A Road Trip Through Texas: Day 5

Another late start for me. Not because I wanted more sleep, although that’ll always be the case, but because I had to pack up all my things before leaving for the day. It was my last day in my Airbnb. Since I decided to lengthen my time in Dallas I’m staying the rest of my trip with my brother.

So because of that, because I also decided to get breakfast beforehand, and I had a 45 minute drive to get to Fort Worth I only visited one museum. The Kimbell Art Museum, which has the only Michelangelo painting in any American museum! Seen above.

I had limited expectations because I thought a museum created by a wealthy couple may struggle to keep pace with other museums. Wrong.

I can’t speak for the size of their permanent collection, but everything they had on display was rather amazing. Many of the sculptures on display were thousands of years old. And some of the paintings were more than 500 years old!

I was a little disappointed not to visit any other places, but I’ve gone to quite a few so far.

After I left the museum I had to burn a little time. I went to the Half Price Books Flagship store! Oh my. I didn’t take pictures because I didn’t want anyone to be like “what’s he doing?”, but y’all! I’ve been to 6 different locations in Houston. The flagship store might be bigger than all of them combined! By far the biggest bookstore I’ve ever been inside. They have tons of everything. A coffee shop. An events room because they have real author events. An entrance specifically for selling your books. An information desk when you get lost in the maze of everything. And lots of places to sit down.

I decided against buying any new books, but I did find a nice replacement copy for a book I’ve had a long time in really bad condition.

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A Road Trip Through Texas: Day 4

I spent the day at the Dallas Zoo. It’s only the third zoo I’ve ever visited! And it’s also the largest in Texas.

I spent more than three hours exploring the zoo. By the time I finished I was pretty tired. I was lucky it didn’t get too hot during the day.

They let you feed the giraffes! I imagine this may be fairly common in zoos, but this guy was getting ALL the treats! The others were fine eating off the trees or the grass.

They also have seven Galapagos Tortoises! But I’m a little disappointed because a child threw a plastic wrapper into their enclosure and then one of them ate it immediately. Like, that’s unacceptable.

I was there fairly early after the zoo opened, and many of the animals were sleeping. 😂 I also just want to sleep out in the cool morning sun. There were a ton of snakes and reptiles.

These two did not budge for anything. Just another day relaxing in the water.

After the zoo my brother decided to join me for the Astros-Rangers game. I’m a little flabbergasted by the team getting a new stadium. This one was only my third MLB stadium, and I thought it was quite nice. Though we were freezing as there were strong wind gusts the entire game.

The Astros lost. But the beauty of baseball is they play again today.

After the day I decided for sure to just stay here in Dallas for the remainder of my trip. My initial plan was to go to San Antonio on Wednesday (today) but I’ll hold off because the things I want to do in San Antonio can be done in a three day weekend whenever I want to.

A Road Trip Through Texas: Day 3

I didn’t have a late start today! Or did I? Anyway, I began the day by visiting the George W. Bush Presidential Center on the SMU Campus here in Dallas. Fun fact: my initial plan was to do this Saturday. But, sleep.

The museum itself was extremely well done. This is probably my second favorite of the four I’ve now visited. It’s a good size and had a nice exhibit on presidential retreats I really enjoyed.

But I feel like I have to be fully transparent. There’s quite a bit on 9/11 and the War on Terror. Most of it is quality material. There’s a 9/11 memorial inside the museum. This part of the museum stands out among everything else. But when I visited the LBJ library in Austin I remember walking out thinking I’d learned quite a bit about the man, but also that the museum didn’t sugar coat anything. He left office because everything he was doing up to the 1968 election was being heavily criticized and there was a solid chance he’d lose, anyway. So he walked away.

But in the Bush 43 library there was nothing on the financial crisis. At the very end of the museum there’s a wall called Crisis Management and issues were simplified down to a sentence or two.

How can the stock market crash of 2008 and the subsequent recession it kicked off get no attention whatsoever? There was VERY little on Iraq. And of course there was no mention of the fact that he was leaving office with no political capital left. I don’t expect the museum to tear him down. But there was a lot going on during those 8 years and I think a presidential library administered by the National Archives and Records Administration should present the reality.

After leaving there I went to the Perot Museum of Science and Nature.

I had lofty expectations because it is so well reviewed online. It’s a brand new, modern museum. It’s interactive. And the entry fee is on the high side. But it seemed to be geared toward children way more than I was expecting. There’s an entire floor of games and robot stuff for kids.

