Summing it Up...

Now, that I'm way on the wrong side of sixty, I feel that being true to self is important. "I yam, what I yam." Kindness and smiles are to be given away. Women are strong. Men are more vulnerable than we believe. Husbands may come and go...but one thing I know for sure is that I will NEVAH live without a corgi or coffee in my life if I can prevent it. Come piles of dog fur or hot water!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween...from Branson!

Hello..we arrived last night to the music city of Branson, and are in an Escapee RV Campground. Very cheap for members, with cable and a nice clean laundry on site. Not that we'll be using either while we're here as we are going to some shows, and site-seeing. The Ozarks are lovely, and full of color. Not the bright stuff that we get in Indiana, but close. The rounded mountains, with lakes, creeks and rivers are just gorgeous. We visited the historic "Old Branson" this morning, and had a ball at Dick's Oldtime 5 & 10, after eating breakfast at a local diner, Clocker's. I like the old downtown more that the strip area where all the shows are, but, the strip is a necessary part of Branson. The merchants and theatre folks are all very accommodating, and everyone is called sir and mam. I know, it's a southern thing. We're spittin' distance from Arkansas here.
We got tickets to see a 50's show at Dick Clark's All American Band Stand, starring the Comets for tonight. Tomorrow evening we go to the opening night of Andy William's Christmas Show. When we went to pick up our tickets, they were in the midst of decorating and fake snow was everywhere! The Christmas lights should be on tonight all over the area beginning Novemeber 1st.

Today, there was a downpour, with bean sized hail, quite unexpected. We were going to ride the ducks, but with the weather being what it was, decided to wait for tomorrow or Sunday. They tour all through Branson, and end up going into the water either at Table Rock Lake, or the River.
We'll be here until Monday morning, then we'll head to Springfield, Missouri where the original flagship store for Bass Pro Shop is. It's like a museum, amusement park, and cultural center, full of shopping, all rolled into one complex. Jim says we have to experience it! Then on to Fantastic Caverns before going home. We should be Missouried out by then!
Update: The Comets show was out of this world. The joint was jumpin'! These guys; the bass player, 74; the sax player,75; and the drummer, 84; are still at it, and doing a fantastic job. We were blown away by their showmanship, and cool jive attitudes!
Riding the Ducks was a whole lot of fun, informative, and exhilarating as we went down the landing into the Table Rock Lake at what seemed to be a high speed. Talk about a big splash! We went up a mountain, saw the view looking down on the 76 mile lake, and the sun made all the autumn color shine. Captain Dan, the driver/pilot of the amphibious vehicle, was from Ft. Wayne, so we had fun with him catching up on Hoosier news. The Andy Williams show had spectacular lighting, singers, dancers, and the 2,300 seat theatre was beautiful. Andy, looks like a little gnome, and shuffles his feet across the stage. His manner is appealing, but his singing, to be quite honest, should have stopped at age 75. He'll be 81 on Dec. 3rd. The show was good, but only, because his support system, all around him, is so good. That wasn't nice, but it's true.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri, oh my!

