Author Archives: Traci

The Florida adventure continues

Our spot at the Bonefish Bay RV Park, a hidden gem

Our spot at the Bonefish Bay RV Park, a hidden gem (we are on the far left)

We have been in Marathon for the past two weeks (4 months now in Florida) and have absolutely loved our time here. Marathon is located in the Florida Keys about midway between Key Largo and Key West. We have driven through it a half dozen times, but never really gave it a second thought, until someone suggested it as a place for us to stay. We were fortunate to get a spot at the Bonefish Bay Motel & RV. It is a pretty small and basic campground, but probably the friendliest park we have stayed at of our 150+ campgrounds over the past 20 months. We have met more people here and been more social than we have in quite some time.

The location of this campground is perfect for everything there is to do in the area. Our time here has been very relaxing and a mixture of spending time at the park with new friends, out on the water or at the beach and checking out happy hours and new restaurants. We are currently scheduled to leave here on March 21, but we are considering extending until the end of the month. That will then give us 6 weeks to make our way across the country for our return to Washington in mid to late May. I just can’t believe how fast our two-year mark is approaching.

Check out all the pics below:

Beach Day at Sombrero Beach

Beach Day at Sombrero Beach

Annual Pig Races at the Stuffed Pig Restaurant

Annual Pig Races at the Stuffed Pig Restaurant

The Pot Bellied pigs ran a little slower...

The Pot Bellied pigs ran a little slower…

Sunset Grille "Sunday Funday"  Gotta love a bar with a pool!

Sunset Grille “Sunday Funday” Gotta love a bar with a pool!

Pirate Party - Arghhhhh!

Pirate Party – Arghhhhh!

New friends Randy & Lea

New friends Randy & Lea

Thursday night potluck at the Tike Bar with live entertainment!

Thursday night potluck at the Tiki Bar with live entertainment! Our site is perfectly located right in front!

Tik

Sunset at the Tiki Bar

Our Key Largo campground neighbors, Nick & Sherri, drove down for the day to visit

Our Key Largo campground neighbors, Nick & Sherri, drove down for the day to visit

A day on the water with new friends (Greg & Carol) and old friends (Gene & Sandy)

A day on the water with new friends (Greg & Carol) and old friends (Gene & Sandy from Everglades Isle last year).   Mike, Greg and Gene chillaxing!

Carol, Me and Sandy - happy boaters!

Carol, Me and Sandy – happy boaters!

 

Our time in the Keys is over…or is it?

The blue water of the Florida Keys

The blue water of the Florida Keys

I can’t believe we have been at our spot in Key Largo for 7 weeks. It has been so nice to be settled and living like locals for this extended time. What a treat for us to have returned to one of our favorite places. We are packing up now and the original plan was to start our journey northwest at this point. Well, the beauty of this lifestyle is that our plan can change. We found a spot about 50 miles south of here in Marathon that had space for us for 2 weeks. Yippee! We just weren’t ready to leave the Keys, so are thrilled to have found a place to go. This is high season for this area, so somehow we lucked into a place with availability. When Mike called a few weeks ago, they had just received a cancellation, so we were in luck!

Calusa Campground from the water

Calusa Campground from the water

Spot #233 at Calusa Campground

Spot #233 at Calusa Campground

Relaxing at our site

Relaxing at our site

The weather the past 4 weeks has been unusually cold, so we are hoping the temps come back to normal over the next few weeks. Last night, it was a low in the 40’s and the wind has been fierce. We haven’t been able to use the boat much in this wind which is really too bad. But, Mike has enjoyed using it as his fishing vessel. We loved having it and so convenient to be able to tie it up right at our site and be out on the water in minutes.

Mike and his big catch

Mike and his big catch

Mike doing his thing

Mike doing his thing

Sunset on the boat, a little chilly

Sunset on the boat, a little chilly

February has been pretty mellow for us. Getting over the shock of the Superbowl loss took us down for that first week and personally I still cringe when I think about that last play. Damn, but I have come to accept it…kind of. One Friday, we met up with friends Sandy & Gene who we met last year in Everglades City. They are working at the KOA in Sugarloaf for the winter, so we met halfway in Marathon at Sombrero Beach. Had a great day catching up and relaxing on the beach, then a nice dinner. We’re looking forward to seeing them again when we get down to Marathon.

