Danish Town and a Boat Parade

Shells With Golden Leaf Between – Found It This Way On Beach, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

Walking along the beach at Santa Barbara, California, we came upon this stunning display of nature. Each 1/2 of the shell is the size of Kevin’s hand. We noticed the gold colored leaf in-between the two halves. So beautiful,we just stopped and stared. And then, took a photo.

Santa Barbara Harbor, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

We headed down the mountain to Santa Barbara, California for the day. It had been raining and with the clouds on the mountains it made beautiful scenery. Couldn’t see the ocean as we came down the mountain due to the low hanging clouds. I said I felt bad for people traveling through here for their first and only time- they probably think the ocean is “right there” but can’t see it. Anyway, Kevin told me about a book he is reading about being stoic. I am deaf. When Kevin is driving, we use an app on my iPad that turns voice to text. That way he can have both hands on the wheel and not be using American Sign Language. Kevin said something and the app wrote his words, “I am learning about being stupid” instead of stoic. We laughed so hard we about choked! 🙂

Santa Barbara Maritime Museum, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

We went to Santa Barbara Maritime Museum. It is right on the harbor. The first thing we saw was the top of the lighthouse from Point Conception. Beautiful glass work. We learned about how the weather and rocks have caused a lot of crashes over the many years. Check out https://sbmm.org/

Dinner View, Harbor Restaurant, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

We drove down from the harbor to Stearn’s Wharf. We parked along the beach, free, 90 minute limit. We walked onto the wharf. We were here in October 2016 for a shore excursion on a cruise with Princess Cruise. We went to the same restaurant we ate at back then. It was mid-afternoon and there was no wait. Got seated by the windows over looking the harbor, beach, and ocean. Perfect views!

Delicious Fish Tacos and Burger On The Wharf, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

I had Baja fish tacos and Kevin had…a burger. HAHA We rated them: Once A Week. It was a nice and relaxing meal.

That Is A Lot Of Rain Water, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

On Dec 10th, right here at Rancho Oso RV & Camping Resort (Santa Barbara), in the last 24 hours, we had 2.1 inches of rain (according to weather app)! I saw a bunch of water on the seat of my camp chair and wanted to send a picture to my cousin about our “rain collection”. HAHA I didn’t want to go outside so, I opened the window and then the screen, leaned out of HOWE (our 5th wheel we named for Home On WhEels), took a great picture, closed it all back up. 🙂 

Animatronic Bakers, Solvang, CA 12/22

One day Kevin wanted to stop in Solvang at a Dutch bakery. Solvang, California is a place to check out. https://www.cityofsolvang.com/442/Solvang-History  It was founded in 1911 by three Dutch immigrants who purchased 10,000 acres. Solvang has become famous as a Dutch utopia in Southern California. They even have four windmills. People were everywhere and we had to park a few blocks away. Found a Dutch bakery with no waiting. They had cute little animatronics with “bakers” in the windows. A smart idea because it caught our attention.

Don’t Know How To Pronounce Them But They Were Very Good! Solvang, CA 12/22

We got in line and had no idea what to get. HAHA We got 2 things and they were delicious. Very flaky. After walking though some shops, we were done and headed on down the road, north on Hwy 101.

Bright Green Wild Grasses, Santa Maria, CA 12/22

We went from steep mountains to green wild grass (a color that you won’t believe if you saw it in a picture – bright green), rolling hills with short trees every once in a while. We saw horses, cattle, and lots and lots of grape fields.

Fields Surrounding House & Barn, Los Olivos, CA 12/22

Wineries all along here and the places are beautiful! Going on north we soon came to fields filled with plantings of all sorts of vegetables.

Greenhouses As Far As The Eye Can See, Orcutt, CA 12/22

I continue my rant that it should be a law that if you plant something along the road, you need a sign to say what it is! 🙂  I want to know what is growing there.

All Sorts Of Crops, Nipomo, CA 12/22

Miles and miles, as far as the eye can see. Just stunning!

