Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Chilly Wichita Falls Circle Trail Walk Finding Trail & Library Closed

Several days ago the local weather forecasters were forecasting what seemed would be an early in the year heat wave.

Well, there were two days which followed which caused me to turn on the air conditioning for the first time this year.

And then yesterday it was back to fire up the furnace mode, which continues today.

I know that with the current situation no one expects anyone to go out of their way to return books, and that no fine would ensue, or book collecting gestapo agent would come knocking on my door due to an overdue book.

But, I needed to return some almost due books to the currently Coronavirus closed Wichita Falls Public Library. And any excuse is a good excuse to temporarily take a break from the sheltering in place.

So, I drove to do so, making my way to the closed library, with an empty, usually full, parking lot, using the primitive, antique book drop means, rather than the modern touch screen moving belt electronic means I usually use, to rid myself of a stack of books.

Leaving the drive through book depository lane I opted to head west to the eastern entry to the Wichita Bluff Nature Area for a walk on the Circle Trail.

After arriving and parking I headed to the Circle Trail and then took a right, walking east under the bridge over the Wichita River where I came to what you see above.


I don't know why such a sign is needed at this location. It looked fairly obvious that I had come to the current end of the Circle Trail, with the new section's construction well underway, with the hopefully soon to open link to Lucy Park.

At that TRAIL CLOSED  location I decided to take a rare selfie photo to photo document how cold the outer world currently is at my location, requiring a flannel shirt and a thick head covering. In the selfie you can not see the long pants or long underwear which completed the keep warm ensemble.

After walking I don't know how many miles I eventually found my way back to sheltering in place. I don't know how much longer I can live this way without having some sort of nervous breakdown...

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Wichita Falls Coronavirus Lockdown Ends Lucy Park Swinging

On this, the final Sunday of the 2020 version of March, I opted to return to where I had had myself a Lucy Park Enchanted Forest Mud Bath a couple days ago, to roll my still mud coated bike on a ride through the tulips and other colorful flowers, whilst avoiding any mud traps.

In the first photo you are looking at my bike's handlebars aimed at the Lucy Park Pagoda, and some of those aforementioned colorful flowers.

And behind the Pagoda you are seeing part of the also aforementioned Lucy Park Enchanted Forest.

I do not know why Wichita Falls has so many Japanese inspired Pagoda type structures. I have asked a local or two or three if they could explain, to no avail.

On Friday the local Wichita Falls government put the town on a shelter in place type lockdown, with multiple caveats, such as one could leave ones shelter is one needed groceries, or to take a walk in a park, or on the Circle Trail.

However, judging by the sudden drop in the number of park visitors, and Circle Trail users, as witnessed by my eyes, we went from I had never seen the Sikes Lake trail with so many people on it, as I did on Thursday, and then on Saturday, the day after the local lockdown, Sikes Lake was a virtual ghost town during the same time frame as the previous visit.

Same thing with Lucy Park today. Ghost town. But on Friday, before the lockdown went into effect later on that day, Lucy Park was busy.

And since that local lockdown edict the Lucy Park playground equipment sports a new feature, which you see photo documented below.

Caution tape has been wrapped around all the Lucy Park slides and swings, keeping the little playground players from playing too close to each other whilst sliding down a slide, or swinging on a swing.

When I was a kid I really can not imagine yellow caution tape keeping me and my siblings from doing some sliding or swinging.

Then again, when I was a kid we never had anything remotely as scary as something like the Coronavirus Pandemic happening whilst America was being lead by someone the majority of Americans have realized is an ignorant moron, to put it as mildly as possible.

Scary times.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Wichita Falls On Lockdown With Mount Vernon #6 Per Capita Coronavirus Cases

Yesterday evening due to the stressful experience I suffered in Lucy Park's Enchanted Forest's Mud Bath I found myself tired and in horizontal mode relatively early last night.

After an hour or two of being horizontal my phone made its annoying incoming text message noise. Eventually I got back vertical to check the message.

Waking the phone I saw that it was my primary medical information provider, Nurse Linda Lou, texting me, with the text in the message simply saying...

