The Dunes near Pullman

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The Dunes near Pullman, WA is a recreational student hangout and a lot of fun. Dear daughter and I went on a hot day just prior to school’s beginning. It wasn’t at all what I expected. It was about 40 minutes away from the dorms and there was a big, switchback hill involved. To get to the Dunes, which are actually in the small town of Pomeroy, the county seat and the only town in Garfield County. You have to actually cross the Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River. The crossing itself was a surprise. I pulled up to the gate and the uniformed attendant wrote down my license number, then I was allowed to pull all the way up and he asked the nature of our visit (fun!) and if we had firearms (no!). We were told the speed limit on the dam was 15 miles per hour except where it was 5 mph and under no circumstance should we get out of the car or take photos/videos. Well, ok. The crossing itself was more like going through a work site, which I guess it is. The gate on the other side opened automatically. In doing some research, I see this over the dam road was actually closed for six years after 911, so I guess we are lucky to have the option at all. Obviously I have no photos, but here is a link to the Wikipedia entry. Here is the link from the US Army Corps of Engineers.

If you go to visit, be aware that the dam closes at 5 and then you have to go the long way home. And good luck with that since your phone won’t have reception!

So, back to the Dunes. There is a decent parking lot, a walk through the hilly sand (wear shoes the sand gets hot!) and then a large beach area which was fairly full. There were some enthusiastic college students playing and having a time and while I didn’t see drinking or drunkenness, I won’t have been surprised. But really, not a concern. The way the river flows in that area, one can walk out to almost 1/2 way across and be up to one’s waist. See those rocks in the top photo? They are people! And then there is an obvious drop. As much as I’d like to have actually gone swimming, I just wasn’t too sure about the drop. Nobody else crossed the line and I was worried about the current. Next time I’ll bring a floaty though, that looked like fun.

So, all in all it was a lovely way to spend a summer day and I got to visit with my daughter. After going back through the gated dam, we got back into town and then went to a movie and then out for ice cream. Really, what more could one want?

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Teapot Dome in Zillah, WA

 

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In the early 1920s, during the presidency of Harding, our country was subject to the Teapot Dome Scandal, which revolved around oil reserves that were leased without competitive bid. There were two oil fields involved, the Teapot Dome fields in Wyoming and the Elk Hills field in California. The leases were investigated by the Senate and criminal charges were filed. Fines were paid, jail time served and the phrase Teapot Dome became synonymous with political corruption.

Well, in 1922, in the middle of the scandal, Jack Ainsworth, constructed his Teapot Dome Gas Station as a nod to the scandal. It is considered a roadside attraction and is open for visiting on the weekend for limited hours. Originally it was situated on Highway 410 between Zillah and Granger; however in 1978 it was scheduled to be moved to make way for Highway 82. Five days before it was to be moved, a car plowed into this tiny structure. The building, which is now on the historic register, was reconstructed by hand and moved to its current location at 14691 Yakima Valley Highway.  It has its own parking lot, a public restroom building and is next to a memorial for fallen firefighters.

I got there about five minutes before it closed (I didn’t even think it might be open!) and got the tour (about 2 minutes). The volunteers were delightful. I read that there is a movement to relocate the building once again to downtown Zillah and to have it function as a visitor’s center. I was glad to have a chance to see the quirky building, though the light made it difficult to capture the image.

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The Cultured Cup – Dallas

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My dear friend and her daughter took me to a magical tea tasting room called The Cultured Cup at 13714 Gamma Rd. #104, Dallas, TX 75244 and it was a delightful experience. I didn’t know what we were getting ourselves into when we entered a nondescript building with minimal signage and walked through an office work area to fine a tasting room. There were nine of us tasting teas while we were there, three young couples and the three of us. The tasting room is open on the weekends and features different selections each time. Our guide, Kyle, was also happy to brew other teas that we were interested in. What struck me the most was just how welcoming and knowledgeable Kyle, one of the co-owners, was as he spent almost an hour introducing us to tea. He obviously has a passion about the history and process of making tea. To see him in action, go here.   Anyway, I was so enchanted by the whole experience that I forgot to take a good photo, but their website has many lovely pictures and is an education unto itself.

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Acton Nature Center

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I suspect I visited the Acton Nature Center when it wasn’t at its best. The weather was that special hot that it gets in Texas in the summer and many of the plants were suffering from a long dry spell. But it was still great! The Acton Nature Center is located at 6900 Smoky Hill Ct., Granbury, TX 76049 and has been around for more than a decade. Because of the heat, I didn’t explore the entire center, but I did venture to the butterfly gardens which was lovely. There were a couple of butterflies and a huge lizard, as well as an air conditioned structure used to view birds (that day it was cardinals and hummingbirds).

The volunteer was very welcoming and informative and suggested walking the loop down near the pond, which was wooded and a tad cooler. Sadly the pond wasn’t there! I’m sure it will be back after some rain.

I’d love to go visit in the Spring when the wildflowers are blooming and it is cooler. The volunteers that have created this center should be very proud of their efforts.

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DFW Airport – American

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I found that on the whole, DFW Airport (Dallas Fort Worth) has less public art than SeaTac Airport (Seattle Tacoma), though maybe I was just in the wrong terminal. I did find these great manikins though and thought I would share them here.  As you can see the Texas longhorn know how to dress in style 🙂

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Cabrillo Amarillo

 

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The brightly colored Cabrillo Amarillo by Paul Kuniholm Pauper is part of the Percival Landing Plinth Project, an initiative involving 15 pieces of art. The public is invited to visit Percival Landing, view all of the pieces and then vote for their favorite. The winning art piece is then purchased by the City of Olympia and the are available for sale.  More information about the project can be found here and more information about the artist is here.

Lake Granbury Master Gardens Demonstration Garden

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The Lake Granbury Master Gardeners Demonstration Garden is a lovely blooming oasis even though the Texas heat wasn’t offering the most hospital environment. Those clever gardeners are well aware of their climate and have adapted to it. I was greeted by a cheerful volunteer who let me know that there was beauty to be had, even though the sun was drying everything up. And I did find beauty. There were some huge red flowers, a hobbit hole, a water feature, butterfly bushes with butterflies, a very wonderful arbor with squash (I guess it was squash) hanging from the top, plenty of honeybees, a cardinal, lots of art and darling walking paths. The Lake Granbury Master Gardeners work with  the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service. I’d like to go back for a springtime visit!

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Veteran’s Memorial at Holly Hills Memorial Park in Granbury

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I was out traveling around and found this Veteran’s Memorial at the Holly Hills Memorial Park.  I can find absolutely nothing about it! But its striking memorial and I’m glad to have seen it. The flag photo is from somewhere else (now where was I?)image

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The Dora Lee Langdon Cultural & Educational Center

imageIn an attempt to avoid the Texas heat, today I went to the Dora Lee Langdon Cultural & Educational Center is located at 308 East Pearl Street, Granbury, TX 76048 in the AP Gordon House. The art exhibit that brought me in was a solo exhibit of Gene Gregory and I enjoyed his vibrant paintings. The property was constructed as the Gordon house in 1882 and is actually smaller than it had originally been since the owners “downsized” by removing some of the back of the building in 1956.

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A list of all the historic Granbury properties can be found here.

First National Bank, Granbury

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Situated on Granbury’s Historic Square, the First National Bank (101 East Bridge Street) was constructed in 1883 and is an example of Italianate Victorian Commercial architecture.  The building was constructed for its current use and more of the history can be found here. The entirety of the Granbury Square is designated a historic district and was named the best historic square in Texas.

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And while I was there I took a picture of the wonderful courthouse.

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