Oklahoma!

After a wonderful 10 day visit with my sister LuAnn, it was time to say our goodbyes and head on to a new state to explore, Oklahoma.  We had a short 200 mile trip north, and found a nice campground right in the city, Roadrunner RV Park.  Their website is outdated, because it does not show the brand new section that we stayed in, as well as the new office and laundry facility.  It was a very convenient spot to stay for four nights.

Since Oklahoma City is the state capital, I wanted to go and see the capitol building.  The capitol is currently undergoing a major renovation with new windows, elevators, air conditioning and other upgrades, which is why it is covered in tarps and scaffolding.  Oklahoma City is the only capital in the United States that has a working oil rig on the grounds.  Also, the dome on the capitol building, was not added until 2002.  The original plans called for a dome, but when the capitol was finished in 1917, they left the dome off.  The entire building cost $1.5 million to build, and the dome would have cost an additional $250,000 at that time.  The total construction cost to add it on in 2002 was $21 million!  At the top of the dome is a 17 foot statute, “The Guardian,” which pays honor to the large Native American population in Oklahoma.  And, as you can tell by the flags, it was very, very windy.  It was windy the entire time we were there.

DSC04759 (2)

Here’s a view from the ground floor, looking up into the dome.

DSC04766

This is the chamber for the 101 members of the Oklahoma House of Representatives.

img_1629And the chamber for the 48 members of the Oklahoma Senate.img_1623

During the time we were in Oklahoma in March, they were debating about giving teachers a pay increase.  I saw this sign hanging on one of the doors in the legislatures offices, and found it to be both timely and appropriate to the current events.

img_1630

Oklahoma City is home to the National Softball Hall of Fame and Museum, (free), and we stopped in to check out their displays on the history of softball, and to view the memorabilia from legendary softball players, and the United State’s Olympic Softball Team, which won gold medals in 1996, 2000, 2004, and a silver medal in 2008.  Softball was then discontinued as an Olympic sport, but will return again in 2020.

P1010786 (2)

P1010758 (2)

P1010776 (2)

P1010775 (2)

We looked for a hall of fame display for our friend Steve C., but he apparently has not yet been nominated!  Someday Steve, you will have your own display case like these hall-of- famers!

P1010770 (2)

After our visit we decided to check out a “hole in the wall” type diner near the campground that was pretty  busy, so we stopped in for lunch and were a bit surprised when the waitress asked if we wanted “smoking, or non-smoking!”  We haven’t heard that question in years, and both looked to our left at the smoking area, which was completely enclosed in glass walls, with its own doors, and full of patrons.  We don’t smoke, so we opted for the empty, non-smoking area.  We are not sure what the smoking laws are in Oklahoma, but this was certainly the reason this place was so busy!

We did many things in our short stay in Oklahoma City.  Our next blog will discuss the main reason for our visit.

Quote of the Day:  “I’m from Oklahoma.  I mean you can’t have good hair in Oklahoma.  That’s why everyone wears hats.  The wind just messes it up.” –  Ronnie Dunn

George W Bush Presidential Library

When we started out on our travelling adventures in 2013, we stopped in Springfield, Illinois to see the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library.  At that time, we decided it would be fun to see all the Presidential Libraries at some point in the future.  Fast forward to March 2018, and we finally made it to our second library, for the 43rd President of the United States,  President George W Bush, located on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.  First lady Laura Bush attended SMU, which is why it is located there.

P1010546 (3)The museum is laid out in an easy to follow format, consisting of the four principles important to the Bush’s: Freedom, Responsibility, Opportunity and Compassion.  There is full-size reproduction of the Oval Office, complete with the furniture, statues, and photographs that were on display in the real Oval Office.  I opted to check out the desk, with my sister LuAnn as “Secretary of Education” standing by!

P1010551And of course I needed a conference with my “Cabinet” members.

P1010563 (2)The museum starts out with panels detailing the early years of Bush’s life and his family.