Another great sunset

Another great sunset

Another day, we drove up to Miami, about a 2-hour trip with traffic. Both of us have only been in the airport there, so seeing South Beach was on our list. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, so perfect for walking around. We checked out the beach and walked down the main drag that parallels the beach. It was a Tuesday mid-day and crazy busy which seemed shocking. We hit a few places including the Clevelander and Wet Willies. We left to drive back early afternoon, so didn’t experience the nightlife, but I can only imagine how crazy it would be.

South Beach, Miami

South Beach, Miami

The rest of our days have been filled with pool time (finally, they fixed the leak and it reopened after a 2-week closure), walking, reading books, riding our bikes, seeing movies on bad weather days, sunset watching, cooking and fishing. So, pretty relaxing to say the least. Tonight, we’ll hit our favorite happy hour at the Big Chill and get packed up for our hour commute south tomorrow.

Fat Tuesday at Snappers - crawfish boil!

Fat Tuesday at Snappers – crawfish boil!

Valentine's Day happy hour

Valentine’s Day happy hour

Beer tasting at Islamorada Brewery

Beer tasting at Islamorada Brewery

Gotta love a band playing on a Pontoon Boat

Gotta love a band playing on a Pontoon Boat

Life in Key Largo

 

Sunset from our campground, Calusa

Sunset from our campground in Key Largo

We have been in Key Largo for almost two weeks now. We returned to one of our favorite campgrounds from last year, Calusa Campground, staying in the same site.   We were able to get it for 7 weeks, which was awesome as this is kind of our last hurrah. When we leave at the end of February, we will start our journey home to Washington State (we refer to it this way now, as most people think Washington means DC). This campground is our little slice of heaven. It is a mixed bag of full time owners who either live here or come in for weekends and a small percentage of people like us who are transients trying to soak up the low-stress lifestyle of The Keys.

Mike soaking it all in

Mike soaking it all in

Our site, tent is for nighttime to avoid the bugs.

Our spot on the bay.  The tent is for nighttime to avoid the bugs.

Our spot is right on the bay and Mike is able to fish daily. He landed a small shark the other day, which was pretty exciting. His hope it to catch the big one, the Tarpon that everyone is after. I have been walking every day, trying to get in my 10,000 steps, and we are using our bikes a lot. We have a Publix grocery across the street and there is an amazing fruit stand next door that we hit every few days. We have great neighbors on either side of us. Nick & Sherry from the Ft. Lauderdale area work during the week, then come down on Thurs for the weekend. Pete & Bonnie from Minnesota are renting like us. One of the best parts of the park is the huge pool, only about 50 yards from our site. We have been using it a lot, a great place to meet people too.

Mike's big catch, a 3 foot Nurse Shark

Mike’s big catch, a 3-foot Nurse Shark

The Manatee's come right up to our site, they like the fresh water

The Manatee come right up to our site, they like the fresh water from the bucket

Mama and Baby Manatee

Mama and Baby Manatee

We have been cooking a lot at home, but have enjoyed hitting local places including Jimmy Johnson’s Big Chill Happy Hour. Mike can get half-priced peel & eat shrimp and wings and Tuesday is ladies night, which means that my drinks are free. One day we drove about 30 minutes south to Islamorada to see Candy & Cheryl, who we met on a cruise last year. They own a few of the souvenir shops at Robbie’s Marina. We showed up out of the blue, but Cheryl was there and bought us a beer and we spent an hour catching up. They have a great thing going there and it was nice to reconnect.

Ladies night at the Big Chill

Ladies night at the Big Chill

One day we went to Brew on the Bay, the annual Key Largo Brewfest. We love “lucking” into these types of events. This one was pretty cool. There were 30+ breweries there, the setting was amazing and surprisingly it wasn’t very crowded. There were a few of the usual breweries that we seem to always see, but most of them were ones that we have never sampled before including a few from the Keys. There were multiple bands playing, yummy food and overall a pretty great atmosphere.

