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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Seven months on the road.

Hello from Illinois! One more state 185 miles to go. We left Cuba this morning then stopped for diesel and breakfast so got moving on the road about 10:00. Not as much wind this morning and for a couple of minutes we even got a spot of sunshine.
We are now in Mulberry Grove, IL this was our first stop when we left home and will be our last stop before getting home. Last time we were here was October 1, 2013 – seven months ago!
Only did 157 miles today because we wanted to see the soccer game. What a good game! And another upset.
We’ve had a tail wind since we left Oklahoma City and our gas mileage this last tank was 10.8!!! Wow! Wish it was like that all the time. We’ve started making a list of the things that need to be done to the Alfa before he goes back in storage or takes another trip. One major thing – the inverter – and lots of little things. Should keep Bill busy for a while. The repair to the crack in the windshield has held together – so will leave that alone and hope for the best for trips to come.
Surprised about how cold it is here – traveled with the furnace on most of the day. Hope it warms up when we get home – and doesn’t rain while we’re unloading. And I hope we have hot water in the house.

So next time I write I should be writing from home – until then…

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Nice short day today - 200 miles

We are in a little campground just west of Cuba, MO. Only drove 200 miles today. A much more comfortable drive. We pulled out of the KOA in Joplin and only went as far as right across the street to have breakfast at an Iron Skillet – yes we really like that restaurant. Good food, plenty of it and at a reasonable price. We were on the road by 9:30 headed east. Good roads all the way and the wind was mostly from behind. But it was also cold and dreary out. No rain though. As the day progressed it got colder and the wind started to pick up and shift directions. So we stopped here at the Ladybug RV Park just off I-40 at exit 203. We’ve never stopped here before but probably will again. Good WiFi [and our MiFi works here too], the satellite TV took a while to latch on to a signal but I think that was from the cloud cover. Long pull throughs and only $26 a night. We are only 350 miles from home now. Still watching the weather closely.
I have read about Cuba and all of its murals but unfortunately this year we won't be seeing them, just don't want to unhook and it is too gloomy to take pictures anyway. 
Missouri is sure green this time of year. All the new growth and most of the trees have their new leaves. Tomorrow we’ll have to go by Saint Louis – this time we are going around it on the 270 – no more going right through town. And hopefully we’ll stop for the night somewhere in Illinois – not try to get home.
One reason we stopped here – there was an important soccer game on at 2:00 and we wanted to watch it. It sure was an upset. Glad we saw it. And tomorrow there is another game at 2:00 – these two games are setting the final game of the Champions League. Right now Real Madrid from Spain will be one of the finalists.
Not long after we parked we had some rain but not for long. Looking at a weather map we are like the center of a bull’s eye with the storms swirling all around Missouri.
I was just looking at this years travel map – so far we’ve driven the Alfa [that’s the royal “we’] 5,510 miles – used 650 gallons of diesel that’s about 8.5mph.

Back to my knitting. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Two More States

Thank goodness there was no wind this morning. The sky was actually blue instead of brown with dust. We left the campground and headed to the Iron Skillet at Petro Truck stop for breakfast. Then Bill washed the Alfa’s windshield – could barely see through it for the dust. We were on the I-40 heading east by 9:00. No rain and light winds. We were supposed to stop in Oklahoma City at an RV park there. Two exits before the parks exit we stopped at a Flying J to get diesel. Then back on the Interstate – It was about 15 to one and we’d done 250 miles. Too early to stop! So on up the road we went – all the way to Joplin, MO. 463 miles! Got here at 15 to five.
too many miles in one day - my opinion only
This is a KOA park and one of their services is baking and delivering pizza to your door. We ordered it when we checked in and it was here by the time we got everything set up. YUM.
The drive wasn’t too bad had a few sprinkles that didn’t last long at all. But by early afternoon the wind had picked up and the skies were getting dark all around us. At one time we saw this – Glad the sky was sunny and blue or we’d have been worried.
Shades of Mexico we had two toll booths today – total $19.50 from Oklahoma City to the Missouri border. Oklahoma is pretty this time of year – everything is so green.
Right now we’re watching the weather channels – we still have 530 some miles to go to get home and it looks like it will be raining between here and there for a few days. Guess we’ll take it a day at a time. I’m glad we waited this last storm out in Texas.
Right now we have sunshine and NO WIND – but the skies to the east and south of us are pretty dark.
Sorry about the fish videos – wish I could have shared them  here is a place that sells them - just descriptions and pictures of them - no video. I still think they’d be fun to have.  
Who know where we'll end up tomorrow. 

