Monday, October 17, 2016

Texas - Frisco


The state line is some where in this
picture - can you see it?
We made a detour off of Route 66 on October 6, 2016 and headed to Frisco, TX just north of Dallas. It was a long drive and a hot one. We once again took back roads and we crossed the state line at the Red River. 

We settled into our site at the Hidden Cove RV Park and Marina.  It is a beautiful oasis at the end of a huge subdivision area, we were getting a little worried as we drove, wondering what we had gotten ourselves into this time. 
 All the sites are back-in but with full hook ups and very wide.
 If they had wanted, they could have put another site in between each one, like many other campgrounds have done. So glad they didn't. The grounds are well maintained. A few down sides are you have to pay the park entry fee on top of the site fee, there is no WiFi and no laundry room on site. 
The campground is on Lewisville Lake, a large sports lake, and morning walks with the dog were quite peaceful. 

We didn't get as much sight seeing done as planned as Nancy had a bout of vertigo the first day in town. Makes it hard to drive around and visit places when the world is spinning so fast. 

We were only about 30 miles north of Dallas but it took us an hour to get there. The roads here are all under construction, and the area we are in is being built up rapidly so they are widening all the roads. All of the expressways are tollways so we avoided them. 
We were impressed with Dallas, while it is a busy and thriving downtown they have a number of parks throughout the city, with fountains and walkways through them. The surrounding suburbs also have great park systems, lots of green space and walking and biking paths. 

The George W. Bush Museum and Library are on the campus of the Southern Methodist University. The grounds surrounding the building have been left to go wild, which is nice, but made it seem like the building wasn't in operation. They could use a few more directional signs, it was a little confusing to figure out where to park, and then we had to pay for parking. The first time we have experienced that. This is on top of the cost to get in. You enter into a large lobby area with glass displays of gifts from other nations and a section that has an ever changing video that runs along the top of the wall. It changes with various pictures of the country, it was pretty cool to watch. This is a shot from one corner. 

The display area is smaller than most of the others we have been to, but it is laid out well. There wasn't much about his life prior to the Presidency and we like to be able to see that information as it helps to understand the person better. Each museum we have been to has had a replica of the oval office, with all the personal items of that president. This is the only one that has a full scale replica. There was a room dedicated to his daughters and a video about life in the White House from their perspective. It can not be easy growing up there. 

There were a number of interactive displays which is nice and many directed to children which is great.

They had computer games for kids to play, where they could find things in the White House. There was also a section about the "No Child Left Behind" program that had a wall full of books. Our thought was we would have never been able to get our daughter to leave that spot, she would have wanted to read all of those books. 
Speaking of our daughter, there was a small display about Hurricane Katrina, (our daughters name). Right next to that was a small display about the financial crises. 

They had a temporary display that walks you through the steps of campaigning to becoming President. It took you through the process today and also looked back on previous elections. It was interesting to see the journey step by step.

There were displays that you could "weigh in" on topics from previous elections by using washers to add weight to your opinion side. 

The carpet listed all of the candidates over the years. This is how Nancy's family ended up with their last name. Wilson was president when her Grandfather arrived here from Finland so he changed it from Sj√∂blom to Wilson. Roughly pronounced seabloom. 

They had a board with the question "What makes a good President?". There were peoples answers posted, most were from children. We loved the one about knowing math equations. 

Dealey Plaza was the next stop, another sad day in our history. A day that most people can remember exactly what they were doing when they heard the news. Nancy was only six and can vividly remember coming home from school and her mom was watching TV and couldn't stop crying. Les was 14 and sitting in class, the school board president came to the window and called the teacher over and announced that the President had been shot.
The 6th Floor Museum is in the Book Depository Building, which we had planned to tour, but the wait was almost an hour so we explored outside and wandered the "grassy knoll".
The hallway of the ticket area is lined with photos from that day. The look of excitement on the faces of the people in the crowds really stuck us. How life changes so quickly in just an instant. There is a covered walkway on the knoll with a quote from JKF, part of the speech he was going to deliver the next day. Informational signs point out strategic spots, where Abraham Zapruder was standing while filming, and where the shots hit.

Abraham was standing on the pedestal in the left picture, the white X on the pavement is where the second shot hit President Kennedy. He turned over a copy of his film to the police.

There has always been a part of us that doesn't believe the reports that have come out regarding the shooting, and after being here we still believe that there is something not quite right about it. 
Nancy was standing on the white
X while taking this picture of
the Book Depository Building

A side note - when we got out of our car after parking, we realized we were in spot 214. Les's Teamster Local. This happens to us a lot. 

Down the street from the plaza is another memorial to JFK. It is a large cement structure that you can walk through. The designer Phillip Johnson calls it an "open tomb" and thought the design would provide visitors with a spot of quiet privacy. It has never been a very popular piece.  

The Old Red Museum is such a beautiful building. It always makes us happy to see such a gem being kept up. 

We found a few roadside oddities. 

