It was such a pretty day yesterday that I decided to take a motorcycle ride. I like discovering new restaurants, particularly local favorites that have their own personality. Before I left, I searched the internet for places that the TV show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives may have featured in the Sugar Land area. I found Bob’s Taco Station and decided that’s where I would go.
They have a full mexican food menu and all of the items are homemade. They had a lunch special of Enchiladas Verdes for $5.99 that sounded pretty good, but I just couldn’t resist ordering half a dozen tamales that I’d seen on an internet clip of the restaurant. They were delicious! Each tamale was an inch thick and stuffed full of shreds of roasted pork. They were as lean as can be – no fat or grizzle in there, just pure pork meat with their own special flavor. I washed it all down with a recommended bottle of Abita Root Beer, made with pure Louisiana cane sugar. All super delicious!
Next, I checked my map and decided that a trip west on some roads I’d never been on, would be my route for the afternoon. I headed northwest on Highway 36, then joined FM1093 to Eagle Lake. That would make a total round trip of about 120 miles for the day. Perfect.
This was the 3rd time I’d been out recently that I rode past cotton fields. For some reason, I had never noticed them in this part of Texas before. I thought this area was for growing rice or hay because of all our rain along the coast. I thought cotton grew farther inland. I’d seen it in Dallas and up in the Texas panhandle, but not down here.
I had been curious about the cotton plant itself, and wanted to feel what the cotton ball felt like. Harvesting machinery were out in the fields so that meant I’d have to get to the plant pretty quickly or it would be stripped of it’s cotton. I found an open field and got off the Harley.
The plant is pretty ugly with it’s thin foliage and brown stick stem. The cotton sits in a thick pod with a pointy edge. The cotton ball feels like wool almost – coarse, matted and speckled with seeds and fiber. There was a lot of damp,grassy brush around each row and I looked very carefully for snakes with each step I took.
I’d never seen cotton harvested before either. Huge John Deere and International Harvester cotton pickers ran through the rows, stripping the cotton from the plant. Then a ‘Boll Buggy’ pulled up alongside the Harvester, which raised it’s storage hopper full of cotton and dumped it into the buggy. The buggy then drove over to a compactor which presses the cotton down into semi-trailer sized loads of cotton. These are taken to the local co-op, where they are bundled or cut down to smaller bales as needed. I talked with the fellas at the co-op who told me that the cotton is trucked to either Galveston or Corpus Christi, where it is loaded on a ship and taken to China. China? Huh. It reminded me of the American Colonies and how they undercut all of Great Britain’s costs back when this country was being founded. I hated to think that here was another industry lost to China.
That was my trip. I headed home, thinking about cotton as a crop in Texas. When I got home, I parked my bike and got on the internet again to research cotton as a crop in Texas. Turns out that Texas is the #1 producer of cotton in the nation and rice isn’t even in the top 5! Go figure!
A little ride, a little education, some tamales and a root beer. Not a bad day at all.
Here’s a video on how cotton is harvested: