Saturday, June 30, 2018

Families Belong Together Protesters March Across America Including Mount Vernon

That which you see above showed up a few minutes ago on Facebook.

Apparently my old home zone of Mount Vernon was one of the 700 some American cites where protest marchers marched today.

The Texas town I am currently in, Wichita Falls, did not have a protest march today, that I know of. However, tonight there will be a candlelight vigil type protest in Lucy Park protesting the sad state our sad nation has sunk to.

Treating asylum seekers like criminals.

Kidnapping babies and children from their parental units and then keeping them in cages, with apparently no record keeping keeping a record of what baby belongs to what parent. Or where the baby is being caged.

I have not heard from anyone in the Skagit Valley today, so I don't know if I know anyone who was protesting in downtown Mount Vernon. I suspect Nurse Canecraker was likely there, possibly along with Betty Jo Bouvier, Honey Lulu and Maxine.

Spencer Jack and his dad were likely busy today in their Anacortes restaurant and thus unable to protest.

Mount Vernon has a long protest history, going all the way back to the Vietnam War. During that war a group of peace protesters assembled every Wednesday at noon at the Skagit Valley Courthouse, pretty much the same location as those protesters you see in the above photo.

Those Skagit Valley Peaceniks kept up the Wednesday vigils after the end of the Vietnam War, with the protest morphing into an ongoing protest against the military industrial complex and the resulting war machine.

I do not know from personal observation if the Skagit Valley Wednesday Courthouse Protests continued into this century. But I suspect they have, what with America being pretty much at perpetual war, to various degrees, this entire century.

I do not think I will go to Lucy Park for tonight's candlelight vigil. Bug biters, like mosquitoes, are out in full force at that time of the day...

Friday, June 29, 2018

Another 100 Degree Wichita Falls Day With Lily Pads

I do not remember any 100 degree days last summer in Texas. I do remember multiple 100 degree plus days in Arizona last summer. And late last spring.

This year, before summer even made its arrival we went over 100 at my Texas location.

And in May I got blasted over 100 in Arizona. If I remember right it was a record breaking 105 one day in May in the Valley of the Sun.

On Wednesday, when I drove to the DFW zone, I stupidly turned my A/C off. The temperature that day reached 107 according to one of my heat measuring devices. When I re-entered my abode, some time after 5 in the afternoon, the interior temperature was 93. It took awhile for the air condition to condition the air to a comfortable level of cool.

Today is another day where we are scheduled to go over 100. Around 11 this morning, when the air was still relatively cool, at 90, and with a strong wind blowing, I opted to roll my wheels on the Circle Trail to Lake Wichita.

The past few times when I have rolled to Lake Wichita I have noticed lily pads popping up in a creek which feeds into Lake Wichita.

Today those lily pads had greatly increased in numbers, and a couple of them were spouting lilies.

In the above photo you see my handlebars looking at some of those aforementioned lily pads. The handlebars are on the bridge the Circle Trail crosses soon after it leaves the top of Lake Wichita Dam.

The blooming lily pad is too small to see clearly in the above photo. Let's zoom in for a closer look.

I have zero clue regarding the botanical facts regarding lily pads. As in what causes them to suddenly be so prolific? Is this sprouting of so many lily pads indicative of the relative purity of the water from which they are sprouting?

Or do lily pads thrive in relatively polluted water?

I suspect lily pads do not thrive in polluted water. I have never seen a lily pad adding color to the Trinity River as it slogs its way through Fort Worth...

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Fort Worth Drive By America's Biggest Boondoggle Embarrassment

Til yesterday it had been several years since I have been at the heart of America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision.

I think it was February of 2015 I first saw ridiculous signage touting "Panther Island Bridge Construction Underway".

And now, years later, the imaginary "construction" zone is a HUGE mess of uncompleted construction.

Except for this million dollar absurdity you see here, an aluminum homage to a trash can at the center of an un-landscaped, un-completed roundabout.

Why would anyone with any common sense think it a good idea to install this "work of art" early on in a construction project, which now, years later, appears to be stalled in dawdle mode? If I remember right a celebration ceremony was held for the unveiling of this aluminum embarrassment.

Driving through the heart of America's Biggest Boondoggle is a baffling experience, when one realizes how many years this mess has been an ongoing eyesore and traffic nightmare.

And seeing those infamous bridge V-piers in various stages of "construction", rising helter skelter across the landscape I could not imagine where the flood diversion ditch will be dug in this mess.

A few illustrative photos documenting the current state of those bridges which began being built almost four years ago, with what at the time seemed a ridiculously long four year project timeline.

And now, almost four years later, below is what you see of America's Biggest Boondoggle's bridges.

Above we are looking at a couple V-piers awaiting concrete, while in the background we see some V-piers which have had some concrete added, yet remaining held up by supports, I assume the supports are to keep the Yeehaw Seesaws from teeter tottering.

I was unable to get a good photo of the roadwork which has been built in the area of the V-piers. I could not tell if this road work is the approaches to the bridges, or what. With a quick drive by I was not able to make any sense of the various construction elements. It just looked like a big mess.

I did see what I assume to be bridge workers working on one of the V-piers. No clue what they were doing. Possibly spraying rust inhibitor on the rusting re-bar or wood preservative on the wood elements which have been exposed to the elements way longer than any legit building engineer would have deemed appropriate.

How many more decades are the Fort Worth locals going to tolerate hosting America's Biggest Boondoggle?

Space Force's Donald Trump In Fort Worth Walmart With Betsy Price

On Wednesday, which was yesterday, I found myself in the Beach Street Fort Worth Walmart.

I was barely inside this particular Walmart when I heard a loud speaker speaking loudly.

This seemed not to be my usual Walmart experience.

A second or two later I found myself asking a fellow Walmarter what was going on with all this loud speaking.

My fellow Walmarter told me she thought there was some sort of celebrity posing for photos with TV news people.

I ventured in the direction of the loud speaking and soon found myself able to take the photo you see above.

One of Donald Trump's best friends, and possible former girl friend, Fort Worth mayor, Betsy Price, posing with what looked to be some sort of caricature of Betsy's best friend in his Space Force uniform.

There were multiple dozens of people attending this event. I have never seen so many cell phones held overhead in photo taking mode.