The traveling man is located in three spots and in three different forms. They are the creations of artists Brad Oldham and Brandon Oldenburg

The first is Traveling Man Awakening. All three sites have the little dollop birds which offer great reflection pictures. 

The second one is Traveling Man Waiting on a Train. It is across the street from the railcar station. 

The third is Traveling Man Gumby

In contrast to the shinny metal sculptures we found the Happy Half-wit Muffler Man

Sunday, we drove to Grand Prairie, another drive that took way longer than it should for the distance we went. Les's cousin Dale and his wife Marianne live here. We haven't seen Dale in 30 years, so it was very nice catching up with him and meeting his wife over a two hour lunch. We were so busy yakking right up till we got into our cars that we forgot to get a picture.

We are heading back to Oklahoma and Route 66 next.

Till we meet again....

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Dog grooming can be expensive.
Mielikki requires a haircut about every 6 weeks. When we started out we were taking her to a groomer where ever we could find one. We discovered it is hard to find someone who knows how to cut an Airedale correctly. Each haircut would cost us between $60 and $80 and she never looked good when it was done. 
So we took matters into our own hands and bought clippers and cut her ourselves now. We don't always do the best job either, although Les is getting better each time, at least we are not handing over $60 or more for her to look bad!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Oklahoma - Chandler


The move to Chandler, OK was on September 29, 2016. We took all back roads from Oswego to avoid the tollway, costly for an RV with a tow dolly. It is always an interesting drive when we do this. Oak Glen RV Park was home for the week. It is located right on Route 66, can't get any closer than that.
It is a combination RV Park and Mobile Home Park. The RV park is well maintained, the mobile home park not so much. There are some permanent campsites but those are kept up very well. Most sites are fairly narrow but we lucked out and got the end site which has a great grassy area next to it. We paid $17 a night with our Good Sam Discount. Even though it is on Hwy 66 the road noise was minimal. There was lots of open space to walk the dog.
There was only one down side to our stay, on Sunday around 5:00 pm the police showed up to a trailer across the park from us. We assumed maybe a break in or something, until they started roping off the entire site with caution tape. The guy who lived there was found dead by his fire ring, and unfortunately it was a young boy who found him. The investigation lasted until 3 am or later. They brought in large spot lights to be able to continue after dark. As of this posting they seem to think there was no foul play involved. First major incident since we have been on the road.

Route 66 was the plan for this trip. We headed to Tulsa where we left off last time and explored to Oklahoma City. There was not as much on this stretch as we have seen in other places.
As you enter Tulsa from either end of the city, there is a large Route 66 sign over the road.
Route 66 Village is home to a restored Frisco 4500 steam engine that carried passengers from St. Louis through Tulsa to Oklahoma City, from 1940 -1947. There is also a 154-foot tall oil derrick, the largest in North America.

The Cyrus Avery Plaza has a large sculpture depicting the old meeting the new. Cyrus Avery was a leading figure in getting Route 66 to come through Oklahoma.

Old signs are one of the best things on the route. Even the Goodwill Store has a cool one.

The old buildings, especially the gas stations are always fun, they did create some great buildings back in the day.
The Blue Dome Building was a 1924 Gulf Oil Gas Station and is now an office. What is now an Avis Car Rental was once the Vickery Phillips Station built in 1932. These cottage style buildings were so popular that by 1930 there were 6,750 of them in 12 states.

The Admiral Drive-In was built in 1951 and is still in operation. It is Oklahoma's largest drive-in, with a capacity of more than 1,000 cars.

We have seen some really neat round-abouts in our travels, like this fountain one in downtown Tulsa.

Next town was Sapulpa. The Waite Phillips Filling Station is here, it was built in 1923 and is now a historical museum. It is thought to be one of the first with such a large covered pump area.

You come to the Rock Creek Bridge just as you are leaving Sapulpa. It is on the 1920's portion of the route. Today a number of vehicles would not be able to cross it as the clearance is only 7-feet. A railroad track runs right next to it, which gave Nancy an opportunity for another reflections photo. 
Just down the road from the bridge is a drive-in that didn't make it.

In Stroud there is a great sign for the Skyliner Motel.

Dawn Welch the owner of the Rock Cafe, was the inspiration for the character Sally Carrera in the film "Cars". The restaurant was built in the 1930's and is the only remaining business from that time period. Over the years it has been run mostly by woman, in the 40's during the war it doubled as a Greyhound Bus Station. It was damaged by a tornado in 1999 and a fire in 2008 and funds from the National Park helped to restore it. 

Just a short distance from our campground as you head into downtown Chandler, you came across this cool bowling alley sign, no bowling alley just the sign. Right down from there is the Lincoln Motel. We loved the sign that there are direct dial phones and free local calls, something we don't even think about today.

The Route 66 Interpretive Center is the best one we have been in so far.
The building was built between 1935 and 1937. It was the Oklahoma National Guard building. The sandstone walls were hand chiseled by over 250 workers.

