Thursday, August 21, 2014

7,205 miles in a month with weekends off for good behavior

Friday morning (August 15), I was up early.  I got the bike loaded and went to see what they had for breakfast.  Nauseating.  I just really don’t much care for breakfast but I did have a banana that held me over for a very long time.

I’d spoken to some guy in the parking lot, whose young son was enthralled with the bike.  He said Highway 117 from 40 down to Quemado, New Mexico, to Highway 60 was a great road.  He told me that if I did take it to watch out during about the first ten miles for the dips that are often filled with sand or dirt due to rain.

Highway 117 sounded perfect although I’d have to backtrack four exits.  I didn’t know it at the time but the small detour to get to this road was well worth the few extra minutes.

The first ten miles was indeed a bit of a bear.  There were dips with some of the red clay sandy stuff.  But when you slow down and take it easy, it’s no problem.  Up to the point I started hitting mud on the road.  That made me a bit more cautious.  But, hey, I ride in Alaska and I’ve got experience with mud, so I plowed through it although one section was a bit longer and a bit deeper.  There was a road crew working to clean it up and off the road, but I was there before they’d done much.  On I went.

It just made it a great trip riding through mud.  Yahoo!!!  NOT!!!
Oh, wonderful.  Water across the road.  I know that on a bike you need to be very careful but I could see that most of the water had gathered on the other side of the road that slanted downward.  I could see the white line under the water on my side, and it didn’t appear deep.  On I went, slowly, cautiously.  Ha!!!  A piece of cake and on I continued. 

Of course, I took this after I was safely through.
 This is a beautiful area, with high rock cliffs to one side of you and lava beds and plants to the other.  I was wearing my camera around my neck and tried to get a few shots off as I didn’t want to stop.  I was concerned with time and getting to Phoenix at about the same time Verlie would get home.
Beautiful cliffs lines the road on one side.

And lava rocks on the other side.  Great scenery.
A sign said there was a natural arch just ahead.  Well, you know I had to stop there.  I walked a short distance to where there was a good view of the arch.  Rock cliffs completely surrounded the area and it was quite lovely.  I’d have liked to walk further, up to the arch, but I was by myself and thought I really needed to get going.  I also don’t like to leave my loaded-up bike by herself.
Natural arches are always worth seeing.
Closer is even cooler.  But no time to walk there.
As I was taking a few photos, three bicyclists I’d passed earlier rode up.  They were young men from Belgium who were riding from the Canadian border to the Mexican border.  We had a nice chat about them camping in the area the night before, having lightning, thunder, pouring rain and a completely water-soaked camp, and then I headed back to my bike.  This is a road I’d like to take again, spending a bit more time to look around.

They were very nice young men, but it was time to get back on the road.  Both them and me.
The captivating surroundings make my dirty bike look beautiful.

Quemado appeared, and one of the prettiest little churches I’ve seen.  A photo op was in order here.  Then I hit Highway 60 and sped down the road.
Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Quemado, New Mexico.
Highway 60 is one of my favorite ways to get in and out of Gilbert, Arizona, where my friends live.  It has some of everything … the Salt River Canyon and beautiful rock formations, the river running near the road and a coolness to the air before you get down to the stifling heat in the valley where the City of Phoenix is located.

You also go through Globe, Arizona, which is another area I enjoy … with the road having the large sweeping corners, a few tighter ones, and a lot of traffic on this trip due to road construction.  Crap.  But the good news is that I didn’t have long waits anywhere on the one-lane sections.

As I got closer to my destination, I realized I’d once again gained an hour and was now way ahead of schedule since I’d not been dilly-dallying at all today.  Now what.  I did not have the combination to the security system at the house although I could get into the garage.  And I didn’t want it.  But I now had about three hours to kill until Verlie would get home from work. 

