JOHNNY'S JOURNEYS: TEXAS 2014


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October 22nd 2014
Published: October 22nd 2014
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JOHNNY'S JOURNEYS: TEXAS 2014



July 26 (Saturday)

Like most vacations, there are three animals to take to the kennel. After I shampoo Blaze,

we are ready to go. There are a couple of quick stops to make as we leave about 1:00. Then

we drive to the closest What-A-Burger. At 2:30 we really do leave Mobile.

A few miles left in Mississippi, and traffic slows to a crawl. A few vehicles are involved

in an accident. We stopped at the LouisianaWelcomeCenter and take a few pictures of the

state sign. Then there is the bridge over the AtchafalayaRiver basin. Seems to be about 18

miles long.

We arrive in Lafayette about 7:30 and decide to go straight to Prejean's Restaurant. Janet

has wanted to take me to this Cajun restaurant since last year. It was certainly worth the wait.

A band is playing as we are led to our table. Walked by a 14-foot long stuffed alligator. An

appetizer of crawfish boudin balls gets our taste buds ready for some spicy eating tonight.

We order four different dishes: crawfish etoufee, seafood gumbo, crab lovers special and I

wanted the seafood platter. It has alligator, shrimp, catfish, stuffed shrimp, oysters, a frog leg

and shrimp-stuffed crab. Love this Cajun cuisine! Hope we have a refrigerator in our room.

It's about 9:30 as we arrive at the LaQuinta hotel on Evangeline Hwy. Janet and Bethany

have a room next to me and Bobby. Yes, Bethany's fiancee and I are roommates tonight. I

went to the front desk to make a wake-up call request, and was able to use the hotel fridge for

our take-out boxes. Too much good food to lose. We'll just enjoy this in Houston.



July 27 (Sunday)

9:00 and time to go visit the breakfast area. There are muffins, bagels, cereal, yogurt,

coffee and juice. Wearing an Auburn Tigers tee-shirt, I heard a hearty "War Eagle" as I took

breakfast to Janet. In the room, I flipped through the channels on our cable television. One of

them was Univision, from Mexico. I recalled that we saw a Mexican channel on our 1992 trip

to Lafayette.

Check-out is at 12 noon as I retrieve the to-go boxes. Driving west through Lake Charles,

we are pleased not to smell any sulfur. Next stop is the TexasWelcomeCenter. We waited

patiently for a young woman, holding her baby, who tried to take a "selfie" picture with the

Texas sign in the background. She was having trouble and gladly let me take 2 pictures on

the phone camera for her. Then, I got Bethany to take a couple of pix of me standing by the

Texas sign. I have an album on Facebook of state signs... where I've been to 35 states.

In Vidor we stop at a Dairy Queen for lunch. And in a little while, we approach the big

city of Houston. We took the I-610 route to bypass downtown Houston. At I-45 North, we

are on our way to Spring. Arrived at my sister-in-law's house about 5:30. Immediately drive

a few miles for an open-house showing. Too late, no more visitors for the day. We'll just

have to see it another day.

Victor and Jason helped us bring all the luggage in as we settled into our rooms. Then we

had a tour of the house. My goodness, it sure is nice! There was a Welcome! message for us

on the chalk board. We were offered cheese and crackers while Victor started the grill. Four

slabs of ribs, potato salad, baked beans, fruit salad, bread, tea; topped off with chocolate cake

and tres leches cake. So good! I'll have to wait until tomorrow to eat some of the caramel

cake. There was a pleasant warm breeze as we ate on the back patio.

This is the first opportunity to see my nephew since his birthday in May. Jason is now 12

years old and we had a few gifts for him. There was an orange Auburn tee-shirt, followed by

blue Auburn tee-shirt. Then he found the autographed card from his favorite Houston Texans

football player, J.J. Watt. He was thrilled. Then it was time for a change into the swimsuits

and enjoy the cool waters of the swimming pool. And we had to alternate with the hot tub.

Our goal out here is to RELAX. Mission accomplished on this evening. After a few hours, I

wanted to work on my stamp collection. Then off to bed by 11:00.



