Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Rest day in Navasota

Last night Linda cooked a great chicken pot pie, Lois made a great salad, and Laurey supplied desserts from her catering business back home in Asheville, North Carolina. While my stomach still wasn't very happy at the thought of food, I ate a bit of chicken pot pie and a brownie. Had welcome help with the dishes, after which I went back to the room and spun some llama fiber Patty so nicely provided me, and watched UConn beat Louisville in women's basketball.

This morning dawned sunny (yet again) and cool. Had one of those disgusting hotel waffles and decided to go visit Washington-on-the Brazos state historic site. Yesterday's route passed it and it looked interesting. I thought the website for the place indicated it opened at 9, so got on the bike and pedaled ten miles only to find out it didn't open until 10. So, I just hung out, pedaled around, and walked along the nature trails until the visitor center, museum, and living history area opened.

Washington, Texas, was the site of the drafting and signing of the Texas declaration of independence and the Texas constitution -- after which everyone high-tailed it out of town because Santa Ana was coming to town. The town was pretty small then and the only thing going for it was that it was the site of an important ferry crossing and landing for water-borne commerce. The delegates to the convention which declared independence and drafted the constitution were white males, with a couple of hispanics thrown in, all of whom had to be against a central government (at the time they were part of Mexico). The outcome of the convention was never in doubt! Washington was the capital of the Republic of Texas for a short while, and its demise came after it decided not to have railroad service, but rather rely on the Brazos River for its commercial needs.

In addition to a reconstruction of the hall in which the delegates did their thing (which I thought I'd taken a picture of, but didn't), the site has a museum which is devoted primarily to all the things white Texians (immigrants to Texas) and early Texans used to live back in the good old days (1860's). It had a few dead animals to show what was in the area, and one small display devoted to the indigenous peoples who were forced out of their ancestral lands. (All the roadside historic markers I've seen in Texas have focused on accomplishments in the area made by white settlers -- the indigenous peoples have been completely ignored.)

The third part of the site is a living history museum (of which I took lots of pictures). That part of the site has an 1860's era house and farm as described in the diaries of Anson Jones, the last president of the Republic of Texas. The house was neat -- two rooms on each side of an open breezeway, with childrens' sleeping quarters in the attic (where they froze in the winter and baked in the summer). There were outbuildings for cooking, farm tools, and slave quarters. There was no outhouse -- people back then just went to the bathroom in the woods -- kind of like we do on our biking days out in the middle of nowhere. The people who work there are supposed to try to keep in 1860's character and do a pretty good job of it. When I commented that the 1860's settlers probably did not have an Ashford double-drive spinning wheel, the docent admitted that was so, but it was easier to show children how to spin on that than an 1860's antique wheel.

The slave quarters weren't quite as nice.

Came back from there around 1 p.m. and had lunch at Pizza Hut, and will do postcards, read, nap, or whatever until time to get going tomorrow morning. While I'm still not 100% (still don't feel like eating anything), I have one more day of rest while driving sag tomorrow.

Bike stats: 24.05 miles; riding time of 2 hrs. 32 minutes (lots of slow dawdling waiting for the place to open); 1,207 total trip miles.

I think we're all ready to leave Texas, but have three days before we're in Louisiana.


Thom said...

Who knew? You're just going to be busting with Texas historical trivia when you pedal out of the Lone Star State!
On a sadder not, inspired by the Aunt Nancy picture, Michael went in for a makeover. Look at his picture to see what happened!

bertmiller said...

So nice to have you in Navasota! Come again soon.

NAVASOTA! So much, so close.

Bert Miller