Remember our recommendation of the app called Autio for travelers? Well…it might be soooo good that two people totally and completely missed the exit sign in downtown Kansas City, Missouri while listening tell about Brown’s Irish Market. HAHAHAHA We were laughing so hard we were almost crying! Thankfully there are lots of ways to get heading south to get back on I-35. 🙂
We are only in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma for one night, just passing through. As we pulled up to Mustang Run RV Park, we saw storm shelters all around the campground. Oh boy, we aren’t used to those. (We have lived in the west in mountains for 25+ years until we sold and became Full-Time travelers.)
This campground is super nice! The main building is huge with lots of cowboy deco and large sitting areas. The camp roads are concrete and each site, far apart and wide, have grass and a nice picnic table. If we come back to this area, we will definitely stay here. Oh, Kevin did say he could hear I-40 even inside HOWE (our name for our 5th Wheel- Home On WhEels). He said it didn’t bother him and was like white noise.
Kevin noticed the water pressure was bad; it would be fine for less than a second and then go to just a trickle. He thought maybe it was our new water filter – our other one had froze and broke in Missouri – so he took it completely out and nope, didn’t help. He kept trying all sorts of things. Finally he saw the craziest sight! Pieces of green plastic! Kid you not! Turns out it came for a water hydrant where we had been staying. Kevin had the spigot hooked up to our 5th Wheel but with the temps getting cold in Missouri, he just filled up the water holding tanks instead. After he cleaned out the trap and line, water pressure was great.
This was a really long day for driving – 9 hours total. I felt bad for Kevin but when we planned it, it is the only way to get us to where we are meeting up with my parents for Thanksgiving. We both had great attitudes about the long day and knew what was coming. Since Mustang Run RV Park was nice and level and easy to get out of, we got up at 6:30 AM (still very dark), loaded up and were on the road by 7:02 AM. For most of the way I read our library book out loud. It makes the time go by fast and the landscape didn’t change much. We saw a lot of fields and even some with cotton still growing. Also lots of wind farms. At one place we saw a water tower that was leaning over quite a bit. We talked about how someone needs to fix that quick! Then, Autio (the app I describe a few weeks ago) talked bout the Leaning Tower…it is totally a tourist point. HAHA See? We wouldn’t have know not to worry about safety. 🙂 There was a lot of truck traffic; Kevin said if there weren’t trucks on the road it would be empty. Thank you, Truckers!
We got to High Desert RV campground in Albuquerque and checked in. The lady said she herself was a little frazzled as she was having to deal with some issue. She got us checked in and we drove to our site. This is a nice campground with asphalt roads and packed red rocks on the site. Got all set up. Even with the long drive today, Kevin wanted to drive around the area a little and I thought it nice. We grabbed McDonalds and ate while driving around looking at the community. Back home we both sat outside for a long while and just enjoyed the sunset and evening.
The next day was sunny day and highs reached 64°. I did some sewing and then sat outside for a short bit in the afternoon and read. After work, Kevin and I cleaned out and organized the truck. Looks good now! This being Halloween, we didn’t go anywhere. I made a new recipe with chicken and pesto but we didn’t love it. As Kevin said, “You have enough amazing recipes that we don’t have to keep this.” I fully agree! We ate it but I won’t make it again. We watched a movie the rest of the evening.
We drove to Fiesta Park where the hot air balloon show is every October. It is huge, of course. The museum closes at 5:00 so we weren’t able to go inside. We drove around the humungous grass area and saw organized soccer games playing. That is a good use of the fields. My friend, Kim, texted me today about her favorite place to eat here. The campground office lady had also mentioned it our first night. It is named Frontier Restaurant. It has been going since 1970s. It has a lot of rooms and can seat 300 people, the website says. You order at a counter and they have a lot of choices: burgers, salads, and all things Mexican. I got the Mexican Combo which was a beef taco (meat filled to the top!), chicken enchilada (mild was spicy!), and rice and beans. It was incredible and I definitely rate it: Every Day. Kevin had the Mexican egg dish – huevos rancheros. He had never had that before and this was a great place to try it. He rated it: Every Day. We got a cinnamon roll to share and well, let’s just say, we bought their special of 6 to take home! Oh, and 12 tortillas. HAHAHA
Another day we went to Old Town Albuquerque. Once we got there, our eyes got so big! With the center a lovely, green park with a gazebo, trees, benches, etc. and shops in old buildings around that square, well, it reminded us of a town in Mexico. We were there on a cruise ship shore excursion. We pointed, “Right there is where the shop was that we bought our Mexican vanilla!” HAHA We read the sign that told us Albuquerque was founded in 1706. Farming and ranching communities. In 1793 San Felipe de Neri Church and Rectory and it is still here. As we walked around, we saw the beautiful church. San Felipe de Neri is the oldest church in this city. It has continually served the community without interruption since 1706! We walked into the courtyard and were disappointed to see the sign that said we can’t go inside the church due to cleaning and renovations. We walked through the gift shop and to the back to a tiny museum. We had 20 minutes before they closed. We saw the gorgeous capes, shawls, a bell, and many other things. There is also a display that show an altar setting with great description of each item and the meaning. Wonderful! Kevin said he likes the tradition of this church. We learned there was a lady named Sister Blandina who was here at the beginning. Her diary has been put into a book and we bought it. Can’t wait to get started on it. After the church, we walked around the plaza and stepped into a few shops. Kevin found a Penny Souvenir machine. I saw on one of them what the symbol of New Mexico stands for: the 4 lines pointing up-Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall, the 4 lines pointing right-Infant, Youth, Adult, Old, the 4 lines pointing down-North, East, South, West, and the 4 lines pointing left-Dawn, Day, Dusk, Dark.
At the end of the week, we drove around more looking at the beauty of this city. We will have to come back here and stay longer down the road.
After spending a great time with our niece and her family (see last week’s post) we heading to Kevin’s brother’s house. The sad thing is, he and his wife got Covid last week. We weren’t sure how long they would be sick. We were still invited to park on their property and since we were scheduled to be there for 2 weeks we all hoped they would feel up to visiting before that time was up.
Kevin noticed the water hose was hooked up but with little water pressure from the spigot outside. He decided to fill up our fresh water tank and then turned off the water spigot. Also, this will help in case it gets cold and the hose freezes. (Stay tuned!)
After getting HOWE (our name for our 5th Wheel) all set up, Kevin and I drove the few miles to town to the little grocery store. And I mean, tiny store. But they have some good items in there…I found some more spice cake mixes! A few days ago I had texted our sister-in-law to give me a list of grocery items and we would stop at the store for her. We paid, loaded up the grocery cart and then took it out to the truck. Soon the clerk came out and said something to Kevin. (I am deaf and didn’t know what she was saying to him.) Apparently, you aren’t suppose to take the carts out of the store! Oops. She said she would have called the bag boy to help carry things out but she didn’t know where he was…”and that is normal”. HAHAHA We have never heard of such a thing as not being able to take a cart to your vehicle. On the way home we tried to figure why they have that rule. No clue.
Don’t feel bad for Kevin: With the sunlight starting and the sun almost up, the temp was 24° with a feels like temp of 14° Burrr!!!! The high temp that day was 42°. The next day was near the same. Where was Kevin those two days? On the beach in California – sunny and warm! 🙂 Well, he was in a conference center for work but still…. 🙂
Kevin and I were out on a walk down the gravel country road. He asked me how far we are walking. I said when he is 1/2 way tired, we will turn around. 🙂 Then suddenly, he stops, and looks down, and signs something. Of course, guess what I thought he saw???? I scream and run the other way! He said he was “tired” and signing it and we should turn around. Haha It was all a joke but man did I take it to be a snake in the road. 🤪🤪🤪
Kevin’s two brothers, our two sisters-in-law and us sat outside in camp chairs. The weather was very breezy but temps were in the 70s. This way we could all visit together without passing germs. It was nice to catch up with each other and have good laughs at times gone by. Kevin did a great job as American Sign Language interpreter for me, since I am deaf. Suddenly, we see a snake slithering right in the center of our large circle! Thankfully the guys jumped into action and took care of it. Creepy and definitely no picture was taken to show you!!!
I was hungry for El Nopal Mexican Restaurant in Bethany. The white queso for chips and over the chimi still has my mouth watering! A few days ago I texted our niece to see if they wanted to meet us there sometime. Yes, Sunday at 12:30 PM. We had a lovely lunch with them. Our niece’s husband is a volunteer firefighter. Last night there were several fires; he fought one that was started by a farmer burning ditches. Sadly, the fire spread to a neighbor’s farm and burned the corn. After lunch, Kevin and I drove to what used to be Missions Outreach. When Kevin was growing up it was a training center for high school kids to go for about 3 weeks. They were usually going off to desolate places so they would sleep on the ground, in a tent, having to learn rustic living. Some would be trained in helping spiritually and others were trained in how to build a building. At the end, there was a big commissioning service in a barn/building, aptly named “The Tabernacle”. Kevin remembers attending some of those. Then his dad would often help drive people to the airport in the Youth For Christ bus he had purchased. We drove the country roads to it. The name has changed and the grounds are used for big-name Christian concerts, that draw in 5-10,000 people. Plus camps and church retreats, etc. As we entered, we saw a large water slide. Kevin started laughing and I said, “Yeah, ya really ‘roughed it here’, right?!” He said the water slide wasn’t there when he was growing up. 🙂 We drove down to the pond and Kevin explained what was there, and over there, and back there. It was fun to see his description from all those years ago. Soon a guy drove up to us in a car and got out. Kevin quickly told him he had been here when growing up. They had a great conversation of how things were and are now and people they knew. He said there is a small RV campground on the property and if they don’t have a group and it isn’t full, we are welcome to stay there. That was really nice. Such a great stop.
From there we heading on just any road we saw, mostly dirt roads. We saw farms, farm houses, churches, tiny, struggling towns, and more. In one area we passed an old church and cemetery on a hill. We stopped there and walked around. We didn’t look at all the headstones but we did find one that was exciting. We found a grave of someone who was born in 1815! That is the oldest we have found on our travels, so far. I figured out the first name of Margaret and the last name of Allenbrand. I looked her up on findagrave.com and wow, wow, wow! She was born Nov 3, 1815 in Germany. The headstone, standing tall and erect, says, “Margaret Allenbrand, died Jan 27, 1892, aged 77 yrs (and a number not readable) M.” From Findagrave.com we read about her husband. He was “the owner of a fine farm of 260 acres.” We got such a chuckle out of “fine farm” and now as we drive past a farms, we have to say, “it was a fine farm…”. LOL
We drove around the greater Kansas City area. We always find it a beautiful drive along the Missouri River river bottoms. We were able to meet up with some lifelong friends of ours. They took us to Arthur Bryant BBQ. Great visiting and great food!
Around all these farms are current bugs called Asian Beetle. They look like Lady Bugs (which are so cute). However, from lots of research we found they bite, if you go after them they leave a fluid that is their blood and stains everything orange, and if you kill them they stink. Great! They got in HOWE. The are on the ceilings and windows. Kevin would walk around with masking tape and sticking the bugs to it. Hundreds. Later the outside walls of HOWE were covered. When it got so cold last week I didn’t see too many. But it warmed up and we were invaded. Not kidding. We went to several places in town to look for a blue bug light and finally found one at Sutherlands. Kevin taped it on top of the slide ledge inside and it seemed to help, at least it sort of drew the bugs in that direction. But it didn’t really work with them. You can’t read on your iPhone or iPad in bed at night because they go to the light. With them invading us Kevin got out the Dustbuster vacuum and started sucking them in.
Mice: I absolutely hate (I guess everyone does). I can’t even look at the “evidence” they leave behind. Thankfully Kevin was home from California! Went to town and bought mouse traps, mouse stick-things, and peppermint oil to spray around. (Kevin read online that detracts them.) The next morning we had one in the trap. Since then, we haven’t caught one and don’t see evidence. That night we washed, cleaned and sanitized everything! Kevin found a large hole under the kitchen island where plumbing came up through to the sink. He filled the hole with a piece of plywood and Great Stuff Foam.
Farm equipment in Missouri. Thank you, Farmers!!!!
A few days later even though the temps were in the 40s in late morning, the sun was shining and no wind. Our sister-in-law felt better and she and I went to her Sewing Hut. We did some sewing, well, I actually only sewed about 9 seams because we were so busy visiting! Love it. I really enjoyed our chat.
Our last day there. After work Kevin and I sat outside. The day was nice for a sweater. I texted our sister-in-law and said that they could join us outside if they were up to it. Soon they come trudging along and sat in the driveway for a short visit. It was sad that we didn’t get to have lots of visiting time due to Covid. We were thankful to be parked surrounded by the beautiful farm lands and rolling hills of Missouri. Until next time.
Up early and ready for shopping. 🙂 We haven’t been inside Missouri Star Quilt Co but have driven past it over the years. This is Hamilton, Missouri, where Kevin grew up. (Read last week’s post about his memories and visiting.) I read online that you start in the Main store. We walked in and were greeted by a friendly worker. Kevin explained I am deaf and was my interpreter. She did very well in explaining things: there are about 12 stores with different types and themes of fabric, sign in on an iPad to get a printed paper with name and email so points can be added from each store, the main store has a sample of each store with the name so you can go directly there if you are short on time, take a pic of what you like and the outside of the store so can find were something is, stuff like that.
After telling her we are traveling Full-Time, she entered for me “everywhere” when it asked where we are from. 🙂 Then Kevin left to go back to work in HOWE (the name for our 5th wheel Alliance Avenue, Home On WhEels) and I wandered around. I went into each store. I found about 6 quilt patterns that I liked, plus another 3 Yard Quilt book and bought them. Ahead of time, I had paper and pen ready so workers could write down their communication with me since I am deaf. Around noon I got hungry and texted Kevin. It was such a sunny and warm day so I started walking home to the campground. My fitness app on my Apple Watch said it was 1/2 mile. I made sandwiches, ate, and then off for more shopping. 🙂 Kevin dropped me off on his way to drop off FedEx at the dollar store. Since my new patterns use 5 inch squares or jelly rolls(the name for a roll of fabric that is 2.5 inches wide), that is all I looked at the second time to purchase. I went through every store again and bought some nice ones. It was a lot of fun.
Yesterday, when we got to this campground, the host said he had talked to me for the reservations. No, I am deaf and Kevin always makes the calls. He said no, he had talked to me through interpreters on the phone. No, not me. Oh, he said, other deaf people are coming. I was pretty excited! When I got home today, the deaf couple pulled up. The campground hosts must have told them I am deaf, which is great, and the couple came over to meet us. They were in the site right next to us. Do you know how RARE it is to find someone who is traveling and deaf and a quilter????? Our hands were flying in American Sign Language (ASL) and I was beyond thrilled to communicate so freely with someone in the campground. They left the next day but don’t you know, we have been texting the second they left and text most every day. What a blessing!!! OH, and the gentleman had a question on something with the RV and Kevin was able to communicate in ASL with him and helped him out. It was fun watching those two sign with each other. Meeting them was a really highlight for us!
