Hi Northern Girl,
Just wanted to chime in, since you are a fellow European! I moved to Houston with my wife last October and I've been doing a lot of caching since. In fact I have now found more caches in Texas then in the Netherlands.
Unfortunately I won't be around when you will be in Houston, as we will be flying back to the Netherlands on June 14th and won't be back until June 22nd. Otherwise I would have gladly introduced you to the HGCS and shown you around to some really cool caches.
Now let me tell you something about the biggest differences between caching in Europe and caching in Texas:
The humidity is a killer combination with the heat, and I haven't even experienced summer (which, as everybody tells me, is HELL)
Walking to caches (for me) is only an option if they are no more then a mile (and sometimes less) away in an urban setting or waaaaaayyyyy less if it's in a park like George Bush, unless you are willing to sweat a lot! So whatever you do, bring A LOT of water to drink!!! And don't forget about protection from the sun either!
In the six months I've been caching here I so far have only seen 2 snakes, but I consider myself lucky. Do not take the snake-thing lightly, most of them ARE Venomous and sometimes very well camouflaged. IF you decide to go out to GBP (George Bush Park) please do so with a local cacher and ALWAYS wear hiking boots, long pants and take at least a walking stick.
George Bush Park & Bear Creek Park are both beautiful & wonderful places to visit, but not like anything you've seen in Europe before. I was really surprised the first time I went out to either one, they're not really parks, more like THE JUNGLE!
Lots of vines, thorny plants, mud, water, etc. etc.
All the other wildlife will just scare you most of the time, but they will probably be just as scared of you. I've encountered Raccoons, Vultures, Lizards, Snapping Turtles, Coyotes, Wild Pigs, Deer, Tarantula's and many more.
Please understand me, I don't mean to scare you, but the season you've picked to go caching in one of the big parks is not the best (although some of the locals will tell you differently, they seem to love it!).
The events around here are really awesome, there's always lot's of cachers and some of them will be more than willing to take you on a trip. Also, if you have even half a chance: go out to Brazos Bend SP, it's al little ways out, but they've got cool caches and you'll be very likely to see alligators!
Please let me know if you want to know more!
Oh, btw: There is now sort of a bike-plan in Houston, but mostly in the DownTown area, and trust me unless you're out in a park, you don't want to be biking (again, the HEAT!), but drivers just aren't used to people biking that much AND there are almost no bike-lanes.
So you'll be stuck in among traffic most of the time, and they're NOT Toyota Aygo's or Smarts either! I'd say 80% is (Huge)SUV or Pick-Up Truck. A car is almost a MUST, and they are not very expensive to rent, and because they are automatic even easier to drive then our stick-shifts (IMHO). Then again, traffic in general can be a pain in the .....
Edited by Dhaulaghiri, 30 May 2013 - 03:02 PM.