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A Day in Dallas to Visit a Horse

MARCH 3, 2012


A few hours after EF4 tornadoes blew across the state of Indiana I boarded a plane to meet my recently acquired portion of a racehorse, Effour, in Texas.  A short trip to my 35th state (CHECK!) was packed as full as possible with new experiences.  Twin Oaks Training Facility was my primary destination, and I arrived slightly later than anticipated thanks to a delay while the Eustace, TX police wrote me a speeding citation.  I don’t think they believed my “I’m super excited to see my horse” response to their “What is your big hurry this morning?” question.  I was surprised that a town with a population of 991 has a police department!

I watched Effour run and received my introduction to race horse training from Eddie Milligan all under some much needed bright sunshine and clear blue skies during my first trip to Texas.  I could have stayed at Twin Oaks all weekend.  I remain fascinated by every aspect of the operation.  Effour captivated me, and Eddie’s hospitality and willingness to share his knowledge about the industry made my visit an exceptional experience.

With only one day to spend seeing Dallas, I moved on to my secondary purposes.  First up, Southfork!  As a former devotee to everything Ewing, I could not miss this opportunity to walk on hallowed ground.  I got goosebumps when a lady speaking in the loveliest of Texas accents greeted me with “Welcome to Southfork.”  Admitting that I pretended for just a moment that she was Miss Ellie does not make me a kook!

My favorite part of this tour was the stories the guide told about the phone calls received at the ranch.  Fans (or…kooks!) still call Southfork to ask about the Ewings,  their health, relationships and most notably whether or not Sue Ellen is still drinking too much twenty years after the show is off the air.

With my dream of visiting Southfork fulfilled, I moved on to Dallas’ Frank Lloyd Wrights.  There are two.  The John A. Gillin House, which is the last house constructed before Wright’s death.  Unfortunately, the house is behind a chain link fence that has been covered, I assume, to obscure it from the view of passersby.  I took a look and moved on trying to respect the privacy of the owners who did not answer my emails inquiring about their boundaries.

The second Wright in Dallas is the Kalita Humphreys Theater.  The design seems even more remarkable after learning that it was built in the 1950’s from a 1915 design modified for the site.  Both Wrights popped up as the nearest FLW properties to me in Dallas on the brilliant new Wright Finder App I installed last week.  Yeehaw!  Thanks to Stephen Mockensturm and a buck ninety-nine,  I am now always only a few touches away from knowing exactly how far it is to an FLW!

I stayed at the immaculate Corinthian Bed & Breakfast during my trip.  Lounging about that gorgeous house would have been an ideal weekend in and of itself had I not been on a mission.  The B&B lived up to all of the excellent reviews posted by recent guests and offered me another first–a wonderfully long soak in a great big, old, claw footed bathtub! The Grassy Knoll, a delicious dinner at a terrific steakhouse and some downtown fun were squeezed in before closing out my Saturday in Dallas–you know it’s a memorable day when that gets only one line at the end!

The silly travel highlight of this post is that I somehow ended up with a seat in first class for my trip home.   This has NEVER before happened to me.  The warm, wet cloth passed to me by the flight attendant with tongs was the big, early indication that I was in a place where I might not belong.  I was completely confused and asked if it was free when I ordered a hot lunch that was served on real plates.  When my seat mate informed me that drinks are free in first class, I nearly fainted.

I am now ruined for traveling in coach, in love with a horse and still trying to get out of Indiana on every cloudy, cold, overcast winter weekend.  And after two more buildings, it is confirmed that I am still a Frank Lloyd Wright Freak!

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