Friday, April 27, 2012

Along The Road From Denton, Texas to Norman, Oklahoma

In the end, it took nine days to replace and then install the shattered window so we finally left Denton, Texas and went looking for cooler temperatures.  It's already reaching into the 80's nearly everyday.

One of the things I did to occupy my time in Denton was play around with pictures in Picasa and Picnik. The purist in me gave way to a bit of daring and I promised I'd do some fun things with some of the pictures I take and then post on the blog.  Here's some of what I've been doing.

This Denton water tower is along I-35 north.
I "neonized" it!  But nothing too dramatic.
Wayne did some system maintenance checks on Endie while we waited around in Denton and found the batteries were very nearly dry.  This isn't a good thing to find on a brand new coach and he was a bit angry at the prospect of damaging to the pricey replacement. To add water, he had to disconnect the house batteries and  then found the solar panel inoperable.

On our way out of town we passed I-35 RV Center and decided it would be worthwhile to make the U-turn to ask Craig and Johnny Stack to take a look. Johnny came to the campground last week to replace the tan window awning that was mistakenly put on the curb side with the new black one sent to us from Tyson at The RV Shop in Baton Rouge.  We were real happy with the work Johnny did and sure enough, he fixed the wiring problem quickly and we were back on the road quickly.

This is an enormous facility along I-35 going north. I guess they make those giant wind turbines we've seen. Those are individual wings lined up along the left side and those housings are on the right. A terrific site!

This is one of those huge wind turbine wings ready to travel!
Gives a good perspective of the size!

I've decided to put some captions directly on the pictures occasionally. 
We crossed the famous Texas Red River and you know... it is red.

We stopped in at the Oklahoma Welcome Center on I-35 to get a travel guide.  I had to take this photo of Ozzie taking his position on Wayne's arm. He gets into this position every time and just begs to have his picture snapped!

Sign at the Oklahoma Welcome Center. Nice

I was pretty far away when I took this this picture. I had to zoom and crop so it's a little fuzzy.
Anyway, it's our rig parked at the Oklahoma Welcome Center.
We only got as far as Ardmore, Oklahoma that day. We drove the few short miles east to Elephant Rock Campground at Lake Murray State Park.  Just one night though and we're off again. The temperatures and humidity are so uncomfortable to us we've just got to get into some cooler weather.

Next day, Lady GaGa found a Walmart at the Pauls Valley, Oklahoma exit and to our surprise, we saw a Braum's Ice Cream Store too!  Hamburgers, fries, shakes and two waffle cones later, we returned to the coach to find almost our entire supply of paper napkins shredded all over the sofa and in the dog beds. For a good long time Ozzie has been shredding paper when we leave them alone. This day, he walked along the counter from the window sill to the table where he simply gathered the napkins directly from the dispenser! 
My dear sweet, one-in-a-million husband never looses his cool with me, Lexie or Ozzie.  He simply said, "who did this?" Of course, the Oz-Man was already hiding under the table by this time. 

By early afternoon we reached our Norman, Oklahoma destination, Turkey Bay at Lake Thunderbird State Park . It's about 13 miles east of I-35.  The campground has paved interior roads, plenty of trees, concrete pads and lots of empty spaces from which to choose (first come, first serve).  We didn't disconnect the car and found ourselves in one of those tiny circular dead ends with the car at an angle that wouldn't allow disconnect.  The situation quickly deteriorated to the point of requiring Wayne at the wheel of the coach, me at the wheel of the car (still attached) and a good Samaritan coaching us out of the sticky situation.  We were exhausted in the end and appreciated the Camp Host's offer let us park in one of the nice wide handicapped spaces.  Turns out we would have found ourselves in this situation sooner or later as the campground has several of these tight turns. We've been given permission to retreat from the campground going the wrong way on a one-way road. 

To add insult to injury, the grounds are covered with tiny burrs that bury themselves in the dogs' paws. They are round and spiky and get twisted all around their hairs.  Uck.  We'll spend one day around the OU campus and then we're outta here!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Sweet Potato Treats For Lexie and Ozzie

From the very beginning, Wayne has been the feeder of Lexie and Ozzie.

I do not feed them; I'm really not allowed, he does. Period. 

There is a reason for this arrangement.  Wayne has a way with animals -- they love him naturally.  

Not so with me. I have to earn the love of pets.  I don't know why that is true, but it is. My "feelings" are not hurt.

But things are different with Lexie and Ozzie.

EVERYTHING is different with Lexie and Ozzie -- I expect that's because they have such an unusual and bad history. 

Ozzie is particularly a "Momma's Boy". 

And Lexie, dear sweet, weird little Lexie.  I held her so much during the first year, she probably grew to believe we were attached.

