What the heck is there to say about Galveston?

Trip Start Sep 20, 2007
Trip End May 16, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Thursday, February 14, 2008

A lot I guess...if you really wanted to!
We could talk about the original native inhabitants, the Akokisa and the Karankawa Indians....or we could talk about the first Spanish explorers. But then we wouldn't want to forget about the Pirate, Jean Laffite, who made the island his base of operations for a while. There's the Canadian connection, where in 1836, Michel B. Menard , a native of Canada, purchased a "league and labour" of land f or $50,000 from the Austin Colony, and established the City of Galveston. Talking about Galveston wouldn't be complete without a mention of the great storm of September 8, 1900 , when the deadliest natural disaster in United States history hit Galveston Island...a storm with winds exceeding 120 miles per hour and a tidal surge that devastated the island and killed more than 6,000 people.
But I won't talk about any of that. You can read all you want at the Galveston website.
My day started with me taking a shower. That is, taking a shower in my trailer. The restrooms were so gross that I decided to shower in my trailer...the first time I do that.
I'll talk about what I saw. The day started with a drive to see the Bishop's Palace...but it was closed. I don't know why I do research, the brochures and internet information is often wrong. So I drove up Broadway and walked around a while to see the outside of the other mansions in town and other buildings in this part of town. After that I headed to the waterfront. The first stop was the Ocean Star Offshore Drilling Rig and Museum. Now that was interesting.
I know quite a bit about the Oil & Gas industry due to having audited numerous large multi-national corporations. To be able to do a good job, an understanding of what these companies actually do and what equipment they use is a pre-requisite. As Oil & Gas is a large part of the Calgary economy we have numerous seminars and courses on this industry. But I learned a lot during this visit. When solid ground is located beneath hundreds, if not thousands of feet of water, drilling for oil and gas is much more difficult than when you do it the conventional way in Alberta. The ingenuity of the human mind is outstanding. The equipment they've developed is amazing.
After a couple of hours there I had lunch at a waterfront restaurant. $20 for a salad and a glass of wine was a little pricier than McDonalds...though the atmosphere was a little more refined. I do spoil myself...but I am worth it. Then I drove to the Bishop's Palace...the tours started at noon and not at 10 as indicated in all the information I had seen. This house was built by Colonel Walter Gresham in 1886 at an estimated cost of $250,000 ($4,000,000 in today's dollars). In 1923 the house was purchased by the Galveston-Houston Catholic Diocese for Bishop Christopher Byrne. I'm not sure why a Bishop would require the most grandiose house in a city, but he did. For some reason they call it the Bishop's Palace instead of the Gresham Mansion.
I drove to the Strand District and walked about admiring the architecture. The Strand is one of the largest and best-preserved concentrations of Victorian, iron-front commercial architecture in the country.  The day touring the city ended with a walk along the seawall.
Before heading back to the camper I stopped at Target to get a movie. I had noticed a while back when I was at Wal-Mart that the movie, No Reservations, was being released on video this week. I had seen a preview of the movie a while back (and some of you might remember the quote I took from it) and figured a romantic-comedy would be nice to watch on Valentine's Day. By the time I had checked-out I didn't quite end up with only this movie. As I was scanning the movies on display I found 4 other "relationship" movies that caught my eye. I guess Valentine's Day will be a movie marathon day.
I arrive at the campground and there are three RVs from Quebec parked next to me. The guys are chatting outside the RV that is next to mine. I get out of my truck and as I walk around to the other side, acknowledge them with a nod of my head and a smile. They completely ignored me. After almost 5 months on the road, plus my month traveling with Alexis in July, I've never had that happen in a campground. Oh well, maybe they were so engrossed in their conversation they really didn't see me.
On the other side of me there's a 5th wheel trailer. There are two older ladies there setting up. It's an older RV. They seem to be having problems with the sewer hose. I offer some help but they say they'll be OK. I watch them for a while as they connect various hoses to make their sewer line.
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