Thursday, November 22, 2012

DAY 92 - Buddy Holly, Silent Wings, & Wild Burgers...

Lubbock, Texas is the birthplace of Buddy Holly the rock-n-roll singer who tragically passed away at the young age of 22 in an airplane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa.  Growing up in Iowa I had heard about the crash and had enjoyed some of Buddy’s famous songs like; Peggy Sue and That’ll Be The Day.  Buddy Holly and the Crickets had four hit songs in their 18 month short lived career together.
Photo- The outside of the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, TX.

I learned more about him at the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock.  I went in and paid the $5 entrance fee in the gift shop and was told about the Center.  I also found out that my entrance fee was good to get into another museum in the area that I was planning on going to.  Bonus!  I watched a short film about Buddy Holly and all of the boundaries that he had broken in his short career.  He helped open doors for independent control of music and recording for future rock-n-roll stars.  He influenced the likes of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Elton John.  Buddy also experimented with using different instruments and noises in the recording of his songs.  The short film also featured the Big Bopper who had also tragically died in the same plane crash. 
Photo- The local postman who was going by insisted to take my picture with
the glasses because otherwise how would I prove I had actually been there.

Then, I went into a room where there was a timeline and memorabilia from his life.  There were photos, shirts, jackets, and one of the famous Fender Stratocaster guitars.  There were letters from fans asking how much it would cost for him and the Crickets to play at a dance or a venue.  It was a window into a very different time of music careers.  I was also very amazed because there was even the pair of glasses that he was wearing when his plane went down.  It was all very interesting and it made you wonder what it would have been like if his musical career had been longer. 

In another room were photos from his life and of some of his musical comrades who had not been in the airplane accident.  Some of them had gone on to musical careers by themselves with mixed results.  Each year some of those musical comrades have a musical reunion at the Buddy Holly Center sometime in the summer.  There was also an additional gallery room which features local art from the area.  The current exhibition was the Day of the Dead.

In the pamphlet materials available at the center there were other sites that pertained to Buddy Holly’s life that you could visit in the area.  You could drive by the home where he grew up, visit the grave where he’s buried, and take a photo next to a bronze statue of him in Buddy Holly Square which was across from the Center.  There were other places that you could swing by or visit on the list that were still around in the area.  There was a West Texas Walk of Fame which featured other musical artists like; Tanya Tucker and Mac Davis.  They have quite the musical history in Lubbock.
Photo- The Silent Wings Museum housed in the old Lubbock Airport.

Next, I jumped on to I-27 north for a few exits to the other museum that I wanted to visit for the day.  It was the Silent Wings Museum which is located near the current Lubbock airport and rather looks like the museum took over the old airport.  This museum is the story of the World War 2 Glider Program which played a key role in World War 2.  It is the only museum in the world dedicated to telling the story of the gliders.
Photo- Inside the Hangar Gallery of the Silent Wings Museum.

I showed my already paid ticket from the Buddy Holly Center and that got me into the museum.  I first started down the hall and to the left where there’s a 14 minute film that explains about the glider program.  The gliders were a silent way to deliver men and other supplies into combat zones or possibly even in behind enemy lines during WW2.  During WW2, there was a South Plains Army Airfield (SPAAF) near where the museum is now that served as a training facility for the glider pilots. It’s estimated that 80% of the more than 5000 WW2 glider pilots graduated from the SPAAF facility.   Great deals of these pilots were older and had not been drafted because of their age or other reasons.  Now they were training to fly the gliders as well as learn how to fight because a glider was basically a one way ticket into a combat zone.  These were a special breed of patriotic men that flew these gliders and they earned their silver “G” wings which is their symbol.
Photo- The very tight "Blue Box" that they used to train the glider pilots.

After the film I wandered around the museum.  In the large Hangar Gallery there were actual restored gliders and what is called a blue box which served as a trainer for the pilots.  It looked like a very small and tight cockpit to me.  They had a Combat Gallery which contained different of examples of the uniforms and weapons that these men would have used on their mission.  There was also a description of some of the actual missions.  Then there was a Timeline Gallery that had key events in aviation history that led to the WW2 gliders being used.  The gliders had a short history in war because of the eventual development of the helicopter that would serve the same need in further combat history.
Photo- A very fun and good place to get a burger in Lubbock, TX.

Before leaving Lubbock, I grabbed some lunch.  I ended up at a place called Wild BurgerGrille.  It’s a fun funky burger joint that specializes in burgers.  You have a choice of having beef, bison, or chicken with a list of possible toppings on your burger.  They have a list of already devised specialty burgers that you can choose from that you can order with beef, bison, or chicken.  I chose one of these called Green Chili Cheeseburger which is green chilies, sharp cheddar cheese, lettuce, roma tomato, with a spicy mayo.  I opted to try it as a bison burger.  It had been years since I had a bison burger.  The burger came with a choice of fries and I chose the garlic parmesan fries.
Photos- The fun interior of the Wild Burger.

While I waited for the food, I looked around Wild Burger’s interior.  It features quite a few large paintings of famous people in a fun playful psychedelically colorful way.  There was Albert Einstein with his tongue stuck out.   Amelia Earhart’s painting featured her blouse unbuttoned down quite a ways and leaning proactively.   Then there was an Animal House scene where John Belushi is wearing a toga.  It was a fun laid back type of atmosphere.  I asked the server if this was a chain restaurant in the area and she said no but there was just one right now but they were working on it.  The burger and fries were wonderful when they arrived at the table and everything was very fresh too.  The server was very friendly.  While I ate, I watched people come in and one of the staff would say I a heavy southern accent,” Hi Ya’all! Where ever you would like to sit and someone will be with you soon!”
Photos- Windmills and oil rigs on the Texas landscape.

After lunch, I found myself driving south easterly towards Abilene, TX.  The landscape was still a bit flat.  Here and there off in the distance I would see fields of windmills turning slowly in the Texas wind.  As I got closer to Abilene, the landscape started to get bluffs and some hills.  I was starting to get closer to Hills Country in central Texas.  I was also seeing oil rigs out in the fields too along with the windmills.  I thought it seemed a bit odd to see them together but I guess in Texas they were playing both ends of the energy spectrum.

It was getting dark shortly after checking into the hotel and I decided to play it close to the hotel for dinner.  There was a great deal of construction in the area and I didn’t want to risk getting lost in all that.  I went across the road to a Chili’s restaurant.  I sat at the bar and ordered an appetizer with a beer.  A short time later an older couple sat down next to me.  I struck up a conversation with Karen.  She was a fun southern lady that wasn’t a bit shy.  It ended up that her and her husband were staying at the same hotel across the street.  They were driving through on their way to see her daughter for Thanksgiving. We talked and she gave me a list of some places to go see while I was visiting her great state of Texas.  She wanted to buy me a drink but I thanked her and told her two beers was my limit for the night.  I said good night and she wished me well in my travels.

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