After a pleasant 4 hour journey from Houston along Interstate no 45, we arrived at our next Air b n b, Sunshine cottage, in the affluent, leafy area of Hollywood Dallas.
Our host had made the apartment cosy and full of goodies. After a chill and a shower, we decided to stay quite local for dinner, and walked to local smokehouse restaurant, Lakewood Smokehouse. The meal was phenomenal- I had smoked rack of ribs and Keith had brisket beef. I washed mine down with a pumpkin spice cocktail and it’s was just heaven.
We embraced the walk home as we were absolutely stuffed full, and really enjoyed looking at the fall decorations dotted around the neighbourhood.
Saturday arrived early again, our body clocks are definitely still out of sync. We made the most of the early morning though by enjoying a leisurely breakfast and catching an early bus from the end of the street to the centre of Dallas.
Today we had the most amazing day- we visited the assassination site of JFK. Dealey plaza is an eery place, and largely untouched, despite the road being used still, and a busy one at that. The grassy knoll where an alleged shooter was, is still exactly as it was that fateful day and the landscaping is identical. The only difference being that the book depository where Oswald allegedly fired from is now a museum, which we thoroughly enjoyed looking around. There were pockets of people lurking along the road, each debating with each other where that fatal shot came from based on angles and chance. It was a deeply moving visit, and one that we will remember for years to come.
Naturally after such a morning, we decided a rooftop bar would be a nice place to have our own debate on our thoughts about the assassination- little did we know the portions would be 32oz each!
My “sexy margarita” was less sexy yet more “spiky”- the sting in the tail being that it only stayed in my digestive system 15 mins max before my body ejected the whole blinking thing! Thankfully it didn’t ruin my meal- we grabbed a buffalo steak and shrimp each which was fab.
Our next Dallas tourist spot was the Reunion Tower. Despite being fairly low in comparison to other observation floors we’ve been to recently, the views out were great and the weather was behaving so we could see for miles. We really love visiting the observation tower wherever we are, there’s nothing like an arial view.
Suitably exhausted by the days sightseeing, we called it an early night, taking advantage of our lovely relaxing air b n b, we grabbed a sandwich from seven 11 and headed back.
Today was a scheduled driving day from Dallas to Fort Worth, however as it was only a short journey and our visit to Dallas coincided with the annual State Fair of Texas – today was the last day of the month long fair – we decided it would be rude not to pay a visit.
We arrived bright and early, which worked in our favour, we got to park in the cheaper/closer car park and enjoyed a wander round with no crowds for the first couple of hours.
State Fair Park is home to the largest Ferris Wheel in the Western Hemisphere, the Texas Star, so we decided a ride on this was a must, despite the fact that I’m not a huge fan of Ferris wheels or heights!
Standing at the base of the wheel it seemed to tower hugely above us- to the point it seemed larger than the London Eye, however Wikipedia tells us that the London Eye is twice as high. Texas Star is 62 metres, which is still pretty high, as my quivering legs reminded me as we exited after a terrifying lovely ride. Luckily Keith realised that my eyes were closed for the top section so snapped lots of pictures for me to enjoy once down on the ground.
Another highlight of the day was watching the pig races. Oh America, you sure do these things well. I was almost crying with laughter at one point.
The rest of the time at the fair was spent in sensory overload. The smells of the food were incredible; and we sampled a few bits and pieces including the famous corn dog, similar to a battered sausage on a stick, and the 2018 food finalist deep fried shepherds pie and fried green beans. Sounds gross but was amazing!
We felt really lucky to be able to share a snippet of true Texan life- there were no tourists just family’s enjoying their time together. It really was wonderful.
Despite the fair being open until 11pm, we made a move around 3pm to our next destination, Fort Worth, just an hour down the road.
Our next Air B and B was a wonderful traditional Mexican Casita, located in a Mexican neighbourhood and complete with its on little porch perfect for a beer and reflection on what a great couple of days in Dallas we had had.
We opted for dinner at a restaurant recommended to us by our host, Joe T Garcias which was about 2 miles away. As it was early, we decided to walk there through the different neighbourhoods. It was interesting getting an insight into the family homes, and we even saw a traditional Halloween party going on which was cool. However there were times when we felt a little uneasy so we decided we’d stick to Uber from now on.
The restaurant was fantastic! It was largely an outdoor open patio with plenty of lights and a big pond in the centre. It was intimate, trendy and packed, yet we got seated immediately- we knew we’d picked a gem of a restaurant. There were only two items on the menu, steak or chicken fajitas or cheese enchiladas. We opted for the steak fajitas and our server encouraged us to only have one to share. Of course, we ignored him, and ended up being half of it back in a doggie bag for tomorrow! The Ford was exceptional and really great value.
Today we spent the whole day exploring the historic Fort Worth Stockyards, which is home to the cowboy and the only place in the world left doing daily cattle drives.
As soon at the taxi dropped us off, we knew we were in for a great day. The roads are cobbled and the architecture dates from the 1880s. There are saloons and steakhouses and traditional general stores. The first place we saw was Leddy’s Handmade boot store, and as I had been gifted some birthday money from Dad and Jenny for some leather boots, we made our way straight there.
Luck was on my side as the majority of boots, being handmade with fabulous quality leather, were well out of my price range, however they had a small one off sale to make room for new boots, and I immediately saw a pair included in the half price sale that I liked. My delight was sky high when we discovered they only had the one pair of that design and they were my size. After half an hour of trying them on, the deal was done, I was in love, the leather was so soft it felt like silk and I didn’t take them off all day.
After this we mooched down the street, buying some souvenirs from the tourist shops and killing time until the 1130 cattle drive.
We watched as the cowboys manoeuvred the herd of Texas Longhorn Cattle down the street and back into the stockyard.
It was a bit touristy but we enjoyed it none the less. We went for an early lunch of steak in a place recommended by the boot man which was washed down by buckets of margarita. The food has been exceptional; every single meal has been outstanding. I’d come back just to eat more Texan food.
After lunch we had a look round the historical station area and had a few beer stops in the many saloons. The area was slightly smaller than I’d imagined and you could easily do this as a day trip from Dallas, however we enjoyed the slower pace and being able to have a beer together as we didn’t have to drive.
We headed back to the accommodation around 6pm – we needed to make some adjustments to our next couple of days itinerary. Originally tomorrow we were heading to Big Bend National Park, which is right on the west of the state and about 8 hours drive. Aside from the spectacular scenery, a draw was the chance to take a boat trip into Mexico for the day, across the official border crossing at Boquillas. However, with the tension at the border with the ‘Caravan’ in the news currently, we felt a bit apprehensive about taking this trip. This along with terrible weather forecasted for Wednesday, which would be our free day to explore, made us feel a 16 hour road trip was excessive and something which we wouldn’t be able to fully enjoy and appreciate in the current weather or politic climate.
We hit our travel books, spoke to all the locals we could for their advice on where to go instead, and as a result, tomorrow we are off to Austin, the state capital.
Until next time