Doing good, Houston!

This is a not very good picture from the old control room at Space Center Houston. It’s just one of those historic places, which gives you that special thrill when you think about what happened there, or rather what the people in that room witnessed at first hand.

Right now I’m alone in the RV while Dane and David are out fishing with some really nice people we met at dinner last night. It is downright unbelieable how nice and forthcoming Texans are! We had lovely seafood (oysters and crab) at The Captain’s Table just across the road from our RV camp, which sits directly on the beach. I trotted down the beach this morning just as the sun was coming up. Despite a strong wind, it would have been too hot just an hour later, but at that time it was perfect. Absolutely lovely!

Yesterday was one of those days where everything just seems to be right. We left the campsite in good time and headed for Nasa space center south of Houston

(first time we didn’t make a single wrong turn!), where we spent most of the day. It was a great experience for all three of us, even if Dane at one point expressed his disapointment because he hadn’t seen any rocket launch or landing… We must follow the next launch on TV, when it takes place in October.

Mock-up of space shuttle for astronaut practice. It really is very big, Dane thought it had room for millions of astronauts and was quite astounded when I told him that usually only 7 people get to fly it.

With Dane in front of Space Center tram after having seen the above mentioned control center.

The trip down to Galveston also went without any problems and we reached the site in fine time and set up camp in five minutes flat. (You attach yourself (or rather, the RV) to electricity, water and sewer and you’re all set). Then we went directly into the ocean. The waves were moderate, but very big for Dane. Also seing the mullets flying around almost within touching distance was a fantastic experience for him.

This afternoon we’ll drive into downtown Galveston and have a look at the sights. And then it’s off to dinner (hopefully the fish they’ve just caught this morning) with our nice new Texan friends, who’s house we just cannot wait to see irl (in real life). While in the US, must abb(reviate)…

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Driving the RV

is what we’ve been doing today. Or David has, more precisely. We’re now at a very posh campsite 40 miles north of Houston, and Dane and David are already sleeping. We drove 200 miles (app. 300 km.) and that took us about 4 hours including a stop along the way for a sandwich. This is where the benefits of travelling in an RV really kick in. You park the vehicle, turn on the generator and then turn off the engine. Everything inside runs smoothly and you can use the toilet, make sandwiches and do your hair or whatever – in a nice cool environment in spite of the 90 degrees outside.

Tomorrow we’re heading for the NASA space center and then on to the beaches at Galveston. The weather has cleared and the weatherman promises sun over the weekend. It was a good friend of mine who reminded me of the space center – it had completely slipped my mind. I would have been quite sorry if we’d missed that – it’s just Dane’s cup of tea. Actually, he’s already got a little copy of the space shuttle!

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Period farm & pacific war…

Today we went up to Johnson City, named after Lyndon B. Johnson whose place of birth it is. There you can go on a guided tour (in airconditioned tour bus) and see every little scrap of evidence documenting the aforementioned LBJ’s life. We chose not to do that, as it would probably have bored both Dane and us to death. But on the grounds is also a little farm built by some of the original German settlers in the area. Everything in the place is as it would have looked in 1915. And the people who work there wear period clothes. It was in fact much better than it sounds. It was very laid back, there was not a coke in sight and you couldn’t buy any souvenirs whatsoever. Dane got to go into the hen house and see if he could find some eggs.

He found some and took them into the kitchen, where they were separating the cream from the milk. And where they baked the eggshells and fed them back to the chickens, so that they got all the good calcium and would lay eggs with strong shells. When it comes to recycling we could learn a lot from a place like that. Absolutely nothing goes to waste!

Then we went on to Fredericksburg, a quaint little touristy place with an awful lot of traffic. We had a solid if not very interesting lunch and then off to what Dane found was the best museum he’d ever been to. Hold on to your chairs: The one and only museum for the Pacific war (Americans have museums for everything – really, everything. Try to do an Internet search on museum + xxxxx (whaever you can think of) + USA. You’ll find something, I guarantee it!).

Well, it was in fact a very good an educational museum, detailing the progression of the war in the Pacific. Really, we Europeans have never focused that much on the enormous loss of human life the Americans suffered out there. Dane asked a million questions as always and would constantly want to know whether this or that aircraft or this or that uniform had belonged to one of the good or the bad ones… at least it’s easier to go along with the good/bad thing when it’s the 2nd World War you’re discussing. It’s a good deal worse in Iraq or wherever else there’s a war going on at present.

Dane happily mounted the canon once he was certain that it had belonged to the good guys…

Our plan was to head out for Galveston (on the Mexican Gulf) tomorrow, but a tropical storm has just hit the area with considerable flooding and a lot of rain, so we’ll pass on that one. Instead we’re heading towards the coast south of Galveston and stay there until the rain stops. We’re prettly excited about finally taking off in our motorized home!

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A lovely night without the aircondition

There’s much to be said for the RV. But the aircon makes an awful lot of noise and it bothers both David and myself. Dane sleeps happily no matter what. We have to turn it off at night to sleep, but it gets awfully hot and stuffy after a few hours. Yesterday, however, a coldfront came to Texas and has grace us with lovely cool weather. Cool being 28 at day and 21 at night. I could even trot around the campsite this morning without problems, it was so lovely and cool. The locals tell us that it’s the first coldfront in four months!

Yesterday was spent with the family. My other cousin Mickey and her husband Ken has arrived from Floriday with my aunt/Godmother Néné (90 years and in a wheelchair) to settle here in the hill country not far from Bruce and Nancy. This is the first time in many many years, that brother and sister are in the same state. We had a lovely family get-together at Bruce’s house, which has the most lovely patio (deck, the Americans call it) in four levels. I have absolutely no idea why I didn’t think to bring out the camera at this rare gathering, but I guess I can only blame one person for that… The extended family (including us) will be together for Thanksgiving, so I’ll just have to remember to bring out the camera then!

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San Antonio

Today we were really going to treat Dane to something special, so we took the relatively long drive down to San Antonio to the worlds largest Sea World. But, eh, it was closed… So much for Internet research!

Instead we went to downtown San Antonio to see the Alamo and take a boat trip on the river. We started with some much deserved lunch and then we went on the half hour boatride on San Antonio River. It was quite a nice ride with pretty views. The guide was very funny – at least he thought so himself.

And so – the Alamo!

You can’t see it until you’re right in front of it – it doesn’t seem like much, dwarfed as it is among many new and tall buildings. But it was an experience never the less. The Americans are so proud of the courageous soldiers, who were defeated here. It is a good place to come and feel the positive sides of American patriotism. We bought a few silly souvenirs and decided to call it a day – half wasted because of the closed Sea World. It is now quite clear that almost all summer-related entertainment ends at Labour Day. We came to the US one day later… Anyway, we didn’t come here to rush from one theme park to the next, but we really would have loved to see the worlds largest Seaworld with a real killer whale!

RV and gorgeous Cadillac

Dane and Daddy at breakfast just outside RV

Dining area in RV

Kitchenette

Dane on bunk bed playing his gameboy. Moments later he fell down – he is so preoccupied and wriggles around so much when he’s playing, that he doesn’t pay attention. Auch.

Previous posts about our road trip in the US (only a couple) can be found here.

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