Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Branson, Missouri/Eureka Springs, Arkansas

We are already in Coffeyville, Kansas, but I need to do my write up on Branson first.

We left Broken Arrow Thursday and drove four hours to Branson/Hollister, Missouri, to stay at one of the Escapees RV parks called Turkey Creek. It is a small, intimate feeling park that we liked very much.

Branson is different than I had pictured in my head. It is small with the main drag very narrow. The theatres are low and smaller than expected. This time around we didn't do any shows, etc. as we will be close enough from Coffeyville to visit again. We want to come back in November for some of the holiday shows that Branson is so well known for.

Our Escapee friends, Joe and Marcia, arrived in Turkey Creek Friday and we had dinner together with the remaining peanut butter and chocolate dessert she made in Broken Arrow.

Since we hadn't "colored in" Arkansas on our map, we took advantage of being close by going to Eureka Springs. However, we chose the wrong weekend as the "Bikes, Blues and BBQ" Motorcycle Rally brought 32,000 people and 16,000 bikes to Eureka Springs for a poker run at the same time. The BBB started at Fayetteville with 100,000 motocycles for their annual charitable run. There were bikes everywhere.

Eureka Springs was very quaint and appealing. It reminded me of Jerome, Arizona, with narrow streets on multi-level roads. So we drove around, but didn't walk the streets as there were just too many people.

Back to Hollister Joe and Marcia asked us out to dinner (supper) at Branson's Landing...we ate at Famous Dave's and had ribs.....scrumptous!!! We walked down the Landing with all the shops on each side of the cute brick street. It is very innovative and enjoyable. We stayed for the water show at 8 pm and boy was THAT spectacular. The timing of the water with the music and then the blast of fire in the midst of it all was pretty amazing.

We even found a place downtown that brought a smile to our face....Chappy Mall. Seems they have a large variety of cheese.

Saturday we enjoyed the parks pancake breakfast sitting at a table with another couple. Conversations ensued and low and behold this couple once lived in La Jara, Colorado, the city south of our hometown of Alamosa. Their names are Susan and Doug Motz, Doug being the cousin of Marv Motz, retired professor from Adams State College, whom we know. What's the chances of being there at the same time and sitting at the same table? Life gets curiouser and curiouser!

The next day, Sunday, we left Hollister/Branson and drove 4 hours to Coffeyville, Kansas, where we will be till Dec. 23rd.

Today is Tuesday, Sept 30th and we are off to Independence, Kansas, for our first meeting with Express Pro, the temp agency that is employing all us folks for Amazon.com More about Coffeyville tomorrow.

Remember - you are loved!!!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


We arrived in Broken Arrow on the outskirts of Tulsa Sept. 18th intending to spend 2-3 days then “vacation” in Branson for a week. Well, people are more important than things, and we have been here a week, leaving tomorrow and will be in Branson for two days instead.

We are visiting our “classmates of Class of 2007”, which is the group of Escapees RV Club members who “graduated” from working to fulltime rving in 2007. Jay and Fay Carter lived in Tulsa and came back in June so Jay could have some surgery done on his ankle. Jay has been recuperating here since then and they needed to see other rvers. Jay and Fay are staying on country property belonging to a friend, Bill, that is complete with a rustic cabin, pond with hungry catfish and bass and plenty of room for rigs. It has been a good quiet place to mend. He's been getting around easily in his "jeep" golf cart.

This is the cabin and the next shot is of the view from the front porch.

We lined up the rigs to be close.
The day after we came, another classmate couple arrived, Joe and Marcia Jones. They brought Fay a “Margarator” which makes a gallon of margaritas at a time. The Margarator is the unofficial mascot of the Class of 2007 and comes to all our gatherings. In fact, one is Margarator is never enough so now we have two.

That's Joe next to me then Fay and Marcia with Jay taking it easy.

Here's Joe measuring out the ingredients for a batch of Margaritas. This was Marcia’s birthday so I made her a “Better Than Sex Cake”. That’s a chocolate cake, with holes punched into it and drizzled with a can of sweetened condensed milk, a cup of caramel topping, a cup of fudge topping, frosted with whipped cream and covered with crushed Heath candy bars. One night Jim barbequed a roast with some of those Tabasco wood chips….oh, my, what a flavor. Rvers always eat well at their potlucks. We spent our evenings playing Chicken Foot style dominoes and Phase 10 and had a laughingly good time.

Last Saturday there was a large car show at the Tulsa Southern Baptist Church and boy did they do it up good. Everything was free to the public complete with food, live band, soda pop, homemade desserts, everything! There were about 150-200 cars from a 1924 race car to new Mustangs and Corvettes.

This is a fun car that one owner brings to the local shows for a laugh. This is definitely a red-neck truck...you name it and it's on there. The owner walks around with bib overalls and a straw hat and all. Actually, it is a cute idea for any car show....gets lots of attention that is for sure.

This is Bobbie’s dream car – a 1960 Chevy Impala convertible. Of course she would want it in red or purple or both!

Then look at this 1924 Inline 6 racecar…. it sure drew a crowd!

Tuesday morning the guys decided that all the vehicles were in need of a clean-up. So we lined up four vehicles and we did them one after the other in car wash style. Jay supervised from the golf cart.

