Houston, Texas, USA.

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There weren’t any cowboys here… much to my disappointment.

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That’s a train station. Seriously.

And so is this one…

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I didn’t see a Mountie in Canada, but I saw a police officer on horseback in Texas!

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Chuck Norris’ favourite street in Houston.

Jetsetting #4

It’s much greener around Houston than I ever realised. I always thought Texas was dry and dusty. I guess I have based that assumption on too many movies and TV shows.
Is it bad form to blame John Wayne and Chuck Norris?

Flying into Dallas, I can see that the same presumption is wrong there, too. Hollywood has a lot to answer for.
The city lights in Dallas are just coming on as dusk falls. It looks really pretty from the air.

I wonder if Dallas has free-range cowboys. Houston didn’t have any that I could see. The only cowboy boots I saw all day were my own.

Houston #2

While I was in Canada, one of the things I wanted to see was a Mountie.
That didn’t happen.

Today in Houston, I saw a mounted policeman.
He had another policeman mind his horse while he went into a building. When he came out, he got back on his horse and calmly rode down the street.

This chain of events made me happy, even though he wasn’t a Canadian Mountie.

Security #1

Today we got stopped by a fare inspector and a policeman as we alighted the train at Main St Square Station in downtown Houston.
Thankfully we had figured out to “swipe on” with our Metro Q card before we got on the train, or we would have been in as much trouble as the very unhappy young man who was insisting there was money on his card even though there clearly wasn’t.
The fare inspector told me to keep going, so I walked ahead. The policeman, who had not heard him tell me to go ahead, decided I was disobeying orders yelled at me and told me I had to wait.
Well come ON guys, get your act together! I didn’t mind waiting my turn, and I hadn’t done anything wrong, so don’t go yelling at me in your big bossy policeman voice!
The fare inspector was very apologetic, but he didn’t let the railway cop hear him saying he was sorry.
Clearly, I’m a bigger security risk than I realised.

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Houston #1

Houston is very business oriented.
When we went “downtown” we expected a lot more foot traffic, shopping and restaurants. We looked around but couldn’t find anything of the sort.
As we discovered, that’s because all the eateries and most of the shops are to be found in interconnected tunnels under the business precinct of the city. I had never seen that before.

Houston is quite a clean city.
Rail and bus networks keep the car traffic at quite a low volume. We invested in a Metro Q day pass which cost $3 and gave us access to any public transport around the city that we needed. There’s also a ‘GreenLink’ tourist bus that does a loop around the city for free. It’s a good way to get around and see what’s in town.
There are lots of trees and gardens that help the city to be less of a concrete jungle, even though it still has lots of high-rise and modern buildings.

We found everyone to be very friendly and helpful. Some of the locals in Starbucks were keen to chat and offer help and advice for getting around the city.
I had a great conversation with a guy named Keith, originally from San Francisco but now driving a taxi in Houston for eight months of the year. He was interested in Australia as well as in hearing our observations of the various parts of the US and Canada that we had visited. It’s people like him that really make a place more welcoming and memorable.

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Roadtripping #20

We spent last night at the KOA in Union, Illinois, about an hour’s drive from where we have to return the RV.
It was another really pretty campground, although the bathrooms were probably the poorest we have seen on our trip so far. Even so, the water in the showers was hot and had good pressure, so I am not going to complain.

The road trip ends this morning with us delivering the RV back to Cruise America in Chicago. We have washed the outside, cleaned the inside and miraculously managed to get all our stuff into our suitcases again. I wasn’t convinced that was going to happen.

Roadtripping in the RV has been a fantastic way to travel the country and still feel that we have a “home” or, at least, our own space instead of living out of a suitcase and staying in a different hotel every night as we would if we had rented a car instead.
We’ve been able to do our own cooking, which has saved us a lot of cash and a lot of hidden calories.

This afternoon we fly to Houston. I’m looking forward to the differences in scenery there.
After all the stories and jokes I have heard over the years, I am keen to see for myself what Texas is like. George Strait may be biased, but I would like to think he is not entirely wrong about his home state. And if he is your typical Texan, then yes please.