Organ Pipe National Park

Organ Pipe National Park

About Me

I purchased "Sadie''s House On Wheels "in late 2007 and loved traveling in a motor home so much that I went on the road full time in late 2008. I started writing this blog to help me remember all the wonder places I have been and it allows me to share those places with my family and friends. Summer of 2013 I decided to hang up the keys for a while and moved back into my stick house. After nearly two years, I am on the road again.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

La Porte, April 26-27

We left the TT campground and headed towards Houston.  Our first stop was at the Apple Store in Memorial City, a suburb of Houston.  Joel purchased a new Mac a few weeks ago while in San Antonio and is still learning how to use it.  Although the Apple Store in San Antonio loaded most of the basic items on the new Mac, there were a few bugs that needed to be worked out. We had visited an Apple store in Austin, but didn't get all of the issues resolved.  After looking on the internet we determined Joel needed to visit the store while in Houston, because the next store would be a few weeks away in Baton Rouge, LA.  After visiting the "Genius Bar" and completing a One to One session, Joel is beginning to "wean" himself from the PC. I've been a Mac user for a while now and the Genius Bar and One to One sessions are invaluable.

After spending nearly two hours at the Apple Store we headed to La Porte, south east of Houston to the Fraternity Order of Eagles lodge..  We had stayed at an Eagles  Lodge in San Antonio, but this Aries was much quieter and central to the Space Center and Galveston.  The members of the Aries greeted like long lost friends.  They were so friendly and very helpful. If you are an Eagle and are in the area be sure and stop in and say hello.  You won't be sorry.

Thursday morning we woke up to a real skies! Usually the mornings have been overcast with high humidity with the sun coming out midday and then warming up to even warmer temperatures with even higher humidity. Thursday morning provided cool temps, blue skies, and low humidity.  We headed over to the Houston Space Center which is in partnership with the NASA Johnson Space Center. The Space Center provides a tram tour of the NASA grounds.  You can't drive on to the NASA area but have to be part of the Tram tour provided by the Space Center.  The Space Center is a non profit education center run independently from NASA and really isn't part of the Johnson Space Center other than they have permission to run the trams.

When we arrived the docent suggested we get on the tram first thing because 97 school children were expected to be touring NASA.  Yikes!!

 This is the building the Saturn is housed in.
Rocket Park

These engines are huge.
 The Saturn is really long and the exhibit showed all three sections
 Part of the mock up room (above)  There is a mock up of every piece of equipment for the astronauts to train on and for technicians to trouble shoot if astronauts need help while in outer space. Note some of the equipment.
 Mock up of the space shuttle
 Different entities that worked on the space shuttle
 This shows all of the missions of the space shuttle

The Space Center is a great place for families and there were lots of school kids (I might add, very well behaved children) on Thursday.  I can't imagine going there on a weekend.  It would be complete mayhem.  I had received a tip that tickets could be ordered on line for 1/2 price, which was a good thing because I don't think I would have spent $22.00 for this Disneyland like attraction.  Like I said: a great place for kids but I'm not into rides and theme parks.

After the tram tour of NASA we viewed the "Blast Off" exhibit in the Space Center (one of the more educational and productive exhibits).  The first part was a short video with sound effects and clouds duplicating what a blast off might feel like (pretty cheesy but the kids seem to like it) followed by a short lecture about the space program and the upcoming launch.  After the lecture, we went into the Starship Gallery which gave a chronological accounting of all of the missions and some very realistic exhibits:

 These pictures look very real of astronauts on the moon
 Lunar mobile

Life like astronaut floating through the air.

We drove down to Galveston to see the beaches and stick our feet in the water. I was amazed at the amount of oil storage tanks and refineries.  We had dinner at one of the local tourist traps and took the advice of our waiter and had shrimp..the the worst I've ever had, but "my bad" for not checking the reviews.  The views were good and the drive back to La Porte traffic free and easy.

 One of the beaches on the way to Galveston
 View from the restaurant
 One of the refineries on route
Note all of the storage tanks. ... and we have an oil shortage?!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thousand Trails, Columbus Tx, April 22-26

From Austin we drove through the country towards the little town of Columbus.  We pulled into the Thousand Trails campground on the Colorado River...not THE Colorado River of Utah and Colorado but the Colorado River of Texas.  We picked a site right on the river much to the chagrin of the Ranger.  He couldn't understand why we wouldn't camp on one of the perfectly level concrete slaps away from the river, close to the showers and club house, near all of the weekenders and kids. He didn't know us very well.  Rarely do we use the club house or showers and being far away from those coveted amenities is just fine with us. The river was soothing and the views comforting.
 View of our site and the river

There was a very large herd of deer that meandered through the park after the weekend.

Joel spent most of his time getting a few projects done, while I spent time recuperating from a cold.  We did find time to take  a long day trip to Livingston to visit the Escapee Park and Care Center and for Joel to pick up mail.

