Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Dallas - More Big

January 13-15, 2017
Grand Prairie, Texas

Cross winds and a little rain make the 60 mile drive on Friday morning seem longer, but we pull into Traders Village RV Park before noon. The first site is not for us - too many trees, flooded pad, very tight. I take a chance and go back to the office to ask for another spot. Bingo! We move over to a more open area, hook up electric and head back out.

We're going to the Cowboys' stadium in nearby Arlington. It's why we're here!

The grand house of Bill's team
We know what to expect. We think we know what to expect. It is like no other stadium - modern, high-tech, classy, very grand. We've heard all about it, but seeing it is soooo big!

Our tour is at 3:00 so we have lunch at the very posh restaurant. Of course it's big too. 

After perusing the good size pro-shop that has a lot of over-the-top fanabilia, we join our guided tour. Unlike other tours, this one uses escalators, which is the one thing Tessa doesn't do. Our guide takes us in the elevator, and we get to see some great photos that aren't on the tour :-)


Ready for Sunday's game
We all squeeze into the owner's suite, complete with private elevator from the parking garage.....rough.
Football shaped cutouts with cross-stitch light figures. One of several member-only clubs around the field.
The construction numbers - heights, pounds, lengths, square footage, capacity, mechanics - all BIG!
Played in the original stadium since 1937, the Cotton Bowl moved here in 2010
Our first cheerleaders' locker room - but it is the Cowboys Cheerleaders :-)

Oh goody, goody, goody.....

Happy fan

The hallways have dozens of classic photos.

Big and fancy, the players' tunnel to the field lacks the "football" feel of other stadiums. This one passes through one of the clubs.

The very best part of the tour is the unlimited access to the field. Fans are taking pics, throwing footballs, just sitting and taking in where they are. 

Screens on both sides are 160 feet long and 72 feet tall, each weigh 1.2 million pounds. The two end screens are 51 feet wide and 29 feet tall, they weigh 23,000 pounds each. They can be raised from 25 feet above the field to the very top.

So fun to be here!!
Those famous boots. 
There's no good weather while we're here, so Saturday we pick a few spots in Dallas to see from the car.

One is Dealey Plaza downtown. The location of President Kennedy's assassination, it is a sad but popular site. Being the weekend, it is crowded, and we don't stop to get photos this time.

There are numerous bridges crossing the Trinity River into Dallas. The Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge was designed by Santiago Calatrava, and completed in 2012. It parallels a walking bridge with a few art pieces. The center pylon is 400 feet tall - yep, big!

A very cold, wet wind means a quick walk up to get a few photos and back to Piper. 

The lovely bridge leads to Dallas' skyline

A little color on a monochromatic day

Big buildings reach to the clouds
One location that grabbed my interest was the Dallas Cattle Drive Sculpture in downtown's Pioneer Plaza. Not just a couple pieces, this is, you guessed it, a Big sculpture, including a large herd of steers and several mounted cowboys. 

The motion of the pieces is wonderful.

Feel the rumble of the ground under their feet. A bit intimidating!

The piece fills about a half block area among tall buildings.

It's interesting to join the herd, and easy to feel yourself being moved along.
I have no idea why I chose the The Hall of State, other than the art deco design looked so different from anything else we were seeing. It turns out to be the highlight of the day. 

Built in 1936 for the Texas Centennial Exposition, it is now home to the Dallas Historical Society. 

Finding it is a challenge, locked gates and deadends nearly make us give up. A city police officer gives us directions that take us past the old Cotton Bowl and through the exhibition halls of the state fairgrounds. It feels like we're "sneaking in" as there is no one else. When I stop in front of the building to take photos, a worker tells me the door is open and that it is "something you have to see". Okay!

All to ourselves.
Showing some age, but stunning.

The pillars are surrounded with "characters" from Texas' first 100 years.

Lapis tiles with bands of hand painted sun tiles.
And then you walk inside.....

The magnificent central hall includes colorful murals on both side.

Artistic beauty at every level.

Vaquaro photos in a room as captivating as the gallery.