Brew on the Bay

Brew on the Bay

Taps right on the side of the car

Taps right on the side of the car

This was the day of the game vs Carolina. Ran into this Panther fan.

This was the day of the game vs Carolina. Ran into this Panther fan.

We have really settled in nicely to our temporary home. This is the longest, by far, that we have stayed in one place. I struggle a lot with feeling like we aren’t really doing anything. I mean, we are busy with everyday type of chores and exploring, but the days just seem to be slipping by. I have this ridiculous feeling of guilt at times, but then I snap out of it and remember to embrace this time. Soon enough, we will be home working again and daydreaming about our time on the road. Now is the time to live in the moment!

Up next…Seahawks game on Sunday! It has been fun flying our flags. AND, our great friends, Sunny & Mitch Cameron, arrive on Friday for a week. Can’t wait to see them and share our lifestyle with them!

Soaking it all in!

The water is just so blue!

We love the nightly sunsets

We love the nightly sunsets

Naples and Mom Time! – 12/6/14 – 12/21/14

Happy Cruisers in St. Maarten

Happy Cruisers in St. Maarten

Naples was a place we had not stayed on the last time through, only a drive by on our way south, so we were looking forward to our visit. Our home for the week was the Naples Motorcoach Resort, one of the top 5 places we have stayed as far as RV parks go. It had all the amenities including very large paver sites, 3 pools, a nice clubhouse with theater room and workout room and many organized events including daily morning coffee and ‘Margarita Monday.’ The park wasn’t very full while we were there as I think they are just about to come into their busy season. But, we loved it for all the nice amenities and perfect location.

Our spot at the Naples Motorcoach Resort

Our spot at the Naples Motorcoach Resort

Pool at Naples Motorcoach Resort

Pool at Naples Motorcoach Resort

Our time here was spent relaxing and exploring the town and surrounding areas of Marco Island and the Isle of Capri.   Naples is a pretty ritzy area that is known for great shopping (which we didn’t participate in) and otherwise a pretty laid back, vacation type atmosphere. One day we attended the Franklin Templeton Shootout golf tournament, which was a lot of fun as it was a different format than a typical golf tourney. The day we were there, it was a 2-man best ball and the players seemed less formal than other tourney’s we have been to (p.s. I saw Mike Weir at the Mercato the night before – love those celebrity sightings!). We also visited the beach and walked town, had a few great meals out and Mike did lots of fishing. Before we knew it, it was time to get packed up and ready for our Princess cruise!

Franklin Templeton Shootout in Naples

Franklin Templeton Shootout in Naples

We drove 40 minutes south to Everglades City and Everglades Isle, a place we stayed last year and loved. They were kind enough to let us park the MoHo there while we were on the cruise, all plugged in, waiting for our return. We then drove the 90 miles across to Ft. Lauderdale and picked up my mom at the airport for our cruise on Regal Princess. We stayed in a hotel on Sat. night, then boarded the ship on Sunday for a 7-day Caribbean Cruise. This was our Holiday celebration with her since Mike & I would be away from home again this year.

Bon Voyage!

Bon Voyage!

Regal Princess is a brand new ship.  Notice the over-water seawall at the top of the ship

Regal Princess is a brand new ship. Notice the over-water seawalk at the top of the ship

Showing our 12th man spirit!

Showing our 12th man spirit!

We loved our time together and the itinerary was a perfect mix of time at sea and a few ports of call. Highlights were nightly dinners, wine at Vine’s, talking up the Seahawks, bingo (Mom won $200), exploring St. Thomas and St. Maarten, meeting new friends, lounging on deck and our spa day!

