Its never too late to put some spice in your life! So last night we headed out for an authentic Texan BBQ where we attempted to expanded our stomachs as much as possible in order to relish in the feast set before us! Amount other items, we feasted on BBQ pulled pork, chicken, ribs, sausage, fried oakra (sp?), Mac & cheese, BBQ beans, green bean casserole, and so much more. We had a leisurely paced dinner as we exchanged stories and reminisced about the days events. As if that wasn’t enough, we then stopped at a frozen yogurt place… More like frozen yogurt palace! Apparently frozen yogurt is the new ice cream and they are EVERYWHERE!! But hey, I’m not complaining! If I can eat something that tastes like ice cream, but I can pretend it is healthy for me, then so be it!! As we walked in the frozen yogurt place, we were greeted by a variety of various flavors (chocolate truffle, sea salt Carmel, cake batter, mint, original, pomegranate, peanut butter) and a sea of endless toppings!!
Can you say heaven? After we were all back on the bus trying to fight off the symptoms of a food coma, we headed back to the hotel for an early night before our early wake up….however, an early night wasn’t exactly what happened. Instead, a group of us congregated in our room to watch Dance Moms (a show many of us were originally devastated that we would be missing). We ended up staying up past 1:00am talking and watching our show. Even though we were all most definitely tired in the morning, it was a great night! Today we loaded our bags onto the bus, and headed off to breakfast. We stopped at “Jack in the box” which is a southern food chain and could be described as a “high class McDonalds”. After many of us got our morning caffeine fix and some breakfast sandwiches, we headed back to the bus, which we found out had sprung a leak and was now dripping rain water through the front ceiling and front window. Despite this rather unfortunate turn of events, we foraged on in our leaky bus in pursuit of the Texan prison! There is truly something to be said for getting out of your comfort zone, and today, Im glad I did. One of the most prominent and pivotal aspects of traveling with a group is the undeniable fact that at one point you will be faced will something that tests the boundaries of your comfort zone, and one thing Ive learned from traveling with Bay Path is that your comfort zone will certainly be pushed, but the experience that results always proves to be something remarkable. If I were to travel to Texas myself, going to a Texas prison certainly wouldn’t be on my list of “must do’s”, but today Bay Path set out for the jail and to be honest I was rather apprehensive. When we entered the jail, I was surprised that the only security measure we had to go through was producing a form of picture ID, but it was an easy entrance and before long we found ourselves in between a gated off area being led on a tour of the old cell blocks by the prison’s current warden. He was very charismatic and had a plethora of information regarding the history of the prison as well as present day statistics and information. We learned a great deal of information about the type of prisoners incarcerated, the dress codes, and the typical day and meals for inmates. We also were given a detailed account of what happens for an inmate on their last day on death row. For many, this was an emotional and clearly controversial topic. Regardless of my own personal views regarding the death penalty, some of the questions the inmates are asked on their last day, such as, “who would you like to claim your body” is mind boggling to me. It’s unfathomable to me that someone could truly comprehend this question knowing that they only have a few hours yet to live. After this heavy, and somewhat unsettling information, we proceeded to a cell block known for “being haunted” and in fact has been the focus of at least one ghost hunters tv show. Our last stop was a tour through the current jail cells and although we didn’t walk directly up to each cell, we were able to view the inmates through a clear glass window separating us from their cells. Many a time we also passed inmates in the corridors of the jail, and for the most part they disregarded our presence aside from long, yet harmless stares. I was surprised to learn that this prison releases roughly 60 inmates onto the street a day, weather it be because their term is up or they are released on parol. In fact, we were told we arrived only about twenty minutes after this mornings inmates were released. As we left, we thanked the warden for the fascinating experience, and in return we received Texas Department of Criminal Justice patches to commemorate our time! Now off to a very different adventure!!-NASA!! As we drove into the NASA compound, you could feel the level of excitement building on the bus! We quickly unloaded the bus and rushed through lunch at the museum in order to get in as much exploration as possible before the museum closed at 5:00. A group of us decided to take part in a shuttle tour that brought us “behind the scenes” of NASA to different buildings that are essential to their space program. These tours included a trip to the training center where current and past astronauts receive necessary training before entering the space program,
an inside look at the Saturn three rocket, and a close up look of Mission controls which played a prominent part in bringing the astronauts of Apollo 13 home safely.
The mission controls room was my personal favorite, due largely to my love for the Apollo 13 movie! Although we all wished we had had more time at NASA it was truly an incredible experience! We then headed to our hotel, the Four Points Sheraton hotel, where we were assigned roommates for the night and given an hour to freshen up. Many of us showered and then ventured to the hotel pool/hot tub to check it all out! Once we re-grouped we headed off to Mamma Ninfa’s Mexican restaurant which is famous for their fajitas!! Man, talk about indulgence! I don’t have words to describe the incredible food we received
Many of us indulged in Shrimp, on a bed of bacon, and then infused with cheese, beef and chicken fajitas, guacamole, rice, beans, Mexican burgers, cheesy fritters and so much more! As if that wasn’t enough, we then order deserts that were unreal. Not only were they visually appealing, but the chocolate cake oozed with a thick fudge sauce, and the other deserts proved to melts in people’s mouths. With full bellies and happy hearts we retired for the night in full anticipation of our trip to San Antonio and the Alamo tomorrow!! As usual, stay tuned!