Crafts, Steaks & Trains

Hard at work…

This morning Barbara W. led about ten ladies in a craft.  We were asked to bring a t-shirt that we didn’t mind cutting up but the actual craft was kept a mystery until we got to the rally hall.

We ended up making a tote bag from the shirts.  Much like the ‘tie’ blankets that were a big craze a while back.  All we had to do was cut and tie….so easy that even I was able to handle it!

Beautiful ladies modeling their new tote bags

It was a lot of fun and I think we all enjoyed it, especially spend time chatting, telling stories and laughing as we worked.

While we were working a small group of men-folk went to the 45th Infantry Division Museum and were gone for a couple of hours before returning to the RV park.

At 4:30 pm a large group lined up to caravan over to Cattlemen’s Steakhouse for dinner.  We went to Cattlemen’s three years ago with Joe & Anne M and really enjoyed our meals so we were really looking forward to tonight’s dinner.

We had 31 for dinner and had to wait about 25 minutes or so before our tables were ready.  We waited outside and chatted so the time passed fairly quickly.

The gang’s all here!

This visit Michael ordered the same thing he had last time – a filet…which came with a baked potato and a salad with their house dressing.  I went with the prime rib this time…it was one of the specials and I don’t get it very often.   I also got a baked potato and salad with the house dressing.  Everything, just as last time, was very good.  My prime rib was so big I brought enough home for another meal.

Our waitress did an excellent job of keeping everything straight, making sure drinks were refilled, bills went to the right people, etc.  Absolutely excellent service.  And with a full house and people waiting for tables to boot!

I went out once…go me!

Fifteen or so of us got together in the rally hall when we got back from the restaurant to play Mexican Train.  We had two tables going.  We play a very friendly game, no score taken, not slapped fingers if you play wrong…just good old-fashioned fun.

Michael and I played until 10:00 pm or so and then called it a day.  The others were going to play one more round and then finish up too…whether or not that actually happened…I don’t know.

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First Official Rally Day

Spectator Sport??

Today was the first ‘official’ day of the Oklahoma Chapter rally here in Oklahoma City.  We kinda stayed in the house in the morning (it’s flippin’ HOT out there!) but Michael did go out and join a small crowd gathered over at Jay & Stella’s to watch two guys install new springs on their coach.

Stella noticed something hanging under the coach when they got here on Monday and Jay found that two of the springs on one of their axles were broken.  Thankfully, Ron from Performance Trailer Braking is here too and he got a couple of guys to get the parts needed and also to install them for Jay.

The job took a little longer than expected as this was the first time these guys had done this type of job but it got done and Jay and Stella can safely drive down the road.

Lots of Love in this room.

At 2:00 pm we had a Meet & Greet at the clubhouse.  Everyone just kinda hung out and visited.  The club provided cookies and tea so we nibbled on those too.

Ron had a short seminar about ways to spread the word about disc brakes for trailers at 4:00 pm and most people hung around for that too.  Now need for an actual seminar as most of the rigs here at this rally already have them installed.  I decided to head home for a while as I’d offered to grill some hot dogs for Rex, the Chapter Leader.

Gotta love a good hot dog…with ketchup ONLY, of course!

I got the grill going about 5:00 pm and threw the hot dogs on.  We  had 72 hot dogs to cook between Nancy and I.  It’s so windy here that I had a tough time keeping the grill hot enough but eventually we got them all cooked.  When they were all finally ready I covered ’em with foil and took ’em over to the club house where we were all meeting for a hot dog dinner.  We had chili, condiments and chips to go with them and it was a nice way to share a dinner with the club.

We had some terrible cards!

After dinner about 18 or so stayed behind to play Cards Against Humanity (or just watch).   This game is definitely not for the faint of heart…or prudes…or someone with no sense of humor.  If ever asked to play go with an open mind and perhaps a couple of bottles of win…in you!  LOL

We split up into three groups of four and then had three judges plus Stacy and Rex were the Emcee & ‘Vanna’.  We ended up playing three games (they lasted about half and hour or so) and had a lot of laughs.

We were home about 8:30 or so and had time to watch the final episode of MasterChef (our favorite won!) before calling it a day.

 

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Braum’s Factory Tour…Yum!

Meet Gus, Romeo and Juliet…Gus is the human.

First thing Tuesday morning we had a knock at the door and our friend Gus F and his pups (Romeo & Juliet) were there.  This was actually the first time we’d met Gus in person…although we’ve been friends on Facebook for several years.  Sure was nice to meet in person!  We chatted for a while before Romeo and Juliet decided it was time to continue their walk.

Meet Orville…he’s telling stories, can you tell?

A little later in the morning our friend Orville stopped by and we had a good time catching up with him and exchanging travel and military stories.

Early in the afternoon we headed out to the AMC theater just down the road from the RV park.  This was not the nicest theater we’ve been to over the summer by any means.  Even though the theater had only opened for the day there was spilled soda, salt, butter and who knows what other nastiness on the counters.  The soda machine hadn’t been cleaned for a while and the floors by the snack bar were ridiculously sticky!  Yuck.

