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Trip Texas Texas   My visit to Texas in 2013. Walter C (US)
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My visit to Texas in 2013.

  • 26Sep 2013

    1 Arriving Into Texas 26.09.2013 USA —

    Irving, USA

    Beschreibung

    I am finally visiting Texas, as this would be my first ever visit to the Lone Star state. Originally, I was going to visit Dallas only, but later decided to visit Houston as well, as I decided to visit 2 stadiums before the end of the baseball season.

    The day started with me taking the train to the Philly airport. I got off at one terminal, but then went to another, since the security line was shorter. Then to the gate.

    I got on the plane, which took me to the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport. Then hopped on a shuttle bus, which took me to the Car Rental Center. This was where all the car rental regencies were. I went inside, and ate some food that I packed, since I was so hungry. Then went to the desk, to pick up the car.

    I left the Car Rental Center, and tried to follow directions that I printed from Google Maps. It got very confusing, since I did not have a map. I would go around in circles for some time, until I finally figured it out. I drove into Irving, which was where the hostel was.

    I remember Irving as the place where Texas Stadium used to be. This was the previous stadium of the Dallas Cowboys. By now, it has been demolished, so no chance to see it. But it would have been nice, as this was the place with some history. I remember the early 90's team, and how I really don't like them at all. Unfortunately, there was probably nothing left remaining, so I did not bother to see it myself.

    I did stop by a library, hoping to use the computer. But they had no guest accounts, and charge $10 for computer use within 1 year. No thanks! So I went back out, and after some time, I was able to find the Wild, Wild West Backpackers.

    I tried to check in, but the owner was not there. A British woman, who was actually staying there as a guest, took the time to show me around the hostel. Very nice of her. I would meet a few other people, who were passing through Dallas. I did call the owner, but he would not be in until nighttime.

    I went out, stopping by Millennium Park. It was a small public park, in the middle of the street, with water fountains. It looked clean and nice, but not really much to see. Then I went to look for a place to eat.

    I ended up at Terry's Supermarket, which looked like a Korean supermarket, but it was run by Hispanics. I went to the restaurant area, and got some fried rice as my dinner with kimchi. It was really good! Then drove to Dallas, to see the Sixth Floor Museum.

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  • 26Sep 2013

    2 11-22-63 26.09.2013 USA —

    Dallas, USA

    Beschreibung

    Coming from Irving, I drove into Dallas, and to the West End Historic District. I went around a block, and found the Sixth Floor Museum. I parked at the museum, and went inside.

    This museum was mainly about that horrific event on November 22, 1963, which was the assassination of President John F Kennedy (JFK). Since then, it has been associated with the city of Dallas, and the museum was a place that I had to visit and see for myself.

    The museum building used to be the Texas School Book Depository, where Lee Harvey Oswald worked, and fired the shots from. When JFK's motorcade, the vehicle that he was riding in, passed by the building, that was when he was shot 2 times. He was quickly taken to a hospital, where he later died from head wounds.

    The museum starts off being about what the US was like in the 1960’s, followed by Kennedy’s rise to being President, to the assassination. After that, it gets into aftermath and the killer himself, Lee Harvey Oswald, and later, the conspiracies that followed. You get to see the spot where Oswald fired 2 shots at Kennedy, and the sequence of photos of Kennedy getting shot. It was really scary to see.

    I spent about 3 hours at the museum, and did find myself hurrying, as closing time was approaching. After seeing the 6th floor, I went to the 7th floor, which had the photographs of past Presidents. I went through that quickly, as I ran out of time. Then had to leave the museum.

    Next thing, I walked around Dealey Plaza. There were some people trying to sell me maps, and give a tour of the area, but I declined. I already had a map that the museum gave me.

    Dealey Plaza is a city park, which later, became known for the JFK assassination. It was named after George Bannerman Dealey, who was the publisher of "The Dallas Morning News". It has been designated as a National Historical Landmark.

    Seeing the monuments, then going around the park, from the Triple Underpass to the grassy knoll. The grassy knoll was where the assassination was recorded by Abraham Zapruder, the only one to get the entire event on camera. Also, there were 2 X's taped on the street, making the spots where JFK was shot.

    I remember reading and learning about it in history classes, plus all the conspiracy theories. But it was really something to actually see where it all happened. So after seeing the museum, walking around Dealey Plaza is a must as well.

    Afterwards, it was time to go to the baseball game. So I left, and headed to Arlington, leaving later than planned.