Mike & I on tender with Princess Cays behind us

Mike & I on the tender with Princess Cays behind us

Relaxing on deck

Relaxing on deck

Mom & I on water taxi in St. Maarten

Mom & I on water taxi in St. Maarten

Colorful trio in St. Maarten, Regal Princess behind us

Colorful trio in St. Maarten, Regal Princess behind us

Mike & I on our balcony

Mike & I on our balcony

Amazing nightly sunsets!

Amazing nightly sunsets!

Pre-dinner wine at Vine's

Pre-dinner wine at Vine’s

Last night of the cruise

Last night of the cruise

The time went by very quickly and before we knew it, we were back in Ft. Lauderdale. We dropped mom off at the airport after a nice lunch on the beach, then Mike and I headed back across to the west coast of FL and our 2-week stay at Everglades Isle. Happy Holidays All! This is a hard time to be away from friends and family, but we are still enjoying our time on the road. Thanks to everyone for supporting us on this amazing adventure we are on.

Lunch in Ft. Lauderdale before Mom's flight

Lunch in Ft. Lauderdale before Mom’s flight

Back to the Beach – 11/5/14 – 11/9/14

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores, Alabama

Gulf Shores, Alabama was our destination for the next five days, located right on the AL/FL border on the Gulf of Mexico. As we got set up at the Luxury RV Park (not really that luxurious, but great location), I instantly felt the humidity. We took a walk down to the beach, only about 4 blocks away, and it felt great to be back on the water. There was a cool bar/restaurant, The Hangout, right there that was having its annual Oyster/Craft Beer Fest for the weekend. More on that later!

The first day, we enjoyed a morning close to the MoHo getting some chores done. We then drove down the beach toward Florida through Orange Beach and Perdido Bay. Our destination was the renowned FloraBama Bar, which sits right on the border of the two states. The Shulls, who have vacationed down here often, told us all about it. Great location, yes! But, we were there on a Thursday mid-day and the only thing going on was free Bingo. I’m sure in high season, warmer weather, with live music playing and in the evening hours, this place is hopping! But, pretty dead for us. We had a beer and walked around checking out this eclectic place and enjoyed the amazing ocean view, but then got on our way. We stopped at an outdoor restaurant on the intercoastal bay and enjoyed a nice early dinner. Looking out at the water and boats just never seems to get old.

Tacky Jacks Bar, intercoastal bay

Tacky Jacks Bar, Intercoastal Bay

The next day, we made the hour drive over to Mobile. We were going to take a small ferry across the bay, but it wasn’t running due to high winds. On the drive, we passed by the first park (Meaher State Park in Spanish Fort, AL) that we ever stayed at. When we did our trial run in Fall of 2012 and rented an RV for our cross-country trip from Baton Rouge to Las Vegas, this was the first stop on our trip. Very cool to see it over two years later and realize how much has happened since then! Our plan for the day was to tour Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile Bay where the USS Alabama resides as well as the USS Drum submarine and an aircraft pavilion filled with many different types of aircraft. We spent over 3 hours there and would highly recommend this stop. Afterwards, we drove into downtown Mobile for lunch then back to the MoHo to gear up for the Craft Beer Fest, which started at 6. We walked down to the beach and paid our $25 entrance fee, got our souvenir tasting cups and wristbands and entered this awesome event. There were over 20 booths there each serving at least two types of beer with fun giveaways, live music and a lot of people. The Hangout is huge with a large outdoor area, right on the beach, so all of the booths were set up outside. A really fun evening and we got to sample many beers we had never heard of.

USS Alabama, Mobile

USS Alabama, Mobile

View from one of the upper deck over Mobile Bay

View from one of the upper decks toward Mobile Bay

16 inch guns

Three 16-inch aft guns

Craft Beer Fest

Craft Beer Fest 

The Hangout

The Hangout

Saturday, they were having the main event, the Oyster Fest with 40 to 50 booths offering oyster samples, shucking competitions, Bloody Mary contests and much more. We strolled over around noon to check it out, but neither one of us care for oysters. The beer booths were still set up, bands were playing and college football games o’plenty on the many TV’s. We decided to just go into the restaurant for lunch on the deck and people watch. It was a beautiful day and it was much more crowded than the night before as it was free admission, then tickets were available for samples. Again, a very fun atmosphere and lots of Alabama and Auburn fans decked out in their gear. We ended up back at the MoHo to watch our teams play, then an early night. Yay, Cougs beat OSU!

