Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Texas Bucket List: Pleasure (Near the) Pier

My Texas Bucket List began taking shape shortly after we arrived in College Station. At first the list consisted of only a few touristy day trips and experiences (think Six Flags, SeaWorld, etc.) I'd thought of or heard about prior to our move. But as we made new friends, especially new friends who grew up in Texas, we learned from them about the lesser-known - at least to Midwesterners - but not-to-miss sights and sounds of the Lone Star State.

Each time I cross something off my Texas Bucket List I document it here, both because Chasing Roots serves as my Texas journal and because looking back on these posts and "watching" our love affair, if you will, with our now-home state unfold is a beautiful thing. 

You can see my full - but ever-growing - Texas Bucket List here. Feel free to let me know what I'm still missing!

My Texas Bucket List includes "ride the Pleasure Pier Ferris Wheel". So for our second spring break (outdoor, socially distant) day trip, we hit the road early, bound for Galveston Island. 

We arrived just prior to the masses, and found ourselves an amazing street parking spot close to the beach but also with an easy "out", or an "escape", as Tom and I like to say. (Both Tom and I care more than the average person about parking in such a way that allows us to exit a venue or event quickly. We're willing to walk a mile if it means we don't have to wait for our car or in chaotic traffic when we're ready to head home.) We started our morning with a long walk on the beach, which, to be honest, was all I really needed out of my trip to Galveston. To see the water again, to sink my feet into the sand again, to watch Hallie's face when she saw the Gulf of Mexico for the first time... 

After our walk, we joined the line for the pier. But as the line grew longer, the people in the line became more tightly packed together, and we saw people wearing their masks incorrectly or simply not wearing masks at all, we decided we couldn't do it. Tom in particular has never been a fan of crowds, so when we realized how unsafe and uncomfortable the pier environment was going to feel (keep in mind that this was more than two months ago, when far fewer people were vaccinated, not to mention that the pier seemed to be preparing to operate at full capacity), we opted to step out of line and rethink our afternoon. I hated to miss out on riding the Ferris Wheel, especially after we'd come all that way, but it just didn't feel right. I also hated for the kids to miss out on the rest of Pleasure Pier's activities, but when I made the decision, they both smiled, said they COMPLETELY understood, and started listing other fun things they'd like to do on the beach.

So we headed to a different section of the beach, where the kids played in the (chilly) water, built sand castles, and chased each other around like puppies. In addition to playing with the kids, Tom got in a little work (sadly, he had no spring break this year, so he worked all the way there, for about 30 minutes on the beach, and all the way home) and I worked on turning food storage containers into sand toys and sunburning my ankles. 

When we'd had enough sand, we dropped all of our things back at the car (shout out to our top-notch parking spot) and then walked the strip until we found a hole in the wall restaurant that served delicious fish tacos. After our late lunch, we made a brief stop in historic downtown Galveston to visit a coffee shop one of Tom's friends raves about, and then we made the three-hour drive home. 

I wish we'd been able to ride the Ferris Wheel, but Pleasure Pier will still be there the next time we visit Galveston Island and we'll ride it then. I'd also love to spend a little more time downtown, as there were lots of cute shops and restaurants I know I'd enjoy perusing/trying. Thankfully, we were still able to put our feet in the ocean, which as I mentioned above, was all I really needed.

And maybe I needed to see this smile too.

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