Remember that when you leave this Earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received, only what you have given, a full heart enriched by honest service, love, sacrifice and courage. -St. Francis of Assisi

Today...

Where am I today???

Traveling from south TX to Denver

TexasPlainsTrail.com

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chisholm Trail



There were high wind warnings, so I stayed 2 nights in Enid, OK. On Sunday I drove through Kansas and Oklahoma, it was windy, but I could still drive through it. On Monday morning the wind was so strong that I had to hold onto the door of the coach when I went outside. The only place I went on Monday was to get gas and groceries, and to buy a DustBuster to clean the coach.

Tueday morning I left the RV park just a few minutes after 7am. I wanted to get an early start because the weather channel was saying 30% chance of thunderstorms.  Luckily, I only drove through a few minutes of light rain. Along the highway I passed through Kingfisher, OK - the birthplace of Sam Walton, founder of Walmart and Sam's Club. The town has a new Walmart Supercenter with a statue of Sam Walton in front.

The early start gave me time to stop at the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, Oklahoma.  This museum had a lot of interactive exhibits and an art gallery. At one of the exhibits you had to answer questions about a cattle drive to see if you could get the cattle to the train on time and without losing too many. I'm happy to report that I did pretty good. You could also make your own brand, with some big stamps they had, but they only had 4 symbols to choose from. I'm sure some of these things are geared more for kids, but I enjoyed walking around and participating in the exhibits and relearning about some things.  They had two theatres, one had moving and talking life size figures and the other was a movie with wind, rain and dust blowing onto us, very real. I really enjoyed this center and was glad I stopped.


How's this for a travel trailer?
We should all be grateful for our modern RV's.



Some art from the Gallery
I should have written down the artists names to give them credit.





Around 12:30, I crossed the Red River into Texas, the river was all dried up and was just red dirt. I still have a long way to go in Texas. I will meet up with Diane & Karl and Karl's family in San Antonio on Thursday and on Friday we will drive to South Padre Island. Then I will have 5 days of no driving, just relaxing on the beach.



The RV Park I picked for tonite has a RV mechanic on site. I needed someone to take a look at my steps to the coach. They would not retract and I had to drive with them out today. I did not like driving like that, but I had no other choice. They did not have the parts to repair it, but they were able to retract the steps and disconnect them so that they would stay under the coach. I will check with LazyDays and the warranty company and get it fixed on the way home. I had mentioned to LazyDays that they were making noise before I left Florida, I thought they fixed them.

This RV Park is very nice - lakes, cattle, horses and beautiful scenery in North Texas Hill Country. I will have pictures and more info about this park tomorrow. I walked around the park while it was still sunny and came back and took a short nap and started on this blog. I then decided to go sit outside by the lake at dusk, I couldn't get any decent evening pictures. I couldn't figure out how to turn the flash off and all of the pictures were coming out very dark. I listened to a bird singing, not sure what type. And listened to the bullfrog singing and I could hear the cattle bellowing, but they were on the other side of the lake and I couldn't see them. This would be a nice park to stay for longer than one day, and you can fish in their lakes without a fishing license.




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Does she look like she is adjusting?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day

Riverfront Park  Atchison, KS


Next time you look at a soldier's face, see if you can find that glint of pride. Sometimes it's hidden, and you have to search it out.

You'll find it in the eyes - always in the eyes.

For the eyes are indeed the windows of the soul.
                                                                  Lilian Leader
                                                                  June 2, 2006

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Windy Kansas & Oklahoma


A few miles from the RV park in Emporia, Kansas is the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Cottonwood Falls, KS.  I arrived there this morning just before 9am, picked up a trail map, talked to the Ranger for a few minutes, toured the barn and walked on the trails (around 2 miles). It was a clear and sunny morning.
 Barn Cats @ The Tallgrass Preserve

The preserve has a daily bus tour at 11am and I think it goes out to see the Bison and their new babies. I didn't charge my camera last night and it stopped working after a few pics this morning and I didn't want to wait 'til 11am, so I left the preserve without seeing the new Bison.






I drove on the secondary roads all day today, driving through small towns. It was very windy today, so I slowed down and took it easy. There was not a lot of traffic, a few people passed by me, and some stayed behind me. Maybe I was blocking the wind and making their drive easier.

Last year, I read a book about the "Dust Bowl" in the 30's. I can't imagine living with this wind all the time and having to work outdoors in the fields or on the range.

Winfield, KS has a very nice downtown area that seems to be thriving. There were several retail stores and restaurants and people walking along the streets. Unfortunately, I didn't see this in too many small towns along the way. Many of the small towns have vacant storefronts in need of repair.

I stopped in at the new Cherokee Strip Regional Heritage Center in Enid, Oklahoma and learned about pioneers and a land run. On Sept. 16, 1893 the government opened up an area for settlement and the pioneers all ran or road their horses to a spot they liked and marked it as their own.  I suppose I read about these things in grammar school, but didn't remember. I was also following the Chisholm Trail for part of the day, and will continue on this trail tomorrow and hopefully stop at some of the museums along the way. The railroads played a big part in the development of this area, so I am hoping to get some pictures of train depots.

Taking my time... going on the slow roads
just like this guy that was on the trail this morning.

9762 - 10018 / 256 miles   gas prices 3.68

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Missouri & Kansas



It was a grey morning. Pulled out of the campground just before 8am, heading south. Drove on country roads for most of the day. Went south for awhile, then just north of Kansas City I headed west towards Atchison, Kansas. There were some sprinkles during the morning, and there was hardly any traffic on the roads.  Crossed the bridge over the Missouri River into Kansas and wanted to take a picture of the old iron bridge because they are replacing it with a concrete bridge.


I pulled into a parking lot to the right of the bridge. The town of Atchison had a few things going on for the weekend. I walked to the Farmers Market and by a car show.  I walked near the Railroad Museum where some train cars were being restored.

Then I walked along the river, they have a nice riverfront park with a concrete walking path and benches and picnic tables. Not sure how long the path is, I followed it for awhile then turned back.  There are several nice looking restaurants along the river, as well. Looks like the town did a good job fixing up the riverfront and there were several people out enjoying it.



Left Atchison and headed southwest towards Topeka, Hwy 4 merged into I-70, so I as much as I try, I didn't totally stay off of the interstate. After a few miles on I-70, I took the exit to resume travel on Hwy. 4. This part of the highway is the "Native Rocks Scenic Byway". There was no place to pull over and enjoy the scenery on the scenic byway. This makes no sense to me. Lots and lots of signs about the scenic byway, but you can't stop anywhere. Lots of cattle along this highway and a herd of bison and "red dogs".

photo borrowed from the web

I then headed south on Hwy. 99, I ran into a detour that took me on 56 east for awhile, then Hwy. 56 had a detour, eventually the two detours split off. I was wondering why all of the detours. I saw a sign that I would be going through Reading, Kansas. Since I had been through several "train towns" already in Kansas, I thought maybe there would be a train depot in Reading. Instead, I drove through a town that had been devastated by a tornado on May 22nd. There were caution signs on the highway, I slowed down and wasn't sure if I could keep going, we were allowed to drive past. A lot of the streets were barricaded and people were out in the drizzly rain sorting through the remnants of their homes. I felt very sad driving through this area, I had never driven through an area hit by a tornado.

I was heading to a town south of Reading for the night. I want to go to the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in the morning.


Campground Review
Friday night I stayed at  Eagle Ridge RV Park  in Eagleville, Missouri. The owners were very helpful in setting me up with a spot even though it was the beginning of a holiday weekend. The website stated a 2 night minimum on holidays, but they were ok with me staying one night. I was in an overflow area, with electric only and they topped off my water tank. I was parked on grass with a slight slope, the owner put down boards for my front tires, to make the coach more level. This was a nice family park with a lot of trees and flowers. I would highly recommend this park.




I didn't make reservations because I am traveling around the weather reports and was not sure exactly which way I was going or how far I would go each day.  My thinking is that every single site in every park could not possibly be full, even on a holiday weekend.

9481-9762 / 281 miles   gas prices $3.64
    

Friday, May 27, 2011

Kit Kat - Day 2

Last night Kit Kat kept getting in and out of bed, I never noticed this type of activity at home. This morning she kept sitting by the doors and crying, I think she wanted to go home. She is an indoor cat, she would occasionally sit on the deck with me. I always had to leave the door open so she could go inside if something scared her while outdoors.

She likes looking out the windows and she thought that sleeping under the drivers seat was a good idea.




I think the problem is that she is missing her 22 hours of daily sleep. All of the movements while driving down the road are disturbing her sleep.
She is currently hidden under blankets asleep on the bed.

When I left home on Thursday, I took an unconventional route that will add several miles to the trip. I did this to avoid the stormy weather in southern Illinois and Missouri. I drove west across Illinois into Iowa and camped last night in West Liberty, Iowa. Tonite I am in Northwest Missouri, I should be crossing into Kansas tomorrow. 

I tried to avoid driving on the Interstate today.  I almost did it, except for 10 miles on I-35, because of a detour. I enjoyed the drive through the countryside. Barns and farmland, horses and cows. I also drove through several Amish communities, sharing the road with horse and buggy.
This buggy was parked behind a gas station???

I also drove along the route of "Barn Quilts" in Washington County, Iowa. There was not a place to pull over and take pictures of the barns. You can see pictures here.


9246-9481 / 235 miles   gas prices $4.06 and $3.79

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Kit Kat goes Kamping

Thursday, May 26th                 driving thru Illinois

It was drizzly when we left home, and there was some wind, but not bad enough to make the drive difficult. The sun came out around 3pm. It is warm (64) and sunny at the campground. I'm in a "pull thru" site, with a grassy area and picnic table.  I went for a walk around the campground. In this complex there is a BP station, an Econolodge and a Diner. We are near farmland, with easy access to the highway. This campground used to be a KOA, they have a pool, it's not open yet.




I had wanted to stay at a state or county park, when I called some of the county parks in this area, most of them have lake or river frontage and have a lot of flooding.



My cat "KitKat" is officially a kamping kitty.

She was not too happy at first. I put her in a carrier because I needed to stop for gas and didn't want her to escape from the coach. She kept scratching at the carrier. I let her out of the carrier when I was getting ready to leave the gas station.




She did pretty good, she cried for awhile, and actually fell asleep when I was going very slowly through a construction zone. She gets mad and cries when the road is bumpy. She likes to sit next to me, so I put a blanket on the floor next to the drivers seat. Only once did she climb down by my feet, I told her "no" and she moved. She cries when the GPS lady is talking or maybe she is talking back to it.

She is eating and sleeping and likes to look out the window. When she is on the bed - she has a good view out the window by the dinette.
She had a stressful day

9031-9246 / 215 miles    gas prices $4.19 and $3.79


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Weather Delay

This has been a terrible "weather" year.   My prayers are with the families in Joplin, MO - such a devastating tornado. Our lives can change in an instant, without warning.

Back in April when I first made a schedule, I planned on leaving on Thursday. Then I decided I would leave home on Wednesday, May 25th. Due to the weather in the areas I will be traveling to, I changed my departure back to Thursday, May 26th. I thought I may want to find a campsite where I could stay for longer than one night - midway through my route. I may just stay at each site one night, travel less miles per day and allow extra time - in case I have to change my route along the way. A lot of the State Parks that I called have flooding - in lakes and rivers - and more rain is predicted for a lot of these areas. I also found out that if I wanted a guaranteed site in these parks, the reservations have to be made at least 2 weeks ahead of time, and an additional fee is charged for the reservation. It's too late to make reservations, they still have first come, first served sites available. I have several campground books and memberships - so I am not worried about finding a place to park for the night. I use campgrounds for the electricity and I'm sure I could do without electricity for one night if I had to.


check out this link:  new TOR-CON weather prediction

At weather.com there is a new feature TOR-CON, this shows if there is a "possibility" or "probability" of a tornado and they rate the areas. They are predicting a stronge possibility of tornadoes through the area I would be traveling on Wednesday, and severe thunderstorms. I have decided that one day won't make a big difference in my plans. I have plenty of time, I do not have to be in San Antonio until June 2nd.
Severe Thunderstorms in red areas on Wednesday


Unfortunately, I will be driving through "tornado alley" to reach my destination. This is not the best time of year to be heading this way, and RV'ers are always talking about driving away from the bad weather. What if you are meeting family? Do you stay away from hot areas in the summer and cold areas in the winter, even if that means not going to a family reunion?

Anyway, once I decided to delay my departure, I wasn't rushing to get things done - so now -  I'm not really ready to leave on Wednesday.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Almost Ready........

Only a few more days until I'm "on the road again".  I'm taking my cat with me this time and I will be traveling for a month, so this should be an interesting trip. I had a route mapped out, been watching the weather reports, trying to avoid rain, may have to change my route. I need to make up my mind soon, because I wanted to make a reservation at a state park for the holiday weekend, I wanted to avoid driving in the holiday traffic.
I checked weather.com early this morning, most of the flooding is in Southern IL and MO - and further south - near my original route. More rain is predicted for this entire area all week.  I have decided to change my route and cross the Mississippi in Southern Iowa or Northern  Missouri.
Ladynomads blog showed flooding at campsites at Table Rock Lake.  Is there a central place I can find out about flooded areas, or do I need to contact each states Department of Transportation?
I will be traveling through Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas and maybe a corner of Oklahoma before I get to Texas.      I checked out a few State Park websites and some were updated to include flood and road closings details on the home page of their website, this is very helpful information.

I still have to learn how all of the electrical stuff works. The water and sewer are a lot less complicated than making sure I have enough power for all of the gadgets and toys and for cooking and lights. On the way home from Florida, I had an electric hookup at each campsite, I did not hook up to water and sewer everyday.
    
I will have to read about the Inverter, vs shore power, vs generator. At a class I attended at LazyDays, they warned about plugging in chargers (for cameras, cell phones, etc) to inverter power, because its not a "pure SineWave". ??? They said a laptop is ok, the cord has that adaptor on it to regulate the power coming in. (I always wondered why laptop cords have that big "brick"). I would like to add solar to the coach - so that I'm not dependent on electrical hookups.
 
I went to the DMV for my license plates. They were not very helpful, luckily I know how to fill out tax forms. They handed me the application and Use Tax form and said they could not do them.  I had called the SOS office the day before, so I had the tax rates and all of the info I needed. I received a credit for the sales tax paid in Florida.  Their website had an Environmental Plate with a Cardinal on it, they did not have these at the office I went to. I have plain RV plates for now. They expire on December 31st, so I will try to get the Cardinal plates when I get a renewal form in the mail.  Not sure if I want a personalized plate, or to just get a random number when I renew. Do you have "vanity plates" on any of your vehicles?

This weekend I've been busy filling up the cabinets and closets with dishes, food, clothing, electronic gadgets and books. The outside storage bins will have a lawn chair, chair umbrella, cleaning solutions, tool box, extra blankets and an extra water hose, cat litter and jugs of water. When I was first looking at RV's, I didn't think I would be able to take books along, thought I wouldn't have space or they would be too heavy. I have one upper cabinet filled with books, they are mostly travel books.  I found a file folder full of maps and travel brochures in the garage. I will sort through this and find a place for it in the coach.

Also, from the garage is a computer monitor that is also a TV. I originally purchased it for my office, and then later we used it in the garage - hooked up to cable TV. I purchased a wall mount for it today, and have to figure out where in the coach to put it. I like that it can be used as a computer monitor and/or TV. I can use it to watch DVD's for now.
I'll have to get a cable outlet installed on the coach.

The dollar store had some nice fabric bins in a bunch of sizes. I am using them to hold books, clothes and kitchen stuff. I took the coach for a short ride the other day and a lot of things moved around in the cabinets. I'm hoping these bins will keep things corralled. I splurged on a set of Corelle dishes this weekend. I have been trying to find some on sale or at a resale store.  I finally went and bought the design and style that I liked.






"SOLOing consists of
three consecutive takeoffs
and landings"
-unknown author

Saturday, May 21, 2011

It's Okay

From the book: I'm on the Way to a Brighter Day
by Douglas Richards
Blue Mountain Press
Boulder, Colorado
1984

It's Okay

It's okay to be afraid
of the things we don't understand.
It's okay to feel anxious
when things aren't working our way.
It's okay to feel lonely...
even when you're with other people.
It's okay to feel unfulfilled
because you know something is missing
(even if you're not sure what it is).
      It's ok to think and worry and cry.

It's ok to do
whatever you have to do, but
just remember, too...
that eventually you're going to
adjust to the changes life brings your way.
And you'll realize that
it's okay to love again and laugh again,
and it's okay to get to the point where
the life you live
is full and satisfying and good to you...
and that it will be that way
because you made it that way.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Forget the Bad

I read this on a blog and had to share it.

Surround yourself with people who make you laugh,
forget the bad,
focus on the good.

Love the people who treat you right,
pray for the ones that don't.

Life is to short to be anything,
but HAPPY.

Falling down is part of Life.
Getting back up is Living!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thoughts and Quotes..........

Most folks are about as HAPPY
as they make up their minds to be.
                                -Abraham Lincoln



Seek FREEDOM
and become captive of your Desires
Seek DISCIPLINE
and find your Liberty
                                  -Frank Herbert



xxxx   xxxx
When you live in your
 HEART
magic happens
ooo

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Finding Supplies for the Coach

I started to write this on Sunday, but didn't get around to adding the pictures until today.

First, some notes on comments to earlier blogs. Because the plant is toxic to my cat, I will probably give it away to someone without pets. I will look into some wall vases. Not sure how/where I would attach them. I don't want to make any holes on the walls of the coach.

The cat litter will be kept in the cabinet under the bathroom sink, I lined the inside of the cabinet with plastic (the bottom of the cabinet has a hole and lifts up to access pipes underneath and I didn't want litter falling down into that area.  I bought 2 different size litter pans that nest inside each other, to hopefully catch some of the litter that gets kicked around.  I didn't want to put the litter box in the shower because cats kick the litter around, and I would have to be constantly cleaning out the shower. I will probably need a hand held vacuum cleaner.
On Monday, my brother helped me install a "kitty door" on the bathroom door.  I have one on my basement door in the house, and my cat is already comfortable using this type of door to get to the litter box in the basement.

Thanks for the blogger backup info.
And I'm going to test drive some folding bikes at Camping World.  Donna said she is using a gel seat on her folding bike, and I found one in my basement.

************************************
This weekend was cold and damp so I decided to work on getting stuff out of my basement and into the garage for the upcoming garage sale.

Sorting and purging and setting things aside to use in the coach.

I did a lot of laundry. The local animal shelter takes donations of towels, blankets and sheets, in any condition. I washed everything and packed them into large plastic bags.

We seem to blog about all of our "stuff".  I'm glad I kept some of it, its finding a home -in the coach. Some things are from the travel trailer that we had in the 90's.
It just amazes me the "stuff" I have accumulated and spent my hard earned money on. I always thought I was pretty frugal. In my defense, it is 35 years of accumulation and I did buy most of this stuff at resale shops or on clearance and I did get some use out of it at one time or another, so I guess I shouldn't be too upset about it.  There were a few sad moments when I came across some of my husbands things. I didn't remember putting those things into the basement. I was probably still in a fog when I moved things out of his "office" and changed that room into a bedroom for myself. There are still a few items I've been looking for and have not found.  I'm sure they will show up somewhere.

I will repurpose whatever I can and sell the rest.  I did really well at last years 4 day garage sale and hope I can sell a lot this year. I relisted some items on Amazon and a few things sold over the weekend.

The coach has a lot more storage space than I anticipated. Most of the cabinets and outside bins are empty.  I will take along some of my sewing supplies and fabric. I am hoping that I will be able to sew some items and eventually make things to sell. (Today at 3pm Workamping Magazine is hosting a webinar about operating a small business from your RV). ???Do I really want to start a business again........ or just take short term part-time jobs and leave the stress to the owners?

The coach has a good size counter top and I am looking for a counter height folding stool.
I really like the clean, uncluttered look and I'm afraid of adding to many things.
I don't want the coach to look cluttered or messy.
You can't see it in the picture,
 there is a space next to the kitchen cabinet. 
 I could keep a folding stool in this area.
The larger dinette is now a bed/couch.
 I added a twin size memory foam mattress.
I need to finish sewing the pillows/bolsters for the bed.
Check out what I found in the basement
didn't need to go shopping.



Storage trays and boxes. A set of new flatware for 4 and 4 new steak knives. 
Old Tupperware items. A utility hammock, a pet door, a bag of bungee cords.
 Gel bike seat and tire pump and bike tool bag.
A folding shovel. Quick dry camping towel. Picnic Tableloth, and more..........

A set of blue travel cases (to be used in the outside storage bins).
I'm trying to keep all my supplies in closed containers,
so that things are not sliding around too much while I am driving.

I also came across a large supply of shampoos and soaps we picked up during our travels,
 won't have to buy shampoo anytime soon.

Only 7 more days till I leave again.........................

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

One Day at a Time

YESTERDAY --- TODAY --- TOMORROW

     There are two days in every week about which we should not worry, two days which should be kept free from fear and apprehension.

     One of these days is Yesterday, with its mistakes and cares, its faults and blunders, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control.
     All of the money in the world cannot bring back Yesterday. We cannot undo a single act we performed, we cannot erase a single word we said. Yesterday is gone.

     The other day we should not worry about is Tomorrow, with its possible adversities, its burdens, its large promise and poor performance.  Tomorrow is also beyond our immediate control.
     Tomorrow's sun will rise, either in splendor or behind a mask of clouds -- but it will rise. Until it does, we have no stake in Tomorrow, for it is yet unborn.

     This leaves only one day -- Today.  Anyone can fight the battles of just one day.  It is only when you and I add the burden of those awful eternities  --  Yesterday and Tomorrow that we breakdown.

     It is not the experience of Today that drives men mad  -- it is remorse or bitterness for something that happened Yesterday and the dread of what Tomorrow may bring.

LET US, THEREFORE, LIVE BUT "ONE DAY AT A TIME"


Not sure who wrote this, but it is another thing that I wanted to keep, go back to, and read when I need a "pick me up". A gentle reminder.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Traveling Houseplants

I have a small plant in my house, and would like to keep it in the coach.

I'm thinking I could put the entire pot into a small wicker wastebasket and wedge it behind the passengers seat, hoping that it will not turn over. I'm not sure where else in the coach it would be protected from sliding around and spilling out of the pot.

The bathroom sink won't work, I had a bottle of water in there on one trip and the bottle ended up in the shower.

The other problem is to keep my cat from eating it. She can't reach it now, its in the bay window in front of the kitchen sink, if she jumped up on the counter, she would land in the sink.

Are geraniums poisonous to cats???

This plant has blooms at least 9 months each year, and keeps a nice green color the rest of the time.


Do you travel with plants? I really want to keep this plant, I think it would be nice to have it sitting on the dinette table when I am parked.

Drake Tax Software

Overnight stays in these states:

Overnight stays in these states:
It is the sandstorm that shape the stone statues of the Desert. It is the struggles of Life that form a person's character ~ Native American Proverb