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Thursday, September 4, 2014

Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall...

                                                

  "...Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary."
                                          -Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

And into each road trip, some problems must arise, it seems.  But as the poet says, behind the clouds the sun is still shining!  Not that we've had actual rain.  Our problems have been the electrical kind.  Seems our surge protector has gone kaput.  So, in order to avoid being roasted in a trailer inferno, we are heading home to see about getting it all fixed before we head out again.  Have to be in Branson on the 19th!  Luckily, even if the 5th wheel is still undergoing repairs, we have a free week in a cottage at Compton Ridge RV Resort coming to us, so we've already reserved that, just in case.

Other than our electrical problems, and lousy internet connections, and no cell phone service within a 10 mile radius of our camp, and, oh, yeah, there was one rain and wind storm, but it didn't last long - other than all that, it's been a wonderful couple of weeks.

The grandgirls were so much fun!  We got to show them some places we love, and it was such a fresh new experience for us to see it all through their eyes.  



Then after a few days rest, our friends Bill & Donna came to visit.  They were here three nights, and we had a blast.  The guys played LOTS of golf, and Donna and I talked until we were practically hoarse!  And we ate...oh, my, how we ate!  Catfish, and Mexican food and steak & potatoes, and pancakes & bacon, and the best hot dogs ever!



Some of the most fun we had though, was touring the local cemeteries.  Is that weird?  Some of the graves went back to the 1700's.  It was sad to see so many babies and little children buried, and looked like whole families were buried in the same year, sometimes.  Epidemics?  Wonder how many died and were buried here on their way to Texas? 

But some of the tombstones were beautiful, and they had some of the sweetest sayings and verses etched on them.  Just a little glimpse back into history.  

Blessed are they whom Thou hast chosen and taken.  For Thy mercies are better than life.


We were sad to see them go, but so glad we got to spend so much time with them away from the usual distractions.  Even the lack of cell phone service has its bright side - we could really focus on the people we were with.

After Bill and Donna headed home, we spent the rest of the day trying to decide what to do about the fifth wheel.  Yesterday we drove into Texarkana and got a few things to rig up a temporary fix.  But today we decided the "band-aid" that Cowboy put together just wasn't going to work for 6 more weeks on the road.  So it's back to the sticks and stone house for us, and the repair shop for the 5th wheel.  

Hate to  leave this beautiful, peaceful place, but it's always good to be home.  Here's a few random pics of the RV Park.








When I was reading my Bible today, this verse from Joshua jumped out at me...."Have I not commanded thee?  Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed:  for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest."

Isn't that a wonderful promise?  God is with us when we are on the road, and He is with us when we are at home.  What more could we ask?



Thursday, August 28, 2014

GrandGirls!

So...Like I said, we brought the grandgirls with us when we came to Arkansas.  Yes, I know "grandgirl" isn't a "real" word.  But it should be.  "Granddaughter" just never looks right to me.  Those 2 d's in the middle.  They bug me.  Plus, it's just too long and formal sounding.  Plus, I don't have any grandsons.  So grandchildren sounds wrong, too.  So, "grandgirls" it is.  Because they're girls.  And the are grand.  So there.  Glad that's settled.  

But while we're on this subject (words) my autocorrect keeps changing ya'll to y'all.  I understand the reasoning - You + all = y'all.  But in Texas, we don't say "how are you?"  We say "How are ya?"  It's not that we can't speak correctly when the occasion calls for it. It just sounds friendlier our way.  So... singular..."How are ya?"  Plural..."How are ya'll?"  Thank you.

Back to Arkansas.  The girls made the 6 hour drive from home with barely a whimper.  Around the Red River there was one sort of whiny "How much longer?"  But when I said about 20 minutes, there were cheers!

The next day we went to Historic Washington State Park.  Cowboy and I have been there before.  I wrote about it here. ( http://myblog-grammykay.blogspot.com/2013/06/historic-washington-state-park.html )

 I've been wanting to take the girls ever since.  It was a wonderful day.

Lovely medicinal herb garden behind the Purdom House, where one of the town's doctors lived.

This is the 10 year old carding wool at the Sanders Home and Farmstead.

Then the docent, Keshia, showed us how to turn the carded wool into thread.

The old newspaper office was fascinating, with printing presses from several different eras.

She loved playing "judge" in the old courthouse.

Huge Catalpa tree outside the courthouse.

They say this pine tree was grown from a seed that went to the moon with our astronauts.


This magnolia tree was planted in 1839.  It is huge!


Cowboy and the girls.


Pretty little red flowers.  I don't know what they are.

I don't know what these are either.  But there were fields of them on the way to the park.  Pretty.

The rest of the time the girls were here was spent swimming, eating and playing games.  Oh, we also went to Hope one day and toured Bill Clinton's birthplace.  I just love people who work in our national and state parks and museums.  They are always so friendly.

