|Ready for launch.|
As we neared Houston around rush hour, the traffic picked up significantly, and we were stuck crawling through downtown for a while. The Optima's nav system kept me apprised of the bottlenecks, and we had a comfortable and cool ride. Heading southeast from downtown, we aimed for the Clear Lake area, where my friend Sean lives with her family. I suddenly remembered that when my sister lived in Clear Lake, I had said aloud, "I will never live in Texas. It's way too hot here." Famous last words, since I moved to Austin nine years later.
The next morning, we started our tour at 9 AM with a friend of Sean's who leads outreach for NASA, and she took us through some of the most fantastic parts of the NASA complex. We started at the Apollo Mission Control Center, where we spotted Gene Kranz, the leader of the team that contributed to saving the astronauts of Apollo 13. We got to see the inside of the current Mission Control, just as t they were getting ready for a landing. The Saturn V was another highlight - it's over 36 stories tall (it's displayed horizontally in a giant building) and is one of only three in existence. And lastly, in Building 9 we crawled up into a space capsule.
My son was completely immersed. He knew how lucky we were to get this inside tour, and both of us were awestruck.
At the NASA gift shop, we picked up a rocket ship pen for my dad, a moon vehicle building set for my son, and some freeze-dried astronaut ice cream for my nieces to try.
|Apollo Mission Control, I'm on the red phone.|
When we returned home, my son opened up his book about the first astronauts to land on the moon, and we relived our experience all over again.
2016 KIA OPTIMA TURBO
|The Optima looks good under the Pennybacker Bridge in Austin.|
WHAT I LOVED ABOUT THE KIA OPTIMA TURBO:
- 40 mpg on the highway: it kicked my SUV's tail on gas mileage
- Body design: I would put this sedan next to just about any other and it would come out on or near the top. Its lines are smooth and clean, and the panoramic sunroof adds glamour.
- Paddle shifters: by now, you know I have a love affair with them.
- Navigation screen: colorful, fun, and easy to use
- Paint job: the red is deep and rich, unlike some of the orange-y red I have seen on other brands
- Safety: the 360-degree camera helps to navigate even the tightest spots, and the blind spot, lane departure, and forward collision warnings help keep the driver alert
- Warranty: every Kia has a 10-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the powertrain (the engine and transmission), which I find more and more impressive with every Kia I drive
THANK YOU DRIVESHOP! You rock.