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June 2019

2019-06-06 thru 2019-06-11 – Traveling West – Liberal, KS and then Home…

This morning we pulled out of the RV park in Liberal, KS, and pointed the Villa southwest.  In about three minutes we were in the far western part of the Oklahoma panhandle; about 90 minutes later we were in the far western part of the Texas panhandle; by noon we were in New Mexico…

These parts of Oklahoma and Texas look remarkably like Kansas…

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At one rest stop there were these nice little picnic shelters… Mid Century Modern!… Nice, but a little beat up…

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All day yesterday and all day today, until we entered New Mexico, we followed the railroad tracks.  About every ten miles we came to a small town dominated by these giant grain elevators or silos…

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The further we drove west the smaller and more distressed the towns were… Not being farming folk, we could not tell exactly what these facilities do, but we assume it is related to grain storage, food processing, feed production, or something like that…

By mid day we were at our campground in Tucumcari, NM.

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And, for the record, New Mexico does not look anything like Texas, Oklahoma, or Kansas:

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Happy Hours and a light supper ensued in the Villa; tomorrow we head towards Gallup, NM.

Friday morning dawned nice and cool, but the heat will be arriving soon.  We pointed the Villa west, towards Albuquerque and beyond…

The drive was uneventful, as expected…

New Mexico looks like this…

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At one rest stop we found this Scenic Historic Marker:

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We weren’t sure what it meant… east and west looked pretty much the same to us.  Yes, western New Mexico does has more hills.  We rose to almost 7,000′ elevation before dropping down to 5280′ elevation in Albuquerque…

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Then we went uphill again to 7,275′ elevation at the Continental Divide…

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We eventually arrived in Gallup, NM, at about 6,500′ elevation…

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The sky was beautiful, the sun was hot, but the winds made the 89 degree temperature bearable.  By early evening we were able to turn off the AC, and by sunrise tomorrow it is supposed to be 48 degrees…

Happy Hours and a light supper ensued in the Villa; tomorrow we head towards Kingman, AZ.

Saturday morning dawned nice and cool, but the heat will be arriving soon.  We pointed the Villa west, towards Winslow, Flagstaff, Williams, and Kingman…

The drive was uneventful, as expected…

Arizona looks like this…

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We drove for about six hours, taking time for rest stops, fuel, and lunch… We finally pulled into Kingman, AZ by mid-afternoon…

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Interesting note is that we stayed here almost exactly two years ago as our first stop after leaving Irvine on our 4 1/2 month trip, the day after Lynda retired…

Happy Hours and a light supper ensued in the Villa; tomorrow we head towards Palm Desert, CA.

Sunday morning dawned nice and cool, but the heat will be arriving soon.  We pointed the Villa west, towards the California border…

The drive was uneventful, as expected…

We crossed over the Colorado River…

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And we entered California!

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We were met by some attentive uniformed people who asked us where we’d been, and if we were bringing in any firewood…

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The California Desert looks like this…

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For those of you who insist on calling places like eastern Oregon a “desert”, please stop!  Rivers, grass with cattle grazing, and green leafy trees do not make a desert!  See photo above for what a desert looks like!

We moved on to Palm Desert, where they have succeeded in making the desert green:

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We spent the afternoon and evening with like-minded friends, sharing happy hours and dinner.  Early Monday morning we drove the final hour…

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We arrived home in Redlands; an enjoyable time was had by all…

Tally:

Miles driven: 8,379

Days traveling and camping on our own:  40 days

Days on the Cajun Country Caravan:  16 days

Days on the Springtime in Kentucky Caravan:  22 days

Total days living in the Villa: 78 days

Total number of Airstreams seen along the road:  211

Number of nights in the Villa over the past 24 months:  375 days  (51%)

And one last photo of our girls…

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2019-06-05 – Traveling West – Wichita and Liberal, KS

This morning we pulled out of the RV park and pulled the Villa into central Wichita.  We are heading to another Frank Lloyd Wright house – the Allen house…

You remember the neighborhood of nice houses I posted yesterday as we walked near the French bistro where we had dinner.  The Allen house is in the same neighborhood, a few blocks over…

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We pulled up in front of the house and parked along the curb…

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The Allen House is a Prairie Style home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1915-1916 for former Kansas Governor Henry Justin Allen and his wife, Elsie.  Construction was complete in 1918.

