The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Willy, Harley (back center), and Gretchen

June was a Whirlwind

This was a very unusual June for us. We did make it out for a trip down to Galveston Island as you saw in a previous post but after that things got more complicated. We did manage to do some fun things. One day Steve took Cameron for a boys day out and Morgan came over and baked cookies at Grandma's.


We headed down to the Pearl Brewery Market Days one Saturday.


Angus likes to go and "meet and greet" all the other people and dogs.
 
Another day found us "rock climbing" with Team Red, White, and Blue. Cameron scrambles up the rock walls like a little monkey. In case you were worried, it is perfectly safe since they have the proper safety gear and can't really fall far.




But it still takes courage and strength.

Steve likes to climb too. His size and weight make it a bit harder even though his muscles are stronger.

Even Morgan gets into the act. I was just there to take photos. lol


 
 
Now the reason why our summer was a little topsy turvy.  Well, DH otherwise known as Dave, had back surgery. He was in the hospital for four days. The initial plan was for him to go to a rehab center but he managed to disqualify himself by being so far ahead of the norm in recovering. The surgeon originally projected three weeks with a walker and then three weeks with a cane but Dave didn't need the walker after he left the hospital and he used the cane one day. A week after surgery he was walking 1/2 mile and a couple of days later, he was walking a mile.  About a week after that he was walking a mile twice a day.


He had three vertebrae fused with pins and a cage put in to replace the missing cushion between the lower two vertebrae.

This was right before he had the staples removed two weeks after surgery. The in home physical therapy was a waste of time but he has been going 3 times a week to the Surgical Centers Physical Therapy for two weeks now. He gets a good workout and it lets him know what he safely do or there would be no holding him back.
 
 
The bottom line for this kind of surgery is that the better shape you are in before you have the surgery, the faster and easier the recovery will be. Dave was walking a mile every night and then doing another mile walking while lifting two 15 pound weights. And yes, being stubborn does have some benefits.



It's a bus, It's a Boat, It's a Duck!

 

Last post from Galveston.  Thursday morning, Helen had to work so we dropped her off at the Sugar Bean Coffee and Cream Shop where they had great Internet access and coffee to keep her fueled. It's located in a neighborhood so not one you just drive by and see. Helen found it on GPS and really liked going there. Once she was settled, the rest of us headed into town for a little sightseeing. See the trumpet sculpture?

There are some really ornate buildings downtown.

The Carnival Liberty ship was in town. The area where cruise ships dock is right by the downtown area.

They have Fishermans's Wharf here too.

The Tall Ship ELISSA is docked right nearby. This is an original ship not a replica. She was built in Aberdeen Scotland in 1877. She is a fully functional ship which sails every summer in ship trials.

There are several restaurants along Pier 21 as well as a view of ELISSA.

This is the Ocean Star, an offshore drilling platform and museum.

We headed back to the RV for a quick lunch and some time with the dogs and then we were off again to pick up Helen for another adventure. We took a tour on a duck!  The DUKW (popularly pronounced DUCK) is a six-wheel-drive amphibious truck that was originally designed inside General Motors Corporation during World War II for transporting goods and troops over land and water and for use approaching and crossing beaches in amphibious attacks. Now you will find that some of these unique vehicles have been retrofitted to be tour machines.

 


After a tour along the Seawall, we headed to the bay side to take a ride on the water in Offat's bayou.

The bayou connects to the bay but we didn't go out there.


You can see the pyramids at Moody Gardens.

Back on land, we drove past a cemetery where the gravestones looked like they were floating in a sea of wildflowers.

Just one of the beautiful mansions along the route.

This is the duck we toured on.

Next on our list was a dinner out on the town. The duct captain recommended Gaido's. This restaurant has been around since 1911, quite a history.  Steve and Helen enjoying oysters on the half shell.

