After seeing an article in the “Texas Highways” magazine about the “Texas Independence Trail” I thought it would be a good motorcycle ride. I have seen the road signs in the past many times but hadn’t given it much thought until seeing this article. The Texas Historical Commission has charted out a good motorcycle adventure with its delineation of the Texas Independence Trail region. The trail is an area that winds through the Houston/Galveston area following the coast to West Columbia and Victoria. The trail then continues on to Goliad, San Antonio, Gonzales, Bastrop and Brenham. All along the trail are sites rich in Texas Independence history and much more.
Here is a timeline for those of you not familiar with Texas history. It will help you unravel what happened and maybe you understand what I was seeing…
- December 1821: Stephen F. Austin settles the first 300 Anglo families in Texas.
- April 1834: Santa Anna takes control of Mexico and repeals Constitution of 1824.
- October 2, 1835: The first military engagement of the Texas Revolution.
- February 22/24 1836: Santa Anna attacks the Alamo.
- March 2, 1836: Texian delegates (comprised of Anglo and Mexican) gather at Washington on the Brazos to sign a declaration of independence and create a government.
- March 6, 1836: The Alamo falls to Santa Anna and the Mexican Army.
- March 27, 1836: Col. Fannin and his men are massacred at Goliad.
- April 21, 1836: General Sam Houston and the Texas Army defeat Santa Anna at San Jacinto.
- October 1836: The first permanent government of the Republic was elected under President Sam Houston, and met at Columbia in the fall of 1836.
Due to the logistics, I wasn’t able follow the exact trail. I did follow it as much as possible. There is a lot to see on the trail, but I was limited by time, so I tried to hit the most significant points along the way. These were my goals…
- Washington on the Brazos: Site where Texas declared its independence.
- San Jacinto Battleground: The battle that won Texas its independence.
- West Columbia: The first capital of Texas
- Goliad: Fannin Battleground and graves of Fannin and his men.
- San Antonio: The heroic battle of Alamo.
Janet was in San Diego so she wasn’t able to go on the ride. My cousin W. D. was going but at the last minute he had to put his scooter in the shop and he is waiting on a part. I thought about not doing the ride. I decided if I was going I needed to leave the next day. Late that night, I packed everything and loaded the saddle bags to leave the next morning and hoped I hadn’t forgotten something. When I left the weather was perfect, 66 degrees and partly cloudy. I headed out and was about 20 miles from home when I realized… I had left the camera! I had to have the camera… so back home I went. I lost about an hour but I had lots of daylight left. The total mileage for today was 198 miles, excluding the miles for going back home for the camera.
My first and only stop today is Washington on the Brazos the site of Texas declaring its independence from Mexico. The ride to Washington on the Brazos was a good one. The spring wildflowers were still blooming and added a splash of color to the green from the recent rains. Along my route were many gentle hills covered in trees and open pasture areas. There were some nice gentle curves along the way, too. It was a cool ride both figuratively and literally.
Washington on the Brazos, the birth place of Texas, is now a state park. You can walk the grounds where there are markers telling what was where at the time. Everything is free unless you want to take one of the guided tours or tour the new “The Star of the Republic” museum. The museum is administered by Blinn College. Independence Hall is revered as one of Texas’ most significant historic places. The original building burned sometime around the turn of the century but a replica of Independence Hall marks the place where the Texas Declaration of Independence was signed and the government of the Republic of Texas was created.
Also at the park is the Barrington Living History Farm where you can travel back in time to participate in the daily activities of an 1850’s cotton farm. You may take part in seasonal activities, daily chores, games and toys of the time. I could have stayed longer at the park… there is a lot to take in… but it was almost 1:00 and I was starving. So I was back on the road looking for a good place to eat…
I had made good time in spite of the late start. Now it was on to visit my son Tony and his family in Spring. The ride was more of what I had seen earlier in the day. Gentle hills and curves with wild flowers beside the road and in open pastures… It was nice, not too warm and traffic wasn’t bad. I was dreading Houston traffic and was relieved that it was not too bad… This was partly because it was Saturday and I had some good luck. I stayed the night with Tony and we had a nice visit. Savanna, my granddaughter, wasn’t too sure about me and the motorcycle… but since grandma wasn’t with me (she is a grandma’s girl) it didn’t take her long to get over it. She had to show me all of her dolls, toys and her new big girl bed. Tomorrow it is on to the San Jacinto Battleground and Monument… Stay tuned… You can read the other posts about this ride here…