Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Dallas/Fort Worth

Monday (11/16) to Sunday (11/22):

We made the trip from Lake Texoma to our next campground located near McKinney TX. The Shady Creek RV Park & Storage is located about 10 miles west of McKinney off of Hwy 380. We got the Duchess set up for our stay at this campground. On our trip south the Duchess and our Jeep both got extremely dirty with all of the road construction we had to go through.

Our site at the Shady Creek RV Campground

View of the campground
We were here to spend some time visiting with Mitch & Barb Mendrygal who have been firends of ours for several years. They are thinking about becoming full time RVers when Mitch retires in the next couple of years. They came out to the Duchess on Monday night for dinner, we met them for dinner on Tuesday night at their house. We spent a lot of time going our experiences as fulltimers and tried to answer their questions about this lifestyle.
Barb & Mitch
On Thursday we moved the motorhome south to the Dallas/Arlington KOA. This is an older KOA park located in an established part of town. The sites here are very close together with a large portion of the campground being occupied by semi-permanent residents.
Our site at the Dallas/Arlington KOA
Our friends, Karen & Bill Brunton, came to visit us on Thursday night after we had the Duchess all set up for the few days stay here. On Friday we made a visit to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum located on the SMU campus.
George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush

View of the entrance to the museum/library
We spent several hours touring the museum/library, seeing the various areas dedicated to different times during his presidency and viewing several short films along the way. They had a special exhibit showing various items/decorations from the 2003 White House Christmas.

Twisted metal from World Trade Center

Inside the library

Connie sitting in "The Oval Office"

Another view of the items in "The Oval Office"

The lighter side of President Bush
On Saturday, Pam & Carl Manganaro who are fellow full timers we met at the RV Dreams Rally in Michigan, came into Arlington from their campground in Waxahachie and we had a nice late lunch with them at Pappadeaux's. They started full timing in June so we were able to share our experiences of being on the road for this year. Unfortunately we forgot to take any pictures.

On Sunday we went over to Karen & Bill's house to watch the Cowboy football game and have some of Karen's chili. The chili was delicious and the Cowboy's actually won a game after 7 straight losses.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Paradise Cove RV Park

Friday (11/13) to Sunday (11/15):

On Friday morning we left the campground at Robbers State Park and headed south along Highway 69/75 towards Texas. We stopped for a while at the Choctaw Casino & Resort in Durant OK to get out and stretch our legs. Connie use the opportunity to do some gambling in the casino while I walked around the facilities. This casino is the nicest "Indian" casino that I have ever been to. The casino itself is huge and even though smoking is allowed inside there was not a smoky smell to the place. Unfortunately Connie was not a big winner at the slot machines and we contributed a few dollars to the local economy. We continued our trip south to Denison TX where did some grocery shopping at the local Walmart and then turned west through Pottsboro TX. We arrived at the Paradise Cove RV Park around 4:00 PM and started to hook up to the electrical connection. The last person on our RV site had messed up the breaker inside the box, so the manager of the campground & our neighbor fixed the problem and we were able to finish hooking up our electrical/water/sewer connections. We pulled directly into the site rather than backing in so that we would have a view of the lake through the front of the Duchess.

The Paradise Cove RV Park is a small campground that completely flooded this spring. All of the campground was under water for several weeks and they are now trying to repair the damage done by the floods. Only one of the campground loops is open and they have lost all of their cabins and buildings that were located within the facility. On Friday & Saturday night there were 4 other RV's in the campground along with a few tent campers. By Sunday night Connie and I had the campground to ourselves. The RV park is located right on Lake Texoma and our site had a nice view of the lake.

Sunset on Friday night. This was one of the few times we saw the sun.

View of ducks flying across the lake.

View out the front windshield.

Our RV Site 31

We took it easy over the weekend. We did walk around the campground and the neighborhood located next to the park each day. The weather was mostly overcast with some light rain for a while each day. There was very little boat traffic on the lake but we did hear the duck hunters at dusk & dawn each day. We did some reading and I ended up watching parts of several football games. Not a good week-end for the teams from Texas: UT lost to West Virginia, Baylor lost to Oklahoma & the Dallas Cowboys lost their 7th game in row to Tampa Bay. We spent the entire time we were there at the campground which is unusual for us.

