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RVing message boards => Destinations, RV Parks, Routes => Topic started by: jymbee on February 14, 2020, 04:47:49 PM

Title: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: jymbee on February 14, 2020, 04:47:49 PM
Currently outside Houston near Route 10 in Katy, Texas. This weekend we'll be moving on to Lake Charles, LA. Obviously no magic way to avoid traffic in & around Houston but wondering what route might give us the best odds? Traveling on Sunday so perhaps if we get on the road early enough...

Looks like a real twisted spaghetti-like system of highways on the map. Last year we made a similar trip but were well South of the City along the coast via Galveston etc. That was a most enjoyable scenic route!
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: RVMommaTo6 on February 14, 2020, 05:00:54 PM
Go to Buc-ee's while you're in Katy! They have over 100 gas pumps and the longest car was tunnel in the world. They have the best beef brisket I've had and I recommend trying the Beaver Nuggets. Make sure you also check out the restrooms and the fountain drink selection.
I recently took 10 all the way from Katy to Lake Charles. It's not ideal, it was a rough road once you hit LA. Actually, all of southern LA seems to have pretty rough roads. If you avoid rush hour, the Houston traffic isn't bad.
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: docj on February 14, 2020, 05:47:10 PM
If you don't mind paying a few tolls, use the Sam Houston expressway. It's a pretty easy trip.  The only problem for you is that most of the Sam Houston has automated toll collection.  You can go to a Harris County Toll Authority office and get a transponder.  But RVMomma is right, since you're just going through on I-10 it's not really all that big a deal. Just get in lane and stay there.
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: jayc2640 on February 14, 2020, 06:15:51 PM
We came through Houston to Lafayette, LA about a month ago.  We did it midday on a weekday, and only had one 10 minute period of stop and go traffic.  About a year ago I made the same trip on a Sunday morning around 9am, it was great!  Hardly any traffic, and made it through Houston in about a half hour.  Both times we took I-10 all the way.  Your mileage may vary.
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: Isaac-1 on February 14, 2020, 06:54:39 PM
Downtown Houston is a ghost town on Sunday mornings, just take I-10 straight through, though you should be aware there are narrow lanes and concrete barriers on I-10 west of Beaumont for 10 -15 miles intermittently.  An alternative to get around this is to take Hwy 90 which parallels I-10 from Beaumont to the east side of Houston, Hwy 90 in this stretch is a good road, 4 lane though with narrower shoulders than I-10 outside the construction zones.  Mileage is identical, though there are a few small towns that will slow you down a little on Hwy 90.  Once you get into Louisiana take the I-210 loop around Lake Charles, to avoid the 70 year old steep and narrow I-10 bridge over the Calcasieu river, the I210 bridge which is 45 years old just finished a redecking project 2 months ago, and is open again, and is a much better bridge than the I-10 bridge (wider, not as steep, etc.).

p.s. I live north of Lake Charles, so know the area well.
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: edjunior on February 14, 2020, 07:30:55 PM
Since you're leaving on a Sunday, you don't have anything to worry about.  I don't believe there are any major construction projects on I-10.  And especially if you leave early, you will have no problems.  As noted above, it is a ghost town (comparably) on Sundays.  Have fun!
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: jymbee on February 14, 2020, 08:17:36 PM
Go to Buc-ee's while you're in Katy! They have over 100 gas pumps and the longest car was tunnel in the world. They have the best beef brisket I've had and I recommend trying the Beaver Nuggets. Make sure you also check out the restrooms and the fountain drink selection.
I recently took 10 all the way from Katy to Lake Charles. It's not ideal, it was a rough road once you hit LA. Actually, all of southern LA seems to have pretty rough roads. If you avoid rush hour, the Houston traffic isn't bad.

We may have to stop by Buc-ee's on the way out of town! The car wash would be quite a contrast from the last one we were at where the car stood still and the washing equipment went back & forth!  ;D

Thanks for the tip.
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: jymbee on February 14, 2020, 08:19:09 PM
If you don't mind paying a few tolls, use the Sam Houston expressway. It's a pretty easy trip.  The only problem for you is that most of the Sam Houston has automated toll collection.  You can go to a Harris County Toll Authority office and get a transponder.  But RVMomma is right, since you're just going through on I-10 it's not really all that big a deal. Just get in lane and stay there.

