Sunday, May 31, 2015 – We are currently staying at Spring Lake RV Park in Halstead, Kansas. The sun is finally shining where we are, after seeing clouds for many many days while in Arkansas and Oklahoma.
If you’ve been following us very long you may remember how I loved the wildflowers growing near us while we ranch sat the Morgan’s ranch for two months a year ago. We have several of them here and we made a little arrangement in a small glass to enjoy. God’s little beauties He gives us at the most random times!
We barbequed yesterday evening and Roy caught a picture of me resting by Dora. I was so relaxed I almost fell asleep. Roy also flew his helicopter for a while but then it landed on the other side of the fence. He’s so smart, he worked the helicopter a little bit at a time up and over the fence! Our plans for what we’ll go out to see while in Kansas are all around the Wichita area.
Monday we’ll be going to the Wichita River Fest, a major, huge, big festival around parts of downtown Wichita. It sounds great and we’re happy to be here while it’s going on!
Wednesday we’ll go to Hutchinson, Kansas to see the STRATACA Underground Salt Museum – A Journey Into The Dark – a subterranean adventure 650 feet below the earth’s surface. While in Hutchinson we’ll also visit the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center. Both sound like great experiences we haven’t had before so Dora’s explorers are ready!!
As always, I’ll share our experience at these places with you guys!
Saturday, May 30, 2015 – We have happily made our way to the beautiful state of Kansas arriving here yesterday afternoon. We stayed at a different Coast to Coast resort for one night on our way to Minnesota two years ago. Many years ago, I flew to Wichita for work a couple of times for computer training at our data center Mid Continent Computer Services. I remember loving the area back then. May have had something to do with my friend Diana who was from there and I got to see when we went there. I remember staying at her parent’s home and her mom making this delicious pineapple casserole. You know it must have been good for me to remember it all these years! Diana worked for Mid Continent and eventually we got her to come to work with us at Alliance Federal/Bay Savings Bank in Kenner, LA. Great times and great memories with that girl and her hubby Jeff!
Kansas is known as the Sunflower State. Since that’s my favorite flower I’m looking forward to seeing them here. We took county roads after entering Kansas to avoid toll roads and to see the area better. What a wise decision. The wheat fields were beautiful and we saw several oil rigs (not the kind we see in the gulf but little ones).
When we stayed in Minnesota two summers ago, one of the things I loved was how their pine trees look like Christmas trees. We’re beginning to see many of those Christmas tree pines in Kansas. We’re also beginning to see a lot more nature rock formations.
I drove part of the way here, a very small part. But it was my first experience driving on a highway with other cars on it!!!!! I did really well with the driving but pulling off the side of the road and not running into a highway light pole was almost a disaster. I slammed on the brakes to not hit the pole which sent Roy and our kitchen trash can flying. Roy’s not broken but the trash can is. So I passed the driving part but not the stopping part. I need to know how to do this in an emergency but Roy’s not ready for me to drive again any time soon! Here’s a little video Roy made of me while driving. Can you see the smile plastered on my face? I was happy but too scared to move a muscle in my face!
We are now comfortably set up at Spring Lake RV Resort in Halstead, Kansas.
It’s the biggest RV park in the state. Where we are parked is pretty far from the entrance but not too far from the clubhouse where food and ice cream are served! We are pretty much in a big field with streets down it and full hookups. Should make for some nice peaceful sitting and reading outside. In the last month I have not read as much as usual, so maybe I can get back to the wonderful world of reading while we are here.
When we know what we’ll be doing this next week in this area, I’ll let ya’ll know too!
Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear! Click on the links below to go there!
Thursday, May 28, 2015 – The second half of our visit to Oklahoma City was spent enjoying the beauty of their Myriad Gardens and Observatory. Click here to read the post about the first half of our day.
This amazing place is smack dab in the middle of downtown Oklahoma City. I thought how nice it would be for New Orleans to have the raunchy part of the French Quarter plucked out and this type of beauty put in its place. Right behind much of the beauty were skyscrapers where people were working. How wonderful this must be to work in this beautiful and clean city and get to spend time in the gardens.
The pictures below are from within the The Crystal Bridge Tropical Observatory, the round building below.
From their website: The Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory’s unique design has earned attention and praise in the architectural community. It is 224 feet long, 70 feet in diameter, and is covered by 3,028 sections of translucent, double-layered acrylic panels. The Conservatory includes 13,000 square feet of plant display area in two distinct climates: the Tropical Wet Zone, which is at the south end and is watered daily; and the Tropical Dry Zone at the north end which receives water from April through September, followed by drought from November through March. Some 2,000 varieties of plants and a 35-foot waterfall round out the spectacular features of the Conservatory.