Fields Seen In Rear View Mirror, Santa Maria, CA 12/22

Ah, the smell of onions.

At Oceano we stopped at a roadside veggie stand. They had the best looking strawberries and blueberries. We got them plus some Dutch apple jam made right there. Later I made homemade crepes and added the strawberries and blueberries. Yum! We took Pacific Hwy 1 down south to Santa Barbara.

Boats Going Out Of Harbor For Parade Of Light Boat Parade, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

It was a full day since we first stopped at Solvang in the morning. We wondered if we should go to the Parade of Lights boat parade in Santa Barbara. We both decided that we would go and if we found a parking spot that was easy to get into, then we would stop. If not, no worries, head on home. We drove down the street along the beach and no open spaces. At the parking lot, yes, there were some on the very end and large enough for our extra long truck. As we pulled in, we decided to park along the beach so if we wanted, we could watch from inside the truck. So smart!!! Got out, paid at the machine to park and then walked a short way to the west to Stearn’s Wharf. There were quite a few families walking that way because there was a Christmas tree lighting right before the boat parade. We continued on down to the end of the wharf and walked to the side facing the harbor. Right then we saw the boats were lined up and heading out to sea. It was a thrill to watch them. They kept coming and coming out of the harbor place. Some had their holiday lights on already. With the sun setting, it was very pretty. A guy made an announcement over some speakers and Kevin was kind even to interpret for me. He told of the route the boats would go and that they would turn into the beach on the other side of where we were standing, get as close to the beach as possible, then go along the side of the wharf for judging, then back into the harbor. As it got dark, the wind was a tiny bit cool on our faces (59°), not bad, but…since we had the truck AND it turned out to have front seat views of the parade, we walked back to the truck. We had the binoculars which was fun to see up close. Perfect viewing area; nice and warm. So fun. We are thrilled it worked out so great. After the parade, the website and the announcer had said, there would be “small” fireworks. We both know what amazing and big firework shows are so we decided to not wait around for it. We got out with not a stitch of traffic. So very thankful. A very full and fun day!

Sharing Our Full-Time Traveling Decorations With You.

When Christmas Is At The Beach…These Are The Stocking You Need To Make! 🙂 12/22

We discovered our freezer needed to be thawed. I have never done that before. Well, I guess, if you count doing my mom’s freezer growing up, yeah, I have an idea. I put all the frozen food in our cooler. Then I let it sit for about an hour. I could then peal off big chunks of ice from the back wall. I used a hair dryer to soften the rest of it and was completely easy and fast. Organized the food like I had it before when I put it back. Nice, easy, fast.

A Small Section Of Ivanpah Solar Complex, Ivanpah, CA 12/22

The drive through Las Vegas, NV and down to Barstow, CA was easy. Not the bad traffic we have had in the past. So thankful! As we passed the big solar panels at Ivanpah Solar Complex, just over the California line, the travel app Autio told us there are 174000 heliostats and 173,000 garage-door sized sets of mirrors over 3500 acres.

Helicopter With Rope Down To Two Workers, Ivanpah, CA 12/22

We saw a helicopter hovering above. Soon we saw it move with it’s long cord over a power line to people who we were working on it. That was a sight to see! 

We pulled into Shady Lane RV Campground in Barstow, CA around 1:00 PM. I had reviewed the place, of course, and read it was a good place to stop, with full hookups. As we drove in a guy was there to meet us. Very nice. Had us follow him to our site on his golf cart. The place has a lot of older motorhomes that live there permanently. Some are cleaned up outside and others have junk around. The perimeter of the small campground has a lot of old junk around – cars, barrels, equipment, etc. I saw several large, nice, newer 5th wheels around. Kevin’s eyes were big, though. The site was so level we didn’t even unhook the truck! It was okay for a quick overnight stop.

