Photo album

 

Like a lot of y'all, we've preserved our memories of places and people with photographs.  We've got rows of photo albums and drawers full of photographs and we've decided to share some of the more interesting ones with you.  You can access any set of photos by clicking on the album cover below or from the drop-down menu on each page. 

And please remember, when we say "share," we're referring to viewing, not use.  If you want to use an image, please contact us for permission.

Palio--Sienna's Big Race

Jennifer had a great time in Sienna, Italy, over one summer.  She studied Italian at the University for Foreigners and toured the beautiful Tuscan countryside.. 

A high point was Palio.  It's a horse-race, but that's really just the excuse for the centuries-old event.  It's a contest between the old political divisions of this beautiful city steeped in tradition and pagentry. 

Texas Postcard

"So what is it about Texas anyway?" our Australian friend Amanda said to Sherry.  "This is the only place I've been where you see the state flag everywhere, not just in government places. 

" And what's with the stars!" The stars? That's easy, we're the Lone Star State. Texas really is "a whole other country."

We know we're lucky to live here, but the Texas State of Mind, doesn't suit everyone.   When someone told the Civil War General Phil Sheridan he could go to hell, the former military governor of Texas replied that he didn't need to because he'd already been to Texas.   Well, the feeling was certainly mutual. 

Amanda's thought of Texas as a vast expanses of sand dotted with cacti and sage.  She was sure that tumbleweeds drifted past our doors. 

Remember please that most of the old Westerns were filmed in California!  Some parts of West Texas do have the same look, but the state covers a variety of regions, from the coastal prairie where we live to the high plains of the Panhandle, the piney woods of the east to the tropical warmth of the Valley in the far south. 

Puerto Rico Postcard

Robert and Sherry had a wonderful stay in Puerto Rico several years ago. This album has a lot of photos, so it's broken into four sections, the Rainforest (which is on the main PR album page), the hotel, Fort El Morro, and Old San Juan. The latter three are linkend to the PR album home page or to the Sherob website home page.

We're very sorry to discover that the two lovely Hyatt hotels are now closed. Hyatt apparently still operates a facility there but it's different from their hotels. The golf courses are fabulous and so is the beach.

Postcard of Forbidden Gardens

The first Chinese Emperor Qin Shihuangdi was responsible for uniting China, and the country takes its name from him, since Qin is pronounced like "chin" in English.  He wasn't a person do do things by halves. His most remarkable building is visible from space--the Great Wall of China.

His burial preparations were on the same grand scale. He had over 8000 statues made from kiln-fired terra cotta.   Each is a unique portrait of one of his soldiers.  They vary in build, facial expression, size, and position.  Even the horses are different. Inside trenches, they are armed and aligned in formation by rank, just as they might be for a real battle. 

The Terra Cotta Army lay buried for over two thousand years, until some peasants digging a well stumbled into one of the archeological finds of the century.  Excavations continue today, although the actual tomb hasn't yet been found.

Most people will only be able to see this marvel in photos, but tucked away in Houston is a little piece of China that makes the marvelous real--The Forbidden Gardens.

Located just west of Houston off I-10 West is a 4 acre site that offers a glimpse into China's past.  The Terra Cotta Army is present in scale model with enough rendered in life size to give visitors an idea of the scope of the tomb.

Inside the park's courtyard are exhibits showing vignettes of life in ancient China, including the Emporer's sedan chair, clothes, and typical meal service.  There's even a scale model of a more modern city as well as a scale model of the Forbidden City in Beijing.

Guided tours are available.  A small gift shop and refreshment stand is available, but it's only open on weekends.  It's well worth a trip.  Maybe soon, you'll be able to see a model of the Great Wall as well!

Sherry went to the World Dog Show in Mexico City and Meredith went with her to help translate. They went to the Museum of Anthropology together and spent a wonderful afternoon at Casa Azul, Frida Kahlo's house. Meredith went to Teotihuacan with a tour.

Postcard of Arizona and New Mexico

Each summer that Meredith attended Whittier, she and Sherry would drive back and forth. Sometimes, they'd take Interstate 10 all the way from Houston to Whittier. Other times, they'd take Interstate 8 which runs from San Diego to Tuscon where it joins 10.

A mixture of mountains and desert, the views are panoramic and the rock formations are unusual. Sunsets are spectacular. You can see some of them here, including Texas Canyon which isn't in Texas at all, but Arizona.

The Butterfield stage passed through the canyon which was also part of the Chiricahua Apache range. Cochise's stronghold was located very nearby in the Dragoon Mountains.

Today, its a welcome stop through the long stretch of desert. A lot of cars are always parked at the rest area, and people clamber about the rocks and, just like us, take lots of pictures.

The Thing

Once you leave the Texas Hill Country, the landscape along I-10 is pretty much some kind of desert spotted with sagebrush. El Paso, Las Cruces, Tuscon, and Phoenix are far apart, and in between, there's not a lot to look at and very few places to stop.

