From our road trip: Art in Houston

We unexpectedly saw a lot of art in Houston during our August road trip. In looking for interesting things to do with the kids that were a short drive from the hotel and not too expensive, I came across  the Art Car Museum and The Beer Can House on

The Beer Can House
The Beer Can House wasn’t open during the week, but a quick stop to see the outside from the street was worth it. According to the house’s website, “Ripley’s Believe It or Not estimated that over 50,000 cans adorn this monument to recycling.” In a quote on the website, creator John Milkovisch said, “I guess I just thought it was a good idea. And it’s easier than painting.”

The Beer Can House in Houston

The Art Car Museum
The Art Car Museum only had a few cars on display unfortunately. We were expecting more after seeing all the pictures on their website, but it was still a fairly interesting stop and, if we had not gone there, we may never have found out about a series of nearby sculptures that were the most interesting art we saw while in Houston.

Art Car Museum in Houston

One of the Car Art Museum employees told us about a spot a few minutes away where we could see sculptures of every one of the U.S. President’s heads. These are the work of artist David Adickes.

President Heads in Houston

President Heads in Houston

President Heads in Houston

President Heads in Houston

President Heads in Houston

There were Beatles sculptures as well.

The Beatles sculptures in Houston

The Beatles sculptures in Houston

The Beatles sculptures in Houston

The Beatles sculptures in Houston


Update from the road: Change in plans

We’re scrapping our original plans to head through Dallas, Memphis and Nashville on our way back home to Maryland. Erin’s been asked to go to West Virginia on business to fill in for someone this Thursday and Friday. So, this afternoon when she wraps up in San Angelo, Texas, we’ll head to Arkansas where we’ll sleep tonight before driving the rest of the way Wednesday.

We’ll have a lot of ground to cover in a short period—1,318 miles between this afternoon and tomorrow night—and we’ll miss checking out a few places and seeing some friends and family unfortunately. But I’m also looking forward to the drive. As Erin said yesterday, “we’ll rest in September!” This trip has been great so far and we need to find a way to do something like this again next summer.

Update from the road: Historic Galveston

Yesterday we headed down to Galveston from Houston to hit the beach. As a fan of Erik Larson’s book, “Issac’s Storm,” which focuses on the hurricane of 1900 that devastated the city, I was also looking forward to checking out some of the buildings that survived that storm.

So, before heading over to Stewart Beach, we grabbed some lunch in Galveston’s historic downtown area and I took a few pictures.

Update from the road: Pictures

Hello from Houston. Here are a few pictures from our road trip so far:

Outside the Georgia Theatre in Athens

The 40 Watt Club in Athens

Blue Angels practice in Pensacola

Blue Angels practice in Pensacola

Here’s a short video I took as the Blue Angels flew over us.

The Blue Angels signing autographs

National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola

National Museum of Naval Aviation in Pensacola

Pensacola Blue Wahoos baseball game (I really liked their stadium)

I’ll post some from pictures Mobile, New Orleans and Houston soon too. We’re headed out the door now on a day trip to Galveston, which is about an hour from where we are this week. Speaking of Galveston, check out Issac’s Storm by Erik Larson for a great read.

Update from the road: Pensacola, FL

After our visit to Athens, Georgia, we dropped my brother off at the Atlanta airport Tuesday and then the three kids and I continued our unintentional tour of southern gas stations with out-of-order restrooms. We arrived in Pensacola that night, where we met up with my wife, and our time here’s been great. But we’ve also been without an Internet connection since Wednesday when our hotel was hit by lightning, so updating hasn’t been easy.

This post will be quick as I need to get back up to the hotel room before one or more of the kids wakes up and realizes they have no idea where they are (I’ll likely do this at some point during the trip as well—if I don’t mention this here, one of my family members who enjoys laughing about my sleeping habits would likely do it in the comments). I’ll work at getting some more details from the last few days online as soon as I can. In the morning we head to Mobile, Alabama to visit the USS Alabama, a World War II battleship that my wife’s grandfather served on. I’m really looking forward to it. Then it’s off to visit friends in Mandeville, LA followed by a quick and last-minute trip into New Orleans before heading onto Houston Sunday afternoon.

For now, here’s one quick highlight from Pensacola. On Tuesday, we checked out the Blue Angels practice at Pensacola Naval Air Station; it was amazing and, without a doubt, one of the most exciting things I’ve ever witnessed. Here’s a quick video of them flying right over us, which doesn’t do it justice. But the whole experience was fantastic. See them live if you never have.

