Find us on Google+ Rick and JoAnne's RV Travels: November 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Time To Say Goodbye


That is… time to say goodbye to Galveston Island State Park. Yes, tomorrow we head back home to Colorado. Can you believe we are leaving the beach and 70 degree weather for the snow and cold? Actually, we like the different seasons the special wonders of each one. We really had a great time on the “Island” but we are also looking forward to being back home for Christmas.

A huge thanks to the great staff and volunteers at the Park for making our stay so enjoyable. We will certainly miss the beautiful sunrises and our many walks along the beach and the new friends we met (lots of dominos games). Galveston was a perfect place to explore this past month. Here are some of the images that helped make the memories. JoAnne & Rick

Monday, November 28, 2011

One Man’s Garbage is Another Man’s Treasure…. Not So Much


One of the duties we perform as camp hosts at Galveston Island State Park is to roam the beach in our Gator and pick up the trash that rides in on the surf or is left behind by swimmers, picnickers, fisherman, or beachcombers. This is a picture of just a small portion of the trash we picked up on one short ride up and down the beach and gives you some idea of the sort of trash I am talking about.

I am not sure how any of the broken Styrofoam plates and cups, old plastic water bottles, torn garbage bags, deflated and torn balloons, - well you get the idea, could be considered a treasure by anyone.

What is a treasure are the hundreds of beautiful beaches that make up much of the thousands of miles of magnificent US coastline. The Galveston sunrises over the gulf are spectacular 

and we love walking along the beach watching and photographing the birds. 

The beach and dunes are ever changing and it is fun to explore and experience the transformation the tides and winds bring each day. The beach and dunes at Galveston Island State Park are primitive and as futile as it seems, picking up trash is our small attempt to keep it that way. Come on people we can do better.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lights, Action, Camera


What fun it has been these several days. We are in a gorgeous setting, having fun, keeping active, and experiencing new adventures.

Our mornings and evenings filled with spectacular light shows of blazing sunrises and sunsets. We enjoy interesting experiences and are able to watch the variety, and often amusing, amazing birds. We are savoring the opportunity to experience the life-style of Galveston Island.

One such experience was attending the Festival of Lights at Moody Gardens. We went a bit late in the afternoon, got a bite to eat. We were able to enter two of the pyramids. One has, one of the best Aquariums we have ever seen, and the other was the Rain Forest.

Then when it was dark – the lighting suddenly appeared! How awesome and what joy it brings to your heart to see the creative and most magical lighting displays they have! You feel like a kid again – in awe and wonder! Don’t miss the pictures on this fact if you miss any of the photos you will miss some imaginative camera work! Ha! See Photos Here

One afternoon we saw an advertisement for a “Market on The Strand.” Loving the old Strand, we thought what the heck and off we went. We did enjoy the Strand – the Market…not so much!
One of the things we noticed on this trip to The Strand was noticing the water lines on buildings from Hurricane Ike in 2008. Now we have a clearer understanding of what this community experienced, and appreciate the huge steps forward they have and continue to make in their recovery.

Not sure what we were going to do this year for Thanksgiving – since we liked Moody Gardens so well – we decided to have brunch at the Moody Gardens Hotel. Now this was not any ordinary brunch at a hotel. In addition to the delicious food – the customer service and wait staff were first class! We enjoyed our brunch at a “table for two” while listening to the live piano player and songstress. 

As many of you know, Rick and I have – scratch that – had an inflatable kayak. Now we have had many great adventures with that kayak – but this time it was the biggest and most memorable adventure. 

As we were making our way around the lush, wet, water trails we enjoyed bird sightings and the weather was perfect. As we made our way into Galveston Bay, the waters opened up before us and you felt as if you were paddling out to sea.

Suddenly…I ask Rick…why are we listing on the left side? Hmmmm, says Rick as he paddles ever faster! What happened is we developed a leak! It was a long, hard, exhausting paddle (for Rick) and I cannot tell you how blessed we are, how I am, that Rick keeps himself in top shape! I say…Thank you God and thank you Rick for making it possible to end our adventure on shore instead of underwater. Our next stop? The trash dumpster! We had unknowingly taken our last voyage!

Friday, November 18, 2011

There is Beach Duty and Then There is Beach Duty!