It was one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s last Prairie Houses.  The design influence of the prairie and Japanese architecture (FLlW was working on the Imperial Palace Hotel in Japan at the time) is apparent on both the exterior and interior.

Also included in the forward-thinking house were such modern conveniences as a central vacuuming unit, an alarm system and gas fireplace logs.  Another innovation was the first firewall in a residential home.  The bricks are considered “Chicago Common Bricks”; the bricks actually are comprised of five different colors.

(An interesting side note here is that in 1916 Wright started designing the Hollyhock House in Hollywood, where I am a docent.   It was mostly completed in 1921.  Hollyhock House is definitely NOT a Prairie style house; Hollyhock House is definitely FLlW’s first non-Prairie style house…)

Anyway, the house is about 4,000 sq. ft., and it cost $30,000 to build, including Wright-designed furniture and full landscaping.  This seems like a very low price for such a fine house.

(Unfortunately, interior photos were not allowed…)

The porte cochere.  Where is the front door?  It’s around the corner to the right…

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That man is at the front door…

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The door itself is VERY crooked.  There is about a three inch settlement of the foundation near here…

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These repetitive windows are in the Living Room…

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These spherical planters are made from concrete using crushed oyster shells in lieu of gravel and sand… They are over 100 years old and there are no cracks…

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This is the rear of the house.  This parking lot was originally a kitchen garden and a cutting garden of red roses…

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This projection is oddly not symmetrical – it really bothers me…

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The classic feature of all Prairie houses is their horizontality.  This is reinforced by mortar joints, a plynth row of limestone, and a water-table of limestone…

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The square motif is repeated in light fixtures throughout the house…

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The kitchen windows feature “pie-cooling” iron grates…

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The ice goes here for the large kitchen ice box…

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Beautiful planters…

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Many of the house’s eaves contain these hidden rain gutters…

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The built-in downspouts for the hidden gutters;  also note the security alarm…

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The terrace and courtyard was used for entertaining as often as two-three times per week…

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The tea house beyond…

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We had a great tour.  I only caught the docent in one error – she was talking about how Wright had invented the casement window for the Hollyhock House, and then used it again here.  Really?  The casement window was “invented” thousands of years ago… Wright used them almost exclusively in his houses; in fact, what he did say was, “If they had not already been invented I would have invented them…”.  Also, the Hollyhock House was designed and built AFTER the Allen house…

So we drove off, pulling the Villa; Allen house was our last “tourist” stop.  From now on we are streaking straight home…

We left Wichita on Hwy 54, heading southwest, towards New Mexico…

Kansas looks like this:

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And this:

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Hwy 54 parallels the railroad tracks, build in the late 19th century as the prairie lands were homesteaded…

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They grow dandelions big around here…

img_9229 We stopped in Liberal, KS, at about 5:00 pm, at a very basic campground.  We were tired.  Happy Hours and a light supper ensued, an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-06-04 – Traveling West – Oklahoma City, OK to Wichita, KS

We had an easy drive and an easy day in general.  We were awakened in the early AMs with thunderstorms and rain pounding on the aluminum roof… By the time we pulled out of the RV Park the rain had stopped, but everything was very wet.

