USA Road Trip - Day 18 (Fort Worth, Texas to Dallas, Texas)

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April 2nd 2016
Published: April 5th 2016
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Total Distance: 0 miles / 0 kmMouse: 0,0

Fort Worth TX to Mesquite TX (via Dallas TX)

Small breakfast and headed off around 9am. Decided to use Google Maps today instead of Mr. Tom Tom as I have been having trouble seeing screen in bright sunshine which was how our day started. However there would be two problems in the first 15 minutes. Firstly I took the wrong exit on the freeway as the instructions were different to read than what I was used to using Mr. Tom Tom and secondly the vent bracket we bought on the cheap at Walmart fell off ono the centre console whilst I was driving which did not help. We battled on regardless as the good thing about all these devices is the ability to re-route and get back on track. We went through Arlington which is where the Dallas Cowboys Stadium is located about half way between Forth Worth & Dallas. In my trip planning we had penciled in a stadium tour here but unfortunately the regular daily tour has been cancelled for the next few days. Don’t know why ? We keep on going and after about 35 minutes we are in Dallas. It is a beautiful day with blue skies and temperature predicted to reach about 22 degrees. The city skyline looks pretty impressive as we get close and Google Maps is telling me to take the exit for Stemmons Service Rod however there was no such exit so I just winged it and took an exit which looked like the smart thing to do and before I had time to reflect I was driving on Commerce Street in downtown Dallas and went right past the spot where JFK was assassinated in November 1963 next to the infamous grassy knoll. We had booked two trolley tours today and both started at Dealey Plaza so we paid $7- to park all day behind the famous texas book depository store where Lee Harvey Oswald fired three shots at JFK from the 6th floor window (assuming you don’t believe the conspiracy theories !). We arrived at around 10.30am and our first tour started at 10.45am so it was perfect timing. Tour # 1 was a Dallas City Tour that went for 80 minutes. We had a lovely lady who narrated things who made it fun and interesting. Dallas is really nicely planned with areas such as the Arts District looking really nice and some nice modern architecture and park areas. The trolley was air conditioned and was actually pretty cool inside. Only took a few photos and only criticism of the tour is that the windows were not clean enough. We finished the tour in the West End District where we went into a shop called Wild Bill’s Western Store that was selling boots. The first pair that caught Kerry’s eye was on sale at $349- and the next pair was going for the princely sum of $999-. We chose to have lunch instead and went into the Y.O Ranch Steakhouse. We had no idea about this place, it was just nearby and it was a pretty classy restaurant and we were given a booth to sit on which is becoming pretty common for us here. Kerry ordered a Sprite whilst I settled for water. We both ordered the Black-Eyed Pea Sirloin Soup in a bowl for $4.95. It was delicious and it has taken me a couple of weeks to realise that soup for lunch is a good idea (cheap, healthy and leaves room for a big dinner !). We visited McDonalds for only the 2nd time on this trip, both times purely to enjoy their clean restrooms ! We then
Texas School Book DepositoryTexas School Book DepositoryTexas School Book Depository

The shots were fired from the far right hand side window the second row from the top.
headed back towards Dealey Plaza for our next tour which was the JFK Tour. Doing both tours individually was $44.00 each but as we booked two tours on one day it was only $37.00. We noticed how cold it now was and the wind had picked up quite a lot so we took a quick detour back to the car where I got out of my shorts and into a pair of fine blue jeans (I have not changed n a car park since going to Ettalong War Memorial Club on the NSW Central Coast to see Spy vs Spy about 30 years ago. After the JFK tour we were going to visit the Book Depository Store which is now the JFK museum. We had walked past the entrance earlier whilst I was changing clothes and saw a massive queue of people who were lined up behind a sign saying 2.00pm start, so I was concerned we had not bought tickets earlier. We started the JFK Trolley Tour at 1.30pm and this time they had padded seats which were more comfortable. Smart phone came in handy as I spent the first 10 minutes of JFK tour buying tickets for the 4pm JF museum slot online. Once I managed to pay attention the tour was going along the motorcade route that JKF took on that fateful day. What I found surprising though was how JFK was actually on a five day tour of Texas drumming up support for the forthcoming presidential elections and the whole trip had been planned by the Governor of Texas (who was also in the car when JFK got shot and was injured) and his staff. There was one event they did not schedule being a fund raising event in Dallas. It was because of this event that the route had to be changed that resulted in JFK driving onto Elm Street where he was assassinated. The next section of the tour focused on the amazing story of catching Lee Harvey Oswald. Witnesses had told police they heard gunshots coming from the Book Depository store at the time JFK was assassinated at 12.30pm and when they searched the building they saw Oswald on the 2nd floor but the owner said Oswald was an employee and let him go. Later they found a rifle on the 6th floor from an apparent sniper setup. They did a roll call of employees and Lee Harvey Oswald was now missing. He had left the scene minutes before and caught a taxi to a place near where lived and was walking down a suburban street when he saw a police car and turned around and started walking the other direction. The policeman JD Tippit questioned him as it looked suspicious and Oswald fired 4 shots from his revolver and killed him. There were witnesses who saw this and some of them called the police who were now looking for a cop killer (as well as looking for who did the assassination). Some of the witnesses followed Oswald. He kept moving down the road a mile or so and kept hiding in shops when police drove by, causing further suspicion and eventually was caught inside the Texas Theatre. So within 90 minutes of JFK being assassinated Oswald was in police custody. It was only when he was being interviewed that police realised his name was the same as that of the missing employee at the Book Depository store, and within the next 24 hours they would charge him with 2 murders. Our tour took us to see Oswald house, the place where he murdered JD Tippit, and the Texas Theatre where he was captured. We also went to the City Jail where he was questioned and to the County Jail where he was transported to the following day and murdered by Jack Ruby live on TV. Apparently now in USA all live TV is delayed by at least 5 seconds as a direct result of the Oswald shooting being so horrific. It was a really interesting tour. It finishes around 3.00 so we had around an hour to kill before going to the museum so we thought we’d grab a coffee. It took a while to find one as it was a Saturday afternoon in the city and even Starbucks were closed. I did manage to find a good spot to take a photo of Fountain Place which is an amazing looking skyscraper and we eventually found coffee at 7-11 store. When we got back to the museum a sign said they had fully booked all tours for the day so lucky I decided to change into my jeans and realised I needed to book online or we would have missed out ! The museum was fascinating, with a full audio commentary all located on the 6th floor where Oswald fired his shots. It took about 1.5 hours and we then bought a nice souvenir from the gift shop about US Presidents. As is becoming a common theme on this trip we actually arrived in Dallas at a bus time. The are having a massive wrestlemania event at the Cowboys Stadium tomorrow. That explains why we could not do the stadium tour and why there are so many muscly dudes walking around here today. It only took about 15 minutes to drive to Mesquite where we are staying tonight at Fairfield Inn & Suites (a different Marriott chain). This one is good as it is away from the city which was expensive and we paid for the night using Marriott points from previous holidays. There were heaps of restaurants nearby so we went to Mexican next door which was awesome. They had a putt putt course right next door which looked to be cool although we did not play. The weather did get warmer and wind reduced. It reached 22 degrees and not a cloud in the sky all day. We chose this location at Mesquite as it is located on the outer Dallas ring road right on I30 which tomorrow we will traverse as we head into Arkansas where we drive to the capital Little Rock.


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