First Day Back on the Road

written Monday, March 2, 2009
Beaumont, TX
Our intention was to get on the road by 9am… oh, OK, maybe 10am at the latest. But after many “good-byes”, some hugs, tears, and “see you next years” we actually had the big wheels turnin’ a little before 11am. I’ve written before about our roots that naturally grow when we sit for a period of time. The roots that grew these past three months seemed particularly hard to pull up.

We headed northeast out of Rockport on State Hwy 35 toward the Houston area. Then southeast on State Hwy 6 into Galveston where we pick up State Hwy 87. Part of the charm of this road as it carries us northeast again is that it includes a ferry ride across the mouth of Galveston Bay. It’s called the Galveston - Port Bolivar Ferry and one really special feature of this deal is that there’s no charge to make the crossing. That’s right — its FREE. Operated by the State of Texas its all those good cowboy & cowgirl Texans that pay for it in their taxes. Thanks Pard’ners! This was the very first ferry trip for the bus-house. After landing on the Bolivar side Hwy 87 continues until you’re forced to make a left turn on State Hwy 124 which runs north and connects with I-10 at Winnie.

The main reason I wanted to come this way is to see for myself the devastation created by Hurricane Ike last September… a mere 6 months ago. News reports and some “word-of-mouth” prompted me to believe that there wasn’t much left of Galveston… they said it’d been devastated… it’d never be the same. By I’ve got to tell you that on my quick trip right through the heart of Galveston I was surprised by the lack of extensive visible damage; the city seemed alive and breathing. Sure, there was a roof covered with a blue tarp here and there… there was siding blown off of apartment buildings… a few buildings were beyond repair. And I’m sure there was more damage right along the beach where we didn’t go today. Galveston appeared dinged and damaged but far less than I’d been led to believe.

Across the bay on the Bolivar side it was a far different story. The damage here was far worse than my expectation. This little peninsula was devastated and it’s housing mostly blown away. In 6 months they’ve bulldozed a lot of it but there’s still mile after mile of pilings that used to have houses perched on top; concrete slabs that just a year ago were covered by people’s homes. Large beach tracts with residential streets running through are mostly stripped — there’s a standing house here or there, but far more home sites with no homes in sight. I’ll never forget the wide brushy natural areas off the beach that are littered with clothing, insulation, construction materials, cars, pieces of boats… evidence of a beach community simply blown away. Rather than pick through the brush and small trees to clean it all up they’re just bulldozing everything — brush, trees, and the remnants of happier days — all of it into huge piles. Wow. I’m having a lot of trouble describing what I saw there today. Words don’t seem capable of adequately describing it. I may revisit this experience in the future.

We pulled into the Gulf Coast RV Park near Beaumont just before 6pm. After parking and plugging in we found dinner just up the road at a Cracker Barrel. We’ll both be in bed early tonight.

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