Lexington to DFW – Part
(A Week in the DFW
Feb. 22-26, 2010
Big City Life and Country Surprises
by David “Sumoflam” Kravetz
Feb 22, 2010:
A nice Sunday to relax. Got to spend some time with my sister Sherry, her
husband Brian and my cute niece Savannah. I would spend all of my evenings this
week at their nice home in Keller, just north of Forth Worth. After sleeping in
we headed out for lunch to Joe’s Crab Shack. Always a fun place to eat,
especially when feeling crabby. It turns out that little four-year old
Savannah LOVES eating crab and could not wait to “get crackin'”!
My Niece Savannah Blessing LOVES Joe’s Crab Shack
Sister Sherry and her husband Brian Blessing enjoying time together with us.
Typical non-food crab shack fare abounds
Savannah tempts the bigger fish…..
After a nice lunch of crab and other
goodies, we headed for a ride down to the brand new
This place is the hugest football arena I have ever seen!! The stadium resides
in Arlington, TX, between Dallas and Ft. Worth and is across the street from the
Texas Rangers Baseball Stadium and a stone’s throw away from Six Flags over
Texas. The stadium opened in May 2009 with a capacity of 80,000 (though there is
a record attendance in the facility of over 105,000 when the Cowboys played the
NY Giants in Sept. 2009 and that was then broken exactly one week before I got
in Texas when the NBA All-Star Game was played to a crowd of over 108,000!!!).
It is the third largest stadium in the U.S. in terms of seating capacity, but it
is also covered, with a retractable roof, making it the largest domed stadium in
the world. It also has the world’s largest column-free interior and boasts
the world’s largest high-definition video screen – 160 feet wide by 72 feet
Standing waaaay in front of Cowboys Stadium; the
famous Cowboys star dons flags near the stadium; a side view of the stadium
In the 1960s I lived in the Dallas area and grew up
as a fan of Tom Landry, their famed coach. A nice bronze honors him at the
The amazing hi-def video screen spans from the 20 yd line to the other 20 yd
Feb 23, 2010: It is Monday
and I start my grueling week visiting high schools in and around Dallas. I
learned very quickly that one cannot depend on a map to get around Dallas.
You MUST have a GPS if you plan on getting anywhere in a timely fashion.
Freeways snake around the city and weave and and around each other. I was
staying in Keller and had to drive to downtown Dallas, about a 35 mile drive,
but, in the morning, it is about an hour and a half drive, if there are no
problems on the freeway. Looking at a map looks simple, but once you get
on the freeway system, getting lost is easier than you think. Get a GPS!!
Red brake lights and long delays are indicative of Dallas traffic. Towering
freeway platforms are everywhere…a maze of cement and steel.
During the weeklong visit to schools, I
also got to see a good chunk of downtown Dallas. Unlike the back roads I
enjoy so much, the big cities are a different kind of wilderness…tall
buildings, amazing architectural structures and unique skylines. I have
been blessed to have visited practically every major metropolitan area in the
United States and have gotten to know each unique city skyline as if it were a
person’s face. Dallas has one of the more unique ones. Though I didn’t
have time to really get out and get some good shots, I was able to capture a few
images of the buildings downtown.
Of course, with big buildings comes
interesting art work, whether large or small. Here are a couple of things
I found while driving around…always with my camera at my side:
As noted above, I was visiting shortly after the NBA All-Star Game. On the
left was a GIANT poster (shoes larger than stop lights)…
on the right, a small mural on the side of a building
It is 120 feet tall and 150 feet wide and literally impossible to photograph
without wires and signs. (Actually, an uninhibited version can be seen
Eyecon has painted several fantastic murals
in the Dallas area, all of which can be seen on their Eyecon website. I
need three days of freedom in downtown Dallas just to go visit these amazing
works of art!!
Obviously, another thing one sees in downtown settings are the old relief works
of art. I really loved this one.
