Two Days in Galveston, Texas

Could you handle being in a car for 13 anxious hours? What if you've miserably lived in a landlocked state your entire life; surrounded by only grass, dirt, and dust? That you've been dreaming of the day that you'll finally feel that ocean breeze for the first time? I don't know about you, but I was willing to go that length. 

I'm no stranger to road trips. In fact, I had been on one already this summer to Quapaw, Oklahoma. Still, I was eager to get back on the road. This time to Galveston, Texas. 

galveston texas

Not My First Rodeo

I had been to Texas a couple of years ago. My sisters, dad and I went on a week long road trip of the Southwest. One of our stops was in Amarillo to see the Cadillac Ranch. But the unbearable smell of manure, religiously influenced political road signs and the sight of slaughterhouses deterred me from wanting to ever see the state ever again. No offense. 

However, Texas is the home state of my grandparents on my mother's side, so I guess I've got some Texan in my blood somewhere… 

My dad decided we'd drive down to Galveston, hang around for two days, then come back home. Our main goal was to get in the Gulf. None of us had ever been in the ocean before. The trip would be one last shebang before summer break comes to an end. 

Despite my previous feelings about Texas, my excitement knew no bounds. I've seen the ocean in pictures, in movies; I've even seen it through a plane window, but I've never got to experience it firsthand. My childhood dreams were never about Disney World, but swimming in the ocean. 

little down under, but I'm feeling O.K.

Been driving five hundred miles, got five hundred to go
I got rock and roll music on the radio
I got a brother on a rig just off the gulf coast
He says the girls down there, well they’re really the most
— Bruce Springsteen, "Light of Day"
galveston texas
galveston texas
galveston texas

We arrived close to midnight on Thursday to our Motel 6 room that's a walking distance from Dennys. We opened the door and were warmly greeted by cockroaches. 

I was feeling quite sick last week, and all I wanted to do was get to bed.

Despite being dingy and cockroach-infested, that motel had some of the best coffee I've ever tasted in a while. Reminded me of my old church… The taste of Sunday salvation. I didn't realize how much I missed it. 

We walked over to Dennys for breakfast. Our waitress gave off one of those tough-meets-glamorous vibes that most older mothers that have lived a lot of life seem to have. On our way out, we involuntarily met some of the friendliest pelicans in the country.

Dennys is still Dennys no matter where you are.

We Are Ocean Bound

The plan was to spend the day at the ocean. Our motel was on the edge of Texas City, and the anticipation of the drive to Galveston was excruciating. 

We drove through the marshes; we were getting closer to the ocean by the second. It's hard to believe that it is the sight for some every day. On their way to work, their mundane lives, just beside a magnificent sight. It makes me wonder what I take for granted and can't even realize it. 

galveston texas

Finally, we were in Galveston. It was such a colorful town that reeked of cultural history. The classic architecture was alluring. Some of the luxury homes were almost castle-like. It was diverse and welcoming, a lot like Kansas City. 

We drove all along the coast just taking it all in before we secured our spot for the day. I felt like a little kid wanting to run out on the shore. 

The sand was softer than I'd imagined. In Kansas, we have mostly man-made lakes, with the grainiest, hottest sand you'd ever put your feet in. But this sand was soft like silk, and it didn't even burn the soles of your feet. 

We quickly slathered on sunscreen, laid out our towels, and ran joyously toward the mighty waves. I was euphoric. I didn't care about anything but getting in that sparkling water. 

galveston texas

One thing I've learned is that there's no shame in genuine excitement. There's no reason to feel embarrassed when you're full of joy. There's nothing like letting yourself feel and feel things fully. That's what I did. Justly holding onto that childlike enthusiasm makes things even more special than what they seem to be. 

This wasn't a personal experience; this was the first time my sisters had been in the ocean as well. We got to share that moment together with our dad. We're not kids anymore but for that moment we got to be again. 

We spend the entire day getting knocked over by waves, collecting shells, and soaking up the sun. (Maybe a little too much. My nose got sunburn and my older sister and dad were much worse off.)

I slept soundly that night with my blistered skin still warm. My bones still felt like they were floating gently.

Traveling like Locals

We spent the first half of the next day out on the strand. We went into so many local stores that I lost count. I bought a couple of remarkable things. 

I try not to fall for touristy souvenirs and try to bring back some unique items. At one antique shop, I found some James Dean memorabilia. Finding these kinds of things at home is exciting, but finding them somewhere else is a certain kind of special. 

When we had enough of shopping we went back to the beach. It was a moderately  gloomy day. The winds were blowing strong and the waves were getting more massive, causing them to be even more fun but quite scary at times. 

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Looking at the waves was like looking at a chest rise and fall. The water was breathing. There was nothing to throw it off its rhythm. It picked up, it got slow, but it kept moving. It didn't care about anything else. Everything happens at once. There's no beginning, no middle, no end. Just a continuous flow and continuous crash. I let myself be a part of it. 

We stayed at the beach until sunset, took some final pictures and said our last goodbyes.

I don't know how long it will be until I see the ocean again but when I was looking at it for the last time, I was already missing it. 

We woke up the following day at 4 AM and promptly began our drive home. We listened appreciatively to a variety of doo-wop, 60s soul, rock n roll and country folk. 

We spent two days in Galveston and two days on the road, but time seemed to slip away back at the ocean. It didn't go by fast nor did it go by slow, it just happened. You can't find authentic contentedness like that anywhere else these days. I'll be craving that feeling until I do.  

There are only 3 more precious weeks of summer break left, and I couldn't think of a more perfect way to end it. 

Thanks, dad.