I needed a haircut.  So I started wandering in and out of the little strip malls in Gold Canyon, until I finally found one of the types of places I like … a walk-in salon.  My hair got a much-needed cut.  Why was there so much white hair on the floor?  Whose was it?  Mine?  Hard to believe.  I thought I was a blond.  Ha.  Oh well.  I stuck around in a chair enjoying the air conditioning and making a call or two.  I wanted to let Verlie know where I was.  She’d get home at about 5:30-6 p.m., so I planned to be at her house then.

The closer I got to the Phoenix area the hotter it started to get.  Running the slab adds to the heat of the day, triple-digit temperatures don’t help, and the direct sun on my face as I headed west made me hotter than usual.  I was drinking Propel constantly, replenishing the electrolytes in my system.  I have found it really helps, and I’ve used a lot of it on this trip.

I determined I’d drop my bags in the garage at the house and seek out a self-car wash for the bike.  Harlow had really taken a beating since the last wash.  We’d been through an area on Highway 160 where the bugs, BIG ones, were a constant barrage.  They covered the bike, the engine guards, the drink holders on the guards, everything, even my boots.  She was a sorry-looking girl.

At the house I rolled my bags and other things in and reshut the garage door.  I looked on the phone to find a wash place.  The closest one I could find was 30 miles away in Scottsdale.  I think not, especially with rush hour traffic coming up.

My next idea was to go find a place to sit for a while and enjoy a cold drink.  Now, thanks to my Cousin Jim, I intend to frequent more McDonald’s.  So I found one, ordered and drank two large glasses of iced tea and caught my mapbook up-to-date.  I played on my phone and then at about the right time headed over to Verlie’s.  She’d just gotten home a few minutes prior, so it was perfect timing.

Verlie and I spent some time chatting then it was off to enjoy a nice dinner at a Thai place.  Yummy curry and spring rolls.  And I told her I’d seen a frozen yogurt place.  We drove around a while but eventually found it.  I still like my Yogurt Lounge in Anchorage best although this place had a great sea salt caramel yogurt. 

On Saturday we never left the house.  I worked on blogs and we had a lot of talking to catch up on.  How is that?  I don’t know.  I guess when you don’t talk a lot on the phone you have it all to say when you see each other.  We’d not had much opportunity to catch up when I’d been there a month earlier and they were getting ready to leave in the bus.  Today was the day.  We decided we’d do all our chores on Sunday.  Verlie baked us a cake and we had popcorn for dinner.  That’s my kind of dinner. 

On Sunday we needed to take care of business, laundry for one.  And I needed to wash the bike, pack and repack the bags I leave there.  Verlie told me there was a car wash close by, so I rode down and got Harlow way cleaner than she had been.  She still needs some work but at first glance she appears to be pristine white.  Verlie and I did our usual … Red Lobster, as the sky opened to drop buckets of heavy rain, there was thunder and lightning, and perfect timing on our part.  We avoided all of it and the apparent dust storm by being inside. 

The trip to California was earlier this year.  The Phoenix and everything north and east of it were this latest trip.  All-in-all, a good bit of the countryside covered.

Monday morning, August 18, and I was on the plane heading home.  I had set this date to get home so I could vote in the August 19 election.  Yep, voting matters, and I am a super-voter. 

It’s been a great trip, 7,205 miles in a month, a lot of states, a lot of visiting, with weekends off to be with friends.  Not a bad trip at all.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Oddities and Angel Fire

August 14, Thursday.  Today is Biker Bill’s birthday.  I won’t say how old he is, but he’s lived a very long time.  Haha.  I never know what to get him for his birthday, but this time I knew … our friend the Postman from New York, Richard, and his lady, Kim, had visited Angel Fire, the Viet Nam Veteran’s Memorial, in New Mexico, near Taos.  Biker Bill has a brick there and Richard noted that it was in need of cleaning but he didn’t have any cleaning items with him.  I thought that would make a great birthday present, something different, something worthy.

I set out, but before I got too far there was another roadside attraction in Raton, New Mexico, that I wanted to see.  It was a Robocop Miner.  It’s located near the hospital, complete with a coal car.  The Robocop Miner is a tall, metal sculpture of a miner, but it has certain robotic features in the design.  It was a pretty cool thing to see, and then it was time to get on the road to Angel Fire.
This coal car was part of the display I'd gone to see near the hospital.

