Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Home again, Home again

4/30 I write this from my mother-in-law's coffee shop in Kenton, Ohio. We have returned home. It was not what we planned but as they say "the best laid plans of mice and men." I had some tenants move out of an apartment and I knew it needed work to get it straightened out for the next group of renters so I decided to head home and get it taken care of instead of worrying about it from thousands of miles away.
We left Arkansas on Saturday 4/26 and stayed the night in Bowling Green, KY. Sunday morning we went to the National Corvette Museum and explored the world of corvettes and sinkholes. We arrived home on Sunday night about seven o'clock in the evening.We were glad to leave behind the tornadoes!
Since then it has been typical homeownership, getting the lawn mower ready, mowing the lawn and I got a ride in on the motorcycle in between the rain. It was 83 when we left Bowling Green and it was 66 when we got home. Now I have on a sweatshirt and a jacket after all those warm months in the desert. I miss the heat!
We are all ready to get back in the trailer and move on.
Pics to follow of the trip home and the NCM!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Elk City to Hot Springs, AR, The Long Slog

We talked about getting some stamps in Oklahoma but in the morning, I didn't want to go see grasslands and fort ruins and hold the dog again, so we headed for the boyhood home of William Jefferson Clinton, Hot Springs, Arkansas. Becky wanted to spend a few days in one spot and was complaining that she didn't have very many clean clothes and wanted to do laundry.
 Not much in the way of pictures from this trip. Out of Elk City, it was flat with dead grass and really windy. So we sang "Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain." I needed both hands on the wheel to drive. It got sketchy. Then we got into the rolling hills and the further east we got the greener it became and the wind died down. Finally we got into the Ouachita Mountains in Arkansas.

 We landed at J&J RV and Storage in Hot Springs, AR. This is the scene behind the camper. Patrick and Iris went exploring.

Flint Rocks, Oil, Wind Farms and Cattle

From Amarillo, we headed North.

 Alibates Flint Quarries National Monument and Lake Meredith National Recreation Area were in the National Park Book and we wanted to get the stamps from all the places in the Panhandle. The Indians mined flint in this location and traded it in Mexico, California, and Colorado. At one time, there was a city of over 500 Indians living in the area.
Alibates doesn't get that many visitors and you have to schedule ahead to get on a tour with the ranger. Since we weren't scheduled and it was a non accessible trail, we looked at the visitors center and Patrick did his junior ranger badges for Alibates and Lake Meredith National Recreation Area.
Out of Amarillo the terrain is very flat.

Then suddenly there were massive mesas and deep canyons.

There lots and lots of wind farms. Taking pictures out the window gave it a funny color.

Down in the canyon at the Alibates visitors center.

Becky liked this mesa.

Oklahoma was red dirt.

New oil rigs and oil tanks were going up all along 152 and Rt 6 in OK.

Wind and oil and cattle seemed to be the theme of the Panhandle and west OK.
We tried to stop in Elk City but they were full up and we moved on to a KOA east of Elk City. They were pretty empty when we stopped at 6 and in the morning, they were completely full.

Blue Hole and Amarillo

4/21/2014 In the morning we went down to the Blue Hole a famous spot for divers. No one was at the dive shop and I had no buddy to dive with so it will have to wait for another time. Patrick wanted to go swimming and he tried three times to wade into the water but never made it very far past the stairs before the 61 degree water drove him out. He eventually jumped off the divers giant stride platform and then from the rocks above.

Here's the video to prove it!

Since I couldn't dive, we decided to move on. We headed east again on I-40 towards Amarillo and we sang George Straight all the way.

Amarillo by morning, up from San Antone.
Everything that I've got is just what I've got on.
When that sun is high in that Texas sky
I'll be bucking it to county fair.
Amarillo by morning, Amarillo I'll be there.

They took my saddle in Houston, broke my leg in Santa Fe.
Lost my wife and a girlfriend somewhere along the way.
Well I'll be looking for eight when they pull that gate,
And I'm hoping that judge ain't blind.
Amarillo by morning, Amarillo's on my mind.

