Seeing some sights

Wednesday November 18, the four of us (Ed, Connie, Cliff & Cyndy) took a day trip from Brazos Bend SP to Galveston Island. Cliff & Cyndy are Colorado friends that we volunteered with in Alaska,  and will be together again at Black Bayou NWR in Louisiana.

The map is from the internet, but gives a good picture of our travels. The red arrow points to Brazona NWR, which has no bearing on our trip ;-). However, you can see Brazos Bend State Park on the map. We traveled down FM (Farm to Market) roads to Lake Jackson. A nice town where the girls got a tip (Ann Caraway) about Calico Cats quilt store.Then over to Surfside Beach on the Gulf of Mexico.

Galveston.trip Galveston.trip.houseFrom Surfside Beach we drove down the Bluewater Highway over the toll bridge and along the peninsula to the city of Galveston. We were amazed seeing all the homes on stilts along the route.

Galveston.hurricane The reason for stilts became a lot clearer after learning more about the devastating 1900 hurricane that virtually wiped out Galveston. The stilts won’t help in 150 MPH winds, but these newer homes are hurricane resistant and the stilts help with high water from storms…and adds a little storage area underneath.

galveston-seawall-blvd2[1]We drove down the Galveston “Seawall” and enjoyed a little lunch/dinner at Miller’s on the Seawall Grill to celebrate Cliff’s birthday. Viewed the surfers and folks enjoying the beach. Could see tankers in the distance waiting to load or unload their oil. The Galveston Seawall was built after the 1900 Hurricane for protection from future hurricanes. Construction began in September, 1902, and the initial segment was completed on July 29, 1904

USS.TexasWednesday November 25, while Cyndy flew to Washington DC to visit her new grand daughter Clara, Cliff drove us to see the Battleship USS Texas historic site in La Porte, near Houston. We enjoyed roaming the decks of this beast and seeing the amazing 14″ guns. Surprised to learn it was first commissioned in 1914 and has gone through several refurbishings; serving in WWI and WWII.

SanJacintoMonumentRight off the bow of the USS Texas we could see the San Jacinto monument. It is slightly taller (567.31′) than the Washington Monument (+/- 555′), complete with reflecting pool. Leave it to the Texans. We walked through the battleground and visited the museum.

We have certainly heard of the Alamo, but San Jacinto holds a prominent place in Texas history during this time period. In the fall of 1835, Texas settlers were no longer happy with being citizens of Mexico. President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna had established himself as dictator and the Texians resisted his rule. Armed rebels drove the Mexican army from Texas by December 1835.

In retaliation, General Santa Anna  marched 6,000 soldiers north to reclaim Texas. The Alamo fell on March 6, 1836; Texas troops at Goliad surrendered two weeks later.

Sam Houston and his troops surprised Santa Anna and his troops on April, 20. His 750 soldiers were eager, but outnumbered compared to Santa Anna’s 1,200 troops. They swarmed into the Mexican camp, shouting “Remember the Alamo” and “Remember Goliad” declaring independence from Mexico. The Texians killed 600 plus Mexicans and captured most of the others. Santa Anna escaped, dressed as a private.

Texian troops captured him the next day, and brought him before the wounded General Houston. Houston forced the Mexican president to sign a treaty that would recognize Texas’ independence. The treaty also opened the gate for America’s westward expansion.


After visiting the historical sites, Cliff drove us through a little of downtown Houston, and over to the the Saint Arnold Brewing Company, the oldest craft brewer in Texas. Quite a place! Connie and Ed enjoyed an Art Car IPA on draft, while Cliff had a FREE root beer that they brew. The Art Car IPA name was inspired by the fleet of hand painted Art Cars created by local artists for Saint Arnold.
NASA.SpaceStation Friday, December 11. Cliff drove us all to NASA, where we boarded a tram train to the different sites. First was the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility, where NASA astronauts train for duty on the International Space Station.
NASA.MissionControl Next we viewed the familiar Mission Control room that we have seen in movies and news reports back when the Apollo voyages were being made. Located on the 2nd floor in Building 30 of the Johnson Space Center, where NASA monitored nine Gemini and all Apollo missions, including the historic Apollo 11 trip to the moon. The NASA team exercised full mission control of Apollo 11. The control room’s computer had a memory of 2MB in 1969,  less than the memory size of a  picture on your smart phone camera. Incredible! This control room served NASA till 1992 when the new control room was established downstairs. It had been updated through the years, but the older equipment saved, then returned to preserve it’s history.

NASA-boosterCliff and Ed walked the Saturn V Rockey Park display building. The Saturn V rocket transported  astronauts during the Apollo missions. over 36 stories tall, it is the most powerful rocket ever built. Rocket Park had large pictures and a history summary of all the Apollo missions. We were surprised to learn that there were actually 6 successful moon landings made by Apollo crews. Apollo 11 was the first. Remember the Tom Hanks 1995 Apollo 13 movie? They were supposed to land, but had to turn back because of a malfunction.

Benny-Bailey-ShannonWe got a text from Dan Benedict (Benny), Tim and Shannon’s friend   that now lives in Houston. Benny and his girlfriend Bailey thought they would come out to Brazos Bend for a visit. Little did we know that daughter Shannon had arranged an overnight flight to visit also. Saturday December 12, Shannon stowed away in the back of Benny’s hatchback, only to jump out shouting Merry Christmas when arriving at our site. A wonderful surprise. She spent the night and we took her to the airport Sunday night.

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Seeing some sights — 2 Comments

  1. It is so great to see all your travels. Your posts are so interesting as well as entertaining. I especially loved to see the video of Shannon popping out of the vehicle to surprise Mom.

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