Checking in from Grand Prairie, TX … Busy last few days. On Wednesday, May 23, I walked across beautiful Lake Tawakoni, and we parked the RV at Alliance Bank on the outskirts of Rockwall. We were parked right in front of the bank and that generated some attention to our journey. On Thursday morning, we were greeted by reporters from both a local newspaper and an area fitness magazine (Susan Tiner with Living Fit-Dallas) for interviews. They had seen the signage on the RV and had checked out our website. Our goal of promoting heart health through exercise was a shared interest with both publications. The exposure is great—hope it motivates others and moves many to contribute to the American Heart Association. Thanks to Corky Randolph and his staff at Alliance Bank for their kindness and generosity. On Thursday, I walked only in the morning to the eastern shore of Lake Ray Hubbard as our next RV stop at Texas Brand Bank in Garland had several scheduled activities. Larry Tonroy was our host and really had arranged a warm reception in his city. A photo journalist, Linda Jaresh, with “Around Garland” conducted an interview and then Brenda and I were escorted to a welcoming ceremony on the square in the center of the city. Mayor Ronald Jones presented gifts and a proclamation celebrating Heart Trek USA. About 25 people, including Paul Mayer and several of his staff at the Garland Chamber of Commerce, were present and were very interested in my walk. Mayor Jones made sure that I was aware that Garland is the eighth largest city in Texas and the 83rd largest in the country and is home to several national companies. Garland is the “hat capital of the world” and is where Resistol, Stetson, Dobbs and Charlie I Horse hats are made along with numerous brands manufactured at the huge Milano Hat Company. It’s a small world, at the presentation we met Priscilla Wilson, originally from Sanford, NC and a NCSU graduate, who was one of the City’s personnel to come out to welcome us.
In the early evening, Larry and his wife Janice gave us a whirlwind tour of Garland and Dallas followed by a wonderful dinner at El Fenix, a fixture in downtown Dallas for over 65 years. Both Brenda and I felt the food was without a doubt the best Tex-Mex we had ever eaten. We recommend the sour cream chicken enchiladas and the pan-seared fish tacos. Of the sights in town, I loved the bronze trail drive sculptures at Pioneer Plaza, and Brenda liked the thousand fountains area. The new high-tech bridge in Dallas is also spectacular. Larry, Janice and the staff at Texas Brand Bank could not have been more helpful, generous and accommodating. Thanks to all our new friends.
Friday, was again a morning walk of 15 miles as we prepared to relocate our RV all the way across Dallas to an RV park in Grand Prairie. My walk crossed Lake Ray Hubbard at Rockwall and crossed both Rowlett and Garland. The highlight of the day for me was a surprise call from an old friend, Billy Walton (see inset), from high school days. Billy joined me on my walk for a mile or so as we caught up on our respective lives and shared some old memories.
Later in the day, a lady named Jessica asked me to make an appearance at a health and fitness field day at Kimberlin Academy for Excellence. We were greeted by Coach Marcia and scores of kids getting exercise and having fun. After our long trip to Grand Prairie, we treated ourselves to Texas barbeque, aka beef brisket, at Sonny Bryan’s which dates back over 100 years.
Over the Memorial Holiday weekend (please look back to an earlier blog about the start of Memorial Day in Columbus, Mississippi), I’ll make my way across Dallas walking and seeing more of the sights. Next Tuesday Brenda and I will participate in an event at the national headquarters of the American Heart Association, and I’ll be part of a nationwide webcast about heart health and my trip. Then it’s on to Fort Worth where Omni American Bank has done an outstanding job of promoting my walk through the area. Be sure to check out their website at www.OmniAmerican.com.
Here is the projected schedule through Memorial Day: Saturday, May 26 … Garland to the Park Cities Sunday, May 27 … to the downtown Dallas Arts District Monday, May 28 … toward Grand Prairie Don’t forget to honor our fallen heroes on Memorial Day!