Monday, January 13, 2014


Lakeview RV Resort
Houston, TX
January 9-12, 2014

Joe and I pulled into Lakeview around lunchtime Thursday morning. Its a short drive (only 72 miles) from Anahuac to Houston. No, it was not the Grackles we were here to visit. But rather, friends Judy and Gary who we met last year in Moab.

We quickly set up our home and walked the Tan Clan. Then Judy mentioned Five Guys...oh how we love Five Guys...I couldn't get in their Jeep quick enough!
After  yummy hamburgers all the way with fries and ice tea, lots of catching up, a stop at the grocery store, and plans made for Friday, we were all off to take naps.
Friday, Judy and Gary picked us up at 11:00am. First stop...lunch! Monument Inn Restaurant came highly recommended by a local they met here. The restaurant is located on the Houston ship channel. It's on the second story with huge windows and a very nice view of the waterway. We enjoyed watching the barges and ships pass by.

Salad was served with a basket of warm cinnamon rolls. "Fun facts" about the restaurant say they make over 1000 cinnamon rolls on a busy Saturday. I know why! Then, we were served platters pilled high with fresh gulf seafood...oysters, shrimp, scallops, and stuffed crab. We all ate way too much. Five stars on food, five stars on service! 

After lunch, a walk was in order. We stopped to see the San Jacinto Monument. The 567 foot column, actually taller than the Washington Monument (555 feet), is topped with a 220 ton, 34 foot "Lone Star" that commemorates the site of the Battle of San Jacinto, a decisive battle of the Texas Revolution. The base of the monument contains a 15,625 sq. foot museum. The outside of the base is decorated with eight engraved panels depicting the history of Texas.
Along with the monument, the 1200 acre San Juan Battleground Historic Site also provides a home for the Battleship Texas. It became the first battleship memorial in 1948.  
Joe, Gary and Judy...

Judy found a 4 leaf clover...
Judy had graciously made reservations for us to take a tour of the Port of Houston aboard the M/V Sam Houston at 2:30. Parking is free at the Sam Houston Pavilion. A "work in progress"...this beautiful mosaic wall depicts how the port has played an important role in the history of Houston.  
The port is a 25 mile long complex of public and private facilities. Its the first port to be built with federal and local matching funds. It officially opened on November 14, 1914...almost 100 years ago!  

Three Ready Reserve Force cargo/container ships are on stand-by to move army vehicles and tanks from Fort Hood to troubled spots when needed.

There was a young man standing close to us on the deck with his wife and young children. He works at the port. His children were excited to be there and we learned so much from him!

Its an inland port...thus partially protected from major storms that threaten the Gulf.
The 90 minute tour is the only means by which the public can view port operations.  It is a great way to spend the afternoon if you are in the area!

Saturday morning was another first for us...a visit to the Johnson Space Center.

We arrived at the center just in time to catch the first blue tram ride...headed to the Mission Control Center.
My favorite part of the day was in Building 30...the Mission Control Room.  We learned lots of information. We visited the new, redesigned control room that will be used for future spaceflights including the Orion Mission to Mars. The first screen on the left in the picture above was "real time", managing the activities aboard the International Space Station in the control room next to the room we were in. And then we watched as the ISS passed from daylight to dark on the screen in the middle.

We also took the red tram which took us to the Vehicle Mock-Up Facility in Building 9. Several mockup parts of the ISS are used for training... and developing robotic technology...

Canada Arm

Orion capsule
...mockup pieces of the Canada Arm used for repairs on the ISS

...and the developing new Orion capsule.

We also made a stop at Rocket Park to view the Saturn V.

 We were saturated with information after our stops.

 The tram ride includes a stop at the Astronaut Memorial Grove. An oak tree is planted in honor of every astronaut who has passed away.

There are many other attractions at the Space Center...time and energy being a factor for us, we chose two others. We got a glimpse of what its like living in space at an interactive presentation by an astronaut...

...and enjoyed a look at some amazing artifacts in manned space flight history at the Starship Gallery.

Our time with Judy and Gary flew by! Thank you for your warm hospitality. We enjoyed our visit and cant wait for our next one!
We are slowly making our way west on I-10. We arrive in Tucson on Wednesday. We are really looking forward to a high of 74*, no rain, and no humidity!
Take care and until next time...
 enjoy your view!



  1. Wow, what a day at the Space Center! One of these times we will need to take it easy going through Texas, as hard as that is to do.... --Dave

  2. In all the times I've been at Anahuac, I've never gone to either of those places. Were you able to tour the battleship? The space stuff really doesn't float my boat, and I'd probably never go there unless I had some of the grandkids interested or if I toured it with someone else.

  3. How fun! We did the space center in Houston many, many years ago. Sounds like it's time we did an update.

  4. I would LOVE to visit the space center! The restaurant overlooking the waterway sounds very nice; of course being from LA, we love seafood! Safe travels to AZ! Enjoy the low humidity!!! :-)

  5. Now that you have experienced "Mission Control" in Houston, next on your list should be "Launching Control" at Kennedy Space Center.

  6. You two sure had a busy time in Houston--and some good meals too! I can"t believe you will be in Tucson by tomorrow already--seems like a fast trip. I know you will enjoy being back in the desert.

  7. Whew, I'm tired - what a busy time. You were in my old back yard! Glad you enjoyed the area! Safe travels.

  8. Johnson Space Center has been added to my list of places to visit. Very interesting. Being a foodie, I've also added the Monument Inn. The cinnamon rolls sound mouth watering. Enjoy your visit.

  9. Ahhh, to be back in the dry air!! We are trying FL one last time. We realize this isn't for us any longer now that we have fallen in love with hiking and the Jeep trails. I am really looking to your posts!!

    Looks like a very successful trip to Houston. How neat to reconnect with friends and have great sight seeing and food:)

  10. Another delightful post! Thank you for sharing. We'll add Houston to our bucket list. Are y'all going back to Lazy Days?

  11. If you are into birding at all there is an incredible site just south of the town of Winnie (about 35 miles due east of Houston) called the Rookery which is operated by the Houston Audobon Society. The site is on an area called High Island which is actually a salt dome which sticks up from the coastal plain making it an island of sorts. It's actually the highest point on the Gulf Coast from Mexico to Florida. On top of this "island" is a lake and this then is the Rookery. Here, birds find it a safe spot to stop on their journeys north and south each year. It is especially incredible in March and April as the birds flying north from their southern sojurn stop to hatch their eggs and raise their chicks until they are prepared to continue north. There are egrets and sandbills and others - just an incredible number and variety of birds. The sandbills eat the shrimp from the briny waters which turns them pink so that they look just like flamingos and they are just as large. Their only predators are alligators which you see a number of on a normal visit. Check out YouTube videos about this. It's a huge secret to almost everyone in the Houston area except for birders. But when one first sees the lake in the spring with all the birds it is a jaw dropping moment!