Oyster Fest at The Hangout

Oyster Fest at The Hangout

On our last day, we drove over to the Naval Air Station in Pensacola for an Air Show featuring the incomparable Blue Angels! It was a great day for it and tons of people there to take it all in. There was a huge free admission area where we could set up our chairs with a great view over the runway. The event was all weekend and was a “Homecoming” for the Blue Angels welcoming them back to their home base after their season. The whole show was great with a variety of demonstrations. The Blues capped it off and provided the same thrill and excitement we always get watching them at home in Seattle. The one difference here was that we got to see them take off and land and appreciate the same precision and discipline they show in the air, on the ground. Loved it! Drove back to the MoHo for the Hawks game and a victory against Dallas!

Next up is Destin, FL and the start of our 3-½ month “residency” in Florida.

Teresa Stokes Wing Walker, best in the world!

Teresa Stokes Wing Walker, best in the world!

Jet Truck, 200mph!

Jet Truck, 200mph!

Loved these guys - Team AeroDynamix

Loved these guys – Team AeroDynamix

Fat Albert!

Fat Albert!

Blue Angels, ready for take-off

Blue Angels, ready for take-off

Blue Angels, less than 3 feet separates them

At times only 18 inches between them – wow!

More Blue Angels

More Blue Angels

Selfie - Blues in the distance behind us

Selfie – Blues in the distance behind us

Final State! 10/20/14 – 10/28/14

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Memphis, TN was our next destination and the long drive down from St. Louis went smoothly, we arrived at Tom Sawyer’s RV Park by mid afternoon. The park was actually across the Mississippi River from Memphis in West Memphis, Arkansas so officially we were in our final state! (Alaska & Hawaii don’t count). We have successfully driven and stayed in every state in the lower 48! Something we weren’t sure that we would actually accomplish, but pretty excited that we have done it! This park was pretty unique in that it was located across a levee right on the banks of the river with nonstop barge traffic going up and down the river in front of us. These barges were huge some of them 4 across and 7 long and that river was flowing! We really enjoyed the park and they were so friendly and laid back. I guess they have to be because the campground actually floods every year, but in the springtime, so we had nothing to worry about. We ended up staying for a full week with a nice mix of relaxation, sightseeing and getting chores done.

Tom Sawyer's RV Park on the Mississippi River

Tom Sawyer’s RV Park on the Mississippi River

First on the agenda was taking care of some MoHo maintenance. On the morning we left St. Louis, we noticed one of the “basement” compartments was wet. So upon arrival in Memphis, we took everything out from underneath and Mike was able to diagnose that our water pump was broken. Luckily, there was a nearby Camping World and we were able to get an appointment for Wed. morning. This gave us a chance to clean and reorganize the storage area, which I loved. The bad part was that we had to pack up/unhook the house in the middle of our stay and drive to the appointment about an hour away in northern Mississippi. Everything went smoothly and we were back to the campground and re-setup by mid afternoon. Just one of the hurdles of being on the road and honestly we have been pretty fortunate with these types of issues, nothing major (knock on wood!).

Graceland, Memphis

Graceland, Memphis

Now, onto sightseeing. We are not huge Elvis fans, but we just had to go to Graceland. There were multiple packages to choose from, but we opted for a basic one and it was still $34 each, a bit pricey in my opinion. We were given ipads to use, loaded with a narrated tour and additional photos and factoids and of course Elvis music. The mansion was actually much smaller than I would have thought, but back in the day I’m sure it was pretty extravagant. It was a bit crowded but we were able to see everything we needed. The rest of the tour (archives, shops, costumes, cars) were nothing special and we could have done without, but I guess if you are a huge Elvis fan, you would really want to do everything you could. As it was, we were there about 2 ½ hrs. I enjoyed touring the house and listening and learning about Elvis and his life and glad we did go. I may have to download some Elvis tunes!

