In Brief: Italy---Dallas---Paris---Hugo ----------------------------------------------------------------------
Got about an hour North of Austin when torrential rainclouds hit. Giant sheets of water coming off the backs of trucks and almost no visibility. Kind of scary when you're not ready for it.
A couple towns later it all stopped as quickly as it'd begun. Feeling international we pulled off the road for a beef jerky stop in Italy, Tx.
Home of the belated Starship Pegasus, extra-terrestrial snack shop.
Drove on into Dallas with the intention of stopping at the Conspiracy Museum and Dealey Plaza. Went up to the Sixth Floor Museum first and ended up spending hours. So much information about the Kennedy presidency and the Civil Rights Movement with some amazing photos and old TV footage. The interviews with people just after Kennedy'd been shot always get me and I walked around silently bawling my eyes out. God, I love that man. Of all the people to shoot, we go for Kennedy and Dr. King. And Bobby. Way to go. The whole thing makes me so sad.
The Sixth floor window of the old book depository is always open, there's even a glassed off "sniper's nest" where Lee Harvey Oswald is supposed to have fired the fatal shots.
Paid our respects at the grassy knoll.
So strange to stare at the spot where someone was killed.
Left Dallas feeling rather somber and took some side roads over to Paris, Texas hoping it'd be small and Harry Dean Stanton-ish, but to no avail. The old square was neat, but everything was dark for the night and the rest of town was a mess of fast food and chain hotels. Grabbed some burgers at the Dairy Queen and rumbled on to Hugo.
Found Hugo, Oklahoma more to our liking and settled in for the night.
Whiskey TV and safety pins.
Took the desk lady's advice and went next door for breakfast only to be stopped in our tracks by the cafeteria cart inside the front door. Beef stroganoff and jello cups at 11 a.m. I almost went for the spaghetti til the lady said they'd be happy to fix us some breakfast. $4.99 later and we were full of sausage grease and coffee.
Meandered through downtown and even in the light of day Hugo didn't disappoint. Small town, slightly dilapidated and nothing visibly newer than 1969. Thumbs up.
Drove out to Mt. Olivet Cemetery, the real reason we stopped in Hugo.
My favorite of the fraternal organizations as far as memorials go: Woodmen of the World
There's something I really like about cemeteries. It's nothing morbid, mostly the calm stillness and quiet about them. I think it started when we'd go to Wisconsin when I was younger and visit the family plots, it was always so cool and shady and you could walk around reading and wondering at people's stories.
Or why they stopped cutting midway through this tree.
Finally stumbled upon an indicator that things were a bit different in Hugo.
Just as we'd been told, there were a whole handful of circus-related headstones in one area of the cemetery. Apparently Hugo has been the winter home for the Carson & Barnes Circus since 1941 and in 1961 its owner D.R. Miller (who also happens to be the longest consecutive owner of any circus) bought up all the plots in this one section after the death of his brother. Other performers went on to donate funds for their fellows who couldn't afford memorials and the tradition continues.
Small granite elephants mark the boundaries of "Showman's Rest".
Said goodbye to Hugo and hopped back on the road.
Oklahoma City, here we come.
I go, Hugo? Generally the drive from Austin to Oklahoma City shouldn't take more than 6 hours as it's due north on I-35. Despising, as we do, most major highways we opted for the two-day plan which allowed for more stopping time and the chance to stay in yet another cheap motel. Plus, I'd never been through Dallas and really wanted to see Dealey Plaza which I'd heard was nearly the same as it was in in 1963. Its pretty near true and minus all the crappy new cars you can squint your eyes and imagine you're watching the Zapruder film, if you're into that sort of thing, which of course I am. So anyhow, the Sixth Floor Museum was really great and I'm sure the conspiracy Museum and other parts of Dallas are worth a visit as well. Did you know Bonnie and Clyde are both buried there, but in different cemeteries? Speaking of cemeteries, Hugo's is definitely worth the side-trip if you happen to be passing by and if you stop by in the wintertime and you can say hello to the second largest herd of elephants in the nifty fifty.