Think about this ... "be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle"

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

no photos but

realizing how much I have to be thankful for without posting photos ...

  • the opportunity to take said photos
  • health to allow my honey and i to continue this journey
  • healthy siblings (glad you are celebrating 60 JRP) and healthy children and grandchildren, healthy extended family ... isn't that such a GREAT joy and reason to celebrate ..
  • a cousin who just came through what to me is inconceivable surgery - OMG Cheryl ... YOU are a hero to me ..
  • a son who was able to run a marathon and a son who is here on US soil (even if he IS away from his wife and son at the moment, he IS in the US)
  • videos of a grandson singing the fish song and happy birthday (cha cha cha to his Dad), and a granddaughter telling tales of tubby toes ....

thankful thankful thankful I am .....

Monday, November 22, 2010

along our merry way

After leaving Oklahoma City a couple weeks ago we headed to a gorgeous Corps of Engineers park (our first stay at such a park) just outside the Dallas/Ft. Worth area of Texas.
Located on the very large Lake Benbrook (or was it called Benbrook Lake ~ hmmmm can't remember).  Very nice sites although many were horribly unlevel, seriously wheels dangerously off the ground unlevel!  NOT GOOD.

While we were there we went to the U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving in Fort Worth.  No photos allowed, so no photos to post.

There are two photos, however, of our trip to "Strokers, Dallas" - the motorcycle store etc. on which the TruTV show Ma's Roadhouse (yet another "reality" show ... surely not the best show out there, but it did seem that if we were in the area, well we should probably go "see" it).

The owner, Rick Fairless, below.

While we were staying in the campground Sir found a new toy, which was his best favorite toy for about 48 hours ~ he'd never had, nor seen, a shuttlecock before .... he was quite impressed for sure.

After leaving the Dallas area we headed to Waco, where we stayed three nights at the local fairgrounds.

While there we toured the Dr. Pepper Museum.  Who knew it originated in Waco ~ not I!  Another museum very well done.

Check out those gorgeous pottery crocks high up on the shelf beyond this bottling equipment.  They were just beautiful, reminding me of an old pickle crock that I used to have and probably sold for about 10% of its true value at the leaving MA yard sale three years ago as we were getting ready to hit the road.

After leaving Waco five days ago we headed to the Austin area.  We went into downtown Austin last Friday night in search of what we considered "local" music ... a country western, rockabilly kind of joint.  Never did find what we were looking for but found a decent blues place where we enjoyed a couple beers/wine.

I have no clue what the pretty building above is but it sure was nice all lit up just waiting to be someones photo op.

Below, the outstanding Driskill Hotel.  The hotel was built in 1886 with lovely architecture.  Unfortunately we weren't dressed in a fashion we felt was appropriate to even go in for a cocktail ~ sure would like to have though, I'm sure it is as outstanding on the inside as it is outside.  Maybe next time!

Only in Texas would you find such a site as that below (I think!)

We are leaving this suburban Austin area in the morning heading to San Antonio.  I thought while we were here that we'd see the LBJ library and the Lady Bird Johnson wildflower garden.  It was a great plan, but not a reality ~ I had a serious case of the lazies today and never made it.  OOOPS


When in Oklahoma City one must go to "Bricktown" (Patrick says, and we agree).

After touring the Memorial and Museum we needed a "fun" area to chill a bit!  This was the perfect place and being that it was 3:30 or so in the afternoon the area was nearly deserted!  It did seem that it probably didn't come truly alive until the night time anyway, and probably much more so on the weekends!

There was a beautiful Riverwalk area along the canal.  Check out the foliage in the photo below - not bad huh, and as I think I said in a previous post about Oklahoma City it was a beautiful warm sunny day.  This area reminded me quite a bit of Providence, RI, but with much more to offer than the river front area than Providence.  

There was a water taxi here in Oklahoma City that Providence doesn't have (or didn't the last time we were there).  Providence does, however, have the really nice waterfires, that Oklahoma City doesn't have, but it would be a great area for them.

And beautiful flowers on a gorgeous mid November day!  Oh lucky me, but it made me miss my gardens again.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Oklahoma City

I am trying to rid myself of the blog block that's been plaguing me for several weeks.  I've loaded photos for future posts as we leave an area so I, hopefully, won't forget what I wanted to post about when I finally sit myself down and get to work.  This will be my third post today, the last one, which included Groom, Texas had some tongue in cheek content.  This post however won't .... the pictures will, I suspect, speak for themselves.

