“White Tank” – What Do Those Words Bring to Mind?

Did a white propane gas tank come to mind?  How about a white military tank?  A hot water heater tank?  Well, our last adventure involved the words “White Tank.”

Last Saturday, Feb. 17th, we took a little day trip to White Tank Mountain Regional Park in Waddell, Arizona (I bet a mountain didn’t pop into your mind with the words “White Tank,” did it?).  It was about a thirty minute drive, and it was well worth it.

This park is just over 29,200 acres of desert and mountain landscape and encompasses most of the White Tank Mountains.  The park has picnic areas, campgrounds (tent and RV camping) with restroom facilities equipped with showers, and an extensive network of hiking trails (almost 26 miles of trails!).  Bicycling and horseback riding are permitted on many of the trails (BYOBAH: Bring Your Own Bicycle And Horse).  Here are just a few photos of the beautiful landscape.

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One of the reasons we chose last Saturday to go to this park is that they were having an arts and crafts festival.  Needless to say, the attendance at the park that day was WAY up from a normal Saturday.  The festival was unique and had a lot of interesting booths.  We enjoyed looking at all the unique and spectacular craftsmanship at each booth, and there were A LOT of booths!

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The iron craftsmanship on these wall hangings and statues was absolutely amazing!

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The horse standing in the foreground was beautiful (this photo does not do it justice).

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This shows a really unique way to display a horseshoe from your favorite horse or any horseshoe for that matter.

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Just on the edge of the rows of booths at the arts and crafts fair was this REALLY BIG cactus.  These are called Giant Saguaro and is the most fascinating plant of the Sonoran Desert.  It has a tough, waxy skin that is pleated and a woody skeleton inside the plant.  These mesmerizing plants can grow to 40 feet or more.  The saguaro blossom, which appear in April through June (so we didn’t get see any), is the state wildflower of Arizona.  They are white with a pale yellow center that has  numerous stamens.  The blossoms open well after sunset and close in mid afternoon.  Our friends, Dennis, Mary Ann, and Charlie, are in this photo with Jack, Zoey, and myself. That is one BIG cactus!

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At the entrance to White Tank Mountain Regional Park is a beautiful library and nature center built in 2010.  This 29,000 square foot, LEED-certified building  (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) features a large, panoramic viewing area of the park.  The nature center includes live native reptiles, an information center, and a gift shop.  It also has numerous educational programs for children of all ages.  Imagine doing your homework, working on a computer, or just sitting and reading in this lovely environment looking out at such a wonderful and relaxing view!

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We had a wonderful day enjoying the beauty of God’s creation at White Tank Mountain Regional Park.  When we returned to the RV camp and after we ate our supper, we were blessed by a gorgeous sunset through our RV windshield!

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God’s paint strokes are sure beautiful, aren’t they?!

So for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

Fun Day Monday!

Before I tell you about the FUN DAY we had on MONDAY, I’ll give you quick overview of our super busy Tuesday:

Tuesday, November 28, was a day of chores.  We found a DIY doggie wash, so we took our little Miss Zoey there and gave her a bath.  We always gave her baths when we were living in a house, but in the RV, it’s a lot more difficult.  Anyway, she did fine and everyone there thought she was SO cute.  When we got home, we grabbed a quick sandwich and some fruit for lunch.

Then it was off to the laundromat to do laundry.  On the way home from the laundromat, we stoppped by the local grocery store and bought a couple of steaks.  After that, back at the RV, we set up outside (temperature that afternoon was around 74 degrees ☺️) and I groomed Zoey.  I used the clippers to trim her body hair and my new dog scissors to trim around her paws, tail, and ears.  Her face is another story.  She HATES the scissors coming close to her face; mainly she hates it when they come close to her eyes (I can’t say I blame her).  She usually fights Jack and me pretty hard, but today she wasn’t too bad.  I’m not as good as Miss Frankie at Pretty Paws Parlor in Bloomfield, MO, but here’s a picture of her after her hair cut:

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After all that, we put away the laundry, put the sheets back on the bed, and fixed supper.  We had grilled steaks, baked potatoes, and salad.  The steaks were delicious!  Jack just HAD to take a picture and text it to some friends of ours.

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Now ……  FOR OUR FUNDAY MONDAY ADVENTURE!

Monday morning we drove a little over an hour to Plano, TX.  We had a special place we wanted to visit.  This place is known worldwide and has a unique place in the entertainment culture of this country, as well as many countries around the world.  This TV show is notorious for one of the biggest “cliff hangers” ever, and everyone was talking about that cliff hanger all summer long —  in reality they kept us in suspense for EIGHT long agonizing months until the fourth episode of the fourth season!  Here’s a little hint:

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YEP!  You guessed it!  We visited Southfork Ranch where all the outside scenes of the TV show DALLAS were shot!

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It is a beautiful ranch even in the late fall/winter when the grass is brown.  I can only imagine how beautiful it would be in the springtime when the grass is green.  There are several barns, smaller houses, pastures, and the rodeo area where they shot all the rodeo scenes when Dusty Farlow and Sue Ellen were together.

