January 20 to February 14, 2014 NOMADS Project, Mercedes, MS

February 15 (Approximately) to June - Gate Guarding, TX or LA.

June, 2014 - Up to Alaska!

September - NOMADS Annual Meeting, Branson, MO

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fort Reno on a cold, damp day

El Reno,  OK

Hey, JoJo welcome as a follower.  JoJo is originally a Jersey Girl, now living in Tucson.  Glad to be see you and enjoy your comments.

The last few Sundays were "moving" days and we did not attend church.  One of the first things we did when we arrived in El Reno was to ask our Navigation system to direct us to the nearest United Methodist Church.

Attending Wesley UMC on Sunday was pure joy.  What a welcoming congregation.   We were introduced from the pulpit and upon leaving presented two mini loaves of banana bread.   Most churches we attend are friendly.  The people of this church were some of the friendliest!    We felt completely comfortable from the moment we entered.

It has become very cold, damp and dreary here the last few days.   After breakfast today we drove into town to the Ford dealership.  This new truck has so many "gadgets" and Leonard had a question on a few.   After getting some answers, we drove outside of town to Historic Fort Reno.

Fort Reno was established as a military post in 1876.  The Fort assisted in preserving the peace and directed the transition of this part of Indian territory from a reservation to individual farms and ranches.  Troops supervised the first great Land Run of 1889 that opened lands for settlement.

The original main officers quarters burned and was rebuilt in 1936.   It is now used as a welcome center and museum.

More officers quarters.  Built in 1876.

Chapel built in 1944.  

Calvary Barracks Kitchen built around 1900.

Commissary built 1885.

Fort Cemetery

During WWII an internment camp was erected at the Fort.  Over 1,300 Germans who were captured in North Africa were imprisoned at Fort Reno.  They were hired as laborers by local farmers, worked as farm hands and built the Fort Reno Chapel.

A separate seciton of the cementry is where 70 former prisoners are interred. 

There are 62 Germans and 8 Italians buried here.   One is Johannes Kunze.  He was beaten to death by fellow POW's who accused him of being a traitor.  Those charged with his murder stood trial at Fort Leavenworth, KS, found guilty and were executed.   The death of Kunze is the subject of Extreme Justice by Vince Greene.

Recently someone desecrated his gravestone.

Each year special wreathes are laid in remembrance of the prisoners.  When the German delegation saw TRAITOR written on the grave, they informed the curator of the museum they would be reporting the incident to the German Consulant.  Attempts have been made to remove the writing without success.

For many years the Fort hosted polo matches, horse races and jumping meets.  Horse culture thrived at Fort Reno.  Black Jack was born as a part of the Fort Reno Quartermaster Remount stations' breeding program and spent his early life on the post.  Black Jack was the riderless horse in President Kennedy's funeral procession.  He was also used in the funerals of General Douglas MacArthur and Presidents Hoover and Johnson.

Time to head on over to the Casino to pick up today's two $10. vouchers for the slots.   Didn't win on Saturday.  Let's see if we get rich today.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Found a cheap site - sorely needed!

El Reno,  OK

Welcome to Doyle and Terri who have dropped in to check out this blog.   So glad to see you.

After spending a night in the Ford parking lot in Amarillo, we had to wait for the new hitch to arrive and be installed. We got very little sleep.   I complained to the dealer that their campground needed to turn down all those bright lights that annoy us campers trying to sleep.

While waiting for the hitch to be installed, we started unloading.  As fulltimers and mission volunteers we sure do carry a lot of stuff in a truck (tools).

One thing Len will miss is this bumper.  Can be sure someday a new one will be on the F350.   SOMEDAY, not soon.   Len do you hear me?  Alright, do you understand me????

Megan, the salesperson, is wearing a smile.    Probably because of a hefty commission coming her way.

Finally around two we got the truck and got to work.  Megan helped.

Our first hookup.  No, we do not travel with the slides extended.

We drove 150 miles to Elk City, OK where we found a campground and stayed for the night.  We did not even bother to onhook.  Just really needed to get some sleep.  Those bright lights the night before,  remember.

