Friday, April 29, 2011

Cabela's, Kansas City

(Chuck) Once again we are at the Cabels’s lot in Kansas City, KS. It is a good place to stay while we are in the area to visit Jan’s sister. This time Jan’s brother flew into KC and the three of them traveled to Iowa to visit their mother. It gives them time together for the trip and I am holding down the fort at Cabela’s. It is a fun store to hang out in and I have taken advantage of it.

Most of my time has been consumed with genealogy. When I bought my first digital camera I started messing around taking photos of gravestones. I thought it was a nice way to record the stones. We have noticed several older family stones that are made of softer sandstone that have deteriorated greatly in the last forty years. One stone in particular that we read years ago and recorded the inscription is now impossible to read. Photography will preserve the inscriptions for future generations. I belong to a group which records gravestones on the web. I am not yet very active in it but I hope to contribute in the future. Find A Grave is the name of the site and it is an excellent resource.

We had an embarrassing incident happen last week. Our Yahoo account was hijacked and spam was sent to everyone in our Contact List. Jan said “Why do we have a “Failure to deliver” notification for all these people???? They were old addresses that were apparently not good. All I could say was “Oh this is not good.” We do not click unknown URL’s and we are very careful to keep antivirus software active. I have recently overlooked firewall management which may or may not have contributed to the problem. Our son Brent indicated that the intrusion originated in Guatemala and was probably the result of a “Blunt Force” attack. I have been lax about maintaining password protection. My passwords have all become very simple and therefore easy to compromise. When we discovered the bounced messages, we immediately sent out an e-mail indicating that we possibly had been hijacked and to disregard the sent message. This led to a very good discussion on the Boomer list which was productive for many of us who have neglected passwords. Several programs are available for password management and I tried several and settled with LastPass. I have found that it is exactly what I was looking for. Simple, free, and very easy to use. If you are working off of a word document and key stroking or cut and paste your passwords, you should look over LastPass, it will simplify your life.
Happy Trails, Chuck

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Bartlesville, OK & Chanute, KS

(Chuck) The Phillips Petroleum Company Museum was another on our list of Oklahoma museums to see. It was a very good stop. We have been very impressed with Oklahoma and its people and history. Phillips has always been a familiar name in our household. My father started in the fertilizer business with Phillips Petroleum as a fertilizer dealer in Iowa. After our Army duty we joined my parents in the business. We retailed Anhydrous Ammonia which is a nitrogen fertilizer. We also sold Phosphorus and Potassium in dry and liquid forms which were also used as fertilizer for corn and soybeans. Through the 60’s and 70’s Phillips was a pioneer in the business but was overtaken by other companies in later years. Admission is free to the museum and it is an educational visit.

(Jan) Heading into Kansas, we both noticed that this is solidly Midwest country with it’s lush grass and pastures.  The trees and bushes are leafed out; it’s definitely spring here in America’s heartland! Our overnight stop for Friday and 031Saturday is in Chanute, KS 016at their lovely city park where the first two nights of stay (with E&W) are free! Friday was spent doing household chores, walking and biking. On Saturday we visited a hidden gem of a museum.

The Martin and Osa Johnson Safari Museum is located in Chanute which was Osa’s hometown. Married at ages 16 and 26 they traveled extensively and filmed movies in the South Pacific, Asia and Africa. Their movies where the first ever showing wild animals from Africa. The museum has a large collection of African masks from all over Africa as well as a delightful way of telling about the couple’s adventures as they traveled. Click on the link above to read more.

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103 - CopyWe’ve enjoyed walking here today and stopping by to watch several games of Kick Ball at the local ball fields. Local teams are competing and raising money for Relay for Life, a cancer benefit. This evening we were delighted to welcome a local couple, Dave & Alice Robinson in for a visit. We had a fun conversation about the RVing lifestyle and our visit here in Chanute.

Tomorrow is Easter and also, Chuck’s 62nd Birthday. Happy Birthday to my husband and best friend and Easter Blessing to all of our family and friends.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Oklahoma City Day 2

60839-45th_Infantry_Museum-Oklahoma_City[1](Chuck) The 45th Infantry Museum is located in Oklahoma City. It was a pleasant surprise to find free admission. The 45th was composed of National Guard troops from Oklahoma, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. In WWII they participated in four amphibious landings and served 511 days of combat in Sicily, Italy, France and Germany. Following WWII it was organized as an all Oklahoma division and was again called to serve overseas, this time in Korea. Here they served 429 days in battle in places called Old Baldy, Pork Chop Hill, Heartbreak Ridge and others. The museum houses many artifacts of the 45ths campaigns with military vehicles and airplanes on the grounds outside. It serves as a good military museum which highlights an important part of our history.

