A Travellerspoint blog

Mission Control

The Johnson Space Center

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Hi!

On the road to Houston

On the road to Houston


We have just returned from an epic journey to Houston - we made it to the The Space Center!
Space Center Trip 028

Space Center Trip 028


International Space Station Model

International Space Station Model


We learned about how the astronauts train, what they eat and how they go to the toilet in space!!
Space Center Trip 002

Space Center Trip 002


Did you know that they can't eat anything that makes crumbs - that's because the crumbs might float around and get into some important equipment.
Astronaut Food

Astronaut Food

Also, when they have a shower they have to hold a little vacuum cleaner in one hand to suck up the water so that it doesn't just keep floating all around them.

A highlight was going to see the Houston Mission Control room - this is where all the manned missions are directed from. Mission Control Centre

Mission Control Centre

Mission Control

Mission Control


It was also really cool to see some rockets up close and Nicci's cousin got to touch a rock from the moon.
Space Center Trip 023

Space Center Trip 023

Saturn V Rocket

Saturn V Rocket

Saturn V Rocket

Saturn V Rocket

On the way to Houston there is a HUGE statue of a guy called Sam Houston who was a famous Texas statesman. A long time ago, Texas was a Republic and Sam Houston was president of Texas twice. (Can you spot me in this picture?)
Sam Houston Statue

Sam Houston Statue

Oh yeah.... and on the way home we finally found a skunk!!!!!!!!!!
P U!

P U!

Unfortunately it was not a live skunk... it was road kill actually... But it was a skunk nonetheless. It didn't seem to contain aftershave and perfume like me - it was pretty stinky. Maybe it's a different breed to me...

We are coming towards the end of our trip and have had so many wonderful adventures. Thanks for sharing them with us!

To Texas, infinity and beyond, then back to NZ!!

Skunky

Posted by Skunky 09:45 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Baby Squirrels

Cuter than cute!

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OK so we have now officially hit the highlight of the trip for Jo - holding and feeding baby squirrels!! I must admit they were super cute. We met the coolest lady who takes care of little squirrels that fall out of trees etc. She looks after them until they are about 16 weeks old and ready to be released into the trees around her home.

Baby Squirrel01

Baby Squirrel01

Baby Squirrel27

Baby Squirrel27

Baby Squirrel29

Baby Squirrel29

What more can I say? Am still waiting for the trip where we get to hold the skunks......

Off to the Space Centre tomorrow! Will report to you from Houston (unless we have a problem of course....)

Over and out

Skunky

Posted by Skunky 18:56 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Schools and Ranches

Some 'real live' American places

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Howdy pardners!

A quick update from your old pal the travellin' skunk. Yesterday Nicci and Jo went with Nicci's cousins to some real live American classrooms to share about New Zealand. I can't believe they left me in the car!! They talked about things like where NZ is, school in NZ etc and then Nicci taught the American kids how to say 'banana', 'water' and 'tomato' like a kiwi.
School Bus

School Bus


At the end they showed a little video of NZ with the National Anthem as background music (the 100% Pure NZ Video). The kids thought NZ looked super cool and some decided they wanted to move there. One boy was amazed that we have bicycles, computers and even the internet! :)

It must have been our day for 'real live American things' because later on today we went to a real Texan ranch. There were heaps of horses and guess who got to have a little ride?! Yeeehaa! They also had cattle, goats, pigs, turkeys and chickens. Oh yeah and there were heaps of squirrels- we really liked watched them scampering around the trees.
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Then last night a whole family of raccoons came to the back porch to eat the cat food. We got out of bed at about 4.30am to watch them. They were so cool!

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Thankfully tornadoes are not so common where we are in East Texas but Nicci's Aunty Debbie has been in a couple and knows of a cow that got picked and put down in a tornado! Yikes - imagine how far I would go!

We're off out for another adventure so I will write again tomorrow

See y'all soon

Skunky

Posted by Skunky 15:35 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Hummingbirds and Snakes!

