We picked up an Itasca Ellipse on a cold, sunny windy day in Iowa. This unit has a unit heater that runs on the diesel fuel instead of LP. Because it can run while the unit is on the road we were toasty warm in a couple of hours. The icy crust on the accumulated snow glistened under the sun. Only deer tracks and occasional snowmobile tracks marred the wind driven snow banks along the interstate. The car/truck tracks in the median was evidence of the severe weather in the past.
This was a $300,000 unit, diesel pusher, slide outs on both sides, 2 bathrooms, 3 flat-screen TV sets(one on the outside entertainment center), 2 leather covered sofa beds, washer/dryer, king size bed, kitchen and dinette.
One of those DOT drug/alcohol tests was added to our itinerary, which meant a stop in Ames. We had the experience of driving city traffic with a 40+ft unit and then finding a parking spot near the clinic! No parking ticket! PTL
Used our new Atlas on this trip. We need to replace every 2 years. Being pro-active this new one is reinforced with clear packing tape at all the wear areas making it really "stiff."
Bethany, Missouri was our overnight stop. The El Nopal Mexican restaurant served a tasty meal. Generous servings and economical prices.
Bucking a strong south wind, that made it impossible to even hear the radio or CD's, we are traveling through the Flint Hills in Kansas. Just a dusting of snow. Past Eldorado. When will we find time to stop at their oil museum?
Into Oklahoma and clouds. Still patches of snow in protected areas. Must give Oklahoma's rest stop and Welcome Center four stars for making a traveler feel very special. The beautiful wood doors with gold handles, inside tiled floors & walls, stainless steel compartment doors with gold handles, and large compartments! Lots of maps and tourist information, too!
Flying J in Ardmore, OK for the evening. Delivery in the morning took longer because we had to drive 10 miles to find a car wash for large vehicles. What a lot of yucky black road slush sticking to this unit and our car! Only clouds and fog, no rain, so we fed the quarters into the machine and washed.
Always interesting when we are in Texas in the winter and it is 50 degrees. The locals are wearing jackets and we are not!
A call to niece in Weatherford, Texas to set up our lunch at the Cracker Barrel resulted in a fun catch-up visit with her and her delightful daughter.
Driving north on Hwy 281 through the town of Mineral Wells. A huge abandoned, but for sale, brick building in the center of town was a monument to former days. The discovery of medicinal qualities in waters made the city famous in the late 19th-early 20th century. Today there is a 22 mile hiking, biking and equestrian trail that links Mineral Wells and Weatherford to Lake Mineral Wells State Park. People come to enjoy the mild climate, hunt, fish and float the Brazos River. The Famous Mineral Water Company still bottles the healing water.
We drove past Ft. Richardson Historic site in Jacksboro, TX. This was the most northerly of a line of Federal posts established in Texas after the Civil War to protect the settlers. The town has many petroleum refining and related oil field services.
We see big hills on the horizon in all directions, ranches and shrubs of large round leaved cactus. Everything is in shades of brown except the clumps of mistletoe growing on the bare branches of trees. The land becomes flat with acres and acres of irrigated green pastures for the beef and dairy cattle. Large and small dairies dot the area.
A stop at the Super 8 at Wichita Falls for a good night's sleep, but woke up to fog.
Because of the fog there was no opportunity for "sightseeing" making the interstate the best choice for travel. After stopping at two museums in Oklahoma, both were closed for 2 weeks for cleaning, we drove to Ponco City looking for the Pioneer Women's Museum.
This area has a Conoco Phillips refinery, oil storage and a free museum telling the history of the "wildcatting" days of discovering oil. Someday we will stop and check it out.
Pioneer Woman Statue and Museum:
The following is a description of the statue that was in the newspaper at the unveiling of the bronze statue over 75 years ago:
"It portrays figures caught in vibrant life. The young woman is striding forward with a sure step, Bible clasped in her right hand, bundle hanging from her right arm. A woman with erect carriage, resolute, clear eyes looking out from under a sunbonnet. Chin up and mouth firm. The eager sun treads at her side, his hand in hers as the strange panorama of new life unfolds...."
A section highlighting Oklahoma women in Music includes Wanda Jackson and Anita Bryant. The tile floor is inset with old 45 records. Nostalgia! An Edison phonograph with the advertisement: "Phonograph with a soul" and a 1921 Mood Change Chart which had questions that would analyze your mental reactions to music.
A 1949 Admiral 12" Black & White TV/Radio/Phono that sold for $500. The price ranges for the first TV's ranged from $99.95 for a black & white 3" TV up to $999 for a luxury 20" Black & White TV/Radio/Phono model!
An area exhibiting handiwork and quilts featured the following by Mary White from "The Quilters" 1977:
Sometimes you don't have no control over the way things go,
Hail ruins the crops, a fire burns you out,
And then you are given just so much to work with in life.
And you have to do the best you can with what you got.
That's what piecing is:
The material is passed on to you or is all you can afford to buy.
But the way you put them together is your business.
You can put them in any order you like!
Something to think about when you see a quilt made up of all the pieces of material! Also a life lesson on how I view and what attitude I take with the circumstances the Lord allows into my life.
Several pump organs were on exhibit. One was decorated with colored painting of flowers.
An exhibit of "wash day" tools showing that on a 19th century laundry day 50 gallons of water that equals 400# would have to be moved from pump or well to tub in buckets or wash boilers. This would give each load 1 wash in boiling water and 1 rinse. Makes me tired to thing of Monday on the Prairie!
A round, white galvanized metal icebox was on display. It had revolving adjustable shelves. Unique!
A 1903 Art Garland #300 wood burning living room stove with shiny metal decoration.
An antiques baby bouncy seat that certainly would not pass OSHA standards, today!
Also headquarted at the Museum is "Operation Pioneer Spirit," a program that sends boxes to soldiers in Iraq, Kuwait, & Afghanistan filled with the things they cannot buy. Included are toiletry items, stocking caps, handmade small pillows, samples of locally made BBQ sauces and one couple makes afghans to send! It was started when one of the local young ladies serving in Iraq wrote back to her Mom that there was no place to buy anything there!
Back to Iowa:
One more night in Oklahoma and then a week-end stop at daughter and husband in southern Iowa. Grandkids introduced us to a Wii!
Back to the Prairie in the fog!
Thanks for traveling with us!