Abilene, Texas – a daughter’s account
After a day of rest while my dad iced his recent gum surgery, we hit the road again – off to Abilene. I drove the length of the trip so dad could keep resting. We were half-starving by time we got there. So, instead of heading straight to the hotel, we stopped for food. Being in Texas, I had naturally scoped out a barbecue joint. Texas – a daughter’s account
Entering the town was strange. I knew nothing about Abilene beyond the couple attractions we’d selected. But, I had expected more that I encountered. We drove through what felt like a deserted shell of a town. There were no people out and about and buildings that looked shut down. It felt like the foreshadowing scene in a horror movie, where everyone else is dead and the newbie just doesn’t know it yet. Texas – a daughter’s account
Disclaimer: Since our trip, I have been informed that Abilene is a well-known and bustling city. I have no idea if it is newly popular or if I just got the absolute wrong impression. Either way, this was my experience. Texas – a daughter’s account
So, after driving through the abandoned part of town for a while, we came across an unassuming building with a few cars out front. I parked and we cautiously followed our noses to some of the best barbecue I have ever tasted. It was cafeteria style – pick what you want at the front while the servers load a tray, then take it to find seats. I have eaten brisket all across the North and South-East United States. And, I have never had such juicy, melt in your mouth, fatty flavored brisket as that. Texas – a daughter’s account
I honestly don’t remember much else about the meal. I assume I had Mac and cheese and a roll, because I always do. And, I vaguely remember it all being good. But the memory that won’t leave me after 4 years is that brisket. That and a vague recollection of almost stabbing my dad in the hand with a fork when he tried to steal some. We must have gotten seconds because everyone left unscathed (except his still healing gums). Come to think of it, maybe he couldn’t enjoy the BBQ as much because of his recent surgery. Now I feel bad. Maybe we’ll have to go back.. Texas – a daughter’s account
Once I had stopped salivating and swallowed every bite, we dropped off our bags and took a nap (we had to after eating like that). Then we headed to the two sites: a Buffalo museum (dad’s choice) and a Dr. Seuss statue park (my choice that dad begrudgingly visited because I was driving so he didn’t actually have a choice). Texas – a daughter’s account
I have to admit – while hoping he never reads this – that the museum was cool. Aside from a few small hiccups, like the fact that it was 100 degrees Fahrenheit outside so we kept almost burning ourselves on the car door and the apparently talking toilet (a hallucination of my father’s – read his blog), we made it there with ease. From the outside, the museum signaled its content with giant brass-colored Buffalo statues at the top of telephone-height poles so they could be seen over the building. The building itself was more plain from the outside. But, inside it had technology I have not seen replicated in NY or DC or anywhere else. Texas – a daughter’s account
First, we went into a dome movie theater. A show played on the ceiling and walls, all around you. Frontiersmen and Indians fought, arrows flying through us from one wall to the next. Some old western dick developed a rifle and killed all the buffalos. (My dad and I spent the rest of the trip looking for buffalos and were nearly convinced they were truly extinct). And the native Americans were all but decimated by white progress. All the while, my dad and I whipped around on our stump-like wooden seats, trying to take in the action. Texas – a daughter’s account
After the theater, we passed into the main museum, which housed a handful of holograms telling their stories. There was a bar man, a bounty hunter (or whatever they would have called a bounty hunter in the Wild West), and a handful of others. Mind you, while very impressive devices, these holograms were set up in booths reminiscent of a high-walled skeeball machine or maybe an arcade basketball game. While very lifelike in the animations, most people would not have confused them with real humans locked in a weirdly shaped stall. Texas – a daughter’s account
My father, god bless him, is not most people. He, like Jason in our book (spoiler! Read it yourself to see.), was convinced the holograms were more than displays. He kept trying to talk to them. Let me just say, I am glad we were the only visitors. I imagine the man working the front desk either got a kick out of us or had his finger closely hovering over the panic button – probably both. Texas – a daughter’s account
Once we’d made our way through the holograms and displays full of guns that could have killed the last Buffalo, we were off to the Dr. Seuss park! Texas – a daughter’s account
“It’s too hot,” said my dad. “I just had gum surgery and I’m tired. We have another drive tomorrow. Please just take us back to the hotel.”
But we had seen his attraction and I wanted to see mine. I offered to drop him off at the hotel but he said I couldn’t go without him (for those of you just joining this ride, my father has been notoriously overprotective – out of love – for my entire life), so off we went. Did I mention I was driving? Texas – a daughter’s account
The Dr. Seuss park was incredible. There were probably 20 statues and – for the first time in Abilene – at least 5 or 6 other people. For anyone who remembers the summer of Pokémon Go, this was that same summer and apparently the park was a “Pokémon gym” so most of them were wandering around with their phones in the air like zombies, but still, people! Texas – a daughter’s account
We saw Horton and the stack of turtles, the cat in the hat, the grinch, and many more. I made my dad take pictures and pose for them (he only agreed because no one was looking up long enough to notice). And, to top it off, the sun was starting to set so it was lowering into the mid-nineties, practically picnic weather. Texas – a daughter’s account
My dad might not admit it, but he enjoyed it too. Eventually, we headed back to the hotel for a good night’s rest before another day of driving.
Tune back in next week for my dad’s depiction of El Paso. And, if you’re enjoying our back and forth, sign up for a sample of Murder by Road Trip or buy the book by going to https://johnjjessop.com or https://amzn.to/2HauHCg in order to see how well we collaborate on a whole novel.
If this is your first road-trip by-father-daughter blog, head back to the beginning at https://johnjjessop.com/whodunit-blog to see how we got here. Also, check back for my next post in two weeks (or my dad’s in one).