As I press the PUBLISH key to get this out to ya’ll we are on the road north headed to Wichita, Kansas for a week. The route we are taking is more scenic than interstate so it will take us a little longer than usual to get there. It should be a four hour trip but as usually happens with us since we stop a lot it could take 6-8 hours! The weather is already drying up as we get out of the rainy area we were in. Hope this continues!
Thursday, May 28, 2015 – The first stop on today’s adventure was at the Outdoor Symbolic Memorial in Oklahoma City where the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed on April 19, 1995. I’ve copied information from their website about the various areas at the memorial and added my pictures to each section.
I personally was overwhelmed at the emotions I felt walking through the area, seeing each of the individual memorials and the hundreds of remembrances left on the fence. The reflection pool being where the building originally was and the symbolism of the two gates – one 9:01 and the other 9:03. I hope the descriptions below will help you get some tiny idea of what an important and well done memorial this is. It was a very reverent place. No one was yelling or running around and it shows the true respect visitors here have for those who lost their lives in this horrible terrorist attack.
The stones we walked on around the reflection pool were recovered from the building.
Gates of Time These monumental twin gates frame the moment of destruction – 9:02 a.m. – and mark the formal entrances to the Memorial. The East Gate represents 9:01 a.m. on April 19, and the innocence of the city before the attack. The West Gate represents 9:03 a.m., the moment we were changed forever, and the hope that came from the horror in the moments and days following the bombing.
Reflecting Pool The pool occupies what was once N.W. Fifth Street. Here, a shallow depth of gently flowing water helps soothe wounds, with calming sounds providing a peaceful setting for quiet thoughts. The placid surface shows the reflection of someone changed forever by their visit to the Memorial.
Field of Empty Chairs The 168 chairs represent the lives taken on April 19, 1995. They stand in nine rows to represent each floor of the building, and each chair bears the name of someone killed on that floor. Nineteen smaller chairs stand for the children. The field is located on the footprint of the Murrah Building.
Survivor Wall On the east end of the Memorial stand the only remaining walls from the Murrah Building. These walls remind us of those who survived the terrorist attack, many with serious injuries. Today, more than 600 names are inscribed on salvaged pieces of granite from the Murrah Building lobby.
The Survivor Tree The Survivor Tree, an American Elm, bore witness to the violence of April 19, 1995, and withstood the full force of the attack. Years later, it continues to stand as a living symbol of resilience. The circular promontory surrounding the tree offers a place for gathering and viewing the Memorial.
Rescuers’ Orchard Like the people who rushed in to help, this army of nut- and flower-bearing trees surrounds and protects the Survivor Tree. An inscription encircling the Survivor Tree facing the orchard reads: To the courageous and caring who responded from near and far, we offer our eternal gratitude, as a thank you to the thousands of rescuers and volunteers who helped.
Children’s Area In the aftermath of the blast, children from around the country and the world sent in their own expressions of encouragement and love. That care is represented today by a wall of tiles painted by children and sent to Oklahoma City in 1995. In addition, buckets of chalk and chalkboards built into the ground of the Children’s Area give children a place where they can continue to share their feelings — an important component of the healing process.
The Fence The first Fence was installed to protect the site of the Murrah Building. Almost immediately, people began to leave tokens of love and hope on the Fence. Those items now total more than 60,000 and are collected and preserved in our archives. Today, more than 200 feet of the original Fence gives people the opportunity to leave tokens of remembrance and hope.
We did not go to the Memorial Museum which is an interactive learning experience that takes you on a chronological self-guided tour through the story of April 19, 1995, and the days, weeks and years that followed the bombing of Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. The story tracks the remarkable journey of loss, resilience, justice and hope.
After taking so many pictures today and wanting to share so many of them with ya’ll I decided to break up what we saw today into two posts. Tomorrow I will share with you the amazing Myriad Gardens and Observatory that are just a few blocks from the memorial in downtown Oklahoma City.
We’ll leave here early in the morning headed to Halstead, Kansas (outside of Wichita) in the morning for more adventure and fun.
Wednesday, May 27, 2015 – We pulled out of Terra Starr RV Park in Checotah, Oklahoma at 9am this morning headed west to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. We’re making a stop along the way to have lunch with my long time friend from church Susan Randels Ward in Shawnee, OK about 90 minutes west of Tulsa. We have not seen each other in at least 30 years, probably more.
