Monday, January 16, 2012

a better than "OK" Trip

Friday, January 13, 2012

I left work a tad early, so that we could head to Durant, Oklahoma for the MLK Holiday Weekend. Tony had the day off Monday, so I took it off as well. We hooked up and headed out about 5:45PM. We had no issues driving the approx. 2 hours, and arrived at the Choctaw KOA approximately 8PM.  It was expected to dip below freezing, so we had to get the heat going pretty quickly. We filled the freshwater tank, so we'd have water overnight. We settled in and enjoyed the views out the window... We were in the last RV site of the first row, and had a great view of the Choctaw Casino Hotel. The exterior of the hotel has special colored lighting that constantly changes... It's mesmerizing! The only bad thing about this site was the distance away from the office; we had little or no WIFI, so that is why the blog didn't get updated while we were on the trip.

Driving in, view of the Choctaw Casino Hotel

Watching the light show out the window of Mammoth

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Today we took it easy, enjoyed a wonderful breakfast, then went exploring around the Durant area. We drove around the town of Durant. The historic downtown looks as if it is being revitalized... we picked up a map at the KOA office, suggesting so. We also saw the Durant United Methodist Church, built in the early 1920s. We also drove by the campus of South Eastern Oklahoma State University. It reminded us very much of our alma mater, ETSU, in Commerce, TX.

Durant First United Methodist Church

We then headed towards Calera, south of the Casino, and stopped in at "The Peanut Shoppe", a store specializing in candy and nut creations, such as peanut brittle and pecan logs. They had everything you could have imagined, though! Too many choices! We made some selections, and then headed back home.

The Peanut Shoppe

The day was perfect, in the high 60s and sunny, so Tony cooked hotdogs on the grill...not just any hotdogs, Omaha Steak hotdogs, that we received for Christmas from my aunt and uncle. They were delicious! Tony told me not to get spoiled, they were probably some high-dollar dogs. LOL! We even put the awning out on the rig... something we rarely get to do, due to wind/weather.

Cookin' Dogs with the awning out

After lunch, we went for a walk around the RV Park. We are at the back of the park, and there is a small pond not far from the edge of the park. I don't believe it's park-owned. Whoever does own it though,  had lots of guests! There were many ducks and a large flock of Canada geese on or near the pond. As we continued our walk, we noticed a Montana 5ver with water underneath, and water running from the site. We tried to look carefully to make sure this wasn't a horrible flooding incident... no, it looked like just a dripping hose. It may have been dripping a while though, as it looked far worse than it was.

The Pond

After circling the majority of the park, we decided to stop in at the park office. They had a Pirit (pronounced "Pirate") Heated Hose for a good price, so we decided to pick it up. The hose has a thermostat that activates heat when the outside temps get below 45 degrees. One of the issues we would need to address, though, is that the thermostat is at the male end of the hose. The male end of the hose typically attaches to the RV, in an enclosed area. We have read that this may cause the thermostat to not turn on, when the hose is actually exposed to lower temps outside. The solution is to add male/female conversions to each end, essentially swapping the ends, so that the thermostat is at the end that attaches to the supply faucet. The parts to do this are not that expensive, and can be found at most hardware stores, so we were not worried.

Later that evening, we took the complimentary shuttle and headed over to the Choctaw Casino. The World Series of Poker was going on, so the Casino was pretty busy. We ate dinner at the Casino Buffet, and then played for a while.

It was a nice relaxing day.

Sunset on the Mammoth, with Casino Hotel, in red

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This morning the wind began to pick up, and it was a little chilly. With the wind blowing at just the right direction, the freight trains traveling nearby seemed MUCH closer. Oh well, we're used to that! Tony decided to go to Durant to find the parts for the Pirit Hose conversion, while I stayed and worked on our church directory layout. We stayed around the RV Park until the afternoon, then went over to the Casino. Tony's folks had said they may come to the Casino, as well. Well, sure enough, not long after we arrived, we found them! We had a good time playing and visiting. Seems if you leave Tony and his dad alone, someone will win money. LOL! After a while, we decided to take our wins/losses and headed back to the Mammoth. Tony made spaghetti, while we watched some of the last playoff football and then our Sunday night shows, then called it quits. No, we didn't win enough to retire to Colorado, but we still had fun.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Today was our "bonus day". Usually a quick weekend trip means we're heading back on Sunday, so to get to stay until Monday was really nice. The wind had really picked up during the night, and was slightly rocking the trailer, so both of us got up early... not by choice! So, after breakfast, we crawled back in bed for a little more Z's. After getting dressed and eating lunch, we started to leisurely get the rig ready to head home. I like these kinds of departures, where the drive isn't so rushed, so we can take more time to do a little more thorough cleaning. The temps were in the 60s, just WINDY! We made sure to re-winterize the Mammoth (add RV-antifreeze to the pipes) so it will be protected from the next cold snap.

Preparing to hit the road

We decided we'd take the Mammoth straight to storage on our way home, so we packed everything up and put most of it in the truck... this makes it faster to complete the drop off when we get to storage. We pulled out about 3:30PM, and got home about 6:15PM.

