From Home to Home, and Back, Day 32: Dodge City and Its Hilly, Tree-lined Neighbours

0

September 23 took me through the rolling, forested hills of a far neighbour:  southwestern Kansas.  I find going through Dodge City, Garden City and their siblings to the west is the quickest way to get to Colorado from Oklahoma.  I drove up through the Cimarron Valley, out of Enid and into the Jayhawk State, rather than going through the Oklahoma Panhandle, as I did last time.  The Cimarron River was running a tad low.

SAM_7318

 

Soon enough, I was marveling at the Red Hills of Kansas, south and east of Dodge City.

SAM_7321

 

SAM_7324

 

SAM_7326

 

SAM_7329

 

Medicine Lodge is the first community in a series of Kansas towns which figured large, in the story of the settlement of the West.

SAM_7323

 

The centerpiece of this area, though, remains the domain  of Marshal Matt Dillon and Wyatt Earp:  Welcome to Dodge!

 

SAM_7330

 

SAM_7381

 

SAM_7338

 

SAM_7337

 

The Marshal was real,

 

SAM_7342

 

and he had a little jail.

SAM_7332

 

SAM_7335

 

Everything else that is necessary to a viable community was also there- including school and church.

SAM_7369

 

SAM_7370

 

SAM_7378

 

Old Dodge City’s commercial area was as lively as that of much larger towns back East.  The pharmacy had, relatively speaking, a selection reminiscent of WalMart or CVS.

SAM_7356

 

The saloons and restaurants were numerous.

SAM_7347

 

SAM_7353

 

In addition to the lawmen, even animals found their way into Dodge City lore.

 

SAM_7366

 

Dodge City had a small Town Green.

SAM_7344

 

Today’s Dodge is as upbeat and modern as any place in the USA.  The philosophical mien of this town is self-reliance, as indicated by this meme on the wall of  a local coffee house, Cup of Jones.

SAM_7383

 

I like to be nice to people, but there is something to be said for the person who wrote this.  I was soon to sit down with one of his/her kindred spirits, who is also one of my best friends.

From Home to Home, and Back, Day 31: Lake Texoma

12

Getting from Cleburne to Lake Texoma took much of the afternoon.  I spent an hour or so, driving around the northern and eastern edges of the man-made gem that lies along the state line of Texas and Oklahoma.  First stop was the Love County Courthouse, in Marietta, OK.

SAM_7307

 

Next were the lake, and its awesome truss bridge.

SAM_7308

 

A crane took a lazy wade in the lake’s northeastern corner.

 

SAM_7310

 

In the midst of intense fishing and swimming activity, I managed some sanguine shots from the eastern shore.

 

SAM_7311

 

SAM_7312

 

The Roosevelt Memorial Bridge may not win any beauty contests, but it gets the job done well.

SAM_7314

 

SAM_7315

 

Here’s a final view, from the western edge.

 

SAM_7316

 

I didn’t stop long in Oklahoma City, and got into Enid, and a cozy couch, at 8:30, so the photo day was done.

From Home to Home, and Back, Day 30, Part 2- The Big D

3

My Dallas visit covered the flashy downtown, Pioneer Park, with its cattle drive sculpture and Dealy Plaza.  There are other sections of Texas’ second-largest city, including the Heritage Center, that could be the focus of another visit, but my main concern was the heart of  Big D.

The area along the Trinity River, and its views of downtown, from the west, gave me a fine first impression of a city that had mainly been seen from the freeway, in years past.

SAM_7284

 

SAM_7285

 

SAM_7287

 

Like San Antonio, Dallas has preserved its exposition-period tower.

 

SAM_7288

 

It has also preserved the cabin built in 1841, by Dallas’ founder, John Neely Bryan.

 

SAM_7290

 

In the same downtown park, Founders Plaza,  there is an homage to those who died in combat.

 

SAM_7292

 

The most iconic building in downtown Dallas is the red sandstone Dallas County Courthouse, now known as the Old Red Museum.

SAM_7294

 

 

SAM_7295

 

SAM_7297

 

Just north of the Big Red is the Purse Building, a preserved former government records office, now converted into shops and restaurants.