It is very quiet here now, since the girls have gone home.  We are really looking forward to our friends from church arriving on Saturday.  That should liven things up a bit.

For now, I'll leave you with this prayer...

"The Lord bless thee and keep thee:  The Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee:  The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace."  Numbers 6:24-26.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The Plan



So, here's why I'm so excited about this particular trip - we are having company!!!   Lots of company!

So, here's the plan:

First stop, Ocean Canyon's Millwood Landing RV Park, near Ashdown, Arkansas.  (As members of Ocean Canyon, we stay for "free" at any of their RV parks throughout the southeastern U.S. - that is, it's free after a hefty buy-in and annual maintenance fees)

 We left home a week ago, but we didn't leave home alone...we brought our two beautiful grandgirls with us!  They stayed with us four days, then we met their parents halfway, and they went home to begin home school this week.  We had such a good time.  I adore those precious girls.

But wait...that's not all.  Before we leave Millwood Landing, we have more friends coming to visit.  Some friends from church are coming this weekend to stay for 3 nights.  The guys will play golf and us women-folk will do whatever we want.  

Soon after they have to leave, we will be heading  to a lovely Corps of Engineers park a little farther north where we will stay 3 or 4 days.  We hope to see some of Cowboy's family in Mena, Arkansas on the way.

Then, we will head to Ocean Canyon's newest park, Compton Ridge, near Branson, Missouri.  We love Branson, and we are so excited that OC finally has an RV Park there.  But we are even more excited that our BFF's from home are meeting us in Branson for a whole week!  These folks really are our Best Friends Forever - we have been friends for nearly 40 years, which is real close to forever.  When we travel, I miss them 'bout as much as I miss family.

AND, speaking of family - when we leave Branson, there is a very good chance that our daughter, her husband, and those two precious grandgirls will meet us in Grove, Oklahoma at Ocean Canyon's Bear's Den RV Park.  That's not a sure thing yet, but I have high hopes.  Our son says he can't make it, but I haven't completely given up on him, either.

Cowboy wants to stop a few days at Lake Tenkiller after we leave Grove, then we will be heading home.

So there you have it...five stops on this trips, with company from home at the three major stops.  This is what I've always dreamed of...being able to travel this beautiful country, and bringing my family and friends with me!

So, there's the plan.  We did some fun (and educational) stuff while the grandgirls were here last week.  I'll write more about that, and post pictures, tomorrow.

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Rest of the Story...



Wow.  Busy Summer, I guess.  I haven't done too well at this "catching up" thing I said I would do.  Well, here's the rest of our trip in a nutshell.  Enjoy.

In many ways, this trip wasn't nearly long enough. About three weeks.  We saw so many wonderful things, and traveled to so many places where neither of us had ever been before.  This is only a tiny fraction of the pictures I took.  But, this trip was spent in hotels except for the week in Blaine, where our dear friends generously shared their two bedroom condo with us.  It's hard to sleep in a bed that who-knows-who has slept in when you get used to sleeping in your own bed in your own home-on-wheels.  So, we were thrilled to get home.  

Actually, we are always thrilled to get home.  We love to travel, but we missing family and friends is a constant ache.  That's why I'm so excited about the trip we are on right now!  Can't wait to tell you about it!  Maybe tomorrow....

We got to visit with missionary Suzanne Perry in Vancouver, British Columbia.  Here we are in Vancouver Rain Forest.  L-R, Cowboy, Suzanne, our friends Rita & Jim.

Garden on the Vancouver University campus.  Gorgeous!

The Cowboy was so excited to find a real old fashioned phone booth!

International Peace Arch


Under the Peace Arch.
View from our condo.

Jim and Rita flew home after our week in Blaine, Washington.  And the Cowboy and I hit the road again.  We saw buffalo at Teddy Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.

We saw Mount Rushmore in South Dakota....
Carhenge was in Nebraska...
The largest copy of a Van Gogh painting I've ever seen was in Kansas...



And, our last night on the road, we stopped at Shamrock, Texas.  This is the old filling station on Route 66 that inspired the station in the movie "Cars".  Recognize Mater?



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Heading west!

So, we left home on May 28, and our first stop was the La Quinta just outside Trinidad, Colorado.  We stay at LQ's often, because they always accept pets, and we hardly ever leave Charlie Chihuahua behind.  This trip, he stayed with our daughter.  But we had earned a free night with their frequent guest program, so, that was a no-brainer. And believe me, after driving all day through the no man's land that is the Texas panhandle and northeast New Mexico, our brains were about useless.

But, something oh so cool did happen while we were driving through NM.  Driving down Hwy 64/87 towards Raton, there were dark clouds, lightning and heavy rain on both sides of us, and very dark clouds ahead of us.  For hours.  But we barely got sprinkled on.  The storms just kept moving away from us as we drove along.  It was awesome.

