Lone Star Adventures
A News and Views Blog of Texas Travel by Ryan Elms
The Gulf Coastal Plains
Sam Houston National Park
Houston Holocaust Museum
Destination: Corpus Christi
Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History
Cole Park, my last stop for Day 2. I was told that if I head to Corpus Christie I must visit Cole Park. The minute I got here I noticed the great views of Corpus Christie Bay. There are children playing everywhere. This park has an outdoor amphitheater that hosts free concerts from time to time. The park is 43 acres big and has a lighted fishing pier. It also has a small beach. This looks like a very popular place to hangout. I see many tourist taking pictures and many others that look like they might live here. This is a great place to bring a blanket and take a rest. This is where I will spend the rest of my day. I'm going to close my eyes for just a few minutes. I'll see you in Whichita Falls!
Cole Park Pier
North Central Plains
Located in the central part of Texas this region has very fertile soil. It is known as Hill Country in the southern part of the region. It has rolling plains, grasslands, caves, and mesas. This region has the hottest temperatures in the state during the summer but they have very cold winters. The main agriculture includes cattle, goats, cotton, corn and, my favorite, peaches. Animals you might see include white tailed deer, armadillos, horned lizards and even a Bald Eagle. During the Spring you will see Bluebonnets, our state flower.
In this region, I will visit Wichita Falls on day three of my trip and Mineral Wells on day four. In Wichita Falls I will tour the Jaunita Harvey Art Gallery, the Kell House Museum, and walk along the Little Witchita River. In Mineral Wells I will stop by the Baker Hotel, the Famous Mineral Water Company, and Lake Mineral Wells State Park.
Destination: Wichita Falls
The Juanita Harvey Art Gallery
Kell House Museum
Little Wichita River
It is a warm day in mid-September when I visit the Little Witchita River. I can't believe it's only 89 degrees today. I read that this region has the highest summer tempertures in the United States. While I walk along the river I discover that a battle was fought here a long time ago. It was in July 1870 when the Battle of the Little Wichita River was fought. It was a battle between the United States Calvary and Kiowa Indians. The battle was between 100 Kiowa Indians led by Kicking Bird and 55 US Calvary led by Captain McLellan. It started because the Indians crossed the Red River and terrorized the white settlements. In the end the Indians won because they had more men and better weapons.
The river banks are very clean with lots of green grass and a walking trail. There are so many shade trees to stop and sit under. I wish I had a canoe so that I could explore further down the river.
Destination: Mineral Wells
I'm stopping by Baker Hotel on my way into Mineral Wells. I did a little research on this place because it isn't a hotel anymore and it is not a museum. I knew I couldn't go inside and look around. I found out that this hotel took three years to build. It took from 1926 until 1929 to complete. It was owned by local shareholders. Designed by the famous T.B. Baker, it was the 1st skyscraper to be built outside a major metropolitan area. It had 14 stories, 450 rooms and air conditioning. It had the first swimming pool built for a hotel in Texas. Baker hotel was very popular until the 1950's. After the army base Fort Wolters closed and modern medicine became more popular less people came to Mineral Wells.
When we arrived the first thing I noticed was three huge archways where there once was an entrance. There is a big bell tower at the top too. There is a lot of detail on this hotel. There are archways along the walkways and scroll work above the doors. Sadly, the hotel is in really bad condition today. It closed for good in 1972 and hasn't been taken care of. I see broken windows and lots of spray paint along the outside. People have tried to clean it up and restore it but they have had no luck. I hope someday somebody does reopen it. I think it would be a really cool place to stay.
Famous Mineral Water Company
This is a place I couldn't wait to visit. The Famous Mineral Water Company was started in 1904 by Ed Dismuke. The water in Mineral Wells is also called Crazy Water. In 1880 the first well in Mineral Wells was drilled but people didn't like the taste of the water so they wouldn't drink it. The Lynch family started drinking that water and discovered that they became more healthy. Soon everyone wanted some of that water and Ed Dismuke sold quarts of water for 5 cents a quart. In 1881, the crazy well was drilled. Water from this well helped heal an old lady that had dementia after she drank it. Since then people have come from all over to Mineral Wells to try the water. Ed Dismuke drinks that water all his life and finally dies at the age of 97. Starting in 2012 the water is sold nationally.
