Friday, December 31, 2011–From Lake Superior to The Gulf of Mexico

Friday, December 30th, 2011

2011-12-30-Galveston (37)The thought struck me today as we were walking on the beach at the Gulf of Mexico in Galveston, Texas, that just a few months ago we were walking along the shoreline of Lake Superior in Marquette, Michigan. I couldn’t help but remember some of the places we have visited on our way from the top of the country to the bottom. We’ve only been in 7 states so far on our trip and yet we’ve seen so many different areas. There really isn’t a work to describe how amazing and beautiful our country is! 

For some reason, I’ve always wanted to visit Galveston. For a school project in 2008, the girls tracked Hurricane Ike and studied the Great Hurricane of 1900. Today as we walked the beach in Galveston and walked through the neighborhoods, we saw memories of both hurricanes. From Ike, we saw quite a bit of rebuilding. Some structures were still boarded up and run down but we didn’t see nearly as much of that as we thought we would. For the most part it was hard to believe that a city so alive has suffered so much devastation just a few short years ago. From the Great Hurricane, we saw a lot of memorials and plaques; most of them very unique. 

2011-12-30-Galveston (8)The drive to Galveston was an interesting one. There were many homes on stilts, a neighborhood that was only homes and canals, and several oil rigs and refineries. We also drove over quite a few bridges, one of which was very interesting. The refineries and the bridges beautifully lit up the night sky for our drive home.

2011-12-30-Galveston (14)Our first stop in Galveston was at the Ocean Star which is an oil rig museum. We have seen several oil wells while in Texas that are very different and mammoth compared to those we have in Michigan. This museum, however, is about offshore rigs. As a matter of fact, the museum is an offshore rig. Once again, I’m glad we watched the film upon entering the museum. We had no idea there were so many types of rigs that all function so differently. The technology is truly mindboggling. The museum covered many aspects of the oiling industry. It was especially interesting learning about the divers, how they keep them safe and the different apparatus they use. The best part of the museum, though, was the varied wildlife we saw from the windows and from the deck of the rig itself. We saw cormorants, egrets, seagulls, pelicans, skimmers and a pod of DOLPHINS!!!  What a great welcome the sea gave the girls!

By the time we were finished at the museum, we were starving. We drove over to the Seawall where we had a picnic. Éva could hardly eat. Living near the Great Lakes has only strengthened her desired to see the ocean. After we ate, we walked to Murdoch’s, a big souvenir shop on that is built on a pier. It had been destroyed during Hurricane Ike but has since been rebuilt. The best part of the store are the large decks for viewing the Gulf. As soon as we left the store, Éva was on the beach. The rest of us waited to take the stairs down the seawall but she found a spot that wasn’t too big of a jump and down she went. We spent most of the afternoon walking along the beach. It was a beautiful 71 degree day. A lady commented to Jenna that she must be from the north to think that the weather was warm enough for flip-flops and capris . When Jenna told her she is from Michigan, the lady said, “Yep!! You would think this is warm!”

2011-12-30-Galveston (55)We left the beach to search the neighborhoods for sculptures that the residents of Galveston had made out of trees that were killed during Hurricane Ike. These trees had been planted right after the Great Hurricane (1900) so the residents of Galveston wanted to preserve them in some way. We only found a couple of the sculptures but walking through the neighborhoods proved to be very worthwhile. The homes are very, very unique. Many were decorated for Christmas. We felt like we were walking among streets of brightly colored dollhouses. Most are old and huge.

The sea called to us once more so we took a drive around the Seawall once again. The water was cold but several people were out surfing. We stopped at a section of the Seawall called the Art Wall, along which children have painted images of the sea.  There was a large area of rocks where people stop to make sculptures. Each of the girls built their own. By this time the sun was setting. I’ve never seen a sunset with so many muted colors. It wasn’t a brilliant sunset but it was beautiful. We hated to leave but we were tired after such a fun day. 

Barry and I have been to the Gulf/ocean several times but seeing it through the girls’ eyes was remarkable!

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