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Sunday, February 27, 2022

Driving to Panama City Beach

I am typing from the battery car. Lulu is at the wheel. Autopilot is on.

We are going to the Beachside Resort on Panama City Beach. They are right on the sand and have a big 90 degree pool.

Spring break is starting here. Lots of snowbirds stay at this resort.

It is 110 miles from home so we could make the entire round trip on our 360 mile range. Traffic on I-10 is light. It is sunny and 79 at 11:00 am. In a few miles we cross the time zone and it will be 10 am again.

People do not realize that it is 200 miles west to the end of the Florida panhandle from Tallahassee. Pensacola is the last city before you hit Alabama. Then before you know it you are in New Orleans and Mardi Gras.

Added Later - the pool heater and hot tub were not working. The beach was nice. The second day it only went up to 67 - so we went to Seaside and the Destin Outlets instead. Then we drove home 150 miles. We got home around 6 PM. Without the big heated pool - the Beachside Resort was a bit of a downer. 

Friday, February 25, 2022

Disney Weekend - The Park - The Kids - The Depuy's - The Cousin

50 years

Charlie Depuy - John Stanko - me

The bridge from our hotel to Disney Springs

We spent another 5 day weekend - this time in Central Florida. We left home on Friday at 10 AM - for the 5 hour drive in our Tesla to Disneyworld. We took the back way down - which hugs the west coast of Florida. It is a more interesting road than the Interstate - nice places to stop to eat - and it has a Supercharger in Crystal River. Although our Tesla can make it to Disneyworld on a full charge - I like to stop half way there to top up. That way you are sure of having plenty of power on the highway if there is a big traffic jam or accident. You can use the AC in a Tesla even if the motor is not running - a nice perk. 

We got to our Hilton Hotel in Disney Springs at about 3 PM. Drew and family were expected to arrive about the same time - but they got caught in a major traffic jam in Georgia and did not arrive until 8 PM. 

All day Saturday we spent in the Magic Kingdom. It was busy but Drew had fast passes all lined up. That saved time. We returned to our hotel for a swim in midday - then returned to the park for more rides and fireworks. We had both meals in the park. 

Sunday was Kate's Gymnastics Meet. It was held at ESPN World - what a nice facility. The Everhart 4 left for home about 6 PM. It is always a hard time when the kids leave us - you never get over it. They drove 5 hours Sunday and 5 hours Monday. Safely home. 

Sunday night and Monday night we spent with Cousin Cathy and Joe - at their condo in Davenport.  It is about 10 miles west of Disney. It is 3 bedrooms - 3 baths - gated community with a pool. 

Monday we returned to visit with my school buddy Charlie Depuy. Dr Amy Depuy - Charlie's daughter is a Disney Vacation Club member. They stay at the Wilderness Lodge. We met them in Disney Springs for lunch. Along with them were - John and Louise Stanko - and Gina Depuy. We had the best lunch - it took us 3 hours - with all the gabbing. It ranks up there in the Top 10 Best Lunches Ever. I could not tell you what I ate. :-)

Tuesday - we left Davenport at noon - topped up the Tesla by Disneyworld - and drove 5 hours home. We stopped for food and bathroom. We like arriving home before sundown. 

I always talk about the car - I do not want to be that Tesla guy - but I do love the efficiency of a battery powered car. It only cost 3 cents a mile to run it - while my gas powered Honda costs 12 cents a mile for gasoline. I already had owned another electric car - the Nissan Leaf - for 8 years. It was a very nice car but only had a range of 70 miles new. My Tesla goes 361 miles per charge now. My Tesla also has 450 HP. You do not need all that power but it is nice having that long range. 

This weekend we plan something different - we plan to stay home. 

Charging our red car

Cousin Cathy and her condo in Devenport

The highway where Tusca is - is route 27 
It goes all the way to Tallahassee

Charlie Depuy - mu school buddy

Gina Depuy - Dr Amy Depuy MD
My top student

Nothing like fireworks with the family

50 years of marriage - 50 years of Disneyworld

Cinderella's Castle

Father and Daughter


This used to be a 10 cent ride

The bridge from Disney Springs to our Hotel. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Johnson Space Center - Houston Texas - Mission Control Center - Houston We Have A Problem

The control center of the rockets to the moon.

