Wednesday, October 1, 2014

From Blue Skies to Jet Contrail White Skies

Deep in the Heart of Texas

The stars at night, are big and bright,
deep in the heart of Texas,

The prairie sky is wide and high,
deep in the heart of Texas.
The sage in bloom is like perfume,
deep in the heart of Texas,
Reminds me of, the one I love,
deep in the heart of Texas.

The coyotes wail, along the trail,
deep in the heart of Texas,

The rabbits rush, around the brush,
deep in the heart of Texas.
The cowboys cry, "Ki-yip-pee-yi,"

deep in the heart of Texas,
The dogies bawl, and bawl and bawl,
deep in the heart of Texas.
(June Hershey, 1941)

Deep in the heart of Texas,
 the skies were blue, the clouds were white, 
until the jet contrails began to make
 a tic-tac-toe pattern across the sky.

While travelling from San Marcos to Cleburne, last week, I watched as the clear blue skies were lined with a myriad of jet contrails. Straight lines ran across the sky and then were crossed like the letter T, then as more lines ran up and down, right and left, the blue sky became more like a patchwork quilt.






The contrails gradually expanded, no longer pencil thin lines. The contrails became more like long, fluffily pieces of yarn floating across the heavens.


As the day worn on, the fluffy pieces of yarn expanded and stretched, pulled apart into hazy mats of white. The sky was covered with old and tired contrails. No longer looking anything at all like the exhaust from jets, the condensation now resembled or became clouds. I am not sure which….



Goodbye blue skies, hello clouds….

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Taking the Train..Amtrak Cleburne Station

Many people have flown in airplanes and they have a pretty good idea of what a terminal looks like. Train travel, on the other hand, is a little bit of a rarity, so folks often ask me lots of questions when they find out I routinely take the Amtrak train to visit my grandchildren. 

This blog post is for the people who are curious about what a typical train station looks like. First of all, let me say that each station is unique. Amtrak stations are not cookie cutter carbon copies. Having said that, I will say that the Cleburne station is smaller than the gigantic, sprawling Fort Worth station, and it is larger than the San Marcos bench (about all there is at the San Marcos stop).

If you look closely, you can see your faithful blogger reflected in the window as she takes the photo of the exterior of the station. This side faces the tracks. I am standing about as far back as I can without stepping on the rails, which is not very far at all. So, if you are dropped off at the Cleburne station, you just walk from the parking lot, through the small building, and a few more paces to the train.



The interior of the station is very clean and spacious. If you have to wait in the winter, you can stay warm, and if you have to wait in the summer, you have cool air conditioning to keep you comfortable. 


The gentleman wearing the cowboy hat is travelling to Austin for the weekend, just to have some fun. He plays the blues on the guitar, and he plans on spending some of his time in Austin listening to the great musicians that play in every bar, cafe and bus stop there. His "Duck Dynasty" friend is keeping him company while he waits for the train.


This young man made his reservation on line, but he needed his ticket. He could get his ticket here if he had his confirmation number, which was unfortunate for him, because he did not have it. When that happends, you can get a ticket from the conductor on the train, but your ticket costs a bit more.


The Texas line starts every day in San Antonio at 7:30 am and heads north to Fort Worth, where it is supposed to arrive around 2:10. There are often delays, because Amtrak rents the use of the rails from the train companies that own them, and their freight trains take precendence over Amtrak. Some times, the Amtrak train must pull over into a siding and wait for a freight train to pass. It may take a few minutes or it may take a while. You never know. So, you travel better if you have a patient nature.

When I arrived at the Cleburne station to head south, the north bound train had just dropped off passengers. For a minute, when I saw the train, I though I was late, but thankfully, it wasn't my train. My train ended up being about twenty minutes late, which is not bad for Amtrak.


When you have to wait, it is nice to have access to snacks. The Cleburne station has a snack machine and a Coke machine. At least you won't starve.


I got to the station at 2:30. The northbound passengers should have debarked at 1:10, so they were about one and a half hours late. That is not unusual.


Now, don't get me wrong. Even though I have mentioned the tardiness of the train, I want to say that I love travelling on the train. It has roomy seats, a great view out the windows, friendly staff, and the fellow travellers are generally very quiet and courteous. I just wish Amtrak had more routes. 

Monday, September 29, 2014

Final Bits and Pieces from the Pontiac Club Classic Car Show 2014

Now, I am not sure why this low rider bike was entered in a car show. It did catch my eye, though, with all the gleaming gold and bright red. A local young man bought the bike in parts for about $100 and put another $200 or $300 more into the bike, along with a lot of hard work. He is now teaching his children all about low rider bikes. 







Both men and women displayed their prized classic cars. This purple 1983 El Camino is owned by a lady who loves both purple and butterflies. She named her car "Elly Girl".



The owner of this 2009 Chevy Corvette took the hood off and laid it on the dining room table for over a week while he hand-painted the corvette flag on the black underside.















Here's the dealer's invoice for an Agean Aqua Metallic Oldsmobile which sold for a whoppin' $5611.81 back in 1970.







Finally, I spotted this information sheet on one of the cars listing shops and places to eat around Central Park. I hope all the visitors to the fine town of Seguin enjoyed themselves as they showed off their beautiful automobiles. For sure, the folks who attended the Pontiac Club Classic Car Show got a treat as they drooled over the cars that dreams are made of.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Car Art…Up Close and Personal


There is an elegant beauty in the design of cars from an older, earlier time. The curve of headlight cover, the sharp angles of a fin, and a myriad of other features attract my eye as I walk among classic cars at a car show. 

My husband likes to see the whole car in a photo, as I do, but I also like to see bits and pieces that highlight the style of a time passed. Without any explanation for why some part of a car caught my eye, here is a collection of what I call "Car Art" for you to enjoy.



1954 Crown Victoria Fairlane, featured in Snap On Calendar and Johnny Cash video 



1958 Nash Metropolitan





1955 Pontiac Chieftan




1931 Ford Coupe




1927 Ford Roadster custom mirror




1967 Ford Mustang








1949 Pontiac Siver Streak




1949 Chevy Styleline Sedan



1949 Pontiac Silver Streak



Dodge Viper




1937 Ford Coupe
1937 Ford Coupe




1937 Ford Coupe



1937 Ford Coupe




1957 Chevy Belair




                               1954 Crown Victoria Fairlane




1966 Chevy Nova
1966 Chevy Nova




2009 Chevrolet Corvette










1955 Pontiac Chieftan



1955 Pontiac Chieftan



1958 Nash Metropolitan




1957 Chevy Belair





1967 Ford Mustang





            1954 Crown Victoria Fairlane, featured in Snap On Calendar and Johnny Cash video 




1966 Chevy Nova










1970 Oldsmobile 442