Here’s Susan and I today! Susan took us into the old downtown part of Shawnee for lunch at an old local restaurant, Hamburger King. You order on the phone that is in your booth. I got to experience ordering that way and it was cool! The burgers were quite delicious and it was really neat to enjoy some of their local charm. We both really appreciate Susan taking us there!
On our way there we drove through Oklahoma Baptist University where Susan graduated from. Her dad, my childhood pastor, and her mom (Bro. and Mrs. Randels as I knew them) went there also! Beautiful old campus that has grown considerably since Susan graduated.
We had a wonderful visit, catching up on everyone in each other’s lives. We have so many common childhood and youth memories and couldn’t possibly touch on each of them during a short visit, but we tried hard too!
On Tuesday (yesterday) we went into Tulsa, OK and looked around. It’s a spread out beautiful city. We made a stop at Sam’s Club and ate for the first time ever at a Whataburger. Very good food! We wanted to see a movie but of the 10 showing there wasn’t one we wanted to see.
On our way back to the RV Park we stopped at Matt and Alanna’s again. Matt was outside working hard cutting the grass and we sat inside in the cool with Alanna and the girls. We played and visited. When we were here on Saturday none of the pictures we took were of Alanna or I so we corrected that and got a couple today!
Until I knew exactly when we were leaving the Tulsa area, I couldn’t make reservations for travels past the park we were in. That’s usually not a problem. However yesterday afternoon and evening when I called multiple parks in and around Oklahoma City they were all full. Seems the flooding and tornadoes have misplaced a lot of people into parks and brought insurance adjusters into the area. I tried RV parks, state parks, city parks, casinos and nothing. If it was available it was well out of what we want to pay. Because of that, we’ll be staying a couple of nights in a Walmart parking lot in Shawnee and one in Oklahoma City. We don’t mind the Walmart set up, but we’ve never done it two nights in a row.
To show you how quickly RV life changes, we now have reservations for two nights at the Shawnee Exposition Center in Shawnee. A friend (fellow RVer) who is from Oklahoma mentioned it, we called and they have plenty of openings! We are now here parked under some nice shade trees enjoying the Oklahoma sunshine. It’s rained so many days that I have to acknowledge the goodness of God’s beautiful sunshine!!! We are about 35 miles from Oklahoma City and will spend all day tomorrow in the city trying to see and do all we can fit into one day!
Our recent plans were to stay in the OKC area a week and then head west to Amarillo, TX, Albuquerque, NM and up to Colorado. Seems most of those places are having weather issues also, so we’re changing course again and going to head up toward Wichita, KS after leaving Shawnee and stay for a week at a Coast to Coast park there. From there we’ll go west to Colorado and hope to stay at least a month in that state!
That about sums up all that’s going on and is planned.
Monday, May 25, 2015 – Happy Memorial Day! My friend M’Lou Thompson put the following statement on Facebook this morning. She said it so eloquently that I want to share here:
On this Memorial Day, as I enjoy and appreciate seeing the pictures of husbands, fathers, uncles, etc., posted of handsome young men in uniforms, it occurs to me that we always see these soldiers smiling and looking directly into cameras, and we forget for the moment, or even dismiss, that those cameras show us nothing of their actual sacrifice–the physical and emotional pain, the scars that never heal, and of course for some, the loss of a precious life. We owe them so much!
We spent our Memorial Day enjoying the Oklahoma Renaissance Festival at Muskogee, Oklahoma about 40 minutes north of our RV park. Since 1996, the festival features over 90 artisans and merchants, you can dine on renaissance fare, and interact with scores of dashing nobles, peasants, and regal knights. From the village to the king’s royal castle to the magical depths of the Enchanted Forest, there are dozens of locations throughout the Castle’s Kingdom for visitors to explore and enjoy. The festival is held on weekends in May and Memorial Day.
A very well constructed and planned event. Around every corner were small structures with all manner of craft demonstrated and sold, resting places, entertainment from olden times, and renaissance related food. Since it rained continually for the last few days the walking areas were damp but the sun shone the whole time we were there (an amazing thing right there) and the thousands of people attending the festival all seemed to have a great time.
It’s surprising to see the large percentage of visitors wearing renaissance period clothing. Several of the small structures sold men’s and women’s clothing, corsets (!!), hats, chains and anything you’d need to dress like they did. This was their 20th annual event and it clearly has grown into a well oiled production. They even had people just sitting throughout talking in the old way of talking and visiting with whomever would talk to them. One man had Roy and I individually sit with him while he made up a song using our name!
