Tag Archives: Hill Country

A whole other country … indeed

gulf of mexico

ROCKPORT, Texas — We’re learning first-hand what the Texas travel industry has been saying since, oh, seemingly forever.

The state is like “a whole other country.”

That’s how it goes. The idea is to tell visitors about the physical diversity of this huge state. Politically diverse? Not really, but that’s a subject for another time.

My wife — and our dog and cat — and I are halfway through a two-week journey through much of the eastern half of our huge state.

Texas comprises more than 260,000 square miles. We’re going to see most of its physical diversity by the time we arrive back home on the High Plains, which I refer to affectionately as the Texas Tundra.

We’ve traipsed across the treeless Caprock, camped out among the thick forests that surround Lake Texoma, motored through the Piney Woods of East Texas, endured the stifling humidity of the Golden Triangle and again just west of Houston.

Tonight we’re camped out along the bay that comes off the Gulf of Mexico. We’re about 30 miles northeast of Corpus Christi. Rockport’s a nice town, but we intend to enjoy the gulf water as much as is humanly possible.

The nice part about this latest stop on our intrastate journey is that it’s cool enough during the day that we can go without turning on the air conditioner in the fifth wheel we’ve hauled from Amarillo.

Does it get any better than that?

In a few days we’ll head toward the Hill Country, where we’ll see even more lovely countryside.

I doubt we’ll be able to go without the A/C but, what the heck, you can’t have everything.

We’ll be back home on the Tundra soon enough.

The journey across this vast state, however, has given us a treat we’ll carry with us for a very long time.

 

Texas can use federal assistance

TX-flooding-2015

Hey, no kidding. Texas actually can use some help from the federal government.

As I understand it, Gov. Greg Abbott has to ask for a federal emergency declaration. The pictures I’m seeing from around the state, particularly in Houston and in the Hill Country, suggests the governor needs to get on the stick and ask for it.

President Obama talked to the governor by phone the other day and offered federal help. I’m guessing Gov. Abbott said, “Thank you, Mr. President. I’ll get back to you on that.”

Has he done so? I haven’t heard that he has.

Abbott calls the floods the worst in Texas history. As I’m writing this short blog, another storm is blasting overhead along the Texas Panhandle. It’s dumping more rain on our saturated ground — which isn’t nearly as soaked as the ground is in Houston, the Golden Triangle, the Coastal Bend and the Hill Country.

But it’s wet enough here.

My son, who’s visiting us from Allen — just north of Dallas — informed us of playas that appeared where there’s “never any water.” Well, he can’t say “never” now.

Ask for the feds’ help, governor.

And whatever you do, don’t let your political differences with the White House stand in the way.

 

Abbott challenged by forces beyond control

This is why we pay the governor the big bucks.

He or she must deal with forces they cannot control. Political will? Forget about it. Returning favors? Not a chance. Paying someone back for doing you wrong? Not even close.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is dealing with forces no one can control.

http://www.texastribune.org/2015/05/27/deadly-flood-provides-abbott-his-first-no-manual-t/

As the Texas Tribune reports, Abbott’s immediate predecessor in the governor’s office, Rick Perry, quips to audiences to this day, that “Nobody gave me the manual” that explains how he copes with disaster.

Perry had his share during his 14 years as governor: hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, that big fertilizer plant blast in West. He had to buck up and just plain lead.

Abbott is now facing his own challenge barely five months into his first term.

Our weather has turned on us. Yes, it’s good to have the moisture — a term that seems quaint, given the volume of water that has fallen all across the state. The floods it has produced, though, is spreading heartache, grief and misery throughout much of the Hill Country and the Gulf Coast.

Abbott says the flooding is the worst in Texas history. He spoke by phone with President Obama, who pledged the federal government’s full support in helping Texas deal with this tragedy. Indeed, this is precisely the occasion to put all political differences aside — and there exist plenty of them between the governor and the president — while all parties work on behalf of stricken victims.

Has the governor done all he can do? I’m not prepared to make that judgment. The Texas Tribune reports: “To be sure, Abbott’s handling of the crisis has not been without some questions, including whether the state was fully prepared for the unrelenting run of inclement weather that began weeks ago. At news conferences throughout the state this week, he has assured reporters Texas was ready and everything worked that was supposed to.”

Actually, it seems almost impossible for any governor — or any elected official at almost any level — to be fully ready when events spring forth the way the flooding has done throughout the state.

This is Gov. Abbott’s crisis now. No one schooled him precisely on how to deal with it.

Let’s just call it a hyper-serious on-the-job training class.

We’ll see how it all grades out when the water recedes and Texans start reassembling their shattered lives.