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Fort Crockett

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6 travelers at this place:

  • Day64

    Day 64 - Houston, We Have A Problem.....

    June 24 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 28 °C

    Before anyone says anything, I know that that is not the correct phrase uttered. The actual words were “Hey Houston, we’ve had a problem here”, which was said by James A. Lovell, Jr aboard Apollo 13 after an explosion in an oxygen tank disabled the spacecraft.

    My title refers to the fact that it is our 24th Wedding Anniversary today & I didn’t have a card or present, luckily nor did Jackie!

    The weather was appalling, which lent itself to the perfect Song of the Day - Island in the Rain by The Men They Couldn’t Hang, which was one of our wedding songs. But it is not.

    Lastly I looked at the local news & discovered that over the weekend, 2 children had died in Galveston in separate incidents, but both died as a result of being left in cars in the blistering heat. Nice place!!

    We got saturated loading up the car & then headed back towards Houston & to the Space Center (Even NASA can’t spell Centre properly!). Upon arrival at the Space Center it was still pouring down & we got soaked again running to the entrance. Inside I enquired about the NASA App that you could download & ended up speaking to an employee with a strong Scottish accent, who emigrated from Berwick-Upon-Tweed. Another employee also approached us & tipped us off to take the 2 tours as soon as possible, because they got busier & busier.

    We took her advice & walked straight on to the tram for the Mission Control Center & Rocket Park. The tram took us around the NASA complex, pointing out what each of the buildings specialised in. We stopped at the Mission Control Center Building & were taken to a viewing gallery of an actual Mission Control Center. It is one of just five MCCs used by NASA & this one was actually being used by students in their 5th year of training, being put through their paces. When they successfully complete the course, they will be flying the International Space Station.

    We had a NASA employee provide us with an overview of the different roles within the MCC & he explained that we were looking at the ‘gold standard’ MCC. It would soon actually be used for Project Orion, the Space Mission to Mars.

    The tram then continued around the NASA complex, stopping at Memorial Grove for a moments silence for the astronauts killed in service. A tree had been planted for each one of them.

    We were then dropped off at Rocket Park, which had a couple of rockets outside, but the highlight was in a massive building. It was an actual Saturn V Rocket, it was due to go into Space, but didn’t due to funding being rescinded in 1973. Saturn V was the biggest Rocket ever made & was the Rocket that took man to the moon. It was enormous, 363ft long & weighed 310,000 lb.

    We took the tram back then queued for the next tour, the Astronaut Training Center. We got lucky & didn’t have to wait too long for the next tour. This tour took us into a huge building where there were mock ups of all transportation & capsules that an astronaut might have to work in. It had weightless frames, robots & all sorts of other things that astronauts had to train with.

    After this tour, we went through an exhibition all about the Space Shuttle, then we went into the interiors of the NASA Boeing 747 & the Space Shuttle, which sits on top. It was fascinating & there were films explaining how they managed complete this incredible engineering feat.

    We watched several other films, including the moment & reaction when the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after take of & looked at numerous other displays. Unfortunately Jackie’s attention span lasts only about 4 hours, so after 5 & a half hours we called it a day. The Space Center was much better than we had expected & the what seemed quite hefty admission fee of $29.50, turned out to be good value. It was a very enjoyable visit & another highlight of our trip.

    The plan was to drive east for a couple of hours & find somewhere to stay for the night. We had provisionally identified the town of Orange as a place to stay. However when we got to Orange, we discovered it to be a Port town & a bit scruffy. We looked at the Motels & they were full of road workers with pickup trucks. We didn’t stop.

    We continued east into Louisiana & to the small town of Vinton. It had a Motel that seemed ok, but the few restaurants only sold burgers or Mexican, neither of which we could stomach again just yet.

    So on we went to the dubiously named town of Sulphur. It is still a town full of road workers, but we checked in to the Baymont Inn, paying $11 less than the receptionist quoted us. After a paper cup of wine in our room, we walked along the grass verge of the main road to the Hong Kong Chinese Buffet. We had the $13 eat all you can buffet with a vat of Coke, they didn’t sell alcohol. We know how to celebrate!!

    It was interesting to now hear a distinctly different American accent, before it was the Texan Twang, now we are hearing the Louisiana Drawl. In the restaurant, we overheard a white man, or ‘cracker’ as they are derogatorily known, on the phone negotiating to sell his freezer full of meat including a whole ‘Gator. It feels like we are in a different country & not one that is often visited by English people, particularly in Sulphur!

    Song of the Day - Astronaut by Professor Green.

