Coastal Christmas, Day 1

Texas has more than 300 miles of coastline bordering the Gulf of Mexico, so we decided to spend our five-day Christmas break at Galveston, a coastal resort city and port about four hours from Dallas. Our home for our Coastal Christmas was Dellanera RV Park, a beachfront camping site managed by the nonprofit Galveston Park Board. The nine-member board was established by the Texas Legislature in 1962 to promote Galveston Island, its natural resources, attractions, and heritage. Although Galveston is a great tourist destination, we didn’t plan on taking in the island’s many attractions and activities during our stay. Rather, we wanted proximity to the beach.

Galveston is perhaps best known for the hurricane that devastated the island on September 8, 1900, leaving more than 8,000 people dead and a third of its buildings destroyed. It remains the nation’s deadliest natural disaster. In response to the “Great Storm,” the city’s elevation was raised and a 10-mile long, 17-foot high seawall constructed to protect the city.

Jon’s first visit to Galveston was when he was around 10 years old. His mom took him, his brother and sister on a train trip from their home in Illinois to visit his aunt Mary in Houston. He remembered them going to the beach in Galveston and everyone getting terribly sunburned. Cliff also had memories of going to Galveston as a boy, only he was brought there by his older sisters. For both Jon and Cliff, traveling onto the island over the causeway left a lasting first impression.

Nearly 50 years later, we pulled Cloud 9 across that same causeway under overcast skies and breezy conditions. After setting up, we walked to a nearby convenience store to pick up a few items we forgot to pack and returned just in time to watch the network news while enjoying cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Chef Cliff’s dinner consisted of lightly seasoned pork chops, cob corn, shishito peppers, and asparagus, all grilled to perfection. Later in the evening, we settled in to watch Eddie Murphy’s triumphant return to host Saturday Night Live after a 35-year absence. We had no regrets about opting for SNL over a long late-night walk along the wind-swept beach.

A few things we learned along the way are worth sharing:

  1. It’s never a good idea to drive through a construction zone while holding a chihuahua in one hand and eating a spicy crispy chicken sandwich with the other.
  2. Generally speaking, people vying for an open gas pump rarely give way to a travel trailer, even if it is an American icon.
  3. Tiny burs, when trapped between a doggy’s paws or inside daddy’s shoe, can be debilitating.