Find us on Google+ Rick and JoAnne's RV Travels: October 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Here and there...


The last few days we have visited various Texas State Parks in Northeastern Texas.

Among them was Cooper State Park, located in a “funky” little old town who boasts a traditional soda fountain run by a 90-year old resident.

Daingerfield State Park was nice but nothing too exciting. We are currently camped at Martin Dies Jr State Park.

In general, we have been taking it easy hanging out, resting, reading, taking a few hikes, and a few naps, just enjoying our journey in Texas before we arrive at our destination point, and adventure at Galveston Island State Park.

Of the three parks visited this last week, we really enjoyed our current location. Today we took a canoe ride around the lake. The brochure cautions to beware of the alligators, however since it have been a bit on the chilly side (I’m not complaining since back home they had 8 – 10” of snow), the alligators seem to have been hibernating.

We are heading out tomorrow and truly looking forward to camp hosting on Galveston Island State Park.

We will keep you posted! See Photos Here

Monday, October 24, 2011

What Price – Progress

Detour – Instead of heading straight down Interstate 35 fromOklahoma City toward Texas, we decided to take a nostalgic trip West alongInterstate 44. I say Nostalgic because 44 traces the old Route 66. In fact, asyou exit I44 at towns like El Reno, Clinton and Elk City it is possible tostill travel on original stretches of the Historic Route 66 – and we did.

The trip along I44 is not just about Historic Route 66 sights. There are also some key American history sites here as well.

Our fist stop after leaving Oklahoma City was Historic FortReno just outside of the town of El Reno. Established as a military post in1876 to help preserve the peace and direct the transition from reservation toindividual farm and ranches and supervised the great Land Run of 1889. The fortalso served as a quartermaster remount depot from 1908 – 1948. That is, it wasa center of specialized horse breeding and training for all branches of themilitary. Black Jack the riderless horse in President Kennedy’s funeralprocession was born here.

But what was the most interesting to us was the fact thatthis fort served as a German POW Camp during World War II. Over 1300 Germans who were captured in North Africa were imprisoned here.

Needless to say – the cemetery was a very interestingchronicle of the fort history.

Our next stop in Clinton and the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum was all about Historic Route 66. JoAnne had traveled from Chicago to LA manytimes on the original Route 66. While I had not traveled to any great extent onRoute 66, it still brought back memories of our family car trips from Chicagoto Montana and Colorado. SEE PHOTOS HERE

Our final stop was the Washita Battlefield outside of ElkCity. (Yes, Elk City is home to the National Route 66 Museum but it was closedduring the time we where there on Sunday.) The Washita Battlefield is the siteof what history as recorded as one of the darker moments in U.S. and Indianrelations.

On November 27, 1868 Lt. Col. George Custer attacked what heassumed was a hostile Cheyenne encampment. In fact, it was a village of mostlywomen and children that was under the leadership of the peace chief BlackKettle, Black Kettle had survived the Sand Creek massacre and had trieddiligently to avoid conflict.

When the “battle” ended approximately 30 - 60 mostlyCheyenne women and children had been killed. Chief Black Kettle and his wifehad also been killed. Custer also ordered the slaughter of over 800 horses andmules.

So, indeed what price do we pay for progress? It was theRailroad and the white expansion West that lead to the Indian Wars. While itwas fun to look back and reminisce about trips across America on Route 66 itwas also a reminder that Interstate system spelled “death” of many small towns and marked the end of an Era. SEE PHOTOS HERE

I get that there we as a society need to evolve and moveforward. Of course there were great benefits to the transcontinental railroadand the settlement of the West. Yes, there are huge benefits derived from ouramazing Interstate system. Yet, advancement regardless of its form has a cost –we pay a price.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Oklahoma City


It had been years since we traveled through Oklahoma City. “Through” is the operative word – we had never stopped here.

This time we stopped and we are glad we did. Our first surprise was the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. As far as museums go this is a gem. As you would imagine it has galleries covering Native American life, a replica of a frontier town, a tribute to western performers from the movies (John Wayne, etc,), American Rodeo, the Cowboy hall of fame, and some wonderful works from Cowboy artists such as Remington and Russell. Lucky for us our visit coincided with the Cowboy Artists of America 46th annual sale and exhibition, as well as, the Traditional Cowboy Arts Association 13th annual sale and exhibition. The art was amazing (and pricey)! Considering many paintings were selling for more than we paid for our RV, we were glad to leave with a Christmas ornament and some postcards.

Last evening we headed down to the Oklahoma National Memorial & Museum. On April 19, 1995, we were riding bikes down Haleakala on Maui. We stopped in a small island grill at the end of ride and found everyone glued to the TV. Now 16 years later visiting the site of the bombing of the Murrah building was as poignant as ever. The lighting of the 168 chairs makes a visit at dusk that more impactful. I think this was the event that added the term “home grown terrorist” into our vocabulary. The Gates of Time are twin gates that frame the 9:02 a.m. bombing. The East gate represents 9:01 the innocence of the city (and country) before the attack. The West gate represents 9:03 a.m., the moment we were changed forever.
An interesting day for sure…SEE PHOTOS HERE

Friday, October 21, 2011

Who Knew?


Ever hear of Lindsborg Kansas?

Who knew? In the central plains of Kansas in what seems like the middle of nowhere we stumbled upon Lindsborg. The town, founded by Swedish immigrants in 1868 has maintained their cultural heritage.

After lunch at the “charming” “The Butcher, the Baker and the Candlestick Maker” we spent a fun few hours walking the town looking at all the wonderful “public art”, shopping in the many craft and antique shops, and photographing the herd of wild Dala horses. What is a Dala horse you ask? It is a Swedish icon, a bluntly rounded, tail free horse originally whittled out of wood during long Scandinavian nights.

Remember the Cows in Chicago? No cows for Lindsborg! The Dala horses are on every corner and in front of every shop – all individually decorated. Very cool!

On our way out of town, we headed to Coronado Heights that is a “fortress like” structure on top of Smoky Hills, bluff. The area is to honor Francisco Vasquez de Coronado who visited central Kansas in 1541. The views from the top are of the surrounding farmland… they reminded me of the”amber waves of grain” verse from “America the Beautiful”. SEE PHOTOS HERE

Our camp for the night was at Cheney State Park about 20 miles West of Wichita. Check out the Kansas Sunset! It is getting chilly here – time to head further South.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Summer of Sandy


Admittedly, we didn’t do a very good job of keeping up with our blog this summer.  There is a reason…. we had to say goodbye to our girl Sandy. Much of our time and attention was focused on taking care of her.  While we know we made decisions that were in her best interest  - that didn’t make it any easier.

Sandy loved to travel with us in the RV. She was an amazing companion and JoAnne and I have 13 years worth of wonderful memories of our life with her.

As I write this post, we are planning our next RV adventure. We will be heading down to Galveston Island State Park and will be volunteer camp hosts for the month of November. We camped there last November and liked it so much we wanted to return. We decided to apply to be camp hosts and were accepted. This is a wonderful park and we feel fortunate to have this opportunity.

We want to acknowledge and thank San Juan Veterinary Clinic for their care and compassion.