Sunday, June 28, 2009

Traveling Iowa

Now that I am in the Winnebago lobby with a good connection I can post this...

Once we left the casino last Tuesday, we drove to Amana Colonies and stayed 3 nights at the Amana Colonies RV Park. We arrived and after setting up we watch the sky's getting dark. Just about the time our weather radio was going off, the wind started blowing and we just barely got our awning put away before running to the clubhouse. We were there for about an hour before the wind began to let up. It did continue to rain, however, the wind was not bad.

Wednesday we drove over to West Branch to visit the Hoover Library. I wasn't born when he was President but I knew that he was President when the stock market crashed in 1929. But I did not know what a great humanitarian he was. He graduated from Stanford with a degree in mining engineering. They were in London when Germany attacked France starting WWI and he was instrumental in getting over 100,000 stranded Americans back to the United States. He was head of the American Relief Administration (which later became UNICEF) and organized shipments of food for starving millions in central Europe. He extended aid to famine-stricken Soviet Russia. You can read more at

This is the house where he was born.

This was the blacksmith shop his father owned.

We left the RV park on Friday and drove to Forest City. We are at the Winnebago Factory where we are having some minor repairs done on the motorhome. There have been quite a few coming in over the weekend. There must be 10 motorhomes here waiting for service. Some of them are almost brand new!! There is a 2005 Journey and when Ed asked the owner what was wrong, he replied that it was easier to tell what was right!! Knock on wood, we have never had anything major wrong with this motorhome.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Wonderful Father's Day

Hope everyone had a great day yesterday. Ed had a fun day.

We have been staying at Terrible's Lakeside Casino in Osceola, Iowa. They have a RV Park that has full hook ups for $20.00 a night. When you go into the casino and get a players card they give you $10.00 back for each night you stay in the RV Park. We had signed up for 3 nights when we arrived on Saturday. We played at the Casino with our free money and walked out with over $80.00!! Not bad, huh!!

This is a picture of the RV Park and the Casino.

We had planned to go over to the Buffet for breakfast yesterday but when we woke up it was raining very hard. But the weather cleared and Ed spent some of the morning fishing in the small pond they have here. The only thing they had in the pond was Blue Gill and some catfish. It was catch and release because they were so small but he had a lot of fun.

There was a poker tournament yesterday afternoon so we went over to the casino to sign up for it. Ed played the tournament and I spent the afternoon playing video poker. We both won! Ed won the tournament(he was so excited because he had never done that before) and I cashed out the video poker with $75.00. We had a good dinner at the buffet and then Ed spent the rest of evening fishing some more.

Today we had a chance to wash the motorhome and prepare for tomorrow's move.
We still have about a week before our appointment at the Winnebago Factory and we only are about 150 miles away! We will just take our time.


Friday, June 19, 2009

Truman Library

Today we went to The Truman Library.

We went around with a tour guide and spent about 3 hours in the library. I knew a few things about President Truman. I knew he had ended the war in Japan by dropping the atomic bomb. I knew he was famous for his "the buck stops here" saying. I knew he was President at the beginning of the Korean War.

Many things I did not know. I thought he was President Roosevelt's vice president for all his terms. He was not. He was only elected vice president for Roosevelt's 4th term. He was only the VP for about 80 days when Roosevelt died and he then became President. I didn't know he worked to create NATO and the CIA. I didn't know he was the person to desegregate the armed services. If you want to know more about President Truman see this web site:

He came back to Independence after his presidency. He and Bess lived in this house which is just about 2 miles from the library. President Truman had a working office in the library and walked there just about every day.

We have really enjoyed our few days here in Independence. We leave here tomorrow and head into Iowa.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Frontier Trails Museum

Ed was able to play golf this morning so he can say he's played in Missouri. While he was gone I did a couple of loads of wash and cleaned the motorhome a bit. After he got back, we went to the Frontier Trails Museum.

Independence, Missouri was the beginning of the Santa Fe Trail and the Oregon Trail.
This museum is the best we've seen.

This picture depicts the wagons arriving in Santa Fe. All the goods where traded right in the main square of town.

There were many pictures around, each depicting miles traveled from Independence. The Oregon Trail went to Salt Lake City, Utah where several Mormon families settled. The trail continued on north to Oregon and some went to the south through what is now Nevada and over the Sierra Mountains. This was called the California Trail.
Both of these trails were very dangerous and the going was very hard. After seeing this museum, I have a new respect for the frontier men and women who traveled these trails.

Here, we could see more of the trail ruts. These were easier to see than the ones in Dodge City.

If you look close you can see the dips in the grass.

