Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Dallas: an emotional reunion for Cody, a Kennedy exploration

Cody really wanted to see his mother!  As she lives in a small town in Oklahoma, getting there took some research.  Both Oklahoma City and Tulsa are well over 2 hour drives.  Diana did some research and found Dallas was less than a 2 hour drive.  So a Dallas stay it was!

Then, getting to Dallas was an adventure in itself!  First, our 7:30 am flight was cancelled, meaning we could not make our connecting flight in Seattle!  But Alaska Air always comes through, and booked us on a direct Fresno/Dallas flight on American that afternoon.  Sadly, the plane was 3 hours late, getting us into Dallas at 9:30 at night, and into the hotel at 10:30- ugh!  But thanks to the Hotel staff, we walked to Frankies, a local watering hole and had a drink and shared a pizza.

Weirdly, the freeway was closed on our second day trip; but with me driving, and Cody navigating, we maneuvered around the closure and lost only about 20 minutes each way.  

We allotted 2 days for visiting- not sure how the visit would go, we planned the first day.  It was really excellent!  Cody and his mom met, and 2 visits it was!!!  It was a beautiful, emotional reunion!!  Because it was so personal, I didn't think it appropriate to post a photo.  But know it was a beautiful reunion! 

Kennedy's Dallas

I was in third grade when President Kennedy was shot.   I remember returning to class after lunch, the teacher tearfully said she had something to tell us and she broke the news.  Every student knew the world just changed.  In rural Minnesota, everyone loved President Kennedy!  Before I knew about the world, I knew John Kennedy was our president.  I thought Minnesota was an island (because in Minnesota, there is water everywhere) and Kennedy was our president- LOL.  The closest I ever was with my mother was reading the paper with her every night, reading about John Kennedy and his presidency.  The world did change!

The Kennedy area of Dallas is small and easily covered in a few hours.  Starting with the 6th Floor Depository museum (https://www.jfk.org/), you learn about his presidency, his visit to Texas, and the aftermath.  One of the features of the museum is how much of the country opposed him!  Tame by today's standards, but there was real opposition to the reforms he wanted to introduce.  Sadly, there is no photography in the museum, so you must visit their website or visit the city to see this comprehensive and excellent museum.  You can also read Stephen Kings "11/22/63" for an interesting take (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/11/22/63).  

Conspiracy theories abound on this assassination, and they have been de-bunked.  But at the Grassy Knoll, there is a group talking about a conspiracy based on the bullets:-).  They have photos, they have books, magazines, and a megaphone:-).

The Kennedy Memorial
The Kennedy Memorial near the old Courthouse is a concrete bunker-style "reflection area", with a small black stone in the center that simply says "John Fitzgerald Kennedy".  
(https://www.jfk.org/the-assassination/history-of-john-f-kennedy-memorial-plaza/).  There are requests for donations to upgrade and clean the memorial.  Honestly, it looks like it was quickly designed and built.  Truthfully, it has no appeal as a memorial site, but it is for JFK, so I give it a pass.

The 6th Floor Depository museum/building- 
The square window in the corner on the 6th floor is the location Lee Harvey Oswald shot the president.  This museum is just fantastic- the lay out covers his presidency, opposition, accomplishments, the arrival at Dallas, the assassination, and the aftermath.  It is very emotional, very informative, very comprehensive, with diorama's, films, artifacts (such as Oswald's wedding ring), views from the windows.  

The historical plaque on the building.  Note "alleged" is outlined, probably by the skeptics:-)

View from the 7th floor museum annex

Not the white "X" on the road.  There are two "X" on the road, each denoting
the two shots fired and hitting the President.  Photo taken from the 7th floor

Museum- the square window on the 6th floor (of 7 floors) is where Lee Harvey Oswald shot from

Dealey Plaza and the surrounding area (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dealey_Plaza)

6th Floor Depository museum building

Sorry about the bloated, baggy picture! The sun was brutal!  This is the "X" spot where the shot that killed JFK hit.

designation of this spot as a National Historic Landmark

Dealey Plaza

the grassy knoll

The road the motorcade travelled
Dallas- a bit quirky

The Eye- LOL!  A giant eye art piece is in this small little park

Nice, old, Courthouse!
The old courthouse- now the Museum of Dallas

We really didn't have too much time to explore the rest of Dallas.  We saw the Incredibles at the Alamo Draft House Theater and restaurant- very comfortable- reclining seats, good restaurant, and great set up.  Otherwise, I found the city pretty much just sprawl, much like LA.  It is a huge city with many freeways, every fast food restaurant you can ask for.  Near downtown, where we stayed, there is Main Street (the Eye Ball is on Main Street), has many restaurants, but nothing stood out.  After this trip, I actually do not see a reason to return to Dallas, as a tourist.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Our Springtime Oregon Roadtrip! Part 1- Portland

