Day 2:    Spaced Cadets

Main Page > 2005 Houston, We have a Problem !!

The Boys awoke early to another steamy day in Tehas with early morning thoughts of visiting the President George Herbert Walker Bush (George the 41st) Library on campus, but it opened too late and the boys had very ambitious plans for the day. So after yet another awful Mexican meal for breakfast, the boys embarked for the Capital of the Republic of Texas, Washington-On-The-Brazos !!!


The very dated Washington-On-The-Brazos


Bone, sweating the details of the Texas Declaration of Independence

At the time of the Texas Revolution, Washington-On-The-Brazos was a sleepy little crossroads town with no more than 10 buildings and where the Brazos River is crossed by an ancient Indian road, the La Bahia Trail. By 1836 the residents numbered only 100 brave souls in this Outpost Town. To stimulate further growth, Washington-On-The-Brazos businessmen offered the Assembly Hall without charge to attract the Convention of 1836 to their town. Strategically Washington-On-The-Brazos was also situated in the far eastern part of Texas to shelter it from Santa Anna, and be close to the United States border in case a "skedaddle" to the US was needed. These town promoters rented the only structure large enough for deliberations, an unfinished building, from entrepreneur Noah T. Byars Although the town had an inn, most delegates could not find lodging and slept in the open windowed Assembly Hall. Which was unfortunate since during the Convention from March 1 and March 17, 1836, one of the coldest times in recorded Texas history. The very cold delegates tried to keep warm by writing and signing the Texas Declaration of Independence and Constitution of the Republic of Texas, as well as establishing an Interim Government.


The very warm Homestead of the Last President of the Republic of Texas

The day that Mike and Bone visited it was not the coldest day in recorded Texas history, in fact it was way too steamy hot for the Bone, for he was sweating like Niagara Falls. Sweltering ,with a heat index of 108 degrees, the boys next visited the home of the last President of the Republic of Texas.

The Washington-On-The Brazos area was the site of the final home of the last president of the Republic of Texas. Anson Jones had arrived in Texas in 1833. Settling in Brazoria, he practiced medicine and his business thrived. Like other prosperous men he was drawn into the political conflicts of his era. Actively serving the Republic of Texas, he was Congressman, Minister to the United States, Senator, and Secretary of State. In 1844, at the height of his political career, Jones was elected president of the Republic.

It was a bittersweet legacy of Jones's short tenure as president for during that time the Republic of Texas ceased to exist. Instead, Texas became the 28th State of the United States. It was left to Jones to declare, "The final act in this great drama is now performed. The Republic of Texas is no more." -- Anson Jones, President, Republic of Texas February 19, 1846

With these words Jones ended his public life and political career, retiring with his family to his Farm. Barrington Farm  the home of Anson Jones near Washington-On-The-Brazos during and after his presidency. Jones named his farm "Barrington" after his Massachusetts home, Great Barrington. There he lived with wife Mary, their four children, his sister, sister-in-law, and five slaves. The family home, two slave cabins, a kitchen building, smokehouse, cotton house and barn made up Barrington Farm.

It is now a working historical site with volunteers who have to dress up in the hot scratchy period outfits. While, Mike and Bone felt heat stroke come on, a local volunteer showed the boys how they still smoked hams and food on the farm.


Mike and Bone, Broiling on the Brazos

After a 20 minute walk around the historical markers of the town, Mike and Bone realized that watching the flow of the muddy Brazos River that they were thirsting for an icy-cold beer, and that sitting an air-conditioned car was way better than walking around in the stifling mid-day heat, so bidding Washington-On-The-Brazos a sweaty adieu, Mike and Bone headed to the coast, hoping that NASA could find a cooler place for the Boys.


"Frankly my Dear, I don't give a Hamme !!!

En route back to Houston the boys started get the munchies and looked for lunch options.  Only in Brazos County Texas can you find southern style "slaw dogs" (chili sauce with coleslaw), served strangely enough by New Yorkers from Queens. Mr. and Mrs. Hamme, proprietors of the "Frankly Heaven", served the lunch-hungry boys one of the best meals of the trip, tasty Sabretts ("no regrets, with Sabretts !") hot dogs, straight from the Bronx.


Spaced Invaders, invading the Johnson Space Center

With the thermometer pushing a ridiculous 115%, and the humidity a steamy 98%, the Boys decided to visit the NASA Johnson Space Center, which is just south of downtown Houston. In a state of near heat-induced delusion, the boys suffered heat-addled hopes of getting NASA to arrange a mid-day launch to the cool, cool reaches of Outer Space. 

