This trip was to see the ‘Royal Affair’ tour, consisting of Asia, Steve Howe’s Yes, John Lodge of the Moody Blues, and Carl Palmer’s ELP Legacy with guest vocalist Arthur Brown.
The show opened with something ‘Crazy’ I never expected to experience live:
One thing that did draw me to the show was Carl Palmer. Fifty years ago, he was the amazing drummer for the amazing Emerson Lake & Palmer. Today he is possibly even better. He did sets with his own band, and as a member of Asia.
Curiously, there was a little megaphone on stage.
Before long, I knew why: One of the Asia members was in the Buggles. So I’ve now sung along to ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’…with Carl Palmer on drums!
Other special moments were hearing the John Lodge 10,000 Light Years band perform ‘Legend of a Mind’ (Timothy Leary’s Dead); a song from John’s early years with the Moody Blues at their most psychedelic.
Then Steve Howe’s ‘Yes’ did a full set of Yes songs. Steve’s guitar playing was another main highlight. The entire concert was over four hours long. Definitely a full evening.
The next morning, it was back to Fort Worth for an afternoon of museums via Bike Share. It was Sunday morning, so I had extra time to kill before the museums opened. I did some exploring around downtown, first with a bike ride around downtown, and then via the free Molly-the-Trolley loop. All of my modes of transportation were available from the Fort Worth Intramodal Transportation Center (Fort Worth ITC).
The museum district has these great murals on the buildings.
After that, it was time for an unplanned treat. Just down the street from the Cowgirl museum, the Kimbell Art Museum has a special Monet exhibit! It runs through September 15, 2019. I saw dozens of original Monets! It was fascinating, comparing the painted scenes at a distance, and then up close where the brush strokes and colors seemed almost random.
The famous bridge.
All of those lovely water lilies.
From the museums it was a bike ride back to the Fort Worth ITC station, and time to board my Amtrak train for home.
It was another gorgeous, scenic ride; on time, with a dinner of buffalo chicken and wine, and no bad weather. I was home by midnight.
The day after the ELO concert in Dallas last month, my train wasn’t scheduled to depart from Ft. Worth until 5pm. I opted to spend the afternoon in Ft. Worth, so on checking out of my hostel, I caught the TRE commuter train from Irving back to Fort Worth.
In Fort Worth, I decided to visit the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame. Feeling an acute need for exercise, I opted to get from the train station to the museum and back via Fort Worth’s bike share. There was a bike share hub at the train station and one at the museum complex. Good job, Fort Worth! All went smoothly with the bike checkout process.
Google mapped the bike route for me.
The bike was a joy to ride. It was easily adjustable, and had no mechanical issues.
It was a mostly-flat, pleasant 3.1 mile ride each way.
The cowgirl museum was wonderful. Part of it is under renovation and closed to visitors until February 2019. This means I will want to go back and see the rest. But the exhibits I did see gave me a badly-needed cowgirl ‘fix’ for now. I could have stayed there all day.
I love the way they posed this mannequin and draped her red jacket. It’s as if she just got up after being thrown and is walking back to her horse.
Annie Oakley’s wedding ring!
“Ride the range all the day till the first fading light,
be with my western girl round the fire, oh, so bright.
I’d be the Indians friend, let them live to be free,
ridin’ into the sunset, I wish I could be.”
Can you handle more from the cowgirl museum? They have an amazing collection of historic western-themed Hermes scarves.
This scarf, wow. Here is the center motif of an awards themed scarf that seemed to spoof the Oscars. It was quite an entertaining thing to study.
In their huge lobby, they have a beam from one of the World Trade Center towers.
The beam towered over the lobby.
They had a great section on Energy, which I enjoyed so much I forgot to take pictures.
They had a large Cattle Raisers exhibit, which was an excellent complement to the Cowgirl Museum.
Lastly, they had a Grossology exhibit, on human body functions. The irony about this is that I took a head cold home with me from the trip. Ugh. I was pretty much like this guy for the next week.
When I’d finished at the museums, bike share got me back to the Ft. Worth Intermodal Transportation Center, where I would await my Amtrak train. They had some neat things to see at the station: An old Fort Worth commuter train car.
A series of history-telling tile murals.
Back in the lovely old train station, I reclaimed my bag from the luggage storage service, drank a delicious milk from Subway, and waited the last few minutes before boarding my Amtrak train.
I originally booked Amtrak all the way from OKC to Dallas Union Station and back. Turns out I only needed Amtrak between OKC and Ft. Worth. Between Ft. Worth and Dallas, the TRE was the way to go.
By cancelling the Ft. Worth – Dallas – Ft Worth portions of my Amtrak ticket before those departure times, I was credited that portion of my Amtrak fare, to apply to future Amtrak travel.
The museums I visited are all at the Ft. Worth Stock Show complex. The complex was easy to get to by bike, and offered lots to do in one spot. The Botanical Gardens and Trinity Park are also adjacent to the complex.
In August I traveled to Dallas to see a Traveling Wilbury and his Electric Light Orchestra.