Apparently a lot of Fort Worth locals are thrilled to be in the presence of someone close to Donald Trump....

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Arizona Pooling With Theo, Ruby & David

In a little over a week I will likely by at the location you see here.

Had I planned it better I could have been at this location last week and had myself a mighty fine time pooling with my nephews, David and Theo, and niece Ruby.

That would be Theo on the left with Ruby in the middle, in the water. You can figure out which one is David without further instruction.

The location we are looking at here is the backyard of David, Theo and Ruby's aunt Jackie and uncle Jack in Chandler, Arizona.

My expected next opportunity to possibly see David, Theo and Ruby is next October when the trio take their parental units to Mexico City, followed by a stay in Anaheim in order to go to Disneyland with their aforementioned aunt Jackie and uncle Jack.

During that October time frame I will be spending the majority of the month in Arizona. It is only a short drive from Phoenix to Los Angeles. I'm sure David, Theo and Ruby's favorite grandma, Shirley, will be up to a road trip and a Disneyland visit. Grandma has never been to Disney California.

I'm sure the twins and David would love to take grandma on their favorite Disney rides...

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Wichita Falls Sikes Lake Goose Trap Video

I did not roll my bike's wheels yesterday. And likely will not roll my bike's wheels tomorrow, due to rolling my motorized wheels to the Dallas/Fort Worth zone whilst leaving my bike at home. At least, that is the current plan.

Today's long roll of my bike's wheels took me eventually to Sikes Lake where the geese were in a stubborn mood. I think I have mentioned previously that it appears the Sikes Lake geese are getting militant.

Before I got to the goose blockade you see above I had been granted passage by a smaller group. When I got off my bike to take the picture you see above of that goose blockade, I turned around to take the picture you see below, in which it would appear the geese have conspired to trap me.

When I switched my camera to video mode the geese quickly listened to reason when I asked if they really wanted their stubborn behavior documented on YouTube. After about a minute of a honking conference the geese decided to let me pass through, begrudgingly.

If you watch the video you will not be able to make out much of my commentary due to the fact that a strong wind was once again blowing. I think it was that strong wind and the resulting waves which had most of the Sikes Lake goose population being landlubbers today.

I am almost 100% certain tomorrow's lunch in the D/FW zone will take place around one in Fort Worth in the Stockyards zone, at Esperanza's, the location of my favorite chili cheese relleno. Or maybe it will be the Tandoor Indian buffet in Arlington. I'm flexible...

Monday, June 25, 2018

Leaving Wind Damage Behind To Hike Wichita Falls Nature Area

Wichita Bluff Nature Area Overlook
Last night around three in the morning my location was hit by what must have been extreme micro bursts of high velocity wind.

This off and on wind blasting last for about a half an hour. During the course of the blasting power flickered off and on multiple times.

By light of day I found that my patio furniture had been blown asunder, along with the door mat and one planter.

Nearby neighbors appear to have been wind blasted too.

However, driving away from my location I saw no wind damage, other than in my immediate area. Unlike the windstorm of a couple weeks ago which wreaked havoc every where I looked.

So, I left my abode this morning, heading to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area expecting to see lots of evidence of Mother Nature going rogue. But I saw nothing of the sort once I exited my parking area.

I thought some hiking was in order today in preparation for next month's possible mountain hiking in Arizona. I say possible because such will likely not occur unless some freakishly cold air somehow blows into the Valley of the Sun.

Today at the Wichita Bluff Nature Area I made note of the sign you see below.

These type signs appear along the Circle Trail, frequently, showing mile markers and where one currently is located.

However, on this particular Circle Trail sign I quickly saw there was an informational problem. We shall go in for a closer look. See if you can spot the problem.

Likely if you are not a Wichita Falls local, or are a local not familiar with the Circle Trail, you might not be able to spot the problem. I shall spot it for you. As you can see, the area in green is the Wichita Buff Nature Area. The location of this sign is near that 20 mile mark, near the north entry to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area, a short distance from the parking lot.

However, the "YOU ARE HERE" on the sign is telling you that where you are is about a mile to the east, due west of Loop 11, on one of the three sections of the Circle Trail not yet completed, the completion of which has been slightly stymied by voters saying NO to a Circle Trail completions proposal on the May 5 Bond Election.

All the other instances of this type Circle Trail signage has been accurate with the YOU ARE HERE info. I wonder why no one noticed the mistake with this one before installing the sign?

I feel it my duty as the Official Wichita Falls Convention Center & Visitor's Bureaus Outdoor Adventure Guru to point out such things...

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Preferring Wichita Falls Fine Rusty MSU Art To Running With Elsie Hotpepper & Beto O'Rourke

This first summer Sunday of 2018 my bike decided to take me on a windy ride north on the Circle Trail, eventually to Hamilton Park, then west through the Wichita Falls version of Beverly Hills, then south to the sprawling campus of MSU (Midwestern State University).

Rolling around the MSU campus on previous occasions I have come upon an art installation. Or two. Or three.

Today I came upon a virtual forest of art installations, installed near something called the Fain Fine Arts Center.

As you can see above, I parked my bike by a giant rusted hammer and then proceeded to walk amongst the rest of the fine rusty art.

I am guessing the above is symbolizing the fact that it is hard to get toothpaste back in the tube once a hard squeeze has released it.

Is the above a rusty Tiki god's lips? Maybe, maybe not.

For some reason there is a lot of Japanese type imagery in Wichita Falls, from pagodas in Lucy Park, to installations covering traffic light controllers in multiple intersection locations. Is this tall piece of rusty fine art a Japanese image? Or Chinese? Or what?

I got myself down to ground level to take the above photo. This looked to be some sort of rusty ball and chain installation in the foreground. Next to a stack of rusty shapes. And a couple non-rusty ceramic looking vases.

This one I may have liked best. Sort of looking like it was a box of glass balancing on a narrow point above a rusty arch.

Earlier this Sunday I have a conversation with Elsie Hotpepper about going running with Elsie and Beto O'Rourke.

I think I enjoyed the walk amongst rusty art more than the early Sunday morning run with Beto O'Rourke...

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Mama Duck With Her Ducklings Seek Possible Asylum In Lake Wichita

This morning I saw the mama duck you see here, leading her flock of ducklings south on Holliday Creek, heading towards possible safe asylum  refuge in Lake Wichita.

