Travels with Bentley

Travels with Bentley
Bentley - our Heartland Bighorn

Saturday, March 4, 2017

March 2-4, 2017 - South Owl Creek RV Park, Yates Center, KS

Thursday, March 2, 2017 – South Owl RV Park, Yates Center, KS

Our first outing of the new year in Bentley is not too far from home, about 80 miles.  This is our trip to check things out before we leave March 13 for the 57th Escapade in Tucson, AZ.  We’ve found after setting all winter (since the end of October for 2016) it works out well for us to take a short trip for two reasons; 1) make sure there are no problems that we need to address before taking off on a long distance trip and 2) to be sure we get everything we need on board with us.  If I do forget something I make a list of what to include when we return home.  This is our 4th year and so far this plan has worked out well for us.  Since we pretty much empty the rig for the winter except for dishes and cookware it’s easy to forget to add something back in.  I guess I should make a list of the normal contents we carry when we ARE in Bentley --- which could be handy if we ever had a loss (let’s hope that never occurs).  It sure would be easier.  Maybe I’ll get that done next week as I begin loading him up.

We chose Yates Center not only because of its location but we wanted to stay in a different RV park in our home state of Kansas than we have in the past.  Of course, the description sounded great so we thought why not?  We’ve driven Highway 75 in Kansas more times than we can remember – it leads to Topeka, our state Capitol; to Altoona-Midway High School where our kids traveled to play numerous football, basketball and baseball/softball games over the years; and Burlington, KS which I’ve visited several times during my working years to attend various meetings.  We’ve driven through Yates Center on many of those trips and other than a quick stop at a convenience store (for the “convenience” it offers) we’ve not seen the rest of the community.  It seemed a good time to check it out.  Staying in an RV park will encourage us to get out and walk and we are taking our computers.  Dean is going to be working on financial info and I am anxious to make a blog post as we begin our RVing season.  Woo-hoo!

We left Oswego around 2pm and made the nearly 2-hour drive – to our spot here in South Owl RV Park, Site #8 (maybe it’s 10—as this site is evidently supposed to fit 2 units), however since no one else is in the park, we are being a bit hoggish with the site, due to our size.   While we had reviewed the area before arriving, when we got here there was not a real clear direction on where to go, but fortunately we took the right turns at the right time and made it with no problems.  Now that being said, it did take us a drive or two circling the park to finally decide which spot we wanted to try.  The sites were not real level, so we were trying to choose what we thought would be the easiest for us to get level and it appears we chose okay as it worked out fine.

Now it was time to warm Bentley up.  It was a breezy 60 degrees with the wind out of the southwest coming right over the reservoir below us making it feel much colder than that.  Of course, everything inside was cold to the touch and it took a while to get the heat level to my liking.  I do keep a heating pad on board – mostly to keep my feet warm, and this afternoon/evening was no different.  It wasn't too long and I was soon comfortable as could be.  We stayed in for the night so of course Dean soon had our Tailgator and Dish turned on, but we had a problem.  Wow, I am really glad we made this trip before heading to AZ.  I had forgotten that I put the receiver in Bentley on vacation (as I do each fall) so I had to make a call to Dish Network to have it reactivated, only to learn that we needed to have our smart card upgraded.  Dean is a big TV watcher so I know we were both thinking, this cannot be happening.  There IS a happy ending to this – she was able to reactivate the smart card we have and will send us the new one, which should be waiting for us when we get home.  We gave her the zip code for Yates Center in order to get the local stations and we were good to go.   At least we thought we were – until we received the email confirmation of what took place – showing the smart card was being mailed to our physical street address, but instead of going to Oswego, KS it was going to Yates Center, KS.  Another phone call was made to get that changed, only to receive a new email confirmation saying we would be charged $50 for the card.  Good grief, another phone call to fortunately learn we will not be charged and the last email was in error regarding the cost.  Needless to say I was mentally exhausted by the time we went through all of that with three different consultants.  Whew!!!!  Yes, this explains why we take those short trips before a big one.

By now we were getting quite hungry---or maybe it was just the craziness of the last 30-45 minutes on the phone that made us feel hungry.  To make things simple I brought some hot dogs that I heated in the microwave (we had hoped for a campfire but it was just too windy for that), along with some chips and a few vanilla wafers for a snack.  We just relaxed the rest of the evening and fortunately was able to watch some TV before finally heading to bed. 

Friday, March 3, 2017 – South Owl RV Park, Yates Center, KS

I woke up about 4:30 and no matter how hard I tried to go back to sleep I couldn’t without making a trip to the bathroom.  Oh, I hate that because now I’m wide awake.  I did lay back down after turning the heater up, and managed to lay there until almost 5:00.  I waited to start the coffee until I heard Dean stirring so he could enjoy the first cup of coffee with me.  It's always the best! 

Since it’s Friday that means we eat breakfast out.  There is a restaurant in Yates Center called “The Bunkhouse” and it begins serving at 6:30.   At 7:00 we started getting around and were soon headed into town.  We were surprised at the size of The Bunkhouse.  It was in a large building on the downtown square with a significant amount of seating available.  It was decorated in a western theme that included brands from various ranchers burned into what appeared to be old barn wood along the top edge of the walls; which also included a number of old car/truck tags displayed from all over the United States.  There was a “Kids Korner” for small children to play.  The breakfast was Very Good!  Our eggs (over medium) were perfectly cooked, and my hash browns were nicely browned and crisp, and well cooked (this gets high marks from us).  Dean chose Grandma's potatoes which he also liked, except for the green peppers - he's not a fan!  All breakfasts are compared to our hometown café “Tina’s – now known as the Circle L Café that Tina’s niece Lacy recently took over”.  I’d say The Bunkhouse gets a 9 on a scale of 1-10 for their breakfast as compared to our hometown café.  Maybe even a 9.5!

