Monday, May 25, 2009

Escapade 2009 Sedalia, Mo.

Here we are at Escapade. This is our first time,m but it won't be our last. One of the first things we did is go to the CARE booth. WE visited with Doug and Sandy for a while, then did the vendors. One thing we bought is an Escapee plaque for Emily's back ladder. It has our names and SKP #. Yesterday we dropped off a blanket I did for CARE and chatted with Kay and Joe Peterson. They are the founders and owners of the Club. They are mostly retired now, but it is run by second and third generations.
On we went to Chapter Row. Most of the chapters are represented, along with the BOFs. They are Birds of a Feather groups. For example-wood carvers, quilters, beaders, hikers, boon dockers, etc. We stopped and visited with the folks from Chapter 19 of the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. We became members while there during the winter. It was good to see them. Tomorrow we will go sit in for them so they can take a break. We are also scheduled to do the same for Doug and Sandy on Thursday.
Today I went to a craft class on quilting. It wasn't what I expected. If I have time I may help with a CARE quilt. That way I can really learn.
Last night they had the best group of entertainers we've seen in a long time. At the last rally we saw Neil Sedaka and the Osman Brothers and both were really great. But last night was New Odessey. Three really talented guys who play 30 different instruments. What a show they put on. On of the most entertaining renditions of IN A GADA DA VIDA that I've ever heard. They blew the roof off the place. If you ever get a chance to see them, do so. They are truly terrific. Tonight's group was the Brent Family. We didn't stay to see the whole performance. It wasn't our cup of tea. Too much running all over the stage while they tried to sing. Made me dizzy. Sometimes I couldn't understand what they were singing. Day after tomorrow is a show by SKPs. It should be fun. In the morning Wednesday is the dog show. Jay from our class is going to dress up like Elvis and the Schnauzer, Lulu, will be dressed as Peggy Sue. Can't wait to see that.
Last night we went to a Chinese buffet with some fellow elks, and members of the SKP CO-OP THE RANCH at Lakewood, New Mexico. We had a really good time. Tonight we came home and had soup. It warmed us up, what with all this rain. It has poured all day. Everything is saturated. Let me tell you--we have seen enough of Missouri rain!
Pictures will be in next time, it is late and time for bed. I wanted everyone to know what a good time we are having here. There is nothing like a bunch of SKPs.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Elks Pre Rally

Here we are at the Elks pre-rally. Actually it's a pre-Escapade. We have met some really nice folks, as is usual for any bunch of SKPs we have come across. The rally is in the Boone County Fairgrounds in Columbia, Mo. Today most of us took a trip about 30 miles north to the Cooper Oak Winery. This little winery makes all of it's own barrels, and the barrels for many others, plus grows the grapes and makes the wine. Hence the name Cooper Oak. They also cut their own trees and cut the wood to make the barrels. First came the tour of the cooperage. What a thing to watch. It was very noisy so no one talked till we got to a quieter section of the barn. We saw most every step in the process of making the barrels. The first stop was the cutting of the slats. then we saw them fire them. Then came the metal band, and all the rolling and coating and sanding. They sell most of the barrels they make to wineries in California. Some go to South America some to Japan and some to China. They keep some. The owner says he gets to keep the rejects for himself. I don't suppose there is anything really wrong with the ones he keeps. They like to make at least 100 a week. Some weeks are busier that others.
Then came the wine tasting. Now I don't like wine, and Tom does. But...I bought 2 bottles and he didn't buy any. I really liked the ice wine. I also got the sweet white. I'll get it out for a special occasion. A good time was had by all.
At 5:30 we had our pot luck. I took my famous cheesy potatoes. The ones our son calls heart attack potatoes. There was a really nice variety of really good food. We all ate too much and rolled on out afterwards.
tomorrow morning we may go into town for a while. They have a candy factory tour that some folks have taken, and they say it's quite interesting. Well, I for one would love a tour of a candy factory. Maybe buy some product. A walking tour of downtown may also be on the to do list. We'll have to see how much time we have. Tomorrow night is our catered dinner. I think it's chicken. I'm not sure. They take care of everything. All we have to take is ourselves. That shouldn't be to hard.
Today we also talked to Sandy and Doug Cameron from the CARE Center. They are on their way to Escapade. Can't wait to see them. I have finished a blanket for the raffle that the CARE booth has. I hope it brings them lots of moola. Donations have been down some with this economy, as are most donations. The Elks here are having a silent auction to benefit CARE, and also drawings every night. Such good folks.
Some folks from the class of 2007 are on the volunteer list for parking and such and are already at the Escapade. We got a call today from Marcia and Joe. They were wondering if we were coming in early. Not till after this Elks rally. We'll all still get together while we are there. Can't wait for those hugs. See you all in a few days. Hugs for all till we arrive.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Branson, Mo