So, the billboards for The Thing really stand out! They say, "Don't Miss The Thing" or "What is the Thing" and they appear every few hundred miles on either side of The Thing. Just in case you're devoid of curiosity about The Thing, there are signs to remind you that "You've missed The Thing" so you can make plans to stop there on the return trip.

The first time Sherry and Meredith went from Houston to LA, they felt obligated to stop and find out exactly what The Thing was. This very effective roadside attraction was the creation of a Maricopa County attorney named Thomas Binkley Prince.

According to Wikipedia, he was born in Texas in 1913, but grew up in California until attending both Arizona State University and the University of Arizona College of Law.

He practiced law in Phoenix, served briefly as a prosecutor for the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, then worked for a Seattle law firm during World War II where he also ran a pool hall.

"In the 1950s, Prince and his wife Janet opened their first Thing? roadside attraction and curio shop on Highway 91 between Barstow and Baker, until the expansion of the road into an interstate brought about the loss of the building. In 1965 the Prince family packed up The Thing? and moved to the current location. A heart condition and several strokes led to Prince's death in 1969 at the age of 56.

Syndicated columnist Stan Delaplane traced The Thing? back to 1950. Janet Prince, who later moved to Baltimore, was interviewed by Delaplane in 1956 and told him, "Man came through here about six years ago. He had three of them he got somewhere. He was selling them for $50." Today, the attraction is operated by an Albuquerque-based company, Bowlins, Inc., which owns several roadside trading posts throughout the Southwest." (Wikipedia)

It has fast-food franchises, welcome rest-rooms, a huge assortment of touristy items that range from Native American craft to the Chinese equivalent of Velvet Elvis's, and the--what to call it?--museum? that houses the Thing and an assortment of stuff, some of which is kinda interesting.

Patton Museum Postcard

In January of 1942, the British were hard-pressed to hold Egypt.  The American military began preparations for a desert campaign, and as part of them, Major General George S. Patton, Jr. received orders to establish a Desert Training Center to prepare American soldiers for desert combat. 

He chose about 18,000 sq. miles in the Salton Sea area of the Sonoran desert which the army named Camp Young.  Covering land in Arizona and Califronia, this is the hottest, harshest desert in the US.  The troops stationed there referred to it as the "place God forgot.' 

Over the years, more than a million troops in seven armored and thirteen infantry divisions trained at this desolate, remote post. It served them well.  Patton explained, "If you can work successfully here, in this country, it will be no difficulty at all to kill the assorted sons of bitches you  meet in any other country." 

He trained with his men before he left to assume his North African command, and while his wife stayed at a nearby hotel, he lived under the same conditions as his men.  Accomodations were tents with no electricity or water.  They didn't even have sheets for their cots.

Training began immediately upon arrival, and within a month, everyone could run a mile in 10 minutes with a full pack and rifle. Having this kind of training gave US troops a decided edge in the African Theater.

In Nov. 1988, a museum honoring the men who trained here and their initial commander, General Patton.  Called The George S. Patton Memorial Museum, it is located just off I-10 about 30 miles east of the town of Indio in California. 

Outside, various tanks are on display and inside are exhibits and memorabilia from Patton's life and career.  Also donated to the museum is a topographical map of Southern California that weighs about 5 tons, built for the Colorado Aqueduct. 

Although many groups trained there, Sherry chose the 2nd Armored Division emblem for this collage because her father served in it.  

Tombstone Az Postcard

What's a perfect vacation?  For the Wallis women, it's driving along and stopping whenever and wherever you see something you want to investigate.  This is Robert's idea of hell. 

Meredith and Sherry discovered the Patton Museum this way on a trip back from LA to Houston.  Another time, they took a shortcut from LA to I-8 and discovered the Great Southern Stagecoach Route.  In the mid-1800s, the Butterfield Stage traveled this route across the Sonoron Desert into the Colorado dessert of southern California.  We don't have any pictures, because all you'd see is sand.

On another trip, we saw an exit for the town of Tombstone and decided to take it.  When Sherry was a child, a popular TV show was set in Tombstone.  It opened with a shot of the newspaper office, the Tombstone Epitaph and it's slogan, The Town Too Tough To Die.  So, this was a good chance to check out the real thing.

 That week, "Tombstone Days" were being celebrated and people were dressed up in some version of period dress and the town was quite crowded with tourists as well as people acting out bar and gun fights.

Clearly, Tombstone survives on tourism, so it's not inaccurate to say it's a tourist trap, but it's not an unpleasant one. We thoroughly enjoyed our day. On bit of advice, though, if you decide to go to the gunfight show in the outside ampitheater, be sure you have sunscreen.  A parasol would help as well, because in the summer, Tombstone is HOT!

   
©1995-2007 Sherry E. Wallis, except where items are used with permission.  Please remember that material on a website is available for public viewing but not for public use.  If you want to use something from a Website that falls outside the "fair use" rules, you must secure the written permission of the copyright owner.