The cyborg Robocop Miner was the main attraction for me.  The hospital in Raton specializes in treating injured New Mexico miners.  The statue is 10 feet tall, and is of the "openness" style and it's said that some of the miners do not like it.

Some folks think that it looks like Robocop all shot up.  On the other hand, some think that maybe an injured miner would not enjoy being wheeled past an oversized cyborg with large chunks of its body missing.
As I rode along, there was another item I had wanted to photograph.  Today was the day for that, as well.  The tall windmill pumps in the pastures.  I think they’re beautiful, but I had not seen just the exact one I’d wanted before this day.  While I tried to photograph it showing motion, the blades just weren’t turning quickly enough.  Or I couldn’t get my camera settings right.  Oh well.

I think the windmills are very cool. 
The next thing I saw, and wasn’t expecting, was a herd of deer.  This wasn’t your ordinary herd … there were at least six big bucks in it and they all had big racks … keepers if you’re a muley hunter.  They were separate from some does that were just over the hill.  The bucks eventually went over to the does, making a larger herd.  Just wish I’d been closer for a superior photo.  But it was a wonderful thing to see, one I’d not seen before, and will probably have to look long and hard for to maybe, sometime, see again.
Lots of deer.

Big deer.
As I rode on, I saw an occasional antelope.  They’re kind of cool, too, but I did not stop to try to photograph them.  They’re rather wiley, and don’t hang around once you stop.  I noticed a vehicle stopped in front of me along the road, and I slowed down.  That was a good thing.  From in front of the car, an antelope appeared, and it came running full speed, right alongside the road just off the blacktop, my side, to my right.  I was nearly stopped because it was charging forward, and I didn’t know if it would just go past me, go between the car in front of me and me, or decide to smack the bike.  Full speed, a charging antelope.  What a sight.  What a thrill.  Then it veered off toward the pasture to the right of me and was quickly gone.

Angel Fire Viet Nam Veteran's Memorial.

On I went, thankful for the wonderful things I’d already seen this beautiful morning, my next to last day of riding.  Angel Fire looked to be in the middle of the clouds and storms.  I was hoping I’d not be in rain.  While it didn’t get totally blue-sky and no-clouds clear, it was enough to have some sun.  I parked, got a cleaning rag and a bottle of water I’d brought and some cleaning soap from my bags. 
And then I walked through the entrance.
This plaque is inside but near the entrance to the memorial.  I suspect it was very true for many who have
 written home over the years.
This statue goes with the plaque, the writer, not knowing what to write.
I walked into the memorial area, snapping a few shots because it’s mostly a beautiful, peaceful place, disregarding the military helicopter.  It’s one that makes you think about what transpired, hard to do if you weren’t there.  But one can imagine the horror … and hope to never have to be a part of something like that, and to hope that your loved ones don’t have to be a part of anything like that ever again.
But this place of beauty lies within the memorial.  Bringing a sense of serenity.
The memorial bricks are laid out in sections.  I was looking for Section 27.  There were many, but I found it, along the walkway on the right going down toward the T-split where you can go to the left to the chapel, or to the right to the visitor center and museum/gift shop.  The setting for the section is beautiful with a small stand of trees tied with yellow ribbons and a small American flag.  It’s a pretty and perfect location. 
The trees surrounding the brick walkway add something to the entire effect, tranquility, calmness.
I quickly spotted the brick … William E. Hobbs, USMC 1964-1968.  There was dirt, a few small rocks and some grime on it.  Yes, it definitely needed a bit of cleaning.  I got down on my hands and knees and then got further down and just sat.  I’ve never been to war, but I could feel things there … tears came for those who were gone, those who have suffered losses … of limbs, mental stability, friends, family … all war must be difficult but this one more than most.  These guys were doing what they were told to, but they were treated badly when they returned, either whole, partially or in a wooden box.  That was wrong and I hope that in some way they and their families can know that many of us feel a bit of their pain and wish them healing and positive thoughts and recovery from that time in their lives.
Yes, this brick needed some cleaning.
A youngster came by and asked if I was okay.  Yes, but thank you for asking.  It was time to clean the brick.  I poured water on the it, scrubbed the rocks and dirt away and poured more water on it.  It was looking pretty good.  I repeated the process, but figure it won’t take much time for the sun’s rays to do its thing to it again, as will rain and the dirt that might move down from the small hillside.  But for at least a day it will look new again, and I will have helped give a gift to a man who deserves much thanks for his service.  Thank you, Biker Bill.
A bit of cleaning made a huge difference to the brick.
It was time to wander again through the museum where I purchased some candles to light in the chapel.  One was for Biker Bill so he knows he’s cared for and never forgotten.  I also chose to light one for each of three friends who died in a motorcycle accident, May 3, of this year … Rest in Peace, Elaine Loew, and Jim and Sabrina Carlyle.  You were loved and are missed so very much.

