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Monday, July 30, 2012

More Sightseeing

Forrest & Gail took us on another drive through Carthage. We saw some beautiful old homes, but I didn't get any pictures, unfortunately.

We also stopped at the Jasper County courthouse that is located here.  It's a gorgeous building with some neat history inside.

Jasper County, MO courthouse               DSCF0507

“Forged in Fire” is a mural that takes up one whole wall. It was painted by Lowell Davis who recreated his hometown in Red Oak II. (I wrote about that in yesterday's post.)

Mural of Jasper County history

The mural commemorates the beginning of Carthage from Native American roots to modern times. I am always amazed how artists take a blank canvas and bring it to life.

The courthouse has many other artifacts depicting the history of the area.

Jasper County history

 Route 66 history

There was even a dud mine from the Spanish American War!

Mine from Spanish-American War

And how often do you see one of these anymore?You don't see this very often

We ended our tour of the town at a little Mexican restaurant. Very authentic and very tasty. After that, it was time to go home. Our tummies were full and we were ready for a nap! :)

Once the sun goes down, we'll be doing some getting-ready-to-travel chores. We are finding that doing some of these chores the night before we leave sure helps us get out quicker. And in this heat, we want to get on the road as early as possible. I need to do some laundry and Randy's going to flush tanks.

Just a three hour drive tomorrow to Paola, Kansas. That will be our home for the next ten weeks or so. We'll be workamping at Hillsdale Lake State Park. But, the best part is that we'll be just an hour away from Samantha and AubreyLynn!

Until the next time . . .

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Little History; a Lot of Faith

With just a couple of days here in Carthage, we weren't going to let a little heat (little???) keep us from exploring a bit. Especially since we had Forrest & Gail, practically natives, to be our tour guides. But, first on the list was breakfast, of course!

On the way to breakfast, Forrest took us on a drive past a Catholic Viet Namese college that was hosting a festival. He said that Viet Namese folks come from all over the world for this week-long event. There were tents everywhere! Some of the homeowners living adjacent to the college even rent out space on their lawns for people to set up. I can't imagine living in a tent in this heat.

After breakfast we took a drive through the countryside. As we went, Forrest told us about a nearby town called Red Oak that had died as its residents grew up and moved away. One of those residents, Lowell Davis, returned in the 1970s to find that his hometown was no more. He wanted to buy the town but because of the town charter and such, he was unable to do so. Many years later on his own land, he recreated his hometown by buying up existing homes and businesses in the old town, giving birth to Red Oak II.

Red Oak II 

Former home of Belle StarrDavis' home - former home of Belle Starr

DSCF0449 DSCF0450 DSCF0454 DSCF0457

You can read more about it here. Mr. Davis lives in the former home of Belle Starr.

From Red Oak II we drove along a bit of history Route 66 A bit of Historic Rte 66 to Precious Moments Chapel and Park. I wasn't too sure about visiting the park because I've never been enamored of those little figurines as so many others are. Don't get me wrong, I think they're cute, but never felt a need to collect them or anything like that. However, I highly recommend a visit to the park if you're in Carthage. Sam Butcher, the artist who created Precious Moments Chapel & Park the Precious Moments figures we all know instantly, is a man of devout faith and family. He built a park that reflects this. Of course, there's the obligatory gift shop and cafe, but they are attached to a “village” the depicts large figurines living their lives. It's great. Unlike many places, you don't have to walk through the gift shop if you don't want to. You can bypass it and go straight to the chapel.

And the chapel is the crown of this park. Walk up to the Chapel entrance It is filled with Mr. Butcher's vision of his faith. Beginning with the hand-carved doors that allow you entrance to the chapel, one side of the chapel depicts scenes from the Old Testament while the other side's scenes are from the New Testament. As you enter the chapel, you are confronted with the Hallelujah Square that is Heaven. In the balcony area, Mr. Butcher created seven scenes to reflect the first seven days of Creation.

