"All human wisdom is summed up in two words; wait and hope."
– Alexandre Dumas
Good morning Everyone and Happy New Year!
Let me catch you up on what Stephen Ray and I have been up to since I last posted.
First, we had a nice Christmas at the Escapees RV Park in Livingston. We made new friends during this visit - - Ed and Joan Winter - - who taught us a new card game and shared an excellent recipe for a pastry-type dinner. YUM YUM. The members of the Escapees RV Club are such great people and are so warm and welcoming. It was sad to be without family this Christmas, but the members of this group made us feel like we were at least with good friends.
Shortly after Christmas, we left for Galveston. Steve and I love the ocean so we wanted to spend at least one more week near it before we made a sharp right-hand turn to the desert Southwest. Our time in Galveston was great. We wish we could have spent more time there and may even consider it for our family vacation in 2013. Tons to do for young and old alike - - wonderful beaches, great restaurants, one of the best waterparks in the U.S. (Schlitterbahn), museums, fishing, botanical gardens, shopping, etc. You should check it out.
Let me begin with Moody Gardens. This is a complex of buildings - - 3 of which are pyramids - - that house a rainforest, an aquarium, a science center complete with several 4D rides, botanical gardens, an old-fashioned paddle wheel boat ride in the bay, and in the winter, a snow chute. WOW. What a great time we had there. First, we went to see the Christmas light display that they designed to walk you around the entire complex. The coolest part was a light display of the nativity story. Certain sections of lights would illuminate during different parts of the story. It was difficult to capture that in pictures, but we hope you enjoy what we were able to record. During the day, we returned to Moody to see the inside of those pyramids. We absolutely loved the rain forest. There were beautiful birds and flowers everywhere. They even allowed monkeys to roam freely inside the building. HOW COOL!!!! Next, we visited the aquarium. Steve and I love watching sharks and seals and things like that swim about in their somewhat "natural" habitats. Nice aquarium! The Moody Gardens is a definite must-see if you are ever in the Galveston area. (http://www.moodygardens.com)
We also visited the Houston Zoo one day. There was a light rain falling so the zoo wasn't crowded. That was nice because we called Steve's mom and had her go on-line to the zoo's website. The zoo has a lot of webcams and because it wasn't crowded, Steve and I got to stand by the chimpanzee webcam and she saw us on-line, waving to her. She thought it was a hoot and her response to us was "Finally, you guys are where you belong - - in the monkey cage."
Steve and I also enjoy museums dedicated to old war-time machinery, whether it be ships or airplanes. The Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston was quite interesting (http://www.lsfm.org). Naturally, there were a ton of old planes which we enjoyed. But our biggest thrill was watching a P-51 Mustang take off. You can get rides in a number of these old war birds, including an old B-17 bomber. COOL. What was interesting to note about this museum was the damage it had sustained from Hurricane Ike. This museum was a solid mile inland, but still had about 8 feet of standing water within its complex during the Hurricane. Unbelievable, and until you see something like that in person, it is hard to imagine the power of Mother Nature and the damage that it can do.
Steve and I also visited the Ocean Star, a retired oil rig (http://www.oceanstaroec.com). Galveston and the surrounding area are huge oil towns - - tons of refineries that make the BP refinery in Oregon look like a 1/4 scale model or something. Anyway, we learned a ton about the oil industry and the costs associated with drilling for oil. For example, the cost of running one of those off-shore oil rigs for one day is a staggering $463,000 - - that's PER DAY! That really puts the $4.00 gas price into perspective, don't you think?
We did a lot of boring things like go to the movies, walk along the beach etc. but really enjoyed our time in Galveston. At the present time, we are housed in Hondo, Texas which is just west of San Antonio. Steve will be here for the next week, but I am flying to Chicago for a week of intensive study at my school, Moody Theological Seminary. I will miss him, but I get to stay with Terry and Jill while I am in Chicago. I haven't seen them since we picked them up from the trail back in August so it will be good to spend some time with them.
Alright people. Have a great week!