Some of the best was saved for last during our stay in Houston; longtime friends Jim and Terri made the trek from Arlington and visited with us for our final weekend. We have been proselytizing them heavily for some time to join the world of RVers, as we think they have all the attributes to have a lot of fun with it. Besides, we have a somewhat selfish motive in that we would enjoy their company on the road sometimes if they should invite us along! They enjoy travel, camping and even long drives, and they also have us--now old hands at RVing--to help them get started!
In a quest to pique their interest further, I dreamed up a day trip to Galveston--in Phannie, no less--with Jim in the cockpit as my copilot. He and Terri were thusly able to observe the whole process as Phannie metamorphosed from its life as a house into that of a magnificent road cruiser and then resettling back into her nest at the end of the trip. Jim seemed mesmerized by all the systems that were brought to life as Phannie's big diesel engine fired up and the slides retracted into the superstructure of the bus. He loves all the switches, buttons and gauges and the motor's low rumble that is more felt than heard in the rear of the bus. I often thought he would have enjoyed a flying career like mine. (I, too, prided myself then in necessarily knowing the exact purpose of every one of the hundreds of items in the cockpit of a large jet aircraft. I'm not sure how well I could retain it all now but, then again, I don't have to, do I? Come to think of it, Phannie is not unlike a large transport aircraft: It is a big, complicated machine with lots of controls and gauges, hauling people in cruising comfort and requiring great care when maneuvering in tight places. Maybe that's another reason I like her.)
We suggested an arrival in Galveston in time to have lunch at Gaido's, a premier seafood restaurant that's been there since 1911 and, happily, it is also a favorite of Jim's and Terri's.
We enjoyed the 90-minute drive down I-45 as the girls in back (Sandy's sister, Brenda, and Mindy and the grandkids had joined us) served chip and dip, doughnuts and other goodies. At one point, they asked me to slow down, as the snacks were affecting their appetites, and they wanted to be hungry when they got to Gaido's!
|Brenda looks comfortable as we cruise toward Galveston.|
Gaido's, of course, was wonderful and wonderfully expensive, but why not splurge once in a while, right?
|Brenda, Terri, Pryce, Mindy, Mason, Sandy and Jim at Gaido's|
|My plate - blackened amberjack with avocado-crab topping. I make no apologies.|
|Mason's first time at the beach!|
|Terri, Jim and Mindy with Pryce at the beach for the first time. He looks a little puzzled.|
After all of the beachgoers, soaked and sand-ladened, had reboarded Phannie, I pointed her northwest on I-45 to return to Rayford Crossing. My passengers were much less talkative on this leg as they enjoyed some much-needed naps after all the excitement. (I, of course, was completely alert for a change, as I had been refreshed by my bit of shuteye while they were swimming.)
I think the general consensus was that Phannie represented a top flight means of transporting a group of friends on a day trip. A fine time was had by all for sure.
The next morning, we met Jim and Terri for breakfast at the Forest Cafe and Bakery in The Woodlands. This was a very good mom and pop joint that serves huge breakfast burritos among other goodies; we each ordered a burrito, not realizing how enormous it would be. We definitely should have ordered one for a couple to share; we will tuck that information away for next time.
During the meal, I continued pointing out to our guests the fun and benefits of RVing as a pastime, but I'm not sure I have been fully successful yet in whipping them into the desired frenzy. I will keep plugging away, however; I'll be sending them some links to RV models for which I think they may enjoy shopping.
As we bade adieu to these fine folks, we feel richly blessed for having intersected the lives of these friends and relatives who take the time to visit occasionally and leave us smiling at the memories we've made.
|Sandy, Jim and Terri at Forest Cafe|
Speaking of treasured memories, how about this one of Sandy (Mimi) and grandson Pryce at a restaurant in The Woodlands? I'm not sure which is more adorable!