Road Trip Thoughts

Yesterday was my Annual Birthday Beach and Road Trip…This year the weather was more springlike than any of my past trips. Temperatures hit the mid 70’s and it was quite breezy, with clouds scudding across the sun of and on.

My first stop as always was the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge for the past few years has been low on water and this year was the lowest I have seen yet. Very few waterfowl were in the refuge. For a refuge that is supposed to be swampy and a winter home for waterfowl it’s beginning to look more like coastal prairie each year.

After driving the full loop and sitting for a while watching a small group of Rosette Spoonbills while taking my birthday call from my mom I headed south to Surfside…

With the wind blowing strongly from the south, visibility was cut short by spray and sand in both directions. Driving down the beach was depressing with all of the damage visible to the beach houses I passed. There were signs of reconstruction and repair on about half (I didn’t count, just a general observation) of the houses I passed.

Since I hadn’t been to Galveston since Ike, I decided to drive the coast road to the Island. I had heard the road was in sad shape but when you come to a sign warning you that you drive the road at your own risk, you begin to wonder what you’ve let yourself in for…I lost count of the number of times the road dodged washouts on gravel added to the side of the old road. But when the road detoured to the beach for a mile or so you begin to understand it will be a while before this road gets rebuilt…Crossing over the San Luis Pass toll bridge was a nice surprise, there was no one in the booth collecting the $2 toll.

The west end of Galveston Island is mostly new construction and seemed to come through with relatively little damage. Traveling east though, as you passed through the older developments that date back to the 60’s or earlier you begin to see more and more damage. Mostly the southeast side of the houses were peeled of their siding and roofs…Damage almost 100%…It has been a few years since I traveled this part of the island, but, it seemed there were more holes in the landscape than in years past…I don’t know if these were houses completely gone or not…

Galveston itself looked not much different than it ever has until you start to look closer…That’s when you start to notice that most of the houses you are passing are in the process of being rebuilt on the interior…House after house after house. The old Victorian Ladies in the historical district appeared to have weathered the storm better than the newer ranches further out.

Through this all, I couldn’t bring myself to document the damage with my camera…It was enough just to see what was what…So on I drove. All the way around the island…through the Strand…Along Broadway…And finally over the new Causeway…And here was where the totality of the destruction hit me…Back when I first got my digital camera I did a Sunday morning run to the island before sunup. I spotted a road right on the bay on the mainland end of the Causeway and took a series of sunrise shots from the railroad bridge…of to the north of my spot was a line of bay cabins that looked like they had been there for decades…Not a single one of those cabin/houses survived…And so the trip went…

A sad end to my road trip…

2 thoughts on “Road Trip Thoughts”

    1. The sad part, was all of the businesses that were, for all intents and purposes, blown away never to reopen. Even along the Strand in Galveston it looks pretty grim…And we are almost on top of Mardi Gras, their big winter tourist gig.

      They are hauling sand and making beaches in front of the big waterfront hotels. There is no telling what they are spending on that…Seems like a lost cause when you figure the sand is going to wash away in the next storm…Even small winter storms wash out lots of beaches.

Join the conversation...