Sunday, October 26, 2008

Home again and woo to our Cowboys

We returned home late this afternoon after driving the 380 miles from Greer's Ferry, Arkansas. The drive was a bit hard in that we hit a bad wind coming out of the north as soon as we hit the Oklahoma state line. Since we were heading due west the wind was hitting us broadside. In a high profile vehicle this is not a good situation to be in. Besides the drive home the visit to Arkansas was outstanding. In addition to having a good visit with our friends, Don & Vicki Leith, we mostly just relaxed and vegetated for four days. This was just what was needed.

Don spent some time working with the tile folks and he did get his tractor out to mow the yard. Vicki spends most of her time cleaning all the odds and ends, trinkets, cookbooks, souvenirs and other stuff that we collect during our lives. Almost everything is covered with insulation from the damage to the house when the tornado hit. She has to take each item and clean it with a damp wash cloth. With box after box of stuff she has a long job ahead of her. She did take time to visit and even brought her cat, Furby, out for some sun.
I did get a chance to watch the Oklahoma State Cowboys play the Texas Longhorns on TV. We could only pick up one local station over our standard antennae, as PBS station at that, so Don let me borrow his coach and his big screen TV with DirectTV. It was a great game but was disappointing when the Longhorns won 28 to 24. Of course, only losing to the number 1 team in the nation by four points is not so bad. Our Cowboys are still 7-1 for the season and 3-1 in the Big Twelve conference. Looking good for an outstanding year for them. GO POKES!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Greer's Ferry, Arkansas

We have been meaning for some time to come over to Arkansas and visit our friends, Don & Vicki Leith. They are another RV couple and have been living out of their 45' motor home for the past three to four years. Last year they bought land on Greer's Ferry Lake and started building their new home. If you have read my past blogs you know that on May 4th of this year, just days before completely moving in, the house was hit by a tornado and nearly destroyed. Since that time they have been in the process of rebuilding. They are getting close but are still taking it one day at a time. Being RVer's they have built the house with their friends in mind and have two RV pads with full hookups. Currently their coach is parked on the one beside their house. We got the one in front of the house.

We left home late Wednesday morning heading east. By late, I mean after 11:00 am. In a car, at highway speeds it would have been about a five hour drive. In the coach, driving an average of 62 mph, it took us a little longer. We had interstate highway from Oklahoma City to Conway, Arkansas and then a good four lane highway from there up to Clinton. At Clinton we had to turn east again and had 22 miles of very narrow and winding mountain roads. Also, by this time it was dark. When it gets dark in the mountains it really gets dark. We finally made it in about 8:00 pm, got parked and hooked up and settled in for our visit. At that point it was too late to go out to eat since any restaurant in the area closed before that time of night. Vicki came to the rescue to fix us a great spaghetti dinner that we had in front of the fireplace in the living room of the house. Although the house is far from being finished they are able to use the kitchen and fireplace. We did have to furnish our own chairs to sit on.

During the day there were workman in and out of the house all day as Don kept tabs on their work. A major part of the house was covered in ceramic tile and it has just been learned that the floor under all this tile is damp from the storm last spring. The past two days the workman have been pulling up and hauling out all that time so the floor can dry out, be treated for mold and then new tile put back down. This has become a major job. The house next door was also hit by the tornado. That house had been damaged by a fire and the folks had gotten it rebuilt not long before the tornado. Most of what was standing had to be knocked down and they are not sure when or if the rebuilding will begin. Here is a picture of the neighbors house.

Jo and I have spent yesterday and today just relaxing, visiting with Don & Vicki and trying to stay out of the way of the workman. Yesterday Vicki had put on a roast to cook and we had that with all the trimmings last night. Tonight Jo had brats, potato salad, and all the fixings for the brats. Don cooked the brats on his grill. The weather is very crisp here but very clear. This is a picture of the sunset over the lake taken from Don & Vicki's deck. Tomorrow will be more leisure time and then watch the Oklahoma State/Texas game on TV. We'll head west on Sunday morning to return home. Our visit with the Leith's has been great and hopefully we won't wait so long before we get back over here.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

A visit to the Oklahoma Aquarium

Two more coaches from our rally pulled out this morning. That just leaves two left, my brother and sister-in-law and us. We decided to take a trip over to Jenks, Oklahoma to the Oklahoma Aquarium. We have heard about this place since it was built a few years ago but have never made the trip up here to see it. It was well worth the time.

The aquarium is pretty good size and not only has displays of live fish and other water creatures from Oklahoma but has displays of creatures from other parts of the world. They had something called an alligator snapping turtle. This thing must weight several hundred pounds. It was huge. There was a smaller one swimming around in the tank that was about two feet long and it looked tiny beside the big on. Click on this picture to enlarge it. The picture really does not do it justice.

