May 24-31, 2022
After a fantastic and exciting week in New Orleans we were ready for a holiday within a holiday! So, we packed up the car and hit the road again for the 400 mile drive to the beach resort of Galveston in another new state for us – Texas!
We had booked three days in a lovely Airbnb in an apartment complex with a pool. It was located a couple of streets back from the beach. That evening we had a steak dinner at the Saltgrass Steak House and then parked ourselves on bar stools at a great dive bar, the Island Pier Club and planned what we would do for the next few days.
Our plans were scuppered though when the next morning Richard felt ill and tested positive for Covid. It was bound to catch up with us at some point! Jo caught Covid three months later on Vancouver Island.
Luckily, only one of us caught it each time and didn’t pass it to the other (thank you vaccinations!) and so when one was sick the other was able to drive, if necessary, and buy supplies, groceries and take aways to keep us going whilst the other recovered and stayed away from other people.
Galveston is a chilled out beach resort. Perhaps the sand isn’t as powder fine as in Florida but the beaches are lovely and the sea wasn’t too cold.
So, no beach for Richard but that didn’t stop Jo from going!
It is also a great place for birdwatching with lots of wading birds so Jo also ventured out to find some good birdwatching spots. We had been recommended a neat App – the Audubon Bird Guide. You can search for specific areas and it will show you what type of birds have been seen there recently. Here are some of the birds we saw with our best guess at identifying them. Please do comment if you can identify them and confirm our guesses or correct us!
After three nights in Galveston, we had to move on as we couldn’t extend our accommodation booking. It was a holiday weekend and city folks were descending on the beach. We were sorry to leave. Richard was still ill and testing positive so we decided to book an apartment in Houston where we could hole up for a few nights. We hoped that in a few more days Richard would then be feeling better and testing negative. As we drove through and out of Galveston we were accompanied by stunning views of the coast and beaches that extended for miles.
We booked a nice apartment in Houston as we expected that we would be spending a lot of time in it! Sadly, because Richard was ill we weren’t able to visit the Houston Space Center or any other attractions in Houston. We also regretfully concluded we should remove Austin from our itinerary as Richard would not be feeling well enough to enjoy it and the friends we had planned to see in Austin were also recovering from Covid. We also had a deadline by which we needed to drop the car in San Francisco so couldn’t wait too long before continuing with our journey. A great shame but we hope to visit Austin another time perhaps visiting when the Formula 1 Grand Prix is taking place or a music festival. Luckily, the apartment complex had an outdoor swimming pool so Jo was happy (it doesn’t take much).
So, we didn’t see any of Houston but we did watch a lot of news and sadly it was dominated by the aftermath of a devastating school shooting which took place at Uvalde school in Texas on 24 May. Twenty-one lives were lost making it the deadliest school shooting to have taken place in Texas. The National Rifle Association (NRA) held its annual convention in Houston whilst we were there and it was horrifying to watch them maintaining that the shooting was not impacted by the arms legislation, that rather than reducing access to guns it should be extended, and that schools would be safer if teachers were also armed.
After four more days of rest and isolation, Richard was starting to feel better and so we decided to continue our journey and head for the next stage which was to drive along a section of Route 66 starting at Amarillo. We needed to break the 600 mile journey to Amarillo so we stopped for the night in the town of Wichita Falls (no connection to Wichita Lineman song made famous by Glen Campbell but it didn’t stop us singing it). That evening Richard took a Covid test which came up negative and he was feeling well enough to venture out for a quiet dinner and a couple of drinks at the Backporch Drafthouse.