Friday, May 29, 2009

From Oklahoma to Missouri, to Iowa

Okay, so maybe I'll try to do a little "catch up" from what I lost the other night. I seem to be in a better mood (so far!). I don't think this is as humorous as the first one, but that's the way the cookie crumbles!

After we left Duncan, Oklahoma, we had made plans to meet with fellow blogger friend, LaVon & her husband Don at a place that was convenient for a 40' 5th wheel to park & turn around in. LaVon friend, you did Real Good! We talked back and forth a couple time (thanks to cell phones) & she pointed us to Braum's in Newcastle, OK. Right on our route! A huge training center parking lot behind Braum's. It was awesome. We had a great lunch, great fellowship & conversation & can't wait to meet again in AZ in the winter! Oh, did I say the ice cream was great too! The following is a picture LaVon took & sent to me. I told her I looked like I didn't have enough hair for my big head! I know, it's perm short! But it sure is easy to take care of! You know, get out of bed, wet it down & go. You know, retirement is R-E-T-I-R-E-D!
This is Pastor Don & his lovely wife, LaVon. She is a sweetheart! I could picture us talking all day! Next time........let's hope for longer than 1-1/2 hrs. To see more pictures of our meeting, click on Baker's Blessings on my Blog Home Page. If you haven't already visited her site, you are truly in for some blessings!
After leaving our "old"/"new" friends we headed across Oklahoma & into Missouri. We ended up in a little RV park that was called "Reach Out & Touch Your Neighbor". Just kidding. But that is how close we were. If you fell off the steps coming out of your trailer you would have fallen into the side of your neighbor! It was a nice in/out park for an overnighter, which is what we wanted. The best part was I didn't have to cook supper either. You just had to walk across the street & you were right in Cracker Barrels parking lot! We had a great supper & then sat out on their front porch in the rockers & enjoyed the Spring/Summer like evening. I never, ever pass up a chance to eat at my favorite restaurant!
After we got to this little park, Bill says to me, "how far are we away from Altoona, Iowa?" I said I'd get out my map & look. Well, one exit back on Interstate 40 & we could head straight North & would be there in a day & a half. He said, I'd really like to go check on our friend Tom. So I said okay, if he would let me go to Illinois after & visit with my childhood friend, Linda. He said sure.
This is a picture Bill took as we were going down the road through Ozark Mountain country in Missouri. We started out at 7:30AM & it was pretty cloudy & foggy. I drove until around 10AM & I was really tired. So once we got headed on a straight stretch, with no turns or confusing directions, Bill took over & I slept, & slept & slept some more! Then when we reached our campground at Pony Express RV Park, I slept some more! I think it must have been the dreary day.
We left Maysville, MO around 9:30AM on Thursday. Went through some beautiful farm land. By the way, Romayne, we say a vine crawling up a silo. I wanted to take a picture, but because it was so hilly, I didn't dare stop in the middle of the road to take it. It had grown all the way to the top & was about 5 ft. or more high all over the top. I wonder if yours will ever look like that???
We arrived at Adventureland Campground in Altoona around 12:30PM. We got set up & then ate our lunch. We were just finishing up when Tom & Phyllis stopped in. We went out for supper with them & Kay & Chico to Phyllis' cousin's restaurant called The Checkerboard. It was really neat. All kinds of antiques on the walls, in the basement, everywhere. The food was delicious. Then we retreated to Tom & Phyllis' to play Hand & Foot. I hate to do this, but I must mention that the Girls Won! A little break before finishing the game: Tom, Phyllis, Chico, Kay & Bill
Friday afternoon we spent at Tom & Phyllis' for awhile. She was weeding, I dug a hole by the shed to put their squirrel post in. Bill had helped Tom get the bolts out he couldn't get. We all gabbed the afternoon away until Phyllis had to go to the car wash. We went down & Bill washed the truck. Then the 6 of us when to The Big Steer. The special was Fillet & Stuffed Shrimp for $24.95. No, we didn't have the special!!! A little beyond our budget, but we had fish & it was very good. The best part was the homemade loaves of bread!
This is Tom, Phyllis, Bill, Kay & Chico with their bellies full.
Same gang except me in the middle instead of Bill
After we ate we all went back to Chico & Kay's to play Hand & Foot. They had invited Joanne & Dick (whom go to Arizona too) over & we all played one game. Kay was my partner & we played against Tom & Chico & we beat the pants off them!!!! I think the score was something like 18,795 to 5,125 or something like that! One hand we went out on them before they even got on the board. That Kay was on a roll tonight! Oh, by the way, the girls at the other table won too!
This is a picture of Chico in his little Shriner's Pie Wagon. It is so cute! He has this in his back yard.
It's a Cadillac, Model A, 1902
Since he does Upholstering by trade, he made this back cover. Nice Job, Chico! Bill & Dick are checking it out.
Another one of his toys----a moped/motorcycle. Now can you picture this??? Well, he didn't get to ride like I did, he just sat on it!

