This is a recap of our weekend in Dallas...take that as a warning. Just so you know, it is possible to eat some form of BBQ at every meal of the day when you're in Texas. I can verify this, as can my thighs. The mister and I did have a great three days in Dallas, we covered a lot of territory, which as far as I can tell, is what every Texan does every day of their life! Driving in Texas is not for the faint of heart, they have no speed limits, at least they don't have any that anyone pays attention to and to get anywhere you have to drive on a freeway, and at some point you will end up at a spaghetti junction which is usually the highest point in any direction for 500 miles. Texas is flat, brown, windy and BIG...so big that it's filled with everything you could ever want - but you'll have to drive for hours to get it! We had a list of things we wanted to see and we managed to hit them all!
The George Bush Presidential Library and Museum was fascinating, moving and worth the price of admission. If you haven't been to a Presidential library before, (I've only been to one other, Truman's Library in Missouri) put it on your bucket list - they are full of history, interesting facts and you'll get yourself a good dose of patriotism! The 9/11 exhibit lacked only Kleenex, which I needed by the time we had walked through. The museum is on the campus of Southern Methodist University and the setting could not be more perfect - it's a beautiful campus with flowering trees and bushes everywhere. The mister was only too happy to tell me SMU football became the first, and currently only, football program in collegiate athletic history to receive the "death penalty" for repeat violation of NCAA rules, that is, having a sports program fully terminated for a determined amount of time. It took them about 20 years to recover, "If you can call it that," said the mister.
The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is a very somber place. The exhibit is filled with pictures from that horrendous November day in 1963. Walking through the museum is like walking through time - a very sad time. The Museum is housed in the Book Depository where Lee Harvey Oswald is said to have fired three shots, one killing President Kennedy. The sixth floor, where the sniper waited, is now nothing more than a big empty room. The windows are covered and there isn't anything in the room except a huge mural of President Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline. It's pretty moving - the emptiness speaks volumes.
I could hardly wait to get to Central Market - it's like an amusement park for foodies. It's set up kind of like Ikea - you walk around in a sort of maze, turning each corner to find the most interesting food!! Dozens of different kinds of oranges, bananas and radishes! A city block long aisle of freshly baked breads and rolls! Cheeses from every corner of the world - and then some! Spices, salts, rubs, sauces...it was enough to make my head spin! Trip Advisor said Dallas's Central Market is the #5 attraction in Dallas...I would say it's close to #1!
Wild Bill's Western Wear is not big, but their price tags sure are! Cowboy boots and Western Wear at it's finest - and I do mean finest...I picked up a pair of boots to see they were on sale for $1,100!! Yikes! But oh were they beautiful...the mister and I managed to escape without buying anything - but it wasn't easy - he almost had me talked into a little Reba McEntire number but somehow I just couldn't see me wearing it in Seattle - in the rain - with the Microsofties, Grung-ies, loggers. salmon-savers and the soy-chai-one-pump-no-foam-latte-drinkers...if only it had been made with plaid flannel.
The Ft. Worth Stockyards proved to be a huge disappointment...let me explain...as we drove to Ft. Worth the sky got progressively darker...rain was in the forecast but heck, we're not afraid of rain, so we continued on. We got to the Stockyards, parked our buggy and were just starting to soak up the feel of the place when we felt a few rain drops. We walked into one building to see the biggest long horn cattle you can imagine! (We even saw a real live reindeer that was shipped to Texas from Canada for Christmas and was being prepared to be shipped back!) We were sauntering up the street, headed for Billy Bob's for one of the ACM concerts (before the big show) when the skies opened up and it poured down on us like a giant bathtub faucet had been turned on! And the wind!!! Lawdy, it came up out of nowhere and practically blew us off our feet! We took cover in a barn - filled with nervous horses - and had planned to wait it out but then the power went out and it was pitch black!! The mister and I decided we'd seen enough - we ran back to our car and by the time we got there we were soaked through. Seattle rain is really just drizzle - but Texas rain is a down-home baptism! Cold and wet, we drove back to Arlington, where we found power, heat and more BBQ to help de-stress our touristy-selves.
The West End Village which was recommended to us was nothing more than a few blocks of shops and restaurants - and not really anything to write home about. Sorry West End, we've seen better. For shopping we went to a mall...but not just any mall, The Park Mall in Arlington. Ummm, it's huge, as in three times the size of any mall in Seattle and while it may seem strange to go to a mall when you only have a short amount of time, this mall is the #3 attraction in Arlington, Texas - Number THREE!!!
If we hadn't gone to the mall we would not have seen this amazing chandelier made out of colored plastic spoons...I think I am going to have to make one - it's just toooooo fabulous! When I told the mister to wait so I could snap a pic because I loved it SOOOO much, he told me I couldn't bring any more crap into the house until I got rid of something...gee, what should I get rid of...something old and worn and large and GRUMPY!
Southfork Ranch did not disappoint; it gave us a glimpse into a real ranch house and property. We used to watch the original Dallas TV series and got a kick out of seeing the house inside and out. The house itself sits back off the road, and while it looks big, it's not, but it is impressive. Inside, the rooms are small, tiny bedrooms, including JR and Sue Ellen's master suite...and there aren't really "wings" to the house - where each family had their own area - that's all TV hocus-pocus. The swimming pool would hold about 10 people, standing up - tiny, tiny, tiny. But the property itself (all 300 acres) is beautiful and it is still a working ranch today.
The Academy of Country Music Awards Show was the reason we went to Dallas, the mister has always wanted to see a show like this (news to me!) and if you've ever been to a live television event before then you know there is a lot of down time while the network goes to commericals. We sat in our seats almost 5 hours...but the show was only about 2 1/2 hours! We had great seats - plus the big screen was right in front of us so if we wanted a close up all we had to do was look up. The AT&T Stadium hosted the show, it's where the Dallas Cowboys play (America's Team...who decided that?!?!?) and can seat about 100,000 people. The ACM's had over 70,000 - and all of them, except for two, were wearing cowboy boots, hats, rhinestones and singing along at the top of their lungs. Paying $$$ to hear someone sing and then having to listen to the drunk next to you is %$#&! Even so, it was an over-the-top experience - we loved it all! I know this will not come as a surprise to anyone...Garth and I had a moment...our eyes met, I looked up at the big screen and he looked down - straight at me - nothing short of magical.
We were part of the show, too! When Garth sang, members of the military walked out and part of the audience had to hold up red, white or blue squares of paper - which looked like a flag to the rest of the audience (and those watching on TV)...we held up blue papers, right on cue!
As always, it was good to get away and good to get home. I'm back in my rut and lovin' it.