Wednesday 22nd June 2011
We had a filling breakfast this morning, 2 egg omelette plus a freshly made waffle with fruit, jam and then covered in maple syrup! Not the healthiest breakfast but certainly tasty! Once again the Ramada Plaza Hotel surpassed our expectations.
The trip to the airport was easier than Rags anticipated, Judy plotting a course which was shorter, and not through the city. Once there, the hire car was returned without fuss and we were taken by bus to the departure terminal. Denver airport is huge, but they have set it up very well and everything flows smoothly.
After check-in we discovered that having an ANZ Platinum American Express card did not get you into the American Airline lounge as we were led to believe, and sadly returned to the rest of the plebs in the terminal departure lounge.
An hour or so later we were in the plane and landed in Dallas/Fort Worth 90 minutes later.
The temperature here wasn't too bad which was just as well because the Red Roof Inn, which we booked on the Net, hasn't a pool as we expected. In fact, the place is very clean and
laid out but is really just a place to leave your bags and to sleep. Even the continental breakfast has to be collected from the office in the morning, they don't have a dining room. Still, the price was right, we were just spoilt with the Ramada Plaza.
The office gave us printed instructions on how to get to some 'nearby' restaurants about 1 mile away. Unfortunately we took the instructions literally, whereas it appears Google Maps missed a corner! The mile ended up us walking an extra 1.5 miles out, then having to return. We found the cafes but ended up walking about 5 miles (8 kms), before we got back. The sun was still warm at 7.30pm and as we were hot and sweaty a cold shower was enjoyed before we put our feet up with a glass of Australian 'Yellow Tail' shiraz, purchased at an Exxon service station on the way back. Thursday 23rd June 2011
Today we set out to visit the 6th Floor Museum in Dallas, this being a museum set up in the building from where Lee Harvey Oswald killed J.F.Kennedy on 22nd November 1963.
The Red Roof Hotel
is in a good position to go to the airport, but it is a nightmare to get into town using the public transport system. We tried however, and took nearly 3 hours to get in. Firstly we had to catch a transfer bus to the airport, then a transit bus to somewhere else in the airport grounds, after dropping in on all 5 terminals, to catch another bus to the train. We then discovered that the train did not run all too frequently and we had a 45 minute wait until the next train. Judy used the time to peruse the maps and map a course so it went quickly enough. There was a helpful man there with his food cart who was assisting everyone to purchase their tickets. Rags repaid his kindness by buying an expensive coffee and bagel!
Once the train came it took about another 40 minutes to reach downtown Dallas.
The 6th Floor Museum had an audiophone commentary allowing people to move around the exhibits. It brought back memories for both of us, more so for Rags as he was a 17years old at the time. The conspiracy theories regarding the assassination, the murder
Farmers Market in Dallas
Don't waste your time. Very few stalls and even less people.
of Oswald by Jack Ruby, are all dealt with. Amazing how an incident which occurred 48 years ago still draws the crowds.
We found the city of Dallas to be very quiet, with few people in the streets or in the shops. We discussed this with a local and he thought it was because the temperature was over 100degrees F, (37 degrees Celsius). It was hot but we didn't feel it until much later in the day, when we became weary.
We walked a considerable distance to the Farmers Market, recommended by the Information office, only to find that there were only about 6 stalls operating and the place was deserted. We noticed how many offices and shops were either empty or up for lease, it really made the area we were in a little seedy and run-down. Judy became uncomfortable seeing many men sitting by the sidewalks doing nothing, so Rags drew himself up to look bigger and we put on the pace to make it look as if we knew where we were going!
Lunch was in a food mall set in a complex of underground tunnels and walkways connecting several of the main streets.
Once again many of the shops were vacant but we found a place which advertised a fusion of American and Mexican foods. We had a Mexican burger, the fusion being it had a chilli salsa in it and the chips had a spicy Mexican coating. The blends worked well and we enjoyed our meal.
A tram tours through an area named West Village and we caught this soon after. This took us into a more upmarket area but this was as free of people as the previous area. The retail trades must really be in a bad way in this city.
By now our feet were sore and the heat was getting to us, so we caught one of the light trains passing by which took us to Union Station from where our train back to the hotel area left. We were lucky in that we only had to wait about 10 minutes for it to arrive, and there was little waiting for the 3 connections we had to make to get back.
By then it was close to 7pm although by the sun it felt like 5pm. No worry, we had our '5pm' drink then! From
the service station next door we each bought a drink, Judy a Bud Light with lime in a 1 pint stubby, Rags a can of Milwaukees Best, all .946 litres of it! Both these large sizes were dispatched eventually, we commenting on the fact that the total cost of these two was only just on $4. Goes to show what a rip-off it is at home.
Similarly with dinner at the cafe next door, less than $30 for the two meals of chicken and steak. We have found that the cost of eating out seems to be much less than at home.
The rest of the evening was spent, as usual, Judy doing her university tasks, Rags writing the blog. Tomorrow evening we fly out to return to Australia, our 3.5 weeks here seemingly have flown, yet it feels like ages since we left. Friday 24th June 2011
Our last day in the US and we didn't get off to a good start. Caught the transfer bus to the airport early, but with just a few little delays with the two connecting buses we missed the train to Fort Worth by no more than 10
seconds. The next one wasn't due for another 90 mins so we had to just sit there at the station. The only taxi there quoted $45 to get there compared to the $7 for the train - wasn't in that much of a hurry! Judy had our Ipad and Broadband to go so used the time doing her uni work.
After sitting there for about 20 minutes, Rags realised he'd left his new leather hat on the bus. Panic, then he saw the next bus had arrived so he went over to get them to radio the base to hold it for him until this afternoon. Imagine his surprise when the driver radioed the other bus, told her, and the driver said she'd be back in 10 minutes to return it. When this happened Rags made the driver beam by calling her a 'darling' and giving her a good tip. Not sure if it was the tip or the 'darling'!
Fort Worth's claim to fame seemed to be the large cattle sales that used to be held there early last century. This area has now been made into a large tourist attraction with a cattle drive through the
town twice a day (we were too late), a stockyard where you can view the longhorn cattle, a rodeo stadium, plus many shops selling Western clothing or cafes with their bbq fare. We found this an interesting place, only spoiled for us with the 3 hour trip to get there and the same to get back!
The return trip was as bad as the morning trip in that the transfer bus didn't appear to be running and we had to ring the hotel to ask for it to be sent. We were hot and tired by the time we got back, with just enough time to shower and then pack our bags for the trip home.
The hotel gave us a half day rate to check out at 7pm, we found they were extremely reasonable. We would recommend the Red Roof Inn to anyone who had to stay here for a night and wanted a clean, comfortable room at a cheap price.
On reaching the airport we breezed through the check in area, bought our Duty Free grog (much cheaper than Sydney or Perth) and spent the last hours here having a drink at Fuddruckers getting this,
This is the building that housed the 6th Floor Museum
Also the building from which the fatal shot was supposed to have been fired.
and Judy's uni work, up to date.
We had a pleasant surprise when we finally boarded our plane (an hour late because they had problems closing the cabin door), we had been upgraded to premium economy class, which meant we had similar seating to business class. This made for a very comfortable trip home, Rags for once sleeping most of the way.
We arrived in Brisbane and by 6am were on the train to Nambour, where we had left the Jeep and van with friends. The train stopped at the second last stop, Woombye, and by the time we realised this was really where we were meant to get off, the train had continued on. At Nambour we stayed on the train, returned to Woombye half an hour later and there was Rob ready to take us to his house. He happened to be driving past and saw us on the start of our walk near the station. A lucky finish to a wonderful holiday!
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