64E47603-BB1B-42EA-9C97-D925C1370FBB

Then you watch a short movie narrated by President Bush, with his reflections on what it meant to be president, and how the tragedy of 9/11 changed the agenda of his presidency.  Then you enter a room with one of his signature pieces of legislation, “No Child Left Behind.”

8837E691-B534-4A60-BD25-E6BF64B24CC4One of First Lady Laura Bush’s platforms was “Ready to Read, Ready to Learn,” to improve early childhood education.  On display were the books from a reading list that she recommended for children of all ages.  We recognized many of the titles, as books that we had read as children.

7FFB392C-EAFD-450A-B5F1-E042386177FBPresident Bush’s passion is baseball, and there is a display of many of the autographed balls and bats on display throughout the museum.  He was the first former Little League player to be elected President of the United States, and started a new White House tradition to play tee ball games on the grounds of the White House in 2001.  The bat in this display case was signed by 46 of the 62 living members of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.  Priceless!

5D17A51E-B7DE-422E-BA05-8730ECA1CBB4

When you round the corner of the museum, from the display of his early domestic policy work, the lighting is darker, and you are faced with a very in-depth, day-by-day timeline of the events surrounding the 9/11 Terrorist Act.  The museum contains steel from the World Trade Center, and has a memorial wall listing the names of every victim of the attack.

4A99B456-0A39-40C6-9254-5701D7EC3A96The television screens on the memorial walls shows the attacks at each of the locations.

7E027DEA-55C3-4706-85E1-FB5F3C0AE428

There are display cases showing speeches, letters, newspapers and other memorabilia from the days following the attack.  This display case contains the American flag that flew over the White House on September 11, 2001.

392E662F-B491-4B91-B92E-9221FAE23364

Another display case contains memorabilia from the war in Iraq, including the 9mm Glock Model 18C Automatic Pistol confiscated from Saddam Hussein during his capture on December 13, 2003.

7EA4EEBC-6419-49F3-A4D5-D325B7A16C52Before 9/11, there were 22 federal government agencies handling homeland security issues.  In 2002, President Bush, and Congress, created the Department of Homeland Security, and put all those agencies into one department.

9BE93C79-F174-496F-996A-89E4A3C2AFDFMany other major events occurred during the Bush presidency, and the museum has many displays talking about the financial crisis in 2008, Hurricane Katrina, Immigration Reform, and the Environment.

5D26FA9B-D9A7-4220-9611-D96C1BF9D432

1A76B01C-5331-4BD1-B9DF-72EA17BBC192Once you are out of the policy area of the museum, there is a fun display on life in the White House, with the official White House Easter eggs given out every year…

31618030-FE96-4C0B-BA9F-72661C822DF4

To photographs, china and formal wear worn at official State dinners…

74B530E5-BF4D-4CD3-B229-09E5325E9C55

AB2FE66B-CEE7-41E3-92AA-CBBC1C764569

And some of the sports related items given to the President during visits by many sports teams.

5ACB1045-117B-47D6-A838-DFC699A7E35APresident Bush had two dogs during his White House days, Barney and Miss Beazley.  They have their own display case complete with toys, photos, letters from children and their dog dishes used when they traveled on Air Force One!

E5610F21-C554-4C88-8769-4524D23108FA

Every President receives gifts from visiting foreign dignitaries, as well as citizens from around the world.  There were many display cases filled with jewelry, swords (seemed to be a popular gift), vases, figurines…

BBDC3D85-CEB9-407E-A2E2-99D3D5B4C599

…and things that made you go “what where they thinking?!”  Like these silver stirrups with gold, ruby, and emerald accents from the King of Morocco.

7029813B-49E5-46F7-AAD3-C278054FFB3D

At the time of our visit, the museum was hosting a special exhibit, on the influence of the First Ladies.  I did not take any photographs in that exhibit, but it was very informative, and there were many, many active  first ladies that worked hand-in-hand with their husbands.

