The stars at night are big and bright


I suppose it is quite easy to forget, sometimes, just how large the country is until you’re driving to someplace further away than the grocery store. It probably seemed even further before the days of cars and trains, when people rode in wagons or rode horses or walked on foot from place to place. I often wonder, even as I’m driving around town here at home, just how modern people would have fared without the assistance of roadways and signs, without concrete ribbons leading us from place to place, with trees all around and only the sky above as maps of the world.

These days, though, there are signs that you have arrived at a particular destination.

And in case you’ve forgotten, Texas is the Lone Star State.

We didn’t dally long at the information center.

I know Montana is technically Big Sky country, but on this trip and on this day, Texas could very lay claim to that title as well.

The scenery along the way was much the same as it had been, with cattle…

…and rice fields.

And one unfortunate trucker, who’d managed to get himself off the road into a slight drainage ditch.

Undaunted, we made it to Houston, home of some spaghetti-like interchanges.

Beyond that, Houston was something we saw only from the highway, and like almost any other large city, seemed to be under heavy construction.

We passed through Sealy, home of the Tigers…

…who were out practicing for their next game…

…and continued onward toward our ultimate destination.

Can you guess where we stopped for gas?

Shortly after this point, we ran into swarms of butterflies, many of whom met their demise as they fluttered across the highway. The swarms were huge clouds over the roadway, making it nearly impossible to get any further shots through the front windshield. But we made it to our Point B anyway.

We found out later that due to the very dry summer in the area, the natural predator of that butterfly was not as active as it normally was, and thus the butterflies were far over their usual population numbers. Ours was not the only vehicle providing a testament to this.

The hotel is a Tuscan-inspired design, and in the outside courtyard area, had a wall of fire within a waterfall/fountain structure.

Inside, the suite was roomy and had a thermostat that could be set to 60 degrees, which meant to normal people it was like an icebox, and to my mom was still too warm for her liking.

We headed out in search of a cold drink…

…then wandered up and down the Riverwalk for a bit, trying to decide on food. Since you can’t go to Texas without trying some Texas barbeque, that was the choice for us.

Baby back ribs.

Beef ribs for mom. I had her hold up a knife to provide a scale and show how huge these were. She had ordered them because the menu said three ribs, not quite understanding just yet that everything is bigger in Texas.

There was a bit of a bite in the barbeque – not one that would tear off the top of your head immediately, but one that snuck in on you as you were finishing a bite, making its presence known. The baby backs were not as tender as I expected them to be, but tasted good enough, and the beef was good. In the mood to give them a try on dessert, and since I’m a sucker for it, we selected apple cobblers.

This was good indeed, and we all ate a healthy portion of the dessert.

Tired from our day of learning about the Atchafalaya Swamp, eating, and battling butterflies, we turned in for the night, happy to have reached our destination, and (for those of us playing tourist) excited about exploring the city and what it had to offer.