We do have EZ-Pass (out of NY) and if I'm not mistaken Texas accepts that? I'll keep that route in mind. Thanks!
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: jymbee on February 14, 2020, 08:28:43 PM
Downtown Houston is a ghost town on Sunday mornings, just take I-10 straight through, though you should be aware there are narrow lanes and concrete barriers on I-10 west of Beaumont for 10 -15 miles intermittently.  An alternative to get around this is to take Hwy 90 which parallels I-10 from Beaumont to the east side of Houston, Hwy 90 in this stretch is a good road, 4 lane though with narrower shoulders than I-10 outside the construction zones.  Mileage is identical, though there are a few small towns that will slow you down a little on Hwy 90.  Once you get into Louisiana take the I-210 loop around Lake Charles, to avoid the 70 year old steep and narrow I-10 bridge over the Calcasieu river, the I210 bridge which is 45 years old just finished a redecking project 2 months ago, and is open again, and is a much better bridge than the I-10 bridge (wider, not as steep, etc.).

p.s. I live north of Lake Charles, so know the area well.

Ghost town works for me!  ;)
As for the concrete & narrow lanes, it seems all of Texas is forever undergoing road construction with these kinds of conditions. Certainly requires one to stay alert-- and hope your fellow drivers are doing the same.

It looks like we'll be headed north just before Lake Charlers on the way to Holbrook (https://tinyurl.com/s4ga5sj).

Appreciate the input.
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: Isaac-1 on February 14, 2020, 09:22:06 PM
Amazingly enough I have never been to Holbrook park even though I live only about 40 miles away, probably because it is so far off the main north / south highways.  For those following along this is one of 4 or 5 Calcasieu parish (county) parks with RV hookups, a couple of other interesting ones are White Oak, which is another small river front park, north east of Lake Charles, with a little easier access to I-10, as well as Intracoastal park, which is on the Intracoastal waterway south of Sulphur, where you can watch the barge traffic go by.

On your way through the area if you want some good working class cajun food, with large portions, I would suggest Hollier's in Sulphur on Ruth Street (old route for Hwy 27 north), about half a mile north of I-10.  They have an all you can eat buffet, but best stuff is ordered off the menu.
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: jymbee on February 14, 2020, 10:54:32 PM
Amazingly enough I have never been to Holbrook park even though I live only about 40 miles away, probably because it is so far off the main north / south highways.  For those following along this is one of 4 or 5 Calcasieu parish (county) parks with RV hookups, a couple of other interesting ones are White Oak, which is another small river front park, north east of Lake Charles, with a little easier access to I-10, as well as Intracoastal park, which is on the Intracoastal waterway south of Sulphur, where you can watch the barge traffic go by.

On your way through the area if you want some good working class cajun food, with large portions, I would suggest Hollier's in Sulphur on Ruth Street (old route for Hwy 27 north), about half a mile north of I-10.  They have an all you can eat buffet, but best stuff is ordered off the menu.

In planning a route back from TX to FL and not wanting to travel more than 3 hours or so between stops, I did a lot of searches to patch everything together! We also, unless "forced" to do otherwise, will go out of our way to avoid private parks. This Holbrook location looked interesting so we decided to check it out.

Good info re. dining recommendations. We'll definitely check it out. Thanks much!
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: Isaac-1 on February 14, 2020, 11:50:06 PM
One note about Hollier's, they have a gravel parking lot just south of the building which may have enough room for an RV, if you are not there at prime dining hours. (there are often customers with mid size commercial work trucks parked there).
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: LarsMac on February 15, 2020, 10:53:37 AM
We do have EZ-Pass (out of NY) and if I'm not mistaken Texas accepts that? I'll keep that route in mind. Thanks!

Texas is not on EZ Pass list of states.
Not to be confused with EZ Tag, which is the Houston area toll pass.

Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: WILDEBILL308 on February 15, 2020, 02:12:24 PM
LarsMac is right. Don't worry they will mail you the bill if you hit a toll road.
Bill
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: jymbee on February 15, 2020, 09:19:14 PM
LarsMac is right. Don't worry they will mail you the bill if you hit a toll road.
Bill

Yikes. Based on some of our travels today I'll be waiting by my mailbox when we get home.  :(
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: WILDEBILL308 on February 16, 2020, 09:26:41 AM
The Houston area loves it's tolls. They have toll roads with no toll booths, you pay by mail or when you have a toll tag.

