Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Grassy Knoll, Dallas and a huge TV!

I left Oklahoma after two good days and headed eastwards from the Airport, where I had picked up a brand spanking new hire car with just 4 miles on the clock. My first stop was unusual to say the least – a cemetery in a small town about an hour away from Oklahoma. Here there is a really cool and unusual grave stone – It has a parking meter (sic) on the grave showing ‘expired time’ at 64 years and was planned by the deceased as a bit if fun. I really like stuff like this and think it is a much better way to mark someone’s passing and will bring a smile to anyone visiting to pay their respects as well as curious bypasses like myself. I am now thinking about what I could possibly do with my grave!

Time up Im afraid.


A great afternoons driving followed with open clear roads and at one point nearly an hour passed with me not seeing another vehicle on the road as I passed from Oklahoma state into Arkansas and then into Texas. Lovely flowing roads through windy hills and forests were replaced with sparks and avoiding action though, when I came across a trailer being towed by a truck – but the trailer had one of its wheels hanging off and bits of rubber spraying everywhere as the damaged tyre disintegrated in front of me. The driver eventually pulled off and stopped but not before causing damage to about 5 miles of road. 

Knackered truck

Jump Paris....

I’m staying the night in a hotel just outside Paris, Texas and just like Paris, France; there is an Eiffel tower here. This one is only about 5o feet high though and is just outside the city centre – being Texas they have marked the replica with its own Cowboy Hat atop the tower! It’s a nice touch and a good enough reason for me to pass through on my way to Dallas. I also found a convenience store just across the road from my hotel that sells the largest cans of beer I have ever come across. They are just short of 1 litre per can!! Nice one.


Fucking huge can of beer!

I left after a great night’s sleep in Paris and continued west and a little south towards the city of Dallas. I couldn’t visit Dallas without a little detour outside of the city to visit South Fork Ranch – which was used in ‘Dallas’, the TV series in the 80’s. I didn’t want to go inside and look around as by all accounts there isn’t much in there that was used in the TV show – but I did have a look at the famous entrance gates which had tributes to the late Larry Hagman on the gates as he died recently. 

South Fork
In Dallas itself the main aim of my visit was to see Dealey Plaza – the location of the assassination of President John F Kennedy. 

X marks the spot - The view from Dealey Plaxa towards the book depository. The 6th floor window is right in the middle of the photo.

The Texas Book Depository, where the alleged gunman – Lee Harvey Oswald – fired from is now home to the 6th floor museum, which tells the story of President Kennedy and that fateful day in November 1963. The story is told in a timeline and not only tells of Lee Harvey Oswald, but also some of the conspiracy theories such as ‘The Grassy Knoll’.  The window on the 6th floor looks much the same as it did then and has been placed behind a glass wall to preserve it. You can look out of the window above on the 7th floor though and see Dealey Plaza below – almost identical to what it looked like in 1963 - except for two large white crosses on the tarmac, which mark the spots where the President was shot twice. 

Me, pondering the Conspiracy theories

The Grassy knoll, where the 2nd gunman may have been....

The view from the window above the 6th floor.

Unbelievably, there is also film showing how Lee Harvey Oswald was shot dead live on TV less than two days later. The whole story of that day is played out in a series of photos, maps and audio commentary in what is a great museum. Even more interesting though is when you go outside and wander around the plaza itself. It isn’t as big as it looks on all the films and photos you see on television. It hasn’t changed very much at all and in fact is now declared as an important historical site and will remain pretty much the same as long as possible. To stand on the Grassy Knoll itself and see the same views that people saw on that day was quite surreal. 

I wonder what they think happened?

South Park joke?

The view from the Grassy Knoll....Hard to hit JFK from here...?

Cool guitar playing robot statue !

2nd cool robot statue!

After visiting the site and looking at the angles of the scene from the Grassy Knoll and the Book Depository, I can see how the conspiracy theorists come up with their version of events, but I can’t believe that anyone other than Lee Harvey Oswald in that infamous window carried out the assassination.  However, on the fence at the top of the Grassy Knoll, there are lots of tributes written about Kennedy and a lot of them claim it was a CIA hit. If you are interested there are hundreds of theories online - multiple gunmen, shots from the sewer drain and all sorts of stuff. I don’t I don’t know what happened and I don’t suppose we ever will know, but it is interesting looking through them all.

I left Dealey Plaza and had a good wander around the rest of downtown Dallas – I stopped at the Kennedy Memorial and also at a strange little Log Cabin right under the huge skyscrapers, which is supposedly a replica of one built in 1841 and the first known house in what became Dallas. I also found some really cool shiny metallic Robot statues further uptown, which were well worth the walk to see.

The next day I drove out of Dallas to see the world’s largest domed structure – The Dallas Cowboys Stadium.  This is an immense 80.000 all seater stadium with a huge retractable roof and doors at either end that are about 40 metres high and open on nice days to let a breeze flow through the immense arena. Unbelievably in todays security conscious times you can take a self guided tour of the stadium, when there aren’t any events on and for $17.50 you can walk yourself right down onto the playing surface, into the team locker room and also the locker room of the Cheerleaders.

Inside Cowboy stadium

On the pitch

Locker room of the cowboys

..and the cheerleaders

Chicharito on the worlds biggest telly1

The turf

It’s well worth the price and I sat on the sidelines of the field, watching kids and their dads throw footballs at each other on what must be to them like hallowed turf. I couldn’t imagine United allowing people to wander around Old Trafford and have a kick about on the pitch! It’s a little different here though as the pitch is artificial and hard to damage. Still, I spent ages sitting watching everyone enjoy themselves and also staring up at the TV above the pitch itself. The TV stretches from 24 yard line to 24 yard line – that’s a 48 metre, $40 million dollar TV and the biggest TV in the world. I couldn’t believe when I was watching it as they showed highlights from a soccer game featuring Mexico in 2010 and a hat –trick by none other than United’s, ‘Chicharito’. Awesome!


Panorama from the 45 yard line

See that little stadium.....?

...jumped it!

I left the stadium and went for a wander around the exterior, stopping for the obligatory jump shot and then heading back towards my Dallas Hotel. It’s been a good couple of days here and I could have done a lot more, but tonight I am having a quiet night, before a log drive tomorrow towards New Mexico and Roswell.

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