May 2009
April 2009 May June 2009
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View entire year's route With Google Earth 546K
View year's Camps With Google Earth 90K
View this month's route With Google Earth 117K
Friday, May 01
Banning Stagecoach KOA   Banning, CA Locate this campground with Google Earth $35.10 per night
We are still in the same campground. Frank had an IGRA board meeting in Palm Springs so Tom drove him there then took the truck and went to several casinos in the area. Tom won $ 16.00 playing 5 cent slot machines.

Saturday, May 2
Today was the Hot Rodeo in Banning, just a mile from our campground. Photos can be seen in the gallery section. It was rather cold most of the day with rather stiff winds. We weren't prepared for the cold temperature so we ended up leaving around 6:30 pm before the rodeo was over.

Sunday, May 3
Another rodeo day, but this time the weather was beautiful. Later in the afternoon the area became smokey and they announced that the fire was some 40 miles away so there was nothing to be concerned about. In a few hours they apparently got the fire under control and the smoke blew away, after which the weather was beautiful again.

Monday, May 4 Todays route using Google Earth
Desert Palms Golf and RV Resort   Salome, AZ Locate this campground with Google Earth $27.82 per night
This is a pretty campground, but most of the facility is dedicated to park models and permanent residences. Whoever built their website has no clue as to what they are doing. Most of today we drove Interstate 10 along the same route we took about a month ago. But just after entering Arizona we turned north east off I 10 into areas we have never been before. As the sun set we saw another beautiful western sunset.  
Tuesday, May 5 Todays route using Google Earth
Dead Horse Ranch State Park   Cottonwood, AZ Locate this campground with Google Earth $19.00 per night
Amazing drive today. Lots of very narrow, winding, mountainous roads. A bit scary at times when we met a truck coming the other way. But it was well worth the difficulty. The scenery was wonderful as can be seen in today's gallery. We are in a very nice desert state park right near town. Check their history page on how this park was sold to the state by the original owner at a bargain price.  
How Dead Horse Ranch Got Its Name
The story of the park's name begins with the Ireys family, who came to Arizona from Minnesota looking for a ranch to buy in the late 1940s. At one of the ranches they discovered a large dead horse lying by the road. After two days of viewing ranches, Dad Ireys asked the kids which ranch they liked the best. The kids said, "the one with the dead horse, Dad!" The Ireys family chose the name Dead Horse Ranch and later, in 1973, when Arizona State Parks acquired the park, the Ireys made retaining the name a condition of sale.
Wednesday, May 6 Todays route using Google Earth
Payson Campground and RV Resort   Payson, AZ Locate this campground with Google Earth $30.16 per night
Another beautiful day but a bit hot for our tastes. Got up into the 90s again. Tom has been having allergy problems for several days and Frank is starting to experience the same. We stopped along the road for lunch and found a small historic marker.
General Crook Trail 13 Mile Rock
Each mile was marked on this trail from Camp Verde to Camp Apache by the soldiers under General George Crook. W First traveled in 1871, the road was improved and used by wagons in 1874. It was the principal supply route from Fort Wipple, at Prescott, to Camp Verde and Camp Apache.
Very nice campground in the trees. Only problem is dusty dirt roads. They have some mules here that the owner rides up in the mountains.  
Thursday, May 7 Todays route using Google Earth
Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area   Show Low, AZ Locate this campground with Google Earth $25.00 per night
We are back in this very fine State Park and only a couple of sites away from where we were last month. Most of today's route was through beautiful ponderosa pine and cedar forests.   We are both coughing and sneezing now, I am beginning to think this is a cold aggravated with allergies rather than allergies alone. Frank is having all kinds of problems with a wireless network card. We think we need to replace it, again.
Friday, May 8 Todays route using Google Earth
Fool Hollow Lake Recreation Area   Show Low, AZ Locate this campground with Google Earth $25.00 per night
We are actually still in the same campground, but we moved to a different spot with 50 amp service so we could run both air conditioners. It was hot yesterday and with our coughing from the allergies the heat was not very pleasant. I think we are improving, we are not coughing as much. We just took it easy today and surfed the Internet and Frank did some web page work.
Saturday, May 9 Todays route using Google Earth
Montosa RV Park & Campground   Magdalena, NM Locate this campground with Google Earth $16.50 per night Camp Club discount
Another beautiful drive, this time through the Apache Sitgraves and Gilla National Forests. We stopped for lunch at a roadside table.   We passed the VLA again and took a few shots.  We will drive back here tomorrow for another tour of their museum. We are back in the same campground and site we were in last month. This is the campground that is built on the grounds of an old cowboy gathering site which was used until the early 1970's. As we were setting up the rear stabilizing jacks encountered a fatal error. One of the screws got stripped and it won't retract. We spent several hours trying to fix it unsuccessfully. Eventually we took it off and will trash it. Will have to find a facility to get a new one installed. After Tom had gone to bed, Frank went back out and drove about 10 miles for a few once-in-a-lifetime full moon shots of the Very Large Array radio telescope.   We also moved from Arizona time into Mountain Daylight time today. Arizona doesn't follow daylight saving time.