You may remember this from TV

Sometimes the Shuttle needed
a piggy back. 

We are at the Houston Hobby Airport on Tuesday - getting ready to fly home. 

We spent Monday visiting the Johnson Space Center - the headquarters of NASA - the US Space Program. They never launched rockets from here. The headquarters was placed here to appease the political ambitions of Lyndon Johnson. He was John Kennedy's Vice President during the time we launched our quest for the moon. All rockets were launched from Cape Canaveral Florida. 

Rice University donated 1000 acres to be used as the campus for the training facility. Astronauts were trained here. It is a working campus - presently they train for the Orion mission back to the Moon and Mars. 

We took the tram tour and visited the training building - the original Mission Control Center - the static display of a Saturn V Rocket - and finally a Space Shuttle carried on top of a Boeing 747. 

We have had a great  5 days of weather - in the 60s and 70s in the day. One day - Saturday - we had winds making it very cold. No rain. 

The Lunar Module was for moon landing

Chris Kraft Mission Control

Old computer monitors and cigarettes

Saturn 5 Rocket
1969 Rocket to Moon

Cattle on the Johnson Campus

Judy Resnik - look her up - 
amazing woman. 

Inside the shuttle cargo bay

You can go in both crafts.

Tram tour

363 foot Saturn V Rocket

Astronaut training building


Orion will go to Mars - training now

Spare parts

Five big Saturn 5 engines

Third stage

Apollo 13 famous words

Touching a real moon rock.

Entrance to JSC

Astrodome from highway home

Monday, February 14, 2022

Houston Astrodome - Natural Science Museum - Butterfly Center - South Pacific Show

The Astrodome built in 1962. I was 14. 
It was the first of the big cookie cutter stadiums. 

In 1962 - they built the Houston Astrodome - at the time called the 8th Wonder of the World. It was truly amazing to be able to play Major League Baseball and NFL football on real grass indoors. Even the NBA Houston Rockets played here. It was very close to downtown. The roof was completely covered by windows - that had to be later covered with frosted plastic because of too much glare. Players kept missing fly balls. This covering caused the grass to die. They eventually replaced that with Astroturf - a fancy name for plastic carpet. I never saw a game in there in person - but it always amazed me. 

Now the NRG Stadium sits next to it with a roof on rails that opens and closes. NRG - is the local electric company. The locals call it "Not Real Good." There is also an arena and convention center next to it. We took the trolley to the Astrodome after visiting the Natural Science Center and the Butterfly Pavilion. 

Friday - weather was 70s and sun - Saturday was 50s cloudy with bad wind - Sunday was 60s and sun. We expect the same thing today for our trip to the Johnson Space Center.

I like the Bus and Trolley system here. It is $3 a person all day. The cars and buses are clean and new. We have not run into a busy one yet. People are friendly and helpful. 

We eat one nice meal out a day - and have breakfast in our apartment. We bought a nice load of groceries at HEB Super Store on our bus route - 85. 

The science center is world class. It is right across the street from Rice University. The Texas Medical Center is the biggest in the world. There are hospitals from all over - with specialties. University of Texas - Baylor - Texas A&M - you name it - they have a medical school here. 

Houston has 2.3 million people and 600 square miles. That makes it the population of 6 Miami's - and larger than Los Angeles. It does not seem busy on weekends. 

The Science Center had a large exhibit - about Rameses II of Egypt - called Rameses the Great. He was the third king of the 18th dynasty. Figure that one out. He lived to be 90 years old - in the 1200's BC. This would have been 700 years before the Greek Democracy in Athens. He was also a great self promoter - building things all over Egypt to remember him. 

I am typing this before we take an Uber to the space center. Lots of good pictures will be there. 

The Butterfly Center in Hermann Park. 

Lots of pretty butterflies in a 
controlled environment. 

We saw South Pacific at the Hobby Theater
in the Theater District. It is a local company.

I could be a bus or trolley driver.

You could sit and butterflies would swarm you.

A drawing of Rice University
in our lunch restaurant.

Ramses II in granite.

A cat mummy.

A cat daddy. 

Keep your head straight.

When you are 74 you like this. 

a rose quartz star

NRG Stadium