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  • 26Sep 2013

    3 First Rangers Game 26.09.2013 USA —

    Arlington, USA

    Beschreibung

    I would hit traffic, on my way to Arlington. Once I got there, I chose to park farther away, as those lots were cheaper than the ones closer to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. There was no free parking. Just unfortunate that this place can only be reached by car, as there is no public transportation n Arlington.

    I walked to the stadium, seeing Six Flags theme park across the street. But it was closed. Once I got there, I just entered, as I had no time to walk around the exterior of the ballpark.

    I headed to my seat, which was at the upper deck. I was able to get a very cheap ticket, less than $10 on Stubhub. On the way, I could see the surrounding area, which would include Cowboys Stadium. So this was where the Cowboys moved to? I got to my section, which was behind home plate.

    I did look around the stadium for a bit, but not for long, as I arrived with the game already starting. Rangers Ballpark opened in 1994, and does not have much of a history. And really, there is not much else to it. There are a group of girls, who wave the Texas flags whenever the Rangers score, behind the center field wall, in a section called Greene’s Hill. It does not have a roof, so I can't imagine watching a game here in the summer months.

    The Texas Rangers played the Anaheim Angels in an AL West battle. I know they are actually called the Los Angeles Angels, but this is just beyond messed up in more ways than one. But that will be for a later time when I visit the Angels ballpark. The Rangers have recently slumped, but just finally got it together, to remain in the playoff race for the 2nd wild card.

    With the Angels in town, that meant hearing the booing of Josh Hamilton, everytime he came to the plate. This was due to him leaving the Rangers during the off-season, and signing with the division rival Angels for more money. A big mistake on his part, as his team have already been eliminated from playoff contention.

    When I arrived to my seat, it was the bottom of the 1st inning, with the Angels leading 1-0. Then it went back and forth, when each team traded 3 runs. The Rangers scored theirs in their 1st, followed by the Angels scoring 3 unearned runs in the 2nd inning, and leading 4-3. The runs were unearned, because the Rangers committing 4 errors in one inning alone. Talk about sloppy baseball by the home team.

    The score stayed that way, until the 6th, with the Rangers taking a 5-4 lead, but the Angels tied it in the next inning. The game got to the bottom of the 9th inning, when Jurickson Profar hit a walkoff home run, and the Rangers beat the Angels, 6-5. It was a fun game to watch.

    After the game, I headed back to the hostel. I did get lost along the way, as I got confused with the directions that I had. After some time, I was able to find my way.

    Once I got back, I would meet with the hostel owner, and pay my bill. Then just used the internet for some time, plus planning out for the next day, until bed time.

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  • 27Sep 2013

    4 Who Shot JR? - Visit to Southfork 27.09.2013 USA —

    Parker, USA

    Beschreibung

    Leaving the hostel later than planned, I headed to the suburb of Parker, which was where Southfork was located. Southfork was the name of the ranch, used in the TV show "Dallas". Being in the city of the same name, I could not pass up the chance to see it, even if I am not a huge fan of the show.

    I did have some trouble finding it, as I noticed the area was a lot more rural. When finding it, I arrived at the visitor center, and went inside, which had a gift shop and museum. I bought a ticket for the tour of the mansion. The museum contain props from the TV show, like Lucy’s bridal dress or the gun used to shoot JR, as well as other things. Plus a nice little memorial to Larry Hagman, who played JR in the show, and recently passed away.

    There were 2 versions of the TV show, with the first one airing from 1978 to 1993, on Friday nights on CBS. I always remember the intro and theme music, which is pretty catchy. I have seen the first 3 seasons on DVD, but never bothered after that, with the last episode I've seen, the famous cliffhanger, "Who Shot JR?" That would change TV history as ending a season on a cliffhanger was unheard of, back then. The second version started airing in 2012 on TNT, and still on, as this one is the continuation of the first one. Both series centered around the Ewing family. I have only seen a few episodes of this one.

    I toured the museum until the tour time came. Then I hopped on the tram, and was given the tour of the ranch, before coming to the Ewing Mansion. Once there, we were given a tour of the mansion, being shown different rooms. The mansion and the swimming pool are a lot smaller than what was shown in the TV show, and space can be tight at times.

    After seeing the mansion, I went to the second gift shop, to see the Cadillac, which was driven by Jock Ewing in the show. Then tried on a few of the cowboy hats.

    I headed back, and would look at the surrounding countryside, which was completely flat. Somehow, it reminded me of how my father described Texas, when he and my mother drove cross-country back in the 70's. Now, I am finally here, seeing it for myself, if only for a very short time.