Nice To Have Your Bathroom & Kitchen For Whenever You Want To Stop! California 12/22

After a good night sleep, we woke up at 7:00 AM and headed out. Stopped outside of Barstow for diesel. With Kevin’s Open Roads EFS card, it was $4.60 a gallon. It saved us $1.10 per gallon! Yay. The EFS card was designed for over the road trucks. Open Roads has opened it up to RVers. It only works for diesel. There is an app that shows what our price would be at the pump. Kevin likes to pull in and act like a super trucker when we fuel. Our drive took us along the northern freeway of Los Angeles valley, 210. Kevin and I always marvel over how nice California drivers are. You put your signal on and they back off and let you in. So nice. We have seen this every time we have been here. At one point, we stopped at a strip mall parking lot to use our bathroom and get snacks. It is so nice to have those with you. 🙂

One Section Of Our View, Santa Barbara, CA 12/22

It was cloudy as we got closer to the Pacific Ocean coast and had some soft rain. Used the wipers but the rain didn’t cause a problem for driving. We had our usual conversation about how the roads “need” to be higher so we can see the ocean over the trees. 🙂 We were finally able to see the Pacific Ocean and it is as beautiful as always. From Santa Barbara, we headed straight up in the steep mountains but our truck and HOWE (our 5th wheel name for “Home On WhEels”) didn’t bog down at all. At several passing lanes, drivers weren’t in a hurry to get around us and some just stayed behind us. Such polite people. Down the road we saw some houses, farms, and ranger station. Passed a firehouse. Then turned off to the 1 mile driveway that everyone talks about as being crazy narrow. Yes, it is narrow with hairpin turns! Sure wouldn’t want to meet anyone with the a trailer going the opposite way! But the road is good, paved, and we took it safe. Thankfully no one coming down. I had read the great advice of not going up it until checkin time because otherwise you might meet people coming down at checkout time. Good advice. This campground is right in the tall mountains, has paved roads, and each site road is terraced. What a view we have! As we parked, a guy came walking his dog. He stopped and talked. After he saw Kevin using American Sign Language with me, he said he has some tinnitus due to “guns and loud rock and roll music,” He said, “May I ask you a personal question?” Yes, we knew he was asking about how I became deaf. He was so polite and I am always happy to share. We got set up and sat outside enjoying the beauty – clouds on the tops of the mountains, rolling with the storm, sun peaking out. Later, we walked down and around the campground. We saw their playground, store, 2 huge swimming pools, hot tub with temp 102°, and the main lodge.  We went back, got our swimming suits on and enjoyed some time in the hot tub. We were surprised as it was only us there in the entire pool area.

NEW TO US AT A CAMPGROUND: The other day, Kevin and I noticed an ambulance coming into the campground. Soon it came over by us and turned down our campsite road and stopped 2 sites from us. Then, a fire truck came. Then, a coroner’s truck, white van and two police cars. Sad. We found out the next day from talking with a neighbor that a lady made coffee and took it in to wake up her husband. He had died in his sleep. Sad. The same afternoon that he died, we headed down the mountain to go to the beach. At the campground gate, in comes the fire truck. Down on the 1 mile driveway, the same ambulance as that morning. What happened now? We found out a guy 2 sites farther down from the one who died, had a stroke! Sad. Kevin and I are always mindful to live our best life we can because you never know when it will be over.

Decorations In Our Living Room And Kitchen. 12/22

This was a fun space to decorate. I made and quilted the stockings.

Stockings Hung By The Fireplace 12/22

Kevin worked out the math to get the loops looking so perfectly even. 🙂

Of Course We Need A Tree In Our Bedroom 12/22

We like the light this tree makes at night.

“Joshua” The Snowman Is Out Even In The Summer. 🙂

If you remember way back when, I posted about this darling snowman that my dear cousin, Jennette, made for me. I like snowman a lot and this one is so cute. She suggested the name, since I like Joshua Trees so much (they each have their own personality!). Joshua is always out, hanging around, even in the summer. HAHA

Oh YEAH! 12/22

If you know me at all, besides snowmen, I am a big fan of Hallmark Christmas/Holiday movies. I record all the new ones and then start watching them right after Thanksgiving. 🙂 Kevin got me this mug and it is perfect…hot chocolate with a boat load of whipped cream on top.

