This is a continuation of my previous post, Walker, Texas Roadtrip. Now is a good time to mention that Texas drivers are the best we’ve ever been around and Texas Frontage Roads are genius – but Alabama drivers would not adapt well to them.
The 4th largest city in the US doesn’t play. We stayed IN the city and never even SAW the city. We drove for 30 minutes south to the Johnson Space Center and were still in the city. It was massive. Everywhere you looked was Houston, or a Taco Cabana (this state has a huge thing for Taco Cabana, they’re on every corner. Like a McDonald’s or a Regions in Alabama.) Also I saw a Chili’s on every exit. Literally every exit. Also XXX adult stores. These are all things I like.
Our Air B&B was a block away from Beer Can House – a piece of art that took 20 years to complete – John Milkovisch covered his house in 50,000 squished beer cans that he and his family drank. When he died the Orange Show Center for Visionary Art acquired it and opened it up for tours on the weekends.
I guess I just thought it was a good idea. And it’s easier than painting.
– John Milkovisch
The next morning we woke up and walked to breakfast at the Black Walnut Cafe. This big bell pepper won me over but the Tex Mex Omelette I ate prior is the real reason for that smile on my face. It had red onions, sweet bell peppers, black beans, mushrooms, corn, jalapeños, cheddar, mozzarella, pico de gallo, cilantro, sour cream, and topped with tortilla strips and the optional salsa – T E X A S !!!!!
We stayed in Houston for two nights because we wanted to see the Houston Space Center / Johnson Space Center in Houston – we’ve seen the Huntsville Space and Rocket Center where we toured the NASA Payload Operations Center on Redstone Arsenal and we’ve also seen the National Air and Space Museum in DC just within the last couple of years, so this was a natural stop. We’re very passionate about NASA and space travel – the ISS is man’s greatest accomplishment in unity and the good of us. Thinking about it gets me super emotional and I am so thankful to live in a time that has been molded by it and to be able to watch it continue to work and mold the future. With that said, I am so upset that the lighting was bad in the museum, so I’m going to give you a bulleted list of cool things and then the pictures that turned out.
- The Apollo 11 command module, Columbia, was moved here from DC in October 2017 – this was the second time we got to see it up close
- Buzz Aldrin’s gloves and space helmet, on loan from DC, our second time to see them as well
- A life sized mock up of Orion – the new generation of command modules
- The current weather on Mars
- The Faith 7 Mercury Spacecraft flown by Gordon Cooper in 1963
- The Gemini 5 Spacecraft flown by Gordon Cooper and Pete Conrad in 1965
- The Apollo 17 command module, America
So much history happened in this room – Buzz was speaking to it when he stepped onto the moon. This room got Jim Lovell and 13 home safe. This room counted down every launch, over saw every homecoming from 1965 to 1995. There is not a single computer in it – in 1969 there were 5 in the basement with a combined (COMBINED) total memory of 9 megabytes.
I always get bummed when I dwell on this. We got a man on the moon in 8 years and 9 megabytes – it has now been 48 years and we now have petabytes (!!!) of memory – when thought about mathematically, we should be much farther into the universe.
After a long day of serious emotion, we found ourselves in Rudyard’s British Pub. We love pub food. There were lots of local Texan beers – Jordan had a tripel that was the smoothest I’ve ever tasted. He had a burger and I had that beautiful monster above – pulled pork po boy with jerk sauce, pickles, and cucumber slaw. oh my god. This was one of the best things I had on this trip. I really want to try to make it at home. Funnily, they played Space Oddity while we were there and, consequently, I sobbed into my ice water.
New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans is an extremely special place to me. My parents used to bring me in the summers when I was a teenager and I’ve so many memories with them here. Jordan and I came here on our honeymoon in 2013, he had never been before and I got to show him everything I love about it and watch him grow soft to it, too.
