TRIP 2008

Update #28 - December 13th
High Island, Texas
1180 miles (1888 KM) since November 15th
10,147 miles (16,235 KM) since January 01st

No matter what good intentions you might have things do not always go as you hope they would. I was really hoping to find some agency or ministry on Galveston Island where I could try and do some volunteer work to help out with the rebuilding and recovery after Hurricane Ike.

All during my trip to Galveston whenever I could get connected to the internet, I tried to see what agencies or ministries were still doing recovery work in the Galveston area. I'm sorry to say that I didn't find very much. Most of the big agencies like the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army had closed down their main operations by the second half of October. I had some leads to some smaller ecumenical disaster relief ministries between Houston and Galveston but when I checked them out in person I found out that they closed last month.

I got into Galveston around 4 PM on Monday, December 08th. There was supposed to be an information center for volunteers at the city hall but it was too late for me to check it out. I rode over to my friend's house to see what condition it was since it was just a few blocks away from the Gulf of Mexico and the sea wall. I was hoping that my friends would have been home and I would be able to stay with them a day or two while I checked things out. I was happy to see that my friend's house didn't suffer much damage but I was unhappy that they were not home. They were actually on a business trip to the East Coast. This blew my plans out.

There were not that many motels open. When I checked out the rates, they were way above what I could afford. The only option that I had was to take the ferry off of Galveston Island and start my trek back east. I didn't know what to expect when I got off the ferry. There was just utter destruction. Everything was pretty well wiped out.

Of the four small towns on the barrier island east of Galveston Island, only one town was left standing. That was High Island. The small towns of Crystal Beach, Gilchrist, and Port Bolivar were basically washed away. I spent the night in the remains of the Bay Area Methodist Church west of Crystal Beach. There wasn't much left standing. The only room that had all four walls and ceiling in tact was the sanctuary. I pitched my tent where the altar should have been. At least, it was reasonably dry and I was out of the rain.

On Tuesday, Dec. 09th, I was just planning to ride the 40 miles between Crystal Beach and Winnie. I was either hoping that the small motel there would be open or I would be able to connect with somebody at the local Baptist Church. It rained.

As I was making my way through High Island, this guy called out from his truck to offer me a place to get out of the rain. George, who is 79, lives by himself in a three bedroom house. His wife had died a couple of years ago. He told me that I could stay with him as long as I wanted to. I needed a day or two off the road since I hadn't been able to take a day off since Thanksgiving in the Hattiesburg, Mississippi area. I was going to head out Thursday, Dec 11th but it snowed during the night. It was really wild seeing the inch or two on the ground but it was pretty well gone by noon. Thursday afternoon, I came down with a mild fever. I'm staying on through tomorrow so that I could attend service at George's Baptist Church here in High Island.

I'll be heading out again Monday, Dec. 15th. I already have an invite to visit and possibly stop at an agency in Thibidoux, Louisiana. After Thibidoux, I'll be riding through Houma where Hurricane Gustaf made landfall. Also, I'll be possibly stopping at the Presbyterian disaster volunteer center in Luling, Louisiana. Groups stay at the center to do relief work in New Orleans. Will just have to see what is still open since it is just 12 days away from Christmas.

next update will be posted between December 20th and December 27th.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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