This weeks movie was American Assassin.  Not much to really say about the movie.  It was just ‘ok’.  It wasn’t bad but it just didn’t do much for either of us.  I’d venture to say it was my least favorite of the summer…even behind Annabelle:  Creation.  (Now that’s saying something since I watched Annabelle from inside my shirt!)  Michael says it left him wanting more.

While we were out it seems that the electricity went out a couple of times and then once we were home it went out again and that is because they were replacing a transformer that burned up.  Once the new transformer was replaced we haven’t had anymore issues…lets hope it stays that was as the temperature has been in the 90s and no air conditioning isn’t fun!

We chatted with a small group of rally-goers next door for a short while in the early evening while the power was out.  There must have been a bunch of bugs out as I am covered in bites on my legs.  A small group went out to Furr’s for dinner but we decided to stay home and have something light.

Today’s touring crew

Wednesday morning at 7:45 am our ‘car’ came ’round for us and it was driven by none other than our friend Gus!  Gus and his wife Debra decided to join us on a tour of the Braum’s Factory in Tuttle.  It was about a 45 minute drive and we were lucky enough not to hit any of the morning rush hour traffic.

All of those little white things on the ground?? Baby cow houses! Tons and Tons of them!

The factory is on the family farm which is 10,000 acres in size!  They have 10,000 cows and there are FORTY calves born every day!  Can you believe that!?!  (Scott, dontcha wish you had that many to deal with?!?!)

Our tour started with a 15 minute informational video that covered pretty much every aspect of Braum’s…from the farm, care of the cows, milking process, packaging, delivery, etc.  However, Braum’s isn’t all about dairy…they also have their very own bakery on premises

Braum’s is a relatively small business so you won’t find their products in grocery stores.  Their products are sold exclusively in their Braum’s stores and those Braum’s stores are located in five states within 300 miles of their factory for freshness.

The cow shuttle bus…it MOOS the whole time you’re in it! LOL

The business dates back to 1957 although the first actual Braum’s store was opened in 1968 and today they have over 130 flavors of ice cream, yogurt and sherbet.  Not only does Braum’s make ice cream, yogurt and sherbet…they also make milk (duh), cottage cheese, sour cream, brownies, cookies, bread, burger buns, cheese, etc.

Our tour guide was very friendly and after having us board a cow-colored shuttle bus she took us on what amounted to a nearly 90 minute tour of the bakery and dairy factories where we were able to watch from above as employees made ice cream cones, burger buns, cottage cheese, milk and an ice cream sundae cone novelty treat.

It was an awesome tour – very informative and very interesting.  Definitely one of our favorites to this point.

Ice cream bars make us very happy!

When we got back to where we started the tour we were each given an ice cream bar (ice cream or frozen yogurt) to sample and then if that wasn’t enough…each group was given a dozen of their chocolate chip cookies to share.

…and cookies make us even happier!

It was nearly lunch time when our tour ended so we decided we had to go to a Braum’s Store for lunch. Gus & Debra have family in the area so they’re old pros at the whole Braum’s thing…but we’ve never been so it was a real treat for us.

Because the stores are so near to the factory the food is very fresh…hamburger buns are something like 36 hours old when they hit the stores…same thing with the dairy products.  The milk was inside of the cow 36 hours prior to hitting the store!  That’s crazy!

Michael had a burger and really enjoyed it…I’ll have to have one the next time we go.  We had great conversation while we enjoyed our lunch and then even did a little shopping; picking up some ranch dip and yogurt to try.

The grocery portion of the Braum’s Store

The Braum’s stores are kind of a 3 in 1 thing.  There’s a small store which has milk, cheese, eggs, ice cream, bacon, sausage, etc.  There there’s the fast food restaurant that offers burgers, chicken sandwiches, salads, etc.  Lastly, there’s the ice cream parlor.  Michael and I didn’t visit the ice cream store today since we’d had the ice cream bars at the factory…next time!

While we were out with Gus & Debra another slightly larger group of 14 or so headed into Oklahoma City to visit the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial.  We visited in 2014…three years ago TODAY!  It’s a very sobering experience and since we’d already been we decided not to go again today.  You can read about that visit HERE.

Ron, Mike & Dave putting their heads together

Michael is always eager to  learn more when it comes to the RV or anything revolving around it so this afternoon when he noticed that Ron from Performance Trailer Braking was next door troubleshooting an issue for Dave S. he went over to see what he could learn.  Sounds like Ron figured out what the issue was and will be helping Dave get it resolved.  This kind of thing is not unusual at a rally…there’s normally some kind of something going on that draws a bunch of guys around a rig or truck.

Just a few of the folks sittin’ round tellin’ stories tonight

After dinner we went out for a walk to see who was out and found no one until we got back to our rig and there were the Seaboldt’s and Coffman’s sitting right behind our rig!  Surprised we didn’t hear chatting out there.

A few of the pups that stopped by for some lovin’

We got our chairs and joined the pow wow and had several other join us after a while.

We also had a LOT of puppy dogs and their owners stop by to chat too.  We hung outside for a couple of hours before we all headed inside for the night.  Just think…we get to spend the next 3 weeks with these people!