My Quote for the Day is taken from a quote on the wall of the museum:

F73C0973-50BF-4D25-A259-B4CD1155D2FE

TX: Perot Museum of Nature and Science

One of our options when we bought the Dallas City Pass (highly recommended if you will be in the area) is the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.  Since it was Spring Break week during our visit, it was a very busy place.  If you have ever been to a museum with a school class field trip, imagine that times 100!  It’s a great place for kids, and those young at heart, as they have five levels of inter-active exhibits.  We visited with my sister LuAnn, husband John and our niece Alicia.

The five children of former Presidential Candidate Ross Perot (yes, he is still alive) donated $50 million dollars in 2008 to purchase land in Dallas and build a museum to honor their parents.  The museum opened in December of 2012.

003B215B-57E3-4908-9684-353F981F0A04

There are eleven different exhibit halls, and one traveling exhibit, which happened to be The Journey to Space while we were there.  Perhaps a future trip to Mars is in Alicia’s future?

 

5AA04063-F1C5-40CC-983D-4247507CB674

LuAnn and Alicia

The exhibits cover everything from the life of birds, dinosaurs, energy and drilling, gems and minerals, engineering (complete with robots that you can play with), geology, geography, weather, etc.  There is something for everyone.  They have a small platform that you can stand on that simulates an earthquake, and you can practice being a weather forecaster.  Despite the crowds, it was a fun day.

 

They have a large display of cast skeletons, including this giant turtle…

P1010542A flying Pterodactyl with a small body, but large wing-span…

P1010521 (2)

And Tyrannosaurus  Rex, from McCone County, Montana.  North America’s top predator during the Cretaceous Period, a mere 66 million years ago…

P1010537They have many large gems and minerals on display.  What’s the difference between a gem and a mineral, you ask?  A gem is a mineral, that has been polished or cut into facets that reflect the mineral’s crystal structure.

A mineral is a naturally occurring, inorganic substance with distinct physical properties and a crystalline structure derived from its chemical composition.  Not all  minerals are gems, but all gems are minerals.  Sort of like bourbon is a whiskey, but not all whiskey is bourbon.  Anyway, here’s a few photos.  This is Scolecite, from Ahmednagar, India.  The crystal system is Monoclinic.

8803C5E8-4872-40D5-932B-3FE9CE2F644A

This is a large Opal, from Opal Butte, Morrow County, Oregon.  Crystal system is Amorphous.

179068AC-1CD7-46FE-86E4-AB5150F21682This is Rhodochrosite, Crystal system is Trigonal.  It is from the Sweet Home Mine, Mount Bross, Alma District, Colorado.

CC270A1C-FC6F-41FF-A6AA-6A1C6F095219And finally, this one is Cavansite and Stilbite.  Crystal system Orthohombic, from the Wahgoli Quarry in Maharashtra, India.  The display of minerals was very interesting.

6E994AD0-E2F7-4FDA-BE34-9D5C0DB17F04

The museum has several 3D educational movies as well.  For those with young children, they do have an area just for children 5 and under.  It was nice to see so many families, with children of all ages, spending time learning.

 

138C4465-C773-4FE0-83A5-14FEC65C86D5

John, LuAnn and Alicia

Quote for the Day:  “It is so compelling to hear how many great researchers, scientists, engineers, doctors, and educators first became interested in their chosen fields as a result of visiting a great museum of science or natural history.  It is our hope that this museum can be an inspiration to the next generation of pioneers, discoverers and visionaries.”  – Nancy Perot Mulford (one of the Perot’s children)

 

Dallas: The Six Floor Museum

Dan and I spent a wonderful 10 days in the Dallas area visiting with my sister LuAnn, husband John and her soon to be “adult” daughter Alicia.  The weather was great, and the company excellent, despite what Makena had to say in her lost blog post!  Today we drove about 200 miles north, to Oklahoma City.  But I have several more things to post about our stay in Dallas.

If you have any interest at all in history and presidents, you must stop and visit The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.  The museum is more commonly referred to as the Texas School Book Depository, the site of the assassination of President John F Kennedy.  While LuAnn was busy taking Alicia for her driver’s license exam (she passed!), Dan, John and I headed to downtown Dallas to visit the museum, as well as the nearby Reunion Tower.

