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April 2005

Friday, April 1

On the road again, headed for Rushville IL.  Taking the RV (of course) along with a U-Haul filled with furniture and other items for daughter Tina.  The grandkids are along too, so we're having some family time.

 

After getting up and hitting the road we drove through some heavy rain. It was really bad in places where you could hardly see. We just drove slowly and safely up the road. We hit Interstate 55 heading north and itís a lousy road. It barely qualifies as an Interstate to me. Itís more like a highway. You exit right onto a frontage road that has traffic so you have to be careful. The on ramps are very short off of the frontage road. Itís almost like leaving a parking lot into 65 MPH traffic. The only good thing about the day is that it finally stopped raining. We spent the night at Wal-Mart in Blytheville Arkansas. It is right off Interstate 55.

April 2-3

Arrived at Tina's, unloaded U-Haul, enjoyed some family time.  Parked Motorhome beside Tina's house.  Tool purchase opportunity!   We gave away all our yard work tools.  One we should have kept was tree pruning "loppers".  I went to Ace Hardware and bought a compact pair with 18 inch handles.  Very useful for trimming tree branches at campsite!

We got up, had breakfast and hit the road. It was real windy and gusty while driving so we didnít go very fast. We arrived at Tinaís late in the afternoon. We set up the RV in her driveway, we have to cut a few branches to get into the driveway. After resting up a little we go out to eat at a local restaurant. The name of the restaurant is Brownís. The prices were very reasonable. We had a choice of several entrťeís and a choice of 2 or 3 sides which could include a choice of dessert. The price with 3 sides was only $5.95. The food was very good. They had 2 items on the menu that we had never had before. One was creamed corn, not that cream corn like you get from a can. It was corn in white gravy, very tasty. The other was a slaw that was made from broccoli, cauliflower and red onions. It was really good. Iím going to try and make it at home. We all went to bed and got a good nights sleep.

Next day we had to unload the U-haul. It was lots of work to get it unloaded and the furniture set up in Tinaís house but we got it done with just us unloading it.

Monday, April 4

Returned the U-Haul.  Moved to a local campground so we could get online with the Datastorm.  House was blocking the satellite at Tina's place, and I needed to do some work and catch up from vacation!  Schuy-Rush Park is a city park just outside Rushville, IL.  It's early in the season now, so plenty of open lots.  $12/night for 20 amps and water.  Park has a lake with walleye, bass, catfish, perch, etc.   Nice place. 

We return the U-Haul to Beardstown today. We move to a campground about a mile or two from Rushville named Schuy-Rush Park. Schuy is pronounced Sky. Itís short for Schuyler County (pronounced Sky-ler). The park is a city park of Rushville. Thereís a lake there also. Itís a very nice park, it was $12 a night with electrical hook up. There arenít any sewer connections so you have to use the dump station. Thereís a nice playground in the park, it has swings, slide and other equipment. Thereís a ball field also. The lake is good sized and we were told that you can catch walleye in it. We havenít had walleye since we lived in Minnesota. Walleye are very delicious tasting fish.

April 5 Ė 7

We spend this time getting caught up on laundry, cleaning the RV, visiting the family, doing some work, etc. We decide to leave on Friday, April 8.

Normally we plan on traveling shorter amounts and visiting interesting sites longer but we are on a schedule. We had to get the U-Haul up here and unloaded before the 4th when Tina had to be back at work. So we drove long daily to get it done. We also need to go to my parents and help them out with some chores before we head west and before the weather starts getting too warm and humid. We want to be in Oregon for a rally in July. We also have plans to see Palo Duro Canyon in north Texas and to visit Oklahoma, California and other points before July. So we need to get on the road. But weíll be back here to Rushville in the fall. Got to see these growing girls again! Kids grow up too fast!

Friday, April 8

Today we had lunch at school with our granddaughter.  She cried so much last night when we left that she asked if weíd have lunch with her to ease our leaving.  Iíve never ate a school lunch before.  I always took my lunch to school -- and that was a long time ago too! -Mac ;-)  It was pretty good.  We had chicken nuggets, green beans, sweet potatoes, milk and a peanut butter cookie bar.  Of course, Mac ate my dessert.

