Houston... we have a problem

Trip Start Mar 28, 2010
Trip End Apr 20, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Saturday, April 10, 2010

By Kate

I'm typing this whilst speeding along I-10 through Western Texas at around 80 miles per hour; incredibly the rest areas in the State offer free wi-fi which is more impressive than our suite in Austin last night!

Yesterday morning we awoke in sunny Galveston. Sadly our $34 a night motel didn't offer beach views (it did have free wi-fi mind), oh and breakfast was chucked in, and I did get the chance to sample strawberry Philadelphia on my bagel. If you ever get the chance, don't bother - most of it went in the bin.

I woke up as excited as a small child going to Disney Land. I suppose this is the next best thing on a trip where your husband refuses to indulge in Disney. Yes, I insisted that if we were driving north up the I-45 through Houston, then I would have to visit the Johnson Space Center, home of NASA. Adam obliged as he quite likes the whole space geekiness thing too and actually when I did do Florida back in 1996 at the tender age of 15, Disney wasn't actually my favourite of days out - it was instead Kennedy Space Center. I bought every mission sticker and stuck them to the back of my bedroom door - now that is geek dedication.

We got to the Center just south of Houston and a mature couple from Washington approached us. It appeared they'd bought three tickets as part of a deal but there were only two of them so we happily took the half price ticket off them. If anyone asked I'd already come up with some story about being Dr Theodore Roosevelt's (yes that was his name!) long lost English niece. They were lovely and were, like most Americans, pretty gobsmacked about our coast-to-coast trip. The lady exclained, "but.... but most Americans never do that!"

NASA was amazing. We got to see the control centre used up until the mid 90s. I can recite the film Apollo 13 word for word, but this was real.... this is where Gene took the desk of Flight Controller wearing his white waistcoat... I was in heaven! We went on one tour and to a few films, hit the gift shop to buy me a t-shirt and then begrudgingly we set off about 3pm to drive to Austin.

This is where I get to say those infamous words, "Houston - we have a problem..... your roads suck". There are plenty of lanes (we counted nine on one stretch of the interstate) but they were chocca; full of pick-up trucks with one person in each. I suppose it was POETS day but still, the traffic was ridiculous. We did get on the way eventually however and drove, on a pretty ropey road in places, the 166 miles to Austin.

We had booked online into the Austin Doubletree but discovered when we arrived we'd been allocated a suite which was in fact bigger than our 1-bedroomed flat in North London - ha! We washed and changed and headed downtown to see the city we'd heard so much about through friends and colleagues having done the annual pilgrimage to SXSW. Another music town with live artists in every bar - hell yeah! We found a booth in a bar and tucked into some food washed down with local beer and wine. We could both get quite used to this.

Austin is really beautiful, like a miniture Washington DC but not at all pretentious. There are some stunning buildings, especially that of the Capitol and even Texans come here (who are proud that this was once a separate nation) to have their pictures taken in front of the State Capitol building - which is a minature version of the Washington one. Sixth Street was pretty buzzing by aroud 9pm and it is clear to see why this hotspot became the host of one of the world's most renouned music festivals.

Miles travelled from New York City:2263
States vistited: Texas
Flags that have been on the Moon seen: 1
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