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Old 01-23-2011, 12:03 PM   #1
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Texans

We are heading to Houston TX for some medical treatment in February. One treatment a week for 6 weeks. Hoping to do some exploring for a few days in between. Wondering what the "must sees" and "must do's" and of course "must try eateries" are while in Texas. We like small private airports, hiking, sight seeing, shopping (wife), anything new and exciting which all of Texas will be for us, and of course people. Hoping to avoid a lot of, "oh you should have ?", while you were there.

A 2200 mile road trip from the Pacific NW, or a commericial flight with rental car, still trying to decide. We deciced not to take our newly purchased 1965 Safari that far for our maiden voyage.

Any and all suggestions welcomed.
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:20 PM   #2
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Pioneer Flight Museum

or any of Roger Freemans projects....

Lots of other big airport collection types...but not the small airports your looking for.
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Old 01-23-2011, 12:52 PM   #3
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Mi Tierra Cafe and Bakery...open 24/7 in San Antonio...quite possibly the best Mexican food I have had.

Just passing by for fast food? Taco Cabana also open 24/7 is a chain in Texas and Southern OK that blows away other fast food taco joints. Fresh sauces and salsa made daily. They grill STEAK for their steak fajitas, and cut apart rotisserie chicken for the chicken tacos. I think I ate their 5 times when I was in San Antonio over Thanksgiving.
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Old 01-23-2011, 01:29 PM   #4
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Check out T-Bone Toms in Kemah. It is not far from the Space Center.

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Old 01-24-2011, 05:00 PM   #5
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I recommend narrowing it down. Houston is over 700 miles from El Paso, and there are great day trips from each. If you expect to be willing to travel around 200+ miles, then all of Dallas/Fort Worth, Austin, and San Antonio is open to you.

There are an uncounted number of small airports in this state, for example, so organizing around some theme would be good. The big airports (including ALLIANCE, closed to GA) are fascinating, as are the big USAAF airfields still around San Antonio. Where I live, for example, was (and is) the home of Naval Aviation training besides Pensacola and the WWII buildings at some of the still extant outlying fields are of interest . . but I wouldn't travel 200 miles to see them. I would with the inclusion of touring the USS LEXINGTON. There are several good flight museums within your range. We had any number of SAC and other Cold War bases here. Weather and geography are conducive to flight operations year round. Choose your poison well.

Shopping in Houston is pretty well the Galleria area and surrounding few miles of streets. No reason to go elsewhere. Dallas is a bit more spread out, but the Northpark Mall area east to Highland Park Village will satisfy that urge in main. Better known restaurants are also in these higher-income areas, or adjacent. It sort of depends on what you want. In all of these cities are offbeat places to shop away from the main drag. FYI, the suburbs of all of them are mainly populated by the giant chain stores to be found anywhere. So, if you want IKEA you need only choose which location best fits the next out-of-town adventure.

This is the second most populous state and the largest for what matters for tourists with time/distance concerns: Texas has over a quarter-million miles of roads. Choices will have to be made.

Mentally, draw a line 50-miles to the west of Interstate 35, running N-S and run it past San Antonio down to the Rio Grande Valley. Draw another line E-W from Waco across the state and stay in the SE quadrant. Outside of that is either cold, windy or desolate. Inside of it is everything you've mentioned being of interest and the best chance of accommodating weather in February/March. (Ice storms are serious when they occur).

I recommend starting with TExas Heritage Trail information.
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:31 PM   #6
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Now, as to routing from Sandpoint to the Texas Medical Center on Fannin St, I see that Google Maps chooses U.S._Route_287 from the Denver area all the way through. That's an excellent choice. I leave the northern end of it to you. It's a little out of the way to touch your toes to the water at Port Arthur, TX, but it would be fun to run the whole route some day (even if at different times). Choteau, MT is the northern terminus.

The section from Denver to Fort Worth is the Southern Great Plains, so winds are always to be respected.

