So there was this wedding in Denver, see? And I had a bit of Leave burning a hole in my 201 file, see? So I blasted out of the EPT and shot across Texas. The idea was to speed East, hit the major population centers, then arc up and west.
If I were stationed in Das Vaterland I’d be taking trips to fair Vienna or Waterloo or the Bastille. But I’m stationed in Texas and, well, the best laid plans of the hounds and humans, right?
If you’ve ever been to T-E-X, I apologize. But at least you’ll understand why I laugh when I say that the Cowboy Capitol stands a full four feet taller than the National Congress. So we checked it out, ate some over-hyped ice cream, spent too much money at the REI, grabbed some BBQ at the Kruez Market and skipped town to Corpus.
Corpus is a kickass town, and I wish we could’ve spent more time there. Of all the East Texas towns, it’s got the most vibe’n atmosphere. It was good to see the beach again, natch. We toured the USS Lexington, spent the night on Padre Island, sucked down some damn tasty oysters and briefly enjoyed the easy life of luxury.
The Alamo isn’t as big as you think it is. And you can now buy Texas-shape pie tins and Lone Star golfballs there, which has got to make the Greatest Heroes of America’s Most Obnoxious State start grave-spinning. So there’s that. But there’s also China Grove. And the Riverwalk was neat but crowded.
The last of the big-gun ships, the USS Texas, floats just east of Houston, near the Oak Tree that Santa Ana surrendered under. So that was cool. And some whacked out postman spent decades turning his house in the ‘burbs into a shrine to the Citrus Orange, which I’ll take as a sign to Git Out Of Texas As Soon As Now.
Still, I wanted to see where Tom Hanks takes his problems. I paid my sixteen, made my way through the door and started to choke -the Food Court took up half the building. It felt like Gilliam’s Brazil.
Anyway, I asked where the actual CAPCOM building was – if I had to by a Space Rover Explorer Overpriced Tram ticket or what. And that’s when they told me that it’s been closed to the public since 12 September, 2001.
I did get a pretty good Asteroid Burger, though. And there was a decent Apollo exhibit pushed behind the (no joke) Mayan Maze. They even had “real – honest” Moon Rock, which was a nice gesture.
I wasn’t too impressed with the Seawall, but there’s an old Oil Rig-slash-Museum that was well worth the trip. Three stories of self-guided factoid-reading on Oil finding, drilling, refining, and the like.
The Big D:
I’m pretty sure we actually made it to the moon. And I chalk Roswell up to a few overeager Army officers (believe me, there are plenty of them). But Lee Harvey? I have my doubts. But eitherway, you can’t travel through The Friendship State without stopping at Dealey Plaza. And might I say it seems so fitting that you can’t climb the six floors of the book depository; you have to take an elevator. That’s why everything is bigger in Texas – the traffic, the waistlines, the vice taxes.
When the Conquistadors came looking for gold, they made it all the up to north Texas. Specifically the Palo Duro Canyon, which is as beautiful as it is remote. It took a lot of willpower not just to grab a rucksack, start walking, and get lost down there for a week or a month.
This city’s got two things going for it: Ozymandias On The Plains and the Cadillac Ranch (bam!). Both were pretty damn sweet, and rounded out the trip. I saw a lot of good family at the Denver wedding and got a chance to catch up with some quickly-deploying amigos from Tank School. And that was about it for the 2nd biggest state in the Union (they hate when you say that). I saw just about everything except FT Hood, and I’m saving that for another time.
and there’s 54 more Fent-tastic Fent-ographs over at The Picasa, including a few from before this trip. Click it twice to bring up the full deal.