Trip Start Jun 02, 2002
Trip End Apr 01, 2003

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Howdy from Texas:

It took us two days to get across Texas and arrive in Dallas. We passed many oil pumps along the highway; so, we naturally thought that gas would then be cheaper in Texas. We were wrong. Some guy told us that the gas they were pumping was going into New Jersey to be refined then straight into the national reserves. At the RV camp, the campground manager was very courteous and helped us out when it came time to back in our RV. We used to be able to do it ourselves no problem, but that was way back when we were on the east coast. As we traveled west; the land became cheaper, the RV campsites became larger, and all of the spots were pull-throughs, so it has been a while since we've had to back it in.

Today, one of us cleaned up the house as the other went grocery shopping in anticipation of Betty's arrival from Boca Raton, Florida. This was her second trip out to meet us somewhere in the United States. A new town with another guest made the visit all the more exciting.

Thursday - We picked up Betty from the airport and hung out at our house to catch up and talk about some of the things to do in Dallas. Even our friendly camp manager came over to introduce himself to Betty because we told him she was coming to visit. The afternoon turned into evening and I called a couple of Ethiopian restaurants to get directions. This is not only Betty's second visit, but the second time we ate at an Ethiopian restaurant. I began to see a theme going on.

We were the only guests in the restaurant, but the place looked like it turned into a nightclub later on. Once again, the three of us each ordered a different dish and they were all served together on one giant platter. Mmmmm The food was just as tasty as I remembered it was in Toronto. There was even some left over that I happily ate for breakfast the next morning while everyone else ate their breakfast burritos and quesadillas prepared by yours truly.

Friday - After another scrumptious breakfast, we left the house and drove the short drive into downtown Dallas. We met our city tour driver/guide at the Old Red Court House for an introduction talk about Dallas. Then we (the tour group) boarded the bus and began our tour around the city. Our first stop was the JFK memorial which was large, simple, and a bit eerie. There were many interesting looking buildings in the downtown area; however, we learned that many of them were either vacant or in the process of being converted from an office building into a hotel.

The bus let us out again at the farmer's market and we had about fifteen minutes before the bus was going to leave. When Jenn wasn't looking, I snuck around the corner to the little flower shop I spotted from my bus seat. Today was Valentine's Day and I enjoy being sneaky. Jenn came around the same corner and she was about to walk past the flower stand when I came out from behind the column. My facial expression revealed that I was up to something, and with only one hand showing, I could not hide my secret any longer...He He He One large lily for my valentine. She loved it.

Our next stop was right in front of the city's convention center where a sculptor created a larger than life bronze cattle drive complete with cowboys riding on their horses. We got out of the bus and walked into the middle of all those cows. Although they were motionless, their expressions and postures made them seem alive. We definitely felt the Texas vibe among all these cows and bulls.

After our tour around the Dallas area we drove ourselves to its neighbor city, Ft. Worth. We went to a place called The Stockyards, a popular place, where cobblestone streets are lined with restaurants and western novelty stores. We arrived just in time to witness the Stockyards' cattle drive at 4PM. This was a real cattle drive with real cowboys that took place in the middle of town! And that's no bull. (I couldn't resist) Sure enough, with a few cracks from the cowboy's whip the bulls began their march down the street. These longhorns had horns longer than I am tall and the street they walked down was lined with people's cars. If they freaked and began a stampede, a whole lot of damage would have happened.

We left the Stockyards and drove into the downtown city area to find the water garden we read about. We finally found it after a couple of laps around the city, but it was well worth it. As we walked up to the edge of it, I realized why we had trouble finding it before. It was a depressed, angular, stepped fountain that was about 50 feet deep and 300 feet in diameter. It is hard to describe but the water started at the top and gravity pulled the water down in sheets, down the steps, and towards a central pit to be pumped up to the top again. Plus there were these large steps for us to climb on that took us down towards the center of the fountain. It was thrilling to climb around and down into the fountain and at the same time it was calming to be surrounded by sounds of rushing water and rustling trees.