 

 

 

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Travel Day: Mt. Ida, AR To Oklahoma City, OK

Our goal was to pull out of our site about 8:30 am and we ended up pulling out before 8:30.  It was a bit of a tight squeeze but Mikey did an excellent job and we came out unscathed.

Next was dealing with the awkward dump station that’s on the opposite side of the road from where most campers will need it and not really designed for a 40 foot 6 inch coach.  But, once again we persevered and got the job done and pulled out onto the highway about 8:50 am.

Nice scenic drive for the first part of our drive

Our route took us along US 270 and then US 71 pretty much to Ft. Smith. It was a pretty drive filled with winding roads, hills, leaves beginning to change color, cows and hay.  We know how much I enjoy cows and hay!  So for me it was a good route!

Pretty much the extent of our rain

We got a little sprinkling of rain as we were passing through Fort Smith but it was about 137 sprinkles and it was over before it began.  We’d heard that it was raining in Oklahoma City where we were headed but by the time we arrived it was bright and sunny with no rain in sight.

Even though I had prepared our lunches yesterday we decided to skip Kelly’s Kitchen and stop at the Wendy’s just before we got onto I-40.  We must have been excited to get to today’s destination as we only stopped for about 45 minutes before we were back on the road.
We only had about 175 miles left after lunch…all of it being on I-40.  The drive along I-40 was pretty uneventful.  We stopped once to use the bathroom at a gas station and found that they were selling Tillamook Country Smoker jerky so we got a couple of pieces to snack on.
We pulled into the Roadrunner RV Park on the south side of Oklahoma City about 3:15 pm and as we walked in to the office our friend Bob C was there to greet us.  I got a nice big hug and we chatted a bit before it was our turn to check in.

Site 120, Roadrunner RV Park

We were assigned site 120 and we found our way easily enough.  We’re in a pull through site which makes set up really easy.  Pull in, park, unhitch, level, put the slides out…done!  LOL

This park was hit by a tornado in 2015 (yikes!) and from what I understand a lot of damage was done. Since the tornado they’ve added on and we are in the ‘new’ section.  Sounds like the majority of the rally-goers will be in the new section with a few stuck over in the ‘old’ section.
We are here for the Oklahoma Chapter, Heartland Owners Club rally so we’re excited to spend time with friends and make some new ones too!  We are here for one week and then we move south to Tyler, Texas where we’ll attend the North Texas Chapter, Heartland Owners Club rally!  And if that’s not enough…from there we’ll move to Braunig Lake, Texas (just south of San Antonio) for the South Texas Chapter, Heartland Owners Club rally (which is OUR chapter and we’re hosting the rally…Yikes!)
I’m pretty sure we’re gonna need a vacation by the end of these upcoming three weeks!  LOL

Terry, Ron & Michael

We had a quick dinner and then went out visiting.  We visited with Ron Russell (The Titan Guy) who will be doing a short presentation and is parked kitty corner from us.  While we visited with him Terry H. stopped by and we chatted with him for a while.

Spending time with some our favorite people is what these rally’s are all about!

After leaving Ron’s we went over to say hi to Jay and Stella who arrived while we were visiting with Ron. When we got to Jay and Stella’s place Bob C was there so we chatted with him until he went on his way.  Then it was just Jay & Stella and us…when we finally decided it was time to go home it was 10:00 pm!

Well have more rally-goers arriving tomorrow and throughout the remainder of the week as well.  So looking forward to time with our friends!
Before I forget…we have not had ANY leaks from the underbelly with the installation of the new grey tank.  Woohoo!  Plus, the Anderson valve that Michael installed in the UDC seems to be working well too! Keep saying those prayers!

 

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Indians and Watermelon

On our way to Mike’s mom’s house (one of many routes we’ve taken between our place and hers) we pass through the itty bitty town of Caddo Gap.  Caddo Gap has a population of less than 100 and is easily missed if you blink while driving down highway 8 between Norman and Glenwood.

Caddo Indian Monument

At the crossroads of Vaught Street, 6th Street and Indian Valley Road in this tiny little town sits an Indian monument honoring the Caddo Indians who had settlements scattered throughout this area, northeastern Texas and northwestern Louisiana.  The nearby Caddo Rivers, the town of Caddo Gap and Caddo Hills Schools were named for these native American people.

It’s an interesting bit of American history that is hidden within in this sleepy little town.  That’s my kind of sight-seeing!
Hope, Arkansas (south of where we are) claims to be the watermelon capital of the world…so we’ve been hunting for a produce stand since we crossed into Arkansas on September 5th.  We saw a few, but either weren’t able to stop or went back and it was gone.
I even went as far as asking friends/family on Facebook if they knew of a stand in our area…nothing panned out.

Thar’ she blows!

Wednesday we picked up some groceries in Hot Springs and gave up and purchased a watermelon there.  I told Michael, ‘Just wait…now we’ll find a produce stand.’

Of course….the very next day as we drove into Glenwood…there was a produce stand…with watermelons!  Even though we already had a watermelon at home we couldn’t pass these up. Though they weren’t from Hope…they are locally (Arkansas) grown.   We also ended up with some muscadine grapes, peaches, tomatoes and plums.  Yum!

