Saturday, February 7, 2009

We left Aransas Pass after spending a month there and we still don't known how to pronounce it. Did a long drive through the flat cattle country to Houston, we went through around 1:00pm so traffic wasn't to bad but I would compare it with Atlanta type traffic, until you get to an interchange with the freeways. I've never seen anything like this, I think there blueprint was a big bowl of spaghetti turn upside down, they have stuff that is four levels high. Glad that we're camping about 20 miles east of Houston, so we don't have to do it again.

Anybody remember the old Spaghetti Western Named "China 9, Liberty 37" , well where we're camped we could call it Liberty 19, China 30,. If you don't remember this movie then none of this will make any sense to you. Just noticed that I've never used the word spaghetti in a blog and here I've already used it twice.

According to our map there is a Penzey's Spice store in Houston, so that will have to be our first stop, if you've never heard of Penzey's you can check out their web site at , the best spices ever. This involved driving back into the heart of Houston and fighting the traffic but with just the car it wasn't that bad. After Cathy filled the basket and I filled their register we were ready for the second stop of the day. After about 25 minutes of navigating the side streets we found our objective without any problems, The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum. For once we had pretty good timing because in about two weeks they're boxing everything up and moving to there new location. If you're a history nut this is a fantastic little museum (soon to be much larger) if not then keep right on moving.

Never wanted always needed.
The Buffalo Soldiers National Museum (BSNM)is a result of a 30 year hobby of a Viet Nam Veteran and African-American (Buffalo Soldier) military historian, Mr. Paul J. Matthews. He was in the museum today and we got to talk with him, he said that 30 years ago he read an article that had two paragraphs about the Buffalo soldier, he decided that he wanted to learn more about them and after 30 years of research, reading and collecting artifacts he opened the museum in 2000. During the Indian Wars out west the 10th Calvary,was made up of all Black Soldiers and assigned to fight the Cheyenne warriors, it was the Cheyenne that gave them the nickname Buffalo Soldier, it stuck and soon became a symbol of pride for the Black Calvary men. The museum and a film they show documents the history of the black soldier through American history, from the Revolutionary War to our troops today in the Mid-East. Through donations of articles they have been able to put together a great collection on items, many of them one of a kind, had we read everything we wanted to we might still be there.

I made The Last Buffalo Soldier as a large photo so you can click on it and read the article.

Our next stop for the day was only a mile or so away, the Houston Zoo. The Zoo is located in Hermman Park which covers over 500 acres the city's center and has enough stuff to keep you busy for a long day. The Zoo's front is undergoing a major facelift, but once you get through the gate you don't notice it until you get around to the far back corner where they are adding about another 10 acres of exhibits to the zoo. The exhibits are set up very nice and the animals were pretty active for late afternoon, our favorite thing her was probably the Tropical Bird House. We were there for about two hours and only covers half of the zoo, we had to get going to avoid the rush hour scramble on the freeways.

Other then the animals we were about the only ones in the zoo today, as you can see from the Picture

This one became my new desktop photo

Did a little drive south of camp along the Trinity River today to a park that was the location of Fort Anahuac, this was a Mexican fort that was manned to control the Texan colonist in the area. This is where the Texas Rebellion that lead to the Republic of Texas started, in 1832 Col. Bradburn who was in charge of the Mexican troops arrested William B. Travis and imprisoned him in the fort. About 200 colonist formed up and shot it out with the Mexicans winning the release of the future Alamo hero.
About 80% of the buildings in this area were destroyed by hurricane Ike.

San Jacinto Battlefield.
The battle that won Texas its independence from Mexico. General Santa Anna marched 6000 troops into the Texas territory to destroy the rebels, they were to be treated as pirates and shown no mercy. The Alamo fell with close to 200 troops killed, then the Massacre at Goliad were more then 400 troops were executed and Sam Houston and the Texas troops were retreating in front of his army.
Santa Anna feeling confident divided his army into three and set off chasing Houston and the Texas government which were fleeing, once Houston heard that he had split is army he stopped the retreat and picked this location, where the Buffalo Bayou met the San Jacinto river, for his attack. Santa Anna was expecting the attack April 22, instead Houston attacked on the 21st at 3:30pm, catching the Mexican troops off guard the battle last just 20 minutes, with the victorious Texans having killed over 700 while only nine of theirs died. Santa Anna was captured the next day and was forced to sign a treaty giving Texas its independence.

Today this 1100 acre site memorializes the battle with markers placed around the battlefield and the San Jacinto Monument which rises 570 feet above the battlefield as a memorial to the men who fought for Texas independence. There is an elevator that will take you to the observation deck at the top, also the base of the monument houses a museum with a great many artifacts from the battle.

On the west side of the battlefield along the Buffalo Bayou you'll find a stone that marks the spot where Santa Anna was brought to a wounded Houston to hear the terms of his surrender. A little farther down the shoreline is the Battleship Texas, she is the only surviving battleship that fought in both the 1st and 2nd World Wars.

Think we should paint our motorhome like this one.

Since we are leaving Texas tomorrow after almost four month here (heading for Lafayette LA)this will probably be your last Texas History lesson.

Hookem Horns and Don't Mess with Texas.

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