Friday, September 2, 2011

Texas Road Trip 9 to 18 August 2011

When you feel down, Road Trip...
First off, please help nail this scumbag who stole from my friends....
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Late summer blues hit me and I had some leave, so I decided to change my scenery a little and visit Texas.  After visiting my parents, I headed east via 50 hwy.  I had been involved with Ed Yuille and the KATY (nickname for the Missouri,-Kansas-Texas Railroad) Depot restoration project in Sedalia Missouri.  In August 1992, vast segments of the KATY trail were still just an idea.  I took my Dodge phone van east on 50 hwy and drove to Jefferson City Missouri.
Many of the pictures I took then were with my Minolta x700.  I had done something wrong with the exposure, and didn't notice until I had my roll developed.  So, many of these pictures are of pretty poor quality, plus the way I scanned them didn't add to the quality, so I apologize for the poor image resolution.

I spent a lot of time videotaping local bands.  1992 was a record year for me.  I shot more videos than any other year.  I guess I was depressed because bands tend to be made up of immature egotistical assholes who only care about where their next bong hit is coming from and where their next lay was going to be and with whoom.  A guy who follows them around with a video camera only gets derided, though many of the bands might thank him to his face.  My hobby away from my hobby was railfanning.  So, naturally, in my visit to Jeff City, I was really mostly interested in the depot.
Jefferson City MoPac Depot
I took 50 east to 94.
On the way I visited the unfinished KATY trail.
KATY Trail in Marthasville, Missouri, August 9, 1992
My friend, Mark, lived in St. Charles.  We had met in College in Warrensburg, Missouri.  He had introduced me to video production in the Student Cable Network.  We started a local music show called SCeNe 6 in January 1989.  He was out of college and was working as a cab driver out of St. Charles.
My friend was thinking about moving into a trailer with his brother, which he never did.  Turned out to be a fortunate choice as the trailer flooded out a year later in the great midwestern flood of '93.  We spent some time just visiting and went to the Museum of Transport in St. Louis County.
The Southern Pacific still exisited in '92.  We stopped at this yard depot in what my calender says is Creve Coeur, Missouri
I spent a little time at Union Station, in St. Louis Missouri
Mark had to work, so I spent my last day in the area on my own exploring.  I went to Union Station in St. Louis.  I then went on to Laclede's landing, which was supposed to be an area that was where the night life/music scene was centered.  I found on a Wednesday night, it was kind of sparse.  I saw a well rehearsed band at a place called Kennedy's which did sort of a funk/alternative rock fusion.  Those kinds of bands were very popular then as every city seemed to have at least one, and probably ten such bands, the most famous being The Red Hot Chili Peppers.  Laclede's Landing was on its way down then.  I listened to some songs, drank some overpriced cokes, then parked the phone van by the Eads Bridge for a warm nights sleep.
el Cheapo vacation -- down by the river in my van.  Nobody messed with me and I got to see the sunrise over the Missouri River
I know sometime or other, I went to Cahokia Mounds, even though I don't mention it in my journal.  I then headed late on old 66 as far as I could take it, then on to 55 until I couldn't drive farther.  I stopped at a rest area, the last one in Missouri.
I got off the Highway as soon as I could, and took Route 66 in Southeastern Kansas.  I then went on to visit Parsons Kansas, which I was curious about as it was once a significant city for the KATY.  I headed west after that, passing through Independence, Kansas, Augusta, Kansas (where I stopped at the depot) and then on to McConnell Air Force base for a rest and some food at the BX.  Some of the perks of being in the military was the fairly generous leave policy and being able to stop at bases for cheap eats and places to shop and places to take a shower.  A year earlier, many guys at Whiteman Air Force Base had to go down to McConnell after a tornado hit the base directly.  I and many others in my squadron were put on six ring alert throughout the weekend in case there was a need for more bodies to go down.
Parsons Kansas, former home of the KATY, Now folded into the Union Pacific
Augusta Kansas
I Augusta, I stopped at the depot to get some pix.  I got a timetable from a friendly crewman.  Sometimes if they spot a railfan, and are sympathetic, they will give you souvenirs.  More often, however, if they see you near the property with a camera (especially in a post 911 world) they will deride you as a FOAMER and will call the cops.
Enid Oklahoma
I drove through Wichita, but didn't stop.  I headed south on a two lane road into Oklahoma, which eventually took me on to Enid, Oklahoma, and the railway museum there.
On the way south, I passed west of the Oklahoma City metro area.  I had to get gas at a town, and found that everything seemed to be sad and depressed in the area.  There were a lot of teen agers to 30 somethings hanging around everywhere in their cars looking for trouble with nothing to do.  I've found many times in areas that are not very accomodating there are three choices for young people -- play in sports, go to church, or be a criminal.