During the week in Dallas, I met friends, new and old, with whom I enjoyed some
fine meals. On Monday I had dinner with members of the
North Dallas High
School Boosters. We ate at one of Dallas’ oldest Mexican restaurants,
the El Fenix. Food
was great and the company fantastic!! Then, to finish off my week I was
lucky to meet an old friend who happened to be in Ft. Worth for the weekend,
visiting from Seattle. My favorite female artist, country rocker
Patti Hall, was in town.
We met for a nice dinner at the Blue Mesa Grill, an upscale Tex-Mex
establishment that makes your guacamole fresh for you at your table. It
was so nice to see Patti. She is not only an amazing musician, but is a
fabulously generous person. She has been tirelessly promoting her
“On Horses’ Wings“ CD, a compilation of various artists (including
Antsy McClain) that is
benefiting an organization called the
“Little Bit Therapeutic
Riding Center“, which provides therapeutic horseback riding to children
and adults with disabilities who live in the Puget Sound area. It is an
amazing and heart-touching CD that benefits an equally amazing organization.
I first met Patti when on tour with Antsy McClain in southwest Washington (see
my trip journal about that here).
Hanging with new friends Gil Sandoval and John Chavez, from N. Dallas
Boosters…we enjoyed great eats at El Fenix
A couple of shots of Patti Hall and me at Blue Mesa Grill — just a lucky catch
thanks to Facebook updates
Not all of my time this week was spent in Dallas. I also
visited schools in Irving, Keller, Ft. Worth and even as far away as Mineral
Wells. One of the schools I visited near Keller was Birdville High School.
I was surprised both by the huge athletic facility and the wonderful marquis.
Birdville’s facility is actually one of the semi-large ones…there are much
larger. And I loved the marquis!!
A reminder of old Americana…the Kool Breeze Motel near Irving
Perhaps the most delightful day of the week for me was the drive to Mineral
Wells, TX via Weatherford. This was truly mixing business with pleasure as
I made my way down some less beaten paths. There were some cool old buildings,
some cool yard art, some cool sculptures and even a cool town name Cool.
There is a lot of history on road like this and I got to breath it in and enjoy
Just outside of Weatherford is a garden shop with some great bronze works.
I really liked the Longhorn in the upper middle
On the left is the Parker County Courthouse in Weatherford, built in 1886.
It is a classic Texas style courthouse. There was a hill near town that
probably would have made for a great shot, but I had no time to get up there.
As I neared the building to the front left of the courthouse, I caught this man
sitting there enjoying the day. The old white-washed wall made a nice
May not have been the “Kool Breeze”, but there is actually a town in Texas named
Cool. Got a chuckle from the Cool Cafe as well.
I checked the window and the sign said “SHUT”. HA!! By the way, I
have visited another town in the past named Coolville, which is in
Ohio. You can
read about that town here. There are cool town names everywhere!!
The last cool place on this week’s trip in the Dallas area was Mineral Wells.
It is not a very large town, but does have some claim to fame. The town’s
name comes from the mineral springs close by, which were frequented by guests in
the early 1900s and the famous Baker Hotel, which accommodated those guests.
Baker Hotel was built in 1925 by local shareholders. It was a 14 story
hotel with 450 guest rooms, two ballrooms, an in-house beauty shop, and other
novelties such as a bowling alley, a gymnasium, and an outdoor swimming pool.
Completed in 1929 dollars at a cost of $1.2 million, the mammoth building
instantly dominated the city skyline and was the first skyscraper built outside
a major metropolitan area. The old building still towers over the town,
but is empty and ghostly now, as the photos below show:
The Old Baker Hotel: Several notable celebrities this a temporary home during
their visits to the city’s health spas;
and future U.S. President
Lyndon B. Johnson.
It is even rumored by local historians that
Some scenes from downtown Mineral Wells. The water is also famous for “Crazy
and so the town wants to keep itself crazy I suppose.
I loved the old antique and junque store in town.
If you missed part 1, “Seeking out the
Bugtussles of America“, click the link
Watch for part 3 soon…An Uncertain trip in search of Waldo
Some roadside guidance provided by……
All photos and commentary expressed are copyright of Sumoflam Productions and David Kravetz. All rights reserved.