Sunday, May 10
Frank's cold is much worse. He only got about 3 hours sleep last night. And his body is obviously stressed because he can feel the shingles coming on. So he spent the day doing almost nothing trying to rest. He did get a new format finished on one of the websites he manages, Golden Feather Press. We had planned on visiting the VLA again, but he just didn't want to make the effort. The weather here for the last couple of days has been hot, but very dry. That actually is helping the cold symptoms by drying out Frank's sinuses and generally making him feel better. Tom took the laundry to a nearby town (Magdelina a mere 20 miles away), but there were no laundromats there so he went on to Socorro another 20 miles. He was gone for 4 hours, but the laundry is done and Frank has clean handkerchiefs which he had all used up the previous night. The server at home has been down for the last 3 days. We have no cell phone service here so we will have to wait until tomorrow to try to reset the system.

Monday, May 11 Todays route using Google Earth
Another beautiful day, it's a shame we have these colds and can't enjoy it fully.   This is another beautiful state park campground, hidden away in ponderosa pines and alligator junipers.  
Tuesday, May 12 Todays route using Google Earth
Sumner Lake State Park   Fort Sumner, NM Locate this campground with Google Earth $14.00 per night
Coughing seems a bit better today but still very much with us. We have left the mountains and are now in the flatlands of eastern New Mexico. Much of today we were traveling through cow country.   As we passed through the small burb of Willard we saw a bunch of real cowboys talking on a shop porch and just beyond were their trailers filled with saddled horses waiting for the afternoon's work. I wish I could have gotten a good shot of them.   This park is the site of Sumner Dam which was completed in 1937 and is on the National Historic Register as having a number of unusual building techniques.
Concrete, Steel and Sweat  
Nearly 1000 men worked on the construction of Sumner Dam, which was completed in 1937 at a cost of about $1 million dollars. Its main functions are to store water for irrigation and provide flood control, with the side benefit of creating a great place for boating and fishing. Even during its construction, Sumner Dam saved lives and property by holding back the flood of 1937, when heavy rains filled the entire reservoir in only 48 hours. The 25,000 acres of land irrigated by water stored in Sumner Lake produce more than $10 million worth of crops annually. The dam is unusual in several ways. Water is released through this tunnel built inside the embankment, a design rarely used in later dams which usually feed water through the concrete portion of newer dams.   A "stilling basin" was built below the spillway which allows silt to settle out of the water during periods when the spillways are in use. This reduces the need for dredging in the hundreds of miles of downstream canals used for irrigation. Sumner Dam is an earthfill dam, built from compacted soil and rock. The earth in the dam was compacted using hand-operated tampers by laborers who earned 40 cents an hour, a good wage in 1936.  
Wednesday, May 13 Todays route using Google Earth
Corral RV Park   Dalhart, TX Locate this campground with Google Earth $18.00 per night
We left New Mexico today and are now in the upper panhandle of Texas, cattle country. We passed by several feed yards where tens of thousands of cattle are fattened up before being shipped to packing houses. As we entered Texas we saw huge fields of yellow wildflowers. By the time I got the camera out we had passed the best views but here are a few of the not quite so impressive displays.  

