I was staying with my son Tony and his family. They were sleeping in so I loaded the bike and slipped away. I stopped at Denny’s for a leisurely breakfast. There was no hurry because it is only 50 miles to the San Jacinto Monument. I hate driving in Houston traffic on four wheels so I really hate Houston traffic on two… Even though I rode through Houston it was a nice ride. The weather was 67 degrees with just a few clouds and very light Sunday morning traffic…
I have a love/hate relationship with my GPS… I had more GPS problems today. When I tried to enter my first stop, “The San Jacinto Monument”, the GPS couldn’t find it! I tried to enter the address 3523 Independence Parkway but still no result. I looked at the GPS map and found the street to be labeled Battleground Road instead of Independence Parkway. Using 3523 Battleground Road worked. What a hassle… So if you are heading that way and using your GPS please take note… Once I found the road… the signs use both names… The map people didn’t get the memo…
You can see the monument for miles before you actually get there. It is an impressive sight.
There is no charge for the monument unless you want to see the view from atop the monument. You take the elevator up to the Monument’s Observation floor, 489 feet above the Battleground. Once at the top you will have a beautiful view of the city, Houston Ship Channel, harbor and surrounding area. The San Jacinto Museum of History is housed in the base of the San Jacinto Monument and has priceless artifacts, dioramas, 250,000 documents and 40,000 books chronicling more than 400 years of early Texas history.
Walking the Battleground there are granite markers designating locations of the Texian camps, the Mexican camps, the advance by Texian forces and other information about the battle.
If you are not a Texan you may be asking yourself… “What’s the big deal?” Well… the Texans had lost the battles of the Alamo and Goliad. The men at those locations fought a fierce fight and died horrific deaths for what they believed. Santa Anna thought he had it all wrapped up except for finishing off Sam Houston and his men… few in numbers and corner at San Jacinto. Two of the plaques on the on the monument sums it up best.
With the battle cry, “Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad!” The Texans charged. The enemy, taken by surprise rallied for a few minutes then fled in disorder. The Texans ask no quarter and gave none. The slaughter was appalling, victory complete and Texas free! On the following day General Antonio Lopez De Santa Anna self-styled “Napoleon of the West” received from a generous foe the mercy he had denied Travis at the Alamo and Fannin at Goliad.
Measure by its results, San Jacinto was one of the decisive battles of the world. The freedom of Texas from Mexico won here lead to the annexation and the Mexican War, resulting in the acquisition by the United States of the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah and parts of Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas and Oklahoma almost one third of the present area of the American Nation, nearly a million square miles of territory changed sovereignty.
The fight lasted just 18 minutes. About 630 Mexican soldiers were killed and 730 captured, while only 9 Texans died. Santa Anna fled the battle disguised as an enlisted man. Santa Anna was captured the following day and held as a prisoner of war. Three weeks later, he signed the peace treaty that paved the way for the Republic of Texas to become an independent country.
So this is a big deal for us Texans and we are proud of our history and culture. All the historic sites of the “Texas Independence Trail” help remind us of where we have come and help us to be mindful of our responsibility to our past and future generations.
For more on the battle click here ( http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qes04 ).
While at the San Jacinto Battleground and Monument you may want to spend some time at the Battleship Texas, located just across Battlefield Road. You can see the battleship when looking down the reflective pool from the monument. The admission fee is $12 for everyone 13 years old and older. The tour is self guided and there is a lot of history to be seen about the battleship and World War II.
The rest of the ride was very enjoyable. By now it was overcast and it was in the low 80’s. From San Jacinto I rode to La Porte and rode down Hwy 146 to Galveston. Hwy 146 parallels Galveston Bay with many nice views of the bay all along the way. When I got to Galveston I rode Seawall Blvd. to the northeast end of the island before turning around and heading southwest to Surfside. There was lots of swimmers on the beach today and traffic on Seawall Blvd. was rather heavy.
I rode to Surfside via Seawall Blvd., San Louis Pass Rd., and Bluewater Hwy. There is a toll ($2) bridge where San Louis Pass Rd. ends and where Bluewater Hwy starts.
Because I forgot the GPS was set to avoid toll roads, it kept trying to route me around this bridge. I forgot about the toll bridge and was a bit annoyed with the GPS… again… When I got to the bridge I realized what my problem was.
This leg of my ride was a nice leisurely ride with cool sea breezes, over cast skies and great beach views along the way. At Freeport I picked up Hwy 36 and rode to West Columbia my final destination for the day.
West Columbia is my hometown and was the “First Capitol of Texas”. Around 1833 Leman Kelsey built a story and a half structure. In 1836 West Columbia then known as Columbia became the first capital of the Republic of Texas and this building was one of two that housed the new government of the Republic of Texas. The Congress convened here and Sam Houston took the office as President and Stephen F. Austin as Secretary of State. In 1837, the government moved to the new city of Houston. The 1900 storm destroyed the original capital. A Replica was built at this site in 1976-77. The replica depicts how the interior and exterior looked during 1836.
Much of my family still lives in the area. When I say much I mean much… I have over 40 first cousins and many aunts, uncles and second and third cousins! I will be staying with my brother Gary and his wife Ginny tonight.
It was a fun and busy day riding and exploring just a small part of Texas’ history…
You can read the other post about this ride here…
- Texas Independence Trail Motorcycle Ride Day 1 May 2013
- Texas Independence Trail Motorcycle Ride Day 3 May 2013
- Texas Independence Trail Motorcycle Ride Day 4 May 2013
- See more pictures from the ride here.