Monday, August 31, 2009

Branson, Missouri and Silver Dollar City--August 24-29, 2009: Part One

Since Bob and Dot are frequent visitors to Branson, we followed them from their house to our campground in Branson. We stayed at Ozark Country Campground and would highly recommend it to anyone going to Branson. We had sites next to each other and across from the pool.We spent some time at the pool on our first day. We planned to go to Silver Dollar City Tuesday and Wednesday.
Ahh, but when you plan a vacation to Missouri in August you don't think that the amusement park will be closed, but it was! It was closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday to redecorate for their fall theme! What a bummer. Time to change plans! We decided to go geocaching on Tuesday. Bob found several hidden near city parks in Branson. Here, Chris and DeAnna check their loot!Unfortunately, the first playground was still covered with dew and we couldn't play. Bob found a box turtle near the cache and brought it out of the woods for us to see.
The second playground was dry and other children were already playing. There was a bridge to cross from the parking lot to get to the playground. We just had to stop to look for fish.
Wednesday we went to Shepherd of the Hills Fish Hatchery. The fish raised here are released in the river and Table Rock Lake. These fish are retired brood stock.
There were so many fingerlings that Chris and DeAnna couldn't count them!
It was fun feeding the fish!
The two towers behind Chris and DeAnna are cooling towers. The trout like the water at 51 degrees!
We had a great time and were looking forward to finally going to Silver Dollar City!

Siloam Springs and the Repair Job--August 19-23, 2009

Once we arrived in Siloam, the rv needed washing. Chris and DeAnna took care of the lower compartments. Great Grandpa Bob introduced them to his favorite cartoon character--Betty Boop.
The neighbor's cat made himself at home on Bob and Dot's front porch.
I know you are wondering about the title of this post. No, it was not a repair job for our rv, but one for Bob's dad. The floor had water damage and we were all afraid someone would fall through! Once they removed the floor we saw why! There was nothing but a thin layer between them and the ground. The entire floor had to be replaced due to a water leak from the freshwater fill valve. Bob and his dad got busy so they could finish before we left for Branson, MO.
They did a good job, but it took our entire stay!
The kids kept busy for 2 of the days playing with two of the neighbors. They enjoyed digging worms and playing on the swinging tire horse. Here is Chris with a bowl of worms!
DeAnna always asked for a few minutes more when it was time to come in to eat.
We had a great time in Siloam Springs, but it was time for us all to head to Branson, Missouri.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sequoyah Bay State Park, Oklahoma--August 17 & 18, 2009

From Lake Eufaula we drove about 50 miles north to Sequoyah Bay State Park in Oklahoma. We planned to spend 3 nights before completing the trip to Siloam Springs to see Bob's parents. The park was nice, but on a scale of 1-10, the playgrounds ranked a dismal 3. There were several playgrounds, but they either needed repair or there wasn't enough equipment to keep us happy. The area where we were camped only had 2 swings and 2 tire swings.

We stayed 2 nights, so our second day was spent exploring the portion of the park across the lake. There was a nice nature center--closed---but we were still able to see the animals behind the building. Chris and DeAnna like counting the turtles.

Our final count was 5 turtles in the pit area.

One of our favorite activities was walking to the lake to feed the geese. There was a mound we had to cross to get there.
The geese were normal, pushy geese. DeAnna found out that if you hold onto the bread too long, a goose will take it right out of your hand. There were also carp to feed by the floating store. Of course, we forgot the camera on these expeditions!
After packing up our belongings, we headed to Siloam Springs, Arkansas for a visit with Bob's parents--Chris and DeAnna's great grandparents.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Adventures at Lake Eufaula, Oklahoma--August 14-16, 2009

Lake Ray Roberts was a great park with playgrounds, swimming, fishing, boating, hiking trails, horse trails and nature center. We enjoyed our stay, but it was time to move to a new park. We headed toward Lake Eufaula in Oklahoma. First stop, the Oklahoma Welcome Center.
We ate a picnic lunch. The kids 'rode' the stage coach.
Then it was off to find Lake Eufaula and our campsite. Bob made reservations so we would be sure to have a site, but this reservation didn't work out! Online, the information for site 8 said it would accommodate a 50 foot rig when is actuality, the max length was 24 feet! We had to change sites and ended up with one closer to the playground! Even though it was a weekend, the campground didn't fill!
During rest time, Christopher liked putting the bug puzzle together. The beetles fit in many different ways!DeAnna kept beat on her drum.
Outside, they played on the playground and threw rocks in the water. Chris learned how to skim rocks. When they look for rocks, Chris looks for skimmers and DeAnna looks for splashers.We enjoyed our time at Lake Eufaula. It is the largest lake in Oklahoma.
From Lake Eufaula we planned to stop at another lake in Oklahoma, but this time we would stay at a state park instead of an Army Corps of Engineers Park.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Texas and the Grandkids! August 11-14, 2009

From Barksdale we drove to Lake Ray Roberts State Park north of Denton, Texas. We had a great tri-level site. The upper level was for the rv and the car. Mid-level was our picnic table and fire ring.The lower level was lakefront with plenty of rocks for Christopher and DeAnna to throw in the water.Bob and I set up camp and explored the area. We found three playgrounds for later use.