July 28 (Monday)

Lazily get up about 10:00. Then a little swimming before noon. Just relax most of the day.

I walked one block to the neighborhood mailbox... That was about all the work I did for the

day. Watched television, worked with my stamps and spent some time on the computer.

When Susan and Victor were back from their jobs, we drove to see a few "dream houses".

In one subdivision, all the houses were in the $ 1 million dollar range. Yes, I was impressed

by them. Very, very nice! And so much closet space. Now, if we could only win the lottery.

There was some time to order online tickets for the JohnsonSpaceCenter. That will be

our trip tomorrow. But for tonight, we're going to the Cheesecake Factory. It's located in The

Woodlands Mall. This is such a pretty shopping mall. And I really like the lake around it,

including boat rides. We've got to try a few different appetizers. Then, it seems all seven of

us order a different entree. Early this year, our family was tentatively planning a vacation to

Spain, Portugal and Morocco. Well, that was all the reason I needed to order the Moroccan

chicken dinner. Such wonderful food. Hey, there are over 35 varieties of cheesecake for

dessert. So good that I think I could visit here again.



July 29 (Tuesday)

The alarm awakes me at 7:11. Four of us are going to the JohnsonSpaceCenter today. I'm

taking Bethany, Bobby and Jason. After a big supper last night, I just have a glass of orange

juice for breakfast. The plan is to leave at 9:30. Well, it's almost 10:30 when we finally head

on down the road.

After a 75 minute drive, we are about one mile from the SpaceCenter. About 11:45 I hear

"are you hungry"? "Can we eat first"? Well, I think we can do that first. Victor had suggested

the Kemah Boardwalk. It is about nine miles past the SpaceCenter. He had even printed a

map for me. Driving over a tall bridge, we see the amusement park with a roller coaster and

ferris-wheel.

I had not heard of the Kemah Boardwalk, until this morning. Sure looks like a fun place.

We walked past Bubba Gumps Shrimp Co. and on to the Lighthouse Buffet Restaurant. Our

table was by a huge window and we enjoyed excellent views. Where ClearLake emptied

into GalvestonBay, we thoroughly enjoyed watching three dolphins at play. Nice! The buffet

included 65 - 70 items including seafood, Italian dishes and traditional comfort foods. There

were also soups, salads and desserts.

Somehow I missed our exit as we tried to backtrack to the SpaceCenter. We must have

wasted about 30 minutes, for it was now 2:00 p.m. We had planned on leaving at 4:00 so

Jason could go to football practice. I just thought we would miss too much if we only had a

two hour visit. Hey, we'll go visit the campus of RiceUniversity.

It was raining heavily as we headed northward. Too wet to go walk around a college

campus. We're back at the house at 4 and find out that football practice has been postponed

due to the bad weather. Even get to take a 90 minute snooze. That's what we're looking for,

a relaxing vacation.

Victor drives me to a Kroger grocery store for our dinner. We have grilled hotdogs and

hamburgers and a variety of chips. So good! Watched some television and worked on my

stamp collection (separating hundreds of stamps from envelopes). In bed about 10:30.



July 30 (Wednesday)

I'm up at 7:00. Will definitely leave earlier today. Indeed, we're gone by 9:30. There is the

long drive south on I-45, through downtown Houston, until we reach Nasa Parkway. So glad

that we'll have several hours to visit here. (Jason won't be going to football practice today).

We start our visit of the JohnsonSpaceCenter before 11:00.

The first exhibit we visit is the Mars Jump. After being strapped in (like a zip line), you

run over a mat. Designed to show the effect of gravity on Mars. My running was a little awk-

ward. There was a replica of the International Space Station. We viewed a 20 minute demon-

tration of what life is like there, 220 miles above Earth. It's time to watch a documentary /

movie.

We went to the restaurant for sandwiches. Saw an entertaining tee-shirt on a man in there.

It was from a barbecue place and said "I like pig butts and I cannot lie". I couldn't wait to go

to the Lunar Vault. It has the world's largest display of moon rocks. And for the tourist in all

of us, there is a small display where we really get to touch a moon rock!!!

