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Old 4 Oct 15, 05:17 PM  
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CrispyA
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Join Date: Oct 11
Howdy Texas! Day 18 Houston and the Texans

After a rubbish night's sleep, we were pretty fed up in the morning and just wanted to leave. We had a bit of breakfast and packed the car before checking out. At check out, we were asked if we'd had a good stay - I was completely honest and said not, explaining the issues with housekeeping and noise. The clerk was apologetic, saying there was nothing in their incident log to show that I'd called down about the noise and she asked me to email the manager.

(I did email and got a very unsatisfactory response 2 days later - they were sorry and they weren't going to offer me a refund as I'd booked through Expedia. Instead they were offering me a discounted night - no use whatsover as we would never stay there again.)

Glad to get out of there, we hit the road, travelling over on the ferry and then heading along the coast. It was a long drive to Houston and while the coast was quite picturesque, we were tired after the lack of sleep, so probably didn't appreciate it as much.

We stopped at Wharton where there was a Buc-ees. I'd heard of Buc-ees via another trip report and to be honest, it blew our minds! It's a gas station, with something like 100 pumps and a store with hot food counters, all kinds of food and souvenirs, hunting and camping equipment - and the most amazing spotless restrooms! We had never seen anything like it and really didn't know what to make of it.

There was also a Whataburger, so we stopped to try it again. The waitress was impressed with our accents but then asked us "Why y'all here?" - to be fair, Wharton was hardly on our list of places to see. It was a nice Whataburger though!



We got back on the road and headed for Houston, following the satnav to our hotel. And we kept on driving, and driving and driving, going through the tolls and heading further and further along the ring road and out of the city. I was getting a bit worried at this point as I was sure the hotel wasn't THIS far out and then the satnav directed us into an industrial estate and told us we had arrived.

I had put this hotel in manually as it hadn't shown up on the list. I got the booking print-out from the bag and checked it - then realised the mistake. I hadn't realised that there was both a Sam Houston Parkway North and a Sam Houston Parkway South - I'd just clicked on the first one that came up and we'd gone to the right building number on the wrong road. Damnit.

I reprogrammed it and we headed south, passing through the same tolls as we'd passed on the way north, paying again and having the rest of the family comment on how nice it was to see the same road from the other direction.

We eventually found the Comfort Inn & Suites and checked in - it was a lovely hotel and the room was really comfortable, having a separate seating area which gave us more space. We had taken longer to get there than planned, due to the detour, so we hadn't got long to get ready and go out again, as we had tickets for the Houston Texans vs the Denver Broncos in pre-season.

There was no parking available to book, so we had planned to use the park and ride nearby. The satnav took us there and we got more of a sense of how sprawling Houston is.

The park and ride was easy to find and we got on the metro to go one stop to the NRG stadium. Evan had been after a football shirt and so we made for the shop. He managed to pick up a bargain shirt with Brian Cushing's number on the back and Hannah and me were lucky enough to find some $10 t-shirts, while Paul got a cap in the sale as well.

We all went off to change into our new gear and had a look around the stadium, which was huge.



The tickets weren't cheap and we were up in the nosebleed seats but you still got a great view of the field.





We also had some of the best food I've ever had at a sports event - huge filled baked potatoes with sour cream, salsa, salad, barbecue, cheese - all for $8.

We had been swotting up on the rules of American Football and were super-excited about the game. There were some Broncos fans near us, with big horse hats on and was generally a great atmosphere.

We watched the cheerleaders performing with some local kids before the game.



Then, to much fanfare, the 53 Houston Texans took the field for the game.



Before the game started, we had a performance of "Deep in the Heart of Texas" from the Eli Young Band on the big screen - with the words shown so we could clap and sing along.

The game itself was great - football is really exciting for about 20 seconds and then it all stops for a bit, but the exciting bits are all really exciting. The only sour note was when the Broncos scored and the fans in front of us with the hats on cheered. A Texans fan next to them leaned over and said "I don't know why you're celebrating - this game doesn't mean anything." It was really mean and the only time I've ever seen fans behave like that at US sports. They had their little daughter with them for her first football game, all dressed up in orange and navy, and it must have made them feel really uncomfortable. They left after the first quarter but I hope they just found somewhere else to sit.

Everyone else was really good natured and when the Texans got a touchdown, the whole block were cheering and high fiving each other. The horrible fan had left by then and the other people on that row were saying what a pain in the neck he was! The fans were rowdier than for baseball but generally really easy-going.

There was some cool entertainment as well, including a Build-A-Burger challenge where two fans had to run up and down the endzone, carrying huge foam burger components to build a pile - before putting on a giant foam bun costume and flinging themselves onto the pile to complete the burger!

The Texans lost, and they didn't have all their star players on the field, so we didn't see Cushing or JJ Watt play, but the Broncos were playing Peyton Manning, so we got to see one of the game's best Quarterbacks in action.

We had a great time and were buzzing as we went back to the Metro. It had been a long day and we were pretty tired, but we had all really enjoyed the football and would definitely try to go to another game if possible.

Edited at 03:53 PM.
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Old 4 Oct 15, 05:29 PM  
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katiebaz
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Bucc-ees sounds like a brilliant place to visit and hope it made up for the rubbish nights sleep. The football sounds really good fun too, would love to see a game. Shame about the idiot in the crowd, although it shows there are d***heads where ever you go in the world! Another great day - I am really enjoying your report.
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Old 4 Oct 15, 08:30 PM  
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CrispyA
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Football was such good fun - can definitely recommend. Glad you're enjoying the report!
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Old 4 Oct 15, 08:50 PM  
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Melbatb
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We had similar seats when we saw the Seattle Seahawks last year - it was a long way up!

Glad the hotel is better this time!
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Old 6 Oct 15, 10:28 PM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by Melbatb View Post
We had similar seats when we saw the Seattle Seahawks last year - it was a long way up!

Glad the hotel is better this time!
It did take a while to climb up there! Great fun though. Did you see the Seahawks at home?
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Old 6 Oct 15, 10:35 PM  
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Melbatb
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Yes - in a pre season game in Seattle. Boy was it loud! Good fun though!
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Old 10 Oct 15, 10:11 AM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by Melbatb View Post
Yes - in a pre season game in Seattle. Boy was it loud! Good fun though!
Yeah, quite a bit louder than baseball!
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Old 6 May 17, 08:22 AM  
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WileyCoyote
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ah gotta love a sat nav mishap now and again ... family are so understanding, like they contribute anything towards the detailed planning !

Great evening - the game sounds fun and you all look the part
Is it wrong i could eat one of those potatoes now ?
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Old 6 May 17, 11:26 AM  
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CrispyA
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Originally Posted by WileyCoyote View Post
ah gotta love a sat nav mishap now and again ... family are so understanding, like they contribute anything towards the detailed planning !

Great evening - the game sounds fun and you all look the part
Is it wrong i could eat one of those potatoes now ?
That's the joy & passion of being the only person who does any proper planning as I'm sure you know. If it all goes fine, nobody notices & if it goes wrong, you get all the flak!

The potatoes were so nice . . .
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Old 25 Jun 17, 09:00 AM  
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Skittl1321
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I hate getting lost on toll roads. Does Houston still have attendants at the booths or is it all electronic? I once had a woman take pity on me and wave me through without the toll, it was my third time through her booth in an hour, I was so lost. That was before satnav in a car.

Buc-ees came to Texas after I left. Sounds brilliant!
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