The afternoon turned to evening as we returned to the Stockyards to visit Billy Bob's Texas. This establishment featured live music, an indoor bull riding arena, pool tables, arcade, dance floor, and bars in every corner of the building. This place was big and it represented Texas. I enjoyed the bull riding, but Betty and Jenn enjoyed watching the clowns more instead. On the dance floor, we watched a guy propose to his girlfriend on one knee with a Budweiser in one hand and a ring in the other. She said yes with a Budweiser in one hand as he placed the ring on her finger of the other hand. How memorable on Valentine's Day in Texas.

Saturday - Today we stayed in Dallas and went to the Women's Museum at Fair Park. Fair Park is a 277 acre complex that houses museums, science centers, and an aquarium. Besides seeing the Women's Museum we also planned to see a few of the other museums there. However, this museum had so many exhibits and interactive displays, we ran out of time to visit the others. Also, our minds received so much material that it reached the point of critical mass and felt like it would explode if we would do so much as look at another museum.

The first thing we saw when we walked in was a thirty foot high electronic media wall. We walked upstairs to the second level and began our journey through the history of American women leaders, innovators, authors, artists, athletes, and revolutionaries. I am a man but I felt energized and motivated to do something positive in my life after reading all about these extraordinary women. One of the most interesting exhibits to us was the one that explained how boys and girls are raised distinctly differently. It may be part of our culture to give dolls to girls and airplanes to boys to play with, but if you think about it, it is a little like brainwashing. I'm not saying it is wrong for girls to play with dolls and/or airplanes, it's just wrong to limit their experiences based solely on gender.

After a picnic lunch in the warmth of our big truck, we drove through downtown to find the nondenominational church at Thanksgiving Square we drove past during our guided tour. What made this church so interesting was the fact that the stained glass panels were constructed into the spiraling roof. The church was empty when we arrived and the stained glass looked beautiful up in the ceiling. We left the church and on our way back home we passed by a peace protest in front of the Old Red Courthouse. Across the street from the peace protest was a much smaller crowd of people who showed support for our troops. I wondered why no one showed support for President Bush.

Betty's cousin Sally and her husband Don live in Dallas and stopped by for a visit. It was a real pleasure meeting them both and they had some interesting stories to tell about the old days of Dallas. For example, the property which was now our RV park was once a place full of bars and strip clubs for the mafia. We enjoyed their company and laughed together as we exchanged stories and got caught up with another.

All of us then climbed into their car and we took off for another downtown tour of Dallas. It was very cold outside but the heated seats in their car were a real luxury to experience. Throughout the tour, we almost ran through a couple of red lights which, I have to admit are hard to notice because they are off to the side and there are not any lines in the road to tell drivers where to stop. We stopped at the El Fenix restaurant for an excellent Tex-Mex dinner. Afterwards, Don spoke with the owners and they handed Jenn an old menu to take home as a souvenir. Muy bien.

Sunday - It was another windy day and today felt even colder than the day before. We bundled up to enjoy the beauty Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Gardens had to offer us. Unfortunately, it was not the time of year when many of the tulips and other pretty flowers bloom but the walk around the gardens was still enjoyable. We even saw a bride there waiting for her ceremony to begin.

We stepped inside the gift shop to warm up a bit and also to look around the house of the people who used to live here and whom made the gardens what they are today. It was a beautiful house and half way through, we were treated to a guided tour throughout the remainder of the house.

We came back home after the gardens. Betty decided to take it easy and relax on her last day in Dallas. I decided to work on catching up this website which I was so far behind in. Jenn decided to go out and visit the 6th Floor Museum and learn more about the assignation of President John F. Kennedy.

Well, we had a rootin tootin time in Dallas with our special guest Betty. Again, we could not believe how far we have gone on this trip and how close we now were to our starting point/final destination. Our next stop was Hattiesburg, Mississippi and this time we did not stay in an RV park. Our good friends Brian and Vickie invited us to stay at their house and we gladly agreed. New Orleans is only a two hour drive from their house and we were scheduled to arrive during the middle of the Mardi Gras celebrations. Many good times to come. Many good times remembered.

Deep in the heart of Texas,
Love Dave & Jenn
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