Chainsaws and Fibreglass

Trip Start Sep 27, 2010
Trip End Mar 23, 2011

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The day we left the hill country was forecast to be nasty but having made the decision we went with it – it was indeed bitter as we left but bright and sunny, it was windy as forecast, but not as bad as we expected.. As we said in the previous blog they had snow…but what about us, had we escaped? Well yes and no, we didn't have any of the white stuff but boy did we have an 'ice' event. As we sat it out in a camp ground just south of Houston, we watched the weather news and discovered that Houston was virtually 'closed’. The early warnings of snow proved incorrect, but instead the moisture that fell, hit ground so cold that it froze on contact, some of the roads had as much as one and a half inches of black ice on them. Worst hit were the bridges and overpasses – of which there are many in the city, indeed they seem to have stacked the roads so high that it almost defies belief. The main freeways through the city and the beltways that surround it were shut, effectively closing down most of the city. The few perilous drivers who tried to make their journeys found themselves sliding into each other, or not making any progress at all. Despite the fact that most of the city was empty there were still over 800 accidents that morning. We weren’t quite so bad at the campground, but we did have solid ice…however eventually the arctic front passed through and we moved on again, not far but SE towards Kemah. We have been to this area before as you Malc & Anita will remember, but since we were here the last time a certain hurricane named Ike caused havoc in 2008. I can recall being at home and watching the distressing images of flooding in the Galveston area hardly able to recognise it. Today there are parts where you would never know there had been such devastation, but there are painful reminders of the destruction still left.

At the visitors centre in Kemah the lady in charge told us about the number of oak trees that had been destroyed on Galveston Island and how they have been given a new lease of life because their stumps have been carved by chainsaw artists – yes right up Malc’s street of course! (She also told us how her daughter had gone to England to study and met an English boy and subsequently married him and stayed – a bit like our story in reverse – evidently she wasn’t too keen on this development. That’s where our stories differ!)

To get back to the carvings, we had a leaflet showing the location of the ‘statues’ so we set off to find them, not realising at first that some were in peoples gardens. Anyhow we had a great time walking in the warm sunshine seeking them out. There were a few others on the same mission, though they drove around and some didn’t even leave their cars – they opened the car window and photographed the carvings from the comfort of their cars! … Shame. We thought they were great, what do you think?

The fact that one lady had instigated the idea and not only persuaded the authorities to allow it, but had also persuaded the home owners to foot the bill was laudable. If your home has had nearly 3’ of water in it your priorities may not lie with the remnants of an oak tree that once stood in your garden. Our search took us to streets we had not been down last time but as before we were delighted by the wonderful architecture. It’s a very pretty city. We took the little ferry across to Bolivar Point (about a 20 min ride - free - not like Sandbanks!) and drove along the narrow coastal bar towards Crystal Beach, sounds wonderful doesn’t it? But in truth there is not much there, many of the beach houses have been rebuilt, (remember – that windy guy Ike) but many have not. I can’t imagine what it must be like to loose everything, to have to start again when it’s all been washed/blown away. To be fair we are not here when it looks its best and I’m sure its very popular in the summer.

Before we moved on from our camp ground, we took a drive to Seabrook which lies further around the bay from Kemah. Here we found some pelicans…now pelicans are favourites of mine but these were not quite what you might expect. There are a flock of 30 six-to eight-foot tall painted pelicans roosting throughout the city. The fibreglass sculptures are part of the Pelican Path Project, in honour of the return of brown pelicans to the area. Placed on their perches near local businesses back in 2001 some had been displaced by Ike, but had been found and rescued. "Some floated away during the hurricane but we found every one of them and they are back where they belong," said Domino Taylor, Marketing director director at Seabrook Visitor Information. There were more than we have included in this selection. It was fun discovering them…I suppose there’s a child in all of us.

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Wandering Bear on

I seem to remember Houston too in 2008.
I was the last plane into the airport before the SNOW shut it.

This is the Sunny Gulf coast of Houston - Always warm there....NOT!

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