After having lunch we got on the road. We took Highway 24 out of Rushville, Illinois and headed west. We crossed into Missouri over the Mississippi river at Quincy Illinois. We stopped right away in MO and got gas, it was $2.20, which we thought was a great price. We drove on to Moberly and stopped at Wal-Mart for a break. We now notice that the price of gas is getting lower. We decide to drive on to Marshall to spend the night at the Wal-Mart there.

They have a brand new Wal-Mart Super Center in Marshall. We shopped for a few supplies and spent the night. The gas price at Wal-Mart was $2.08! The other stations around were $2.10. 10 cents a gallon difference from earlier in the day, too bad we had already filled up the tank.

We are enjoying driving the back roads and not the Interstate. There is so much to see driving the back roads and highways. We passed through one small town that still had glass insulators on the utility poles. Donít see that very often anymore. We saw a man with a horse drawn wagon around Windsor, MO.  I think there is a small Amish community there.  The roads are hilly, lots of valleys and creeks.  It was really pretty country we drove through.  I enjoyed looking out the window at the farms and ranches.

Saturday, April 9:

We left the Wal-Mart and headed out. Weíre heading for Clinton Missouri. We are going to stay at Cozy Corners RV Park, very close to the Harry S. Truman Reservoir. Mac wants to visit a client on Monday. We arrived and set up the RV. We decided to drive around Clinton and play tourist. There is a neat museum here but weíre too late in the day to visit and theyíre closed on Sunday. I hope we have time to visit it. We drove down to the reservoir and looked around. We found a campground there and itís only $8.00 a night. Weíve already paid in advance to stay at Cozy Corners so we canít move over and save some money. Another thing weíve now learned: only pay for one night just in case you find a better bargain.

Sunday, April 10

Itís a great day today. The weather is warm and thereís a nice breeze. Mac worked around the RV doing little chores that needed doing. I enjoyed sitting around and reading a book. I havenít read a book in several weeks so it felt great to just sit and read. There are lots of Meadow Larks around and weíve also enjoyed using the binoculars to see them. Weíve not seen Meadow Larks in at least 10 years. Weíve also seen lots of Robins, Killdeer and some Bluebirds. Spring is a great time of year to see the tress in bloom such as the Red Bud which has pretty purple blooms.

Monday, April 11

It rained very hard this morning. Mac kept his appointment with the client and I prepared the RV interior for hitting the road again. I had enough time to also vacuum, mop the floors, dust, etc. Mac had asked this morning at the Cozy Corner office if it would be OK if we left by 2:00 and they said it would be fine. We hit the road by 2:00 and head for Springfield Missouri. It was windy and gusty while driving. Mac has made an appointment to meet a new client tomorrow. We get to Springfield and stop at Wal-Mart for a coffee break. We decide to drive on over and visit the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World. Itís huge!

Side entrance to Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Springfield, MO

We enjoyed looking at all the fishing and camping equipment. There are sections for hunting, archery, guns, knives, etc. too. We also got our good chef knives sharpened there and now they are razor sharp. There are huge aquariums around the store with different fish in them. There are streams with fish and ducks and a waterfall. It was a great place to visit.

Bass Pro Outdoor World is a really cool place.  Only one thing I noticed that didn't seem to fit the theme.  Check out the mannequin they're using to display one of their shirts (photo below).  This guy really doesn't look like he caught that crappie, does he?

 

Mac asked about parking the RV and the security told us where we could park and that we could spend the night. It started raining around dark and it poured down rain for awhile. It rained so hard that we couldnít get a satellite signal. It also rained off and on all night. The temperature is supposed to be in the mid-40ís tonight but we will be cozy in our bed.