Another highlight is the tram tour. I felt like we were witnessing history with a tour of the

Historic Mission Control. Through a glass window, we saw the actual control center. Though

no longer in service, our guide pointed out many of the sights. Stations for the Flight

Operations Director, Mission Director, Public Affairs Officer (where the world heard

"Houston, we've had a problem here"). They still have the red phone. It was a direct link to

the U.S. Dept. of Defense. Then there's a flat map of the earth, with chalk markings of the

different flight paths. Amazingly, this was done before computers. Our guide pulled out a

slide rule. Yes, this archaic math instrument was a prized possession of the engineers.

The tram then took us over to the Saturn V Rocket Park. This exhibit contains actual

rockets and spacecraft that were part of man's trip to the moon. The Saturn V rocket, when

standing is 36 stories high. So cool that this is what went to the moon. It was the most power-

ful rocket ever built and operated. Its enormous! They have a Gemini-Titan rocket with

capsule, there's the Little Joe launch vehicle, F-1 engines, the Mercury-Redstone spacecraft

booster, informative posters with pictures and phrases related to each of the Apollo flights.

Two of my favorite statements were: "Houston, Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has

landed." by Neil A. Armstrong. Also, "We came all this way to explore the moon, and the

most important thing is that we discovered the Earth." by William A. Anders. I told Jason

that I had met John Glenn, Neal Armstrong, Ken Mattingly and the parents of Virgil

Grissom. He was a little impressed. We certainly enjoyed the tour.

Back inside the SpaceCenter, I wanted to experience the Free Fall from Mars. After being

strapped into a harness, I felt like a bungee jumper. That was an amazing first step down,

from around 28 feet. There was just a little time before closing to visit the souvenir store.

This has been a wonderful 6 and 1/2 hour visit.

We get back to the house at 7:00 and it's time for supper. Tonight we'll have Mexican

food at Chuy's Restaurant. Their slogan is "We wrote the book on Tex-Mex". The Combo

Deluxe was my choice. And a very good choice it was. Although I did consider the "Big As

Yo' Face" Burritos. The freshly made tortillas were also a treat!



July 31 (Thursday)

Got to sleep late today... probably up around 10:30. Got in the swimming pool around

noon. This is our "stay at the house and relax" day. Yes, I think I can handle that. Watched

some television, spent some time with my stamp collection and waited for Victor and Susan

to arrive, after their workday.

Our special treat tonight is going to dinner at the Saltgrass Steak House. They call their

place the Original Texas Steak House. I enjoyed reading the Saltgrass legend on my menu.

Each winter, the longhorn were driven to the TexasGulfCoast to graze on the rich coastal

salt grass. And when they headed for market, they followed the legendary Salt Grass Trail,

known far and wide for creating the best beef in the Lone Star State.

It has been over 20 years since I had steak this good. I recall a steakhouse in San Antonio,

from our 1993 trip out west. Goodness, it was worth the wait. And with dessert, you couldn't

find 7 happier tummies!



August 1 (Friday)

We took it easy most of the day, while Janet washed some of our clothes. We're going our

separate ways tonight. Susan, Janet, Bethany and Bobby go shopping at the Woodlands Mall.

They find some very good sales at Macy's. Bethany now has a lot of new clothes.

Victor, Jason and I head downtown to MinuteMaidPark to watch a Houston Astros base-

ball game. Our parking lot is adjacent to BBVA Compass Stadium, home of the Houston

Dynamo. I didn't realize there was a professional soccer team here. That might be an option

to see a soccer game, when I return to Houston.

Victor had ordered tickets for the Toronto Bluejays game. First up was a visit to the Team

Store. I wanted to buy an Astros jersey. Wow, so many souvenirs to choose from. Next for us

is a trip to the concession stand to buy a brisket plate. I needed a coca-cola in the large

souvenir Astros cup. Then we made our way to the seats. Victor had purchased tickets on the

first row of the second level. Nice view! Since the opponent was from another country, the

Canadian national anthem was sung first. Then a local church choir sang the Star Spangled

Banner. Play ball!

