04.05.15 – Texas – Day 4, Sulpher Springs – Dallas (Plano)

20150504_071308The day started well with sauage, biscuits and gravy for breakfast.  I don’t want to sound like I’m ruled by my stomach but being a foodie, one of the things I love in the USA is the culinary experience.  When I first encountered sausage, biscuits and gravy I wasn’t at all sure. I’m still not a huge lover of the biscuit element but sausage and gravy make me very happy indeed!

I put a picture of breakfast on Facebook which incited some interesting comments!  As well as writing these blog entries ,I am putting up pictures regularly to share my experience.  A couple of friends and my Mum have asked for lots of pictures and I am happy to oblige!  I love making and capturing memories.

We planned to head to South Forks today.  It was going to be a highlight of the trip for me.  I used to be an avid watcher of Dallas when I was a child so the idea of visiting the ranch was exciting.  I tried a couple of episodes of the new series but didn’t enjoy it so I stopped watching.  Shows are rarely the same when they are brought back.

The drive from Sulpher Springs was fairly uneventful.  You noticed the change in scenery when you were near South Forks.  It really was ranch country!

We passed through a town called Wiley and decided it must be pronounced ‘Willy’.  I amused myself by reading out the signs and prononuncing Wiley as Willy.  Childish but fun!  The final sign was the best and caused many giggles ‘Willy Karate’!!! mwhwhahahaa!  Can you imagine it?? No?  Well, I guess you had to be there!!

When we arrived at South Forks I was beside myself was excitement!  I’d seen this place on TV and finally I was here.  You go into a visitor centre area and from there you can book a tour of the house.  We had 45 minutes to kill which I happily did buying memoribillia (postcards and fridge magnets mainly) and taking lots of pictures.

There is a small exhibition with a JR section, scripts that have been used by the cast and scribbled on, cast chairs – that kind of thing.  It is very interesting but quite small.  It wouldn’t take you more than 40 minutes to look round.  There is a sign saying that the exhibition is to be extended but I still think the highlight of the experience is the tour of the house.

At the allotted time we were taken down to the house by trailers with seating pulled by a tractor.  The driver points out interesting things along the way.  When you arrive at the house, you are given a talk by a different guide which lasts about 10 minutes.  She provided information about the house and show.  It was quite interesting.

I was disappointed to learn that the inside shots of the show were filmed in a studio in California.  The ranch was orginally owned by a family who only allowed the crew to shoot for 3 months of the year which fell during the school holidays because the parents didn’t want the children’s schooling interupted.  All went well for a while until the fans found out where the ranch started turning up.  Eventually the family had enough and sold up.  The house was opened up to the public but at some point the new owner went bankrupt and the ranch was closed by the bank.

The current owner bought South Forks at a public aution and it was once again open to the public.  I was sad to learn that it is no longer a working ranch.  It does, however, have a business in conferences and events such as wedding parties.  I should imagine that it would be a lovely place to get married.

I enjoyed the tour but the ranch did feel a bit abandoned, like an echo of the past.  It feels like the main business is the events and conferences and the tour is just a sideline.  We did go during the week which is probably why it was a bit quieter. We had hoped to have lunch onsite in Miss Ellie’s Deli but it was closed on a Monday.

All in all it was a great experience but I don’t think it is the kind of thing that you’d do more than once.  If you are in the area I’d definitely recommend it.

In the absence of Miss Ellie’s Deli we decided to stop at Denny’s in Plano where we were staying.  Hubby and I shared sandwiches and I reacquinted myself with my former love, chicken noodle soup.  The waiter serving us was new so his colleague was helping him out.  She asked where we were from as we didn’t have local accents.  When I told her London she was delighted!  She wanted to ‘hang out at our table and listen to us speak!’.  I told her that was fine as I loved her accent too which really suprised her!  She decided we could be best friends and when I told her how much I liked Texas she (jokingly) suggested that we get a house together!  Looks like I’m not going to be short of places to stay if I ever decide to make the move to Texas!!

We weren’t hungry at dinner time so we stayed in and had some of the snacks that we got from Walmart.  It was nice to just chill, watch tv and read.  Hubby and I decided to have breakfast at Denny’s tomorrow morning before we set off…I predict a skillet in my future very soon!!

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