The Mansion

The Mansion

Living Room

Formal Living Room

Game Room

Game Room

Some of his costumes

Some of his costumes

All of his Gold Records

All of his Gold Records

He is buried there along with family members

He is buried there along with family members

Another stop we made was at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I have nothing but respect for St. Jude and what they stand for. I was here years ago to support good friends who were here under difficult circumstances and I wanted Mike to see it. We didn’t go inside the hospital, but did some shopping at the gift store and I really wanted to show Mike the Danny Thomas Pavilion, which commemorates the history and mission of St. Jude. Sadly, it was closed for a private event though.

Courtyard at St. Jude

Courtyard at St. Jude

Another day, we hit one of the many famous BBQ joints for lunch.   Mike had done some research and landed on Leonard’s Pit BBQ, open since 1922. He had ribs and I had a pulled pork sandwich.   This place was different than other BBQ places we have been to, as it was a sit-down vs. order at the counter. Mike said his was a solid 8. He is still looking for a place that lives up to Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City. Afterwards, we ended up in Midtown, a hip area with fun shops, restaurants and bars. We bellied up at Bosco’s for a local craft beer. On the way back to the campground, we stopped at Wiseacre Brewing, the only brewery we could find in town. It was a sunny, Friday afternoon and it was pretty crowded with people hanging out on the patio and getting a start on their weekend. This has become pretty standard for us, looking for local breweries to try out.

On our last Saturday morning, we hit the local Farmer’s Market. It was a perfect sunny morning with a lot of people out and about. Then, we headed into town and the iconic Peabody Hotel. We got our spot on the Mezzanine level to watch the famous “Duck March,” a tradition since 1933. Read more about it here. The ducks are housed in a “palace” on the roof and at 11am every morning they are brought down and led along the red carpet into the fountain in the middle of the lobby. They are trained to stay there all day, then the ceremony is reversed at 5pm. The place was absolutely packed which just blew me away. It was a bit cheesy, but also a pretty ingenious marketing ploy, bringing people in from all over to drink and eat. It worked on us!   After the ceremony we took the elevator up to the rooftop to see the duck palace and take in some great views, then to the bar for a Bloody Mary and beer. Afterwards, we walked around town and Beale Street, which is kind of like a mini Bourbon Street. It is a 3 to 4 block pedestrian-only area lined with bars featuring live music that spills out into the street. We were only there during the day a few times, so never really experienced the full nighttime vibe, but it seemed like a really fun area.
Sidebar: I had my Coug shirt on and a man who was working the door at one of the bars stopped me and jokingly said, “What do you know about the Cougs?” I told him I was from Seattle and went to school there and he said that Michael Bumpus was his nephew and that he was in Pullman for an Apple Cup long ago. Gotta love Coug fans!

The Duck March at the Peabody. The guy in red is the "Duck Master"

The Duck March at the Peabody. The guy in red is the “Duck Master”

Rooftop at the Peabody

Rooftop at the Peabody where the Ducks are kept in a “palace”

Much of our time in Memphis (or West Memphis) was spent at the RV Park, just relaxing and enjoying the beautiful sunny weather. We rode our bikes along the paths, BBQ’d a lot and had campfires.   Mike really enjoyed all of the barge traffic and just being right on the river. It was a great setting and one of our top five parks so far. And, they had free laundry – bonus!

