Sunday, January 21, 2018

Taking a Texas Road Trip

We decided to take a road trip from our south Texas location in Mission. A six-hour drive northeast took us by a Texas icon that we have never experienced. For all the miles we have driven in Texas, we had never stopped at Buc-ees.

Targeting car-loads of travelers along busy highways, every one of the gas lanes were busy.

The billboards along the highway brag on their clean restrooms. We also found their food was outstanding. Our pulled pork/hatch green chili burrito with pepper jack cheese and guacamole was very tasty! For dessert, we also had to purchase the store's famous "Beaver Nuggets."

Carmelized corn nuggets can sound a little like a healthy vegetable dish, until you notice that the first ingredient listed on the package is brown sugar. When Denisa was taking pictures of the beaver nuggets, Mark was trying to sneak them out of her hand. They are addicting.

Back on the road, our destination this day is Houston. We found that it takes around an hour to drive all the way through this metropolitan area, and we had plenty of company on our drive as the highways stacked high above us.

Last August we watched the national news, filled with pictures of the flooding in this area. Much of the flooding happened along the bayous in Houston. This is Buffalo Bayou that meanders through this section of downtown. We enjoyed the popular walking/biking trail that follows the water along each bank.

Even though things are largely back to normal now, there are still signs of the flooding. The banks of the bayou have deep crevices caused from the water erosion.

But the most obvious indication of the depth of the water is the debris still clinging to the underpasses that are now 50 feet above the water.

When we stopped to take pictures, the resident ducks assumed we were stopping to feed them. These curiously-masked birds were friendly, but disappointed when we didn't have any food.

So our wildlife picture of the day is a close-up of these interesting ducks hanging out at Buffalo Bayou.

After being in the car for six hours, we were happy to get some exercise. So we walked some of the downtown streets. Over and over, we saw orange fencing and temporary chain-link fences that kept us away from construction zones. The bottom floors of many of these buildings had been flooded, and they are undergoing rehabilitation.

We walked into the historic downtown section with its charming store fronts. It was a time warp moment to see the ultra-modern train coming into the picture on the right among these old store fronts.

On this Saturday afternoon, we saw a wedding party taking pictures on the balcony over the street level. The bridal party was enjoying a beautiful winter afternoon for their wedding day.

A few blocks away, we walked to the Houston Aquarium. We didn't buy the ticket to see the fish, but we did walk the grounds open to the public on this 70-degree January day.

Denisa is a fan of carousels, so we had to take this picture of the dolphins and sharks merrily going around with their downtown back drop.

Even though this walk was interesting, the real reason for our Texas road trip was to get to another downtown Houston icon. We can see the outline of a guitar among the sky scrapers.

That's because we are on our way to Hard Rock Cafe, nestled among the skyscrapers of downtown. We must be big fans of the band playing at the Hard Rock tonight to drive this far for a concert! But that's the subject of another blog.

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