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Flying Fish

Sunday morning – and more dust and wind – never let up all night. Yesterday we had winds at 32mph with gusts up to 51 mph. No wonder we were rocking so much. In fact there was so much dust in air it looked like dusk all afternoon and we lost Internet signal both from the parks WiFi and the Verizon MiFi – This morning we lost the TV signal – had to reset the satellite.
We went out to breakfast at the Iron Skillet – Bill finds that if he eats a big breakfast the antibiotics don’t upset his system so much. Going out for breakfast works for me too. When we got home I spent some time wiping up all the dust in here. Can do it two or three times a day and everything is still gritty feeling.
One of our sons just bought some remote control toys. Giant fish! Here is a link to our daughter-in-laws facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/alexsirimarco There are two videos of the fish on it. I love them. Can you imagine taking them for a walk in an RV park? Or float them into a room with unsuspecting people in it. Oh I have an evil mind. And this is the 40 something son that tells me I need to grow up.
Watched the race last night – pretty good race. Interesting finish. Kyle managed to finish 3rd – coming from 14th after getting tires on the last caution.
Our fourth great grandchild is here. A little girl named Ivory Rose. I love the name. That is who I’m knitting the blanket for – but she won’t be getting it for a while. I’ve only got one five block strip done and there will be five strips.
Tomorrow morning we’ll leave and hope to make it to Oklahoma City – and then we should be able to follow behind the bad weather until we’re home.

3:30 in the afternoon and Bill has the Jeep hooked up and all the connections except the electric put away. Guess that means we’re leaving early tomorrow morning for sure. Wind or no wind. He says he doesn’t want to unhook until we pull into our driveway. Hummm…

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Palo Duro Canyon Visit

Well it looks like we might have out smarted ourselves. The severe weather east of us, we thought, would be clearing up by Monday. Now it looks like it will be raining our entire route home for at least the rest of next week. So again we’ll have to take it day by day – I hate traveling in the rain. But we do want to get home. Anyone want to buy a 40’ Class A diesel RV? Getting sick of being in it. Almost seven months now. And heaven knows what we’ll find when we get home, between the roof leaking again and the water heater self destructing.
Watched some NASCAR yesterday – what wasn’t rained out anyway. The race last night was delayed three hours by rain.
Boy the wind is BLOWING again. Everything in here is covered with a fine coat of dust and visibility is pretty low because of flying dust. [We are right on the edge of the sevfere weather moving into Oklahoma City tonight.] We went out for a little bit to go for lunch at Famous Dave’s BBQ.
Then to Best Buy ‘cause Bill’s monitor took a crap. Then coming home we found two more painted horses. One at the Chevy dealer. Simply called “Chevy” wonder why…
One in front of Hooters. Named “Hooter’s Philly” at two or three a day it will only take 45 more days to find them all.
Back to yesterday – we drove across the flat land heading towards Palo Duro Canyon…How could there possibly be a canyon around here?
Palo Duro Canyon is a State park with lots of campgrounds and a very beautiful place. Called “The Grand Canyon of Texas.” Easy road to drive and lots of trails to hike and bike. It costs us $10 to enter – day use fee. The whole area at one time was a privately owned ranch. In 1933 the CCC – Civilian Conservation Corp – was brought in to develop it. Some info about the CCC and the park.
Just a wall of the Visitor Center before going inside.
Looking out over the canyon from the Visitor Center
Another look. Reminded me somewhat of Sedona area.
This was one of the nicest Interpretive Visitor Centers I’ve been in. The displays were very interesting and set up really nice.
Info about the area.
Drawing of the layers of earth.
There was also a lot of information about the CCC. When my Dad was a young man he worked with the CCC. I now wish I’d paid more attention to his time with them and where he worked.
CCC Facts.
The daily routine for the men. 
Thought this was interesting.
Driving out into the canyon. Lookout point looking across the canyon. 
Some of the different colors of the rocks.
More scenery the road twists down into the valley.
A really good look at the layers.
Some of the plant life on the valley floor. Trees, cactus, long dry grass and a little plant with red berries.
The road has five water crossings with warnings not to cross them if there is water present. If the water is up to the 5 – watch out. Those are measurements in feet. Not a drop on the road yesterday. I wonder how many people have driven into 3 or 4 feet of water. 
Water next to the road though on both sides.
You can see how high the water has cut into the banks.
The first three crossings are now getting bridges built over them. So there was still a narrow road to cross the wash. Lots of big RVs back in the campgrounds - so it's not as narrow as it appears.
Just more scenery. Red cliffs and dry, dry grass. There is a high fire warning throughout Texas. And today with the wind it could be a disaster if a fire started.

