Urban in Houston, TX

Sunday, January 25th, 2009

river b

And suddenly, amidst all this beauty, all the rivers and their star studded ripples, the wind animation as a free show amongst the trees, the friendliest people around I have met, suddenly the breathing was heavy and there has been a certain weight that filled my senses since this morning, inexplicable at first and yet slowly its reasons trickled in, stunning me, at the same time not surprised. I miss the desert! I miss the wide open spaces, or maybe it is more. It is the geography, the location of “The Oasis” down a bit in its own depression within the mountains surrounding it. Is it mental? Is it physical or is it both? Could it be more? As grandiose all is here, as colorful and filled with Nature’s presents, why is it that I cannot even compare it to the Big Bend Valley as we call it? Have I become so sensitive to my environment? It is a bit concerning as it limits our destinations if the feelings are such filled with concern. Maybe none of this makes any sense… maybe I am just tired!

double tree

river c  

The concerns flew away. As the weather turned bad on us, cold wave, winds and dark gray covers, being invited near by Houston at my Friend’s Kristi’s home amidst her family reinforced my thoughts, the thoughts that I instated within, being “let’s enjoy what we have now”. Amazingly it works. It is a different shelf of Life suddenly we are on. A real family and even Tommy… the cat. Spirit and Tommy have only been introduced within a glass window as Tommy is real young, Spirit a bit too playful, no traumatic shock needed. Kristi and I share the same passion for photography, to a higher level always ending up in a search for the unusual, colorful, meaningful and having the ability to shoot together, and yet each being alone in our search for images, as suddenly in an urban setting such as Houston made it all attractive for the coming days we will spend here. 


Of course everything comes with a price… mine is cooking! Gladly… in a real kitchen. We have learned a lot about photography from each other, Kristi’s knowledge in file organization is tremendous which is what I lack off, in return they love good food. I could only hear satisfied grumblings while having dinner and the kids, well, teenagers or maybe I should even call them “young adults” eager to indulge in some Culinary knowledge. It is all good. Only if the weather would warm up a bit for Old Faithful to get rolling around with less shiver throughout it’s path as we will the be able to all of us ride together

cafe sign

kid a  
R lunch  

Back in time a bit. We have only skimmed the surface of the Hill Country, 2 or 3 months passed within will barely give us enough time I think to take it all in. But the little that we experienced and felt, I call it “Texas”! as the middle photo above, the future genes of this great State. We were told about the “Lost Maple Cafe” in Utopia being a must and I can honestly say that it is. I was too late for breakfast and their famous sausage, so I asked the cook as a favor “from one cook to another” to besides the lunch special make me a patty for taste, as she did… delicious and hopefully will somehow coincide again within a route we will take back when we return west.


river d

We had left Leaky and “Camp Live Oak” under hugs and good byes, presents from Chuck and Joyce including an “Arrowhead stew” the last night, making me feel so spoiled and fortunate to have met them as I hope you will next time you are staying in the area. Just remember… food is not included, they are just thoughtful and kind people like many around here. I have lost track of the roads and all the little towns we have ridden, passed and not stopped long enough. # 1888? # 1623? #623? I am seeking for a detailed map of the area for future reference specially the roads being so perfect for sidecar riding. We were also invited to spend the night at Pat and Charlie’s home, south of Austin, which we did. We had met on a motorcycle Forum and previously on a road shoulder in Utah… my favorite space to meet people. They were kind enough to take me out to my favorite pass time when I can, eating real Texas BBQ… Salt Lick BBQ in Austin, unfortunately we all agreed that they must have had an off night, so the search continues.


Pat BBQ a

It seems like riding alone together is working out with many. We are never really that far behind, as long as we do not stop for pictures, I would never try to keep up with a BMW K1200S anyhow, specially when the rider knows the roads as well as I knew the roads in the Georgia Mountains years ago. Pat and Charlie ride, and do they! I could not even tell you how many motorcycles are in the garage, some being his new~old vintage racing ones, beautiful cycles.


Triump b  
Triumph a  

We stopped in Luckenbach, where Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson changed the face of popular music and country music, a destination for also many motorcycles on the weekend, somewhere I would like to return to and spend a bit more time as the day was getting late and the stomach could only be thinking about that promised BBQ!

luchenbach a

luckenback b  

So Houston it is right now. The SPOT tracker is not turned on, will take a break for a few days, will try to find some time here to sort out all the downtown Houston photos we took while icy cold wind almost took the fun out of it. Will be fixing a nice dinner tomorrow, it is Lance’s Anniversary and it is all positive for the fact that I will not be alone. We might try to do a bit more riding in the Hill Country, a bit more photography, only if the weather permits… we are hoping.

river a

Twenty eight months of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In “Your Favorites”, in “States”, some labeled “first year” and second year”, now also “Texas the third year”. Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun.

Merchandise is also available through SmugMug. If you like to order a print all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload on the Gallery.

Help us keep the site alive. Please contribute… The logistics of it have become costly. It is an open book, its pages for the taking with always the hope that you will support their presence.

Be well…

Ara & Spirit

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7 Responses to “Urban in Houston, TX”

  1. MsBelinda Says:

    I can’t believe I missed you in Del Rio and now I am missing you in Houston!!!

    Great pictures, have always wanted to drive thru the Hill Country. Have a safe trip.

  2. John Atnip Says:

    The Lost Maple Cafe! I was going to send you a note to be sure and stop for breakfast here. A couple of years ago myself and two friends were traveling through the hill country and randomly stopped here for breakfast, what a place, atmosphere, food, cowboys, old time pie safe! I ordered two large pancakes, the waitress told me ‘Hon, you can’t two of those’, so I ordered one–and couldn’t eat it all. Cheers.

  3. Artful RV Adventurer Says:

    just checking in and wishing you happy trails. the big city has a way of making one long for the wide open spaces.
    urban photography is fun once in a while though. Shoot it, share it, and get the heck out of there. (grin)
    Mark (and quiet one).

  4. TJ Avery Says:

    Welcome to Houston! I live in the NW corner of this huge city, close to Hwy. 290 and 1960.

    There’s a decent BBQ place called Carl’s on 290 (again, on the NW side of town). If you head out of town on 290, take the exit for Huffmeister (first exit after 1960/Hwy 6), then keep on the feeder road. Just before you reach Telge road, Carl’s will be on your right.

    Good luck in this traffic hell we call a “freeway system” 🙂

  5. JayElDee Says:

    The treasure you have found in getting away is the contrast. It will give you new eyes, new words, new “exposures.” And, as Dorothy said, there’s no place like home.

    Happy to say, you sound much much better.

    Be safe on your ride back. But, while you’re in Houston, flip through the 150 channels to see the wasteland of nothing to watch 8)


  6. JamesTexas Says:

    Thanks for posting some pics of Muddy1.



  7. Patrick Says:

    Flew over your neck of the woods yesterday. I was looking out the window (at 35,000 feet or so) hoping to catch a glimpse of you and Spirit. Just wanted to let you know that as you see these planes cross over you on occasion that there may be a friend up there looking back.
    Take care and stay safe,

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