Uvalde Day 11: Briscoe-Garner Museum, Crazy Pilots, and a Flat Tire

Today I found out why nearly every thing in this town has the name Garner in it, I found out that the jack on a Honda Pilot is terrible, and got to witness a pretty crazy bunch of landings. Sounds like a very normal day in my life, no?

I woke up this morning feeling very refreshed, and like I had a very solid nights rest. Maybe it was because of the Benedryl that I took earlier, maybe not. Either way I was ready to start the day! We had to put the glider together today, which was a pain, but it went together fine, and we got back in time for breakfast. Being able to have such a wonderful breakfast every morning is something I will miss when I leave this Bed and Breakfast, I must admit.

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I hate to keep saying everyday “we went to the pilots meeting, gridded, and launched like normal” but that is what keeps happening about every day. Once they had gotten into the air, I decided to finally visit the Briscoe-Garner Museum. This museum was once home to our 32nd vice president, John Nancy Garner, or as the locals know hims as “Cactus Jack”. He was vice president from 1933-1941, when he had to resign because of a disagreement and lack of unification with the current president at the time, FDR.

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“Cactus Jack” became a local legend, and in 1952 donated the house to the city of Uvalde, which then passed ownership to the University of Texas in 1999. The entire lower floor is dedicated to the life and accomplishments of John Garner, while the upper floor is dedicated to Dolph Briscoe. Dolph Briscoe was elected Governor of Texas in 1972, and during these times he helped guide the state down the right path during its massive oil boom. In 2011, the University of Texas renamed what was once the John Nancy Garner museum into the Briscoe-Garner Museum.

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The museum was very well up kept, there were plenty of exhibits to see, and enough information to keep me there for over 2 hours. The very kind lady at the reception was helpful whenever I had any questions, and even gave me a sort of scavenger hunt of information to go around and find. It was very effective, because that is how I remember most of what I read!

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I admit I spent more time in the downstairs portion of the museum, because until I walked upstairs, I hadn’t even heard of Dolph Briscoe. I did take the time however to learn a bit about him, and to understand what kind of background he came from. Did you know that Dolph Briscoe helped eliminate the Screwworm, which was ravaging the ranches of Texas? Well neither did I until I went to the museum today

Safety is something that glider pilots are always talking about, and always reminding each other that they must always be practicing safe flying. However, I notice that when they are flying competitively and trying to hunt down those last few points, a lot of those ideas of safety go out the window. I saw way too many pilots today barely scraping over cars and trailers trying to make the 200′ floor for the finish gate, which I think was absolutely unsafe not only for the pilots, but for the ground crew who were sitting down where the pilots where making their improvised base leg. I am not going to say any names, but there are some pilots I am pretty disappointed in. I really did expect better of them.

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Finally, onto a good meaty and interesting part of my day. After we had pulled the glider off of the taxiway and towed it back to the trailer, my dad pulled away the car from the glider. As he was doing this, he was not paying attention and ran over a stake in the ground, puncturing our tire. After some short conversation, I was tasked to replace the tire. However, this was no easy task.

Once I had pulled the spare out from underneath the car, and figured out of the odd jack worked, I started to put the car up. Our issue was, that it had just rained, leaving the ground all muddy and causing the jack to sink into the ground. Now, it wasn’t sinking too bad, but the issue was that it kept tipping. First I tried just leaving the jack on the ground and jacking up the car, but the muddy ground caused the jack to slip out from underneath itself and the car fell. Luckily, I hadn’t gotten to taking the wheel off yet, so it just plopped down on the floppy tire.

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The second time I went to jack it up, I put a piece of hard plastic underneath the jack. Call me a fool, but I tried it again and got the same result. The base was just not sturdy enough. At this point, my dad had gotten on the phone with AAA, and they told him it would be at least a 3 hour wait until the nearest service member could get to us, so I really thought hard at what we could do to get this tire on. I looked around for maybe a piece of plywood that would hold as a good base, but I could not find anything sturdy. Eventually, it dawned on me. I was asking the wrong question. We needed a jack with a sturdier base, not making our own base. With that in mind, I borrowed one from another pilot with a much larger base, and to no ones surprise, this one worked exceptionally well, and I got the tire on no problem.

I said yesterday I hoped that tomorrow (today) would be more interesting. Now it certainly was much more busy, I don’t know about interesting, but it sure was crazy! I almost wish that my day was more relaxed like yesterdays! I should probably knock on wood before I say anything else…

 

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