Tuesday, April 12

After getting up and doing some work we head back over to Wal-Mart. We park and unhook the car so that Mac can go visit the new client. While heís gone doing that I read a little and take a nap. After Mac got back about 5:00 we decided to hit the road again. So we ate sandwiches and headed out. Itís a good thing I took a nap. We are now headed to my parents with a quick detour to Tupelo Mississippi. There are some TE partners there that Mac would like to see. This is real pretty country that weíre driving through. We drove to Walnut Ridge Arkansas and spent the night at Wal-Mart.

Wednesday, April 13

I woke up early to the sound of rain! It seems to be following us. Mac looked on the internet and it seems we are going to drive through rain frequently today. We drove on to Tupelo Mississippi and Mac visits with the TE partners for a hour or two. I almost fell asleep while he was gone with the nice warm cat on my lap. But, I started reading a book and didnít fall asleep.

After he returned we hit the road and get on the Natchez Trace. Itís a very nice peaceful drive down this road. No commercial vehicles are allowed. Itís only 2 lanes and the speed limit is 50. It is pretty though to see the new leaves on the trees. The Dogwood are blooming and they are so pretty. We see Wisteria blooming in several locations, it is so pretty, a very pale lilac. Some places weíve seen today the Wisteria vines are high up in the trees and the blooms are thick and droop down, just beautiful. We also saw a wild female turkey run across the road and run through a field. Turkeys can run fast! It was really cool to see her.

We stopped and visited one of the many interesting sites along the Parkway.  The Indian Mounds.  There is a walking trail around with interactive information regarding the period of time that the mounds were built.  It's was an interesting place to see and a nice place to take a break.  

We drove to Jeff Busby Park on the Natchez Trace to spend the night. The camping is free here. Of course, all the spots were full. We filled up with gas at the park entrance and the attendant told us we could park in the picnic area if no campsites were available. We drove around the picnic area and saw that there would be a parking spot. We decided to go on up into the park and see if there were any more picnic areas. We got to the summit and parked there for supper camp (just like George). It was a great view for our meal and it was FREE! We drove back down to the picnic area after dinner and parked for the night. The only bad thing is that the tree cover is so thick we canít pick up a satellite signal, so no internet tonight. Oh well, I can work on updating the blog.

Photos from Natchez Trace and Jeff Busby Park

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Chris really loves the wisteria



Thursday, April 14:

After doing our morning ritual of coffee and bagels we hit the road. We saw several deer this morning while driving down the Parkway. We stopped at French Camp, one of the first communities founded along the Trace. There is a museum, but it wasnít open yet. The climbing roses were very pretty as you can see in the picture of Mac and me. There was also an old coach that was used at least twice to take an Indian chief to Washington DC. An old house had recently been moved to the site and it was being renovated.

We got off the Parkway and took another road because we didnít want to drive Highway 49 from Jackson to Gulfport. The highway we chose was interesting but there was plenty of road construction going on. A truck passed us and threw a rock at our windshield and cracked it. Now we have to have the windshield replaced, thank God for insurance.

We drove down to Biloxi without further incident and arrived at Keesler AFB Fam Camp.  It is a really pretty park and the camp hosts are very friendly.  All the full hook-up sites were taken so we asked to dry camp.  After setting up camp we decide to go to the Biloxi Grand Casino.  They are having poker tournaments and Mac wants to get in one.  We only stay a few hours after Mac signed up to play in a poker tournament tomorrow.

April 15 Ė 19:

We play/lose at the casinos, visit my parents, help them with a few chores, etc. We went with my dad to visit the SeaBee Museum at the Gulfport SeaBee Base.  My dad was in the SeaBees during WWII. Itís a small museum but interesting to visit.

Wednesday April 20:

We asked for a full hook-up site and moved over to it today. We needed to wash the RV and the awning. It was a lot of work but well worth it, it looks very nice now. After that we ran over to the marina to pick up an Air Force Frequent Camper Program packet. Then we went to the commissary to pick up some groceries. Keesler AFB is a very attractive base. They have really worked hard at making it look great.

