A Focus On Travel………….#109 (the 60’s)

Welcome to Texas

Welcome to Texas

.  It was late afternoon,  the 1961 English 39 horsepower Triumph Herald Sedan was directed south towards Dallas,  seated beside Gary in the small arrayed transport was Glenn Froman. Booking agent Ruth Sallee having acquainted the Untouchables to a parade of financially charged engagements, the most prominent  being Military Installations.   Although unable to post the group outside of Oklahoma,  she nurtured a list of contacts with many of the uniformed establishments determined in west Texas  and encouraged the exemplary musicians to explore the ramifications.  The two musicians having decided to initiate their pursuit of appropriation in Dallas before striking westward.   It wasn’t the best of decisions to drive the Triumph on this prolonged expedition,  considering the early summer temperatures in Texas, especially without  air conditioning,  but the economics of the four cylinders was a factor.   The Dallas city limits finding the two struggling with the city map,  attempting to locate prospective opportunity facilities.   Completing their prospectus with a final stop,  discovering a familiar group performing, the Night Beats.   A visit with the members of the band confirming what the two had ascertained,  unlike Oklahoma City,  the night-club circuit was closed to engaging diverse nightly entertainment,  preferring to employ a steady house band.  The Dallas initiative proving interesting but uneventful.

A remaining autocourt from an ealier era

A remaining autocourt from an ealier era

.  The two musicians realized they were in trouble  when they passed the same Dallas landmark for the  second time,  finally deciphering the meaning of the word loop when posted on a highway sign.   The late hour entertaining a discussion about lodging for the night, the two already having exit Fort Worth on highway 108,  traversing  their way to Abilene.   Gary suggesting they stop at the first available accommodation  considering  it would be another 2 1/2 hours before reaching Abilene having no desire to prosper after 3:00 a.m. in the morning;.   A compendious time later the two discovering a sign posting an auto-court ahead, upon approaching they viewed a closed roadside cafe-station and  a row of small individual cabins residing adjacent to the highway with      the illuminated presence of a sign designating an office.   The facility wasn’t a motel,  but resembled the cabins portrayed from the grapes of wrath era, the ringing of a door bell arousing the manager.   Inside their one one-room edifice were two inner-spring mattress laden beds resting on a very uneven wooden floor,  adjoining was a bathroom with a wall fastened sink and toilet.  The weary travelers calling it a night when the room began to shake similar to an earthquake, the startled two sitting up in bed, awaken from their slumber.  It was a deja vu moment,  for some reason Gary remembered a  “I Love Lucy”  episode where the Ricardo’s  and Mertz’s stayed at a motel and every time a train passed,  the furniture would shake.   True to the television series,  every time a 18 wheeler on the highway would pass the room and   beds would  shake.   The two musicians didn’t repose well that night.

Traveling thru West Texas

Traveling thru West Texas

Main Gate entering Dyess Air Force Base

Main Gate entering Dyess Air Force Base

.  A late start finding the two once again proceeding to Abilene and an introduction to Dyess Air Force Base.   On arrival the MP’s at the main gate directing the musicians to office of  the Post Information Office who in turn explained the Service,  NCO, and Officers Club managers booked their entertainment .   The afternoon meeting with the respective managers was successful with  three-days of bookings,  Thursday at the Service Club,  Friday the NCO and Saturday the Officers Club.  The engagements would commence in three weeks and if satisfactory could repeat again in the upcoming months.  Their first assignment accomplished,  San  Angelo and Goodfellow Air Force Base,  a two-hour southwest journey was the next objective.

