Our next stop was just outside of Houston to a small fishing town called Anahuac. Todd does most of the planning of locations and in his googling, he found out that you can boondock at their park for free for 3 days, with a pass from the Chambers County. We pulled in on a Friday and you can park anywhere there is gravel. The park is directly linked to their boat dock, fishing pier and boardwalk system. There is a lot of intercoastal water ways here, which is really cool.
Since we were only in this area for a few days, we were strategic in our day trips. We had heard there was some boondocking on the south part of Galveston Island, so we planned the day to do this road trip.
About 45 mins later and crossing some funky bridges, we were on the Bolivar Peninsula and started to see the vast beaches. We pulled off the highway a few times to check out them out.
Here we are driving on the breach: Bolivar Peninsula Beach drive
At the bottom of the peninsula, just before the ferry is a place called Fort Travis Park which is a military historic site – this place was cool! Built in the late 1800’s as part of the port military defense, it is a 70-acre fort. Many buildings have been demolished, some fell apart in huricanes, but they still had four batteries standing (well buried actually) and a building that stored all the gunpowder and shells.
Headed to the Ferry to go checkout Galveston Island. Crossing the ferry, we saw quite a few dolphin pods playing in the water. About halfway across the waterway, you could see the brackish water = where fresh meets salt water, the color of the water was VERY obvious (muddy vs clear). It was a quick ferry trip, probably 15 minutes and we were on Galveston Island, where we headed straight to Pelican Island and the Seawolf Park where the Naval Museum is. Here there was a submarine and a battleship that you could do a self-tour inside and out! You know how we love ourselves a museum that includes military boats!
Spent a few hours here, then headed down towards south Galveston Island to see if we could find the boondocking locations. The farther down we went, the bigger the houses on stilts got – this is not a normal site for us land locked Albertans and just seems so weirdly bizarre. At the same time, there were tonnes of points along the peninsula where you could access the beach by car and drive on the beach.
Decided to turn back around towards Galveston to go find us some Texas BBQ and take a quick tour on the north side of the island. We were so surprised at the quantity of locations of beach access and the extensiveness of the beaches.
Headed to the Grand Opera House that night to checkout the Oak Ridge Boys! The opera house was opened in 1894, and for the most part, still retains its glory.
For a bunch of 70 year old guys, they certainly put on a great show! There were a few times during the concert that I flashed back to being 9 years old watching them on variety shows on TV. It was trippy, really cool and fairly cheap for a concert in an intimate setting! Check this video out: Elvira – At the Grand Opera House
By the time we returned back to Ruby for the night, we had been gone for 12 hours and were exhausted!
Next day was planned for Houston, as we knew there was a lot to see and do. Based on what was happening in the city, our location, and that we knew we were coming back to Houston, we picked 5 things and headed out with our bikes on the back of Trixie. I know I’ve talked about the highways and interstates and quadruple overpasses here, but man it is insane to drive through! I still have a hard time with the speed that everyone is going (70, 75 or more MPH), and I’m the navigator, not the driver. Todd loves it because its aggressive and fast. Every so often I eek out a screech, or BRAKES! or watchout! Google maps isn’t the most reliable either, there are many times that the highway goes from 4 lanes to 8 with turns in every direction and google maps says NOTHING! It takes two to navigate for sure, when you do/don’t know where you are going.
Driving through downtown Houston, in some ways reminded me of Calgary – concrete jungle with high rise buildings, but they had a lot more of it of course.
Some highlights from Houston include:
- Water Wall waterfall (largest manmade waterfall in the world – 64’ tall, 11,000 gallons of water per minute)
- Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens – house including all antiques and a 14-acre garden owned by the Hogg family and donated by Ima Hogg (known as the First Lady of Texas). The house was amazing, and right in downtown, it was a beautiful oasis.
- Buffalo Bayou Park – 160-acre greenspace along the river, bike paths underneath the overpasses, pretty cool (I should have taken a video, but I didn’t. We were hoping to also see the Cistern, but it was closed and I’m pretty sure it would have been awesome! (Built in 1926, an underground cistern was used for decades to hold a large portion of Houston’s public drinking water.)
- Market Square Park – a concrete park downtown with some cool art deco
- Graffiti Wall – off a main highway, an old, abandoned building and all sides were covered in graffiti, it was very cool