One of six hand-carved doors

What you see upon entering Chapel Hallelujah Square Old Testament Wall New Testament Wall Balcony area

Throughout the chapel there are many, many stained glass windowsJust a sample of the many stained glass windows – all with Mr. Butcher's Precious Moments artwork. There is a chapel devoted to his son, Phillip, who died at 27 in a car accident. Outside, in back of the chapel, runs Center Creek. In the middle of the creek is Grandpa's Island on which he built a castle DSCF0500 and where his seven children and many, many grandchildren and great grandchildren have played.

There is so much more to Sam Butcher's story than I can share with you. Or that you would want to sit and read in a blog. :) So, if you're interested, take a look at the Precious Moments website, it's pretty cool.

We had a great day of exploration and got home as the heat rose. This is what our thermometer  read when we walked in the door. Whoa. 

July 29, 2012 Carthage, MO

Tomorrow we're going to do a little more sightseeing. Until the next time . . .

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Settled For a Few Days

After another long travel day, we arrived in Carthage, Missouri at Big Red Barn RV Park about 4:15pm.

We left Camp Lakewood Campground in Illinois about 7:40am, immediately stopping to fuel up at the Pilot Truck Stop just a couple of miles down the road. With that out of the way, we got on I-70 West and continued our journey.

Of course we couldn't travel very far before we had to stop for breakfast. I will admit it's me who needs to do that. Randy can go for hours without eating his first meal, but I cannot. Aside from the diabetes issue, I get nasty headaches when I don't eat. So, about an hour down the road, we stopped in Greenville, IL at LuBob's.

We found LuBob's last summer on our way home from Kansas. It's the type of local restaurant we love to patronize. And you know when you pull in at 9:00 on a Saturday morning and the parking is nearly full, you've found a gem. We filled our bellies and got back on the road.

With just a couple more stops to stretch our legs and empty other parts (LOL), we finally arrived at Big Red Barn RV Park, about eight and a half hours after we got started. And who was here to greet us as we pulled up to register? Forrest & Gail! It was so good to see them. While I went in the office to pay for our stay, Forrest led Randy to our site – another level pull-thru. All these nice, level sites are spoiling us!

We'll be here until Tuesday morning, which will give us time to recoup from our marathon drive. And we'll get to play with Forrest and Gail!

Until the next time . . .

Friday, July 27, 2012

That’s More Like It

An uneventful travel day – that's just the way we like 'em. No drama, no sitting on the side of the road, waiting. Just driving down the road from point A to point B. Yeah.

We left Zanesville, OH about 8:10 this morning and continued our journey west on I-70. Stopped for fuel ($3.95/gallon for diesel) for the truck and then about a half hour later for fuel (Cracker Barrel) for us. :)

Then, we just cruised down the road, stopping just more time for a potty and stretch-the-legs break.

Crossing into Illinois, we also changed to the Central Time Zone. We love Central time!

About an hour later, we pulled into Camp Lakewood Campground around 3:30 or so. After registering, we were led to a very nice, level gravel pull-thru that was completely in the shade. Bad for satellite, great for cooling off. Even with the shade, our A/C is running virtually nonstop. It's hot out there, folks!

Camp Lakewood is another fine campground. We are so pleased with our last two stops. They have definitely gone on our list of places to stop on this route.

Tomorrow we'll be back on the road, heading to Carthage, MO and Big Red Barn RV Park. We'll be there for a few days. Forrest & Gail, our co-workampers in Bonifay, are working there this summer. It'll be great to spend some time with them.

Until the next time . . .

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Where Do I Begin . . .

When we last left you, it was Sunday and we'd had a wonderful day playing with Jason, Lindsay & Reagan. And with just a couple more days in PA, we wanted to be sure to get as much time together as we could.

A sleepover was planned for Monday, with Reagan spending the night at the campground. Unfortunately, that didn't turn out so well as Reagan wasn't feeling quite herself and decided to go home after dinner. That was okay. It happens.