I hope the mama duck and her ducklings safely make it to refuge without being separated by any sort of lake border enforcer, with the ducklings taken from their mama duck.

Or worse.

One sees many turtles sunning on the shore of Holliday Creek.

Are turtles predators of ducklings?

I hope not.

Years ago, in Mount Vernon, the town in Washington I lived in before being exiled to Texas, I had a couple pet ducks. Those ducks never reproduced. I only had the pet ducks for a short duration. Their job was slug patrol in my garden.

And then one day both ducks were murdered by a neighbor's dog.

Suffice to say, the neighbor's dog was severely punished for murdering my ducks...

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer Arrival Mountain Biking Mount Wichita Summit

Yesterday rain dampened my enthusiasm for rolling my bike wheels anywhere.

Dodging drops running from Walmart to my motorized method of motion seemed sufficient aerobic stimulation yesterday.

That and when I returned from Walmart to find my home location dry, with nothing wet being delivered from the massive black cloud I had been under a short distance to the west, I opted to go for a short walk on the Circle Trail, phone in hand, so as to call my mom to remind her to go to the airport to pick up David, Theo and Ruby, arriving from Sea-Tac to Sky Harbor.

So, today, which may be the first day of summer, though yesterday my mom told me yesterday was the first day of summer, on this first or second day of summer, with nothing wet falling from above, I took my bike's wheels on a long roll.

Eventually I reached the mountainous spot you see above, with my bike's handlebars aimed at the summit of Mount Wichita.

What with my bike being a mountain bike and Mount Wichita sort of passing for a mountain I debated whether or not to try pedaling up Mount Wichita.

Well, above we are looking southeast from the summit of Mount Wichita. If this photo were in full sized mode you might be able to make out my bike at the base of the trail which I did not pedal up. I used the more primitive method of mountain climbing.

I hiked to the summit.

Mount Wichita is much too steep to use a bike to reach its summit.

I was not long at the summit today, due to it being infested with a swarm of flies, I hope I did not stay summit bound long enough to get bug bit. So far I see no signs of such...

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Militant Wichita Falls Geese Blockade Sikes Lake Trail

The sky looked a bit menacing this morning when I opted to go on a bike ride.

A long bout with insomnia last night has me being exhausted.

A long bike ride helped, a little with this being exhausted thing.

The flocks of geese which call Sikes Lake home were in out of the lake mode today, occupying various locations around the lake, attempting to bully block the trail.

The geese usually end their blockade when they see a bike rolling towards them.

On the opposite side of Sikes Lake from the goose view above I saw today's biggest concentration of geese with maybe two dozen on the trail and dozens more maintaining a vigil beside the trail.

I saw three little girls on scooters have a short standoff with the geese in that biggest concentration. Eventually the geese relented and let the girls pass.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Nurse Canecracker's Mount Vernon History Took Me To America's Fort Worth Boondoggle

I found that which you see here in my mailbox this morning, sent by Nurse Canecracker, aka, Miss Linda.

A history of the town I lived in before moving to Texas, titled Images of America: Mount Vernon.

I have always liked learning about the history of this, that or any other thing.

This book from Nurse Canecracker answered several questions about Mount Vernon, and the Skagit Valley, which I have wondered about.

Such as when was the bridge across the Skagit connecting downtown Mount Vernon with West Mount Vernon built? I now know it was 1954 that cars first drove across that new bridge.

And when did the two malls in Mount Vernon open? One would think I could remember this, since I was living in the neighborhood at the time.

Well, it was 1971 when the Mount Vernon Mall opened on the north side of College Way, with the Skagit Valley Mall opening two years later, across the street on the south side of College Way.

Those two malls wreaked havoc with downtown Mount Vernon. And then a modern mall opened a couple miles north, on the other side of the Skagit River, in Burlington, eventually causing the two Mount Vernon malls to be demolished, replaced with modern type strip malls.

And now that mall in Burlington, the Cascade Mall, is having trouble staying open, losing all its anchors.

I have wondered what the flooding history of the Skagit River was, before dikes were built to contain the river when it left the narrow valley and entered the delta flood plain.

Well, there were some hellacious floods, photo documented in this book from Miss Linda. I have eye witnessed some hellacious Skagit floods post dikes being built, hence wondering what it was like before those dikes were built.

The Texas town I lived in before moving to my current location, Fort Worth, has had a multi-decade pseudo public works project underway to supposedly address imaginary flood issues which were long ago fixed by the construction of massive levees.

This Fort Worth "flood control" project is known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision. But more commonly known as America's Biggest Boondoggle.

Fort Worth has long wanted to be the best or biggest at something.

And now the town proudly hosts America's Biggest Boondoggle, with an embarrassing mess of a project with three simple little bridges under construction now for years, being built over dry land, to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

With the current state of those bridges being badly engineered seesaws in teeter totter mode, with locals referring to the eyesores as the Yeehaw Seesaws.

A Fort Worth congresswoman's totally unqualified son was put in charge of this ill conceived ineptly implemented plan, paid around $200K a year, plus perks and benefits, to motivate his mother to secure federal funds, with little luck, hence a recent bizarrely corrupt ballot measure conning the ill-informed locals that they were approving a quarter billion bucks for flood control and drainage issues.

And somehow in Texas this type ballot subterfuge is perfectly kosher.

Reading about Mount Vernon's flood history, and how intelligent Americans dealt with flood issues, I amused myself thinking what if someone in Mount Vernon came up with a brilliant plan to take down the Skagit River dikes, then build a flood diversion channel to divert a flooding Skagit around an imaginary island, with canals, creating a sort of San Antonio Riverwalk type venue.

Well, I don't think there is anyone stupid enough any where in the Skagit Valley to come up with something so idiotic, and to amp the idiocy by claiming it was a flood control plan, and an economic development scheme.

Selling such an idea, the economic development scheme, in a town with is already doing quite well, economically, would be laughed at. But, in Fort Worth, those who decide such things, don't laugh. they think it makes sense to create an imaginary island with canals.

And to remove levees which have prevented flooding for decades.

Oh, I almost forgot.