Brisket…

We spent Wednesday afternoon with Mike’s oldest brother, Eddie, and his wife, Val.  They have limited chance to get out of the house so we took them into Hot Springs to do some shopping and have lunch.

…Nachos

Eddie and Val treated us to lunch at Smokin’ in Style BBQ.  Portions were large and food was good….but not great. Michael’s brisket was on the dry side but had good flavor.  I had chicken nachos, which we’re good but I’d have liked the chicken to have more of a smokey flavor.

Even the smallest project makes him happy.

Nearly every visit we make to Michael’s mom’s home he finds some kind of project to work on.  This time was no different…however the project was a very small one.  He just needed to work on a security bar that is used to secure doors.  He got the job done in no time and Alice is happy with the outcome.

Movie Time!

This week’s ‘movie of the week’ was Atomic Blonde.  We went to the AMC theater in Hot Springs and I’m not sure we’ve ever been in a smaller theater…just 8 rows!  There was only one other person in the theater with us so it was pretty quiet!  LOL

The movie was good…kept my interest the whole time but I had a hard time following at times and the ending kinda left me wondering but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
While we were in town we also stopped at a car wash to get the truck washed as it was looking pretty nasty!  Of course, having a dually is a bit of a drawback with automated car washes but this place will wash by hand too.  For $20 we got the truck hand washed and dried and it looks MUCH better than it did.
 Friday we hung out and home and even had a fire that evening….even though it was still almost 90 degrees outside! The weather has been gorgeous since we’ve been in Arkansas…highs in the high 70s to low 80s with lows in the 50s and 60s.  However, that all changed in the last few days where we’ve been getting highs up into the 90s.

We’ve found that some of the best food comes from places like this

Saturday we spent our last day visiting with Alice.  We left home about 8:30 am, stopped in Mt. Ida for breakfast at the Mt. Ida Cafe and then headed to Alice’s for the day.  We both got the daily special – 2 bacon, 2 sausage, 2 eggs, 2 biscuits & fried potatoes for $7.99.  We also got some gravy to go with the biscuits.  Great price for a LOT of tasty food.  We’d go back.

Alice’s friend, Connie, is a beautician and has a small shop next to her home.  Alice had an appointment and I asked if she could squeeze me in too…and she could!  I just needed a trim, some layers and a little thinning.  Connie’s very thorough and did a nice job.  She said she cut about 2.5 inches off the length but I’m pretty sure it ended up being quite a bit more than that.  Oh well…I’m set for quite a while now!

Until next time, Mama!

Michael and I cooked an early dinner for Alice and Allicia (granddaughter) – grilled pork tenderloin, ramen and green beans.  Nothing special but it hit the spot and was easy.

About 6:00 pm we said our goodbyes, stopping next door to say goodbye to Michael’s brother, Eddie, too.  The current plan is to be back in mid-April for a while before heading to the Branson rally.  But…plans change and it could be sooner…who knows?!
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Lum & Abner and Queen Wilhelmina

**Remember if you click on a picture the picture will open in a larger window for better viewing!
Tuesday, 9/12

The store, on the left, is in its original location. The museum on the right, was moved from across the street. The post office in the background was moved back just a bit.

I’m not quite old enough to remember to listening to Lum & Abner on the radio…but I do remember hearing of them.

Lum and Abner was a comedy radio show that aired from 1931 to 1954 and was set in fictional Pine Ridge, Arkansas.   Chester Lauck and Norris Goff were the voices of Lum and Abner as well as many other characters on the show.
Pine Ridge was modeled after a small town (Waters) in which Lauck & Goff grew up.  In 1936, the town of Waters officially changed its name to Pine Ridge.
The Lum and Abner Jot ’em Down Store and Museum is an homage to the Lum and Abner days.  The store of today is the original building and dates back to 1909, when Dick Huddleston owned it.  The building that holds the museum was moved from across the road and was a rival store at one time.   Also still standing is the building which held the post office.

Michael chatting with the store owner.

Today Dick Huddleston’s store is known as the Lum & Abner Jot ’em Down Store and sells a small amount of Lum & Abner memorabilia (t-shirts, calendars, CDs, pens, pencils, etc) and also houses a tiny working post office.

The museum (which is smack dab next to the store) houses bits and pieces of the Lum & Abner radio show, movies and every day life in Pine Ridge.  Along one wall of the museum is a bunch of old inventory from the original store….some still in the cellophane it was originally packed in for shipping.  I found that pretty interesting.

Meet Rocky, vicious guard dog!

We roamed around the store and museum for quite a while.  Chatting with the owner.  Petting Rocky, a big old lug of a dog, possibly part basset hound, who guarded the front door.  We ended up purchasing two t-shirts and several CDs so that we can listen to Lum & Abner as we head on down the road.

After our visit to the Lum & Abner site we continued on AR-88 which took us to Mena (pronounced Mean-a) and then we drove along the Talimena Scenic byway through the Queen Wilhelmina State Park and on into Talihina, Oklahoma….roughly 115 miles from home!

Imagine this view with the leaves changing!