Next day we hit the road again.  Everyone knows Colorado is a beautiful state, but the drive from Trinidad to Colorado Springs and past Denver is just, well, not so much.  Same with Wyoming.  There are some really nice mountains, but we were on the interstate, so, still boring.  At this point we just wanted to get to some place we'd never been before, so we didn't bother to slow down for sightseeing much.

We spent that night at the Motel 6 in Evanston, Wyoming.  It was... well, just not even the nicest Motel 6 I'd ever stayed at.  And you know they aren't known for their luxurious rooms.  BUT, Paul's Diner,  accross the street,  almost made up for it.  Very good food.  We were pleasantly surprised.

Third day out, we drove through a corner of Utah we'd never seen before, and a little bit of Idaho, and a lot of Oregon.  I was surprised that there was so much brown in Idaho and Oregon.  Is it just because of this terrible drought, or is it always so dry and dead looking?  I really expected more green in those states.

Our destination that day was Pendleton, Oregon.  Cowboy had heard about the big rodeo they have there, and he wanted to see this Western style town.  I had no idea their was such a cowboy tradition in Oregon.  I thought it was all coastline and lumberjacks.  We found a cute little motel, part of a chain we've had good luck with before, Amerca's Best Value Inns.  Evidently, they take old motels and refurbish them.  We were right in town, the bed was comfy, the sheets and the bathroom were clean, and the owners seemed nice.  We got a great price, because it was just before tourist season began.

And it was here that we got one of the best surprises of our trip... a Mexican food restaurant, miles and miles from Texas, that we actually liked!  El Charrito was just a few blocks from our motel, and the food was as close to Tex-Mex as we've ever gotten outside our own great state.  Win!

The next day we drove on into Blaine, Washington, where the fun really began.  More about that later.

For now, here's a few pictures from Wyoming and Oregon
Wyoming mountains

Brown Idaho

Cowboy hates steep grades.  This one was lots worse than it looks here.

The cute little motel in Pendleton.  We plan to return to this neat little tourist-y town someday, when we have more time.

Sculptures in Pendleton, honoring their ranching/cattle driving  past.

Not a great picture, but I loved the patchwork farmland.  So green where it's irrigated. But I hated that it was  so brown everywhere else.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Backing Up a Bit...

A few weeks ago, we spent about 3 weeks traveling to Blaine, Washington and back.  We drove the car this time, staying at the most inexpensive (but clean) hotels/motels we could find.  I found most of the motels on TripAdvisor, and we were mostly pleased with the price and the accomodations.  We spent an entire week in Blaine, courtesy of our best friends who shared their condo with us.  It was a wonderful trip.  

Unfortunately, my computer chose that very time to get all flaky on me.  I also had a new phone, a Samsung Galaxy Note 3.  I love the camera on that phone, but I couldn't figure out how to get the photos from the camera to the computer.  So frustrating.

We've been home about a month now, and once again, all is well in my virtual world.  I figured out the phone, and the computer fixed itself.  Really.  One day, it just started doing all this weird stuff, I thought I'd crashed it for good.  But after an hour or so, it rebooted itself, and it's worked like a charm ever since. 

I will never understand electronics.

Anyway, I will be trying to post a few photos each day until I've described the entire trip.  We had so much fun!  

To begin, here's a few of my Cowboy at a few of the state lines we crossed.  He was a very good sport to indulge me in my touristy whim to get as many state line photos as we could.  Though he did kind of roll his eyes as me a few times.











We did miss a few. . . Colorado, Washington, British Columbia, Wyoming and Kansas were the other states/province we visited.  And by the time we got back to good old Texas, we were just too tired to stop one more time.


Thursday, January 9, 2014

January 9, 2014. At home. Alone.

Listening - to Sword of the Lord.


Seeing/Seen/Been/Done - Met the church ladies for brunch this morning.  Then I went to Target for a gift card for Rebecca's baby shower on Sunday, and ended up buying a set of sheets for our bed.  Cowboy left to go play golf right after I got home. I've been on the computer ever since.

Feeling - Glad to see my friend Marilyn this morning.  Seems like we were just getting to know each other well when she up and moved to North Carolina!  Also glad to see my friend Lena, but kind of sad that she's returning to Papua New Guinea next week.  But thankful for her willingness to serve the Lord on the mission field.


Wishing/Wanting - I don't waste much energy wishing for things I can't afford, but sometimes I do wish we had a gardener/outside maintenance person, so I could have a beautiful yard and garden, without actually having to do any work.  Except when I just felt like it.


Needing - to research games for the baby shower.


Eating/Drinking - Yum.  I had pancakes and bacon for brunch.  And I didn't eat it all, so that's what I'll have for supper, too!


Wearing - Jeans and a sweater.


Weather - 47 degrees, cloudy, and humid


Thinking - About trying to make my own flour tortillas with the new recipe I just found.


Enjoying - Modern technology. 


Praying - Oh.  That reminds me.  I didn't finish my morning prayers.  Better do that now.