Where do I start? Is it with the rain? Is it with the tornadoes? Well, it's rained just about everyday since we've been here. By here I mean Turkey Creek Escapee Park in Branson Missouri. We checked in April 29th. We have been up to the stone house, which is the storm shelter, 2 times. Once was before breakfast, and the other was last night. I woke up Tom and told him to get dressed because the horn was going to go off. Sure enough. Within 5 minutes we were out the door. We were lucky both times and didn't have anything to worry about. I'd rather be safe than sorry. The Turkey Creek is over it's banks, but not into the campground yet. This morning we were told there were 2 water moccasins down by the water mating. They tried to get them, but they think they both got away. We still are supposed to get more rain this afternoon. When will it stop?
Not all has been yucky since we've been here. We have seen some great entertainment. We went to see Jim Stafford at his theater. We remember seeing his TV show in the 70's. He was funny and told some terrific stories. He still plays the guitar like no body's business. He has magic fingers. His kids both played piano, and did other bit parts. I'd recommend it to anyone. Last night at the campground they had some very talented folks. Gordy Wensel and Debbie Kaye. They have regular jobs at the Hard Luck Cafe here in Branson where they are Singing Servers. They did a mixture of country, 50's and 60's, gospel, and comedy. It was just as good as any show worth $25.00. We put money in the tip jar, and if we go back to the Rio Grande Valley next winter we will stop in to hear them again when they perform there. They had another fella with them. I can't remember his name, but I wish I could. He was really good. He has started to work with them at the Cafe. He does a lot of Elvis. He'll do well here.
One day was sunny for a couple of hours, so we went to town. They have an old 5 & 10 here that everyone goes to. You can find some really neat things there. The only thing is the taxes you have to pay when you buy anything. We picked up a couple of items, but the tax is between 14 and 15 %!!! Everything is is way out of line. It seems everyone has a gimmick. All these signs for half price tickets, but you have to go to these timeshare seminars. One guy was going to give us $100 to go to one. Ya right! Man sometimes they almost drag you into the shop. Then they find out your an RVer, and they tell you they can't do business with us. That made me really mad. Not that I would have sat through any hour of selling, but to me it was discrimination. Oh well. We've decided we won't be back anyway.
On Mothers' Day we went to Shoney's for the breakfast buffet. We have been going to go since we go to the south. Wrong place at the wrong time I guess. We enjoyed it. We always do. Everything is fresh out of the kitchen, and they have just about anything you want. Yummy! After Jim Stafford we went to Penny Gilley's. She started the small restaurant because she couldn't find anything Cajun here. She is from Louisiana, and was missing the good food. We each had Jambalaya, Tom had a roast beef Po Boy, and I had a shrimp Po Boy. We were sitting there eating, and in she came. She stopped at each table and chatted for a bit. They sold Abita Rootbeer. We hadn't had that since Abita Springs, La. The food was great, and we enjoyed meeting her. Bye the way, She is related to Mickey Gilley only through a former marriage, and she has her own show on RFD TV. Nice lady.
Tonight we are going to the dine-out. We will be going with other campers here to The Rib Crib for the all you can eat rib night. Sounds good to me. We'll let you all know how it goes. If it is as good as the dine-in we'll be happy. The other night at the dine-in we had lasagna, garlic bread, green beans, salad, dessert, and beverage. It's prepared by the managers here, and it was delicious. They have a dinner here every Tuesday. They do a good job on them.
I think that's all. If I think of other things, I'll write it next time. I was a bit under the weather for a few days, and when I did the last post I didn't put in some things. So if you read it before I added the hummers and prairie dogs, check it out again. I love to look at those pictures. Soon we will be on the move. On our way to Escapade. Can't wait to see some our friends. Then on to home. It will be good to be home for awhile.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge

What a wonderful place! We found the campground and signed in at the little building. The campground is in the woods like the campgrounds we used to go to with the pop-up years ago. One of the first things we noticed were the hummers. Right after we set up, Tom suggested we get out the feeder. I mixed up some hummer juice, and filled the feeder and put it on the window. It took maybe 2 minutes for the little beauties to find it. They were all over it. What fun we had having breakfast with our little friends. The birds were everywhere. We woke up each morning to their singing. I even saw a summer tanager. He was bright red, like a cardinal, but shaped more like a robin. He was beautiful. I wish I had gotten a picture, but he was only there briefly. In the evening is when the deer came out. One night about 15 or so came walking by and decided to rest for a bit in a campsite across from ours was empty. We got some photos, but one of them was trying to play with the others, and they finally got up and stated to romp and play. Soon they went on their way. One morning I thought I heard a turkey gobble. I got out of bed and sure enough there he was. At the top of his lungs walking through the campground at about 7:30. I wish I had that picture, too. He was the biggest turkey I ever saw.
The reason we decided to come here was for the buffalo and long horn cattle that roam on the open range. The herds number around 6 to 7 hundred. What a sight to see. At one point we had to stop the car and just watch them as the grazed near the side of the road. They were so close to us we could have reached out to touch them. Of course they could have been dangerous. They have a herd of elk also, but the didn't come out. It was windy, and elk don't like the wind. It's something about these little hairs they have. We did get our fill of the buffalo, though. maybe next time we'll see the elk. Definitely there will be a next time.
One of our favorite things to do is watch prairie dogs. Well, they are in abundance at the refuge. As you drive over the rise you have to go really slow. They have homes on both sides of the road, and they don't look both ways. In fact they will yell at you if you don't pay attention to them. They are just so busy. We had watched them in Williams, AZ when we were there visiting the Grand Canyon last year, but we didn't get this close. You could get out and walk around them, but they are wild, and it isn't a good idea to get too close. My favorite picture is of this fat little guy sitting up. Wait till you see it. We went back a second day just to watch them.
We collected enough wood to have a small fire and did hot dogs. They taste so good over the fire. I had some marshmallows, and the fire was just about out. There is so much to see in the refuge. It's such a beautiful drive. We'er so glad we went.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Amarillo, Texas