    Bonus Songs of the Day :-

    Island in the Rain by The Men They Couldn’t Hang
    Space Oddity by David Bowie
    Life on Mars? by David Bowie
    Space by New Model Army
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  • Day64

    Day 63 - Please Take A Seat

    June 24 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 29 °C

    It was a struggle to get up this morning, Jackie forced me out into of bed at 9.30am, just so we could get a MaccyD breakfast.

    Shortly after 10am we were on the road, heading east on Texas 21 towards Bastrop, we found a McDonald’s 15 minutes before the breakfast deadline. We had our usual, then followed 21 through Bastrop, Paige, Lincoln, Caldwell, Bryan & the Texas 30 to Huntsville.

    About 1.30pm we arrived at our intended destination, the Texas Prison Museum. We paid our $7 admission, then entered the museum. The highlight was ‘Old Sparky’, the actual electric chair that has terminated the life of 361 prisoners between 1924 & 1964. Texas still has the death penalty, but now they use lethal injection. Incidentally, prior to 1924, they hung their prisoners.

    Today, Death Row for Texas prisoners sentenced to death are currently held held at the TDCJ Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas. On the eve of their execution, the condemned prisoners are transferred to ‘The Wall’ at The Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville, where they have their ‘Last Meal’ before being executed.

    The Texas Prison system has had numerous famous & infamous prisoners including John Wesley Hardin, a notorious gunfighter; Huddie Ledbetter, better known as musician Leadbelly, Juanita Phillips aka Candy Barr, an infamous Showgirl & Clyde Chestnut Barrow, one half of the notorious Bonnie & Clyde.

    Clyde had been incarcerated in Eastham State Farm, but hated it so much that he returned with Bonnie & attacked the Prison to release some of his acquaintances. In this escape attempt, a warden was killed. This effectively signed Bonnie & Clyde death warrant, because the Texas Prison System General Manager hired former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer & a crack team of Lawmen to find & dispose of Bonnie & Clyde. They did on the 23rd March 1934 during an ambush near Gibsland, Louisiana in a hail of bullets. Memorabilia, including a gun owned by Bonnie Parker, were on display.

    It was a fascinating & interesting museum, with lots of other information, particularly about the lives & woes of those who were executed at the Prison. The Texas State Penitentiary also used to host it’s own Rodeo. A video showed some film footage, which revealed it to be more like a chaotic bullfight with prisoners trying to grab bags of money from between the bulls horns.

    As we left the museum, the sky blackened. We drove in to Huntsville & to the ‘The Wall’ Penitentiary to witness exactly where Texas prisoners were executed. As we pulled up the heavens opened, was this a sign? We discreetly took a couple of photos despite signs warning against it.

    We were planning on staying at Huntsville for the night, but the motels just weren’t doing it for us, Instead we made the executive decision to drive to Galveston on the Gulf of Mexico, which was less than 2 hours away.

    After driving in & out of Houston on it’s ring road, we arrived in Galveston around 6.00pm. Jackie had identified a potential motel, the Beachcomber Inn. We drove into the car park & decided that it was acceptable & good value!! We booked it on Booking.com,

    We decided to have a cruise along the Seawall Boulevard, as always with our hood down. It was pleasant until some tw*t of a boy-racer sped past us & shouted “Go back to California”. Singlehandly, he made our mind up for us, we wouldn’t be staying more than a night here in Galveston. Anyway, the beach was not our cup of tea, it is too big, too brown, full of squawking seagulls & pelicans & full of Americans. Jackie also thinks she got shat on by a seagull!

    We cruised back to our motel, checked-in, then went out. We strolled to the end of Galveston’s 61st Street Fishing Pier where we bought a beer & sat & looked back to the shore. We could have been in Blackpool, except the temperature was still in the high 90s even at 8.00pm.

    After we visited Tortuga Mexican Kitchen for a decent dinner & a couple of beers, before calling it a day.

    Song of the Day - ‘97 Bonnie & Clyde by Eminem.

    Bonus Song of the Day :-

    Death Penalty by Domestic Dominion
    Sit Down by James
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  • Day35

    Galveston

    December 13, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 10 °C

    Huui, Autofahren in Texas ist wie an einer Gratiswurstverteilung: es wird gestresst, gedrängelt und keiner hat Geduld. Vorallem bei Houston wars anstrengend. Stau hatten wir auch, vermutlich aufgrund des Transportes von 2 Mobile-Häusern auf der Strasse. Jedenfalls bin ich 6 Stunden gefahren mit einer Pause und 1x tanken:-). Dafür mit toller Cajun- und New Orleansmusik in den Ohren und ab und zu Radiostimmen zum Thema: "Jesus loves you" & "Danksagungen an die Soldaten for keeping America safe und ein Rabattangebot auf ein Auto". Und es ist wärmer hier als noch in Natchez. Hier sind wir nur kurz, am 15.12 gehts weiter nach San Antonio...Read more

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