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View Full Version : Galveston, Oh Galveston


Montana_2779
01-11-2005, 02:22 PM
Last week it was snow. This week it's 80 degrees outside. Gotta love southeast Texas.... Looks like a good weekend to spend at Galveston State Park! Ahhh, fun in the sun....in January....

Now that Houston has enacted the utterly ridiculous towing law, we'll take the Beltway and enjoy the long/uneventful trip around town.

trukdoc
01-11-2005, 02:32 PM
What tow law???
I go through there a couple of times a year and would be handy to know before I find out in writeing...if you know what I mean.

OntMont
01-11-2005, 03:35 PM
quote:Originally posted by Pete Alford


Now that Houston has enacted the utterly ridiculous towing law, we'll take the Beltway and enjoy the long/uneventful trip around town.


We'll heading that way in a couple of weeks. Also interested in the Houston towing regulation, but we were thinking of going through Galveston to avoid Houston. I understand there is a ferry, but I told that it is free, and able to handle large trucks. Do you know if this is practical with a Montana in tow? (Might stay at Galveston SP as well, is it good for big rigs?)

Montana_2779
01-12-2005, 06:58 AM
Hi, all. Yep, the fine folks of Houston (I can't take the blame, we lived out in Harris County during that election cycle) voted in the honorable (yes, lower case-- at best) Bill White (a former Clintonite) as Mayor. In his infinite wisdom (along with a push from certain city council memebers) a forced-tow law was enacted Jan 1. Essentially, if you auto breaks down for any reason (flat, stall, gas, etc.) along a highway in the city limits, it will be towed within 6 minutes by a contracted, patrolling tow truck. You may not add gas to your car or change a flat yourself. You may not call AAA, Good Sam or any other member service (no joke, I'm serious about this). You WILL be charged $75 for the first 5 miles of the tow and $1.25 per mile after that. If you can not pay by credit card, check or cash, you WILL be impounded and charged the tow fee AND the impound fee. Amazingly, out in the Harris County portion of the Sam Houston Tollway (Beltway 8 to the locals), there is the MAP (Motorist Assistance Program) which will assist you with these issues for FREE, and get you back on the road ASAP! Pardon my French, but Houston, where I grew up and spent more than 35 years, can kiss my @$$! I will never again drive the freeways inside the city limits unless no alternate exists (luckily, Beltway 8 goes entirely around the city, now, and only about 5 miles falls under the city's jurisdiction). For those of you who would normally go through Houston, I might recommend taking the longer but more liesurely drive around the western section of the Beltway to get around town (it's only crowded in certain stretches during rush hour). To go from the north end to the south end of any freeway, or visa versa (I-45, HWY 59, etc.), it will cost you between $5 and $10 based on what you are pulling (axle count). As a southerner, I HATE paying for toll roads. After this law was enacted, I'll live with the tolls!

As for bypassing Houston and going along the coast, I now couldn't recommend it more highly! Not sure if you can take larger rigs in the ferry. If you can, it's a nice trip. Althought the scenery is bland and even a bit industrial in places, we often see dolphins during the "cruise" ;). There are severeral secluded RV parks on the Crystal Beach side (east of the ferry) and at least 3 or 4 good ones on Galveston. We like the State Park for it's reasonably remote location and few rigs in winter (very easy to drive and park). Delanara RV Park is close to town on the beach. It's a good park, but maintenance is spotty. There's also a VERY nice park in town, just off 61st street. Sorry, I don't remember the name, but it is in the Galveston RV guides. We like this one the best: small, well kept, a few blocks from a friend's house, and RIGHT on the water (stillwater, not oceanfront). The downside is that the side roads leading to this park are awfully thin and a bit hard for larger rigs to navigate (not impossible). The Galveston Chamber of Commerce can help you with ferry and RV park info. If you'd like a few photos of Galveston State Park or the park in town that we like, feel free to drop me a line at petealford@yahoo.com. If you are travelling in the area south of Houston, I'd also highly recommend Brazos Bend State Park. Beautiful park, lots of wildlife and the observatory is open most weekends (along with many amateur astronomists, most of whom are glad to share their views of the sky with you). One night I got to see the rings of Saturn in one of the observatory's scopes!!

Enjoy the trips! You'll know I'm the guy in the next rig when you see me "salute" the city of Houston as I drive past it!!

trukdoc
01-16-2005, 06:32 AM
As for the Ferry there will not be any problem with the largest of RV's as 18 wheelers take the ferry regularly.
And a way to get around Houston to the East is to go through Winnie Texas on the I-10 take hwy 124 south hit hwy 87 at the coast. Go west through Crystal Beach where there is a real nice RV park with full hook ups on the intercostal canal. Good crab fishing! About 20 minutes from Galveston depending on the Ferry.
We stay in Crystal Beach sometimes and use the truck to go into Galveston. Best of both worlds.
Happy Travels.
Rick

Southstl
01-16-2005, 07:04 AM
Living on the North side of Houston and agreeing with all, Beltway 8 may be your best way around Houston, plus the road is better. 610 Loop is pretty rough, and there is major construction on IH10 inside the 610 Loop through downtown. You can make it through, but slow down and be careful.