When we were heading to Oklahoma we knew we wanted to go to Oklahoma City ~ after all that is where Patrick (Rick's son) went to FAA school after he graduated from Daniel Webster and was hired by the FAA to be an air traffic controller, so of course we had to go there. 

When in Oklahoma City it seemed we had to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial.  There is also a museum there.  I was fairly perplexed with the thought of a museum to such an event and I was certain I didn't want to tour such a museum.  

After seeing what an extraordinary job was done at the Memorial I decided I'd go with Rick into the Museum.  I wasn't disappointed.  Photos were allowed in the Museum, but I'm not going to include any in this post .... in fact I'm not sure how I'm going to do this post .... mostly pictures?  Mostly text?  

The pictures themselves speak volumes, but some explanations may be necessary.  We shall see how this turns out ...

Clearly, the first photo is the Field of Empty Chairs.  It sets the tone for the entire Memorial as far as I'm concerned.  I assume that everyone knows that each chair symbolizes a life lost on April 19, 1995.  The chairs are arranged in nine rows (there were nine floors in the Murrah Federal Building) and the chairs are placed according to the floor on which those killed were working of visiting.  The chairs have a glass base (which are lit with "beacons of hope") and are etched with the name of a person killed that day.

There is a gorgeous, serene reflecting pool.  At each end of the reflecting pool are the "Gates of Time".  The gates have a time etched into them.  The gate at the east is marked 9:01 representing a typical morning and people were going about their business "normally".  The west gate is marked 9:03, the time it all changed.

The photo below is the "Survivor Tree" and the "Rescuers' Orchard" beyond the reflecting pool and with the Journal Record Building in the background.  

Below, another view of the Journal Record Building (which now houses the Museum), and a message written on the side of the building by a rescuer, which hopefully can be enlarged so one can read it.

The fire escapes on the Journal Record Building have been left as they were after the blast - twisted and broken.

a closer view of the Rescuer's Orchard

looking at the Field of Empty Chairs from the other side of the Reflecting Pool, standing next to the Journal Record Building.

Another that hopefully can be enlarged ~ a plague on the side of the Journal Record Building

Above is the "Children's Area" displaying many hand painted tiles made by children and sent to O.C. in 1995.

It was a beautiful fall day when we were there - seemed like a warm fall day in New England.

I'm glad I went, I'm glad I saw ... it was impossible to leave there feeling the same as when you went it to say the least.

I have never seen a Memorial OR Museum done as well as this - so much thought went into this property, so much symbolism.  It really was an outstanding, thought provoking place.  

(I strongly recommend taking a look at this link - it is done as well as the entire Memorial and Museum)

the ranch, the cotton and the cross

Seems like when a person goes to (or through) Texas they should go to a ranch right?

So of course we did.

The Cadillac Ranch was our choice!  Interesting place this Cadillac Ranch!  What a hoot!

The distressing thing about this "fun place" was the litter.  Seriously, why can't people carry out what they carry in?  The field had so many empty spray paint cans ~ I just don't understand why anyone would think it's okay to drop it on the ground and walk away!

When we left Amarillo (and the constant stench of cow manure - being a girl from Vermont it shouldn't have bothered me, but it did!) we headed to Oklahoma.  Oklahoma was one of the five states we hadn't visited yet so it was on our "bucket list" (now we have Hawaii ~ not likely to be done in the coach huh!, Alaska ~ we thought we'd get there next summer but it will be the summer of 2012 instead (hopefully), Wisconsin and North Dakota).

I never thought of Texas as a cotton producing state ~ more oil and cattle, but low and behold there is lots of cotton here.  I wish I knew it ahead of time, I'd have searched out a field trip that included showing me how cotton gets from the farm to the quilts I make ~ I seriously don't know the entire process and I think it would be interesting.  Yeah, I guess in the fourth grade I did learn about Eli Whitney and the cotton gin (I just learned from wikipedia that the gin in cotton gin is short for engine!!!  Who knew?)

Big huge bales of cotton.  

And guess what else there is in Texas?  

In Groom, Texas to be exact.  

You can see it from miles away on interstate 40 (aka historic route 66)... miles and miles away .....

Are you ready?

No seriously, are you ready for this?  Those of you that know me well will be so surprised that I'm posting this, but quite frankly, I couldn't help myself .... really I just seemed to have no control over this, it was just something I felt I had to do .... I can't explain it but here goes ....

It is indeed (well there is apparently controversy over that claim as well, but the billboard down the road a bit from it, claims it to be the largest .... far be it for me to argue such a point), the largest cross (19 stories high)  in the western hemisphere.  I know it's true, I read about it while I was researching my facts for this post.  Roadside America comes through again, although this time there is a lot of controversy on this one ... read this link at your own risk!

