In case you missed part one of our four day road trip, you can check it out here.
We started Monday morning with the Hampton Inn breakfast and though I don't have any pictures to show, I wanted to point out that it was very good and made the cost of the room that much more reasonable. Cheapskate that I am, I always look for hotels that offer free Internet and free breakfast. Of course, nothing is free and those things are figured into the price, but you get the point.
Before heading out of Fredericksburg, we took a short drive down to the Wildseed Farm, a place we have visited more than a few times before. Eva wanted to grab some wildflower seeds to prepare ourselves for next October when we will supplement the Bluebonnets growing in the yard (remind me to show pictures of this year's crop). As always, this place has lots to see and plenty to spend money on.
Carter's Bread & Butter Jalapeno Dip Mix. One taste and I was sold. I can't wait to make some for our next gathering.
We also stopped along Main Street in Fredericksburg to hit a few more shops before moving up Highway 87 toward Abilene.
D And J's Good Ole Days, to be immediately greeted with a firm handshake by one of the owners, Joe Evridge. He welcomed us and chatted for several minutes before welcoming us to walk around and remember that, "This ain't no museum, everything is for sale." Later, he mentioned that he had just gotten a shipment of prosthetic eyeballs, if we were in the market for some.
Coleman, another small town with the same set-up of a town square and such. I did stop in one of those self service car washes to clear the windshield of dead bugs. As I was spraying things off, some local police pulled over a speeder so we had that action to enjoy as the bugs got cleared.
pictures of cows. What a fun idea.
When we got to our destination of Abilene, we had just a few places we wanted to hit for sure. We had seen a story on Texas Country Reporter about the Storybook Sculptures in the downtown area. We also wanted to see Dyess AFB since I had never been there, and on the eating front, I had done some Googling and located what appeared to be a pretty good place to eat.
Something I noticed about many Texas towns is the effort that smart people are putting into public art spaces. I'm sure one intent is to attract people like us who will stop to take a look and perhaps spend a few dollars in local shops. The interesting thing to me though, was that in spite of this effort at downtown renewal, the rest of Abilene was rundown and for the most part, pretty rough looking. Of course, everything in context. I'm sure someone not familiar with San Antonio or our little tri-city area could find really unappealing areas and form an ugly opinion. Having said that, we both said to each other on more than a few occasions, "Okay, why did we come here?"
But on to the good stuff. The storybook sculpture project is a combination of Dr. Seuss characters and several other children's books. At the Abilene visitor center, we were given a map showing the several block area where we could find them all. It was sort of a treasure hunt because a few were somewhat hidden.
My only connection to Dyess ever was that I attended Leadership School with a guy who was Combat Controller and his team was stationed at Dyess. For our graduation ceremony, his Commander, First Shirt and members of his squadron did a low altitude paradrop onto Goodfellow AFB, certainly outclassing the other commanders who arrived via rental cars. Good times.
We once again stayed at the Hampton Inn (if they read this, they ought to give me some free points for all the advertisements) and we were quite pleased. The staff proved friendly and in fact, it was a member of the front desk team who called the tourist bureau to get me the specific details of the Dr Seuss sculptures. Our room was great, breakfast was wonderful and aside from the twenty or so tennis players staying on the floor above us that practiced running in the halls until midnight, we slept great.
Don't let my honest comments about much of Abilene feeling rundown, scary and ugly deter you from enjoying the many fine places we saw. Likewise, if you live in Abilene, I'd encourage you to push for more of the positive development we saw in the downtown area. It really was worth the stop on our journey.
Next up, Part Three.