Personally, I would take Beltway 8 around and reconnect with the Highway you need to continue your travel.

John and Donna, if you are still headed for the Valley, we hope to see you guys there in a few weeks. We should arrive in the Valley Feb 12th thru the 19th.

Everyone travel safely.

padredw
01-16-2005, 02:54 PM
This is a very helpful topic for me. We will be taking our Montana to Galveston for a cruise leaving on April 2. I will save these suggestions for use at that time. A friend, driving a large motor home, will be with me. I am very familiar with Houston, enough so that I was wondering how we might avoid it and still get to Galveston. We will be coming down either US 59 or I-45 from the North. Thanks for the ideas.

Montana_2779
01-17-2005, 06:02 AM
Great idea, Trukdoc! We love the seclusion of the Crystal Beach RV parks!! Nice drive, too! We've never taken anything larger than a popup on the ferry. Glad you could clear that up! Also agree with Southstl's info on the 610/I-10 interchange. The entire Loop is a mess from 290 to 59 on the west side. We took Beltway 8 coming and going and had a WONDERFULLY uneventful trip! Galveston was chilly and windy, but we are happy to report that there are lots of spaces open at Bayou Shores, Delanara and Galveston Island State Park. We noticed that Delanara now has a new section open near their front entrance that appears to be especially suitable for big rigs.

OntMont
01-28-2005, 04:17 PM
Just for the record, we did the ferry trip from I-10 in Beaumont with our Montana this week and had no difficulty. A very enjoyable alternative to the city traffic around Houston. We spent the night a Galveston SP and then continued west along the beach to Surfside and then found our way (with much help from the GPS and Streets and Trips) on to 36/35/111/59 to Victoria. A bit circuitous perhaps, but a restful trip with good roads and light traffic.

OntMont
02-20-2005, 08:49 AM
quote:Originally posted by OntMont

Just for the record, we did the ferry trip from I-10 in Beaumont with our Montana this week and had no difficulty. A very enjoyable alternative to the city traffic around Houston. We spent the night a Galveston SP and then continued west along the beach to Surfside and then found our way (with much help from the GPS and Streets and Trips) on to 36/35/111/59 to Victoria. A bit circuitous perhaps, but a restful trip with good roads and light traffic.

Somewhat belated, but here is a picture of our Montana on the Galveston Bay ferry.
http://photos5.flickr.com/5126416_93feb3242d_m.jpg

CountryGuy
02-20-2005, 08:55 AM
OntMont and others,

Very informative post, somehow missed the first time around, glad to see it now.

How much does this ferry cost???

Thanks for the information!

padredw
02-20-2005, 10:17 AM
Courtesy of the State of Texas:

Galveston Island to Port Bolivar
The Galveston-Port Bolivar ferry is the bridge between two segments of State Highway 87. South of IH-10, State Highway 87 s the only highway around Galveston Bay. The free ferry service provided by TxDOT is the only way motorists can cross the waterway between Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island.

The ferry service is critical to the residents of Bolivar Peninsula when a hurricane threatens. The ferries are the primary means of evacuation through Galveston to the causeway and the mainland. Ferries continue crossing the channel until high winds and tides make their mission unsafe. The boats are then secured in their moorings at the Galveston landing facility.

The 2.7 mile trip takes approximately 18 minutes to cross one of the busiest waterways in the world. Through the Bolivar Roads Channel flows the commerce of the Port of Houston, the nations largest inland port, as well as other Galveston and Trinity Bay communities. Approximately 7,000 ships visit the Port of Houston each year.

The ferry operation consists of five boats, each of which can carry approximately 70 vehicles, 500 passengers and six crewmembers. Each ferry is capable of carrying eight 18-wheel trucks weighing 80,000 pounds each. All of the boats are double-ended with a pilothouse on each end, and the Captain changes from one pilothouse to the other to go in the opposite direction.

The Gibb Gilchrist is a traditionally powered and steered vessel. The R.C. Lanier, D.C. Greer, Ray Stoker, Jr. and R.H. Dedman, the four newest ferries, employ a "cycloidal propulsion" system. Instead of conventional propellers and rudders, power is obtained from two vertical cycloidal propulsors, one at each end of the boat. This technology allows the ferry to make 360 degree turns or to move sideways with no forward or backward movement. It also allows the Captain to make quicker stops or slow the vessel much more rapidly than conventionally propelled boats.

All of the boats are named after former Texas Transportation Commission members except the Gibb Gilchrist. Mr. Gilchrist was the State Highway Engineer twice during his career with the department.

Between 1994 and 1996, additional maintenance and mooring facilities were built and the public rest areas were completely rehabilitated. Secure, lighted parking facilities were also provided on both sides for passengers who wish to walk aboard.

padredw
02-20-2005, 10:19 AM
So, here's the link:

http://www.dot.state.tx.us/mnt/ferryops/ferryops.htm

CountryGuy
02-20-2005, 10:37 AM
Thanks David,

Ooo, I want a photo of my Montana like John (OntMont) has! :D

I think this one is worth a bookmark.

Cheers,

Carol