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.


  1. Guess it is said that everything is BIG in Texas.

  2. oh my, that tornado was waaaay too close! Better get on out of TX!

    1. Weather looks good for the rest of our journey, but we are on our way west!

  3. Loved your pictures from The Hall of State. I can't believe you had the whole place to yourself! But my favorite would be the Cattle Drive Sculpture...love your description!

    A half a mile is way to close for a tornado!

    1. The Hall was a wonderful surprise! That cattle drive is so cool - a must see in Dallas :-)

  4. Wow, that stadium took some engineering to build! 1.2 MILLION POUNDS EACH!!!! Bill looks just as happy as you were when you were in the Steelers locker room :-) I think running with the bull statues is way safer than the actual running with the bulls festival, LOL How did Tessa react to the statues? Probably sniffed like crazy and then figured it was nothing to worry about.
    I agree with the other, 1/2 mile is WAY too close! Glad you all are safe :-)

    1. It was a bit intimidating standing under those mega screens! Tessa didn't pay much attention, she was more interested in the people on the sidewalk :-) Don't ever need to be that close to a tornado again!!

  5. I could almost hear the rumbling of those cattle just from your pictures!

    1/2 mile is way too close to a tornado touchdown. Glad to hear you went to the shelter. Even more glad to hear you are OK.

    1. The statues are brilliant :-) Knowing there was a block structure to hide in did help some!!

  6. Thanks for the photo of the WMU Bronco helmet next to the Cotton Bowl trophy, Jodee! So cool!

    1. Bill wondered if you'd like that :-)))) It's an awesome display - I have more pics of it, remind me when we see you.

  7. Wow!!! I'm glad you guys were okay.. we watched the game here. It was good! We were rooting for Dallas! Loved the pictures!

    1. Great game, bad ending :-( I took a ridiculous number of photos!

  8. So scary to have a tornado that close to you! This isn't even supposed to be tornado season in Texas! Glad you guys are safe. Despite the tornado scare, you really did have a "big" time in Dallas. The Texas Hall of State is beautiful, and so is the cattle drive sculpture. You've put Dallas on our list for our next trip through that enormous state.

    1. There was a little traffic mid-day on the surrounding highways, but it wasn't bad for all I've heard about it. There is a lot of art and history, we'll be back to catch more of it!

  9. For a short visit you packed in a great tour of Dallas. Cowboy stadium sure seems to be everything it appears to be. From your photo that tunnel just doesn't cut it. What a thrill for Bill:) Love those "boots!"

    The Cattle Drive Sculpture is quite impressive...very Big...very Texas:)

    So glad the tornado passed the park. We've never come that close. It must have been scary.

    1. I really didn't give us enough time as there is a lot to do and see - was mostly focused on seeing the stadium :-) I'm hoping this tornado experience means we won't ever come that close again!!

  10. Late to the party here but love this post. Can't believe the size of those stadium screens. Great shot of Bill at the 50. So glad you were led to the Hall of State. I've never heard of it but it obviously deserves more attention than it is getting. The cattle drive looks fantastic. I've never really considered going to Dallas. I don't do cities but now you've made me reconsider although the one thing I really don't like about going west is those tornadoes. We end up in bath houses every time. Not coming east but always going west though usually in the spring. Hope that's the end of that for you.

    1. Like Laurel said, it's a weird time of year for them - I always say we won't go that way in the spring! Dallas is pretty easy to navigate for a big city and there are some nice wilderness areas not far from the downtown that would be nice in warmer weather.

  11. Cool! Did you get a stadium towel? I love the sculptures, especially the stampede!

    1. We didn't get a towel - they were for the playoff game (and the boxes sealed). I don't even have a Terrible Towel from Pittsburgh! Tiny living keeps me from stocking up :-))