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Monday, Sep. 26th: Water, Reining & More Raining

• CATEGORIES: Features • TAGS: .

My niece Holly showing us around SMU’s stables and arena.

On Monday we hung around the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Today we are heading for Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (See Monday’s post here:


First we went south to Fort Worth. My mid afternoon we were back at the motorhome. Then, we left for Dallas for a few hours.

On Monday I had a carefully orchestrated plan, had being the operative word. Things went awry early in the morning. First, was learning that the Cowgirl museum and Bowling museums in Fort Worth were closed on Mondays. Drats! Then, someone who she remained unnamed announced she didn’t want to go to any more museums. Oh, the joys of travel companions! But, then we discovered that the Fort Worth Bureau of Engraving and Printing was open on weekdays. Everyone was fine with that, so we were off (two hours later than planned).


As we were getting in the car, we realized that our shirts were appropriate for Texas.

Before visiting the mint, we decided to head downtown Fort Worth while traffic was light to see the Fort Worth Water Gardens. They turned out to be really cool!


One of the park entrances.


The area wasn’t always so nice.


The most impressive water feature.

As you can see in the photo above, a person can walk down a series of steps. The steps are slightly disorienting, because water is constantly flowing into/underneath them.


Zollie was not impressed.


There were a few other things to do at the park, like climb the “Mountain”.

Next we had a quick bite at a Waffle House. The poor workers had just finished a huge rush.  Plates were piled on all the available tables and waffle batter seemed to line the back of the cooking area. The servers were polite, apologizing for the state of things. We were patient, which they appreciated. We even got some extra bacon for being so understanding.

With our bellies full, we stepped outside the restaurant as the rain commenced. It wasn’t bad, just a little annoying. We soon arrived at the Bureau of Engraving & Printing. The strange thing was, the visitors entrance was closed. So, I pulled in at the main gate. A man whose job must have been to look very stern, a job he was good at, came up to us briskly. I had a sudden flashback to a time when, as a child, I had broken a window and Dad let me know I was in trouble! Before the man could say anything I yelled out, “Where do visitors park to see the tour?”

“It’s closed on Mondays,” he replied. That’s when we all saw the big flashing sign “”Open Tuesday – Friday for Tours””

hmmmm … All three of us heard the Bureau’s recording and it claimed they were open on week days. Anyway, we were quickly shooed away, without smiles or apologizes, just a “Come Back Tomorrow,” probably like hundreds of other visitors who attempted to visit on Mondays.

Having little go right all day, we decided to head back to the motorhome via a nearby Buc-ees. Rosemary (Ann’s mother) had never seen a Buc-ees, so we thought she’d find it a bit dazzling. Nope, she claimed she’d been to other convince stops that large with that many gas stations. Nope we said, Buc-ees is in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest convenience store. She remained unimpressed. sigh. We didn’t let her dampen our enthusiasm, so we charged into it and looked around.


I couldn’t resist this t-shirt for obvious reasons.

As we wandered around, I spotted a beautiful cutting board. Despite my protestations that it was too much, my wife decided I had to have it. I was not disappointed by her enthusiasm!


It has a beautiful surface and is larger than any other cutting board I have. Thick, too.

After Buc-ees, we dropped Rosemary at the motorhome and drove for Dallas. Now, since our arrival in the Dallas area, we’d been having serious GPS glitches, with Apple Maps taking us to slightly incorrect locations. But, it was nothing like our drive over to Northeast Dallas. First, my iPhone was glitchy, then Ann’s Android. Because of all the highway changes and construction, she had to use both to help me navigate. Meanwhile, there were crazy drivers all over the place. Between the two of us, we’ve covered most of the United States. We both agreed on our drive over that Dallas was one of the hardest places to navigate. High speeds, last second driver decisions, a lack of blinkers, highway construction, and many highway changes, sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right, made navigating it a challenge. We felt like we were second guessing both phones the entire time we were in the area.

We eventually made it to northeast Dallas where we met with Jesse and Andrea Ybarra, well known for the warm FC Roundup events they hold annually. They were in town visiting their daughter, a place less than 15 minutes from where we going to pick up my niece for the evening. Talking with them about their cross-country adventure in their modified M-679 made a half hour go by in what seemed like five minutes. We had to say goodbye all too soon, but not before we snuck in a photo with them!


r-to l: Jesse, Andrea, and I.

