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  • Steve

Houston, we (don't) have a problem ;)

As many of you may know, there were quite a few people that didn't think we would make it 6 months on this trip. Well, as I am writing this on Feb. 13th, we have made it 6 months and 5 days! Jen never had a doubt she would enjoy this lifestyle. I wasn't as sure as she was, but I had enough people including my dad doubting we would make it. My dad went so far as to bet me that we would be back in less than 6 months.

Dad, I prefer filet mignon to ribeyes 😁

Our new NASA sticker added to the trailer is not only their motto, but ours as well for this trip ;)

As for how I am liking this lifestyle now, well, let's just say I think the snowbirds are onto something! Who wouldn't like to wake up to 60-70° weather in January and February every day.

Don't worry though we will be back for sure by August 13th as promised, plus I still have a RSG 5k and golf tournament to put on before summer end. Any of those RSG runners reading this, I think the run will be August 22nd.

Back to our journey...

After leaving family and friends in Central Texas, we headed East for a stop at Space Center Houston where we saw the Mission Control that was used for the Apollo and the new Orion missions, a Saturn V Rocket, and the training facility for the International Space Station (ISS). We stayed at Brazos Bend State Park and got our first look at Alligators up close and many different birds at this wildlife refuge.

Brazos Bend State Park

Lila checking out the 2 alligators soaking up the sun.

I think I fell in love with the live oak and cypress trees. They are so fun to take pictures of especially with the different weather we have gotten. We have seen more rain in the last month than we did in the first 4 months plus there is way more lightning storms down here. We now know what they mean by living on a squall line, straight line wind, and "this is normal" when it rains 1" in less than an hour. Wow, very intense storms here! Our home aka Heidi the Hideout (Lila named her) held up well through it all.

The gallery below consists of the many different live oaks and cypress trees we saw plus the Jungle Garden at Avery Island which is where Tabasco is made.

A little perspective for how large just 1 of the 5 rockets on the 1st stage of the Saturn V rocket

Full-size Saturn V Rocket

Full-size International Space Station segments used for training and if they have problems up there, they can test them down here first.

Mission Control for Apollo missions. It was restored to its original state including the cigarettes in the ashtrays ;)

Interestingly, the new mission control for the Orion program is setup in the exact way the Apollo program was.

We visited the Tabasco manufacturing plant where they have made Tabasco since 1868. We tried various flavors including tabasco flavored ice cream (not our favorite) and I regrettably tried their hottest sauce called Scorpion Tabasco. 🥵

I think they might have been pointing at the wrong ones.

All these barrels have been fermenting for 3 years 😲. Now they will scrape off the salt layer and head for production

Had to get this picture in there ;) Who says you can't look good when your dumping the poo 🤣

This group of pictures are from the town of Natchez, Mississippi which was a pretty cool little town at the end of the Natchez Trail and overlooks the Mississippi River. We could have hung out here for quite a while or at least until the humidity and mosquitos started coming out in full force.

We have visited many historical plantations and estates throughout Louisiana and Mississippi and learned a lot about the history of this area. Most of it is sad to hear since it describes the slavery era of our country. Although, it is good that we have these museums so we don't forget history and hopefully don't repeat it either. If you didn't know the difference between a plantation and an estate, a plantation has a cash crop on site while an estate does not.

The following group of pictures shows some of the plantations and estates we visited. Two pictures show the dining room table with a large wooden fixture above it. This was officially called a punkah but most called it a "shoo fly" and it had a rope attached to it that a slave (child usually) would pull at a consistent speed to fan the dinner guest and "shoo" flies away.

One of the pictures shows the front yard with the live oak trees lining both sides. This is called an Oak Alley and it had a purpose other than looking very cool. They usually lined up with the river in the area and it would help funnel cooler air down to the house in the summer time. Also, almost all of these houses had large front doors with another door in the back of the house inline with each other so they could open both to continue that breeze throughout the house.

Before heading towards New Orleans we stopped in at the capital of Louisiana, Baton Rouge. We visited the "old" capital building, but ran out of time to see the "new" building. I say old and new because everyone we ran into said "you HAVE to see the old one!" and I kept thinking the "new" one must have been built recently. Nope, it was built in 1932. We saw it from afar (it is the tallest capital building in the US at 34 stories) and in pictures, but the "old" one was way cooler looking inside and out.

The "old" capital building

This stained glass dome and spiral staircase were added after it was partially burned down during the Civil War. Union soldiers accidentally started a fire while cooking in it. Oops! The center pole for the staircase is one solid pole from the basement to the 4th story glass dome.

We visited the USS Kidd naval destroyer from WW II that is still configured just like she was in 1946. It was pretty cool! They let you inside the 5" gun rooms as well almost every other room on the ship except the engine room.

New Orleans, here we come!


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