We have concluded something. There isn’t a level spot in all of Missouri. HAHA The drive to the house of our niece and her family was very nice – sunny with a slight breeze. Our niece and her husband were so great in helping Kevin find a spot to park our 36 ft, 5th wheel on their property.
The dinner she made was outstanding! She cooked local steaks on her charcoal grill! She also cooked Vidalia onions, deviled eggs, and green beans. Delicious and we were so full!
Our niece, her husband, Kevin and I went to the Amish community of Jamesport, MO. My mother-in-law and I would come here often when we lived in the area more than 25 years ago. I like their baked goods and the bulk items. I have been looking forward to this for weeks, as I have been hungry for some good baked goods. 🙂 .
In Jamesport, we stopped at the bakery that I remember, Annies. We saw the open sign, walked in and saw the yummy food on the counter but there wasn’t anyone there to take our money. We waited a little bit and then left. On to Countryside Bakery, which was right behind H&M where my favorite Amish store is. Oh the treats inside! We got fried apple pies, cinnamon bread, dinner rolls and the biggest gingersnap cookies with vanilla frosting inside. I am in heaven! On over to the store and I found butterscotch chips! Score! There were a lot of bags of them; I bought 4. We also got bulk: trail mix, pineapple/papyri bites, a sweet trail mix, taffy, and more. We were like kids in the candy store. By this time it was around 10:30 so we decided to eat lunch at Jamesport. I am so glad we did. We ate at Country Dutch. The fresh buffet of fried, juicy chicken, real mashed potatoes, gravy, rolls, salad stuff, and other things was a great find.
We had a wonderful time with our sweet relatives. They were gracious hosts. We loved our visit with them: great chats, delicious meals, softball games, seeing the land, everything was really special to us.
Before Hamilton, Missouri was a destination for quilters, it was my home town. I grew up on a farm south of town, and I went to school there.
My grade school is now a quilt museum. We toured through it mainly for my memories as a kid.
I remembered the stairs and hand rails.
I sat down where I used to eat cold lunch on the bleachers in the gym. Cold lunch? Well, sometime in kindergarten, they had us try school hot lunch. There was something I didn’t like about it, so I made the first big decision that I remember in life. I was going to eat cold lunch from now on!
I think I remembered where all my classrooms were. My favorite grade was second. My teacher, Mrs. Sacarro <sp> was fantastic.
The high school was at the north end of town, and now there is little there that I recognize. They are tearing it down and building a new one. My favorite teachers there were Mr. Blakely and Mr. Davies. I still keep up with Mr. Blakely some, as he goes to the country church that my Mom and Dad used to attend.
Hamilton lies on the crossroads of highway 36 and 13. Highway 13 runs north and south through town. Somewhere in there it becomes Davis street. There was not much to do in town besides “dragging main” or Davis. They would turn around at Hales 66 gas station on the south end, and the high school on the north. I was always busy with other things, and didn’t do it once! (well, maybe once or twice, don’t tell Dad.)
Hamilton is the birthplace of JC Penney. I understand he came back and was a local citizen later in life. I went to Penney High School, so I am guessing he donated quite a bit for the school. I remember going to Penney’s in town to get school clothes and things.
Speaking of businesses, there are several still going like they were when I was a kid. Hales Hy-Klas is still there and still a grocery store. Bernie Hales is not cashiering anymore. She was a nice lady that had the patience of Job with me when I paid for a toy with pennies. The MFA feed store is still there and seems just as popular now as it was.
There are several businesses that are not there anymore. Winslow’s feed is an example.
There have been a lot of changes. Missouri Star Quilt Company has revitalized the downtown area. I am sure it would have been cheaper to build new buildings, but they revitalized the old two story buildings that run along Davis street. In my opinion, it has breathed new life into a sleepy rural town.
“See this scar on my eyebrow? It happened right back there!” Swinging around swing set pole.
We headed east on Hwy 50 out of Dodge City, KS. At Wright, KS, we both saw a train in front of us. There was another train on the siding and I wondered how long we would wait for both trains to get across on the one track. Kevin started slowing down to be prepared to stop. Then as we got close, we saw the road turned a sharp left and didn’t go over the tracks at all. We started laughing and realized we BOTH thought the road crossed the tracks. We were belly-laughing.
Then Kevin felt so bad for the guy behind us, as we had been slowing down to 35 mph on a road with a speed limit of 65 mph. Oops, sorry guy.
I started to read our library book out loud but put it down as there was so much to see along the way! We both really like taking the side roads because you get to see America and how people live, as opposed to the freeways. Lots of farms and little communities. At one point, we pulled off at a Kansas rest area. So nice to just open up HOWE (our name for our Home On WhEels, 5th wheel) door and use our own bathroom. Then on the road again. We drove to the fairgrounds at Hutchinson, Kansas and got there a few minutes after 11:00 am. When Kevin called them for reservations, he was told it is first come first serve, they have 200 full hookup sites, and only fill up during state fair week, in August.
As we pulled into the campground, Kevin said, “We are in the middle of a HDT Rally!” HDT is Heavy Duty Truck. That means these are semi trucks pulling very long 5th wheels. He was like a kid at Christmas to see all of the big rigs but said he was “embarrassed” to be seen in, you know, our 3500 diesel 4 door long bed 3/4 ton truck (a big, powerful truck as far as pickups go.) 🙂 A Rally is where people with something in common get together for a few days. We dropped off HOWE and headed out. To pay for the camping site, it is self-pay station, $30 a night. Right near there was a guy outside with his HDT and very long 5th wheel. He and Kevin started talking. Kevin told him 30 years ago, he was driving these. The guy said, “Do you know what we call your truck over there?” No, what? “LGT…Little Girly Truck!” Made us crack up! Later in the day, Kevin would start chuckling and he said he was remembering what the guy called our truck. HAHA
Years ago, Kevin drove a box truck from Kansas City to Hutchinson with stops along the way. We drove around the mall where he used to deliver to Learner, Lane Bryant, Limited, Victoria’s Secret, etc. The mall now is almost completely dead. No stores inside to speak of and a Harbor Freight at one end. A movie theater there. 30 years later and nothing is the same or familiar but it was fun to drive around. That is why we picked this town to stop for the day.
You might have read where I write about the land being flat. 😉 See, Kevin and I have been living in a valley surrounded by tall, steep, rugged mountains for years. So things like flat lands, rolling hills and water towers are fun to see again. 🙂 This picture is a water tower with people painting it.
We continued around the town. We went to the salt mine, Strataca and just looked at some displays outside. We didn’t want to go on the tour that goes 400 ft in the ground. The buckets used to pull out the salt carries the weight of 2 elephants!
