Saturday, May 2, 2015

Lubbock Texas and Buddy Holly

April 21 - 27, 2015:

In memory of Buddy Holly

It is 190 miles from Carlsbad, New Mexico to Lubbock, Texas and we decided to tow the Jeep today.  Driving east on Route 62/180 from Carlsbad took us across some rather ugly oil field and open range country.  Entering Texas, it gradually changes to lush farmland, thanks to irrigation, and by the looks of the new equipment they must be doing well.  We continued to Seminole, Texas where the highway becomes Route 62/385 and then to Brownfield, Texas where it changes to Route 62/82.  The Jeep towed nicely, I could watch it in the rear camera. We will probably tow it from now except for short hauls or in mountainous terrain.  The road in Texas was rough and Twinkles rode in the back for a while to experience the rattling of the glassware and other stuff in the cupboards. Funny how this wasn't taken seriously before?  

We arrived at the Loop 289 RV Park in Lubbock, Texas around 2 PM.  The campground is right off the 289 Loop, as the name implies, which is a circular loop around the city of Lubbock.  It is a pull-through site with full hookup and a shade tree.  It's convenient to shopping and downtown, but the downside is considerable highway noise.   

Lubbock was settled in 1876 and was named for former Texas Ranger Thomas Caltus Lubbock who died in the civil war.  The Lubbock area is the largest contiguous cotton-growing area in the world, but the farming is dependent on water from the Ogallela Aquifer which is being depleted at an unsustainable rate, a problem for the future.   
Lubbock is also a big college town, Texas Tech University is here and there is an Arts District, several museums, including the Buddy Holly Center.  Lubbock's downtown is not very attractive, seems to be mostly government buildings and is kind of rundown looking.  The entertainment district is built on a few music venues and restaurants, but is somewhat empty and seedy in the daylight.  At night, however, it comes alive, a few bright colored lights do wonders and the college party crowd is out in force.  I checked out the Blue Light for a couple of music shows, they have live music almost every night of the week in various genres. The Blue Light looks like a dive on the outside but is pretty cool inside and is set up nicely for live music acts. 

Cactus Theater sign at night

Cactus Theater

The Blue Light

Downtown Kress store, no one shops downtown any more

Lubbock Post Office no one mails packages here any more

Old Lubbock train station on Cricket street, you can't take the train
from here any more

Lubbock is the birthplace of the legendary Buddy Holly and he is a favorite son here.  There is a statue of him across from the Buddy Holly Center on Cricket Street (his band was the Crickets) and the next street over is Buddy Holly Street which runs through the entertainment district. We had known something about Buddy Holly, and the day the music died, (as is said in the Don Maclean song), but were never big fans and didn't expect much from the museum.  After going through the museum, I now get it, he was a really special, influential, innovative and died much too early.  He went from playing at school dances for virtually nothing to recording hit records, getting instant fame and touring the world in a few years.  They have excellent exhibits in the museum with lots of personal items right out of his boyhood bedroom, photos, report cards, early art work and school items.  Paul McCartney was there and said that the Beatles were totally influenced by Buddy Holly and the Crickets.  Elton John even started wearing glasses to look more like Buddy Holly.

Twinkles holding a leaf from the McCartney Tree
dedicated to Buddy Holly from Paul McCartney.  She did
not pull it off the tree !

Buddy Holly in front of Texas Hall of Fame

Buddy made glasses fashionable, Elton John started wearing
glasses to look like Buddy even though he didn't need glasses

Mural in storefront across from Buddy Holly Center
Lubbock is also known for V shaped light formation observed in the sky over town in August 1951.  The "Lubbock Lights" became one of the first great UFO cases, was never satisfactorily explained and remains a mystery to this day.

There are several museums in the area.  We first visited the American Wind Power Center museum in Lubbock.  It is remarkable with over 100 windmills from the 1860s to the present inside a building plus many working windmills outside.  They also have a huge windmill mural that covers two walls of a huge banquet room. The windmill was a very important technical invention of its day that enabled farmers and ranchers to maintain water supplies in remote areas.  The windmill was essential for the development of rural farming and ranching areas in the country before electrification. There were many manufacturers, lots of competition, and varying designs for controlling the speed of the windmill in varying wind conditions. 

