Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bandera, TX

I got to Bandera and had planned on working until April at Skyline Ranch RV Park.  There is lots of dancing there and I always have a good time.
Dancing with Santa at Longhorn Saloon.

Santa Pig running loose at 11th Street Cowboy Bar.

Celebrating a birthday at 11th Street Cowboy Bar.
Sadly, my workamping job came to an end when I decided I needed to return to Arizona.  So in the middle of January, I packed up and headed out to Arizona.  To be continued...... 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Back in Oklahoma

Once back in Oklahoma, I decided to stay through Thanksgiving, visiting with my kids both in Tahlequah and Oklahoma City.
My RV had been stored outside of Tahlequah on my son's property, so I picked it up and moved it to the RV park in town.
My youngest grandson getting ready for Halloween.

Gavin with his older brother, dad and uncle, and they are ready for trick or treating.

Holly posted this picture to remind everyone that they can and do occasionally get dressed up for a night on the town.
After a few days, I headed to Oklahoma City to visit my other son and his wife and my grandkids there.

Carter was the star football player tonight.  They lost the game by 1 point, but he blocked a pass and while in the air got hit by the other team, getting the wind knocked out of him.  But he got up and finished the game.  What a young man.  So proud of him.

Colin and Caitlin have birthdays just two weeks apart.  With so much going on this time of year, they ended up with a joint birthday celebration.

Bob, Amy and the grandkids.
From there I decided to head to the Texas Speedway for NASCAR.

It was cold.  I'm really glad the sun was out, otherwise it would have been miserable.

I've now been to 7 different NASCAR tracks.  
After returning to Tahlequah for a few weeks, I headed back to the Oklahoma City area for Thanksgiving at my nephew's house and a lot of family.  

I love deep fried turkey.

Look at all that food.

There was quite a crowd.  Four of my five boys were there, along with several nephews and nieces and my sisters-in-law and all the kids.

Lots of food.

And then it was time to check out the ads for Black Friday shopping.
I hated to leave, but cold weather was coming and my workamping job was waiting in Bandera, TX.  My cousin in Dallas told me he would BBQ me a steak if I would stop and visit.  While I was there we went out looking at RVs.

Well, lo and behold, I found one I really liked and made an offer and the dealer accepted it.  Now I found myself the owner of this new RV (at least new to me), and I have only a couple of days to transition between old and new and still get to Bandera on time.

Luckily another cousin was available to help me move.  Martha, thank you very much for all your help.  I really couldn't have done it without you.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Headed back to Oklahoma

The summer is over and it's time to head back to Oklahoma.  But we did stop at Memphis and a trip down Beale Street.
I think Elvis is always performing, but that is only to be expected.  This is where he got his start.

He even came over and visited for a few minutes between sets.

There is music going in several places along Beale.  It is the home of the blues.

Since we both had already visited Elvis' home, we didn't tour it again.  So down the road we went, headed for a COE park on the Arkansas River, one we had stayed in before several years ago.  But unfortunately, it is now permanently closed, so we crossed the river and found a new COE park, Cherokee.

Nice spots right on the river. 
It's close enough to visit Woolverton Mountain, Little Rock, and Petit Jean State Park.

Remember the song 'Wolverton Mountain'?  It is about a real place and a real person.

The song was written by Clowers' nephew Merle Kilgore and first recorded and released by Claude King in 1962.

I think I prefer my kayak in the water.

Another day we ventured to Little Rock and to Pugh's Mill.

A restoration of the original 1832 mill, it was dedicated to Pugh's Mill Park in 1933, over a hundered years later.

It's in a bowl like area on a creek and I felt like I was in hobbitland because of all the bridges, and rock pathways and ornate tree shapes.
Such as this oversized mushroom bench seats.

And this bridge.

Here is a better shot of what the bridge looked like up close.  I think the creator of this place used real logs and covered them in cement of some sort.  But it was fascinating.

Another bridge.  Be sure and check this place out if you are ever in Little Rock.
Just outside of Little Rock on the Arkansas River is Pinnacle Mountain.

I think we chose the steep side to climb.  At one point, Fancy started slipping, her feet couldn't find any grip and Max had to catch her as she was sliding back down the slick rock.

