Thursday, April 02, 2009

Every Super Neighborhood in Houston - Trip 7

Trip 7 went pretty well. We actually clocked in under the expected mileage by a tenth of a mile. The southern Super Neighborhoods (founded after WWII) were really good about having "Welcome to..." signs, which cut out a couple detours.

Mappy mappy

It was a little chilly and windy to start at around 43 degrees; I had to ride one-handed (with one hand warming in my pocket) until the sun really got out. We took a detour through Montrose, Fourth Ward, and Midtown (see Trip 1) so that Drew could catch up on those ones he missed before we started. After that, it wasn't long until we were in the predominantly poor and black neighborhood of #67 Greater Third Ward. It's 80% black, with the other 20% being poor white college students, since the University of Houston is in this neighborhood.

This was the "small" church, the big one was across the street.

An uneventful jog down the road got us to #83 MacGregor, named after the road that runs through it along Brays Bayou. This apartment complex was right on the bayou.

Keep a look at my attire, you'll notice me sheding layers as it gets sunnier

Continuing down Scott, we came across the first of many "Welcome to..." signs to smack us in the face in #68 OST/South Union, which is a much more appealing photo op than the South Union Place Apartments.

I love "Welcome to..." signs. Indisputable proof :)

Continuing on Scott street, which was a fairly busy road with 4 lanes, we again found another "Welcome to..." sign for #71 Sunnyside. This sign saved us about a mile because we didn't have to delve into the neighborhood, we just kept on going down Scott.

After this I had "Keep on the Sunny Side" from O Brother, Where Art Thou? stuck in my head.

Next we zig-zagged through another neighborhood to find South Park Inn, which I later found out was not in the South Park super neighborhood. In fact just on the other side of is the boundary. It was just like that damn church in Trip 4. I'm going to make a special trip back there myself to get it later; it's going to be too far out of the way to do on the Clear Lake trip (Trip 10), since it's right in the middle of the area we covered. It's only an 11 mile round trip from my school, so the next time I go up there to study on the weekend, I'll take my bike to school and do it on a study break.

Stupid South Park

Right after we turned on Airport to #76 South Acres/Crestmont Park was another sign! Luckily the back of the sign also said South Acres (don't ask me why) so we took the photo this way because the sun was pretty bright. (That story would have been a great pun for Sunnyside).

I was double checking the boundary on google maps to make sure it was in it.

"I took a picture of myself so you don't have to"

I'm not buying it :)

This next picture I took snapped because my wife went to a different Sterling High School in the Greater Houston area. Nothing special.

Not Baytown

The next sign I was really worried about. Google Maps showed no businesses at all bearing the Minnetex name. Through a little internet detectiving, I found there was a Minnitex Civic Club just west of Mykawa. When I checked it out on street view, it looked pretty abandoned. But having no other options, we checked it out anyway. I was worried when I pulled up because the sign that appeared on street view was not there. Luckily, it was propped up against the door. So here is the most rural Super Neighborhood in Houston, #77 Minnetex. Only 2,245 people live in the entire region, 5 times less than any other neighborhood I looked at.

I don't think they're meeting anymore.

Long shot of the former Civic Club (built in 1923 as a schoolhouse).

Next up was probably the scariest part of our trip, along Telephone Road. It's a very busy 6 lane divided road with intermittant sidewalks. After snapping this picture for #78 Greater Hobby Area and grabbing some breakfast, we spent about 30 minutes riding fast and praying we didn't get hit from behind. Don't worry, we didn't.

I was looking for Hobby Liquor, but this will do. There were many more signs as well.

After getting off telephone road, we went through a small neighborhood to get #73 Golfcrest.

We took a 5 minute break after this, my legs were really starting to hurt.

About 3 minutes later, we saw the giant sign for the Gulfgate Shopping Center in #69 Gulfgate.

Bad timing on the picture, I look like an idiot

Just for something different, we went through the area we went through during Trip 3, and found a really nice hike and bike trail that took us through most of it. We stopped for a beer again at Onion Creek in the Heights and then went home :)

Total time with breaks (minus Onion Creek) was about 4 1/2 hours and 40.3 miles. We picked up a whopping 9 Super Neighborhoods bringing us past the halfway point with 45 out of 88 Super Neighborhoods. We're going to do a short "make-up" trip this Sunday afternoon so Drew can at least ride through the Super Neighborhoods from Trip 6, then Trip 8 (Willowbrook/Greenspoint) is scheduled for April 19th with Trip 9 (Addicks) shortly after on the 25th.