Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023

Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023
Dunedin Railway Station, Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand - Saturday, December 30, 2023

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Army Corps of Engineers Park -- Thurs., Aug. 30

Driving, driving, driving--not much stopping--all the way from Edmond, Oklahoma to Waco, Texas. Check-out time from Arcadia Lake Campground was 5:00 p.m., we left at noon. 

We had planned to stop at Turner Falls Park in Davis, Oklahoma on our journey south; however admission to the park is $12 per person/per day. If we opted to camp there, it would be an additional $12 per night. We read a review on tripadvisor.com from August 2012 saying the water level in the park is low because of the drought.  

Bob and I discussed the stop at Turner Falls and decided instead to take a separate long weekend to Davis, OK and camp somewhere other than Turner Falls. We can unhook "The Beast" and drive it to the waterfalls in the area, swim, hike and explore from a different campground.

The driving was pretty easy heading south on I-35. We arrived at our next campsite, Army Corps of Engineers Airport Park Campground on Waco Lake. We thought we had died and gone to heaven. Our back-in site, #60, had lake views on two sides. The site is electric and water only, but there is a dump station in the park. Some sites had sewer, however they were $4 more per night and we had dumped our black tank last night so no need.

When we arrived, the sun was setting over the lake out our back window. On the dining room side of our 5er, the full moon was rising over the lake. Absolutely gorgeous. The site was 65' long...plenty of room for The Beast, Rigamarole and there was separate parking in our site for four other cars! We had a covered picnic area with picnic table and two beaches to choose from. 

Sunset over Waco Lake, COE Airport Park, Site #60.

Moon rise over Waco Lake, COE Airport Park, Waco, TX
Here's Rigamarole basking in the sunset.
This was our first time at an Army COE park, but it won't be our last. We liked it so much, we decided we will be back for a long weekend (or a week) and will request site #60. We are not finished exploring Waco yet! 

This is called Airport Park for a reason--the Waco airport is about a mile away. During the day, you could hear jets from time to time, but not so much at night.

For dinner, I grilled tilapia with cumin seed and garlic powder, and we had a large green salad.

Animal sightings at Airport Park: 12 deer, one roadrunner, lots of great blue herons.

This particular COE Park has gates that close at 10:00 p.m. and re-open at 6:00 a.m. We were happy to spend the evening in our site. In fact, we were so in love with the site we thought, on the off chance the park wasn't completely full for Labor Day weekend, maybe we could get another night. We decided to ask on Friday if any sites were available. Check-out time at this park is 2:00 p.m. For Friday, we made plans to do the Volkswalk in Waco, Texas early in the morning.

Great evening.

Travel Bug out.

All Things Cowboy -- Wed., Aug. 29

Bob woke up and ran seven miles on trails around our campground at Arcadia Lake. Way to go, Bob! Even though we were in an overflow site at Arcadia Lake's Central State Park, this site was way better than either of our Passport America sites in North Platte and Elm City, Nebraska. 

Took it easy this morning and headed out for the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum around noon. We arrived at 12:30 p.m. We thought we weren't going to go because both of us felt "museum'd out." However, Wednesdays are free at the museum until November. The Oklahoma Visitor Center told us this museum is a "must see," and someone else told us the same thing. So we went to see what all the fuss was about. 

Wow! National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum In Oklahoma City rivals the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody, Wyoming in its scope. 

I have to back up at this point to the day we toured the Golden Spike Tower in Nebraska because we learned something there about Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Shows that we did not learn at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody. Here's the interesting fact we learned about Buffalo Bill Cody in North Platte, NE: His show entourage with all the performers and animals traveled together around the country on three separate trains. An engineer in a train on a siding in the Carolinas did not realize that Buffalo Bill's show was traveling in three trains. After the first train passed, the engineer pulled his train out onto the main line and collided head on with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show's second train. About 90 of the Wild West Show's 110 trained horses were killed in the accident. Buffalo Bill still toured after the accident, but his shows were not as big or flamboyant and they eventually died out.

Back to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum: The first piece of art to catch our eyes was "The Remuda," by artist Tom Ryan. It is a 360'-long mural stretching across the entire western facade of the museum. Here's a partial pic:

"The Remuda" by Tom Ryan.
As we entered the museum, a docent greeted us, handed us a map and explained the best way to enjoy the displays. Directly behind the docent was a massive original plaster sculpture of "The End of the Trail," by James Earle Fraser. You may recognize it as it has been copied many times as small, souvenir-type gifts.

"The End of the Trail."  18' tall and weighs four tons.
This original plaster sculpture was made before the lost wax technique of bronze sculptures. It was in a park in California, decayed by years in the elements. The piece was restored to its former magnificence, then a bronze sculpture was cast from the original and returned to the park in California.

