parental roadtrip: day two

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i had told my parents we should eat breakfast at a whataburger, but they ended up turning into a denny's before we found the whataburger. after breakfast, we headed to a half price books my dad had spotted on the way into town the day before. i managed to find the two issues of Texas monthly i'd missed because i accidentally let my subscription run out. (and they were in excellent shape, which was nice.) i also picked up a few cds:

  • version galore - meat beat manifesto (play it again sam)
  • beers, steers, and qveers - revolting cocks (wax trax)
  • spit - kittie (ng/artemis)
  • i love everybody - lyle lovett (curb/mca)
  • car wheels on a gravel road - lucinda williams (mercury/polygram)
  • swingin' the devil's dream - spade cooley (proper)

from there we headed to the george bush presidential library. the grounds are pretty nice, although they seemed to like curving roads and walkways in unnecessary ways. the museum was closed because they were redoing it, but we were able to watch the video (which i had a coughing fit in...yep, still ill although getting better). they also had the traveling white house exhibit. it's a 1" to 1' scale model of the white house, including the east and west wings. which means it's miniature, but it's pretty big. the guy who made it updates it every time a new president comes in and changes things, so it's got the right chandeliers, carpets, pictures, chairs, etc. there is a pretty amazing amount of detail, down to books, tvs, etc. they said when a new president comes in, it takes them three years to update and build all of the new stuff and settings. it's pretty crazy, but it's cool to see. the visual model also gave me a better understanding of where everything is in relation to everything else in the white house. from watching videos that are with it, i also learned the press room (west wing...you know, the room with the white house logo on the blue drapes where they give daily briefings) is built on top of a swimming pool fdr used. i mean, the floor is built on 2x4's and plywood and there is still a (empty) pool underneath it. and there are a heck of a lot of ethernet cables running underneath there (for all of the reporters equipment and such). besides the white house model, they also had one of the presidential limos president bush had used during his years as president.

after looking through all of that stuff, we went through the gift shop (where i once again avoided purchasing anything). we then went outside and looked at the sculpture "the day the wall came down" (of the horses jumping over the fallen berlin wall). it's a pretty cool piece. after that we walked down to the pond in the back. my dad and i walked around it, as well as back to the cemetery lot where the bushes will be buried. (more of those unnecessarily winding paths here too.)

from the library we drove and stopped at a mcdonald's to plan our next step. we decided we would go to the messina hof winery for their tour, then head to huntsville. on the drive from the library to messina hof, while driving down university, i looked in my rearview mirror to see another old ford pickup coming up behind me. not just another one...the same model as mine. a black 1965 short-bed f-100 pickup. the guy pulled up next to me and when i looked over he gave me a big thumbs up and i smiled at him. i couldn't tell if it was a v-8 or not. but it was sort of weird to see someone with the same thing.

we got to messina hof and had some time before the next tour, so we decided to do a wine tasting. my dad and i paid $5 each and got to select four wines to sample. after doing that, we decided to go ahead and wait for the tour. at first we thought we were going to be the only ones, but within the first 15 minutes or so after it started about 6 other people had joined us. they gave us the history of the winery, then showed us around the villa and the winery. the villa is an inn/bed and breakfast they built. it looked like a pretty cool place for a couple to go. (something i'll have to keep in mind, should i ever find myself in that situation again.) they also have a restaurant, but it wasn't opened. the tour included another tasting, so we got to try four more wines. the guide also gave some info and tips on wines, how to sample them, how to inspect them, etc. it was informative, since i've never known much of anything about it. i still don't like wine much, but what i did learn is that i prefer white or lighter wines (not dry though) to reds. and all these years i kept buying reds, convinced that's what i should drink. although overall i prefer ports because they are sweeter. i ended up buying a bottle of sweet sangria and a bottle of muscat canelli. we also got a free glass with each tasting, so i have a pair of messina hof wine glasses.

after that we hopped on the highway and headed to huntsville. we got into huntsville and checked into a motel 6, then we looked in the yellow pages for a place to eat. we ended up going to kaldi's (their site plays classical music when you load it, so you might want to avoid it), a coffeehouse near sam houston state university that serves sandwiches, coffee, smoothies, etc.

after eating i drove my parents down i-45 to show them the huge sam houston statue that was put up a few years ago. it's close to white and has bright lights on it. when you're driving up from houston toward hunstville, you can see it from miles away. it looks like it's right in the middle of the road for several miles before you get to it. headed south on i-45, you just sort of suddenly stumble onto it on your left because it's around a curve and mostly obscured by trees and hills. after seeing it in both directions, we headed back to the motel.

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ahhh...messina hof! Right next to the Brian municipal airport...skydiving...wine. Those were the days. Actually, we usually drank Shiner after jumping, but I might have actually landed on the grounds of Messina hof a few times.

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