I held her when we rode in the car and the coach. I held her when we relaxed in the evenings and she slept in the nightstand drawer on my side of the bed.

That's why Wayne began the feeding routine. He said it was the only "bonding opportunity" he had.

It worked.

Lexie now will go to him before she comes to me.  He loves it.

he discovers new treats that get his seal of approval.

Their food is holistic and he reads the labels.  As of this writing, they are eating Wellness Small Breed. He buys it in the largest bag.                    
But I digress.

So recently Wayne discovered both Lexie and Ozzie would eat bites of baked sweet potato.

Soon they began looking to him any time he went to the kitchen counter.

They think it's time for sweet potato.

On this particular evening, just before he began the sweet potato snack, I grabbed the camera and stood behind him.

They were so cute gobbling up the sweet potato treats!

I cropped the photos and added captions. I posted them all on Facebook.  Now they are posted here for us to see occasionally.

Such terrific little dogs.

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Southfork Ranch at Parker and the Old Stone Dam in Allen, Texas

The tiny town of Parker, Texas is home to Southfork Ranch. "So what?" you ask.  Well, if you asked, you just don't know about the famous Ewing family of Dallas. 
Southfork was really named Duncan Acres.

Joe Duncan built this house for his family in 1970 and called it Duncan Acres for the obvious reason. The 4,769 sq. ft. home sits on 200 acres of beautiful grassland.

The house gained publicity when, in the second season of the nighttime television soap opera, Dallas, it was given the fictitious name Southfork and called it home to the notorious make-believe Ewing family. 
Main entrance to Southfork Ranch.

All the outside scenes of Dallas during the 1978-1979 seasons were filmed at this location. No interior shots were used as the home was occupied by the owners. Later, the reunion movie, J.R. Returns (1996), then War of the Ewings (1998) and finally the reunion special Dallas Reunion: The Return to Southfork (2004) would be filmed here too. The only time the interior of the house was used for production was during the 2004 filming.

The Duncan home was also used in a music video called God Blessed Texas.  The property is now an event and conference center complete with tours for $9 each. A Christian broadcast group is based here too.

We visited the property today but didn't tour the home. It just didn't prove to be that interesting to either of us as neither of us were fans of the television program.

We drove through Plano, Texas on the way to see Southfork in Parker. All these small cities are outlying communities of Dallas and all are quite nice.  Today however, for the second time in a year, we happened upon a motorcycle accident with the victim lying in the street with emergency people all around. The motorcycle itself lay on it's side some 100 feet away.  We'd come upon a similar accident, again, just after paramedics arrived, last year when we were in California.  The victim of that accident died and I'd be surprised if today's victim lived.  So sad.

Our lunch stop today was at Braum's. We each had hamburgers, topped off with ice cream sundaes.  
Braum's. Some of the best ice cream we've eaten lately.

From Parker we drove just a few miles to the city of Allen to see what is, perhaps, the country's only remaining stone dam. It was built in 1874 and was used for the railroad steam locomotives.  In 1912 a larger dam was built that caused this one to be submerged. In the 1960's the newer bridge was breached, causing the older dam to become visible again.
The Stone Dam at Allen Station.

We've both taken notice of the elaborate high schools in Texas.  We passed several really nice ones today and I couldn't resist taking a photo of this already huge football stadium being enlarged.  Incredible.  Texas loves high school football.
High School Football Overkill.

I mentioned in an earlier post that we've discovered both Lexie and Ozzie absolutely love baked sweet potatoes.  Wayne's begun baking a small one for them every week. He keeps it in the refrigerator and gives them "sweet potato treats" by hand, every evening.  I've never seen them so excited as when they're having these treats. Lexie, as timid as she is, will climb right up onto Wayne's lap to get her sweet potato bites. 

We both are getting a bit antsy to leave the Dallas area. We're moving along toward New Mexico when we leave here but for now, we're stuck waiting for the replacement window to be delivered and installed.  If it doesn't arrive today, it should come by Monday.  ho hum.



Sunday, April 15, 2012

Texas Motor Speedway

Driving home to our campground from Fort Worth two days ago, I "blogged" that we passed Texas Motor Speedway along I-35. We were impressed at the size of this complex. As we're not race fans (of any kind), I had to do a little research to find more.

Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth is the second largest sports facility in the country.  Both Indy-style racing and NASCAR Nextel Cup stock cars run the course.  The speedway inflield alone is large enough for four Cowboys Football Stadiums. Yes, I had to read that twice too. 

190,000 rabid race fans can be seated simulaneously and there are 194 skybox VIP seats.
Last week when we checked in at our campground in Denton,  we saw lots of NASCAR signage.  More flags and banners are going up every day. I expect the campground will be filled to capacity very soon.   Turns out April 12-14 is Samsung Mobile 500 Weekend.  We do not plan to attend.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Feels Just Like I'm Walking On Broken Glass....