Without any corrupt political shenanigans, with no hiring of a local congresswoman's son to do a job he has no clue how to do.

Mount Vernon has built a Riverwalk type attraction on the Skagit River as it passes past downtown Mount Vernon.

A Riverwalk type attraction with a flood wall which can be put in place quickly when the Skagit goes rogue. A Riverwalk type attraction with a plaza.

And, unlike what is the Fort Worth norm, no outhouses.

All done in a fraction of the time Fort Worth has been boondoggling along with little to show for the effort.

Well, to be fair, those Yeehaw Seesaws have become a bit of a tourist attraction, to the few tourist attracted to Fort Worth. That and the giant million dollar homage to an aluminum trash can, stuck in the center of America's Biggest Boondoggle's roundabout.

Has the Star-Telegram ever looked into how that million dollar homage to an aluminum trash can came to be? Installed years before any other aspect of what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle came to any sort of fruition?

What is J.D. Granger's connection to whoever it was who got the million bucks for that imaginary work of aluminum art?

Is there an Images of America: Fort Worth book? I suspect not...

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Father's Day

This morning I woke up to soon realize it has been a year since my Dad's Last Father's Day McDonald's Buffet.

And that this is the first Father's Day where I won't be calling or seeing my dad.


Father's Day

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Wichita Bluff Nature Area Saturday Sunflower Shade

If you guessed that what you are looking at here is a giant sunflower blooming alongside the Circle Trail in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area you would be guessing correctly.

This third Saturday of June I decided to give my bike a break and check if I am still able to walk a long distance, with some of that distance walking up and down inclines.

I had previously thought that next month when I am in Arizona I might do some hiking. And then Sister Jackie reminded me that I would be in the Valley of the Sun in July and that hiking is not doable by anyone with any degree of good judgment and relative sanity.

Today there were only four other vehicles in the Wichita Bluff Nature Area's parking lot. I don't understand why more locals do not find themselves enjoying this venue. It's scenic, with the bluffs overlooking the Wichita River. There are plenty of benches on which to take a rest. And shaded covered areas, with a couple of those including picnic tables.

Three Saturdays from today I will be finding myself moving fast high above the planet, heading west to Phoenix. It seems like I was just there...

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Jones Boys B-EHS Graduation With Mom & Dad In Burlington

A day or two ago I did a rare check-in on one of the online news sources sourcing news in my old home location of the Skagit Valley.

On that news source I saw that which you see here, a blurb from a graduation speech at one of the high schools in the Skagit Valley.

I thought in these troubled times this excerpt from this speech was repeat worthy...

"Even though there are 7.6 billion people across the globe, 122,000 residents in Skagit County, 1,048 students at B-EHS, and 226 graduates sitting among you this evening, it’s easy to feel alone. You’re not. You are not alone."

B-EHS, also known as Burlington Edison High School, was the high school from which I graduated way back in the previous century. I was sort of surprised to read there are now 1,048 students at B-EHS. And that 226 graduated this year.

I was surprised to learn the school had grown that much since I matriculated there. Then again, it has been so long I don't know if I accurately remember how big the school was. Seems like our graduating class had about 170, give or take.

I long ago lost my high school annuals, so I have no way of counting.

Mention was made in that graduation speech blurb of the population of Skagit County. 122,000 sounds like about the same population as when I was still residing in that county.

I think the last B-EHS graduation I attended was when David, Theo and Ruby's mom graduated and gave one of the graduation speeches. I do not remember any blurbs from my little sister's graduation speech. I do remember the graduation was held in the Skagit Valley College auditorium, in Mount Vernon, because the B-EHS venues at that time were too small to accommodate a graduation.

Ooops. Just remembered. I have been to a B=EHS graduation since my little sister's.

I went to Spencer Jack's dad's graduation. It was held in Burlington, on the football field. We sat in the visitor's grandstand. I think I have photos of the post graduation party from that day, with that party held in the backyard of the house I grew up in in Burlington. Let me see if I can find the photos on this computer.

Okay, it took some hunting, but I found the photos I was seeking on another computer, including some I don't remember taking, such as a close up of my favorite nephew Jason in graduation mode...

I do not remember the weather being threatening for this outdoor graduation ceremony, but the above photo makes it appear such was the case.

For those of you reading this in Texas, those things in the background are mountains, well, actually known as foothills of the Cascade Mountains. In Texas these hills would qualify as mountains.

And then we have all the Jones Boys in that aforementioned backyard of the house I grew up in in Burlington. That would be Spencer Jack's grandpa, my favorite brother Jake on the left, next to Jason, then me, then Spencer Jack's uncle, my favorite nephew Joey.

And Jason with Grandma and Grandpa Jones, also known as Shirley and Jack. Mom and dad are looking happy in this photo. And young. It does not seem all that long ago. But it was in the final decade of the previous century the above photo was taken.

I was riding my bike today, and at the point where I was rolling through the MSU campus my phone rang. I managed to get the phone out of its holder whilst still rolling, and answered. It was Nurse Canecracker calling from a location in the aforementioned Mount Vernon.

The call went screwy. Nurse Canecracker called back. It went screwy again. And then on the third try I was stopped in the shade near the MSU fountain, sat on a bench and had a long talk with my favorite nurse.

Nurse Canecracker is going to be in Arizona for a long weekend at the same time I am there in October. I last saw Nurse Canecracker last summer, in August, when she and Betty Jo Bouvier drove up to Birch Bay to take me out to lunch.

Yesterday I booked a flight to Arizona, leaving Texas July 7, returning July 21.

I think the October return to Arizona will be via mechanized personal transport. Backroads to Phoenix....

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Circumventing Geese Guards Seeing What Is Live At Sikes Lake

It is a year ago, give or take a day or two, since I made the mistake of driving to Arizona instead of doing the sensible thing by winging it.

At that point in time I had not yet learned how easy it is to fly out of the tiny Wichita Falls solo terminal airport.

In the year since driving to Arizona I have flown to Arizona multiple times, and will be doing so again sometime in July after the 4th.

On the year ago drive to Arizona on the second day of that roadtrip I found myself totally traumatized about 10 miles east of Flagstaff when my vehicle decided to come to an unwanted stop. That was one long day, eventually finally able to relax when my little brother successfully guided me to his place in Scottsdale.