It was a pretty drive through the Ouachita Mountains and Forest.  There were a lot of scenic overlooks and we stopped at many of them to check out the views.  Some of the trees are just beginning to turn colors and I can just imagine what the drive would have been like at the height of the ‘colors’ season.

About halfway through the scenic drive, we stopped at the top of Rich Mountain where the Queen Wilhelmina Lodge is located.  The lodge has 40 rooms, starting at $100 per night and just at looking at the gorgeous lobby with its beautiful view it would be an awesome place to stay a few nights.

Queen Wilhelmina Lodge

The Queens Restaurant is on the first floor of the lodge and that’s where we had lunch.  Michael opted for a burger and fries while I went with the soup and salad bar (soups were chicken & dumplings or shrimp gumbo).  Lunch was very good and you can’t help but enjoy the scenery while you eat.

After lunch we continued our journey on the byway and it wasn’t long (less than 10 miles, I think) before we hit the Oklahoma border.  Michael happened to see a small sign for a historic marker so he pulled over.

This little marker caused an awful lot of controversy.

It turned out to be the original milepost that marks the Arkansas-Choctaw Nation boundary, which was placed in 1877.   Apparently the post was originally placed in the wrong location, too far to the west, but left in place.  After many year the Choctaw Nation was compensated for the loss of bout 136,000 acres of land.

What a view and just the start of the Walking Stick encounter!

Further into Oklahoma we pulled off the road at another scenic overlook.  This one was a bit off the road and was also a small picnic area.  Michael got out of the truck to read the signage and just as he turned toward me to show me something, I happened to see a Walking Stick on the sign post.

Meet Mr. Walking Stick (one of MANY!)

It turns out that Michael was going to show me a Walking Stick that was walking on him but when he turned it fell off.  As we looked on the ground for it we noticed several more Walking Sticks walking around…then we saw more…and more.  We had to be careful where we walked or we’d step on them.

Take a GOOD look! This table is COVERED with the little dudes!

Then we happened to see that there were a bunch on a nearby picnic table…..then we looked at the next table and it was covered!  They were ALL over it…hanging from the underside of the table, crawling up the legs, resting on the seats….crawling on the ground.  It was CRAZY!  And a bit creepy too!  After we left I had phantom Walking Sticks walking on my legs for quite a while!

When we got to Talihina, Oklahoma we stopped at a convenience to use the restroom and grab a snack for the 115 or so mile trek back home.

This is what came home to!

The trip back home went much faster than the trip out as we took OK-63 to Mena and then AR-88 to AR-270 to home.  There were no stops at scenic overlooks or historic markers so we were back in Mt. Ida about 5:00 pm.

It was a good day.  We both enjoyed the drive, taking our time to enjoy the views and spending the day together.
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Lots of Visiting & a Class Get Together

Saturday 9/9

We spent the afternoon visiting with Alice at her home.  Michael’s oldest brother, Eddie, and his wife, Val, came over for a short while to visit.  The boys behaved themselves and left politics, religion and any other taboo subject off the table and actually had a very nice visit!

The whole…

Michael put together a get together for his 1982 Caddo Hills High School classmates (and their families) in the evening.   We all got together at the Fish Nest in Glenwood.  They had a very small class of  about 30 and  they 9 were able to make it to this get together (I’m told that this was kind of their ‘clique’.  Several of them even brought their kids or grandkids.

We had a really nice time.  These people are all very welcoming and even though I didn’t go to school with them I’ve been made to feel very welcome.

…and just class of 1982 alumni

The majority of us got the buffet (catfish, clams, shrimp, crab cakes, frog legs, chicken, BBQ pork etc) and a few ordered off the menu.  The food at the Fish Nest is always very good so that’s never an issue.

We’d done something similar back in May of 2014 and they had 9 make it that time too.  You can read about that HERE.

On the way home we made a quick stop at Brock and Tammy’s to pick up some firewood that Brock had offered.  It was also a good time to exchange some goodies.  It’s kind of become a tradition.  LOL  Brock makes delicious jams, jellies, pork sausage etc and always gifts us with some.  We’ve taken to bringing them goodies from our travels.  This time it was Amish noodles, Amish peanut butter, Amish corn cob jelly, Amish corn nuts and yummy Klements sausage from Wisconsin!

Sunday 9/10

We really have a gorgeous view here at Denby Point

A nice, quiet day spent at home.  We spent the majority of the day in our recliners watching TV and surfing the internet.

Our long time friend, Cherie, came by in the afternoon and we spent several hours chatting, catching up and laughing.

Monday 9/11

We were back at Alice’s in the late morning to spend some more time with her.  Then mid-afternoon we headed into Hot Springs and took Alice to the World Buffet Chinese restaurant.  It’s one of her favorites…and mine too!  We had a nice meal while chatting and relaxing.

After driving the 30 or so miles back to Alice’s we hung around for a short while before heading out for the trek home.  We left about 6:00 pm and got home about 7:00 pm…no driving in the dark tonight!

 

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What a Day! Yuck!

Little Rock AFB Commissary

The day started out nicely…and then took turn and crashed and burned!  Not a day either of us want to repeat anytime soon.