Tomorrow we are suppose to meet with the gang & another couple that come to AZ for breakfast. (I'll really need to go back to W.W. by the time I get home!)

We are right by the Prairie Meadows Casino & Horse Race Track. I looked at the sign that was flashing yesterday & I really wanted to go to the concert there tonight. Clint Black was at the ballroom. But since we came to see our friends & play cards, I thought I'd give up trying to get tickets for that. Well, when we came home tonight the parking lot was jammed full. I don't think there would have been a place to sit!!

Tomorrow night the gang is all going to the horse races. We've never been to a real live one, so this will be different to see. Maybe I'll get some pictures. Not sure since we will be sitting behind glass, but I'll try.

So that brings you up to date.

Until next time............The Traveling Cardinal's

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Greetings from Missouri

Okay, I had this whole post written, no pictures, went to change the Font to Arial & it deleted the whole DARN thing!!!! I'm not re-writing it!

We are in northern Missouri, I'm tired, I slept all day in the truck & when we got here. The weather is drab & dreary.

I had a fairly interesting post written, even a little humor, but between Facebook & this blog, I'm going to bed!!!

Better luck tomorrow! Maybe I'll even go back & tell you a little about our day that I wrote about, but don't hold your breath! We are on our way to Iowa to visit friends, Phyllis & Tom. No surprises, we called to let them know we are coming.

Until next time..............The Traveling Cardinals

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Walk Down Chisholm Trail at Duncan, OK

Sunday afternoon we spent at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center. This is a must if you are ever traveling through Duncan, OK on Rt. 81.

The Chisholm Trail was a trail used in the later 19th century to drive cattle overland from ranches in Texas to Kansas. The trail stretched from southern Texas across the Red River, and on to the Kansas Pacific Railway in Abilene, Kansas, where the cattle would be sold and shipped eastward.

The trail is named for Jesse Chisholm who had built several trading posts in what is now western Oklahoma before the American Civil War. He died in 1868, too soon to ever drive cattle on the trail.

The beginning & end of the trail outside is marked with these markers. In between is a brown curvy path that you can walk which shows the states & towns that this trail passed through.

Inside the center. This is a picture of Quanah Parker. Quanah Parker was the last Chief of the Commanches and never lost a battle to the white man. His tribe roamed over the area where Pampas stands. He was never captured by the Army, but decided to surrender and lead his tribe into the white man's culture, only when he saw that there was no alternative. When we visited the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge with Judy on Friday, there is a lake named after him on the refuge as is the visitors center.

This was one of many bronze statues in the the art gallery of the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center.
Bronze statue of Geronimo. Google Geronimo - several interesting stories.

This was the entrance to the "hands on" section of the Heritage Center. You could push buttons & listen to stories, be the trail boss for a cattle drive, sit atop a saddle & try to rope a longhorn, create your own brand, stroll through the general store thinking about what supplies you would need on the next cattle drive & check out the cook's wagon.
The cooks wagon, medicine wagon, whatever.
This cook was checking it out!
What? No gas grill???
Beans, bacon & biscuits. The daily menu. I don't think anyone would have wanted to ride with me! But then, with all that cattle you wouldn't be able to tell!!!!
Check out the general store for supplies.

