Sunday, April 29, 2007

Houston, Texas

I was flying back to Chicago this afternoon, so we stayed around Houston. We both like Aquariums, so we wanted to check out the one in Houston. All I have to say is unless you are 5 years old or have small kids, don’t waste your money.

Aquarium in Houston

Cool fish lights

Poor tiger trapped in such a small place

A diver talking about the fish and stuff

In front of one of the bigger displays

Lunch at Raising Cane's

The best part of the day was lunch. Mike talks about this Raising Cane’s place that started up in Louisiana. Best chicken fingers in the world. I love chicken fingers and they had a Raising Cane’s in Houston, so that’s where we had lunch. They were the best chicken fingers I’ve ever had.

Astros Minute Maid Park in downtown Houston

Downtown Houston

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Kemah, Texas

I flew in to Houston last night. Mike drove in from Louisiana to meet me. Chicago to Houston flights seem to be much cheaper then Chicago to New Orleans flights. When you’re long distance dating and flying a lot, price is everything. So here we are in Houston again, we here in February as well.

For something interesting to do we decided to drive to Kemah today. Seems like a tourist trap but heck, we’re tourist today.

It was a beautiful day and I couldn’t help but notice all the bikes on the road. I wish I could ride, but being a regular tourist isn’t all that bad and it was warm here.

Fred Hartman bridge is the longest cable-stayed bridge in Texas, it's 2.5 miles long

Before arriving in Kemah and not going too much of the way, we stopped first to see San Jacinto Monument, it marks the location where Texas won its independence from Mexico in 1836. At 570 feet tall, the San Jacinto Monument is the world's tallest monument tower.

Waiting for the ferry to the monument

Mike and I at the monument

San Jacinto Monument

We went ahead and did the tour of the San Jacinto Monument, the views from the top were great, but there was nothing else to see really, we only stayed up there for 10 minutes.

View from the top of San Jacinto Monument

See that ship down below in the water, we went there next, thats the Battleship Texas

Battleship Texas

We didn't do a tour of the battleship, we were hungry and wanted to get to Kemah to get some lunch.

Lunch at Landry's in Kemah on the boardwalk

Artichoke dip

Mike ordered bacon covered shrimp

Shrimp etouffee for me

Landry’s was a nice restaurant with a great view of the water, but unfortunately the food wasn’t all that great. Mike makes a way better shrimp etouffee. After lunch we walked the whole board walk and got some ice cream. We left Kemah as the sun was setting.

Kemah light

Arts and crafts for sale

Anna the mermaid

I love monkeys

Kemah Boardwalk

Another light in Kemah

Those are pretty big wind chimes

Sales cat

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Day 2: ST.N "Meet & Eat" and back to Chicago

Last year we did a short ride in the morning, this year we had breakfast and relaxed and then rode over to Denny’s for the “Meet and Eat”. There were a lot of people showing up again, even more than last year. Our group ordered a 15 lbs burger, but we didn’t eat a lot of it. It was good and tasted like meatloaf.

Here are our three Ducs, there were many Ducati ST's there

Rockstar dismount

15 lbs. cheeseburger at Denny's Beer Barrel Pub

My lunch - start

My lunch - finish

Sandy, Rick and I were out of there by 1:30PM and on the road heading back to Chicagoland. I again needed to take some Aleve to get me home. Not only was I already getting sore from today’s ride, but I was still sore from riding all day yesterday. Today was definitely much harder to ride.

Another stop for bathroom, gas and lube for the chains

Sandy and Rick went to the Northern suburbs and I headed toward the Western suburbs and within minutes I found myself not on the interstate but creeping and crawling in 1st gear and then the traffic stopped all together. It was 10PM on Sunday, why was there so much traffic? I was already very tired and very sore and now having to pull in that hard hydraulic clutch was just too much, and if that wasn’t bad enough, it started to rain. I crept to the next available exit and pulled over at a gas station. This was not a good neighborhood for a girl and her Ducati to be hanging out at, but I had no choice, my clutch hand was killing me. I made a phone call to figure out if there was an accident or something, I didn’t want to take side roads, too many lights but if those were moving, I rather do that than just creep and crawl on the interstate. There was no evidence anywhere of any major delay on the highway that I was traveling and by the time I hung up the phone and geared back up, the interstate was moving again at speed limit. How annoying. The rain stopped and I pulled in to my driveway just after 11:30PM. The last 20 miles were definitely the hardest, I was physically and mentally tired from riding, but it was still a good trip. But an expensive trip, just the tolls going there and coming back had cost me $30.