Back to Oklahoma and Missouri

The week before this past week (April 27- May 4), we were in Oklahoma visiting with our youngest son and his family (a.k.a THE GRANDKIDS!).  They had recently moved from Moore, OK, to Edmond, OK.  We were excited to finally get to see their new home, and they were excited to show it to us.

As a family of five, they were in dire need of some more “space” in which to live.  They went from a house approximately 1500 sq. ft. to one around 2400 sq. ft.  It is a really nice house in a nice neighborhood.  It has three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a great room (kitchen and living room totally open!), and dining room on the first floor.  It has one bedroom, a bathroom, and a family room upstairs.  And MOST IMPORTANTLY, when you live in Oklahoma, it has a lovely storm shelter with access from inside the garage.  During our week there, we spent one afternoon and evening glued to the weather forecasters on TV and ready to go to the storm shelter on a moment’s notice.  That’s just a way of life in the springtime in Oklahoma.

The day after we arrived was a very special day for our oldest granddaughter, Jade.  It was her prom.  Jade and her mom spent the whole afternoon getting ready for the big event:  hair, makeup, getting dressed, pictures, etc.  We (the whole family) were lucky enough to get to have dinner with her and her date and his family.  They chose a sushi place for dinner and that was a first for Jack and I.  However, we weren’t brave enough to try any sushi.  Maybe next time.

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Jade’s dress really looked pretty on her. Jade’s date’s sister did her makeup and did a fabulous job.

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Just a beautiful young lady!

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A friend of Jade’s mom did her hair. It was really pretty; elegant and sophisticated but not too much or too “old” for her.

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Jade and her date, Micah.

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Ooops! Micah closed his eyes. The guys have to learn that they must look good in ALL the pictures because the ones that the girl looks best in will be the ones used or posted! 😆

Monday evening was another special event:  both granddaughters were being inducted into the National Honor Society (Jade – High School) and National Junior Honor Society (Kylee – Middle School).  Since they are both home schooled through Epic Charter School in Oklahoma, the induction took place at Rose State College with all the other Epic Charter School inductees.  There were A LOT of students receiving that honor that night.  I’m SO glad we were able to attend this special event.

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Sorry, this is a little blurry.  They are one their way to the stage.

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Miss Kylee walking across the stage after her name was announced.

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Miss Jade walking across the stage after her name was announced.

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Of course, Jackson had to get in the pictures with his sisters (L to R: Jade, Jackson, Kylee).

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Man! These grandkids are growing up WAY TOO FAST!!!

The rest of the week in Oklahoma we just “hung out” with the grandkids.  I took the granddaughters shopping a couple of times.  Jack and I played numerous games with them:  Scrabble Alphabet Scoop, Trouble, Jenga, and Animalopoly (just like Monopoly only with a jungle animal theme).  Why, oh why, did I say I’d play that Monopoly game?!  Jackson beat us all!  He is going to be a shrewd business man some day!  Too bad I didn’t get any pictures of us playing any of the games.

We did discover one pitfall:  When you leave your dog with the granddaughters while you run an errand, you come back to this:

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All wrapped up in a blanket because they thought she was cold.

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We like to keep Zoey’s hair in pigtails. We came home to the pigtails BRAIDED!

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They said Jade had to hold Zoey while Kylee braided. 😆 It did look pretty cute, though!

We spent the next week (May 4-10) in Springfield, MO, visiting Jack’s mom (Lill), brother (Carl) and sister (Carol) and her husband (Delano).  We played a lot of Skip Bo games with Lill, and I’m sad to report I didn’t win ANY of the games at all.  Jack won most of the games with his mom coming in a close second.  We had good visits with Jack’s Aunt Jerry and Aunt Glenda.  When we visited with Carol and Delano, we also got to see and play with their newest great-granddaughter, Francis.  Man!  She is a doll!  (I can’t believe I didn’t get any pictures of her)  Carl was down with his back, so Jack just went to his house one day to visit with him.  Thursday afternoon we took Lill for “lupper” (lunch/supper) at Asian King Buffet at 2:00 (Chinese food buffet with a  Mongolian wok).  From 2:00-3:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays Senior Citizens (age 60+) only pay $4.99!  It was a pretty good meal!  I didn’t take ANY pictures while we were in Springfield – BAD BETTY!

Today (May 11) we got up early and are on the road to Arnold, MO (south of St. Louis).  My folks live there and so does my younger sister, Lisa, and her family.  We will be spending about a month there.  My parents are in their late 80s; mom is in a nursing care facility, and dad still lives at home.  It will be good to spend some time with them since we have been gone for 4+ months.

Since the next month will be all about spending LOTS of quality family time (and not about traveling), I probably won’t be blogging much.  However, who knows: we may find some interesting places to “visit” around the STL area that I could blog about.  We will see ….. just don’t give up on me if I don’t post anything for a month or so.