Wednesday morning we found directions to Cathy's parents and set off for a cookout. When we arrived, there was no one in sight so I called Cathy's cell phone and asked for a welcoming committee in the driveway. It was only a matter of seconds before Christopher and DeAnna came running through the garage with Cathy not far behind.
There were hugs all around! We enjoyed our visit and the cookout. When it was time to leave we said goodbye to Valerie, Chuck, Cathy and Zack. Christopher and DeAnna were traveling with us!
The state park was about an hour from the house. After swimming and playing hard all day it didn't take long for the kids to fall asleep. They slept until we got to Sanger where we stopped for milk and eggs. From Sanger to the park all we heard were questions about where the big car was parked and why weren't we driving it.
The first item of business when we reached the rv was to throw rocks in the lake.
Thursday we spent the day at the park and played on two of the three playgrounds.
One playground was next to the beach area. Grandpa showed Christopher and DeAnna the finer art of making sand castles.
Since it was very hot, we went back to the rv for lunch and a break until the weather cooled. Christopher and DeAnna blew bubbles, went for a short hike with me to the playground and took the long way back by the lake to throw a few rocks.
Once it cooled off, we went to check out the children's fish pond and to grab some treasures from geocaches.
We only found one geocache, but it had good treasures so we left some swag to replace what we took. We parked at the equestrian parking lot and as we were leaving, 7 horses came view. One of the riders was nice enough to let the kids pet her horse.
There is a short nature trail at the park entrance so we decided to look for animals. While we were hiking, DeAnna found a "Y" shaped flower stem and told me it was a dowsing rod! She knew what to do with it. Now where did she learn that, I wonder.
Christopher read the map for us and let us know when we were close to the end of the trail. There were 19 markers along the trail.
One of the stops on the trail was a chimney where a log cabin once stood. Rumor has it that the owners left for a walk one day in the late 1800s and never returned.
Since we were looking for animals on the trail, we weren't disappointed. About halfway around we saw a doe with her fawn close behind her. If you look closely, she is in the center of this picture.Friday was a travel day. Time to leave Texas and head for Arkansas to visit Great Grandpa Bob and Great Grandma Dot. We plan to stop at two campgrounds in Oklahoma. The first is an Army Corps of Engineer Camp on Lake Eufaula--South Dam Site. We'll let you know about it in a later post!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Other Side of Louisiana--August 4-10, 2009

The title of this blog is the saying we see on the signs in this area. Bossier City is across the Red River from Shreveport. We don't know if it means the difference between the two cities or the difference between this area and the bayous of southern Louisiana.

We are staying at the FamCamp on Barksdale AFB in Bossier City. It is a nice area, but due to the nearness of a water, the mosquitoes are terrible! And did I mention that it is hotter than hot? Well, if not, let me say it one more time--it is hotter than hot. Bob connected our cord to the generator so we can fool it into thinking it is running so our second air conditioner will work. And to think on our year-long trip we hardly ran the AC at all!
We explored the area doing geocaches and of course, we visited some casinos. The casinos are built on 'river boats' like they were in Biloxi before the hurricanes washed them away. We had good luck at Diamond Jack's and not so good luck at Sam's. I sure did like the sound made when the machine totalled up 900 quarters! Hmmm.... I think that I am done with gambling for a while. I like the feel of being a winner--even if it was only $220!

Some of our geocaches took us along the trail on the north side of Red River. The trails were excellent for walking and biking. (We left our bikes home to have more room when Cathy, Christopher and DeAnna join us.) From this spot near a geocache, you can see the city of Shreveport in the background. The tall buildings to the right are casino hotels. The buildings to the left are office buildings.
Here is a different view with us in the picture. You can't really see it, but sweat was rolling off both of us. It was hotter than hot!
We are enjoying our stay at Barksdale AFB. We took an afternoon and did our laundry. We visited Louisiana Boardwalk (outlet stores, restaurants, clubs, movies).

Sunday we stocked the rv with food for the grandkids!

Monday we visited the Eighth Air Force Museum. There is also a museum with a similar name near Savannah, GA. The active 8th Air Force is at Barksdale.
We enjoyed the indoor exhibits and then went out into the heat to see the outdoor exhibits--planes and more planes. Several units donated benches throughout the area.
Every museum seems to have a C-47.
This plaque commemorates the Berlin Airlift.
There were quite a few planes on display in the outdoor area.
We leave Barksdale AFB Tuesday, August 11. Our next stop is Lake Ray Roberts State Park north of Denton, Texas.