Checking out the local wildlife

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Hi y'all!

The past few days we've been checking out the interesting critters which live in Texas. One day we saw a hummingbird hovering beside a rose bush. These tiny birds are almost as amazing as skunks. They are the only birds that can hover, fly backwards, left and right and even upside down! They are kind of like a natural mini helicopter. Hummingbirds beat their little wings about 55 times per second - wow! That's so fast that they make a humming sound like a big insect.

Hummingbirds need a lot of energy to keep up that pace so they spend a lot of time looking for nectar from flowers. We decided to help out by hanging a hummingbird feeder outside. Now they appear outside the window every few minutes. If you'd like to see one, take a look in the video section of this blog (the camera isn't fast enough to capture the speed of the wings so it looks like they're just flapping normally but believe me these little guys are going for it!).
Hummingbird 1

Hummingbird 1


Snakes also make their home in this area and for some strange reason Nicci and Jo wanted to see one. YIIKES! One evening Nicci's uncle took us on a 'snake safari' through the woods on a golf cart to try and find one. Thankfully there weren't any out so we went to the local zoo instead - they had some really cool snakes, safely kept in class cages. A much better way to view them if you ask me!
Zoo trip 05

Zoo trip 05

Zoo trip 04

Zoo trip 04


Nobody has been in a rush to find my skunk relatives yet but we've got some cat foot scattered on the back porch to try and entice a raccoon and we're off to see a baby squirrel later today. I'll let you know how we get on.

Catch you again soon

Skunky on Safari

Posted by Skunky 16:48 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Airport Antics and Flying Fun

Whizzing across the Pacific Ocean!

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View Skunky, Nicci and Jo are off to America on Skunky's travel map.

Finally on Thursday there were no more sleeps left - not even one. Oh boy oh boy oh boy was I excited!!
Set to go

Set to go


At the airport there was so much to do. We took our big bags to the check-in counter. Labels were stuck on the bags to show that they needed to be put in the cargo hold of our plane. The Air New Zealand man looked at me sideways and threatened to put me in there too if I made any bad smells on the plane - who me?? What was he thinking?!

Next it was time to go through some security checks. Our small hand luggage bags had to go through a special x-ray machine to check that there was nothing dangerous inside. Nicci was asked to help and she did a great job. Everything and everyone got scanned - have a look at the photos and see if you can recognise any interesting shapes....
Scanning Skunky

Scanning Skunky

Scanning 1

Scanning 1


Just then, we met the pilots of our plane. I thought this was a great opportunity to check that they knew how to make a plane go up, along and down safely. They seemed to know their stuff so we let them go on their way.

Finally we got on board and took off. Have you ever heard of a flying skunk? I wonder if I'm the first... The plane climbed gradually until it was 11 kilometres above the ground (that's about the same distance from school to Hamilton city centre but straight up). We flew high above the clouds at about 950km per hour. We found out that the air temperature outside was -48 degrees Celsius. Brrrrrr. I decided to keep my window shut.

Nicci and I had a great time looking out the window at the land and sea below, watching the flaps on the wings move and watching our little TV. It was pretty squashed on board so I was very careful to keep my special skunky smells to myself. The man behind us didn't keep all his smells to himself though - I thought he needed to go in the cargo hold.

At one stage I went to the cockpit to make sure the pilots were doing a good job. They were, so I stretched out for a bit in First Class - aaah much better!
Giving the pilot a break

Giving the pilot a break

First Class Skunk

First Class Skunk


Finally we arrived in Los Angeles to find that it was Thursday again even though it was Friday in New Zealand - that was so weird! After long lines for security checks we changed planes and flew to Dallas. Texas at last! Uncle Chris picked us up and took us home to meet up with Nicci's cousins for the next part of our adventure. I'll let you know what happens...

Yours in black and white

Skunky

Posted by Skunky 19:26 Archived in New Zealand Tagged air_travel Comments (0)

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