Galveston

An oil well in Dayton, Texas

Although it was overcast yesterday, it was warm and balmy.  Driving to Galveston, we passed a bank thermometer that read 74 degrees.

Since I had never seen an oil well, Mike drove us by one in their town so I could take a photo.   And on the 90 minute drive to Galveston, we passed several huge refineries–to me, an unsettling reminder of the Gulf oil disaster, but also a reminder of how grateful I

Gail

am for the gasoline that fueled our truck on our trip.

I love beach towns. My elementary school years were spent on a beach in Florida.  So I feel a profound sense of belonging when I am around salt water.

I was surprised at the dark colored sand and muddy looking water.  But even though it lacked white sugar sand beaches, Galveston held all the familiar magic of

Mike, Gail and Ron

a beach town to me.  We sat on the seawall and soaked in the sights and sounds of the ocean,  walked along the seawall, and enjoyed browsing for wonderfully tacky beach souvenirs.

We ended the tour with dinner at the oceanside Salt Grass Restaurant where Mike and Gail treated us to a scrumptious dinner.  There is nothing so special to me as eating seafood in a restaurant by the ocean.

Gail and Mike at Murdochs

Ron and I

Ron on the porch at Murdoch's

People enjoying the beach

Views from car

There were pelicans perched on the posts in the water, but the camera didn't capture them.

Gorgeous architecture. Someday we may return to tour the botanical gardens.

And we also all realized just how old we are all getting.   Growing up on the beach, we felt so wild and free, with dreams and endless horizons stretching ahead of us forever.  But seeing clothes in the shops like those we felt so beautiful wearing decades ago — that would look cartoonish on us now — reminded us how irretrievably gone those days are.   Needing help getting up from where we were perched on the seawall was another reminder.

Nevertheless it was a day for making beautiful memories together.

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Fern Hammock Springs, FL

This idyllic, ecologically sensitive and protected treasure is located within the Juniper Springs campground boundaries. The tropical appearance belies the chilly temperature of the water. I decided to do a separate post describing it instead of lumping it in with the Juniper Springs post.

Fern Hammock Springs

Fern Hammock Springs -- it's blue!

How do you describe Eden? Blue. The crystal water is blue. Numerous clear white sand areas pinpoint the location of “boils” — places where cold water erupts through cracks in the underground limestone, roiling the sand bottom and scouring it white.

Fish abound, free and unafraid. We saw two adult turtles, one with an orange neck and one without the coloration. Maybe they were male and female? A baby turtle swam through the transparent water, then ducked down to the darker colored bottom.

Looking toward the observation bridge

Looking toward the observation bridge

Most of the fish were relatively small, but we did see a few large ones.

No fishing, swimming, dogs, or anything that might endanger the tranquility of the spring is permitted here.

Since I don’t have words to describe the beauty without sounding gushy, I will just post photos for you to enjoy.

Large boil below the observation bridge

Lots of fish!

Baby turtle and fish

Baby turtle and fish

A small school of fish

A small school of fish over a large boil

Fish and turtle

Fish and turtle