Thus started our visit to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Pictures were allowed only in certain galleries, some areas allowed photos but no flash. My blog for today contains the best of the pics I was able to take.

Bob and I were massively impressed and overwhelmed by the size and scope of this museum. The art collections, especially the in-house exhibition Prix de West, were so wonderful.

The second big sculpture we viewed was "Canyon Princess," by Gerald Balciar, carved from a single block of Colorado yule marble. The museum had to reinforce the floor underneath where the sculpture would reside. The artist brought the sculpture to the museum to finish sculpting it. Amazing piece!

"Canyon Princess," by Gerald Balciar.

18' tall, 16,000 pound white cougar.
Galleries in the museum include:
  1. Robert S. and Grayce B. Kerr Changing Exhibition Gallery which features touring exhibitions and special in-house exhibitions including the Prix de West.
  2. Arthur and Shifra Silberman Gallery of Native American Art showcases Native American fine art.
  3. William S. and Ann Atherton Art of the American West Gallery is home to the prized pieces from the museum's permanent collection, including painting and sculptures from Prix de West award winners and works from master artists such as Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, Albert Bierstadt and William Leigh.
  4. The Weltzenhoffer Gallery of Fine American Firearms showcasing Colt, Remington, Winchester and Sharps firearms.
  5. Native American Gallery has displays to show how different Native American tribes expressed their world view through design elements on everything from clothing to tools to utensils.
  6. Western Performers Gallery uses film, posters, and memorabilia to show how actors have contributed to people's perception of cowboys and the Wild West. Large displays trace different western actors. John Wayne occupies a large portion of the gallery and includes his personal collection of firearms, kachinas and artwork. 
  7. American Cowboy Gallery. A tribute to working cowboys showing the history of many different cowboys in American history include vaqueros, Spanish, and paniolos (Hawaiian cowboys). Collections in this gallery include types of saddles, bridles, bits, spurs, barbed wire, brands and the rawhide works of master braider Luis Ortega. One interesting fact we learned about paniolos in Hawaii is that when it came time to send the cattle to market, they were herded into the ocean, tied to skiffs and rowed out to the big ships which hoisted them aboard and put them in above-board pens for their voyage to market. 
  8. The Joe Grandee Museum of the Frontier West. In this gallery, exhibits dealt with the military role in the West, hunting on the frontier, mountain men, and Native Americans. We had limited time in this area as we were running short on time.
  9. American Rodeo Gallery was set in a life-like 1950s arena. It has artifacts of rodeos, including history, champions, clothing, equipment, awards and memorabilia. To me, the most interesting part of this gallery were the video screens that showed different rodeo sports and narrated what the judges look for, what type of injuries the athletes sustained and the percentage of injuries racked up in each sport. We were not able to see everything in this gallery due to time constraints.
  10. Robert and Grace Eldridge Gallery. We ran out of time and didn't get to this part of the museum.
  11. Prosperity Junction: A circa 1900 Western cattle town at dusk where you could look in the windows and sometimes enter the shops. Full-scale structures include a saloon, school, telegraph office, livery, jail, newspaper office, mercantile, church and blacksmith.
  12. Children's Cowboy Corral: kid-size section of the museum where kids can put on western garb, check out a cowboy campsite, and see a diorama of a cowboy on horseback with a cougar on the bluff above him.
Outside is another world and a nice relief from the cold temperatures in the museum. Here's what you find outside:
  1. The Atherton Garden.
  2. The Norma Sutherland Garden with waterfall and peaceful ponds, natural vegetation.
  3. Western States Plaza--plants, fountains, art and arhcitecture.
  4. The Jack and Phoebe Cooke Gardens (my personal favorite).  Follow flagstone walks, native plantings, and winding streams to the graves of rodeo bulls, horses, steer, and a steer wresting horse. Sculptures are beautiful out here and include a monstrous "Buffalo Bill," by Leonard McMurry; the "Paint Mare and Filly," by Veryl Goodnight; "Herons," by Walter T. Matia; "Bald Eagle Off Cannery Point," by Sandy Scott, and "Ring of Bright Water," by Kent Ullberg.
To cap off our visit, the docent suggested we see artist Wilson Hurley's five panoramic murals (triptychs--panels of three) of the American West in the Sam Noble Special Events Center. Each PANEL of the triptych measures 18' x 46'. They are AMAZING!

Photos of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum follow:

Prosperity Junction:

"Hints for Plains Travelers" (Double-click to read.)

The Norma Sutherland Garden:

Beauty berries...I love the color!
American Cowboy Gallery:

Barbed wire in pull-out cases.
Double click to read.