While at the Rally and going around the vendors, we found a place called Oasis RV resort in Amarillo. It's a really nice park with big sites. It's a Passport America campground, and it had no limited stay. I suppose because it is a nearly new place it needs to promote itself for awhile. The biggest plus was the free-yes that's right, free-laundry. You can do as much as you want, as many times as you want. They have 3 buildings with 4 washers and 4 dryers each. I was nice and only used 2 at a time. Some folks used all 4, which made it difficult. The Rally closed on Tuesday morning, and the Oasis was just the right distance away to stop for the night. Because we left the rally a day early and stopped the first night in Tucumcari, we arrived before everyone else who decided to stop there. It was just the right distance from Albequeque for what most RVers drive, and lots of folks came in for a couple of days. We were staying for a few days, so I waited to do laundry until most of the others were gone.
Right down the road was the Cadillac Ranch. I wanted to stop there because I had seen it in pictures and read about it. It's 10 old cadillacs buried face down headed west. Well, I was disappointed. It was in a field that was plowed, ready for planting. Yes there is a very wide pathway that you use to walke to it from the road, but that was it. I thought it would be in some sort of area with grass or a plaque, or at least some sort of explanation. There was nothing but the walkway and the cars. That is unless you count all the empty paint cans that folks just throw on the ground in stead of the dumpster put there for just that purpose.
One day we took off to find old Route 66. Of course we found it. Lot's of old gas stations-closed of course. Lot's of old places to eat. You just have to love the old buildings. They have an old theater that is redone, but we didn't see that. We then went to see the stockyards. Not much to that but lots of empty cattle pens. Maybe that is because we went on a day when the sale was 4 days away. Tom also gave Emily a good wash down. At the Oasis you can do it when ever you want. Not so at most RV parks. If we get back that way we will definately visit again.
Then it was off to one of my favorite places, Witchita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. You'll see read all about it next post.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Branson, Mo. and Rain

Here we are in Branson, Missouri, and all we've had is rain, We have a pretty good signal here so the blog will keep me busy for a while. Tonight we will be going to Culver's for supper. We found it on the GPS quite by surprise. But for now, I will catch everyone up on where we have been lately, and what we've been doing.
I think the last thing I mentioned was our trip into Artesia in New Mexico. There are these great sculptures there that tell the story of the early days during the cattle drives. We did the walking tour. There is one that still has to be completed,m but maybe we'll see it next time we visit.
Then it was on the The Rally. Every year the Affinity Group put on the rally. They are Camping World, Coast to Coast, a magazine group, Good Sams Club. This year it was in Albuquerque. All of the RVs were parked at the Balloon Festival Park. The exhibits were about 30 to 40 minutes away in the fair grounds. Everyone was frustrated with the transportation. The organizers had contracted for tour buses to transport us from venue to venue. Well, not enough buses for the amount of folks. The first day we waited for 2 hours to get on a bus to the fair grounds, and another 2 hours to get one going back. Needless to say, we drove the rest of the time. That worked out quite well. I'm sure most everyone had a pretty good time. The first night we met some of the 2007 class for happy hour. It was good to see some folks we hadn't seen for some time. Another great thing was the entertainment they had scheduled. The first night was Neil Sedaka. He was really great. He hasn't lost a step. His voice was still as good as it always was. We really enjoyed him. the next night was Rita Coolidge. She wasn't my cup of tea, but Tom liked it. She was heavily into Jazz. Tom loves Jazz, so he was happy. Lot's of folks we talked to left early. The last night was the Osman brothers. What a show they put on. Man they are talented! It was Jay, Merle, and Wayne. They let us all know where and what the rest of the family is doing. With the great songs, and the things they put up on the big screens, it was one fabulous show.
We left the Rally on Monday. We had seen everything and done everything we wanted. We have decided to put in some solar panels so we can do more boon docking. That's another blog. Then it was on to Tucumcari, New Mexico. The old Route 66 goes right through the town. We stayed in the same place as last year. We also went to Ken's Ice Cream place. It's right down the road, and you get a really good size cone for about a buck. We only stayed overnight, then moved to Amarillo, Tx. I think that will be in for tomorrow. I'll have to make a few posts to catch up, and that way they won't be so long. Now Tom can put in the pictures. Enjoy.