Many folks light candles and I was one of them this day.
There are many interesting things to see and read at the memorial site and it's a place worth visiting.
Back out to the parking lot I went.  As I stood by my bike loading up my supplies, another bike pulled in, two up.  I had my back partially to it, heard the rev and the swearing and knew it was going down.  I looked out of the side of my eye.  Yep.  Down it went.  I waited and then turned around and asked if they were okay.  Yes.  The guy said they’re just so heavy and once they start to go you can’t stop them.  I shared some of my parking lot stories in hopes they would not be too embarrassed and then got on my bike and headed out.

 In a short time, Taos appeared through my windshield.  I gassed up and kept going.  I needed to make some time now, so while I rode part of the southern portion of the Enchanted Circle (I’ve ridden the northern section from east to west on a previous trip) I soon made my way back to Interstate 25, and down to Interstate 40 where I rode west.   While I don’t normally ride much of the interstate system, time was becoming critical.  It was late-Thursday and I wanted to be in Phoenix area by Friday afternoon.  There were still several hundred miles to go and I didn’t want a big-mileage day on Friday since I would be running into the triple-digit heat.  Ugh!!!

Soon I got to my destination, Grants, New Mexico.  I’d decided this would be a good place to stay and then I’d only have about 350-400 miles to go the next day.  I found my new favorite hotel, a Comfort Inn, although this one was an older one and not as nice as others I’d stayed in.  However, it still had the five or six pillows so I could choose the kind I liked best.  And there was an indoor pool and a restaurant that had pretty good brisket, although it wasn’t as good as the one I’d had when visiting Slider.  That one was beyond compare.  But I survived and enjoyed this one.  Then it was time to settle in for the night and work on a blog.  There was no television because the Dish network was down due to storms in the area.  What did it matter to me?  Nothing.  I was in for the night and hard at work.  I could hear the thunder outside but I was safely in for the night.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Roadside attractions and oddities

On Tuesday, August 12, I just wasn’t in the mood to ride.  I didn’t feel well, my neck ached, my head ached, my stomach ached.  I still racked up more than 400 miles but my heart wasn’t in it.  But even so, there were things to see, and I stopped to take a few photos.  I was hoping my not wanting to ride mood would pass by the next day.  And to help that along I went to bed early.

I found these in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and had to stop because they were beautiful.

Of course, I'm always drawn to horses.

There were probably more about town but these were on my route.  They remind me of our Wild Salmon on Parade that the IBEW sponsored.  Those were awesome.

When I awoke Wednesday, August 13, I felt like myself again, up and at ‘em, ready and wanting to ride.  I had places to go and things to see.  This part of the trip is for roadside attractions.  I’d looked up a few on the Internet and my ride was planned around some of them.

I first rode to Beaver, Oklahoma.  What’s there, you might ask?  It’s the Cow Chip Throwing Capital of the World!!!  And every year the World Championship Cow Chip Throw is held the third weekend in April.  It’s the oldest such competition anywhere, and in 2014 it was the 45th chip throw.