When we leave the STL area, we will be heading North for the summer.  We’re not exactly sure just yet where; maybe Michigan or the Wisconsin Dells area.  I guess you’ll just have to wait and see when I post again and tell you where we are.

So, for now ….. “On the Road, Again!”

Betty

Oklahoma Or Bust

We finally left Albuquerque and the desert on Thursday, April 26, and headed for Oklahoma City.  Our plan was to divide the trip by driving half way (about 4 hours) and spend the night in Amarillo, Texas.  We would travel the last four hours the next day.  However, the wind had its own agenda.

We have learned that traveling with a headwind or tailwind isn’t too bad (it’s better with NO wind though), but a crosswind is NOT something to fool around with in a high profile vehicle like The Beast (this is what we call our 40 foot RV).  When the wind shifted directions to a cross wing and the gusts became quite strong, we started looking for a place to spend the night even though we weren’t anywhere near Amarillo.

If you travel in an RV or any kind of camping trailer, there is an app that we feel is definitely worth the few dollars to download.  It is called AllStays.  We bought the Camp and RV version, but there are also versions for Camp and Tent, Walmart Overnight Parking, Truck Stops & Travel Plazas, Military Campgrounds & RV Parks (FamCamp), and more.  Here’s a couple of screen shots of the AllStays apps.

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Our AllStays app helped us find an RV park nearby by in Santa Rosa, New Mexico.  It was called Santa Rosa RV Park and was a pretty nice park.  The area in which the park was located actually shielded us quite well from the wind.

Since we stopped earlier than we planned, we had all afternoon to explore the area.  The biggest and most pleasant surprise of all was when we googled “things to do around Santa Rosa, NM,” we found two lovely places to explore.

The first place we went to was called The Blue Hole.  It is a circular, bell-shaped artesian well that is one of the most popular dive destinations in the U.S. for scuba diving and training.  Since Santa Rosa’s elevation is a little over 4,600 feet, diving enthusiasts must use high-altitude dive tables to compute the dive profile and decompression stops when diving at the Blue Hole. The Blue Hole is also open for public swimming, however, there are no lifeguards on duty.

The Blue Hole is a beautiful, clear blue body of water with a constant temperature of 61 degrees Fahrenheit.  It has a constant inflow of 3,000 US gallons of water PER MINUTE!  The surface is about 80 feet in diameter but expands to 130 feet in diameter at the bottom.  It’s depth is approximately 80 feet.

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The round floating balls mark different depths diving platforms (15, 20, and 25 feet).  The diving platforms are the outlined white squares.

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This diver is getting ready to go down.

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Can you see the diver’s bubbles coming to the surface?

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Swimmers have various platforms around the Blue Hole from which they can jump or dive.

Some of the water from the Blue Hole is siphoned off through a couple of canals and used for a couple of fishing ponds and a huge “swimming lake.”  The fishing ponds are somewhat unique in that they are reserved for children under 12, senior citizens over 65, and the handicapped.  The swimming lake has a roped off swimming area complete with slides and lifeguard stands, numerous entry points around the lake, and a small dock.  It really looked inviting.

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One of the canals siphoning off water to the fishing ponds and swimming lake.

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There is a small road complete with park benches between the two fishing ponds.

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The swimming lake. REMEMBER: the lake is the same water temperature as the Blue Hole! 61 degrees!!

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The second place we explored was Santa Rosa Dam & Lake and Santa Rosa Lake State Park.  The earthen dam has a height of 214 feet and is 1900 feet long.  It is the uppermost dam along the Pecos River and serves for irrigation water storage and flood control.

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Even though the dam was authorized in 1954 as the Los Esteros project, it created a controversy with the Fort Sumner Irrigation District which depended on the Pecos River.  An agreement wasn’t reached until 1971 and construction of the dam took place from 1974 to 1979.  The name of dam and lake was then changed to Santa Rosa in 1980.

The reservoir it created was called Santa Rosa Lake and it hosts a variety of recreational activities:  fishing (largemouth bass, catfish, and walleye), boating, camping, and other activities at the adjacent Santa Rosa Lake State Park.

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The earthen dam is on the far left side of the picture (built up with the rocks). That walkway out to the tower thing is not the dam.

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The lake water looks brownish; probably because of all the recent wind storms.

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If you look closely, you can see the lookout point structure that we climbed to the top in order to take pictures of the lake.

Not far from this side of the dam was a paved walking trail.  The trail had some interesting views of the dam and the lower Pecos River.  The river had carved a little canyon over the years.  You can see some of the canyon walls in a couple of the pictures as well as some of the desert plants in bloom.

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Look closely and you will see the Pecos River

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Pretty little yellow and white flowers.

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I have NO idea what kind of little desert flowers these are; for all I know they are just weeds!

All in all, our “unplanned” stop in Santa Rosa, NM, was an interesting success.  Now, on to Oklahoma City and time with the grandkids!

So, for now ….. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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