Bill
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: jymbee on February 16, 2020, 08:57:00 PM
The Houston area loves it's tolls. They have toll roads with no toll booths, you pay by mail or when you have a toll tag.

Bill

I know in Florida they've all but done away with tolls, using instead the zoom by pay by mail method. But going through TX I can't remember seeing any kind of notice that "pay by mail" was an option. And they still have quite a few lanes dedicated to cash payments. Perhaps they're in a transition phase?
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: jymbee on February 16, 2020, 08:59:55 PM
Go to Buc-ee's while you're in Katy! They have over 100 gas pumps and the longest car was tunnel in the world. They have the best beef brisket I've had and I recommend trying the Beaver Nuggets. Make sure you also check out the restrooms and the fountain drink selection.
I recently took 10 all the way from Katy to Lake Charles. It's not ideal, it was a rough road once you hit LA. Actually, all of southern LA seems to have pretty rough roads. If you avoid rush hour, the Houston traffic isn't bad.

Well, I took your suggestion to heart and we did stop by Bud-ee's. What can I say?? It certainly makes a very loud statement that "bigger is better"!  :)

[edit]
Forgot to mention that for the most part, once we got a few miles into LA, the roads were excellent. Perhaps they worked on them since you were there?

Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: Isaac-1 on February 16, 2020, 10:19:32 PM
When you go to leave Holbrook park, if you take Hwy 27 down to 379 (Houston River road), down to 378, and go past Sam Houston Jones State park, it will take you around to Hwy 171, which you can take south to I-10 and bypass the bit steep bridges across the Calcasieu river.  This may add 10-15 minutes to your drive time.  There are a couple of sharp corners and deep ditches to watch for, but you should be ok, if you choose to go that way.  (this is also the back way around that locals use if there is a bad accident on the I-10 bridge)
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: jymbee on February 17, 2020, 10:44:49 AM
When you go to leave Holbrook park, if you take Hwy 27 down to 379 (Houston River road), down to 378, and go past Sam Houston Jones State park, it will take you around to Hwy 171, which you can take south to I-10 and bypass the bit steep bridges across the Calcasieu river.  This may add 10-15 minutes to your drive time.  There are a couple of sharp corners and deep ditches to watch for, but you should be ok, if you choose to go that way.  (this is also the back way around that locals use if there is a bad accident on the I-10 bridge)

Got it. I'll keep that route in mind.

Last year when we came across this area we we took the more local southern route along 82. That was very enjoyable given for a large part of the route we were right next to the water. The two ferry rides were also pretty cool.

I can't remember at all exactly where we were but at one point we were driving along and his huge "hill" rose up ahead of us out of nowhere! It was crossing a waterway of some kind but it was quite an unexpected surprise given the generally FLAT topography all around us. Made for some interesting dashcam video to show our friends from "back North" however.  ;D
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: edjunior on February 17, 2020, 05:54:10 PM
Got it. I'll keep that route in mind.

Last year when we came across this area we we took the more local southern route along 82. That was very enjoyable given for a large part of the route we were right next to the water. The two ferry rides were also pretty cool.

I can't remember at all exactly where we were but at one point we were driving along and his huge "hill" rose up ahead of us out of nowhere! It was crossing a waterway of some kind but it was quite an unexpected surprise given the generally FLAT topography all around us. Made for some interesting dashcam video to show our friends from "back North" however.  ;D

If you were down towards the coast, I wonder if you were going up (or down) Hwy 124 and crossing the Intercoastal Waterway.  That bridge is pretty cool, especially if there's some barges going up or down the coast.
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: Isaac-1 on February 17, 2020, 06:06:03 PM
The tallest one in the area not on I-10 is the Rainbow Bridge in Bridge City, Texas, built in the 1930's, when it was built it was the tallest bridge in the south, it is still the second tallest bridge in Texas with 143 ft vertical clearance (it crosses the Neches river south of Beaumont), 2 lanes, both southbound now that the newer shorter, much less steep Vetrans memorial bridge was built in the 1980's to carry northbound traffic.   For comparison the I-10 bridge across the Calcasieu river is 4 lanes (2 each way) and 135 ft.

