Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Houston, Texas

Look at this beautiful fruit that has grown on one of our Sago Palms.  OK - so it is pretty but harmful to animals and children ...... I do not think we will eat this fruit as it can cause liver damage.


Houston, Texas

Bev is home with her family. Garry is in Wyoming on a boondoggle (geological field trip) and now life goes on as per normal.

The days are bright and sunny and the temperature climbs, what else, this is Houston, Texas.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Houston, Texas

Bev is now on the first of three flights home to Melbourne, Australia.  I was sad to say farewell to her.  It is such a l-o-n-g series of flights and layovers and one is very tired after the Australia or New Zealand journey. In Italy last month I promised Andrée a visit to Canberra but gosh, ...... I do hate that flight!

What a fantastic visit! Bev, like Andrée and Kees, you were a pleasure to travel with. It is always wonderful to have folks visit who appreciate the natural wonders of the USA and is not negative on the country (as so many are).  We journeyed far from home and saw many beautiful National Parks.  We traveled through interesting little towns and about eight Native Reservations.  We kept away from the big cities except Phoenix, Arizona, where it was necessary to see the wonderful Heard Museum. I will miss you Bev and hope that one day you will return and travel the northern National Parks with me.

My Blog was written to keep family and friends informed of our daily travels (April 28 through May 11, 2011). I also hope that the Blog could help a stranger planning to travel through the Southwest.  The Title each day is where we stayed, how we moved on. In each town there were many hotel/motel options (Best Western, Comfort Suites, Super 8, Holiday Inn etc.). In parenthesis is the places that we visited during the day while working our way to our chosen rest stop.

If you are an American citizen or permanent resident over the age of 62 years then I encourage you to apply for the $10.00 (one time fee) National Parks Senior Pass before leaving home (or purchase at the first NP).  The Senior Pass saved us a considerable amount on fees to the National Parks.


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Houston, Texas (San Jacinto)

Texas - The Lone Star State

The Texas flag is red, white, and blue with one star - hence the Lone Star State.

The San Jacinto Battle Monument
Some of the story .....
The Port of Houston
Views from the 570ft (173m) Observation Deck
Houston is an petroleum city with many refineries
The Battleship Texas
A dreadnought which served in WW I & WW II and was at D-Day
 USS Texas from the San Jacinto Monument
Photo: Bev

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Houston, Texas (Big Sam)

Bev stands at "Big Sam" statue

A concrete Sam Houston stands in Huntsville, Texas.  Standing on the pedestal he is over seventy feet tall and in his fancy shirt and waistcoat he is far too warmly dressed for the hot and humid Houston weather.  According to one web site with the cane he looks like P.T. Barnum (Barnum and Bailey Circus emcee).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, LA

Down by the bayou .....

Along the walkway we saw birds and wildlife and fortunately did not see the Cottonmouth, commonly called "Water Moccasin". In this area you do not want to see this snake as it is one of the USA's most venemous snake species, they are mean and do not hesitate to strike if cornered. 


Walkway.  Photo: Bev
 Red wing blackbird
 Nutria (capivara in Brazil) largest living rodent
Ibis - they took off as we walked the path

Saturday, May 14, 2011

A Southern Wedding

Sulphur, Louisiana
After a morning spent poolside and lunch at Central Market we drove to Louisiana for Melissa and Andrew's wedding at 6:30PM.  We stopped by Dawn and Danny's to say "hi, we are in town" and drop off some Central Market bread we had for them.

The GPS did not direct us to the home where the wedding was being held.  We drove up and down LA27 passing zero on the GPS which was announcing - you have arrived - when clearly we had not.  We called Dawn who was able to direct us and we were only one street and under a half mile from the place. We arrived with plenty of time to spare as the bride was over a half hour late in arriving for her wedding.

 A garden wedding
 Dawn being escorted to her seat
The pool house for reception and dancing
 The Wedding Cake
The Groom's Cake
(a southern tradition)
The Bride (Melissa) and Father (Danny) dance together
The Bride and Groom's sparkling farewell

Friday, May 13, 2011

Houston, Texas (NASA, JSC)

Bev and I visited NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC) where we took the tour of Mission Control and the Rocket Hall.  For lunch we went to Hotel Galvez in Galveston. I forgot to take my camera. I am home .... I forget that I might want to take photographs. Photo's courtesy Bev.