Oklahoma is green and gold.  So is Kansas.  I’m not sure where these photos were taken – North Oklahoma and southern Kansas look pretty much alike…

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All the rivers are muddy…

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We drove north, stopped for truck fuel, then stopped again for human fuel (groceries).  We arrived at Air Capital RV Park in south Wichita at about 12:30…

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We did errands, caught up on emails and other details, made reservations for the remainder of our trip, and generally relaxed…

We were able to find a fine French bistro in Wichita… We hailed an Uber, arrived early, and walked this fine old neighborhood in Wichita…

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At the appointed hour we arrived back at the restaurant – Georges French Bistro…

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It was delightful.  We sat on the sidewalk, and we enjoyed cocktails and wine along with 5 shared appetizer courses…

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We Ubered back to the Villa;  an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-06-02 – Traveling West – Eureka Springs and Bentonville, AR

We attended Sunday Services at Thorncrown Chapel.  Worshiping in such a beautiful place is a very special experience…

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An interesting point was that the preacher was the son of the founder and of the chapel… And there was some good old hymn singing going on…

A mystery occurred behind the blue pilaster on the right.  The minister suddenly appeared from behind the pilaster, then he went back again during some of the singing.  Is he just sitting on a chair back there, and had he been there since before we arrived?  Or is there a hidden back door there that he can slip in  and out of?  Or is there a stair to a basement with an exterior entrance?  Any ideas?

After the service we drove to Bentonville; along the way we found, quite by accident, Hoss’s RV Repair.  The place was littered with old Airstreams (23), in various stages of repair and restoration…

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We traveled on…

Bentonville is home of Sam Walton and his family.  And his family’s store:

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The town Square is very nice…

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We had brunch at a very nice modern diner…

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We were very impressed with the center of this town of 70,000 people.  (In 1960 when the first WalMart was built the town had about 3,000 people…)

We wondered, as we looked around at these downtown buildings, how much of this was built, rebuilt, and/or owned by WalMart?  Did the first WalMart, built outside of town on the highway, kill the town?  Did WalMart buy up the deserted buildings and create this Disneyesque town square?  I don’t know…

(By the way, the original Walton’s 5 and dime is just a facade for the WalMart Museum.  There is a WalMart Neighborhood Market just a block away…)

In any case, the reason we were here was to see Crystal Bridges, the Museum of American Art built by the Walton Family Foundation… It is about 3/4 mile from the heart of town…

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The museum was designed by Moshe Safdie, world famous architect…

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The museum sits atop a small creek that has been dammed to form several ponds at several levels.  The weirs (dams) are under the buildings, so the surfaces of the ponds are kept mirror-still…

The vaulted roofs are supported by suspension cables.  Remarkable!

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But the REAL reason we are here is to see a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house.  The Bachman-Wilson House was originally built in New Jersey in the mid 1950s.  Over the years it was lived in by a variety of families.  In 1980 it was restored; unfortunately, the adjacent river took up a bad habit of overflowing its banks on a regular basis.  By 2004 the owners appealed to the Walton family and convinced them that there is no greater American Art than a Frank Lloyd Wright Usonian house.  The house was disassembled and moved here, and it was reassembled on a site adjacent to the museum…

It is a classic Usonian, which typically turns a blank face to the street for privacy.  FLlW also typically hides the front door…

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There’s the door…

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(Sorry, no interior photos…)

The house bears remarkable similarities to the Spring house in Tallahassee and the Rosenbaum house in Florence, AL.  The board and batten siding, the views out to the forest, the horizontal lines, the cantilevered carports, and the stenciled cut-outs applied to the glass…

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The house has been beautifully restored and preserved… It is, indeed, a piece of American Art…!

But we move on!

In the little town of Bella Vista, in the far northwest corner on Arkansas, within a mile or two of the Missouri and Oklahoma borders, is another Fay Jones chapel…

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In contrast to Thorncrown Chapel, this chapel is built of steel.  Again, the details are beautiful…

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Built to honor Mildred Borum Cooper, wife of John A. Cooper, Sr., founder of Cooper Communities, Inc, the Chapel is a fitting memorial.  Besides being a devoted wife, mother, and member of the community, Mrs. Cooper had a deep spirituality and a love for nature.  Her family commissioned the Chapel in her honor to celebrate her life and her dedication to God and his creations.