It was around 1:00 pm by this time so what to do. I researched and found Reno County Museum close to downtown. We very much enjoyed it. Some things we learned: *Ben Blanchard discovered salt in Reno County in 1887. *We saw a brick with words “Don’t spit on sidewalk.” This refers to Dr Samuel Crumbine’s campaign to prevent tuberculosis in the early 1900s. *We learned that different men would run their new rail lines around each other to try to one-up the other guys. *Wherever the railroad went, that is where the towns stayed alive, at least when the trains were the main transportation. *Kansas was able to decide for themselves if they were going to be a slave state or a free state. There were 7000 votes cast…but only 3000 registered voters!! *Clinton Hutchinson started the town. It was on the edge of the county and at that time, the county seat would be around the center of the county. He got his political friends to re-draw the county border lines so Hutchinson would be in the center, and thus, the county seat. He was quite the swindler! * Ben Blanchard bought 280 acres around Hutchinson and tried drilling for oil. Didn’t find any. But then he discovery salt in the ground. In the 1880s, in the Midwest, salt was more valuable than oil!
Back at campground, we walked around looking at the semis and their 5th wheels. We even saw an Alliance Paradigm. 🙂 That is the same company that made our 5th Wheel, Alliance. There was maybe 20 semis there. We sat outside and enjoyed the evening. Look at all the Smart Cars. They are so tiny next to the big trucks. People put them on sideways behind the cab of the truck and then use them to scoot around town. 🙂
Saturday we left Hutchinson, Kansas and headed north. We like to drive on the country roads. Even if it takes longer, we don’t care because you see so much more of life. We drove clear up to about 15 miles south of Nebraska boarder, then turned east on Hwy 36.
I am 100% deaf. I lost my hearing 2 years ago. I often use apps, example AVA and Live Transcribe, where it will put the words it “hears” in writing. They work ok, not great, and only if one person is talking and no noise in the background. I had noticed with the latest upgrade for Apple iPhone, they now have Live Captions and a microphone setting. I turned it on and we tried the microphone. It works great! A million percent better than the apps. I am pretty ecstatic about it. As we drive along, we see historical markers on the sides of the roads. We like to stop and read them but it is impossible with our total length for our truck and 5th Wheel of 54 ft! Then I remembered an app put out in part by Kevin Costner. It is called Autio. I downloaded the app and tested the live captions part and it worked! The app notifies you when there is something interesting. Then you click on it and hear a voice. The iPhone Live Caption picked up the voice and typed out the words and grammar perfectly. What a thrill!!!!!! What did we hear? We learned Hiawatha, KS has the longest continually running Halloween parade in the country. Why? Because back when, people would do cruel and bad tricks. Started in 1914. Fun things to learn! Just so you know, we aren’t affiliated with Autio and we aren’t sponsored by them. (No one sponsors us, HAHA!) But we highly recommend this app to EVERYONE that does any traveling and likes to learn fun and interesting tidbits.
Where did we stop next? Hamilton, Missouri. Kevin is going to write and tell you all about his home town area next time.
We were sooo ready to get on the road, we could hardly get to sleep. We set the alarm for 6:30 AM but we were both awake at 6:00. We got up, pulled the slides in, unhooked the water, took down Starlink and we were on our way. We headed east on I-40. I put the leftover pizza in the truck and we snacked on that throughout the day. Also had homemade Oatmeal-Butterscotch cookies. I made them a few weeks ago, sealed them in Food Saver, and frozen them. I thawed them last night. We saved a ton of money by not buying pop and treats every time we stopped for diesel. The new cooler worked great with drinks in it. HOWE (our name for our 2022 Alliance Avenue 5th wheel, Home On WhEels) followed along with no problems and Kevin drove great, as usual. I read aloud a library book about Doc Holliday, the Earp brothers, and Dodge City. Perfect since we are heading that way. We both got a little giddy when we got to the place that the road was new to us, we hadn’t been on it before. 🙂 We were so engrossed in the book that we totally missed the sign telling us we were in New Mexico! HAHA Continued on over Sandia Mountains which are just east of Albuquerque, New Mexico. On the side of the road was a semi and trailer that had caught on fire. Kevin said it looked like the sleeper started first. Hopefully everyone got out ok. On top of the mountains, it started to rain just a little. It didn’t really slow us down but had to use the wipers for probably about 15 minutes.
The landscape changed to low, rolling hills. Lots of tall dry grass with juniper-pinion looking trees spread around. We got to Santa Rosa, NM around 3:00 PM. The campground was easy to get to and the guy checking us in was a hoot! He told us they have a BBQ Restaurant and showed us the menu. He said the special tonight isn’t on there. It is Himalayan Squirrel. He said it is fresh, because they found him-a-layin on the road that day! Oh that was funny.
Got to our site and set up. We got out our camp chairs and sat on the grass. It was so dry and had goat head thorns. But the space was good for one night stop. We caught up on our phones (texts, emails, etc.) and then called and ordered BBQ dinner. The campground restaurant is carry out only right now and they deliver your meal to your campsite on a golf cart. The lady asked what time we wanted it delivered, which was nice. He said we are flexible but 5:30 sounds fine. Sure enough, the lady was there.
The food was good and I would get it again if we stay here another time. We both had brisket, and I had baked beans and baked potato. Kevin had cole slaw and fries. We shared peach cobbler and a side of ice cream. Kevin said the peach cobbler was the best he has ever tasted. It was delicious!
We set the alarm for 6:00 AM but at that time it was still very dark out. Boy, what a difference with Flagstaff being same time as California right now – early sun up, early sun down. We changed the alarm for 6:30. It was barely light out and by the time we were ready to go, the sun was just coming up at around 7:00 AM. Another great day driving. Perfect sunny weather. So thankful. We snacked on homemade cookies (I told about yesterday) and cheese and crackers. At one point I said, “How can these cookies taste better than right out of the oven?!?!” Kevin said he was thinking the exact same thing. Wow, that Food Saver is great.
At Tucumcari, we turned onto Hwy 56 and went through Texas, Oklahoma, and to Kansas. In Texas, we saw miles of feed lots, full of cattle. In Oklahoma, we saw miles of corn. In Kansas, we saw miles of milo and some corn. Now the bridges are the highest point around! Flat, flat, flat. See for many miles. There are also a lot of granaries, silos, or Kevin calls them elevators.
We got to Dodge City at 2:00 PM. Got checked in quickly at Gunsmoke RV. The nice man gave us some brochures about the area. Kevin asked him his favorite restaurant and he circled several on a brochure. As you enter this campground, on the west side of Dodge City, there are sites close together. But we are in the back, on the very end and it is nice. We have a front yard and back yard, both with wooden picnic tables. There is grass, although it is dried up. The sites are wide apart. We got set up for the week and headed into town. Drove around town for a little bit. A lot of streets close to historic downtown are brick. At one point we passed a water tower and Kevin said, well, this is the highest point in town. 🙂 We see the trains on the tracks and are “glad” the campground is on the north side because in our book, all the “bad” places were south of the tracks. HAHA (Not the case these days.) OH, we read in the book about Arkansas River and how they had a bridge over it and made it a toll bridge. But today, that river is completely dried up. I mean, you can tell there hasn’t been water there for a long time. Where did the water go? (We asked a tour guy at the train station later in the week. He said Kansas and Colorado have fought over water for years and years. Some dams were built along the river in Colorado.)
Monday: Kevin enjoyed the view from his desk today. It faces west and we see a rise in the ground, up to a fence. On three sides of the campground are fields. We saw a red pickup truck today with two workers in the field. One guy would stand in the bed or on the ground and hold a tall pole. It looked like a flag pole. Kevin noticed they were doing some surveying. The went all along the west, north, and east of this campground. Fun to watch. I mostly worked on travel journal and pictures today. When Kevin was finished with work we headed off to Boot Hill Museum. We knew the place would be closing soon. The young guy taking our fee said he would give us a receipt to get in to the museum tomorrow, too, since with work and early closing, we won’t be able to come earlier. That was very thoughtful and very much appreciated. We learned so much in the short time we were at the museum. A few highlights are:
*In 1872, Fort Dodge Commander Lt. Col. Richard Dodge closed the sutler’s bar to enlisted men and forbade alcohol on the military reservation. The result was a tent saloon five miles from the fort, and the start of Dodge City.
