• Finally Made It To Kansas!

    Well, I finally made it into Kansas. Kim Zeigler….. I took yesterday off because of rain and just hung out. Bartlesville, Oklahoma and the Riverside RV Resort was certainly a big improvement over the last couple of places. Pool, nice clean laundry room perfect WI-FI, challenging biking trails…..and it was only $15 per night. My “bedroom” window looked down on the river under some shade trees and it was very soothing to go to sleep and wake up to the sound of the flowing water. I am now just north of Wichita staying at the largest RV resort in Kansas. Next stop….Dodge City….But I’m getting ahead of myself.

    Bartlesville, Oklahoma is the home of the late Frank Philips, founder of Phillips Petroleum. While there I visited the Woolaroc Ranch, Museum and Wildlife preserve (3700 acres), created by Mr. Phillips. The Museum is home to one of the most outstanding western art collections in the world and it was awesome. They even had a working teepee village set up where I got to shoot an old flint lock rifle. I pinged the target on my first attempt. Didn’t do so well with the hatchet toss though. If you are into the whole cowboys and Indians thing, this is a place you do not want to miss. On the preserve I saw buffalo, elk, deer, water buffalo and even something called a zorse, which a cross between a zebra and a horse. You can check it out at woolaroc.org

    During my stay in Bartlesville I met an old guy (82) whose “claim to fame” is spending “well over 1 million dollars” to create an old western town on his property. He and a friend spent over 30 years building all the buildings by hand. There are 27 buildings in all. The place is called Prairie Song and he gave me my own private tour…..only because I was willing to meet him at “sunup”. I have included some pictures but they do not do it justice. The place was like taking a time machine back to the 1880’s. Now the interesting thing about this “private tour” turned out to be that the guy was looking for a live on site care taker and thought he could “corral” me into taking the position. So….My first question…..How cold does it get in the winter? His answer…..It’s not the cold so much as the north wind coming off the prairie. The wind chills can be brutal…..I told him I’d “think on it a spell”. He really was an interesting guy and we had a great time hanging out looking at all his cool stuff. Visit prairiesong.net to check it out.

    All in all it was the best stop so far. The town is very clean and the people are quite friendly. I liked it a lot…..just not enough to winter there as the caretaker of an old western town….

    The adventure continues….

    The Zorse
    The Zorse

    Woolaroc  Museum Entrance
    Woolaroc Museum Entrance

  • Welcome to Oklahoma

    Life on the Road!……

    I am now in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. 1,365 miles from where I started! It has been a very challenging week dealing with the fallout from $10.00 per night RV parks, boredom and REALLY bad roads.

    Note to self……STAY AWAY FROM $10 A NIGHT RV PARKS!! The first one was across the road from a sawmill that got fired up promptly at 7:00AM making what appeared to be railroad ties. Not a problem as far as waking me up because I’m always up at sunrise, but the noise!!….and of course the trucks bringing in the trees at a steady pace on a road with no bike lane, made it impossible to do any biking. With no water for kayaking within 20 miles and Wi-Fi that never held a signal for more than a few minutes, it was a very slow 3 days. Although I did enjoy my trip into Natchitoches. It is a beautiful little town along the Cane River that is home to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and the oldest general store in the state, dating back over 150 years.

    I did take a very long walk down a gravel road that eventually led to a trail which in time took me to a clearing where I found a hunting blind. About 75 yards down range I spotted a trough that is filled with corn during hunting season to draw out the deer for the hunter who is sitting in the blind. The odd thing was, I could see through my binoculars something having a frantic fit on the ground near the trough. So I decided I should tramp through the knee high grass and go check it out. What I found was a raccoon caught in a live leg trap…..and boy was he mad! Now I know I must be on private property and this raccoon was trapped for a reason. Of course he was so mad there was no way he was going to let me get any where near him to set him free. And I’m sure those back woods Louisiana folks would have no problem filling my ass with buck shot……or worse for “settin” their dinner free. So I decided I best high tail it outa there…..leaving the raccoon to his fate…

    From there I moved north into Oklahoma, crossing through Arkansas and a bit of Texas. My second $10 a night RV park made me wish I was back at the first one. It was so far out in the country I couldn’t even get cell phone service most of the time. Wi-Fi was something they only knew about from watching it advertised on TV. The lake that I was planning on doing all the kayaking and fishing on…….flooded a couple of weeks ago and was closed. Apparently they had a tropical depression move up from the gulf and dump heavy amounts of rain. The park ranger (Hoyt) told me I was welcome to throw my kayak in and have a go at it but to watch out for the snakes in the trees. He said he saw a cottonmouth in one just yesterday. So much for the kayaking….and biking? Less then a quarter mile from the park was the main highway. Starting around sunrise, a procession of large dump trucks began running up and down the road at breakneck speed delivering gravel to the highway project up the road a few miles. This being the only way to get to more peaceful roads, biking was not really an option. So what did I do for 3 days with no kayaking, biking or Wi-Fi? Drove to the nearest Wal Mart (Still less then 10 miles from the RV park) and bought the Lonesome Dove movie set and watched it to prepare myself for Oklahoma and points west…