We've had a full couple of days. We left Dodge City after going through the Boot Hill Museum, learning about Wyatt Earp & Bat Masterson's impact on the town. Marshall Dillon was not a real character in history at all, purely fictional. Coming across the Great Plains of Kansas, we saw cotton fields; Greensburg, a town rebuilding following a devastating tornado; a dead armadillo, and spent the night in Wichita at Wal-Mart.
We passed by hundreds of hedge apple trees.
Folklore says that putting those in a corner of your basement, helps get rid of, I thought maybe, they'd help the Asian beetle problem, that has been renewed, while in Kansas. We gathered up half a dozen, and placed them on the dash of the RV. So far, no positive response.
We arrived in Independence, Kansas, where our co-volunteers from White Pines, are staying for four months, while Phil is work-camping at We're all staying at Elk City State Park. Independence was having their annual fall festival, called Neewollah, which is Halloween, backwards. The town of 10,000, swelled in size, and the streets were jammed with carnival rides, overpriced food wagons and crafts, live animals and stage entertainment. We walked around on a sunny Saturday afternoon, and enjoyed the crowd. Later, we drove over to Coffeyville, about 25 miles away, to go to the Country Time Music Theatre.
A local musical family, owns, and stars in, the bi-weekly show, $7 a head, in a Quonset hut.
Sunday we drove to the Ingall's Little House on the Prairie site, nearby the state park, and saw what life was like for Laura and her family, during their stay in Kansas from 1869-70.
We didn't realize, from the popular TV program, that they traveled, and lived in so many different areas.
From there, things went downhill, culturally...and we drove 35 miles or so to cross the state line into Oklahoma, and went to a casino for the first time in our 57 years!
We lost $27 playing the slots, hacked in the smoke filled rooms, and now that we've gone...we're done with it. Once, for us, is enough!
We had high hopes to do housekeeping today...y'know like laundry and Wal-marting. No...a thick spider web was in the hot water heater compartment, so when we fired it up, it flared; which discombobulated the thermo-coupler thingie. No hot water. The internet told us that Joplin, Missouri, had the part, and was about 90 miles away, one way. On our way we passed through Baxter Springs, host of the 13.2 mile Kansas stretch of Rt.66. We found, and drove across, Rainbow Bridge, an arch bridge built in 1923, which had constant use until 1960. We like anything to do with Rt. 66. (hey, we're boomers!)
Thankfully hot showers were available tonight. The best luck of the day was finding gas for 1.99 at a Petro in Joplin, Missouri. We felt as if the words recession, bailout, and price gouging, had never been said when we saw that sign!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Snow, Santa Fe Trail, and Wind!

Well, we woke up to two inches of powdery snow on Tuesday, in Woodland Park. Thank goodness, we unhooked everything except the power the night before! The snow really defined the mountains, and looked so pretty in the pine boughs. Corgi kids love snow, and they had a ball romping up and down the hills in it before a long day in the motor home. We filled up the RV with diesel for $3.12, so we felt very fortunate, as prices got higher as the day went on.
The wind was something else all day. Tumbleweeds blew, as the high winds persisted as the mountains changed into foothills, and then into the plains. We saw fields of pot-bellied prairie dogs, sunning from their holes. Later, we stopped at a rest area and the corgi kids, got up close and personal by putting their heads down into an abandoned prairie hole. There is no grass anywhere, it's all sand burrs and cedar trees and sage bush, which becomes tumbleweed, when dried. They're caught in all the fences.
We tend to stay off the interstate, and roam the unbeaten path when we have the time. We were on the Santa Fe Trail, most of yesterday and today into Kansas. We like the scenic byways, going through small towns, and seeing the real America. We belong to a Winnebago group called the Meanderers, and that's the perfect name for us!
We've seen fields of sunflowers, ready for harvest. Pheasants, tufted eared Abert's squirrels, which have long upright ears. Gray, with white bellies, they have black tips on their ears, and a bushy tail. Southeast Colorado is full of canyons and plains.
We slept at the John Martin Reservoir last night, close to the Kansas line, but still in CO. It was a state park, wide open, nothing but cedar or black locust trees, and empty, except for us. It was eerie with the howling wind, and believe me, I had visions of Halloween, and every horror movie ever watched in my youth, but eventually, fell asleep. The dogs loved it, and ran around like banshees.
Hey...we were alone, totally, and left our fee in an envelope and put it in a slot. The dam, and Hasty lake was right in front of us, so we had a pretty sunset.
Today, in Kansas, we found a wildlife refuge for bison, outside of Garden City. We saw the herd...from a distance. They shared their hilly range, full of sand and sage bush, with oil wells.
We stopped in Cimarron, at Clark's Pharmacy, where they still have a soda fountain. It was a cool drugstore, and the teen soda jerk girls were funny. We both had a black and white; which is a sundae, with chocolate sauce smeared on the inside of the glass, then vanilla ice cream, topped with chocolate sauce and marshmallow cream!
The girls didn't realize that their little town was so historic, and had a website full of info, and that their place of employment did as well! This is cattle country. The only hi-rises in this area, are the grain elevators and the cell towers.
Tonight, we're camped in Dodge City, Kansas. We plan to visit the Boot Hill Museum tomorrow. Cows rule here. We had supper at Casey's Cowtown Club, before coming out to the Gunsmoke Campground
To combat the wind, many homes are built into the side of a hill, facing south. These are called berm houses, and they're everywhere. Isn't it amazing, that this is ONE country, yet each state, is so different with their customs, speech, food, terrain. Cool beans....traveling is such an education. People are nice everywhere, if you're nice to them. There are poopheads everywhere too, but overall, it's grand out here on the road!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Last day viewing Pike's Peak...