*Railroads & Daily Life – Imagine having to reset your watch 300 times as you travel across the country. That was once the reality, because each town set its own time based on the sun’s position. Railroads operating over long distances needed a better system. On November 18, 1883, they set up four time zones across the US and Canada. Dodge City, on the 100th meridian, sat in both the Central and Mountain time zones, so the depot had a clock with each time.
*AT&SF’s first conductor, John Bender (1844-1907). Once when John Bender asked a drunken passenger for his ticket, the man hiccuped, “I wanna g-go to hell!” Benders reply? “Get off at Dodge.”
*A Town Transformed – Longhorns carried but were immune to a tick-borne disease that killed Kansas herds. Ranchers demanded a quarantine on Texas cattle, and as ranching moved west so did the quarantine line. IN the mid-1870s, Dodge City was the easternmost railhead for longhorns. By 1885, the line reached Colorado, and the Kansas legislature banned all cattle from Texas. (* taken from signs and displays at Boot Hill Museum, Dodge City, KS)
We decided to drive to the stockyard overlook. It is a large pull-off with a circular road. We got out and saw humungous fields of cattle. Even say a lot of buildings and a ton of semi trucks and trailers.
We drove on smaller roads and even dirt roads and went around all four sides. Then we turned south and happened upon Fort Dodge. The fort is now a home for soldiers. We wanted to look around but there was a sign that all visitors must check in at some hall. It was getting late so we didn’t go further. We might another day.
At the end of the Fort and across the street we found Kansas Veteran’s Cemetery. We got out and walked around. The oldest birth year we found was 1834! I looked up and read that civilians are also buried here. Left at sundown, drove a little more around town and then headed home.
Tuesday: After work, we drove back to Boot Hill Museum. We walked to where we had ended yesterday. Then out the museum, across the yard to old-time looking buildings. First we went into the General Outfitting Store. They had candies, trinkets, and clothes for sale. Next door was Long Branch Saloon. It looked real and the guy behind the counter was serving real alcohol. Two guys were sitting at a table drinking. From there, you walk through the rest of the buildings from inside. G.M. Hoover Cigars had a good display and information about cigars. Dry Goods, guns, photos, drug store, etc. all down the line. Kevin and I thought the displays were set in a way that really drew a person in to learn. Of course, from reading the library book, we are drawn to the names we “know”: Holliday, Earp brothers, Hoover, Wright, Mathewson brothers, etc. We feel like we really know them. 🙂 It is a crazy feeling. Shows what a great writer she is! We didn’t read every sign and display as we only had a short before closing but feel we got a good part of it.
Then Kevin decided we should try out the steak place the campground host recommended. Casey’s Cowtown Steak House. Let me tell you, after the first bit of my chicken fried steak and Kevin’s steak and shrimp, he said to me, “What are you going to order from here tomorrow?!” It is THAT delicious! The steak was so tender, but thoroughly cooked, that I cut the pieces with the edge of my fork. The mashed potatoes were creamy with a few skins on – definitely homemade. I am craving it just typing this. Kevin rates his steak and shrimp: “Several times a week”…which isn’t even an option on our rating scale! HAHAHA My chicken fried steak rating: “Every day.” The place is divided in different rooms or areas with plastic plates and all sorts of memorabilia on the walls. It was great. In the parking lot…mostly Ram trucks! I even started walking to the wrong one. HAHA Kevin, seeing all those trucks, giggled with happiness.
Wednesday: As soon as Kevin was done with work, we headed out to do the walking tour of Dodge City. Whoever put it together did a great job! There is a booklet that has a map, description, and good details about all 70 places. It says it is approximately 3 miles. It was fun to see the exact spot where certain buildings were. If it wasn’t the spot, they had great iron hangings from light poles that are in great detail and depict something from the area. There were also “stars” from the TV series Gunsmoke in the sidewalks. We didn’t care much about that but someone who watched the shows would probably like it. At one point, we crossed over to the train depot. Inside, a very nice worker named Carl said they would be closing in 20 minutes. I looked around and saw we could never get through the whole thing in that amount of time. So we decided to come back here tomorrow when we would have more time.
Remember how we rated the food at Casey’s Cowtown Steak House? Yeah, Kevin said we are going back for dinner. Rated every day. HAHA Tonight I had the House Sirloin and it was melt in your mouth. Kevin had a Dodge Strip (as opposed to New York Strip, the menu says). We both rated it: “Every Day”. Kevin said his baked potato was light and fluffy inside.
Thursday: Walking through Dodge City Train Depot is like walking back in time. A lot of it is original from the beginning. At one end they have made a dinner theater there. Oh, I wish it was running tonight but Carl said they are in between plays right now. Carl, the city guide, was a wealth of information.
Kevin says, “This is how you use a sun dial…stand near it…and look at your Apple Watch! 🙂
Friday: I made some cookies. After work, we drove west to see famous wagon wheel ruts of the Santa Fe Trail. We didn’t see any but read the sign. Not disappointed as the drive for the 11 miles was nice. We decided to try the other steak house that was recommend by the campground host. Prime On The Nine is at the local golf course. The grass was beautiful green and the restaurant very nice and a bit fancier than other places here. We both had the chicken fried steak and it came on top of mashed potatoes and a jalapeño gravy. We were a little weary of that because we are wimps and can’t handle spicy. But it turned out that the jalapeños just added the tiniest of kicks. Very good. We rate it: Every Few Months. (I just added that new rating because it is somewhere between once a month and once a year! HAHA) The best part was our server. She saw us signing and got really excited and animated, asking, “How do you sign….” It was cute. A real joy to see someone excited to learn and communicate. As we left, Kevin wrote the Lifeprint.com on a card and we told her about it. It is a great way to learn American Sign Language. As we walked out, she was adamantly showing it to a coworker. Back to HOWE we got things ready for a travel day tomorrow.
DART – NASA crashes into an astroid! On purpose! When growing up, if I could pick a topic for a report, I most always did the report on space. I have always loved learning about planets and the universe. (Not sci-fi, though!) Being newly deaf, I have faced many frustrating and disappointing times when I want to learn so much but without captions or interpreter, I am left in the dark. So, I emailed Lowell Observatory, here in Flagstaff, AZ and wrote: “I am deaf and love astronomy. The event on Sept 26 where the earth ‘strikes back’, is this something I can watch with my eyes and not need to hear anything? Would I be able to be close enough to see what is going on since I wouldn’t be able to hear what people are saying?” The next day I got a reply from Madison, content marketing specialist: “Hi Charla. Thanks for reaching out! We will be more than happy to make accommodations for you at the event. If you’d like, we can reserve a space for you in our Astrolab to ensure that you can view the DART impact with closed captioning. Please let me know if there’s anything else we can do to help you enjoy this landmark event!” I responded and then bought our tickets. This was definitely a reason for us to stay longer in Flagstaff.