In 2011, April Jamison, the Cow Chip Throw President who helped gather the chips personally said, “Cow chips are handpicked from the fields from a day when it hasn’t rained.  You don’t want to end up drying them in your oven.”

Need I say more?  I'm sure you have enough information, or too much, on this event!!

The chips are selected for size (they must be at least 6 inches across) and symmetry.  Each hurler can choose two chips and the one who can hurl their chip the farthest establishes their place in the rankings.  At the last check, it cost $20 to participate.  I did not go hunting for cow chips.

King Cow Chip.  How's that for a cow chip?

King Cow Chip reigns over the festivities and during parades, keeping the cow chip competition alive and his fans putting out commemorative gift boxes of cow chips.  How’s this one for a roadside oddity?

And what else did I find in Beaver?  I keep wanting to see a big bull elk, but this isn't exactly what I meant.  I'd like to see one out in the areas I'm traveling through, not in a pen.  Oh well.  That was the best I could do.
My next stop was  north in Liberal, Kansas, where I also spent the night although it was difficult to find a room due to construction and oilfield workers taking up most of the available rooms.  But once again, I was in, although it was not the best of accommodations.  Sometimes you just have to suffer for your work.

I’ve been through Liberal before and been to Dorothy’s House and the Land of Oz (the movie “The Wizard of Oz”).  This time I was seeking something different, a library shaped like an open book.

This is very cool and I wouldn't have known about it except for finding it on the Internet at America's Roadside Attractions.

For years the Liberal Memorial Library used a big concrete book with the entrance door carved through the book’s lower facing pages and spine.  The book was added to the building in 1955 and at the time was the largest open book library entrance in the United States.  In 1988 the library cemented over the door and moved the entrance to one side.  Bummer.  I would have loved to have entered the library through that entrance.  Oh well.  It’s kind of like how reading has gone by the wayside, too.  Except I still love to read books.  And have a library card for our Anchorage library.

I was going to head out of town after seeing the library book, but a friend told me about the Liberal Harley shop and how she’d gotten a shirt with ruby red slippers logo on the back.  I’d been to this shop before and had decided I didn’t need another shirt, but now I had to go get one with ruby red slippers.  Oh well.  What’s another shirt.  Harley-Davidson must love me.

Yes, there is no place like home.
Then I was gone, heading back into Oklahoma seeking a few more attractions.

While I was seeking attractions I’d found on the Internet, there are always other interesting things to photograph along the way.  I often pass up worthy subjects, but sometimes I make that turnaround and go get them.  Today was no exception because I’d decided it was roadside attraction day.

Old, worn-out buildings hold my interest ... and this one was exceptional.

My next true town stop was Boise (to rhyme with voice) City, Oklahoma.  There were several things here that I wanted to see.  Imagine, in this little town. 

One was a bomb … what?  In 1943 Boise City was mistakenly bombed by a training mission from an air base in Texas.  The only thing destroyed was a garage.  How embarrassing was that for the air force since the bombs were aimed at the courthouse.  Whoops.  While most would try to forget being bombed by your own, Boise City did not.  On the 50th anniversary of the bombing the town built a replica bomb crater out of concrete and placed it in front of its Chamber of Commerce office, an old caboose.

The sign says it all.