As it should be, ELO’s full sound filled the huge American Airlines Center arena. The light show was the most extravagant and spectacular that I’ve seen; as it should be for a band called the ‘Electric Light Orchestra’. There was no bad seat in the house. There was no empty seat in the house, either.
My seat was in the nosebleed section, which was fine for ELO’s show only because their sound and lights filled the arena spectacularly, as I knew they would. The songs were all familiar. The entire concert was a big, fun sing-a-long with the band and 20,000+ of their biggest fans.
But as I was getting ready for the show, practical considerations won out. I was going to have to walk 1/2 mile from my lodging to the TRE transit shuttle that drops off at the concert arena. I didn’t want to make that trek both ways in a dress with wedge sandals; the return trip in the dark. So, I opted for a pair of knee-length shorts, flat sandals, and this comfortable floral blouse that I recently made and wrote about last week.
The blouse has just one reflective bit… the button in the back. So, anyone sitting behind me who tried to take a flash picture, may have gotten my button reflection instead of the stage. But who in the nosebleed section uses flash at a concert? Probably no one.
As for the concert, it was a lovely, lovely night. Everything was perfect. (Except for the guy sitting next to me, who had pulled up an ELO set list on his phone, and kept announcing what song was coming up next. Grrr.) But this guy below sure didn’t bother me. The crowd all around me was really into the show, which made it that much more fun.
For the best sampling of Jeff Lynne’s current ELO live show, I recommend the “Wembley or Bust” live CD-DVD set. I ordered it after I got home, and am quite glad I did.
Travel and lodging
The drive to Dallas for me is a straight 6-hour shot down through the middle of Oklahoma, all on Interstate-35. It’s a boring and crowded highway. There was a lot of rain in the forecast too, which I didn’t relish driving in. My solution was to drive to Oklahoma City and then take the Amtrak ‘Heartland Flyer’ the rest of the way. Turns out it is a scenic, relaxing train ride.
The night of the concert, I stayed at a hostel in Irving. This was my first-ever stay at a hostel in the US. I booked the hostel through Hostelworld. The girls’ room in the hostel slept 6. When I checked in, the three bottom bunks had already been spoken for. So this was my view from the top. 🙂
I enjoyed chatting with several fellow hostel guests, who were all passing through the DFW area for their own various reasons. I loved the hostel stay, better than a sterile, isolating hotel room. The hostel was an easy walk to and from the commuter train station, where the TRE train took me straight to the concert venue–the American Airlines Center arena.
The next day, I took the TRE back to Fort Worth, where after an afternoon of sightseeing, I boarded Amtrak for the trip back to OKC.
Here’s the ‘Heartland Flyer’ arriving in Ft. Worth to take us back to OKC.
My departing view of Ft. Worth.
Once the train was on its way, the cafe car opened.
For dinner, I ordered the spicy Buffalo chicken tenders and wine. It hit the spot. Each time I see this picture, I want that meal again.
Amtrak was also an excellent choice for the return trip, because the weather got severe as we progressed toward OKC. Strong storms, heavy rains, tornado warnings and a massive area of flash flood warnings even caused all area trains to be ordered to shut down on the track to wait for a bad cell to pass.
Our train arrived at the OKC station about 2 hours late, which meant I would be driving the rest of the way home after midnight, through flash flood warnings all the way. Instead, I did a very adult thing (for me), and got a value-priced room in OKC for the night. The storms had wreaked havoc with street lights in town. It was a dark and eerie quiet drive from the Amtrak station to the hotel.
The hotel I chose is a huge once-fabulous sprawling complex. As I was waiting my turn to check in, the old maintenance man told me stories about famous athletes and performers who had stayed there back in the day. He and the hotel were absolutely charming. The hotel lobby hints at its grand past.
The hallway leading to my room revealed that the hotel hadn’t fared so well during the storms. They’d taken on some water. Bags of concrete had been used as sandbags, doors were propped open for drying out, and carpet had been pulled and piled in the hallway. I didn’t care because I was so tired. I felt bad for the hotel.
My room was nice and comfortable for the price, but when I ventured over to the door that opens out to the courtyard, I discovered the carpet along that outside wall was wet and squishy. I didn’t care. I was tired, and I wasn’t going to need to go out that door anyway.
In the bathroom was a relic from its past as a luxury hotel–the toilet telephone. It still works.
The next morning, I got up well-rested, and drove home. There were places on the interstate where flood water had obviously been up on the road. Staying in OKC had been the right thing to do.
Now, back to the Traveling Wilburys for a moment:
A fellow music lover told me that the Wilburys had intended to keep getting together to make music from time to time, and to possibly add new members. So I’m thinking, should Jeff Lynne and Bob Dylan convene the next generation of Wilburys? Who should the new band members be? Should their music follow the same style and formula as the original Wilburys? The departed original members can’t be replaced or mimicked. But do it right and their spirit will be there with the new guys. I have a few ideas of who should join Jeff and Bob and make some new Traveling Wilburys music. I’ve grouped them in threes, to keep the band at five members:
An Avett brother
Most of these are really huge stars, so why would they want to do it? Well, you don’t get much bigger than Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and a Beatle, so the standard has been set.