Sunday, March 10, 2019

Texas - Crystal Beach - part two

Crystal Beach

It seems that we were not supposed to leave Crystal Beach. Our original plans were to leave on February 20, 2019. We planned to head north to Texarkana to get a picture of a Peter "Wolf" Toth Indian that we missed, and then head east through Little Rock, AK back to Asheville. Upon checking the weather for our route we discovered that the temperatures would be dropping down into the 20's. If you have followed us for any length of time you know that we avoid those temperatures whenever possible.
So, we decided to stay for another week, well that turned into two weeks. We were all set to leave on March 6th but Les woke up that morning with a terrible case of vertigo so we once again extended our stay two more days. While we were sad to leave on March 8th, and we will miss this place we are excited to start our journey home to Asheville.

Part one of this stop was posted a couple of weeks ago, you can find it here.
Our extended stay allowed us some more time on the beach. The sand, the waves, the birds and the sea salt smell are like heaven.
We had so much fun combing the beach for sea glass and shells. One outing was on a very chilly morning, but fun was had by all. While we gathered glass, Mielikki made a new friend. If you notice the golf cart in the background, that is the owners of the other dog. They were "walking" the dog. LOL. Apparently they are smarter than us.

We found these interesting jelly blobs, there were well over 30 of them along the stretch we walked. Still not exactly sure what they are, but it seems they are some type of Sea Salps.

Unfortunately we continued to find more trash. These two items made us chuckle.

A cassette tape, does anyone really listen to these anymore? The CD title is The Essential Clash, which is exactly what is seems humans and the beach are engaged in!
Mielikki was just happy to be running on the beach. By the way, she is a great trash collector. She finds all the empty water bottles, of course she thinks they are toys.

Staying longer also meant we were here for the Bolivar Peninsula Mardi Gras Parade. They close Hwy 87, the only main road on the peninsula and the route came right past our campground.

It was great fun, most of the stores in the area had a float and there were a number of decorated golf carts and jeeps.

We came away with close to 150 strands of beads. No, we did not have to flash anyone to get them.
Most of the people on the floats were so happy to see Santa, aka Les, that they threw a ton of beads at him. They all kept yelling out Hey Santa!!

Two little girls in Michigan will be thrilled when they receive all of these beads.

We also spotted Elvis! He's looking pretty good.

Nancy found a painted rock outside one of the stores. She left one of her own in its place. She plans to hide this one along the way back to Asheville.

Being in desperate need of bath towels we made a trip north to Beaumont, TX to a Bed, Bath and Beyond. We also found a Goofy Muffler Man.

Of course we headed back to Galveston, again it was a chilly and foggy day. We found some wonderful Murals and Roadside Oddities.

These are all on one wall and the murals extended out onto the sidewalk.

We loved the interactive ones. Nancy turned into a Butterfly.

You even get to become a Super Hero.

The Balloon and Umbrella were equally fun!

We found a few others while driving through the rest of the Historic Strand District. 

Giant Sea Turtles are waiting for you, along with a Dalmatian. That Fire Hydrant looks big enough for him to do his business! The Giant Trumpet might be a little hard to play, but think of the sound that would come out of it. The Archway looks like a Mardi Gras display but it has been welcoming people for many years.

Port Arthur, TX is about an hour away and is the hometown of Janis Joplin and a number of interesting Roadside Oddities.

This Conch Shell Wall is claimed to be the only one outside of the Caribbean. It is at the entrance to what is now abandoned apartments. Even as it deteriorates you can see that it was beautiful in its day. It was built in 1929, the shells were imported from the Caymen Islands.

The replica of the Statue of Liberty was a Boy Scout project and she stands on the campus of Lamar State College.

The largest oddity we found was at the Queen of Vietnam Catholic Church. They have a beautiful garden full of sculptures.
The 20-foot tall Mary is standing on a globe in the center of the garden. There are statues of St. Peter, St Joseph and Vietnamese Martyrs. 

The outer wall is lined with carvings depicting various stages of Jesus's life and the crucifixion.

The Museum of the Gulf Coast is a really interesting place. Filled with local and regional history dating back to the time of the dinosaurs. We were greeted like old friends and thoroughly enjoyed our visit. The first thing you notice when you start your tour of the museum is the giant mural that depicts the region from dinosaurs to oil rigs.

There are plenty of hands on activities for kids of all ages. Les tried his hand at archaeology and Nancy had fun playing with the seashells. The display of wildlife was beautiful, those are alligator eggs in the grass mound. Their nests can measure 7 to 10-feet in diameter and 2 to 3-feet high. The females generally lay 35 to 50 eggs, although some have laid as many as 90. The eggs are covered in vegetation and hatch after a 65-day incubation period.

Their Music Hall of Fame is what brought us here. The room is filled with information about Texas artists. There is a jukebox so you can listen to their music while reading all about them.
You can't miss the large sculpture of Janis Joplin (January 19, 1943 - October 4, 1970) when you enter the room, or the replica of her funky painted Porsche. (The original one is at the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame)

Showcases are filled with memorabilia from her childhood through her short but successful career.

A birthday note to her mom inviting her to dinner and a college of pictures throughout her life were just two of the items.

We never knew that she was also a talented visual artist. The Scarecrow and Jack-O-Lantern drawings were done when she was just 10 years old, the portrait is of a friend when he received his draft notice in in the late 1960's.

 She grew up in this house. There is a historical sign on the front lawn telling the story of her life. The current owners have planted shrubs and trees for a little privacy. 
The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway comes through Port Arthur.
It is a portion of the Intracoastal Waterway that stretches approximately 1,050-miles from Carrabelle, Fl to Brownsville, TX. It was busy the day we were here with barges and tugboats.

We'll leave you with a few of the sunsets we enjoyed while here.

Next up is our travels back to Asheville, NC.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Storage space or the lack there of.
As you know we have very little storage space so anything that helps give us a little more space and to be a little more organized always gets our attention.
We came across these bags one day while shopping and figured we would give them a try. We have a small cubbyhole in our bedroom. Actually there was a TV in it originally, but we got rid of that when we realized how much storage the space gave us. We store our extra sheets and blankets along with off season clothing. Which for us is generally cold weather clothes. We were using one of our mesh laundry baskets which worked but took up space.

These bags are easy to use and come in a variety of sizes. You simply fill the bag, seal the end and then vacuum the air out. This one started out at 15" high and ended up 4" high. In a tight space that is a lot of extra room.

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