Mount Vernon is #6.

There was an image attached to the message. That image is what you see above. When I saw this image last night I did not see, blurry-eyed that I was then, where Mount Vernon was mentioned.

But, this morning, when I looked again I was shocked, shocked I tell you, that my former Washington home metro zone, that being the Mount Vernon/Anacortes Washington zone was # 6 on a list of "Confirmed cases per capita by metro area" of the Coronavirus.

Methinks this is not a Top 15 list any metro zone anyone anywhere is wanting to be on.

Bellingham is another Washington town I have lived in, way back in the late 1970s.

The Bellingham metro zone, which I assume includes my familial hometown of Lynden, is 15th on this list.

Yesterday the Wichita Falls city council put this town on lockdown, telling us to shelter in place, with a lot of exceptions, like if you desperately need to go to the grocery store.

Sheltering in place is gonna get real old real quick...

Friday, March 27, 2020

Lucy Park Enchanted Forest Mountain Bike Mud Bath

I had sheltered in place for almost an entire day, voluntarily, as doing such is not yet mandatory at my location, though mandatory sheltering in place is being discussed today by those in charge of deciding such things for the people who live in Wichita Falls.

So, whilst still being able to exit my abode without fear of being in trouble with the mandatory sheltering special police I drove my bike hauling vehicle to Lucy Park to do some riding in this sudden return to summer-like temperatures.

90 something was the high yesterday, cloudy and not quite so hot today.

I figured, what with the return of extreme heat Lucy Park, would have totally dried out from its most recent flooding event.

I figured wrong.

Lucy Park has a large undeveloped area which I called the Enchanted Forest of Lucy Park. There are trails, un-paved, un-graveled in the Enchanted Forest. The Enchanted Forest pretty much totally floods when the Wichita River is flowing way too much water. You can sort of see the flood level in the above photo, looking at those trees you see my handlebars are aimed at, that reddish brown color is what remained after the water drained away.

So, I was rolling along, having myself a mighty fine time, and then I came to a section of trail which looked like it was still muddy. But, it has to be dry, by now, what with all these heat, I thought to myself.

I was wrong. I soon found myself rolling in thick mud, tires spinning and slipping, me having to struggle hard not to end up on the ground, in the mud.

I got through that first mud trap and could see more ahead. I thought, maybe I should turn around and go back the dry way I came.

But, this is a mountain bike, this is what mountain bikes are made for. And this current mountain bike has never been on an actual mountain or an actual muddy mountain bike trail.

And so I continued on.

I should have gone with my first impulse and turned around.

After multi minutes of spinning on mud I had traveled maybe 200 feet. I was covered with mud spun up from the spinning tires. The bike gears were covered with mud. The brakes were mud covered. The tires were thickened to what looked like double sized. I had trouble keeping the crank turning and the bike moving.

Eventually I reached dry land and soon stopped at a bench, found a stick and began trying to pry off as much of the mud as possible.

All worked out in the end, well, there is that super muddy bike sitting outside on the patio waiting for rain to give it an anti-mud bath...

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Visiting Mount Wichita With Hank Frank In Montana

Most of March I have been slightly ailing, not too miserable, but not in the mood to do much of anything, such as my regular bike riding habit.

This ailing was good timing, sort of, what with this stay at home and away from potential virus carrying humans period we are currently suffering through.

So, what with feeling better, along with the outer world being heated into the 80s I decided to ride the Circle Trail to Lake Wichita.

A lot of other potential virus carrying humans had the same idea. I've never seen this section of the Circle Trail with so many people with so many different means of conveyance, with the majority means of conveyance being the regular non-mechanical assist walking method.

I stopped in the shadow of Mount Wichita for photo documentation purposes, pleased to see the mountain is recovering from the ravages of last summer's wildfire which scorched the mountain's southeast side. Green has returned to most of the mountain. I did not know if this is the result of a re-forestation program.

I do know that we did not have a sufficient snow coverage this past winter to enable opening the Mount Wichita ski lift.

