Sunday, June 30, 2013

Not OK roads!

Saturday, June 29

This morning we got hitched up and again, pulled out about 9:45. Seems to be the best we can do!

Eileen at Springfield/Route 66 KOA, MO

I am really loving the new Ground Control Leveling System. It makes it very easy to get us set up and hitched up!

New legs of the Ground Control System, located just behind the rear tires.

We headed into Oklahoma on I-44 through Joplin, and then onto the Will Rogers Turnpike. We have the ability to avoid toll roads with our GPS, but we've decided the toll roads are often worth their price in saving time and have less congestion on them in urban settings than regular non-toll roads. Tony had hoped to stop at the McDonalds that sits over the highway, but the exit was closed and it appeared to be under demolition. Sure enough, I read on the Internet they are spending tollway funds to renovate the 56 year old structure (keeping the bridge and arches) and make the area more traveler friendly with better pumps and parking... taking a year to complete.

Closed McD's undergoing demo

After exiting the toll road at Hwy69, we stopped for a rest and lunch. Once on 69, we were wondering if we'd made a mistake! The road was so rough, we could barely go 55 on much of it, and the kitties were complaining much of that time. But, supposedly, it's the fastest way to Durant, OK, our next stop. Oklahoma also seemed to get instantly windy!

We crossed over Lake Eufaula, which I hear is a good vacation spot. Today, the water looked very brown... Not sure if this is normal or what!

Lake Eufaula, looking quite brown

We drove through a number of small OK towns. In one, we saw a Braum's, next to a large parking lot, so we swung in for a cool treat and to get some low-carb bread.

We arrived at the Choctaw KOA about 5:30, and seemed to fill the last available site! The park was full with a rally and lots of trailers... Maybe there to see Ronny Milsap in concert. We saw a Landmark, Sundance, North Trail, and a Cyclone!

After getting set up, we ate leftovers and the Tony went to the casino to play, while I chilled in the rig and did some work.

Our site, the last one on the row.

He returned, a little poorer, but he said he had fun. He ran into the folks in the Landmark, Gene & Song, whom had been at the National Rally in Goshen, and we met them at the Texas/Oklahoma gathering one night. They are making their way back to San Antonio.

Soon after Tony returned, we went to bed. This is the last night of our Summer Trip. :(

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Grilled Cheese and El Charro

Friday, June 28th

Today, we got going fairly quickly... We didn't have much to get ready since it was just an overnight stop. While getting ready to go our Bighorn/HOC neighbors, John and Debbie, came out to chat and say goodbye and well wishes, then we hit the road about 9:45.

Eileen at Terre Haute KOA, Indiana

We quickly crossed the state line from Indiana to Illinois, and then crossed the state, east to west. we went through Effingham, which was our stop back in March on our way to Elkhart... But we were going North/South.

Entering Illinois

We are really loving our fuel tank. Because we don't have to stop for fuel as often, we get to stop when we want, usually at state maintained rest areas, which are built for easy in-and-out and great parking for RVs/semis. We usually stop 2-3 times for a rest and stretch, and lunch can often be eaten in the trailer. We open a slide so we can sit at our table and enjoy a sandwich. In fact, today Tony made grilled cheese sandwiches! He used the propane stove to cook them in a skillet. It was a nice change from other cold sandwiches we've had. We also let the kitties out of their carrier to stretch and rest, as well!

Crossing into Missouri, in St. Louis

Once we crossed into Missouri and into St. Louis, the terrain changed into rolling hills, and lots of trees again. The road was more curvy, too.

Driving I-44 through Missouri

We arrived and got set up in the Springfield/Route 66 KOA about 5:30 or so.

The office

Our site

Mambo chillin' on his favorite pillow

Because we needed to fill the big tank, we unhooked the trailer and used our GasBuddy app to find the lowest price of diesel near us. We headed toward the small town of Republic, MO, to get fuel at the WalMart Murphy filling station. I ran into WalMart to add money to our fuel card, so that when we use it to get fuel, we save 10 cents a gallon. It's a bit of a hassle, but worth the savings, because The fuel is often the lowest around, anyway. We fueled up only about 60 gallons, since we knew we wouldn't need a full tank to get us home.

After fueling we decided we were craving Mexican food, so we decided to try "El Charro", which we passed coming to the WalMart. An Internet search gave it mixed reviews, but we decided we'd give it a try. The food was fair, not exactly our Tex-Mex, but not bad. It would trick our taste-buds for a few more days.

