Saturday, July 30, 2016

Spitting Seeds At The Wichita Falls Watermelon Festival

This last Saturday of July of 2016 I had myself a mighty fine time at the best watermelon festival I have ever been to.

The Wichita Falls Watermelon Festival.

The Watermelon Festival takes place in downtown Wichita Falls at the Farmers Market, with this being the biggest event of the year at the Farmers Market.

I knew going in that free slices of watermelon was part of the festival. I did not know that free cups of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream was also part of the festival.

I had myself many slices of watermelon, but I passed my cup of Bell Bell to a fellow festival goer.

There were a lot of Wichita Fallers in attendance today, making for the best people watching I have had the pleasure of watching in a long  time.

The most entertaining part of today was something I did not think I would find all that entertaining.

That being the Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest. It was very amusing. But, before we get to that, let's look at some other Wichita Falls Watermelon Festival scenes.

As you can see, watermelons were not the only melons at today's festival. The Farmers Market has all sorts of produce available, and other stuff of the crafty arts genre. The large crowd and all that produce gave today, at this location in Wichita Falls, a sort of a Seattle Pike Place Market feel.

The lady above seems to be pondering with extreme gravity the array of vegetables confronting her.

I have seen pumpkins carved artfully before, but never have I seen other fruits and vegetables carved as artfully as this lady was carving.

Well, it is almost time for the Watermelon Seed Spitting Contest.

But, before the spitting can start the above lady and her melons needs to move out of the designated spitting zone.

Each spitter gets three seeds to spit. First up was this guy, spitting the first distance to beat. If I remember right the next up ended up being the winner in the 14 and under category.

This kid was extremely animated with his watermelon seed spitting.

And then we move on to the 15 and above category with this lady who became the distance to beat, spitting, if I remember right, well over 20 feet.

This lady also did a good job of seed spitting. She also got praise for her watermelon themed outfit.

And then we had the winner.

The Master of Ceremonies informed us that this guy won his first watermelon seed spitting contest when he was a fifth grader. When he spit out his first seed it was all over. That seed sailed so far it took awhile, and several seed spotters, to spot it.

44 feet 7 inches.

At the award ceremony the above winner was asked what the secret was of his astounding spitting ability.

Extra hot air was his answer....

Deported Is My Projected Trump Fate

I have had my sensitive delicate feelers hurt a time or two, well, actually more times than I can remember.

But, I do not remember my sensitive delicate feelers being hurt previously to the level my sensitive delicate feelers have been hurt by taking the extensive Trump Score Test only to learn that I AM THE WORST PERSON with a Trump Score of only 301.

And that Trump will have me deported.

Do I get a choice as to my deportation destination? The Sea of Cortez side of Baja California, in Mexico, would be a nice destination. North of the border I have long been fond of Vancouver in the British Columbia province of Canada.

Actually, now that you are causing me to think about it, if the unimaginable actually happens, and the Great Orange Pumpkin actually gets elected, I think I may deport myself....

Friday, July 29, 2016

Bridge Over Wichita Falls Sikes Lake Bayou With Pokemon Zombies

Those familiar with River Legacy Park in the Texas town of Arlington might think, in the photo, we are on the River Legacy Park bridge across the Trinity River, connecting the south side of the park to the north.

Those familiar thinkers would be thinking wrong.

What you are looking at here is the bayou at the southwest end of Sikes Lake in the beautiful Texas town of Wichita Falls.

To take the picture of the bayou we are standing on one of the two Sikes Lake signature bridges built over water by experienced bridge building engineers of the sort Fort Worth's infamous Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision Boondoggle desperately needs to find in order to get The Boondoggle's bridges back in construction mode.

Even before the Pokemon Go madness and its hordes of Zombies came to be, Sikes Lake always has a lot of people enjoying the outdoors. Today that number was bigger than the norm. Along with the usual Pokemon Go Getters an event at the museum had its parking lot full.

Judging from all the parental units, with kids, I assumed some sort of Children's Event was afoot.

In the background, under the tree, are a couple of the aforementioned Pokemon Go Zombies staring at their phones. If I remember right I've shared a photo previously of this location with Pokemon Go Zombies under that same tree.