 

SAM_7293

SAM_7289

 

Here is the core of downtown Dallas.

SAM_7298

 

After an hour in the Dallas Public Library, I found my way to Pioneer Park, and enjoyed the cow culture sculptures,  a small waterfall and a pina colada icy.

 

SAM_7301

 

SAM_7302

 

SAM_7303

 

SAM_7305

SAM_7299

 

 

My final stop, in this 50th commemorative year of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, was Dealey Plaza.

SAM_7306

 

As it was 6 PM, on that Saturday evening, and my heart was a bit achy, I headed on down to the Liberty Hotel, in Cleburne, TX, and pondered just how far we’ve come, as a nation, since 1963.  I’ve been in Cleburne, once before, in May, 2012, and my stay at the Liberty fulfilled a silent promise I made back then.  It’s a well-appointed business hotel, with a fine eatery, Caddo Street Grill, located just behind.  I enjoyed Saturday dinner and Sunday lunch there- courtesy of a feisty, but hard-working wait staff.

My journey was entering the home stretch, with a few stops remaining in the familiar turf of Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado.  My biggest journey was to be the one I took inside myself.

From Home to Home, and Back, Day 30: A Whole ‘Nother Texas

6

Most of my Texas journeys have focused on the west and north of the Lone Star Empire.  I did head down the midsection, from Fort Worth to Brownsville, in May, 2012.  This time around, the journey was brief, from Texarkana, to Longview, and on to Dallas.  Longview was my rest stop on September 20.  My first taste of  the Piney Woods came at a rest stop, off I-20, halfway between Tyler and Terrell.  Here, next to a game farm, is a 1/2 mile nature trail.

SAM_7266

 

SAM_7267

 

Views of the game farm were abundant,

 

SAM_7272

 

SAM_7275

 

and I made a new friend.

SAM_7273

 

The emu followed me along the fence, for pretty much the length of the trail.

When I detoured to Grand Saline, some friendly folks were giving away hot dogs and water, to promote their video store.

SAM_7276

 

SAM_7277

 

Their store is right next to the venerable Grand Saline Inn.

 

SAM_7278

 

As elsewhere in Texas, the east has its share of “Old West”  structures.

 

SAM_7279

 

Only Grand Saline, though, has the Salt Palace, actually an overhead to protect this lump of salt.  East Texas’ largest active salt mine is in operation, 5 miles south of Grand Saline.

 

SAM_7281

 

The aviator Wiley Post is from this area, and is commemorated here.

 

SAM_7282

 

I made a three hour visit to Dallas, that afternoon, so next up is Big D.

From Home to Home and Back, Day 29: The Mists of Little Rock

2

I spent a rather mild, but rainy and misty day, the last day of summer- September 20, taking in more of the loveliness along the Arkansas River, in the River Market area of Little Rock.   About an hour and thirty minutes were also spent reliving the Clinton years, at the 42nd President’s Library and Museum.  Those were fine years for my wife, son and me.  They were, like Bill himself, a mixed blessing for the country.

Little Rock sometimes gets a bad rap, but my two visits there were very pleasant, and I would like to see more mid-sized cities emulate a locale like the River Market.  I had a very cozy two hours, sitting in the warmth of Boulevard Bread Company.

SAM_7236

 

Later in the afternoon, I enjoyed the larger food court.  It’s a mini- Quincy Market.

SAM_7237

 

My first rainy day adventure was visiting the Central Arkansas Nature Center.

 

SAM_7226

 

SAM_7227

 

It has some things that could figure in one of my nightmares- if I ever have nightmares.

SAM_7229

 

Still think turtles make cute pets?

I next took a walk along a section of the River Trail that I had missed last time.

SAM_7230

 

SAM_7232

 

SAM_7234

 

At the eastern end of  this fine park, a small botanic garden separates it from the freeway.

 

SAM_7238

 

SAM_7240

 

Here is where I thought further of my Little Rock friend, Reilly.

 

SAM_7241

 

The route to the William J. Clinton Presidential Center and Library follows this boardwalk.

SAM_7244

 

The clean-up along the banks of the Arkansas River includes this unique device.

