GNABRT Day 5 – On The Strand and in the stands

GNABRT map - day 5Whew.  Posting these blogs late at night (early morning) is tough enough, but leaving only a few hours for sleep before tomorrow’s 11-hour run to New Mexico?  Mebbe pushing it a bit.

Today was a mix and match day as I spent the early part with my friend and his girlfriend visiting Galveston, Texas.

Nestled against the Gulf of Mexico, there are a number of natural treats to visit as well as many historic and instructional opportunities.  We did a little of both, with a stop first to the Ocean Star Oil Rig Museum, to walk around a rig firsthand and read all about the history of oil exploration.  Ecological issues aside, the ingenuity and courage employed in America’s oil exploration and development is impressive.

We then walked on The Strand, a National Historic District of Victorian buildings, many of which proudly bear signage testifying to their surviving the great storm of 1900.  The area now houses shops and restaurants of all types.

We wrapped up the trip with a ride down the seawall and viewing the activity along the Gulf coast.

Later, my friend and I attended the Astros game at Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston.  I ate my second ballpark dog in two days (on my way to 30 in 73 days) and saw another home team victory.

Even rushing to finish this blog, I will be challenged with tomorrow’s long run over devastatingly dull country and only 4 hours sleep.  There might not be a blog tomorrow simply because there might not be anything to say (I drove a lot?).  Or, I just might be asleep before I hit my hotel bed!

The City:  Galveston, unlike every other city so far on the GNABRT, was not named after a local or American hero.  Its name came from Jose de Evia, who was sent to map the Gulf of Mexico by Spanish colonial governor Bernardo de Galvez.  Evia named the bay Galveston Bay and the city soon took the name as well.  Like Jacksonville, the namesake never set foot in the city named after him.

In 1900 a storm so great that it has since been known simply as “The Great Storm”.  One-third of the city was demolished, 3,600 buildings destroyed and 6,000 people perished.  Over the last 100 years the city has slowly rebuilt itself through remarkable fortitude, but it has never caught up to the growth of its non-devastated sister cities.

My history:  I visited the city once before, on a previous visit with my friend.  That time, we ate at a local seafood spot.  This time, it was an excellent Tex-Mex location.

The game:  Houston Astros vs. Baltimore Orioles.  The Astros are, surprisingly, in first place after years of terrible baseball.  After seeing their lineup on the “big screen”, I confirmed the word “surprisingly”.  Baltimore is struggling after a terrific year last year.

This game presented an interesting conflict for me.  I like to root for the home team on my GNABRT, but the Orioles are my favorite baseball teams.  I resolved to root for both and let whatever happened happen.

The game was full of interesting plays and a well-pitched game until the combination of a bad Oriole relief pitcher and a spunky rally by the Astros allowed the home team to pull out the win in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Home teams are now 2 for 2 with me in attendance.  Slump buster rates are rising, so MLB clubs, book my appearance quickly!

The Tab:  Ticket, $27; Parking, $10; Program, $4; Hot dog, $5.25; Soda, $5.25; Total – $51.50

Miscellany of Day 5:

– Man, I’m just too tired to type more.  I’ll add it to tomorrow’s likely uneventful blog.

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