Monday, January 31, 2011

Onwards to Temple

From our wonderful stay at my sister's in Howe, Texas, we're headed south again. Though Dallas beckons as we fly through at 70 mph, we're not tempted, we've other destinations in store for us. Our first stop is a little tour through Corsicana, Texas, which was first established in 1848. Later it became an oil boom town.

Off again, we're southwest to Mexia and Fort Parker State Park. The park encompasses 1,500 wooded acres and provides recreation at Lake Springfield. Within the park is the old townsite of Springfield, which was the first county seat of Limestone County. Though the town is gone today, its cemetery is inside the park. The old fort is not located within the park, but is just a bit further south and our next destination. 

Located near Groesbeck, Texas, Fort Parker was a privately owned fort, built in 1834 by the Parker family to protect a settlement of 8-9 homesteads. But, two years later, the fort was overrun by Comanche Indians, who killed five of the Parker family and kidnapped 9-year-old Cynthia Ann Parker. The young girl grew
up to marry a Comanche war chief named Peta Nocona and the couple had three children including famed Comanche chief Quanah Parker. When she was 34, she was re-kidnapped by Texas Rangers and returned to white "civilization." She spent the next ten years of her life trying to escape back to the Comanche people. Unsuccessful, some say she eventually died of a broken heart. She was just 44 years old. After a visit to the Fort Parker Memorial Cemetery, we're headed westward.

Next stop is Waco, Texas, where we first visit the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame. Built at the site of the 1837 Texas Ranger post, Fort Fisher, the museum displays the history and heritage of these lawmen in a collection of guns and weapons, western art, and artifacts. Then we're off to the Dr. Pepper Museum, where the famous soda was invented. Then a short tour of the Brazos River and its bridges, including the famous Suspension Bridge and we're headed south and bunk down in Temple, Texas.

From here, we begin to make our way to Austin, before the final trek to Del Rio.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Del Rio Bound

We're off on our winter trip to Del Rio, Texas, taking several days to get there. We move quickly south of Warsaw and hit I-44 in Springfield, Missouri, before making our way west to Oklahoma. Beyond Tulsa, we stop for some Route 66 pics along an old stretch that last we passed was raining so hard, we couldn't get a thing. We begin in Sapulpa, which got its start in 1850. It soon became an important cattle-shipping center, before moving into the age of the oil industry. Today, it continues to display numerous remnants of its history and was obviously thriving as its streets are busy and it was incredibly loud, with trains, factories, honking horns, and noisy mufflers. We snap off a few pictures and move westward.

Just three miles west of Sapulpa, be sure to check out the 1921 Rock Creek Bridge with its red brick pavement. Having seen better days, this twelve foot wide rusting hulk can still be driven across.
Just beyond the bridge is the long abandoned TeePee Drive-In Theater. 

Then we mosy down an old winding stretch of Route 66 to KellyvilleBristow, and Depew, Originally Route 66 went right through Depew's along Main Street. Later; however, a newer alignment bypassed the small town, and then of course, I-44 bypassed it and all the other small Routee 66 towns along this stretch. Though Depew continues to have a few open businesses, but it's main street is lined with abandoned buildings. Losing light, we head on into Oklahoma City where we hook up with old Route 66 friend, Ken the Landrunner, of Postmarkart fame.

Next morning we are off to Texas for an evening with my sister. We make only one stop along the way, taking an old stretch from Gainesville to Sherman, along the old Butterfield Stage Route. Here we find an old well in Whitesboro that once serviced long ago travelers. Arriving at my sisters, we enjoy an afternoon in the 70 degree sunshine and have a little late Christmas.

Next, we're off to Fort Parker, Texas, Waco, and Round Rock, with lots of stops along the way.