We returned to Eureka Springs and enjoyed a dinner in a fine French bistro: Le Stick Nouveau:

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We enjoyed five courses of appetizers and hors d’oeuvres… and a bottle of fine Pinot Noir from Oregon…

As is our custom, we returned to the Villa for Happy Hours and a light supper; an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-06-01 – Traveling West – Eureka Springs, AR

We left Little Rock about 8:00 am.  Arkansas is green…

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We were driving through the Ozarks National Forest…

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We stopped for a respite along the way… driving through windy, steep mountain roads is taxing, and relief was required…

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We arrived in Eureka Springs, and set up at the Green Tree Lodge and RV Park, a nice but basic RV park…

Then we drove one mile down the road to see the work of E. Fay Jones, an early apprentice of Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin, and a prolific architect and educator during his long career.  This is the Thorncrown Chapel:

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The interior is as spectacular as the exterior…

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The light fixtures along the “walls” are exquisite; the light is in the shape of the cross…

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As a true student of Frank Lloyd Wright, Fay’s chair designs are great, too!

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The rear is as great as the front…

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The attention to detail is astounding…

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The front door, repeating the diamond shape…

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The Thorncrown Chapel has won every architectural award imaginable… Just recently it was honored by leading the list of “40 under 40”, great architecture that has become iconic in less (fewer?) than 40 years…

The chapel is the dream of a man named Jim Reed, an Arkansas native, who bought this land in 1971 to build his retirement home.  Over the years he continually found strangers walking through the property enjoying the beautiful Ozarks hills.  Rather than fence them out, he decided to invite them in.  He and his wife decided to build a glass chapel as a place for visitors to relax in an inspiring way.  I think they have met their goal…

After such a beautiful place we drove to Eureka Springs and found the opposite:

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Eureka Springs was hot, noisy, crowded, and full of bikers and tourists.  There was some festival going on, although we never quite determined what it was.  The town is very historical, much like Bisbee, AZ, but the tourist factor rivaled Fredericksburg, TX, (and Graceland…)

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Eureka Springs was a late 19th century boom town which grew rapidly based on the water from their many springs.  All the quacks and snake oil salesmen came to town to sell magic water to cure everyone’s ills… The town suffered a bit when the Great Fire of 1888 burned it to the ground, but it was quickly rebuilt and grew to a population of over 4,000.  Today it has a population of about 2,000, but the historic downtown itself is nothing but biker bars and trinket shops… We did enjoy a good walk and we hope to return tomorrow for dinner at a highly rated French bistro…

As is our custom, we returned to the Villa for Happy Hours and a light supper; an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-06-03 – Traveling West – Eureka Springs, AR to Oklahoma City, OK

We left the RV park this morning with high anticipation.  Due to posting a few photos of the two Fay Jones chapels on Facebook, we have been invited to view a Fay Jones home nearby, just outside Fayetteville, AR.  In short, it was spectacular!  It is sited on a golf course, on a 1/2 acre lot…

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Immediately we saw the detailing of lighting fixtures all around the yard, carport, and entry…

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Note the blank front of the house – hidden front door, no front porch, and no windows…

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Inside, the entry has a custom designed light fixture…

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The Living Room…

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The Kitchen…

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The Dining Room.  The table and all cabinets are custom designed by the architect…

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Architect-designed bar stools…

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The study was originally a teenage daughter’s bedroom; this is the custom desk and bookshelves…

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Blueprints from Frank Lloyd Wright’s office for an unbuilt house line the wall… All the bedrooms have custom built-in wardrobes, dressers, and bureaus…

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The rear of the house opens to the back patio, a koi pond, and the golf course beyond…

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The house was designed by Fay Jones at about the time of the Thorncrown Chapel.  The current owner has been here a little more than 10 years.  (PS:  the house is for sale!  Sale includes all the Fay Jones-designed furniture and fixtures…)

It was hard to leave this place, but we must move on.  We headed towards Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma is surprisingly green!

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We checked into Twin Fountains RV Resort… Very upscale place!  It has a bar and grill, pools, rec rooms, miniature golf, a lounge, and a concierge.  (A limousine is available for free rides to any of the attractions within 3 miles of the RV park…)

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We hailed an Uber and headed to downtown Oklahoma City…

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This is one entrance to the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum…

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Printed on this wall (and lots of other places) is the mission statement for the Memorial:  We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity.

