It’s about 15 miles from my house and separated from the “mainland” by
a bridge that spans the Intercoastal Waterway. Up until recently,
people were not allowed in unless they had proof of residency, but
about a week or so ago the bridge was opened up to all traffic. After
crossing the bridge, we initially thought things looked pretty good
compared to reports we’d heard. There were still alot of beach houses
standing. Great compared to the aerial photos we’d seen of Bolivar
Penisula and Gilchrist, which are little more than sandbars now. Then
we started looking closer and saw just how much damage this little
community suffered. We discovered that Bluewater Highway, which connects Surfside to Galveston Island, via the San Luis Pass Toll Bridge, has been washed out in numerous places, a combined total of four miles of highway is simply gone. Just past the Surfside Village city limits, a road block has been put in place. Proceeding any further without a 4-wheel drive vehicle is a guaranteed ticket to getting stuck in the middle of literally no where. It was getting dark, so I wasn’t able to take a
lot of photos, but here are some that I did get:
The house above and the one below are the worst we saw, I think. If you look closely at the house above, you can see mattresses wedged between what appears to be the roof and the “first floor” (the one where a staircase is visible. The entire second floor of this house is gone, leaving only the mattresses sandwiched between the remains of the roof and the living area.
This was one of the newer homes in Surfside. Totally destroyed. We found it somewhat interesting that older, “shabbier” beach homes survived the storm while newer ones like this one collapsed like a house of cards. I think a lot of the older homes were built sturdier back then …. maybe not “technologically” speaking, but people put more pride in their craftsmanship. I was tickled to see that the homes builts by a gentleman I know out of Dallas withstood the storm beautifully. He’s a nifty fellow who has hired me to provide custom blinds for some of his homebuyers. All his homes were still standing, with very few defects (maybe a strip of siding gone, but nothing major). Happy for him (as this is a real feather in the cap of his reputation) and also for the homeowners, as they are my clients.
Debris from the storm, one month later.
This one looks a little strange … it was starting to get dark and since I didn’t have a tripod, I couldn’t make adjustments to compensate for that. So I tweaked it on iPhoto … If you look at the house to the left, the one with the “pilgrim hat” roof, you can see the concrete foundation beneath … the sand has completely washed away from under the concrete slab. Though it doesn’t show up in this photo, we could see the tide coming in under the slab. And in the foreground, you see the asphalt road has collapsed due to the sand washing out to sea with the retreating storm surge.
One more photo of the crumbling road … it is dangerous to drive around out there late in the evening … if I weren’t in the habit of turning my headlights on early at dusk, I might have run off the end of the road into the sand.
I know a lot of people are saying, “Enough about the storm, let’s move on …” but I am hit daily with things that remind me how fortunate we were and how grateful I am that we did not suffer the same kind of loss others did. This little drive down to the beach reminded me just one more time that the only thing that is certain is the uncertainty of it all. To live life in the best way possible with God’s help, looking to His guidance so that whatever time we have here is used to the best of our ability, because it can be washed away, just like that.