Campfire at the park with view of the Mississippi

Campfire at the park with view of the Mississippi River

Some of the barge traffic going up and down the river

Some of the barge traffic on the river (huge one going down; smaller one going up in foreground)

Riding Bikes at the Park

Riding Bikes at the Park

We left the park on a Monday morning (after the Seahawks squeaked by a win the day before!) and drove due west to Little Rock, AR. We decided to stay at a true campground (rather than commercialized RV Park) where it was first come, first serve on spots. Since it was a Monday and off-season, we didn’t think there would be an issue.   We pulled into Willow Beach Park and had our pick of spots. This was a very nice campground right on the Arkansas River with spacious sites and plenty of trees. For us, this translates as “no satellite” which we typically shy away from. But, for just two nights, we figured we could survive! It was a beautiful day, but a big storm was due to roll in the next morning, so we decided we better get out and explore. A drive through Little Rock didn’t peak much interest for us, but we did stop at the capitol building for a few pics. Although it is the largest city in the state, it seemed quite small and pretty quiet, maybe chalk it up to a Monday afternoon. We opted to hit the grocery store and come back to the pretty setting of the campground and cook dinner and enjoy the evening at home. By 5am the next morning, the predicted rain had arrived and it was a nice day to watch movies and catch up on some computer stuff. Next stop is Jackson, Mississippi.

Capitol Building in Little Rock, AR

Capitol Building in Little Rock, AR

Willow Beach Campground

Willow Beach Campground, Arkansas River in the background. Fall has arrived!

This is the point in our journey that we were planning to turn right and start making our way back home to the Pacific Northwest. But, after much discussion and some friends asking us why we would want to come home to the wet and gray winter, we decided to turn left. We’ll be making our way to Florida and plan to spend the last half of November through the end of February in the sunshine to cap off this amazing experience. At that point we’ll start to make our way back home, hoping to be there in April/May. It will be 2 years on the road at that point and time to figure out our next chapter.

Weather Woes in Kansas and Oklahoma – 10 7/14 – 10/14/14

Site of the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing.

Site of the Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing.  The reflection pool is where the road was and to the left (where the chairs are) is where the building stood.  The 5th tree in is where the truck with the bomb was parked.

The past week has been a bit uneventful and definitely hindered by the horrible weather. We didn’t have a lot of must-see’s planned and we had a hard time finding decent RV campgrounds in the area. I am looking at this time as a transition period, trying to hit the last of our states and watching a lot of football and baseball! Our first stop was Wichita, Kansas. The Air Capital RV Park was mostly full of long-term residents but it was a newer park and in a good location. We only booked 2 nights here and that was all that we needed. We drove by the Boeing and Spirit AeroSystems area and wow, there were some huge buildings and complexes that just seemed to go on and on — a huge aviation presence here. In town, we stopped along the river walk where the Big and Little Arkansas Rivers merge into one. The Keeper of the Plains statue watches over this area in tribute to the Native American tribes who consider this a sacred site. A pretty neat spot to walk around. We also visited Old Town and stopped at a brewery for lunch. This seemed like a fun part of town, but fairly deserted on a Wed. afternoon.

Confluence of the Little and Big Arkansas Rivers

Confluence of the Little and Big Arkansas Rivers, Keeper of the Plains statue in the background

Keeper of the Plains statue, Wichita

Keeper of the Plains statue, Wichita

Next up was Stillwater, Oklahoma, a very short drive south. Stillwater is home to the OSU Cowboys and we thought it would be fun to stay in a college town. The problem was that there weren’t a lot of RV Parks to choose from and we ended up at Cedar Crest RV Park, which was a bit sketchy. When we called, they only had one spot open, as the rest were full time residents who work in the oil production industry or fans who leave their rigs parked full time for football games (no home game while we were there). The park was probably the worst we have stayed at in my opinion.   We got set up in 90-degree hot/humid weather then headed into town. It reminded me a bit of Pullman, a true college town (population 45,000; enrollment 22,000) and it just popped up out of nowhere. Everything in town was orange/black with an OSU tie-in, which was fun to see. We went to Eskimo Joes for lunch. Back in the day when I worked at Holland America, I got a care package from someone in OK who I helped with a cruise and it was full of Eskimo Joe’s stuff, which I thought was so random at the time. Now I get it, because this place is such an iconic spot. That night the heat and humidity turned into one of the worst storms we have been in. The lightning flashed and lit up the inside of the MoHo every 10 seconds complemented by crashing thunder and rain as hard as we have ever felt.  This went on most of the night, which made for a pretty sleepless night as we can feel everything in the MoHo!

