Friday, April 15, 2016

Texas - 3rd and final stop


On March 1, 2016 we moved to the Houston area, East Houston/Baytown to be exact. Houston is one town that both of us have been to together, a very long time ago. We met while working for Washington Inventory Services way back in the late 70's. We traveled to Houston to inventory some stores. It seems that not much has changed but yet everything has changed at the same time. We both remember Houston being a very big town, but not quite as big as it is now. We also remember it being all cement every where, not many trees, lots of expressways and that is still the same today.
We stayed at the Houston East RV Resort in Baytown.
It is right off of I-10 and this is by far the worst road noise we have had yet. It is funny that at some parks next to the expressway the noise isn't bad and others it is. This section of highway carries a lot of traffic, all day. Luckily Nancy uses ear plugs and we play a sleep music CD and that helped immensely. This park is gated, which seems crazy as only the driveway has a fence, the rest of the property is open. The sites are fairly wide, but a little short, we had just enough room to park the car. The grounds are very well kept, and one edge of the park is the dog walking area which was great.
Dog walking area
Two days before we left they had a problem with their water system so we had no water, luckily for us we have a water pump so we were fine but the showers and the laundry were closed all weekend, which made it rough for others.

Our first stop was the Art Car Museum, you know as soon as you pull into the parking lot that this is going to be a cool place. 

It is a gallery for local artists to exhibit their work. Each month they have a different theme for the art, this exhibit was abstract. They have one art car that matches the theme and then a couple of other antique or art cars on display. The art work was amazing, there was some encaustic work and a number of pieces were mixed media which is one of Nancy's favorites. 

The art car, "Shattered Vanity" created by Nicole Strine was covered in broken mirror pieces. Inside you will find a disco ball!

There was a 1956 Nash Ambassador, beautiful blue and the seats inside all fold down flat, perfect for drive-in movies. 

The 1961 Caddy convertible was a beauty. The detail of the old cars is certainly missing in the cars of today. 

They have video's playing on multiple TV screens that show the art car parade that is held each year in Houston.

Taking a break from the art world we spent some time with Mother Nature at the Houston Arboretum and Nature Center. The trails are laid out in loops that intersect each other so your walk can be as long or as short as you want. This place is a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city. 

Didn't see any real turtles but loved this
cut out in the base of a sign.  

A few early Spring blooms and lots of fungi to entertain us, as well as owl pellets. 

As usual we went in search of Roadside Oddities. First up was the Gerald Hines Waterwall Park, it is in downtown and was absolutely spectacular. The roar from the 64-foot semi-circular fountain was part of the attraction. The water cascades down both sides. 
The front has an arched wall that adds to the effect of the multi-stepped fountain behind it.

The 14-foot-long, 22-foot-tall steel-plated Armadillo in front of a Goode's BBQ Palace was a fun one. For special events the eyes light up and smoke comes out of his nostrils. 

Not sure if the Glenwood Cemetery should be considered a roadside oddity or not, but their website is where we first heard about it. It took us a while to find the front entrance, after circling the block a few times we stopped and ask an older gentleman by a locked gate how we could get in. Turns out he was trying to get into the Lutheran cemetery and his name was Fred. Twice now we have encountered the name Fred in Texas. He was a very sweet man, and after giving us some wild directions he proceeded to tell us some Texas history for the next 20 minutes. 
We finally got into the cemetery. Some of the headstones and mausoleums were amazing. It covers 85 acres, and was established in 1871 and is laid out in the tradition of other romantic rural cemetery parks of the 19th century. The reason this cemetery is an attraction is a number of famous people are buried here. Howard Hughes being one of them. We looked and looked for his grave-site and finally stopped at the office to ask. The reason we couldn't find it is that there is no name on it, considering it is Howard Hughes' grave, that didn't seem all that surprising.
The center picture is where Howard Hughes is buried, next to parents.

On the way to the last roadside we stopped at the Vitamin Shoppe and had a great conversation with John and Mamood who work there. John was so excited when he heard about our travels, this is what he wants to do when he retires. He is hoping to use our blog to convince his wife. John, if you are reading this we hope it's working.

The last roadside is called Mount Rush Hour and we snapped a picture of it during rush hour! Created by David Adickes to give commuters something to look at while stuck in traffic, just like we were. The busts are of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Sam Houston and Steven Austin.

College Station is home to the George H Walker Bush Library and Museum. It was about an hour drive from the campground, or should have been. The trip took a little longer due to a slow down on the expressway because of a funeral procession. There were only 3 cars but they had a police escort of 4 motorcycle cops. They traveled in the left lane with 2 cops ahead and 2 cops in the center lane behind. As we got to the end of a jurisdiction new police would come on and the others would leave. The ones in the center lane kept trying to wave cars on past them in the right lane but it took a long time to get all the cars past.
The Bush Library is on the campus of Texas A & M. This was the first one that had security at the door, you have to empty your pockets like you do at the airport and walk through metal detectors. While the display was nice, again very similar to others with rooms filled with memorabilia, videos and pictures. We felt like there could have been more, so much happened during his presidency and the rest of his career that seemed to be glossed over.

There was much more about his childhood than there was at the other presidential libraries, and much more information about Barbara than the other first ladies.

Display of a State dinner and Barbara's wedding dress.
Through out the museum there were mailboxes with a stuffed dog on top. Inside was a "bone" with a question on one side and the answer on the other. The Literacy Lounge has bookcases filled with children's books. President Bush has a love of crazy socks! 

Livingston, LA and New Orleans is where we headed next. 

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You! 

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~Preparing for an emergency stop on the side of the road
We have only had to pull onto the side of the expressway a few times, but once is enough to know you need to be prepared. 
- Make sure any tools or items you will need to fix a problem are stored underneath on the passenger side of your RV that faces away from the road. This way you are not opening the storage doors while standing next to traffic hurtling past you at 75 mph or more. 
- Have all of your insurance information handy in case you need to call for roadside assistance. 
- As always turn your flashers on and pull as far off the road as possible, not always easy in an RV.
- If traveling with a pet make sure they are secured before opening the door, and make sure windows are closed so they cannot jump out.


  1. I'm happy to stumble on your blog. Thanks for the kind words about my art car. :-)

    1. Nicole I am glad you stumbled upon the blog - we loved the car and wish we could be there for the art car parade!