Tuesday, Randy & I went to Lindsay's in the afternoon to do laundry, have dinner together, and just be with each other since it was our last day in PA. When it was time for us to leave, it was a little harder than usual. It's always tough to say good-bye for several months, but this time we'd only been there for a couple of months, plus Reagan has gotten to the age where she realizes that we're going to be gone for a long time and she was rather upset. That wasn't easy, I'll tell you. Thankfully, we did get out without tears, but it was still hard.

Wednesday morning we were at the campground office at 8:30 to pay our final electric bill and say our good-byes. We were on our way a few minutes before 9am; with a six hour drive ahead of us, that wasn't too bad. Except for a bad headache on my part, we were moving right along.

Until . .

We crossed into Ohio about 3pm when IT happened. Randy & I heard a “whooosh” and the truck lost acceleration. Randy had the pedal to the floor and all he could get was 30 to 35 MPH going uphill. We were able to get off the highway, into a small parking lot where I started making phone calls.

The first call, obviously, was to CoachNet, our road service. And when you are a fifth wheel rig, the problem is you don't just need one tow truck, you need TWO. And then you have to find a place to have the fiver towed. And not every repair shop can handle an F550 pick up truck

Finally, after many phone calls and about an hour and a half, I had it solved. The truck was going to a dealership 10 meals east of our location and the fiver was going to a state park 17 miles west of our location. Unfortunately, the shop said it couldn't even look at the truck until next Wednesday!! So, I made the maximum reservation at the state park – two weeks for $300. UGH. Of course we also needed a rental car.

Okay. Now it was about 5:30pm and everything was in place. The guy from Enterprise arrived while we were waiting for the tow trucks, so I went with him to get the rental car while Randy stayed with the rig. We had only been gone about 10 minutes when Randy called me to come back. The driver of one of the tow trucks decided to check the engine just to see if he could tell what the problem was.

HE FOUND IT!! Apparently, a clamp on a tube that fed the turbo blew. He said he could go get the clamp and have us fixed and back on the road! And that's what he did.

By 7pm, we were back on the road, heading west to our original overnight site.

I was able to cancel our reservation at the state park, with a fee of one night and the reservation fee. Plus, the tow company, Stonebraker's, only charged us $150 plus tax for two tow trucks, the clamp and the labor.

So, we went from thinking we'd be spending thousands of dollars to fix the truck, stay two weeks in a state park (with electric ONLY), and rental car fees, to just $200!!

I'll take that difference any day of the week.But, let me tell you, it was a rough couple of hours there for awhile.

But, I am grateful for several things. God provided a not-so-humid day so we were not sweltering while we waited for the tow trucks. We are able to get off the highway without incident. The folks at CoachNet were wonderful to work with and allowed me time to figure out how to coordinate the truck and the fiver. Finally, He provided an absolutely fabulous tow company in Stonebraker's Garage.

Randy, the young man, who fixed the truck, is the fourth generation of mechanics at Stonebraker's. Obviously, this family is an ethical, moral one because they taught this young man well. He could have just hooked the truck and towed us to the dealership and been done with us. But, he didn't. He took the time to see if he could help. He saved us who knows how much money, time and aggravation.

If you are ever in Belmont County, Ohio and need vehicle service or towing, please give Stonebraker's a call. They are one of the good guys.

We are now settled at Wolfie's Campground in Zanesville, OH. We arrived about 8:30pm to a great, level pull-thru. We fully expected to be on our way today, but there's a storm coming this way, so we decided to stay put. Unfortunately, we couldn't stay in this same site as there is a group coming in. So, we rivaled Darrell & Judy in the shortest move contest – having to move five sites for tonight. This is a very nice campground; we'll stay here again.

Once again, I am so very grateful for God's provision. The only downside of the whole day yesterday was that we were supposed to meet some of Randy's cousins for dinner last night and couldn't. But, we'll be through here again and will reschedule.

Until the next time . . .

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Spontaneous is Always More Fun

Why is that? It seems that those spontaneous experiences are always fun, no matter what they are. We had one of those today.

