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?!!

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