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I won’t bore you with ALL the outside pictures I took (Believe me! It was A LOT!).  Here’s something I didn’t know:  This is not the original house/ranch that the first five episodes were filmed at.  The series was only supposed to be five episodes long; like a little weekly mini-series beginning on April 2, 1978.  By the fifth week, the show ranked in the top ten of the week’s most watched shows.  The producers and “big wigs” at CBS decided to approve thirteen more scripts and Season One began the next full season.  When the owners of the original ranch where they were filmed the first three episodes were approached about extending the filming at their home into a regular series, they said “No.”  I bet they regret that decision now!  The producers were forced to find another ranch in the Dallas area.  They used a helicopter to do an aerial search and eventually found Southfork (that’s where they got the idea for the helicopter flying around for the opening of the show!).  The show ran for thirteen years, and, as they say….”The rest is entertainment history!”

The house was built by Joe Duncan and his wife in 1970 and was named Duncan Acres.  Their plan was to raise quarter horses on the ranch which was originally 200 acres.  The house they built was 5,900 sq. ft. with a 957 sq. ft. enclosed garage. Exterior scenes for the show were shot at the ranch from 1978 to 1989,  The agreement was that the Duncans would remain living in their home and interior scenes would be shot back at studio sets in L.A.  The show became so popular, and one day during an interview, a talk show host let slip the location of the ranch.  Soon after that Mrs. Duncan came home to people unknown to her swimming in her pool, paparazzi all around, and their lives changed forever.  An investor (I don’t remember the man’s name) bought the ranch and turned it into a tourist attraction.  He eventually went broke and had to sell it.  A dear friend of Linda Gray’s (she played Sue Ellen) purchased the ranch. It is not only a tourist attraction now but an event center as well.  In 1989 the show’s production shifted entirely to the studio sets built in California.

The inside of the house is nothing like the inside we saw on the television series.  Although the house is big (5,900 sq. ft.), it is not as big as the studio sets of the interior of the house led the viewers to believe.  However, it is a very eloquent house in it’s own right.  Here are a few pictures of the interior (the house is now decorated for Christmas):

The dining room:

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Miss Ellie’s kitchen:

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The living room:

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The bar just off the living room:

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Miss Lucy’s bedroom:

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Bobby and Pam’s bedroom:

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And believe it or not, there is only ONE bedroom upstairs in this house.  The TV series led us to believe all the bedrooms were upstairs.  When the Duncans built the house the only bedroom upstairs was the master bedroom and master bathroom.  So this is the upstairs bedroom – technically JR’s bedroom:

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The master bathroom was gorgeous but my pictures aren’t very good and I guess I didn’t take enough of them.  Mrs. Duncan was short, so her sink was lower than Mr. Duncan’s.  Back in 1970 they were one of the first to have two shower heads in their walk-in shower.  They each had their own toilet rooms (because Mrs. Duncan did NOT like Mr. Duncan leaving the toilet seat up!), and hers even had a bidet.  I’m just sorry I didn’t get more pics of the bathroom.

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This is the view from the balcony off the master bedroom upstairs.

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The front door/entryway and staircase:

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There is another bedroom downstairs that I haven’t told you about yet.  Down the hall after Lucy’s and Bobby’s bedrooms, on the left there is another bedroom.  The hall was painted a very dark gray and this bedroom was used to film a scene in the reboot series of DALLAS that ran from 2012 to 2014.  If you were a DALLAS fan, you’ll remember the scene in Mexico where JR set up his murder.  That Mexican hotel room scene was set up at Southfork and filmed here.  If you look closely, you can see the outline of JR’s body on the floor.  Here is that bedroom:

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At the ranch, they even had the actual car that the character Jock Ewing drove in the show preserved in a plexiglass storage garage:

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I have more pictures but don’t want to bore you.  I will tell you that the museum was also very interesting with lots of memorabilia from the show, videos running of cast interviews, scripts signed by cast members, the saddles they used when riding horses on the show, and much, much more.  Here are a few pictures of the museum:

Of course, they had life-sized cardboard pictures of the main characters:

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The saddles (from closest to farthest away): Larry Hagman’s, Linda Gray’s, Patrick Duffy’s and Victoria Principal’s:

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And, finally, the “piece de resistance” is ………..

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YEP!!  The actual stage gun used by the character Kristen to shoot JR at the end of Season 3 for one of the most jaw-dropping, “who done it” cliffhangers in television history!  Did you know that ALL cast members were filmed shooting JR so that they would not even know who shot JR until the episode aired?

There is so much more to this tour, but you will just have to come down to Texas and see Southfork and hear all about it yourself.  You are allowed to walk all around the ranch and spend as much time as you like.  They even have horse rides around the ranch that you can take, but we didn’t have that much time and you have to make a reservation in advance.  We had a great time touring Southfork and the weather was a little windy but absolutely beautiful.

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So for now …… “On The Road Again!”

Betty

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