Charla Learning To Drive (?) & Kevin Bowling Down Decorations!

I Learned To Back Up…Perfectly! 😉

Time to learn to drive this? In March we bought our Ram, 3500, long bed, 1 ton, king cab, gigantic, mammoth truck! It is so long it doesn’t fit in a parking spot. So, I haven’t driven it. We got the bigger truck when we bought our new 2022 Alliance Avenue 5th Wheel (named HOWE, Home On WhEels). Until Oct 1, we also had our car with us to use but now it is in storage. I decided it was time for me to learn to drive! HAHA Actually, I definitely know how to drive but needed to learn about how to start a diesel truck and practice driving something so wide and long. We went over to where there is a wide road with hardly any traffic to practice.

So Proud Of My Parking! Well, Maybe Won’t Back In Anywhere. HAHA

Kevin had me practice backing into a parking space, yeah, well. 🙂 He is so great and patient and a great teacher. It was good.

When we left Needles, California, we drove to Las Vegas to meet my uncle and aunt for lunch. The casino parking lot is huge and we parked in the back along with other RVs. Very easy. Inside the casino the restaurant had a 45 minute wait…and it was only 10:50 AM! We didn’t want to wait that long so we got in their car and went to Hash House. Kevin and I split a chicken hash. After a lovely visit we were off heading north to St George, Utah. The entire drive from Needles to St George is about 3 1/2 hours. That is, until you have to stop for traffic in the bridge construction at Mesquite, Nevada. This has been under construction since we first came down to Las Vegas with our first HOWE in 2020. I knew to time it and even through traffic was pretty light it took an 1 hour to get through. That is fine and we accounted for it; glad we weren’t in a hurry. We know the campground we are going to so if it is after dark, we know where and how.

Just as we got to the campground the sun had set. We went to the office, was welcomed back, and got the info and site we had picked out when we booked the reservation. We drove to our site and…someone was in our spot! First time that has happened to us. Drove on back to the office. They said, hum, sometimes people don’t leave and after Kevin told them no vehicle was there at the trailer, said that sometimes people are out and about and sometimes they actually leave, thinking they have until the next day to get their trailer out. Yikes! After 3 owners/workers discussed it they realized it was the office mistake. Kevin and I weren’t worried, as we knew they would make it right somehow. They knew my parents are camping with us for a week and we had set their reservation campsite next to us. Well, it turns out we got an upgrade, pull through site, no additional charge, for the 2 weeks we are here and we don’t have to move sites. Yeah! Nice thing is, we are right across the road from my parent’s site so it all works out great. Even if we were on the other side of the campground, it would have been fine with us. It is nice to not have to pack up, move the slides, unhook and all that to move sites in the middle of a stay. Everyone is Happy Campers!

See His Wind-Up For Throwing? See His Mischievous Look?

Kevin is in trouble! Big time! He grabbed my cute little pumpkin Thanksgiving decorations and started throwing them at…

Pumpkin Mid-Flight!

And he scores! He knocks down a decoration frame. OH, another funny….

We had that top frame decoration upside down the entire time. 3 sets of visitors never noticed. Kevin and I thought that was hilarious!

A Christmas Tree Or A Feather Duster? 🙂

The day after Thanksgiving, my mom wanted to go shopping for a Christmas tree. She wanted to get a 4 ft one because her tree at her house is too heavy to bring up the stairs. We went to Walmart around 9:30 AM. This being Black Friday, we thought it might be crazy busy but it wasn’t. Not crowded at all. Kevin and I laughed at this “tree” and wondered if he could go around HOWE and dust with it! HAHA Okay, I do the dusting. But if I got this for him, maybe he would do it????

Thank you so much for reading. Next time we will show you how we decorated for the holidays.

