Dinosaurs in Waco, Texas

Day 517

Day 517 Dinosaurs Waco TX 7654_Fotor

     In 1978, two men were exploring a dry creek bed in Waco, Texas, looking for arrowheads, when they came across a bone sticking out of the ground. They took the bone to Baylor University here in Waco, where it was identified as a leg bone belonging to a Mammoth.

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     A mammoth is any species of the extinct pre-historic elephant, equipped with long, curved tusks and, in the northern species, a covering of long hair. They lived from 5 million to 2 million years ago in Africa, Europe, Asia, and North America.

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     A team from the University began excavating the sight and found 23 mammoths, the largest nursery heard (adults and juveniles) in the United States. Some were removed for study. A dig shelter was constructed over the remaining. That structure ultimately became a permanent building opened to the public in 2009.

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The Texas Rangers, Waco, Texas

Day 516

Day 516 Texas Rangers Waco TX 7671_Fotor

     The Texas Rangers were formed in the area now called Waco, Texas, in 1823 when Stephen F. Austin employed ten men to act as rangers to protect 600 to 700 settlers who arrived in Texas following the Mexican War of Independence.

     The land was Mexican, inhabited by Anglos, and controlled by Indians. Ultimately, the Rangers were responsible for nudging the Indians out. 

     The Texas Ranger museum, here in Waco, pays tribute to the Rangers, tracing their history and accomplishments (as well as their disgraces). It is well done. 

     Who was that masked man?Day 516 Texas Rangers Waco TX 7675_Fotor    

     He’s the Lone Ranger!.

     Yes, they had a room devoted to that hero of yesteryear. Although he was fiction, that masked man did a lot to promote the Texas Rangers. 

     Kemo Sabe was first introduced to the public on January 30, 1933 as a program on WXYZ radio broadcasting from Detroit, Michigan.  In the 1949-1957 TV series, he was portrayed by actor Clayton Moore. 

     See you later,  Hi-yo, Silver! Away!

Waco, Texas

Day 515

Day 515 Waco TX 7607_Fotor

     After setting up camp in Waco, Texas, Barbara thought she saw FBI agents surrounding the compound. 

     Finding a campground is a crapshoot. We choose a campground that is on our destination route and about 200 miles from our previous camp. At our last campground, in Abilene, Texas, we were right on Interstate 20, with loud traffic 24/7. I think we would be further from traffic on the median strip. 

     Today, we are camping on Lake Waco. This facility is run by Department of the Army’s Corps of Engineers. We are on a peninsula of the lake, with water on both sides. Being the end of the season, there are only a few other RV’s in the park.

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     With Barbara’s old age pass, we are paying the same for 3 nights here as we paid for 1 night in Abilene. 

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     The city of Waco was formed in 1849 after pushing out the Indians of the same name. 

Technical Stuff:

Abilene, Texas to Waco, Texas: 233.2 miles

4 hours 45 minutes

11.9 MPG

Diesel: $2.49

Abilene, Texas

Day 512

Day 512 Abilene TX 7602_Fotor

     Abilene Texas was established  by cattlemen as a stock shipping point on the Texas and Pacific Railway in 1881. The city was named after Abilene, Kansas, the original endpoint for the Chisholm Trail. Those cattlemen weren’t very imaginative.

     This area of Texas was once inhabited by the Jumano Indians, who were pushed out by the more hostile Apache Indians, who were pushed out in 1724 by the even more hostile Comanche Indians.

     The Spanish had been in this area since 1530, looking for the 7 cities of gold, which, obviously, they did not find. In the early 1800’s the Spanish government encouraged non-Spanish settlers to come to this region to create a buffer against the constant Comanche raids. Early Texas organizers, like Stephen F. Austin, were given large land grants which they used to offer free land as an enticement for Americans from the east and European Immigrants to come settle.

     The area was vast and lacked an organized government, resulting in conflict between new settlers and people loyal to the Spanish government, in addition to the Indian conflict. To help protect the settlers, Stephen F. Austin formed the Texas Rangers. These conflicts ultimately let to the Texas war for independence from Mexico in 1836.

     We went to the Texas Frontier Museum were we were guided by holograms (called Spirit Guides) through the museum.

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     This Comanche Chief’s shield was found buried with him. It contains 3 women’s scalps. 

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     Do you recognize this stagecoach?

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     It was used in the movies Hombre, Three Amigos, The Cherokee Kid, and the TV show Little House on the Prairie.

