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Quintana Beach County Park, Texas

24 Sep

While staying at Galveston Island State Park, we were alerted (upon trying to extend our stay) that we would not be able to stay at the park on the weekends as the sites were already reserved through the summer.  Bummer.  What now?  We knew of no other park to kill a couple of nights before we could come back to the bayside.  As always, our Universe came through.  A chat with our neighbor (who happened to be in a similar situation) provided new information about county parks throughout the state and we headed south over 5 (or so) skyway bridges to Quintana Beach County Park. 

Once again historical markers on walks near to the park provided information about what was once a bustling port community- swept clean by the hurricane of 1900.  We pictured what it must have been like based on the description and talked about what it might be like now had a big storm not turned it into a tiny, sparse vacation getaway.  The port is now being used by an enormous liquid natural gas (Freeport LNG) plant.  The kids thought the structure of the plant was beautiful.  They analyzed the towers and tubes and stacks and thought it could be a brilliant sculpture.  It was brilliant to witness this perspective.  Wanting to know what this plant was doing, we all went to Google and learned more than we ever needed to know about LNG- way more than we’d ever find had we stopped at the company’s website. 

LNG is natural gas in its liquid form.  This is especially interesting for us since natural gas drills were being put up all over the DFW metroplex prior to our departure (I wrote a post about it on April 1, 2010 entitled, Eyesores and More).  The gas is piped to these plants where it is cooled to -260 degrees F at which point it becomes a liquid.  Converting it decreases its volume by a factor of 6 so it is much easier to transport.  The plants are located seaside so that the liquid can be transported by enormous tanker ships which we saw consistently going in and out of the port behind our campsite.

Like anything else that is profit-generating on a large scale, LNG propoganda is pervasive.  So what are the problems with LNG?  According to www.coastaladvocates.com:

WHAT ARE THE PROBLEMS WITH LNG?

  • LNG is misleadingly described as a “clean fuel.” LNG, like oil, is a finite fossil fuel.
    Burning it emits CO2 and harmful air pollutants, aggravating global warming and
    causing human health problems.
  • Importing LNG means increasing U.S. dependence on foreign countries for our
    electricity, heating and cooking fuels (like our dependence on foreign oil for
    transportation fuel).
  • LNG causes air and water pollution, and harms wildlife and the environment,
    starting from the places where the gas is extracted and liquefied, to the coastal
    communities where it is delivered, processed and sold.
  • If LNG is released by accident or deliberate terrorist attack, it may explode or burn
    at extremely high temperatures. LNG accidents have caused serious loss of life and
    property around the world, including in the U.S.

Another life lesson for the Parent family (traveling North America in an RV powered by waste vegetable oil).  After a little while in Quintana, we noticed breathing difficulties, increased mucus production, and mucus membrane irritation.  This may have been attributed to the high chlorination of the park water (we have a drinking water filter but now have been alerted to the gaseous issues of the chlorine coming in through the taps/shower) or to the LNG plant… or both.  Though we had a lovely stay beachside here with horseshoes, volleyball, bike riding, etc., we were not sad to leave this little industrial mecca (there are many other industrial plants such as BAE, Dow Chemical, and others quite close by).

We walked/scootered over to the Quintana Nearctic-Neotropical Bird Sanctuary:

We were told by a volunteer at the Sea Center Texas (very cool place!) that the bird sanctuary couldn’t be missed while we were here.  Since it was only a block or two distance from our RV, we took at hot afternoon walk.  The mosquitoes were horrendous and the birds were nowhere to be found.  Sometimes what you don’t see provides as much information as what you do.  We talked about where the birds may be (this is a migratory stop) and why this wouldn’t be a great place for them right now (distinct lack of seeds and vegetation necessary to hatch and feed babies).  The kids also mentioned the potential air pollution from the LNG plant as a reason this may not be an amenable place or birds to nest…

I mentioned Sea Center Texas- it’s another FREE place!  The volunteers were fabulous and gave us so much information.  The touch tank was fun, we loved hanging out with the giant grouper, and the walk through the wetlands yielded views of some really interesting birds (including a huge pair of show-off herons) and friendly lizards.  We found out that Sadie and I, whilst shelling at Quintana Beach, had actually found a string of egg casings (rare to find) of the dweller of the Texas State Shell (who knew there was a state shell?!)- The Lightning Whelk.

We’ve also started branching out and meeting our RV neighbors.  This has been a really exciting experience for us buttoned-up New Englanders gone friendly Texan.  While at Quintana, we met LeeAnn and Richard Smith- a lovely couple hailing from just 20 minutes from Quintana.  They hopped in their RV and spent a month of their summer at this beach getaway while still going to their regular jobs- like a working vacation!  It struck me how similar different people can be.  There were so many things that could have created separations for us- age, religion, lifestyles, etc.- and this may have been the most fulfilling aspect of our friendship.  We had the ability to have conversations about life, love, raising children, and even religion and lifestyle (!) in whole appreciation for the others’ perspectives.  This was big for me and has really opened me up to communicating with our neighbors on the road.  It’s become so clear that we only have to be OK with what we do, with our path, and appreciate the paths of others for their own.  This may seem simple but similarity is so often the basis for friendship making judgment and persuasion the only means to assimilate new people into our existence.  We do not need to find a middle ground but rather a different paradigm altogether for appreciating the lives of others.  There is so much to say about this- maybe a new blog post in the future.

LeeAnn and Richard kindly invited us for an afternoon at their gorgeous home.  It was a welcome getaway from Quintana- we were starting to feel stuck waiting for the day to drop off our RV at American Greenfuels and head off to the Rethinking Everything Conference!  We swam, played pool, watched cartoons, and had some great conversation.  I helped LeeAnn to start her own blog and she has really taken off with some deep blog posts to consider.

I know I’m still catching up with these posts but there has been so much thus far in our journey that I can’t skip a bit!  Stay tuned…

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3 Comments

Posted by on September 24, 2010 in RV, Travel log

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

3 responses to “Quintana Beach County Park, Texas

  1. Kim

    September 29, 2010 at 6:31 am

    Wow, you guys are having quite an adventure. How neat it was to hang comfortably with the folks all around you. And they have a gorgeous pool! Keep having the time of your life, cause I love reading about it!

     
  2. Quintana Resident

    February 2, 2011 at 11:21 am

    Did you know that any fire emits of Co2? Including burning vegetable oil!! Yes I agree that we need clean/renewable energy, but I will take LNG in my back yard rather than any other combustion-type fuel plant. Did you know that LNG’s tankers user power generated by their cargo (no diesel, etc.) across the ocean to deliver LNG to other countries. LNG may not be the ‘fuel’ answer (I like biofuels), but it’s a step in the right direction. How do all of your friends in New England heat their homes?

    Quintana is a migratory stop for birds, that means that they stop there when they are migrating – that doesn’t generally happen in September, I’m sorry you missed it. The mosquitos are a food source for the migrating birds ;). We don’t have many mosquitos after the migration :).

     
  3. Jim Kimberlin

    May 31, 2012 at 10:22 am

    To the poster talking about LNG not being a clean buring fuel. Do you really know your facts or what you read in the news papers. Anytime you release energy there will be by products. And with today’s technology fossil fuels are becoming more “clean burn”. If you don’t want fossil fuel energy then stop driving your car…. or taking any transportation (horses emit by products if you haven’t noticed). By the way I am going to Brazoria Park in the upcoming weeks. My 7-8 MPG Motorhome has a DEF system to reduce pollutants… (cost 10G extra). We expect a good time.

     

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