This was a good, close, evenly matched game and was tied 1-1 going into the bottom of

the 8th inning. The Astros scored twice for a 3-1 lead. And that is how the game ended. I can

now say that I've seen Major League Baseball games in 5 cities: Atlanta Braves, Chicago

Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, (Denver) Colorado Rockies and Houston Astros.

The tradition on Friday nights is to shoot fireworks after a game. The roof was pulled

back and we saw lights from about 8 city skyscrapers. After about 10 minutes the fans were

treated to a wonderful fireworks show. I enjoyed the accompanying music too. With Houston

winning the ball game, the fireworks topped off a FUN evening!



August 2 (Saturday)

After a late morning of lounging around, we piled into one vehicle and went to The

Woodlands. Lunch today is at La Madeleine... Bakery, Cafe and Bistro. Today we shall "take

a break from ordinary lunch breaks" and go "French". There are four homemade soups, six

salads, 13 sandwiches, and 17 pastas, entrees and French Classiques to choose from. Also,

there were a couple dozen dessert items from the Bakery. Hey, I like this place.

There are some amazingly beautiful houses that we need to visit. Oh, if we could only win

the lottery. Yes, those million dollar houses sure caught our attention. With a fireplace in the

master bedroom, a theater and tons of closet space, did I mention how nice these houses are?

Next on the agenda was a trip to Main Street America: The Nation's Only Year Round

Parade of Showcase Homes. There are twelve unique demonstration homes featuring the

latest in home products, furniture and decor. Each house is different, as is the furniture. We

visited most of them before it closed. There are The Cross Creek, The Alexandria, The Cape

Pointe, The Calais, The Casa Lana, The Midtown, The Wakefield, The Centennial, The Tim-

bergrove, The Villa Lago, The Ashby Manor and The Valencia. Wow, I thoroughly enjoyed

seeing the variety of houses. So many ideas, if one was interested in a new house.

We drive to Grimaldi's Coal Brick-Oven Pizzeria for supper. Waited a little while for an

outside table. Bethany and Bobby took the stairway, while the rest of us went down an

elevator. Why? Inside the stairwell was a tiled mural of the earth's core, like a volcano. Un-

usually interesting. She had to take several pictures.We enjoyed the multi-colored lights on

the water fountain. And the sprays of water shot up to different levels also.

Pizza was certainly on the menu tonight. It was so good. I believe I could visit them again.

As we were leaving, I took a few "reflections" pictures of the waterway at the Woodlands.

Very pretty!



August 3 (Sunday)

Up early today for a much anticipated trip to San Antonio, the 7th largest city in the

U.S.A. Well, Bobby is not feeling well today. After much discussion, Susan and Janet decide

to stay in Spring, and look after him. So, Victor does the driving for Jason, Bethany and me.

There are many billboard signs along I-10 for a rest-stop called Buc-ee's. It is a chain of

about 30 travel centers. The one we stopped at near Luling had 100 gasoline pumps. This

place was huge! A big plus for these stores are the clean restrooms. We arrived before 4

buses of teenagers did. Wow, the place was crowded. Just too many people in there, we

decided to visit a convenience store just a little farther down the road. These snacks and

drinks will do us until we have a good lunch.

Destination: San Antonio and it is a little after 12 noon. We are soon walking to the

Alamo. There is such a rich history and heritage to this place. The story of the Alamo begins

with the establishment of a Mission in 1700. The purpose was to convert the local inhabitants

to Catholicism, and also the Spanish way of life. While the Mission changed locations

several times, the present location was chosen in 1724.

In response to increased French and American threats from nearby Louisiana, Spain

mobilized its military into the Texas frontier in the early 1800s. In 1810, an anti-Spanish

revolt spread across Mexico and extended into Texas. When Mexico declared its independ-

ence from Spain in 1821, the Alamo remained a military outpost. The soldiers of the Alamo

Company shifted their allegiance to the newly formed independent nation. Tens of thousands

of colonists flooded into the Texas territory. Concerning sovereignty and control over the cit-

izens, there was a struggle between federalists, centralists and constitutionalists.

