Anita, our step sister Maddie (14), and I went to Houston, from July 20 through August 1st. We drove.
[map] First, we drove to and camped at the Hot Springs National Park, during the hottest part of a heat wave. Our A/C could occasionally not keep up, it was so hot… so when we ended up at the park, we went wading (which turned into swimming for some) in a creek that ran through the park. The park itself was nice enough. A little more developed than I would like, but at the same time much more less than most commercial campgrounds and pretty much what you might expect form a National Park. There were some good trails we barely explored and the setting was pretty, no doubt. It ended up being so hot, Anita and I slept outside of the tent – preferring insect affliction to heat.
[map] We then finished the drive to Gainesville, TX, quickly – visiting my Uncle Bob and Aunt Doris. We played Chicken Foot, ate food, went for a drive around town and a walk around the cemetery (I have lots of names I should associate on stone there). Doris and Bob both looked good, and were as warm and friendly as always. They had a small dog (Shitzu) which was actually really cool for a small dog… unusual.
[map] After spending the night and the morning in Gainesville, we drove to Rosenberg, TX (southwest of Houston); finally at my mom’s house. Here we started a pattern we often repeated: playing games, eating food, occasionally starting/doing projects, a lot of waiting on things to start, and enjoying glorious proximity. Some of the highlights include: doing clay projects on mom’s potter’s wheel, playing with the chickens (not really playing, but it felt kinda like that to us “city folk”), setting up and using the above ground pool (~15′ diameter), playing ping-pong (I got beat by Lucilo), and several good meals. We planned on going fishing in Galveston, but weren’t able to because of rain – but that didn’t stop clay work nor going to museums.
One of the main things that happened was the preparation for and attendance of the “Celebration of Life” Memorial Service for my Grandmother: Margaret RuthPennington (Penny). She died of complications from Alzheimer’s Disease, after a 15 year struggle. It was sad, but after that long, and her being progressively debilitated for so long, it was almost a relief (for her sake). I plan on writing something specific to her at some point, so I wont go into it too much here, but it was a huge part of that trip – a theme which brought us together and made us hold on to each other.
[map] After the service and another day of hanging out with family, we headed back home… at the begining of yet another heat wave. We stayed in a hotel that night, somewhere around Memphis and made it to Louisville, early afternoon on July 31. Anita and I made it back to Columbus on August 1st and tried to relax, as best we could. (~2500 miles traveled)