Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Three More Day Trips

Needing to be out of the trailer while they are painting has allowed us to take three more day trips. Last Wednesday we spent the day at the Dallas Arboretum. It is a world class arboretum and we had a wonderful and relaxing time looking at all the gardens. They have a Fall theme going and there were pumpkins everywhere.

It is located on the shores of White Rock Lake near downtown Dallas. The property used to belong to the DeGoyler family who made their money in oil. They built the house in the 1938's and it is an architectural treasure. Some of the furnishing were purchased from William Randolph Hurst who had more things than he could fit in his castle on the coast of California.

On Thursday we went to the State Fair of Texas. Seniors get in free on Thursdays, so we drove to the nearby DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) station and rode it to the main gate. The DART only cost $8 for the two of us round trip. Parking at the fair, after fighting the crowds and downtown Dallas traffic, costs $15. It was a no brainer.

The Texas State Fair is the largest in the country. We spent the whole day there, leaving about 7 PM, and still did not see everything. We didn't go to the midway at all, yet still had a good time seeing all the exhibits, animals, free shows and other fair displays.

Yesterday we drove south about 120 miles to Waco, TX where we visited the Texas Ranger Museum. They were/are an interesting group with a varied history. They have served in different capacities at different times, starting during the pre-Republic days, and serving during the Republic, early statehood, Confederate days, Mexican War and finally their roles during modern statehood. Even then they served in an evolving role. Today they are basically a state FBI type organization that provides assistance to local law enforcement agencies.

Our outings have been fun but we are ready to get on the road. The painting is all done and they are now working on reinstalling all the lights, awnings, ladders, etc. They also still have to reseal the entire unit. It should be all done in a couple days. We will post pictures when it is complete.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Playing Tourist

The trailer and truck painting is still ongoing. It is taking longer than we, or they, thought it would. They have run into difficulties with employees primarily, but they are doing good work and will be sure it is right before calling it done. In the meantime, we have been finding things to do since we can't be in the trailer while they are painting. Some days that consists of trips to Costco or Fry's, but a couple days this past week we did visit some interesting places.

It is so nice that the weather has finally cooled off so we can ride the scooter again. Last Friday we rode up to Gainesville, a small town about 30 miles north of Denton, but we took the scenic 54 mile route to get there. We went to the Frank Buck Zoo. Some of us older people may remember "Bring em back Alive" Frank Buck. He was on many TV shows and in some movies back in the day. He is considered the "father" of modern zoos and was responsible for capturing many of the animals found in zoos around the country. He was born in Gainesville, and though he had nothing to do with starting the zoo, it is named in his honor. He did visit there on occasion, and some of his things are in a small museum dedicated to him.

The zoo itself is rather small and certainly not up the the standards of larger zoos. Seeing the rather small enclosures and cages in which many of the animals are kept left us feeling a little conflicted about it. Still, it was entertaining for a couple hours. We did see at least one animal that we have never seen in other zoos, a cavy.

Saturday we rode down to the west side of Fort Worth to visit the Texas Civil War Museum. Of course, Texas joined the war on the Confederate side, and the film we first watched was presented from that perspective. Then we toured the museum itself. It was very well done with sections for infantry, cavalry, artillery and medicine. The displays on the left were from the Union soldiers, and the displays on the right were the same items used by the Confederate soldiers. It was very interesting to see the similarities and the differences. Most of the items were identified as to the actual soldiers and officers who used them. Again we saw some items we have never seen in any museum we had visited before.

Following those sections was a display of battle flags, followed by a large display that had nothing to do with the Civil War: Victorian dresses. Dianna spent quite a bit of time there while I rested my tired legs. After a visit to the ever present souvenir shop, we headed home.

This week we plan to visit the Dallas Arboretum on Tuesday, and go to the Texas State Fair on Thursday. Of course, the Texas State Fair is the largest state fair in the country. We've been every year we have been in the area, and it's always a lot of fun. Admission is free for people 60 and over on Thursdays. We'll let you know how that all turns out.