Wagons Ho!

Today I want to tell you a little bit about the RV park where we are staying. It’s called Wagon Master RV Park located at 3926 FM 455 West, Sanger, TX. This is a nice park with 102 sites located just west of the town of Sanger. Being out in the “country” is kind of nice.

The park is based on a western theme with wagons, cowboy decor, rustic wood buildings, and everything western. There are several buildings in the park: an office/house (where the owners live), a laundry house, a pool, fenced in areas for pets to be off leash, a big barn (used for equipment and storage for the owners), and a building called the “Wander Inn.” They even have a small herd of alpacas which I  will tell you about later. Here are a few pictures of Wagon Master RV Park:

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The Wander Inn is a type of “gathering” place; there’s a kitchen (fully equipped), tables and chairs, an entertainment center with TV, etc., a couch, love seat, and chair, and a men’s and women’s bathroom (complete with two showers each) with both inside and outside the building access (the outside door access is acquired through a coded lock). It’s really quite “home-y” and would be a great place to host a birthday celebration or any family activity if a camper so desired.

We’ve been here a little over two weeks now and have kind of established a routine to living in an RV full time. We have met some of the people in the park who all seem very nice. The owners of the park (who also mange it) are super nice and helpful. They recently opened another RV park about 17 miles east of Sanger (just outside of Pilot Point, TX) called WAGGIN’ TAIL RANCH RV PARK. This park is geared towards RVers who have pets! Many of the RV sites are actually FENCED IN so your pet can be off leash while within the area around your RV. That sounds pretty cool, so we might have to try that park some day if we ever get back to this area. Here are some pics I downloaded from their website (photo credits to Waggin’ Tail Ranch RV Park).

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img_1006You can see the fenced in RV sites better in this close up aerial photo above.img_1007This is a really nice park, but it has considerably fewer sites, and it is harder to get reservations.

Now back to the park where we are staying. A few days after arriving, we received an email telling us that the park was having a Christmas Party on Saturday, Dec. 2, from 6:30-10:00 p.m. for all RVers at BOTH Wagon Master Park and Waggin’ Tail Ranch Park. The party was to be held at The Wander Inn at Wagon Master Park where we are staying. All we had to do was let them know if we would be attending and how many were coming. They would take care of everything else! Here are some pictures of the party. We had a great time, met new some new people, and gorged ourselves on chili with all the fixings, chips with dip, veggies with dip, and a wide variety of desserts. They also served a scrumptious punch – both plain and spiked!

 

 

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There was a DJ and sound system playing a variety of music (he also took requests), dancing, and PRIZES! One person from each RV site was given a ticket to put in the bucket for the drawing of the prizes. You had to be present to win.

Believe me: the prizes were really nice! There was one “FREE MONTH’S RENT” for each park (if you drew the free month’s rent but you were not staying at THAT park, you had to put it back and draw again).  There also cash prizes ($100, $50, and $25), and gift cards in varying amounts to Amazon, various local restaurants, and retail stores in the area. Our number was called but by then the free month’s rent for our park had already been won. Bummer! Jack drew out his prize; he drew the free month’s rent for Waggin Tail Park – BUMMER! He put it back and drew $50 cash. We were both happy. All in all, it was a fun evening and really nice of the owners to throw such a party all at their expense.

Now – the ALPACAS! Alpacas are related to llamas and look a lot like them, however, they are somewhat smaller. They are like sheep in that their wool is shaved once a year and can be used to make garments. Alpaca wool has no lanolin, so it does not have that “itchy” feel. Now, that’s MY kind of wool! They sell the yarn made from these alpacas in the office here at the park. It is SOOO soft; I could not believe it.

They have several areas fenced off for the alpaca herd. All the females (and one baby!) are in the largest of the fenced areas. The oldest male and the two younger males are in other fenced areas close by and kept away from the females until the owners want to breed. In the large area with the females are two large dogs. I’m not sure exactly what breed the dogs are (they kind of look like some kind of Labrador mix). They are well trained, and their soul job is to protect the alpacas.

Apparently alpacas have no way to defend themselves! I had NO idea. We were given park rules when we arrived, and one of the pet rules was to keep your dog/pets far away from the fenced areas where the alpacas are. If you are walking your dog and get within 20 feet of that fence, those dogs come charging at you! Ironically, if we are by ourselves, we can walk up to the fence and the dogs are very friendly and will let you pet them. We found out later that the dogs could care less about anything on two legs; it’s the four-legged creatures that they are trained to attack in defense of the alpacas.

