If you had read my previous blog, because of mechanical problems with Lyekka the leaking Russian (burned a hole in a piston), I was unable to complete my “Tour of Honor” project.
Well last week I decided to finish my last two sites, but this time on Scarface (the Beemer) and just make a short trip of it so that I could call the mission accomplished.
I got off about 9ish and head north to Amarillo
On my way, I passed by a veterans memorial in the small town of Rising Star. This was not one of my destinations but I figured that since the “Tour of Honor” project was going to specific memorial site, I should stop and pay my respects at other Veterans memorial sites that I may pass along the way.
Actually this was the “WASP museum” WASP in this case referred to The Women Airforce Service Pilots. Durring WW2, this was a service organization of female pilots that supported the war effort . As more men joined the war effort, more women took Home Front jobs once considered for males only. In 1942, that trend took to the air when the U.S. Army Air Forces launched the civilian Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) program. From 1942 to 1944, these first women to fly U.S. military planes logged 60 million miles, ferrying military aircraft to bases nationwide. They also opened the way for women in the Air Force. WASP pilots trained at Sweetwater Army Air Field (Avenger Field).
Today is Monday and the museum is closed on Monday. Scarface was very sad. Have you ever heard a grown GS cry? It’s enough to chock you up. I explained to Scarface that we would pass back through Lubbock after we tag the memorial site in Amarillo and I promised him that we would visit then.
This was a combination liquor store, feed store, and horse tack shop. Additionally they had a vegetable stand and a garden where they sold plants. I met and visited with the owner (Bill) as he told me about his enterprises.
END of Day 1, Segment 3, attempt 2
Aprox 475 miles today.
This large memorial pays tribute to soldiers who either lost their lives or went missing in action in all wars since the Spanish American War. Several large red granite stones, each dedicated to a different war, list the names of veterans who came from the 26 counties of the Texas Panhandle.
Next destination is Midland, so I head back south.
Scarface was not allowed in, but he was happy with me taking the tour and I bought Scarface a Buddy Holly CD that made him happy.
I make it to Midland a little after dark. Riding in the dark does not make me happy. I did not make any reservations because I figured that between the large towns of Midland and nearby Odesa, surely there would be a lot of motels to choose from.
Well, not so. I was calling every motel listed on my GPS and they were all booked up. Several told me they were fully booked for the next few weeks. Argggg
Not to offend anyone that may be from this area, but this is NOT a pretty area. This is an ugly oil town and the whole place smelled of oil. I could not figure out why all the motels would be booked. Surely there is not a tourist draw here. I later learn that there has been a surge in oil field work here and there is not enough rental property to accommodate the oil field workers, so they are using the motels.
After many calls I find a motel with a room. I make my reservation and head over. This is a typical $35 a night motel except that it cost me $85. It was either pay that or sleep in an alley.
It had a bed and the cockroaches were not very large. I had skipped lunch and there were no restaurants in walking distance but I didn’t want to ride any more in the dark, so I finished off the rest of my wine and went to bed.
End of Day 2, Segment 3, Attempt 2
My “fancy” motel advertised a “continental” breakfast, so in the morning I went to partake. Their version of a continental breakfast was a loaf of bread and coffee. So I hade some toast and called that breakfast and set out to find my next designated memorial site.
Onward I go and arrive at my next and last designated memorial. This is the Permian Basin Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
This memorial was conceived by, built by, and dedicated to the Vietnam Veterands of West Texas. Along with the engraved names of Permian Basin residents who were killed or missing in the Vietnam conflict, stand the United States, Texas and POW-MIA flags.
The image above is a chilling, but common sight from the war that I remember all to well: two soldiers helping a wounded comrade to an approaching Huey helicopter. One signals the chopper, while another watches their back
This was the last of the designated sites for the 2011 Tour of Honor ride. It took me almost a year to get around to completing this, but I have now finished that quest. I got this thing about quests, once started I must complete. They are unfinished business. I still have a few more unfinished quests before I can rest. One is Baja, while going to a place to watch whales, my brother decided to nose dive into a hill side cutting that trip short, the other was my attempt at riding the Continental Divide Route when I chose to hide in the middle of nowhere to see if anyone could find me. These quests too that must be finished.
Being that winter is on its way it is too cold to head up north on the CDR, so I guess Baja will be next. So, stay tuned.
It was time to hit the road so I did not have the opportunity to spend the time that this museum deserved, so unfortunately I had to do a quick review. If anyone is in the area, I strongly recommend in touring this museum but plan on spending a significant amount of time to get the full impact of all that was present here. It was all great, but perhaps what I found most interesting was the largest collection of airplane nose art in the world. It was the custom for bombers to have pretty girls painted on the nose of the aircraft. I found this collection fascinating, not just because the women were, well pretty with little or no clothing (but that didn’t hurt).
After that, I put fire up the afterburners and head home. I arrive safe and sound.
MISSION ACCOMPLISIED. Stay tuned for the next Adventure