Life is a Beach

This is our first time, since we began traveling with the Fireball, to find ourselves camping in a place we’ve already camped.  But, here we are at Galveston Island State Park, camped in the sand, not 100 yards from the roaring Gulf.  It’s crazy.wpid-20140108_094018.jpg

By the time we arrived on Tuesday and got our campsite setup, it was late afternoon – time for a long walk on the beach with Jezzy.  Tuesday was cold.  Not the bone-shaking cold our friends and family in Michigan are having to endure now, but cold.  We’re wearing winter coats, hats, and gloves.  wpid-20140107_150154.jpg

During the night, the wind picked up significantly, building to a howl by daylight.  But, the temperature had climbed into the 50s, so it was still pleasant to head outside.  Our plan had been to ride bikes today – last year we rode right on the beach for miles, grinning all the way.  Today, the whipping wind (20-30mph gusts) would have made that most unpleasant.  wpid-20140108_092846.jpgSea foam, residue from waves left on the shore, was blowing ropey strands across the beach, and the screaming wind made it difficult to think coherently.  A bike ride didn’t seem to be the most sane choice.  So, we elected to drive into town, grab a map for the tree sculptures (I’ll explain in a moment) and explore on foot.

Hurricane Ike in 2008 devastated Galveston Island. wpid-20140108_123046.jpgThe plaque on the stairway denotes the high water mark of Ike. Powerful winds and storm surge uprooted many of the city’s trees immediately, and ultimately killed thousands of others.  Many of the dead trees left huge stumps.wpid-20140108_123656.jpgwpid-20140108_121914.jpgwpid-20140108_111315.jpg  Instead of removing them, many were carved into sculptures – in front of houses, public buildings, and in parks.  Armed with a map of the East End Historic District showing the location of sculptures in this area, we set off.  What a great way to make something out of enormous devastation.wpid-20140108_115116.jpgwpid-20140108_121125.jpgwpid-20140108_120258.jpgwpid-20140108_110031.jpgwpid-20140108_104323.jpg

We wandered around for about three hours.  Many of the older Victorian mansions have plaques on the doorway indicating that these houses had also withstood the 1900 hurricane, which killed thousands on the Island.  Galveston Island must have been an incredible city in the 1870’s, when many of these homes were built.wpid-20140108_122836.jpgwpid-20140108_122524.jpgwpid-20140108_123314.jpgwpid-20140108_121431.jpgwpid-20140108_122923.jpgwpid-20140108_111341.jpgwpid-20140108_114949.jpg

Tired and thirsty (of course), we located Brews Brothers, which was listed as a brewpub in the old downtown district.  Wrong!  But, it was an interesting old bar with about two dozen taps.  We were the only customers, and talked with the bartender and brewmaster (they’re waiting for their license) about beers and bikes.  He steered us to Leon’s BBQ for lunch.  wpid-20140108_134927.jpgWhat a great choice!  We split a three-meat platter – selecting ribs, brisket, and sausage.  All terrific – the ribs were stunningly perfect.  Side dishes of BBQ beans and turnip greens tempered this meatfest.

Headed into the heart of Texas tomorrow for a one-night stop.  Going to hop across this enormous state in three more days, landing near Carlsbad Caverns National Park on Friday.

13 thoughts on “Life is a Beach

  1. Those old homes are incredibly beautiful. They make me nostalgic for something I can’t quite define.

    Never in a million years would I have thought of converting tree trunks to sculptures. It seems that beach towns seem to attract creative people.

    I was there very briefly a few years ago. I wish I had a week so so to just soak in the ambiance of the area. I really enjoyed your photos!


  2. What a special walking your, so creative with their carving. Glad you got your sand fix, I’m feeling the mtns…and thx posting a pic of Jezzy! I want your dog!


  3. The tree creativity and unique architecture is so entrancing. What a strong people they must be to pick up after such devastation and make beauty out of destruction. Your blogs are so vivid. Have a blast at the Caverns. Don’t get lost.


  4. It took our neighbor 1 1/2 hrs. to get to the S Curve yesterday morning! We’ve got a window Fri. morning so we’re going to make a run for it. Now I know what it feels like in jail. We’re going stir crazy. My house has never been this clean and well organized (I clean when I’m going crazy). Loved the tree sculptures. London, Ontario has a similar tree tour but the houses are not as cool. There’s a cool Nat. (?) park Huco Tanks (?) just north od El Paso that has a cool hike you’d like. They only take 12 people once a day so you take your chances to get on a tour. There’s some crazy climbing but it is worth it. Also don’t pass up the White Sands Nat. Park. Cool Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2014 02:55:21 +0000 To:


    • I had visions of you hiring the road this morning. Sorry you have to kick around for another day, waiting. We’re not going by El Paso this trip. Staying a bit north, then heading to City of Rocks SP, NM then over to the Chiricahuas for a few days. Going to stop in Green Valley for two days before being too San Diego. I really need some sisterly love. Miss Lynn a lot.


  5. Oh, we’re so-o-o going to do this. It’s right up our alley. Thanks for the pictures and Leon’s. When you get to Carlsbad sign up for the Left Room tour ASAP. They only let 12 people a day on the tour but it’s very cool.


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