06.05.15 – Texas – Day 6, Fort Worth – Witchita Falls

I woke up to a moody sky today.  Thunderstorms have been predicted and there were a couple of thunder claps during the night.  Nothing major though.  I do love the storms in the USA, they are altogether more dramatic than the ones we get in the UK.

20150505_164020I’ve also decided that I don’t love the La Quinta that we stayed in.  It is very modern but parts of it are still being built, including some parts of the reception area.  Positives would be the indoor pool and hot tub, negatives would be the wifi speed which was constantly up and down. It is what my Grandmother would describe as fur coat, no knickers.  It is nearly there but not quite.

The highlight of the day was most definitely visiting Fort Worth Historic Stockyards  Historically, the stockyards, known as Cowtown, were the last major stop for rest and supplies for the drovers herding their cattle up the Chisholm trail and when the railroad arrived in 1876 it became a major shipping point livestock.

Nowadays the Stockyards describe themselves as one of Texas’ most popular tourist destinations and you can really see why.  There are lots for tourists to see and do but it didn’t feel overdone.  It has managed to keep the flavour of how (I imagine) it used to be.

The town was relatively quiet when we were there but it was midweek.  There is a train that runs at weekends and there are gunslingers on the streets staging mock gunfights.  Walking tours were available while we were there and of course, the cattle drive through the main street which takes place at 11:30am and 4pm.

We arrived with plenty of time to spare which was great because I wanted time to explore!  I was pleased to find some postcards to send back to people at home.  I love sending postcards even when I’m not on holiday and those who have read my blog before will know that I am a big fan of postcrossing.

We also managed to find some really cute presents to take back home.  I’m not going to detail what they are because this blog is shared on facebook and some of those that I’ve bought presents for may be reading!

I was delighted to discover that one of the shops sold fudge.  I’m a sucker for good fudge and this is very good fudge indeed!  Hubby and I bought 4 squares with the intention of sharing.  I bought one piece of milk chocolate and one piece of peanut butter and chocolate, hubby bought rocky road and some kind of peanut brittle.  It comes with a very small plastic knife which is a good idea because the fudge is too rich to eat large pieces of it.  It is made for savouring rather than guzzling!!

20150506_11002220150506_110005 20150506_105826I have a fabulous picture of hubby on a longhorn cow.  We were wandering down the street when a guy with the cow stopped us and said we could have a picture for $5.  Hubby had a whale (or rather a cow) of a time and the cow was blandly indifferent.  Hubby must have made an impression because in the end we got 3 pics and the cowboy was telling him how to pose!  How utterly awesome!!

After the cow experience, we waited outside the visitors centre for the cattle drive.  We had been reliably informed that this was the best spot as you don’t know which direction the cattle and cowboys are coming from. This was, as one shopkeeper told us, hedging your bets.  Despite it being 20150506_113306midweek and not many people being around, the street suddenly filled up and there was a sense of anticipation as you wait.20150506_113343

The street is coned off at both ends, then the show begins!  It really was quite cool.  The cattle ambled along with the 20150506_113259cowboys keeping careful control of them and never losing focus or concentration.  Somehow I expected the cattle to be galloping through the main street kicking up dust behind them but when you think about it, that would probably be a bit dangerous!

After the cattle drive, we had some lunch in H3 Ranch which is attached to an interesting looking hotel. We all agreed that if we’d have known the hotel was there we would have given it a go.20150506_123117

I loved H3 Ranch.  It was decorated in the style of an old saloon and pulled it off well without being tacky.  Hubby and I went half and half on the main course.  We often do that if there are a couple of items on the menu that we both want because that way we get to try a bit of everything.  I had Pork and hubby had beef brisket.  Both were good but the star of the show for me was the BBQ beans that hubby got with his brisket.  They were stunning and I will be looking up a recipe for that when I get home!

After we’d finished lunch we wandered round taking a few more pictures and visited the baby horses and goats before starting the drive to Witchita Falls.  I must confess that I’m not a lover of either horses or goats!

The drive to Wtichita Falls was fairly uneventful.  The weather wasn’t great and it was starting to get colder so hubby and I decided to skip the outdoor pool when we got there.  When it came to dinner time the weather has worsened and heavy storms were predicted so we decided to go to Whataburger which was just over the road.  The food was good but I wasn’t that hungry and didn’t fancy a burger so I only ate about half a burger.  What I had was nice though and I can see why it gets good reviews.  Originally we were going to take it back to our rooms but it started rained very, very heavily.  Far heavier than we get in the UK so we ate in.  The rain soon passed and we headed back.

About an hour the storm picked up again with heavy rain and fork lightning.  The storms in the USA are spectacular and even the worse ones in the UK can’t compare.  I watched for a while outside the room.  There were other hotel guests outside taking pictures and one of them mentioned that the weather was covered on channel 5.  I wandered in to switch on 20150506_210030the TV and found that a tornado warning had been issued in Witchita Falls amongst other places.  I didn’t even know that Texas got tornadoes!!  Looking at the map I could see that Witchita was underneath Oklahoma which had already been hit by a tornado.

It felt a bit scary because in the UK we don’t get tornadoes and we had no idea what to do.  Hubby called reception and they told us that we didn’t need to do anything yet but if the sirens sounded to get in the bathroom, sit in the bathtub and cover ourselves with the pillows and duvet (presumably to protect us, not to have a doze!).  Seriously though, it would have been a tight fit because that tub was tiny!!

I was still a bit jetlagged and not sleeping well so I went to sleep about 10pm when the warning was still in place.  Thankfully all was okay but what an experience!  Like I say, we don’t get tornadoes in the UK so even the thought of it is scary.  God knows what it must be like to actually go through one…

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