026 - Copy007The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum has been our list for many years. It was a good visit, the only bad thing was our legs were tiring out form all the touring that we have done the last several days. It was the most expensive $22.25 for both of us (I got the old guy rate) museum that we have visited. 005It was also one of the largest in terms of exhibits we have attended in recent years. If you have an interest in the Western culture of America, it is a must visit. Cowboys, Indians, Soldiers, Horses, Guns and a major dose of quality western art make it a great experience. I recommend it to all.



Tonight we’re at the Elks in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. We have the entire parking lot to ourselves.

Oklahoma City Day 1

086(Jan) Parking at the Midwest City Elks next to Tinker Air Force Base was an awesome experience. Each afternoon and evening the fighter jets, KC135 tanker planes and E-3 AWACS roared overhead. Being in the direct flight path 007of these amazing giants made for lively entertainment. Added to that, we were just down the street from the fire and ambulance station!

Monday we started our exploration of Oklahoma City at the State Capital building. Oklahoma is the only state that has an oil well on it’s grounds! The capitol is a lovely place and we were able to tour the Supreme Court, Senate and House Chambers as well as viewing the rotunda with the story of Oklahoma’s settlement told in it’s murals and art work.

031Our next stop was the Oklahoma History Center. Housed 029in this huge building were exhibits on everything from Oklahoma’s days as Indian Territory and the American Indian tribes to the Oklahoma Land Run to Dust Bowl days in the 1930’s. Plus much, much more including military & space exhibits, famous cartoonist, athletes, singers, actor & movies, natural recourse, farming & ranching and a 1930’s House. Displayed on the grounds were wooden & steel oil well drilling towers and equipment used in the early days of the oil industry. We very much enjoyed this museum and would recommend visiting here.

033Sixteen years before our visit to The Oklahoma National Memorial 050& Museum, the Alfred P Murrah Building stood on NW 5th Street between Harvey & Robinson Avenues. At 9:03 April 19th the building lay victim to a car bomb and 169 lives were senselessly lost. NW5th Street is now a reflecting pool and part of the touching memorial grounds. The large and small chairs with lighted bases symbolize the adults and children that lost their lives that day. The chairs are placed in nine rows representing the nine floors of the Murrah building. The statue entitled ‘Jesus Wept’ faces away from the bombing site, across the street on the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church grounds. Personal memorials continue to be left on part of the remaining fence that surrounded the building. It’s a touching, peaceful place.  I’m glad we went.

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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rattlesnakes & Casinos

068001(Chuck) Saturday April 16 was the big day for the Apache Rattlesnake Festival. The festival has been held since 1983. We were not sure what to expect, but it has grown to be a large town celebration. Vendors line the main street for 3 blocks and the event is a family affair. There were Native Americans dressed in very colorful costumes and we watched them do several dances. The town also holds an all town garage sale and a rodeo on the weekend of the Festival.


064A pair of locals enjoying their turkey legs at left
The brightly costumed Native American dancers above

In a building along Main Street there were many rattlesnakes on display in an enclosure. Two local snake hunters presented various snakes to the public. Western Diamondbacks were the principle breed. Many of them were larger than the one we had in camp at the Superstition Mountain Boomerang.
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The building, the snake handlers, Jan watching from a safe distance and rattlesnake skins for sale.

015While visiting the Lawton, OK area we stayed at the Fort Sill Apache Casino. We had pulled into the parking lot and were unhooking and a man stopped his car beside us and seemed to want to talk about our motorhome. I mentioned to him that we were hoping to stay at the casino while we were in the area. It turned out that I was rapping with the Chairman of the Fort Sill Apache Tribe. He gave me permission to park in a vacant area by the employee parking. It was a great place to be and we found that every time we walked by security personal or an employee we were treated like rock stars.

Today we move on to Oklahoma City where we will stay at the Elks in Midwest City, OK.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Around Lawton and Duncan Oklahoma

076(Jan) This spring as we head towards the Midwest we are traveling through Fort Sill near Lawton, Oklahoma. Chuck was stationed here in 1971 for his AIT training with the Pershing Nuclear Missile System and we returned to Ft Sill after two years in Germany. Our middle son, Eric, was born at Reynolds Hospital here at Ft Sill. Thursday we visited the post, strolling among the many historic military artillery pieces displayed on the grounds including the Pershing Missile that Chuck had worked with in the 1970’s. Our next stop was the U.S. Army Field Artillery Museum. This excellent facility features artillery pieces and history from George Washington’s time through the present.093

The following day we headed over to Duncan to visit the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center. Starting in 1867 longhorn cattle were driven along the Chisholm Trail from southern095 Texas to a newly built stockyard in Abilene, Kansas. As the railroads continued their progress south, the cattle drives became shorter. By 1887 the rails reached down into southern Texas and the days of driving longhorns along the Chisholm trail became history. The museum had an excellent interpretive theatre as well as an impressive collection of western art.