The sixth and seventh floor of the building have now been turned into a museum, and the window that Lee Harvey Oswald fired from has been preserved.  The original floor, windows and lights are enclosed behind a glass wall, and replica boxes remain stacked just as the Dallas Police found them in that area.  (no photography is permitted on the sixth floor.)  When you enter the museum, you receive an audio recorder, similar in size to a cell phone, that plays recordings on dozens of displays set up on the sixth floor.  You go through a chronological order of events on that fateful day, as well as the shooting of Oswald by Jack Ruby, and the many hearings that took place on the shooting.

For the conspiracy theorists, they do spend some time covering all the “what ifs” and “who else was involved.”  It’s a very thorough display, but it will take a good 90 minutes to get through just listening to all the audio and the videos they have on display.  We enjoyed it, but I did see some folks looking a bit exhausted by the end of the tour.

They do allow you to take photos from the seventh floor window, so here is a photo one floor above the window that Oswald shot Kennedy from.  The Reunion Tower is in the upper left.

P1010243 (2)I marked up another photo that I took from the seventh floor window. (if you double-click on the photo, you can make it larger).  The two red circles mark the spots where Kennedy was shot.  The city has painted “X” on each spot.  The farther spot, in between the two cars, is where Kennedy was fatally wounded. The trees have grown since 1963, so the view back then would be much clearer to the street.

P1010244 (2)_LIHere is a view of the same area, from the sidewalk just in front of the building.  Again, the red lines are where he was struck, and the green “X” to the right is the infamous “grassy knoll area,” popular among the conspiracy theorists that believe a second gunman was there.  The “X” is also the spot where Abraham Zapruder was standing when he shot the 8mm film of the assassination. His film was the only film of the shooting.

P1010272_LI (3)

I was always open to the possibility of a second shooter, until I physically visited this area and was struck by how small, and close to the street, the grassy knoll is.  Here is a view of the grassy knoll from the sidewalk.

P1010285 (2)

To put things in perspective, here is a view looking back towards the sixth floor window.  Dan and John are in the ‘purple square’ mark.  The blue circle is the spot of the fatal shot.  The Grassy Knoll is not a big area.  Everything is much closer in person, in comparison to how they show it on television.  P1010330_LI (2)

There is now a web-cam hidden in the boxes stacked up on the sixth floor window.  Now had that web cam been in place on November 22, 1963……!!

P1010336 (2)

After visiting the museum, we walked over to the Reunion Tower, to view the city of Dallas from 470 feet above.P1010506And of course, I took another view of the museum.

P1010388

Here are a few more photos from the tower.

P1010413

P1010385

This is the Dallas jail and courthouse complex.

P1010422

Dan and John enjoying the view from the Geo-Deck.

P1010442If you are going to Dallas, be sure to check out the City-Pass, as it gives you a discounted pass to four attractions.

Quote for the Day:  “Learn to enjoy every minute of your life.  Be happy now.  Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future.  Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family.  Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.” – Earl Nightingale

 

Makena Meets Her Texas Cousins

Hello everyone!  It’s me, Makena, and I’m back after resting up for a few months!  For those new to the blog, I’m a soon-to-be 11-year-old Jack Russell Terrier that likes to post the views of the traveling dog.

 

makena blogging 2-09-2014

Keeping my peeps informed!

 

Before we left Florida, I did get a few days to visit my buddy (in his mind), Mr. Finn.  My parents went with their friends Tom and Ellen to watch a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Winter Park. Ellen, Mr. Finn’s mom, made him wear some crazy clothes and took him along to the parade.  I heard that he was quite popular, and many people stopped to take his picture.  Hmmm….I guess I wouldn’t mind all that attention from humans.  But my head is too small for that big green hat he was wearing!

