The RM12 bus stopped a few blocks away from our hotel. As the on-line system was difficult to figure out and “Find-a-ride” wouldn’t answer the phone, I waited at the bus stop hoping it might come. It did come, it did stop, and Ronnie, the pleasant, helpful bus driver became my go-to guy for local transportation.
He told me how to get the downtown bus, where to get off, looked for me on my return trips, and even made a unauthorized stop so I didn’t have to walk so far. He was a chatter with a heavy Texas drawl, so I sat in the front to read his lips. Ronnie took me to Walmart, to the Fein Art Gallery, Michael’s, Target, and one afternoon, I just rode around with him. On my last day he took me to the Wichita Falls Museum of Art on the MSU campus.
I read on the museum website that they had a Jackson Pollack in their permanent collection, and decided to take the shorter 45 minute bus ride to MSU instead of taking the 90 minute ride downtown to see the Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame, maybe I should have gone with the longer ride. Although the museum had an interesting exhibit of “Cyanotype Shootapalooza,” when I asked about the Jackson Pollack, the receptionist looked at me blankly and said, “I really don’t know anything about that.” Well there you go.
BTW, the Sweetie and I have escaped Wichita Falls and are back home in Lacey. Beto rode in on his high horse, said that Bernie had paid our bail with his book money, and set us free.
Wichita Falls shorts:
- Walking in Wichita Falls may be hazardous to your health—not a single driver stopped to let me cross the street. C’mon, you’re sitting in your big black pickup, out of the rain, with your air being conditioned, listening to whatever it is you listen to—I’m standing in the rain, wind in my face, lugging a big bag, with no sidewalk, no crosswalk. What’s the harm in pausing your busy life for one minute so that I can get across the street?
- Cars rule: I didn’t see bike lanes, walking trails, pedestrians, joggers, dog walkers, or sidewalks.
- I was usually the only one in the store, on the sidewalk, in a restaurant, or on the bus wearing sunglasses.
- People here are polite but not friendly.
- Spring weather runs the gamut: one day it was 92°, the next day, 52°. The one constant was the wind: there’s rain in the wind, dust in the wind, sun in the wind, snow in the wind—but always, there’s the wind.
- This is the land of $2.00 gas, $350,000 pillared mansions, $500/month rent, and a $7 an hour minimum wage.
- Despite the higher than average violent crime rate, the city describes itself as a “great place to raise a family.”
- Wichita Falls doesn’t have a Starbucks on every corner—there is almost no coffee culture.
- There is an extensive transit system that extends North to South and East to West with an almost indecipherable on-line bus tracking app.
- Wherever we go—Chicago, Houston, Dekalb, Wichita Falls—an Uber will show up in five minutes.