Thursday, April 22, 2004

The 2004 Adventure, April 22, 2004, Summary

We parked the Montana in tight campsites by working at it hard for 45 minutes and we parked in pull through sites at the end of a hard day’s drive. It was 3 above zero when we left here, and it hit almost 90 degrees a few days in Donna Texas. We sat through some real windy days in Donna, I mean WINDY. We sat through a few nasty rain storms. We also had some days of absolutely perfect weather, sunny, warm, soft breezes and heavenly smells of grapefruit trees in bloom. We parked near our share of railroad tracks, enough that our little Captain Hook stopped shaking every time a train went by. He used to shake uncontrollably every time, now he ignores the trains.

If it sounds like we are ready to go on our next adventure, we are. We love the challenge and the variety of life in a RV. We get to experience so many different cultures, foods, people. Our theme song, just might be, “On The Road Again.”

Here are some photos, curtesy of Keystone RV Company of a Montana 5th Wheel and the Interior of the 3295RK, which is the model we own.

This photo of the exterior of a Montana Fifth Wheel was taken from
the 2003 brochure, Keystone RV Company. Our 5er looks similar.

This is a photo of the interior of the 3295RK, from the 2003 brochure, Keystone RV Company. This is about what your 3295 will look like upon delivery from the manufacturer. You will note in the far left bottom corner, this unit has a fireplace, ours does not. We also do not have the curtains on our unit, a personal choice that we are very happy with. We have not taken any photos of the inside of our unit, when we get around to that, I will post them somewhere on the web pages. * Thank you Keystone for such great photos in your catalogs.

The end of the Adventure of 2004, REALLY!!

*Photos of our rig and improvements can be found at Carol's Reflections From the Fence, And More

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

The 2004 Adventure, April 21, 2004, Retrospect

April 22, 2004

Run over to Elkhart and have the axle checked for alignment, camber and whatever they check on axles. Ours is out, and has caused a large amount of uneven wear on the tires. We have about 6,000 miles on the unit and will be buying new tires. This is not covered under warranty, the axle is only covered for 90 days. This is not going to be a cheap repair, we are not thrilled, but it has to be done, it is a safety issue. No question, it has to be fixed and the tires must be replaced.

Leave Elkhart and head over the Michigan state line to US 12, homebound at long last. We have been away from Tipton for 13 weeks, drove almost 4,000 miles with the trailer, driven through 10 states, visited in 8 of them for more than one night. Visited Mexico on 4 separate days, enjoyed it and had great food there. Ate in a LOT of great restaurants, from Mexican to Barbeque. Carol hit 4 major research facilities, over 10 cemeteries, several more public libraries, and met so many nice researchers and staff people in all of these facilities. We went on tours in New Orleans, San Padre Island Texas, Mexico, San Antonio Texas, and Independence Missouri. We went on educational tours to a aloe vera and citrus farm near Donna Texas.

We started our trip out with a visit with Al’s cousin, ended the trip with a visit with another of his cousins. Visited Carol’s cousins in between. Visited friends along the way, and met so many nice people. Stayed in one horrid campground for one night and a lot more really nice campgrounds every other night we were out. We saw oil wells, prairie dogs, buffalo, and some very interesting birds and wildlife.

We had our first encounter with “Instant Phones” at campgrounds. Have to admit, we kinda like that set up! Used the internet via the cell phone, instant phone (regular phone lines is what that is), and high speed cable modem. We used the internet in public libraries, in our trailer and in campground offices.

We followed spring from Texas back to Michigan. When we got back to Tipton the forsythia was in full brilliant bright yellow bloom. My star magnolias, both the pink and the white were in full bloom and were so pretty when we got home. My tulips and daffodils were also in full bloom when we arrived in Tipton. The Canadian geese are in the swamp behind the house, honking their springtime mating calls. The peepers are starting their nightly lullaby. Did not realize how much we missed the home “noises” till we got back and heard them.

We would like to go back to a lot of the places we visited, that is always a strong indicator of how much fun you had! We are both moaning that we would like to go back to New Orleans and Kansas City for some of the wonderful food we ate there, ditto for Progreso Mexico.

