So Pluto has ice mountains and water. That's good to know. Maybe one day it will be a great vacation destination.
But for now, my family and I will stick with the place we know best. And that's planet earth -- because there's still so much to explore.
In fact, this summer we didn't have to go very far for a good vacation. Last week, we drove 900 miles to Texas, where we met family and friends for a church convention in San Antonio. It was our first trip to the Lone Star State, and we were anxious to experience the Southwestern flavor.
And it sure beats a nine-year flight through space.
While in San Antonio, we stayed in a comfy, Mexican-style house and ate authentic Tex-Mex cuisine at the San Antonio River Walk.
We also did some sightseeing, which included a boat tour on the San Antonio River and a visit to the Alamo. We were captivated by the story of about 200 Alamo defenders who fought valiantly for Texas' independence in the spring of 1836 at the Alamo Mission. The site is now a shrine to those who lost their lives during the bloody battle, and we were among visitors from all over the world.
After our stay in San Antonio, we continued our 10-day vacation with a stop in Houston to visit friends who recently moved to the area. We also used it as an opportunity to check out the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, where there was even more American history to explore.
Despite the sweltering Texas heat, we took a NASA open tram tour where we learned about the center's role as home and mission control center for the U.S. human space flight program.
The tram stopped at various locations so we could get a close-up look at a U.S. shuttle mock-up and astronaut memorabilia.
Inside the museum and entertainment center, we saw a film about the triumphs and trials of the U.S. space program. We also participated in a few hands-on space-related activities.
While visiting the space center, we had no idea that the very next day NASA's New Horizon spacecraft would fly by Pluto and send photos from the dwarf planet nine years after the spacecraft was launched into space.
That made our visit to the space center all the more relevant and meaningful. Talk about good timing!
After leaving Houston, we stopped in New Orleans for a few hours and then headed for Destin, Fla., where we stayed a couple of days. Being from the east coast, it was our first time swimming along the Gulf Coast.
We had a great family vacation that included sun, fun and lots of new experiences.
And like the New Horizon spacecraft, we even took a few photos along the way.
Alva James-Johnson, 706-571-8521. Reach her on Facebook at AlvaJamesJohnsonLedger.