The "dime" sized chip in Endie's windshield, created by a flying rock along I-10, was a minor annoyance compared to the shattered window we received this week from the campground's lawn service.

Mowers, edgers, blowers and other outdoor noisemakers are among Wayne's greatest peeves. Before he retired, it seemed the lawn service workers were always around our house when he was home for lunch and he always complained -- to me... not to them.   But I digress.

Sitting at the computer Wednesday morning I could hear the hum of the edger and the roar of the lawnmower.  I like the sound. It comforts me to know that somebody is working out there.

Suddenly I began hearing what sounded like scratching. I checked Lexie and Ozzie only to find them both sound asleep.  The scratching continued for a few minutes more but I didn't continue to look for the source of the sound. When Wayne came into the coach, he immediately saw the window. That's what was making that scratching sound? Yup. The stone hit the window but did not break complete through it -- it's shatterproof.  Instead, the scratching sound was the thousands of tiny breaks in the window. 

Here's the final result of the scratching.
This is how it looks from the inside.  Beautiful. Almost like a stained glass window without the stain.
It looks like this from the outside.
The lawnmower operator was still nearby and he was heartbroken (or appeared to be) when I told him what happened.  Within an hour the owner of the company stopped by to assure us that he or his insurance would replace the damage. 
The operator of the "devil" mower that hates our coach.
Poor guy was heartsick.  Turned out he had already gotten another window today. 

Thursday afternoon a glass company representative came by to take measurements for the replacement window.  Shatterproof glass cannot be cut like standard glass. It must be manufactured in the exact dimensions.  This will take 7-10 days. Oh boy.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Sightseeing In Ft Worth and the $9,800 Purse

Arlington's ritzy new sports stadiums and Dallas's memorials to tragedy have nothing on Fort Worth.  It is, after all, this is America's Cowtown and it's impressive to visit -- if you know where to look.
Ozzie and Lexie (laughing, I think).
As usual, our Texas Travel Guide and companion map gave us the lowdown on things to see and do.  This day, we picked several of the most desirable sites, did a little extra research on some things not listed and then loaded the dogs into the car for the short 45 minute drive to Ft Worth from Denton.

Fort Worth began as Camp Worth when, it 1849 Major Ripley Arnold chose the site because of it's desirable location at the confluence of two forks in the Trinity River.  Major Arnold named the site for his recently deceased former commander and Mexican War hero General William Worth.

Our first destination today is one not included in the travel guide. It is, in fact, one destination that is never in the mainstream tourism publications. It's the burial place of Lee Harvey Oswald, accused assassin of President John F. Kennedy.  Oswald is buried at Rose Hill Memorial Gardens on Lancaster Avenue. 
Add caption
For any of my blog readers who are so inclined (and possibly ghoulish) as to want to find Oswald's grave, here are some of the markers and photographs to guide you.
Oswald's grave is very near the west side fence of the cemetery. 
It is fewer than 30' from the roadway and is beside the stone of Nicholas Beef.

The granite memorial has the name "SHANNON" on the front. The front is not shown in this photo.
Oswald's grave is directly across from two unusual and beautiful black granite markers for REYNOLDS.
A very short distance from Rose Hill Memorial Cemetery, along East Lancaster, we passed The Ozzie Rabbit Lodge.  Is it simply an interesting coincidence that Ozzie Rabbit was the nickname given to Lee Harvey Oswald by his Marine pals just before he left the military to join the Communist Party?  I dunno.  Anyway, this Ozzie Rabbit is reportedly a hangout for punks, bikers, hipsters and others who march to the beat of a different drum.   
The Ozzie Rabbit Lodge on East Lancaster in Ft Worth.
No relation to Ozzie Smalley, small white dog with whom we have a very personal relationship.
We did not patronize this establishment.  In fact we did not get out of the car.
This photo was taken out the window, which was hurriedly put up afterward. 
We didn't linger around this area but made our way into the city of Fort Worth to find yet another grave.  This would be the burial place of Ben Hogan at Greenwood Memorial Park.  Lady GaGa (our Garmin's new name) took us directly to the cemetery but alas... she can't find graves!  Wayne being the "all wise" one he is, did not ask for directions so he wandered around hundreds of corridors in the Greenwood Mausoleum before finally asking one of the landscape laborers (yes, you read that right, landscape guy) who could not help but tried -- in another language, of course.

Fort Worth is America's 16th largest city by population and is nicknamed Cowtown.  We passed several beautiful old buildings that were either uninhabited, for sale or totally abandoned and some  lucky ones being renovated. 
The building on the left is absolutely huge and beautiful.
I don't know what it is.