Forgot in the above to mention what I consider a must for Houston: Ship Channel Tour of the largest petrochemical & refinery complex on the planet. You don't get to see the whole thing (over 100 plants spreading eastward to the Lake Charles, LA; [8] of the worlds [40] largest oil refineries alone.), but between this tour and a roundtrip on the Sam Houston Tollroad south of Interstate 10 -- across a very high bridge -- you'll forever have a memory of significant political (and other) importance. There are refineries in many places, but there is nothing like this anywhere else. Exxon/Mobil at Baytown, alone, covers 2,400-acres. Choose a sunny day.

For restaurant guides secure a copy of TEXAS MONTHLY magazine.

.
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Old 01-24-2011, 05:49 PM   #7
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If you're going out to eat in Houston, there's only one name to remember: "Pappas" family of restaurants.
This Houston family has some of the most established and successful eateries in the State.
Their Mexican restaurant, "Pappasito's Cantina", is hands down one of the best Mexican restaurants you'll ever try. Be hungry, the portions are huge.
If you like Louisiana style seafood, try "Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen".
You can check out their website: Pappas Restaurants - home of Pappasito's, Pappadeaux, Pappas Bar-B-Q, Pappas Seafood House & many more!
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:57 PM   #8
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Kemah Board Walk & NASA Space Center, both not an hours drive south of Houston
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:07 PM   #9
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Houston

Theater District Downtown

Galveston Seawall & Strand, since your so close!

Brenner's Restaurant, I-10 @ Westbelt (steak)

Nasa Space Center

Original Ninfa's mexican restaurant on Navigation Blvd.

Montrose & Museum District

Spaghetti Western Italian Cafe @ Shepherd Drive

Galleria

Jimmy's Ice House @ White Oak Drive

Hamburgers @ Christian's Tailgate I-10 or Lankford Grocery Dennis Street
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Old 01-24-2011, 09:27 PM   #10
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Flintstone is correct:

Brenner's for a great steak dinner
Original Ninfa's for a Houston landmark Mexican meal
Christian's for one of Houston's best burgers.

Sounds like Flintstone and I enjoy eating out in Houston
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:21 PM   #11
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Galveston, for sure. Shopping on The Strand (antiques, souvenirs, candy factory, clothing), beautiful historic mansions to tour, historic Victorian neighborhoods, Seawolf Park with WWII hardware displays, museums, Galveston Island Ferry, Moody Gardens, Pier 19 restaurants, golf, and the Seawall. Lots to do and see.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:12 PM   #12
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And, if you do have time, San Antonio (about 200 mi. from Houston), mainly the downtown, River Walk area. LOTS of shopping, very scenic, lots of history, the Alamo & San Antonio Missions National Historic Park, great resturants, San Antonio Museum of Art in the historic Lone Star Brewery building, McNay Art Museum, Institute of Texas Cultures & Tower of the Americas, the Buckhorn Museum & Texas Ranger Museum, La Vallita Historical Arts Village, El Mercado (Market Square) with restaurants Mi Tierra & La Margarita. Stay the night in the historic Menger Hotel (next to the Alamo); breakfast is great there. Other Mexican restaurants that we like are Casa Rio (on the River Walk) & Rosario's Mexican Cafe. And, finally, Shilo's Deli (also downtown)...German deli...great breakfast. Yes, we love San Antonio.
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Old 01-24-2011, 11:51 PM   #13
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Others' comments are right, Texas is a big place. 268,581 sq. mi., compared to 260,558 sq. mi. for France. (Of course, English is almost the native language, Texan preferred. English will get you by nicely, though.)

If you can, the Hill Country (including San Antonio, San Marcos, and Austin) is a great place to visit. Lots of smaller towns in that area. Some also have nice small muni airports. I once came across a T6 Texan (if memory serves me correctly) sporting a fake torpedo and painted up like a Kate (Nakajima BN5) at a small strip. Of course, if you route takes you through Midland, there is the CAF Museum.

Getting a copy of Texas Monthly is a great suggestion.

Enjoy.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:21 AM   #14
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Steak House

I was down there for some business last year and the people I was with took me to Taste of Texas Steak House and It was amazing! They even have there own butcher shop inside and you can have your steak cut anyway you want. Great place super nice service....Easy 5 star in my opinion if you like great steaks but go hungry. Hope you have a great trip.
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