We went to the commissary on Little Rock Air Force Base…about 13 or so miles Northwest of Camp Robinson this morning and then took them home, dropped em off and headed back out so that we could go to the movie of the week.

Nice comfy recliners to relax in while watching the movie

This week’s movie was Wind River, kind of a murder mystery.  We enjoyed the movie but it caused a lot of conversation on the way home as we saw a lot of flaws in the story line.  I’m not sure we’ve ever discussed a movie for that long…which actually makes the movie that much better, I guess.

We got home about 3:45 and before we got out of the truck the lodging assistant manager drove up and informed us that we could no longer stay where we were.
It seems that some Lieutenant Colonel decided that a couple of nights was ok..but not the eight that we’d made our reservation for.
We were expected to move to the site that they had originally assigned us to (which was now vacant) tomorrow morning.  However, he knew, good & well, we were to big for the space.
**Just a little note here.  When I made the reservation they didn’t take our contact information OR any information pertaining to the size of the rig…length, number of slides etc.  What kind of campground does that??!  Unless all of your spaces are 100 feet long…which theirs are NOT.
So we went in the house and immediately went to work figuring out our plan of action.  With Michael’s newly acquired America the Beautiful Access Pass we knew we could get into a Corps of Engineer parks for half price so we started searching closer to Mike’s mom in Glenwood.
We found a park, Denby Point, near Mt. Ida, which would put us between Glenwood and our next destination, Mena.
At 4:05 we both went to work packing up and stowing for travel.  We decided we just wanted to leave now rather than tomorrow.  With tomorrow being Friday sites could go quickly, as reservations have to be made at least 3 days in advance…so we’d be taking our chance on a first come, first serve site.
We pulled off post at 4:35 and drove the 90 miles to the campground.  We got a little rush hour traffic as we passed through Little Rock but it wasn’t too bad.
We arrived at the campground about 6:30.  We were given a map and told to go find a site, set up and come back and pay.  The woman mentioned that sites 6 and 42 were on the water and were nice sites. So off we went.
We checked out site 6 first and found a car parked in the site.  Thinking it belonged to the people next door Michael got out and checked it out.  A woman walked up from off somewhere and said it was hers and that this was her site.  She’d just been sent there by the same lady we were.  Nice.
Off we went to the other area of the campground where we’d been directed.  There were a couple of sites along the water and we choose to site 43.  It was a back in and we had to do a LOT of maneuvering to get backed in to it…but after much fussing and complaining we did.
Michael headed up to pay for the site while I stayed home to set up the inside of the house.  As I was putting things in place Michael called to say that the site was reserved.  UGH! Wonderful!
The woman at the gate house never said anything about keeping an eye out for reserved signs and we never saw anything as the reserved sign is on the bottom of the post.  Who looks at the bottom of a post?? Plus it was starting to get dark, which didn’t help.

Denby Point COE park, site 42

The site isn’t reserved until Saturday so we paid for Thursday night and Friday morning we moved to a new site.  It took so us nearly 1.5 hours to get moved to a new site….right next to the original site.  There was much maneuvering back and forth, stopping, checking for trees, talking with the ranger, etc etc etc….but we are now set up in site 42 for the next 10 nights.

We decided to cancel our reservation at a campground in Boardcamp (5 nights) and stay here the entire time.  We’ll just drive to that area to see the things Michael wants to see.
By staying here we’re saving roughly $150.00 over the 2 weeks that we are in Arkansas.  Plus, we’re in a nice campground with a beautiful view of Lake Ouachita.
We drove over to Mike’s mom’s in the afternoon to spend a couple of hours visiting and left about 7:00 and stopped at Bubba Brews on the way home to grab some dinner…a Philly for Michael and chicken fried steak for me.
So after a trying Thursday, Friday has been a brighter day.
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Back to School…

We visited Little Rock Central High School today.  It’s actually a National Historic Site with a visitors center and everything!  You can register to take a tour led by a park ranger that takes you into the historic high school built in 1927, which is still an active high school today with a student body of about 2500.

Woohoo! Another ‘notch’ on our National Parks belt!

We first stopped at the visitor’s center where we stamped our Passport Book and also bought the sticker for the historic site to put in our book.

We roamed around the exhibit area which was very nicely done with lots of hands on activities and full of information and pictures.

The Little Rock Nine

Then we watched the 21 minute video which gave us a good glimpse at what the 9 students went through just to receive a better education than what they would have at their ‘original’ high school.

Our tour guide, Ranger Toni, had been working at the high school for 3 years and was a fountain of information.

I don’t think either Michael or I really knew much about the desegregation of Central High School in Little Rock before today.  Certainly we’d heard of it…but didn’t really know the details.

The gas station on the opposite corner from the high school is where the media hung out as they weren’t allowed on school property.

Back then schools were segregated – blacks had their schools and whites had theirs.  The time came to end that in Little Rock in 1957.  There were about 200 black students who volunteered to transfer to Central High School as their was more opportunity for a better education there.