Today we drove to Lowell Observatory at 2:30. As we pulled in, there were a lot of vehicles in the parking lot but a few spaces left. I wasn’t sure how many people would come to this event. We walked in to the visitor center and checked in at the front desk. Kevin told the man that we had heard from Madison that we had reserved seats. He chuckled with a sly grin and said, “She is my girlfriend.” Sweet. Then he said something to a lady named Sarah and she signed to me in American Sign Language! She said she took ASL in high school and Kevin remarked to her how she must have kept up with it because she was very good.
She walked us up the hill to Giovale Open Deck Observatory, past some big telescopes and into a room. There were 2 rows of chairs and she had saved us the front middle seats. So thankful!
As we sat down in front of the big screen TV, it was on NASA TV and the countdown was 54 minutes. I was fully able to see and read all the captions and NASA did a great job with the captions. Full immersion into what was happening was provided for me and I couldn’t have been more thrilled at this event. Lowell Observatory was showing the event in all corners of the complex plus the auditorium. It was nice to make it so a lot of people could watch. Soon we had people standing at the back of the room and at the large, open doors the side. My heart was pounding so hard with excitement! It was thrilling to watch the “target locked”, “NAV has full control”, and all systems good. We all clapped when the astroid was hit. I loved watching the interviews with people before and after and just reading about all the time, planning, work, and what is next. Incredible.
We watched for some minutes more afterwards and then went outside to get dinner.
They had a few food trucks there and we had Frito pie. It was a bit spicy, made my nose run, but very good. The weather was perfect and we ate outside at a table.
While in line, Kevin heard the couple behind us talking about Nick Moskovitz, and how he was going to give a talk at 6:30. Right before impact, Nick was ON NASA TV showing and talking about Lowell Observatory telescope and how it was used to find and map and help plan the entire DART program.
As we walked to the auditorium, Sarah came up and signed to me that she had our seats saved for us at the front. So sweet and accommodating! We didn’t expect that. Kevin did the interpreting and did a great job. Oh, we so enjoyed listening to Nick!
*2003, twenty years ago, when first started working on DART
*Lowell Observatory telescope, at 8000 ft, took more than 1/2 of the pictures for the entire project
*If the astroid was 40 BBL beer-making tank, DART was size of a pint
*At the last second, he got permission to show us on screen a picture from a telescope of DART hitting the astroid and the debris coming off it! (Even the next day, it isn’t online!) What an amazing privilege.
Next was Theodore someone who talked is post-doctorate. He talked so fast that Kevin could hardly interpret anything he said. He just talked about big holes and impacts. He did say that he and Nick are flying to Chile to the telescope and starting Wednesday will be collecting data and watching. They really are two of the few people able to do this. I feel such a privilege to be there and listen/see them. One of my most favorite lifetime events. The talks went until about 8:00 and then we were invited outside. We saw a sign that said No White Light. This is dark sky area and only red lights around and available to use from the front desk. We decided to go back to the telescopes we saw earlier. It was so dark!
Along one sidewalk we saw they had painted glow in the dark stars along it. That made me giggle out loud and tell Kevin that I am going to add that to our home base. Not kidding! HAHA At the top of the hill, back at the telescopes, we were able to see Saturn and then in another one a star cluster. Wow! As we walked back down we stopped at a museum.
PLUTO, where was it discovered….? We learned that an important part of the success of Lowell Observatory has been the ability to build and fix telescopes, cameras, and other instruments. Percival Lowell used his knowledge of mathematics and celestial mechanics to “deduce that Uranus was perturbed not by Neptune along, but also by an as-yet discovered ninth planet.” Math and photographic efforts were needed to search for this planet. Mathematics figured out where the possible location was and the area was photographed. Unfortunately, telescopes then just weren’t strong enough to capture what was needed. As Lowell was working on this project, he was very secretive about it. Just a few people were involved and they were on need-to-know. He wanted to announce “a discovery, not a search.” After Lowell died, the search was put on hold for a decade. In April 1927 a new thirteen-inch photographic instrument, knows as an astrograph was built. Clyde Tombaugh was hired at Flagstaff in 1929 to start a systematic search using the area in the sky were Lowell had said the planet would be. PLUTO was discovered on February 18,1930 from photographic plates. The announcement to the world of the new planet was made on March 13, 1930 – that would have been Prevail Lowell’s 75th birthday.
Now, if you follow me around, you will know that I don’t like darkness. It is hard for me to see – plus, I am deaf! I have to be vigilant and make sure no one is following me, all that, for safety. I completely understand Dark Sky Cities and light pollution and all that but I get concerned about safety, both of walking and what a bad person might do. Every time we go somewhere at night, I always, I call it conversation but Kevin informed me yesterday it is complaining, as he laughed! I get on my soapbox about how it isn’t safe to have no lights in a parking lot or at intersections, etc. Well, at the Star Store, I saw a shirt I just had to have! It says, “First International Dark Sky City, Flagstaff, Arizona, Lowell Observatory.” Kevin and I just laughed and laughed and I said it need it because it goes against my “conversations”. HAHAHA He bought it for me and said I have wear it whenever we are out at night. 🙂 This event and being here AT the Lowell Observatory has been a true highlight for me and one of my most favorite events ever. Glad we stuck around Flagstaff for this. 🙂
NOTE: Frito Pie is just Frito chips in the bottom of a bowl and topped with chili and the fixings you like. 🙂
Day trip to Fort Verde State Historic Park (Camp Verde). The US Army had troops there in 1870 and the Fort was built in 1871-1873. It was an active primary military base during the Central Arizona Indian Wars.
In 1891 it was abandoned and pieces of land was auctioned off. Out of 169 military forts only 18 had walls around them. Fort Verde didn’t have a wall and was never attached. This and other facts are on a poster called “Hollywood Myths” and we found them interesting. The museum is in the old administration building. I could feel the floor boards move and Kevin said they made quite a bit of creaking. There was a couple there that stood so close to me, at one point his back was touching my elbow. And it wasn’t crowded. I thought for sure they were trying to rob people. I signed in American Sign Language about it to Kevin and he kept a great watch on us. Very strange. Outside, we crossed the road and were able to walk through a few remaining buildings. They are the officer’s quarters, doctor’s house/office, and soldier’s quarters. There were 22 buildings originally at Fort Verde and they surround the parade grounds.
In the middle of the parade grounds is a tall mast looking pole with an American flag flying on top. We walked over there, read the information sign, and I saw that the compass rose was off. Well, turns out, it wasn’t off, I was! I usually always “feel” which direction is where but this place I was totally off. So much so that I didn’t believe the sign. HAHA
We got out our phones and looked at the compass…kid you not! One phone showed 172° South and the other one showed 276° West. We were laughing so hard we almost had to sit down! Finally Kevin did the “walk in circles” circus act to try to get them to recalibrate. Who knows if they finally were right, although they did finally show the same. 🙂 This was a good and informative place. Arizona, we feel, does a very good job with their state parks, at least the ones we have seen so far.
We drove around town and drove to Montezuma Castle National Monument, right outside Camp Verde. I had looked at it online and they warn that you can’t walk/see the cliff dwellings because of some dangerous bees! Yikes. We drove to the front of the visitor center just to see. We will come back when the bees are gone. Then started north on I-17 towards Flagstaff. As soon as we got on the freeway, we said, “Oh, we should drive through Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. Let’s get off the next exit and turn around.” The exit wasn’t too far and we got off and turned around. As soon as we were on the entrance ramp to south I-17, I saw on the map that we could have taken the road we were just on over to Sedona. Too late. Then Kevin said we should go back to the exit of Camp Verde, where we had just been, turn around and go back to the road we were just on so we can drive on a new-to-us road. Then, haha, I saw that part of that road is closed due to fire. Okay, good to know. So we got off the Camp Verde exit where we had gotten off to got to the fort this morning. Oops, an exit too soon! Kevin thinks he can take this road and it should meet up with the next exit. Looking at the map I told him no, there isn’t a road that crosses the bridge. I was helped by the sign, “No Outlet.” Let’s try, he said. It was a nice little drive but of course, there was no road over the river. HAHA Turned around.
