Tuesday was a rainy day. We just stayed home and read and watched TV. Wednesday we drove into Houston. This is the Astrodome which was considered the "8th Wonder of the World" at the time it was built. It was the largest dome built in 1600 years, since Roman times. Now right behind it is the Reliant Center, which is even bigger.
This is Memorial Hermann Park in downtown Houston. Some millionaire with no family in the early 1900s gave all his money to the city to build a hospital and park for families. That hospital has now grown to the largest medical center in the country and the park is comparable to New York's Central Park.
It has the reflecting pool, fountains and monuments above and this lake where you can rent paddle boats. It has the Houston Zoo, a golf course, skate board park, tennis courts, hiking trails, a bayou, etc...over 1,200 acres total.
Along one end of the lake they have this row of animals from the Chinese calendar. Do you know what year you were born in? I was born in the year of the rabbit.
Check it out. Were you born in the year of the rat, tiger, horse...?
Thursday we crossed this bridge on our way over to San Jacinto, site of the decisive battle where Texas finally won their independence from Mexico.
Just to give you an idea how big this is, John is standing on top of the 15' base right next to the monument with the reflecting pool behind him.
This view shows the shipping harbors and the Battleship Texas just to the right of the end of the reflecting pool. It is a museum and is the only survivor of the pre-World War I dreadnaughts, serving in that war and as a flagship in the WWII D-Day invasion. It is 573 feet long, 3 feet longer than the monument is tall.
I guess their claim to be the "Birthplace of Texas" is well-deserved.
This book of poetry written by Mirabeau Lamar, commander of the cavalry unit under Houston, was on display in the museum open to this page. I thought the poem about marriage was interesting.
In 1961 the port facilities here were a major factor in the selection of Houston for NASA. At low tide the Houston Shipping Channel is 40 feet deep and 700 feet wide. It ranks first in the U.S. for foreign tonnage and second in total tonnage. They get 5,500 ships a year with foreign trade alone of 70 million tons, more than $33 billion.
Friday we went to Space Center Houston, the Official Visitors Center of NASA's Johnson Space Center. They have all kinds of space craft, space suits, flight simulators, five different theaters, 800 pounds of lunar rocks and a 90 minute tram tour around the whole space center which covers 1,600 acres and employs over 14,000 people.
The tram tour took us thru the factory area where they are building new space crafts. Here the astronauts were doing demo walk-thru in their new space suits.
This was a display with the Lunar Roving Vehicle.
In the Blast Off movie, you get to see, hear and feel what it's like when 7 million pounds of thrust push a four and a half million pound vehicle skyward.
"We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth." William A. Anders