Archives for category: midwest

It’s the first time EVER on my trips West to have anyone with me at all until I got to Vegas Baby but not this year!

On the first leg of the trip, my sister has joined me. We haven’t made a trip alone together since 1995 and we certainly were overdue because we haven’t shut up talking since we left on 5/31 on our way to Branson, Missouri to see one of Ava’s dearest friends, Elisa Furr, who has performed as a Celine tribute artist all over the world for years. I haven’t been able to catch up with her the last time I was in Vegas Baby because she was in Hawaii performing with the Legends in Concert production there. When I heard she was going to be in Branson performing while I headed West, I nailed her down pretty quickly for a much needed visit.

She not only opened the doors to her home but also treated my sister and I like royalty! She got us front row VIP tickets to see her show twice yesterday and took us backstage to meet all the other performers. My sister and I fell in love with all of the amazing talent in this show!

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Elisa Furr as Celine! Oh yeah, and ME!

Some of the best times I’ve ever had were on this visit with her! We were way overdue for a a visit. Thank you, Elisa for an amazing experience! Give all our buddies at Legends BIG hugs!

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Danced with Brooks & Dunn Tribute artists! Photos of that to follow! LOL

 

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Outstanding, exciting & energetic BLUES BROTHERS Tribute artists. Sang with them! Yeah! Well, kinda!

 

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Fell in love ELIVIS (Travis)! He’s a true blue soul!

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Michael performs Michael’s Moonwalk better than Micheal!

We had the chance to get to know Michael (Michael) and Bruno (Isaiah) better when we all went to have after show drinks with Celine (Elisa). All three of these outstanding performers had literally just driven to Branson from Vegas Baby and had a tiny bit different idea of what their traditional post-performance wind down of food, fun and drinks would be like. The only place in Branson open after 10:00 PM with a bar is an Applebee’s. Yup. You’re not in Vegas Baby any more Toto! We were laughing for hours about this. Isaiah was in shock and had us rolling on the floor with his quick quips and sense of humor. Michael shared his story of how he began performing Michael J’s early as most of these performers did. Michael’s ability to transform himself into Johnny Depp, George Michael and others by showing us his portfolio photos.

Love you guys!

Today, we drove to Bartlesville, Oklahoma from Branson so I could show my sister one of the most incredible examples of Frank Lloyd Wright’s designs, the Price Tower which I had discovered in my first solo trip West in 2009. I fell in love with NE Oklahoma and have been looking for an excuse to come back!

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The 1956 Price Tower by Frank Lloyd Wright was a design he had on his desk for 25 years with the NYC Bowery district in mind for multi-purpose use.

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Wright focused his design of this 19 story piece of art to include stores, offices and apartments.

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The theme of copper and naturalistic concepts and materials were to remind one of a giant tree reaching for the skies. It is not only a great story of his genius but of this town’s determination to preserve it for us to see today!

We then drove over to Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve about 12 miles SW of Bartlesville so I could show my sister another of my great finds from my 2009 trip. This country estate was owned by the oil baron, Frank Phillips, of Phillips 66 (Petroleum) fame. The Woolaroc museum is an amazing collection of antiquities found in this general region from pottery to paintings, guns to planes and trains, and many indigenous peoples artifacts, clothing and more!

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All types and origins of pottery found in this museum covers areas spanning from the midwest to the southwest.

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First Face Jugs!

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First Face Jug info

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Indigenous peoples beaded belts.

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Many amazing paintings of the region

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And beautiful bronze sculptures

Tomorrow? We drive toward Eagles Nest, Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico! I’m so excited for my incredible sister to show me this area of New Mexico which will include Georgia O’Keeffe’s home, Ghost Ranch, and the museum with her art. Santa Fe was Ava’s and my favorite place we visited on our last camping trip in 2011. I can’t wait to go back!

HAPPY TAILS!

I gotta’ say that I-80 from Nevada to Ohio is either rolling fields of agri crops or huge pasture land for cattle with range of vegetation from scrub to some of the most lush green you’ve ever seen. As you already know, I loved the farms in Iowa and Illinois was similar but not as spectacular.

KOA at Rock Island, Illinois was nice and this was my view from the camper BUT…PLEASE GET DECOY GEESE! The goose poop covered every square inch of my space! Is that why I only paid $30 instead of $45? Really?

Doesn’t it look like Iowa? This wasn’t far from Iowa…as the crow flies…or as I fly! LOL

They scrambled this beautiful farmland with this stuff just like Iowa or was it Nebraska? Which ever, it still looks weird.