It was a very pleasant drive. And only 25 miles from Amarillo
So that was yesterday.

Waiting now for the NASCAR Cup race to begin. We are really rocking and rolling from the wind. I don’t see any satellite dishes up on any ones RV. Glad we have a dome instead of a dish. Bill just remarked that he's had enough of the f***ing wind. Me too.; 

Friday, April 25, 2014

Old Amarillo Route 66

I mentioned we drove around Amarillo’s old downtown Route 66 district the other day. I was kind of disappointed in what we saw. A lot of empty lots and empty buildings. And things not being kept up. A Route 66 mural that could use some TLC.
As could this one. What a shame that these have been neglected.
One of the few murals that looked fresh.
An old filling station that’s been turned into a restaurant.
Liked this snarling cat. Not sure what the business was…but you can make some guesses.
Stephen Marsh 3 who was instrumental in setting up the Cadillac Ranch – hope to go there before we leave – Cadillacs planted nose first in the desert – also put road type signs through out Amarillo. Only they weren’t real road signs – just signs he liked. We did find two of them. This one says “Homer”…We were moving fast when I spotted it - just managed to snap it.
This one “Et tu Brute”… Marsh just liked the ideas of signs for reading.
One of the many “antique” stores along 6th St.
Another repurposed gas station.
One thing we found interesting were all the brick streets scattered here and there around the center of town.

We need to go that way again looking for the painted horses so maybe I’ll get some better pictures. There are a couple of older buildings that were very nice but the light was wrong and the pics didn’t turn out.
Today was warm and the wind has let up. We drove out to Palo Duro Canyon State Park. Where I took the picture for the new header. Very nice drive – will write about it tomorrow as I haven’t looked at the pictures yet. But coming back from there we passed a couple more painted horses – this one at a veterinarians. This one is called "Swordfish" no idea why as the paintings on him are western scenes. 
Also at the vets were these cute babies.
Hello. Want to play?
Then we passed this painted horse - but again he was off the highway a ways and we were moving. It is called "Ol' Roy"
So far we've seen six of 96...when I told Bill how many were left to find he just shook his head.

We are still watching John Wayne movies – I think today is the last day of them. Right now watching “North to Alaska.”  Hoping to watch the Nationwide race tonight but it keeps raining in Richmond where they are supposed to race. 

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Checking out Amarillo

Another day to be spent in Amarillo. In fact a few more days to be spent here. After checking out the weather on line and on TV we’ve decided to stay put until Monday. We could have made it to Oklahoma City but then would have been in Oklahoma or Missouri during severe weather that is coming to that area over the weekend. At least it is warm here and the wind has changed directions and let up some.
Just an interesting trash barrel we saw.
The wind yesterday – that is not fog it is dust.
Yesterday after breakfast at the Iron Skillet – a Petro Truck Stop restaurant and always good - we went to visit the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum.
Another of the life sized sculptures out front.
Into the lobby. Senior fee $5.00.
The first hall we entered was all about the Buffalo Soldiers – the 9th and 10th Calvary and the horses they rode. Information about the training of the horses.
A photo of the training.
More information about the Buffalo Soldiers – they were stationed at Fort Huachuca, AZ.
Photos of some of the soldiers.

The American Quarter Horse beginnings.

A small sculpture – the detail is amazing.
For some reason I always thought of the Quarter Horse just as a working horse. Had no idea it was so versatile or did so much racing.
The other halls gave the history of the racing Quarter Horse. Very interesting museum to visit.
Back outside again.
Then we went home to watch another soccer game. Unfortunately Real Madrid won. This was a game in the Champions League. Finally got started catching up on the laundry. Then out to dinner – passed this parked truck – it was carrying a paddle/wing for a wind turbine. I sure wouldn’t like to be driving one of those trucks – they are sooooo long. A sign on the truck said "Wide Turns" no kidding - I don't know how they could make any kind of turn. 
Saw these at the check out stand after dinner. Supposedly they can be eaten. Just don’t think I could do it. The cashier told us one trucker bought four of them for his kids. He said they always wanted him to bring them something home. And he figured these suckers would put a stop to that. Wonder if it did?
Still doing laundry today and still watching John Wayne movies. This morning we drove into town and drove along old Route 66.
Found two more of the painted horses – learned they are called Amarillo’s Hoof Prints. There are 96 here in town – wonder how many we can find????
Called "Amarillo Super Spirit" at 1000 S Polk

Called "Stained Crystal/Pretty Boy" at 6th & Georgia
Also stopped at the Visitor Center and got some information about what else to do around here. Another post.

My Peeps are finally hard enough to eat – I love them!