I don't feel bad but I do want to stay healthy for my trip so I am going to try some of the water. I am headed to the Famous Mineral Water Company now to purchase several bottles. I wonder if it's still five cents a quart? We'll see what happens.
Lake Mineral Wells State Park
The Great Plains
This region is located in the Texas Panhandle. Here in this region it's very windy and dry. It is usually very hot in the summer but very cold in the winter. Did you know that the Great Plains is the coldest region in all of Texas during the winter? Also in this region there are violent sand, snow, and rainstorms. One of the main plants you find here are sunflowers. Some of the common wildlife include prairie dogs and coyotes. The main agriculture here is wheat, cotton, hay, and cattle. Some other resources are oil, petroleum, and farms.
While here I will visit the Amarillo Botanical Gardens, the Don Herrington Discovery Center, and Global-News Center for the Performing. All of these are in Amarillo. Then I will head to Plainview to see The Llano Estcado Museum, Running Water Draw Park, and Plainview Point Monument.
Amarillo Botanical Gardens
My first stop here in Amarillo is the Amarillo Botanical Gardens. In reviews online the average was 4.5 stars out of 5 so I knew I had to see this for myself. There is an interesting story about how this garden began. It started back in 1929 with the first garden club. This was only a few women who loved to garden and saw the growing of plants in Amarillo as a challenge. By 1945 the group had grown to over 100 women and they helped create this garden center. The Amarillo Botanical Gardens wasn't always called the Botanical Garden or located at it's current location. It originally was called the Garden Center. It wasn't until 1968 that volunteers prepared the soil in a new location and even brought plants from their homes to help start what is now known as the Amarillo Botanical gardens.
After walking through all the gardens, I think my favorite garden is the Wagner Japanese Garden. This garden was designed using ideas from gardens of emperors and Buddhist temples. It is really quite with blooming flowers and lots of trees. At night the garden is bright with lights hung from trees. Too bad I'm not here later because I'd love to see this place at night. Below you will see two pictures I snapped of the gardens so I can look back to my trip here.
Don Harrington Discovery Center
Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts
I am here at my last stop in Amarillo and that is the Globe-News Center for the Performing Arts. I think I am going to really like this stop. I play the trombone and really like to listen to other instruments. The building was built in 2006 and houses the Amarillo Opera, Symphony, Lone Star Ballet, and many other events. I am very surprised at how colorful the inside of the center is. Around the round stage there are lots of square tiles that remind me of a sunflower. This place looks like people might need to dress up when they visit here. Today I am here to see a symphony. It is called Simple Gifts. There are four movements which are called Four Shaker Songs, Dance, Here Take This Lovely Flower and finally Simple Gifts. My favorite was Dance. Dance is a fast movement and the others are slow. I did think all of the movements sounded really good. After the symphony I start my journey to the next city. See you in Plainview.
Llano Estcado Museum
Running Water Draw Park
Plainview Point Monument
Mountains and Basins
Destination: El Paso
Franklin Mountain State Park
I am in Franklin Mountain State Park which opened in 1987. The state took the mountains in 1979 to protect them from development. Did you know that the Franklins are the largest sustained mountain range in Texas? This is also America's largest urban park with 24, 247 acres. The summit of North Franklin Peak is 7,192 feet which means this peak is about 3,000 feet above the city below.
I can't believe how huge the mountains are. You can do all kinds of things here like hike , bike, camp and even explore a cave. I was hiking on the East side when I saw the site of our nation's only tin mining, milling, and smelting operation. It isn't working today. It was only active from 1910 through 1915. I saw an old mining entrance from the tin mining.
El Paso Museum of History
Balmorhea State Park
West of the Pecos Rodeo
West of the Pecos Museum
The End of the Trail