Eventually I made it back to my interior space where I feel somewhat free from the threat of acquiring a potential virus.

Soon after locking my entry door the phone made its incoming text message noise. It was from Hank Frank's grandpa, my little brother Jake, with the text asking if I was keeping adequately isolated during these trying times. That and saying the attached photo indicates that it is already the lawn mowing time of the year in Montana.

Above Hank Frank looks like he is about to drive the lawnmower out of the garage. Hank Frank's maternal grandparental units live on a ranch near Helena, Montana. So, I think I can intuit from knowing that fact that Hank Frank is visiting his Montana grandma and grandpa.

Of all the big towns in Montana I think Helena is the only one I have never been in. Have overnighted in Missoula, Great Falls, Billings, Bozeman and Butte. Have driven though Lewistown and Kalispell, but have never seen Helena.

Awhile back Hank Frank's papa, Spencer Jack's uncle Joey, asked me if I'd been to Helena, which caused me to try and remember if I had, eventually coming to the conclusion I had not visited Montana's capital city after perusing the town's location on a map.

Each passing day makes it seem more and more unlikely the Coronavirus will abate enough for the planned trip to Washington to take place this summer, a trip which will include meeting Hank Frank for the first time, if it occurs.

The postponement of the Tokyo Olympics seems to indicate the level of trouble the world is in. I think the only time the Olympics have been cancelled has been during one or both world wars. And that long period of a few thousand years between the original Olympics in Greece and their revival and return to Athens in 1896.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Enjoying The Dry Falls Of Wichita Falls With Linda Lou

Two days in a row, for the first time in weeks, I managed to go on a bike ride.

Yesterday's ride was chilly, requiring full coverage. Today's bike ride was not chilly, requiring limited coverage.

Two days from now the temperature prediction is somewhere in the 90s.

Today's bike ride started in Lucy Park. I rolled my wheels on the Circle Trail from Lucy Park to the Dry Falls of Wichita Falls.

When a lot of rain falls, causing the Wichita River to rise, Wichita Falls is turned off, rendering it the Dry Falls of Wichita Falls.

It seems just a little ironic, to me, that after a century of visitors to Wichita Falls asking where the falls was that the locals decided to have a fake falls built, so as to have an answer to that probing question. But then did not deem it necessary to have the fake falls engineered in a way which allowed the falls to fall all the time.

I have been in towns in the Valley of the Sun desert zone of Arizona where there are multiple fake waterfalls, which I never saw turned off, even when the desert goes into flash flood mode.

Other than that problem with going dry way too frequently the fake Wichita Falls is a well designed installation, looking almost natural, until it goes dry, or when one hikes the trail to the top of the falls to see that the falls has no source of the creek or river sort, but instead mysteriously flows out of the edge of a massive cemetery.

My primary medical care professional, Nurse Linda Lou, called whilst I was rolling alongside the
Wichita River. It was not convenient to answer the phone at that point in time. I suspect Linda Lou was calling to verbalize about our Dear Leader's latest Coronavirus briefing embarrassments. That seems to happen daily nowadays...

Monday, March 23, 2020

Theo & Ruby's Harstine Island Fairy House Village

Yesterday I blogged about the Tacoma Trios Deer Corona Isolation With Harstine Island Bridge Over Water Unlike Fort Worth after incoming email brought six photos documenting some of what David, Theo and Ruby have been doing whilst they are unable to go to school.

Number six of the incoming six photos is the one you see above.

The text explaining that which you see above was...

"The kids built fairy houses in the forest behind the cabin. This is Theo's, with his path leading toward Ruby’s".

Fairy houses? I had not heard of such, previously. And so I Googled to see fairy houses are a big deal, with one of the explanations explaining fairy houses simply and succinctly...

"Fairy Houses are small structures for the fairies and woodland creatures. Ranging from simple to intricate 'Fairy Mansions', these whimsical habitats are built by children, families, gardeners and nature lovers reflecting their creativity, joy and pride".