 

SAM_7246

 

SAM_7249

 

Many hard-working people of the soil have kept the faith, and kept places like Arkansas going.

 

SAM_7251

 

Here are some scenes of the Clinton Presidential Center.  This is the table from the Cabinet Room.

 

SAM_7253

 

Another table served dignitaries at State Dinners.

SAM_7262

 

One such visitor presented the Clintons with this unique piece d’art.

SAM_7260

 

Here is Mr. Clinton’s desk from the Oval Office.

SAM_7255

 

The view from the third floor offers a new perspective on the timeline.

SAM_7259

 

Inside looking out also gave me pause.

SAM_7257

 

So, also, did looking back at the complex, afterward.

 

SAM_7264

 

SAM_7265

 

Little Rock is worth discovering.

So, too, is east Texas, and I found a bit of it to my liking, on the first day of autumn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Home to Home, and Back, Day 28: The French Connection of the Show Me State

6

Ste. Genevieve, MO lies tight along the Mississippi, about two hours south of St. Louis.  It is Missouri’s Canadian connection, and having been founded in 1735, is the oldest permanent European settlement in the state.  I spent about 2 1/2 hours there, in the afternoon of September 19.  Here is a sampling of the town’s architecture, both of the 18th and 19th centuries.

Of course, I started at a 20th Century edifice:  Great River Road Visitor Center.

SAM_7200

Then, it was time to revert to Les Bontemps Vieux.

SAM_7202

 

 

SAM_7201

 

SAM_7203

 

SAM_7206

 

SAM_7207

 

SAM_7208

 

SAM_7211

 

SAM_7212

 

SAM_7215

 

SAM_7217

 

SAM_7219

 

SAM_7220SAM_7221

 

The County Courthouse is typical of  the Midwest’s great structures.

SAM_7224

 

The Cathedral of Ste. Genevieve is, by far, the signature piece of this lovely town, named in her honour.

SAM_7225

 

This grand little settlement has its cheeky side, and here’s a nod to one of my online friends.

SAM_7209

 

Day 29 was a misty, cool visit to another unexpected favourite- Little Rock.

From Home to Home, and Back, Days 26-28: Potomac to Mississippi

0

I had interesting stops along the way, from Annapolis to Ste. Genevieve, MO.  Taking I-86, instead of I-70, took me through Hancock and Cumberland, MD, both small, but historically vital towns.  Hancock was my dinner stop, and has a couple of hiking trails that could occupy the time of furloughed Federal workers, should there be another “hiccup”.  It also has Weaver’s, a decent family restaurant in the downtown area.

SAM_7194

 

 

I didn’t take the hiking trails, but in the off-chance I get back this way, Hancock is close to the AppalachianTrail.

SAM_7195

 

 

One of the trails begins near this bridge, behind Main Street.

SAM_7196

 

My stop in Cumberland was for dessert and Wifi.  There was the added bonus of this historic train station park, which has a European Desserts Cafe on its southern edge.

SAM_7197

 

 

Day 26 ended at a Super 8, in Waynesburg, PA. This is the heart of a fracking area, so I was lucky to get a room, on that rainy night.

The next day was bright and sunny, and got me as far as Bloomington, IL.  I didn’t indulge in sightseeing, though Rudy’s, in Springfield, OH, has some worthwhile barbecue, at a rock-bottom price.  Richmond, IN, is worth a stop, if one wants to sample Amish goods.  I stopped there for about an hour, for Wifi.  Getting to Bloomington, IL around 8:30 P.M., I encountered a welcome sight, at Schooner’s.

SAM_7199

 

Nataly was gracious and a fine conversationalist.  Since Bloomington has become a favoured stop of mine, in this part of Illinois, it was  doubly worth our two hour visit.  I stayed at America’s Best Value, for the second time in two months, and took care of “housekeeping” tasks the next morning.  Much of Day 28, though, was spent in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri’s oldest settlement.

From Home to Home, and Back, Day 26: Annapolis, Part 3: The Academy

4

The United States Naval Academy was an outgrowth of the War of 1812.  It had become evident that America would be subject to continued outside harassment, without a more systematic training of officers, especially for our Navy.  After years of debate (wonder of wonders), the Academy was founded in 1845, at what was then Fort Severn, near the waterfront of Annapolis.