Time Zones & Do I Want His Autograph?

November Weather,Flowers, Sunny & 70s! Needles, CA 11/22

I need to stop reading!!! This seems to be my mantra often. See, the problem is, I “look” for a book from the library “just to have” in case I am bored and need something to read. But the problem is, there are so many awesome books and I just happen to find them! Then, I can’t put the book down. Nothing else gets done that was planned for the day – no sewing, nothing. I did manage to cook a nice lunch, though. HAHA

San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff, AZ 11/22

Perfect, sunny weather for our travel day from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Driving up to Flagstaff from the east is neat. You are in desert which is mostly flat with dry creek beds making rolling hills. Then in the distance you see something, is it a mountain or clouds? Getting closer you see the beautiful volcanic mountains of San Francisco Peaks. Snow on top and green Ponderosa Pine trees at the bottom. We stayed in this area for a few months this summer but we didn’t stop today. I am so thankful that it wasn’t as super cold at Williams, AZ last night. The elevation is 6765 ft and there is snow in the shade. Last night it got to 32°. Glad we weren’t here the night before where it got down to 18°! Yeah. We had a great night and left Grand Canyon Railroad RV around 8:30 AM. The drive was very pretty and sunny. It got to be warmer as we came down the mountains. The high desert has snow in the shade and leaves are green.

Green Farmland of Mohave Valley, AZ 11/22

Got to Desert View RV campground in Needles, CA and all set up. Kevin visited with Pete, the manager, a little. This was the first place we stayed at when we went Full-Time back in February. Kevin fixed the latches on the basement(storage at the bottom of the 5th wheel) this morning. Alliance didn’t add screws in the spots on the sides and it threw the latch system off. Kevin found out about that and how to adjust it on YouTube – the guy even answered his question on the next show and added “Kevin D”. Kevin thought I wanted his autograph, since he is famous now! I told him to take out the trash. 🙂

“Spring Planting” in November! Bullhead City, AZ 11/22

Kevin and I have never been bothered by time zone changes all the years we have traveled. Time changes from daylight saving time hasn’t bothered us either. However… on 11/05/22 traveling from New Mexico, which is mountain daylight time, to Williams, AZ which is mountain standard time, we gained an hour. The next day we traveled to Needles, CA which is just over the time zone border and is pacific daylight time. We gained an hour. But then, it was the day for most places to end daylight saving time so we gained another hour being in Needles, CA. Confusing? HAHA I told Kevin I think we extended our life by several hours. 🙂

Remember That Travel App?

Early Morning Reflection View From Inside. Albuquerque, NM 11/22

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. 🙂

Flint Hills, KS 10/22

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.)

Having Lived In The West For Many Years, We Aren’t Use to Seeing This. Oklahoma City, OK 11/22

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.

Downtown At Sunset. Albuquerque, NM 11/22

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!

The Bird Is Real! 🙂 High Desert RV Park, Albuquerque, NM 11/22

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.

Dinner Was So Great, We HAD to Buy Take-Home Things! Albuquerque, NM 11/22

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

San Felipe De Neri Church In Old Town. Albuquerque, NM 11/22

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.

Looking East Towards Albuquerque, NM. 11/22

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.

Bugs, Mouse, Snake, Frozen Filter, 14° Wind Chill, Plastic in Water Line, Covid…But Other Than That…! :)

But Other Than That…it was nice. HAHA

View From Our 5th Wheel In Missouri 10/22

 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…. 🙂

Country Road Bridge In Missouri 10/22

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. 🤪🤪🤪

But later…

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!

Yuck – Bugs! Missouri 10/22

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.

Sunrise in Missouri 10/22

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.

Next time: On the road again, and plastic found.

New Deaf Friends! Fabric Everywhere. Relatives. Amish Community.

Autumn Beauty In Missouri 10/22

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.

My Shopping Pass, Hamilton, MO 10/22

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.

