Archives for posts with tag: Oklahoma

I had such an amazing experience this past summer traveling the West, Northwest, Canada and Northeast that I decided to buy a travel trailer and “gypsy” it up a bit and get back on the road! Like my BFF says, “If you can’t run with the big dogs, get off the porch!” Well, I’m officially OFF the porch and running the the big dawgs now!

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A little gypsy is a good thang!

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And more is mo’ bettah!

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Running with the Big Dawgs!

Crossing Tennessee and Arkansas just about wore me out and that ain’t an easy thing to do! I got wind, rain, mountains, more wind and 18-wheelers by the millions trying to blow me, my truck and stuffed Wolf Pup off I-40 but I wasn’t going to quit! I made it safely to the lovely Ivy’s Cove RV Park in Russellville, Arkansas. If you’re planning on doing this kind of traveling, I recommend picking a place ahead of time to arrange for a spot as soon as you know what day you’ll arrive. It’s helpful to be specific with where in their RV park you want to be placed…near the bathroom and a pull through…etc.

As a GoodSam RV Elite Member, I have access to their wonderful website to get all the information I need to contact any of the parks (in or out of their system) to help me make my arrangements so I’m not stuck at a truck stop (like I’ve found myself doing back in 2008) sleeping in my truck. I must say that every truck stop where I’ve resorted such measures was years ago and great experiences as long as you tell them upfront you’re alone, tired and to look out for you. Now that we’re in the age of magical access to internet via our phones, there’s no real reason to have to do the truck stop thing, however, it is an option. I also hear Walmart still allows parking lot parking but I haven’t confirmed that.

I’m so very surprised to find that there is such a great demand for these RV parks! I noticed back in 2010 when I had my pop-up that there were whole families living in these places. I assumed, maybe incorrectly, they were forced to live there in travel trailers because of the recession. I’m thinking now that it’s more of a lifestyle decision as more and more families are home schooling their children to find alternative lifestyles and I’m loving that!

After getting over the giddy feeling of sleeping my my travel trailer for the first time around 1:00 AM, I rested better than I have in months! I was raring to hit the road again  to cross the rest of Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas.

As for Arkansas, I love the fact that they have “Toad Suck State Park” and the most amazing Great Country station 107.3 which got me across half of Oklahoma. Yup. Willie, Hank Jr. and Sr., Johnny (Cash) and all the good ole’ boys from yesteryear had me dancing in my seat!

As I travel, I love to find “mom & pop” places to fill up both my car and stomach! I found I could do both at Exit 270 on I-40 West (and East) in Checotah, Oklahoma at Campbell’s BBQ & Country Store. Turns out they have 100% gas and the best beef brisket with sides of slaw and pork-n-beans! It kept me going all the way to Amarillo! Yeah, baby! Tell them “Howdy” on Facebook (Campbells Country Store)!

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Campbell’s BBQ & Country Store at Exit 270 West!

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Deal of the century and the best brisket West of the Mississippi! 

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And, then there’s the chair!

All I can say about Texas: brutal cross-winds, a billion 18-wheelers, intense gas-guzzling white-knuckle driving and exhaustion. I actually watched the needle on my gas gauge drop rapidly as I limped along toward Amarillo! I just barely made it to a truck stop with the gas warning light staring back at me for those last ten miles. It was weird. The best part of that day was pulling into the Amarillo Ranch RV Park and the wonderful people who helped me get registered even with their internet down and get me outta there this morning! Now I’m fully trained (compliments of them) in black and gray water disposal! Hahaha!

As I do, I jumped off the interstate onto the backroads at Amarillo and headed for Eagle Nest, NM. I do love me some New Mexico and the only reason I didn’t stay in the Santa Fe and Taos areas were due to inclement weather issues. I need to get to Colorado, visit some VIP’s and get back south before weather turns nasty. Heck, there’s still snow remnants in northeastern New Mexico! Anyway, next time I’m this way, I’ll find a place where I can stay for longer when weather is more appropriate for my rig! LOL

As for now, I’m in R&R mode and catching my breath before heading for Colorado.

Happy Trails…until we meet again!

Last year before I left on that Great Adventure, I’d prayed for healing and to trust in God to show me the path it. It was, from the beginning, an amazing journey of trust and healing. As I contemplated this years Great Adventure, I prayed for Spiritual healing. And it has been just that.

As my sister and I drove through northern Arkansas to get to Branson, Missouri, she kept telling me that she had had a recurring dream of this very drive along the Buffalo River and seeing rock structures. Everywhere we went there were rock houses and buildings. It just kept reaffirming to us how the miracle of her being able to join me on this trip (our first alone in 22 years) that it was going to be cosmic. At every turn, it has been.

We left Bartlesville, OK (in northeastern Oklahoma) yesterday across the entire northern  Oklahoma panhandle about ten hours to get to Eagle Nest, New Mexico! It was worth the sacrifice because of the magnificent views which greeted us and the wonderful people we met upon arriving.

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Thousands of acres of wheat framed by gray clouds and rich green vegetation

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Amber Waves Of Grain in northern Oklahoma

The pictures above pretty much sum up the cross-state adventure of Oklahoma accentuated with rolling hills of enormous pasturelands with cows and horses. We had the best time laughing over childhood stories and other adventures. We’re sitting here still trying to believe that was just yesterday (and not a week ago) when we were in the car that long!

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Cimarron Canyon State Park was the prelude to Eagle Nest.

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These kind of rock outcroppings always make me brake for a photo

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The trees aren’t bad either!

The payoff was Eagle Nest, New Mexico and the incredible Spiritual Healer we met and all the welcoming, lovely citizens of that precious gem of a community we now know we want to visit. Eagle Nest, NM.

This morning, we wandered around this lovely western village meeting new friends and hugging kindred spirits we’d met last night. We hiked down a trail to sit on a picnic table to soak up the vast openness of this valley, inhale the healing peace and air around us and tap into God’s wonders all around us like the beautiful wild flowers.

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Magnificent wildflowers of this kind and delicate purple irises!

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This lake is huge!

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More snow capped mountains surrounding this valley

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Big sky

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More contrasts

We tore ourselves away to head for a light day of driving to Taos, New Mexico. What a beautiful town full of northern New Mexico adobe structures and artistry. We walked around the shops and couldn’t resist capturing some of its magnificent culture in local native music, weavings and garments. We ate at Doc Martin’s. We were immediately informed by our bustling waitress that this Doc Martin had absolutely nothing to do with the TV show or the shoes as she dropped our menus on the table! After we ordered, she then instructed us to read the history of the restaurant’s origins on the back of the menu. She kinda reminded me of my fourth grade no-nonsense teacher I had.

We had put our hotel address into my GPS which promptly took us 12 miles in the opposite direction to find the Rio Grande River Gorge! It wasn’t really my GPS’s fault because this small town has way too many similar names! Anyway, my brave sister walked out onto the overlook in the middle of the bridge to take these pictures!

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North view of Rio Grande River Gorge north of Tao, New Mexico

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South view of Rio Grande River Gorge north of Taos, NM

Tomorrow, we head for Santa Fe, NM to see the Georgia O’keeffe art gallery, a church with a suspended staircase and more!

HAPPY TAILS (in loving memory of Montana, the best Service Dog ever), OR TALES OR TRAILS! Reader’s choice!

 

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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!