Yesterday, I was off from work, and usually, on my days off, I like to play tourist. So with my trusty camera in hand, I ventured off to see the local historical sites and other points of interest.
The first place I wanted to see was the Texas City Dike, the world's longest man made fishing pier. 5 miles long, it extends out into Galveston Bay, along busy Houston's shipping channels. I was excited for the chance to check out a famous dike up close and personal.
Along the way to see the dike, I took a foto of some interesting sculptures in the middle of some major highways. I'm not sure what the artist was trying to communicate: cowboy heritage? rural memories? ode to beef? Then it dawned on me, of course, these were heifers! The artist was trying to make a connection to dikes. Heifers symbolize fertility, while dikes control life giving water. Or maybe they were bulls instead, but I'm not sure...
At the entrance to the dike was a statue of a small boy...or girl...quite possibly a dwarf...
Perhaps the statue symbolizes how dikes can be nurturing and fun for children...and dwarves, maybe even gnomes.
Here, the dike welcomes visitors, with a few rules, of course, on the proper way to conduct oneself on a dike...
The first encounter on the dike involves Anita, who offers you her bait and tackle...
The good people in the government, being responsible, posted this notice for public safety:
A reminder to explore the dike at your own risk...take precautions for your health may be at risk.
These unique buildings caught my eye as I was surveying the dike. What could they be? Clearly, the holes in the walls are too big for these places to restrooms. After all, those mall restroom wall holes are usually only big enough so the person in the next stall can pass you some toilet paper when you don't have any...right?
Upon closer inspection, I discovered that these were beach picnic huts.
Here, you can take your time, resting, perhaps feasting on the dike and enjoy it's views and the feel of it's soft, tender, warm and wet surface...
Imagine my surprise upon going down further on the dike, I saw this sign. No diving on the dike? Well, that certainly limits the number of fun things to do on a dike.
As I turned around and finished my exploration of the dike, I thought these last two fotos seem fitting for the dike.
Though, the dike's road may be hard and rough,
her grass is well groomed and her beauty is worthy of song and poems!
Soon after drinking some water to quench my thirst after going down on the dike, I ventured on to the next stop: The San Jacinto Monument, the biggest rock hard erection in the world!
At 570ft (173.7m), it is 15ft taller than the Washington Monument. It commemorates the many who gave their lives for Texas independence, won on 21 Apr, 1836. Notice that I first stopped at the first blocked off entrance, because I was struck by how prominent the erection was from miles around!
Amidst all the industrial maze that has sprung up around the monument, it still, nonetheless, towers majestically among the haze and filth of present time.
But nature still manages to rise against the machinery onslaught. This tree, weathered and bent, and though it may be old, it still rises to the occasion!
These two pillars mark the opening, the way to the gigantic erection!
A side view shows how the enormous erection juts out proudly from the bushes. Notice how the tip is adorned with a fascinating accessory.
I'm a fan of Art Deco architecture. I was stunned at how the beautiful, bare base managed to hold such a heavy load!
I was speechless when I saw the incredible shaft! Even it's girth was titanic!
Some fotos of exhibits in the museum. I took only a few that picked my interest. I luv the Spanish swords and the rifles. The models, however, had one display that threw me off guard.
Notice the gay couple--the man in the top hat with the fellow in the leather jacket? And check out those two dudes next to them, sitting down, and how they seem to point and laugh at the squad. That squad appears to be preparing for a parade, but some of the privates can't stop giggling or keep their wrists straight when holding their weapons!
I thought, wow, a gay pride display in the tallest erection in the world; is anyone surprised?
As I left the monument, I thought one more foto from another angle would be awesome. Still, it only barely manages to capture the glory of one of man's greatest achievement. What a stunning view, to see such a powerful pillar thrust itself against the heavens, luring us with it's size and daring us to touch it's hardness and strength!
My last stop on my sightseeing adventure was to visit a place that had seen a lot of seamen over the years: The USS Texas (BB-35), anchored in Buffalo Bayou near the San Jacinto Monument, by the Houston Shipping Channel.
The USS Texas is the only surviving dreadnought class battle ship. She participated honorably in both World War I and the Second World War and is still considered one of the most powerful warship still afloat because of her ten 14"/45 guns in five twin turrets.
It was the first US battleship to have anti-aircraft guns; to launch aircraft; to use tech to control gunfire; to receive a radar; and to become a museum ship.
In WWI, the USS Texas escorted Allied vessels amid the perilous Atlantic. In WWII, it shot loads upon the Axis held Northern Africa and Normandy, making way for the Allies to penetrate deeply into Axis territory. Later, it was sent to the Pacific, where it's hard shelling and pounding led the Allies to thrust itself heavily into the exhausted Japanese strongholds of Iwo Jima and later, Okinawa.
After WWII, the USS Texas made several trips, transporting troops back to the US. Efforts made by concerned Texans led to the ship being moved to it's current location, saving it from being scrapped after decommissioning. Able to hold a complement of 954, the USS Texas has held a large number of seamen over the years, delivering load after load of them over vast distances and in service to the United States of America. Truly, a great and powerful ship worthy or preservation and honor.
And so ends my day of exploration. I'll be off again in a few days, and there are other places of interest I intend to visit. Though I had planned on doing more, I had a dinner date; and I was looking forward to spending some time with someone who might enjoy diving, climbing erections, and perhaps interested in forging alliances and merging forces.