The requirements were very tough and those 200 were whittled down to less that 20 that were accepted.  That number dropped down to even less due to one reason or another and eventually the number was at 10.  That number stuck until the first day of school when they attempted to go to school and their picture was in the paper.  The employer of the child’s parents saw the picture and told the parents that if their child continued they would be fired.  They were now down to nine children integrating into Little Rock’s Central High School.  They are now known as the Little Rock Nine.

Little Rock Central High School

The Little Rock Nine’s integration into Central High school caused riots and degradation for the nine students but they persevered and made it through the school year…with one of them being a senior and graduating.

I am in awe of these kids (ages 14-17).  What courage.  They were spit on.  Had food dumped on them. Yelled at.  Cursed at.  You name it.  All because they wanted a good education and the color of their skin was different.
This was probably one of our favorite National Parks visits and would highly recommend it to anyone interested.   Sign up to take the tour inside the high school too…it helps you to visualize the whole thing as you walk through the halls.
You can read a little more about the desegregation of the school by clicking HERE.

There it is! In all of it’s glory!

We had a dinner date down by the river at  5:00 pm and were early so we walked along the river front and hunted for Little Rock’s Little Rock…and found it!

The rock was originally part of a much larger rock that was blown apart in the late 1800s to make way for the Junction Bridge (a train bridge) which is now a pedestrian bridge.

What you see now is just the tip of the original rock that someone saved and eventually a plaque was bolted to it and has now become the landmark that it is!

The Junction Bridge as seen from ‘The Rock’.

The rock sits in a pretty little park-like area along the riverfront, beside the Junction Bridge.  We found a park bench in the shade and enjoyed the views of the river and beautiful weather.  We’ve certainly been blessed with gorgeous weather while we’ve been here in Arkansas.

The restaurant that we were meeting friends at for dinner for dinner was just a few blocks away so we had just a short walk.  The Flying Fish was a restaurant I’d found by using Yelp.  It had really good reviews and was a little different than the places we normally go to.

Our dinner companions, Prentiss and Victoria

We’d been contacted by Victoria a week or so ago when she found out we’d be in the area and asked if we wanted to get together…of course!  She and Prentiss are working as gate attendants at a Corps of Engineers park nearby.

We know Victoria and Prentiss from gate guarding.  While I’ve met Victoria and Michael had met Prentiss at luncheons…I’d never met Prentiss and Michael and never met Victoria.

Michael’s frog legs…

Our dinner turned into 3+ hours full of conversation and laughter.  We have so much in common  – gate guarding, camphosting, RVing, military, etc that the conversation flowed very easily.

….my jumbo shrimp

We all agreed that the food was delicious.  We all ordered different meals, however.  Prentiss went with oysters, Victoria had salmon, Michael had frog legs and I had jumbo shrimp.  Another place to recommend…if/when you’re in Little Rock…Go!

Just a small portion of the Bill Bass display

The Flying Fish is also the home to the Billy Bass Adoption Center.  You’ll find TONS of those darn irritating talking fish hung on the walls within the restaurant.  Thank goodness the batteries have all been removed!  (Michael tried!)  While we were there we even witnessed two men who brought in their very own Bill Basses to be adopted by the restaurant.  Awwww…

 One wall of the restaurant is labeled the Liar’s Wall which is filled with fishermen and their ‘fish pics’. People bring in pics of their ‘BIG’ catch…some happen to be really big…others not so much.
After walking back to where our truck was parked (just a few blocks away) and driving back to Camp Robinson we were home shortly after 9:00 pm.  It was a GOOD day.
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Travel Day: Scott AFB, IL To Camp Robinson, AR

Tuesday 9/5/17

About 8:00 pm last night we got a pretty good little rain storm.  It came down pretty hard for quite a while and few times we thought we were getting some hail.  Still not 100% sure it wasn’t just stuff fall off the trees.

My view while Michael dumped the tanks. I think I win!

It rained so heavy that when I pulled in the slides this morning we had huge waterfalls cascade off of the slide toppers!  There was a LOT of water!

Ugh!  A LONG travel day for us today!   Roughly 370 miles from start to finish…more than we care for, for sure, but it really wasn’t far enough to split into 2 days either.

With a long day ahead of us we got pretty much all of our move day chores done yesterday so all we had to do this morning was hitch up, head over to the dump station, drop off the garbage and pull out.

Michael took care of dumping the tanks

Our goal was to pull out of our site about 7:00 am and we ended up pulling out before 7:00 and were leaving the dump station at 7:08 am…not bad, eh?

Just down the road from the FamCamp is a small family cemetery that we’d first seen the day we arrived and decided we needed to check it out before we left.  We’d forgotten about it until this morning as we were passing by.  Michael pulled over on the side of the road and we had a little early morning adventure.

The Perschbacher and Rossell Family Cemtery is small and goes back to 1847.  It sits on a hilltop beneath a big ol’ tree with roughly a dozen graves most of which have lost their markers and been replaced by white wooden crosses.

The grave of Patriarch John Perschbacher

The land where the cemetery sits once belonged to John Perschbacher and his family.  The small cemetery was built on the farm as it was cheaper and also was easier for family members to visit.