Oh, I forgot what I was blogging about before I diverted down bad memory lane.

So, today I rolled my bike's wheels to Sikes Lake. The geese there are always up to something. Today's strange behavior consisted of most of the geese being in the lake in flocks of various sizes, all floating along in a single file. The biggest flock had several dozen in the single file formation. Was it something about today's weather which caused this behavior?

And then when I got to the location of the above sign a flock of four geese were among the few not in the lake. This flock of four was arranged like guards across the sidewalk. They honked menacingly in unison when I rolled towards them. They did not act as if they were gonna do the usual backing off thing, so I opted to go around this hissing honkers to make my way to a spot where I could read the sign.

The sign was an informational type deal informing those who want to know of the 2018 concert schedule of Live on the Lake.

Three of this year's concerts are already history, including the May 24 Live at the Lake concert which I accidented upon on that date and blogged about it in Rockin' Sikes Lake At Wichita Falls MSU Priddy Pavilion.

It was the Jay Hollis Band I came upon on May 24.

On May 10 I missed Cousin Fuzzy.

On June 7 I missed WFSO presents Gypsy Cattle Drive. I am guessing WFSO is Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra. I did not know this town had such a thing. I have no idea what Gypsy Cattle Drive is.

Coming up on June 21 I can roll my wheels to see Walkin Johnny.

On July 12 the James Cook Band will be making music at Sikes Lake, and on July 26 it will be Rock, Paper, Scissors.

It is highly unlikely I will be hearing and seeing the James Cook Band or Rock, Paper, Scissors, because at that point in time I will be in Arizona...

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Sleepy Downtown Fort Worth Opens A Drug Store

Well, that which you see here is the type thing I have seen in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram ever since I first became aware of that pseudo newspaper, almost two decades ago.

Fort Worth is a town approaching 900,000 in population.

With the deadest downtown I have ever seen in a town of a population over a half million.

As witnessed by this indicator of such, a When will that new CVS Pharmacy open in downtown Fort Worth? headline on the front page of the Star-Telegram.

Would a legit newspaper in a big town wearing its big boy pants be front page speculating regarding when a drugstore might open in its downtown?

One would think if such was a noteworthy item one might think this to be indicative of maybe there might be something wrong with the town.

The first three paragraphs in the article also makes one think such...

FORT WORTH - Seventeen years have passed since downtown Fort Worth had a drug store within walking distance of most hotels and offices.

That long wait is just about over.

A two-story, "urban-style" CVS Pharmacy is on the verge of opening at Fifth and Houston streets, just outside the city's Sundance Square. A handwritten sign on the window of the store tells customers the CVS will be "opening June 24, 2018."

Now why is the Star-Telegram continuing to go along with this ridiculous labeling of the town's downtown as Sundance Square? This re-development zone should never have been given such a misrepresenting name in the first place. The Sundance Development Project, or some like name would have been much better, and would not have confused the town's few tourists for decades, looking for a non-existent square, until finally a couple parking lots were turned into a tiny square and then named Sundance Square Plaza.

Seventeen years since downtown Fort Worth had a drug store? How about some journalistic type investigating as to the reason for this. And why downtown Fort Worth is the only downtown of an American town with a population over a half million with zero downtown grocery or department stores.

With public transit provided by a re-tooled Australian bus named Molly the Trolley.

Read the entire When will that new CVS Pharmacy open in downtown Fort Worth? article and see how many head scratching bits of info you can spot which one would think a town's only semblance of a newspaper of record would find sort of embarrassing to be reporting about its town...

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Is Mount Wichita Lake Wichita Beach Revitalization Underway?

A week or so ago I was Rolling Wheels To Lake Wichita to See a Big Caterpillar Dredging Lake Sludge, finding myself perplexed, wondering why a big piece of heavy excavating equipment was scooping out mud from the shore of Lake Wichita, with that mud being deposited in dump trucks to be hauled who knows where.

And now, this Sunday morning of June 10, rolling my wheels once again to Lake Wichita I find the Caterpillar and dump trucks gone.

And in their wake the Caterpillar and dump trucks appear have left behind what looks to be a beach in the making.

Above you see my bike parked at the Lake Wichita homage to a Flying Fish, on the west end of the new"beach" looking east.

And above we have headed east a short distance for a look west at the new Lake Wichita "beach".

At this location Mount Wichita hovers over the landscape to the right, or north of this location.

Seeing this possible "beach" in the making has me wondering if this is an early stage in the planned Revitalization of Lake Wichita.

I loaned of the plan to revitalize Lake Wichita soon upon my arrival in Wichita Falls. One could hardly miss knowing about such due to the multiple signs cheerleading the effort.

On those cheerleading signs one sees a link to a Support Lake Wichita website. On that website I learned, when I first perused it, that the plan to revitalize Lake Wichita was supposedly supposed to get underway by 2018.

However, I had not made note of much revitalizing underway until I saw this possible "beach" building.

The above illustrative graphic was gleaned from that aforementioned Support Lake Wichita website, illustrating what the revitalized Lake Wichita beach, at the location we have been looking at, may look like if the lake ever does get revitalized.

So, is what that Caterpillar was doing the start of revitalizing this section of Lake Wichita to being an actual sandy beach? With boats? And people in the water?

I hope so. I think the actualized vision of a revitalized Lake Wichita would be a HUGE plus for Wichita Falls and the surrounding area.

If only the majority of the voting locals saw the same revitalized vision...

Friday, June 8, 2018

Unpredicted Storm Wreaks Foliage Havoc On Wichita Falls Circle Trail

Yesterday, soon after the sun finished its daily lighting duty, rain began to drip, even though such a phenomenon had not been predicted by those who predict such things.

Soon after the rain began to drip it went into downpour mode.

And then wind began to blow.

And blow.

And blow stronger.

And then lightning began striking, with thunder booming, though not too close.

This storm lasted a couple hours.

When the sun returned this morning to begin its daily lighting duty the havoc wreaked by last night's storm became visible. As in a plethora of garbage receptacles had been moved to new locations, set on their sides, and emptied of their contents.

Multiple instances of foliage separated by wind from tree and bush littered the landscape.

