Our family's next adventure was a fun week on the beach in Galveston, Texas. We had planned a week of quality time that would lead up to me departing for the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for my first stem cell transplant. Little did we know this week we planned well in advance...would end up being sandwiched between Katie's total colectomy and my stem cell transplant!!
Katie refused to miss our week on the beach together and since there were no concerns or complications with her surgery, we decided we would go ahead and make the trip. Most people might prefer to stay home and rest after a major surgery that removed over 7 feet of their gut. But not my wife! Looking back, I think she was doing that for me. She wanted to have one week together as a family before I left for Mayo for 6-8wks. I am so glad we went, even after the start of the vacation is about to get interesting.
Katie's surgery left her with a 10lb lifting restriction. So that left a majority of the packing to me. That morning I remember Katie asking me around 10am, "So do you think we will hit the road around noon?" I laughed and said my goal is 3PM. Come to find out there is a lot to pack when you are going on a beach vacation with a family of five. It sure makes me thankful for all the trips Katie has packed for us. I am so thankful she is healthy again and not just because she does the packing. :)
We left our driveway a little after 3pm. For this trip, I borrowed a carriage bag for the top of the van. That way we had more space in the van for Rosie (our newish puppy), yep, we took the dog too. Once we hit the Kansas Turnpike, I told Katie, I really like the carriage bag on top. It was nice because we had so much more space in the van. I continued to tell her if she feels it vibrating or anything, to let me know so I can tighten it. Seriously, not 10 minutes later, the bag flew off the top of our van while we were going 80mph. No warning signs, no vibration, no sliding, no nothing! The thoughts that were going through my head at that time! Thank goodness no cars were behind us. I start to pull over and of course, Katie says,
"It's too dangerous to pull over on the side of the interstate (too many news stories about people and cars getting hit on the side of the road)!!!". So we drove another 100 yards or so and thankfully there was an exit.
I got out of the van and had no choice but to run/walk the at least quarter mile to get our luggage. At this point I am still extremely anemic from my Myeloma treatments. That means the oxygen in my red blood cells is low and I get short of breath easily. I got to the bag, barely still intact, with little holes all over it from sliding on the road. I inspected the bag, and the nylon straps were the failure point. They just snapped off. The metal hooks were still attached to the van.
First I had to get this bag across the interstate. It had 5 suitcases in it, fishing poles, fishing net, tackle box, and more. It was easily over 120lbs and very awkward to lift/drag and the trucks on the interstate are coming at you faster than they appear to be! I saw my chance and started to carry the bag across the interstate. When I say carry, I mean I had it two inches off the ground and was taking tiny fast steps to get across. Halfway across, I started to fall forward, the top of my body was going faster than my legs could go. I lifted the bag will all my strength and kicked the bag so I could take a big step forward. I made it! I looked down at my shin and realized I had sliced it open on this adventure because blood was running down my shin.
At this point I realized there was no way I was going to be able to carry the bag. It was too awkward and too heavy. I began to drag it back to the van. I got back to the van, I am sweating with blood down my leg, out of breath, my legs are burning and pumped to the max, and the first thing the boys ask me, "Dad what took you so long?" I love my boys!
We could no longer use the luggage rack and I piled all the extra luggage in the van, I couldn’t even see the kids heads. The van was filled to the ceiling. We wondered if this was God telling us to stay home? But giving up isn't an option, so we continued on.
We stopped for the night outside of Dallas and finished the trip to Galveston in the morning.
After a rocky start, the trip was amazing. We made amazing memories the entire week.
We stayed in a perfect two bedroom beach house. It was maybe 30 yards from the ocean and the front yard was a beautiful sandy beach.
The first morning we hired a fishing guide to take me and the boys fishing in the ocean. Katie's recent surgery made her uncomfortable with joining us so she enjoyed some quiet time exploring Galveston on her own. This was my first time ever fishing in the ocean. We had a blast! We caught several drum fish and one red drum fish. That was the catch of the day and our captain were very happy when Hudson caught that one! Unfortunately, we couldn't keep it because we didn’t purchase a tag for it.
We were using blue crab for bait and I asked the captain if he purchased the crab or caught it. He told me a really fun way to go crab fishing. You have to watch the YouTube video below and see the boys reaction, it's priceless. Here are some tips our captain shared:
Find some back water/tide pools.
Buy some chicken drum sticks
Tie the drum stick to the fishing pole line (no hooks, just tie the drum stick to it)
Cast the drum stick out, wait a few minutes and real in slowing.
When the line is close, you will see the crab picking at the chicken
Take your net and scoop it up! (yes, I was using a small Pal Patrol net - no judging)
One afternoon we rented a golf cart and drove around Galveston. That was fun! We found a place called Katie's Seafood House. We ate there and had red snapper wings and really good fish. The restaurant also had a seafood market attached to it so we purchase some sea food for a home cooked meal that evening.
If you use a luggage rack, make sure it's designed for your car! :)
Talk to locals and get their recommendations.
We wouldn't have found out about crab fishing if we didn’t ask.
We wouldn’t have known about Katie's Seafood House if we didn’t ask for a suggestion.
If we didn't go to Katie's Seafood House, we wouldn’t have seen the seafood market.
Shop around for fishing guides to take you fishing.
First, it can save you money.
Second, not all fishing guides will let you take boys as young as mine (3, 5 and 6 years old).
Stay at an Air BnB
This allows you to cook some of your own food and not rely on costly restaurants. It also exposes you to more of the local experience, rather than the touristy experience.
We didn’t do this, but I heard about this nice hack afterward. Order your groceries online and have them delivered. That way you can spend more time enjoying your vacation and not take up so much time going to the store.