In February of 1836, General Santa Anna and his army arrived in San Antonio to put

down the frontier rebellion. The Texian rebels found safety inside the old fortified mission

known as the Alamo. The Mexican forces then laid siege to 200+ residents. William Travis

was the Alamo commander and wrote a famous "Victory or Death" letter as a desperate plea

for help on February 24th. The following week, the provincial Texas government declared

independence and the Republic of Texas was born.

Nearly 200 Alamo defenders were prepared to die for freedom's sake on the morning of

March 6, 1836. Among them were doctors, lawyers, farmers and a former Congressman from

Tennessee named Davy Crockett. The ages of these men ranged from 16 - 56. Legendary

knife fighter and land speculator James Bowie was in command before falling ill and sharing

duties with Travis. (I've visited the house in Perdue Hill, AL where 22 year old William B.

Travis lived and worked as a lawyer.)

Starting before dawn, the attack and ensuing battle lasted about 90 minutes. The fiercest

fighting centered on the old church, where defenders made their last stand. There were only

15 - 20 survivors (non-combattant women and children).

Gen. Santa Anna's Mexican troops continued eastward through Texian settlements. By

April 21st, Texian General Sam Houston seized the opportunity to attack the larger Mexican

force near modern day Houston. A bloody 18 minute battle ensued and Texian forces

defeated Mexican troops. Santa Anna was captured and independence was achieved to the

cries of "Remember The Alamo! The revolution was over and The Republic of Texas began

in earnest. Texas would finally join the United States of America in December 1846.

There was so much interesting history to read about on signs and posters and we easily

spent over an hour in the museum, looking at Alamo treasures from life on the Texas frontier.

Thousands of tourists were visiting the Alamo this Sunday as we stood in line to visit the

shrine. It has been 21 years since Janet and I came here. I'd forgotten that about 189 brave

defenders of the Alamo lost their lives during the fateful battle. The dead came from 23 states

and 6 foreign countries.

About three blocks away our next adventure awaits: The San Antonio River Walk. This is

the number one or two or three tourist attraction in Texas, depending upon the year. About 3

million visitors each year come by here. From their website, this is a public park, open 365

days a year. It is a network of walkways along the banks of the San AntonioRiver, one story

beneath about 5 miles of downtown San Antonio. Lined by bars, shops and restaurants, the

River Walk is an important part of the city's urban fabric. The River Walk winds and loops

under bridges as two parallel sidewalks. It is lined with shops, hotels, restaurants and more! It

connects the major tourist draws from the Alamo to Rivercenter Mall, La Villita and Arneson

River Theater, the San AntonioMuseum of Art and the Pearl Brewery. Plus, there are over

20 events that take place on the River Walk each year.

It is an oasis of green bushes and shrubbery, waterfalls and old cypress, willow and oak

trees lining the sidewalks. There are several arched stone bridges above the lazy river. Of

course we wanted to take a boat ride. Thought we could "catch a ride" and board a boat at

one of the many stops. But they were all filled. So we went up the steps to street level and

purchased our 4 tickets. The typical boat ride lasts 35 - 40 minutes and goes about 2.5 miles.

The young guide was very informative along the entire route. What I missed on my first boat

ride here in 1993 was seeing the 750 foot tall Tower of the Americas. San Antonio hosted the

HemisFair, called the International Exposition in 1968.

So many restaurants to choose from, at least 75, with an international variety of

flavors. We decided upon Rita's On The River. It is a Tex-Mex restaurant known for its

Texas sized Margaritas, delicious sizzling fajitas and beautiful River Walk views. The four of

us each ordered something different to eat. And I wanted to take a picture of the tee-shirt our

waitress was wearing. It proclaimed: "Margaritas So Good You Won't Remember The

Alamo". Cute!

We didn't want to leave "the American Venice", but it will probably be close to midnight

when we arrive back at Spring. And it was. But what a great day trip.



August 4 (Monday)

Jason entertains us today, after Susan and Victor left for work. One more chance to swim

and enjoy the hot tub. Just planned on taking it easy today.... And we did just that.

After supper, we pack all our stuff and prepare for the long ride back to Alabama. Hey,

Janet is already talking about flying here in a few months to watch Jason play in a football

game. Maybe his grandma can come too. Early to bed tonight.