Since I first saw Theo's Fairy House every person I have asked if they had heard of Fairy Houses had heard of Fairy Houses.

When I Googled "Fairy Houses" the Amazon extension on my web browser popped up with Fairy House kit products available on Amazon. Apparently the whole world knows about Fairy Houses.

So, this is yet one more thing about which I have been ignorant...

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Tacoma Trio Deer Corona Isolation With Harstine Island Bridge Over Water Unlike Fort Worth

David, Theo & Ruby, also known as the Tacoma Trio, are now in, I think, week three of their school being closed due to the Coronavirus nightmare.

The Tacoma Trio's parental units have also been sent to homebound social isolation for the duration.

I do not know if the Tacoma Trio and their parental units are spending all their isolation time isolated on Harstine Island, where they have a cabin retreat, or if they have been going back and forth between Tacoma and the island.

What I do know is in that first photo we are seeing Theo leading his favorite herd of island deer on a bike ride around the island.

In the next photo we can plainly see that Washington geographic feature Washingtonians refer to simply as The Mountain. Non locals refer to this volcano as Mount Rainier.

As you can see the early Spring weather in Western Washington can be quite pleasant, when Mother Nature deems it so. Above we are seeing Ruby filling in a hole in which Theo is being buried.

Next summer, if life on the planet returns to some semblance of normal, I hope to be on a Washington beach with David, Theo and Ruby, where the Tacoma Trio will show me the sand castle building skills they learned whilst attending sand castle building school in San Diego last July.

Above we are witnessing David extinguishing the fire he built for the weenie and marshmallow roast he enjoyed with his brother and sister and the parental units.

No, that is not one of Theo's deer on the left. That is the newest member of the family, Raven, the full-sized poodle. The Tacoma Trio and Raven are sitting on a bench with the Harstine Island lagoon behind them.

And now on to something one finds on Harstine Island which is difficult to find in landlocked Fort Worth, Texas.

An actual bridge built over actual water connecting an actual mainland to an actual island. What a concept!

Even though the Harstine Island bridge is a cool looking bridge, mostly due to the scenic setting, over actual saltwater, no clueless local is dumb enough to refer to this as a "signature" bridge. Or claim it to be a complex feat of engineering.

The Harstine Island bridge was built over actual tidal water which moves with the whims of the moon.

And when the Harstine Island bridge was built there was no TNT exploding celebration to mark the start of construction. Nor did the bridge have a ridiculously long four year project timeline. Nor was any local politician's unqualified son and daughter-in-law put on the public dole to the tune of hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of dollars, year after year after year.

That landlocked Fort Worth, Texas town, mentioned above, has been trying to build three simple little bridges over dry land ever since a big TNT exploding ceremony way back in 2014.

The simple little bridges are now projected to possibly be ready for water sometime in this decade.

For well over a decade Fort Worth's favorite grifter, Kay Granger, has had her son, J.D., un-gainfully employed by what has become one of America's dumbest, biggest boondoggles, with J.D. currently paid over $200K a year, plus perks, along with also employing J.D.'s most recent wife.

In the past year J.D. sort of got fired from his imaginary Executive Director position and then put in charge of imaginary flood control in an area which has not flooded for well over a half a century. With no pay cut.

J.D.'s mother has failed on delivering the federal pork that the hiring of her son was intended to motivate. And yet the scandalous nepotism continues.

And now another look at the Harstine Island bridge.

That looks like Mama Kristin behind Theo and Ruby, under the Harstine Island bridge.

Methinks it clearly obvious that if Fort Worth is ever able to finish building those three simple little bridges over dry land that the final result will not be any where near as scenic as that which we see above.

A real island, natural water, not a cement lined ditch with polluted river water diverted into the ditch.

And no matter which direction one looks, one will never see a mountain from any location in Fort Worth.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Jason's Skagit Version Of The Corona Virus

Yesterday I text messaged Spencer Jack's dad, Jason, who is also my eldest nephew. I was curious how Jason and Spencer were weathering the Coronavirus storm.

