As of this morning, John and Tyler have bicycled 1884 miles. As of this afternoon John and Kipp have walked 280 miles.
From an RV park in eastern Arkansas that is filled with mature trees, we are listening to the birds singing their songs of spring. The weather is beautiful, and we will eat dinner at a picnic table outside. We are remembering our time in Texas with appreciation for kind and hospitable people, desert vistas, green hills, spring flowers, water towers and three wonderful Naturalization Ceremonies. One hundred seventy immigrants became citizens. Their Oath of Allegiance and joy were witnessed by hundreds of middle and high school students who had learned from the Citizenship Counts curriculum the rights and responsibilities of good citizenship and that we are a nation of immigrants.
During our time in Texas we were in the midst of miles of highway/freeway construction, acres of ranches and farmland, thousands of head of livestock, a number of small towns – some thriving, others declining – at least for now. We stayed in an RV park in West, Texas, where we had dinner in a Czech restaurant and learned that there are dozens of communities whose residents have immigrant roots in Czechoslovakia/the Czech Republic. This link will tell you much more: http://www.czechheritage.org/communities.html The opportunities for learning in Texas are endless.
We visited three cities all too briefly. Although we were in Austin for only a day, we felt the enthusiasm its residents have for their diverse community. In Dallas we felt the energy of a large city that is growing rapidly as is most of the state. The population of Texas increased by 20.6 per cent between the census of 2000 and that of 2010. In the College Station/Bryan area we enjoyed an RV park where the school bus stops for children whose families live full time in the peace and greenery of their surroundings and where the children seem to be having a wonderful time with each other.
In College Station we were on the spacious Texas A&M campus which is home to almost 50,000 students. A&M was Texas’ first institution of higher education, opening in 1876. It serves as the home of the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, which opened in 1997 and has attracted more than 2 million visitors. The Naturalization Ceremony in which Citizenship Counts participated and at which Gerda spoke was held at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center, which is part of the Bush School of Government and Public Service.
As we approached the eastern border of Texas, we stopped in Texarkana, a town of close to 40,000 residents. On the other side of the border is Texarkana, Arkansas, which has a population just above 30,000. Good friends of Citizenship Counts who live in Texarkana Texas, contacted the Texarkana Gazette, which sent a reporter and photographer to cover the story of Citizenship Counts and our Journey. On a very stormy night when the rain was pelting the roofs of our RV’s, we drove to the home of these very kind and hospitable friends, who welcomed us with a delicious dinner and their warm friendship. The evening was a perfect way to end our event-filled stay in Texas. We hope you will enjoy the photos below that will illustrate some of our moments in this state.