Tuesday, November 11, 2014

A Beautiful Veteran's Day In Skagit County Got Me Thinking About Being A Texas Tourist

Spencer Jack's dad, my favorite nephew Jason, emailed me the above picture a few minutes ago, with the subject line "Beautiful Veteran's Day in Skagit County."

It is a beautiful Veteran's Day in Tarrant County, too. But not quite as scenically beautiful as Skagit County.

I just used my computer based temperature monitoring device to learn that Mount Vernon is currently being chilled 3 degrees cooler than Fort Worth is being cooled at 49 degrees.

Before I got distracted by the temperature I mentioned that Skagit County is a bit more scenically beautiful than Tarrant County, but got distracted before adding, just like Mount Vernon is more scenically beautiful than Fort Worth.

Mount Vernon has a beautiful, clean, clear, big river running through town, Fort Worth has a modified river which looks sort of like a big ditch as it passes by downtown Fort Worth.

Mount Vernon has an actual mountain in town, called Little Mountain. Little Mountain would be considered a big mountain in Fort Worth. You can hang glide from the top of Little Mountain. There is nothing to hang glide from in Fort Worth. You can go wakeboarding though, in a dirty lake with a cable to drag you around the lake. No such contraption exists in Mount Vernon.

Mount Vernon has a Skagit River Vision you can actually see, while Fort Worth has a Trinity River Vision where today we learned we will soon be able to witness three bridges magically rising vertically from the ground.

Mount Vernon has a couple grocery stores in its downtown, one of which I greatly miss, that being the Skagit Valley Co-Op. Fort Worth has no grocery stores in its downtown, and nothing exists in the entire Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex like the Skagit Valley Co-Op.

Mount Vernon is served by a mass transit system which takes you all over Skagit County. Fort Worth has a mass transit system which takes you to some locations in Fort Worth, but not all over Tarrant County.

What got me off tangent from my original  intent to comment on the picture my favorite nephew Jason sent me?

Back to that picture. What we are looking at in the foreground is known as the Skagit Flats, one of the most fertile, productive agricultural areas in the world, growing all sorts of fruits and vegetables and flowers. Before diking made the Skagit River behave itself after it left the mountains, the Skagit Flats would get flooded when the river was in flood mode.

In the middle of the picture is something you can not find in Texas. A volcano. The Mount Baker volcano is that white spot sticking up above foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Mount Baker is an active volcano, which means you can see steam spewing from its crater at times.

Mount Vernon would be to the right in this picture, the town I grew up in, Burlington, would be in the middle, I think, maybe more to the left than the middle. As you can see one does not live far from the mountains when one lives in Western Washington. One also does not live far from saltwater. If we went left in this picture, heading west a few miles, we'd run into saltwater, maybe Swinomish Channel which runs past the tourist town of La Conner. Or Padilla Bay.

Having lived a long time in an actual area which actually attracts a lot of actual tourists and has actual  tourist towns, like La Conner, is one of the reasons my eyes roll when I read something ridiculous, such as downtown Fort Worth gets over 10 millions visitors a year. I wonder if those 10 million visitors are the same 10 million a year which were supposed to make the Fort Worth Cabela's the #1 Tourist Attraction in Texas?

Maybe in Texas visitor and tourist don't mean the same thing.

But, the thing is, when you live in an actual tourist destination and then live in an area which is not an actual tourist destination you can tell the difference. One big tell is the number of out of state license plates one sees. In a tourist zone at times it seems like every other vehicle is from out of state. Or Canada.

The only location in Fort Worth which seems like an actual tourist attraction, due to the number of foreigners and out of staters one runs into there, is the Fort Worth Stockyards. In Dallas, Dealey Plaza seems like an actual tourist attraction, albeit a sad one. I don't think many non-Texans head to Arlington to Six Flags Over Texas, not like which heads to Anaheim to go to Disneyland.

I have not headed to Anaheim to go to Disneyland for over two decades, Christmas of 1993. It has been two years since I've been a tourist anywhere, well, I have been to downtown Fort Worth during that time frame and apparently that is counted as a tourist.....

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