Incredible Galveston Tree Sculptures

When Hurricane Ike hit Galveston Island in September 2008, it covered most of the island in a tidal surge. The damaging combination of powerful winds and waves immediately uprooted many of the city's trees and led to the ruin of thousands. A group of homeowners saw an opportunity to make lemonade from lemons and change destruction into signs of rejuvenation. Today, you will find whimsical tree sculptures instead of the majestic oaks that once lined many neighborhood streets and shaded homes. While you can find the tree sculptures throughout the island, the majority are concentrated in the East End Historic District. It should also be noted that the tree sculptures were paid for by private residents not some government program. You can take a self-guided tour walking, bicycling, or by car. Just pick up a brochure at the Visitor's Center. You can also pay for a bus tour but it is easy to get the brochure and follow along on your own. The Galveston Island Tree Conservancy and Tree Committee worked to ensure 100% of the "Iked" wood was kept out landfills and used for recycling projects. 100 tons was used for restoration of America's only remaining whaling ship. 200 tons went to Malaga, Spain to be used in the completion of a full scale replica of the Brig "Galveztown". Several tons were taken by a local lumber yard to mill and dry for building projects. You can also buy a variety of wooden art pieces through several Galveston art galleries. Now on to the tour..........

Island Totem Pole

Birds of Galveston

Tall Ship ELISSA Figurehead

Great Dane

Pod of Dolphins and Mermaids

Two Crested Herons

Guitar

Another view of Two Crested Herons

Toad

The Geisha

Yellow Lab

Tin Man and Toto

Three Pelicans and Fish

Grandmother Reading to Her Grandchildren

Monument to Galveston's Trees

Where  Have all the Flowers Gone   (This is the only sculpture where part of the tree is still living and only the dead part was sculpted)

Mermaid Holding a Clamshell
 
There were just a couple sculptures on this part of the tour that we couldn't spot or couldn't find a clear shot to photograph them. There are other sculptures scattered throughout the Island and the brochure gives locations for them too but we didn't have time to find them this trip.
 
We all really enjoyed this tour, adults and kids and recommend it as a "must do" in Galveston.

A Ride on the Galveston Bay

Wednesday morning, we moved just up to Galveston Island State Park. The park is actually on both sides of the highway. The beach sites were all booked when I made our reservation so we had to stay on the bay side. Unfortunately, we were busy site seeing and I forgot to get any pictures of the park. The bay side sites are all in a circle and have 30/50 amp electric and water with a dumpstation available. There are grills spaced around in the center of the circle as well as a pavilion but there is a picnic table at each site. It is a little strange that there are no bathrooms here at all. They may be located down the road at the group campsite but they had that in use for some kind of a camp every day. Fortunately we have our own bathroom with shower and large black and gray tanks.

Wednesday afternoon, we headed over to the ferry dock. Definitely recommend a ferry trip for every one. It is free and you can take your vehicle including RVs across or just walk on and ride across and back which is what we did.

You have the option of staying down on the deck or going upstairs where you can sit inside or go out on the balcony which is what we did. You will probably see dolphins swimming alongside the boat as well as lots of other boats and it is a much longer ride than the ferry at Port Aransas.


Seawolf Park is located on Pelican Island, a former immigration station site. The park has a popular fishing pier, picnic site, and playground. It is also home to the WWII submarine the USS Cavalla and one of only three destroyer escorts in the world, the USS Stewart. The remains of the SS Selma, the largest concrete ship constructed, can be seen from the fishing pier.

There was also lots of other shipping traffic in the area.
 


There was an announcement that you were allowed to feed the birds but only from the back of the boat. I guess you  can see why.

It looks like a scene out the Alfred Hitchkock movie, the Birds.

We saw this boat pushing a barge and noticed all the smoke.

Hmmmmmm...........something on the back of the boat was on fire. Looked like they finally got it under control before it disappeared from our sight.
 
We all definitely enjoyed the ferry trip and recommend it. You might see a lot more dolphins than we did.