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Wildflowers Dominate Wi-Fi Tour Of Galveston

May 21st, 2016 · Tags:Arts · Cities · Wi-Fi

GAL Mansion


Galveston … right smack dab in the semi-circle of muddy water that is the Gulf of Mexico.  But it’s also a wonderful place, memorialized in song by Glen Campbell, and for me it forever will be the place where the locals run to the ocean, not away from the ocean when severe storms roll in.  My second trip to the island, my companion and I were ready to hunker down in our hotel room, wondering if the windows should be boarded shut … but the local surfers acted like the circus had come to town … Grabbing their boards and rushing into the seldom-seen swells.

Face it … Technically, The Gulf is ocean … but if a higher power would reach down from heaven and just twist Cuba ever so slightly, the gulf would be totally surrounded by land … one big, landlocked, mud-filled noodling hole. A pond of mud bugs.  I am exaggerating of course, but despite the hyperbole, Galveston Island’s beaches are pretty average.  As my colleague put it … he won’t swim with sharks, unless he can see them.   However … what a great small city, with such a rich history of wealth and influence and monumental storms and casinos and commerce and disasters and slave trade and the Texas Revolution and exploration and what have you.


A mystique … one that prompted Mr. Campbell to pen this immortal line: “I clean my gun, and dream of Galveston.”  So true, Mr. Campbell, so true … LOL … I digress.

So. as I was saying, thanks to storms, silt, off-shore oil production and all the various influences on The Gulf of Mexico … I was not compelled to get in.  Instead, on a few hours away from the Dirty Gig, I cruised the streets.

What a great little city.  The Strand … the activity along the sea wall … the old “painted lady” mansions in the teens of the numbered streets. Great architecture … some vibrant, some faded … amazing that the really old ones are standing, given the history of storms and fires and such.


GAL Angel Distant sizred

But, what caught my eye?  A cemetery …  Typically, that is the last place I’d go (although I have been reading about and tweeting in regards to cemeteries that now offer Wi-Fi … more for the visitors than the residents).

Wi-Fi Cemetery


I made a mental note of the Galveston city cemetery, as I first hit town.  First … I scoped out East Beach and West Beach and then the restaurants.   I hit a great seafood restaurant, Gaidos, a bit of a local institution.  At Gaidos, my server Kaela, a hurdler from a small college in Oregon who moved to Galveston with her family to run a diving company, was one of the better wait persons I have met in my travels — personable, professional, attentive and if she didn’t know the answer to my oyster question, she knew someone who did.

Ha … we discussed the rule of thumb for oysters — eat them in months that have an R in the name … winter months … just as I ordered them raw, in the month of May.  Not to worry, the maitre D explained the rule applies more to the northeast and regions subject to red tide.  Sounded good to me … I let the red sauce and horseradish flow freely and went to work on the mollusca bivalvias. OH … and I was happy to learn Wi-Fi was on the menu too … Actually, the password was printed in the menu … But, the network was “spotty” as Kaela put it.  The Wi-Fi signal … not the catch of the day for me.





Gaidos had a coat/tie aesthetic, but the people made me feel right at home in my Ping shirt, camo shorts, flip flops and licensed-piece attire. I ate the oysters and lived to blog another day, and highly recommend the mahimahi and sautéed asparagus spears although the rice pilaf was more like a bland, pristine mound of starch.  Needs salt … and Wi-Fi — six pings.


Gaidos, since 1911:



GAL RIP Angel 2 sized


More cruising … I drove through downtown and along Broadway … marveled at the architecture, then turned around and went to the attraction that first caught my eye.  Yes … whodathunkit? … I turned away from the ocean waters and went to a cemetery.  I know right.

Had there been more time, I am sure the cemetery would have blown me away … just the Confederate tombstones alone would warrant some research.  Many markers predating the war, too.  More than the historical significance, it was the color that drew me to the cemetery.  Millions of wildflowers had overtaken the grounds, covering everything but the sidewalks and the monuments. Beautiful.  Forgive me for saying it.  I do love Texas.  I do love bluebonnets … but I think “they got nothing on the yellow daisies or Indian paintbrushes or black-eyed susans or Indian blankets or whatever was flourishing there.  Beautiful, I say.

Ha … forgot to mention I was traveling in an old Ford 350 econovan (not by choice) on this trip. Chicks dig that:)  Well, stuffed with raw oysters and my camera memory depleted by shots of flowers and angels and Jesus and cherubs, I turned the van back toward Houston.


Bucees Nuggets

One final note … Buc-ees, the mecca of roadside convenience stores and the land of clean restrooms, aplenty. There’s one in League City, Texas, between Houston and Galveston.  I think this joint was my third Buc-ees.  The first time, my family members were shocked that I did not go in and check out the immaculate bathrooms.  Sorry, I didn’t need to go … and if nature is not calling, then I think restrooms are overrated.  My second Buc-ees … well, I’ll just say it … “I made water” and saw the light.  Amazing how a simple strategy like clean bathrooms can catapult a gas station to legendary status.  And now … yes … I have entered full-fledged Buc-eedom, if you know what I’m saying … a most complete appreciation for the clean facilities, shall we say.  I won’t get into any more details than that, thank goodness …

… Except for this final note … As I sat there, behind closed doors — of course trying to multi-task and looking for Wi-Fi on my phone — I noticed lots and lots of doors slamming.  What’s up with that?  Every time someone finished “they b’ness” there would be a loud door slam.  Was this some Buc-ees rite of passage.  Some ritual … to slam the door as you walked away, triumphantly. “Yeah, I did it!” An exclamation point for the job you have just done so well? … LOL … I swear the first thing that came to mind was the infamous bat flip … the one last year, after Toronto Blue Jay Jose Bautista homered on the Texas Rangers and flipped his bat to tell the world that “he was the man.”  Ha … I thought guys were slamming the doors to demonstrate their Buc-ees prowess and then probably went trotting off to shop for beef jerky and kettle corn with their loved ones … after a job well done.  “Hooray for me” -esque … What a bizarre thought.  I digress … I soon learned that upon exiting the Buc-ees booths, the doors slam behind you automatically … Myth busted.

Well … a few hours later that very day, my old buddy David D. sent to me a message on Facebook about the Texas Rangers game.  I had yet to hear the sports news that day … It was a big day, with this particular highlight being aired over and over around the world … the highlight where Jose Bautista got clocked in the jaw by Ranger’s second baseman Roughned Odor … for a hard slide and because of pre-existing tensions dating back to the infamous bat flip. Ha!  A bat flip … Ha!  The irony … or coinkydink as some of us like to say … or whatever.

Know what I sayin?