Red River Bound, Day Trip to Wichita Falls, Texas (KSPS)

The Pilot and I firmly believe that every town has something to offer and no matter where we go, there is always something unique to do. We live in central Texas and have missed out on so many of the great experiences that this area has to offer because we live here and never get around to doing the touristy things that so many people travel here to do. As a result, the Pilot and I are willing to make the flight to just about anywhere knowing that we will find something fun to do when we land. To be completely honest, Wichita Falls, Texas (KSPS) did not start out strong. After arriving early evening we rented a Hertz car at the military base that had a Never Lost gps in it. We hopped in and asked the gps for restaurants near us…apparently it is not updated frequently, because we drove to FOUR restaurants before we found one that was still in business. It is a good thing that McBride Land & Cattle Company was worth the wait.

We ate shrimp stuffed jalapenos, steak and grilled quail; it was a wonderful meal…the water on the other hand was TERRIBLE…It had an aftertaste that is best described as mixing water with dirt. It was clear, but the taste was pretty rough. The pilot tried the iced tea, hoping it was better, but it was just iced tea flavored dirt water. On the other hand, the meal made up for it. We love steak, and the pilot makes a great steak. This makes it tough to go to a steakhouse, since some of them are marginal tasting. The steak was cooked perfectly and was a very nice cut. The quail had two options. One was fried, the other grilled. When the waitress asked which way we preferred it, the pilot and I spoke simultaneously, but I said fried, he said grilled. The waitress told us it was best grilled, so we gave it a shot. It was amazing, as was the rest of the meal. If you go to Wichita Falls, TX, you must try McBrides.

The never lost redeemed itself with a quick trip to the Red Roof Inn, our very affordable overnight accommodations. We use www.homeaway.com quite a bit, but on this quick trip we gave hotels.com a try. The room was very inexpensive, and turned out clean and a perfect place to rest for the evening. It included a continental breakfast, so we figure we saved another 10-15 dollars and it made the stay that much better.

The first stop of the day was the highlight of the trip, a wonderful master gardener named Bonnie Jones at the Wichita Falls Farmer’s Market.

The pilot and I have a wonderful garden in the back yard, but with the unpredictable weather here it is hard to really maximize the growing season. Bonnie and her husband were doing a special presentation on raised beds and took the time to step aside and visit with us about the advantage of covered beds and tips for making the project manageable. According to Bonnie, with the covered beds I should be able to grow vegetables year around and with the raised beds that my wonderful parents already gave us for Christmas, adding the covers will be easy.

The old windows that the Jones’ used were really heavy so the Pilot has agreed to make them out of plexiglass for me and I love the idea of building the beds taller for the broccoli and the bush tomatoes to allow them to get the height they need to produce.

Although rather small, the Wichita Falls Farmers Market was a lot of fun. I also learned that I do NOT like Arabian Melons but the cross bred squash were actually as good as they were described. I love going to farmer’s markets. We love to grow things in the garden, but we also like to buy anything we are not growing fresh. We have learned over the years to figure out which product is really homegrown and which is bought to be resold. We prefer buying from people who actually grow their own product.

If you are planning to visit…just be aware, no dogs allowed. As dog people, it was a blessing we did not have Runway on the trip; none of the places we visited were dog friendly. We are very accustomed to Austin where most places welcome dogs and Runway always loves to come along with us.

From the Farmers Market we headed next door to the Train Museum only to learn that it did not open until 11 so the pilot and I walked around the outside. There seemed to be quite a few trains that were in retirement. Many had stairs going in to them, but with a tight schedule we couldn’t wait around for them to open. Maybe next time if we are stopping through.

After the Train Museum we were off to the Wichita Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau to meet up with our Aunt Carol and her boyfriend Robert. We browsed through all of the marketing material for all of the towns in Texas. The pilot was grabbing material left and right telling me these were all leads for printing, and he was going to have someone at the shop call them and solicit business. I looked around at other fun cities to visit. Carol and Robert showed up after we had loaded up on “print material” and were ready to grab a bite to eat.

They rode up from Abilene, Texas on their motorcycle. I am amazed that they were still able to walk after all that time on the bike. The motorcycle trip for them was around 4 hours. It was Carol’s birthday weekend trip to gamble in Oklahoma, and we decided to come hang out with them for awhile. Here’s a picture of Robert and his Harley motorcycle.

Last on my request list for the city was to see the Falls, Wichita is not Wichita Falls without the water. According to my history lesson from the pilot, the actual falls washed away around 100 years ago and these were built in the 1980′s to replace the falls. They are man-made and have a pump that recirculates the water from the bottom back to the top creating the waterfall. There is a bridge across the bottom that allowed me to walk across the falls, but we didn’t stay long, the water did not smell well.

We walked along the bricks and made the little hike to the top to enjoy the view from the top. Although a good attempt at recreating the falls, I imagined them a little different than what they were. I can say that I have seen the falls of Wichita Falls, Texas now.

From the falls it was off to the casinos, a big first for me. As a teenager I used to play volleyball in Las Vegas, NV,¬† but that was before I was old enough to put money in the machines. We ventured across the red river to the casinos in Oklahoma. The Red River currently looks more like a stream…we need rain in Central Texas, but they need it a lot more than us.

To be perfectly honest, it was NOT at all what I expected. I had envisioned the cup of coins I would pack around and the tink tink tink sound that the coins would make as they fell out of the machines. The cards with money on them from the players club and the vouchers it prints when you win was far removed from my imagination. It was a pleasant surprise that the casinos give you free money to play with if it is your first time there. First we headed to the Kiowa Casino just on the other side of the border.

The $10.00 free cards that we received entertained us for almost an hour…on the $.1 slots it can last a long time. The pilot did put a $1.00 bill in one of the slots that you get to pull so that I could¬† actually pull the handle on a slot machine.

When the money ran out we moved to the next casino down the road Red River…we are probably not the ideal customer, but we decided we are not really gambling people so we might as well take advantage of the opportunity.

The Pilot played the wilderness game and actually had a successful trip to the casino. Considering that we played with the casino’s money it was exciting to leave with $18.00.

Aunt Carol and Robert stayed behind to enjoy her birthday weekend. We would have like to stay and hang out more, but had to get back to Austin, Texas for a little work. We departed Sheppard Air Force Field and flew home. It was a safe flight home and a great nights rest…not bad for a fun day trip.

Comments

  1. hey any adventure that starts and ends with flying is a good one!

    • I like adventures that lead somewhere. The pilot loves to fly and does not seem to mind much if we go somewhere or not, but I like to be somewhere new when we land.

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