I got into the Fort Worth/Dallas metro area by evening.  I stopped at a DQ in Fort Worth, where I had a Texas style meal.  Texas DQ's back then were different.  They were allowed more freedom than most franchises would allow, so they were often each unique and were more like the local family owned diner.  I took my rest at Carswell Air Force Base, which was being shut down.
Dallas Texas
I visited Reunion Tower, downtown, 6th floor Exhibit, then went on to Deep Ellum.

Deep Ellum, Dallas Texas
In 1990, I joined the Air Force.  I went to basic at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio Texas.   Other than one day in San Antonio amongst all the other newbie airmen with their obvious buzz cuts and new blue uniforms out on their one day of freedom and, of course, the tourists, I didn't get to see much of Texas.  Upon graduation from BMTS, we went by bus through Texas on a mostly rural two lane, and that gave me a taste of the state.  In my dorm room at Sheppard Air Force Base in Wichita Falls, Texas, I used to hear the scratchy staticky faint signals of the only "alternative" radio station I could find -- KEDG, or the 'Edge.'  Almost every ad was for some club in a place called 'Deep Ellum' in Dallas.  The only way I had of getting around back then was on foot or by city bus, which, needless to say, Wichita Falls city buses didn't go to Dallas.  So I did the best I could exploring by foot, first Wichita Falls, then some of the surrounding towns.  I never made it to Dallas.  So, the first vacation I could take in the military was a trip to Dallas.  That was the reason for this trip.
I spent most of that afternoon exploring the boutiques and galleries in Deep Ellum.  I was wearing this shirt I had from one of my favorite bands, The Sin City Disciples.

It was a white t-shirt that had a picture of a big red devil with a lacivious smile on his face, and the shirt just said Sin City Disciples.  As I was walking around, I found myself outside of a place called the 'Clearview Five in One.'  Some guy who was at the door who later told me he was the owner of the club, really liked my shirt.  He said he was a big fan of Sin City, and he said if I came back to the club later, he would let me in free, which I did come back, and I did get in free.  I remember the bar was interesting, because, true to its name, it was five seperate clubs in one.  The back area was where the bands played. There was a smaller venue for more intimate live music.  There was a liquid lounge with a dj and wierd liquid lightshows going.  There was a big dance club in the front with DJ's.  Next to the big DJ room was some sort of DJ lounge.  I went to the back, where the live music was, and saw a band from Oklahoma, called the Chainsaw Kittens.  It was typical of the time, with a raised stage and mosh pit crush at the front.  Aftewards, I made it to my van and found a new road in an industrial area in Arlington Texas to get a hot steamy nights sleep.
Fort Worth Texas
In Fort Worth, I spent time in the stockyards, downtown, and mostly around the Santa Fe Depot in the south part of town.  Fort Worth strikes me as a more low key city than it's large neighbor to the east.  It has a lot of charm which has come be a Texas trademark.  Things seem to be more relaxed there.  I admired the Texas and Pacific Station.  It seemed to be empty at the time of my visit, and in much need of restoration.  I got some pictures inside the Santa Fe Depot and some shots of the yards and trains outside.  When I left tech school to go to my assignment at Whiteman Air Force base, I chose to take the train instead of via plane.  That meant I had to catch a bus out of Wichita Falls to Fort Worth.  That is how I first saw the Santa Fe Depot, but it was also how I saw the bueatiful courthouse in Decatur Texas, that caught my eye.  I went back through there on my way to Wichita Falls on this trip, to get some pictures.  I arrived in Wichita Falls late in the afternoon.  I drove around a bit, and headed to Burkburnett and Iowa Park, two of the small towns I walked to on one of my many explorations while in tech school.

Burkburnett Texas
The next day was rainy and dreary.  I drove around Whichita Falls some, but didn't feel any spark of interest and excitement.  Part of the reason was that I so well explored the city when I was at Sheppard, that I pretty much saw everything, and there really isn't much to see there as the downtown area is quite depressed and dreary.  During my tenure in tech school, my last walk was twenty miles south to the town of Archer City.  A year before in 1989, a movie was shot there called 'Texasville.'  I visited again this trip.  The town is dominated by the author Larry McMurtry's book store, which was then called 'The Blue Pig' but is now called 'Booked Up.'  So, you come to this small Texas town, in the middle of nowhere, and find a world class book store run by an internationally known author.  It is quite unexpected, unless you know what you are looking for.  I ate at the Dairy Queen on the south part of town, which figured quite prominantly in the movie 'Texasville.'  'Texasville' is a sequel to 'The Last Picture Show' which many people I've talked to have listed as one of their most favorite films of all time.  My favorite part is a scene with Ben Johnson, when he talks about the past...

For an actor who didn't like to talk, he sure delivered one of the best monologues in the business.
I came back to Wichita Falls, then just decided to head back to Lawrence.  I took the highway the whole way, and found that the trip between north Texas and Lawrence really didn't take that long.  I was in Lawrence by 8:30 PM after leaving Texas a little before noon.  The flint hills of Kansas were gorgeous when I passed through.


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