We went out for lunch and then Jay and Fay gave us a tour of downtown Tulsa and especially the Riverside Drive. My friend, Theresa Gilmore, from our hometown of Alamosa, CO, emailed me that her husband, Jim’s bronze works were on display on Riverside Drive, so we went to find them. Oh, my, how inspiring!!! Tulsa has a mayor that was really into art and was behind having many bronzes commissioned for display around Tulsa. Riverside Drive has about ten huge pieces on display. We are very fortunate in a town of 9,000 that Alamosa has two renowned bronze artists of note.

I particularly liked the very large bear and cubs bronzes….see the little cub in the lower left side of the waterfalls? And look at this cougar! It is so realistic. Jim Gilmore’s bronzes are amazing. Here is his website http://tiny.cc/neEFa

We also were surprised to find Jocelyn Lillpop’s elk bronze also on display on River Drive in Tulsa. Her website is interesting http://www.wildlifebronzes.com/ .

We are having a wonderful time here in Tulsa and will be back several times during our stay in Coffeyville, as Tulsa is only 85 miles north of here. Jay and Fay will be here another six weeks and Joe and Marcia will be in Hollister, MO only 170 miles east of Coffeyville. We plan on visiting often.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Oklahoma City

This is going to be a pretty long post as we did a lot of things all in one day...so bear with me, please.

Oklahoma City is a surprisingly fun city! We came here to visit friends we met while camphosting in Colorado. Two of the gentlemen are retired Oklahoma City firefighters so Jim has had a great time swapping stories. We went to the Oklahoma Firefighters Museum, which is the only museum run entirely by firefighters. It is an awesome place with wonderfully kept exhibits inside and a memorial park outside. This back wall is a hand painted mural that took a whole year to paint

The museum has the largest fire department uniform patches on public display. It is the personal collection of Retired Fire Chief Ben Dancy. The back and side walls are covered with these display cases of patches. We were happy to see that the San Luis Valley Firefighters Association patch was among them. It is on the first row, fourth from the left.

Their memorial park is very moving and thought-provoking.

These last pictures are of a large bronze sculpture which depicts a burned out wooden building with a firefighter on the roof, holding on to a brother firefighter to keep him from falling. The granite wall in front is etched with the names of fallen Oklahoma firefighters.

Then we went to the Oklahoma National Monument. Talk about sobering...it takes your breathe away. Photos I have seen made me think this was a large area and it is not. The building was along the side of a street. The pond is where the street ran. They left a little side piece of the building. The "chair" sculptures/pieces of art gave me a very eery feeling. The base of the chairs are plastic and light up at night. The chair plastic base is engraved with the name of a person who died. The smaller chairs represented a child...there were many small chairs. The water on the pond comes right up to the lip so it looks like it would overflow. At one end is a wall with only a large "9:01" on it, which the brochure says shows when life was normal. The other end of the pond shows a wall with "9:03", when life will never be the same. The chair rows represent which floor the people were on when they died. The first row was the first floor; the second row the second floor, etc.

That evening Charlie, Dawna and son Trent Ramirez took us to Bricktown in downtown Oklahoma City. It was in the warehouse district that had basically been abandoned and unused, that has been made into an entertainment center with canals, water taxies,much like The River Walk in San Antonio. There are restaurants on the edge of the canal, outdoor music venues, shops, etc. The photo with the horses is actually a series of huge life-size bronze sculptures depicting the Oklahoma land rush.

We met up with our other camper friends, Barbara and Don Stubblefield, Joanne and Frank DeVos, and ate at Earl's Barbeque. Earl use to be Elvis's cook...it was mighty fine.

We had a wonderful time with these dear friends and they spoiled us royally. Since Coffeyville is only about 3.5 hours from Oklahoma City, we plan on visiting them again during the next 3 months.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

On the Road Again

On Monday, Sept 15th we hit the road again. We left Alamosa, Colorado, and drove to Santa Fe where our two daughters and grandchildren live. That's Beth behind me, granddaughter, Alyssa, in front of Jim and daughter Christine on the right. Christine made us a wonderful dinner of salmon poached in cranberry-raspberry juice then reduced into a glaze....oh, my how wonderful. We stayed again at Black Canyon Campground at Santa Fe National Forest. With Golden Age Pass it was only $5.

So here are pictures of our other grandchild, Kenneth James Chapman, who works at Starbucks (gave me his weekly pound of coffee) and then in the other picture is Char his wife.....yes we have a married grandson, who is 22 years old. I keep telling you I am old!


The next day we traveled to Amarillo, Texas, and ate dinner at Big Texan. That is the restaurant where they have the 72 oz. steak for $54, but if you eat it in one hour you get it free....they make you pay for it first, since most people can't eat it all.

They have a huge lot in back and welcome truckers and rvers, so we decided to spend the night there. When we arrived there were only four dry vans; after dinner everyone else left and we were alone. However during the night, six, yes, six refrigerated trucks parked right next to us! We heard the "bur-r-r-r-" all night. UGH.
So Wednesday we ended in Oklahoma City to visit some campers we met while camphosting at Big Meadows in Colorado. We are staying at Twin Fountains RV Resort. It is very nice and reasonable at $32 a night. We'll play tourist today.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Big Meadows

Yesterday Jim and I drove up to South Fork, CO, so Jim could fish one last time at Big Meadows Reservoir. He got some nibbles and one good hit, but didn't reel in anything this time. The Aspens are just beginning to change color, but there hasn't been enough freezing weather to get the colors to change much yet. It was a beautiful drive and refreshed our spirits.