Taking the Long Way Home


My friend Kristi had an adventure planned for me Sunday when I left Galveston. She’s been reading my blog long enough to know that I love an adventure – especially in the form of a road trip. I could have driven up the Texas Coast and headed back to Louisiana on I-10 the way I came over, but that’s no fun! She told me to take the Galveston Island Ferry and the back roads. I had no idea there was a ferry, but I was game as soon as the words slipped out of her mouth.

I tried to grab a Starbucks before I got on the road, but two cruise ships were docked downtown, and the line was out the door. Even I have limits on how long I’ll wait in line for a coffee. Besides, Avenue O had provided a pretty good start, caffeine-wise. I took off to wait in line for the ferry. When I lived in Seattle I took the ferries all the time. They were much bigger than this ferry, but, while I was waiting I shuffled through memories of crossing Puget Sound with Mount Rainier shining in the background. My best days at work were the days that were broken up by a nice 45 minute ferry ride where I could sit back, enjoy the scenery and meet some new people.

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Washington State Ferry

This ferry was smaller, but I did get a chance to get out and look for dolphins. I had been told that they sometimes follow the boat, but I didn’t see any on Sunday. It was a pretty morning, though, and the breeze was nice for the short ride. After docking, I got back on the road which was a straight shot up the Texas coast. I passed tiny little towns with houses built up on stilts. I was stunned at how high some of those homes were. I would have been afraid they would sway in the wind if I was upstairs. The stilts were 3 times as high as the house was tall. It was amazing.

The coast was not built up like the Florida coast. It’s more of a fishing area. The water is brown because of the outflow of rivers into the Gulf of Mexico in the area, and even though the Mississippi River is hundreds of miles away its silt and mud make it over to the Texas Coast. I guess the blessing is that wealthy people who want to own all of the beautiful spots in this country haven’t built up that coast. It sort of reminds me of what Destin looked like when I was a little girl. Now, I can’t even see the beach in most places there.


I called my brother Sammy who is a wetlands biologist and does a lot of work in the Louisiana and Texas marshes and asked him if there was anything I should see. He recommended the Sabine Wildlife Refuge because it had a nice boardwalk where I could walk out into the marsh. He advised me not to take Ashok, though. Apparently, dogs are pretty good gator bait. I debated the trip because it was too hot to leave her in the car, but he said even if I didn’t get out, the drive would be nice. He gave me directions because GPS apparently thought that a road was out somewhere and was sending me 4 hours out of the way.

The road turned away from the beachfront and headed into the marsh which stretched forever and a day. Camps appeared every now and again but mostly it was open country. I ran across a sign for Peveto Woods – a bird sanctuary managed by the Baton Rouge Audubon Society. This was a popular birding spot for many years until landowners started building property. Thankfully, about 40 acres was purchased and/or donated to create this sanctuary. Peveto Woods is critical habitat for migrating birds, and I found the spot very lovely. No doggies were allowed on the trails, so Ashok and I just walked around the main area and looked at the beautiful wildflowers that were in bloom.


I arrived at the Sabine Wildlife Refuge about 2 o’clock, and I consulted the map to see what the boardwalk was all about. They did allow pets, and although I was worried a bit about the alligator issue, I figured if it was too dangerous they wouldn’t have allowed them on the trail. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, and Ashok and I walked on the shadeless path deep in the Louisiana marsh. It’s hard to get in to see the marsh. You have to build boardwalks because it’s so muddy, and it’s so shallow you can’t really go in a boat. It was a rare treat to see the reeds and grasses that rose up out of the mud up close.


I saw several groups of people out walking, and all of them had dogs. I definitely didn’t let Ashok near the water or off leash as I saw several alligators. Most were on the other side of the bayou from the path, but I have no idea if there were some I didn’t see with their eyes on a little black dog that is the perfect size for an alligator meal. I wasn’t about to take a chance.

That alligator on the right is right above Ashok’s head in the picture on the left. See if you can spot it!

It took me a lot longer to get home than normal, but I thoroughly enjoyed my day. It would have been a bit more enjoyable if I had been able to get food. All of the small local restaurants were closed for Easter, so I had to settle for some deviled eggs from a truck stop. I know the food down there is good, and I’m sure I could have snagged some great seafood on a regular day. I got home around 6 PM, and I was rushed getting ready for the week, but I love nothing more than taking the long way home and discovering a few paths and roads less traveled.



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