These were the 4 main characters on the cattle drive:
Indians, Calvary, Trail Boss & Mayor of the towns that were passed through. Each had a story to tell.
Some amazing information. Did you know the horns on cattle were hollow? The Texas Longhorns are descendants from Spanish longhorns brought to North America by Christopher Columbus?
We even made up our own Brand. Don't ask me what it was, we just made marks on the paper. Something with Circle C's nothing about Cardinal's!
Old movies about cowboys & cattle drives. Mostly John Wayne. Oh & Tex Ritter in The Old Chisholm Trail.
Some of these songs will trip your memory.
This is the marker at the end of the trail outside. After we walked around the art gallery part, we went to an Experience Theater. This was awesome. The screen was huge & the surroundings had trees, grass, etc. When the wind blew on the screen the trees & the theater blew wind. When the horses were galloping rounding up the longhorns, you could have sworn they were riding right over your head & along side of you. The seats even vibrated. As they also did during the thunder & lightening storm! You aren't going to believe this, but it also rained! Not pouring, but we got drops of water on us! It was a real experience of being on the trail!

Next we went to sit under the stars in the Campfire Theater & listened to Jesse Chisholm and one of the cowboys talking. The Cook was in his wagon pulling a tooth from one of the cowboys & Jesse & the cowboy sat talking. Their mouths moved, their hands moved, they blinked just like a real person. Very impressive!

It was a fun afternoon. Since we don't have TV here, we gave up our reading & decided to take a little trip back in time. There is TV, but our antenna won't turn because the seal coating on the roof has it stuck in one spot. Bill can't climb up on the ladder because I don't want to take the bike off! So unless we have cable, we have no TV.

I just talked to Renee & she had made a trip to the emergency room last night. She sounds okay today though. She thought she had appendicitis like Tom, but instead it was gallstones! Tomorrow she has to call the doctor to make arrangements for surgery! Those poor kids can't get over one hump before another bump in the road hits! I'm sure things will turn out okay though. Hopefully she can get everything taken care of before we get there so she can travel to NY/PA with us!

This afternoon we are going to take a little trip to Walmart. Bill just came in & got me & said I wasn't going to like what he just found. Our front driver's side tire on the truck has a cracked bulge in it! I am so thankful he found it now before we had a serious accident on the highway! So we are off to get 2 new tires.

So until next time............The Traveling Cardinals

Sunday, May 24, 2009

A Busy Couple of Days

I'm going to try for the 2nd night to get this blog caught up! Have any of you readers (besides LaVon) lived in or visited Oklahoma???? I've never seen storms pop up with wind & hail so fast in all my life! I got off of the computer real fast last night! I didn't know if it saved anything or not, but I guess it had. Well, after supper I decided to start again & the next thing I know, the neighbor is putting his awning up, ours made a noise like it was flopping & I looked out & the sky is black again! I think I can't wait to leave this "tornado alley"!! It makes me a little nervous sitting here in this 5th wheel!!

May 21st - Happy Birthday Again, Nicholas, our grandson

May 22nd - Happy Anniversary, Tom & Renee

Okay, so let's get to the pictures & the "real" story.

This was the last of the Texas Longhorns we saw on May 21st as we headed to Oklahoma. They kept watching us as we sat & ate our picnic lunch at a roadside picnic area. With those horns I wasn't about to go over & ask them if they wanted to share some of what I was eating. No way! One swing & those horns would have had me sitting on my behind! Pretty neat from a distance though!

This is our friends Jerry & Judy formerly from Nebraska & now Texas. We waited for them for 5 days in Texas! We got to relax & enjoy camping again though. Jerry had a procedure done in Nebraska on Wed. so they couldn't travel until Thursday, same as us. So since they were traveling south & we were traveling north, we kept in contact via phone & met at our campground here in Duncan, Oklahoma. Since it was about a 14 hr. trip for them, we told them since they were going to take the time to stop & see us, spend the night with us & then finish their trip to Texas on Friday. So that is what they did. We went out for supper, a quick stop to Walmart & then back to the trailer. Wish we had more time to visit, but Jerry was tired & Friday we were to meet up with my friend from N. Warren, Judy M. to tour around the Lawton, OK area. So this was when Judy & Jerry were ready to leave. Hope we get to visit with them again soon.

