Friday, February 24, 2023

RonnieAdventure #0557 - Texas 2023 Part III, Houston to Corpus Christi

The large Viet-Nam Buddhist Center in Sugar Land (Texas) is an amazing place to visit. There are numerous buildings, statues, gardens, and water features throughout the complex. Information provided indicates that education is stressed at the Center and classes are offered in both English and Vietnamese. I was surprised to learn that the Center's officers donate their time and do not receive any compensation for their work. It is too bad that it was an overcast day because the picture colors are somewhat distorted.

The focal point of the entire complex is a 72-foot-tall statue of Quan Am, a revered bodhisattva (one who seeks awakening) known in Vietnam as the Goddess of Compassion. Not counting the base, it is one of the tallest free-standing statue in the United States. 

After leaving the Quan Am statue, a red bridge crosses over a pond leading to a Prayer Hall. Along the way there are beautiful flowering trees on both sided of the walkway. 

Also in Sugar Land, at Veterans Memorial Park there is a "Flag Panel" and a "Remembrance Tower." A placard sates:
The experience is established by two major architectural components set in juxtaposition - one celebratory, the other contemplative. The power of the monument, its ability to evoke a meaningful and touching effect on its visitors, both Veterans and their supporters, is driven by the strong contrast between these two ideas.

Located on a nearby hill is an eagle statue and a quote by Dwight D. Eisenhower.  I am not sure why there is an alligator by the lake.

On the way to Corpus Christi I stopped by what was described to be an "oil tank house."  On the web it states that the bowl-shaped house was "built out of what appears to be the lower half of a huge, gray, spherical oil tank. " Probably not a real great bottom floor.

When I arrived in Lake Jackson (population 28,177), I could not decide if I should go This Way or That Way, so I went the Center Way. 

In Angleton (population 19,429), my GPS unit could not locate the large statue of Stephen F. Austin, so I stopped by the old courthouse that was being remodeled for a museum. People in the building were very helpful and game me a map of the area. Apparently, my GPS unit confused Highway 288 with Highway 288 Business.

The Matagorda County Courthouse in Bay City (population 18,061) had an unusual design for Texas, but there was a typical war memorial statue in front of the building.

As I was driving down Highway 35, I happened to notice the name of a small community when I entered the town. Blessing (population 861) seemed like such a great town name that I turned around and went back so that I could take a picture of the sign. 

The Beach Hotel in Port Lavaca (population 12,248) was constructed in 1904 and at the time of construction it was the tallest building in town. Tourist from San Antonio often rode special excursion trains to Port Lavaca to stay in the hotel and enjoy the many recreational opportunities along the coast. The town's historic dance hall is located directly across the street from the hotel. For a town with many historic buildings, the Calhoun County Courthouse is a fairly modern design. 

I wanted to get a picture of "The Big Tree" at Goose Island State Park, but it was so cold and windy that I did not want to get out of the car. Finally, I convinced myself to leave the car heater on full blast, jump out of the car, run across the parking lot, take a few pictures of the tree, and then run back to the warm car. After taking a few picture of the tree I started to run back to the car when I noticed a sign pointing a different direction to "The Big Tree." Bummer! I zipped up my jacket and followed the signs to "The Big Tree." I actually liked the first tree better. The official "Big Tree" did not even have a nice canopy.

The official "Big Tree."