Our next stop was SMU, where my sister’s daughter Holly is going to school. She was awarded a reigning scholarship that allowed her to attend and ride for the school’s reining team, the only freshman invited. In her very first meet she won MOP, or Most Outstanding Player. She’s got some mad horse skills.

But, being a freshman from out of state and lacking significant resources, she’s struggling to find her niche around better funded young women. For example, one of her new friends took her to a football game … a Dallas Cowboys’ game. She and her small group followed President Bush under the stadium to park, then took the elevator to an executive suite to watch the game, meet all kinds of people, and binge eat fine food. I certainly never had an experience like that in college!! But, if anyone deserved that kind of luck, it’s Holly.

When we arrived at SMU, Holly ran up to us and gave us a big hug. She said it was awesome to finally see someone she recognized.


Then, she gave us a tour of her dorm and room, the latter having dorm furniture as nice as anything we have.


Their room has two windows (corner room), their own thermostat, high ceilings, a large closet, and nice furniture.


There are three covered arenas and one outside. The one to the far right is SMU’s for both practice and competitions. The riders compete all year against other colleges.

After a tour of SMU, we took her out for a special dinner at Nazca Kitchen, a South American restaurant. Holly had never tried ceviche or a host of other South American specialities, so we spoiled her some (I had the stuffed seafood avocado – awesome!). She was grateful for the company and food.


Great food. Everyone was delicious. It was a Yelp find.


When we finished dinner, Ann asked if Holly needed any supplies. Holly wondered if we wouldn’t mind going to Walmart to get some popcorn. We said sure. This is really when Ann fired into high gear. When Holly picked out one box of cookies, Ann threw in three more, telling her, “Don’t be shy, Holly, we are here to resupply you.” Next, Holly picked out a bag of popcorn, so Ann picked out three more and tossed them in the cart. We walked the store, making sure to get her more than she asked. When we couldn’t convince her to get any more, we headed back to her dorm. It was a great opportunity to spend time with her and help her through this early time away from home.


Freshman fuel.

When we returned to the motorhome, I received an offer to visit Baton Rouge. A series of circumstances had unfolded. I had a chance to see a unique collection. So, both Ann and Rosemary shouted “Road Trip” and “No better time than the present!” Well, with support like that, I feel pretty lucky, even if traveling as a trio has its challenges.



9 Comments on “Monday, Sep. 26th: Water, Reining & More Raining

  1. Idaho Todd

    What an adventure so far. I’m sure your niece really appreciated that shopping trip. We used to do the same for my oldest daughter and now son in law when they were at Montana State University in Bozeman. It means the world to young folks to have visitors and more so to go shopping for all those things that “magically ” appeared in cupboards at home. Now we do the same for our youngest down at Boise State University. She makes a list like it’s Christmas! You guys are good people. Drive safe and keep us in the loop…

  2. Barry West

    Hey Dave, wasn’t that waterfalls in a movie many years ago. Maybe early 80’s or late 70’s? I’ve never there but it looks so familiar. The only thing I could think as to why I may have seen it some where before was maybe in a documentary, movie or deja vu!!??

  3. David Eilers Post author

    Todd: Holly’s problem is that she won’t ask for anything. We had to push a bit. With prodding, she opened up to asking for some items.

    Barry: If it was in a movie, i don’t remember it. Neat place though.

  4. Gayland Leddy

    Contact me the next time you come to the DFW area. I have to take y’all to the Stockyards area, the museum district and other places that tourist need to see.

  5. David Eilers Post author


    We are actually heading back through there to see the Bureau of Printing & Engraving on Thursday morning. But, we’ll be leaving after that. We haven’t showered in a couple days, so trust me when I say you wouldn’t want to be in the car with us right now! 🙂

    Ann and i both would like to see all those things, so we’ll for sure be back again when we have more flexibility (just us two in our jeep). We still have plenty to see in Texas and Holly had 3.5 years left!


    – Dave

  6. Barry West

    AHHa, finally found it. “Logans Run” 1975. Here a brief by someone. Before we take a look at our pictures from the Water Gardens today, I’d like you to watch a movie clip. Only a year after the Gardens opened, the “active pool” was used as a filming location for the 1975 film Logan’s Run. In the film, as the actors explain, it is part of some tidal energy generation scheme. The Gardens also appeared in the 1979 TV adaptation of The Lathe of Heaven, but only very briefly.

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