We played hookey from church this morning and met Jason, Lindsay & Reagan for breakfast. With only three days until we leave PA for the next five months, whatever time we can get together is good.

During breakfast we decided we needed to extend this family time and do something. However, the first couple of ideas were tanked when we found out the places were closed. After all, it is Sunday.

It was finally decided we'd head to Hershey. Lins found a package that included a Chocolate Tasting Adventure and a trolley ride through the town of Hershey. None of us had done either of those things, so we were all ready to go.

The first stop was the Chocolate Tasting Adventure at Hershey's University. This was pretty neat. Hershey's Chocolate Tasting Adventure We were given a brief history of chocolate and then the tasting began! We were given several different types of chocolate to taste - milk chocolate to very dark chocolate – along with a bottle of water to wash our palettes in between each tasting. :)

Waiting to go inWaiting to go in

Our ProfessorOur professor

Our “lesson”Our lesson

After the tasting adventure, we had about 20 minutes before it was time for our trolley tour, so we took advantage of the time to get some pictures.

Reagan - as pretty as the flowers 

Randy, Lins & Terry

Mommy & daughter

A happy couple - Jason & Lins

Then the trolley came! We're ready to go

Milton & Catherine Hershey’s homeMilton & Catherine Hershey's home


Milton’s boyhood homeMilton Hershey's boyhood home  

Largest chocolate factory in the world!Largest chocolate factory in the world

A place where even the street lights give kisses.Kiss lights!

We had such a great afternoon. I am so grateful for this last-minute fun.

Just three sleeps . . .

Friday, July 20, 2012

Busy Friday

Randy & I had doctor's appointments this morning. We are on blood pressure the medicine so our doctor likes to see us quarterly. But, since we are not in PA year 'round, she settles for getting us when she can. :) Since we are leaving PA next Wednesday and won't be back until Christmas, we got a visit in today. Thankfully, we are both doing well on our meds and no changes were needed.

AND Randy & I both were down six pounds from our appointments in June! YAY us!!

Of course our next stop was breakfast at Bob Evans! :) Hey we had a buy one, get one free coupon and it expires tomorrow. We were being good stewards of our money, right? Yeah, right!

After our yummy breakfast, we went to the optician to have my glasses adjusted. I hate wearing glasses and when they don't sit “right” on my face, it drives me crazy. I wanted to take advantage of being able to get them adjusted by our practice while we're still here.

From the optician, we made a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up watermelon and then we were on our way to Lindsay's.

A college friend of Lindsay's, Cheryl, and her two kids were in town from Ohio for a quick visit on their way to New York. We were invited for a cook-out so we could visit with Cheryl, too. We hadn't seen her in years. And of course I forgot to take a picture! UGH. But, we had a great visit; it was so good to see her and her kids again.

Another reason for us being there was that Jason asked Randy to check out their roof as the family room ceiling showed signs of leakage during last night's storm. Jason was on travel or he would have done it himself. Unfortunately, Randy couldn't determine any specific place for the leaks. But, I had fun taking pictures of him up there!

photo 1 photo 2 photo 3 photo 4

Just five sleeps until we're back on the road. Wow.

Until the next time . . .

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Out With the Old; In With the New

I think I mentioned in a previous post that somehow the truck windshield sustained a pretty good-sized crack on the driver's side. Today it got replaced.
The Auto Glass Works, Inc., is a mobile windshield repair/replacement company. It is a small business, owned and operated by a very pleasant couple. When they were running late because of construction issues, they had their office employee call us to let us know that. How often does that happen! We are very pleased with the work they did, so if you're in the York/Lancaster, PA area and find you need some windshield work, give them a call.
I took pictures of the process 'cause I figured it would make a good blog post. Here you go!
The CrackCracked windshield
Auto Glass Works to the rescueAuto Glass Works to the rescue DSCF0400
Old one’s out!The old one's out!  
Just waiting to be installedWaiting to be installed
And here they go . . .DSCF0403 A little more prepAnd the new one's in!Final adjustments
Until the next time . . .