Thursday, May 14
Today we visited the XIT Museum, Locate with Google Earth an interesting facility primarily dedicated to the history of the famous XIT Ranch. This cattle ranch was the largest cattle ranch ever under fence consisting of 3,000,000 acres along the western edge of the Texas panhandle. Their website has a few very interesting pages on the history of this ranch.

The XIT Ranch
(from the XIT museum website)

The XIT Ranch in the 1880s was the largest range in the world under fence and it all laid in the Texas Panhandle. It's three million acres sprawled from the old Yellow House headquarters, near what is now Lubbock, Texas, northward to the Oklahoma Panhandle, in an irregular strip that was roughly 30 miles wide.

The XIT range was the largest in the world under fence. Texas, the biggest state in the union, used the sale to pay for its red granite capitol, still the largest state capitol on the North American Continent. The Austin structure, after more than a century, still houses the Lone Star state government and as capitols go, is second in size only to the one at Washington, D.C. In one respect it is even bigger than the U.S. Capitol, its dome stands seven feet higher.

In 1875, the Lone Star state government was getting cramped in its old capitol and the Texas constitutional convention set aside 3,000,000 Panhandle acres with which to get a new capitol. Action dragged until fire destroyed the old capitol, November 9, 1881. Gov. Oran M. Roberts called a special legislative session. It struck a bargain with Charles B. and John V. Farwell, brothers of Chicago, under which they agreed to build a $3,000,000.00 capitol and accept the 3,000,000 Panhandle acres in payment.

In 1885 the first cattle, long of leg and long of horn, rolled onto the XIT. Thousands of hooves drummed up the trail and the longhorns were pushed on to the No. 1 division headquarters at Buffalo Springs, 32 miles north of the current city of Dalhart. At one time, the ranch ran 150,000 head of cattle.

Friday, May 15 Todays route using Google Earth
Amarillo KOA   Amarillo, TX Locate this campground with Google Earth $36.60 per night
We moved southeast to Amarillo to pick up Frank's medications. Along the way we stopped at an historical marker for Old Tascosa. One of the songs in Frank's KWBY cowboy music station sings about a Frenchie McCormick who lived in Tascosa. She refused to move away because she wanted to stay near her beloved Mickey who had passed away 30 years earlier. You can read the lyrics and listen to her song are availalbe on my Cowboy Music page. Another cowboy song speaks of the Canadian River which flows through the area.
Old Tascosa Locate with Google Earth  

Old Tascosa, HT cowboy capital of the plains, lay one-half mile northeast. In its brief span it became the center of the open-range world, stamping ground for some of the most notorious bad men and focal point for cattle thieves and ranchmen.

Because of the easy crossing of the Canadian River at the site, it early became a meeting place where Indians and Mexican traders exchanged contraband goods, including women and children. With the passing of the buffalo came the first permanent settlement, made by Mexican sheepherders in 1876. Charles Goodnight W and Thomas S. Bugbee HT brought the first cattle to the free-grass empire the same year. Smaller ranchmen and nesters followed and the boom was on.

Hundreds of miles from the general line of settlement, Tascosa lured the lawless and the lawmen, Billy the Kid W and Pat Garrett W. To accommodate those who "died with their boots on" in growing gunfights, a cemetery was set aside in 1879. It was named for the famed 'Boot Hill' in Dodge City, Kansas, to which Tascosa was tied by cattle and freight trail. The heaviest toll in a single shoot out occurred March 21, 1886 when three cowboys and a restaurant owner died in a five-minute duel. All went to Boot Hill.

The cattle trails, Tascosa's lifeblood, began to be pinched off with the coming of barbed wire. The first commercial use of which was on the nearby Frying Pan Ranch in 1882 HT. The noose was drawn still tighter when the vast XIT ranch HT fenced its 3 million acres. By 1887 Tascosa was completely closed in. When the railroad bypassed it the same year, its fate was sealed.

