Friday, June 30, 2017

The Houston Chronicles, Part 3 ... 5/29

We had thought to go watch the Memorial Day parade in downtown Houston, but we found out that it had been Saturday the 27th!  Well, crap.  It's probably a good thing since it had stormed pretty good the night before and we heard about how the streets in Houston are designed to control floodwaters which meant it could possibly be flooded already!  

So we decided to go to Galveston and check out the Gulf of Mexico. 

It was cloudy & the ocean breezes made it comfortable so it was no big deal to be in a t-shirt on the beach.  We took Laura's pugs because she wanted them to experience the ocean.  
The place we settled our stuff was close to a lifeguard stand and he apparently saw Laura's veteran shirt and (later my USS Lincoln shirt) approached us.  We chatted with him for a while - he was former coast guard so this job was right up his alley.  He was also a total doppleganger for Wayne Brady - I almost asked him to improv for us!
The waves were crazy high!
The lifeguard truck was patrolling this area where people weren't supposed to be swimming, but they were anyway.  The morons.  I sure didn't want to be out in those waves!
We were close to the shipping lanes.
Punkin wasn't too thrilled with the water, since she's blind.  So I kept her up out of the surf with Chuck while Laura took Otis wading.  He was OK until he got slapped in the butt with a wave & the salt & sand made him itchy. 
Weird photobombers!
After the beach and a stop at a tourist trap store so I could get a keychain, we stopped at What-a-burger.  Gin made it sound to the manager like us northern chicks came all the way down just to try his restaurant's food.  So he was calling me Miss Michigan and Laura Miss Ohio. 
My thoughts?  It was meh.  Fairly OK, but nothing I'd crave regularly.  Reminded me a lot of Burger King.  
Palm trees!
One of several trucks we saw that probably shouldn't have been on the road....

Stay tuned for parts 4-7!


Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Houston Chronicles, Part 2 ... 5/28

Today's agenda was the Houston Zoo!

After a mild altercation with some people in the parking lot about us "stealing" their parking spot when there were plenty other empty ones nearby, we made our way into the zoo. 
Damn, sloths are so cute!
These animal topiaries were everywhere!
Because Longhorns = Texas. 
Komodo Dragon

This was the most fabulous orangutan EVAH!!!  We were hurrying thru the monkey section because it was close to closing time, but when we came around the corner, this guy sat up and proceeded to Vogue for us!  He (she?) kept striking poses for us, each time looking to make sure we were watching!
Looking at you!
These birds were actually everywhere - they just seemed to strut more at the zoo!
We didn't see any male lions, but the females were somewhat active. 
I think every zoo has a really pretty fountain. 
I never did get a good shot of this guy, I had to steal this one from Laura. 
Either we missed a lot, or its a lot smaller than the Detroit Zoo.  OK, it's both.  I just looked at the website.  :P   We didn't see any giraffes, zebras, seal lions, etc.  

We had a lot of fun, it's been a while since I'd been to a zoo.  This was another goodie from our City Pass that got put to good use!


Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Houston Chronicles, Part 1 ... 5/25 - 5/27

Let's see - vacation only happened a month ago, so why not post about it now??

Some backstory - I joined the Navy after high school.  I did the bootcamp thing, then spent an unsuccessful 3-4 months at a school that totally blew my mind (electronics are not for me!)  At my 3rd academic review board,  I asked to drop the school and they sent me to my first ship.

I had only been on the USS Canopus (AS-34) a couple days when people started saying things like "didn't I just see you a minute ago in uniform / civilian clothes (whatever the opposite I happened to have on)?"  It didn't take long to figure out that there was someone on board who people were mistaking me for.

Not long after that, I met Laura.  And we never did / still don't think we look alike!
Approximately 1993 / 1994.  We were babies!!

Somehow, we met Gin and the 3 of us became partners-in-crime!
Anyhoooo, after we decommissioned the Canopus in November 1994, we all went our separate ways and lost touch for over 20 years. I went to an aircraft carrier on the West Coast, Laura went to one on the East Coast, and Gin got out and went home to Texas.

Then thru the joys of Facebook, we found each other again!

We got to chatting and we decided to meet up.  The problem is.... I'm from the Detroit area, Laura's in Cincinnati & Gin is in Houston.  That meant...Road Trip!!!

It was decided that I'd drive to Laura's house and we'd carpool down to Gin's.  We drove straight thru, only stopping for potty-breaks.  Throw in a couple small dogs and 2 cats (Laura thought Gin was going to adopt her cats, but that idea fell thru, so we had to bring them back.  Glad they were good travelers! My cats wouldn't have been that good.) took us 19 hours.

Of course I slept thru my alarm on the day I was going to leave, so instead of getting thru Detroit before rush hour....I was right smack in the middle of it.  So it took close to 5 hours to get to Laura's.

We still don't look alike!
Laura's babies are her pugs.  They're the cutest things!!  Punkin on the left in blind, so walking them together like this usually ended up in a pug-o-war!
Otis chillin' in the car.  
It was so awesome to be back together again!  
I didn't even know Laura took this until I saw it on FB!

So one of the first things we did was go catch the matinee of the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie.  
Chuck the skeleton (#skeletonroadtrip on Instagram!) went along, of course!
We all bought the Houston City Passes, and we definitely got our $$ worth out of those!  
First stop was the Houston Aquarium.  
I didn't expect to see a white tiger in an aquarium!!
We got to pet stingrays, too.  This one was looking for food. 
 I wish we could have seen more of the octopus.
They had a little train ride that went thru a tunnel inside a shark tank.  There it stopped and they told us about the different sharks & the conservation work the aquarium does on their behalf.  It was awesome.   
The guy taking this picture of us had a good laugh!

Since the Hard Rock Cafe was right around the corner from the Aquarium, we decided to walk over.  We were still all wearing capris & tennis shoes from the movie, so we were way overdressed for being outside.  I just wanted a shotglass for my collection, but once we got there we decided we were hot & thirsty & ready for some dinner, so we stayed.   Plus, I guess if you dance in the lobby and booty-bump the very fabulous host, you're kind of expected to stay for a while!  
 From the top of the ferris wheel...
 I forgot ZZ Top was from Texas and it's one of the hubby's favorite bands so I had to get a pic of their star.  
And our table was under a bunch of ZZ Top memorabilia.  
We didn't go for a carriage ride, but this one that passed us was really cool!  

We were staying at Gin's apartment, so we went back after dinner and chatted & looked at pictures & reminisced like crazy! 

Stay tuned for parts 2-7!