They do have the largest T Rex in the world on display, so that was nice. But I made it through an entire science museum in half the time as the presidential library. That should be switched.

One thing I did like was the benches had these different fun little facts on them.

Tomorrow will be a long day, but only because I’m going to an Astros game here in Dallas!

A Road Trip Through Texas: Day 2

It was another kind of late start for me, but luckily it wasn’t four hours this time. As I mentioned yesterday, the museums in Dallas open really late or not at all on Sundays. Which limits the number I can visit in a day. So I woke up with one plan and immediately changed it.

I spent most of the day visiting the Dallas Museum of Art. Since visiting Boston in 2017 art museums have been my favorite. I rarely pass up an opportunity to visit a new one.

And right inside the door there’s an exhibition on Islamic art, which included this. It’s about 800 years old. Who doesn’t love old books?

The museum had multiple levels of really well done galleries, ranging from ancient Egypt to today. I have absolutely no complaints about my visit there. General admission is always free. Okay, one tiny complaint. A bit of the museum was closed off, likely to create new exhibitions and galleries, but it only took me three hours to get through everything. For some that might sound like a lot, but at the MFA Boston I spent about 9 hours in there over two days and still didn’t see everything.

Also slightly disappointed in the museum’s hours. 11-5 everyday but Friday, which has extended hours. I know there are other places to see more contemporary art, but I’d have liked to see more of it here. There was just one gallery (that I can recall) focused on contemporary art. Contemporary art, I’ve learned, is so much different from every other era. I want more of it.

I always enjoy when I get to see a new Picasso piece, no matter how popular or obscure.

The next place I visited was the Nasher Sculpture Center. It was directly across the street from the Dallas Museum of Art in downtown Dallas.

It was rather underwhelming. The entire building took maybe 15 minutes to get through. It was only three rooms.

They also have a sculpture garden outside. It was being renovated. There were maybe 10 pieces. But again, they have a Picasso piece.

Once I finished I met up with my brother who just moved here this weekend. I always try a new Mexican place whenever I visit a new city, and the place was actually really good! I should have taken pictures, but I didn’t.

Monday should be a fuller day.

A Road Trip Through Texas: Day 1

I’m not a travel blogger and I’m not going to be. But I’ll do my best for the next week.

My plan was to leave my place at 8. I didn’t. Ended up leaving around noon. I was sleepy. But that didn’t change the first stop on my trip, the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station on the campus of Texas A&M. My third presidential library.

Immediately you walk into this grand foyer. By far the best entrance of the three presidential libraries I’ve visited.

Once you make your way further inside you get to see The Beast. My second time seeing one of these in person. They don’t look like much, but it’s basically a tank. I’m exaggerating, but not much.

The museum takes you through the life of President Bush (I had no idea he played baseball at Yale), but I was surprised at how few personal items the museum has on display. Most of the museum is old photos and the best exhibit was on terrorism.

It had another car, some dresses, and a few gifts the family had received. Most of the museum is interactive in some way, which is what I’ve come to expect from just about any modern museum.

Of the three presidential libraries I’ve now visited, this one was by far the busiest. My guess is it was because of the recent deaths of George and Barbara, but I don’t know.

Final takeaway: The museum was nice, though small. When compared to the LBJ and JFK libraries, it isn’t as extensive as LBJ’s and is about on par with JFK’s. Likely because they were both president for a short time.

After my late start I scrapped the rest of the day’s plans because I still had another three hours to drive to Dallas, where I am now.

Day 2 will likely be another short one because all the museums either open late or don’t open at all on Sundays.

Changes on the Way

I’ve decided to change things up around here. I’m changing everything, actually.

The blog has been about books since day one. Starting tomorrow I’m going to document my travels instead. It’s not like I have a long list of places I’ve visited. In 2016 I visited Austin and DC. In 2017 I visited Boston. This week I’m going around more places in Texas, which will include my first time visiting the Alamo.

Hope you’ll continue following along!

PS: The next week of posts will be about my trip through Texas, but I’ll go back to books starting April 8 with my newest video. 😉

“Becoming” is Becoming Historic

Yes, that title is awful. Sue me.

I remember reading at the end of last year about the top selling books of the year. I’d have to go back and check, but there were maybe five that reached the one million threshold.

Michelle Obama’s memoir is said to be on pace to sell 10 million copies, which would be the bestselling memoir ever.

And President Obama’s memoir is still on the way! 🤑