Even though a trip to the outer limits wasn't possible, NASA did in fact offer to take the boys for a ride for the meager sum of 20 bucks per person, unfortunately it wasn't for a cushy and cool (intentional double-entendre dear reader !) ride into the outer limits, but a one hour wait out side in the heat for a ride on a little train to Mission Control, which tested the outer limits of Mike and Bones heat tolerances.


"Mike and Bone, do you Copy ?"

CapCom, Mission Control

As a part of the tour, Mike and Bone had the privilege to sit in the Viewing Room, which is situated over Mission Control. From this room the Astronaut's Wife's and notable luminaries such as the Vice-President and Walter Cronkite would watch the Gemini, Apollo, and early Space Shuttle flights. Bone was pleased to hear that the Apollo 16 Mission to the Moon contained an all University of Michigan Crew, so the "Hail to the Victors " was quite probably and proudly sang around and on the Moon !


"I'm a Rocket Man !!!"

Elton John

Mission Control which is now a National Historic Site was cool, but the rest of the Johnson Space Center, was closer to a Disney Theme Park with attractions for kids and souvenir shop every ten yards, which was of little interest to the Boys, so with the afternoon waning and the hope of cooler ocean breezes, the Boys boogied on down to Galveston Island.

So onward South the boys drove taking side roads due to the continual traffic jam that was on the freeway down.  As the boys approached the long bridge onto Galveston Island, Mike put in the "Houston, We have a Problem Part 1" CD and played:


Oh Galveston !

 I still hear your sea winds swaying 

I see her dark eyes graying,

She was twenty one, when I left Galveston"

Glen Campbell

With a song in the hearts and a pool in their heads, the boys ignored the tropical flora mixed in the Victorian styled homes found through out Galveston, and looked for accommodations with a pool, with the hopes of finally cooling off a bit, which lead them to a very chi-chi hotel.


"Welcome to the Hotel Galveston"

Sung to the tune of the Eagle's Hotel California

The historic Hotel Galvez is one of the few structures that made it through the Horrible Hurricane of 1900, and is slightly reminiscent of the Menger in San Antonio from the year before. Mike and Bone cared less about the history and amenities, they just wanted a margarita and the pool !


A Room with a View,

the Gulf of Mexico from Mike and Bones Hotel Room

Faster than you can cough alcohol three times backwards, Mike and Bone dropped their gear and procured the finest thing to come out of Tijuana since Carlos Santana, and the donkey show, the ever lovely margarita !!!


The Hotel Galvez's Pool 

(with a steamed-up camera due to the Heat !)

With drinks in hand the boys enjoyed a long and refreshing soak in the pool as the evening approached. Never had margies tasted better !!


Mike and Bone, enjoying a Single Malt Scotch at the Hotel Galveston

After swimming the boys noticed that the Hotel had a very classy Oak Bar, so despite starting with margies, the boys soon switched to the finest of tipples, Single-Malt Scotch, which resulted a mere hour later, in  a very happy Mike and Bone. a long with the Hotel suffering severely depleted supply of The Macallan's 18-Year Casked Conditioned Scotch Whisky.

One outcome of the depletion was the development of a very warm and personal relationship with the local bartenders, as evidenced above.


Being Broiled at the Bonefish Grill

As the evening progressed and the Macallans show signed of total depletion, the topic of Dinner was broached by the Boys with the Locals. With a strong recommendation some of the best fish in town the Boys headed to the Bar District.

"Damn, Its still hot !"  By 9:00 it was still over 100 degrees and Bone was broiling. In a fit of madness or genius, He took his very stinky Michigan Polo Shirt, washed it out in the Hotel sink and wore it soaking wet in the hot, hot night.


Mike and a soaked to the Bone ?!?

The food and drink in the restaurant were top-shelf, with a very glitzy clientele dressed to kill on a Saturday Night, and a bedraggled looking Mike and Bone.


The very cool down town of Galveston


Mike and Bone, Howling at the Moon over Galveston Bay

After Dinner the boys gave a half-hearted attempt to party, but without air conditioning, most of the Bars were simply too oppressive, and in truth the Boys were drained from the heat.

So to close the evening the Boys sat on the 15-foot sea wall in front of the Hotel Galvez with a Full Moon rising, and the tide coming in noisily on the beach below, realizing it was that very spot in 1900, a 20 foot storm surge from a Category 04 Hurricane washed over the Island, killing thousands, and devastating Galveston.. Instead of being awash in awe or thought, the boys were awash in fatigue and decided to put in "early" at 1:00 AM.