Here is what beach duty at Ridgway State Park looked like. For the most part, beach duty here meant making sure the no dogs and the no glass rules were being followed. 

Here is what beach duty at Galveston Island State Park looks like. Yes, we make sure dogs are on leash and that no glass is brought onto the beach. But our main “responsibility” is to help keep the beach clean. (Think about a beach version of adopt-a-highway.) The amount of trash that washes ashore from the gulf is both amazing and in some regards sad. Regardless, we really enjoy traveling up and down the beach in our Gator. The surf, the sunrises, the birds and the ocean breeze – all good!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Motorcycles and Mansions


Since arriving at Galveston State Park, we have settled into our Camp Hosting routine. Our work here is very different from our duties at Ridgway State Park. For one thing, the Park (and most of Texas) is in a fire ban due to the continuing drought. So, no fire pits to clean. One of the duties we really like is riding in our Gator along the beach – but more about that in another post.

Life at Galveston is pretty laid back. The early mornings, are filled with beautiful sunrises. We enjoy watching the Brown Pelicans fishing in the gulf, the Royal Terns skimming above the waves and the many varieties of sandpipers darting in and out of the surf.

Thinking about the past two weeks – what stands out most was our trip to the Strand and the Lone Star Motorcycle Rally and our visits to both Bishops Palace and the Moody Mansion. The rally is one of the largest in the US and we had a fun afternoon hang’n with the hogs.

Last November as we blogged and shared pictures of the many truly amazing Victorian homes in the National Historic District here in Galveston. At that time, we had not been able to go through the tours of the two mansions. This time, it became a priority…and we are so glad we were able to see these amazing homes.

You might ask what the strange and “unusual looking house” is doing in the mansion mix. We see this on our way from the Island to the Mainland. It has various names, the Ark, Kettle house among them. I don’t have a clue about the history – but I’ll work on finding out.

We also had the opportunity to see the magnificent “tree sculptures.” These old, huge trees, destroyed during hurricane Ike in 2008, are now transformed into beautiful, unique works of art. The sculptures, designed by chain saw artists, and paid for by the owners of these homes with a specific theme meaningful to that homeowner.   

Yesterday Rick attended the naturalist walk along the gulf discovering ghost crabs, ghost shrimp, and a numerous variety of clams.

Now it’s back to work! See Photos Here

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Final Journey to Galveston Island State Park

Yes, we’re here…we enjoyed a wonderful journey to our destination arrival and have been busy ever since!

On our way, we visited many great Sate Parks in Texas; however, our “final leg” brought us to Galveston Island State Park with one fascinating stop, and an unexpected adventure crossing Galveston Bay.

Our fascinating stop was at Big Thicket National Preserve in Kountze, Texas. Thankfully, the weather was cool and not very humid. Often called an American ark or the biological crossroads of North America, and established to protect its complex biological diversity. It comprises a combined pine and cypress forest, hardwood forest, meadow, and blackwater swamp that all house an extraordinary abundance of species that seem to coexist so well. It’s hard to see or get the feel from the few photos we have the diversity and density of this remarkable place.

Now about the unexpected adventure!

We traveled South on State Highway 87 because our new GPS indicated it is the only highway around Galveston Bay. Well…it became apparent we were on a road to somewhere on the Bolivar Peninsula – we just didn’t know where that “somewhere” was!

The road ended at the ferry landing. There we were - - in line, no clue what the cost, schedule, or requirements were…and no way to turn around. Now I know we’re all about the “journey” not the “destination” so we were ready for a most unexpected adventure for sure!

Our line inched forward. It was our turn. We asked all the questions we had earlier wondered about. RV’s are okay, and remarkably, in today’s world an unexpected surprise for sure…IT IS FREE, plus were next in line to board. Before we knew it…in 18-minutes and 2.7-miles, we crossed one of the busiest waterways in the world, and landed on Galveston Island.

Once here, we met with Rangers, have an assigned camp host spot, uniforms, and assignments, tools, and a “gator.”

Our days, filled with meeting new people, exploring new places, my favortite is riding the “gator” up, and back the Galveston Island beach looking for trash – but what do they say? One man’s trash is another’s treasure. Enjoy the PHOTOS HERE!