We discovered we could sit for over 6 weeks in one park. Totally amazed us that we could do that. We enjoyed the park in Donna Texas so much that we used only ONE tank of gas in the truck in 4 weeks. Several of the tours we went on we did not have to drive, and we were perfectly happy to hang out in the park and take part in the variety of activities that were available. Al played pool, Carol went to genealogy club, we went to the pool, we lazed around and just rested.

We were saddened to hear that a few weeks after we left Donna Texas that there was a terrible explosion over in Progreso Mexico. Several people died, the explosion destroyed a restaurant and surrounding businesses on the main street of town. It happened early in the morning, if it had happened just a few hours later the streets and restaurant would have been filled with tourists, the death toll would have been much higher. Our prayers go out to the families of those who died.

Living in the Montana is a joy, lots of living area, lots of storage area, which we kinda filled up (gifts, and dog food put a dent in all that storage). Love that desk, love the kitchen set up. The floor plan is perfect for our lifestyle and travel style. For those of you who have never seen the floor plan, here it is:

Floorplan courtesy Keystone.

The 2004 Adventure, April 18 to 21, 2004, Illinois & Indiana, Homeward Bound

Before we left Independence we took the opportunity to take the tour of the President Truman home. You can only visit the first floor, the second floor is reserved for the use of their daughter, Margaret, who is near 80 years old and lives out east. The yard is kept planted with the same plants as the Truman’s had in the last years of their lives, some of the plants were put in to provide some privacy. The house is kept the same as the day Bessie died. Even the dishrag was left hanging on the kitchen faucet. (Got to tell you, it looks a bit icky. LOL) His coat and hat hang by the backdoor, you can imagine him putting them on and sneaking out the back door for a walk around town (he did not like the Secret Service protection that started after President Kennedy died). The home is owned by the People of the United States, and is a National Park Service facility.

April 18, 2004.

A travel day, we leave Independence and head east, going around St. Louis and heading into Illinois. Pretty uneventful day, which is always a good thing when we are traveling. We stop for lunch in a place with a nice big parking lot, which we will find out later, left us with more than lunch.

April 19, 2004

Nice day, but Al discovers a flat tire on the Montana. Every once in a while ya get one, we suspect we got ours yesterday at the lunch stop, we were happy it was not a blow out, just a slow leaker, so we got to the campground and did not discover the tire was flat till this morning. We call Good Sam, we wait 2 hours, the fellow that comes out is nice, but his tools are lacking some and he ends up using some of ours. Al has to watch him like a hawk as he starts to jack the trailer up via the axle. We find a nail in the tire. If you are gonna have a flat tire, this is the way to do it, we are not on the road, or the side of the road with trucks and cars whizzing by. We are not freezing, it is not raining, it is not blistering hot. We are sitting in a very pretty little campground with new owners that are as nice as could be. We are safe and reasonably comfortable. The tire did not shred into many pieces at 60 MPH and damage the trailer. (We will see such damage just 2 days later, what a mess this guy had.)

When we have the spare on, we take off and head for Indianapolis, we have a short drive day, so we still arrive in camp by 5ish, plenty of time to set up and relax. Oh, we find out this campground is open all year, which is good to know, campgrounds open all year round this far north are far and few between. We will remember this one!

April 20, 2004

Spend the day visiting with Al’s cousin Martha. Thank you Martha and Dick for a great day, it was great to see you and that special new room.

April 21, 2004

We are up and out of the campground very early today, on the road before 8 A.M. We usually don’t get rolling till 9 or 9:30. We have been asked to bring the Montana to Goshen for inspection of some warranty issues we have. Since Keystone wants to see us, we want to go there! We drive the Indiana road 15 north to 13 north. Except for unmarked detours, in is a rather pleasant drive though farmland and true mid-western America. We arrive on time, have our inspection, make some arrangements to have the warranty work done, and after a very long day rest our tired bones at the Elkhart County Fair Grounds.

Saturday, April 17, 2004

The 2004 Adventure, April 9 to 17, 2004, Family Research, Independence Missouri, Topeka Kansas

April 9, 2004

Arkansas City Kansas to Independence Missouri.

Day started out wet, drove a good part of the day in rain.

Interesting things we see along the way: Large areas of burnt land, acres and acres, as far as the eye can see. Seems this is done to get rid of undesired grasses and to encourage the growth of the grasses that are good for grazing cattle. The area between El Dorodo and Emporia Kansas was very pretty, burnt fields and all.