Today, we spent the day down in the 'Springs, Colorado Springs, that is. We went to the old courthouse which houses the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. Visit their site for further info. We wanted to see the Quilts and Fine Woodworking exhibit, but there was so much more to see! Jim's mom is a great tour guide, and we all enjoyed viewing the outstanding, and creative quilts and exquisite tables, dressers, and other wood crafts. The rest of the museum is dedicated to the history of the Pikes Peak Region. Very interesting, and a must see stop if you're ever in the area!
We all filled numerous bags at Dollar Tree, then enjoyed a tasty, gourmet-type lunch at Gertrude's in the historic Old Colorado district where the streets are lined with quaint shops, with everything imaginable inside.
Michael Garman has a gallery in old town, where the art is for people. Magic Town is his claim to fame. It is a 1/6 scale city display, full of wonderful sculptured characters, and so life like! You would swear that you're peeking into windows of a real little city. Such an interesting attraction. Visit the website and see for yourself.
It's hard to say goodbye to Jim's mom, and this beautiful area, but...snow is coming, and our RV's hoses are at jeopardy! So long Colorado. Such a beautiful state...please visit it sometime!
Weather Update~~~it's eleven PM, and it's snowing outside!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunny Days in Colorado.

We saw a red fox cross Highway 24, the main drag, through Woodland Park, going up mountain. It crossed at the Dinosaur Museum, to the parking lot of a restaurant. We whipped around, went down an alley, to catch up with the bushy tailed animal. We were just in awe, seeing a red fox, downtown.
We attended the Pancake Breakfast and Bazaar at the Senior Center with Jim's mother yesterday morning. The breakfast was very organized, and delicious. The bazaar was fun too on a sunny Saturday morning. Jim has caught a cold, and we're both dealing with altitude adjustment, which feels as if a brick wall is on top of you.
Today we drove around looking at all the log sided cottages and homes, and saw a male mule deer, lounging, in someone's front yard, chewing his cud. You never know what you're going to see here in the mountains!
Somebody told us where to go to see elk near dusk. We went, but didn't see any. We did enjoy all the mountain views though.
The temps have been perfect, warmer than we anticipated for Colorado this time of year. However, all that is changing according to the Weather Channel.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pike's Peak has snow on top

We're back in Woodland Park, Colorado. It's beautiful here, in the 60's today, and the aspen are still golden and full. You can see Pike's Peak from any direction it seems.