In the foreground that is not a Pokemon, superimposed on my phone's photo, screen capping me capturing a Pokemon. I don't have that app, or want it. I am assuming figuring it out would tax my limited figuring things out ability.

Walking around the lake was a bit taxing today.Why? I don't know. But, even though the trail runs over mostly flat ground, after a mile or two I felt like I was on mile ten of a twenty mile hike.

This may be an age related malady.....

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Visit To The Liberty Bell Eagerly Awaiting Hillary's Philadelphia Coronation Speech

What you are looking at here is known as the Liberty Bell.

No, I am not in Philadelphia eagerly awaiting watching Hillary's coronation tonight.

This particular supposedly totally accurate, including crack, replica of the famous Liberty Bell, is located a short distance south of my abode, on the campus of Midwestern State University.

One is advised not to rock the bell or ring the bell clanger, due to, I assume, the thing being so heavy and potentially dangerous, knocking someone unconscious on the swing back.

I figured someone would need to be inebriated for that to actually happen, but with this being a college campus, likely this might be a possibility.

Adjacent to the Liberty Bell are two well known American documents, engraved and set in stone.

On one side is the complete text of the Declaration of Independence. On the opposite side is the Preamble to the United States Constitution.

I have seldom been at a more patriotic location. Mount Rushmore comes to mind, but I digress.

I read the Preamble and wondered to myself how many modern day nonsense spewers, who regularly vow to support some reactionary nut case who has vowed to uphold our sacred constitution, have actually even read the Preamble, let alone the entire U.S. Constitution?

I suspect most of those, well, illiterate types would not even be able to get through the Preamble without misunderstanding and being confused by what they were reading.

Anyway, I'm having myself a mighty fine patriotic day, so far.....

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A Rare Visit To Fort Worth Takes Me Over A New Bridge Over Water

A couple times in the past week I think I made mention of the fact I was going to be in the Dallas/Fort Worth zone today.

I also mentioned that I did not think I would make it to the zone of America's Biggest Boondoggle to photo document the reports I have received indicating the area of former construction of the only one of The Boondoggle's bridges being built, is currently an abandoned ghost town.

Months ago, The Boondoggle's bridge project of building three simple little bridges over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island, had ground to a halt due to serious engineering design problems.

The Boondoggle claimed their bridge building was a four year project. Longer than it took to build the Golden Gate Bridge, over deep, moving, water, and many other feats of engineering around the world.

None of which had as their project director the unqualified son of a local politician. Yes, you reading this in America, Fort Worth is basically a third world banana republic.

In many ways.

But, when you get a Fort Worth public works project out of the control of the local corrupt oligarchy, well, stuff gets built with an efficiency that matches the civilized parts of America and the world.

For instance.

Today I did end up in Fort Worth, near where I used to live in far East Fort Worth. When it came time to head back to the Northwest I opted to take Randol Mill Road west. For a little over a year now an upgrade to that road, between Oakland Boulevard and Beach Street has been underway. This project includes three bridges, with two of those bridges built over dry land which flooded a couple times during construction.

With the main bridge proving a bridge can be built over water in Fort Worth, In this case the Trinity River as it flows out of Gateway Park.

During the construction of this bridge the Trinity River went into major flood mode twice, with one of those floods rising suddenly, leaving heavy construction equipment stuck in mud and under water.

And yet, somehow, today, I was able to drive over that bridge, along with the now almost completed road upgrade, which I must say is going to be a HUGE improvement when completed.

The photo at the top is the view of my steering wheel starting to steer on to the new bridge.

After driving over the new bridge I headed to Watauga for lunch. Prior to that Elsie Hotpepper texted me about doing lunch. But, Elsie did not show up in Watauga.

After lunch I headed Northwest, back to Wichita Falls.

Slightly past Decatur all hell broke loose in the form of a thunderstorm with heavy rain causing a lot of flash flooding. I saw the thickest lightning strike I've ever seen zap down a slight distance to the north of me.

And then I was out of the storm as fast as I had entered it, back dry again.

When I got back to my abode and stepped out of my vehicle, into the HEAT, a pool dip quickly seemed like a good idea. And so it was. I am starting to like the saltwater pool. The saltwater seems to cause extra buoyancy.