One of the bombs that fell juts out of the crater.  The crater is less than 2 feet deep.
My next stop was at the edge of town.  For a small town there was a lot to see.  This time I was at the Cimarron Heritage Center.  Here there was a tin woodsman, a sequoia tree slab and a dinosaur.
In August 1989, a gentleman by the name of John D. “Pete” Morris (deceased) built a 13-foot-tall, 70-pound replica of the well-known tin woodsman character from “The Wizard of Oz” movie to attract customers to his log Cabin Corner CafĂ©, south of Laverne, Oklahoma.  The woodsman moved to Colorado in 2006 and in 2011 returned to Oklahoma where it now resides at the museum. 
You can see how big the woodsman is because my bike is in the background.
I next wandered over to the sequoia tree slab.   Carl Etling, a local, purchased and brought the 10-foot diameter slice from a California sequoia tree to Boise City in the 1950s for display at county fairs so people could see how magnificent the majestic trees are.
A nearly 10-foot slab of a California sequoia tree graces the lawn at the museum.
Then I saw the main reason I’d come here … the giant dinosaur, a life-size, metal, three-dimensional brontosaurus.  The museum is near the outskirts of town, so the dinosaur is quite the greeting for folks coming in on Highway 287.
A gentleman by the name of Joe Barrington, Throckmorton, Texas, is the artist for Cimmy.
The “Cimmy” (Cimarronasaurus) sculpture is made of steel, is 65-feet long and 35-feet tall, a size calculated, according to the sign, from 80 percent of bones that were excavated in western Cimarron County in the 1930s, supposedly making the dinosaur life-sized.
I stop at a lot of memorials that are dedicated to service people.

This one was quite simple.

There were listings of those who died and those who served from various wars.  This listing is the one from the Viet Nam war.  Thank you, Mr. Hobbs for your service.  There was no one named Hobbs on this list.
There was another oddity … a 50-mile stretch of road that is considered the longest straight road in the United States.  It runs east (or west depending on which direction you're coming from) from Boise City to just west of Guymon, Oklahoma (Highway 412).  It actually runs for more than 47 miles in one area and then another 65-plus miles in another area, all in Oklahoma.  I didn’t realize that and was on that road, not quite the entire way but far enough.  BORING!!!  I’d come onto the road just west of Guymon, so I rode most of it.  I should have paid attention to that little oddity when I was looking at them online.  I could have put the bike on auto-pilot if I had it and gone in the back to make a sandwich, if I’d had a tour pack.  Oh well.  Quickest and easiest route to get where I was going.  And where was that now?

Colorado was the next state of choice.  I planned to go to Trinidad where Verlie’s mom was in a nursing home, re-cooperating and rehabilitating from a fall and a resulting broken hip.
Along the way I saw the cow photo I wanted.  I'd been wanting a picture of cows in ponds cooling off. 
There was quite the greeting committee at the fence.
The town council came closer to check me out.  One or two from the back group would come forward and push the others out of the way to get a view of me.  They were quite curious.
I arrived in Trinidad, address in hand that Joe and Verlie had texted me.  How far was I from there?  Slightly more than a mile when I stopped at a Sonic.  I’d decided I wanted to take Verlie’s mom something, and it was going to be a milkshake if I could get it there in the heat without it melting. 

Two milkshakes coming up, banana cream pie and caramel Oreo cookie.  Virginia (Verlie’s mom) surely would like one of them.

My next issue was how to get them to the nursing home.  Easy.  One could go in my cup holder.  Now what? 
Milkshake in a cup holder ... perfect fit.
I put the other one in my saddlebag hoping it wouldn’t spill or fall over and get on my computer, cameras and additional lens.  I propped it up because the tops have holes in them for the straws.  Should be interesting.
A saddlebag milkshake ... no spilling.
I carefully rode down the street, avoiding bumps as best as possible.  I found the right road and rode up, pulling into the parking lot.  There was no number that I could see on the building, so I parked and went in, only to find out it was the wrong building.  Crap.  Those things are going to be totally melted.  I rode to the next parking lot, grabbed the milkshakes, no spilling there (yay), and proceeded inside. 

A nice lady directed me to where Virginia was sitting, in the dining room with her sister and brother-in-law.  I came up from behind her and plopped the milkshakes in front of her.  She turned and looked up at me?  “Who are you,” went through her mind.  I could tell by the look on her face.  I told her, Patti from Alaska, Verlie’s friend.  Then she knew exactly who I was.  But I had surprised her and I wasn’t in the right place that she’d think I should be.
Virginia, seated, and her sister Lucille and Lucille's husband, Charles.  I guessed right.  Banana cream pie is
Virginia's favorite so the milkshake was a hit.
We had a great visit, and all too soon it had to end.  I needed to be back on the road to get to Raton, New Mexico, and get in place for my visit to the Angel Fire Viet Nam Veteran’s Memorial the next day.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Weekend in Dallas

Saturday morning (August 9) I was up and ready to hit the road as I wanted to get to Slider’s in time for coffee.  While coffee at the hotel was okay, I knew she had the good stuff.

