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Connecticut River Valley, New England, United States

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Not in West Texas Anymore

Though there are still some mighty big spreads as we traveled the Farm roads from Wichita Falls to McKinney they don't compare to those of West Texas. As a result we were able to get out of WF by heading north toward Oklahoma and then pick up a South then East bound pair of roads that set us up just fine to head toward Dallas. The Texas map is one of the very best I've come across--these roads are beautifully marked because they truly are the major arteries of the locals. We found we needed gas so we stayed on 82 to Ringold but there was NOTHING there! The next town was in the same size print with the same little dot,which made me a bit nervous--but wonder of wonders--there were several liquor stores--open though it is Sunday!--a convenience store/gas station, dairy queen, a bank, etc---almost a metropolis out here !

We had not really eaten breakfast and Bill asked the young high school girl where we could find a restaurant---duh! An older gentleman mentioned Times Forgotten on Clay St--what a find. Mr and Mrs Reynolds--I forget their names--they are on the menu picture--were nearing retirement from careers in education and were looking for the next thing. Having grown up in Nocona and raised their family there, and seeing the deterioration of the downtown, they decided to renovate one of the buildings and open a restaurant. Their hope is to prevent the town from becoming a ghost town. Let me tell you--I had a club sandwich and a bottomless glass of sweet tea and seasoned fries. Bill had a Cajun stir fry and fries and a salad that would be a lunch entree at home--he had at least 8 oz of steak in the stir fry. The meal came to 18.00! We left totally full of excellent food. As you can see the dining room is lovely and the meals are huge and more than reasonable--if they all tasted like ours they were delicious--they sure looked it.

Our waitress, Ivon, pronounce Yvonne--I asked, she laughed and said Ivan, EEvan, Ivor --whatever! I laughed and said I know, that's why I asked. Cute kid. She forgot Bill's salad and played the cute card--I could say it's coming and not say I forgot but I forgot--with a cute smile. Then while speaking to me and reaching for my glass across my table she let the pitcher sort of lean forward and as she spoke the tea was pouring on the table and onto the floor. I sort of hummed or something and she said oh, it was overfull--as she righted the pitcher. She was so cute so how could you get upset. Met the Reynolds who were eating at the table next to us--Mrs Reynolds had come to our table earlier to assure us that our food was on its way--we were fine--it was very busy and it is obvious that things are made fresh--plus we are retired --we are never in a hurry on our trips.

Anyway, I told them that we, too, were retired educators--they were thrilled to meet us--we chatted for awhile about time teaching. He said he was in it for 42 years--had that look--sure he was a principal if not a superintendent. You know that look, guys? Delightful people with a wonderful relationship with their staff, most of whom were high school girls. I know they had a good rapport with the kids when teaching--he started out as an ag teacher as did Bill.

Headed south to Montague and picked up farm road 445 which we followed all the way to the Interstate that goes into Dallas. As in the case the other day the road is being widened so it will lose some of that back road feel, alas. It is interesting, however, how often the non-farm roads are that scarified surface that precedes the final paving--it is as thought the project was never finished. It is a relief to get off it and onto the " back" roads. Once we reached Sanger and the junction with I35--remember it Barb?--the road to San Antonio--which runs from Oklahoma and down through the major cities of Texas, except Houston, the tentacles of Dallas reached north into the hinterlands.

Now, we started at Sanger Lake--artificially formed by a dam over which we drove. On the one side the huge lake, on the other the parks and residential areas that will be wiped out if the dam ever goes. Once we passed this resort-y, lake-y style stuff we came into the land of McMansions. They are so grotesque--they stand out from the landscape in an almost obscene way. Don't get me wrong--I love large houses and wouldn't mind having a bigger place and a housekeeper to help me with it. It is just that they have made no effort to blend in with the terrain so they are like scars on the land. And the money--again--you can smell it--doesn't seem to be any economic downturn here. There are some trailers and broken down places but not like the areas before Sanger. Don't know where they've hidden the poorer people--not poverty people--just the so called middle class people.

I laughed and said I can just hear a lady like me turning to her husband and saying--Honey, just sell off about 100 acres of the RANCH--or better yet--just develop a 100 acres--then build me one of those nice houses here next to the old place. Don't forget the help!

Eventually, after more tight hair pin turns than we have ever encountered or that we could ever explain, it was a relief to hook up with I 75 for only three exits and arrive at our motel in Mckinney. The Indian girl with her tika had no idea what I meant by an upgrade--right! She knew how to use the credit card machine etc. No mention of breakfast or the password to the Internet.....isn't a lack of fluency in English in the US a kick? Grrrr! It's bad enough to have to deal with it on the phone when making reservations--I'm too tired to have to learn Hindi or whatever to check in.

So full from lunch I decided the last of Gloria's banana bread and a glass of Gewurztraminer would be a lovely dinner. Now, back to Hornet's Nest--anyone else think the repetition of the whole Salander mess is a bit unnecessary?

Off to Dallas and a visit with Bill's frat brother so there may be a break for a bit. Don't know if we will go into town or just chew the fat --Bill is going to cook Nepali for Jimmy, who is a widower and eats out always. Not sure how long we will stay with him--sort of a play it by ear kind of thing. Until whenever--Kathy and Bill--the Nomadic Ponds

PS--Betsy is psyched about the Holly sunglasses! She's upset because she doesn't know how she would be notified if something happened to us--guess I'll have to put something in the purse, glove compartment etc.

The town of Charlie is a cemetary and ranches!

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