    I left Southfork, and stopped by a shopping center, to eat lunch at a Korean restaurant. It was very pricey, but the food was good. After that, I headed to Fort Worth.

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  • 27Sep 2013

    5 Very Short Visit 27.09.2013 USA —

    Fort Worth, USA

    Beschreibung

    Heading to Fort Worth, I would run into traffic, with one lane closed due to construction. So it took me a long time to get there. Plus I did get lost along the way. Also, I did not think it was pretty far from Dallas. Hearing the term "Dallas-Fort-Worth", I assumed the 2 cities were close together. But they are really not.

    I arrived at the Fort Worth Stockyards, and parked at a strip mall, to avoid paying for parking. That meant walking about a block to the Stockyards. I reached the edge of it, and it looked like a ghost town. I was like, is that all there is? Because it is looking very disappointing so far.

    But when I went down one street, and came to the main one. Then I saw that this was where all the main attractions were, along with the shops and restaurants. This was the historic district, which was very touristy, and the Texas that many people know it for.

    There was the arch, and the plaques on the ground, for the Texas Trail of Fame. There was a museum there too, but I did not have time for it. Seeing this area, I wished that I had more time here, as there seems to be enough to do that would take up half a day, at least. But I was only able to spend 45 minutes, which is not close to being enough. Still, I don't regret the short visit.

    I left Fort Worth, and headed to Arlington, as I wanted to get there before game time.

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  • 27Sep 2013

    6 Second Rangers Game 27.09.2013 USA —

    Arlington, USA

    Beschreibung

    Arriving into Arlington, I went to the same parking lot, which was the cheapest that I could find.I started walking, until a shuttle bus came, which I boarded, and took me to the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.

    Then I walked around the stadium, looking at the exterior. It did have that look of an old ballpark from the past. But this one does not have much of a history, nor does the team itself. The only thing I could think of, is Nolan Ryan, probably the greatest pitchers of all-time, who spent most of his career here, and currently the CEO of the team. And I don't think he ever pitched a game at this ballpark. Also, the Rangers making 2 trips to the World Series, losing both times.

    Another feature, or lack thereof, is a roof. I can't imagine how it would be during the hot Texas summers, to watch a ballgame. Luckily for me, the weather has cooled, so not much of an issue. Plus I always look for the shaded seats.

    After walking around, I went through the entrance, which had the statue. Then went to my seat, which was on the far right side, where I had to arch my head to see the scoreboard. Worse view than at the 1st game.

    The Texas Rangers needed a win against the Angels, to keep pace for the 2nd Wild Card. Plus they need a lot of outside help. Wait a minute... this is sounding a lot like football talk. And the idea of a 2nd Wild Card is a joke, as it takes away from the division race.

    Anyway, the Rangers took 1-0 lead in the 1st inning. But the Angels tied it in the 3rd, followed by the Rangers reclaiming the lead with 2 more runs, making it 3-1. Then the 5th inning, when Josh Hamilton would knock in 2 runs, to tie the score. That obviously did not sit well with the fans, who continue to boo Hamilton. But luckily for them, the Rangers took the lead in the 7th inning, which they would not give up, and beat the Angels, 5-3. Even more good news for the Rangers fans, that the Rays and Indians lost, the 2 teams that the Rangers are trying to catch.

    The game took about 3 and half hours. Then there were postgame fireworks. I moved to another section, to get a better view. After that, I exited the ballpark, and headed back to the hostel.

    Once I got there, I started to pack up a little, and got to meet up with some people, who came from other countries. Interesting that they would come to Texas. :) Though one of them, was in town to visit a friend.

    I started to pack up a little, and used the internet for some time. My last day in the Dallas area, as I leave for Houston the next day.

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  • 28Sep 2013

    7 Houston, I Have Arrived 28.09.2013 USA —

    Houston, USA

    Beschreibung

    Time to leave Dallas. I headed to the airport, and took a plane to Houston. I chose to fly, because it just simply saved a lot of time and energy. Driving would take time and money, and the bus schedule was too inconvenient for me.

    Once I arrived in Houston, I picked up the rental car, and drove to the HI Houston - The Morty Rich Hostel. Formerly a mansion, and located in a residential area. A little hard to find, as it was off the main street. And the main street can be tricky to find, when getting off the highway. Entering into the hostel, it does have that feel of an upper class bed & breakfast.

    I was not able to check in, so I just looked around for a bit, and used the computer there. Then headed out, going to the Johnson Space Center.