I was actually closer than I’d thought, and I found her place just like I knew where I was going.  On occasion, that happens.  More often than not, though, it does not.  Oh well.  More miles for me.

She had the gate and garage door open and I just rode right on in.  She was washing her car, and was nearly finished.  Then it was time for coffee.

We visited like we hadn’t seen each other just two weekends ago.  How could we possibly have more to talk about?  But we did.  We always have, and probably always will.

Today (August 9) was her birthday.  And surprisingly, I had something for her (which I usually do not), and I even had the exact right card (now why would I be carrying a birthday card?).  Sometimes things just happen.

Slider told me about this new dine-in movie theater.  While I thought it might be like the Beartooth at home, was I ever wrong.  We decided to go … I knew it would be something I’d enjoy.  We just needed to figure out the movie to see.  Slider had been the day before and seen a movie called, “The 100-foot Journey.”  She said it was about two chefs in France.  I’m thinking, not my kind of movie.  But she said it was really good and she’d see it again.  Okay.  We’ll see.  I was a bit skeptical. 
Yep.  A good place to go for something different to do.

Off to the movie we went.  The movie theater had red reclining seats, and I mean reclining, down to the point of being like a bed.  And the trays for the food slid around to be in front of you.  There were drink holders at the side, and a place in between the seats for belongings.  Wow.  Pretty snazzy.

Kinda dark in the theater. 
I had a wedge salad and a crab/cream cheese dip with fried wonton chips.  The dip, I wouldn’t have again although it was probably good.  The salad was excellent.  I also had an apple dessert that was great, too.  Slider had fish and chips and the apple dessert.  All was good.

Now, back to the movie.  The movie was wonderful, great, awe-inspiring, thought-provoking.  It was a movie that I so enjoyed I hated to see it end.  And I don’t often say that about a movie, and this was one that was not in my normal list of movies I’d see.  Wow.  This one is a five-thumbs-up in my book.

Then it was back to the house, still talking about the movie and how great it was.  And Slider had seen it two days in a row but enjoyed it enough to do that.

On Sunday we decided to go to the Ross Perot Museum.  What?  Who knew.  We’d talked about this on my previous visit as Slider had heard about it and wanted to go since her company had made a donation to the museum.

We got ready to go, and off we went, driving in downtown Dallas.  What a beautiful city it is downtown, although I don’t care much for big cities.  This one is really pretty … tall, gorgeous buildings that have been designed to attract attention, lots of glass. 
This is a dog park and all the pillars are painted with trees and other cute things like this one.

Driving through downtown Dallas is great ... on a Sunday and you're not the one doing the driving.
The Ross Perot Museum is an interesting-looking building, too.  It looks like material spread over a base, and torn, much like the kids wear their jeans with the tears. 
There's this odd hanging glass thing from the building, and I never did see what it was from the inside.

The building is just very different-looking from others I've seen.
Even the entrance to the building is different.
Just outside the entrance is a frog park … for children.  NOT!  We played on the frogs, too.
Frog parks aren't just for kids.

There were lots of adults playing on the frogs, too.

Then we walked inside the museum and the first thing we saw was a dinosaur.  I knew this was going to be good. 
It's a great museum when there are dinosaurs.

We got our tickets and walked through the gates to be greeted by a hanging display of origami butterflies.  Too cool.
There must have been hundreds of origami butterflies.