The only two graves that still have their tombstones are John and Susan Rossell, the wife of Thomas Rossell.  It’s uncertain the connection between the Perschbacher and Rossell families and why the Rossell family is buried on the Perschbacher land.  Interesting.

Got a pretty cool picture of the Arch from the Busch Stadium area

We pulled out of Scott Air Force Base at 7:31 am and headed west toward St. Louis.  We ended up missing an exit in St. Louis and took a brief tour of downtown St. Louis….right past Busch Stadium.  LOL Heck…what’s a few extra miles when you’re already putting on over 370!?!?

About 100 miles down the road we made a potty stop and found that diesel was $2.28 per gallon so we made sure to fill up both tanks.  We’re hearing of rising fuel prices in Texas and even shortages and outages so we’ll fill up as often as we can when we find good prices.

Kelly’s Kitchen location of the day. How nice is that?

We stopped at the Arkansas Welcome Center to enjoy some lunch.  What a gorgeous day for a picnic! Sunny, light breeze and 72.  Oh yeah!

The special of the day at Kelly’s Kitchen was PB&J and fritos…an old family favorite!  We even topped it off with a frosted sugar cookie for dessert.  Delicious!  🙂

As usual, our stop was about an hour-long and we were back on the road feeling rejuvenated and ready to finish out the remaining 170 miles of our trip.

Nice road with lots of scenery! My favorite!

Between St. Louis and Little Rock we traveled along US 67, which turned out to be a really nice drive.  I got my scenery while Michael got his four lanes for the majority of the drive.

The drive was nice and quiet with little traffic and we moved pretty freely.  After we  hit the Arkansas border we went down to two lanes for a while…but it was still quite enjoyable.  We eventually went back to four lanes for the remainder of the drive.

We arrived at Camp Robinson at 4:08 pm and had no problem finding the gate or getting on post. However, we did have a problem finding the lodging office.  The directions we were given were pretty vague.  We ended up driving out to the campground, as we knew were it was…kind of hoping to find someone who could tell us how to get where we needed to go.  No such luck…but we did notice that it didn’t look like there were no empty sites in the campground.  Hmmmm

As I was on the phone trying to get a hold of the lodging office again (they’re been no answer since we’d arrived on post) and was no on hold a gentleman drove up and offered to show us where the office was…so we followed him.

To make a very long story short…we found out that the people in our site decided to stay another day so our site wouldn’t be available tonight…but it would be tomorrow.

The assistant manager was very apologetic and wanted to right the wrong in any way he could.  He tried to put us in a site of someone who didn’t show this weekend but would be arriving within the next few days…however, when we went to that site someone was in it.  Oops.

While we were there checking that site out Michael and the assistant manager went to look at the site that we were to be assigned…site 8.  Unfortunately, that spot wasn’t big enough to hold us and there were no other sites available.

Our home for the next nights! Site A1 – Camp Robinson Lodging Parking Lot.

One of the options for us when we thought we just needed a place to park overnight was that there was room in the lodging parking lot with 110 power available.  Michael and the assistant manager talked (I stayed in the truck so I didn’t show my attitude, which was not the best at that point) and ended up agreeing that we would just park in the parking lot for out entire stay…free of charge.

So in the end we set up in the parking lot.  The location isn’t as bad as it sounds.  The parking lot is a big square with small lodging buildings (motel-like buildings) on three sides of the square.  There are only about half a dozen people inhabiting those buildings, at this point, it seems.  So it’s actually pretty quiet here.

There are 2 other buildings just like this one on the other 2 sides of the square…and we make up the 4th side of the square.

I have no issue with where we’re parked.  I have no issue with not being hooked up to water or if we can survive 8 days with no sewer.  But…I do have a concern about only having 110 power.  That means no ac…in Arkansas.  Thankfully, right now it’s cool enough…52 when we got up and the windows are all open. Oh well…I guess we’ll see how it goes.  We have a generator and can crank it up if needed to cool off the inside of the coach.

After getting settled into our cozy parking lot spot we went in search of food.  I had planned to have pork lo mein for dinner and had even chopped everything up.  But, since it was National Cheese Pizza Day Michael got a hankering for pizza and couldn’t get it out of his head.

We ended up finding Larry’s Pizza which was about 5 miles from post and had good reviews.   I wasn’t really expecting much but I was hungry, tired and crabby so we went with it.

We were both very surprised.  First of, it’s a buffet, kinda like a CiCi’s….but…they walk around the entire restaurant with hot fresh pizza’s and serve them to you if you want some.  They’re motto is ‘Home of the pipin’ hot pizza parade’ and they’re not kidding!

After they’ve gone around the entire dining room with a pizza whatever is left goes up on the buffet for anyone that wants more.  We tried several kinds of pizza – baked potato, buffalo chicken, meat lovers, pepperoni, cheese, etc…and they were all really good.  They also have quite a few different dessert pizzas – apple, cherry, peach, snickerdoodle, chocolate chip cookie, banana cream, Bavarian cream…and that’s just a FEW.  And if that’s not enough they have a really nice salad bar too!

We ended up getting home around 7:30 pm and just did some chillin’ for the rest of the night…never even turned the TV on.

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