By late afternoon I was in Walmart with the hordes of masked zombies, when my phone rattled my pant pocket, which had me answering a call from Mount Vernon's Linda Lou.

After several minutes of talking to Linda Lou my phone made a new noise, indicating another call. I somehow accidentally connected the two calls together, and so I then found myself talking to both Linda Lou and Jason.

Linda Lou's Mount Vernon home is about two blocks from Jason's.

Wonders of our modern pandemic infested world. Me, isolated in Wichita Falls, Texas, basically in the middle of nowhere, talking, long distance, to two different locations in Mount Vernon, Washington, with the long distance call not costing any long distance toll charge, no matter how long we talked. And with Linda Lou asking me to text her a photo documenting a condition I had used words to describe to her.

Twenty years ago being asked to send a photo over the phone would not have made any sense. And now, doing such, is totally ordinary.

So, by early Friday evening I was back in home social isolation mode, and checked email to find incoming, from Jason. When Jason called me and Linda Lou in Walmart he told me he had emailed me, and then decided later to call. And then even later Friday evening another incoming email from Washington,  Harstine Island to be specific, brought a plethora of photos, which I will blog in a blogging following this one.

And below is the text of the email from Jason, telling me about the current pandemic state of my old home state, along with a couple photos, including the one above documenting that Jason's Fidalgo Drive-In is open and feeding the locals.

And now Jason's email...

I'm going to reply to your text, via e-mail, as it is much easier to do such.

Spencer was dad schooled all week. He is very diligent about starting his homework immediately after breakfast. The teachers at his school have provided him with a lot work that needs to be done on a daily basis. He uses the computer to complete at least half of the assignments. Both yesterday and today he used Zoom to have a virtual meeting with his teacher and classmates.  She has also called to check in with us. So with all of that I am very impressed.

With regard to the restaurant, business has been really steady. I just got lucky, that my drive-in is easily set up to send orders out the door in paper bags.   And that's what we have been doing. 

Driving around the PNW has been quite eerie. Downtown Mount Vernon is a ghost town. And so was Lynden.

After homework was completed the other day, Spencer and I went up to Birch Bay to get some much needed UV rays.

It was a cool crisp sunny day, but the beach was full of young moms and dads and their children who have been kicked out of school.

We then headed east to Lynden for lunch. We took our lunch to the Lynden City Park, which was again filled to the brim with school children.

After lunch we did some house shopping in Lynden, before visiting your father and making our way back home.

Driving home the past couple days around dinner time, I cannot express how busy the parks are. With most everything boarded up, must be the only escape for Skagitonians. People are taking their meals to the parks.

Spencer would really like to go back to school and 'just wants this all to end.'


Monday, March 16, 2020

David, Theo & Ruby Isolated Socially From Coronavirus On Harstine Island

Incoming last night from Puget Sound's Harstine Island, with the text accompanying the photos saying "Corona Crazy --- We finally got the kid's bikes to the cabin..."

School has been closed for a week now for David, Theo and Ruby. And their parental units have also been home, working remotely. I suspect some level of stir crazy began to manifest itself.

And so the Tacoma Trio took their social distancing to their cabin on Harstine Island, along with their bikes.

That would be Ruby and Theo with their bikes on the island, above. No photo documentation of David on his bike was included.

July and August are less than half a year in the future. Who knows if this Coronavirus nightmare will be over by then. So, I currently do not know if traveling to the Pacific Northwest is going to be doable this coming summer.

On Thursday I was in Walmart and saw the wiped out toilet paper supply phenomenon for the first time. The next day I was in the ALDI across the street from that particular Walmart and was surprised to see ALDI did not seem to have even a dent in their toilet paper supply.

Then late Saturday afternoon I was back in ALDI surprised to find all paper products wiped out, no canned goods, the meat section totally gone, along with many other items no longer available, including oatmeal.

Across the street Walmart was even more wiped out, with almost all produce gone, except for a random fruit or vegetable remaining. The bread shelf was bare. The meat section pretty much wiped out. In the cleaning supply area even the dish detergent section was empty.