Monday will be a travel day for us as we get closer to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. It is good to be back in Texas.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Robbers Cave State Park

Monday (Nov 9) to Thursday (Nov 13):

We packed up The Duchess and made the 180 mile trip south from Pine Island RV Resort to Robbers Creek State Park. Along the way we stopped to add diesel fuel to the motorhome and at Walmart to do some grocery shopping. A lot of the roads/highways we took wound back and forth with many curves, so it took us a while to make the trip. We did not arrive at the park until 4:00 PM in the afternoon, which is late for us.
Couple of photos of the road along the way.

Once we arrived at the campground in the park, we checked in with the ranger station/office and they gave us a list of sites available for our time frame.

We unhooked the Jeep, looked at all of the sites available and decided to select Site 26. This was a pull through site that was level and open to the south (for our satellite dish).

We met another couple in the park who are from Cedar Park Texas and traveling in a Tiffin Allegro motorhome. On Tuesday we decided to visit the actual Robbers Cave here in the park. The story goes that from the 1870's to 1890's there were a series of "robbers" that used the cave as a hide out to avoid capture. The cave itself is much smaller today due to a number of cave-ins over the years. You have to climb up a series of steps to get to the cave.
Entry point to Robbers Cave

Base of the rocks leading up to Robbers Cave

Passage way up to the cave. We didn't go this way since
we would have had to crawl on our hands and knees to get through.

Robbers Cave
After looking at the cave, we continued our climb on the rocks to the top of the cliff above the cave. From there you can see for several miles across the park.

View from the top.

Mike posing at the top.

Connie "growing her tree" at the top.
After finishing our visit to the cave, we took a hike on the Rough Canyon Trail that is located near Robbers Cave. The name of the trail is appropriate: Rough Canyon. Most of the trail is covered with rocks of all different sizes and you have to be careful with each step along the way. Also a lot of the trail is covered with leaves and pine needles making it hard to see the rocks underneath. We took our time on the trail and made it the complete loop from start to finish.

On Wednesday we hiked on the paved roads around the park to give our feet a rest from walking on the rocks the day before. Robbers Cave State Park is a 8400 acre park with several small lakes located inside the park. We did find a short trail along side of a creek that was level and not too rocky that we explored as well.
Dam at Lake Carlton

Lake Carlton

Connie enjoying the nice weather in a swing

Open area with disk golf near community center

Beaver dam along creek that feeds lake.

Trail along side of creek.
That evening we decided to have a campfire (our first one of the year). We gathered some firewood that had been left at some of the unoccupied sites around ours and were able to get a small fire going for the evening. A cold front had move through the area late in the afternoon and the temperatures were dropping as the sun went down.

Do you remember how to do this?

Connie warming her toes by the fire.

Mike & Connie enjoyed their first campfire.

We we woke up on Thursday morning the temperature had dropped to 37 degrees. We took it easy in the Duchess before heading out on another hike around noon to let the sun warm everything up outside. We decided to hike the Coon Ridge Trail which would take us around Coon Creek Lake, another one of the lakes in the park. The hike ended up being another one with lots of rocks on the trails and us spending a lot of time trying to find where the trail actually went. With all of the leaves falling and the trail not being walked much this time of year, we kept loosing track of the markers and having to back track to find our way. We did stop for a few minutes along the trail to have something to drink along with eating some trail mix we had brought along.  Connie began to get worry that we might not make it back to the Duchess before it got dark.  We did get back to motorhome around 4:30 PM as the sun was getting low in the sky above hills here in the park. By the time we got back to the campground we were both tired and our feet were sore.
Hiking through the pine trees along Coon Ridge Trail

Standing on top of Coon Ridge

Crossing Coon Creek

View from the dam of Coon Creek Lake. We walked around most of this lake.
Connie had made a chicken/sausage gumbo that had been cooking in the slow cooker during our hike. We added some shrimp and enjoyed the taste of the gumbo after a long day on the trail. We took our showers early, rub each other's feet for a few minutes and went to bed early.