American Rodeo Gallery:

The Joe Grandee Museum of the Frontier West:

Sam Noble Special Events Center with triptych murals by Wilson Hurley.
Grand Canyon
California Coast
Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone
Upper Plains
Monument Valley, Utah
 Western States Plaza:

The Jack & Phoebe Cooke Gardens:
"Ring of Bright Water," by Kent Ullberg

"Herons," by Walter T. Matia.

"Paint Mare and Filly," by Veryl Goodnight.

"Buffalo Bill," by Leonard McMurry (backside)

"Buffalo Bill," by Leonard McMurry (frontside silhouette)

"Bald Eagle Off Cannery Point," by Sandy Scott
Dining on Persimmon Hill: Cute, popular restaurant for lunch only at the museum. They serve a buffet or offer a large menu selection.

"Abraham Lincoln," by James Earl Fraser: 

We closed the museum down at 5:00 p.m. and realized we hadn't had lunch. Drove around for a bit and found Braum's. It's like an upscale Dairy Queen. We hadn't been to one before. We enjoyed our lunches and headed back to the 5er to feed the fur-kids. They were happy to see us.

Upon re-reading an Oklahoma City guide book from the Visitor Center, I learned there was an Oklahoma City Redhawks vs. Albuquerque Isotopes AAA baseball game tonight.  Guess what? We went to it. Very nice evening, although it was quite warm even after the sun went down. The Redhawks won handily.

When the game was over, we rode the free trolley around downtown. Couldn't see much at night, but we gave it a shot anyway. 

After the trolley, we walked in the Brickhouse/Canal District which is trying to be a San Antonio Riverwalk. There were a few restaurants and bars open. The water taxis were running even at 10:30 p.m.

We made it back to 5er around midnight. Waited until today to post the blog from yesterday.

Travel Bug out.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Finally, Rigamarole has a Scrub Down! -- Tues., Aug. 28

Today was a day to sleep in even though we have a long travel day planned. Check-out time from our campground was 11:00 a.m. By 11:30 we were in line at a Blue Beacon truck wash to get "The Rig" washed. It had not been cleaned since we were gate guarding on a dusty road in Cotulla for two months and we've been on the road for almost six weeks. The bath was overdue.

The line of semis and RVs wasn't too bad. We waited 1/2 hour for a bay to open up. They really washed "Rig" well and we got free Rain-X application from our stay at Sundowner West. When we pulled out at 12:30, our baby was gleaming white!

We headed south from Salina, Kansas, crossed the stateline into Oklahoma, stopped at a Visitor Center to pick up an Oklahoma map and information about things to see and do in Oklahoma City (OKC), OK. And back on the freeway we went. 

Huge grain silos stick up like skyscrapers...you can see them from miles away. 

Otherwise the scenery was rolling hills, farmland (corn, soybeans) and occasionally a point of interest. One place that piqued my curiosity was the Underground Salt Mines. We didn't go, so I put it on my bucket list.

I spent my time reading Prevention, Reader's Digest magazines and travel information to Bob while he drove. As we neared OKC, I used his smartphone to look up campgrounds at rvparkreviews.com/. None of the campgrounds sounded particularly wonderful, so I googled campgrounds in Oklahoma City and found Arcadia Lake, a City of Edmond park on the north side of OKC. Arcadia Lake has four campgrounds; one campground offers full hookups--Central State Park. We decided to try for Arcadia Lake.

When we pulled up to the fee station on Tuesday at 6:15 p.m., we were told that there were no full hookup (FHU) campsites available back by the lake, but there was one overflow site left with FHU out by the main road. The site was huge but it was a bear to back into because of a curb in the middle of the entrance road with decorative plantings in it. We finally got situated and walked to the fee station to tell her we'd take the site. (You can bet once we got "Rig" in place, we had dibs on the site and it wasn't moving!)

Our impressions of Cascade State Park at Arcadia Lake: Overflow Site 512 is huge! We overlook a wetland area out our back window. We do have road noise from busy East 2nd St., but only from time to time. The site is a bear to back into with a 5th wheel. 

Overflow site 512 has full hookups.
Our site is at the entrance of the park--right off the main road. That's us behind the sign.

Not bad for an overflow site.
We drove through the FHU campground by the lake. There are pull-through and back-in sites. There are quite a few trees throughout the campground. Drive through and pick out your site before you pay. The City of Edmond Police patrol the park and the park is kept very clean. (We did not use shower facilities.) The lake is huge (26 miles of shoreline) with beaches, fishing areas, three boat launches, jet ski area, water ski area, a kid's fishing pond, trails, bird blind, Frisbee golf, playground, store, concessions, softball field and volleyball court. We think sites are first-come, first-served and that you can stay up to two weeks. We paid $48 for two nights. ($20/night camp site [Mon.-Thurs.], $2 per day per person [Mon.-Thurs.] park entrance fee.  Fri.-Mon. is $25/night campsite, $3 per day per person [Fri.-Sun.].)