I am currently beginning Day 11 of experiencing what seems to be a mild cold. Or allergies. Nurse Linda Lou called yesterday and when I described my symptoms she insisted I needed to be tested. Later Linda Lou texted a link to a local location where I can get my symptoms checked. I do not think Coronavirus testing is available, yet, at my relatively isolated American location.

Sunday I escaped Texas temporarily to drive north to Oklahoma. I find driving in a pouring rain and listening to the windshield wipers keeping time to be relaxing, for an hour or two...

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Tacoma's Queen V Takes Me To Whidbey Costco & Texas Walmart Toilet Paper Madness

This morning, via Tacoma's Queen V, on Facebook, I saw a bizarre video documenting yester morning's opening of the Costco in Langley, Washington.

Langley is a town on Washington's Whidbey Island. I did not know there are now Costcos on Whidbey Island. Does Oak Harbor have one too?

I digress.

This video, by what I assume to be a Costco employee, shows shoppers rushing at high speed to the back of the store. Dozens of shoppers pushing shopping carts at high speed, with Costco employees admonishing them to slow down lest someone gets hurt.

For anyone not familiar with Costco, the toilet paper and bottled water is located at the back of the store, a long distance from the entry. Probably not any longer than a half mile, or so it seems.

Ever since this toilet paper/bottled water hoarding thing started happening I had paid zero attention to such when I have been in one of the two stores I frequent in this isolated American location, those being Walmart and ALDI.

So, this morning I made a point of directing myself to the Walmart toilet paper aisle, well, bathroom tissue aisle in euphemistic Walmart-speak,  and was sort of surprised to find the supply pretty much wiped out, except for the ultra-cheap generic type rolls you see above on the mostly empty shelf.

Those remaining bathroom tissues are a whopping 55 cents for a 4 roll pack. I don't know why no one has yet snapped them up...

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Coronavirus Strikes Close To Home In Tacoma

Overnight the Coronavirus nightmare has struck closer to home, well, a home I have stayed in.

In Tacoma.

A couple days ago I emailed David, Theo and Ruby's mama, who also is my little sister, Michele, and asked, among many other questions...

Has Tacoma closed any schools? I saw on Facebook pics from Chris Sampson of the run on water and toilet paper at the Covington Costco. Why those two items? I don't get it.

To which Michele replied, in part, with...

So far, school is open in Tacoma. Kristin is busy as lots of doctors are freaked out. Understandably so, especially if they are in a high risk group. We stocked up on TP in case we were quarantined for two weeks. Do you know how much toilet paper the five of us would go through if we were all home 24 hours a day?!? We also stocked up on groceries  Water, that I don’t understand. Side note: I may have already told you - Ruby had a thing at Mercer Island high school last Saturday. Boys and I watched her thing then ran up to Bellevue Square and that’s where we were when my phone let me know the first death was in Kirkland. That was a bit unsettling, to be so close.

For those not familiar with the geography, Bellevue Square is a downtown Bellevue mall. The next town north of Bellevue is Kirkland, made famous by Costco, and the past few days for being the epicenter of the Coronovirus outbreak in Washington, with the Kirkland outbreak mainly in a Kirkland nursing home.

And then last night incoming email from Michele with the current Tacoma status...

Our school is closed for the rest of the week. Parent of a kid in Theo’s class tested positive. Wanna come babysit?!?  So at this point, it just feels like we are just waiting to be told to stay home.  The governor is weighing options to enforce “social distancing”, one Tacoma elementary school is already closed because a staff member tested positive, one of my colleagues is at home with the main symptoms, waiting to hear from her doctor.  The clubhouse at the beach cabin is closed due to fears of the virus.  Kristin has no face to face meetings now, everything is done over the phone.  All the local colleges are doing online only classes.  It seems like it isn’t whether we will be at home for a while, but when it will start.  So very odd. 

I dunno, does it sound like a good idea currently to get on a plane to fly north to Tacoma to have myself a mighty fine time babysitting the Tacoma Trio? I am conflicted. I've not been back to Washington in March since way back in, I think, 2000, when I remember watching the new Mariner ballpark under construction.

