Sunday, February 1, 2009

ROAD TRIP!! Galveston...

First off, I'm not going to go into great detail about the end of the insurance saga, except for the fact that we won. I do want to thank everyone who sent comments, suggestions and personal e-mails. Even though the other driver was adamant about her innocence, the police report and proof of damage to Jon's vehicle said otherwise, and her insurance company accepted liability. It wasn't so much about the money for was more about the justice. So the result was semi-satisfying considering that it took a month. It was a very weary-ing experience to say the least. Now we have the overwhelmingly fun job of looking for another inexpensive vehicle for Jon. Personally, I think I'd rather have a sharp stick in my eye.

One good thing is that the insurance company did finally give me this little sporty job to tool around in for a week.

Since I've been house-bound for the past four weekends because I let Jon use my car to get to his jobs, I decided to take advantage of the unlimited miles and go down to Galveston to check it out. I've never been there and since I love the ocean, I grabbed my camera and took to the road. Mapquest said it would take about 3-1/2 hours to get there. They didn't take into account stopping and taking pictures every 20 miles or so, however. (Those will be posted on another blog post.) I didn't get there until about 3:00, so I drove around to familiarize myself with the area.

Here is the big hotel zone there. Most of the hotels are across the road from the beach. The walkway you see here stretches for quite a few miles along the southern coast. It's nice...kind of reminds me of the walkway in Corpus Christi, only longer. It was a little chilly, so no one was in the water. I don't even know if you can actually swim here.

Several statues along the walk.

This is what it looks like across the road from the walkway. There are many large motels along the road...I'm sure they do a bustling business in the summer.

There was a guy playing the bongos for money.

I love these guys because they're all facing the same way and look they're ready to go for a jog down the beach.

I wanted to see what other parts of Galveston offered so I turned inland and found these beauties. Now this is real southern charm, grandeur and history.

Here's one with a widow's walk. You don't see those anymore.

There's such incredible detail in these places.

Okay, so now on to the not-so-good. Hurricane Ike hit Galveston in early September. After driving around, you would have thought it hit last week. There is still MUCH devastation even after five months. The buildings on the beach obviously sufffered the most damage.

A lot of these establishments are closed and don't look like they're even being repaired. These places are along the walkway.

Damaged homes were abundant.

This one doesn't look damaged, but I had to include it because it reminded me of...

...this place on Isla...

This one probably left the biggest impression on me. It's on the far western side of the walkway in a community of similar homes. How crazy is it that the winds tore the roof and wall off this house, but the furniture, TV and bed linens are still in tact?

Many large apartment complexes were deserted.

And big piles of scrap and debris were all over the island.

As were boats. I don't know if these boats were where the wind happened to blow them, or whether they were put there. But they definitely didn't belong there.

I ended up staying overnight because I got there so late and was way too tired to drive back. All of the inland hotels I checked were full, but I managed to get a room at the La Quinta for a very reasonable price considering it was across the street from the beach. So this was my view on my walk the next morning.

When I visited Corpus Christi last year, I was really turned off by the brown water with lots of "stuff" in it. The water here seemed much cleaner and not so brown. Though it wasn't "Isla blue," it was still the Gulf of Mexico.

I walked further west on the walkway and saw a pier that was no more.

This is what that same pier looked like near the shore. From a distance, I could see the truck (you can barely see it in the picture on the far right) and thought that maybe someone was working there on the repairs.

As I got closer, I could see that that truck wasn't going anywhere soon.

Going even further west, I came along a community that was obviously a little more well off. These places looked like they had no damage whatsoever. My guess is that they had the money to make any necessary repairs right away, as opposed to many people who didn't.

You're supposed to be able to cross a long tollbridge at the west end of the island onto the mainland. I got to the bridge, but the toll booth was closed...although the bridge was open. I drove across the bridge and came to a "Road Closed" sign at the other side. You could drive around the sign and I saw other people driving around, so I continued on. As I drove down the road, I saw signs that said, "Continue at your own risk," then saw this...

The double yellow lines are supposed to be the middle of the road...which is falling away. Needless to say, I turned around and went back. I don't think Enterprise would have been very understanding if I had lost their car to a crumbling my own risk.

All in all, it was a pretty depressing trip. I wish I could have seen it before Ike. Now it's like there's a pall over the island with a feel of imminent death. There are MANY business places that are closed and empty with the probability that they won't be back. There's also a quietness about the place which is heavy. You drive by deserted homes with curtains blowing in the breeze through broken windows, and gutted office buildings with the remains of furniture strewn about. None of these places look like they're going to be repaired any time soon...especially with today's economy. There are many billboards advertising help with insurance problems...and lots of hand-drawn signs advertising construction and repair work.

Who would not want to wake up with a beautiful ocean view every morning?

But these people have paid a huge price by doing so...and many will obviously not recover what they have lost. How sad.


Life's a Beach! said...

Deb, so glad the insurance problem got solved! The older homes in Galveston look beautiful, but it looks like a ghost town. Between the hurricane and the current economy, you have to wonder how long it will take it to rebuild and bounce back. Pretty sad! Thanks for all the great photos!

Vee said...

Great photojournalism, Deb. Those older homes are amazing. I've never seen a widow's walk like the one in your photo. Many homes in Beaufort, NC, have them, but not like that! How sad that the damaged buildings are just sitting there decaying. After your insurance woes, can you imagine what these homeowners are dealing with? Glad you resolved your problem, btw.

Jamqueen said...

Glad you got the insurance thing straightened out! those older homes are beautiful!

Islagringo said...

Congrats on the win and kudos for taking their car for a drive! As to all those houses and businesses that have done nothing to repair and all those boats just lying you think they all have State Farm too!

Isla Deb said...

Thanks, all. Yes, going down there and seeing all that devastation helped to put things in perspective. Things could always be worse.