106Duncan is also home to the Stephens County Historical Museum. The museum houses many displays of early Oklahoma history as well as photos and memorabilia from early Oil Well drilling days. We were fortunate to strike up a conversation with Pee Wee Cary, curator of the museum, about photographs that were displayed. It turns out that most of the photos were his work, taken during his days with the local newspaper and then during his year working for Halliburton. Mr. Cary treated us to several 101extra rooms at the museum as well as interesting facts about Duncan natives such as Ron Howard, Jeanne Kilpatrick, Erle Halliburton and T. Howard McCasland.

In the park outside of the museum the original Duncan train depot is displayed along with one of only three surviving Rock Island Steam train engines.  Engine 905 rolled into Duncan on the regular rail line and then track had to be laid section by section to get it to it’s new home in the park.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Three Rivers Petroglyphs & Tularosa

008As we rolled through New Mexico three years ago we stayed at the Three Rivers Petroglyphs site. We wanted to see it again and staying there certainly has not lost it’s charm. The small area has two FHU RV sites plus places to boondock, which was our choice. It’s quiet, the scenery is beautiful, hiking among the 21,000+ petroglyphs is fun and at $2 per night, what more could you want?

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We also went into Tularosa on Monday. We visited the Franciscan Mission St Francis De Paulo which was founded in 1865. It’s a beautiful Spanish style church with a Latin Cross floor plan. Simple and very beautiful.


The Interior of St Francis with it’s dark ceiling beams & the classis mission style exterior. They have many lovely yellow & red rose bushes on the grounds.

And on our way back to Three Rivers we stopped at a road side stand to buy some fresh honey and dried habanero & red chili peppers. We also stopped at fun art and t-shirt store at Three Rivers. This mule deer walked across the road in front of us on our way home with the beautiful 031countryside and Sierra Blanca Mountains in the background.

Today we drove from Three Rivers to Alanreed, Texas where we’re stopped for the night. A smooth trip with a short detour. Chuck had noticed a oil drip on the rig last night. We stopped off at John’s Truck Service in Tucumcari where luckily, were able to get the rig’s oil filter replaced and chose to do an oil change because they could get us in right away. Great people and a good job.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

SW New Mexico

Silver City Ditch(Jan) Silver City was our destination on Friday. But instead of a boarded up silver mining ghost town, we found a thriving community of 10,000. The downtown district has largely been taken over by artist’s stores with a sprinkling of antique and tourist shops plus a variety of interesting eateries. We strolled through the town and ended up at the ‘Big Ditch’ Park. Fifty-five feet below the surface of surrounding downtown street runs a seemingly harmless CityofRockswidecreek but in 1895 it became a raging torrent that washed out the main street and many businesses. Read the story by clicking on the link above.

We also stopped at City of Rocks State Park in the afternoon. Surrounded by a fairly flat plane, it seems the giant rock formations rise up out of the ground in front of you. The 40 foot tall rocks are what is left of an ancient volcano. Over millions of years erosion slowly formed the rock columns that encompass the Park today. We would like to return there to stay at the camp ground, hike through the rocks and visit the desert botanical garden.

003(Chuck) On March 9, 1916, soldiers led by Mexican Gen. Francisco “Pancho” Villa attacked the small border town of Columbus, New Mexico, killing 18 Americans. Fortunately a garrison of soldiers were present at the time and they averted a massacre. This led President Wilson to enlist the aid of Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing to launch 10,000 troops on an 11-month, 500-mile pursuit of Villa into Mexico. It was a largely unsuccessful venture which did not result in the capture of Villa. This was the first time that Americans had used mechanized vehicles in combat. This included cars, trucks and motorcycles which were purchased from auto dealers in El Paso and other locations. Our entire air force of eight airplanes entered the foray. Motorcycles were used in combat conditions. They fought many small skirmishes but there was never a large 019confrontation. When our forces withdrew in 1917 they were better prepared for the combat conditions in which they would face in Europe during World War I.

There is a very good free museum at the train station in town. It was a good educational visit. On the way back to Deming, where we are staying, we experienced another of those Southwest dust storms. It has been very windy all day and visibility has been greatly reduced on the roads. At one point we saw a tumbleweed the size of a Buick Roadmaster jump the fence and roll into the 016roadway. We hope the wind calms down tomorrow for our journey towards Alamogordo, New Mexico. Pictured at left are tumble weeds stacking up by the fence of our SKP RV Park and above looking from the park towards the Interstate and main Railroad Line.