At night, Bob took me out on a date to see "Hope Springs" with Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep. Before the show, we ate in the 50s-themed food court outside the movie theater.

I enjoyed the movie and really got into it. Bob thought it was "okay."

A pretty good day, just a lot of freeway driving for Bob.

Travel Bug out.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Delayed Three Hours -- Mon., Aug. 27

When we were preparing to leave the campground, Bob checked the tire pressure on all our tires. Our 5er had one tire at 60 psi and one at 80 psi (normal tire pressure for our 5er is 100 psi per tire). Uh-oh. Sounds like something's amiss. He filled the low tires using his compressor, but it wasn't up to the task. Luckily a Pilot gas station was 1/8 mile away, so we pulled in there and he finished filling the tires.

We drove 17 miles to the Great Platte River Road Monument. When we parked the car to go into the museum Bob said, "We'll check the tire pressure again when we come out of the museum."

The museum inside the monument was a mysterious unknown to us. All I knew about it was another blogger had written about it and said what a good stop it was. We were greeted at the door by a man dressed in period garb who explained about the museum. Admission was $12 each. We felt like we were at Disneyland. 

With our admission, we were given a set of headphones to listen to the narration for the exhibits we were about to enter. What a well-done "museum." It was divided into areas from the pioneer trail travelers and Pony Express, to the gold rush, to the railroads being built, and the advent of the personal freedom that came with automobile travel. I was very impressed!
"Oregon Trail or Bust" diorama.

The Forty-Niners--gold seekers.
The Mormon Pioneers with their handcarts.
Wagons fell apart, goods were discarded by the trail.
Double-click to read.

Quilt display for you, Louise.
The laundry hanging on the line is 3-D. Can't tell by the photo.

The Great Platte River Road Monument as seen from I-80.
When we finished at the museum, Bob checked the tire pressure. One tire was down to 80 psi and another was at 90 psi. The tires had lost a lot of pressure in 1-1/2 hours. We knew then we had a problem. 

Bob found Graham Tire in Kearney on the internet. Off we went to the north side of town and found Graham Tire. They had semis and RVs in their service area, so I felt they were knowledgeable about big rig tires and could handle working on ours.

Our first impression was good. We were greeted immediately and asked what the problem was. They were very customer oriented and let us know up front that we would have to wait 30 minutes. We were directed to their waiting area which had free, high-speed wi-fi. Really? Oh happy days! Bob and I went to the 5er and retrieved our laptops and connected to the world. Now you know how I was able to complete three blogs in one day. It was like finding an oasis after weeks in the desert. We are in civilization again. 

After 1/2 hour, we were told they were moving it to take a look at it. Guess what? Two more of our rims had broken welds. We had bought a new rim a few weeks ago in Grand Junction, Colorado, now two more were broken. Bob decided enough was enough and replaced the three remaining rims. Now all four match. Since we had no use for the rims with cracked welds, Bob had the tire company recycle them.

Graham Tire only charged us $30 to install all three rims. They drove Bob over to the location that sold the wheels where they gave us a dealer discount. I think everything combined cost less than $200. If you are ever in Kearney, Nebraska and need new tires or repairs, be sure to stop in at Graham Tire. They are wonderful. We would also like to give a special shout out to Tyler who went above and beyond in his customer service. A big THANK YOU to the team at Graham Tire! All told, we were in and out in three hours.

It was 2:30 and we were hungry. Culver's in Kearney was down the street and we stopped to eat.

The rest of the day was spent driving to Salina, Kansas where we are staying at Sundowner West RV Park. This park is nice. It's terraced with a small lake we can see from our site. Good Sam rate is $26 per night. We have excellent free wi-fi. Pull-through sites are about 100' long.

[Note the morning after: With a better look at Sundowner West RV in daylight, I have to add that it is rather trashy, literally. The garbage cans are overflowing. Trash, cigarette butts and doggie doo are on the ground, so watch your step. The manager is a crusty old curmudgeoun. I had to pay for our stay since we arrived after 7:30 p.m. I walked up to the office and saw the manager driving up in a golf cart. I put my hand on the doorknob to open it and he said, "It ain't gonna open if I don't put this key in it." Well, alrighty then. I didn't know he was the only one working there. Most places have more than one person to work the campground.]

That's all for today. 

Enjoy the rest of your week.

Travel Bug out.