We were a day into our riding and Texas was only a couple miles away. We had to cross a ferry, and then a couple miles later a huge bridge. I always feel when we are going over a bridge that something new is beginning, something old is ending, and the unknown is in clear sight. I find it exciting and nerve-racking all at the same time. When we crossed the border, it was very industrial and not so pretty anymore. We went from staying on the beautiful Holly beach in Louisiana, to tree lined back roads, soaring birds drawing in the sky, luscious swamps and hardly any cars. When we entered Texas, the air was polluted, smoke from all the industrial buildings painted the sky, cars in all directions, and nature now a distant memory. We both needed a break and night was setting in. We got a motel and all we did was lay in bed and watch a comedy in Espanola. We needed that…. The next day we headed out to Winnie. We felt we needed more rest but wanted to be in a town so we could run some errands. We unloaded our gear, set up our kitchen and bought some groceries. Gerardo was fixing his bike the next day and we had some beers and snacks. We both got some studying in. I studied the keyboard and some Spanish. We watched a great film called “Matchuca” which was about the Chilean government taking over the county in the 1960’s, from the perspective of a young boy and his not so fortunate best friend. It was really good! We both wanted to learn a new song together so that night we were going to download the chords from the Mama’s and Papa’s “California Dreaming” and “Monday Monday.” When we went out for an evening walk, to break the indulgence of lounging in the motel, we stumbled upon a store going out of business. The sign said everything for a quarter. There were tons of books with sheet music for the piano. A lot of old old songs. I came across an amazing find when I saw the “Mama’s and the Papa’s.” I was so excited and thought it was a great sign! We had not only found the chords but the whole song. It was pretty awesome! The next day, fully rested, we rode about 46 miles to Galveston Texas. We were exhausted and decided to get a motel, and go out the next day.
Galveston was originally home to the Akokisa and Karankawa Indians, who camped, fished, and hunted the swampy land. Galveston was named for Bernardo de Galvez, a Spanish colonial governor and general. Galvez sent Jose de Evia to chart the Gulf of Mexico, which he found an area near the mouth of a river and named it Galveston. Bernardo de Galvez died the same year never setting foot on his namesake land. Galveston became home to the great European Pirate Jean Lafitte who established the colony of Campeche on Galveston Island in 1817, numbering about 1000 people. Laffite was forced to leave and burnt down his town when saying goodbye. After Laffite, other pioneers founded the land and Galveston steadily flourished. It became the most active seaport, hospitals, opera house, county clubs, and a post office came about. Not surprisingly after all this victory and success, at the expense at more than likely taking the land from Native Indians, and later what many call a pirate, a huge storm came and destroyed much of this town. Many died, the port slowly lost business, and buildings completely vanished. Galveston later developed into a gambling, and drinking resort town, partly due to the Prohibition-era. Texas rangers eventually ended the gambling in 1957, and the town rested until about the 80’s. Galveston born oilman George Mitchell began a campaign to restore Galveston. With emphasis on the historic downtown, he commissioned famous architects to design Mardi Gras arches to span the streets of the district. It brought in a lot of tourism, with its new town, beaches, and preservation of its Victorian iron front commercial architecture.
After a lovely day in the district and an amazing lunch, we headed to the state park to take in the beauty of this old town. We found a lovely private camping spot with a wooden architecture structure, which was to become our parking garage, and kitchen. The top of the structure was where we would exercise and at sunset we would capture in all the sky’s beauty. We had our own little peninsula. Gerardo did some fishing. I stayed in the tent to practice my sheet music and journal. We both enjoyed being in the tent at night. We loved it especially when we saw a shooting star fly by the lit up sky. I am grateful to be in such a beautiful place and I pray for all the people who have lived here and will come here to receive the beauty from this magical place.