Every big city has its quirky places. Nooks and crannies with a whiff of weird. New Orleans and San Francisco for instance. On a recent Texas trip, I found Houston's share of the quirky, enough for a morning tour of cars, scars, and beer cans.
Pave the backyard and pop open a brew
Next time I'm guzzling beer from a can, my first toast goes to John Milkovisch (1912-1988). He worked as an upholsterer for the Southern Pacific Railroad. In his spare time, he drank beer, six to eight cans a day, which he saved, pressed flat and attached to his house.
Plastered is the word that comes to mind, both for Milkovisch and the outside of his house, at right, which is covered with the carcasses of more than 40,000 flattened beer cans and surrounded by a curtain of strung beer can tops.
Marks Hinton, a beer drinking friend of Milkovisch, said the upholsterer and his buddies consumed the contents of every can, many of them in the backyard of the house at 222 Malone. The backyard is paved in concrete, decorated with marbles, so John would not waste his drinking time mowing grass.
"My favorite beer," John Milkovisch told his friends, "is whatever is on sale." Tour groups often include the Beer Can House. If you come alone, the fee for looking around is $5.
When a scar is a tale
We are all scarred by our pasts. At the Museum of the Weird, Houston artist Dolan Smith has built a room for visitors to tell their stories about their body scars, from deep slashes to hundreds of scratches.
Smith has toured Texas in his Scar Car. Travelers who stop at 834 W. 24th Street, can read about pain and/or leave their own scar stories, above, on small blocks of wood ("Well, there was this wood-chipper" or "I went to get my ear pierced and I passed out. I cut myself on the way down."). Smith believes that if you draft a message you will leave some of your own pain behind as well.
The house also has a perverse side, so don't include this weird museum on your personal tour if you would be insulted by a room that looks like a stage for a sex show. No doubt, some scars there, too.
A house for arty automobiles
For me, a car is a thing to turn on when I need to go somewhere. Some folks are turned on by turning their car into a piece of art, an opportunity to express themselves on four wheels as they glide down public streets and capture ahhhs in local parades.
The Art Car Museum is a house in Houston Heights, which is kind of a joke in Houston because the Heights are about 25 feet above sea level.
The cars seem kind of funny, too, including a 1972 Eldorado, above, with enough tea cups outside to party with the Mad Hatter, and a 1984 Dodge Power Ram truck, at right, with seductive eyes and ready molars. The museum is at 140 Heights Boulevard.
For planning a trip to Houston, go to Visit Houston Texas
Writer June Naylor looks at Houston as a cruise port for the web site, CruiseCritic.
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Molyneaux is editor of TravelMavens.net. CLICK for articles on cruising, golf, Florida, Europe, adventure and travel gear and gadgets.