We had planned on staying 3 nights and ending our trip here, however, there wasn’t a single hotel room available in the Quarter because of an Optometry conference. So…. that didn’t work out at all. We found a room on Layola – just barely out of the Quarter. It was a tiny apartment, but was super modern and a great stay.
We took an Uber to Jackson Square and spent the whole afternoon walking around, eating, drinking, laughing. There is such an indescribable magic to this city – an aged perfection. I do not have an affinity like this towards any other city, not even my own.
We got some HUGE burgers for dinner at this bar on St. Peter that I can’t remember the name of – we got pralines and fudge watched the sun set on the Mississippi. In the morning we got some beignets and coffee before we set out on the road again. I wish we could have stayed longer.
Abita Springs, Louisiana
We drove across Lake Pontchartrain on a bridge that was 23 miles long and surrounded by water. I had plenty of those creepy invasive thoughts about driving off the side and dying a watery death – but I distracted myself trying to find a stream of the new Taylor Swift album. Never did. Going to have to take care of that when we get home.
We had lunch at Abita Springs Cafe. Above you will see a tall ass gator po boy that made all of my bayou dreams come true. I am not lying when I say that this was the most delicious, most fluffy alligator I’ve ever had – and I have had a ton of alligator in my time. A+ you precious establishment. A+.
Next door to the cafe was the Abita Mystery House. There was no question, we had to stop. Pay $3 to see some weird taxidermy, found trash treasure, hand crafted little cities that move and light up with the press of a button, and this cat below. It is described as the road side attraction seekers’ dream. I guess that is one way to put it.
God bless our forefathers who fought in the civil war so that we can play goofy golf in peace.
– sincerely unsure
The real reason we came to Abita Springs, though, was to tour the Abita Brewery yall!
Abita is a common beer in our household. The Strawberry Lager is my summer beer of choice and you’ll usually catch Jordan with an Andygator. We have never toured a brewery before so this stop was PERFECT!! For $5 you get a history lesson, beer knowledge and 4 tastings (even of non distributed beers!) It was really cool and totally worth it. Abita is the 15th largest craft brewery in the US. My favorites from the tasting were the Peach and the Grapefruit Honey – I’ve said it before, not here but I will now – fruity beers exist for my palette and if you make them, I will come.
Since our wishes to stay in NOLA for a few days were denied, we decided to get a room at a swanky casino in the ever classy Biloxi and come home a day early. We chose the Beau Rivage because it sounded ridiculously important, and also because it was ocean front.
I need to make it clear that this was my first time in a casino. I didn’t know what to expect or even what to do. After having our IDs go through the most rigorous, physical check I’ve ever seen, we were granted entry.
Entry, entry to probably the worst place I’ve ever been – I don’t mean the building in any way, the structure was fantastic – I am talking about the acre of machines with humans attached to them – drinking, smoking, unblinking. I couldn’t believe it. Just hundreds of asses in seats. Staring at screens. Pressing one button over and over again. SPENDING MONEY TO DO SO.
We had some cash left over from the day’s activities so we were just going to to wing it. We put a dollar in one machine named A Zillion Gators. Lost a dollar. We put four dollars in a machine named after an ice cream sundae – left with $7.50. We put that into a machine named Omg Puppies! And left with $29.70.
Clearly on a luck high, we tried other machines – weren’t as lucky. We lost everything we won. I’m great at a lot of things, usually pretty fast. Gambling is not one of them. I’m sick just thinking about it – we lost money, I found a weakness in my abilities. It was really upsetting. Dinner was great though – we ate at the Half Shell Oyster House across the street and service was great and fast and everything we had was super yummy. Our room was great too! We saw the ocean, had a two person tub and a huge bed to accommodate both of our middle of the bed sleeping tendencies. But was that enough? Will we come back?
It’s a strong maybe.
I really wanted to end this there so this is a PS saying we had a blast on this road trip – 2000 miles, 7 days, 5 states, 4 years of marriage, 2 happy higginses. Thank you for reading!