Texas Longhorn
JSC, Clear Creek Independent School District Agriculture Science Center Learning Laboratory, along with Houston Livestock and Rodeo are partners in The Western Heritage Longhorn Project.  The longhorn above managed to get his horns in and out of the bars in the feeder, he has turning his head down to a fine art.

Just enjoying the day - Texas Longhorns

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Houston, Texas (LBJ Ranch)

We are home and tired after a full day driving from San Angelo, Texas. Today we drove 380 miles (611 kms) some of it through the Texas Hill Country which was settled by the Germans in the 1840's. Bev drove most of the way leaving only the last 80 miles coming into Houston for me.   Two days running the girl has been a marathon driver, thanks Bev. Our round trip journey was ~3830 miles (~6163 kms).  

 Shops on Main Street, Fredericksburg, Texas
German sausage anyone?

From Frederciksburg we drove to Stonewall and stopped at the LBJ Ranch.

Monarch butterfly in the specially planted wildflower garden
Photo: Bev. 

According to a sign at the LBJ Ranch the Monarch butterflies stop here on their annual north/south migration.  There were a few butterflies, not thousands, so I guess these guys stayed over.

We stopped along the way for lunch and then drove until we arrived home a little after 8:00PM.  

It was a fantastic vacation .....

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

San Angelo, Texas (Roswell, NM)

Roswell, New Mexico

So what do you believe?

From Native Americans to Aliens.  We started with a visit to the Roswell UFO Museum which was way too much reading but interesting none-the-less.  Then Bev drove until six tonight - a great day.  

Back in Texas, on Texas time, and lower elevation.  Going from 67 feet (20 meters) to ~9000 feet (2743 meters) in Bryce Canyon we have experienced the altitude change, sinus problems, headaches and sluggishness that we felt in Bolivia (not quite as bad). Now at 1828 feet (557 meters) we are closer to our sea level norm. It is back to 67 feet (20 meters) tomorrow and the weather will be hot and humid.  It is already hotter tonight here in West Texas. I feel sure that Bev will chill-out by the pool for the next two days!
Our view for miles and miles and miles ....
Oil donkeys were plentiful in New Mexico but in the hundreds once we arrived in Texas. At one point there were oil donkeys each way we looked. They grow cotton out this way and the fields are freshly sown so the dust was blowing around.  We saw a dust-devil (whirly whirly) forming and watched to see where it was headed then poof it was gone.

Fire at the New Mexico/Texas border
There were fire trucks at the scene but as we drove down the highway two police cars, ten minutes apart, came screaming past us with lights flashing, an accident or the fire, we do not know.
We went to a Texas RoadHouse for dinner tonight. Bev had the Margarita above and she has developed a taste for tequila, that is a regular glass of wine beside the Margarita.  Bev was shocked by the size, it is the size of a fishbowl she said, but it was so nice she finished it with a smile.  Well she was smiling when she finished it!

Monday, May 09, 2011

Roswell, New Mexico (Santa Fe, NM)

Funny little green men from Mars .... 

Santa Fe, New Mexico
The oldest continuously occupied (1610) public building in the USA is what is now known as The Palace of the Governors.  The lovely adobe building has been occupied under three flags, Spanish, Mexican and American.  Today the adobe walls were being painted so, as you can see, some of it was taped off.  Native American Artists sell their own handicrafts here, jewelry, rugs, musical instruments, dream-catchers and more.
The Royal Palace: Fortress and Castle
This old car passed as I was taking the shot .... it was perfect timing.
We had the best meal of the trip at La Fonda, a beautiful old hotel in downtown Santa Fe.
We walked around the Plaza and to the Library where Barbara volunteers but she was at lunch so we missed her.  I did speak with Ken.  Santa Fe was the perfect end to Bev's journey on the Native portion of the Southwest.  We are on our way to Texas and hope to be home in two and a half days (Wednesday evening). Tonight we are staying in Roswell where the UFO mystery deepens .... 

It isn't over yet, we go to Louisiana on Saturday for a taste of Cajun Country and a Southern Wedding.