I really was not sure how well the pictures would come out since I was shooting through very thick glass without using the flash. I was pleasantly surprised when I downloaded them to the computer. On the left is a Clown Fish and the picture on the right is of a big tank of Jelly Fish.

The best part of the aquarium is the shark exhibit. They have a large, glass tunnel that you can walk through with the sharks swimming on both sides of you and over the top. I was surprised at the number of sharks they had in the tank. We really enjoyed the day at the aquarium but the fish were not the only thing there. On the other side of the buildings was a huge collection of fishing gear including rods, lures, and everything you would need to fish. Apparently this is the collection of a local guy who's family donated it all to the aquarium. To the right is Joanne with the World's Largest Fishing Lure. As with all the pictures on the blog just click on anyone of them for an enlarged view.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Monaco America First Ever Mini-Rally

We wrapped up the rally last night with a fantastic catered dinner at the casino. As a matter of fact it seemed like most of our time here was spent eating. I've been unable to report on the rally until now because the RV park here did not have WiFi. They finally got it up and working yesterday. I've been offline all week and, as anyone who knows me will attest, I've been having computer withdrawals.

Although the rally did not officially start until last Sunday evening I came up on Wednesday, October 1. Claremore is just outside of Tulsa and is just over 100 miles from Oklahoma City. Joanne stayed home until the next day so she could accompany her mother to a doctor's appointment. So, that Wednesday evening Buddy Joe and I batched. We did have two other coaches arrive here at Will Rogers Downs Racetrack and Casino on the 1st. One couple from Kansas and my brother and sister-in-law, who live a little ways south of Oklahoma City.

By Sunday afternoon we had a total of seventeen coaches here and ready to party. We did have two couples that had to cancel at the last minute and they were missed. We started off the festivities Sunday night with a big bar-b-que meal provided by the Oklahoma members. Nancy, my sister-in-law, provided the meat with the other four Oklahoma couples providing salad, desserts and drinks. This was a wonderful way to get things started. After dinner we showed the movie The Wild Hogs with Tim Allen.

Each morning we started the day with a coffee get together in our rally building located adjacent to the RV parking area. We also had a couple of seminars during the week and had several sessions of bingo and a washer toss game. Also worked into this was breakfast at the casino and an ice cream social on Monday afternoon. On Monday night we all gathered to watch the movie The Bucket List with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. At the end someone asked who decided to show a "tear jerker" movie after watching a comedy the night before.

Most of our time during the days were spent visiting, playing games or working on crafts. The ladies did have a gathering in lieu of the Women's Tea that is normally held at our big rallies. We had catered dinners at the casino on Tuesday and Thursday and there were exceptionally good. On Tuesday morning it was decided to have a pot-luck breakfast and we had a big pot-luck dinner on Wednesday night along with a Halloween Party. Again, what this bunch does best is eat. During the Party we did get a visit from Presidential Candidate John McCain.

I spent most of the week keeping our records straight, collecting 2009 membership dues and applications and money for the Spring 2009 rally in Goshen, Indiana. Although I had served as Treasurer of a small RV club in the past I really did not realize how big a job this would become when I was asked to serve in this position with Monaco America. It is an honor to serve but does take a lot of time keeping all the monies straight. At a regular rally we also normally keep an information/registration desk up and running. Since there were only a few of us I took on that job also.

Most of our members unhooked and pulled out this morning. We are down to four coaches and two of them will leave tomorrow. We'll stay here until Sunday before heading home. While we are in the area we want to go over to the town of Jenks and visit the Oklahoma Aquarium. We have been pretty busy with the rally so have not done much sightseeing, although some of our members were able to work that in. We did get to check out the Blue Whale in the town of Catoosa on old Route 66. This has been an attraction for many years but I don't ever seem to have my camera with me when driving by it. This is one of the attractions on the website of odd and unusual attractions that are not in the guide books. We also had some fun at the antique car and car parts swap meet that was held here at the RV Park last weekend. There were many nice cars to look over that were here for sale. Although they were very nice I did resist the temptation to buy one.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

On the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again

Well, today's the day. I'm leaving around noon to head to the big city of Claremore, Oklahoma, for the First Ever Monaco America Mini-Rally. Joanne is helping her mom with some doctor's appointments through tomorrow and will join me tomorrow afternoon. In the meantime Buddy Joe and I will be batching tonight.

Actually we were originally scheduled to be in Lodi, California for a full blown Monaco America rally but the clubs board, of which I am a member by virtue of being the club Treasurer, decided to cancel that rally due to lack of applications. (To break even on a full blown rally we need to have a minimum of 100 coaches.) That left us without a fall rally to attend. Our club Wagon Master, the person responsible for putting the rallies together, decided we needed to do something so he set up a last minute mini-rally. We are not expecting near as many coaches as a full blown rally would draw but we do have people coming in from all parts of the country, including California and Florida. Should be a fun time for all.