This beautiful old building is for sale. It too has been left to run down.
Lady GaGa took us next to see the Will Rogers Memorial Complex that is the site of Ft. Worth's Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show.

Sadly, at least to me, these beautiful old buildings here too seem to be falling into ruin while new, glitzy ones are being built on the adjacent property.  There was no one at the Visitors Center except a parking attendant who did not speak English and could not tell us where the Visitors Center was (it was right behind him but it was un-manned).
Will Rogers Memorial Center
No one is here. It is all locked.

More of the Will Rogers Memorial Center -- vacant and locked.

Wayne is returning from his attempt to gain access or get information.
This tower can be seen from miles around. I don't know how tall it is. 

Humorist, Will Rogers
He was not a Texan. He was from Oklahoma.  
Leaving here, on the drive through downtown Ft Worth to the Stockyards National Historic District, we got a glimpse of Sundance Square Downtown Entertainment District, named for Butch Cassidy. It's a 35 block area of theaters, galleries, museums, night life and fine dining.  We didn't stop or spend any time there as there was just so much business traffic during the day.

We did stop long enough to take a photo of the mansion known as Thistle Hill. 
Thistle Hill is the last survivor of the cattle baron era of Fort Worth.
Next stop: The famous Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District.  Here we saw the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, the Stockyards Museum, the Texas Trail of Fame, Livestock Exchange Building, Cowtown Coliseum, the stockyards and lots more. Before we parked, we drove the very short distance to Billy Bob's Texas.
The sun is high and warm. Cold beer is waiting inside. $2 admission. We have two furkids with us.
Did we go in for a drink?  Nope.  We ain't leavin' these puppies for nothin'.

World's largest honky-tonk with 4,800 square foot rodeo area.
It also has 600 feet of bar rails and a 1,650 square foot stage for performances.
The streets in the Stockyard District are mostly cobblestone. The stops are short and the intersections have dips, turns, stops, starts and bounces.  We heard Ozzie start to vomit. He got car-sick!  Poor baby.  Wayne quickly found a shady spot to park and we got our sick boy out for a walk.

It was mid-afternoon and the sun was hot. We left the car in the shade, loaded Lexie and Ozzie into their stroller and took a walk around the Stockyard District.

... and we saw....

The Texas Trail of Fame is more than 100 bronze inlaid markers that honor men and women who made significant contributions to the Western way of life. Honorees include Roy Rogers and Dale Evans but I never found their markers.
As lovers of good leather work and fine cowboy boots, we ventured into the corner store of M.L. Leddy, famous saddle and boot maker. Surprisingly, I asked for, and received permission to bring Ozzie and Lexie into the store in their pink stroller (Ozzie says real men can ride in pink).

M.L. Leddy store front.
That's Ozzie's head -- he's looking for Wayne.

Anybody who knows me knows I'm thrifty so you can imagine the look on my face when I picked up a crocodile handbag with a $9,800 price tag!  It wasn't even locked behind bars!  There were also several $8,000 saddles on display (please don't sit on them though).  Wayne pored over belts, buckles, boots and hats. We bought nothing. 
At the intersection of Exchange and Old Main Streets.

The Cowboy Coliseum houses the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Pawnee Bill Wild West Show.

We were surprised to learn this factoid:  Ft Worth is the only city that continues to have daily cattle drives through the streets.  It happens twice every day.  These cowboys are waiting to drive the longhorns.

This old warehouse serves as the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame.
(I guess there's a Hall of Fame for everything)

Fort Worth Livestock Exchange building and grounds.

We purposely waited the last hour before 4 p.m. to see the afternoon cattle being driven down the cobblestone street, whiling away some time in the museums and gift shops.  Imagine our surprise and disappointment to have our camera batteries die just before the drive began!  We did not have extras with us.  Duh.  We found a bench under a shade tree in front of the Livestock Exchange  and watched about 20 longhorns being driven by about 10 men in cowboy hats on horses. One of them let out an occasianal "yelp" to the cows.  I couldn't help but wonder if the same cows walk down the street twice a day every day.   Ummmm.

Our last sightseeing visit today would be the campus of Texas Christian University. We drove around the campus and a few of the nearby neighborhoods, which were very nice. This would be a good place to live it it were not so hot here in summer.

The stadium is being enlarged,

A good bit of the campus looks like this with nice shaded lawns.

Returning to Destiny Dallas RV Resort in Denton we passed the absolutely huge Texas Motor Speedway. Exhausted and uninterested in car racing (of any kind), we had no interest in stopping, but did take note that there were hundreds of campers in the adjacent campground area. We've been seeing "Welcome Race Fans" banners around town so I suppose a NASCAR event is in the makings.  I think I read that this facility is the second largest in the country and hosts both Indy and NASCAR races.   Goleeeee!