And then, a few hours after sunrise I rolled my bike on the Circle Trail to Lake Wichita. As I neared Mount Wichita I suddenly had the need to pull the brake levers because the wind had blown a tree on to the Circle Trail.

It was not too difficult to get around the windfall, first making sure no incoming traffic was coming in from the opposite direction, what with seeing such made difficult by the windfall blockage.

After so much rain downpouring I expected to be seeing Holliday Creek in rampage rapid mode today. And copious amounts of water spilling over the Lake Wichita Dam Spillway.

Instead, judging by the calm creek and the dry spillway one would think no rain fell last night.

Is This The Long Lost Clancy & Fancy Wedding Photo?

A day or two ago one of my nephews sent me that which you see here, with that nephew telling me what we are seeing here is possibly the wedding photo of his former aunts, Fancy and Clancy.

Which would make that Fancy on the left, with Clancy on the right.

I have not seen Clancy and Fancy in almost a decade, except for an extremely disturbing brief exposure early in 2018 at a concentration camp in Mesa, Arizona, where it appeared inmates, including Clancy and Fancy, were being housed in narrow metal clad edifices, like jail cells with TV and internet connections, and other utilities, such as running water and electricity.

Visiting this incarceration location, myself, and my tour director, easily got past the guard guarding the concentration camp.

Upon locating the location of Clancy and Fancy security went into bizarre alert alarm mode, which soon had both Clancy and Fancy demonstrating the type behavior which has them incarcerated in these type incarcerations, with both demonstrating a level of neurotic paranoia of the sort which results in these type incarcerations.

I have no way of knowing what specific particular bad behavior caused Clancy and Fancy to be housed in this particular Mesa, Arizona concentration camp.

General crimes against humanity, human decency and common sense would be a logical guess, just judging from numerous reports reported over the years, with some personally experienced.

I have trouble believing this is a legit wedding photo of Clancy and Fancy. What with it appearing that Fancy is in some sort of dress. There is no known record of Fancy ever wearing something as fancy as an actual dress.

Close examination of this photo renders it impossible to determine if Clancy is also attired in some sort of dress. There are known historical records of Clancy being attired in a dress, though not in the current century.

UPDATE: It was brought to our attention it has been referencing to Clancy and Fancy as such which has been their excuse for some of their bizarre bad behavior, and that the continued referring to the pair as Clancy and Fancy prohibits any sort of reconciliation with those who refer to the pair as such.

What a loss...

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Wichita Falls Sunbathing With Turtles At Sikes Lake Bayou

I always find the spot on Sikes Lake I call the Sikes Bayou to be a bucolic stop when I find myself rolling my wheels at this location.

Today the ducks and geese were out in full force, including multiple ducklings following their mama duck.

I was intending to photo document the ducklings on my second trip around the lake, but they were no longer making an appearance at that point in time.

In the photo documentation I did manage to document some geese flocking to the left of my handlebars. To the right, on that small sandbar glowing golden in the sun, there were two large turtles sunbathing when first I stopped.

When the sunbathing turtles heard my camera make its turning on noise they panicked and dove into the bayou.

Today marked the first time I have seen turtles in Sikes Lake. There were two other turtle instances addition to the pair I caught sunbathing.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Fort Worth Having A River Rockin' Happy Birthday Party?

This afternoon of the 6th day of June of 2018, the day known as D-Day, I checked in on Twitter to see the latest nonsense from our Twit in Chief to find the above being the first thing I saw.

A Twitter Tweet from Downtown Fort Worth with the Tweet saying "Today is Fort Worth's birthday! We are a whoppin' 169 years old and have never looked better, in our opinion."

That Tweet, was illustrated by the Twitpic you see above, showing the stunning skyline of beautiful downtown Fort Worth.

The current population of the happy birthday town is 854,113. Fort Worth is the second biggest city in a metropolitan area of around 7 million.

Fort Worth is the home to the fewest corporate headquarters of a town its size in America. I think the number is two. And one of them is Radio Shack.

I do believe it is true what the Downtown Fort Worth tweet said about Fort Worth never looking better.

The town does look a lot better than it looked when I first saw it, decades ago. At least two semi-skyscrapers have been added to the puny downtown skyline in the years since then.

When I first saw Fort Worth directional signs directed the town's few tourists to something called Sundance Square. Where there was no square. Early on I was told that a couple parking lots overlooked by a giant mural of the Chisholm Trail were Sundance Square. Later I was to learn Sundance Square was the bizarrely non-descriptive name given to a multi-block re-development zone of downtown Fort Worth.

Eventually an actual little square was built on those aforementioned parking lots, and given the name Sundance Square Plaza. I do not know if Fort Worth's few tourists are still confused by its downtown being referred to as Sundance Square.

Fort Worth may have never looked better, but the town still looks a bit shoddy.

Shoddy, what with most of the town's city parks not having running water or modern facilities. But plenty of outhouses.

Shoddy, what with an homage to the town's heritage, called Heritage Park, located at the north end of the town's downtown, being a boarded up, cyclone fence surrounded eyesore for years. I am supposing such is still the case, since I've read nothing about Heritage Park having been restored.

Shoddy, what with most of the town's streets having no sidewalks.

Shoddy, what with the downtown public transit system consisting of a converted Australian bus, gussied up and re-tooled as Molly the Trolley.

Shoddy, what with hundreds of acres due north of downtown Fort Worth being the location of what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle, also known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision. An ineptly implemented absurdity touted as a vitally needed flood control and economic development scheme.

So vitally needed that the project has been limping along for most of this century.

I have not driven all of the current rebuilt version of I-35 for a couple years. Have the two exits to Fort Worth's only actual tourist attraction, the Fort Worth Stockyards, been landscaped to a big city worthy level? Or are they still the littered weed infested messes they have been ever since I arrived in Texas?

I have been asked a time or two why I am so critical of Fort Worth, asked this by askers acknowledging the town has a lot of shortcomings, but wondering why I am so offput by the town.


I think it began soon upon my arrival, after subscribing to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and being quickly aware this was not a newspaper of the sort I was long used to reading when I lived in Washington. The delusional chamber of commerce type propaganda quickly grated on my nerves, particularly after I began to realize the level of exaggeration.