Today, here are some scenes from this elegant and well- appointed institution of learning.  It must be remembered that the Academy is also an active military base, so the photographs are of public areas, only.

This entrance is for special events, only.

SAM_7165

 

The north entrance is the main gate.

 

SAM_7166

 

The Academy’s mission is clearly stated.

 

SAM_7167

 

SAM_7169

 

One clears security, in this building.

 

SAM_7170

 

Admiral William F. Halsey,  a hero of World War II, is prominent in Academy lore.

SAM_7172

 

Slogans from earlier times keep the cadets inspired.

SAM_7173

 

SAM_7174

SAM_7175

 

Here is the Visitor Center, from the water’s edge.

SAM_7177

 

As the residential areas and classroom buildings are off-limits to visitors, here is a reprise of the water, as seen from the Academy grounds.

 

SAM_7178

 

SAM_7179

 

 

It was, all too soon, time to head west, so I said farewell to my  childhood friend, the Atlantic  Ocean, and headed across Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania, before stopping for the night.

From Home to Home, and Back, Day 26: Annapolis, Part 2- Potatoes, Pubs and A Paragon of Justice

0

Upon arriving in downtown Annapolis, I meandered around the back streets a bit, before checking out the Visitor Center.

SAM_7131

SAM_7132

SAM_7133

Of course, lunch was very much on the agenda, so I checked out a Baked Potato restaurant, of all things.  it was fabulous.

SAM_7155

The decor inside was innovative and entertaining.

SAM_7153

SAM_7154

Annapolis being the state capital of Maryland, the government edifices were much in evidence.

SAM_7136

SAM_7138

SAM_7143

One of Maryland’s great human treasures was the late former Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall- a paragon of jurisprudence.

SAM_7145

Maryland’s Roman Catholic roots are celebrated throughout Annapolis.  Here is the Calvert House.

SAM_7151

The Church of St. Ann is Annapolis’ premier Catholic edifice.

SAM_7135

SAM_7149

Moving away from the Capitol ^, we come upon the city’s historic watering holes.

SAM_7160

SAM_7162

SAM_7163

Along with the rest of  the nation, Annapolis paid its respects to the Anacostia 12.

SAM_7158

The events of the previous day just made my visit to the United States Naval Academy all the more poignant.

From Home to Home, and Back, Day 26: Annapolis, Part 1- The Resonant Waterfront

9

The right way, to me, to experience a town like Annapolis, MD, is from the water’s edge, on inland.  That was not exactly how I actually carried out my visit, because there was a rather important matter that attended my arrival there:

SAM_7130

I was glad to spend an hour or so visiting with Christina Fullmer and her daughter.  I have known the family, online, for about 3 1/2 years now.  Real time just underscores my joy at feeling close to them.  Christina has a very good sense of things, and is an excellent parent.

Returning to the traveler’s Annapolis, my maritime roots were well-nourished here.  Some of these scenes were taken from the Town Dock, and some from the United States Naval Academy- more on that great institution, later.

SAM_7178

SAM_7179

SAM_7180

SAM_7183

Annapolis’ maritime history is part nefarious (It was a center of the slave trade), and part honorable (The American naval effort in the War of 1812 was, in good part, waged from here.)  It is all worthy of study.
There are two major African-American figures associated with Annapolis:  Alex Haley and Thurgood Marshall.  Mr. Haley’s ties to this city stem, as is well-known, from the documented arrival here, in 1767, of one Kunta Kinte (see Harold Courlander’s, The African), whom Alex Haley claimed as an ancestor, in his book, Roots.  Alex Haley, and his ancestors, are honoured at a dockside park.

SAM_7184

Following, are some tablets, recapping some timeless quotes from “Roots”.

SAM_7185

SAM_7186

SAM_7187

The full story of Annapolis is contained herein.

SAM_7190

This edifice is, for me, something to be savoured another time.

In Part 2, I will focus on the center of historic Annapolis, from the Visitor Center, to the Capitol and on to Dock Street, gateway to the Naval Academy, which will itself be the focus of Part 3.