July 9, 2012
Marshall, TX to Fredericksburg, TX
This morning I got up at 3:15 a.m. in to be ready to depart from the hotel by 4:00 a.m. We had a 364 mile day planned (from Marshall, TX to Fredericksburg, TX), and we wanted to avoid the heat as much as possible. Fortunately, the other four riders were conscientious, nobody was late, and we departed at 4:00.
At that time of morning in Texas, the temperature is 77 degrees. It stayed there for the next four or five hours, rising to 90 by noon and to well above 90 by early afternoon. So a good portion of our ride was in relative comfort!
We rode on major highways all day today –there’s not too much to see in Texas! Although…that’s not entirely true, as there is an area called the Texas Hill Country (and I’ve ridden in it – and it’s very enjoyable). However, we were in this general area, but we encountered no twisty roads – with the amount we had already ridden and the afternoon heat, we probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it much anyway. We did ride right through Waco, where our granddaughter has lived for the last four years while attending school at Baylor University. I was there less than a month ago for her graduation!
As we were approaching our destination, we encountered the President Lyndon B Johnson State Historical Park
We took a quick poll over the CB and decided to stop. On this site was a visitor center with some memorabilia related to LBJ, the home in which he lived for many years, the Johnson family cemetery, and other historical sites.
We spent some time at the visitor center but decided against the complete tour, as it covered many miles, took a long time, it was hot, we were tired, and we had yet another place to visit before the day ended. It was interesting to note that President Johnson specifically instructed that no fees be collected at this site.
We checked in at the La Quinta Inn and almost immediately left to go visit the National Museum of the Pacific War
This museum consists of a number of components, including the Admiral Nimitz Museum, George H.W. Bush Gallery, Pacific Combat Zone, Japanese Garden of Peace, Memorial Courtyard and the Plaza of the Presidents. I had fairly low expectations of what I would find, and I was wrong.
The Memorial Courtyard was VERY nicely laid out,
and it proved to me that there are at least some remaining in this country who still care, who still give a s**t. There was row after row of memorials for individuals who had perished in the war, and row after row of memorials for ships which had served in the war. I was stationed on Guam in the Marianas Islands from 1972 through 1975 with the US Naval Medical Corps, and I looked for ships that had served in that general region – Guam, Tinian, Saipan, Palau. I found quite a number.
It was really touching to realize that these ships and the men that served on them are still remembered 75 years later.
The George H. W. Bush Gallery provided a detailed accounting of the war in the Pacific theater.
I likewise sought out the battles in the Marianas Islands. I have scuba dived on many if not most of these war zone sites in the Marianas Islands – and I saw those wrecks in a different light today.
The Plaza of the Presidents was also very thought provoking.
There have been ten CONSECUTIVE presidents who have all been members of the military – from Roosevelt in the 1930s
through George H. W. Bush in the 1990s.
And now we have a president who won’t even honor the flag …
Tomorrow it’s up at 3:15 a.m. again to prepare for a 4:00 departure on a 390 mile ride. Tomorrow night we’ll be at the Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico.