Travels with Bentley

Travels with Bentley
Bentley - our Heartland Bighorn

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Friday, November 14 - Lazy L & L Campground, New Braunfels, TX

Today we had a chore we needed to take care of - laundry.  Since we decided to stay an extra week we were running out of clothes.  We drove by a couple of Laundromats here in New Braunfels and decided we'd try out San Marcos since we planned to head that way today.  By the time we arrived it was lunch time so we stopped at the #2 Restaurant as listed on Trip Advisor - Hays County BBQ.  Can't remember what #2 was - but BBQ sounded much better.  If you are ever in this area - GO!  This was the best brisket I've ever had in my life.  It was nice thick cuts and it was the most perfectly moist and tender cut of meat I've ever had.  The flavor was wonderful.  The BBQ sauce they had was a vinegar mustard with a bit of heat.  I really liked it but Dean is not a BBQ sauce type of guy.
If you do go here try to stay away from the noon hour.  We held up the line a bit and it was LONG when we left.  I felt bad.  If you want sides (potato salad, cole slaw) they are in various sized containers in coolers right near the counters.  There are trays - so pick up the sides before you get to the counter and know what you want.  They do not sell plates of food, it's a pick and go.  They have linked sausages which I wish we would have tried and the brisket.  They sale the brisket by 1/4, 1/2 and 1 pound on thick paper if you are eating there.  We got 1/4 # each, but wish we would have ordered the pound.    Even if we couldn't eat it all we would have had extras for tonight.  It was that good!  I forgot to take a picture of the building - which set back away from the frontage road along I35. 

After lunch we found the Laundromat and 2 hours later we were ready to explore.  We drove around San Marcos which is home to Texas State University.  They have a very impressive campus with beautiful buildings.  I took this picture to share but it's not the best.  It's hard to snap pictures as you drive by.  All of their buildings had this same architectural theme and color.

San Marcos is also the County Seat for Hays County.  Again this picture of the courthouse is not very good.  They really have some beautiful courthouse architecture here in Texas.  The tents were set up to sell tickets to the Wine & Wassill walk some group was holding in the near future.  They were starting to take things down as they had sold out - at $25 a ticket.  We noticed the flyer at the LBJ Museum when we stopped.

The last stop we made before heading home was at the Lyndon B. Johnson Museum, which was absolutely fascinating.  I did not realize how much Johnson accomplished in his tenure as President.  In fact we are headed to Johnson City tomorrow to visit two LBJ National Historical Parks.  One incudes the "Texas White House" on LBJ's ranch where numerous events were held during his Presidency, and the other is the historic Johnson City which was founded by family members.  The information in the museum today really made me want to know more about Johnson.  I will include more about this after we visit the parks Saturday.

On our way back to Bentley this afternoon it was warm enough to get out and get close to the Guadalupe River that runs along the edge of the campground.  Here are a few pictures of the area we stopped.

                                      There are numerous camping spots right along the water.

                                             See the steps that take you to the water.

Saturday's temperatures are supposed to be in the mid-50's and Sunday will hit 60 so we are looking forward to that.  There was little wind today so it was pretty comfortable outside.

As we returned to the campground, we stopped to pay for one more night.  We asked the receptionist about things to do in and around New Braunfels.  She suggested that we visit Wurstfest in downtown New Braunfels and that we wait until Sunday when it is mostly locals and not as crowded.  She told us that Friday and Saturday nights are not only pretty crowded, but tend to be quite loud as it brings in lots of young people from surrounding areas.  Wurstfest as you might guess is an event to celebrate the German heritage in the area and features numerous musical groups playing throughout each day's and evening's events.

I need to check the time Willie is singing at Gruene Hall.  If we can get close enough to walk through the shops again I might at least get to hear him on Sunday.  Since the weather is supposed to be so nice, they might even open the building up where you could get a glimpse of him too.  The windows have large boards that can be propped open to provide good airflow.  You never know!!  Maybe we can visit Wurstfest before or after.  (Not sure Dean will go for this plan of trying to hear Willie - but I have high hopes.)

Saturday we have a full day planned.  Besides visiting the LBJ Parks, we plan to visit Fredericksberg's Trade Days which happens to be this weekend, as well as a trip into Fredericksberg, Luckenbach, TX and possibly a drive through Waverly. 

We missed our Friday morning breakfast out so we are doing that tomorrow morning.  I've scoped out a place but we still need to find somewhere for lunch today.  Finding good food is part of the experience of visiting new places.

Be back soon!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday, November 13, 2014 - Lazy L & L Campground, New Braunfels, TX

Hello!  We are camping along the Guadalupe River near New Braunfels, Texas.  It is just gorgeous here and even though it's quite a bit cooler than normal for this time of year - there is hardly anyone around so it just makes it a wonderful place to be.  I have a feeling this place is worse than Branson and Grove put together considering the long winding road you must drive to get here with all of the resorts along the river that provide camping and tubing.  It's about 10 miles long so you can just imagine.  Today was a bit warmer and Sunday is supposed to be near 60 so I hope to get some much better pictures if it doesn't rain.

                     Pictures taken along the Guadalupe River on the way to our campground.

We are at a beautiful resort.  It's a huge acreage with LOTS of room for RV's, and it looks like they provide quite a bit of outdoor entertainment for the summer months.  This evening as we drove in from New Braunfels, there were 15+ deer out in the pasture area.  They are such pretty animals.

                    Bentley is to the far left in the RV's above.  This is where we saw the deer.

Today we went into New Braunfels - hit Wal-mart for a few things such as gloves and ear muffs. The wind was pretty chilly however by this afternoon it was in the mid-40's; still cool but tolerable.  We drove around New Braunfels including downtown with a drive by the Courthouse located on the square.  Another one for Crystal and Lonie!

We ate lunch at a Mexican Restaurant that was rated high on Trip Advisor - Mamacita's and it was very, very good.  They served a wonderful spicy salsa and an avocado sauce/dip with the chips.  They were both very good however the avocado sauce we had in Arkansas was a little better.  I ordered a combination plate that included a cheese enchilada, tamale with chili sauce and taco served with beans, rice and guacamole.  It was all very good but the tamale was extremely good.  It's hard to find a good tamale. Dean had carnitas, and he really liked them.  They actually had quite a selection of cheesecakes from the Cheesecake Factory but we were just too full to eat any more.  Plus, we have a hankering for Dairy Queen!

After eating lunch we headed to Gruene, TX, pronounced Green.  This is a historic town where the famous Gruene Hall is located.  Many famous country & western stars have performed here in their early musical days.  I was devastated to learn Willie Nelson will be playing here on Sunday while we are in the area BUT it is already sold out.  On the way to Thackerville I found out he will be playing in Durant this Saturday but those tickets were also sold out.  I have wanted to see him for years and so close......but just didn't make it!  I told Dean maybe we could just go to Gruene and walk the streets - surely we could hear him even though we might not get to see him.  :)

                                  Where Willie Nelson will perform this Sunday, Nov 16.

By the way, Gruene has some great shops.

                                                     One of the shops in Gruene.

By the way we made a stop at Dairy Queen on the way home.  Great blizzards!  Very impressed with the fact they brought them to our table, turned them upside down and they were mixed very nicely with the right amount of toppings.  One of the best we've had!

I think tomorrow we might head to San Marcos or Fredericksburg.  Luckenbach, TX is close and I must make it there as well - another Willie Nelson reminder.  Love that song!  We will probably head back north on Monday morning with the idea of getting home by late Wednesday or Thursday.  Last night it did get to about 31 degrees but tonight will only be about 33.  It's supposed to be warmer tomorrow. I do not miss the cold temps and wind chills you all are having.  We didn't leave Bentley until 10 or 10:30 this morning so we would miss the worst of the cold.  We've decided to have lunch out and just eat a snack in the evening.  Love trying the local fare!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

November 11, 2014 Boone RV Park, Lampasas, TX

It's been a few days since I posted anything.  We have been in Thackerville, OK attending a Heartland Oklahoma Chapter Rally.  We had a great time.  We've met so many really, really nice people and we love attending the rallies.  A quick update - we left Checotah, OK on Thursday morning and arrived at WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, OK on Thursday afternoon.  When we checked in we found out we checked in a day later than we were supposed to so they had cancelled our reservation when we didn't show up.  Ooops!  Wonder who did that?
But they had plenty of spaces and were able to find us another spot near our fellow campers - just not in the same row so we were kind of by ourselves.  I hate keeping a calendar these days!!!
There was a meet and greet at the clubhouse that evening.  We went up and visited for awhile and checked in.  There are a lot of really nice door prizes that attendees can win Saturday when we have the chapter meeting.  Everyone will get at least one, possibly two smaller gifts.
Each morning there was coffee and donuts or breakfast served.  I didn't go up on Friday but Dean did.  We played sandbag baseball Friday morning, lunch on our own and then we had a pot luck dinner that night.  I made corn dip and no-bake cookies.  By the way our team won at sandbag baseball.  We won 3-2, with Dean making two home runs.  Woohoo!
Saturday our host made sausage gravy and biscuits.  Very good.  We played ladderball today.  Neither of us did very good on this.  It was all fun though.  That night we caravanned to Sanger, TX to eat at Babe's Chicken.  WOW!  First of all I would love to see a restaurant in Oswego or our neighboring area that had this type of draw!  Unbelievable the number of people waiting and eating when we arrived about 4:15 p.m.  The place was packed except for a side room where we all headed to.  There was at least 30 of us.  You had the choice of fried chicken, smoked chicken, steak, fried fish and chicken fried steak.  Everyone at our table ordered fried chicken.  They bring 1/2 chicken for each person at the table.  The chicken was quite good.  They serve it family style and we also received mashed potatoes and gravy, creamed corn, green beans and homemade biscuits.  Yummy!  It was very good.  People were still coming in when we left with several waiting outside.
We headed up to the clubhouse after we got back to the RV park.  I played a game with several others called Logos - about various businesses in the US.  It was pretty fun.  Dean set this one out and just watched us.
Most people left on Sunday but we decided to stay until Monday as did about 7 other rigs.
The women decided to get together at 1:00.  One of the ladies brought craft materials and we made the cutest little "Rudolph" Reindeers out of wine corks and twigs.  I'll include a picture of one.  This was alot of fun and really had a chance to visit with the 4 other women who attended.
All 8 couples gathered later for a cookout with leftovers from the pot luck dinner a couple of days ago.  It was a great evening.
We decided to stay over another day until Tuesday.  Dean's knee started bothering him Sunday afternoon and by that evening it was swollen pretty good.  We went to Wal-Mart where I picked out a good brace for him and had him start taking Ibuprofen regularly.  We didn't have any ice but we put a cold water bottle on it as well.  I filled the ice cubes though in case we needed ice later.  He slept much better last night and while it is still sore he is doing better.
Tonight we are in Lampasas, TX.  It is just east of Killeen where Matt and Megan lived for the past couple of years.  We drove in to Copperas Cove and ate at Giovanni's.  We had eaten here with them at least twice on visits to see them.  It was as good as we remembered it.  We asked the waitress to take our picture in the barrel chairs.

I texted the picture to Matt & Megan to see if they could figure out where we were.  They sure never would have guessed we were at their old stomping grounds.  Wish they were still here but we'll see them next month.  Can't wait to get our hands on Joshua.
Tomorrow morning we will drive on to an RV Park outside of New Braunfels, TX.  We plan to spend 3 full days there and then work our way back to Oswego.  Hopefully the weather will warm up a bit before we get home.
On our way to Lampasas we passed through Weatherford County TX.  They had a really interesting courthouse and since my county treasurer sister and county commissioner brother-in-law enjoy seeing other county courthouses I thought I would share this picture.  It looked like you were going to drive right in to the building but then the road split going around the building.

Tonight we also went to H.E.B. the coolest grocery store ever!  Fell in love with them while visiting in Texas.  We bought some milk.  While paying, the checker was asking Dean about the milk and if he wanted it in a bag or a sticker on it.  I looked at him and it was absolute bewilderment all over his face.  I told the lady - just put a sticker on it.  I had to explain it was so they would know we paid for it.  He got really tickled over that.  He wondered if she was giving it to him so he would be good.  He's such a kid!!   LOL!!!  Had a good laugh about that 2 or 3 times since then.
Well, it's supposed to dip just below freezing so I need to get my shower tonight so Dean can pick up the water hose and store it in the basement.  Will be one less thing to do in the morning before we can take off.  It's only about 3 hours driving time tomorrow so we will not be in any hurry to leave.  Hopefully it will be relatively decent by the time we leave around 10 or so.
Bentley sure has missed us traveling with him.  We sure do enjoy being with him.
See you all soon.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thursday, November 6, 2014 - Winstar World Casino, Thackerville, OK

We left Oswego Monday morning and headed to Grand Lake.  We had not stayed in Bentley for over a month and decided we would stay here a couple of days before heading to the fall Heartland Rally in Thackerville, OK later in the week.

As many of you know I started following several blogs of different RV'ers in 2013 prior to our retirement.  We have learned so many things from these blogs and have heard about many places we hope to visit in the future.  Around March of 2013 a website was announced that is to help RV'ers connect with each other in order to meet up on the road, caravan together, meet others of like minds, etc. and is called RVillage as in "our village".  After looking at it for a month or so I finally joined the end of March 2014.  During this time I have become friends with several other RV'ers.  We have not had the pleasure of meeting any of them yet but recently we made arrangements to meet up with a couple who live at Grand Lake but travel part-time like us.  Our plans were to have dinner on Tuesday evening.  Unfortunately they had to cancel due to a medical issue.  We were really disappointed but things happen and hopefully we can reschedule a meet up next time we are back at Grand Lake.

Tuesday morning Dean was in the mood for eating breakfast out.  So we headed to our favorite cafe, Ms. Donna's.  I love their french toast and could not pass it up this morning.  Dean had his regular eggs, sausage, hash browns and wheat toast.  There was a large group of women having LOTS of fun in the back.  Dean wondered if the wife of a friend of his might be part of the group as they had mentioned the men from their church have breakfast on Monday's at Ms. Donna's and the women met on another morning.  As Dean went to pay I told him I was going to see if our friend's wife was in the group.  I immediately spotted her and went back to say hi.  I told her I wondered if she was back there with so much uproar taking place.  Everyone got a good laugh out of that.

We are always looking at places on Grand Lake - dreaming of possibly living there one day.  Not sure it will ever happen, but we never tire of looking.  We set out to go look at a place we had heard about. As usual, after we looked at it we decided this was not the one.  It had a great boat dock but the house itself just needed too much work for us for the price.

When we returned to the Bernice area, we ran by to see Dean's friend (whose wife I mentioned earlier), who was a former co-worker.  He sure hated it when Charlie retired.  We had a great visit with them.  I had made a pot of taco soup before we left home so that was dinner tonight.  Was pretty good too I might add.

Wednesday morning we got around and left for Checotah, OK where we planned to spend the night at Onapa Campground.  Dean had chosen this campground as a half way point from Grand Lake to Thackerville.  Checotah happens to be the home of Carried Underwood - Winner of American Idol 2005.  This is the first year I began watching American Idol and I was taken with her amazing voice and knew she would be the winner that year.  I thought it was kind of interesting we stayed in her hometown to watch the County Music Awards, that she hosted with Brad Paisley that night.

We ate dinner at a Mexican restaurant for dinner.  It was pretty good.  We really wanted Chinese but after looking at the menu at the local Chinese restaurant we decided we would wait until a different stop for that choice.

The CMA's were great as usual and one of my favorite singers "Vince Gill" was recognized for his musical talents.  What a great musician he is.

This morning we left Checotah about 9:00 and headed to Thackerville.  Quite a name for a town isn't it.  Not sure where the name came from - something to research, I guess.  We arrived at about 12:30 at the check-in office.  Hmmm.  Come to find out someone seemed to have made an error in the date we were supposed to arrive.  Seems our reservations was for Wednesday - not Thursday and they had cancelled our reservation.  Fortunately they had plenty of room as we were reassigned a spot.  The downside it was not with the rest of our group, but it wasn't too far away.  I don't know what it is about retirement that I can't seem to keep dates and times straight anymore.

Shortly after we got the RV unhooked from the truck, one of the Heartland group stopped by to tell us they were having hot dogs for dinner tonight.  Seems one of the group had a bunch of hot dogs left over from an event they recently held and was donating them.  Super.  They had a greet and meet at 2:00 so we headed to the meeting room after we had a quick bite to eat.

Most of the people we met in April at Durant, OK was present.  One gentleman, Jay is the Central Region Director for Heartland and he works with a number of states in this region (of which Kansas is a part of).  Currently Kansas does not have a state director and he has been talking to Dean and I about starting up a Kansas Chapter.  We are thinking of it but are undecided at the moment.  We plan to visit with other chapter leaders and look into the number of Kansas owners before making a decision.

Following dinner tonight, we made a quick Wal-mart run so I could make something for the pot luck dinner we will have on Friday evening.  I will be making corn dip and no-bake cookies.

Well, that it is for tonight.  It's 9:46.  It's been a long day and I'm really tired.  Hope we sleep well tonight.  The one thing about an RV at least you have your own bed with you no matter where you go. I love that!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

October 12, 2014 - Williamsburg, VA

Well several of you have asked if I am going to blog on this trip so I will try to give you an update on what we have done so far.

We left Oswego about 3:00 Wednesday, October 8 and headed to Brett & Renae's (East of Columbus) to pick up Brett and the kids (Dacy 12 & Tucker 11).  We were able to cram all of our luggage in to the back of the van and off we headed to Joplin.  We were picking Renae up at work. 
Our drive there was pretty uneventful and we soon had Renae on board and headed down I44 towards St. Louis and on to Mt. Vernon, IL.  We stopped in Springfield at McAlister's Deli for dinner.  Not too bad.  Dacy wasn't thrilled with her sandwich and Renae agreed it wasn't very good.  We took off again made one more stop before we arrived at Mt. Vernon a little before midnight.  We decided we would get on the road at 7:30 the next morning after having breakfast at the hotel.  It was slightly later before we took off but not too bad. 

From Mt. Vernon we drove about 4 hours to Lexington, KY.  Here we spent a great day at the Kentucky Horse Park.  The weather was perfect.  Overcast, but comfortable for being outdoors.  We first visited the Hall of Champions where 3-4 horses were brought out into a small arena.  Prior to the horses entering the arena we watched clips from their winning races.  The trainer then brought the horse out for us to view and take pictures.  I took pictures of a few.  One of the horses was "  ".  I took a picture of her before she was in the arena with Dean standing by her stable.

We watched dressage where several horses and their riders completed special patterns which is similar to English riding - but different.

We toured several horse barns where the large draft horses were located; the mounted police horses; small Shetland horses and a variety of other horses throughout he park.  It was a beautiful park with many statutes of horses scattered around the park.  We visited their horse museum dedicated to the history of all horses and impact on human civilization.  It's hard to describe everything that we saw and participated in.  If you love horses you should take the time to stop and visit.

We ate lunch at the farmhouse café.  Our food was delicious.

One fun thing that occurred.  After we ate, Renae, the kids and I walked to the Altec Arena.  We were trying to find our way to the large arena area.  A gentleman came by and we asked him if he could help us find the right area.  He directed us to the elevator and rode up with us.  He explained he owned and had showed horses at the arena and now he was the announcer of the events.  Kind of a neat experience.  Very nice guy.

We spent the night in Lexington.  We checked TripAdvisor to check out our dinner plans for the evening.  We chose Bourbon n' Toulouse, a Cajun restaurant.  We decided we would give it a 3.  Brett and I had red beans, sausage and rice which was very good but the chicken ettoufee was a bit bland.  I didn't care for it and neither did any of the others.  It was edible but that was all.  Tucker had BBQ and said it was pretty good.  We decided that we would leave by 8:00 a.m. on Friday.  The next morning we were on the road pretty close to our planned time.  Here is where the scenery really changed.  Entering eastern Kentucky and leaving we saw numerous horse farms.  HUGE horse farms.  Just gorgeous properties.

As we reached the far eastern part of the state and moved into West Virginia we began to experience really beautiful fall foliage.  It was again overcast and we drove in a light to medium rain most of the day.  This created heavy fog in the mountain areas and it was just beautiful.  My pictures really do not do it justice.  Unfortunately it was raining too much and it was so foggy that we did not take the time to stop at any of the noted scenic locations but we hope to do that on the way home.  We decided to stop for a late lunch in Lewisburg, WV at Stardust Café.  We HIGHLY recommend this cafe.  They were having a special event in their community called TOOT - Taste of our Town.  We had to wait at least 30 minutes to be seated - and then was moved to a table from the bar shortly before our meal was delivered to our table.  People continued to come in even after we were served our food.  You could tell the cafe had a great reputation.

We arrived in Williamsburg, VA about 7pm.  We were a bunch of tired travelers.  After we got all of our luggage unloaded we unwound a bit and then all headed to bed.

The next morning we found a great place for breakfast - The Smoky Griddle.  Again a great restaurant.  Pancakes were really good.  Following that we decided to drive down to Norfolk to the Naval Base.  Norfolk is home to the largest navy fleet and we were fortunate that a number of ships were in port while we were there.  Because Brett is active military we were able to get on base and walked the wharf looking at the various ships.  Renae and I were getting ready to take pictures of a submarine when a soldier came out and told us we could not take pictures of it.  Brett asked him if there was any ships we could get closer to.  When he discovered Brett was military he said we could tour the submarine.  WOW!  This was so cool.  First of all it was an active ship.  We were taken on the tour by navy personnel who were assigned to this ship.  Many sailors were still on the ship during our tour.  It was an amazing experience.  We got to visit with the "chef" who does all of the cooking for the entire crew, that was 60+.  Unfortunately I have no pictures of the USS Norfolk tour or the ship.

The sailors indicated since Brett was active military we could most likely go onboard any of the ships.  The Navy Hopsital Ship - the USS Comfort was also in dock.  We went down to see if we could tour it.  Unfortunately tours for this ship must be pre-scheduled.  Adjacent to the hospital ship was the USS Bainbridge.  Several sailors were standing on the deck so Brett went up to see if we could tour it and they ushered us aboard.  Again I say WOW!  Do any of you remember hearing about the USS Bainbridge that assisted a ship that was taken over by pirates several years ago - that event later became the basis for a well known major movie known as "Captain Phillips" starring my favorite actor Tom Hanks.

Upon leaving the pier we headed to the Naval Museum.  It was very interesting but nothing could compare to seeing all of the various ships in port and our tours of the Norfolk and Bainbridge.

As we were leaving the Museum we asked one of the employees for a suggestion for dinner.  He recommend the Freemason Abby - located in a former church about .3 of a mile from the museum.  It was a wonderful day and evening.  About 70 degrees and overcast.  We decided to just walk as parking is not always available.  The meal was fabulous.  Everyone was very pleased.

We arrived back at the resort.  Renae and Tucker headed to the resort activity center to watch the new "Godzilla" movie.  Brett, Dean and I stayed in our condo to watch the Royals win over the Orioles in the 2nd game of their play-off division.  Woo-hoo.  Dacy stayed around so she could use our "Jacuzzi".  After the game was over Dacy and Brett went over to catch the end of the movie.  Dean and I knew we had a full day tomorrow so we went to bed.

This morning Dean and I went to the resort sales area to listen to the spill on their timeshare program.  We knew we were not interested but it got us reduced priced tickets for Colonial Williamsburg for all of us.  We arrived shortly before 8:30 and left a little before 10:00.  Renae, Brett and the kids ran to Wal-Mart while we were gone to get some breakfast food for the next few days.

After our return from the sales presentation, we all loaded up and headed to Colonial Willamsburg to exchange our tickets we received from the presentation for actual badges that we could use at Colonial Williamsburg, Jamestown and Yorktown.  Because it was so late in the day we decided to visit Jamestown today.  This consisted of Historic Jamestown - the site of America's first permanent English settlement.  It included archaeological finds at James Fort and a tour of the historic ruins.  It was pretty amazing to see the ruins of a church; barracks; foundations of numerous houses and fencing for the perimeter of the fort. 

We then visited the Glasshouse where glassblowers were demonstrating their trade.  Glassblowing was one of America's first industries.  Jamestown is located on the bank of the James River.

Our next stop was the Jamestown Settlement where a living-history museum of 17th century Virginia that provided an opportunity for the kids to learn about how to build a dugout canoe, experience wearing of armor, etc.  We toured replicas of three ships that traveled from England to Virginia in 1606.  Amazing the small amount of room available for the 60 people who traveled on it. 

It was an interesting day seeing what our forefather's dealt with in order to provide this new country for us to live the way we do today.  They gave up much for us.  It was an extremely tiring day as our feet were worn out.  Tomorrow Colonial Williamsburg and Tues/Wed 2 days of Washington D.C.  We will need foot massages after all of this walking!  HAHA

Tonight Renae cooked for us.  She made garlic chicken with spinach and penne pasta and parmesean cheese.  It was delicious.  Served with garlic bread.  Yum, yum.

Well, I am really tired and we have another busy day tomorrow.  Hope you enjoy.


Thursday, May 15, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014 - Cedar Oaks RV Park, Grove, OK

This will be a one or two post for this trip.  There's not a lot to report so would have a hard time writing every day.

Originally when we planned this trip to Grand Lake o' the Cherokees we were going to stay at Bernice State Park.  We prefer the Bernice/Horse Creek area on the lake.  A day or two before we left Oswego we heard that the beach at Bernice was closed due to a high E coli reading in the waters.  UGH!!!  On top of that it started to rain, and it has rained and rained and rained.  Needless to say that means the high waters from the Neosho and Springs Rivers are running right into Grand Lake and the water level is rising.  Now I don't want to really complain about the rain - because we needed it and badly, but it would be okay to slow down for a few days.  According to the weather it is supposed to do that tomorrow and again Friday and Saturday so we look forward to some sunny skies and warmer weather.  Just hope that we don't get the sauna baths with it - but beggars can't be choosy.  Right?

So we decided rather than go to Bernice, at least through next Thursday (June 12) we would stay in Grove at the Cedar Oaks RV Park.  It is a very nice resort and sits on shoreline along Grand Lake.  Unfortunately the weather has not been right for getting the boat out so we've been finding other things to do.  We pulled out of Oswego on Thursday, June 6 around 12:30-1:00 p.m. since it rained pretty good all morning.  We didn't have but an hour drive so we decided we'd wait to see if the rain wouldn't pass through before we left.  Sure enough it did.  As we pulled into the park we noticed their sign said "Musicfest 2014".  At the office they told us there would be music every day beginning Sunday at their Idle Hour community building. Hmmm!  I love music so I'm thinking this might be interesting.  We found our spot and were set up by 2:30 or so.  By this time I knew Dean was probably starving - he really likes to eat pretty close to the same time every day so I headed inside to get sandwiches made.  He visited some with our neighbors to the east Bill and Donna, while finishing up some chores outside.  They are workampers here at Cedar Oaks and live in Bartlesville, OK when they are not here.

After lunch we took a drive over to the storage unit where we keep our boat.  The owner is having some work done on the building to prevent some leaking that has been occurring inside and needed to have a key to check the work when they have completed it.  We had a nice visit with the owner.  We drove down to take a look at Bernice State Park.  This is such a nice place and we are really disappointed about the beach being closed.  Hopefully it will reopen before next weekend since Heath, Casey and their boys will be down to spend the weekend with us.  After that we made our drive through the Bernice area looking at houses that are for sale.  We have done this for so long it has become habit.  I don't know that we will ever move there but it's something we talk about once in awhile and if nothing else it's fun wishing!  HAHA

We didn't do too much else today - cooked brats for supper and visited with neighbors Bill and Donna. Bill's a character and has done a number of things during his life.  He's interesting to talk with.  He used to work for Cities Gas Company and worked some in Chetopa; he worked for Phillips 66 and then at Woolaroc Museum (love that place!); he served in the Navy; he worked for ABC and he's been involved in the music field.  He has a lot of stories and some are pretty interesting.  We didn't hear all of this the first night----but we have visited with them almost every time we've been outside for very long.

Tomorrow night we are going to meet Marc and Jennifer and the grandkids for dinner and then Kamron is spending the night with us.

Friday morning while having coffee I did a quick search on Trip Advisor to see if I could find a good place to eat breakfast in Grove (restaurants change frequently here and I didn't want to miss a new place that has really good food).   While only a few reviews for Nu-Wave were listed there were some great ones about their wonderful biscuits and gravy so we decided to give it a try.  We both ordered B&G, a small for me and a large for Dean.  Well, what a disappointment.  It was not the worst B&G I've ever had but it was far from the best.  The gravy was luke-warm and the lightest, fluffiest biscuits as noted in the Trip Advisor review were very similar to the canned biscuits that I use, which while good were not light and fluffy!  Hmmmm.  It was edible but if we return we'll definitely try something different.

From there we went on to Wal-Mart to pick up a few groceries.  After putting up the groceries after we returned, I did a quick look at rv parks in the Grove area (in case Bernice doesn't work out for next weekend) and we found one listed just south of Honey Creek bridge at the south end of Grove so we just drove down to check it out.  Well, that listing must have been pretty old - you could tell no one had been at this park for quite sometime.  Oh well, it was a nice drive. The plus to being at Cedar Oaks - we don't have to drive so far to get to things in Grove.

Marc called later and asked about waiting until Saturday night to have dinner and we agreed that would work well, so after having dinner at my new favorite restaurant in Grove - American Grill - we drove over to where they are staying.  We stayed and visited for awhile and then brought Kamron back with us.  After making a stop at Braum's for a little snack we headed back to the "rig".  Kamron and I camped out in the living room on the blow-up mattress.  Man, were we in for a wild night.

We finally got settled down, watching TV laying on our big old queen size mattress that is about 2.5' high.  I thought I'd get up and make a trip to the bathroom, but I was having a hard time getting out of the bed - we were losing air!!!!  Dean was already asleep so I didn't want to wake him to help us so I turned the air control back on and refilled it.  Okay, back to bed we went and it was now nice and firm.  Kamron and I talked for awhile.  She wanted to know what I did for fun when I was a little girl.  I started telling her about playing outside with my sisters, riding bikes to the cemetery (up the hill from our house); playing in the pasture next door and at the creek finding tadpoles, froges, etc. and we both fell asleep very soon - not sure if we were just really tired or if I bored us both!!!  I wake up two hours later and we are in a well in the middle of the bed.  WHAT!!!!  Yes the bed is leaking again!!  Okay, I've had enough of this, so I finally crawl out of that big hole, as I could not lift myself out and even if I could I was afraid I'd hurt Kamron if I fell.  I finally got her out of the bed and put her on the couch.  I tried to lay there with her but that wasn't working with her feet bumping me every few minutes, (gosh that girl has grown) so I made sure she was comfortable on the couch and I went to my own bed.  Finally fell asleep and I'm sure it was only about 15 minutes later I heard Dean say "Kamron."  I jumped up and sure enough she was awake and afraid that she could not find me.  Wow, would I ever get some sleep tonight and about that time, it was as if the sky opened and it poured, and it poured ---- so hard in fact, the rain hitting the slide-out's sounded like a river running above us and I had to turn on the lights to convince myself it wasn't leaking somewhere. Fortunately it was not!!!!  Then Bill and Donna's outside lights came on and they are now outside trying to put up their awning in the middle of this storm. For those of you who are campers, you know how close the sites can be - they sounded like they were in the next room.  All through this the wind was blowing hard and rocking the trailer.  We turned on the weather and other than some fairly strong winds (but not destructive) and rain there were no serious advisories.  So, convinced we were safe from any harm and since we were all very tired Kamron and I gave up the mattress and climbed into bed with Dean and finally we all slept. Whew - it makes me tired just thinking about all of that.

The next morning we laughed at the wild night we had.  Kamron was hungry and she wanted waffles. So for a second morning we headed into Grove for breakfast.  We decided we'd give Nu-Wave another try.  Kamron and I both had waffles and Dean had pancakes.  They weren't too bad.  We came back and got things straightened up and put away.  Marc and Jennifer are coming over to pick Kamron up and we will watch Jaxson for the day.  They have some friends who loaned them the use of their waverunners so they are going to spend some time on the water.  They arrived about mid-morning. Jaxson brought some of his little cars with him.  I turned on his favorite TV shows - pre-school ones and he intently watched those, playing with his cars during commercials.  I also discovered he is quite the dancer.  Every time any music was playing he was shaking his booty, moving his arms, and going back and forth from one leg to another, tapping his toe and laughing.  Watch out - he might be the new Elvis the Pelvis!   He was such a good little guy and was easily entertained.  After lunch, we took him outside where he played with his cars for awhile and then we took him for a ride in the wagon that we brought from home - knowing this would be put to good use while he was with us, plus we think the next round of grandkids will love it too.  Jaxson LOVES to ride in the wagon.  So we walked around the park with him.  Wish I would have got a picture of him.  If I had put a pillow in it where he could have laid back I'm sure he would have gone to sleep.  His little eyes were getting pretty heavy.  We thought we might take a drive and see if that would do the trick and sure enough he slept for about an hour.  As soon as we pulled into the drive he woke right up.  He played with his cars though and was such a happy little guy.  There's not much to do in this park for kids - no playground, no pool, and while it is lakeview the water is not real close to the park area and they do not keep it mowed near the water.

We met Marc and Jennifer at a new Italian restaurant just down the road from us.  I can't remember the name of it but it's just south of Sailboat Bridge where the old Siver Dollar Restaurant used to be. We got there about 5:00 p.m.  As we walked in we noticed there was a guy with a sound system set up and he serenaded us while we ate.  He was getting quite a kick out of Jaxson as he sang and it kept us all entertained listening to him.  I didn't catch what Jaxson was doing when he started laughing, but now that I think of it maybe it was some of those fancy dance moves he had earlier in the day.  :)  The meal was really good and soon we were all stuffed.  I had chicken parmesean and Dean had fetticuine alfredo.  We are so predictable!

After dinner, Marc and Jennifer headed back to their place and we headed home.  We just hung out at the trailer the rest of the evening.

I really don't remember too much about what we did Sunday morning - ate breakfast, picked up things around the camper, did a little cleaning and then set outside for awhile.  I went inside to fix dinner and when Dean came in he told me that someone we knew was staying in the park.  I asked who is it?  He said that couple you know that live outside of Oswego that we ran into over at Joplin earlier this year.  I immediately knew who he was talking about - George and Betty Faulk.  They have been coming down to the Musicfest here at Cedar Oaks for the past couple of years.  After dinner Sunday, Bill and Donna invited us to ride down to the Musicfest with them.  The musicians are mostly older than us, in fact,  we might actually be the youngest ones here, but we really enjoyed the music.  These are people who just like to get together and jam.  Some are pretty good singers and some are just okay but they are having a great time and the music itself is pretty good.  There were two keyboards, 2 or 3 steel guitars, 2 fiddles and several guitar players.  There are several folks who just sing.  On Monday they will all get together to pick groups and then they will play together the rest of the week.

We visited with George and Betty a little after the music Sunday evening.  I guess after the music everyone loads up and heads to Braum's.  We'll have to try that one night.  We really are trying to cut back on the sweets and we've already hit Braum's once this week.

Today, Tuesday we woke up to more rain - it has rained at least once or twice everyday we have been here but at least the weather has cooled and it no longer feels like you are in a sauna while outside, so I'll take it.  However, I only brought one pair of long pants and I'm wondering how many times I'll have to wear them before it warms up enough I can wear capris.  :)  It doesn't take much for me to get too cold.  I think I should live where the weather fits my clothe, as the song says!

We are going on a trip to Cancun with Heath and Casey and Jarred and Andrea in 4 weeks.  Dean really needs some new clothes so we decided to head to Joplin.  He does not like shopping to begin with and he hates shopping for him and he hates it even more when I insist that he try the clothes on before we make a purchase.  But as usual he was the perfect husband and complied with my request.  We found 4 shirts, a pair of shorts and some new shoes.  Only two stores, so he couldn't complain too much.  We had lunch at Logan's.  They had a special menu - you could have any two lunch items for $14.99.  I chose a grilled chicken salad with corn salsa and he had grilled chicken on a bed of rice and a side salad.  Of course we had a few peanuts and some of their bread.  When we got ready to leave our waitress asked if we would like peanuts to go at no charge.  Well, of course!  I told Dean I suppose that means we'll be eating at Logan's more.  He loves peanuts in the shells and almost always has a stash in his garage to enjoy while watching sports on his big TV while leaning back in his big black chair!  :)  Knowing they now offer a free bag he'll be all for stopping in when we are in Joplin.

After we got back he headed over to the boat storage so he could change the oil on the boat to have it ready for this weekend.  We are praying Saturday will be nice enough we can get on the water.  Heath's family is looking forward to coming to the lake and we want them to have a great time.  Not sure if we will be parked at Bernice yet or not.  We did go by the park this morning before we ran to Joplin and no one was at the park office for us to ask about the status.  We heard the follow up testing of the water was okay but they wanted to keep an eye on it and be sure it was still okay before reopening the beach.  We appreciate the safety precaution!  Evidently testing of other areas of the lake has been fine.

Well, that brings us up to date with the happenings here.  I may write one more post at the end of this trip.  We might take Bentley to Wichita in a week or so, but haven't decided for sure.  After that Matt, Megan and little Joshua will be here to see us over July 4th weekend.  We are hosting a dinner at our house for Dean's and my family on that Sunday so everyone can meet the newest Peine baby and the opportunity to visit with family.  Matt and Megan have made the decision to move to the Niagara Falls, NY area where Matt will be attending law school this fall.  Megan's mom, dad, and sisters live and it will provide a lot of support to Megan as she is getting settled in with a new job and baby.  They will leave Oswego on Monday, July 7 to head back to Texas until the end of July. Dean and I will head to Wichita later that day as we will fly out of Wichita at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday, July 8 for Cancun!  One week of laying on the beach or sitting by the pool doing nothing!  Maybe I will learn what it's like to relax!  Wait - I think we were supposed to get used to that with retirement.  Somehow our lives have not slowed much, but it's all been GOOD!

Oh, speaking of relaxing - after we got home I was on a quest to do some work around the house.  First of all landscaping.  We've lived at our current home for 7 years this past Memorial Day weekend and have done little in the way of landscaping.  So we purchased a few bushes that we planted behind the house near the road to provide some privacy (in time); some flowers for the bed in the back under the kitchen windows where I placed over half a flat of bright pink vinca; and another bed at the front of the house with the remaining vinca.  Then we were on to making a new area in the front under the picture window by the front porch.  We visited with the folks at Lavendar Landscaping who were so patient and spent quite a bit of time with me during several visits before making a decision on what plants to use.  I am not a gardener but I really want to improve the looks of our house with some easy to manage landscaping.  We finally decided on some boxwoods, two other bush type plants with dark purplish leaves that I can not remember the name of and several small laripe grasses along the front of the bed.  We plan to add a small tree in this garden in the fall.  Since we plan to be in and out from home quite a bit this summer I do not want to take a chance on losing a new tree if it gets too dry.  We want to plant some various types of red buds in the front yard to the east as well to provide a nice sitting area with a little shade.  We'll do those in the fall as well.

Then....since I was on a roll I told Dean we needed to decide what we wanted to do with the patio and start on that.  So the past two weeks before this trip we have been painting the remaining brown vinyl trim under the patio, insulating under the tin roof and putting up bead board ceiling under the remaining open patio area.  Dean installed new posts, and rerouted the electric wiring to rehang the ceiling fan once the bead board ceiling went up; and took down the old, ugly guttering.  We still need to put one last coat on the bead board and trim after we get home so it will be finished before the July 4th shingding.  The last step will be to paint the patio and sidewalk leading to the back garage door---not sure that will happen before fall.  We want to use the new type paint that is supposed to be easy on the feet and keep the pavement cooler.  The concrete under the patio has been there for many years and we added a pad the same size on to the south when we were remodeling the house.  The paint will really made the area look much better.  The old concrete is quite stained and the new concrete looks very different so in it's current state it's not very attractive.

We are so busy, I wonder what we'll do when we run out of projects - because we have definitely used up our project budget for 2014!

Check in Monday or Tuesday (June 16 or 17th) for any follow-up posts.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014 - Snowdale Area @ Grand Lake, Salina, OK

As we were leaving this morning I wanted to take a picture of the fairground campsite for the blog.  If you read yesterday's post where I posted that picture you will notice a man in the picture.  He started to move to the left of me and I asked him if he wanted to be in the picture.  He laughed and said no, we just wanted to visit with you a moment.  He and his wife had friends coming in and wanted to ask about the campsite we were vacating.  We had a nice visit and he offered to take our picture beside our rig.  Here it is.

I wasn't really prepared for a picture but I'm posting it anyway since we do not have one of us with Bentley.

We visited with Leonard and his wife Brenda for a little while.  Leonard told us they are not full-time RVer's but most-timers.  They live in Norman and stay here in the spring and fall but head north or south with the comfortable weather temperatures, or as Jimmy Buffett says - "where the weather suits my clothes."   Sounds like a great idea to me!  As I mentioned earlier, they have friends coming in and the campsite they have stayed in when visiting Norman before has closed so they were checking out the fairgrounds as an alternate site for them.  I hope it works out as well for them as it did for us.  It was great visiting with them - as it has been with all other RVer's we have met on our travels.

We left about 9:55 this morning and pointed the big blue truck and Bentley east down Highway 9.  We had a nice ride until we hit those darn concrete highways.  I always thought concrete was a great material for highways, but while pulling our rig it is not.  You feel this slightly jerky movement when we are on it, especially the older concrete. Fortunately most highways are pretty smooth although we did notice Oklahoma roads were rougher than the other states we passed through this trip.

We soon turned north on 69 and passed through Checotah, OK, home of Carrie Underwood.  The first year I watched American Idol, Carrie won and I've been hooked on the show ever since.  She has been and still is one of my favorite country artists.

Before we knew it we were near the last leg of our trip just south of Pryor in Choteau when we passed the Dutch Pantry restaurant.  I mentioned to Dean this was an Amish restaurant that my dad used to love to visit.  He told me he thought that is where we should go for dinner tonight.  I'm not one for arguing if it means I do not have to cook dinner, especially after a 4 hour drive.

Just a short time later we were pulling into the Snowdale Area RV Park.  The park is actually on Lake Hudson, not Grand Lake as the name indicates but it is all under the same lake administration.  We drove through the park once - a nice big loop - to check out the campsite before settling on site #3.

The sites are fairly close.  Each site has a large and pretty level paved pad with 50 amp electric, water hook-ups and a picnic table.  There is a dump station on site as well as a bathhouse.  We noticed several of the campsites had reserved signs on them.  There was no one at the office and a check of notices at the bathhouse did not provide any information on who to pay, current fees or where to make payment.  I had checked their website earlier in the week and it indicated it would be $18 per night for Senior Citizens (Dean meets that).  I called the number that was listed on their website.  There was no answer, it did not provide any information on what to do about paying and there was no answering machine to leave a message.  If we do not see anyone before we leave I guess I'll just stick a check in the door of the office and hope for the best.

As I mentioned in my post yesterday I have family in the area.  My cousin and his wife live here in Salina but they were on a trip with my cousin/his brother and wife to Charleston, SC.  I'm sure they are having a great time and hope the weather is perfect for them.  Their sister is staying here in Salina at my cousins' house to dog sit.  I called her to see if she might be free, but her grandson is playing soccer tonight.  I have another cousin that lives a few miles away and I checked to see if she and her husband might be free, but her husband had a commitment for tonight.  I should know better than not calling sooner.  I then called my Great-Aunt, mother of the first three cousins I mentioned, who lives in Pryor.  Dean and I will go by and visit with her after dinner.  We decided to head to Choteau (south of Pryor) for dinner at the Amish restaurant about 4:00.

The food here was very good.  It is a buffet, which we normally try to stay away from.  There were numerous salads to choose from.  These were wonderful and I probably could have just filled up on them, but the entrees were calling us.  Roast beef, chicken and noodles, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, creamed corn, navy beans/ham, sliced ham and hot rolls.  This was all very good too.  After that we even made room for dessert.  I chose small portions of both blackberry cobbler (my favorite) and pecan pie.  Dean chose peach cobbler and ice cream.  It was definitely worth the trip.

My great-aunt Naomi (Blackledge) Wade is my paternal grandfather's younger sister.  She just turned 91 this past March.  I've always enjoyed visiting with her and it was the same this evening.  We stayed for about an hour and a half.  Aunt Naomi is the last living sibling of my grandfather's brothers and sisters (8 total).  She is sharp as a tack and always fun and interesting to talk with.  She told me she is looking forward to making the trip to our family reunion in a few weeks.

My sisters and I host a family reunion the first Saturday in June for the Blackledge family in our hometown of Oswego each year.  We started celebrating our dad's birthday (June 3rd) each year with a picnic at his house many years ago after we started families of our own.  He loved having family around and over time he started inviting more and more family members until it grew so big we had to move it to a different location.  For years we held this birthday/reunion in Oswego's Riverside Park.  When Daddy's health kept him from enjoying the outdoors as much once the weather started warming up, we moved it inside to the Oswego Community Center.  My cousin (I have many cousins) Steve, always brings catfish that he has caught and then he fries it at the reunion.  I think everyone comes as much for this as they do for the visiting with family members.  It's always great to see everyone and I look forward to this one coming up in a few weeks.

Shortly after returning home I thought I heard something.  When I looked out, a camp ranger was parked along the road at our site.  I walked out to meet him, and told him I was glad he had stopped by as I was not sure what to do about paying.  He told us he is the only ranger for all of the parks on Grand and Hudson Lakes right now - so I know he has a lot of ground to cover each day.  WOW!  It's quite a drive from Salina to Bernice, OK the farthest north park he visits from this, the farthest park to the south.  Bernice is the area we spend our time at when we visit Grand Lake. He told me they are looking for a camp host for this park.  The camp host who has worked here the past several years will not be able to return due to health issues his wife is having.  So if you know any RV'er who might be interested in a part-time job at minimum wage and a free camping spot for the season, have them check GRDA (Grand River Dam Authority)'s website for information.  He indicated the work included mowing and maintaining the restrooms.  I do not know what other duties, if any, might be involved.  The ranger also told us that this park only has a couple of sites that were not reserved for this weekend and while we were gone for dinner the one next to us was taken as well, so by tomorrow when we leave all spots except the one we leave will be taken.  You can tell it's lake season!

Well, after the 100 miles we will make to reach home tomorrow, this will be the end of our maiden RV voyage and Travels with Bentley.  We expect to have many more.  I do not intend to post daily while we are at home but I will periodically post news that involves future travel plans and of course, once we are on the road with Bentley again whether it is a shorter 2-3 day trip or another adventure similar to this one.  So stay tuned and thanks so much for joining us on our first adventure.  We've had a great time.  I appreciate all of the comments and emails we've received.  The positive response to the blog has made it fun to write each new post.  Love you all!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - Crawford County Fairground RV Park, Norman, OK

Last night was a long night!  For some reason I could not sleep.  Maybe it was me missing Joshua!!!   It was late when we finally when to bed and then I just tossed and turned .  The last time I remember looking at the clock it was 12:47 a.m.  I was awake again at about 1:30 or so and was really cold.  I got another blanket out and put heavier socks on and finally fell asleep again.  I woke up at about 7:00.  We are not in Texas anymore!  I really did not want to leave those warm temperatures behind. Cold on the way to Texas and now cold on the way home.  Ugh.

Once I did finally get around, we moved pretty quickly and left Bowie Texas at about 9:45 a.m.  Our trip today was not quite as long as yesterday - yea!  The drive was nice.  Shortly before we left Highway 81, we noticed there was a large oversize load in front of us with at least 3 motorcycle cops alongside of it in the left lane.  They were stopping the oncoming traffic lane for this truck/trailer so it would have plenty of room. Shortly beyond that we noticed electric bucket trucks holding up electrical wires so this huge round contraption that was on the trailer marked wide load could get under the wires across the highway.  There was 5 or 6 electric wires crossing the road in this area.  After they moved one, the truck with the electrician in the bucket would move down the road to the next wire so they could raise it.  Then the motorcycle riders started up the down ramp from the opposite direction - the ramp that says "DO NOT ENTER".  What?  We then realized this "round thing" could not make it under the underpass in front of us. We've never seen this type of thing in Kansas!  It was all quite interesting and didn't slow us down too much. Things like this are just interesting to me - all they have to do to accomplish moving a product from one place to another is truly amazing.

Another interesting item from our trip today was traveling through the community of Duncan, OK. I was interested in Duncan because my maternal great-grandfather's last name was Duncan. I did a quick check on their website and the name came from the founder William Duncan.  I plan to do some checking on this with a cousin of mine.  One of my great-grandfather's children (my great-uncle) is still alive in the state of Delaware. Would be interesting if there was any relation to this particular Duncan.  My great-grandfather lived in Oklahoma, so who knows?

As we neared our destination, we came to a sign that says "Bridge is out ahead".  Sure enough as we approached the bridge it was clearly blocked, which caused us a moment of, "Now, what do we do?" There was no detour sign, so we hurriedly brought out our paper map and figured out a way to get through this and moved on.  A bit harried for a moment, but we worked through it and all turned out well.

Well, our new destination is Norman, OK.  We are staying at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds RV Park. The campsites are pretty close and I'm sure this is to provide as many camping spots as possible during their annual county fair.  I know it is this way when the county fair is held in Oswego.  Our small campground explodes with every type of camper during that week.  The coveted spots at the Cleveland Fairgrounds are along a fenced wall on the south side of the fairgrounds which provides good protection from the wind and most of the road noise.  The location is great.  There is an IGA grocery store immediately to the west of the campground, Wal-Mart is just a few blocks away and there are numerous restaurants on Porter Street, west of the fairgrounds.

We parked in a 30 amp spot.  There was one 50 amp available but it was pretty tight quarters, so we opted for the lower amperage as we really are not running anything but lights and computers.  We probably won't even turn heat on until in the morning.  Since I added the other blanket it will be plenty warm to sleep and it will warm up quickly in the morning with the furnace.  It is a great overnight or short term location.  The site also had water and sewer hookups.  The price was $15 a night so it was a good deal.  As it worked out for us - we had the last site on this row, and we never seen anyone at the travel trailer on the other side of us during our entire stay.

Here's a shot of how the campsites are set up here at the Fairgrounds.

We pretty much kicked back and relaxed after we completed setting up.  Dean worked on our route for tomorrow as he does not want to travel through Oklahoma City.  I caught up with some things on the Internet and worked on today's post for awhile, between playing Words with Friends with my good friend Cheryel and my granddaughter Dacy.

We decided neither of us wanted to cook, so I pulled up Trip Advisor for some help in locating a dinner location.  I suggested BBQ or Mexican and we opted to try the Mexican.  The restaurant rated best for Mexican food on Trip Advisor was Tarahumara's Mexican Cafe.  On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being best I would give it a 4.  My meal of chalupas was excellent.  I was not so impressed with the cheese dip (which was free) and the chips were not as good as ours at home.  The salsa was quite good and was a little spicier than most, which I like, but I had to ask for it.  I noticed most people had salsa on their tables.  We received the salsa shortly before our meal was served.  Dean wasn't that crazy about his meal of carnitas.  I did have some guacamole on one of the chalupas and wish I had ordered more because it was delicious!  So overall it was a good choice but not our very best Mexican.

We are headed to Salina, OK tomorrow.  We chose this because we felt we needed at least one more stop before arriving home to keep the miles below 200 each day.  Since we've started out we feel that is the magic number for us for a day's travel unless it is absolutely necessary.  We'll still have close to 100 miles to travel home from here on Friday.  I also have family in the Salina/Pryor area so hope to catch up with some of them as well.

Good night.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Monday, April 28, 2014 - Ft. Hood Travel Park, Ft. Hood, Texas

I managed to sleep in this morning until about 6:45, which is pretty late for me.  Dean had the coffee made so that was really nice.  I checked emails and Facebook, especially looking for any more news on the tornado damage near our hometown.  Baxter Springs, KS and Quapaw, OK are located about 35 minutes to an hour from us.  Dean occasionally worked in Baxter Springs when he worked for Century-Link. 

We considered finding someplace to eat breakfast versus having our normal cereal, however I could not find a restaurant in Copperas Cove that served breakfast with really good reviews or that was smoke free.  So we ate cereal. 

After we had our showers, we headed to Copperas Cove to H-E-B Supermarket.  I think I mentioned I love this store!  Seriously the deli meat and cheese counter was at least twice as long as most large box store meat counters.  I've never seen so many selections with all kinds of different flavorings, such as chipolte; blackened, etc.  It would be fun to just try some of them.

We are going to Matt & Megan's later and I am going to fix dinner there.  Megan's favorite meal is roast, potatoes and carrots.  While my sisters and I were at my Aunt Lillie's (my mom's younger sister) a few weeks ago she made roast and it was so delicious that I've decided I am going to try this.  Hopefully it turns out as good as hers!  Yes, I've made roast many times, just never have done it the way she made hers.  I usually just throw everything in a crockpot with some seasonings and that's it.  It's good but does not hold a candle to Aunt Lillie's.  She told me at the time it's the way her mom made it except instead of putting it in a roasting pan in the oven, she cooks hers on the stove in a large skillet.  She flours both sides of meat and browns each side.  She then adds enough water to come about half way up on the roast.  Once it comes to a good boil, she turns it down to where it just simmers for about 3 hours.  My mom probably cooked hers this way too but I can't remember watching her do it.  That may have been by the time I paid attention we were into fixing roast with Lipton onion soup mix and Cream of mushroom soup over the roast.  It was always very yummy, but I think I like Aunt Lillie's better.  Dean and I love to make hash out of the left over roast beef and it is better if it does not have alot of other seasoning on it.

While at the store I picked up some fresh salmon steaks so Dean and I can try these out tomorrow night when we stop.  Dean will cook them on the grill.  It will be our first attempt at this.  Since Dean is grilling them I'm sure they will be perfect.  In all honesty, he is a better cook than me!  He won't admit it - but it is true!

Megan called while we were having our lunch of sandwiches here at the trailer.  They had just finished with their follow up doctor visit.  Joshua is doing well.  They have to make a trip to Wal-Mart and will let us know when they get home.  We'll go over and spend the afternoon with them.  It will be our last chance to see them all before we leave in the morning so we are looking forward to having this last visit with them.

Headed over to Matt & Megan's about 1:30.  We got there shortly before they did and I went ahead and got the roast going.  After they arrived and Joshua was fed, Papa and Nana got to cuddle with him.  He is just a beautiful baby.  He has the most beautiful complexion!  Today he had  his eyes open quite a bit and really studied his Papa alot!

The roast turned out pretty good - not quite as good as Aunt Lillie's but for the first time I was pleased.  I will definitely do this more in the future.

All too soon, it was time to head back home.  We did our final hugs with Matt & Megan and then little Joshua.  The next time we see him (around July 4th) he'll be about 2 1/2 mos. old.  Of course we are hoping for many pictures between now and then.  We will really miss him - and mom and dad too!  :)

We hit the road tomorrow morning for the trip home.  Tune in to see where Bentley is parking tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - Pelham Park, Bowie, TX

We got up and around early this morning as we had a lot to do since this is our first travel day in two weeks. This has been a good spot to be in but we are ready for a change - except for leaving Joshua and his parents. We will miss them.

We pulled out of Ft. Hood Travel Park at 9:42 a.m. and headed west towards Highway 281.  It was a nice ride, despite the wind.  Our mpg was not nearly today as we headed north- into the wind - as it was on the trip down - when the wind was with us.  About 2-3 mpg difference!

Believe it or not we only made one stop between Ft. Hood and our final destination. That's quite an achievement for me.  I really like having our own bathroom with us wherever we travel.

I made a note that if we make it back to this area again I'd like to spend some time in Mineral Wells, TX. There are several large RV parks in the area and it looked like an interesting town.  There is a very large building located in the downtown area that really piqued my interest. You can tell it is an abandoned building but it must have played an important part in the community.  I'm not sure how many floors but I would guess 10-12 at least.  It has a large dome like top on it with what looks like a large balcony.  The one drawback to pulling a large fifth wheel, is you can't just stop anywhere to take a look or get pictures.  I did try to take one as a drive-by but it didn't turn out too good.

We arrived in our new destination of Bowie, Texas at about 3:15 or so.  Bowie is a town of about 5,200. Pelham Park is on the east side of town in a large recreational area that includes their community center, playground area, soccer fields, rodeo arena and the RV Park.  The park is small - only about 12 camping spots.  There are not many trees which did not matter to us today.  The temperature when we left Ft. Hood was 70 degrees or so - it was 66 when we arrived in Bowie.  The wind was really strong so it was cool enough we both changed from shorts/capri's into blue jeans and me from flip/flops to tennis shoes.  We did not need shade today.  Each site is similar to a chip and seal pavement, with lots of green space around the park area.  There is also a walking trail that a few locals seemed to be utilizing.  They have 50 amp electric and water hookups for $15 per night with a 7 day maximum stay.  We would stay here again.  They also have a dump station as you leave the campsite.

After we got the rig set up and rested for a while, we took a tour of the town.  They have some interesting looking flea markets.  If we had more time I'd like to visit them.  Other than that, we did not see much that caught our eye - well, except they do have a Dairy Queen!

We had originally planned to grill our salmon steaks tonight but due to the heavy winds Dean did not want to try grilling, so we opted for a local restaurant - Sweet Boy's Diner.  We both had the chicken friend steak.  It was what they were known for, per the menu.  It was pretty good.  Not the best we've had but certainly better than some.  I don't think anyone will ever be able to beat Treva's (former cafe in Oswego) chicken fried steak.  Sweet Boy's meal was served with a side salad, homemade rolls and 2 sides.  We both chose smashed red potatoes and mac' and cheese.  Fortunately we both ordered the small size and it was just perfect.

The wait staff wore T-shirts with the following slogan on the back, "Every mama has a Sweet Boy".  Hence, the name!

Unfortunately we were so full from the dinner than we even passed on a DQ visit!  We really didn't need it after that dinner anyway.

Check in with us to see where Bentley is taking us Wednesday.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Saturday, April 26 and Sunday, April 27, 2014 - Ft. Hood Travel Park, Ft. Hood, TX

Saturday, April 26
After we finally got around this morning, we headed to Killeen.  Dean wanted to go by Lowe's and look for a small compressor he could store in the RV in case we need to add air to our tires or other possible uses.  We also visited Toys R Us looking for a birthday gift for another grandson, Gideon.  His birthday is coming up May 8th and we will be visiting him and his family in Wichita in about 2 weeks.  We haven't had much luck finding what he has on his wish list but we'll see if we can't find it before then!  It's hard to believe this little guy will be 5 years old.  They grow up so quickly.  We are really looking forward to seeing Heath and his family - wife Casey, and three boys Abram 6; Gideon 4 and Roman 3. 

I bought a pair of capris and a shirt at Academy yesterday and after trying them on again this morning, I decided I did not want them after all, so we also made a stop to return these.  While there Dean finally bought a case for his cell phone.  He's been looking for the "perfect one" for quite sometime, so I'm glad he decided.  I hope it works out for him.

We called Matt & Megan to see if they would like to have lunch from McAllister's.  They thought it sounded great.  We had about $2.34 left on a gift card that Heath & Casey gave us earlier this year and I wanted to use it up.  After we ordered I gave them the card, told them how much was left on it and that I wanted to put the balance on my credit card.  They rang it up, but instead of an additional charge that I would have to pay for - the gift card paid it all.  They called the manager over.  After he looked at it and asked a few questions, he said it's our mistake so it's on us!  WOW!  I offered to pay anyway but they said no.  I asked if this was a special card and if it would work like this at every McAllister's?  They told me I should hang on to it!!  HAHA

We took lunch to the hospital for Matt & Megan.  Dean and I ate our lunch in the waiting room.  The hospital room they are in is VERY, VERY SMALL!  It's one thing to set and talk, it's entirely too small for 4 people to try and eat lunch in with all of the coming and going of nurses, visitors, etc.

After lunch we stayed and visited for awhile.  There were a few other visitors who stopped by to see baby Josh and the new Mom and Dad.  It was nice to meet their friends. 

Dean and I went to Olive Garden for dinner and brought dinner back for Matt & Megan.  We all enjoyed our meals!!  Anything Italian is good in my books - but I really love their salads!  I almost always get just soup and salad.  We stayed for just a short while after dinner.  We then took some of the gifts they have received at the hospital by their house and picked up the stroller to bring back to them Sunday morning.  We had quite a time trying to figure out HOW to fold the stroller up in order to get it into the truck!  LOL! 

Just wanted to mention the RV Travel Park here at Ft. Hood.  It is a large park, but most of the RV's located here are owned by soldiers that live in them.  There is a small area (16 spots) where we are parked and this area is used mostly by visitors.  The park is very nice and clean.  We have full hook-ups and the cost is $18 per night.  There is a nice concrete picnic table at each site.  We can stay here since Matt is stationed here, otherwise it would not be available to us.  It's been very convenient except for the times we happened to be the vehicle selected for inspection when we return to base.  It's a random selection of vehicles coming in but we've managed to get two full inside and outside vehicle inspections since we've been here.  Not that it's a big deal it just take a while.  Typically when we return we are tired and ready to just be home.  Such is a life for a decent camping spot!

Sunday, April 27th
Today Matt, Megan and baby Josh are supposed to be released from the hospital!  They are so ready to leave.  They have been at the hospital since Wednesday evening around 9p.m. so you can imagine why!  The birthing room where Megan was until they moved her to the operating room was HUGE.  Lots and lots of room for everyone and still have nurses move around the bed, etc.  The room they are in now would fit in the birthing room at least 3 times, maybe 4.  Besides Megan's hospital bed, Joshua's crib is there, a large fold out chair for Matt to sleep on, as well as two other folding type chairs for visitors, and all of their luggage and gifts.  There's barely room to move.

We left here about 9:15 this morning to take the stroller to the hospital for the kids to use to push Joshua to the car. Even thought we took several things by the house last night, they still have more personal belongings to get to their car as well.  It is quite a long walk from their room to where the vehicle is parked.  You can not drive up in front of the hospital to load items, so the stroller will probably come in quite handy.  It was another interesting moment trying to figure out how to reopen the stroller!  Why do they make things so darn complicated?  :)

We thought it would be good if Matt, Megan and Josh could go home and get settled on their own so we took care of a few things this morning and then played a bit this afternoon.  We needed to do some more laundry so we headed to Copperas Cove.  The Laundromat was packed so we decided we would wait until this afternoon to see if it slowed a bit.  On the way back, we noticed a new road as we headed back to the rig.  We decided to turn around and take it to see if it would provide a better route when we head  toward home Tuesday.  It turned out it was nice as far as it went, but the roads from where it stopped and where we must reconnect with 195 Highway had too many low-hanging tree branches for us to take the rig down.  BUT, because of this detour we ran across another Laundromat that was just as nice as the last one we used, so we were able to go ahead and get that chore done!  Quite happy about that. I'm not sure how big Copperas Cove is but it's not that big - but they have 3 Dairy Queens - and we love Dairy Queens.  Believe it or not, we have not had any DQ stops since Durant - almost two weeks now, so we decided we should change that.  We surely picked the best one in town - and I truly mean the BEST!!!  I honestly cannot remember the last time someone made our blizzards and then turned them upside down like Dairy Queen is known for!!!  We are off to a really good start here!  Second, they actually knew how to make the Heath Cappuccino Blizzard and you could taste ALL of the ingredients; and most IMPORTANT - it was mixed from top to bottom with all ingredients and there was LOTS of Heath bar throughout the entire blizzard.  This place earned a +++ from us. 

After we had our dessert, we returned to the rig and had leftovers from a few nights ago.  Chicken tenders, mac and cheese and broccoli/cauliflower mix.  It was pretty good.  Even though we ate our dessert first and entrée afterwards - it was a great meal!

Well, I finally talked Dean into taking me to Round Rock to IKEA!!!!  I was so excited.  We found a route that did not take us into the heavy I-35 traffic and gave us a bit of new scenery.  In fact the road hardly had any traffic and was what appeared to be a fairly new road!!  The first and last time we went to IKEA we purchased a package of undercounter lighting for the kitchen.  It worked perfect and I've wanted to buy some more of them.  We were able to do that so now Dean has a new project when we get home.  This will be a great addition as my lighting is not as good as I would prefer, except where he has installed this lighting.  Can't wait to have it at all 4 work areas!

After that we searched for a BabiesRUs.  We could only find a ToysRUs at the Outlet Malls and again we could not find a present for Gideon.  We looked around for something else we thought he might like but nothing caught our fancy.  On the drive back to Killeen we chose to drive through Georgetown, TX.  It was a nice community.  They were having their annual "Red Poppy Festival" in the downtown area.  Unfortunately, it appeared to be ending as we came through.  

There is so much growth throughout Texas.  Everywhere we go there are new homes, new businesses, new roads, new schools, etc.  It's amazing!

Upon our return to Killeen we headed to Lowe's.  Dean started to try out the compressor today and after unpacking it, he realized it did not come with an air hose, so another purchase was needed.  We took care of that, then visited Toys R Us again to look at a couple of things for Josh.  We could not decide which items Matt and Megan wanted since there were so many choices on a couple of items we knew they needed, so we ended up getting a gift card - that way they can pick out the items they prefer rather than having to worrying about possibly exchanging something.

Once we got home I made salads for our dinner.  They were pretty good.  I had a couple of things I wanted to do on the computer so I drug out the laptop while Dean went out to play with his new compressor.  WOW - I knew they were expecting storms back home but was shocked to see some serious storms had occurred WAY TOO CLOSE TO HOME!!!!  Baxter Springs, Galena and Ft. Scott all seemed to have some damage - and it appeared Baxter Springs was hit quite badly by a tornado.  Also, Quapaw, OK suffered extensive tornado damage and according to reports at least two deaths occurred.  (Note:  This morning this was changed to only one death.)  There have been too many of these in our corner of the 4-state area for several years now.   Our prayers go out to all who suffered losses during these storms. 

It was near or after 4p.m. today before they finally released the kids from the hospital!!!  Dean talked to Matt this evening and they were getting settled in.  They have a follow-up visit with the doctor tomorrow so we will head over there after lunch. 

We watched TV, spent time on our laptops and took a little walk around the part of the park where our rig is located later in the evening.  A very relaxing and quiet evening.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tuesday, April 22; Wednesday, April 23, and Thursday, April 24, 2014 - Ft. Hood RV Park, Ft. Hood, TX

Well, I have a lot to catch up on in this post.

Tuesday - After our coffee, breakfast and showers we headed to New Braunfels, TX this morning.  We have been wanting to go to Camping World to pick up a few things we needed for the RV, and to just look around.  Unfortunately the closest CW to us in in Rogers, AK so we wanted to take advantage of this opportunity.  Dean does not enjoy traveling the Interstates, so we took highway 281, which was a beautiful drive into the Hill Country of Texas.  You see so much more of the countryside on these local highways versus what always seems like the same old thing on the Interstate.  We enjoy the slower pace versus the rush, rush, rush!   There were still quite a few spring flowers along the highways and as I mentioned we began to see hills the further south we traveled.  One of the things we love most is passing through the towns and smaller cities along the way.  Often Dean finds he is looking at phone related equipment and I'm looking at parks, city halls, streetscapes, buildings, etc.  Just the way we roll!  You know old habits die hard!  Fortunately as we neared New Braunfels, the GPS route took us to Camping World via a frontage road leading into their parking lot without ever having to get on the Interstate.  This made my husband very happy!

We spent an hour or so looking around Camping World.  We found a few things we needed, and a few things that we just wanted, plus we checked prices for items on our wish list!  From Camping World we were going to try and find somewhere to eat lunch before we headed back to Killeen.  I mentioned to Dean that I had really hoped to at least drive through Gruene (pronounced Green), Texas before heading back.  I've heard so much about this neat little community and I thought it was fairly near to us.  As we approached a major intersection that would take us under the interstate to a large shopping center with numerous eating establishments, I noticed a sign that said "Historic Gruene Downtown District".  I was pretty excited to see the sign so soon after mentioning it and pointed it out to Dean in time for him to make the turn.  In about 7 minutes we were driving into Gruene, Texas.   As we drove down the first street right in front of us was Gruene Hall.  See picture below.

Gruene Hall was constructed in 1878, and is Texas' oldest continually operating and most famous dance hall.  The building is 6,000 sq. ft. with side flaps for open air dancing.  There is a bar, small stage and a large outdoor garden.  Gruene Hall is known as a destination tourist attraction and not only new artists but many well-known ones have played here over the years.  Stoney LaRue is scheduled to play there this weekend.  Some past performers you might recognize include Garth Brooks, George Strait, and Kris Kristofferson. 

I wish we would have had more time to spend here today.  We did take time to have lunch at the Gruene River Grill.  While this building was constructed more recently it had a very aged look to it.  There was outdoor patio seating overlooking the Guadalupe River.  Fortunately it was not too busy when we arrived so we were seated here along the patio with beautiful iron railings.  While waiting for our waiter to arrive we heard laughing and looked down to watch some kayaks, a small rubber boat and innertubes drift down the river.  From our table we could look right into the treetops that grew along the river below us. The weather was perfect for outdoor dining. Such a gorgeous day!

Entrance to the Gruene River Grill
 Innertubers floating down the Guadalupe River

Beautiful old trees outside of the Greune River Grill.  Aren't these beautiful?

Our dinner was very good.  I had a Sante Fe salad with grilled chicken and a spicy chipotle dressing.  Even though I did not need it, they had really mixed the dressing into the salad and every bit was delicious.  Dean enjoyed his choice of chicken friend steak with mashed potatoes and green beans.  Wonderful meal!

Afterwards, we drove down to take a closer look at the river.  It would be fun to take a leisurely float someday! 

There were many shops and antique stores that I would love to visit, but not this time.  It is definitely on our list for a return trip to Texas.

We headed home about 3:30 or so.  Matt called us as we were approaching Copperas Cove and wanted to know if we wanted to come over for supper.  Megan is a great cook so we were not going to turn them down!  Tonight the menu was fresh catfish with a cornmeal coating that she baked, and a yummy green salad with lots of extras (avocado, cranberries, nuts, cheese).  We had chocolate chip cookies for an after dinner snack.  Yummy!!!  We headed home about 8:00 or so since Matt and Megan are now back on the clock and have to be up for work in the morning.


Wednesday morning  I decided I would start to plot our drive for the trip home.  We enjoy taking different routes traveling to and from a location if we can as we enjoy seeing new things.  We plan to travel 281 North to Bowie, Texas the first night and stay at a city park there.  From there we will travel to Norman, OK and stay in the Fairground RV Park.  Depending on when Joshua arrives we may make one more stop before we take the last leg of the trip back home to Oswego.  I would like to be home no later than early afternoon on Friday, May 2.   I decided about two months ago I was going to have a garage sale in conjunction with Oswego's city-wide sale, which is Saturday, May 3.  If we do not make it home by then my sister - Cindy; daughter - Misti; and niece - Nikki will handle it as they are also participating.

After I finished selecting our overnight stays for our return home, we had our cereal for breakfast and got our morning chores out of the way.  We then headed to Copperas Cove to pick up some groceries.  Matt and Megan are coming here for dinner tonight so I needed to pick up a few things.  After we returned and put things away we made a quick sandwich for lunch.

Tonight we are having grilled chicken, homemade macaroni & cheese, steamed broccoli & cauliflower, and garlic bread heated on the grill.  I am making a simple strawberry shortcake for dessert.  We bought some leg quarters and I had a few chicken tenders left so Dean grilled all of those.  It sure was good!  He is a great cook although he won't admit it!! 

We set outside while he grilled the chicken.  The weather is just perfect here right now - about mid-80's.  I can't believe that I've only worn capris 2 or 3 days since we left on March 31 and we are in TEXAS!!! and it's almost May.  I am so ready for summer and the lake.

After Megan and Matt arrived Megan told us they had some good news.  Her doctor told her at their appointment today that if they did not have anyone else come into delivery by this evening they may call her to come in tonight rather than waiting until tomorrow.  Sure enough about 7:30-8:00 she got the call.  They left to take care of a few things before they headed to the hospital. 

They spent the night at the hospital and assured us they would call if Joshua arrived that night or early morning.

Thursday morning we were anxious to get to the hospital.  As you have probably figured out, no baby yet. It turned out to be a long day for Mom and Dad.  Fortunately, despite the fact things did not progress like everyone hoped, Megan was somewhat comfortable for most of the day and evening - as much as you can be laying in a hospital bed with intermittent contractions.  At about 10:00 we headed back to Bentley and went to bed with the idea we might get a anytime to head back to the hospital - however, that didn't happen.
Early Friday morning - At about 2:45 a.m. Matt called to tell us that they were going to take the baby Cesarean.  We told him we would be there as soon as we could.  As we turned into the parking lot, Matt sent Dean a text telling us he was in the operating room waiting for them to bring Megan in and letting us know to go to the waiting room.  He will come and find us after Joshua arrives.
Little Joshua Dean Peine arrived at 3:27 a.m.  This "little" guy weighed in at 10 pounds, 5 ounces and was 21" long.  Needless to say, I think you can understand why a Cesarean was necessary.  He is just as cute and sweet as can be -- as you can see for yourself in the pictures below.

 First picture of Daddy-Matt Peine; Mommy-Megan Peine and Joshua Dean Peine.  April 25, 2014.
 First picture with proud Papa Dean Peine, Joshua's namesake.
I left my camera at the hospital with Matt and Megan and I wanted to include several pictures in this post, so that is the reason for the late posting.
We are so thankful that Mom and Joshua are doing so well and we Thank God for another special blessing to our family.  It was exciting to be here to share in Matt and Megan's experience as new parents and we feel so blessed for the opportunity to do that.  Matt was one proud Daddy!