Thursday, April 21:

We have reservations to stay tonight at Casino Magic Bay St. Louis RV Park tonight. This morning I did laundry and then vacuumed the RV. We pulled out before noon heading over to the Magic. We stopped at Flying J Truck Stop in Gulfport on I10 to get propane and gas. The price of gas was only $2.00 there. But we decided to not get any propane there. The RV Park is very nice at the Magic, we really like it. After setting up and having lunch we went to the casino. We played for a few hours and met a woman from New Orleans who gave us two coupons for free buffet. We used her coupons for dinner buffet. The buffet was very nice.

Friday, April 22:

My parents came over to visit us and we took them to the lunch buffet. After playing for a few hours we took the RV over to spend the night at 5 Star RV Park. Mac was trying to get the electricity hooked up and couldnít get any power going. After testing various items he found that our transfer switch is bad. This explains the burning rubbery smell that we have smelled for the past 2 days while on full hook-up. So add another item to be repaired to the list. While there we also fill up with propane. 

Saturday, April 23:

Happy Anniversary honey! Today is our 22nd anniversary. We have finished all our chores that my parents needed to have done and now the real adventure begins. We head out before noon heading for points west. We donít like to drive the interstates because there is nothing to look at. So we took some US Highways but we finally had to get on the Interstate because the roads were so bad. I thought Mississippi roads were rough but there are roads in Louisiana that are really really bad. Highway 190 was really rough and Highway 71 was so rough that we decided to take this very small road to get over to Interstate 49. Thank God for our GPS and street atlas 2005 that can help us find our way around.

The road was named W.P.A. It was such a small road that meeting cars was very interesting. But while we were driving down the road we stopped and took these pictures that you see. We saw several locations in Louisiana that had these baskets in the water. We found out that they are crayfish traps on crayfish farms. Crayfish are also called crawfish or crawdads and look like small lobsters. They are very popular in southern Louisiana just boiled and then eaten by pinching off the head and sucking the meat out of the tail section.

We got on Interstate 49, much nicer road, and got off in Alexandria and went to Wal-Mart to spend the night. Of course we did some shopping at Wal-Mart for dinner. After about 10:00 it started getting nice and quiet, good sleeping tonight. Itís a little chilly but that makes sleeping even better.

Sunday, April 24:

We head out this morning up Highway 71. We can always get on the Interstate if this road is too bad. It is a nice road so we stay on it. We drove to Bossier City, to Barksdale AFB and are going to stay in the Fam Camp there. Barksdale AFB is a very attractive base. They have over 200 historic buildings that are listed in the National Register and lots of beautiful old trees. The camp is quite a ways back on the base. We passed by the flight line and saw several B52 Bombers. The camp is nice with lots of mature trees. We got on a site that we could shoot the dish through the trees and get a satellite signal. So we are hooked up to the internet and can get some work done. One of the rules listed in the information handout is: Do NOT feed the alligators! Hmm, this will be interesting.

Our site, Barksdale AFB Fam Camp.  Look at all the space!  Not visible here is the one rig beside us on the driver side.

Monday, April 25:

Mac went up and paid our park fees and asked for recommendations of good RV repair places. The staff recommended Southern RV for repair work. Mac called and we have an appointment first thing Wednesday morning. We explore the base and then drove around Bossier City and into Shreveport looking at sites. There are casinos here in Bossier City, weíll have to check them out later. We spent the rest of the day working. Occasionally we would hear a B52 coming in and weíd run outside to see it fly overhead. It was really neat to watch them. There are several here at Barksdale AFB. Hereís a link to information regarding the base:

http://www.barksdale.af.mil

The B-52's were flying overhead on a regular basis.  These guys make a LOT of noise, but we kind of like it :-)  Reminds me of a bumper sticker I saw once near an AF Base, it read "Jet Noise... the sound of Freedom!"

Wednesday, April 27:

We took the RV in to Southern RV which is very close to the base. We were there all day. They figured out what was wrong with our transfer switch and got the part for it from another location. They are really nice friendly people there. They only use certified RV technicians to work on the RV. While there we walked around the sales lot and looked at the new RVs for sale. Itís nice to dream of owning a big fancy rig but when it comes right down to it this place is home. We really love our RV, itís home to us now.