Back on the road by 9:00 am.   Destination El Reno, OK.   I had asked for suggestions of places to stay near Oklahoma City on the Escapees forum.     Got lots of replies.   My favorite suggestion was this:

 We arrived around 10:30.  A woman security officer was driving around the parking lot and stopped to talk to us even before we got unhooked.   She said she would drive us up to the front door.  This was much appreciated.  Remember, we have been in warmer AZ for two months.  Today in this part of Oklahoma it is 42 and windy.  We are sitting on a hill out in the middle of fields.  Bitter is the word that comes to mind.  Chilled to the bone.

The deal here is - no cost to camp!   That is Free for 50 amps, sewer and water.   YES FREE.  We went inside and signed up at security.    We asked what is the limit of time we could stay here.   No limit.   Then we were instructed to the "players counter" where we each received a $10 voucher to the slots.   We each get another one on Monday.  I get one on Tuesday, Ladies Day.  Leonard gets one of Thursday, Mens Day.

We will be here until Thusday.  Camping free.  Using their electric to keep warm.   Playing slots with the $60 they give us.    And on Tuesday and Wednesday will be spending time with my cousin Bonnie who lives in Oklahoma City.  How good can it get!!!!

Wondering if we can find more "campgrounds" like this.   Afterall, we have a truck to pay for.

Yesterday on our blog Jerry/Carol had questioned our logic for getting another Ford after all the problems we had with our 2006 F250.   Yea, we did have problems.  It was never our 6.0 engine. Although the 6.0 was known to be a problem.  With us it was always something that affected the engine.  That engine was built by IH.   We have done a lot of research on the 6.7 we now have that is actually built by Ford.   We have heard only good things about it.   And Len is, and will always be, a Ford man just like his oldest and youngest brothes.

Then we also have to consider this.  We bought the F250 on June 6, 2006.  That is 6/6/6.   Who knew it was a bad date to buy a truck as it turned out to be the truck from hell.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

He's a happy man

Amarillo,  TX

This is a picture of the Chinese Tire that was falling apart.  All four of the original tires that came on our fiver have now been replaced.

So this morning we left Tucumcari, NM headed to the nearest Ford Dealer - in Amarillo, TX to find out why our check engine light came on.    This morning the truck was really not pulling well at all. 

 They allowed us to drop the rig and they took the truck right in.   Needs a new fuel pump and two injectors.  Cost?  around $4,000.   Thankfully it is still under warranty.    We only have about 3,000 miles left of the warranty.   This truck scares us.   Three times the engine oil cooler has split.  Once it caused so much oil through the system that Ford replaced the engine and lots of other stuff.    No telling what will happen next. 

So, this is what we will be leaving with tomorrow:

This baby has everything.   It is a 2011 Ford F350  King Ranch dually.   Yea, Len is a happy camper.

We really wanted a dually - for the stability and additional weight capacity.  HEY - now we can get a BIGGER fiver.   (Just kidding).

The newer F350's come predrilled for fifth wheel hitches that Ford sells and installs.   The new hitch will arrive tomorrow.   So we are camped in their parking lot tonight.    Cheap camping tonight - only costs us the price of a new truck.

Happy camping!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

We got kicked on RT 66

Tucumcari,  NM

Another travel day and our traveling cat Lucky was ready to GO, even though we woke to a light sleet.

As we approached Albuquerque we saw mountains ahead.   Our hope was that we would not have to cross at the higher elevations.  We didn't.

The trip turned eventful.    We still have two of those lousy tires that came on the Montana.  CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP.   We stopped at a rest area where another RVer told us our back right tire on the fiver was bouncing.  Len checked and saw it had a bubble.   We decided we would get two more new tires when we got to Tucumcari.  The tire had other ideas.  About 20 more miles more up the road and the Pressure Pro let us know the tire was giving up the ghost.

We no sooner were on the road again and the Check Engine light came on.   Now, some of you know we have had to have the engine oil cooler coil replaced three times.   The second time Ford completely replaced the engine, radiator, hoses, etc.    We are sweating it.  It is happening again???

We got to Tucumcari and found the Ford dealer.