We got up early to go drive three hours to Window Rock, AZ. This is Navajo Nation Capital and we want to visit Navajo Nation Museum. We drove Indian 15 road through Leupp, on to Ganado. Here we saw a sign for Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site. We decided to stop and I am so glad we did!
John Hubbell purchased the trading post in 1878. This was 10 years after the Navajos were allowed to return. During the Navajo’s terrible time at Bosque Redondo, NM, they were introduced to many new things. Once they were home, they were able to get supplies from traders. From the National Park website: “Hubbell had an enduring influence on Navajo rugweaving and silversmithing, for he consistently demanded and promoted excellence in craftsmanship. He built a trading empire that included stage and freight lines as well as several trading posts. At various times, he and his two sons, together or separately, owned 24 trading posts, a wholesale house in Winslow, and other business and ranch properties. Beyond question, he was the foremost Navajo trader of his time.” The trading post was ran by family members until 1967 when it was sold to National Park Service. The neat thing is, the trading post is still active!!!
As we walked to the visitor center, there was a Navajo National Park Ranger giving a tour. He welcomed us to join them. We got to go inside the Hubbell’s home. Interesting, he said that Native American’s never had the rugs they made on the floor. Rugs would be hung and/or used for blankets, jackets, saddle bags, etc. He said like a quilt. The park is free to visit.
Next we drove onto Navajo Nation Museum and it was closed. We have tried several times to go call them to see if they’re open because the website says they’re open on Saturdays but when you call them the message says they’re closed on Saturdays. Today is Juneteenth we weren’t even sure what today would bring but they were closed. There were a lot of cars in the parking lot but they must have been for the “zoo” next door. A guy walked up and said, “Yeah, they like their holidays!” HAHA
We decided to go to Petrified ForestNational Park. So glad we did. A real enjoyable day. Kevin was able to get two stamps in his National Park Passport. 🙂 I hadn’t been to Petrified Forest, here, only the one in Utah. Kevin was here when he was a little boy. He said he was stunned that there wasn’t a forest with trees standing and petrified. I thought that was simply precious and could see how shocking that revelation would be!
Painted Desert colors were unreal! From Burgundy to red-orange, from grey to blue. Gorgeous. It is mind-blowing to see the pieces of wood that has turned to rock. The process is according to the visitor center: 1. A living tree on the edge of a stream 2. The tree dies and loses its leaves, branches, and bark. 3. The river undercuts the dead tree. 4. The tree topples into the water and is transported (5) a short distance downstream. 6. The log snags on a bank and is buried (7) under sand and mud in the stream channel. 8. Deep burial seals the tree away from bacteria and oxygen prevents decay. Eventually silica in the ground water infiltrates the tree replacing the organic material with quartz crystals. The log is “petrified”. 9. Erosion of the surrounding rock layers re-exposes the petrified log. 10. Further erosion undercuts the log causing it to crack, break into segments, and eventually roll down the hill.
I would like to share with you one of our most favorite recipes. It comes from my mom but I have adjusted a little bit. 🙂 It is very easy to make and is true home-comfort food to us. Enjoy!
Hamburger Stroganoff 1 lb hamburger 2 cans cream of mushroom soup, don’t add water 16 oz sour cream 16 oz bag egg noodles (I also like the “homemade” Country Pasta from Costco.) Brown hamburger. Drain off grease.. Mix is soup and sour cream. Cook noodles according to package. Serve hamburger mixture over noodles.
NOTE: I can’t find the Country Pasta homemade egg noodles in the Costcos where we have been traveling. Anyone want to send me a bag? HAHA Just kidding! 🙂
It was very nice to be at a big city and pick up some needed things that aren’t available in smaller towns. We came to Las Vegas to watch our friend play baseball and to visit with my aunt and uncle. First stop was to Williams-Sonoma where I got a vegetable peeler. (My Pampered Chef one is in storage.) The cheap one I had from Walmart broke the other day. Then to Lens Crafters for glass cleaning cloths. It is at an outdoor mall. Really nice! We couldn’t find the store. Kevin called them and they are inside Macy’s, the first store we walked through. HA We got what we needed. In the parking lot, a younger lady in a truck was stopped in the middle of the road. I thought she was waiting for someone to pull out so she could get their spot but Kevin said she was dropping someone off. We walked past her staying close to the parked cars when suddenly Kevin grabbed my arm hard and pulled me far left to the other side of him. It turns out that lady wasn’t watching when she started driving and almost hit me!!! Scary. I am deaf and couldn’t hear the motor. I am so thankful Kevin is hearing and upon hearing the motor saved me! My hero. 🙂
I don’t know this lady but her “drive” (pun intended) to get to where she was going was strong. Good for her!
By the time we were hungry. We found L&L Hawaiian, which I knew Kevin liked where we used to live. The food was fine, rated it “Once A Year.” Then to Costco. Oh how I miss Costco!!!! There isn’t one within 2 1/2 hours of Flagstaff. It was crowded but we weren’t in a hurry and just took our time. I got 2 packages of hamburger & some pork roasts, both of which I used my Food Saver with after we got home. Food Saver is a vacuum system that takes out all the air from the package. It makes food last a long time. Got some other things as well, but not toilet paper…not enough room in HOWE. 🙂 On the way home, we stopped at a new Maverick gas station – it even has RV lanes! Very nice. Maverick is Kevin’s favorite convenience store. We didn’t need the RV lanes but needed drinks. HAHA
The window in this door was clear glass. It made it hot when the sun would shine through. We bought this window film and Kevin installed it. We like it as it makes it so someone on the steps can’t see in but we can see the silhouette. Also, not so hot.
I have been doing a lot of reading. I am reading “The President’s Man” by President Nixon’s Aide. Very interesting and I like it. I made Tater Tot Casserole in my smallest Pampered Chef baking dish. It was perfect size. By then the sun had set and we went to the pool and hot tub. We were very surprised that we were the only ones in the pool and only 1 guy sitting in the recliners. The pool was colder than the other day. Again, surprised, since the day had been 97 degrees. We quickly ended up in the hot tub. Another couple came in. We had a nice visit with them. They are full time, too, and here helping their son convert a van for camping.
We met my aunt and uncle outside their place here in Las Vegas and then rode with them to Bahama Breeze. We all shared an appetizer and then each couple shared the coconut dinner. Everything was perfection. Even the broccoli was perfectly cooked with a nice buttery flavor. The yellow rice was scrumptious. I also liked the tall ceilings and decor of the building. I liked it so much that I put the address in my phone book so we can go there again. Back to aunt and uncle’s place to place to play the card game “Golf” with them. It was a lot of fun. We love visiting with them.
