Saturday, July 10, 2010

Lake Vacation - Getting There

First, let me say how much I missed my little blog. I know that three or four of my faithful readers were on vacation with me and I hope that my other two readers didn't miss my daily rantings too much! Let me fill you in on the fun we had last week! We headed out last Friday afternoon to Houston to see the Astros play the Cardinals. My big boys did a special batting practice with the Astros that got them down on the field and up close and personal with the team.

They got to stand down on the field by the hitting screen. Quite a thrill for a fourteen year old and his dear old baseball loving dad.

Big hitters for the Astros.

Lance Berkman.

The Cardinals were out on the field too.

Hunter Pence was extraordinarily friendly and personable. He is Harold and Hubby's new most favorite Astro. He signed some hats for them and chatted for several minutes.

It was Friday firework night and they put on quite a show. Me and Chip left the game in the top of the ninth and walked across the street to our hotel. The view of the fireworks was pretty good even from our hotel room.

The next day we got on the road to head to Alabama. This is how Harold rode a significant amount of the time. That can't be safe or comfortable.
We didn't have to be at the lake until 3:00 on Sunday so we decided to visit the Tabasco Factory on Avery Island. I am so glad that we did. When we first pulled into Avery Island there was a little toll booth occupied by a gentleman. He opened the window and we told him we were heading to the factory tour. It was $1 to get onto Avery Island, but the best part was that he reached out to our car with a big long pole with a clothespin fastened to the end. You put your $1 in the clothespin and he pulled it back in. We got a kick out of that! Ingenious way to stay in the air conditioner!

The tour was free and consisted of a short movie about the history of Tabasco and a little museum of Tabasco nostalgia. We got to walk by a portion of the bottling line, but it wasn't running because it was a weekend. Did you know that it takes three years from harvest to bottling to make Tabasco Sauce. They age it in oak barrels they buy from the Jack Daniels distillery.

The Tabasco Country store was right outside the factory and they had everything Tabasco you could think of. Even a tasting bar, with different sauces, ice cream and soda that contained Tabasco.

Here are my three yahoos with their free sample bottles! I used it for Bloody Mary's at the lake! Also on Avery Island is Jungle Gardens! It was the highlight of our trip to Avery Island. It is a drive through garden with tons of plants and animals.

Moss hanging off all the trees.

Swamps full of alligators. Lots and lots of alligators everywhere. Like, wouldn't get out of my car for love or money. They were in the water with just their little beady eyes sticking up, or swimming with that long tail swishing back and forth. YIKES - they were freaky!

Or walking right up to your car. Kids screaming. So exciting!

They have a huge bird sanctuary in Jungle Gardens that was originally created to save the snowy egret. They have been saved and are plentiful now!

They apparently nest here year after year. There was a huge Buda garden and tons of gorgeous plants. They say that in the spring the Azalea blooms are amazing. I would love to see that one day.
After leaving Avery Island we headed up the interstate to Mississippi.

Had dinner at a nice Ruby Tuesday and then crashed. We left about six hours of driving to do on Sunday so we could make it to the lake about the same time as everyone else. It was a very relaxing day of driving and touring. Good start to our vacation!

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