Today as we left Houston we made an impromptu run by Galveston. It was about an hour away, but we had already traveled so far, tacking on another hour seemed worth it. We wanted to see the impact of Hurricane Ike two months later. I think people were only allowed on the island about a month ago, and we knew, via news reports how bad things would be, and I've known through first person accounts from Houston friends how much damaged was sustained throughout the city, I could only imagine seeing where the storm actually came ashore. Sure enough, rubble still lines the city, and most of the people on the island seemed to be a mix of long time residence who were fortunate to be back in their homes, and lots of workmen in trucks. There were still boats lining gas station parking lots, and roadsides where they were swept ashore during the storm. The beach front was completely bare of the marinas, shops, and restaurants that used to extend out over the water.
Many of the large rocks that broke the surf had been swept....somewhere, and the rails along the stairwells that lead to the beach from the ten foot drop down to the beach were completely crushed and crippled.
Even the marker that memorializes the last great Hurricane, and the wall that was built to lift the island to protect if from other storms had the huge stones moved about half a foot to suspend off center until repairs can be made. The Flagship, which we have stayed at many times (see April 2, 2007 for our last trip to the Island and a view of this hotel and shops) has a gapping hole where they used to be a ramp that led to the hotel, windows were stills shattered, and there was a large hole in the front where you could see into hotel rooms. There were some restaurants that had reopened, and some hotels, but the Strand area (which is maybe a mile across the island overlooking the Harbor) was a complete ghost town with nothing. It was really sad. I knew this is how the news reports had described the island, but it was so sad to see. I am looking forward to seeing them rebuild the island. I know it won't be the same, but I have no doubt I'll still be able to enjoy this spot in the future.
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