Thursday, November 22, 2012

DAY 93- Abilene to Dallas, TX…

I woke up to a HUGE loud bang against metal at 5AM in my hotel room in Abilene.  A cowboy had dropped his heavy overnight bag into his huge diesel pickup truck that was parked right out front of my room.  BANG!  5AM in the morning and I already felt like I had a heart attack!  A few minutes later the whole room was vibrating when he started up his truck.  Shortly after that I heard more cowboy boots thudding around and more loud pickup trucks starting up.  These cowboys liked to start their days early around these parts.  I looked out the window and the 75% of the parking lot that had been pickup trucks last night were gone. 

I decided to start a pot of coffee and get ready for the day too.  I got on-line and figured out what there was to do in Abilene before I started my drive to Dallas where I would spend the Thanksgiving Holiday.  I found out a few possibilities and headed up front for breakfast and a bit of assistance for directions. 
Photo- Frontier Texas a FUN place to visit and learn about Texas Hertiage.

Off I went towards historic downtown Abilene; I stopped southeast of it and went into Frontier Texas!  It’s a western heritage center that focuses on the frontier time period of Texas history.  It’s done with a new level of technology.  I went in paid the $8 entrance fee and wasn’t sure what to expect.  I was handed a map of the museum and before I knew it this southern Texas older gentleman was taking the map out of my hands and very nicely explaining what the museum was and how it worked.  He seemed impressed that I was all the way from Salt Lake City and wanted to ensure that I had a good time visiting Frontier Texas.  He was very sweet.
Photo- Inside the Frontier Texas an example of a covered wagon.

I had to wait for a few minutes for the next starting time.  Frontier Texas has a series of holographic spirit guides that take you through the history.  It was an amazing experience where these 6 historical figures took you through the history by telling you about parts of it.  In the first room, a hologram of Buck Taylor briefly introduced the spirit guides that you would be meeting as you went along.  In the second room, Buck Taylor’s hologram gave you a general overview of the Texas history; the big picture as it was called.  Then, I went down a hall where I went on to meet another spirit guide a Native American Indian that talked about the history of his people and what the land was like before all the settlers came. 
Photo- A community tooth brush!!??!  Ewwwwww!!

There were items to read and interactive things that you could along the way too.  I walked through a tepee and then met another two of the spirit guides.  These two were kind of having an interactive conversation with each other and it was very informative.  Next, I turned a corner and met a Captain Marcy.  There was a series of buttons in front of him that you could press to get answers to questions.

Down another hallway you got to meet another spirit guide who was a cowboy that moved cattle on a trail.  Though, there weren’t any real trails at that time.  He talked about the dangerous life on the trail.    Then, across the room on the other side you met another spirit guide who was a former slave that had been freed in hopes of locating his family that had been taken by Indians during a raid.  He ended up finding them and ended up going into the business of delivering supplies to pioneers. 

Then, I waited for a few minutes to get into the theater area where a presentation takes place.  It’s an amazing presentation where you sit on chairs that could be spinned in 360 degrees.  The theater show goes on all around you and it’s a wonderful presentation about the frontier Texas life.  After the theater show there was one more spirit guide that you met that I found interesting in that the woman who had managed to escape from Indian capture seemed to go through quite a few husbands on the frontier. Her first husband had been killed in the Indian raid.  She remarried and the next one went to check on the horses in the barn and didn’t come back.  She remarried again a military man this time that ended up being killed in action with Indians.  Then, I was at the end of Frontier Texas and was deposited in the gift shop area.  It was very worth the $8 entry fee.
Photo- The outside of the Grace Museum which is a restored hotel.

Next, I drove further into historic downtown of Abilene and located the Grace Museum.  I parked the car and walked in.  I paid the $8 entrance fee and was admitted to the Art Museum.  There are three floors of art.  On the first floor there was a featured exhibit called Wild Things.  There were two different artists displayed in this exhibit; one was Billy Hassell who painted colorful oil paintings with wildlife represented in them and the other artist was David Everett who had some amazing three dimensional wooden carved and colorfully painted sculptures.  On the second floor of the art museum there was a Texas Impressionism Exhibit titled Branding with Brushstroke and color, 1885 to 1936.  It featured several local impressionistic artists that had been in the area when Texas was just coming into being made a state.  The third floor featured a black and white photography exhibit by David H. Gibson called Quiet Beauty.  It was a wonderful art museum to visit and quite high quality for such a smaller town area.
Photo- The inside of Cypress Street Cafe in Historic Downtown of Abilene, TX.

I walked next door to have lunch at the Cypress Street Station Café.   It was a wonderful older building that had been remodeled to be a restaurant and featured a white tin punched ceiling.  I had the special of the day which had a beef quesadilla, chicken chimi, and a fresh salad with fresh sweet salsa vinaigrette.  It was a wonderful meal.  After lunch, I walked through a Texas gift shop down the street where it had anything and everything that was Texas.  It was fun going through but I just window shopped my way through it.

It was time to start heading towards Dallas.  It was basically a straight drive east on I-20.  It was a fairly heavy traffic day on the interstate and I think it was due to everyone heading somewhere for Thanksgiving which was the next day.  I set my cruise control for a bit below the speed limit and just went through with the flow.

Construction was a nightmare when I got into Dallas.  The exit that I should have taken was under construction and when I got off the interstate to try to back track the streets were curving every which way that I ended up getting totally lost.  I was lost about an hour and a half amid the Dallas Wednesday night rush hour traffic with construction.  I will say that it was really rather frustrating.  I also discovered that it was similar to driving in Salt Lake City in that if you put your blinker on they wouldn’t let you over.  I started driving like I did in Salt Lake City and just started to head over as a space appeared.  It all kind of reminded me of when the SLC was preparing for the Olympics and we had the Toboggan run going on with I-15.  I finally did manage to find the hotel and I opted to stay in the hotel for dinner.  I had enough of Dallas driving for the day.

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