    It was about 30 minutes away from downtown. I would have 4 hours to see the place, thinking it was going to be enough, and that there is less to see here than at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

    I started out by seeing a short film, then joined a tour, which was led by a former astronaut. I stuck around for some time, until realizing it would take too long. So I left, and ate lunch. Then waited in line for the tram tour. The line moved, until I was the first one. But then, it rained outside, and caused a delay in the tour. Plus the people who left just before me, came back, and had to go to back of the line.

    I waited for some time, and learned that it was going to be a modified tour. So instead of seeing Mission Control, I would see Building 16 instead. This is where the flight simulator takes place, as well as the software and hardware checks, which does not seem as interesting as the idea of visiting Mission Control, which I assume, is where “Houston” is located. And Rocket Garden as well.

    During the tour, I would have to deal with a guy, who I started talking to while waiting in line, and sat next to, on the tram. But then, he just kept joking over and over, until it got very annoying. I wanted to tell him to "quit while you'are ahead", but I didn't.

    After the tram tour, I toured around the rest of the museum. After that, I headed back to the hostel, where I checked in. But I was tired, and took a short nap. I was too tired at that point, as I ran behind schedule. When I woke up, I decided to take the bus to downtown.

    I got to the stop, where I waited for about 30 minutes. Then took the bus, to Minute Maid Park. Before entering, I bought a ticket for next day's game. It was more than I wanted to pay for, but StubHub was not the cheaper option this time.

    I went inside the ballpark, and to my seat, in the left field side. By that time, it was the 3rd inning. The roof was closed, and the ballpark was air-conditioned. Good thing, as it was hot outside.

    The ballpark first opened in 2000, originally named Enron Field. When the Enron scandal happened, the name was temporarily changed to Astros Field, before changing to its current name, Minute Maid Park. There is a train that runs whenever the Astros hit a home run or win the game, or before the start of the game. One of the carts is filled with oranges, in reference to its current name, as it is sometimes called the “Juice Box”. Sometimes, you can see a guy being the engineer inside it.

    The Houston Astros took on the New York Yankees, which sounded like an interleague game. But it's actually an American League game, as the Astros moved to the AL this season. It will take a lot of getting used to, if ever, as I am still not used to seeing the Milwaukee Brewers as a NL team.

    This game meant nothing to either team, especially for the Astros, who are the worst team in baseball, with over 100 losses. But ticket prices on StubHub was not cheap, due to the Yankees being in town. That meant more Yankee fans in the stands. Still, their team was not going to the playoffs either.

    Andy Pettite started for the Yankees, which was his final game ever. Probably fitting that it was in Houston, as he is from the area, and spent a few seasons with the Astros. I could not tell you who pitched for the Astros.

    Despite getting there late, I saw all the scoring in the game, which was not much. The Astros took a 1-0 lead in the 4th inning, but the Yankees scored 2 in the 6th. And that was it, as the Yankees beat the Astros, 2-1. Probably fitting for a meaningless game. Pettite got an ovation, as he pitched a complete game.

    I left, and tried to look for the bus stop. But had a hard time, and the map kept shutting down on my phone, which was really frustrating, as I had to keep pulling it up every time, as I did not have enough time to read it. After some time, I found the stop and waited until the bus came. The fare is very cheap, but very inconvenient.

    I arrived back, and went to get some food at a nearby Burger King. I ate back at the hostel, and realized that I lost my reading glasses. I looked around, in the room and car, but could not find it. After a while, I gave up that time. I would have to call the Space Center in the morning, to see if I misplaced them there.

    So I went back to the room, and to sleep.

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  • 29Sep 2013

    8 An Astro-nomical Day 29.09.2013 USA —

    Houston, USA

    Beschreibung

    I would have to start packing up, as I will be checking out. I also called the Johnson Space Center, to see if I left my other glasses there, which turned out, yes. So I would have to go back there and get them. When it comes reading and using computers, I am really dependent on the second pair.

    Since I had to wait until it opens, I would get ready, finish packing, and eat the hostel breakfast. Then decided to visit the Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park. Or more known as just the Waterwall Park, which was located near the Galleria (a shopping mall). After checking out of the hostel, I headed there. It did not take long to get there, being Sunday morning. But once I got to the Galleria area, it started to rain very hard. I waited in the car.

    When it stopped raining, I walked to the Waterwall Park, and it was amazing to see. It was a very tall wall structure, with water flowing and falling on it. Hard to describe, but it was really something to see. I walked around it, and could even get close to it. Listening to the sound was nice as well.

    After seeing it, I decided to take a look at the Astrodome. I drove to the area, but it was too crowded, as there was a Texans game there as well. So I headed to the Space Center.