August 5 (Tuesday)

Before leaving, we have to take the obligatory family photos. A little surprised to see that

Jason (age 12) is as tall as Bethany. I don't think he was, last week. My nephew is sure

growing fast! This has been a FUN trip. Saw enough to be a good vacation. And relaxed

around the pool enough to "recharge". Guess we're ready to head on back home. Kinda hard

to say good-bye.

There is an IHOP close by and that's where we'll have breakfast. In a little while, we're on

our way again. It takes a few hours until we're out of Texas and stop at a Louisiana rest stop.

Behind the buildings is a nice sized lake. There are two signs that catch my attention. The

first one is an alligator. Below that the next one warns "No Swimming". Hello, that seems

obvious. Another photo for the album.

We continue eastward and drive past fields of sugar cane. Before Lafayette, we stop in

Crowley for lunch. Susan has highly recommended Fezzo's Restaurant. The seafood was

delicious, but the bread pudding with rum sauce was the best we've had in over 20 years!

That was in Lafayette at the International Festival, back in 1992.

What could top that? Well, a double rainbow! There was a beautiful sunset behind us as

we continued. Our long journey ends about 10:00. Hello Mobile. Let's go get our animals.





ANOTHER TRIP TO TEXAS



October 29 (Wednesday)



Janet and I are driving back to Texas to retrieve a new dining room table and six chairs.

Janet and her mother flew to Houston six weeks ago for a nice visit. While shopping, my

wife found just the best dining room table for our house. Bethany will remain in Mobile, and

stay at her grandma's house at night.

It is just the two of us as we head west again. Around half-way on this trip, we stop for

lunch in Breaux Bridge. Our plans are to eat at Mulate's We have been there twice before.

The food is great, but the Cajun atmosphere is wonderful! I thought I knew where it's

located, but had a little trouble finding it. After stopping to ask for directions, found out

that it is now named Pont Breaux. Good food and fun.

The second half of the trip takes us through west Louisiana and on into Texas. We

bypass most of Houston and arrive in the city of Spring about 10:15 p.m. We will enjoy

our six day return visit to the Lone Star state.



October 30 (Thursday)

After sleeping until 10 a.m., Janet and I just wanted to get into the heated pool. Yes, this

was the relaxation we were looking for. For about 30 - 40 minutes, it's just the two of us

with not a worry in the world. Nice.

By the t.v., there is a large glass vase with hundreds, maybe thousands of pennies in it.

My little project is to check for "wheat back" coins (before 1959). And I do find about a

dozen of them.

Late this afternoon, we drive to Kroger's for hamburgers and chips. We shall grill the

burgers tonight for supper. Afterwards, we watched a little television, spent some time on

the computer and just talked.



October 31 (Friday)

With Susan and Victor at work and Jason at school, Janet had an appointment for a haircut

at L'Avantage. While waiting, I walked next door to a CVS to buy a new watch. Then on to the

nearby mall at The Woodlands and a return trip to LaMadeleine's French Bistro. This was my

first time to order Parisien Eggs Benedict. Hey, why did it take so long? And some delicious

pastries, too. In the Central Park area, there were 100+ women doing exercises. Don't think

I've ever seen so much black spandex.

Janet planned on looking for a bookcase / china cabinet. Went to a primitive furniture store

in Spring. Then up the interstate to Conroe. Well, she found what she wanted. At 6.5 feet x 6.25

feet, we will have to return with a U-Haul to pick up our hand crafted bookcase.

Now its time to look at new houses again. Our dream house is in the Tres Lagos neighborhood

And in the previous months, someone has bought it. Hope they enjoy it. So, we found a few more

houses to tour; one that was still being built. We are still very impressed with the houses in The

Woodlands / Spring area.

Victor stopped at Dickey's tonight and we all thoroughly enjoyed Texas barbeque, and all the

fixings. The doorbell rang just as we started to eat. "Trick or treat!" Never have seen so many

Halloween costumes at our house. Almost ran out of candy and suckers.