When we stopped for lunch I ordered a Rat on a Stick and Roy got a sandwich with an odd name. The Rat on a Stick was polish sausage hand wrapped in garlic fry bread. Yum! I saw folks walking around with fried turkey legs and lots of old time beer steins all around!
I’d highly recommend this festival to anyone in the area in the month of May each year. It’s on N Fern Mountain Road in Muskogee, OK. Here’s several pictures of what all we saw today. A wonderful family event for families of all ages.
Well that was our Memorial Day adventure! We are hoping for a good weather day tomorrow as we are going into Tulsa to see what’s there!!! Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!!
Sunday, May 24, 2015 – Good thing we love being in our RV because we’re doing a lot of that!!!! After watching the waters rise in the river in Arkansas we hoped that would be the last we’d see of rising waters. But noooooo, Lake Eufaula (Oklahoma) has risen well over it’s banks before we even arrived and is still growing! We are parked several hundred feet from the edge of the water.
Yes we do things other than watch water rise but at the present time that seems to be the only thing to do while it continues to pour down. The pictures below start on Thursday and go through today Sunday. From what the locals say the water is a good 100 feet past Lake Eufaula’s banks and has been that way for about a week.
Today’s pictures really don’t show much more water coming on shore except in one picture. I’ll point that out. With the way my Severe Weather watch on my phone kept going off last night about Flash Flooding I’d have thought it was outside our RVs front door. I’m thankful it was not.
We did spend some dry time going to church with a young couple we know. Matt and Alanna Traylor and their girls Hope and Karstyn now live in Oklahoma about an hour from where we are staying. Ours sons, grew up at Trinity (our home church) with Matt. Alanna was my student worker at Southeastern for a few years including being together on September 11, 2001. One thing I remember about that day was Alanna printing out a scripture with Phillipians 4:6-7 and stuck it to the file cabinet next to her. That paper stayed on that file cabinet for many years. The scripture is in the picture below. Man did I need that scripture that day.
We went to their church, LifeChurch.tv. They have several churches in seven US states including 17 in Oklahoma. The one in Broken Arrow has 8 services on Saturday evening and Sunday They are also accessible globally online at lifechurch.tv. I’ve never been to such a mega mega church. I believe the sermon is broadcast to all of the churches preached by either the Senior Pastor or one of the staff. Being from a traditional Southern Baptist church this was big different! They told us before we went it that the music was very loud and there were ear plugs which Roy took advantage of. This generations church is very different from ours but as long as we are all praising our Lord, I believe God is satisfied. A biblical sermon was preached from Phillipians and it was really neat to be in church with our wonderful young friends.
We went over to their house which is near the church and had a great visit getting to catch up on each others lives. The girls were a joy to be with especially since we’ve been Madisyn deprived for a few weeks. They danced, played the violin, had a pillow fight with us and were just delightful.
Their family moved to Oklahoma so that their youngest daughter, the little violinist, could get intensive treatment for her extremely severe allergies. I admire them so much for not only the Christian couple they are but for being willing to uproot their lives in Florida and go to where their daughter could get the best care.
I did promise Roy that I would share with ya’ll that I wouldn’t leave their home in time for us to get home before dark. I was having to much fun talking. But anyway, since we left much later and stopped at Walmart we wound up driving home in the pouring rain during a tornado watch. With no roadside lights for miles and miles, lots of wind and pouring rain it was a scary experience. Okay, honey I told everyone I threatened our very existence because I like to talk!
We are hunkered down in our RV today while I do my RVillage work and we watch television. Tomorrow should be better and we plan to get out to do some sightseeing.
May 21, 2015 – Here we are in the beautiful state of Oklahoma!!! The first picture below is me looking rather ratty as we arrived in Oklahoma at their Visitors Center. This really nice lady loaded me up with books and magazines of everything to see in and around Tulsa and Oklahoma City. The Oklahoma sign on a nearby tower looked so cool that I had to take a picture.
We (Roy, not I) drove a little over 250 miles today to reach Checotah, Oklahoma where we are staying at Terra Starr RV Park. This is a Coast to Coast Resort but since we stayed the last two weeks in Coast to Coast resort we have to be out for one week before staying in one again. Terra Starr also accepts Passport America so that’s what we’re using to give us a discounted rate of $12 per night plus $1 for 50 amp service.