    I mentioned earlier about the road conditions, which of course leads me into another story. In 1974 I drove the Alaskan Highway from Delta Junction, Alaska to Fort Lewis, Washington in an old ford van (1,380 miles which coincidently is about the same number of miles I have travelled so far on this adventure) . The Alaskan Highway at that time was only paved through the larger towns. 90% of the road was gravel and very treacherous through some rugged mountains. I was stationed at Fort Greely in Alaska and when it came time to be discharged, I was required to go to Fort Lewis to complete the discharge process. So I went to my commanding officer and requested permission to drive rather than fly. He told me I was nuts and gave me 7 days to complete the journey. And what an amazing journey it was. The road was so bad I had to buy 2 new tires and replace both headlights in Whitehorse, Canada which was only about 350 miles into the trip. Every hour or so a truck (didn’t see to many cars on THIS road) would come flying down the road from the opposite direction and spray the front of my van with gravel. Apparently the locals had no fear of plummeting down the side of the mountain while racing around hair-pin turns. At one point I had to stop because the line going to my oil pressure gauge sprung a leak and needed to be repaired. (no duct tape back then) When the repair was complete, I was a mess all covered with oil. I still have shivers thinking about having to take a bath in the freezing cold river near by. I ended up being 2 hours late reporting into Fort Lewis…..Yes, it took me 7 days and 2 hours!. From there it was on to Michigan and home……But that is another story for another time….
    The Adventure continues…..

    Flooding at Hugo Lake, Oklahoma
    Flooding at Hugo Lake, Oklahoma

  • Week 5 Northern Louisiana

    Life on the Road!….

    Today I left Mississippi and headed into Northern Louisiana. I somehow managed to get lost in Baton Rouge looking for US190. While I was parked near the Mississippi River trying to convince the voice in my GPS that I did not want to go where it was sending me (always good to have someone to talk to when you’re on the road alone), a nicely dressed “homeless” man hit me up for 2 bucks to put in the collection plate at church……hmmmm…..that’s a new one…..

    As I begin my 5th week on the road I have discovered something interesting about myself and being alone. My first week I didn’t really care about interacting with my fellow campers, just wanted to experience the solitude. Now, I actually go introduce myself and carry on a conversation with the people around me. While at the campground in Mississippi, the woman who was parked across from me spent nearly an entire afternoon telling me her whole life story….it was not pretty…oh well…..back to the solitude.

    The Mississippi campground didn’t have the nice nature setting that I had at Bass Haven on Juniper lake. I went from 665 acres of awesome fishing and kayaking to the photo you see below. Although there are fish in this little pond, I didn’t go looking for a trophy Bluegill. The other photos are just a sampling of the MANY photos I’m taking.
    Tomorrow I will take a tour of Natchitoches, LA which is the oldest settlement in Louisiana. The woman who checked me into the campground tells me there is a hardware store in the town that has been in business for over 100 years…..I hope they have really old guys sitting around spitting into buckets.

    So I am here for just a couple of days before I head into Texas and what promises to be another great fishing and kayaking lake…..and it’s only $10 a night with my Passport America discount!…..

    The adventure continues……

    Pond at Hancock RV Park
    Pond at Hancock RV Park

  • Life on the Road

    Life on the Road!….

    We just had a very intense thunderstorm roll through the campground. Thunder and lightening the likes of which make your neck hairs tingle. One window leak appears to be fixed while the other seems bent on creating a mini river. Even after I used the incredible tool known only as duct tape to seal it up. Oh well, I’ll get out the caulking gun in the morning and have another go at it. At least the one by the bed is fixed. Nothing like waking up to a wet dream……or something like that.

    As I look out over my computer screen through my ever changing window to the world, I find myself being drawn back to when I was about 12 years old and I had my first real adventure. We lived in a house on Clyde St in Lansing and my mother, being the strict disciplinarian that she was, set boundaries for our travels while out riding our bikes. Boundaries are meant to be tested….right? After what I thought to be very careful planning…..My canteen and a candy bar….Oh….and my compass…I gave my mother some cockin bull story about spending the day with a friend and headed for Grand Ledge on my bike. Now this was only about a 10 mile ride but at 12 years old it seemed like I was crossing the continent.

    Now what brought me to this very fond memory was the fact that my planning for this trip did not include a raincoat and of course it stormed with thunder and lightening the likes of which make your neck hairs tingle…….and I was hooked…..The adventure continues…..

  • New Orleans

    Yesterday I rode the tour bus for a 2 hour tour of New Orleans including the Garden district (where John Goodman and Sandra Bullock among other actors own homes) and the French Quarter. Beautiful old city that has seen it all since its founding in 1718 by the French. The small house in the tree is one of the Katrina Memorials….of which there are many. Had lunch at the St Charles Tavern and walked around the French Quarter. Not a bad day at all. This morning I rode my bike to the bay and back….about 15 miles round trip. Chandler Victoria McClung asked me if I saw any wildlife……If you count being chased by a crazed dog that I almost had to pepper spray as a wild animal……Fortunately, he was not able to keep up with this wild rider

    New Orleans Tour Bus
    New Orleans Tour Bus
    The NEW New Orleans
    The “NEW” New Orleans