How many lanes does it take to get out of Houston?

Five lanes head out of Houston, plus another two in the HOV lane. The dedicated side lanes make another two, and the access road another two more, for eleven lanes, all leading towards San Antonio, or Austin if you take 71 northwest at Columbus. This is a lot, but not enough if a hurricane threatens. Then, past Katy, if there is a storm, the yellow barriers will come down and all lanes will leave Houston. None will approach Houston. Of course, by this point there are no longer eleven lanes leaving town. Blocking off all the entrance ramps so no one can get on the wrong way is something the traffic folks are prepared for.

But those contra-flow lanes have not been used since Hurricane Ike, I believe. For Ike most of us stayed at home, sheltering from the wind, unwilling to crawl down the freeways.

Hurricane season is over for now, and Houston was spared, could have used the rain. We will wait to see what next year brings. Hurricanes are rare, but serious, bad enough to have ended early settlements in Chambers County long before Hurricane Ike put so much of it under water.

The temperatures have dropped, and Texas is enjoying the fruits of the long, hot summer — a temperate autumn, and virtually non-existent winter. We’re in Memphis, five hours south of St. Louis, visiting, trying pork barbecue, mourning Martin Luther King Jr., and hearing some blues. It’s southern, but so far north of Houston.

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The European feel of Memphis.


Forced copulation in the Peabody Hotel. Notice the female under that male. He is holding her by the neck. Among birds, ducks are among the few that have intromittent organs. We saw forced copulation twice in 5 minutes, and they are in this fountain about 6 hours a day.


The Lorraine Motel. The wreath marks the spot where Martin Luther King Jr. ended his dreams.


Monument to a black man, Tom Lee, who could not swim, but saved over 30 whites in an engineering society he certainly could not join, after their steamboat capsized. Tom made repeated trips out to save the drowning ones, only got a memorial in 1954, two years after he died, and then this one, the second, in about 2006.


Beale Street, home of the blues.


About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
This entry was posted in Houston, hurricanes, Roads, San Antonio and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How many lanes does it take to get out of Houston?

  1. Nancy says:

    And where did you find the best barbecue?

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