After dinner tonight we decided to go to the Horseshoe Casino. I wanted to see if it was a ďrealĒ casino like in Vegas. They are real casinos here in Bossier City. We played for a few hours, just to keep in practice you understand.

Thursday, April 28:

We had decided to leave today and hit the road. We only stayed this long to have the RV worked on. Before we left we went to the 8th Air Force Museum this morning. There are lots of planes outside down the road and we saw them every time we drove anywhere on base. This morning we walked around the planes up close. After viewing the planes up close we went into the museum and visited. It was very interesting. While we were visiting the planes and museum one group of students was leaving and another was arriving. There was also a group of retired men that were visiting while we were there. Itís a busy place. My favorite was seeing the ďBlackbirdĒ and the B52 up close.

I took a lot of photos at the 8th AF museum.  Following is a slide show with 11 of them.  Click on each one to display it.  Click on the arrow at the right to scroll through them all.  You may need to click the arrow more than once.

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Chris poses with SR-71



After the museum we went back to the RV and hooked up to hit the road. We left after having lunch and headed to Texas. We stopped at the Texas Welcome Center on I-20 and picked up brochures for various places of interest in Texas. Itís a very nice place to visit. We headed out again and soon got off the interstate and hit US Highway 80 heading for Highway 271 to head north to Oklahoma. We are planning on visiting my birthplace in Oklahoma. We drove to Paris Texas and spent the night in the Wal-Mart parking lot.

Today was very hot. The temperature at Barksdale was supposed to get up in the high 80ís. Here at Paris it is still very warm. All the windows are open and weíve parked very close to a large tree for shading.

Friday, April 29:

We got up this morning to drizzle of rain.  Itís still very warm to me.  I dress in my usual attire of shorts, T-shirt and flip flops. I went into Wal-Mart, while Mac was doing some work, to look for more state T-shirts.  Wal-Mart carries these T-shirts and the tag label is State of Mine.  The T-shirts come in various colors and styles.  I like the ones that have a map of the state on the front and back. Iíve got one from Florida that has the map and says Home Sweet Home Florida on it.  I have one from Missouri that has a map on front and back and also has the state seal on front.  I bought one this morning for Texas.  I will be looking for Oklahoma too. I like these wearable souvenirs.

We hit the road again and continued heading north. After entering Oklahoma, Highway 271 turns into a turnpike. We took the exit for Antlers and Atoka, our toll was $2.25. We headed for Atoka. We drove out to the Boggy Depot State Park to stay there while visiting the area. When we arrived the temperature is much cooler here than it was this morning in Paris.

After setting up into a campsite we change clothes because itís so much cooler now and we drove into Atoka and some of the surrounding area to visit. After some site seeing we stopped at Wal-Mart, Mac bought another set of binoculars. Weíve been sharing one pair and itís time for each of us to have one so that we can look at stuff together.

We went back to camp and picked up wood for a fire. That is one of the nice things about state parks, they allow fires in them. We have met a very nice couple here. Theyíre volunteering here. They are very friendly and told us of many places of interest in the local area and beyond.  After dinner we started a campfire and it feels great.  It is a tad chilly this evening, perfect for gathering around a campfire.  Our new friends, Dale and Linda stop over and we talk the evening away.  They are a very nice couple.

Boggy Depot State Park is very nice.  There are a lot of mature tress around.  Weíve seen several interesting birds and squirrels here.  
(...we've seen woodpecker, blue bird, scissortail flycatcher, meadowlark, tufted titmouse, and more.  Also heard many owls at night.  There's a dark colored squirrel with a light tail. --Mac).  Itís very peaceful here too.  Hereís a link to some photos regarding the history of Boggy Depot. http://www.civilwaralbum.com/indian/boggy1.htm  and a link to Oklahoma State Parks in general http://www.touroklahoma.com/index.asp

Saturday, April 30:

We got up early this morning and did some work and tried to stay warm.  It was unusually cool for this time of year.  About 9:00 we headed out.  Dale and Linda had told us about an Amish Country Store in Clarita that had great apple pie and other food items.  So we drove over there and bought a pie, apple butter, garlic dill sweet pickles and a book about an Amish family in Clarita.  We visited with the store owner for awhile.