Spring is the best season!  Everything is blooming: trees are coming out of their winter sleep and developing leaves, or flowers; flowers are popping up; the rain is cleaning everything; and people are out and about for some air.  We love Spring trips!  This year, off to Oregon!  What we did not know is how cold and wet it would be:-).  Glad we brought layers, and layers, and layers of clothes- and extra shoes- LOL.  But even in this climate, the beauty of Oregon shown through.  This is part one of our trip- Fresno to Portland.  Part two- the Coast!

Our first stop was Chico in Northern California, home of my ever-beautiful cousin Judy and her family.  Although we have been to Chico several times, we never really spend any time seeing the town.  This time was no different:-).  But we did stay in the old town and meet up with the family for dinner and then breakfast the next morning.  Chico is one of California's college towns that has kept its early 20th century charm, repurposing old buildings rather than tear them down and build more modern structures.  This alone makes it a great stop.  Between family and cuteness, this was a great stop.  And seeing Judy, Holly, the boys Max and Josh, and Hollys boyfriend Mike just makes you realise how important family is- they are truly fantastic and makes me lucky to have them in our life!

Dinner with family!  The smiles are all genuine-
each of these people are as beautiful on the inside as the outside!

My dear cousin Judy with Rich, Cody and I

Holly with her infectious smile! 
Meeting us on her break from work was the best!

Main street in the morning

Every cool college town must have a store for Star Wars and video games:-)

This beautiful old building is repurposed to a Jamba Juice

Cool old building right out of Dublin, Ireland- so of course a bar:-)

As an example of how artsy the town is: benches are works of art

look for the blue and green eyes peering at you from this bench

The old theater

city park, with concerts in the summer

Every town in America has a tribute to our veterans

Our second stop was Ashland, Oregon- another uber-cute town that always deserves more time than we have.  We stayed in our all-time favorite hotel Lithia Springs Spa and Resort.  Every room makes you feel right at home, only luxurious:-).  This night, we met up with Rich's niece Renee, her husband Mike, son Mason, and his girl-friend Sarah.  Stupidly, we didn't get pictures- but Mason has grown into a wonderful young man and hid Sarah is awesome.  We of course love Renee and Mike with all our hearts!

After only 1 night in Ashland, off to Portland we went!  Portland- the city we have always wanted to live in, after San Diego:-).  Our first stop after checking into our hotel- happy hour:-)

I love my morning walks!  Because I get up earlier than Rich and Cody, I MUST go get coffee and take a walk in the area we are staying, just for exploring and alone time. 

Rich, Cody and I with the Portland Convention Center behind us

The reason I love Portland- there are flowers everywhere!!!  Much like Fresno's Blossom Trail (http://goblossomtrail.com/), the city always is in bloom!  This simple view of trees is
 symbolic of Portland's love of nature!

All across America, our cities and towns are learning to develop spaces that are both functional (what we do best) and beautiful (fairly new, and we are doing it well!!!)!

The Japanese Gardens are so very beautiful every time of the year!  Close by is the Pittock Mansion, and old Portland family with a beautiful home and fantastic view!  VooDoo Donuts is THE donut spot of Portland- definitely part of the "Keep Portland Weird" Movement, which we love so very much!!!!  Each weekend, Portland hosts an art and food fair under the bridges, along the river.  Having never been here this ealy in the spring, the flowering trees (we think they are cherry trees) just brightened up an otherwise dreary day!  Just another awesome example of creating outside spaces for people to enjoy.  We were so lucky to meet up with two groups of people we love:  Rich's brother and his family, and our friends Dick and Donna from Temecula, who, by some weird coincidence, took up a home exchange at the same time as our trip!!!  So lucky!!!

Rich's brother Jose and his family, Justin, Veronika, Noah and Vanessa, all are lucky to live very near Portland!  At 64, I always think I have more than enough energy for my needs.  Well, after spending some time with a 4 year old and 2 year old, my view of "energy" has changed so very much!!!  LOL

Vanessa, at 16 months

The family!

Views of Portland!  Have to love this incredible city!!!

This sign says it all:-)

Dick and Donna with us!

Pittock Mansion
 VooDoo donuts!

A view of the Convention Center from across the river- our last night in Portland:-(. 
Always sad saying goodbye