Drove into the campground and found a first, not only do they have speed limits and quiet hours, they have a NO SMOKING campground! They even have a sign posted at the entrance. We have instant phone here, one could get hooked on that service! HA HA. The owners are very nice.

Set up and prepare more to do lists, the Mid-Continent Library is just down the street. They have a very good collection and of course, lots of Kansas City Missouri stuff.

April 10, 2004

Research! Had a pretty good day of research. The staff is great at Mid-Continent. It is organized very well, readers and printers are in good shape. Tired at the end of the day, and happy with the results.

April 11, 2004

Happy Easter.

We spend the day in camp, doing chores and cooking our Easter dinner.

April 12, 2004

We drive to Topeka. I have a little bit of Kansas research left, 4 obits, and some other work. Get to the Kansas Historical Museum and find it is closed on Mondays. Ooops. Tactical error. My fault, I did not call or check it out on the web. SOOO, for some reason, we decide to go over to the building and have a hard look anyway, see if they really are closed. Well, they are, sorta. Al found a nice young lady and cried a little, telling her of our long drive, and next thing I know, we are IN! Because we really only needed to use film they let us use the facility and do our work. The staff here is also great, in fact, they keep coming over to see if we need any more help and apologize for being closed! I got two obits, did some directory work, and we left. They have a nice nature trail outside the Museum, so we went for a walk. It was very nice.

Met my cousin Rebecca for dinner, had a grand time, thanks for dinner!!

April 13, 14, 15 and 16, 2004

Research, visit libraries, visit cemeteries, the research is good, I find a lot, fill in a lot, have a few new questions, had a good time.

We ask Al’s cousin, Michelle, who was born and raised in Kansas City, where to eat in KC, she gives us a list of great eateries. We eat at Jack Stack, the best bar-b-que, OH MY!!! We eat at Stroud’s, they have won awards for their pan fried chicken. Very good.

As the week goes by it warms up, by the 16th, it is nearly 80 degrees.

April 17, 2004

Clean trailer, do some small repairs, groom all 4 of the dogs. It is warm, windy, clear, a nice day to just hang out and grill some burgers.

Tomorrow we head out, probably will be back in Michigan before the week is over.

Thursday, April 8, 2004

The 2004 Adventure, April 5 to 8, 2004, Family Research Heaven, Arkansas City, Kansas

April 5, 2004

Oklahoma City to Arkansas City, Kansas

Another rather uneventful driving day. As we only had 140 miles or so to go, we played lazy in the AM, and then spent some time visiting with the couple parked next to us in the Oklahoma City park.

When we arrived in Arc City, I started asking about research facilities and libraries. The owner of the campground was a 6 generation resident of the Arc City area. I asked him one question, “is there a Parker cemetery near here?” and from that moment on, I was on a grand Lashbrook research trip for the next couple of hours and then 3 more wonderful days. I found all kinds of great stuff (ya have to be a family researcher to appreciate this). I found death information and burial places for Lashbrooks that I have been hunting for for over 10 years!! What a HIGH!!

The redbuds are blooming here, as are tulips and crab trees. We have been following spring north since San Antonio.

April 6, 7, and 8th, 2004

April 6, Abby was feeling very punky, so Al stayed with the dogs and I walked over to the Cherokee Strip Museum. This is the place the 1893 land rush to Oklahoma started. The area oozes of history!!!

The research (about 2.5 hours) was GOOD!! Went back to the trailer and Abby was feeling a bit better. Later I went to the public library in town for newspaper work, and a cemetery in town for photos. The caretaker took me around the cemetery and helped me find each stone I was interested in. They are very nice here, not just cause I found a lot of stuff, they really are NICE.

April 7, drove over to Ponca City, Oklahoma for more research. Collected some good stuff. Drove over to Blackwell, Oklahoma to a cemetery, found all the Lashbrooks there buried in the Mausoleum. There was a caretaker there, and he took us into the Mausoleum. This was a first for us, but was very interesting. A little weird, but interesting. One of the other caretakers there told us about a prairie dog colony could be found, it was very near the second cemetery of the day. Found the 2nd cemetery, found the stones we were looking for after about 10 to 15 minutes of searching. Found the prairie dog colony. They certainly are cute!! The last cemetery stop of the day was a bust as far as locating graves, but we met a very interesting man there, who told us about his ancestors participating in the Land Rush and how they camped out at Arc City Kansas for one full year before the land rush. He told us a few very interesting stories.