These were discovered about 20 years ago and are on the property of the Bingham-Waggoner Estate. The estate covers about 10 acres and the area where these were discovered is at the very back of the estate. That's the only reason they are still visible.

Tomorrow we will to the Truman Library and tour historic downtown Independence.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fort Scott and Lawrence, Kansas

Tuesday morning we left Branson around 10:30 in the morning. We woke up at 7:00 to the wind blowing. We jumped up to go and get the awning up and then decided to get as much done on the outside we could before the rain came. And it did come! It was a good thing we weren't on a schedule. But once we were on the road the sky's turned blue and the humidity came.

We drove back into Kansas, to see Fort Scott. Fort Scott was built in 1842 to bridge a gap between Fort Leavenworth to the north and Fort Gibson 150 miles south. The fort was used for training of infantry and they had a large company of Dragoons. Dragoons were the elite troops of the frontier army. They were trained to fight either on horseback or foot and were employed to keep peace. They were used to escort wagons on the Santa Fe Trail and also settlers along the Oregon Trail. The fort as been reconstructed on the original site.

When the railroad was completed, the fort was closed and part of the buildings were sold. The fort was re-opened at the onset of the Civil War and became headquarters for the Army of the Frontier and a supply depot.

This is the first fort that we have seen where the town actually grew out from the fort. This picture was taken from the fort looking out at the historic town of Fort Scott.

This morning we drove to Lawrence, Kansas. We stopped at the Visitor Center and discovered that there really isn't much to see there, but we did watch the movie about Lawrence. When Kansas was applying for statehood, they wanted to join the union as a free state but Missouri, 20 miles away, was a slave state. Lawrence is most famous for being the town burned by the raids of Quantrill. He and his riders road into the town one morning and killed all the men and boys and burned most of the town. Although while watching the movie we realized that some of the men from Lawrence might have set the whole thing in motion by first riding into Missouri doing much of the same thing!

Now we are in Independence, Missouri. Want to see the Truman Library. His house is still standing and you can also tour that but not sure if I want to do that. Will at least get a picture of it. There is also a Frontier Trails museum, for both the Santa Fe trail and the Oregon Trail.

Till next time....

Saturday, June 13, 2009

More shows in Branson

Branson is known for its shows. Every evening you can see just about anything you want. It's a very family oriented vacation spot. They have an amusement park, Silver Dollar City, and it seems like there is a mini golf course or go cart place on every corner!! Tuesday evening we went to Dixie Stampede. It was a dinner show, there are no eating utensils and the show is a competition, North and South. We were given a biscuit, soup (you had a handle and drank the soup), a whole cornish hen, a slice of pork, half a baked potato and corn on the cob. You surely would not leave the show hungry! Even had an apple turnover for dessert. The show was good. Barrel races, chicken races, pig races, and small horse races. Dixie Stampede is owned by Dolly Pardon, and there is also one in Tennessee. They would not let us take pictures inside so I have none to share.

Thursday evening we went to see the Baldnobbers show. This show is one of the oldest in Branson. They are celebrating 50 years this year. It started as a family show and they still have many of the family still performing. Sons, daughters and grandchildren of the original family.
It was full of a lot of comedy and song. They had an intermission half way through and came out so you could get autographs or pictures.

We have been to 3 shows so far and have one more to go this evening. We would never have gone to all of these because it can get very expensive. Everywhere in Branson, there are places that have information and tickets. The catch to getting these tickets of course is to listen to either time shares or vacation shares. We did give up a morning, but got tickets to 4 shows at a hugh discount. We did the same thing in Hawaii to get tickets to a luau and dinner cruise. We were up front with them from the start that we live in our motorhome, but that didn't matter. So, if you come to Branson take the time and get some great deals on the shows!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Ed sings in Branson!

For those of you who know him, you know that he is a Karaoke junkie. So when we saw a sign for a local bar having karaoke he was there.

Of course, we decided to go on Friday evening which probably wasn't the best choice since they have the karaoke every night except Monday. It was very busy, and after singing 2 songs we knew it would be very late before he would get to sing again so we left. We might go back again.

We have also been shopping at a few places that highlight some of the Ozark Mountain crafts. A lot of quilt shops. One had this big chair. Felt like Lily Tomlin and her skit she did on Laugh In! Remember this..

Last night we went to see our first show. We went to see Peter Pan with Cathy Rigby.
She was so good! We had wanted to see this show when we were in California but always seemed to miss it. So when we saw that it was here in Branson, we decided that it would be one of the shows we would go to.

I also decided that I would play golf with Ed.