November 1 (Saturday)

Victor needs my help today. He wants to buy a new trailer bed for his 18-wheel truck. I

drive for 45 minutes to a truck center. Victor buys several Peterbilt caps, which look perfect

for the Houston Texan football fans. He the gets into his truck and I follow him for close to

one hour. Northwest of Spring, we drive to Magnolia. There must be over 100 18-wheeler

cabs and trailer beds. While Victor is walking around the field, I thought I noticed shells in

the rocks. Upon closer inspection, I discover they are indeed fossils! I picked up 6 or 7 small

ones for Bethany's fossil collection. Hope she appreciates that.

Back at the house, we contemplated plans for the evening. Finally decide to stay and watch

the Auburn vs. Ole Miss football game. And we order Chinese food from Fang's. We are passion-

ately watching the ballgame when our food is delivered. Yum! And our Auburn Tigers win an

amazingly close football game. War Eagle!



November 2 (Sunday)

After eating from a fruit tray for breakfast, we are heading downtown to watch the Houston

Texans NFL football game. It was the first NFL game for Janet, Susan, Victor and Jason. I had

the pleasure of seeing the Dallas Cowboys play Cleveland in 1985. And when I sold books in

Michigan in 1977, our group saw a Detroit Lions exhibition game against Cincinnati.

The fun started while walking through the parking lot: tail-gaiting parties! Many had banners

to enhance the festive atmosphere. Saw two men walk by wearing Texans hats, complete with

longhorns atop them. I took a few pictures as we entered nrg Stadium. An unusual way to spell

"energy". Haliburton was giving away tee-shirts to the first 40,000 fans today. There was a high

school drum corps to entertain us as we went up the escalator. Vey nice views of the skyline.

Walking along the corridor, there were more bands that played. We stopped to look at souvenirs.

Janet picked up a warm Texans sweat-shirt. There was a sign next to the Houston Texans Cheer-

leaders calendar, that some of the cheerleaders would be signing the calendars after the game

today. Well yes, I do need a new 2015 calendar.

We easily found our seats in section 519. They are in the endzone and very high above the

playing field. Next, we head to the concession stand for drinks and burgers. It was fun watching

the large jumbo-tron screen in the opposite endzone. When the game started, there were several

television breaks. And the roving cameras would feature a small section of fans. When folks saw

they were on the large screen, they flashed the biggest smiles and waved. Others started dancing.

It was a FUN atmosphere.

At half-time, there was another trip to buy food. Nobody should go home hungry. For our

entertainment, there was a group of six bike riders to perform stunts. Very good. Also, dozens of

employees came around and tossed caps and hankies/towels into the crowd. Lucky me, I caught

a cap. Janet was so happy that I gave it to her.

The game had its typical ups and downs for the home team. But when it ended, Philadelphia

proved to be the better team. The Eagles beat Houston 31- 21.

After the game, my group went on to the parking lot. I went to the Budweiser Pavillion. There

was a table where three Texans cheerleaders were signing posters and their 2015 swimsuit

edition calendars. The photoshoot was in Puerto Rico. I got my first autographs there. And then

had my picture taken with them.

Across the street was another group of 5 cheerleaders who were also signing calendars.

Pleased to have my picture taken with them also. I told people that I was surrounded by

"gorgeousness"! I now have seven new autographs for my collection.

The parking lot had thinned a little, but there were still thousands of vehicles leaving the

stadium. Of course, it took well over an hour to get back to the house. For supper, there was

plenty of good Chinese food from the previous night. We relaxed, watched t.v., spent some

time on the computer and listened to Jason as he completed his homework assignments.



November 3 (Monday)

Up early today and say our good-byes to Victor and Jason. Susan turns on the hot water

and the jet streams for one last dip in the pool. We talk about getting a hot tub for our

backyard. Being a cool morning, mist is rising from the pool. With our old muscles and joints

invigorated, we leave Susan and Spring.

It is time to stop at a nearby IHOP for breakfast. And before we leave the state of Texas,

Janet wants to invest in a few lottery tickets.

In Lafayette, we find Prejean's Restaurant for our last Cajun meal for awhile. And we find

some good radio stations as the time just goes on by.

Sweet home Alabama. The first stop in Mobile is to pick up our dog from the vet / kennel.

And finally back home, we can't wait to see how the new table and chairs look in the dining

room.

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