Kevin Happy With My Purchases & Wanted Me To Get More! He’s A Keeper! Hamilton, MO 10/22

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!

Gorgeous Sunset. Our Niece & Her Family’s Land. Missouri 10/22

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.

Our Niece Can COOK! Missouri 10/22

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!

Bring A Picnic & Enjoy The Beauty. Trenton, MO 10/22

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. 🙂  .

Kevin Holding Fresh Made Deliciousness! Jamesport, MO 10/22

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.

Breathtaking Beauty. Trenton, MO 10/22

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.

Let Me Push You On The Swing. Missouri 10/22

Until next time….

Visiting Kevin’s Old Stomping Grounds

Church Where Kevin’s Dad Used To Pastor, Missouri.

My Memories of Hamilton

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. 

Kevin’s Grade School Is Now A Quilt Museum. Hamilton, MO

My grade school is now a quilt museum.  We toured through it mainly for my memories as a kid. 

School Hand Rail Where He Would Swing Himself Around. Hamilton, MO

I remembered the stairs and hand rails. 

Kevin Reenacting Eating Cold Lunch At Grade School. Hamilton, MO

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.  

Part Of Downtown Hamilton, MO Today.

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.  

Kevin’s Junior High School. Kidder, MO
Old Grade School Playground Area. Hamilton, MO

“See this scar on my eyebrow? It happened right back there!” Swinging around swing set pole.

County Seat Where Kevin Got His Driver’s License. Kingston, MO
Water Pump In The Middle Of The Intersection. “Always Been There.” Kingston, MO
Just Never Know Where The Road Will End. Kingston, MO

Little Duck in a Big Pond

Farm Tractor & Equipment Ready For Tomorrow, Kansas Sunset 10/22

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.

From A-Ways Back, It Looked Like This Road Crossed The Track. HA Wright, KS 10/22

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.

Nice Place To Stop, St John, KS 10/22

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.

What A Find! Great Place To Camp At Kansas State Fairground, Hutchinson, KS 10/22

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.

Painters Hanging From The Water Tower, Hutchinson, KS 10/22

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.

Train Used In Moving Salt From Salt Mines, Hutchinson, KS 10/22

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!

Evening Walk-About, Hutchinson, KS 10/22

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. 🙂

Lots of Big Rigs And Travel Trailers, Hutchinson, KS 10/22

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. 

Empty, But Oh What Memories This Place Must Hold! Concordia, KS 10/22

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.

HUGE Combine With The Header Being Towed A Few Trucks Behind, Baileyville, KS 10/22

Where did we stop next? Hamilton, Missouri. Kevin is going to write and tell you all about his home town area next time.

We Highly Recommend Dodge City, Kansas!

Our Home On WhEels (HOWE) at Dodge City, KS

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.

Santa Rosa Campground & RV Park, Santa Rosa, NM 10/22

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.

Getting Set Up At Santa Rosa Campground & RV Park, Santa Rosa, NM 10/22

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.

Delicious BBQ Dinner From Campground Restaurant, Santa Rosa, NM 10/22

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!

Flat As A Pancake! Kismet, KS 10/22

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.

Corn Is Very Tall! Dalhart, TX 10/22

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. 

Gunsmoke RV Park, Dodge City, KS 10/22

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.)

“AH, Doc Holliday, Put Your Gun Away!” HAHA Dodge City, KS 10/22

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)

Fascinating Information! Dodge City, KS 10/22

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.

Cattle As Far As The Eye Can See, Dodge City, KS 10/22

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.

Kansas Veterans’ Cemetery at Fort Dodge, KS 10/22

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.

Boot Hill Museum, Back Buildings, Dodge City, KS 10/22

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.

Best Tasting Steak! Dodge City, KS 10/22

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.

Walking Tour, Dodge City, KS 10/22

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.

Train Depot, Dodge City, KS 10/22

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.

One Of Two Sun Dials, One For Each Time Zone, Dodge City, KS 10/22
Funny! Dodge City, KS 10/22

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.

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