Sunday, May 07, 2006

Gulf Coast road trip

Gulf Coast Road Trip - April 30 & May 1

One of L's classes had scheduled a field trip to Houston to visit NASA and the Johnson Space Center. Some of the group was carpooling and caravanning down to Houston from Ft Worth, but we decided to drive on our own so we could travel at our own pace, sightsee, and -- oh yeah -- watch trains. We hit the road early Sunday morning, grabbed some McDonald's on our way out of town, and stopped around Hearne and Valley Jct. to catch a few trains.

Northbound train and wildflowers. Near Hearne, TX. 04/30/06

A southbound turns the corner at Valley Jct.

a suicidal turtle - near Valley Jct, Tx

We arrived in Houston (well, actually Webster... about 20 miles SE of Houston) around 1500, checked into our hotel, and headed to NASA for our evening activities. On the way there, I spotted this goofy critter, and made K stop so I could get a photo...

CEFX GP20D - Webster, TX

The school had booked a series of educational workshops at Space Center Houston after business hours, so we had the place to ourselves -- pretty cool. They had the kids doing stuff like designing equipment to protect an egg (which represented an astronaut) in the event of a crash, experimenting with air-propelled rockets, and hands-on demonstration of aerodynamics. The next day, we toured part of the Johnson Space Center and got a look at the original 1960s-era Mission Control room. We also saw the Astronaut Training Facility, which houses full-size mockups of Space Shuttles, space station components, robotic arms, and other training equipment.

L and classmates discuss their astronaut restraint system.

L checks out the Astronaut Training Facility

After we finished at NASA, we took a short drive down to Galveston. I had never been there, and wanted to see the beach, and get a look at the railroad bridge over Galveston Bay. We found the beach littered with seaweed -- the tide was in and the surf was pretty rough. The beaches down at South Padre are a lot nicer. I had to shoot my photo of the railroad bridge from the moving car... there was nowhere to pull over and stop. We beat the Houston rush hour and made it home exactly 5 hours after we left Galveston, stopping twice for gas -- no other stops.

K and L on Galveston beach along the sea wall

railway bridge over Galveston Bay

Overall, it was a good trip, and a neat experience for the kids (and parents) who were able to go.

I haven't done any riding during the past week... been fighting an ear infection in both ears ever since we left on our Houston trip. Hope to do some riding this coming week once I regain my senses of equilibrium and hearing...


np: Adrenalin OD - Humungousfungusamongus

nr: Expedition to the Southwest -- An 1845 Reconnaissance of Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma -- Lieutenant James William Abert


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