This 18 hole miniature golf course is right here at the park so it was free. He beat me but not by much. Think we'll have a rematch this evening if it doesn't rain!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Busy Day

We had a busy day today. We started out this morning to go to Springfield to see Fantastic Caverns. Ed loves caverns so when we found out that this one is the only one in the United States that you ride through, we had to see it. This cave was found in 1862 by a farmer and his dog. Actually, the dog chased a raccoon into the cave. It wasn't until five years later that the first exploration took place: 12 women from Springfield, answering a newspaper ad seeking explorers, ventured into the cave. Their names remain on a cave wall today.

This is what the opening to the cave looked like when the farmer first found the opening.

We rode through the cavern in a trailer. It was really nice not to have to walk but it was even better to have someone telling you about the cavern along the way.

During prohibition, they had a speakeasy in the cave, and during the 1960's they had concerts in the cave. People like Buck Owens, the Springfield Concert Band and others used to play on the stage near the entrance to the cave.

We finished the tour of the cave and then it was on to Lambert's Cafe 'Home of the Throwed Rolls'. We got there at around 2:30 and we thought we would just get lunch. The place was packed and we waited an hour to be seated. But it was nice sitting outside while we waited. We had what we are now referring to as 'dunch', a combination lunch and dinner. Ed and I both got the chopped burger. This is what it looked like. It was really a lot and smothered with onions, peppers in gravy!!!

Needless to say, we now have enough for dinner tomorrow!! On top of all of this, they come around with extras like fried Okra, fried potatoes, and black eyed peas.
But the best is the rolls...The cart is full of hot rolls and you hold up your hands and he throws them to you!

It was a fun and busy day!! We have signed up to see some shows while we are here. I'll let you know what we see as we go!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Branson, Missouri

We were originally going to leave Coffeyville and head north to Independence, Missouri for a couple of days, then travel on to the Winnebago factory in Forest City, Iowa. When we called to get an appointment, they told us they couldn't do anything until June 29th. So our plans changed, as they so often do, and here we are in Branson, Missouri for the next couple of weeks.

We were only 190 miles from Coffeyville, but after being in Kansas for around 3 weeks total, it was really nice to see trees and hills! This town is really hilly, and not much fun driving around in a standard shift car!!

But I did see a very welcome sight while driving through the main part of town.

You can have your Krispy Kream and your Starbucks. Give me a Dunkin Donuts anyday!!
We had to stop! We buy the coffee all the time at Walmart or where ever I can find it on sale, but at Dunkin Donuts you're actually getting a full pound. So we bought coffee and had a donut each. They have the BEST Apple Spice filled donut.

After that, we drove the rest of the way to Old Town Branson and walked along the lake.

This looks like a river, not very wide but its actually a lake that kind of surrounds Branson.

There are so many shows here in town, not sure what we are going to see yet. We have 2 weeks.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Coffeyville, Kansas

We got our window fixed last Thursday and at 3:00pm we were on the road headed for Coffeyville. We stopped for the night at a Walmart in Pratt and then on Friday arrived in Coffeyville. While we were in Kinsley waiting for the replacement window, we also had a small rock hit the windshield of the car. Tomorrow we will get that fixed. Normally we would wait, but the crack is getting larger and is right in the drivers line of sight. We are counting the car windshield as our number 3! While we were in Parker, Arizona, we had a few chips fixed on the windshield of the motorhome. That was our #1. At least that's what we are hoping!

The reason we came to Coffeyville was to see the Dalton Defenders Museum. That's what we did today.

In October of 1892, the Dalton Gang decided to rob 2 banks at the same time in Coffeyville. Bob Dalton was very egotistical and thought that by robbing 2 banks at the same time they would become more famous than Jesse James. That's what he wanted. They made the headlines that day alright but not the way they had hoped. The 2 banks were very close together and they thought that they would have plenty of time to get both banks. Half of the gang went into one bank and they others into the other bank. This is a picture of the one bank. It looks pretty much like it did in 1892.

It seems that someone recognized them coming into town and followed them to the bank. While the Dalton Gang robbed the banks, the townspeople of Coffeyville took up their guns and ambushed them coming out of the banks. The gunfight took about 15 minutes and 4 of the townspeople were killed along with the Dalton Gang. The museum is a tribute to those 4.

We had thought that we would start north to Independence, Missouri. We had planned to do some sightseeing around that area before we went to Forest City Iowa to the Winnebago factory. But since we could not get an appointment at Winnebago until June 29th, we have decided to go over to Branson. We can spend a week or two there and then go to Independence. So our plans in chalk have changed again.