Anyway, thought it interesting to share this report from one of the American frontlines in the battle against the Coronovirus pandemic.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Happy 13th Birthday Spencer Jack

Driving Commercial Avenue in Anacortes, Washington today you would see the Fidalgo Drive-In advertising the fact that today Spencer Jack is 13 years old.

Seems like only yesterday, a Saturday in the 2008 version of August I met Spencer Jack for the first time at Bay View State Park in the Skagit Valley of Washington. If I remember right at that point in time he was somewhere between one and two years old.

The next time I saw Spencer Jack was in March of 2012 in Chandler, Arizona, at Spencer's Aunt Jackie's house. Spencer was a rambunctious five year old by then.

And the last time I saw Spencer Jack was in August of 2017 at Birch Bay, Washington.

I suspect I will be seeing the 13 year old version of Spencer Jack this coming summer.

Thursday, March 5, 2020

Lake Wichita Boardwalk Over Water Nears Completion While In Fort Worth...

This first Thursday, fifth day of the 2020 version of March, with the outer world being void of clouds, and a temperature high today supposedly nearing 70, and despite ailing from what matches Coronavirus symptoms, it seemed like a good idea to turn the key on my motorized motion device and drive to Lake Wichita Dam to check out the current status of the building of a new Lake Wichita Boardwalk.

Well, as you can see, there has been a lot of progress since I last checked out this construction project. The signature vertical piers are now completed, with the boardwalk and railing installed atop the signature vertical piers.

As you can see this boardwalk is being built over actual water.

Whilst, meanwhile, for years now, Wichita Falls neighbor to the southeast, Fort Worth, has been struggling to build three simple little bridges over dry land to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

Those Fort Worth bridges boast highly touted imaginary signature V-piers, with a design which looks like nothing special, despite the signature propaganda. The Fort Worth bridges, in their current un-finished state, look like simple freeway overpasses. Waiting for water to one day possibly flow beneath them.

If I remember correctly the new Lake Wichita Boardwalk is projected to be completed soon. Imagine that, undertaking a project over water with the funding to pay for the project in place before starting. And completing the project in a timely fashion.

Regarding Fort Worth's infamous ongoing Boondoggle fiasco. The attempt to tie Kay Granger to the Boondoggle, with Boondoggle disgruntled Republican voters voting to replace Granger with a right wing nutjob Trump acolyte, predictably failed.

It is now up to Democrat. Dr. Lisa Welch, to prescribe the cure to the Granger disease in the upcoming General Election with its anticipated Blue Wave Tsunami, with a few million bucks of help from Michael Bloomberg to counter the Granger machine's millions...

Monday, March 2, 2020

Downtown Fort Worth Looks To Seattle For Future Lessons

That which you see above is a screen cap of part of an email from last month.

I do not know why, but each month I receive an email from Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. full of information about what's happening in downtown Fort Worth during that particular month.

When I saw last month's email newsletter from Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. it instantly amused me, and then I forgot about it til this morning of the second day of March.

Apparently last month DFWI's 38th annual meeting took place. With that meeting hosting a look into the future by looking at Seattle's lessons for Fort Worth.

I have long experienced Fort Worth locals getting cranky at me when I compare Seattle to Fort Worth. I have lost track of the number of times I have explained that I compare the two because they are the two big cities with which I have had the most contact.

I suppose it would be more accurate to compare Fort Worth to Tacoma, with Tacoma being another big city with which I am familiar. Tacoma is sort of to Seattle what Fort Worth is to Dallas, with Seattle and Dallas being the better known, bigger towns in their respective metro zones.

But, comparing Fort Worth to Tacoma would also not be pretty and would also likely make cranky those Fort Worth locals who are averse to mirrors and accurate reflections.

After all, Tacoma is a town much smaller, population-wise, than Fort Worth. Yet, somehow, Tacoma manages to have streets with sidewalks, parks with zero outhouses, multiple public swimming pools, two HUGE waterfront developments (privately funded), one of the biggest city parks in the world, multiple bridges involving complex engineering (over water), built in a timely time frame, while Fort Worth struggles to build three simple little bridges over dry land, to connect the Fort Worth mainland to an imaginary island.

