January 24 Austin to Columbus TX

Today was a travel day. We gathered up all our stuff and put it away, disconnected from the utilities and left the Leander KOA. Before we could leave the Austin area, we had to deal with the grim reality of the mystifying Texas toll roads, seemingly endless highway construction projects and towing a big trailer through a maze requiring multiple quick lane changes where the maximum distance between vehicles is 4 feet.
The toll road system has signage that is suggestive, at best. The toll road signs are mounted on posts near the toll road with obscure directional arrows such that idiots, like me, can never be sure they are taking the correct ramp. The only way to tell that I was positively not on the toll road was that there were traffic signals on the cheapskate sections.
Many taxpayer dollars are being spent to ascertain that all the toll-free sections of Austin limited access freeways are restricted, narrowed, detoured and liberally supplied with temporary road surfaces installed by dropping the paving material from a bomber flying at 60,000 feet. The reason for all these conditions is apparently so thousands of tons of heavy equipment can be cheaply stored alongside the alleged improvements which extend throughout the metropolitan area. We did see some pickup trucks with emergency lights flashing from their lightbars but no actual activity by any workers. We thought this strange since we passed through their terrifying funhouse before noon on a weekday.
After an almost unendurable passage through Austin’s labyrinthine roads, we broke out of the metro area onto TX-71, a wide, mostly multi-lane highway extending east-southeast toward the Houston area. The road surface is a little rough and the bridge approaches are potholed along this stretch but the highway is very wide so sharp-eyed drivers can maneuver around the bottomless paving defects.
After a hundred miles of pleasant driving, we came to Columbus, Texas, a quiet little town maybe an hour west of the Houston metropolitan area. Near Columbus, we pulled into Thousand Trails Colorado River RV Campground. We have been to this particular campground before and we loved it since they have large spaces, nicely landscaped grounds and an extraordinary variety of wildlife. Last time we were here we spotted armadillos, deer, bluebirds, black vultures, cardinals, pyrrholoxias (birds – sort of a gray cardinal), yellow warblers and meadowlarks, Carolina chickadees, big fat squirrels and turtles on the banks of the adjacent Colorado River, not to be confused with the real Colorado River in Colorado.
We found a spot backed right up to the river and set up for a one week stay. It is very quiet here; about the only things we can hear are a bird symphony, the rustle of the water flowing by and occasional distant train horns. It is very nice. Not long after we settled in, we spotted meadowlarks, warblers, bluebirds, black vultures, fat squirrels and a wandering herd of deer before the light failed. I can hardly wait for daylight in the morning.
Pictures are available. Click here

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