By the time the Oldham County seat was moved to Vega Locate with Google Earth in 1915, only 15 residents remained in Tascosa. The sole remnants of the old town today are, Boot Hill and the stone courthouse. The site is now occupied by Cal Farley's boys ranch. W

We had hoped to visit the site and see a small museum but our coughing is still a major problem and we had not made arrangements to visit the location which is on private property. We will just have to come back another time.

Saturday, May 16
Today was a visit to the American Quarter Horse Museum and Hall of Fame. An interesting and quite beautiful museum. W   The Quarter Horse was bred to run a quarter mile. It is the first truly American breed and it excels in many areas of work and competition. The quarter horse is a favorite among cowboys for working cattle, is excellent in rodeo events and barrel racing. Runner, the horse Frank rides at the farm, is a quarter horse.  

Sunday, May 17
We traveled about 25 miles south to the collage town of Canyon and visited the Panhandle Plains Historical Museum. Locate with Google Earth   Fantastic facility with loads to see and learn. We really needed 2 days rather than 5 hours we had available. This museum is well worth the $10 admission.

Monday, May 18 Todays route using Google Earth
Elk Creek RV Park   Elk City, OK Locate this campground with Google Earth $20.00 per night
We are moving east, now in Oklahoma, headed for the rodeo this weekend. This campground looks like it was a premier facility a few years ago, but like so many other small businesses has not done well. We are the only actual campers here with just a few other seasonal and a few parked trailers.
Tuesday, May 19 Todays route using Google Earth
Council Road RV Park   Oklahoma City, OK Locate this campground with Google Earth $25.20 per night
We have moved further east into Oklahoma City. We have an appointment Thursday to have the trailer worked on about a mile from this campground. We spent most of the afternoon just relaxing and surfing the Internet. This campground offers Cox Internet just like we have back home and it is proving to be the fastest of anywhere we have stayed on this trip.

Wednesday, May 20
Today we visited the Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum for the third time. This is a fantastic facility and is a must see for anyone visiting Oklahoma City. Locate with Google Earth  

Thursday, May 21
Today was a repair day. We rose early and took the trailer to a nearby RV repair facility which we had made arrangements last week to have work done. First order of business was replacing the rear stabilizer jacks which broke back in New Mexico. Then wheel work. We ended up with 4 new wheels, and a bunch of new parts which were wearing out. We also got a new insert for the front jacks, but turns out the outside tube also needs replacing, but we will wait until we get home to do that part. Grand total was just over $4,000.00. Ouch! But it was all needed and we believe we found the best place we could have found to have the work done. We were first impressed with how clean and organized the shop was. And we were very happy with the quality of work. We highly recommend Motley RV repair in Oklahoma City. Locate with Google Earth

Friday, May 22 Todays route using Google Earth
Oklahoma State Fair Park   Oklahoma City, OK Locate this campground with Google Earth $45.00 per night
We moved 7 miles to the campground inside the Oklahoma State Fair Park, it's a bit expensive, but it is right next to the rodeo facility so we can walk to the rodeo and come home for lunch if we want. Not a bad site, all concrete with full hookups. Frank is suffering again, sinus drainage is creating a sore throat which is quite painful. Tom bought him some throat losenges which we hope helps.

Saturday, May 23
Today was the first day of the Great Plains Rodeo. See my gallery page for photos. Frank is improving but still has a sore throat and his voice is almost gone. This afternoon we had severe thunderstorms with small hail come across the rodeo grounds. We had just gotten back from shopping and got stuck in the truck for a bit. As it eased up Frank braved the hail with his cowboy hat as protection and ran to the trailer to get the ice cream put into the freezer. Tom followed a bit later as the storm began to subside.

Sunday, May 24
Second day of the rodeo along with a second gallery, this gallery contains more rodeo shots. Frank's condition is greatly improved. Sore throat is gone and his voice is back. Still having occasional coughing but very minor compared to the last week. Tom is completely over his congestion.

