Day 2: Spaced Cadets
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2005 Houston, We have a Problem !!
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,
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 !!!"
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:
still hear your sea winds swaying
I see her
dark eyes graying,
twenty one, when I left Galveston"
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
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
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
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.
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