Afterwards, we drove over to Fillmore and visited the graves of my grandparents.  My great grandparents are also buried there but I donít know the exact location of their graves.  My family is from the Atoka and surrounding area.  My great-grandfather and his family had moved here way back in the 1890ís.  My grandfather was born here.  His family had moved all around Oklahoma and Texas scrabbling for a living.  They often lived out of a covered wagon while trying to find enough work and food to feed the family.

After visiting the cemetery we drove back over to the Boggy Depot area.  A lot of the roads are still unpaved.  Mac had brought his laptop and GPS with us and we found that 2 of the roads we were on were part of the Butterfield and Overland Roads.  As we were driving down one of the many dirt roads we saw a very high fence.  We knew it wasnít for cattle and sure enough there was a llama inside.  We only saw one so weíre not sure if there were more.

We drove over to the church in Boggy Depot.  The building was originally the one room school for the area.  They have a reunion every year in June of all the students who went to the one room school.

We visited the location of my grandparentís last home.  They had a one room log cabin that they lived in on the Boggy Depot Road for several decades.  They had added another room onto the log cabin later in life.  After their deaths the cabin has always been used as cattle feed storage by the new owners.  We obtained permission to visit the site and we walked all around the location while I traveled down memory lane.  My grandparents were great to me.  They passed away before I could tell them how much they meant to me and how many wonderful loving memories I have of them.  Kids really donít appreciate their parents or grandparents until they are adults.

After coming back to the RV for lunch I took a short nap.  After I got up we decided to go site seeing some more.  We were heading for Stringtown and maybe the Atoka Reservoir when we saw the Confederate Memorial Museum and Cemetery.  We stopped to visit but the museum is only open on weekdays.  Outside we saw the Boggy Depot school bell which was removed and is displayed at the museum.  There are other items located outside the museum, the Confederate graveyard, part of the old Butterfield Overland Stage Road and other historical items.  The website is: http://www.civilwaralbum.com/atoka/index.htm

After visiting the museum site we drove on to Stringtown.  We happened to see a sign for McGee Creek fishing so we took the road.  My dad has several times mentioned McGee Valley so I thought this would take us there.  We drove for a long ways, up and down hills and saw lots of interesting sites and then we finally came to McGee Creek State Park. This is a very nice park.  We drove around the RV park but I really donít think a big rig like ours can get in there.  We didnít see any big rigs at all.  We looked around the park and itís really nice.  I would like to come here and fish or maybe swim at their swimming beach in the summer.

After leaving the park we drove the direction that would bring us out at the "normal" entrance location about 3 miles from Highway 3 east of Atoka.  What an adventure we are having.  We drove to Atoka and ate dinner at Bledsoeís Restaurant.  The food was very good and the price was reasonable.  Mac had country fried steak.  I had a Western omelet with french fries instead of hash browns. T he fries were home made and great.  Macís country fried steak was hand battered and very tender and delicious.

After dinner we stopped at the grocery store then headed home.  We had a fire again this evening and visited with Dale and Linda.  Then it was time to listen to the owls and go to bed.

Photo Gallery, Boggy Depot Area

There are 8 images total, click each to display them.  Click the scroll arrow on the right a few times to see them all.

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Our beautiful boondock site in Boggy Depot State Park

 

Note to readers about the blog.  We're often a week behind in doing the blog.  After we enter a few days or a week's information, it sometimes takes us another day or two to come back and put in the photos.  No, we're not just lazy, we have day jobs too! :-)   I'll start posting a note in the current entry to let you know that photos have been uploaded.

Continue to May 2005 blog

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