     Times were tough then. When you finally came to a town, you might use their community toothbrush.

 Day 512 Abilene TX 7585_Fotor

Technical Stuff:

Lubbock, Texas to Abilene, Texas: 176.0 miles

3 hours 31 minutes

11.8 MPG (we are going south, so it is all downhill)

Diesel: $2.40

Windmill Museum, Lubbock, Texas

Day 511

     The West could not have been settled without windmills. They provided water for the frontier town, farms, and cattle ranches. Most train stops had a windmill to pump the water to towers that they needed for their boilers. The American Wind Power Center has on display these windmills from the last 200 years.

     If you remember day 181 we visited the Kregel Windmill Co. in Nebraska City, Nebraska. I was under the impression there were only a handful of Windmill production companies, but today I saw over 200 different brand windmills on display.

     Even Sears Roebuck & Co. sold their branded windmill through their catalog in 1896.

      On day 114, when we were in Holland, Michigan, we observed their grist windmill. The museum here had on display numerous millstones, including the stones used by the Hershey Chocolate Company in Pennsylvania, which they used to grind the coco beans into chocolate.

     We learned that mill stones work in pairs. The beadstone is stationary and the runner stone rotated above it, hung on a vertical spindle. The milling faces of the stones are given deep furrows and groves that help break up the grain. Over time, these furrows wore down with use and had to constantly be recut, a process known as “dressing the stone”. (Of course you realize that as the stone wears down, it gets mixed into the grain, which you then eat).

      This would be a bedstone. The iron band around the circumference prevents the stone from shattering in operation. 

     This stone was imported from England before the Revolution. It is a runner stone, which you can tell by the cutouts where the spindle from the shaft of the windmill would fit. 

     The museum also housed a huge train exhibit. Not only did the trains run on a platform that ran the entire length of the building, 

but they also ran along the side walls of the building on a double track support that is 13 feet above the floor.

     To get the trains to that height required a spiral helix. The trains run along a track that is set around a 15 foot spiral structure that makes 10 loops around to get to the inside wall.

     This modern windmill is actually in use providing all the power of the museum. 

     It is the Vestas Model V47, a wind machine for generating electricity. The machine generates 1 million kilowatt hours of electricity a year. The museum uses half that and sells the rest to the grid. It is 164 feet tall and weighs 97,000 pounds. Each fiberglass blade is 77 feet long. You can purchase one for just under a million dollars, volume discounts are available. 

Lubbock Airfield, Texas

Day 510

     The Silent Wings Museum is located on Lubbock Airfield in Lubbock, Texas. It is in tribute and remembrance of the gliders used in World War II. During the war nine preliminary military glider pilot training fields operated in Texas, with one of those sites here at Lubbock Municipal Airport. This museum opened in October, 2002.

     The primary glider used by the Army was built by the WACO Aircraft Co. of Troy, Ohio. It was designated as a cargo assault glider, with a designation of CG-4A. The glider could carry troops, or equipment, including a jeep, bulldozer, or a small tank. It’s primary purpose was to glide silently behind enemy lines to bring or supply troops. 

     America was a slow starter in using gliders, even though Germany was using them successfully to invade it’s neighboring countries before the US got into the War. This glider was not used until 1943 during the invasion of Sicily. The result of this late start was lots of casualties, with 38% of all the gliders launched crashing. 

     The museum had the above restored CG-4A on display.

Lubbock, Texas

Day 508

     Lubbock County was founded in 1876. It was named after Thomas Saltus Lubbock, former Texas Ranger and brother of Francis Lubbock, governor of Texas during the Civil War. The Town was formed in 1884, merged with another town in 1890 and was incorporated on March 16, 1909 when the first railroad train arrived. The town’s most famous citizen was singer Buddy Holly. He was born Charles Hardin Holley on September 7, 1936 but was known as “Buddy”. When he began recording records, the record company spelled his last name wrong. 

     We went to the Buddy Holly Center. Not very impressive. Evidently they are afraid if you take pictures and post them no one will come to the museum, therefore photography not allowed. They did have on display the glasses he was wearing when the plane crashed. They probably should have wiped the blood off. 

     Buddy was only a star for 18 months before he died in the plane crash. I wonder if he would be so famous if he lived and people got tired of his music and then he died? 

Technical Stuff:

Carlsbad, New Mexico to Lubbock, Texas: 181.3 miles

3 hours 51 minutes

7.6 MPG (high winds)

Diesel: $2.60