Here is a picture of the Rainbow Bridge https://cdn0.wideopencountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/RainbowBridge_Texas.jpg (https://cdn0.wideopencountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/RainbowBridge_Texas.jpg)

I recall dreading driving over that bridge when I was a teenager back when it had 2 way traffic.
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: jymbee on February 17, 2020, 07:11:34 PM
If you were down towards the coast, I wonder if you were going up (or down) Hwy 124 and crossing the Intercoastal Waterway.  That bridge is pretty cool, especially if there's some barges going up or down the coast.

Yep, we did go that way as we were headed East through Galveston and up & around 124 to get back to Port Arthur and down to 82 East.
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: jymbee on February 17, 2020, 08:14:12 PM
When you go to leave Holbrook park, if you take Hwy 27 down to 379 (Houston River road), down to 378, and go past Sam Houston Jones State park, it will take you around to Hwy 171, which you can take south to I-10 and bypass the bit steep bridges across the Calcasieu river.  This may add 10-15 minutes to your drive time.  There are a couple of sharp corners and deep ditches to watch for, but you should be ok, if you choose to go that way.  (this is also the back way around that locals use if there is a bad accident on the I-10 bridge)

Took a snapshot of that bridge when we passed around under it to get to the visitor center.
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: Isaac-1 on February 17, 2020, 08:47:51 PM
Yep, that is the I-10 bridge facing toward the Westlake side of the river, the alternative route bridges are these two,

This draw bridge near Sam Houston Jones SP

http://bridgehunter.com/photos/28/42/284206-M.jpg

and the Hwy 171 bridge which is a divided causeway with a hump at one end that allows barge traffic to pass that is so insignificant that I can't find a good online picture.
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: jymbee on February 17, 2020, 09:12:39 PM
Yep, that is the I-10 bridge seen from the Westlake side of the river, the alternative route bridges are these two,

This draw bridge near Sam Houston Jones SP

http://bridgehunter.com/photos/28/42/284206-M.jpg

and the Hwy 171 bridge which is a divided causeway with a hump at one end that allows barge traffic to pass that is so insignificant that I can't find a good online picture.

Yep, that's a much better picture than the attached frame grab from our Dash Cam video of earlier today.  ;D


Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: RVMommaTo6 on February 17, 2020, 11:15:34 PM
Took a snapshot of that bridge when we passed around under it to get to the visitor center.
And if you follow that road around the bend and take that first right at the end of the bend, you'll be at the only inland white sand beach between Texas and Florida, which isn't quite as exciting as we expected 😂
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: Isaac-1 on February 17, 2020, 11:47:30 PM
Amanda, why is it I suspect you will not be living that one down for a while?
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: RVMommaTo6 on February 18, 2020, 12:09:40 AM
Lol, it was pretty underwhelming, but if anyone asks if we've been to the only inland white sand beach between Texas and Florida, we can all say it isn't one we'll forget! Lol
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: jymbee on February 18, 2020, 06:22:38 PM
And if you follow that road around the bend and take that first right at the end of the bend, you'll be at the only inland white sand beach between Texas and Florida, which isn't quite as exciting as we expected 😂

OR...  ;)  If you stop by the visitor center the friendly, helpful folks there might turn you on to the possibility of taking a self guided tour. We downloaded the app described on the below site and followed along with the audio/video tour. It's GPS enabled and pops up with interesting audio & video of the sites you're at as you travel along.

I've used other tour apps and most were pretty lame but this one is exceptional! Professionally done with information along the way you never would have known about otherwise.

https://www.visitlakecharles.org/creole-nature-trail/attractions/guided-tours/ (https://www.visitlakecharles.org/creole-nature-trail/attractions/guided-tours/)
Title: Re: West to East through Houston, TX?
Post by: Isaac-1 on February 18, 2020, 06:55:57 PM
Ah, the creole nature trail, I keep thinking about driving the loop some weekend, as I have not done the full thing in about 15-20 years.  I see part of it all the time though as my sister in law lives just off one end of it.