Texas Road Trip

My sweetheart Jim had a conference in Houston. It happens that I was born in that city and raised in a small town just outside it, so when he expressed an interest in seeing where I grew up, I had to break my rule against going to Texas in the summer.

One of the best things we found on this trip was that the Buddhist temple that is located on what used to be my childhood home outside of Friendswood is growing and expanding. This statue, which is about forty feet tall, sits in what used to be our horse pasture.

Buddha statue
They are also building a larger hall for their services and have expanded the lotus pond they created in what used to be my mother’s swimming pool.

Lotus swimming poolWhile we were in the area, we went on a tour of the Johnson Space Center, which included a field trip to the mission control center that was in operation during the Moon landing. The building is now named after Chris Kraft, who was head of mission control back then and also went to church with us. I’m so pleased they honored him. The little speaker in this picture is the one that broadcast the first words from the Moon.

Mission Control

By the way, the space center is located on what used to be a cattle pasture, and, in a bit of homage to the history, some land there is given over to kids doing agricultural projects, including taking care of this longhorn.


Most of Friendswood has changed dramatically since I was a kid. The town had 300 people when we moved down there; now it has 39,000+. It’s not the same place. But the building where I went to elementary school is still there, even though it’s not being used as a school these days. This building housed all twelve grades back then. It was built in 1939 and is not an architectural marvel, so I’m not sure why it’s still standing, but it was nice to see something still there.


We moved on from Friendswood and drove along the Gulf of Mexico from Galveston to Freeport. As we were about to start heading north toward the Hill Country, where we both have relatives, I looked at the map and saw that we weren’t far from Indianola.

My great-grandmother was born in Indianola during the hurricane that hit it in 1875. We decided to go see it. Here’s what we found.

IndianolaOK, to be fair, there are some beach houses nearby. But there’s no town. It was completely wiped off the map by the second hurricane, the one that hit in 1886. Before then, it was a major Texas port.

We seemed to be into tours, because we also went to the Spoetzl Brewery in Shiner, Texas, where they have brewed Shiner beer for more than a hundred years and are still an independent company. But they’re not old fashioned. Here’s a picture of the robot that moves kegs of beer.

keg robotAfter the tour, we went to visit my uncle and aunt in New Braunfels. I neglected to take any family pictures, even though we saw both my cousins and Jim’s while we were there. I did, however, get this shot of some very hungry baby birds living on the porch of my uncle’s house.

baby birdsAll in all, a successful road trip.

Jim and me



Texas Road Trip — 13 Comments

    • I think I’d rather have a Buddha where my horse used to be.

      The pasture where the space center sits was under about 10 feet of water during Hurricane Carla in 1961. But they built it there anyway.

      • Yes, much preferable. Though I wish Bellevue/Redmond & environs had figured out a way to keep more green space. King County (WA) has (had) the most productive farmland in the country and now it’s mostly paved over.


        • That is one of the great things about the Buddhists taking over that property: a lot of it will stay green. That’s not true of a lot of the surrounding area.

    • The birds were great. And I’m glad we went to Indianola and explored some places I didn’t know. We also stayed in a lovely old house turned into a B and B in downtown Victoria, which is full of old buildings that should be renovated.

  1. Reading this I felt like I was right along on the trip with y’all! Glad you made it out of Texas before the ‘tropical rains hit on Tuesday and Wednesday!