They feed the alpacas once a day around 4:30 or 5:00 (when the days are longer, it might be later; shorter days feedings might be earlier). One day we decided to participate in feeding the alpacas. I was a little hesitant because up close, they are still pretty good sized animals.

The alpaca caretaker meets you at the gate, and, after giving instructions, takes you down to the shed to feed the herd in an oversized golf cart. When you enter the gate, the alpacas start coming towards the cart. They KNOW exactly what is about to happen. I

had been warned that alpacas will spit on you if they are aggravated or feel threatened. We were instructed to not make any sudden movements, but we could slowly and gently reach out and pet them.  Believe me; I moved slowly and gently because I did NOT want to be spit on!

The adult alpacas had been around people enough to be used to the feeding routine as well as a group of “strangers” being part of the feedings. However, remember the little baby I mentioned earlier? She was not as eager to get close to humans, and she kept her distance.

We fed many of the adult females.  The caretaker to put both our hands together and cup them.  He pours the food pellets in your cupped hands, and they eat it right out of your hands.  We pet them as they ate the spilled pellets off the ground.

One time the little baby went by me, and, after she passed, I reached out and gently stroked her back.  She was not in the least bit startled, but she didn’t hang around me very long either.  She was the SOFTEST of all the alpacas because she was so young.  The wool from younger alpacas is much more expensive, and now I understand why:  it is SO SOFT!  Enjoy the pics:

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Coming to greet us.

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Baby alpaca with momma.

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Awe! Look how cute baby is!

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One of the alpaca guard dogs

The pictures don’t really do the alpacas justice.  I personally think they are cuter than the pictures show.  While we were getting our instructions on how to feed the alpacas, the dog in the above picture saw something moving at the far end of the field just beyond the fence in some bushes.  You should have seen her take off after whatever it was and hear how fierce she was barking.  I would have hated to see what she would do to that creature if it had been inside the fence.  Needless to say, it probably would not have survived.

Well, I have more to share, but it will have to wait for another post.

So for now …. “On the Road Again!”

Betty

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Fun Day Monday!

Before I tell you about the FUN DAY we had on MONDAY, I’ll give you quick overview of our super busy Tuesday:

Tuesday, November 28, was a day of chores.  We found a DIY doggie wash, so we took our little Miss Zoey there and gave her a bath.  We always gave her baths when we were living in a house, but in the RV, it’s a lot more difficult.  Anyway, she did fine and everyone there thought she was SO cute.  When we got home, we grabbed a quick sandwich and some fruit for lunch.

Then it was off to the laundromat to do laundry.  On the way home from the laundromat, we stoppped by the local grocery store and bought a couple of steaks.  After that, back at the RV, we set up outside (temperature that afternoon was around 74 degrees ☺️) and I groomed Zoey.  I used the clippers to trim her body hair and my new dog scissors to trim around her paws, tail, and ears.  Her face is another story.  She HATES the scissors coming close to her face; mainly she hates it when they come close to her eyes (I can’t say I blame her).  She usually fights Jack and me pretty hard, but today she wasn’t too bad.  I’m not as good as Miss Frankie at Pretty Paws Parlor in Bloomfield, MO, but here’s a picture of her after her hair cut:

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After all that, we put away the laundry, put the sheets back on the bed, and fixed supper.  We had grilled steaks, baked potatoes, and salad.  The steaks were delicious!  Jack just HAD to take a picture and text it to some friends of ours.

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Now ……  FOR OUR FUNDAY MONDAY ADVENTURE!

Monday morning we drove a little over an hour to Plano, TX.  We had a special place we wanted to visit.  This place is known worldwide and has a unique place in the entertainment culture of this country, as well as many countries around the world.  This TV show is notorious for one of the biggest “cliff hangers” ever, and everyone was talking about that cliff hanger all summer long —  in reality they kept us in suspense for EIGHT long agonizing months until the fourth episode of the fourth season!  Here’s a little hint:

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YEP!  You guessed it!  We visited Southfork Ranch where all the outside scenes of the TV show DALLAS were shot!

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It is a beautiful ranch even in the late fall/winter when the grass is brown.  I can only imagine how beautiful it would be in the springtime when the grass is green.  There are several barns, smaller houses, pastures, and the rodeo area where they shot all the rodeo scenes when Dusty Farlow and Sue Ellen were together.