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These two giant black granite walls flank the reflecting pond…

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9:01 everything was normal; the blast was 9:02; the healing began 9:03…

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The chairs sit on the site of the former building; they are in nine rows, corresponding to the nine stories.  You’ll notice that all the small chairs are in rows one and two…

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This former newspaper building is now the museum…

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This is the survivor tree – it was covered in rubble and most of the branches were blown off, but the tree survived.  Every year they harvest seeds, plant seedlings, and then distribute them to various stakeholders…

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This is the new Federal Building, built across the street…

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From this viewing window in the museum you can see the memorial below…

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It is a sobering remembrance, but, for us, it did not have the impact of the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis…

We looked for a downtown street to walk, one with shops, restaurants, and bars.  We couldn’t find any.  Downtown Oklahoma City appears to be a concrete jungle of office buildings… By 6:00 pm it was deserted…

As is our custom, we returned to the Villa for Happy Hours and a light supper; an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-05-31 – Traveling West – Little Rock, AR

Today we get to add another State sticker to our map:

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We have pulled the Villa through 40 States!  Next year we hope to add eight more!

We left Memphis this morning and drove to Little Rock Arkansas.  We had originally planned to stay in a great urban RV park, right on the river, directly across from the Clinton Presidential Park and Library, which are accessible via a pedestrian bridge.

Unfortunately, the Arkansas River was at record flood stage; the RV Park, the pedestrian bridge, and the park were all flooded and closed… The Library was still OK, but not by much…

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We had been forewarned of the closure by the RV park, so we were fortunate to find “courtesy parking” right downtown in one of Little Rock’s charming older neighborhoods; we parked in this back yard, right in front of another Airstream…

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We walked downtown via Main Street; Little Rock has a population of about 200,000 people and is quite nice…

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The flooding was really extensive, but nothing in downtown was threatened…

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We toured the Library…

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I’m always drawn to the interesting cars…

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The Library was typical of presidential libraries we have seen… I was great, blah blah, blah…

So we headed back into downtown, and stopped for a drink…

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or two…

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We Ubered back to the Villa; an enjoyable time was had by all…

2019-05-30 – Traveling West – Memphis, TN

Today was a day of contrasts…

First the silly:

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The RV park is right next to the Graceland Visitors Center, so we sort of had to visit… Of course, I never miss an opportunity to visit an interesting house, and this one certainly qualifies…

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We toured the first floor of the house, and visited the basement recreation room.  Elvis bought the house in 1957 and lived here for 20 years until his death in 1977.  Every room was outrageously decorated in the latest 1960s and 1970s style.  I won’t insult your eyes to show many pictures…

The 15′ long sofa in the Living was impressive…

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Dining Room has china remarkingly similar to our own…

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The kitchen is total 1970s…

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The “Media Room” has the latest in TVs…

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The record collection!

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The racquetball court!

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The property is quite beautiful… over 13 acres…

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The grave site of Elvis, his mother and father, and his grandmother…

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Something I had not known:  Elvis had a twin brother who was still-born…

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Not sure what this guy is doing on the roof…

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We left the house tour and returned to the Visitors Center and walked through the exhibits… The only interesting area that I liked were all of Elvis’ cars… Continental Mark II, two Mercedes 600 limousines, MGA, a few Cadillacs, and more…

No photos though…

We returned to the Villa, and caught an Uber into an area just a few blocks south of Downtown…

 

We were unprepared for this…

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Those of you who are my age (or older) know what this is…

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The Lorraine Motel went into bankruptcy a few years later, but was purchased by a local non-profit in 1982.  Today it is the site of the National Civil Rights Museum…

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The museum was very sobering.  Starting with the history of slavery, then moving on through the eras of the build-up to the Civil War, the war itself, Reconstruction, and the Jim Crow era.  It clearly outlined how the 13th amendment ended slavery, the 14th amendment granted citizenship to all former slaves, and the 15th amendment guaranteed the right to vote for all citizens.  That was 1870.  Except that in 1877 the Reconstruction era ended and the Federal troops left the south.  One by one the southern states all ignored the US Constitution and rewrote their state constitutions and laws to take away these rights and to mandate racial segregation.