It's in neon, it has to be good!?

After dinner we went back to the rig and walked around the park a bit, then chilled inside until we were too tired to continue.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

On the Road Again...

Thursday, June 27

Today we got up and finished getting ready to head out. There was again rain last night and it was overcast, but that made it not to hot to get hitched and ready to go.

Eileen, Cleveland/Streetsboro KOA, Ohio

We loaded up and left just before 10am. Kitties fussed for a while, but then they settled down. Our destination was Terre Haute, Indiana, and was going to be about a 7-hour drive.

We took I-71 down to Columbus, OH, then on I-70, through Indianapolis, IN... which needed much repair... And was under construction in many places.
In two instances, we were narrowed to one lane, that stopped for a bit. So our 7-hour drive was closer to 8. Luckily, Indiana has lots of nice rest stops!

Headed out of Akron

Crossing OVER the Cuyahoga Valley

Leaving Ohio

Approaching Indianapolis, IL

Lucas Oil Stadium, where DCI Finals have been held. Oh and they play football there too!

We arrived at Terre Haute KOA, and got set up pretty quickly, since we didn't unhitch. The new leveling system works sooo well, I can do it all myself, while Tony gets the water and electric hooked up!

One of the nice things, this KOA gave us freshly made cookies, and cat treats for the boys, upon check-in!

KOA Office

Our site (in the middle). Bighorn to the left.

Us, with Mammoth in the background

Brothers watching what's new out the window.

After we set up and ate leftovers, we walked around the park. There is lots to see and do here, a real family-oriented park.

We saw a Landmark, a North Country and a Bighorn in the park. Tony eventually got to visit the folks in the Bighorn, HOC members that were at the National Rally, the Cramers from California!

We were really tired from the drive, and even though there was still a little daylight at 9:45, we went to bed.

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No Train This Time!

Wednesday, June 26th

Today we got up quickly because we had tickets to ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway, through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park is a United States national park that preserves and reclaims the rural landscape along the Cuyahoga River between Akron and Cleveland in Northeast Ohio. The 31.78 sq mi park, which is administered by the National Park Service, is the only national park in Ohio.

Cuyahoga means "crooked river" in Mohawk, which is part of the Iroquoian language family.

We made good time and got to the Akron Northside Station early, so we wandered around and waited. More and more people showed up, and soon there was quite a croud, including a large group of teenagers on a field-trip of some kind.

The train was supposed to arrive at 10:25, so Tony positioned himself for a good photo-op, while I waited at the platform. Time came and went, and still no train. I then overheard them say due to storms in the area, some trees had fallen over the tracks and they were delayed as they had to clear them.

Waiting for the train

We waited and waited, now it was 11:05, well past the departure time, and still no train. We then heard there was another tree down on the tracks, and the removal could take hours!!

They finally offered to bus the folks over to another station to board the train, or you could reschedule for another day... but we gave up on the trip. We decided a bus ride to wait on a train to move was not the best plan for our day, and we opted to just drive into the park and explore, instead. The tickets were not expensive, so we chalked it up as a donation to the cause. After all, it's run by volunteers!

We instead headed the direction we thought we'd see the most of the park, through Akron, then opted to stop for lunch, first. We happened upon a Red Lobster, and since it was lunchtime, we knew we'd get a nice lunch menu and pricing. We had a great meal of popcorn shrimp, our favorite!

After lunch, we drove into the park and started looking for a visitor center. We passed one area where our map said there was one, but could not locate it. This park was unlike any we'd been to, there were homes and small rural towns, stores and farms, crops and animals all throughout everywhere we drove. The train tracks ran along-side the river through the valley, and we could tell it was a unique area... You'd never guess you were surrounded by the cities of Akron and Cleveland!

Sign indicates a National Park!

We cris-crossed the river many times. Since they had heavy rain the night before, it was high, and muddy.

Driving along in the park, under I-80 and I-270 bridges.

However, due to the fact that this wasn't your usual "controlled" park, we were not overwhelmed by what we saw, and after getting somewhat lost and confused by the lack of park structure, we decided to head back home.

We ended up enjoying a nap and then prepped for departure tomorrow.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Rock, Roll and Dortmunder

Tuesday, June 25

Today we got up and had breakfast, then we decided to split up and go to Walmart and do laundry, as well. Tony took the Walmart list and dropped me off at the office with the laundry. By the time he was done, the laundry was almost done.