G. B. Dealey Library
Texas door - Big!

Back outside we stroll through a small section of the vintage exhibition halls with large statues (of course).

It's like a neoclassic ghost town.

The fate of the original The Tenor created in 1936 is unknown. It was recreated in 2009. The Contralto stands on the other side of the pool.

One of the Six Ladies of the Fair

I couldn't find a name for this guy, but could have fun making up a few :-)

The grand old lady.
It is an eclectic and enjoyable day visiting the city of Dallas.

Sunday's playoff games are one big disappointment and one big relief.  

The relief comes not only from the final score, but from "surviving" our first tornado warning in the middle of a violent thunder storm that dumped an inch and a half of rain in four hours. 

While we're standing with other campers at the cinder block shower house we learn the tornado touched down on the other side of the municipal airport beside the park - about a half mile away. Fortunately the area has good drainage and the flooded roads clear quickly.

We were only in the Dallas area for two nights, but it was a very big experience.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Our First Texas Stops

January 9-12, 2017
Pittsburg, Texas

Texas is a really big state. We have several friends who live here, and originally I thought we could make a couple stops and see all of them. Uh, no.....

With our delay in Louisiana there are a couple we won't get to see this time :-( The first stop is to visit two sisters we went to school with.

Our Monday morning drive is much warmer than the last one. Bill finds us a route off the Interstate so we can enjoy more of the Texas countryside. 

Barefoot Bay Marina RV Park is on Lake Bob Sandlin in the northeast section of the state. I know our site number, but there are no signs so I make two loops before finding it near the highway. Normally not a problem but the interior roads are horrible, rutted, full of holes, steeply sloped - the worst we've encountered. Mostly seasonals, not well-maintained, but it was voted best campground in northeast Texas for 2016 so I'm sure it's fine for our two nights.

Space 40, Barefoot Bay Marina

Several sites on the water
We meet Paula and her mom and husband, David, for late lunch in town. Paula was the year ahead of me in high school, and a dear friend. As always, it's like no time has passed (it's been 30+ years since we last saw each other), and we enjoy a couple hours getting caught up. And of course I fail to get a photo - here's one from FB :-)

David and Paula - aren't they so cute?
Tuesday morning we sleep late and meet Pam and her boyfriend, Bobby Joe, for lunch near her home in Mt. Pleasant. Pam and Bill were in the same class, although she graduated with me, a year early. Always a lot of fun, we have a good time getting caught up with Pam and getting to know Bobby Joe.

After a couple hours hanging out back at our place, they take us for a ride around the lake, sharing history and stories. Both Paula and Pam were born in Pittsburg and are fourth generation. It's always great to see an area through eyes who have known it so long.

Pam and Bobby Joe - we had a great visit
We stop at this pretty little church - Reeves Chapel United Methodist

Grandpa is buried in the cemetery next door, not pictured.

It feels like Texas here.

We return as the sun sets on the lake.
Our Wednesday drive is only 75 miles, and Bill finds a route that gets us onto some nice country roads. Like everywhere we've been, Texas looks different from any other place.

Quinlan, Texas is the home of our friend Mike. He was Bill's first friend when he moved to Eagle Mountain - 51 years ago! He's working so we plan to see him the next day.

Sunset Resort is another lakefront location, this one on Lake Tawakoni. A nice park in the trees, it's a snug fit, but our back yard is lovely. FHUs with 50 amp, no table, no fire pit, level dirt.

Mike comes to visit Thursday morning before we go meet his girlfriend, Marlena. After a very yummy lunch in nearby Wills Point, the four of us return to our sweet spot on the lake. Mike lives just down the road, also near the lake, but his pups are not "particularly friendly", so our place it is!

Another great visit - we just love Mike. And Marlena is wonderful. We look forward to seeing both of them again.

It's so nice to have a couple warm days to enjoy our sitting area with Mike and Marlena

With a wonderful water view

Busy neighbors

The girls take a little walk

A subtle Lake Tawakoni sunset
Our warm weather is gone Friday morning, replaced by cold wind. But we're heading to Dallas to see Cowboys' stadium so there's no delay. For Bill, we're off to see hallowed ground :-))))