Like when what turned out to be an ill conceived embarrassment, the Santa Fe Rail Market, was foisted on downtown Fort Worth, the Star-Telegram helped with the misinformation propaganda touting this as being modeled after Seattle's Pike Place Market and public markets in Europe. When the reality was it would have been considered a lame food court in a run down mall in a small town in the middle of nowhere.

Or when Cabelas was courting Fort Worth, looking for tax breaks and multiple concessions, the Star-Telegram and Fort Worth city government went along with the absurd Cabelas claim this sporting goods store would give Fort Worth the #1 tourist attraction in Texas.

This con was repeated over and over again by multiple toadies, including the Star-Telegram's Bud Kennedy, who claimed this tourist attraction would attract up to 8 million tourists a year.

When I emailed Bud Kennedy pointing out the absurdity of such claims he replied with the accusation that I must be against business, to which I replied, no, I am not against business, but I am against irresponsible misinformation in a newspaper.

Six months later Cabelas announced yet one more Texas Cabelas. Followed by more, including additional Cabelas competing in DFW with Fort Worth's former #1 tourist attraction in Texas.

There has never been a peep of a mea culpa in the Star-Telegram about their part in the Cabelas con job.

On and on it goes, the corrupt shoddiness of how Fort Worth operates. Bizarre things happen in this town, with zero accountability.

The town's corrupt congresswoman's son can be given a job for which he has zero qualifications, with the son paid $200,000 a year, plus perks and benefits, with the son totally failing in directing what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle, currently with three simple little bridges stuck unable to be built over dry land to connect Fort Worth's mainland to an imaginary island.

A town so corrupt that on May 5 a bond election happened with a proposal on the ballot asking those few allowed to vote to approve a quarter billion dollar bond for flood control and drainage. When that is not what the money is for. The bond, approved by fewer than 3% of Fort Worth eligible voters is actually to help fund the floundering Trinity River Vision. The area of what has become America's Biggest Boondoggle is already under flood control levees which have worked flawlessly for well over half a century.

So, yeah, happy birthday Fort Worth, congratulation on looking so good. Is today's birthday party going to take place at Heritage Park? Or is America's Biggest Boondoggle sponsoring one of its infamous Rockin' the River Happy Inner Tube Floats in the polluted Trinity River to mark the joyous occasion?

Biking Lake Wichita Looking Out For Rattlesnakes & Brain Eating Amoeba

I have been trying to amp up my exercise regimen of late so as to prepare myself for the next time I am in Arizona so I can easily hike with my little brother to the summit of Camelback Mountain.

So, this morning I rolled many miles on my non-motorized mode of motion.

I headed south on the Circle Trail, crossed Lake Wichita Dam, also on the Circle Trail, then rolled off the dam, via that same Circle Trail, then got off the Circle Trail on an unpaved gravel trail which circles around the perimeter of Lake Wichita Park.

At the location you see above my handlebars are on that aforementioned unpaved gravel trail. To the left is a murky canal/creek-like waterway which feeds into the wetland marsh zone of Lake Wichita.

Of late the local Wichita Falls Times News Record USA Today tool of information has been informing us of the danger currently presented by the neighborhood rattlesnake population due to the rattlers trying to escape the unexpectedly early high HEAT by seeking cooling venues at unexpected locations, such as a shoe or inside a carport.

A couple days ago the Wichita Falls Times News Record USA Today tool of information also warned of the danger presented by brain eating amoeba which have been found to be living in Wichita Falls area waterways.

I assume those waterways are wet locations such as Lake Wichita, Lake Arrowhead and the Wichita River.

And that canal/creek you see my bike parked by.

What with these new worries to worry about I am extra cautious whilst wheeling where rattlesnakes might be congregating, and brain eating amoeba might be swimming.

So far I have seen nothing slithering whilst rattling or anything amoeba-like swimming...

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Reported Mount Wichita Eruption Evidently Fake News

Chelsie Stillwater sent me that which you see here, this morning, and asked...

Is this Mount Wichita erupting?

Well, this sort of looks like Mount Wichita.

Perhaps someone blew up some fireworks atop Mount Wichita with the ignition getting out of control.

But I suspect such is not the case.

Mount Wichita is not an actual volcano, thus not able to erupt in the traditional sense.

Mount Wichita is made of mud sludged from nearby Sikes Lakes.

I suppose a decade or two of lake sludge fermenting could build up some sort of natural gas accumulation which could possibly erupt into some sort of explosion which could sort of emulate a volcano erupting.

If Mount Wichita were actually erupting in the manner we see here I would be able to see the ash plume by looking out the window I am looking out right now.

All I see is an almost clear blue sky. No plume of ash erupting from the one and only nearby semi-mountain.

Running the above image through mountain identification software I was able to determine for certain this is not Mount Wichita erupting.

This is Volcan del Fuego in Guatemala erupting, eventually spewing ash 4 miles into the sky. Some of that ash has fallen as far as Guatemala City, the capital of Guatemala. The ash has been so bad that Guatemala City's La Aurora international airport had to shut down its only runway.

Guatemala's president, Jimmy Morales, has activated the Guatemala National Emergency System and is considering declaring a state of emergency in the area of Chimaltenango, Escuintla, and Sacatepequez.

I doubt Wichita Falls' Mount Wichita will ever behave bad enough to cause the U.S. president to declare any sort of state of emergency...

Monday, June 4, 2018

Horsing Colorfully Around MSU Market Street Learning Commons Before Dodging Raindrops

On this cloudy, almost cold 4th day of June, my bike opted to roll me around Sikes Lake and then to the MSU campus where eventually we stopped at the location you see here.

No, this is not some sort of homage to the Horse of Many Colors in the Wizard of Oz. At least I assume such.

Mustang is the mascot for Midwestern State University. Hence seeing statues of same in various poses, in various colors, all over town.

I believe I previously came upon this particular colorful Mustang at a different location on the MSU campus. Either that or it has a twin.

I do not know the meaning of "MARKET STREET LEARNING COMMONS", that being the sign the Mustang is rearing up at, and pointing to.

Market Street is a grocery store here in Wichita Falls. I first experienced Market Street years ago when one opened in the D/FW town of Colleyville. At that point in time it reminded me of the now defunct Larry's Markets I used to frequent frequently in Washington.