Apparently no one in the Federal government cared, nor did the Supreme Court…

In 1896 the Supreme Court (nine old white men) ignored the amendments and, in Plessy v. Ferguson, they gave the green light to “separate but equal”… Jim Crow was now the law in the south…

The museum continued through the world wars, and finally Brown vs Board of Education, in 1954.  The case for integrated education and the elimination of “separate but equal” (which was always unequal) was heard before the court in 1952, but a highly divided court couldn’t make a ruling.  Finally, with Earl Warren newly sworn in as Chief Justice, Warren wrangled the other justices into a unanimous decision and the Supreme Court (nine old white men) said that “separate but equal” was unconstitutional.

Again, the southern states refused; in 1955 the court mandated that that they all comply.  It took Federal troops at the University of Mississippi to enroll James Meredith in 1962, it until 1963 that the University of Alabama admitted its first black students, and the State of Mississippi finally eliminated their “colored” schools in 1970.

The museum continued with the Freedom Riders, and Woolworth lunch counter sit-ins, the Montgomery bus boycott and Rosa Parks.  And the Children’s crusade. And the KKK.  And the church bombings.  And the lynchings… As I said, it was a very sobering exhibit.

The museum ends with visitors walking past and viewing the room where Martin Luther King was staying when he was shot…

(As good as the museum was, it dealt strictly with African Americans in the south.  There was no mention of discrimination of against Chinese in California, or of segregated schools in Massachusetts…)

We then walked across the street to see where James Earl Ray fired the single shot that killed Dr. King; the boarding house is the brick building beyond… The entrance tunnel leads to the basement; we went to the top floor…

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The bathroom window where the shots were fired…

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The view of room 306 in the motel…

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The exhibits in the boarding house are all about the search for Ray.  Even though there were FBI agents watching Dr. King along with 11 Memphis city police at the fire station across the street, Ray escaped.  He wasn’t captured until six weeks later, in London.

I had read an extensive book many years ago on James Earl Ray, and his six weeks on the run, and all the conspiracy theories…  We didn’t need to spend much time here…

But now it was late afternoon… We walked to downtown Memphis, about five blocks away…

We found Beale Street; home of the Blues…

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We found the ballpark, but didn’t stick around for the game…

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We had a drink at the Corner Bar at the Peabody Hotel…

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And we had dinner at Cafe Society, a nice French Bistro…

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We returned to the Villa, and an enjoyable time was had by all…

 

2019-05-29 – Traveling West – Nashville and Memphis, TN

Yesterday we flew back from Redlands to Nashville.  We Ubered back to the Villa in Franklin, KY… It was still there…

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Our host invited us to his patio where we shared a few bottles of wine…

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This morning we waved, “goodbye” and headed south, towards Nashville.  We were going to visit Hermitage, the plantation home of Andrew Jackson, the 7th president of the US… The house was built in the early 19th century, like most plantation houses… It is set in 1,100 acres of “park” land, although in Jackson’s day it was a working plantation, earning Jackson his money via cotton through the the hard work of slaves…

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As lovely as it is, the mansion was originally built as a simple house, but it burned down in its early years.  The house was rebuilt, but after Jackson became president, he had the house enlarged again and remodeled to its current Greek Revival form… thus these awkward “false fronts”…

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As was common at the time, economy often was a big feature; these “stone” columns are actually wood, with a faux-finish added to resemble stone.  At least they now have internal ventilation to reduce the likelihood of rot, mold, and wood deterioration…

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The trim around the doors was also wood with faux-finish…

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At the rear of the house the columns are allowed to look like wood…

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Hermitage had an interesting museum telling of the life and times of Andrew Jackson… Some interesting facts, firsts, and lasts…