The drive through Colorado is incredible. The Dixie Chicks hit, from years ago, "Wide Open Spaces" describes what I'm trying to convey here. The openness, other than an isolated ranch, some cattle, horses, antelope, foothills, sandy gulches, is a whole lot of nothingness, but it's awe inspiring. Tumbleweeds actually blew across the empty two lane highway as we cut across towards Colorado Springs, and Pike's Peak like a beacon, called us to it. It seems to always have snow on its peak, no matter the time of year.
The drive up Ute Pass, once past 'the Springs, is gorgeous at each curve, and jut of rock. The rock is so red, the aspen, so golden. The pines so lush. We passed the Cliff Dwellers and Garden of the Gods on our way up. We'll have to go back to see it all. Our ears popped, and yawns from the high altitude, let us know that we had arrived at our destination. Woodland Park, the city above the clouds.
Lucky break!! Our campsite had a faulty electrical hook-up, so we moved to a much larger, tree laden, buffered by cabins, and level site, thanks to a cancellation! The dogs have a nice yard to potty, right outside our door, rather than having to hoof it to the dog park along the highway. Jim has insulated our water hoses, just in case it freezes. Lots of extra work today, having to set up twice, but overall, we came out ahead. Yahoo!
Bug Update! Yes, thousands of the little asian beetles made the trip west with us. Many have migrated and ended up in three new states. We average killing, or setting free a hundred a day, and they still keep coming. They're up our pant legs, on the back of our necks, and in our hair. Jim had one on his hot ham and cheese sandwich today. They will eventually run out...won't they??????

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Corgi Doghouse...out of mothballs!

Yep, we're officially back on the road, following Jim's four and a half month stint as volunteer at his beloved White Pines Forest State Park in NW Illinois. Westward Ho is our battle cry, as we head to Colorado. Yesterday we passed through Iowa's golden fields of grain being combined. On a mission, we passed by the exits for the Herbert Hoover museum, the Amana Colonies, the Buffalo Bill Museum, and all the outlet malls that line I-80. The autumn hues were full of red topped maple trees, and the purple/gold/red of the ash.
We stopped outside of Grinnell, Iowa, where at AJ's steakhouse, you grill your own steak over a six foot long charcoal fire pit. They offer two shelves of seasonings to put on the steak, and while standing there, at the ol' campfire, throw on some garlic bread, made by you, as well. They had a large cast iron dutch oven on the grill full of fried potatoes, and a salad bar. Crazy, but "we" cooked our own supper, and paid to do so! It was good, we're good cooks y'know, and we had nobody to send our steaks back to (if we had wanted to!).
We drove on just west of Des Moines, where we parked in a Cracker Barrel lot to sleep. We didn't see the Field of Dreams, but we did see a field of deer!

Today, we drove right by the turn off for John Wayne's birthplace and the Bridges of Madison County...which was hard to do, and headed to Nebraska. The rolling prairie of Iowa looked like quilt squares, all different colors, and very pretty. East of Omaha, we saw wind farms, under construction with more than two dozen in each section, new-age mills replacing the historic danish windmills of the area. We also saw an Oscar Meyer Wienie mobile built on top of a mini cooper! What a sight that was!!
The Omaha welcome sign is just under a "big boy" the largest steam locomotive ever made, on a bluff, just across the Missouri river. The Union Pacific railroad has a huge history in this area of the country.
The wind is big in Nebraska. The vast vistas of flat, open land, makes it so. Jake, our male corgi, looked like the flying nun as we walked them at a Flying J. He just about became airborne...I'm not kidding!
Diesel prices are pretty good...3.59 a gallon, and gas is a dollar cheaper than that. Jim's staying close to 55 on the interstate, trying to maintain his good mileage of 9.6 miles to a gallon!

We ended up in Kearney, Nebraska tonight. We're sleeping in the Wal-Mart parking lot. We plan on being at the Fort Museum at opening in the morning, so we can be on our way afterwards. The Archway spans I-80, and is a tribute to the half million people who trekked across America, through Nebraska, between 1843-1869, pioneering their way West. Later, the railroads connected east to west following the Civil War, then Eisenhower built the interstates, 70 & 80, in the mid-fifties. The architecture alone makes it interesting enough to go. This place was featured in the book, 1 of the 1,000 places to see before you die.

Friday, October 10, 2008

BUGS...and the last hurrah

I wish I could describe to you just how bad the lady beetle problem is here. Our motorhome is infested, and until we leave, this is how it will be. Hundreds and hundreds come in during the day. They crawl all over us, buzz in our hair, get inside our clothes. They bite. Our screens, vent fans, ceilings, are covered. I'm going buggy! By bedtime, I have their numbers down, by vacumming, and killing them all day long.
The weatherman promised a perfect Autumn weekend, and with many folks having Columbus Day off, this weekend is being called the last hurrah at White Pines. It's custom here, for some reason, that the weekend before Columbus Day, is a biggie in the state park. There are three weddings and receptions at the lodge too. Campfires dot the hills, and kids, bikes and dogs are as plentiful as the lady beetles!

