We use many resources for booking our travel stays. Along with our Texas State Park pass and discovering the Army Corp of America campgrounds, we also like bookdocking. Before we left on our epic journey, Todd discovered a website called Boondockers Welcome (which was bought by Harvest Host earlier this year) and we became members for $50. Basically, its people that also boondock and welcome other boondockers to do so on their property for free or for a small price of $10, $15 or $20 depending on what you need (power, water, etc). The last resource we also use is IOverlander – we used this a tonne on our Baja trip and we continue to use it here. IOverlander tells you where free, wild and pay camping is wherever you are or are heading too. We really like IOverlander as users regularly report in on locations.
After our time at Sea Rim, we planned to boondock for a few days in and around Galveston area. The week before, we had a day trip to the same area to determine our options and we had sortof a plan. Our trek from Sea Rim to Bolivar Peninsula was a whole 1.5 hour drive. We ended up finding a totally different beach at the last-minute right at the Bolivar Flats. This is a VERY hard packed beach and when we pulled in, there were at least 15 other units in there. This beach seemed to go on forever!
Next day we crossed the ferry to Galveston and Ruby had no issues being ferried across the causeway. Although you aren’t technically allowed to camp overnight on any Galveston beaches, we pulled into Stewart Beach for about 36 hours while we walked, biked, toured museums and ate. Decided that we would only use our bikes for the time that we were here, since everything was fairly close.
I haven’t really mentioned much about churches yet in Texas, but OMG it is absolutely unreal the number of churches we see on a daily basis and the number of churches that are in a 2 to 4-block area. The most common types are Methodist, United and Baptist with a Catholic every now and then – usually all within 2 blocks and then about a mile down the road, there are 3 or 4 churches all lined up again. We have consciously tried taming our Alberta trucker mouths the past few weeks….
Lots of history and great things to see in Galveston such as the historic Strand district and the Off-Shore Oil Rig Museum. Strand area was cool, a lot of original historical buildings, but geared towards the Cruise Ship industry so a bit too touristy for us. The off-shore oil rig was pretty cool, and turned out to be “museum day”, ended up being half price (a whole $10 for the 2 of us)! Between this museum and our time in Beaumont, we have concluded that basically, I could be a driller on an oil rig!
Enjoyed some good food as well, we tried gumbo for the first time. Had no idea what it would look like or taste like, but the Big Daddy portion of seafood gumbo that we split was quite good! It’s a stewy concoction with a helping of rice on top. Todd reported that the calamari was excellent, and my raw oysters were outta this world!. There was a fresh fish and seafood market down at the harbour, that we sadly found on the last day. Sad because we could have gone more than once. Jill’s food safety hat was a little sketched out (I won’t go into detail, but there was no shortage of pelicans living on the roof waiting to dive into the water for fish guts being swept off the table into the water). Bought some shrimp and made coconut shrimp, which was delish!
Our last night boondocking was just off I-45 North, at the Cracker Barrel, not far from NASA Space Center. Had no idea this was a thing but found it on IOverlander. There is actually designated RV parking at the back of the restaurant and when we pulled in, there were 2, possibly 3 (it looked like a guy was sleeping in his truck, so we counted him in) other units already there! I’m pretty sure the intent of overnight RV parking is to encourage RV’ers to eat or buy something. Thought about going in for a coffee the next morning, BUT we make such great coffee in our original Black & Decker Space Maker (circa 1989) coffee maker, that we have a hard time “going” for coffee. So we didn’t and then we left, thanks Cracker Barrel. (Sidenote: if there are any Liberty Prevost owners our there with their original coffee maker, keep it and send it to us!) The NASA Space Centre tour was going to be a long day; we had been to the Kennedy Space Centre in Orlando about 7 years ago and didn’t get to see even half of it (due to a rocket launch happening on the same day). This time, we were super prepared with our backpack, snacks, water, rain jackets and at 10:10 we were through the doors and instantly overwhelmed at everything we needed to jam pack into the next 7 hours!
Jumped on the tram tour first off and they took us through a tour of the site buildings, including the astronaut training centre where they use mockups of space life inside this huge training building.
This space center had a big focus on the collaboration at the international space station (ISS) and of the space shuttle launches that hauled everything up to said ISS.
A few other things we learned:
- NASA plans to send people to Mars in the 2030’s and plans to send man back to the moon in 2025
- Space center takes up so much physical land space, they have their own zip code
- Falcon’s can land facing up, the same way they take off. The one below was used twice, unmanned.
- Todd and I are moving to Mars – this is the only place that we will loose weight!
Our brains were overloaded at the end of the day, this is all we remember! It was a long day, but very cool. Headed out of the city to a state park, west of Houston for 2 nites. This was supposed to be a 1.5 hour drive BUT we left during rush hour and it was raining and then it was dark and then there was construction on I-10 and the google took us on a round-about way through poorly lit small town (none of these are conducive to a 40′ bus) when we finally got to the Stephen F. Austin State park (2.5 hours later), it was pitch black and we had to use our special spotlight light to navigate through the park to find our site – may have killed a frog or two on the way in. Tonight’s BBQ menu includes frog legs, can’t wait! We need a day for some RNR after a busy few days in tourist town.