 

DSC04659

Mr. Finnigan

Mr. Finn went to watch his big sister Annabelle dance after the parade.  She does Irish dancing, and her school, Watters School of Irish Dancing, put on a free performance after the parade.  My parents said they really enjoyed the performance, but my mom has no coordination to dance like Annabelle.  Annabelle is the shorter girl in front, and her proud grandma, Ellen, is the lady wearing the shamrock headpiece in the front row!

DSC04675

After that, we packed up our house, and I spent the next several days in travel mode, riding in my crate in the back seat of the truck.  There’s nothing better than finding new places to pee!  I like leaving my mark all over the country. I was getting a bit confused with my schedule during this traveling time.  My mom is normally up at 6am, and takes me out to go to the bathroom.  As with humans, you get used to doing your business at a certain time, if you know what I mean.  And I always have my canned food dinner at 5:00 pm!  But while we were traveling, my mom kept telling me we are now on Central Time, and I had to wait.  I didn’t understand, and just as I adjusted to the new time schedule my mom started feeding me early again.  Apparently we switched to Daylight Savings Time?  I just don’t get these humans and their time changes.  When my belly alarm goes off, I need food.  Not a difficult concept for us dogs.

We arrived in Texas and I was excited to see my Aunt LuAnn, Uncle John and cousin Alicia.  But then I discovered those “other cousins,” the four-legged kind.  They gave me a big “Texas welcome,” which I was less than enthused about.

 

8E5C5E13-F283-4D85-80EF-C99F7336248F

Seriously? Both ends?

Toffee decided to sniff my head, and Karamel got the other end.  Then they switched positions.  I think my mom needs to stop using the lavender-scented shampoo.  After that greeting, I discovered two more cousins waiting to greet me, Athena and Artemous.

After that traumatic episode, my parents took me outside, without a leash (yay!) since they have a fenced in backyard.  It was then that I discovered even more cousins (must be a Texas thing), but they were chickens!  Hmmm, I like chickens, but they wouldn’t let me in the pen meet them.  I just had to watch from a distance.

FBADD52F-DED8-4947-9EBB-EEF38F0FAFAA

Needless to say, I was quite exhausted by all this activity, and decided it would be best to hide under my aunt and uncle’s bed.  I felt this would make a good “safe zone” away from those big poodles.  Unfortunately, the cat’s also use this area for their safe zone as well.  They were not amused that I was in their space, and promptly cornered me.  My parents were unaware of this cat bullying, until they kept calling my name, and wondered why I was not responding.  Then they found me and rescued me. Whew!

B3384415-1C33-41B6-B2F3-5192C0F988EB I slept well that first night back in the RV!

The next day we went back to visit, and I was not prepared to discover that I had even MORE cousins!  Yes, they adopted another standard poodle, Café Noir, who is eight weeks old.  My parents found her adorable, me, not so much.

 

DSC04727

Cousins Café Noir and Alicia

Apparently the big dogs have taught the little dogs how to butt sniff.  I’m doing my best to keep it away from all of them.

DSC04732 (2)

 

 

My parents did bring my crate along, so I would not infringe upon the cat’s safe place.  Unfortunately, my new cousin hasn’t learned her boundaries yet, and tried to sneak in with me.  Now I know how the cats felt when I invaded their safe zone.

DSC04756 (2)And if that new dog wasn’t enough, they also had a guinea pig too.  It stays at school in LuAnn’s classroom, but she brought it home for spring break, so it would ‘stay alive.’  Again, I was not allowed in this cage.  I think I would have liked this cousin.  It would be too small to reach my butt to sniff!

DSC04738

Since my parents have been out playing tourist, I have spent several days inside my crate at my cousins.  I don’t get to sleep as much as I would like because I need to keep an eye out for my cousins.

I think I tweaked my back in Florida, and was not feeling well.  Even though I don’t like being locked up in my crate all day, I have started to feel better.  Hopefully I can continue to get stronger, as I really miss playing with my football.  Oh, the good old days…sigh.

Makena and footballWell thanks for following along with me on my adventures.  I’m sure my mom will be back soon posting, as they have kept themselves busy in Dallas.  Take care!

Quote for the day:  “I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult.” – Rita Rudner