Houston and around.

29 Apr

There are times when I don’t realise how much we have done in a week until I begin to write it up. It is not much more than a week ago we visited NASA but we have done so much in between which I have to tell you about.P1120751  Our entrance fee to NASA covered all of the exhibits inside the museum and a mini train tour of the complex too including Mission Control, the training area and the hanger housing the Saturn five rocket. I will not go into great detail as that is Roberts forte and a visit to his blog SKI-ing across the pond on 4 wheels will enlighten you further if you would like all the nuts and bolts. The shuttle had landed the day before we visited  leaving the control room empty as the staff took a break after the mission. We could view on a screen the mission control for the Space Station where all looked very calm. We had not expected to need more than half a day for the visit but we could have stayed longer, if you were planning a visit in the busier periods a full day would definitely be necessary as the queues for each segment would be lengthy.

We checked in for an overnight stop at Bay Shores RV in Clearlake Shores and discovered we had unusual neighbours! P1120760 We were staying on this side of town to enable us to take a trip to Kemah and Galveston which we did next day. We parked alongside the moorings in Kemah, strolled along the boardwalk past an empty fairground, watched the school children playing in the water fountain and strolled back to our parking space. I think night time and week ends would be when this area comes to life as it was it was quiet and quaint.

On to Galveston, I had romantic notions of what this would be like from songs of my 70’s youth, How disappointing. We were unable to park in the historic area of town, we were too large for the parking places we found or they were charging $5 – we never have to pay for parking and certainly did not feel what we had seen warranted our paying it for an hour or so today. We rode through the streets to the ocean front road passing by the Bishops Palace and other grand old properties, also some not so grand and not so quaint ones too. Everywhere we went the traffic was very busy, we finally parked beside the ocean for lunch, with trucks and traffic passing close by our side – however we did have a great view out to the water from the opposite side!

A little disappointed in our day we made our way back to the campground, as we turned in to the driveway we noticed the other side of the road there was a side road and beyond an area which looked vaguely interesting. In need of a walk we parked haRVey up and set out for an explore. What we discovered wasP1120758 a small residential area of mixed age properties adjacent to the waterfront in some cases. A quiet little backwater with so much character, we walked for an hour or so, taking in the various properties and the water side around them, putting us in good spirits once more.

Texans celebrate their state history by commemorating the battle of San Jacinto, we had planned to visit the monument and museum associated with it and it was only on our arrival at the park I realised it was 23rd of April, (the battle P1120769was 21st) and a re enactment and other celebrations were being prepared for the week end celebrations. It was a little grey and damp after overnight rain so we decided not to go to the top of the 567ft high monument (there is a lift) but to just view the exhibits in the museum, helping us piece together a little more of the early US history we had begun to learn about at the Alamo in San Antonio. We did wonder about returning next day for the re-enactment but heavy rain was forecast which could mean it would be cancelled.

Within the same State Park is the present mooring for USS Texas, the only remaining American ship to have fought in both World Wars. P1120802 The ship looked huge as we approached, showed our park pass and began our self guided tour. It did not disappoint, it was huge, we wandered around four of its floors, up and down stairs and along wide passageways below deck.

At one point 1800 sailors were berthed aboard this ship and finding them all P1120784room to sleep obviously proved difficult. In even the smallest nook drop down berths were crammed, the post room, the doctors quarters even the old coal bunkers when the ship converted to oil were fitted out for sailors to sleep there. How they could sleep in those conditions I cannot begin to imagine except from sheer exhaustion of their day. Again for the engineers take on the ship I will pass you over to SKI-ing across the pond on 4 wheels, where Robert I am sure, in due course, will be writing about it in greater detail.

This was our last stop in Texas P1120809. Louisiana was to be our next port of call and for our first night we pulled in to a lovely RV Park with a fishing pond complete with fountain as its centre piece. It gave us easy access to highway 27 leading down to the coast, crossing through Louisiana wetlands and nature conservation areas. We stopped off en route to walk some of the nature trails  looking for alligators and birds but I think it was just too hot for them to come and see us. We carried on through Lake Charles to visit the Sam Houston Jones State Park for two nights. The weather had turned very warm and humid again so after an early walk through the park and by the river we spent most of the next day trying to keep cool!P1120822

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