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I won’t bore you with ALL the outside pictures I took (Believe me! It was A LOT!).  Here’s something I didn’t know:  This is not the original house/ranch that the first five episodes were filmed at.  The series was only supposed to be five episodes long; like a little weekly mini-series beginning on April 2, 1978.  By the fifth week, the show ranked in the top ten of the week’s most watched shows.  The producers and “big wigs” at CBS decided to approve thirteen more scripts and Season One began the next full season.  When the owners of the original ranch where they were filmed the first three episodes were approached about extending the filming at their home into a regular series, they said “No.”  I bet they regret that decision now!  The producers were forced to find another ranch in the Dallas area.  They used a helicopter to do an aerial search and eventually found Southfork (that’s where they got the idea for the helicopter flying around for the opening of the show!).  The show ran for thirteen years, and, as they say….”The rest is entertainment history!”

The house was built by Joe Duncan and his wife in 1970 and was named Duncan Acres.  Their plan was to raise quarter horses on the ranch which was originally 200 acres.  The house they built was 5,900 sq. ft. with a 957 sq. ft. enclosed garage. Exterior scenes for the show were shot at the ranch from 1978 to 1989,  The agreement was that the Duncans would remain living in their home and interior scenes would be shot back at studio sets in L.A.  The show became so popular, and one day during an interview, a talk show host let slip the location of the ranch.  Soon after that Mrs. Duncan came home to people unknown to her swimming in her pool, paparazzi all around, and their lives changed forever.  An investor (I don’t remember the man’s name) bought the ranch and turned it into a tourist attraction.  He eventually went broke and had to sell it.  A dear friend of Linda Gray’s (she played Sue Ellen) purchased the ranch. It is not only a tourist attraction now but an event center as well.  In 1989 the show’s production shifted entirely to the studio sets built in California.

The inside of the house is nothing like the inside we saw on the television series.  Although the house is big (5,900 sq. ft.), it is not as big as the studio sets of the interior of the house led the viewers to believe.  However, it is a very eloquent house in it’s own right.  Here are a few pictures of the interior (the house is now decorated for Christmas):

The dining room:

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Miss Ellie’s kitchen:

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The living room:

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The bar just off the living room:

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Miss Lucy’s bedroom:

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Bobby and Pam’s bedroom:

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And believe it or not, there is only ONE bedroom upstairs in this house.  The TV series led us to believe all the bedrooms were upstairs.  When the Duncans built the house the only bedroom upstairs was the master bedroom and master bathroom.  So this is the upstairs bedroom – technically JR’s bedroom:

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The master bathroom was gorgeous but my pictures aren’t very good and I guess I didn’t take enough of them.  Mrs. Duncan was short, so her sink was lower than Mr. Duncan’s.  Back in 1970 they were one of the first to have two shower heads in their walk-in shower.  They each had their own toilet rooms (because Mrs. Duncan did NOT like Mr. Duncan leaving the toilet seat up!), and hers even had a bidet.  I’m just sorry I didn’t get more pics of the bathroom.

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This is the view from the balcony off the master bedroom upstairs.

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The front door/entryway and staircase:

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There is another bedroom downstairs that I haven’t told you about yet.  Down the hall after Lucy’s and Bobby’s bedrooms, on the left there is another bedroom.  The hall was painted a very dark gray and this bedroom was used to film a scene in the reboot series of DALLAS that ran from 2012 to 2014.  If you were a DALLAS fan, you’ll remember the scene in Mexico where JR set up his murder.  That Mexican hotel room scene was set up at Southfork and filmed here.  If you look closely, you can see the outline of JR’s body on the floor.  Here is that bedroom:

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At the ranch, they even had the actual car that the character Jock Ewing drove in the show preserved in a plexiglass storage garage:

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I have more pictures but don’t want to bore you.  I will tell you that the museum was also very interesting with lots of memorabilia from the show, videos running of cast interviews, scripts signed by cast members, the saddles they used when riding horses on the show, and much, much more.  Here are a few pictures of the museum:

Of course, they had life-sized cardboard pictures of the main characters:

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The saddles (from closest to farthest away): Larry Hagman’s, Linda Gray’s, Patrick Duffy’s and Victoria Principal’s:

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And, finally, the “piece de resistance” is ………..

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YEP!!  The actual stage gun used by the character Kristen to shoot JR at the end of Season 3 for one of the most jaw-dropping, “who done it” cliffhangers in television history!  Did you know that ALL cast members were filmed shooting JR so that they would not even know who shot JR until the episode aired?

There is so much more to this tour, but you will just have to come down to Texas and see Southfork and hear all about it yourself.  You are allowed to walk all around the ranch and spend as much time as you like.  They even have horse rides around the ranch that you can take, but we didn’t have that much time and you have to make a reservation in advance.  We had a great time touring Southfork and the weather was a little windy but absolutely beautiful.

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So for now …… “On The Road Again!”

Betty

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