A unbelievable sight

An unbelievable sight

.  An hour southwest of Abilene on 277,  the afternoon attaining lateness,  the sun dipping lower on horizon casting shadows on the rising rolling mesquite covered hills.  The two musicians both noticing some sort of small dark patches blanketing the highway ahead,  Gary immediately slowing the car almost to a halt.  Before them  was the most unbelievable sight  he or Glenn had ever come upon.   Traversing the road were hundred of the largest tarantula spiders the two have ever seen, their size encompassing over six inches in diameter  if not larger, the arachnids were not scurrying in all directions,  but were focused on their goal all traveling in the same direction across the roadway.  Gary finally stopping the car to give testimony to this incredible event,  regretting not entertaining a camera to document this once in  a lifetime experience.

San Angelo - Goodfellows Air Force Base

San Angelo – Goodfellows Air Force Base

.  A good nights rest in San Angelo, the morning  discovering booking success anointing the two at Goodfellow Air Force Base.   Upon conclusion,  it was passage Northwest to Big Springs and the opportunity of  Webb Air Force Base.   Webb presenting a problem,  a Thursday at the Service Club and a Friday night  at the NCO Club was available,  but the Officers Club was previously booked  for Saturday Nights.  The NCO club manager suggesting they might be accorded in Midland,  a booming oil town thirty minutes from Big Springs, the NCO also mentioning  the Whiskey-A-Go-Go  at the Midland Country Club.  The Midland Country Club was luxurious beyond imagination, upon entering the foyer of the large complex you were greeted with a decorative lighted large rock  pond, only instead of the usual gold-fish this rock pond enclosure was host to small alligators.  The Whiskey-A-Go-Go Club was encompassed the second floor, the entrance hewed with glass walls.  The two inquiring and directed to the Managers office of this Pavillion size country club, the manager saying that he didn’t book the entertainment for the Whiskey A-Go-Go, but it was his understanding that they were all booked up.  Glenn relating the bands situation at Webb about having a Saturday night free, the manager cordially mentioned that the country club formal ballroom engaged  entertainment on a Saturday Nights.   Their timing paid off,  with the addition of the Midland Country Club Ballroom,  Gary and Glen were successful in fulfilling their three night combination for the Big Springs area.

Webb AFB - Big Springs

Webb AFB – Big Springs

.  A restful night in Midland,  the Triumph preparing for the 10 hour return to Oklahoma City, the two occupants satisfied with their accomplishments.  Gary concluding,  if the Room shaking experience at the auto-court and the road crossing tarantula encounter was any indication of Texas,  the age-old appellation “Wild West”  was apropos.
.  The financial compensation from the United States Air Forces  in Texas more than made up for the effort and time consuming journey, but unusual circumstances did arise.  A trip to Abilene,  Gary driving his 63 Comet with Glenn aboard, the band equipment all stowed with the exception Jerry’s and Larry’s instruments, the two following in Jerry’s Ford.  Having left Oklahoma City in morning Gary’s Comet leading the two car caravan, but once crossing into Texas, the cars becoming separated.  Gary and Glenn arriving at Dyess at 6:30 p.m., the two surveying the bandstand in no hurry to unload the equipment deciding to wait on the trailing Jerry and Larry.  About 7:30 Gary and Glenn beginning to have a concerns about the two being late and the possibility of Jerry having car trouble.  With their concern growing,  having set-up the band equipment,  they inquired at the bar about being paged for any phone calls.   Thirty minutes before starting time in walks Jerry and Larry, the two relating a movie scripted incident.  Unknowingly,  after stopping for gas, they somehow managed to get turn around and on the wrong highway leaving town and then were pulled over for a violation.  When the local representative of the law asked where the came from and  where they were headed, it was then that they discovered they were going in the wrong directions. The suspicious Officer telling the two to follow him back to town for an appearance before the Justice of the Peace.   Arriving at the small rural city hall & police station, the two being told to sit and wait until the Justice of the Peace could be located.  Two hours late the justice of the peace arrived,  the officer returning Jerry’s wallet that have been conveniently confiscated, the two standing as the justice issued a fine that for some strange reason corresponded to the amount that was in the billfold.  Gary was certain the event was scripted and it was Jerry and Larrys turn to star in the role.



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