As you drive across the causeway into Galveston there are boats everywhere. The ones washed against the highway dividers have been bulldozed into place and left there for the time being.
Our work doing registrations started to wind down about 6 days ago and we have been planning to switch over to doing housing inspections. But where oh where would we go?
We asked to stay in Texas, preferably the Houston area.
We asked for work in the Galveston area (Galveston County actually, which is a fair chunk of territory), so we ran down into Galveston for a day to assess the situation and to try to find a place to park our motor home. That turned out to be a relatively fruitless journey.
Then we were assigned to a group out of Winnie, Texas, which is about 60 miles east of Houston. Logically, we thought that we were headed to Winnie.
So when our assignments actually started to come in they were in ... drum roll please ... a part of Houston that's maybe 15 minutes from where we have been parked since we first arrived. Which works well, because lodging and RV space is tight everywhere else around here.
In Galveston the best that we could find was to park in something like a Wal-Mart lot.
And in Winnie they are simply booked up with the usual retirees migrating back here in the Fall and the added influx of rescue workers that need a place to stay. In either area about the best that I could find would have involved running our generator for long periods of time because electrical service wasn't available, and rationing our water and holding tank capacities.
Galveston looks grim, frankly. The first thing that you see when you cross the causeway are boats. Boats everywhere. Boats stacked against the median dividing the lanes of the divided highway. Boats out of water. People's pride and joy broken up and damaged beyond reasonable repair. Very sad.
We drove around on the seawall side of Galveston and the northern parts of Galveston - in other words, the parts of the island that didn't get hit the hardest. There were few businesses open, little in the way of power, and it's obvious that the water level was high, high, high during the hurricane. Remember, this was about 3 weeks after Hurricane Ike came through, and Galveston had been opened for residents to return for about a week.
So there's plenty of damage here folks. Keep the good people of Louisiana and Texas (and Illinois and Indiana now that the rains from Ike have caused parts of those states to be declared disaster areas due to flooding) in your thoughts.
We started our inspections a couple of days ago. When folks with holes in their roofs and who haven't had power for weeks tell us that they are blessed because they didn't get hit as hard as the folks elsewhere, it kinda puts a lot of silly squabbling into perspective.