Texas Traveler: Matagorda

Categories: Texas Traveler

The Sunday drive. Sometimes it's more about the trip than the destination, y'know? Texas Traveler needed to get out of town for the day. We didn't know where, just someplace new. Someplace different. We looked at a map and picked a place. Matagorda? Why not.


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We took 59 out there, because we were feeling antsy. Nothing to see there, folks. But at Wharton, things began to get interesting. We turn south, and start following the vast valley of the Colorado River. In our peripheral vision we catch sight of something odd on the side of the road. A teepee motel! The only teepee motel in Texas, as a matter of fact, recently renovated by some lucky schmuck who won the lottery.

In town, we stop for Mexican at a place called Larry's. Gringo name? Bad idea. Bad like American cheese on the nachos. This sours our opinion of the town, so we decide to get off the mains. We head back north and catch FM 1301, where the scenery is more interesting. But there are miles and miles of corn farms. Is this for grain? Or for HFCS?

We catch back up to the river near Bay City, the Freeport of Matagorda County. It is congested and industrial. But soon we're back in the middle of nowhere, and the landscape shifts from pasture to marsh. We go over a drawbridge.

Fishing boats

Finally we're crossing the tiny sliver of land that leads to Matagorda Island, the southerly brother of Galveston. One long barrier, broken in half by the mouth of the Colorado.
We kind of expected it to be cleaner than the water at Galveston. It was just as brown, and a bit scarier.

Rip currents

But the park was nice. Wide and flat, like Galveston's East Beach. We wanted to get in the water but the wind made it too cold. Besides, Texas Traveler likes to be able to see her feet when she wades. We only stayed about half an hour. Just long enough to take our shoes off, and eat a PB&J.

The trip home was actually the highlight of the drive. FM 521 may be our favorite country road in Harris County. It's all windy and tree-canopied and lined with little red farmhouses. It's a favorite of Ride Texas Magazine too, who named it one of the best motorcycle roads in the state. Too bad the state is planning on widening it.

We pick back up to 288 right near Iowa Colony. What the hell is up with that place? One minute you're in it, then you're out, then you're in again.

The total trip took us about seven hours, including stops, and a little over 200 miles. If you don't have that kind of time, Texas Traveler suggests getting out to 521 for your Sunday drive. Just make sure the windows are rolled down, and you have your camera with you. It's beautiful.

Picnic tables
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