Or maybe this is caused by all my excess adipose tissue.

The pool saltwater does not cause a Great Salt Lake type of annoying buoyancy where one feels like a salty cork that could not sink if it wanted to.

Anyway, it's been a tiring day. And now it's about time to watch the democrats being decent humans, as opposed to.....

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

HOT Walk Over Wichita Falls Sikes Lake Bridge Built Over Water

When I woke up this morning I found myself to be a bit in ache and pain mode. Why I would be in this mode? I don't know.

Did I over do swimming yesterday?

As the morning rolled along the aches and pains seemed to abate, so around noon I rolled my wheels to Sikes Lake to take a walk with the few Pokemon Go Zombies still wandering around this location.

Dead calm. No wind. HOT. I thought the slight cover of clouds might make for some cooling. I thought wrong.

I had myself a mighty fine time in the outdoor sauna, despite the HEAT.

Walking across one of the two bridges which cross Sikes Lake I wondered to myself how long it took to build these signature bridges over water?

I also remembered that I'd yet to hear any report about the current status of Fort Worth's stalled bridges being built over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland  to an imaginary island.

I will be in the D/FW zone tomorrow. But I don't think I will make it to the location of America's Biggest Boondoggle to photo document the ghost town I have been told The Boondoggle's bridge construction zone has become....

Monday, July 25, 2016

Surviving Alligator Alley On The Wee-Chi-Tah Trail

Sunday I was in Lucy Park, walking beside the Wichita River on the Circle Trail. As I neared the swinging suspension bridge which crosses the Wichita River to an RV Park I saw a pair of mountain bikers on the RV Park north side of the river.

I thought to myself, that must be the illusive Wee-Chi-Tah Trail which I had yet to find, despite looking for it.

I've taken you across the Lucy Park suspension bridge previously, via photo, text and video in a blogging titled Suspense On A Wichita River Suspension Bridge.

So, on Sunday I crossed the Lucy Park Suspension Bridge again, curious to see the trail those two mountain bikers were mountain biking on.

I walked west through the RV Park, looking for a trail. I found none. I walked to the road, thinking maybe the trail directs bikers to the road prior to returning to the dirt trail. I found nothing.

And then suddenly a grizzled old mountain biker popped out of the woods via a slender slice of single track I had not noticed. He biked to me, stopped a second, uttered "this trail is killing me" and then continued on to the east side of the RV Park.

I followed and eventually came to the sign you see above identifying a Wee-Chi-Tah Trail Head and something called Alligator Alley.

I walked a short distance in Alligator Alley. I saw no alligators.

Later, after returning to Internet Access I Googled "Wee-Chi-Tah Trail" and found a couple informative websites.

One was the Wichita Falls city website's Wee-Chi-Tah Off Road Trail page, where the information included...

Bring the family, friends, mountain bikes and safety gear and try the Wee-Chi-Tah Trail. You'll enjoy 13 miles of challenging twists, turns, descents and beautiful scenery

The trail was voted the best urban off-road trail in the State of Texas and is used for the Hotter 'N Hell's challenging Wee-Chi-Tah Mountain Bike and Trail Run.

The Texas Mountain Bikers website had a lot of Wee-Chi-Tah Trail information, and a lot of photos, along with the following descriptive paragraph...

Take the best that every other Texas trail has to offer, throw a little bit of each into one trail system and you’ll end up with the Wee-Chi-Tah Trail. This trail offers everything that makes singletrack fun; narrow, winding, flowing, well-packed, tight sections that require grace to squeeze through, to sweeping sections that allow some nice speed before approaching the next tight switchback or technical feature. You’ll find yourself weaving up and down embankments, even wall riding at one point. You have a thing for whoop-de-doos? No problem. Switchbacks bring a smile to your face? You’re well-covered. Quick ups and quicker, steeper downs? You’ll find plenty. Roots? Log crossings? Sandy sections? Drops? Yes, yes, yes, and yes. You’ll even be crossing a suspension bridge! So what does Wee-Chi-Tah trail lack? Long downhills. But that’s ok; it just means that you won’t find any long climbs, either.

