Thursday, June 21, 2012
I entered Shenandoah National Park and drove south on Skyline Drive. Next took the Blue Ridge Parkway to North Carolina. I popped off to tour Biltmore Mansion. Then continued west through Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
Once in Texas I made some repairs to the Mystery Machine. I spent Thanksgiving in Fort Worth.
The Kimball Museum of Art had an exhibit: Caravaggio And His Followers in Rome. The artist Caravaggio (1571-1610) introduced tenebrism to Italy. He drew from the style of chiaroscuro popular during the Renaissance.
Caravaggio created illuminated subjects with dark backgrounds. The style influenced Spanish painters such as El Greco and Flemish painters such as Rembrandt. He was a major influence to the Baroque Period.
The Fort Worth Museum of Science & History was showing: Discover the Real Washington. The retrospective included artifacts from his personal life. Including this pair of George's dentures.
No wonder he didn't smile! Accounts by Washington describe his 'aching tooth' and 'inflamed gums'. His false teeth were made of hippopotamus ivory and human teeth.
I got a better sleeping bag from REI. Then headed west on Interstate 30. I wanted to make loop through central Texas & Hill Country.
In Weatherford I stopped at the Museum of the Americas. This is a private collection of Native American art from different tribes in North & South America. I also toured the Santa Fe Depot & Parker County Courthouse.
I toured the exhibits at Doss Heritage & Culture Center. I saw Chandor Gardens the home of artist Douglas Chandor. I took the Candlelight Tour of Homes through select private residences in Weatherford.
The National WASP WWII Museum in Sweetwater tells the story of Americas first female military aviators.They successfully proved women could serve as pilots. However prejudice led to their records being sealed. They were granted veteran status in 1977 and awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 2009.
I backtracked to Abilene. I walked around Fort Phantom Hill.
I learned about the B1-B Lancer at the visitor center for Dyess Air Force Base. This supersonic bomber was designed to replace the B-52 Stratofortress. Squadrons were based out of Dyess.
Frontier Texas! is a multimedia exhibit. It starts with Native American culture. The exhibit goes through European settlement to the arrival of the railroad.
I visited the Abilene Zoo on a rainy day. Next I went to the National Center for Children's Illustrated Literature. Then to the Grace Museum, Center for Contemporary Arts, and Paramount Theater.
12th Armored Division Memorial Museum commemorates this military unit's actions in WWII. The 12th operated in the European Theater. They pushed back the Nazis in the Ardennes-Alsace, Rhineland, and Central Europe. A Walther PPK belonging to Adolph Eichmann (a major organizer of the Holocaust).
I took Hwy 277 south to San Angelo. I passed one of the largest wind farms in the country, Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center. Then briefly stopped at Fort Concho.
I toured the Orient-Sante Fe Passenger Depot and San Angelo Museum of Fine Art.
Then the Chicken Farm Art Center and Miss Hatties Bordello Museum.
I continued south on Hwy 277 to Sonora.
I visited the Caverns of Sonora. This was the best commercial cavern I visited in Texas. It's known for it's collection of fishtail helictites. It's even rarer butterfly helictite was unfortunately vandalized.
I headed east on Interstate 10. I reached Kerrville. Downtown is the Guadalupe River overlook.
Nearby in Ingram is Stonehenge II. This homage is 2/3 the size of the original. It is not oriented to the sun. There are also replicas of the famous Easter Island moai.
I took Hwy 16 north to Fredericksburg. I spent a few days at the National Museum of the Pacific War. This museum covers aspects of the Pacific Theater during WWII. Also part of the complex is the Admiral Nimitz Museum.
Nimitz grew up in Fredericksburg. Today it's a popular tourist destination in Hill Country. I walked down Main Street which was decorated with Christmas lights.
I walked around Fort Martin Scott Historic Site. Then headed to Stonewall.
Lyndon B. Johnson State Park preserves the family ranch of it's namesake. I stopped by the visitor center for a GPS guide. It delivered audio and video presentations along the auto tour.
Lyndon B. Johnson National Park preserves the ranch house and operates a museum. A ranger gave a guided tour of the Texas White House. On view are LBJ's collection of custom Cadillacs, as well as his jet "Air Force One Half". A museum covers different aspects of the LBJ administration. Later that night there was a Christmas Tree lighting at the visitor center.
I continued to Johnson City. The Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park preserves his boyhood home. At the visitor center I watched a few movies and toured the political history museum.
I went for an evening hike at Pedernales Falls State Park. I walked around the falls. It looks like a cool place to picnic. A sign said hiking or swimming in the river are forbidden. Floods and rapid currents have swept people away. Though not of the falls, this was a cool picture.
I was pressed for time. I stopped for dinner in Austin and drove back to Dallas.
My friend Randall invited me to spend Christmas in Florida. I flew down with his family. We stayed for a few days at The Breakers in West Palm Beach.
Nearby, was the Flagler Museum. Flagler made his fortune as a partner in Standard Oil. This Beaux Arts mansion preserves the legacy of the man who kick-started tourism in Florida.
In Miami Beach we stayed at the Fountainbleau Hotel. We visited the Miami Seaquarium. I participated in a Dolphin Encounter.