Word has it the cross is the work of The Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ Ministries.  This is getting a bit deep so I'll just say, if you want any more information (other than the little I can provide) about said cross, check out the links!

Additionally, Groom, Texas is famous (infamous??) for yet another thing.  I'm once again quite serious ~ Groom, Texas, population 587 (according to the 2000 census - ummm time for a wikipedia update on that number perhaps) is famous for something else as well...........

And it's about two miles down the road from the giant cross .....

Are you ready for this one .......

Palo Duro SP ~ Amarillo area

When we were in the Amarillo area a few weeks back and were told that we should definitely see the Palo Duro Canyon state park (aka the Grand Canyon of Texas)!  WOW what a place - just gorgeous.  

One of the things we do when we settle into a place for a few days is to ask the "locals" what we should do in their area (hmmm sounds like Rachel Ray when she did that show about dining for $25. a day or something, before she had her foolish "talk show".  I'm clearly not a big fan, but asking the locals is a great "tip")

The photo above was taken from the first rest area about 1/2 mile after the park entrance.  Obviously, this is from a high point (perhaps the highest but I'm not certain).  Photos below were randomly taken throughout the park.  I just fell in love with the varying colors of the rocks/mountains ~ reds, browns, yellows, absolutely beautiful.

There were five or six places where water crossed the road - all with warnings about flash flooding!  This was the only one that actually did have water on the road, and it was about seven or eight inches deep I'd estimate.  Arlo thought for sure it was there for his water playing pleasure!

note the cave in this rock

As well as many rv camping areas throughout the park there were these really neat "cow camp cabins".

They were really interesting, although of course they were all locked.  If you go to the link above you can see a couple photos of the inside.  Not a bad deal for $60./night, well I guess not everyone would agree ~ there is the bathroom issue!

The roads and buildings in the park were constructed by the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the 1930's.  There are many many miles of hiking and biking trails within this huge park.  

Not to mention a herd of Texas Longhorns!

Friday, November 12, 2010


So yes, as I mentioned eons ago, we were in Tucumcari (and Kimberly I told you to stay tuned, I just didn't give you any idea how long you'd have to wait for the Tucumcari post!).  And Chester, I may get writers cramp (or typist cramp or carpal tunnel or something) from this post, since I am so gosh darned out of practice of late!

Hmm, what to say about Tucumcari?!?!  I think Tucumcari has had its day (as some of these photos may prove).  It was an interesting town and an interesting area, but as Rick so aptly put it "been there done that".  The friendliest, most welcoming people, Lodge included, in town seem to be the very pleasant man at the Chamber of Commerce and the very helpful man at the Post Office where we had our mail forwarded to from our forwarding service.  Seems servers in the few places in town had little or no interest in chatting and/or welcoming us!  Perhaps they should seek another line of work, but the opportunities are likely not too abundant in the area.

One of the things we noticed fairly soon about this little town is the murals.  Many of the buildings in town had murals painted on one side or another.  It really was interesting and fun ~ a few pictures above.

Another fun "attraction" of the town was the old signs (mostly old neon signs) of the businesses ~ the ones that have been around since the route 66 days.  Some of the businesses are long gone but the signs, or parts thereof, remain.

Not to mention other remnants of the past scattered about!  Truly interesting this town is.

Then, there is Tucumcari Mountain.  The residents are quite proud of the history of their mountain!  I stopped by the side of the road to buy a ristra (not like the one in that link but similar!).  I'd seen gorgeous short and fuller ones than the one shown in the link when I was at a farmer's market (oh how I love farmer's markets) in Los Alamos and didn't buy it ~ have no idea why I didn't 'cause I really loved it.  Anyway there was an older Mexican gentleman selling them on the side of the road in Tucumcari and I stopped to buy one and he proceeded to tell me all about the Mountain, it's history (folklore?) and hand me an information sheet about the town/area!

When we were out to lunch (seriously) one day we found out about a "shooting range" down the road that was near what used to be a municipal park, back in "the day".  Oh what a sad sad place.  We tried to imagine it in its "heyday" ... Come to find out the bathhouse (photo above) burned down just a few months back.
an old pump house of some sort, on the Metropolitan Park property

I will leave you with some photos of the flora at the park.  I've never been a fan to any degree of cacti, in fact I really hate them, but up close these guys were kind of interesting looking!  I haven't a clue what kind they are - they're all just "cactus" to me!

yeah, I know it's not a cactus, but it had such interesting seed pods!