A while back, 2 weeks ago, I convinced my wife to join me on a “Wheeling” trip to the gulf coast of Texas. She hates bumpy rides and heights. She’s not too fond of camping either, I don’t know why she married me. I talked her into joining me on this trip because it was to take place in the flat even tropics of the Texas Gulf Coast.

The gal that organized my Big Bend Park trip last December also put this one together. She lives near my old stomping grounds in Houston. After my bugging her for a few months, she agreed to put this together as a day run.

Originally the plan was kicked around to start near Sea Rim State Park near Port Arthur, TX and traverse down old Highway 87 that had been washed out by Hurricane Ike back in 2008. This would have made it more of an “Overland” type run... Due to high tides and other factors we chose to start a little farther west in High Island, TX.

I took off work that Friday and we drove down to Houston to visit my family. The next morning my wife and I hit the highway heading east. We met the group in the parking lot of an Exxon Gas station in High Island and got to meet new folks and see old faces again. Turns out there was 3 FJ’s from the DFW area that day! Most of the group was from the Houston area. We had a great mix of about 19 Land Cruisers, 4Runners, Tacomas and FJ Cruisers.

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At 10:30am we hit the current Highway 87 and headed to Rollover Pass, where we got onto the sand for a slow ride through the ocean breeze and packed sand. We stopped about 10 miles into the ride to let the kids, dogs and adults get out and play in the water and sand. Of course we did the obligatory photo shoot of all the rigs.

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After about an hour playing in the sand we were all getting hungry, so we headed to our planned lunch outing at the Stingaree Restaurant in Crystal Beach, TX. (One of only a handful of structures that survived the tidal surge of Hurricane Ike.) We left a few folks who brought a picnic lunch with them on the beach while the rest of us crowded some tables.

After lunch we all got back in the rigs and headed back to the beach. We timed it perfectly with the picnic crowd and continued west toward the Bolivar Ferry. It was after lunch that we found the beaches more crowded with families and couples packing the sand. We garnered a few stares as all the Toyota’s paraded down the beach. In these parts you will find mainly Ford, Chevy and Dodge Pickup trucks with some Jeeps thrown in for good measure.

Another 18 miles of beach brought us to almost the end of the Bolivar Peninsula and back onto some pavement. We got on highway 87 again for the last mile or so to the Bolivar Ferry.

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The ferry is run by the Texas Department of Transportation and is a free crossing from Bolivar to Galveston, TX.

We arrived just in time for the loading up of almost all our rigs onto the one boat. I believe we had 2 or 3 rigs on the following boat, just 5 minutes behind us. As soon as the horn blasted and the speakers blasted instructions to the passengers, we took off for our 20 minute ride across the entrance to the Houston Ship Channel. We got splashed taking selfies, saw a couple of dolphins, dodged the seagulls dive bombing us and watched a pelican race us halfway across the channel.

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The plan was for everyone to make it down the length of Galveston Island on their own, meeting up on the west end to restock the coolers at a convenience store. With so much tourist traffic and stop lights it would have been impossible to stay together.

The group hit the road for the last 11 or so miles to the end of the island at San Luis Pass.

This location is basicly the local “Wheeling and fishing spot”. Years and years ago when I lived in Galveston, I got my Ford F150 stuck out here when I took my girlfriend to watch the submarine races... She didn’t like offroading and camping either. Hmm.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon driving around the tip of the island, hitting the dunes and catching some sun. The last of the May storms was hitting Houston in the distance and it was reported to be as bad, if not worse than the prior weeks storm and floods! I took my wife back down to the historic district for a nice dinner and to hopefully let the storm pass by. We got rained on heading back toward Houston but nothing like they predicted.

For the video folks, here’s a little one I put together.