On Friday morning it was 34 degrees here in the park. We will be leaving today for TEXAS. We should be crossing the Red River sometime this afternoon.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Grand Lake Oklahoma

Wednesday (11/4) to Sunday (11/8):

We left Chanute KS on Wednesday morning and made the 125 mile drive to Pine Island RV Resort on Grand Lake in Oklahoma. We visited with Mike and Sue for a few minutes before we left. Their 5th wheel was in the service center and they had returned to the campground to take advantage of the peace & quiet to get on the internet with their laptop computers.

Pine Island RV Resort is a Coast-to-Coast RV Park that also is available to the public if sites are available. The campground is a long way off the main road and the county roads getting to the campground are not in the best of shape. This time of year they are looking for campers and we used our Passport America to get our site for 50% off. The campground is 35 years old and showing its age. We were able to select a site in the section that overlooks the lake and pulled the motorhome straight in rather than backing in. This allows us to have a view of the lake through our windows during the day. I had to use all of the sewer hoses I have on board to make the connection while the water/electric connections were not as far away.

Our site in the campground
View out our side window

View out our windshield
We finished setting up and walked around the campground for a few minutes to look at the lake. Here are few photos of us with the lake in the background.

On Thursday we took it easy and stayed in the campground. I got caught up on some financial information, contacted an insurance agency connected with Escapees about health insurance for next year and then took a nice walk around the roads inside the park.

Friday we went into Grove OK to visit the Lindenwood Gardens and do some shopping. The Lindenwood Gardens are on 3 acres with several sections that have different types of plants. With it being the fall most of the plants don't have any color: the color comes from the leaves on the trees. We walked around the garden and took a few photos.

After finishing up our walk through the gardens, we went to a local grocery store (Harps) that is employee owned. It was a small store but had a good selection of products.

On Saturday we took a trip over to the Natural Falls State Park. The park is located about an hour southeast of our campground. The falls are not much to look at these days since they have had very little rain in the park since August. When they get rain the falls are 77 feet high, but as you can see below they were only about 15 feet when we were there.

There are a number of trails in the park and we took advantage of a couple of them. Between our hikes we ate a picnic lunch that we had brought with us. We visited with the ranger in the visitor center about other state parks that might be open for us to stay at on our path south.

Connie had made us a crock pot soup with chicken, sweet potatoes, beans and other ingredients that was ready to eat once we got back to The Duchess. It was delicious and we both had two bowls.

On Sunday we traveled over to Claremont OK near Tulsa to visit the Will Rogers Memorial Museum. Once we got there we found out they are celebrating his birthday (November 4, 1879) all week with free admission to the museum.  Will Rogers was born nearby and was raised on a ranch in the area. We toured the museum and found our the many careers that Will Rogers had during his life. His pursuits includes: (1) time as a cowboy driving cattle to market, (2) a "roping" cowboy in several Wild West shows that toured the USA, (3) a humorist/performer in Vaudeville and in the Ziegfeld Follies, (4) actor in both silent and talking movies, (5) a weekly columnist for a number of large city newspapers, (6) commentator/host of a radio show and (7) world ambassador/humanitarian. He is known around the globe for his humor and his ability to get along with people of every walk of life. His life was cut short at age 56 in a plane crash while traveling in Alaska. The museum does a good job of honoring his life and accomplishments. The museum was serving cake/cookies/punch today to end the week of his birthday celebration, so we had to join in the festivities.

Entry to museum

Large mural with scenes from Will Rogers life as a cowboy.

They had several plaques with Will's famous sayings.

Gravesite of Will Rogers, his wife and several members of his family.

Connie in front of the museum.

Will Rogers on his horse.

View of the front side of the museum.
On the way back to the campground we passed a place that had a number of totem poles along side of the road. We stopped and took a couple of pictures.

Tomorrow morning we will head south to camp somewhere in Oklahoma. We find out tomorrow when we make some calls which direction we will be heading.