I’ll post a proper update ASAP.

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Update from the road: Athens, GA

I’m not looking to win a Pulitzer with these posts (unless one’s available), so these will be quickly written and I’ll try not to spend too much time editing them. In other words, don’t expect the world and they’ll be fantastic. That’s the end of the excuse for anything you (or I, down the road, as early as right after I hit publish) don’t like.

Tomorrow is the last day my brother Pat is on the August 2012 road trip with us and we’ll be sad to see him go. It’s been a great four days…

On our first night, we got to enjoy everything a smoking room in the heart of tobacco country has to offer, after checking into a cheap motel in Henderson, NC to find that all they had available was a room that tasted like tar and featured one king size bed for the two of us and three kids.

We slept pretty well and, other than the fact that curling up in that chimney for the night likely took years off everyone’s lives, our $44 room wasn’t so bad. My six-year-old did wonder why “the curtains had holes in them,” but I’ll take the $30 we saved, put it right into beer and stick with Hampton Inns from here on out (I’m typing this from a Holiday Inn Express, by the way…and enjoying one of those beers).

After dragging our lungs out of Henderson, it was on to Charlotte. There Pat took first place in the 2012 Summer Cornhole Classic. The trophy he received is fantastic.

Pat Holden Cornhole Champ

Pat Holden with his first place trophy at the 2012 Summer Cornhole Classic in Charlotte, NC

We also enjoyed a very nice beer list at Taco Mac in Huntersville, NC. I need something like this in Rockville, MD. I love going into DC and hitting Churchkey but it’d be great to have someplace like Taco Mac with an adventurous beer list out in the ‘burbs. Right now, many of the places near us see Sam Adams seasonal beers alongside the Bud or Miller family and a Blue Moon as acceptable.

Taco Mac beer list

Taco Mac beer list – Huntersville, NC

Charlotte was also the site of “@pfholden vs. @mikehoden: The Battle for BounceU,” which occurred mid-day on a Monday during a preschool open bounce in a suburban office park. Roll the tape…

Today, it was on to Athens, GA. After pizza, a walk around town, ice cream and a swim at the hotel pool, all three kids are now asleep in a clean, nicely-curtained, smoke-free room while Pat and I enjoy a couple beers and catch up on London 2012 Olympic events that occurred this afternoon but that NBC aired tonight alongside segments about the international dateline.

Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to watch a segment on the international dateline. I’d just like to watch that segment on The History Channel, while seeing the Olympic broadcasts dedicated to covering more live events featuring athletes from around the world who’ve spent most of their lives working to get there. But maybe that’s just me…and all of Twitter.

Heading out on an August road trip

Heading out on an August road trip
Tonight the family heads out on a road trip that will take three weeks and cover 3,495 miles between Maryland and Texas. My wife is traveling on business and our three kids and I will meet up with her in Pensacola on August 7, joining her from there.

If there’s anything we should do in or near the following places, I’d like to hear your suggestions. I love road trips and have been looking forward to this!

*August 3: Rockville, MD to Henderson, NC
*August 4: Henderson, NC to Charlotte, NC
*August 5: Charlotte, NC
*August 6: Charlotte, NC to Athens, GA
*August 7: Athens, GA to Atlanta, GA to Pensacola, FL
August 8: Pensacola, FL
August 9: Pensacola, FL
August 10: Pensacola, FL
August 11: Pensacola, FL to Mobile, AL to Mandeville, LA
August 12: Mandeville, LA to Houston, TX
August 13: Houston, TX
August 14: Houston, TX
August 15: Houston, TX
August 16: Houston, TX
August 17: Houston, TX
August 18: Houston, TX to Austin, TX
August 19: Austin, TX to San Angelo, TX
August 20: San Angelo, TX
August 21: San Angelo, TX to Dallas, TX
August 22: Dallas, TX to Memphis, TN
August 23: Memphis, TN to Nashville, TN
August 24/25: Nashville, TN to Rockville, MD

If you’d like to follow along, I’ll blog some during the trip and will post on Twitter too.

*My brother and fellow BrooksLaichyear blogger, Pat Holden, will be traveling with us for these dates and as far as Atlanta. He’s an excellent minivan co-pilot. I also believe he’d be open to the idea of wearing a NASCAR style jumpsuit along the way if anyone is looking for sponsorship opportunities. Your ad would look great on the side of the Holden family minivan as well.