Sunday, March 6, 2016

Road Trip to Houston: Houston

Day 9 – Fredricksburg to Houston

Today we are heading to Houston and the real purpose of our trip.  It is only a four hour drive so we slept in before hitting the road.  The drive was a bit tedious as there were lots of town and quite a bit of traffic in places, but it was also an interesting drive through the Texas countryside.

We are staying at the Hilton Houston Plaza Hotel which is close to where Val has her appointment.  We arrived mid-afternoon and when we checked in they said our room wasn’t ready so they upgraded us to a suite on the 19th floor.  Wow, this is the second time on the trip we’ve been upgraded, maybe there’s something to be said for traveling in February.  The hotel was nice, but it looked like it was a little past its prime, particularly for a Hilton hotel.  It did look like there were some renovations underway, though.

We knew they had a guest laundry so we spent the rest of the afternoon washing clothes.  We knew if we did our laundry today, we wouldn’t have to do it again for the rest of the trip.  After getting our clothes washed it was time for dinner and we had a pretty good meal at the hotel restaurant.  After that, it was back to the room where Val relaxed and I caught up on the blog.  Val’s appointment tomorrow is at 9:00 AM.

Day 10 - Houston

Today the plan was to go to Val’s doctor’s appointment in the morning and then visit the Johnson Space Center in the afternoon, but as often happens, things didn’t go quite as planned.  Her appointment was at University of Texas, MD Anderson Hospital which is part of the Houston Medical Center.  The Houston Medical Center is an area of hospitals, research institutes and educational institutions and is the largest medical center of its kind in the world.  There are 106,000 employees and 50,000 students in the area each day and including patients, more than 160,000 people visit the area each day.

Yesterday when we arrived the area had seemed deserted, but that was Sunday and today is Monday and the area was teeming with people, cars and light rail.  The MD Anderson Center in itself covered a huge area and it was only one of many medical centers and hospitals in the area.  After getting a little confused as to where we should park (the facility had several parking garages) we found our way to the location for Val’s appointment.  After going through registration, pre-visit check-in and a bit of waiting, we finally saw the doctor. 

The first thing he asked us was how long we’d be in the area because he hadn’t gone over her records yet.  This didn’t sound good as we had our reservations made for the rest of the trip and were planning on leaving tomorrow morning and no one had said anything to Val about this taking more than one day.  After some discussion, the doctor finally decided that he could squeeze Val in this afternoon so that was a relief that we didn’t have to change all of our plans, but it did mean no visit to the Johnson Space Center.

We left the medical center and went back to the hotel where we had lunch and then relaxed for a bit before returning to MD Anderson for the appointment.  It turned out to be well worth the effort as Val got the best possible news she could hope for.  This doctor is the top expert in the field and he said that while he couldn’t absolutely say that nothing would happen in the future, the probability was that she would have no future problems.  What a relief!!  So this is behind us and we can look forward to the rest of this trip and many more.

We got back to the hotel by late afternoon and relaxed for a while before dinner, which we again had at the hotel as there didn't seem to be many places to eat in the immediate area.  Tomorrow we turn back west and drive to Del Rio, Texas where we will spend the night.

Day 11 – Houston to Del Rio, TX

There is not much to say about today as it was just a drive across Texas.  We left the hotel and found our way out of Houston.  That was fairly easy as evidently it was passed rush hour and we missed all the traffic.  We followed I-10 all the way to San Antonio where we got off on to US-90, which would take us all the way to Del Rio, our destination for the day.  We had already been on a short section of 90 on our Texas Hill Country Tour, but today we drove straight though without stopping.  We arrived in Del Rio around 4:00 and once again opted for a trip to a supermarket deli for dinner.  Tonight we had a two piece chicken dinner with beans and rice that turned out to be surprisingly good.  Tomorrow we will be going to the small town of Lajitas, which is just outside of Big Bend National Park.

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