Up early to be at the ballgame across town in Henderson by 8:00 am. The weather was perfect and always a thrill to watch our friend, Bryce. He is a senior in high school now. The first game, the other team didn’t have enough players because the coach said they thought they played at 9:00. They are from Vegas so there wasn’t even the time zone excuse. The coach was very angry at the game-recorder and said the F-bomb. Not good! He finally told the umpire they would forfeit. The teams decided to play a scrimmage game, which I thought was nice, for the boys to be able to play. Later the coach changed it to not be a forfeit game. What? Anyway, we won. The second game started right afterward and we lost. Later we met Bryce and his parents, Brian and Heather, at Sunset Casino for visiting and dinner. We ate at the kind of fancy Italian place at the casino. It was good and we were all full afterward.
Sunday, got up even earlier to get going and to get HOWE (the name of our 5th wheel Alliance Avenue, Home On WhEels) all packed up for travel day. Got to the baseball park right as the game started. The game was a good one and very close. This was the last game for us to see Bryce play while in high school. He is a young man who has always been a joy to watch. Not only is he a great baseball player but he has the attitude you want to see. He is very encouraging to his teammates and the players on the other team. For example, one time when the play was extremely close, he got thrown out at first base. He got up, looked at the first baseman and said, “good play.” We have known him since he was two years old. Our dear friends walked us over and had a look inside HOWE. They were very impressed. Then we closed it up and headed to J&H RV Park in Flagstaff.
Tater Tot Casserole 1 lb hamburger 1/4 cup chopped onion 1 can cream of mushroom soup 8 oz sour cream (or you can substitute 1 cup of milk) 1 pkg (16 oz) tater tots 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated Brown onion and hamburger. Drain. Line bottom of 9×13-inch pan with hamburger and onion. Mix soup and sour cream (or milk) together. Mix well and pour over meat mixture. Top with partially thawed tater tots. Bake at 450° for 35 minutes. Remove and add grated cheese. Bake again for 3 minutes more or until cheese is melted. Who is hungry now? 🙂
Funny story…When we were camping in Needles, California, I started looking for places to camp over Memorial Day weekend. I didn’t know this area (Flagstaff), having only driven here and back to Phoenix with Kevin in January 2021. I wasn’t sure about “boondocking” around here so didn’t even look into that. Plus, at that time, Kevin thought he would need cell service to stay in touch for work. (We didn’t have Starlink yet.) I looked up and down I-17 and no place had openings. Finally, finally, found Fort Tuthill Campground. Wahoo! Booked it. Then the other day we were driving around exploring the area and we see “Fort Tuthill” exit…it is literally 15 minutes away from the campground we are at in Flagstaff! HAHAHAHA Such a “big” travel trip. 🙂
Today we went the “long” drive to the Fort Tuthill. This campground is a mess! There are trees everywhere not just around a campsite. All the ground is red dirt. You can’t tell where the “roads” are vs the campsites. They meander around. Online and the printed map they gave us, the roads with well defined but they aren’t in real life and they don’t match. There was a line waiting to check in with the host but that is understandable, this being Memorial Day weekend. Kevin asked them if a 36 ft 5th wheel would fit getting to the site. The hosts just pointed and gave him a map. A guy in line behind Kevin chuckled and said, “Good luck!” Kevin was smart and actually walked the roads/paths to see which way was the best to take HOWE. We are glad he did because looking at the map was totally different than what really would work. We went around and then backed into the “pull through” spot, E-13, because there was a huge log blocking the end of the site. I helped guide him back using the walkie-talkie, like we normally do. It was quite funny, the two host guys got in a golf cart, drove to our site, and actually sat and watched us back in. They were surprised we got in! We made it.
As we drove onto Fort Tuthill grounds, we saw a sign that said “Grateful Festival this weekend.” Wow, I said. That is neat to be having a festival of thankfulness for the men and women who died serving their country, this being Memorial Weekend. In the campground, we saw a lot of Hippies in tie-die clothes and blankets around their tents and canopies. Even saw some vintage Volkswagen Buses. There were also a lot of family groups camping together. We looked up online and saw the “Grateful Festival”is cover bands of Grateful Dead Band all day Saturday and Sunday. Not what I thought when I saw the sign! 🙂
On Saturday we went to Fort Tuthill Museum. Fort Tuthill is named for General Alexander Tuthill. He is considered the father of the Arizona National Guard. Construction of the National Guard training ground was started in 1929 and was considered one of the finest training facilities in the United States. It covered 10 acres and had access to 8000 more acres in the national forest to use for training. The Fort was turned over to Coconino County in 1955. All the buildings are still in use today with picnic areas, horseback trails, hiking trails, large campground, archery range, rifle range, amphitheater, as well as horse track for races.
At midnight, Kevin woke up to hearing a beating of a drum, like a drum circle. He heard loud singing and even an upright bass guitar. He was surprised the campground hosts didn’t call the police. At 3:00 am, I woke up to flashing police lights. I woke up Kevin. There was a police car but only at the edge of the campground and didn’t go in to tell them to be quiet. Grrr! At 4:00 am, we woke up again with them talking so loud. Kevin said they were even swearing. We felt so bad for all the families with children in tents around them. Good grief! Sometimes it is nice to be deaf! 🙂
We slept in because of the crazy night we had. Oh, the loud noise, chanting, singing and music? Right across from our campsite! After biscuits and homemade sausage gravy, we drove to Sedona on Hwy 89A. This road is two lane and goes through Oak Creek Canyon. It is beautiful! The road has several switchbacks and then goes deep into the canyon with tall walls on the sides. There were some stops at construction stop lights but we didn’t mind because it was just more time to look around at the beauty. The drive took under an hour. We were surprised that every pull off was full, every “entrance fee” place had a sign out it was full, and people everywhere. We wonder if that is normal for a Sunday or is it this is a holiday weekend.
We want to come back and visit the sites, especially one that I read about in the 10 Women of Arizona booklet I got in Winslow. It is Slide Rock State Park. When we got to Sedona even the roundabouts had lines. We weren’t planning on stopping in Sedona, as we have been here several times before. So we went a little ways and then just turned around and headed back. We really enjoyed this drive and can’t wait to explore it more. Back at campground, we walked over and chatted with the campground hosts (2 guys and 1 gal there). They said they knew about the loud noises at night and said they even had to help some of them find their campsites because they were so out of it and were just wandering around trying to remember where to go. Yikes! The paper of rules says quiet time hours and says you may be removed. I can’t imagine how bad it has to get for them to do that! Thankfully, Kevin heard no noise tonight. (Some of the group across the campsite from us left in the evening.)
Memorial Day. We were definitely ready to leave this campground. We got up at 7:30 and got ready to go. I had everything put away the night before. Just grabbed some snacks for the road trip. We didn’t have hook ups so getting ready didn’t take too long. We both sighed relief as we pulled out. We drove to Las Vegas and had a great drive. We got to the Oasis Las Vegas RV Resort (a true resort!) at 1:00 pm. Got checked in fine; asked for a sunny site and so she changed it for us. We need the open sky for Starlink. Later we went to the adult pool and hot tub. Both were nice temperatures. Got hungry for supper so came back and fixed Thanksgiving Casserole. We ate outside on the picnic table. Had an enjoyable evening sitting outside, reading, and watching planes overhead.
Thanksgiving Casserole (recipe from Barbara Kester) 4 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed 2 cans of cream of chicken soup, don’t add water 1 cup sour cream 2 cups wide egg noodles, cooked 1 regular Stove Top Chicken Stuffing Mix 2 cups chicken broth 3/4 cup butter Mix chicken, soup, sour cream, and noodles. Put in 9×13 casserole dish. Sprinkle dry stuffing on top. Melt butter together with broth. Pour over top of stuffing. Bake, uncovered, 350° for 30 minutes.