Friday Bill & I got to Judy M's. mom's home around noon. We visited a little bit with her mom, her sister & her great niece. We took off for parts unknown to us, but very familiar to Judy. We started out at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. Here the wildlife all roams free as a bird. The speed limit is no more than 45 & at places I only crawled. You never knew what you would see in the woods or crossing the road. Here another car had stopped & we did too. They were watching this tom turkey & hen in the woods. He was strutting his stuff, but she didn't care! Sound familiar???? Darn trees keep moving when you want to snap a picture!
Our next sight was a herd of buffalo. Big ones, old ones & several babies.
The one in the front looks like the "grandpa" with the lighter brown being the calf.
Just lazying around.
Next to the buffalo, was a prairie dog farm. (Really it was just another field, but that is what they called it.) They were just running all over the place. There were tons of new little babies. This little guy knew how to sit up & get his picture taken.
Now I'm the MOM, can't you tell????? Hurry up & take that picture, I need to rest after chasing those little kids around all day!
My Bill & Judy M.
The big one decided to stand up awhile. We didn't see any come out to the road. Most stayed back away. Must not have paid their roaming charges this month!
Now, these guys & gals were a different story!!! We had to stop several times for them & their friends to cross the road. I made sure there was plenty of room between them & me. Look at the size of those horns!!!!!
After touring around the refuge we went to the Visitor Center. They had all kinds of stuffed animals inside there. Judy said usually the buffalo would be wandering around outside there too. We saw "evidence" of those wanderings, but nothing while we were there.
I don't know what kind of wildflowers these are, but they sure were colorful. I'm sure someone out there knows & could tell me.
After we left the visitors center, we traveled to a place called The Holy City. This is a place where Judy had fond memories of going as a youngster with her parents, sisters & grandmother. Here they presented an Easter Pageant every year. You would take a blanket & your food & camp out under the stars waiting for Easter morning to watch. This has been presented for 82 years, dating back to 1927. This was when you camped without tents & coolers. You took the bare necessities. Judy, her mom, & her sister Janet told of when her Grandmother was peeling an onion or potato to make fried onions & potatoes, a buffalo was wandering up & her Grandmother had a knife in her hand & she just kept waving it & saying "shoo, shoo". Memories - aren't they wonderful.

This is something that would be wonderful to see. They say there are thousands of people who come to see it. The following are only a few of the buildings that I took pictures of. This was part of the walkway leading to the chapel.
This was the memorial to all those killed in the Oklahoma City Bombing on April 19, 1995.
The Chapel. When you looked at all the stonework, you could barely see any mortar. It almost looked like all of the stones were piled on top of each other.
Inside of chapel.
The Upper Room
Gateway into Jerusalem
Herod's Court - The Mockery
The Temple
The Crucifixion
The Tomb of the Resurrection

There was buildings of Bethlehem's Inn, the Stable, Mary Martha's & Lazarus' house, the boat used to depict Jesus talking with his disciples, Lazarus' tomb, & other buildings. The land with all the rock & the hills behind the buildings make it a perfect place to hold something like this & to think that it is still in production for all to see today.

See, I told you I gave myself plenty of room for that big longhorn to cross the road. Thanks Judy, for your eagle eyes. They come out of no where!
Next Judy took us to eat some lunch. Lunch --- well, I'll tell you, we didn't eat any supper!!!! This was a place called The Meers Store, est. 1901 in Meers, Oklahoma (as the table says!). Everyone in the area knows where this is! It certainly has a name for itself!
Now, if you came upon this place, would you stop to eat here???? Oh, notice it only has one parking meter. The money collected from the one meter goes to the local fire department (wherever that was).Now the AAA Approved sign kind of gives it away that it's an okay place. But I didn't see that until we came out!
Inside entranceMeers Burgers are the specialty. Of course, since you probably will only pass this way but once, you have to have one. Do you know how big a tin pie plate is? Well that's what it's served in. It is 97% lean longhorn beef. It was pretty tasty with all the works on it. Now it only comes with lettuce, tomato, pickle & mustard. The menu says if you want mayo, that's for sissies & if you want ketchup, that's Yankee. It's closed on Tuesdays so Mr. Meer can spend more time with his cows.
Now that wasn't all! Judy says they have the best cobblers with homemade ice cream! I watched the waitress bring some out to another table! Oh my gosh!!! It wasn't a dessert dish, it was a soup/cereal bowl & overflowing! Look at the bowls on the table! Bill had Cherry Cobbler & Judy & I had Peach. Yup, the bowl is empty!!!! The only thing I had to go was my ice tea & a FULL belly!
After leaving Meers with our bellies full, we drove up & I mean up Mt. Scott. Now it was not quite 3000 ft., but I didn't see much of a guard rail anywhere. A few stones along the edge, but I don't think they would have held a dually truck! Fortunately it was only 25mph & I certainly took advantage of it! But it sure was worth it! The sights from the top were awesome!
Now many of you might not know, but Ft. Sill, Oklahoma is the largest artillery base in the US. Ft. Sill is just across the lake from Mt. Scott & you could see it in the pictures. Much of the military land borders on the wildlife refuge. Judy's husband, Bill, was stationed here back in the 60's. That is how she & her husband met. An this picture below is their special spot, on the rocks at Mt. Scott! Beautiful sight!
Off in the distance you could see the wind turbines working away. I think they are such a neat sight.
Isn't this beautiful?