Above,left, are a couple of prairie dogs poking their heads out of their den. On the right, are 3 more, here you can see the entire field, note the grass is not long. The prairie dog that is standing on the right was chattering, talking to us, maybe telling us to go away??

April 8, drove back to Newkirk looking for city hall and the records for the cemetery that we busted on. Found the city hall at last (no signage on the street to point you in the right direction). They had a great record book for the cemetery. Found some good stuff. Back to the cemetery and found the graves. Back to the trailer for lunch. Off to the county seat at Winfield after that for marriage records, probates, divorces, and one very special death record! After that off to the library in Arc City again, for a review of a couple of obits, and a little internet/email time.

Whew, I was exhausted, but had the time of my life! Everyone in Kay County Oklahoma and Cowley County Kansas that we dealt with were great, nice, informative, kind.

The area is FILLED with oil wells! Some are pumping, others appear to be dormant.

Sunday, April 4, 2004

The 2004 Adventure, April 3 & 4, 2004, Okahoma City

April 3, 2004

Al stays at the campground with the dogs, I later discover he has an motive, there is a Camping World within walking distance. He pays a visit there while I am at the Oklahoma Historical Society collecting information on HIS Lashbrook clan.

Ok, the research was good, it was a easy place to research in, books on open shelves, film identified in such a way that it was easy to find your own film, newspapers organized by county and then by city, then by date. EASY!! I did the same amount of research in this one day that I did at the Mississippi Archives in THREE!

As I was discussing a research problem with one of the volunteers there we were interrupted by another researcher. She was reluctant to interrupt, but did anyway. She heard me mention that one of the Lashbrook brides was supposed to be a famous china (as in dishes) painter. She knew about the “Sport” and also knew of a really good resource online for the Oklahoman newspaper. I started snooping around and later thanked her for being a “buttinsky”. Thanks to her I found some fabulous biographical information. Staff was very nice, it was a fun research day.

April 4, 2004

A visit to the Oklahoma Memorial was first on the agenda. It was a sunny bright day, a bit brisk, but fine for walking around. The memorial is very nice, reminds us of Pearl Harbor. Quiet, a place for reflection.

The Oklahoma Memorial Pond. The pond
sits where the street was on that fateful day.

The fence is now a permanent part of the Memorial site.
This is a very small portion of the fencing that surrounded the
site after the explosion. None of the fencing has been
thrown away, but has been saved.

After lunch, we visited the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. What a nice collection. What a nice display of their artifacts. They had Remington statues, one of my favorites, my dad used to own one of the smaller statues, they are so special. Some of the Indian artwork in the collection was spectacular. We spent several hours there, ooohing and ahhing. If you are ever in the area, we highly recommend it.

Thursday, April 1, 2004

The 2004 Adventure, April 1 & 2, 2004, Ft. Worth Stockyards, Onward to Oklahoma

We paid a visit to the stockyards of Ft. Worth. We went over there April 1st in the morning, had a little shopping spree, some lunch and enjoyed the dose of history of the area. The stockyards are no longer used, many of the buildings have been turned into shops and restaurants. Several times a day they reenact a cattle drive. About 10 horse back riders “drive” about 20 long horned cattle down the road. Kids love it! We inspected the stockyard and had a pleasant morning.

The Cattle Drive, "Git em up, you little doggies".
Isn't that what they used to say in the movies??

These stockyards have brick floors. The entire area had brick
 on the floors, streets, everything was brick. *

April 2, 2004

Fort Worth Dallas area to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

Basically an uneventful drive, missed a turn due to construction and poorly marked signs. Was not even a problem, as there was an alternative route, so we drove equal amount of miles via the second route. Got to our campground to find that the good ole Verizon does not work so hot here. They do not have total digital coverage here, which means simply, NO INTERNET via the cell phone here.

We set up, I prepare a to do list for research at the Oklahoma Historical Society.

*Some of you may recognize the photo, it is the one found on my web page, and for both of my blogs, Reflections From the Fence and Beyond Reflections From the Fence.