In this blog’s travel morph, I’ve never made a secret of my lack of love for Texas. I’m sure I’ve said some unkind things. That attitude, of course, comes back to bite me when I see a travelogue like this through the eyes of folks I love who happen to live there. So I’m going to avoid my negativity for once and just write about what’s been great about the past few days.
Hold up. Let me first get this out of my system: Fort Stockton contains no one I love, AND it doesn’t have a single bike path. So I’m not going to try & emphasize the positive about Fort Stockton, other than to say it offered us a comfy motel at the end of a long day’s drive from Arizona. If you’re reading this and you’re from Fort Stockton, please chime in with something cool about your town.
OK, on to San Antonio.
My older sister and her husband live on the outskirts, far enough away from the Riverwalk that we’re not tempted to go there. We’re family, not tourists. (And my sister’s dining room is the best restaurant in town anyway.) Along with catching up on family stuff and playing music with my bro-in-law, I’m always happy to cuddle their super-fluffy cats.
And THIS town has a bike path! Boy, does it ever.
Also, thanks to my sister’s tree, we are now the Sisterhood of the Traveling Avocados, Oranges AND Grapefruit! (not pictured ’cause I’ve been eating them in the car–sweeet) But here’s another cat picture instead.
We only stayed one night in San Antonio because we’d timed our trip to Galveston to coincide with our friends’ weekend there. We usually visit them in Dallas where they live (in Oak Cliff, Dallas’s cool side), but they’re just putting the finishing touches on a new condo in Galveston, the childhood Happy Place of one of them, and they invited us as inaugural guests.
Galveston? Where the heck is that anyhow? (asked Gretchen, about a month ago).
According to our friends (also Wikipedia), it’s an island in the Gulf of Mexico, 27 miles long, no wider than 3 miles. It was practically wiped out in a hurricane in 1900 which killed over 6,000 people. More recently, Hurricane Ike did a ton of damage, but Galvestonians are a resilient bunch, and they love their town. One of my favorite parts of our stay there (other than walking on the endless beach) was biking through the old town, stopping to take pictures of pretty houses.
The sunrise view from our friends’ condo:
The giant ships entering the harbor, bound for Houston, reminded me of the ones we used to live with during our 20 years in Tacoma. Here there are so many, they line up along the horizon waiting their turn to unload. At night the whole Gulf looks like it’s ringed with stars.
Biking around, I kept thinking about seeing Ciudad Juarez across the Rio Grande as we’d passed through El Paso a couple of days earlier. Yes, the Mexican streets and houses look poor, in some places desperately so. But they are so colorful! Pink and green and blue and purple–as if to say, “C’mon, America–why you gotta be so DULL?” Well, Galvestonians are NOT dull.
Mardi Gras was last week. I kept running over beads with my bike wheels, and lots of decorations were still up.
Must’ve been quite a party.
Galveston also hosts a thriving fishing industry. My friend took this picture as I waited in line for gigantic shrimp. Moments later, when she stepped outside, they brought out the two-man-sized fish.
If I were more of a beach person, I would have taken more pictures of the beach. Maybe. The best thing about THIS beach, for me? Walking and talking and sitting and talking and drinking wine and talking with my friend. (not pictured) So here’s another jaw-dropping house:
Our friends went to Mass on Sunday for the first time here (they’re still getting to know their new town) and came back jubilant at having discovered a vibrant, extremely multi-racial, multi-ethnic congregation. Another warm fuzzy for Galveston. Maybe I just need to spend more time in all Texas’s towns? Well…all the ones with places to bike in, anyhow.
I don’t feel bad about the opinions I have about Texas which are related to its history and current dominant politics. I do feel bad if anyone I love who lives there feels like I love them less because they live there. And for those other loyal Texans whom I don’t know…please tell me more cool stuff about where you live. I’m trying not to have a Texas-sized ego about this. 🙂
HI Gretchen. I had a lot of negative thoughts about Texas (mostly from a quick drive across the widest part of Texas in the 60’s. Me- long blonde hair, hippie clothes – with boyfriend who was in the army – short hair but barefoot and wearing bell bottom pants. Texans were not friendly to us. We passed straight thru as quick as we could).
About 6 years ago, I decided to visit old friends in Dallas. So instead of going directly there from New Mexico, I took 3 weeks – traveled down the west side following the Rio Grande River, thru Big Bend, Padre Island, Waco. Got stuck several nights due to an ice storm. All in all, I found it was my kind of place, kinda. Anyway, I really want to go back and explore some more!
Well, just its size means Texas really oughta have some diverse ecosystems to share, and when you find ’em, they’re precious. The flip side: there’s just so much of it to drive through to get there! But then again, places like Big Bend probably wouldn’t be so special if they were more easily accessible, huh.
The one word I find that describes Big Bend is “Vast”! Very few people, huge open spaces. When I went there, I was driving my Toyota motorhome. There were so many roads that said “4WD Only”. Now that I have my 4wd truck, I want to got back and explore!
For me, it’s not the destination, it’s the journey. 🙂
“She needed…wide open spaces…room to make the big mistakes” 😁