Bright spots of yellow flowers everywhere.
After leaving Mt. Scott we headed to Ft. Sill for a tour. We wanted to visit the museums, but being Memorial Day Weekend, everything was shut down. In fact, we didn't see very many men or women in uniform anywhere.

These horses had just been riden & were being brought back to the stables. These are part of the cavalry. Beautiful horses, all the same color & all approximately the same size.
This was the museum that was closed.
This is Judy standing by Atomic Annie. Atomic Annie fired the first Atomic Artillery round, May 25, 1953, in Desert Rock, Nevada.
This is the guard house that legend says Geronimo was imprisoned in at Ft. Sill.
Another Big Gun Artillery
Anyone remember any of these?
Ft. Sill water tank & Army tanks
Looks like the tread on this one needs replaced. Must have gotten a little "hot".
Vietnam Era Tanks
I'm tired, how about you? We really did a lot of touring in an afternoon. We had a lot of fun, but it was much too short. I hope Judy enjoys her stay with her mom & visiting with her sisters. She never knows how many times she can make these visits & they are always special to her. Enjoy Judy! You are surrounded by family, friends & love! This is Judy, sister Janet & Mom (Meme).

And yes, Brad, you have the Allen look!

That wraps up our Friday and THANK YOU JUDY!

Saturday we went to a lumber yard to get some boards for leveling our trailer. We've split everything we had, including the plastic levelers. Lets hope these work for awhile. Then we spent time at Walmart while I got a manicure & some other things done.

Last night we spent reading. No TV & I didn't dare stay on the computer with the storm.

Thursday & Friday we got the following updates on all our friends & family:

Ray, our friend from Michigan, is doing much better after his emergency appendectomy (ruptured) on Sat., May 16th. He had a very miserable week.
He turned the corner, Thurs. and hopefully will come home from the hospital Sun. or Monday, 24th or 25th (if all the plumbing is working properly).

Good news is that Tom, our friend from Iowa, got to come home Friday!! His kidney function is getting better (not quite back to normal...but that might take some time), his swelling is decreasing every day, his heart is ticking good with the new stent, blood sugars are adjusting, and blood pressure is pretty good. Tom is on a very, very strict diet and is limited to 60 oz. of liquid a day....this includes soup, jello, ice cream, water, ice, pop, tea...anything that melts). He is also on a low carb, low potassium, low sodium diet. A doctor convinced him that he needs to take the sleep apnea test and at the present moment, Tom said he'd do it. Building up his strength will be a challenge as he can only be on the exercise bike 5 min. at a time and should do it about three times a day. He called me & talked for a bit last evening & he sounds really good! Was good to hear from him.

My niece, Donna, said that Larry was up & walking with the walker because his legs are still weak. The walker helps him to get around & work his legs at getting them stronger. She is going to Pittsburgh & stay with Larry. They are going to put a cot in his room. So she was staying the weekend with him. His counts are up & that is good. They said that maybe he could come home Wednesday but that is not for sure & they have to wait & see how he does. Keep up your prayers for Larry!

This afternoon, Sunday, we went to the Chisolm Trail Heritage Center Museum her in Duncan. I'll write about that tomorrow. I haven't found anything anywhere that says they have a Memorial Day Service, so I guess we will remember our veterans in our own special way. Here is a of site that I hope you take the time to visit. It is very meaningful. That being said, have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend with family & friends. And remember, thank a vet for the freedoms that we enjoy!

Until next time............The Traveling Cardinals