Visited March 2 – 29, 2017
We spent a grand month in the GREAT state of Texas! Texans will love me for saying that because they are famously proud of, and loyal to, their state, especially their flag! We’ve been in a lot of states and driven through a lot of neighborhoods but nowhere have we been so struck by how many homes fly their state flag as in Texas. You certainly don’t see the Florida flag at many homes.
Texas is a BIG state! Our route covered over 700 miles, but we only saw about 20% of the state. Our first stop was in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area where we packed a lot into our week! We spent a day and evening at the Ft. Worth Stockyards which included the small but terrific Stockyards Museum, the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame, fabulous steak and ribs and Texas beer at the legendary Riscky’s Steakhouse, and the rodeo in the historic Cowtown Coliseum, home of the first indoor rodeo in 1908! Sidebar, here’s my take on the rodeo. I love the showmanship and patriotism, the barrel racing, the bronco and bull riding, the cowboys and the cowgirls and the clowns! But I don’t love the calf roping and in fact, I must look away because I am such a sensitive sap for animals. To my surprise, I am not alone in that! When a calf eludes the rope, it runs through a gate at the other end of the arena (where my head was turned) and many calves did! There was louder cheering for them than for the ropers who were successful. I loved that! 🙂
We next visited our friends Jim and Janell who live in the charming suburb of Grapevine. What a great city with small town feel! The historic downtown main street is lined with great boutiques and eateries and home to the Palace Theater and Vintage Railroad. This is the kind of town that I’d love to visit at Christmastime because they go all out to deck the halls and streets and the train as the Polar Express! Jim and Janell took us out for local barbecue at Meat U Anywhere and it was the best, and I mean the BEST! We’ve eaten a lot of BBQ across this country and this little place is the standout that none of the others have matched, even the fancy, pricey ones. The brisket is oh my word wonderful and so are the sides. If you find yourself in Grapevine, you must go there! After lunch, Jim and Janell toured us around beautiful Grapevine Lake, park, and their lovely neighborhood which has recovered from massive flooding in 2015.
Later in the week, we visited the George W. Bush Presidential Library and the JFK Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza. This was our first time at any presidential library, and we were impressed and moved. The 9/11 exhibit is especially moving as is the Portraits of Courage displays painted by President Bush to honor 66 of our wounded warriors. He has come to know them personally and captures them and their stories. The Sixth Floor Museum is equally moving. It captures seemingly every moment before, during, and after the assassination. Regardless of partisan politics, both of these sites are chock full of history and legacy and memorabilia belonging to the presidents, and to our country.
Other random mentions:
–Red’s Burger House in Azle is a local main street favorite with big, fresh burgers and every kind of imaginable topping–standard and gourmet!
–I now know where the color “sky blue pink” comes from…the Texas twilight sky!
–There are a lot of grackles and they make a lot of racket; their call is loud and shrill!
–We continue to hear from folks who see us passing by in our rig or car! They honk and wave or contact us on SeeMyAmerica.com or Facebook. It is SO fun to connect with these encouragers all around the country!
We LOVED Waco! Not just because we love the HGTV Fixer Upper show with Chip and Joanna Gaines, although that is what drew us to spend time there. We loved everything there—Waco’s prime location between Dallas and Austin, the good size of the city but also the small town feel, the Riverfront with historic suspension bridge, the fantastic parks, the downtown area with the now famous Magnolia Silos (such a super, visitor-friendly concept for shopping and eating and recreating!), the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame, the Baylor University campus, the Redeemer Presbyterian Church, the fields of blooming Blue Bonnets and Indian Paintbrush (my new favorite!), the pizza at Baris III Pasta and Pizza, the barbeque at Rudy’s (though still no match for Meat-U-Anywhere in Grapevine!), Waco Mammoth National Monument, and the Corp of Engineers Airport Park where we camped for 12 days!
This was our first COE park and it is wonderful, with lots of site and hook-up options, and full of mesquite and/or oak trees, road runners and deer. Even better is that almost every site has a view of both sunrise and sunset over big and beautiful Lake Waco! Waco Mammoth National Monument is close by the park and is another must see! Almost 40 years ago, a couple of teenagers walking through the woods spotted a partially buried bone and took it to Baylor scientists who confirmed it to be a mammoth bone. A slow, extensive excavation of the site, which continues today, discovered fossils of a nursery herd of almost 30 Columbian mammoths, one camel and several other animals! Since 1990, most of the specimens have been protected in a climate-controlled Dig Shelter, where the public can view them and scientific study can continue. It’s a fascinating place!