Funky lil farms and outbuildings here as there…wherever that was! It’s all a blur now that they all look-alike! Cool picture crooked like it is! LOL

So pretty!

Love old barns…guess you knew that by now tho.

And then…

INDIANA! Notice there are NO pictures of Indiana because there is absolutely NOTHING on I-80 East to take a picture of! It doesn’t matter if you’re driving south to north or west to east…just nothing screams out to my camera. Sorry guys. I couldn’t find one…not even one picture to take in Indiana but the second I crossed over into Ohio, I thought I’d gotten back on the wrong highway again and was in Iowa! The farm houses looked just like the ones there! Incredible!

But first I had to get lost in Michigan which looked a great deal like some of the back roads of Georgia!

Lost in thoughts, I suddenly realized I was in MICHIGAN! WHAT? How did that happen? Oh my  TomTom routed me to Niagara Falls on the Canadian side! LOL Thankfully, I only had to go about six  miles on back Michigan roads to recover. The good news is that I discovered a little piece of Georgia on that back road!

What a pretty little house even if a telephone pole interrupts the view!

This reminds me of some of my favorite back roads which I take going to the Florida panhandle!

THEN OHIO! WHAM! What a contrast to Indiana! Back to the beautiful farm lands of Iowa and Illinois on I-80.

Crooked or not, it’s still beautiful!

The Toll highways surprise this southerner as we don’t have them there. They just don’t seem to be worth the cost. I’m going back roads the rest of the way! Well, maybe not if I-80 doesn’t have a toll for the rest of the way! LOL

 Another thing about Iowa that I meant to mention yesterday is that there is a great deal of construction going along I-80 through Iowa through Illinois and Indiana but the worst part is that there were hundreds of dead deer. So word: DON’T DRIVE AT NIGHT ON I-80 because you’ll either get challenged by the construction or by a deer!

The other part of the story is that my fav Motel 6 has been bought by the company that owns Hilton so I can only hope and pray they get their internet issues corrected where it’s FREE with the room. As the young woman at the front desk said, “It should be free with the room. Heck, even McDonald’s has free internet!” I totally agree especially when it SUCKS as badly as it does in your corporate owned hotels. You franchise units take care of business!

Tomorrow, I’m scheduled to camp at Niagara Falls for the next few days (US side, that is) until crossing the border. I’m so excited! It’s a lifetime dream and this trip is extended because it is a necessity for my sanity since my daughter’s death. I haven’t written about it much because I just can’t do it yet. Just continue to follow me on this healing heart adventure because it feels good knowing my friends are coming along for the ride.

Happy Trails.

One of Johnny Cash’s songs begins, “I’ve been everywhere man,”  and that’s how I feel! Like I said earlier, what I’ve seen of Nebraska isn’t as spectacular as driving through Iowa. I NEVER thought I’d say that and I’m still stunned that I’ve written it and you Nebraskans, please remember that I don’t allude to the whole state but just what I’ve seen. Granted, it’s limited but the expressways either draw me in or they don’t.

Iowa? It’s some of the prettiest farmland I’ve ever seen. Yep. Iowa! It has some of the neatest farmhouses and farm outbuildings on pristine soil. Most of what you’re going to see in this post is just that. I couldn’t help myself. It’s the farm girl in me that attracts me like a magnet to these scenes. If I had time, I’d just come to Iowa to photograph farmhouses and be happy.

So, here goes!

Tail end of Nebraska and beginnings of Iowa

Countryside starts to morph

And cool, old barns start to appear:

And strange-looking silos look like they’ve multiplied like mushrooms under a common canopy!

And this beautiful Thrift-looking plant grows wild all over the sides of the highway decorating the right-of-way in shades of lavender.

Then the hills start to roll structures into the treeline.

And hills continue to deposit buildings at the tree lines.

Now the most amazing array of outbuildings and farmhouses appear…

see what I mean about the outbuildings:

Great old barns

and interesing looking outbuildings pop up

And, while you’re at it, throw in a good handful of wind turbines to confuse the eye!

And, lastly…

and then…the Mississippi River! Nope, didn’t take a picture of that! By the way, it was the healthiest waterway I’ve seen this whole trip! Such a contrast to last year when all the great snow flooded  farmlands and meadows I passed by during last year’s Great Adventure. This year, Nevada ain’t the only dry state! I couldn’t believe that it was 70 degrees at 8:00AM in the morning in Boulder, CO! I also couldn’t believe how dry the creek beds were or how low the rivers have been all through California, Oregon, Colorado & Nebraska.

Well, I’m cashing in for the night because I’m in Illinois now and need to rest up for Niagara Falls!

Happy Trails!