Monday, May 25 Todays route using Google Earth
Checotah/Lake Eufaula KOA   Checotah, OK Locate this campground with Google Earth $35.05 per night
We are again headed east. We have now moved into areas covered with trees and we are surrounded with them. Frank is feeling a bit closed in but Tom loves the green after 3 months of brown deserts. Nice little KOA campground, with wider than normal sites for a KOA. Very clean and neat, however they have a problem with their Wi-Fi antenna and we can't get any signal here at our site, so we are using our own system which is only G2 here and very slow. Tonight will be our last night in what Frank considers a real "western" state.
Tuesday, May 26 Todays route using Google Earth
Parkers' RV Park   Harrison, AR Locate this campground with Google Earth $25.07 per night
A long drive of 200 miles today, but we saw a lot of scenery. We took US highways much of the day rather than Interstates. We had to deal with a number of towns and lots of traffic lights, but most of the scenery was worth the effort. Frank noticed about 2 hours into our drive that the truck webcam was not on. He had turned it on when we left but it must have hung up or something. So we missed the first 60 miles of the trip being webcast. This is another nice campground. Our cellular Internet was not doing well so we decided to but a 24 hour block from the service the campground had. That's when we started having trouble again with our wireless card. It had nothing to do with the service as we had been having trouble for several weeks with it. So we drove a couple of miles down the road and got a new one at Wal Mart after we filled the truck with fuel. This card, a Linksys, seems to be working much better than the D-Link card.
Wednesday, May 27 Todays route using Google Earth
Lady Luck Casino   Caruthersville, MO Locate this campground with Google Earth $29.26 per night
We are now right on the Mississippi river in lower Missouri at a rather nice casino campground with 27 sites. Concrete pads and full hookups with Internet. We are pushing our travels a bit with 213 miles today. Yes I think we are ready for home and we now expect to be back next Monday or Tuesday. You can see the river in the campground photo above. The thing that looks like a paddle wheel river boat is part of the casino.
Thursday, May 28 Todays route using Google Earth
Countryside Resort   Lebanon, TN Locate this campground with Google Earth $31.17 per night
Another 200 mile day and we are moving along. This morning we made arrangements to have the F150 truck which is back home towed to a repair shop. Our friend who is watching the house has been unable to get it started for the last month. We have no idea what the problem may be this time. This afternoon at 1:30 eastern time the power went out at the house. 20 minutes later when the UPS ran down the server went off line losing all webcams and cowboy music. When the server came back up none of the webcams were working. Frank was able to log into the machine remotely and found the username file for the FTP server was corrupted and had to be restored from a backup.
Friday, May 29 Todays route using Google Earth
Riverside RV Park and Resort   Sevierville, TN Locate this campground with Google Earth $33.45 per night
We are in the same campground as we stayed in last October, the day before Frank had his heart attack. But we aren't worried. We are looking forward to getting home. Last night Frank ordered a new server that he has been wanting for several months, it should arrive in 2 weeks. It is raining, the first non violent rain storm since leaving the east back in January. We also moved back into eastern time today.
Saturday, May 30 Todays route using Google Earth
Fort Chiswell RV Campground   Max Meadows, VA Locate this campground with Google Earth $29.21 per night
We are moving right along. We seem to be staying in the same campgrounds we stopped at last October but in the opposite direction. The major difference is the trees are green now and the campgrounds have a lot more people in them.
Sunday, May 31 Todays route using Google Earth
Walnut Hills Campground   Staunton, VA Locate this campground with Google Earth $35.44 per night
A bit after we pulled into camp and got set up, our friend Bev called from our house to let us know she was there doing the last inspection for this trip and turning the AC on. She also told us about a sign at the entrance to our street that indicated the road will be closed tomorrow. After a few phone calls we discovered our street committee has the road scheduled to be paved tomorrow morning. It took a few more calls to get the towing company to come after noon when the work should be finished. We should be home around 2 to 3 in the afternoon. We spent some time a few days ago looking at our calendar and we have decided to stay home about 2 months. Around August 12 we will begin a new journey. Our first destination for that trip will be the Chicago Rodeo. So check back in with us around the middle of August or subscribe to our camping feed to be notified when we begin anew. I may add another entry for June 1 just to get the route in place but it may be a few days since we will both be very busy getting the house out of hibernation and livable again.