The coyotes were howling like banshees last night. With the moon almost full, and freight trains adding a lonely sound to the ambiance of the already dark park, the campers might experience a little spooky time.Whoooooo-oooohhhh

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Invasion of the Orange Ladies!

We're back at White Pines, in northwestern Illinois, for the last weekend for Jim to finish up his volunteering at the park; then, we're on the road again, heading to Colorado and other spots before winterizing the Winnebago and putting it to bed before the white stuff hits. We voted before we left town, so our civic duty is done, and now, most likely, a jury duty notice will be in mail upon our return, LOL!

.Not a pretty sight, are they? This is not your average nice, ladybug.....these are Asian lady beetles! They have infiltrated the motor home, inside. Yesterday they covered the sunny side of the RV, in thousands, according to the lone camper here at White Pines. Last night, as I was unpacking, I found that they had come in via the bedroom closet slide. They are in the closets, drawers, and come out to cover the lights at night. We were killing them twenty at a time. They'd cover our arms, hair and faces. These bugs stink, and emit an oily yellow/orange juice which is staining our pleated shades, and everything else they touch. Today, they are swarms in the air, and you can't open your mouth, or be outside without being covered or buzzed by them. These guys are a real nuisance, and a force to be reckoned with. I just hope they freeze as we hit the mountains in Colorado.

What a nice birthday today. We took the 'gator on the ski/fire trails to explore the fall color. The dappled autumn sunlight changes everything, and is so pretty with the combination of shadow and light. The smell of pine is strong deep in the woods. We saw folks on the trail, enjoying the day as we were. We had lunch at the lodge, picked up trash when we saw it, but mainly we battled the bugs today. Tonight we had a nice campfire and roasted hotdogs, and watched the new moon peek in and out of the Halloweenie type clouds. I don't mind getting older at all. It's the looking older than 57, and feeling 77 that bugs me. Bugs me....get it????

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Peru, Indiana....circus town.

Peru, (pee-roo), county seat of Miami County, in northern Indiana, was once the winter headquarters of several famous circuses. Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey, Wallace, and others, called Peru home once the summer season was over. Peru is known as the Circus Capital of the World. .

Cafe DuCirque
, is an interesting coffee house there, where I meet friends for home-made soups, panini, espresso, or a warm nutella-banana crepe, that is to die for! Local artists line the walls with their creations. It's sunny, has lemon yellow painted walls, and it's easy to spend several hours there deep in conversation.

Peru, was also the birthplace of Cole Porter; famous songwriter of the '20's. He's buried there, and his monuments are very modern and unusual, standing out in Mt. Hope cemetery.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Wearing our CORGI pride!

Alias: Corgidogmama & Papa.
Do our shirts show our devotion to the corgi kids, or what?

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Happy October...

The trip to NC went by too quickly. We were amazed by the color in West Virginia, and north-central North Carolina. Much more than in Indiana! Emmy enjoyed having her Great-Gram, called "GG," sit with her at her little table and chairs to color. We had grits. We saw a fox. We saw deer in the kids' backyard. It was just nice to have four generations of apple-cheeked women all together.We fed the ducks at Sarah Duke Gardens on campus.Emmy got a new kiddie-sized table and chairs to eat and color at.Em has become a clean freak, and loves to swiffer!
I love October, don't you? There's just something about it. It's always been my fav, most likely, because, it's my birthday month; cider is here, which is terrific hot with cinnamon on top; skies are bluer and the air is crisper.

"Vote for the man who promises least. He'll be the least disappointing." Bernard Baruch

Y'all come back now...

Y'all come back now...

Everyone is special, and counts!