    Once there, I was able to bypass paying for parking, being there for only a short while. I was able to get my glasses, then looked around for a bit. There was a series of displays on the solar system, starting with the sun. Then the planets and other objects, all placed in relative to their distance from the sun. I did not stay long, as I had a ballgame to go to.

    So I left, and headed to Minute Maid Park. I parked in a lot, one of the few that accepted credit card. Then went to the stadium. I got there on time, just before the start of the pregame ceremony for Mariano Rivera.

    It was nice to see, as he got a collage of highlights as a gift, and some speeches by Joe Torre, Roger Clemens, and others. And Rivera himself, apologizing to Astros fans, on deciding not to play at all in Houston. He wanted his final memory to be at Yankee Stadium. I can respect that. Besides, I did get to see him pitch earlier in the season.

    The Houston Astros and New York Yankees played each out to close out the 2013 season, and both can't wait for that. As expected, it was a low-scoring, lackluster game. The Astros struck first, taking a 1-0 lead in the 1st inning. But the Yankees would tie it in the 7th inning, and stayed that way after 9. That meant, extra innings, which was the first MLB game for me. It would go on for 14 innings, and even saw a 14th inning stretch, which I never knew about. The Yankees scored 4 runs in the top 14th, and beat the Astros, 5-1. I was glad that it was finally over, as I was feeling cold, as the air-conditioners were full blast, with the roof closed.

    Afterwards, I looked around, then went to Union Station, to see the little museum there, which had some history on the Astros. Then went outside, seeing the Astros Walk of Fame. Then headed out, to the Astrodome area. This was where Reliant Stadium was as well, the home of the Texans.

    The Astrodome was once dubbed the "8th wonder of the world", when it opened in 1965. It was also the first to have artificial turf, leading to the term "Astroturf". The team played there until 1999. It was also home of the Oilers as well, Houston's previous football team. That was until after the 1995 season, when they moved to Tennessee, and later became the Titans. Now, it sits empty, with no use at all. I could not get close to it, since it was fenced off.

    Afterwards, I went to the hotel, actually located in the town of Humble, the Regency Inn & Suites Humble. cheap hotel, where the rooms are accessible from outdoors only. Reception is located in a separate building, which is also where breakfast is served. The breakfast is okay, as it’s just coffee and cereal and milk.
    The room is very nice, with its own kitchen. And close to the Car Rental Center.

    I checked in, then went to get some dinner. Then back to the room, to relax. Just glad to have a room of my own, even if it costs more. And very close to the airport.

    I just watched TV and packed up a little. Then went to sleep, as I would head back home the next day.

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  • 30Sep 2013

    9 Heading Back 30.09.2013 USA —

    Dallas, USA

    Beschreibung

    Time to leave. I checked out of the hotel, dropping my key card at reception. Then drove to the airport, which only took a short time. I dropped the car off at the Rental Center, and went to the terminal. I checked in, and just waited at the gate.

    I boarded on a flight to Dallas, where I had a 3-hour layover. Just went to the gate, and just hung around. Then got on a right, heading back to Philly. And I had to go straight to work. The trip was over.

    Even if it was such a short time, I did accomplish what I set out to do, which was to see the baseball stadiums in Texas. With those 2 stadiums visited, I have reached the halfway point of my baseball quest. So 15 down, 15 to go. What will be the next one, I have no idea.

    I also have no idea what and when will my next trip be. Until then, just have a bunch of other things to get done.

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  • 04Sep 2016

    10 Brief Stop in Houston Airport 04.09.2016 USA —

    Houston, USA

    Beschreibung

    I don't normally write about my airport visits in this account, but since I saw some things in the Houston airport, I decided to write about that. On my way to California, I made a stopover in Houston.

    With some time to kill, I would see a small exhibition on George H.W. Bush, who was the 41st President, and from the Houston area. That would be the first Bush, or Bush Sr. Then a little butterfly art display nearby. Then went to a Popeye's, where I ate lunch. I just love eating their spicy chicken and cajun rice. Then to the gate.

    The time came to board, and I got on. But when sitting, there was a delay, sue to the rain storm. It was pouring at times. So we all waited inside the airplane, until the rain stopped. I think 1 hour had passed, and thinking it was not so bad, as I did arrange for a shuttle in LA.

    But then, the plane had to make an unscheduled stop at Phoenix, due to running low on fuel. So this would further delay my arrival my arrival into LA. But at the same time, I could not really blame them. Safety first, after all! After the refueling was done, the plane took off, and I was finally heading to California.

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