After breakfast we took a tour of the town, including several times around the square – mostly so I could take additional pictures.  Yates Center is similar in size to our hometown of Oswego.  Overall the community seems quite clean in comparison to many others we have driven through.  I love seeing a community with pride!  Another thing I noticed right away was all the quilt blocks painted on houses, barns, or on boards in business windows (both occupied and vacant), etc. everywhere throughout Yates Center.  What a great idea for a “theme” within the town. 

Just a few of the many quilt block paintings we seen around Yates Center.

I love county seats where the courthouse is located in the town square, and Yates Center’s was quite beautiful. 

There was also a beautiful stone building boasting a sign “HOTEL Woodson” located northwest of the courthouse.  Yates Center is located in Woodson County.  I’m not sure if it is still being used as a hotel or not.  There was only one car parked outside and nothing else indicated it was open.

Their museum looked interesting, located in a former church building, and sporting a beautiful large quilt block.  Unfortunately, it was not open while we were cruising around this morning.    

We found a beautiful park near their city swimming pool and an old stadium that I imagine was once a football field and had an older track around the perimeter of a gated area.  The stadium had several paintings on it.  We discovered Yates Center is known as the “Hay Capital”.  That is not surprising as it is in the middle of section after section of pasture land.  

To the west of town you can see the Flint Hills which is always a joy to drive through no matter the season.  To me, it is still some of the most beautiful country I’ve seen.  I always imagine what it must have been like for folks crossing Kansas in their wagons as they moved west.  The land is so vast and open and at points you can see for miles. 

One final thing we noticed is the large number of brick streets in Yates Center but there is one major difference we noticed from other cities with brick streets - they were very smooth to drive on.  Most towns you know when you drive down a brick street because you are given quite a shaking.  Kudos to the city crews here for taking such good care of them.

After our tour, we returned to Bentley.  We both brought our computers so we could get some work done this morning.  I need to think about where we will stay as we work our way to Tucson, and our return trip home; finish the newsletter for the Escapees group (Ozark Chapter 17); and to complete the review and updating of our monthly budget.
Our site

View of the reservoir

Closeup of our site.

Once I was done with my computer work Dean and I worked on a project we've been talking about for quite awhile.  I should have taken a before picture but here is an after picture.  Moving the table the way it is shown below, really opens up the space between the table and the island.  It will allow us to get around this side of the island when the slide is in.  I've had to crawl under or go over the top of the table more than once while the slides are in to get to something at the back.

After finishing all of the above, I decided to make us some dinner.  I had brought along some chicken tenders wrapped in bacon and a couple of potatoes to bake, however I forgot to bring butter, sour cream, cheese----all of the yummy things we like on baked taters so we decided to get a Subway sandwich instead.  We took it back to Bentley to eat, and a few minutes later we received a message from our son, Matt wanting us to Skype.  We told him to give us about 10 minutes and we would.

One of the things I find frustrating about the internet is making sure all of our programs or apps are updated regularly.  Neither of us remember receiving a notice from Skype that we should update the app, but 30 minutes later (that is 30 minutes after the initial 10 minutes was up) we finally got connected.  By then (8:40 pm in New York) our poor little grandson Josh was tired and ready for bed but he cooperated and sang us a song, told us his big boy news - he's now potty trained, and then had to show us each of his toy animals he earned as he reached the fully potty trained status.  Sarah, his little sister, was trying to figure out how two people waving at her inside of a machine and saying her name like they knew her and yet she couldn't touch them.  She was perplexed for sure.  We really miss them all.

We realized earlier today that two other grandkids - Tucker and Dacy are participating in the 4-H District Show tomorrow in Chanute - about 35 miles from where we are camped.  Their events are to begin around 9, so we took our showers tonight and packed as much as possible for an early morning departure.  We are looking forward to watching them perform tomorrow.  We enjoyed the local 4-H competition very much and look forward to seeing it again.

Saturday, March 4, 2017 - South Owl Creek RV Park, Yates Center, KS

I was up early again this morning and had the coffee brewing by 5:00.  We enjoyed checking emails and watched a little TV, had breakfast and then started our pack up routine.  At 8:14 we pulled out of the RV Park and headed toward Chanute, KS.  Our daughter-in-law Renae texted the time of the events and we arrived with 10 minutes to spare.  We quickly found the right location and watched Tucker play a tuba solo.  He did a great job.  He only started playing the tuba a year ago, after their band lost two of their tuba players, when one moved and the other quit band.  He received Top Blue for his solo today.

Both Dacy and Tucker were in a skit of the Ray Stevens Song - The Mississippi Squirrel Revival. Dacy was one of the little old women in the church pews and sits next to Tucker.  Tucker had the lead role of Harve Newlin.  He did a great job of hopping around the church with that squirrel in his pant leg---afterwards the judge told him they picked the right person for his part, because he could tell by looking at him he was onery.  I cannot find the video to upload the skit.  Even though it is on my phone and I can play it, it does not come up when I open my videos.  You can checkout my Facebook Page "Cheri Blackledge Peine" if you want to see it.

With Dacy and Tucker's events completed, we headed back to Oswego.  It was a good first outing of the year despite our Dish Network and Skype woes, but watching these two grandkids made up for those little problems.  We were happy to be in Bentley even if it was just a couple of days.  I'll be back in about a week to head towards Tuscon and our first ever Escapade.

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