Saturday, September 29, 2018

Oklahoma City

Another campsite by ourselves.   Totally different settings, but uncrowded once again, just the way we like it.

We're parked at the Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center in Shawnee, Oklahoma, about 30 miles east of Oklahoma City.    This is a large facility with 500+ full hook-up campsites and an additional almost 300 water and electric only sites (if their website is to be believed!).     We chose a back-in site in the front of the park, on pavement, instead of the grassy sites in the rear.   Too wet for us!    At any rate there are only two other campers here, TWO.   We have the place to ourselves and it's nice.    Lots of space for Lewis to play and explore and only $25 a night!

Lew found a cast off bell boot from one of the equestrian competitions
It is no longer usable......

Beluga was doing a couple odd things when we first arrived so Dave spent part of yesterday troubleshooting the noises we heard.   Problem solved we think.     It's these little things that keep his mind active! 

The weather hasn't been very nice.   Not nasty, just not nice.   It was sunny when we first pulled in and we were jumping with joy but, as if we were dragging those grey skies along with us,  the clouds soon caught up and it's been that way ever since.   Rain and wind on and off, ugh.   Ah well, at last no mud getting tracked in!

Today we drove into downtown Oklahoma City to see the Oklahoma City National Memorial dedicated to those killed and injured in the terrible bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah building in 1995.   I had an idea about what we would see, other bloggers have visited and posted pictures.

I wasn't prepared for the powerful and moving outdoor symbolic memorial we found.     We parked on the street and entered through two closely spaced, large black "gates" - The Gates of Time. 

We found ourselves at the end of a long reflecting pool bracketed by another, identical black gate.   The reflecting pool represented the path 5th street took before the bombing. 

The Gates of Time frame the moment of destruction - 9:02 a.m.    The top of the east gate is engraved with the numbers 9:01,  representing the innocence before the attack - the minute before the explosion.     The top of the west gate is engraved with 9:03, when the healing began.

Dave stands outside, before the world changed for 168 people and their families


Field of Empty Chairs
where the building once stood

Each chair has one person's name etched in the glass.   Chairs of the 19 children killed are small. 

At the east end of the Field of Empty Chairs is all that remains of the Murrah Building.  On this, the Survivor Wall, are several granite plaques salvaged from the building and inscribed with the names of the 600 survivors. 

We didn't go into the museum itself, we were just too overwhelmed.   We did wander the grounds, sitting and reflecting, talking quietly about the violence in society and about hope and endurance.

We saw a short wall of hand-painted tiles sent from children around the world expressing their support, thanks, frustration, and innocence.

We saw a portion of the chain link fence installed to enclose the crime scene covered with tokens of love and caring.    Stuffed animals, wreaths, photographs, high school t-shirts, plastic flowers, handwritten notes, license plates, marathon numbers and other intensely personal memorabilia.  These things are removed periodically, cataloged and stored in the museum but as soon as the fence is empty, it begins to refill.   People have not forgotten.

Across the street, his back toward the devastation, is a white stone statue, entitled "And Jesus Wept". 

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Petit Jean State Park

Tonight is our last night in this lovely Arkansas State Park, the state's first!   We almost didn't keep our reservation here  because of the slug of rain that had been stalled over this area for days.     I'm so glad we decided to come.

Beluga sits in her quiet site

Our site is in the woods, just a stone's throw from a small Bailey lake.   The site has lots of privacy and full hook-ups, but it has one small quirk.   While we have great cell coverage we only get one TV channel - one.    And only with the refrigerator closed.    When either of us opens it's door, the television loses signal.   Every time.     So, no new episode of Dancing With The Stars for us!

Lake Bailey

Our moods were lifted by the sunny, albeit steamy, weather and spent the few days we had exploring this new to us area.

"Diego" enjoys the warm sun, finally!

Petit Jean State Park sits atop a large, flat top, densely forested mountain (Petit Jean Mountain) overlooking the Arkansas River.

Legend has it that the Park and the Mountain are named after a young French girl who disguised herself as a boy and secretly accompanied her fiancee to America.    She died shortly after arriving to this area and her grave sits atop beautiful Stout's Point.

Petit Jean's grave site

Yesterday we passed the huge Museum of Automobiles, an interesting looking building built by Winthrop Rockefeller.   It seemed an odd thing, set as it is amidst nature's beauty and many miles from anything else remotely commercial.

 We didn't take the time to go in and see the collection of vintage and antique automobiles, perhaps we will the next time.

 Today we drove the Park's roads, stopping at the overlooks, admiring the CCC's phenomenal stone work and walking a few of the shorter trails.    I think it's time to see what my knee can do!

Davis Bridge over Cedar Creek

see the teeny tiny waterfall coming out of the log?

Dave sitting atop one of the numerous "turtle rocks" on the Rock House Trail

Rock House - see Dave?

there are several faint pictographs on the back wall

90 Ft. high Cedar Falls
Tomorrow we move on to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.   We leave with much left unseen, what a beautiful park this is.



Saturday, September 22, 2018

On the Mississippi

We pulled into one of our favorite RV parks yesterday afternoon, before the sky opened.

Tom Sawyer RV Park, in the depressed city of West Memphis, Arkansas, sits directly on the flat banks of the Mississippi River.

When you get off I-40 and drive up and over the levee you wonder if you've read the directions correctly.    We've been here before, so we knew where we were going, but I remember our first time.   Dave kept asking me if I was SURE I knew there was an RV Park down there.    I thought I was, but.....

You drive down a long, kudzu covered, tree lined lane and through an eerie looking stone gate.     You check in to a tiny "office" on wheels and then follow a UTV, past the raised laundry room building, through more trees that open into a huge, grassy field with The River in view.

I can't imagine The River being that high!

The RV sites are all arranged to take advantage of the fantastic River view.  Most of the year.   On our way to our site we noticed the electric transformers were all very high....with stairs up to them.     We noticed two houses up in the trees....

When you make reservations for this park online, they ask that you check the River Stage and Flood charts before coming.   If they are at a certain number or above for your reservation.....don't come.    This is why....

satellite view of Tom Sawyer RV at flood stage!

Part of the year this entire area is underwater!    They drive the office away, turn off the power and let the mighty Mississippi have her way with the property.   When she's finished, they move back in and are open for business.

tomorrow we'll move to one of those front row sites

those beautiful clouds brought us some nasty weather

It was 96 degrees with very similar humidity numbers yesterday.    It rained most of the night and it has been spitting on and off all day today.      We've enjoyed watching traffic on the very busy River.

Some barges and push boats move by quickly with the rapid current.

one of the smallest push/barge combinations

When they come from the opposite direction, against the current, they have a hard time and must really use all their strength to move the barges ahead.   We've seen combinations of 20 or more laden barges being pushed along the river!

this boat was really digging in to move the 20 barges it had in front

It's interesting to see two pass by each other at the bend, or pass each other going in the same direction.     These pilots are gutsy!

We were scheduled to leave here tomorrow for the next stop on our path west.....Petit Jean State Park.   I say "were" because we've decided to stay put for at least one more day.   The entire rest of the state of Arkansas is under a flood watch/warning and since we managed to avoid a hurricane we'd like to avoid a flood as well.     We'll have to move sites in the morning, but that's a good thing - we'll have a front row site, right next to The River!

Stay tuned.....