HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MARK KRUEGER! We hope you had a wonderful day with the family! We slept longer due to the tiring day we had yesterday. The skies were cloudy to start, but we were hoping that we get to see some sun later in the day. There is a wildfire burning near Amarillo north of here, so I’m wondering if that is affecting the quality of the skies. There is some wind today so that’s an improvement from the big blow we had yesterday. We made plans for our day and left the campground around 11:00 with a stop at the RV Office to drop off some mail.
From the Office, I could see across to the Gulf and I had a good view of our pool from above.
We left there to explore more of Galveston. We started out by driving down the shore on Seawall Blvd. It was definitely less crowded during the week.
We drove past the Galveston Island Historic Pleasure Pier that has been restored and contains shops, restaurants, and carnival-style rides and games.
There were some people fishing from the groins that stick out into the Gulf this morning.
We saw this gorgeous historic 1911 hotel, the Grand Galvez, across from the beach.
There are many designated beaches along this road and 32 miles of beaches along the entire island. Stewart Beach is one of the most popular beaches.
We drove all the way to the end of the island to the ferry dock. The ferry carries passengers and vehicles between Galveston and Port Bolivar. The ferry operates 24/7, 365 days a year, for FREE. The trip is 2.7 miles for a total time of 18 minutes. A ferry holds 70 vehicles depending on their sizes. While we sat there and watched the operation, we saw them load cars, trucks pulling travel trailers of all sizes, commercial trucks with trailers, and others. When we called and checked about the ferry yesterday, we could have gotten on the ferry with our bus and Jeep hooked up, no problem. 3 other ferries arrived to load and unload their vehicles. There were 5 ferries in all, each a different color. It was amazing to watch!
From the ferry dock, we could see a cruise ship. Galveston has a new cruise ship terminal since they started doing cruises from there.
We left the ferry dock and drove down to the Strand Historic District and looked for parking. While we searched, we saw a Royal Carribean cruise ship docked there.
We found 2-hour parking on the street and walked 2 blocks to the main street, Strand Ave., of the Strand District. The Strand District was once known as the “Wall Street of the Southwest”.
These historic buildings in the Strand District of 100 plus shops, restaurants, and galleries in this 36 block area are easily recognizable because of the iron-fronted buildings. This is one of the country’s best known collections of such architecture.
The pedestrian walks were paved in bricks which made us walk carefully so as not to trip and fall.
We were getting a little hungry and thirsty so we stopped at a restaurant called The Playground Patio Bar and Grill.
We had our favorite snack of Nachos Supreme topped off with a beer. It was delicious and just what we needed to get out of the heat.
Across from the bar was a beautiful ocean mural that ran along the whole side of the building.
We left there and made our way back to the Jeep. We noticed this plaque on the side of one of the buildings. It said “Ike Survivor”. Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston on September 13, 2008.
We drove back down Strand Ave. past all the shops.
This time, I noticed this huge trumpet hanging beside the Old Galveston Square Building . The Trumpet Sculpture was created for the Louisiana World’s Fair in 1984 and relocated to Galveston in 1986 for the opening of a Jazz restaurant. It measures 14 ft. tall and 26 ft. long and is made of steel and concrete.
Before leaving the area, we drove down to Pier 21 to get a better view of this structure. There were 2 of these sitting at the waterfront.
It is a loading oil platform that they anchor in the seafloor in the Gulf of Mexico to drill for oil.
Pier 21 is a waterfront entertainment and dining area located in the Historic Harbor in the Historic Strand Seaport Area. The 1877 Tall Ship is docked there. Leaving the area, we got a glimpse of the Grand 1894 Opera House. It survived the hurricane of 1900 and has been restored. The Marx Brothers and Willie Nelson are among the performers who entertained there.
On the drive back to the campground along Seawall Blvd., we saw more people enjoying the beach among some other unusual sights.
We passed the Galveston 61st Street Fishing Pier which is a 24-hour fishing pier and bait shop.
Many buildings along Seawall Blvd. looked new. They were mixed in among the empty lots right on the shore that looked like they once had businesses there at one time.
Galveston has been a target for hurricanes for many years and some of Galveston has survived over the years, but much has not. They continue to rebuild and it is still a very popular vacation destination. We got back to the campground around 2:00. We noticed how many campers had left this morning after the weekend. The campground really emptied out. We relaxed a little with Auggie and watched the radar as it showed a line of rain approaching the area from the north. A much needed rain came around 4:30 and continued for most of the evening. The locals were happy because they are experiencing a drought in this area. We had a light dinner as we were still full from lunch. Tomorrow we have another day to explore the rest of the island.