Amarillo by morning, up from San Antone.
Everything that I've got is just what I've got on.
I ain't got a dime, but what I got is mine.
I ain't rich, but Lord I'm free.
Amarillo by morning, Amarillo's where I'll be.
Amarillo by morning, Amarillo's where I'll be. 

Road to Santa Rosa

4/20/2014 ABQ was left in the rear view mirror as we headed east to Santa Rosa on I-40.
We took the blue line. Although the alternate course does resembles an AC wave....
 Patrick got a scorpion sucker in his Easter basket and he ate it on the way. He said it was a fake candy scorpion. Becky and I told him that it was a real scorpion. Eventually he ate it and yes it was real. He swore never again.

We watched a storm moving from the northwest down towards Santa Rosa as we drove and when we stopped in Santa Rosa, the weather hit.

One of these things is not like the other!
 After lunch at Carl's Jr. we went to Santa Rosa State Park and bedded down for the night.

Yes, Patrick, more dam pictures.

The site had water but no electric and we got along just fine.

Turqoius Trail and Captain America

4/16/2014 We drove up the Turqoius Trail. "[The] name comes from the blue-green turquoise first mined by the early Pueblo people, an agrarian based society dwelling along the Rio Grande as early as 900 A.D., The stone has become nationally recognized as a precious stone to be set in silver and gold. The Spanish arrived here as early as the 1500s. Francisco Vazquez de Coronado was the first of many explorers in New Mexico. Missionaries. Spanish settlers and Anglo-Americans all followed and joined the native American Indians already here. Today the National Scenic Byway is home to many modern day settlers and host to tens of thousands of visitors a year!"
I didn't take pictures because it looked like about all the rest of New Mexico, rolling hills, mountain vistas and small scrub pine bushes.
 Then we stopped for our picnic lunch and then acquired tickets to the Regal Cinema 14 in Santa Fe to see Captain America: Winter Soldier.
Thanks to The Hub @ TTU
I have always liked the Captain and they have done a good job with him in the movies that he has been in. Then it was back to the American RV Park in ABQ for the evening.

Petroglyphs and Racing Cars

4/15/2014 We went out to the Petroglyph National Monument. Petroglyph National Monument protects one of the largest petroglyph sites in North America, featuring designs and symbols carved onto volcanic rocks by Native Americans and Spanish settlers 400 to 700 years ago. These images are a valuable record of cultural expression and hold profound spiritual significance for contemporary Native Americans and for the descendants of the early Spanish settlers. (thanks NPS).
The visitors center is in the middle of the park and then you drive to parking lots and hike to see the petroglyphs. We drove to one of the areas that was listed as handicap accessible. There was paved trails that a person could use but only if one was walking as they paved right over large rocks and put steps in the path. Some of the petroglyphs were right close so we could see them easily and they had a small viewing telescope for handicap people to get an up close look at the native drawings.
I held the dog and Becky and Patrick hiked up the hill.............
Patrick earns his Junior Ranger Certificate

Chillis chillin'.

View from the top of the hill of Albuquerque.

I am down there by the little building holding the dog :-(
All the petroglyphs here were drawn on rocks left by a volcano. It is not extinct but it hasn't erupted in a few thousand years. I wondered why they chose to draw here? Did they know that white man would build a parking lot and come to look at what they might have considered some kids graffiti or was this an important religious site? We won't ever know so we moved on to lunch.
We ate at a local Albuquerque chain called Bob's Burgers (no relationship to the Fox TV show). Patrick and I had chili dogs and Becky had a Patty Melt. With lunch done, we went across the street to have the car washed and then made our way to the . Unser Racing Museum
I always knew about Al and Little Al but had no idea that they were from a long line of racers and had such a history on Pike's Peak. It was interesting learning about the family and their accomplishments.

A hand built car made by Jerry Unser for racing Pike's Peak.

Indy 500 cars

Patrick tried the racing simulator.

A winning Indy car around the steel ring are all the wins by the Unser family.

This motorcycle is made of parts from race cars.
They had two buildings, the first had the racing museum and the second had old cars and trucks that the Unsers collected and restored. It also included a room with all the trophies the Unsers had won during the years, some old racing suits and other memorabilia in it. A third room held art that they collected or had been given and many, many magazines.