The Escapee Park in Livingston is the "Flagship" park and headquarters of the Escapee RV Club.  The  Care center is for Escapee (SKP) members who are recuperating from surgery or an illness and need assistance.  Volunteer care providers provide meals, some personal care, transportation, and housekeeping services to member RVers in their RV for a nominal fee.  I was really impressed with how organized and clean the facilities were. I hope I never have the opportunity to use this service, but if I do, I know I will be in good hands.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Austin , April 19-21

We left the Eagles parking area and headed for Austin.  We had been to Austin several times over the past few weeks but missed the river walk and the LBJ library.  After having been to the LBJ Ranch earlier, I wanted to see the library and I also wanted to bike the river trail.  We stopped at Buda, Texas and parked at the Cabela parking lot.  I had read you park overnight even though there are signs stating no overnight parking.   We checked with the  management and they confirmed it was O.K. to park overnight.  There is a special designated spot for RV and trucks but got permission to park away from the trucks.  Its pretty noisy as it is right off I-35

Nancy and Maynard joined us and the next morning Nancy, Joel and I headed down to the river for a nice bike ride.

The bike path crosses the river and provides from some gorgeous views.
There is a large winding circular pathway up to the bridge for riding you bike or riding.  This eliminated hundreds of steps.  Pretty impressive.
We saw several paddle boards.  This seems to be a new sport catching on rapidly.  I noticed these gals did not have life jackets.
Sunken garden.  One of the land marks along the bike path.
Taken from the Congress Street Bridge looking towards the Capitol.
I say this "boat/swan" floating along with out a care.

We returned to the Cabela parking lot and decided it was too noisy and moved over to the Moose Lodge near downtown.  The next day, we went down town and toured the LBJ Library.  What a great way to spend a very hot afternoon (90 plus with high humidity)!  The library is free and so is the parking. However, the parking lot was full and we had to park in the pay parking structure.  The  library and museum was a walk back into the 60's, totally different from the Regan Library we previously toured in California. There isn't as many people or as much security.  There are tours given, but infrequently, and the museum is small enough you can't get lost.
The structure is located on the University campus .
This is a replica of the oval office during LBJs presidency.

 Note the most up to date phone on the table.

Not the three TVs for watching the major networks.  The same were found in LBJs home.
The museum also featured memorabilia of Lady Bird and show cased her passion for the environment.  I found the above passage interesting. She did take advantage of her position to persue some of her passions.  There was also exhibit of one of the gowns that she wore for several state functions.  Have you ever seen any of the current First Lady's wear anything twice?

This little guy posed for me for a long time until he finally found a place to bury his acorn. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

San Antonio..again April 15-18

We stayed at the RV park in Bandera an extra day after the dance rally to catch up on house hold stuff and pick up Joel's mail and then headed over San Antonio.  We met up with several folks from the dance rally at the Eagles parking lot where we parked for a few days.  This was not the most ideal place to park, (pretty noisy) but it was closer to the Cajun Festival and the San Antonio Fiesta.    It was the final weekend of the San Antonio Festival, a celebrating the defeat of Santa Anna after the massive slaughter at the Alamo.
 We caught up with friends at the Trader's Village to listen and dance  to Cajun music and enjoy some Cajun food. By the look on Janet's face, she is not to impressed with crawfish, the center piece of the festival.

 This was a Cajun Festival so there were lots of crawfish..3 lbs for $12.00.  Sounds like a lot of crawfish, but it isn't.  At most you get a teaspoon of meat from each crayfish.  It's tasty, but work!! We'll be going to another festival in early May in Louisiana so we'll have plenty of chances to eat crayfish.
The dancing was ...O.K.  but we didn't stick around because there were too many other things to do and see.

Trader's Village is a gigantic (flea) market, so we perused the different vendors.  Maynard, true to  his fun loving character modeled this Dallas Cowboy hat, showing everything is bigger in Texas.

 We returned to the Alamo and Maynard and Nancy decided to rent one of the  tour phones and share it.  They had to get really close to in order for both of them listen to it at the same time.
 While looking for a short cut to the River Walk we discovered this nice pond and falls at the entrance of one of the hotels.

 This sculpture was erected for the hemisfair in the 1980s representing the partnership between the US, Canada and Mexico. You can see it from the River Walk as well as other points in the city  making for a great land mark.
 The Buckhorn Saloon is noted for its stuffed animal heads.  There are hundreds.  We didn't go in the museum , but we did go in the lobby area and saw all of the different deer and sheep.   I wonder what else they had on exhibit in the museum.

 The River Walk has lots of resting spots and water features.  Nancy, Maynard and Joel are sitting on the "tree stump bench".  The structure is made of concrete but it looks like real wood.

At one point  he river is dammed up and there are locks .
 Many of the buildings are lit up at night.  This is the hemisphere built for the hemisfair.  That is the full moon shining in the background.
 We were able to catch part of the moon light parade.  It was pretty hard to find a place to see the parade and the crowds were sometimes 12-20 people deep. ...i.e. lots of people!! The parade was the finale to the San Antonio Fiesta.

These folks had great seats, although a little precarious.
On Monday we rode the barge  boat down the river again with Nancy and Maynard, which was much more pleasant than the last time we went which was on a weekend. It wasn't nearly as crowded.  Actually, Monday after the Fiesta, was the perfect time to be in San Antonio because all of the crowds had left. The streets were empty and quiet.