Sunday, October 31, 2010

Sound the Trumpets!

We are one day away from reaching our final destination of Mesa, Arizona. Da, da, da, DA!! Sound the trumpets!

It has been a long and arduous trip! It will be nice to stay in one place for awhile. This is our home away from home; we spend just about half the year here. It will be nice to see all our old friends again.

But back to our road trip. After we left Dorothy and OZ, we didn't have a bit of trouble. In a blink of an eye we were in Oklahoma.

And in another blink, we entered into Texas.

It's not that my husband decided to put the metal to the pedal. Oh no. It's just that Oz is located right near the border of the Oklahoma panhandle. We only had to drive about an inch on the map, maybe 20 or so miles? till we crossed into Texas.

Then New Mexico. Three states in one day! Wow!

We spent a night in Tucumcari, New Mexico. I won't post any photos of the town; I didn't take any this time around. In fact, we didn't even unhook the trailer. I'll save Tucumcari as my next Flashback Friday.

Onward to Albuquerque where we settled for a couple of days to do some housekeeping like laundry and grocery shopping. I wanted to meet up with Becky, from Becky's Blog, but between her work schedule and our delay in getting in Albuquerque later in the week, it just didn't work out. Sorry, Becky!

I saw this abandoned house on the way to Albuquerque. It looks so desolate out there, doesn't it?

We were bombarded with billboards, ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ROAD, for the Flying C Ranch, a touristy place along the way.

I tend to frown upon these kind of establishments, but I had to pee, and I was hungry, so we stopped for lunch. It was definitely a tourist trap, with lots of souvenirs an such, and how about a stuffed buffalo, for the mere price of $19,999.99?

You could also buy an Indian blanket or poncho....

Or how about a cowhide rug for $399?

Heck, you could buy anything you wanted. Just look at some of the stuff available here!

This morning I thought we'd be on the road by 9:15 the latest, but Jim got caught up in checking the air in all the tires (12! Six on the truck, six on the trailer) and filling two low ones. I had an interesting conversation with a man who had spent 10 years living on a boat with his wife off the coast of South America! Can you imagine that? I asked him if he had had any trouble with pirates and he said no, but friends of his did. Wow. Anyway, now they are full-time RVing. They just changed their way of living from on the water to land!

We finally got on the road about 10:00 am and within a couple of minutes heard a lot of sirens and then saw several police cars on the side of the road while two more zoomed past us. When we passed the scene I saw one vehicle pulled over with a man standing there, while the police were walking around him carrying their RIFLES. YIKES! Excitement galore!

Then I saw a semi-truck with a flatbed carrying the whole front end of a JET AIRPLANE. Seriously. By the time the picture computed in my pea brain, the truck was past us and I didn't even get my camera off of my lap. I guess seeing an airplane going down the highway just didn't make sense to me!

Saw this billboard and thought, yeah baby, after this trip, I need it!

Easy for you to say. Try pronouncing this town's name. Must be Navajo.

Typical scene out west.

Talk about being between a rock and a hard about driving between one?

This next picture was taken on the fly as we were driving by the San José De La Laguna Mission. The plaque on the side of the road reads, "The picturesque mission church of San José de la Laguna was built around 1706 by Fray Antonio Miranda and shows the single – aisle floor plan commonly used in pueblo churches. It has been repaired many times, and acquired its distinctive white stucco exterior in 1977. The church contains a beautiful and well-preserved altar screen made between 1800 and 1808 by a folk artist known only as the  'Laguna santero.' The interior walls are mud-plastered and white-washed, and the floor is made of packed earth. The handsome wooden ceiling is laid in a herringbone pattern."

A close-up

From a distance:

The mission is part of the Laguna Pueblo, founded in 1699.

Here's another funny billboard sign. Funny that it caught your attention, but it sure got it's point across!

How about this scenery?

So this truck passes us up and I read "Trophy Transport" and immediately think, "What, they're moving Trophy Wives?" Then I read the smaller print on the back of the truck: "The Premiere Big Game Shipping Experts", and I think, "Seriously? There's THAT many people who buy/want these honking big trophies hanging in their houses? Huh!"

One of the many things I like about Arizona and New Mexico, is that they like to decorate the outside. Like their bridges and on/off ramps. It's pretty cool. Well, here I saw this huge two-spouted jug on the side of the road.

We've seen a lot of trains these past few days, and what's really neat is that you can see the train from a long distance because the land is so flat. These trains are long, too!

Here's one....

Or how about this one?

Feast your eyes on these red rocks. This was just at an exit that we passed.

Before you knew it, we were in Arizona!

Okay so here's the thing. Before we get on the road, we always check the weather for our destination. There was a wind advisory for the whole Northeastern part of AZ. You know, RIGHT WHERE WE WERE HEADED. It said, "steady winds 25-30 mph, with gusts up to 40 mph" and recommended that "high profile" vehicles take caution.

I read that and I see a red light flashing, "WARNING!" "WARNING!" I think we should change our route.

My husband, however, does not.

"What's a little wind?" he says.

You KNOW what our road trip has been like so far.

But, he's driving so we don't pay attention to the wind advisory.

We had a head wind pretty much all the way to Arizona, but I'm telling you that the closer we got to the border, the more the wind picked up. Pretty soon we were seeing dust devils twirling alongside the road here and there.

Then this is the scene looking out of Jim's window.

That dust was blowing across the road. It looked like this.

Did I say, "I told you so?"

No,  but I wanted to.

Friday, October 29, 2010

I went to see the Wizard and, apparently left without a brain for me, and a heart for the Tin Man

Okay, as promised, here's the post about Dorothy's House and the Land of Oz.