Cedar Crest RV Park

Cedar Crest RV Park, hookups underwater

The next morning, the rain stopped but the park was flooded and muddy and our hookups were fully submerged underwater. We drove an hour south to Oklahoma City for the day. First stop was at the ASA Softball Hall of Fame/Stadium where they hold the World Series of Softball every year. It was under a bit of construction so we weren’t really supposed to be there, but a very nice worker took us up to the stadium and let us take some pics. Next, we drove about 15 minutes south of downtown to Norman where the Univ. of Oklahoma is. I am still bitter at that darn Sooner Buggy from the 2003 Rose Bowl. But, I must say the campus was very cool and looked to be a great place to go to college. Next, we headed to the Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum, site of the bombing at the Murrah Federal Building in 1995. We thought it was very well done and I found the empty chairs for all of the 168 victims to be very impactful. They were placed in 9 rows, signifying which floor the victim was on when they were killed. Large chairs for adults; small chairs for children. As we walked back to the car, the skies opened up and the rain just unloaded. We just don’t get rain like this in Seattle.   We headed down to the Bricktown area, which seemed like the fun entertainment district with stadiums and bars/restaurants. We ended up at Toby Keith’s I Love this Bar and bellied up for a delicious Linner as the rain continued outside. We headed back to the MoHo and watched the Cougs lose to Stanford. Saturday morning, it was college game day, so we thought it would be fun to head back into Stillwater and find a place to watch a few games. We ended up at Buffalo Wild Wings and were shocked to find that they allowed smoking in the bar.  We opted for a seat in the restaurant and enjoyed the action on a gazillion big screens and joined the hometown crowd rooting for OSU.

Site of the Softball World Series

Site of the World Series of Softball

Oklahoma City, OK

Oklahoma City, OK

Memorial

Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial Site

Looking back at the site of the Murrah Building. The chairs represent the 168 victims.

Looking back at the site of the Murrah Building. The chairs represent the 168 victims.

Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman

Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman

The next morning we were ready to get on the road and move on to a better spot. Our drive to Tulsa was only about 75 miles, which is always nice. We opted to stay at the Tulsa Fairgrounds/Expo Park. We have done this in other cities and the tradeoff is that you are basically in an asphalt parking lot, but the location always seems to be perfect. Our stay was only 2 nights, so not a problem. As we got set up, we had a few issues come up. The jacks were acting up again, one of the rear slides was having trouble and our water hose broke; the joys of a traveling home. We hit the grocery store and decided to stay in to watch the Hawks. The bad weather was following us, so an afternoon in sounded good. Unfortunately, the Hawks didn’t play well and lost to Dallas. We watched a few movies and listened to the wind and rain all night.

The Golden Driller statue, Tulsa, OK

The Golden Driller statue, Tulsa, OK

We had a full day to explore Tulsa, but the weather just wasn’t cooperating. And, the MDX battery was dead. We knew this was coming because lately when starting the car, it just didn’t sound very good. We had a neighbor jump us, then Mike was off to Sears to replace it. We got a late start, but with the monsooning rain, there wasn’t really much to see. I learned that one of my favorite movies, The Outsiders, was filmed in Tulsa, so we drove out to the Admiral Twin Drive-In where some of the scenes were shot. Then, we drove through the downtown area, which looked like it could be interesting with all of the different districts, but with the rain, just didn’t seem inviting to be out walking around. We decided to just take care of some errands and head back to the campground. The wind was rocking the MoHo most of the evening. Good news is that it looks like the weather is past us, and the sun will hopefully be shining in the morning for our trip to Branson, Missouri!

Admiral Twin Drive-In, scenes from the Outsiders filmed here (stay gold Johnny!)

Admiral Twin Drive-In, scenes from the Outsiders filmed here (stay gold Ponyboy!)

p.s. As I reread this post, I realized I sounded a bit like a negative Nelly. I guess this just shows that this adventure isn’t always perfect. There are good stops and bad stops and we try to make the most of each one, but not always ideal, especially when the weather is as bad as it has been.