Sunday, March 9, 2014

We Are Heading For Mississippi . . .

As I write this episode of BooniePeople it is Sunday, March 9TH and we are preparing to leave “Rainbow’s End” RV Park in Livingston, Texas, early tomorrow morning. This is the headquarters of the Escapees RV Club which we joined last November. The Escapee RV Club was founded on July 4, 1978, and was moved to Livingston in April 1984. This place is a little slice of heaven.

My last posting was two weeks ago today just before we moved the 300 miles from Hondo, Texas, which is 30 miles west of San Antonio to Livingston, which is 70 miles northeast of Houston. That move was basically uneventful except for the craziness that goes on in the freeway system that surrounds Houston. Toll roads with booths that are to narrow, and maniacs driving around us that swerve in and out of traffic without signaling! Don’t they know we are retired seniors and we don’t respond well to stressful scenarios?! “Rainbows End” was exactly what we needed, and found, in the countryside above Houston.

The last couple weeks have been relaxing. Not like we are exhausted from anything that goes on in our lives but the weather has been wet or freezing for most of our stay in Livingston, and we have done the corresponding things to the atmosphere. Walking around the Escapee compound will loosen you up. Especially in freezing weather!

For my friends in Santa Barbara, we came across the following street sign about five miles south of the Escapee RV Park here in Livingston. I started checking around and found that this Sam Randolph passed away a few years ago. The last I heard of Sam Jr. he was living in The Woodland, Texas, just north of Houston and about 60 miles from us here. Now, I am wondering if they were related.

This past Monday we finally found the unsuspecting Restaurant 146. This is also the Phillips 66 station that is about 2 miles down Texas Highway 146 that runs in front of the RV Park. I was told that they produced the supreme cheeseburger in the neighborhood and “they” were right. This gas station is amazing. Not only do they serve up gasoline and diesel outside but the inside is also a butcher shop, small time grocery outlet, a cross between a 7-11 and AM-PM, and a sit-down breakfast – lunch dinner. The burgers are made with fresh beef from the butcher shop. This is just an unusual place!

Tuesday was, hopefully, the last freezing rain we will see on our excursions. Freezing rain. What happened to snow? Isn’t snow supposed to come out of the sky when the temperature gets to 32 degrees and it rains? Not in Texas.

We took this past Wednesday off and did absolutely nothing other than go into downtown Livingston and have breakfast at the Courthouse Whistle Stop Cafe. The townspeople's place of choice. First you should understand that Livingston is a small town with a population of 5,000+. Over the years, like most towns, this town has grown away from the earlier center of town. When I took the picture of the courthouse I was standing in front of the cafe. The third picture, with a zoom lens, was taken from our table in the cafe and attests to the name of the cafe, Whistle Stop, as a freight train went by on the tracks that are right behind the courthouse.

Four foot "Alligator Gar" with alligator teeth.

We were out of the coach by 7:15 A.M. on Thursday morning and taking a little side “road trip” down to the metropolis of Houston, Texas. Houston is 70 miles south of us and the beach at Galveston is another 40 miles. We didn’t go down the main freeway. We took Texas Highway 146 around Houston on its east side and went straight to the beach at Galveston. It was a clear sunny day with the temp at 60 and the wind was blowing about 15 M.P.H. It was fun to see this portion of the Texas beach. What a vacation spot. We were supposed to park the coach in a Galveston RV Park for a month but I wasn’t aware everyone on the gulf was celebrating Mardi Gras and “Spring Break” at the same time this year. Every RV Park was full. This would have been fun. The seawall in Galveston is about 8 miles long and right on the sand.

The boardwalk at Galveston, Texas. 

This is a typical beach house in Galveston.
This one is within 300 yards of the ocean.
    In the 1930's a hurricane came on shore
and the sea covered the entire island.

           The rest of Thursday was not a bust. We backtracked up Highway 146 to Baytown, Texas, southeast of Houston, and a visit to NASA - Johnson Space Center. This is an amazing facility and attraction. A tram tour took us through the entire complex. It was fun standing in the mission control center for the Apollo program. Now, everything is geared toward the “Orion” program. The program that will put a man on Mars around 2030. If you ever get the opportunity to go here be sure and buy the max ticket and plan on 5 or 6 hours. The interesting information is well presented.

Engines on the Saturn V rocket
that sent our guys to the moon.
Perspective on the size of engines.

Smaller engines on the space shuttle.

How about a trip into pilot's seat on the space shuttle?

Mission control room used during the Apollo Project that put our people on the moon.
Also known for the famous words, "Houston, we have a problem!"
Last person to step off the moon.

We stayed in Livingston an extra week and tomorrow, Monday, we are moving the coach to the gulf shores of Mississippi at Bay Saint Louis/Gulfport, 55 miles east of New Orleans. Sure we are going to get back into New Orleans for a couple days, and we are looking forward to telling you about it.

We hope all is well with everyone. The next few weeks will see us in Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida. Watch the blog and we will keep you up to date every couple of weeks.

Regards to all.

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