This area around Benson, Tombstone, Silver City, Columbus and Deming has been an exciting trip through the history books of the Southwest. We have walked the paths of Billy the Kid, Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Virgil Earp, Morgan Earp, Buffalo Soldiers, Kit Carson, Butch Cassidy & the Wild Bunch, Cochise, Geronimo, Joseph Isaac "Ike" Clanton, Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury, Billy Clairborne, “Pancho” Villa, Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing and many more. It has been a fun time.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Around Benson

DSC06086(Jan) We had just finished registering at the Saguaro SKP Park in Benson when we ran into Ken Marler. He and his wife Bea were in the park to visit Boomer friends Jack & Jeanne Albers. We joined both couples for Happy Hour that afternoon at the Albers’ new casita. Fun group! Getting to see other Boomers continued the next morning when Bryan & Susan Lavender stopped in, followed by Bruce & Nancy Butler who are on their way to Texas. 004We stopped into see lot owners Mick & Ann Meilike and their new 5th wheel. Very nice! Bryan & Susan were having some Washer/Dryer troubles so Chuck & Bryan pulled the machine out that afternoon to do some trouble shooting. A visit to Boomers Doug & JoAnn Dubrouillet followed before heading back over to Ann & Mick’s to join Bryan & Susan & them for Dinner. Wow! We feel incredibly blessed to have all of these wonderful Boomer friends!

Kartshner CavernsTaking a tour of Kartchner Caverns has been on our list for some time. This living cavern was discovered in 1974 by Gary Tenen and Randy Tufts, then college students. Because they realized the enormity of their discovery, they kept quiet about it from all except the land owners, the Kartchners, until it was sold to the State of Arizona in 1988 so it could be properly preserved and maintained. Our tour on Tuesday morning took us down into the Big Room. It’s an amazing journey underground seeing stalagmites & stalactites, soda straws & draperies and the home to the largest known myotis velifer (bats) hibernaculum found west of the Mississippi. The bats were not home when we toured but will return here shortly when the cavern shuts down until October when the bats leave for their winter hibernation in the mountains to the south.

(Chuck) Wednesday we headed south to visit Fort Hauchuca. Fort Huachuca is a United States Army installation located in Cochise County, in southeast Arizona, about 15 miles north of the border with Mexico. It was built in 1877, and was one of a series of forts established to guard southern Arizona against the Chiricahua Apaches, led by Geronimo. It was here that the Army organized an elite force that pursued Geronimo and his warriors through Mexico 's Sierra Madre during the summer of 1886, and forcing their surrender in 1889.Fort%20Huachuca%20Post%20Card

The Ft. Huachuca Museum tells the story of the US Army in the American Southwest. The museum displays uniforms of various periods, early equipment and weapons and model rooms, which present the daily life of the soldiers and their families. In the museum is a reference to an interesting story of how the nearby town of Tombstone received its name. It seems Ed Shieffelin was a scout for the U. S. Army headquartered at Camp Huachuca. He frequently searched the wilderness looking for mineral deposits. Soldiers from the camp told him the only stone he would find was his tombstone. In the summer of 1877 Ed was working the hills east of the San Pedro River when he struck a vein of silver ore in the area called Goose Flats. Schieffelin filed his claim under the name "The Tombstone."

In 1913, the fort became the base for the "Buffalo Soldiers", the 10th Cavalry Regiment, which was composed of African Americans. It served this purpose for many years. “Buffalo Soldiers” provided a major force in the expansion of the southwest.

003US Army Intelligence Museum is the second museum in the Fort. It is the repository of many artifacts of Army Intelligence and its development through history. Among other things are a large section of the Berlin Wall, a German Enigma machine which was a code device of WWII, several examples of cameras and other electronic devices of the cold war. One interesting feature for me was the introduction of one of the founders of Military Intelligence as Maj. Gen. Ralph Van Deman (1865-1952). I have known of him for many years from my work in family history and genealogy. He is my second cousin, four times removed. It is not a close relationship and I claim no credits, however it is fun to have that family connection. 013

(Jan) Back at Benson we enjoyed more time with the Lavenders. Not having seen each other for several years we had lots of catching up to do. Chuck went with Bryan to play Texas Hold ‘em at the clubhouse Tuesday night while Susan and I watched ‘The Biggest Loser’ and chatted during the commercials. Last night they came over for Burritos and then we watched a documentary film ‘The Parrots of Telegraph Hill’ at the clubhouse. The film was interesting and surprisingly good. This morning we visited and said our good byes to Bryan & Susan, Mick & Ann and JoAnn and we were on our way east.

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