I am not totally, 100% certain, but I think maybe the Market Street grocery store chain began here in Wichita Falls. Market Street has now been taken over by the Safeway/Albertsons growing monopoly.

Is operating a grocery store taught at this MSU Market Street Learning Commons location? Hence the name? Sponsored by the local grocery store? I'm sure someone knows the answer to this probing question.

Before I forget, I must mention, as I rolled around the MSU campus rain began to drip. Fearing getting wet in a downpour I opted to change my biking route and head back home via the fastest route, which meant returning for another roll around Sikes Lake.

By the time I exited the Sikes Lake zone rain was dripping copiously. I made it back to rain-proof shelter before getting totally drenched.

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Cool Sunday Rolling Lake Wichita Circle Trail With Indians

Yesterday I was way too bloated with blackberry cobbler to give any thought to possibly rolling my bike wheels anywhere.

That and I had other things to do.

And I was in no mood for any additional  excessive high humidity heat exposure.

But this first Sunday morning of June I was in the mood to do some wheel rolling, what with the outer world temperature plummeting overnight to almost winter-like levels in the low 70s.

And with a chilling wind blowing.

So, I headed south on the Circle Trail, well before noon so as to avoid the post-church throngs. Even so I counted almost 50 Circle Trailers this morning, wheeling on various devices, jogging, walking, mountain climbing and fishing.

At the location you see above that is Mount Wichita in the distance, and the shore of Lake Wichita on the left. At this location if one is moving fast and not paying attention and misses the turn one might find oneself rolling into the lake. But I doubt such has happened too often.

At the informational sign atop Lake Wichita Dam today I exchanged pleasantries with a couple Indian natives.

Not Native Americans, natives of the nation Indians are named after.

This had me wondering why there is no Indian restaurant in this town. At least I am not aware of such.

I can't remember when the last time I had myself a mighty fine feeding at an Indian restaurant. But, I do remember where it was. Tandoor in Arlington....

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Wichita Falls Farmers Market Blackberry Day Cobbler Bliss

I have already returned to air-conditioned comfort from this morning's trek to downtown Wichita Falls where I joined throngs of blackberry aficionados cobbling to BLACKBERRY DAY at the Wichita Falls Farmers Market.

Today's was the biggest crowd I've seen at the Farmers Market since last summer's Watermelon Festival.

I will admit right now I was a pig with the BLACKBERRY DAY blackberry cobbler. It was just like at the Watermelon Festival, as in way too easy to indulge more than once in the sweet delicacy.

And since anything blackberry is among my favorite things, I may have over indulged in the blackberry cobbler.

Today's Farmers Market produced a plethora of free samples in addition to the blackberry cobbler. I had myself some tasty tamales, jalapeno fudge, salsa and other stuff I am forgetting. Dozens of vendors were vending their wares. Some homegrown, some homemade.

The Wichita Falls Farmers Market today very much reminded me of Seattle's Pike Place Market,  but on a much smaller scale. And no nearby ferry boats and cruise ships.

Wichita Falls does a lot of things well, but does not seem to brag about such in any venue I am aware of.

Unlike the Texas town I previously lived in which regularly annoyed me with bragging about some lame thing, touting it as being something it was not remotely close to being.

Such as this pitiful little food court-like thing called the Santa Fe Rail Market, which was touted as being modeled after Seattle's Pike Place and public markets in Europe, when it bore no resemblance to either, and was such a lame operation it quickly failed.

And then there is the Fort Worth version of a Saturday Farmers Market. Just as pitiful as the failed Santa Fe Rail Market, and not remotely as bustling as today's Saturday Farmers Market in Wichita Falls.

Maybe the Downtown Fort Worth propaganda purveyors and their Chamber of Commerce cohorts could send a task force to Wichita Falls to see how to run an actual Farmers Market, and then tout the Fort Worth version as being modeled after the Wichita Falls Farmers Market, finally recognizing something like Seattle's Pike Place is way too impossible a target for a town like Fort Worth to hit...

Friday, June 1, 2018

Saturday June 2 Is Blackberry Day In Wichita Falls

I really do live a magically charmed existence.

Sort of.

Just a couple days ago I was lamenting to a fellow former Pacific Northwesterner about missing being able to pick blackberries, free for the picking blackberries, growing like weeds, all over Western Washington.

And now, just a couple days after lamenting the blackberry lack at my current location, what do I learn?

This Saturday, as in June 2, from 7:30 in the morning til 1 in the afternoon, in downtown Wichita Falls, at the Farmers Market, it is BLACKBERRY DAY!

An advertisement type blurb from the BLACKBERRY DAY people...

This Saturday is Blackberry Day at The Market! We will be serving over 200 pounds of FREE blackberry cobbler between 9 and 11am! Plenty of fresh blackberries will be available for purchase as well as other seasonal and local vegetables like lettuce, cabbage, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, a variety of greens, radish, cucumbers, local honey, pecans, fresh baked breads and pies, jams, jellies, fresh seafood, and a variety of handmade items such as soaps, lotions, and jewelry. Additionally, there will be live music by Hazel and kids will be able to color a picture of the market at the free craft table! We'll see you Saturday! 8th & Ohio • Downtown Wichita Falls

So, BLACKBERRY DAY begins at 7:30, but the blackberry cobbler does not make its appearance until 9am, and exits at 11am. I can work with that time frame.

The last blackberry I had the pleasure of having was last summer, up northwest in the aforementioned Western Washington, picked by me along with help from David, Theo and Ruby. The twins and David had planned on making me a blackberry cobbler with our pickings before I flew south, but time ran out on that endeavor.

Early last month when I found myself in Arizona, in Chandler, for reasons unfathomable to me at the time I found myself at a Dairy Queen. When asked if there was anything I wanted I said I wouldn't mind a blackberry milkshake, due to having enjoyed such multiple times in Washington Dairy Queens.

Well, there were no blackberries anywhere on that Arizona Dairy Queen's menu. Maybe delicate blackberries are a no-no in the HOT desert. I have never had the, uh, pleasure of being in a Texas Dairy Queen, so I do not know if blackberries are on Texas Dairy Queen menus.

By tomorrow afternoon I should be able to tell you whether a Wichita Falls blackberry tastes as good as a west coast blackberry. I suspect it will....