I know, I know, its been a month & a half since my last post. Well, I didn’t go anywhere. That means I didn’t shoot any photos.
May 17 my younger son Jonathan graduated from University of Texas, Austin (UT) with an MBA. We decided to drive to Texas for the ceremony.
We left about 7:30am the morning of May 12. 5 ½ hours later we entered Phoenix, AZ. This is important because Jonathan and his wife, and our grandson will be relocating to Phoenix.
Phoenix is a lot closer to Orange County than Austin. I don’t mean to belittle Austin by this. Austin is a very interesting place. Frankly, I find Austin is more interesting than some cities in California. But Austin is 1400 miles away, Phoenix only 370. The difference means a whole lot less wear and tear.
When I get into a driving mode I seem to get into that at the exclusion of all else. However, I did have my new iPhone with me and I was keen to learn how to use it. We stopped at a lot of rest stops and I snapped a few photos of the “Beware of the Snakes” signs and other informational and warning type signs. Once I have enough photos they will begin to appear in a gallery on this website. I think I’ll give it a real original name. I’ll call it Signs.
We stayed in Deming, NM the first night out. I told Francie she had to decide the next day whether we were going to spend our second night in Fredricksburg, TX or in Dallas with Sharon, the mother of our Daughter-in-Law.
The next day, Monday the 13th, I drove to Las Cruces, NM & pooped out. Fran drove while I slept all the way through El Paso, waking up just before Van Horn, TX. I took over some of the driving not long after that. When we reached the I-10/I-20 split Fran had already made her decision so we headed to Dallas. She decided she wanted to see the President George W. Bush Library and Museum in Dallas.
We had once visited the Franklin Roosevelt Library in Hyde Park, NY. I had also visited the Truman Library in Independence, MO and the Johnson Library in Austin. Fran decorated a party at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, but neither of us has visited the Nixon Library, or the Reagan Library for that matter. These places are close to us so we should do them.
We stayed two nights in Dallas, which is spread out and urbanized or suburbanized to excess. Except for its weather and its sideways mounted street lights, Dallas could easily be mistaken for Los Angeles.
We got to the Bush Library on the 14th. They get you for $7.00 parking and an admission fee. The library is on the university grounds, but off to a side so visiting the university, or driving through it must become a conscious decision. We drove directly to the library.
The Library wasn’t too crowded and we got right in. The biggest wait was to get through Security.
Security is the same as getting into a major airport. Everything is checked and scanned. I knew the drill. I threw everything into a bin for the X-ray machine. The only piece of metal left on my clothes was on my jeans, the button & the zipper. I walked right through. It seemed many of the other tourists were setting off the alarm. Some even got pat downs.
Once inside I turned on my camera & got my iPhone ready. Digital cameras are very good because the security machines won’t fog any film!
Inside is a very large foyer or a central entry space with what seems to be about a 20’ tall ceiling. It is there you buy your tickets just after security. The foyer opens to the main exhibits, the restrooms, and the gift shop.
The large foyer has some interesting exhibits including many gifts that were given the President by visiting dignitaries. U.S. law does not allow a President to keep these gifts, but apparently the gifts are allowed to be shown.
The first photo is a blurry one from my iPhone. It shows a huge chunk of amber with a silver ship formed around it. I seem to recall it was a gift from a Balkan country.
This very fancy Samovar was a gift from Vladimir Putin & the Russian Peoples to President Bush.
This silver eagle mounted on a rock was a gift from Peru.
This necklace was a gift from Mexico. There were many more gifts on display, but these displays were very popular. I could get close to only so many.
Inside the main display room are many mementoes from Mr. Bush’s life both before and during his presidency.
This one was particularly moving. It is some girders from the World Trade Center twisted to scrap by the 9-11 attack. The docent asked if I would like to see the 5 video displays they had on the 9-11 attack (a few are seen in the background). The thought was too emotional. I declined saying I remembered when it happened.
Another display are Mr. Bush’s boots while he was managing partner of the Texas Rangers.
Nearby are 30 or 40 signed baseballs. I liked this one in particular. It says “To George W. ‘Jr.’ / Best Wishes / Mickey Mantle”. What a great ball to have in your collection!
There is another great ball. This is a bronze football commemorating The University of Texas win over USC, January 4, 2006 for the National Championship. The Longhorns won 41-38.
I recall that game very well. UT was behind most of the game. At about 6 minutes to go I could see the momentum swing from SC to UT. I called my lawyer, a graduate of UT Law School, and left her a message telling her that UT was going to come from behind and win. And they did! Texas won with about 19 seconds to go. I still think Vince Young was motivated to get the win because he didn’t get the Heisman and wanted to prove something to SC who had 2 Heisman winners in their backfield.
The game is sill considered one of the best ever played in College Football and I am still quite happy with the outcome. As usual my favorite team is UCLA and whoever is playing USC.
Here is another snap from my iPhone. It is the hand gun Saddam Hussein had with him when he was captured.
And another blurry snap from my iPhone. A stuffed & mounted Lion given to President Bush by an African country. I can’t tell you if there is any hidden meaning behind a stuffed lion or not.
Off to one side of the museum with two walls looking out onto gardens is a recreation of the Oval Office. This is what you see upon entry. The first thing I asked inside was if it was 1:1 size. The staff affirmed it was. I was glad to know that, I seem to recall the oval office recreation in Austin at the Lyndon Johnson Library is smaller at a 7/8 to 1 ratio.
The Bush Oval Office is shown as it would have looked when he was president. If some of the paintings, statues, & furnishings are not original, they are faithful copies.
The time we spent visited there had very few people walking in and out. I was able to walk around and shoot photos as I liked. The docents were even letting people who sat at the presidential chair to get 2 snapshots instead of the usual 1.
I was excited about this place. Even if it is a copy it is still the most famous office in the world.
The ceiling of the Oval Office from my iPhone. Off center I’m afraid. I’m still learning how to use the phone’s camera.
Back to the camera. An oil portrait of George Washington.
An oil portrait of Abraham Lincoln.
The line to get your photo shot while sitting at the Presidential desk.
Francie at the Presidential Desk by me.
Fran & I both had our photos taken professionally by the licensed photographer who is there to sell prints. I bought them, but except for the even lighting, these shown are a bit better.
Next posts will be general graduation pictures of the McCombs School of Business, University of Texas, Austin; a few from the Bullock Texas State History Museum, one of the state Capitol Building at dusk, and a few of South Congress St. in Austin.
Also, there will be an entire post about the Shurtleff Ranch in Lampasas, TX.
Look also at my ‘Travels with Work’ Gallery. I’ve got 2011 entered.