It was a whole flight of them.
There are four flours, plus a bird display in an additional area.  We started at the top … and worked our way down. 
There was a separate elevator for when we were ready to go up to the bird display.
 There are wonderful displays of dinosaurs, and it rivals the displays I’ve seen at other museums. 
There always seem to be so many dinosaurs it's hard to get a good shot of a single one.
This one has a large eye socket, and could see exceptionally well.
This display allowed youngsters (or oldsters if they wanted) to build their own dinosaur.
Who can resist the big-tusked mammoth.
A flying tortoise.  Actually, not.  It was just displayed overhead and appeared to be flying.  This turtle was roughly the size of a small car.  That's scary.

The bird display was great, and interactive.  You could make your own bird, and see what it looked and sounded like at the end.  Mine, of course, sounded like a Trumpeter swan.
Pretty colorful.  There was loads of information that I intend to use when I get my Bird TLC presentation together.  It made some things seem much clearer to me, and I hope the photos I took will be usable in the slide show.
Dallas taken through a window of the museum.  Love the tall buildings.
Another floor housed robots and you could make one, other displays that read your heartbeat, showed the veins in your hand or had wood squares move with you.  It was all a wonderful time, and the interactive stuff would drag you back to visit over and over and over.  There’s so much to see and not enough time.
These boys were having robot races.
Me and Slider ... a microprocessor and a camera interpret your images as pixels.   Tiny motors tilt each wooden tile so it catches the light to mirror what the camera sees.  It was pretty cool.
This one shows the veins in my hand.  Ugh!!
We hit another floor and this had the gems … oh my.  There were a few of those I wouldn’t mind putting into my jewelry box.
The displays were awesome.  This was a favorite with the sticks and gems all around.
Looks like a rose in a way.
A gold nugget I'd treasure.

This is a really beautiful piece.  It's a fossil of an extinct mollusk known as ammonite.  it lived from 400 million to 65 million years ago.  The iridescent colors are a result of light passing through the very thin layers of the fossil shell's ammolite (calcium carbonate) material. 
There was one more stop we made … Rick Fairless’ Strokers Ice House.  He designs custom, and I mean CUSTOM, bikes.  I’d call them bar bikes, but they were beautiful to look at.  I had to look at everything.  It happened that Rick was on the grounds, so we got a photo with him.  He was very nice to us, and seemed like a pretty good guy.  His bikes sure are outta this world.
There are a lot of things on top of this building that I don't get, but they are certainly eye-catching.

Appropriate head attire while riding in Texas.

Rick Fairless, Slider and me.  He was very accommodating, particularly since the first guy we asked to take our photo couldn't figure out how to work the camera, even when I showed him three times.  The next guy wasn't a whole lot better but we did, at least, FINALLY, get a photo.  These guys, some of them, drink better than they can take pictures.  Haha!!!  And through it all, Rick was very gracious.  Thank you, Rick Fairless.
These are not your ordinary custom bikes.

And they came in all colors.

I didn't ask prices.  If there's no price tag on it, you can't afford it.
Outside there’s a bar, sometimes live music, and my obligatory MC.  This time it was the Dirty Bastards.  I was respectful and asked for a photo. 
While this one isn't the best of the guys, the gal photo-bombing had to be the photo I used.  It's my favorite. 

I've run into a lot of MCs this trip.  All have been gentlemanly.  Thank you.  I appreciate it.  And will continue to be respectful to those who wear an MC patch.
And a little drive by on the way to lunch.  A couple even posed for us.  Cuties.
Then we’d had enough for the day.  It was time for lunch.  This lunch was the best I’ve had in a long time … Texas Land & Cattle Co.  Steak, baby. 
On Monday (August 11) we decided I’d sleep in a bit, blog a little and get ready at leisure.  Slider would come home at lunch to say good bye, and I’d head out then.  And that’s exactly how it worked out.
It’s always sad to say good bye even though I know I’ll see her again.  It’s just that it’s not as often as I’d like, but we always have great visits, and look forward to the next ones.
Interstate 20 east was how I got out of town.  I then headed north and west, with no real destination in mind.  I didn’t need to be back to Phoenix until Friday, so I had some time to play.  I made it to Ada, Oklahoma.  While I hadn’t made many miles, nor taken any photos, it was a good ride.