The outer walls are 20" thick, built to withstand tornado winds.They have one of the chisels they used on display and it is extremely heavy. The construction offered much needed employment during the Great Depression. The displays were very unique. One room is filled with memorabilia from the route and over 50 photographs, both current and old.

There are "beds" to honor the memory of the many motels that lined the route. You can lay on them and watch videos about places on the route. There are also other video areas with seats from old cars and trains.

The Phillips Gas Station now sits empty, but has been kept up for show. There are some cool old cars in the parking lot. Sure do miss the uniqueness of cars these days.

Just outside of town we came to Wilson's Fruitstand and of course we had to stop. Enjoyed delicious fresh tomato sandwiches for dinner that night.

Warwick is where the Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum is located. It is in a restored 1921 gas station owned by John Seaba who employed 18 people in the late 1930's.

They worked on Model-T's and ran an engine repair shop. Today it holds about 65 vintage motorcycles from 1908 to current. One of the best was the motorcycle that was used in the Captain America movies.

The township of Luther is a small farming community. The Booker T. Washington School for Blacks was built here in 1916 and was open until 1957 when the school system was integrated.
During the Jim Crow era, black travelers where not always welcome at some of the motels and gas stations. The Threatt Filling Station was a safe place for them. It was open from 1915 to the 1950's.

Arcadia was established shortly after the Land Rush. At the turn of the 20th Century the census reported that the area was split 50/50 black and white. The route brought many businesses to the area. Just before you get to town are Ruins of an old gas station that had been in business for years, but the owners got themselves in trouble when they got involved with making counterfeit money.
One of the most popular stops is the Round Barn. It was built by William H. Odor in 1898 and no one thought he could do it. He soaked and bent all the lumber used to make the 60 by 45-foot tall barn. It is a beautiful building, it had fallen into disrepair but was brought back to its original beauty. The lower level holds a gift shop and history information. There is an older gentleman, proud to say

he is 89, who gives you a short tour through the memorabilia, he lives not far from the barn. In fact the gas station ruins are next to his property. He has great stories to tell, it was so fun to listen to him. He taught one of the ladies in the group to dance. The upper level is used as an event room. What a cool place to have a wedding.

Oklahoma City didn't have as much about Route 66 as we expected. There are a lot of other great things. They have a wonderful river area.
The Route 66 places we found were, The Tower Theater sign, the Gold Dome building and the Milk Bottle Building.
On the western edge of town is the Overhosler Bridge, built in 1925. It carried Route 66 traffic until the 1950's, when traffic volume increased and a wider four-lane highway was built next to it. It still carries local traffic across the North Canadian River.

We of course found a number of Roadside Oddities on our travels.

In Tulsa we found drinks, a large bottle of Liquid Life and what appears to be a Mixed Drink. Plus, a giant "Spider" Bug.

The largest Buddhist Deity , Quan Am Bodhisattva, embodiment of compassion and kindnessalso lives in Tulsa. She stands 50-feet tall and is on the grounds of the Tam Bao Buddhist Temple.

Steve's Service Station in Davenport, not really a roadside, but our son-in-laws name.

In Arcadia we found a Large Pop Bottle outside of Pop's convenience store. It is lit up at night and changes color.

A statue of Chief Who Touches the Clouds is on the campus of the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond.

Once again the Barrett Drug Center is not really a roadside oddity but how could we pass it up?

In Tulsa this crazy hanging metal piece is a circular staircase that architects hung between two buildings because they thought it looked like DNA.

There is a really beautiful monument to the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889. Once again the Native Americans were forced off of their land. The government in an attempt to get people to move west, offered settlers parcels of land up to 160 acres. If they lived on the land and improved it they would receive the title to the land. While the practice seems
questionable, the sculptures depicting it are quite amazing.
They sit in a park along the river walk and actually cross over the river. It is a beautiful area with a waterfall and walkways on both sides of the river.

The details were amazing.

On a more somber note, we visited the memorial of the Oklahoma Bombing.
The fences on either side of the doorway are lined with items people have left to pay their respects.

Inside the memorial it is so peaceful, such a contrast to the atrocity that happened here. Those who visit are respectful of the space and speak in soft voices and walk slowly among the chairs.
Across the street is a statue of Jesus with his head held in his hand, it seems to be the most perfect response.

We are detouring off of Route 66 again and heading to Dallas, TX. A stop at the Bush Museum, JKF Memorial and a visit with one of Les's cousins in on the agenda.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Flapping in the breeze.
When we travel in the RV we try to keep the windows open as much as possible and not use the AC. We average about 7 miles to the gallon for gas, and using the AC makes that even worse. One issue we encountered was that the drapes that wrap around the front window flap in the breeze. They have a plastic strap that holds them together but not tight enough.
Our solution is a small ribbon run through the back of the drape where it connects to the wall and tied tight. No more flapping and billowing drapes and no more noise.