2023 Texas Adventure – Houston and Conroe

So….I did a thing last week……I went on my first major adventure of 2023! I went to Texas! I’ve been to Texas before and was able to check it off the “Visit All 50 States” bucket list item. But, although it “technically” met the criteria to be considered for that check mark, I didn’t really do it justice and have wanted to return to see more ever since. So, I did just that last week!

This time in Texas resulted in putting 653 miles on my rental car, visiting five different cities, a wonderful visit with family, scratching off three more items on the banners on my Adventure Wall, and lots of amazing memories…..all in FIVE DAYS!!!

This first blog post will cover my first two days, which I spent in Houston and Conroe. I’ll write about the other days in separate posts – keep watch – it might take me a couple days or so to get them all on here!

DAY ONE: Monday. I got up early in the morning to catch a 6:20 am flight with a layover in Chicago Midway and arriving in Houston, TX at 11:15 am.

Airport Selfie # 1 – Buffalo/Niagara Airport

Airport Selfie # 2 – Chicago Midway Airport

When I arrived in Houston, I got my bag and picked up my rental car – a VW Golf. It was a nice car – I liked it, although it had some strange quirks (well, strange to me – probably found on many other cars). First – it didn’t have any USB ports! UGH! I fixed that when my cousin gave me an adapter he had that goes in the lighter port. It had a feature that turned the engine off at stops to save the battery and gas…..it started right back up once I let off the brake, but it was unnerving until I got used to it. I also had trouble figuring out if the locks were working – I pressed the lock button, shut the door, and tried the handle to verify it was locked and the door opened right up! After a few tries, I figured out the doors unlock without pressing any buttons if you’re close to the door with the key fob – so, to verify the doors were locked, I pressed the key fob twice so the horn would blow. Crazy! But, once I got the hang of everything, I did enjoy the car – it was comfortable and had GREAT gas mileage!

I drove to a tour place that offered double decker open top city bus tours (I became the queen of these by the time I left Texas – haha). I am not typically a fan of big cities — I didn’t have any intention to spend any significant time in Houston. The plan was to fly into Houston, see a bit of it, and then spend the rest of my time in that area visiting with my cousin that lives in Conroe. I stuck to the plan, but, I can say I was more impressed with Houston than I thought I would be. The tour guide told us a lot of interesting history and facts about the city – apparently, Houston is on the top 4-5 Forbes Lists for just about every category they have. The tour drove us around the city for about an hour. Here are some pics from the tour:

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The weather was absolutely PERFECT — sunny, warm, slight breeze……incredible! It felt so good being up on the top of that bus soaking up the sun and feeling the warmth!

The city is a nice mix of old and new with tons of art peppered all over!

The city is FULL of fabulous murals!

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The next several photos are from a place called “Graffiti Park” – several brick walls dedicated to artist’s murals. There is a sign saying others can paint on the cement barriers, but NOT on the walls. It was really cool with most of the murals showing significant historical or cultural features of Houston.

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And, on to more from around the city:

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I saw all the stadiums for all the major and minor league sports teams representing almost every sport…..I won’t pretend to know what I was looking at or really cared, but it was cool….and I can tell you I saw them all! hehehehe

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For a big city, they definitely had a lot of great green space — parks, walking trails, and trees!

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This sculpture commemorates their symphony – if I remember right, it is called “Maestro”! Very impressive!

Looks like they have a nice aquarium……..

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When I finished the city bus tour, I headed north about 40 miles to a city called Conroe, TX. That was the main point of flying into Houston. My cousin Gary lives there with his wife, Helen – an old school friend of mine. Unfortunately, Helen had booked a girl’s cruise that week, so I didn’t get a chance to see her – that was sad. But, I got to spend a lot of time with my cousin — I loved just getting to sit and talk to him and spend time with him.

I stopped at the hotel, first, to check in, drop off my bags, and freshen up before I headed over to his house.

The hotel I chose was the Holiday Inn Conroe I-45N. It was a very nice hotel – comfortable, clean, great location (a short drive to my cousin’s house), and the housekeepers made adorable flowers with the ends of the toilet paper rolls! 🙂 The bed and pillows were very comfortable – I slept like a baby!!!

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I got to Gary’s house and we sat and chatted for a bit and then went out for dinner – we went to the Texas Roadhouse for steaks – very good! After showing me a little bit of the town, we went back to his house. I was running out of steam – after all, I had been up since 2:30 am – so I excused myself and went to the hotel to settle in and get a good night’s sleep.

DAY TWO: Tuesday. The next morning, I went back to Gary’s…….we spent an amazing day mostly sitting outside on his patio talking, catching up, and enjoying the amazing weather. For lunch, he wanted to take me to a burger place he said had great food, but when we got there, it was closed! So, we found a place called Rudy’s BBQ and discovered it was a perfect alternative. I had the beef brisket sandwich with potato salad and he had a pulled pork sandwich with beans……sooooooo good….crammed full of delicious, tender meat….and sweet tea!!!

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After a full day of talking and enjoying our time together, we took a selfie and said our goodbyes…….

It was a major highlight of the trip and a memory I’ll cherish for a very long time! But, I had more plans to get on with. I settled in for another good night’s sleep in that wonderful bed at the Holiday Inn and the next morning, I headed out to Galveston!

Check back to see what I have to say about Galveston and all the great photos I took while I was there!

2 Comments on “2023 Texas Adventure – Houston and Conroe

  1. I love reading your adventures in our local Orleans Hub. Your trips sound amazing and your itineraries are full of fun, interesting, and full of knowledge for all. I’d love each of your trips to someday duplicate for myself. Looking forward to your next adventure:)

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