Monday, February 22, 2016


Flanked by the City of Jamaica Beach to the west and City of Galveston to the east, Galveston Island State Park's low development density is a stand-out both from the air and on the ground.
Your basic barrier island, barely developed from front to back.  Concrete and asphalt need not apply.  
Looks can be deceiving when the only real point of reference is the horizon.
You think to yourself, "Oh, it's just a little bit of a ways over there" and all of a sudden, you've walked five miles.  This is my trace on the Map My Walk iPhone app.   
We managed to score a Sunday night beach-front reservation in this highly-competitive destination, and seized the opportunity to both enjoy the outdoors and test our new solar system.
I took this pic because it is such a typical and contrasting silhouette of these two of my loved ones - my husband eyeing his iPhone, oblivious to what I'm doing, and my dog in a state of panic, thinking to herself, "OMG OMG, where is she??  Is she coming back? OMG..." as her eyes frantically search the horizon, in this case, the horizon of the state park office parking lot where I was checking us in.

But after I took the pic I noticed that we placed the weight of the solar system pretty much exactly over the rear wheels.  That was not an explicit intention and I don't know that it makes any difference.  I just happened to notice it here.  
Mid-February is arguably not the most desirable time of year to visit this state park, but neither is it a waste of time.  Here are some pics of this unusual park in winter.
In a metro area of 6.5 million people, would you rather be over-run during the subtropical summer, or would you rather have the beach to yourself in winter?  Having done the former many times over the past 30-odd years, I now prefer the latter.  It was overcast on Sunday and socked in with fog around dawn on Monday, but I had the luxury of being the only one out there, at least for a while. 
In winter there are Portuguese man-o-wars, some of them in psychedelic colors.  
See, that wasn't an accident above - many of them were of similar hue.  One thing that amazed me:  Birds eat the tentacles.  Most of those that washed up had peck marks all around the carcasses.  How is this possible?  A man-o-war sting can put a person in the hospital, but marine birds eat some part of this floating terror?  Not the body - the tentacles.  
This herring gull decided on a more benign snack - part of a dead fin fish.  Herring gulls are over-winterers here, not a breeding species.    
The tide was fairly low this morning at dawn, but with the calm conditions, I didn't see much in the way of newly-deposited shells.  Just a few of the usual suspects, including this Atlantic cockle.  
I also didn't see many critters, although there was plenty of fresh evidence of overnight construction activity.  
And burrowing.  
Even though it's mid-February, there were a few flowers in the sand dunes.
I don't know what this is, but it only seems to bloom around dawn, and then close up for the day.  
These, on the other hand, are everywhere, even in winter. 
Striking red stems. 
Shortly after we arrived Sunday afternoon, I traversed the bay side, looking for birds to photograph, but I didn't see many.  In a few more weeks when spring arrives, the place will be hopping.  
I sure made a proper mess of myself in the effort to find them, though.  
This amazing feast followed my trek.  Steak and home-made venison sausage from a vendor in the El Campo area.  Fire pit courtesy of the state park because I haven't made a decision about how or what we might carry with us, grill-wise, in the small space of our Airstream Interstate.  
This is my favorite way of doing potatoes on the grill.  Seasoning, butter, and green onions from my garden. 
I sent this pic via IM to my daughter, who replied, "That dog looks like she's on drugs."  Everybody relaxes at the beach, no matter what time of year it is.  
We were close enough to Houston to stream TWD over my husband's iPhone 6 Plus.  He has an unlimited data plan.  This was a great way to relax after that BBQ meal. Eventually we will put Apple TV in the Interstate.  

Eerie Monday morning fog, view down through a row of picnic shelters book-ended by a fellow Airstreamer.  I'm not sure why the state chose this unusual motif so many years ago when these things were built.  Intended to echo marine vessel window portals, perhaps?  But with a distinctly Houstonian contemporary flair.  
And there's the other Airstream in the facility, pic taken from the top of one of the picnic shelters, which I accessed using our Telesteps ladder.  Love that thing - very handy for all kinds of purposes.  
Galveston means OUTRAGEOUS HUMIDITY!! no matter what time of year it is!  We haven't solved this issue yet - condensation on our refrigerator door, which is home to my state park magnets and some of my Rene Wiley postcards (I highly recommend her gallery if you do a Galveston trip).   
Best part about doing an overnight in a state park just 35 miles from our stick-and-brick??  Taking all that outdoor BBQ mess and throwing it in my dishwasher back home the next morning!! LOL
Some folks might wonder why we'd bother to load up the Interstate just for the purposes of one Sunday night in winter, and close to home to boot.  Well, we both had to return to work on Monday and every little get-away counts, so we made the time for it.  Plus I'll have more to report later on the solar system trial.

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