ticking its way up over 100 as we left out of town, still traveling on Alt US 77 towards Cuero and our next courthouse. That would be the DeWitt County courthouse. This is a town I don’t ever remember visiting, or even hearing of, for that matter.

The courthouse is back to the red brick style and is large. The disappointment was that I couldn’t get a picture of CocoDeWitt County Courthouse, Cuero, Texas in front of the courthouse because all the parking was taken. This is the first time I’ve gone to courthouses during a work day and I’m accustomed to having the places to myself for the most part. The best I could do was get a picture of my bike overlooking the corner of the courthouse but I’m also posting a full on picture of the building because it’s so lovely.

Now it was time to move on along Alt US 77/US 183 to Gonzales. This town is trying to do the Goliad thing but they’re years away from getting it done. Also, they don’t have the right kind of set up to work with. There are huge open lots on two sides of the courthouse where they have a couple of monuments commemorating the history of the city and the town square (which is really a long street) is beyond that. It’s hard to tell but it doesn’t look like the courthouse is much of a municipal building any more. I felt comfortable enough to ride my bike up on the sidewalk in front so I could get a picture of the full building.

From there, we picked up Texas 304 and headed to Bastrop. This is a town I know fairly well, having spent some time there, or at least driving through it, during the years I came down to visit my grandparents in Giddings. It’s also a town we needed for our challenge so we took care of that picture just as we were entering town. Honey had apparently mis-keyed the coordinates of the courthouse into his GPS because he took us off in the wrong direction. After a while, he realized we were getting closer to Austin with less and less town in sight so I took over from my coordinates and we turned around.

Naturally, with me in the lead, I made a turn that he missed (I swear I used my signal but I didn’t gesture wildly in advance because it’s pretty darn hard to read a Garmin when the sun is shining full onto it. I’m lucky I even saw the turn on the screen. After over-shooting the turn, Honey had to go around and by the time we finally got back together, well, let’s just say I like it better when I follow on our rides.

Bastrop County Courthouse, Bastrop, TexasBastrop is working very hard on its downtown and has tried to perk it up with arts and even a wine bar nearby. It was getting close to quitting time so I rolled my bike up on the sidewalk to get a good picture – really quickly because lots of people were coming and going. Honey didn’t ride to the courthouse with me because his wamma-jamma brand new Screaming Eagle CVO couldn’t stand the heat of in-town traffic. He pulled off at a gas station to cool down (and, I suspect, cool off; this courthouse thing can’t be that much fun for him).

We met back up and headed out of town on Texas 21 back toward the original US 77, which would take us up to I-35 outside Waco and home. It was a very sweet ride through pure pine forests. Only problem is the quality of the roads wasn’t that great; lots of cracks and breakaways in the pavement.

We’d toyed with the idea of diverting to Dime Box to take a picture for the HOG challenge but Honey bailed (and I don’t blame him) saying we could catch it another time. Instead, we rolled on toward Cameron and I pulled off to pick up one extra courthouse that I could see from the road.

The Milam County courthouse is on an old, kind of run down square. It’s off the main highway enough that it doesn’t appear the townMilam County Courthouse, Cameron, Texas has done anything to renovate the area. The courthouse was nice enough and I found another monument dedicated to those lost in wars, from WWII on up to the present conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I met back up with Honey at a Sonic (http://www.sonicdrivein.com for a drink – the perfectly refreshing Diet Cherry Limeade. Then we pulled out and headed home – still a few hours away, but the finishing up a wonderful four days of vacation. It’s left me salivating for more: more riding, more camping, and more courthouses. I’m working out a long panhandle run over Labor Day weekend. Last year, I did an Iron Butt; this year, I have to top that, of course!

Until next time, Lord, keep my wheels down and my eyes up. Keep me out of people’s way and them out of mine. And if today is the day I meet you face to face, I do it with gratitude for a joy-filled life.

  1. Alfred Schram says:

    Wonderful job, Gwynne. I just talked to my sister who was also looking at the photos and enjoying your writings.
    Love,
    Daddy.