From the Texas Mountain Bikers I learned the Wee-Chi-Tah has several areas where the trail has challenging options, marked via the black diamond method. As in if marked with one black diamond the section of trail is challenging. Marked with two black diamonds the trail is even more challenging.

I long ago learned that when I come to a black diamond trail marker to take the wimp bypass option and avoid the humiliation of having to carry my bike back out from something impossible for me to roll on.

It is currently much too HOT to get adventurous on an unfamiliar mountain bike trail, particularly a trail which is a one-way loop of 13 miles.....

Sunday, July 24, 2016

A Wichita Falls Discovery Seldom Found In A Fort Worth Park

This morning I had myself a mighty fine time pooling on this next to last Sunday of July.

Since moving to Wichita Falls I have sort of fallen out of my swimming habit. Why? I don't know.

I did not feel today's swimming gave me a sufficient endorphin dose, so, prior to today's birthday party scheduled for this afternoon, I rolled myself to Sikes Lake to walk with the Pokemon Go Zombies.

In the above photo we are in the sculpture garden zone, looking south. In the distance, under the tree, you can see some of the Pokemon Go Zombies.

Today I noticed something I'd not noticed previously, despite having walked by it multiple times.

That something I had not noticed was what you see above. A modern public restroom facility, with drinking fountains, in a public park.

What a concept.

Every Wichita Falls city park I have been to has had modern restroom facilities with running water. I have not seen a single outhouse.

What a contrast with the town I used to live in.

Fort Worth.

Recently America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island Vision Boondoggle issued its eagerly anticipated quarterly update, letting voters, who were not allowed to vote on The Boondoggle, know what little has been done since the last quarterly update.

In the latest Boondoggle Update we were told about all The Boondoggle has done in Gateway Park, including new restrooms.

When I read that I thought to myself I need to see that to believe it. If new restrooms have been added they sure were constructed quickly. The Boondoggle constructs nothing quickly. I saw no sign of any such thing being built the last time I was in Gateway Park, back in May.

I am going to be back in the D/FW zone on Wednesday. I don't know if I will be able to make it to Gateway Park to see if there are new restrooms. If such a thing does exist I suspect what the "restrooms" actually are are more outhouses, with The Boondoggle's patented cement enclosures, such as The Boondoggle installed at the world's premiere urban waterfront music venue.

It is nice to be back living in a modern American city....

It's The Goober Twins Happy Birthday

Three score and three years ago a Kansan Dust Bowl escapee who eventually landed in the State of Washington brought forth on this continent the two boys you see here, known, by some, as the Goober Twins.

Big Ed and Bigger Wally.

Happy Birthday, Goober Twins!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

102 Degrees HOT With Miss Linda Vibrating Me

I knew this day would come. It always does. But this year that day came later than I have come to expect during my time in HOT Texas.

The first 100 degree day of the year.

This afternoon, arriving at Walmart, I saw a time and temperature sign telling me it was 3:22 and 102 degrees.

I then looked at my vehicle's temperature monitoring monitor and saw what you see above, that I was heading east and a confirmation of that 102 degree temperature.

My vehicle's temperature monitoring monitor is part of the rear view mirror. That would be my cell phone and hands you see reflected in the mirror. How the rear view mirror takes the temperature I have no clue.

Speaking of my cell phone, and who isn't? Today I was enjoying being outdoors in a noisy venue when I felt a strange vibration. I ignored the vibration, which was of short duration. Several minutes later it happened again, also of short duration.

An hour or so later I felt the vibration again, of much longer duration. This vibrating instance I was able to reach in my pocket and pull out my cell phone to see that Miss Linda was calling me, and had called twice previous, vibrating me. I did not get control of my phone fast enough to answer Miss Linda's call.

I don't know how I put my phone in vibration mode. It was not too difficult to figure out how to restore it to normal ring mode.

After I took the above temperature direction photo I called Miss Linda back, and got her voice mail.

I suspect Miss Linda was calling to chat about the recent Republican convention embarrassments. Miss Linda and I share a strong aversion to right wing tea bag nut job types and the ignorant nonsense way too many of them spew.

Miss Linda is a lifelong Washingtonian and pretty much my acquaintance of longest duration, going all the way back to first grade. We did grades one through twelve together and the first two years of college.