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Terry & Dave Taylor

Beyond the End

Lake Charles, Louisiana: Can you believe, we are no longer in Texas? It is a big state and we spent 18 days crossing Texas by following the Rio Grande to the Gulf and following the Gulf to Louisiana. Plus, when we ever decide to point this bus back to Oregon, we plan to visit Texas on the way home too.

We left Palacios and followed Highway 35 to Galveston. Devastation from Hurricane Ike is everywhere, but most businesses are open and many homes have been repaired. Hotels along the seawall were open, but it didn't look like there were many tourists.

Galveston, Texas
This hotel has not reopened (obviously)

We drove all the way to the end of the point east of Galveston. Here everything is simply gone - with debris piled up by bulldozers. I made lunch and then took a few photos.

Galveston, Texas
Notice the Red Cross box... and even the kitchen sink

Galveston, Texas
This was once a motel with small shop stalls. (Notice the ships in the bay.)

At Galveston, the road ends - yet continues - via a free state-operated ferry, to a barrier island that leads back to the mainland.

Galveston/Bolivar Ferry
Waiting to board the ferry

Galveston/Bolivar Ferry
On board

Galveston/Bolivar Ferry
Another (identical) ferry

Galveston/Bolivar Ferry
20 minutes later, we reached Bolivar Peninsula - the two dudes in the red pick-up came into
the Magna Peregrinus for a tour while we were on the ferry!

Galveston/Bolivar Ferry
Our turn to exit

While on the ferry, a lady asked us where we were headed. I said... "east". She owned a RV park up the road... but they were full. She said we wouldn't be able to find a campsite for 100 miles - every site was being used by FEMA employees and hurricane workers. She also said the damage in Galveston was nothing compared to what we were about to see in Bolivar.

She wasn't kidding.

It was like Galveston was just a little wind-blown during Hurricane Ike compared to the barrier island. There is barely a thing standing and what was left has been bull-dozed into neat little piles, ready for removal. There is enough litter, debris, smashed cars and muck left after five months to only give a hint of the true destruction. We were shocked.

I made a video while we were driving, because I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Be prepared, it is appalling.

Hurricane Ike - 5 months later

And, we did have to continue on. DT drove and I phoned campgrounds. No openings. Finally we were getting close to the Louisiana border and all sorts of casino billboards started showing up and every RVer knows Casino = free parking. Sure enough, so here we are parked between a 40-foot-container and lamp post, under a major interstate freeway... and just for fun - next to the train track at the Isle of Capri Casino.

Isle of Capri Casino

Isle of Capri Casino
Know what? I've been to the Isle of Capri and it didn't look anything like this.

Since we are parking (i.e. camping) free overnight in their RV parking area, we thought it would only fair to go inside and give them some of our money (or if we were lucky, take some of their money)in the casino. We only gambled for about 20 minutes - it was just too smoky for me, so we decided to give them some of our money by dining in one of their four restaurants... except only one of their restaurants was open and it was a buffet.

Louisiana is pure torture to the kosher-only animal diner. Louisianans know how to eat, and nearly all of their most famous dishes - gumbo, etouffee, muffaletta, jambalaya - are made with pork and/or shellfish. Torture. If you don't eat pork and you don't eat shellfish in Louisiana... well, you are gonna starve yourself at a all-you-can-eat $16.95 buffet!

Isle of Capri Casino
I had chicken cutlets, a mozzarella stick and half of DT's beef - and a salad. My Driver had beef, pasta, bread and the largest chicken breasts we had ever seen. Just as we were finishing our meal, they brought out a massive bowl of peel & eat shrimp on ice. DT had several!
(Photo taken with my phone.)

Thank goodness they haven't figure out how to make a bacon beignet yet!

We are in for the night. But it is like sleeping in a freeway median strip... don't suppose we will get a lot of sleep tonight and DT is already worried about a terrible hail storm predicted for tomorrow.

Until then, I remain, your River Boat Casino correspondent.

RV Park: Isle of Capri Casino

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