Action Adventure Vacation 2008 Part V – Finale

On Friday, we woke up to see that the storm had passed, and it was a bright and sunny morning. We donned our swimsuits and headed south on I45 toward Galveston. The drive was a relatively easy one. Something I’ve noticed is how the driving populace reacts to weather changes. When a front or weather system is on its way, people act weird behind the wheel. At the cessation, with fair weather coming in, they tend to normalize and relax. This was one of those days. Crossing the water to the island was amazing.

I had another one of those moments where a childhood memory came to surface. It seemed that I had been here before, and I seem to recall visiting family friends in the Houston area years (possibly decades) ago, with a side trip to Galveston. I recall going to a hole-in-the-wall seafood joint where I had one of my first (if not my very first) experience eating calamari. It was not sliced rings like I’ve seen since, but rather tiny whole squids fried to perfection. I remember it creeping me out before I actually tasted it, and I have loved calamari since.

Driving through Galveston, Jenni and I enjoyed the architecture and the propensity of restaurants labeled “Doughnuts Kolaches Burritos”. Seems like one heck of a combination, doesn’t it? I imagine that would cause some gastric problems for me, anyway. We giggled at the Washaterias versus the Laundramats that we have in our area. I45 became Broadway just as I235 becomes Broadway in our home town. And similarly, it eventually ended. We were spat out on the beach and looked for a place to park.

We passed up two crowded beaches that had an eight-dollar-entry fee. We found a sign on a gravel parking lot marked “Pedestrian Beach Access”. I was thrilled by the fact that there were only a hand-full of cars parked in this lot. We locked all of our stuff in the trunk of the car – including our phones – and ventured down the hot gravel path toward the slate-colored sandy beach. Sure enough, there were several other parties on this beach, but they were mostly couples that seemed to have no interest in anything but each other – perfect. The water was breath taking. It was the perfect color of blue-green, the waves were gently breaking with 3- to 5-foot peaks. Although the air was hot, there was a cool breeze coming off the water, and the water was the perfect temperature. I can’t tell you what that is, but that it was.

The experience was mesmerizing, and I was reminded of how foreign salt water is to me, having always lived in a land-locked state. We took pictures of each other and the birds. We collected a few shells and water-worn stones. We romped in the waves like a couple of kids. It was relaxing and wonderful. Eventually, we decided to make the trek back up to the car. By the time we got to the car and got dressed, by feet were on fire from the gravel.

We left the beach in search of a place to get a drink. We wound up at Fish Tales, near the beach. We were seated at the corner of their outside balcony, overlooking the beach beyond the street below us. Looking at their drink menu, I became aware that it consisted of the girly, frou-frou drinks. I didn’t really want to bother interrogating the waiter on what else I might be able to get, and I didn’t really want a beer, so when Jenni ordered the “Hammer Head” I ordered the same. The drink he brought was a small fish bowl of iced sugar-watter with an ounce or two of some kind of rum in it. There was a spear of fruit salad across the top. When I squeezed three types of citrus wedges from the spear into my drink, it became palatable.

We ordered the “Shrimp Kisses” which are butterflied shrimp stuffed with cheese and wrapped in bacon before going to the grill, and of course calamari. The food was wonderful, including the fresh-baked sourdough loaf that was brought to our table. As we ate, the little avian beggers eyed us hungrily. Pigeons and starlings circled our table like little feathered sharks. There were even a couple of sea gulls that hovered over the banister, clearly weighing the risk of our retaliation if they decided to snatch a bite from our table. The birds were not bothersome though, only very present. When we finished our snack, I tore chunks off one small piece of bread that we had left and watched the pigeons vie for the crumbs. Jenni fed two of them from her hand. No, they weren’t tame at all!

Once we had no further excuse to hang around, we started back north on I45. Curtis called Jenni’s phone on our way up the highway. Apparently, he had tried mine when it was in the trunk at the beach. He said that he was grilling burgers and we could come by any time we wanted to. When we got to Curtis and Andrea’s house, Kay was already there, and Curtis was in the pool – drinking a beer and smoking a cigar. I stopped at the bathroom on my way through and Jenni went to the back yard. When I got out there she was in the pool, and Curtis asked me, “Dude, what’s with the clothes?”

I said that they do come off, and stripped to my swim trunks that I had worn under my jeans all day. I too had a cigar and a beer in the pool. A couple of hamburgers and several beers later, after much great conversation, Jenni and I excused ourselves a little on the early side. We said our good-byes and headed back to Kay’s house. We changed into clean, non-salty clothing and slipped out again. We located a small place where we could sit and have a scotch and chat about our week. We each had a Glenlivet on the rocks, and had a great time people-watching – as we always do. We went to sleep relatively early, and woke up relatively early to make our trip home.

We didn’t realize that we were leaving on Saturday morning until Saturday morning. We honestly felt like we could have stayed another week, but we didn’t feel like we needed to. So over coffee we loaded up the car, and all of our new-found treasures, said our good-byes to Kay, and headed north on I45.

She told us that we needed to stop by the smokehouse in Centerville, TX. As it turned out, Centerville was about where we needed to stop for gas and a restroom, so it made the perfect pit stop. They had a buffet-style cafe line where we got smoked German sausage and ribs, beans, jalapeños, and free iced tea, although I opted for water. The food was good, and the stop was welcome.

On the drive home, Beej called us and asked if we felt up to meeting at the gun range. We had brought our guns in the hope that we might find a range in the Houston area to visit, but wound up not making such an outing. The thought of doing a little shooting on the way back into town was nice. We had fun in the range, but only had the patience and stamina to do that for a little while. We got to try shooting her newly purchased Sig P225, and I picked up the knife that I won in the drawing last weekend. When we got home, it was drinks and relaxation.

As anticlimactic as it always is, we are now back to business as usual. This has been one of our better trips, though.

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