Saturday, April 22, 2017

Wichita Falls, Texas

April 16 - 18, 2017:

It was 160 some miles today of somewhat rough secondary roads following the most direct path form Abilene to Wichita Falls.  Since there is really no direct path this involved taking routes 89-83-322-20-351-180-283-79-1954 which was a challenge for my orienting skills.  My Garmin GPS didn’t want to cooperate so I had to fall back on the iPhone maps program.  We traveled through mostly ranch and oil land and then closer to Wichita beautiful lush green farm country.  We also went through a giant wind Farm with hundreds of turbines.  I made a couple of stops along the route for sights, in Albany and Archer City, Texas

The Shackleford County Courthouse in Albany, Texas

Archer cities Royal Theater is just a front now, but in the rear
is a open lot with seating with a stage for performing Arts.

It was made famous by the 1971 Academy award winning film,
"The last picture show" based on a book by Larry McMurtry.

Great mural on a gas station in Archer City

Our destination, Lake Arrowhead State Park, is the third Texas State Park in a row for us and is another vast park on a large Lake about 15 miles form downtown Wichita Falls.  Arriving on Sunday, we found the park to be mostly empty, we had our own campground loop.  Everyone had left earlier in the day, but the campground had been full on Saturday, timing is everything ! 

Alice still hides while the RV is in motion, actually I just need to start the engine, but when we set up in a campsite she is coming out after a couple of minutes now, it used to be hours.  I believe she will eventually get used to this routine.

This is still huge oil country and there is even a pump jack (seems to be the common terminology) operating right in the campground.  It runs constantly, we can hear it from the campsite and has been there since1950’s before this was a State Park.

Don't get a campsite close by, it will keep you up at night

We explored the downtown Depot Square Antique District finding the historic Holt Hotel, the Hamilton building, the Littlest Skyscraper, the Railroad Museum and the Wichita Theater.  There are many antique shops in this area and I came away with a classic book found in a box on the sidewalk, “The last of the Mohicans”. It has a 1947 publishing date which is also my birth year, an early birthday present.

Great cover and all the wonderful illustrations
are intact and in good condition

We then had an excellent lunch at the “Gypsy Kit Cafe’ which appears to be a local favorite.
The Hamilton building was a favorite with its very impressive, colorful tile work and indian head details at the roofline.  
Unfortunately the Railroad museum was closed, is only open on Saturdays so I couldn’t visit it, could only see a few car from outside the gate.  The Wichita Theater is another gem.
The city is trying to resurrect this historic area which still has many old interesting buildings, of which many are vacant.

The Wichita Theater 

The Hamilton Building from a distance

The upper floor up close to see the detail

In Texas they like to put the big Texas star in the
center of the roadway

Lots of interesting antique shops

The World's Littlest Skyscraper was a con, the builder
sold the building to investors who didn't read the drawing details
only to learn later that the building was to a smaller scale

Wichita Falls is another railroad town

Old steam Locomotive outside the Museum

Can it be true ?

On the way to Wichita Falls is a amazing old car salvage yard, nothing but old cars, it doesn’t get any better than this.  The owner happened to be there and allowed me to wander around for a while and take photos, it was a sensory overload !  A place like this should be a museum, would be so much better than the typical auto museum where the cars are mostly perfect.  The trick would be to pick this yard up and move it to an inner city lot and landscape it with the weeds, wild flowers, oily dirt, assorted trash and broken glass, metal parts just like in the photos. 

A number of former stock racing cars

A beautiful rusty line up

It goes on and on

Next is the the weirdest attraction of all, the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, as in the WWF.  The walls are covered with photos of Wrestling stars, show bills, costumes and assorted memorabilia.  Many years ago, I remember going to a few of these matches at the Moose Hall in Trenton, New Jersey.  These matches were like a circus side show, really bizarre, so obviously fake, but also with amazing athleticism and showmanship.  I saw a number of names that I can still remember such as Bruno Sammartino, Killer Kowalski, Andre the Giant and others.  There was a even photo of President Trump, years ago, participating in a outside the ring wrestling stunt, attacking WWF founder Vince McMahon knocking him down and throwing fake punches for publicity. 

Bruno Sammartino was the champion for years 

Andre the Giant

Skull Murphy, what a brute !

They have a wrestling ring inside the museum

Moolah was a legendary women champion, also went
by the name, The fabulous Moolah

Mr. Wonderful's robe

That’s all for Texas, next stop is Red Rock Canyon State Park in Hinton, Oklahoma;

Twinkles and Slick 

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