The museum is jam packed with Windmills

All types and manufactures and designs

A portion of the impressive Windmill mural

Aermotor Windmill on outside grounds

Another attraction we visited was the Lubbock Lake National Historic Landmark, which is a archaeological and natural history preserve.  The exhibits in their visitor center were very well done.  Archaeologists have determined that people have lived in this area for 12,000 years. These people hunted large mammals for food, used their bones for tools and skins for clothing. 
The lake is now dry, since the water table has been lowered here in modern times.  There is a nature walk and a longer archeological walk on the actual lake area.

Diorama of a mammoth kill

Nature walk through the old lake bed

We had our first tornado warning and one is enough for me, although it wasn't that close. There is a tornado shelter here - small comfort!  The weather forecast was unsettling for the week.  On Friday, we had high winds, blowing dust and a passing thunderstorm that dumped some rain in the area and flooded many street intersections and low areas.

If the weather isn't crazy enough, the driving on the roads here are!  It's this crazy 289 Loop system, never seen anything like this!  It seems there is the 289 Loop and another inner local loop with on and off ramps between the two loops every few blocks.  The locals know the system and drive very fast, zipping across multiple lanes between loops with no trouble.  On the other hand, people like me who are not familiar and don't know which lane to be in are in trouble. I find it a very difficult city to negotiate around.

While the wind was raging outside, Twinkles stayed inside to sew while I braved the elements, wind, rain, flooding and traffic to visit the Museum of Agriculture. I am driven since they have many tractors which is something I must see.  This museum is housed in a huge beautiful state of the art building with great exhibits.  The museum is focused mainly on cotton farming which is the major cash crop here, in fact Texas grows more cotton that any other state in the country.  Their exhibits show the history of cotton; they have a motion simulator ride where you sit at the controls of a cotton harvester and get the feel of going across the field, turning around and starting to make another pass.

Oliver row crop tractor

This beast of a steam tractor was the Titan 12-25

A classic Farmall tractor

A collection of historic cotton gins

How many wrenched does it take?

Old Rumely Oil Pull steam tractor

Diorama of a horse drawn grain combine

Unrestored tractors outside

Steam Tractor outside

On the way to the museum, purely by accident,  I saw a vacant lot with a statue in it.  I did a U-turn, went back to find that it is the site of the famous "Stubb's Bar-B-Q" restaurant.  Christopher B. (Stubb) Stubblefield was a former cotton picker and wounded Korean veteran who started cooking BBQ and opened a restaurant in Lubbock which became a famous hangout for musicians.  He had Sunday night jams that drew in many famous musicians.  The sign calls him a cook, a poet, a philosopher and Texas legend. A company was formed just before his death in 1995 to market his Bar-B-Q sauces which remains in business today. 

That's Stubb with the BBQ plate

Stubb's Bar B Que sign

On Saturday, we went outside of town to the town of Slaton, Texas surrounded by cotton country.  It was a booming town in days past when the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad had a maintenance shop and a passenger train stop there.  A beautiful Harvey House restaurant was also built there which has recently been restored.  There is a sign there for Bed and Breakfast Lodging and it would be a fun place to stay.  The rest of the downtown is mostly vacant, but there is an nice bakery that I enjoyed.

Downtown Slaton Texas

Old Steam Locomotive laid to rest in Slaton

Beautiful Slaton Mural tells it all

The restored Harvey House in Slaton

Afterwards we went to Buffalo Springs Lake, an overly developed recreation area fed by Blackwater Draw and the Buffalo Springs. They have boating, a beach, swimming, camping, ATV trails, playgrounds and picnic areas.  It was very busy with weekenders having a great time, but it was basically pretty ugly.  We then found our way to Ransom Canyon which is connected to the lake.  It is a deep canyon and lake with an interesting history involving the Mexicanos and the Indians paying ransom (hence the canyon name) for captured people in the canyon.  It then became a huge cattle ranch until bought by a developer who turned it into a private high rent community full of multi-million dollar homes with no public access, no riff raff allowed.

The dam at Buffalo Springs

Sign at Ransom Canyon

A most interesting house in Ransom Canyon

Texas Tech University is a huge complex in Lubbock with a very nice campus and an excellent museum.

The Snow Cruiser fell short of expectations in the arctic

They have everything in this museum

Ancient Central American fiqures 

Fantastic art vase

Interesting Longhorn statues on  ranching museum grounds

Wonderful building at Texas Tech

Detail on building archway

I'm doing some research about future camping sites and area attractions when some form of virus has latched on to my computer disabling Safari.  Another peril of this "on the road" lifestyle using WiFi from unknown sources.  I'm wondering and worrying about when I did the last backup ?

Next stop is Amarillo, Texas
Twinkles and Slick 

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