After Dallas we went to Livingston, Texas and camped for two days at the headquarters of the Escapees, an RV organization we belong to. The headquarters include an office, a members campground, and an ownership park where people own their own sites. Most of these had park models on them as well as a few real homes.The Escapees also have an Adult Day Care program which intrigues me from my previous life. Recuperating RV'rs including those suffering from Alzheimer can come to the Care program during the day and live in their RV's on a lot with a shed until they no longer need the service. In the case of Alzheimer sufferers their is usually a non stricken spouse. We didn't stay for the official tour as it was raining and we wished to be on our way. The tour also included the mail room which provides a forwarding service for some of the 30,000 Escapee members who have no other address and whose home is "where they park it" around the country.
After Livingston we stopped in Houston at the Space Center RV Park. We unhooked the trailer and drove another half hour to Galveston.
We walked on the sea wall and drove around town. The next day we decided the Galveston sea wall was to far away so we visited and walked at the Kemah Boardwalk, a Gulf Coast tourist attraction with stores and restaurants fishing piers and swimming beaches.
We even got to sit in the sun by the pool in the campground for a few hours in the afternoon. The next day we visited and toured the Houston Space Center and Museum. The museum was interesting with many displays and interactive exhibits from the space program. The tour was interesting but not as good as the one we had at Cape Canaveral several years ago. This might have had something to do with 9/11 as a many parts of the Center are off limits to the tour.
From Houston we went to San Antonio. Behind the campground was a great river walk. I think it was 11 miles to the center of town but we never completed it, although several days later we walked on the part that was in downtown San Antonio.
The next day we took public transportation and went downtown. First we took the sight seeing "on off" trolley ride. We always argue about these. Debby doesn't like them and I am ambivalent as I often find them boring. The trolley's do; however, provide an overview and expose the visitor to attractions they might otherwise not visit. When the trolley ride was over we went to the Mission San Antonio de Valero better known as the Alamo and were lucky enough to hear a docent talking about the history of the Alamo and the Texas War of Independence. After that we went to the local Imax theatre and saw a movie version of the Siege. The Imax version didn't have any famous actors and it presented information I hadn't known before especially information about Tejano's. Tejano's are Texans of Mexican and Native American extraction. According to the film some of these even had family members who served in the Mexican Army under Santa Anna. From the movie we went to the riverwalk for our daily jaunt and " bobbed and weaved" through the crowds that stroll past and/or frequent the many shops and restaurants that line the walk. When we completed our walk we went to the the University of Texas Institute of Texas Cultures.
As the name implies the institute features stories and histories
of Texas's many immigrant cultures. The building and exhibits are in the round.
Displays of selected family histories including pictures, sacred and cultural
items along with models and mockups of some of the homes of the 26 cultures
that settled in Texas. Outside are some historical farm houses and family homes
from the pioneer era.
The exhibits depicting the 26 cultures were equally interesting but we experienced a sense of identity with the Jewish Culture.
The Jewish section contained the same information. There was a
picture of two armed Jewish cowboys, a Torah scroll and Shofar, a dolls house
and videos. The videos depicted modern times including a Bat Mitzvah. Also included
were comments concerning the difficulty of obtaining Kosher food. Galveston,
TX was an important port of entry and many Jews remained there. Rabbi Cohen
of Galveston was well known and helpful to more then the Jewish community. His
wife recalled that he had assisted William Sidney Porter who was falsely accused
of a crime and was in prison. She later discovered that William Sidney Porter
was better known as O' Henry the famous writer.
A slide show of Texas scenes and faces of all age groups was shown on several sides of the rotunda wall. Different pictures are simultaneously shown. The show requires constant turning. There are no chairs but the length of the show is not long enough to cause a stiff neck. The slide show and displays were originally created for the Texas Centennial and is being maintained by the University of Texas.
The next day we drove about 70 miles north for a day trip to the Texas capitol of Austin and visited the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum at the University of Texas.There is also a Johnson museum at the Johnson Ranch but that was further away in the Texas Hill Country. The museum tells the personal and political history of this 20th Century giant. It's amazing how much he accomplished during his political career. Maybe history will lift the cloud over his legacy caused by questions concerning his possible involvement in the Kennedy assasination and his ill fated incursion in Viet Nam. The Johnson presidential papers are housed here as are memorabilia from his life and administration. A mock up of the Oval Office and "Lady Byrds" Austin Office are on the second floor. "Lady Byrd" was quite active in Texas environmental causes and was instrumental in the creation of the Austin River Walk where we joined the joggers for our daily walk.