Don't think they can help.   Closest Ford dealer is in Amarillo,  TX 115 miles up the road.  Well, here is hoping nothing happens until Thursday when we will get to Amarillo and have our truck checked out.

We found a tire dealer who has to order the tires we want.  They should arrive tomorrow morning.  We will replace both of the orignial tires still on our rig.

We are on:

One can only imagine what these towns were when Rt 66 was the Mother Road.   The town we left yesterday, Milan and the neighboring town Grants are really hard hit.   In a 4 mile span Len and I counted 64 business that were boarded up.    Tucumcari does not appear as bad, but we still see lots of closures.

Here is the park we are staying for two nights.  Nothing fancy but is does have free WIFI and Cable.  This makes us both happy.

A relic from the past on Rt 66.

And a place for vehicles on Rt 66, that like Rt 66, that have seen better days.

The answer the question about my new camera.  It is nothing fancy nor expensive.  Only a Kodak easyshare M532.  It does the job.

El Malpais

Grants, NM

We left Sun Valley, AZ and arrived in Milan, NM on Sunday.   Yesterday it was very windy causing us to do less than what we really wanted.   However, it did visit the El Maplais National Monument.

El Malpais lies in the high desert of NM between Gallup and Albuquerque.   A great part of this area is lava fields.  El Malpais means Badlands in Spanish.   Lava poured out of a crater 2,000 to 3,000 years ago. 

An easy dirt road drive off the main road through this area took us to Sandstone Bluffs Overlook.  What a view.

Along the dirt road we saw these ruins.  Wonder what they once were.

A little further down the main road through El Malpais and a short walk back a trail is the La Ventana Natural Arch.  This is the largest of NM's easily reached natural arch.  It is eroded from sandstone and dates back to the age of dinosaurs.

This is the arch with sunlight shining behind.

The day was very windy.   At one point we could hardly see the road.

We are now getting ready to head out.  Next stop is Tucumcari, NM.   It is cold - 35 and sleeting.   Not an ideal travel day.

BTW - did you notice NO SPOTS.  Got a new digital camera.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Painted Desert and Petrified Forest

Sun Valley,  AZ

First welcome to John and Linda who have stopped by to visit our blog.  Glad to see you here.

What a windy day it is.    This morning we drove about 15 miles east of the campground to the Petrified Forest National Park.     After visiting the Visitor Center and watching a short movie, we set off on the 28 mile drive.  

The drive took us through some beautiful, awesome scenery of the Painted Desert.

We stopped at the Painted Desert Inn that houses cultural history exhibits. 

There are several hand-painted murals inside the building.  These were painted by a Hopi artist.  The building was renovated by the CCC in the 1930's.

The park encompasses land that once was part of historic Route 66.   As such, there were several relics left along the road to rust.  What once was Route 66, is now dirt and grasses.  You can see the old telephone lines running along the left.

We took a couple of short walks, fighting the wind each time.    One of them was to the Puerco Pueblo.   It is a partially stabilized 100-room pueblo built about 1250 and may have housed nearly 1,200 people.

In several areas of the park are petroglyphs, ancient etchings in stone.

One area has formations that are cone shaped of layered iron, carbon, manganese and other minerals.  Because of their cone shape, they are called Tepees.

And then the petrified wood.    It ranges from small pieces to almost entire trees laid out along the ground.  Partial trees can be seen peeking out from rocks and soil.    It is illegal to take any of the wood.  Sadly about one ton of petrified wood is removed from the park EVERY MONTH!     Why people do this is hard to say.  There is wood for sale and even given away throughout the surrounding towns. No reason to rob one of our National Parks.

We spent over 3 hours in the park.   We were hungry!   Coming out of the park we headed to Holbrook, about 19 miles away.    We decided Mexican food sounded good. 

This small restaurant served good Mexican food and was decorated with lots of old and interesting stuff.

We both decided on the combination dinner.    After devouring two baskets of hot chips and fresh made salsa, we were each presented with one of these:

And we did eat MOST of it.

We first entered Arizona on January 8.  Tomorrow we leave.   Next stop for a few days is New Mexico.