But it was a wonderful view when we reached the top.  It was a 750 foot elevation from the base of the mountain.  You can also hike around the base of the mountain (it's a 3.5 mile hike), but we didn't have time.  Now we have a reason to return.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Land Between the Lakes

Our next destination was Land Between the Lakes, but to get there you have to cross the Ohio River.  Instead of going up to I-24, we decided to cross at Brookport on U.S. Hwy 45.  
Just as we started up the hill, we saw a sign stating no vehicles over 8 feet wide.  As you can see, there is no where to turn around or even stop, so we had no choice but to continue on.

Well, they did mean, no vehicles wider than 8 feet.  To avoid being hit or hitting someone else, we had to hug the right side of the bridge and the girders there took out the side mirror.  We went back later with the jeep to see if we could find it, but I believe it ended up in the bottom of the Ohio River.  Bad, bad signage by the state of  Illinois.  Maybe the state is getting kickbacks from the manufacturers of side mirrors.

But we got a great spot in the overflow area at the COE park on Lake Barkley/Cumberland River, just outside of  Land Between the Lakes Recreation Area.

I had never tried to take Fancy kayaking before since I usually kayak fast flowing rivers.  But she seemed to enjoy it and wasn't nervous at all.  

It was a great spot to enjoy the evenings.

One evening we kayaked around to the canal so we could catch the sunset.

While exploring we spotted this sign and thought we might find some old ruins.

Not to be.  This was all we found.  The area now seems to be a residential neighborhood.

We barely missed hitting this guy on the road.

I'm glad we missed him because it looks like he was a rat snake and they are good.

It's the end of September, first of October and the trees are starting to turn.

They have a nature center and a pair of Red Foxes with a young, 5 month old pup.

One day we took our bikes down to Golden Pond Visitor Center.  The Central Hardwoods Trail spans the width of LBL, from Kentucky Lake to Lake Barkley, but we started at the visitor center (about halfway) and headed west towards Kentucky Lake.  It was supposed to be an easy bike trail with rolling hills.  

Now, I'm not a mountain biker.  I like relatively flat, rail to trails or nice bike trails meandering along through a park or along a lake.  Well, for me, this was the bike trail from hell.  Five miles of trails with elevations going up and down, as noted on the picture above.  For most bikers, they are probably laughing, and that's ok.  I'm just not used to anything like this.  But I did it, and I survived.  I just had to push my bike up that long hill on the way back.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Cave in the Rock and Tower Rock, Rim Rock and Garden of the Gods

Leaving Indiana, we headed across the Ohio River to the southeast corner of  Illinois.

We stayed at Tower Rock Recreation Area, a small primitive campground with only about 5 spots, but it was right on the Ohio River.

We visited Tower Rock every morning while walking Fancy.

About 10 miles north was the town of  Cave In Rock, named after the state park.  I like murals painted on buildings.

If you want to keep going on the highway, you wait for the ferry to take you across the Ohio River.

The town had painted, decorated bicycles scattered around town.

Looking out from inside Cave in Rock.

About 10 miles south was Elizabethtown, IL, and the Rose Hotel, established in 1812.  Originally built in 1776 as a travern, it was changed to a boarding house to serve travelers on the Ohio River.  It has been restored and is now a bed and breakfast.

Fluorite was discovered in Rosiclare, IL, in 1839 and was considered a waste product until the steel industry started using it in 1888.  Hardin County has the deepest and largest fluorite mines, providing about 3/4 of all flourite in the U.S.

Illinois Iron Furnace

I thought Garden of the Gods was in Colorado Springs, but they have one in Illinois, too.

You climb to the top of the rock formations and hike along the rims.

Not far from Garden of the Gods, is Rimrock Recreation area and the Rim Rock Trail.  You can hike the Rim Rock Trail to Garden of the Gods, but you are below the rim, not on top.

Ox-lot cave is a box canyon along the trail and makes a perfect place for a corral and there is even a small spring accessible for the cattle or oxen.

Unlike Garden of the Gods, this was nice and shady for hiking.

About 30 miles north of where we were camped was the town of Shawneetown, settled in 1793.  It is at the confluence of the Wabash and Ohio Rivers.

Shawneetown Bank, today a state historic site, was built in 1839 and operated over 100 years before closing its doors in 1942.

We had heard this was a bikers bar and grill, but it looks like it is now closed down and boarded up.

The remains of better times in this almost ghost town.