On a dead end road where nobody goes but me, for no apparent reason I travelled down Navigation Road north of Up River on August 3rd, 2019 while visiting my hometown. The old Tule Lake lift bridge is gone I knew that, as is the Truck Stop that used to be at corner of Up River Road & Navigation with the hearty grub like chicken fried steaks, real steaks, and huge breakfast platters for those truckers, rail road workers and employees for Anadarko and other refineries that dot this area. So both gone now. Still, the allure pulls me back to a no man's land of days gone by of my youth where we used to drive over bridge in our Rambler wagon, dad would let us open doors to look down into black, brackish water, mommy usually cover eyes she hated the damned bridge and tires make RRRRRRRRRRR sound going across, she was sure it would open up and all fall to our doom. Never happened. And of course the sometimes good fishing back there mostly on the east side of bridge, could toss a cast neat and get all the minnows and shrimp you want for bait!
So I drove down what is left of Navigation just north of Up River. It has big fence there now. A fence, really, never met a fence that could keep me out as am ex CPL meter reader. Ok, now might get stuck on top and hang upside down until someone finds me but this is one would go under. The road continues on until there is a stop rail where bridge used to be. To the right is a oil derrick thing, it has huge green light that ships can see like a stop light, even past harbor bridge. We used to marvel at this coming down harbor bridge in 1960s, windows open, dads put Rambler in neutral to see how far can cost, but it is really visible from not only on inbound lanes of harbor bridge, but also from around 3rd base line if you look over fence into Port from Whataburger Field.
Some of those big tanks were not there when we used to come back here in 1960s and 70s either, they are from Diamond Shamrock gas refinery. The rail road tracks, am fond of rail road tracks since Missouri Pacific pretty much ran thru back yard at Antelope street next to Coca Cola. And I as a kid, followed the train with trusty dog Bootsy. Here off Navigation you can look at the rail and tell which ones still in use, if rusty, no more train, if clean, still got traffic. It was not about 112 degrees with no wind, temp in upper 90s, and the stale salty chemical air permeated everything, just seemed to stick to clothes. The cool golf course that used to back up on east side and north of Up River road long since gone too. But for this day, was time to head out of this forgotten area. Sure like that rail road cross X there, might have to dig it up take back to Houston.
PHOTOS: Photo #1. List bridge on Navigation 'back in the day' clearly seen is the railroad tracks, one of them shoots off east, the other towards bridge. We used to park as you can see some doing, and cross street, rails and pick our spot to fish at lower part of photo, others chose other side, it was all good. Quiet. Peaceful with the exception of sometime ship horn, metal grating inside refineries, a flair from one of the smokestacks hissing, or even train horn. Sometimes people honk and wave, it was what Corpus Christians did. I believe the old red & white smokestack in background that was just north of Corpus Christi Academy gone also.
Photo #2. There was creepy dead silence, no birds, no train, or ship horns, not even sound from refinery on this extremely hot day. Of course I was only fool out there taking photos. On right is the oil derrick looking thing with big green light facing harbor bridge I mentioned. Bucket list, maybe climb it ha ha. Ok, never mind that is just damned stupid heat related thoughts.
Photo #3. Sandwiched between what used to be lift bridge & Up River road, I took this photo as I like trains. There is that "X" in tracks I want to dig up take to Houston. It used to be that one could stand in same area and all you would smell is the awesome food being cooked up around curse at big truck stop though. Not it has sulphur sweet smell, probably from those large fires burning off crap at top of the flairs on left. But they made no noise either so was interesting time to collect thoughts of a bygone era. In the heat. I wondered where those tracks headed west would go if followed them? East ones? Why did a few of them get abandoned as I looked at the ones headed to lift bridge, those long since not used, rusty. Is there a wino living in that little switch house? Can I fit that railroad "X" in my wife's Ford Focus?