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.
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.
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. Sea 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. The 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. 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.
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.
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. What 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.