And somehow Fort Worth is taking a look into the future by learning some lessons from Seattle?

I can think of a few lessons Seattle could teach Fort Worth.

Such as do not begin a public works project which the public has not voted on, and which is not fully funded.

During less time than Fort Worth has been ambling along in slow motion with its imaginary vitally needed flood control and economic development scheme, known as the Trinity River Central City Uptown Panther Island District Vision, or more frequently, simply as the Boondoggle, Seattle has voted on and actualized multiple public works projects.

A four billion dollar floating bridge and road upgrades across Lake Washington. Another four billion dollar project to remove the Alaskan Way Viaduct, replaced with a tunnel, along with rebuilding the Seattle waterfront. And then there is the 54 billion dollar most recent Sound Transit measure passed by the voting public.

Meanwhile Fort Worth panhandles for federal funds funneled from more prosperous parts of America, to pay for the town's ineptly implemented Boondoggle.

Fort Worth could learn lessons in the concept of urban planning from both Tacoma and Seattle.

Just one example is the mess of bad planning one finds whilst driving Fort Worth's North Tarrant Parkway west to that road's inept juncture with Highway 287. You do not see this type ridiculous incompetence in Seattle and Tacoma. It would make the locals angry.

The same day I saw that Fort Worth was looking to Seattle for lessons for the future I saw that which you see in the second graphic, in the Seattle Times.

Now, becoming more progressive and liberal would be a mighty fine thing for Fort Worth.

Is trying to achieve such one of the lessons Fort Worth is learning from Seattle?

This would require amping up the education level of the Fort Worth population. Increasing the numbers graduating high school.

And college.

Improving the schools. Hiring better teachers. Spending more money on education.

You really can't have a progressive liberal population if the majority of your people are poorly educated with a simplistic understanding of the world.

Having a well educated liberal minded population may explain a lot of the differences I have noted between Fort Worth and Seattle/Tacoma.

Is being a liberal bastion the reason the Seattle zone is the home to so many successes? Microsoft, Starbucks, Costco, Amazon, Boeing to name just four well known examples.

Meanwhile Fort Worth is home to Radio Shack and Pier One Imports. And American Airlines, I think, though the AA corporate headquarters is a location I have never seen.

Last year I remember reading that some Fort Worth entity was working to attract multiple corporations to relocate to Fort Worth. This seemed a typical Fort Worth delusion.

Why would any corporation relocate to a town hosting America's Biggest Boondoggle? Among many other embarrassments. Such as the boarded up eyesore homage to Fort Worth's heritage, known as Heritage Park, a blight on the north end of downtown for over a decade.

Seattle has a park somewhat similar to Fort Worth's Heritage Park, called Freeway Park. Actually Seattle's Freeway Park is like a combo of Fort Worth's Heritage Park and Fort Worth's Water Gardens at the south end of downtown. 

Seattle's Freeway Park was designed as a solution to I-5 slicing through downtown Seattle. Freeway Park is a lid over the freeway, made into a large park with trails, canyons and waterfalls. Freeway Park eventually linked with the Washington Convention Center, and other downtown buildings, and a pedestrian tunnel, which, if I remember right, connects Freeway Park to Rainier Square.

At some point in time crime became a problem in Seattle's Freeway Park. I can't remember for sure, but I think there was a murder. But, unlike Fort Worth, instead of closing Freeway Park and surrounding it with barbed wire and cyclone fence and turning it into an un-used eyesore, solutions were found, such as better lighting, panic buttons, police patrolling. I forget what all. But the park was not closed. It was improved and kept open.

That is not the Fort Worth Way, you know, to analyze and improve something. Adopting the Seattle Way of operating really might be a valuable lesson for the future of Fort Worth, but I really don't see that happening.

Oh, and for those aforementioned poorly educated types, below is an easy to understand definition of what the term "liberal" actually means...