This is a good size park with very clean buildings and grounds Their pool is sparkling so I’m hoping we have a little warmer weather while we’re here so we can enjoy a dip. I am always looking for cooler weather and this is perfect for general living, just not swimming. It is cool with a slight breeze right now and we’re sitting out under the trees next to us enjoying some relaxing after the long drive.
Roy made it through a very stressful first part of our trip driving through all the winding curves of the Arkansas mountains. That flatland Louisiana boy is not use to that! The second half was in mostly flat Oklahoma land.
I worked for about an hour for RVillage which is kind of fun to do on the road while the RV is traveling 60 miles per hour! I learned some new stuff I’ll be doing this weekend and on Memorial Day.
One thing I’ve never seen before, which they have at this park, is a storm shelter. First thing I saw upon checking in was a notice of bad weather coming over the weekend. The check in lady told me where the shelter is and that it will always be open.
What a blessing to pull up at our spot and find out we are right across the street from the storm shelter. It’s decoratively painted on the outside, I guess so it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb. We went over to look in and took a couple of pictures. This is a novelty to me that I hope I never have to be in during bad weather. This is inside: This is outside:
I am quite thankful it’s across the street from us and that the clubhouse is next door where they serve Ice Cream in the evenings for the guests!!!! The swimming pool is right next door with volleyball, tennis and basketball courts nearby.
The park is on Lake Eufaula which has risen over its banks as it seems much of the rivers in northern Arkansas and this part of Oklahoma has done over the last several days. We’re far enough away from the lake that I hope it will not come visit us! We just came back from taking a walk down there and what a sight!!! I’ll write about that and share pictures tomorrow.
We’re both looking forward to the next few days of resting, sightseeing and visiting with friends.
Thursday, May 21, 2015 – Today’s blog is written by the one and only Roy Chauvin. That is my hubby who agreed to write about a new phone app he thinks is great, and the whole story around it!
Take it away Mr. Chauvin!
If you have satellite service in your RV then you are probably aware of the issues of receiving the major networks such as NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX. We subscribe to Dish Network. We used to have distant network service which would allow us to get these channels from both the east and west coast. Unfortunately this service is no longer available.
Local channels are still available on DISH but they are restricted to the stations of the area you are in. We must call Dish every time we relocate and have them turn on the local networks, but it’s a hassle if you move around a lot like we do.
At Angler’s Holiday Mountain Resort where we last stayed, we had no phone service on Verizon. Using the parks Wi-Fi I was able to go to the DISH webpage and used the chat option and attempted to change our local channels. This did not go well and I tried 4 times to get the locals through their chat. The last time I was told that it would be necessary for me to update my equipment to get the local channels.
At this point I decided to go into town the next morning to the local RadioShack which is also a Dish Network dealer. A very nice man named Tony was very helpful and gave me all the skinny of DISH network. I learned that Dish has satellites in both the eastern and western arc and DISH is moving the locals to the eastern arc for High Definition (HD) but are still available in the western arc in Standard Definition (SD). This is being done to take advantage of the features in the new Hopper.
Mr. Tony used his retail account to call DISH for me (remember we had no cell phone service at the park we were in). It turns out that DISH had set my locals to the eastern arc and that’s why we were not getting them.
Our system consist of a Winegard Trav’ler SK-1000 Dish and a VIP-722K DVR receiver. The Trav’ler dish only picks up the satellites in the western arc. I hope that Winegard will come out with a Trav’ler that will work in the Eastern arc. I would like to upgrade my system to the Hopper. Mr. Tony was able to have DISH reset our local channels to the western arc so we now have the local channels but not in HD.
He also turned me on to a great phone app called Dish Pointer Pro. It is a great little app that I feel should be in every RV’s toolbox that uses satellite TV. It is not a free app and will set you back about $20.00 but wouldn’t you like to know if you can get clear satellite reception before you setup your RV in that spot? Just open the app and point it towards the sky. It will show you all the satellites for both DISH and DirecTV whether it is in the eastern or western arc. If something is blocking the signal from a satellite you will be able to see it in the camera view.
Here is a description taken straight for their webpage.
DishPointer Pro: Point your phone towards the sky to see on the live camera screen where the satellites are, any line of sight (LoS) issues and the look angles. Couldn’t be easier to install your sat dish with this augmented reality satellite finder.
*** 14 day money back guarantee, hassle-free ***
+ SCREEN Capture: no line of sight issues
+ Works with all geostationary satellites
+ Works everywhere around the world
+ No Internet access needed to operate it (occasionally it is required)
+ Add, edit and delete satellites
+ Select favorite satellites
+ Azimuth, elevation and skew results