Thursday, November 2, 2017

Traveling south towards Texas

On Friday (10/20/17) we left Beaver Lake Campground and headed south to North Platte, Nebraska for a couple of nights stay. It was a drive of 325 miles which is much longer than we usually travel: we try to limit ourselves to about 200 miles a day. However there is not much between Custer, SD and North Platte, so we left as soon as the sun was up. The roads were OK and we quickly passed the state line into Nebraska.

There was very little traffic on the roads until we close to North Platte where we encountered a large number of cattle trucks. We arrived at the Holiday RV Park in North Platte and got set up for the 2 night stay.

We found out that North Platte is home to two of the nation's largest meat processing plants. There are a number of cattle feed lots in the area as well so we now know why so many cattle trucks. North Platte is where Buffalo Bill Cody built a ranch to stay at when he was not traveling with his Wild West Show. We drove by the ranch but the house was closed for the season.

The largest railroad yard in the USA is located in North Platte. They handle up to 15,000 railroad cars a day at the yard which can mean as many as 200 trains passing through the town on a busy day. During WWII it is estimated that up to 6 million men passed through North Platte on their way across the country as part of the military. We visited a nice memorial that celebrated those who have served in the military during the 20th century along with the USO ladies who handed out drinks and food to the soldiers who passed through the town during WWII.

Sunday morning we left North Platte for another long day's drive of 275 miles south to Dodge City, Kansas. We pulled into the Gunsmoke RV Park and got set up for our one night stay. We took a quick drive around the town (there was very little open since it was Sunday) but did not see Matt Dillon or Miss Kitty so we went back to the campground for the night.

Monday morning we continued our drive south for 200 miles to Enid, Oklahoma for another one night stay at the Ashley Lane RV Park. We again got set up for our one night stay and took another quick drive around the town.

The park has a working oil well on the premises and there was a Prevost motorhome parked next to it (maybe it how they afford the Prevost).

 On Tuesday we made the 100 mile drive south to Oklahoma City where we will be spending a week. We pulled into the Roadrunner RV Park and got set up for our 7 night stay. This park was hit by a tornado in 2015 which destroyed over 60 RV's and injured 18 people (luckily no one died). They have rebuilt and added on to the park. We were in the new part of the park with a nice pull through site.

While we were in Oklahoma City we visited the Oklahoma City Memorial Site which honors those who were killed in the bombing of the federal building in April 1995. We walked around the memorial and learned some of the history from the rangers on site. The gate/wall at one end of the memorial has the time of 9:01 on it while the other end has 9:03. The bombing occurred at 9:02 in the morning and killed 168 individuals including several children who were at a day care facility located at the site

After visiting the memorial we walked about 1 mile to the Myriad Botanical Gardens and strolled through the plantings. Being the fall most of the plants were not in bloom, but it was still a nice place to see. We walked back to the memorial site and ate our lunch.

After lunch we drove up to the Oklahoma State Capitol buildings and took a tour of the facility. The state is in the middle of a 5 year restoration project on the capitol, so a lot of the building is "under construction". Much of the artwork usually located in the building has been put into storage to protect it from the dust and dirt of the restoration project. There are several working oil wells on the grounds of the capitol making it the only capitol facility in the country with this feature.

After our tour of the capitol, we visited the Anthem Brewing Company and sampled a few of their beers (we did like a couple of them).

Another day we drove to the Boathouse District and rode our bikes along the river for about 1.5 hours. The hike/bike trail is paved with a number of bridges along the way over drainage areas.

After finishing our bike ride we drove over to the Stonecloud Brewery where had one of their stout beers which we both enjoyed.

On Saturday we drove about 20 miles south to Norman, Oklahoma the home of the University of Oklahoma. We visited the Fred Jones Museum located on the campus which houses over 4,000 items dating from several hundred years BC to modern artists from the 20th century. After finishing up touring the museum, we walked around the campus and then over to the football stadium. It was homecoming weekend and there were a number of tents set up around the stadium welcoming returning graduates. Oklahoma played Texas Tech that evening (we did not stay for the game but watched a part of it on TV) and beat them 49 to 27. The campus was one of the prettiest one we have seen in our travels around the country.

Heisman Garden located outside the stadium

Reading room in campus library

On Sunday we visited the National Cowboy and Western Museum located in the norther part of the city. We spent about 4.5 hours touring the museum and did not get to see all of it. If you are in the Oklahoma City area this is one place we would recommend you stop and see.

On Monday we cleaned up the rig, did some grocery shopping and then attended a "chili dinner" at the park's event room. We met a couple, James and Melinda, who have been full-timing in a 24 foot Class C motorhome for over year now and love it. James is a retired air traffic controller and he is going to teach for the next several months at the Oklahoma City training facility.

Tuesday morning we packed up and made the 125 mile trip south to WinStar Casino RV Park where we will be spending a week.