A great trip with very nice weather. Even though it wasn't long and we didn't win lots of money, we are rich with memories and recharged for whatever comes next.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Dangerous winds delay departure

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Today we were supposed to leave for home, but we were again alerted that dangerous winds were in the forecast starting Friday night, and all day Saturday. There was also a chance of snow and blowing snow. High profile vehicles were advised not to travel over high mountain passes or in the foothills. We decided, that meant the Mammoth needed to "stay put" one more day. Sure enough, we were awakened around 4AM with the winds already beginning to howl. At 5AM, the power went out! A typical RV electrical system is designed to run many items without AC power, instead running off the DC battery source. This DC power would typically run lights, furnace, fridge on gas, water pump, water heater on gas, slide outs and jacks, plus the new heating pads we added. When the rig is plugged into AC Power, the battery is continually charged, and everything works fine. With no AC power, the battery must sustain all these items, and many other items do not work: All 110- volt outlets, the microwave, water heater on electric, fridge on electric and the ceiling fan. We knew our battery was weak, but we didn't anticipate needing to run on battery alone, during this trip. Once the AC power was out, we knew we were in trouble.

Wind blowing snow. Looking this direction, you should see the ski slopes in the distance.

We tried very hard to use as little power as possible, and still run the furnace to keep warm. After a couple of hours, we realized our battery was getting too low, and soon may not run the furnace! Tony hooked up the trailer to the truck and started the truck up, using the truck's electrical connection to the trailer to charge the trailer battery. This worked, but we were using the new charge as soon as we got it, to run the heating pads and furnace. Also during this time, it began to snow and the winds were howling, shaking the trailer and causing white-out conditions with the blowing snow. About 11:00AM we realized we needed to be thinking about a plan B, in case the outage lasted through the evening or night. About 15 minutes later, POWER WAS RESTORED! Thank goodness, because plan B was going to cost us $$$! We ate lunch and took hot showers, and were so very thankful to have electricity. We found out later that a gust of 124mph was recorded in Summit County, were we were. Power was out to most of the town. Cell phone service was interrupted. We were also notified that I-70 was closed for a time due to an accident near Georgetown -- where winds were predicted to be especially bad -- so we were VERY glad we opted not to travel this day!

In the afternoon, we noticed the winds were not quite as bad as they had been in the morning. We also heard that the ski resort had nearly all their lifts closed most of the morning, and now most were back open. We decided to venture into town, and take a tour of Breckenridge Distillery. They make Bourbon, Vodka and a Spiced Rum at this distillery. It was fascinating to hear how much chemistry is involved, as well as time and a little luck, too. We got to taste a sample of their products, as well.

Us in front of the Breckenridge Distillery still.

After returning back to the Mammoth, we took it easy for a while and decided to see if our new friends Dan and Ruth Ann would like to join us for dinner out. We decided to go to a nice steakhouse in Frisco, not too far from Breckenridge. We figured the crowds wouldn't be as bad. Dan and Ruth Ann passed on the dinner, but said yes to getting together later. We drove to Frisco, but couldn't find the restaurant that we were looking for. We ended up at another steakhouse instead: The Blue Spruce Inn - Old Town Steakhouse. We walked in, and happened to get a table! (Reservations are recommended!) We ended up having a wonderful, intimate, delicious meal... I had surf and turf, and Tony had the prime rib. It was amazingly good! Since our wedding anniversary is Jan 1, we decided this was our "Anniversary Meal". It was one to remember.

After dinner, we got together with Dan and Ruth Ann,  played a game, and visited. We decided to call it a night about 9PM since we needed to get back to the rig to start packing up for leaving in the morning. We worked about an hour to store things we didn't need and start to get the rig ready, then hit the hay... remember, we'd been awakened at 4AM, and up since 5AM! Oh well, HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE! It's midnight somewhere!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

This morning, we packed up and prepared Mammoth for the journey back. Tony even winterized the pipes (adding RV antifreeze), so we can be ready for any future freezing temps. Even though we left later than we'd like, we were hoping to make it to Amarillo today. We started down I-70 and had no issues, traffic was not too bad and the roads were 99% clear. Many of the areas still had snow on the ground they received the day before we started our journey to Breck!  We saw lots of great scenery along the way, I guess that  made the long-distance drive seem to go by faster. We had no problems during the entire drive to Amarillo, arriving about 10:15PM, at my Aunt and Uncle's house.

Capulin Volcano with snow

About the time we were getting ready to go to bed, Tony got the unfortunate news that his grandmother had passed away. We were not surprised as she had not been doing well before we left, but were under the impression she was doing better. I guess it was her time to finally go home to Heaven, and we are glad she is no longer in pain here on Earth.

Sunset as we drove through New Mexico

Monday, January 2, 2012

We headed out about 8AM, and returned home about 4:30PM. We unloaded Mammoth and crashed. Boy, what a fun time, I'm sad for it to end, but it's also nice to be welcomed home with a flood of meows, purrs and kitty lovin', from our precious cat. (He's 18, and doesn't  like to travel.)

We will definitely return to Tiger Run Resort and Breckenridge!

Now Mammoth needs a BATH!

(Whoops! Pic was to come of Mammoth needing a bath. But Tony gave her one!)