We ate leftovers, and then headed to the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, in Cleveland, OH, about a 40 minute drive from us. The GPS took us on an adventure through the middle of downtown Cleveland.

Downtown Cleveland feels a lot like downtown Dallas.

An old Catholic Church nestled among the sky-scrapers in downtown Cleveland.

One thing I noticed here, there are not many citizens driving pickup trucks, Especially not one ton duallies! We started to pull into the museum parking, but it looked like we wouldn't fit. The height restriction and metal partitions on either side of the entrance looked awfully tight, So we began looking for alternatives. We found a lot on the other side of the Cleveland Browns football stadium probably a half-mile away from our destination! Both are located on the shore of Lake Erie. The walk was a little warm, but not too difficult.

The Cleveland Browns Stadium

Once we arrived and took few outside pictures, we started our tour. The museum is set up in six levels and is a pyramid shaped building, so each level has a successively smaller space. It really was quite fascinating to see all of the memorabilia and artifacts from the history of rock 'n roll.

This is very unique building!

The front of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


The entrance explained what you are about to see.

An Elvis jumpsuit and his Grammy

Heavy metal display

The Beatles display

Part of the Rolling Stones display

Michael Jackson's sequined glove

ZZTop's fuzzy drums

There was so much to see and lots of folks touring, so getting pictures was a little challenging. We probably could've spent two days there, to read and experience everything!

While we were in the museum, I got an alert that there was a severe thunderstorm warning for our area. Sure enough the winds picked up and it became to rain very hard. Mind you we are in an entirely glass-enclosed building, so I was concerned about hail. Luckily no hail, but we did see some folks get caught out in the wind-driven rain. We wandered around the gift shop for a bit then decided to trek back to the truck, since it stopped raining for the moment. We had made plans to meet up with a former coworker of mine, Dale, that now lives near here.

Another GPS adventure to get to Great Lakes Brewing Company and find parking, but we managed. Dale suggested a great place to eat and have a beer with a good friend! I have the t-shirt to prove it!

This older revitalized area reminded us of the West End, in Dallas.

My souvenir from our visit! A great local craft beer, the Dortmunder Gold Lager, was shared.

After dinner and visiting we headed back to the rig. We were sooo tired, We didn't do much except watch some TV, until more storms moved in and the reception would not stay consistent. We sat and watched the lightening and listened to the storms blow through, then went to bed.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Football, Mexican Food, and Ice Cream

Monday, June 24th

Today, we got up and ate the leftover breakfast from the Rally and decided to head down to Canton, OH to see the Pro-football Hall of Fame. We were slow-moving, maybe because we've been eating a lot of carbs, due to being in "rally-mode". You can't help but eat "bad"! Before we left the park we also took a look around the park store, and checked out the laundry. We'll need to do that soon!
We decided we were craving Mexican food... Note it's been 2.5 weeks since we had true Tex-Mex, so we opted to head to Chili's restaurant in Canton. One, because we had a gift card, and two because we knew what to expect from their Mexican dishes. We've been let down before from local, northern "Mexican food", which has been poor at best. At Chili's we had fajitas, and they were great! Even had a great deal, buy one fajita meal, get one for a $1.00.
After lunch we headed to the Hall of Fame.

Us at the Pro Football Hall of Fame

Tony taking more pics

The outside was interesting. I expected the football-shaped dome to be bigger!
We entered, paid, and had a good time looking at the exhibits and interactive displays. The second floor houses the hall of fame, with the busts of the inductees.

Aikman's Jersey

W/L Records of all the teams over the history of Pro-football. Yellow are playoff appearances, red are Super Bowl appearances.

Evolution of the helmet and shoulder pads.

Hall of Fame busts

Tom Landry, coach

Troy Aikman, QB

Emmitt Smith, RB

Roger Staubach, QB

After going through all the exhibits at the Hall of Fame, we picked up some souvenirs and headed back home. We had dinner of leftovers, and enjoyed relaxing for the evening. before it got dark I decided to bike up to the office for some "happy camper" ice cream, which had marshmallows, graham cracker bits and chocolate bits in it. Yum! Tony went with me and had Heath Bar caramel crunch ice cream. It was really good too. Ok now we are really "off the wagon" on the diet, but we'll get back on track soon, I promise!

We headed back home and watched some Pawn Stars and Duck Dynasty, then hit he hay.
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