Day 22: Jasper, TX to Livingston, TX

The forecasts were calling for a more high winds and heavy rains in the afternoon and evening yesterday, as the trailing edge of Hurricane Ike passed through the area. This never really materialized, though, and the rest of the day just had light rain and very little wind.

This morning, we fueled up at the hotel’s breakfast buffet, and headed out on the road under a light rain. The rain did turn a bit heavier for a while, but then things pretty much cleared up by the time we reached the town of Woodville.

We had hoped to find some lunch here, but this area appeared to be in the worst path of the hurricane. The town was without power, and no businesses were open. We stopped beside one of the town hall buildings, which appeared to be a former bank branch, as there was a drive-through canopy under which we were able to stop and take shelter. While we were having a snack from our supply of energy bars, the city manager pulled up in his pickup. He appeared to be busy with trying to get things in town back in order, but he did take time to come over and chat with us, which we appreciated. He was impressed to hear about what we were doing, and wished up luck.

We proceeded to the town of Livingston. All along the way, there was evidence of much hurricane devastation, with lots of downed trees, power lines, and very visible damage to homes and other buildings. So, we didn’t have high hopes that we’d find a lot of options for food and shelter in Livingston. Our fears were confirmed when we got to town and found pretty much the same situation as in Woodville; no power, no businesses open. Near the center of town, there was a convenience store that opened up for cash purchases only, so we stopped in and found some instant food that we’d be able to cook if we found a place to camp for the night.

We had noticed the sheriff’s station on the way into town, where a Red Cross station had also been set up, so we rode the 1/2 mile or so back there to ask if they had any suggestions for us. They told us that we should go to Lake Livingston State Park, and use the campground there. They figured nobody would be around there to hassle us. So, we headed on out of town, and it was about a 7-mile ride to the park. They were right; we didn’t see anybody around at first, and we made our way into the camping area and selected a secluded site away from the main access road. At one point, a park service truck did go by, but they either didn’t see us or decided that they didn’t need to come talk to us.

There were lots of trees and branches down all over the campground; it would not have been a safe place to be during the actual hurricane. The restroom/shower house near our site had missed being crushed by a falling tree by about a foot. But, things were safe and serene now, so we pitched our tents, got cleaned up, and settled in for the night. We went to sleep fairly early after making our dinner.

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