Galveston, oh Galveston! I still hear your sea winds blowing…Glenn Campbell
One whole, glorious week on the beach and we were right there. I mean, right…there. I have to give a shoutout to Rusty and Kris Thompson for the recommendation. Dellanera RV park is city owned and was missing all the amenities that other parks had, but all of them except one were on the opposite side of the main Seawall Boulevard. And what other amenity do you need when you’re at the beach?
To me, walking the beach looking for shells, playing with the water and photographing the birds, and just thinking is one of the most relaxing things I can think of to do. Cal, however, is “meh” on the beach and was just humoring me, as well as fretting about the effect of salt air on the equipment. Oh well. He did find a few guy friends to swap RV information with while there.
I have been to Galveston many times with various family and friends, but this was only Cal’s second time. In my late teens, while stationed at Fort Hood, it was a favorite place to go with my best friend Peggy. We would visit Outdoor Rec on a Friday afternoon, check out a big green Army canvas tarp, sleeping bags and a cooler. Coming in to Galveston, we’d pop Glen Campbell’s “Galveston” in the tape player, turn up the volume, and roll the windows down. There was a ferry ride and then we’d be on Bolivar Peninsula for the weekend. We’d drive right on the beach and there was nothing out there but the beach. The tarp would be pitched against the car for a lean-to, sleeping bags unrolled, and the 8-track tape player on until the batteries died. I remember the moon over the water and the sound of the waves as I’d fall asleep. We’d spend an entire weekend having fun, subsisting on junk food, and when we returned to post on Monday I could hardly lace up my combat boots since my feet were so burned. One time, we decided we wanted to see Louisiana, so we drove all the way to the border.
You can’t go all the way to the Louisiana border any more, which Cal and I discovered on my first visit back to Bolivar Peninsula. The beach has eroded about halfway down the peninsula and now it has been diverted north. It was a shock to see the original crumbled road just above what is now the beach. This time, the new shock was seeing all the beach houses that have been built in the last 5 years. Subdivisions line the beach like colorful dominos, and march halfway way back up to the road. There are businesses, strip malls, and stop lights. We drove some distance in, but could not find the end of the houses on the beach. Maybe there was an end before the road diverted, but we didn’t get that far. Instead, we found an opening in between the houses, and after we parked I tried to enjoy the beach with the houses at my back.
You can still ride the ferry from Galveston Island, and the seagulls still hover, looking hopefully for a snack:
On the beach:
If I had money and the inclination, I guess I’d want to build a house on the beach too. During this pandemic, the trend is for people to isolate in their own house, cook their own food, and still be on the beach. Some houses are so big, several families can gather together for a beach vacation. I would think there would be money to be had, renting out a beach house on Air BnB, and you could stay in it when you wanted. Still, I liked the beach better when it was in its natural state and I don’t think I will return again to Bolivar.
Another day, we visited the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig Museum, which I had been to before, but Cal hadn’t. When else can you actually stand on an oil rig? You can learn all about the details of oceanic oil drilling there. I was dubious about having these oil rigs out in the ocean the first time I visited, given the oil spills that have happened. Now, with climate change being the driver of more efficient energy usage, perhaps we can look forward to a day when we aren’t so reliant on oil. Ocean Star made substantial effort to put their best foot forward regarding their conservation efforts.
The Ocean Star is next to Galveston’s fishing wharf:
One of the things I’ve always loved about traveling south is seeing the palms, in all their beautiful varieties. Remember the big February freeze that hit the southern states? From Louisiana to Texas, the palms are all brown. It is a byproduct of that freeze that I didn’t think about at the time, when everyone was worried more about power outages and frozen pipes, staying warm and having clean water coming out of their taps. But the palms are brown, which is distressing. It’s never frozen like this before, so no one really knows what will happen to them. To replace them in landscaping is very expensive. I could see some had been cut back in the hopes that new growth would come. Some may come back on their own, some may be dead. It’s really a “wait and see” situation.
On our very worst weather day, when the wind was howling and we were getting rain and thunder, my brother Jared came for a visit. He lives about 40 miles from Galveston. We enjoyed lunch at a Mexican restaurant that really turned out to be a pancake house with two pages of Mexican food on their menu. It was our first time eating inside a restaurant in over a year and I was happy that we had a back corner table.
Here are my favorite bird pictures:
Sunrise and sunset…
…and everything else:
For whatever we lose (like a you or a me)
It’s always our self we find in the sea.e e cummings
Next time – 3 days at Brazos Bend State Park