  • He fought in the Revolutionary War (as a messenger, at age 13).  He was captured and spent time as a Prisoner of War (the only President to have been a POW…)
  • He fought in the War of 1812, and is known for his leadership in the Battle of New Orleans, the final defeat for the British in the war…
  • He was an orphan with no surviving siblings by the age of 20…
  • Both South Carolina and North Carolina claim his birthplace location is in their state…
  • He was the first Representative to Congress from Tennessee; he also was a Senator from Tennessee… He also became a Tennessee Supreme Court Judge…
  • He was the last President to have personally known all prior Presidents (Washington, J. Adams, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, and J.Q. Adams)…
  • He was the first President who was not from the American aristocracy; all prior Presidents were born either in Virginia or Massachusetts…
  • He was the only President whose parents were born outside the country…
  • His wife was a bigamist and adulteress; she died just before Jackson’s inauguration; he never remarried…
  • He adopted two Native American children and raised them as his own; he also raised at least 8 foster children.  He was also the leader of the harsh and brutal removal and relocation of the Native Americans that lead to the “trail of tears”.
  • He was an unapologetic slave holder, and he did not free any of his slaves; all records do show that he treated his slaves relatively “fairly”, he kept slave families together, and he allowed them to cultivate their own gardens for their own use…
  • Jackson faced the threat of secession by South Carolina over “nullification”; South Carolina opposed the “Tariff of Abominations” and refused to comply; the crisis was defused when the tariff was amended, and Jackson threatened the use of military force if South Carolina attempted to secede.  (You would have thought that South Carolina would have learned its lesson that nullification and secession was frowned upon by the Union…)
  •  Jackson became the only president to completely pay off the national debt, in 1835…
  • In 1806 Jackson fought a duel with Charles Dickinson, whom he shot and killed..

The house tour was very interesting.  It is a fairly typical plantation “big house” in that it has a central hall with two rooms on either side, on both floors.  One unique feature of this house is that two ground floor rooms were bedrooms and there is a secondary hallway between the bedrooms leading from the central hall to a side door.  The house was enlarged when Jackson was president to add a large Dining Room on one side and two offices on the side of the bedrooms.  A back stair was also added at the side door.

The main central hall has this spectacular wallpaper:

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(Have you ever heard me rave about wallpaper???)

We were able to enjoy the balcony at the front of the house, which was a social space for family and guests…

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(Hint:  That is not the ocean out there…)

We also saw the back porch, which was a work area for the slaves; this nice grassy yard was a dirt yard for pigs and chickens in Jackson’s day…

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An interesting note about the tours at Hermitage…

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“Uncle” Alfred was a slave, who lived almost his entire life at Hermitage.  This is his cabin:

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Alfred was in charge of horses, one of Jackson’s interests. (He raised race horses, even while President)…  As such, Alfred held a place of honor among the slaves, and he is the only slave buried in the family graveyard, which contains the remains of four generations of Jacksons…

After Jackson’s death in 1845 his adopted son, Andrew Jackson, Jr., let the plantation become dilapidated.  In 1858 he sold the plantation to the Tennessee government to repay debts.  The family was allowed to remain living in the big house.

In 1889 the Ladies’ Hermitage Society was formed to maintain Hermitage and to offer tours.  Some of the 3rd and 4th generations of the Jacksons were still living upstairs when tours of the downstairs began being offered.  Who was one of the first tour guides?  Alfred, the longtime slave!  Alfred lived to the age of 98, dying in 1901; he was a slave during Jackson’s presidency, was emancipated the Civil War, was a guide for tourists curious about this house, and still lived in his former slave cabin…

It was an enjoyable tour, but it was very hot.  We were happy to start our drive to Memphis…

We arrived in Memphis about 5:00, really late compared with our normal scheduling… We did find a neat little place for dinner:

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Uncle Lou’s was featured on the Food Network, and a version of Uncle Lou’s Fried Chicken is served at Playground, in Santa Ana, CA…

We returned to the Villa, turned on the AC, and turned in early…

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

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