But let me start this story with some background information. I tried to find the connection between Liberal, Kansas, where the "museum" is located, and the movie.

There is none.

No where in the movie does it state that Dorothy is from Liberal, Kansas. Nope. She's just from a small town IN Kansas.

But the town of Liberal decided to declare themselves Dorothy's hometown.

I thought that the "house" was the actual house that was used in the movie. In fact, I SWORE that I read that somewhere.

Apparently I was wrong. This is what the brochure read,

Follow the Yellow Brick Road. You will soon realize....5000 square feet of animated entertainment - good and bad witches, the Munchkins, talking trees, winged monkeys, and, of course, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and Toto, too. Oz memorabilia all along the Yellow Brick Road,  including the original model of Dorothy's house in the 1939 filming of "The Wizard of Oz".
Okay, what does that mean, exactly? I guess I'm stuck on the words "original model". Is it a model of the house used in the movie?

Jim opted to wait in the truck while I took the tour. I plunked down my $7.50 and waited for the tour guide, who was supposed to be dressed up like Dorothy, by the way, but she wasn't, find the keys. I think she was filling in for Dorothy.

We started the tour outside, following the yellow brick road. People could purchase a yellow brick, I think the amount was around $60. The Tour Guide or TG said that there were some movie stars, and pointed out Liza Minnelli's brick.

As you can see, the characters also had bricks on the yellow brick road.

President and Mrs. Reagan also purchased a couple of bricks, although they've never been to the exhibit.

Here is Dorothy's House.

This is "Auntie Em's" bedroom. I asked the TG if anything was authentic from the movie. Uh, no.

On Auntie Em's dresser was this interesting little item called a "hair receiver". Back in the day, every thing was a precious commodity. So after a woman was done brushing her hair, she would pull the hair that was clinging to the bristles and stuff them down the little hole in the top of the jar. The hair would collect in there. Women would make hair nets out of the hair, or cover a button with hair as a memento for a loved one.

This is the living room.

I have to say that at this point, the TG was saying things like, "and Dorothy would play things like..." and I'm thinking, "she DOES know that Dorothy is JUST a character, RIGHT?" I mean, it's one thing if she was dressed up as Dorothy AND there were kids on the tour, then she could say, "I would play with these toys, or this is Auntie Em's room." But if no kids were along, it seems like it would have been better to adjust the tour and say something like "This house is modeled after the one that was used in the movie. These items are typical from that period of time." It was just, well, AWKWARD.

Dorothy's room - notice the ruby slippers. Does this mean she wore them back to Kansas?

Here is a kitchen cabinet. I don't know the official term for this. The bottom drawer is lined in metal to store the flour. The counter was metal - easy to roll out dough.

This is an ice box - the top part holds the 25 pound block of ice. Supposedly this would only last a few hours.

This is a mustache cup. It's quite clever, actually, because back then men waxed their mustaches. When they drank their coffee, their mustache dipped in the coffee and the waxed melted. With this cup, the mustache "sits" on the ledge, preventing it from touching the hot liquid, and keeping the wax intact.

Oh how I would dread wash day if I had to wash the clothes like this! Wash by hand in the right basin, scrubbing on the washboard, rinsing, then put them through the ringer.

I should mention that right when the tour started, another woman joined us. She was in somewhat in a hurry (as was I). Her husband was also waiting for her in the car.

After the house tour we walked over to a large building called, "The Land of Oz". It is a 5,000 square foot building that tells the COMPLETE story of the Wizard of Oz.

Our TG proceeded to tell us the whole story, granted very fast, but sometimes in a baby voice. The other woman looked at me like, "You've GOT to be kidding me!"

I took pictures of some of the exhibits like when Dorothy ran away from home and ran into Professor Marvel:

Or when Dorothy's house crashes down on the Wicked Witch of the East and ends up in the Land of Oz.

Glinda, the good witch

The munchkins

The beginning of the yellow brick road.

Remember these three guys?

Remember, all the while the TG is telling the story! I wanted to say to her, "Look, we're both in a hurry. Can we just walk through the exhibit and skip the story?" Would that have been so bad?

We jump to the castle and flying monkeys. That's Toto hanging off of the drawbridge.

This was kind of cute - when the Wicked Witch of the West wrote in the sky.

Or when the guy says to knock on the door at the castle.

Remember when Dorothy walked down the big hallway to see the wizard?

The special effect of the floating wizard head at the end of the hall was pretty cool, but it was a hologram and the picture didn't turn out.

Here is the scene where the lion, tin man, scarecrow and Dorothy are all going to go home via the hot air balloon.

At the end is a room with a large display of memorabilia about the Wizard of Oz. Some of it was donated from the actual actors who portrayed the Munchkins.

Do you know how the author, L. Frank Baum, came up with the name of "Oz"? He was sitting at his  writing desk, and he looked over at his filing cabinet. He noticed the drawers, A-G, H-N, O-Z, and just took the dash out between the O and the Z. Wa-lah! "OZ"!

Did you also know that L. Frank Baum wrote 14 books in the Oz series, The Wonderful World of Oz being the first? Me neither!

This is the Tin Man statue outside. I gave Jim the nickname of The Tin Man because, at times, I feel he has no heart!

Here's the statue of Dorothy that stands outside of the house.

So. That's the big tour of Dorothy's House and the Land of Oz. I give it 2 stars out of 5. I think a tour guide can make or break a tour. This guide left a lot to be desired. The brochure said "animated". Doesn't that mean that things move, like in Disneyworld? I didn't see any characters move. Kids would probably enjoy this. Adults? Not so much. I read mixed reviews on this place.

I clicked my ruby slippers, oh who am I kidding, my fuzzy slippers, and I'm not in Kansas anymore. We are in New Mexico.