Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Tuesday September 26, 2017-Tyler Oaks RV Resort

Wow, talk about a busy day! That would be today...

We began the day by meeting Janie, Doug and Linda for lunch at La Madeleine in Tyler. We had a very nice lunch and visit with them. We went by Doug and Linda's office to get some copies and discovered that their office is two doors down from a Dish Network store that we had gone to last year to buy a new control box. We didn't know at the time how close they were. Ironic!

We had reconnoitered where the larger Discount Tire location in Tyler was located, to make sure that we could get in with our trailer. After lunch we returned to the park to complete the preparations for moving and left the park about 1PM. I had told the guys at Discount that we would be there between 1 and 2 and we barely made it! Keep in mind that it's about 25 miles to the other side of Tyler from the park. 

The guys at Discount had a bit of an issue when they tried to use an air powered lift that would not go high enough. They tried everything to make it work but no luck, so they had to use the old-fashioned mechanical jack to lift the trailer to change the tire.

You can see the unused air jack beside the trailer. It pained the young man to have to use the old fashioned jack, but it did the job!

He first tried to back the trailer using the axle, but I corrected him and asked him to use either the frame or the hydraulic leveling jack. I would have used the hydraulic jack, but my battery was down and it wouldn't work. 

You can see how worn the outside of the tire had become. I assume that this was caused by the broken spring that we had repaired in Oklahoma. 

They got through with the tire change in about 30 minutes and we were on our way to Tommy's Towing,  distance of about 35 miles. When we got there, Tommy said, "I see you got a new tire" and never went out to actually look at the new tire but just signed off on the inspection. There was probably nothing for him to look at, the tires all matched and were the same size, so it was unnecessary for him to look closely at the tire. After getting the signed off release on the inspection, we went back to the park. we probably drove a total of about 150 miles in all today! Then when you count that we folded everything up to move it and the set up when we returned to the park, we were tired! No one had to rock us to sleep!

We have more errands to run tomorrow but should then be free to enjoy the rally.

So long.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Monday September 25, 2017-Moving Day-Roadrunner RV Park to Tyler Oaks RV Resort, Tyler Texas

We were up right about on time to get started on our trip back to Texas. We made good, steady progress in packing up and were ready to go about 10AM. We were traveling alone today and most had pulled out before we did, but that's all right, we're not scared to travel alone...

We made our first pit stop at an Oklahoma rest area at mile marker 59. It was  routine stop and I was proud of Stella for not making me stop earlier. As soon as we pulled in, we saw Michael and Kelly, who had left several minutes before us. We found out that they had passed Mike and Peg, but we had not seen them. We had a short chat with M & K and they went on their way.

We continued on I-35 and made our next stop at the Welcome Center just across the border in Texas. I had gotten a little drowsy and wanted to get some coffee while there, but they no longer have coffee for travelers. We have stopped many times at various welcome centers in different states and have always gotten coffee, but not this time. I still had some left from this morning, but remember, we were both taken off regular coffee for decaf long ago, so it didn't help me too much with staying awake. Luckily for us, the walk across the lot into the welcome center roused me enough to continue on our trip. 

Guess who we ran into here? Dave and Nancy were just about ready to pull out when we arrived. We had a short visit with them and learned that they had seen us at our first stop. They are going back home before coming to Tyler, so this is the last time to see them before they come down to Tyler.

We were soon on our way and again made good time on the dreaded 635 Loop around Dallas. All was well until we ran into a construction area that slowed us to a stop. We sat in traffic, creeping along for fifteen or twenty minutes when several emergency vehicles passed on the shoulder. Police cars, Sheriff cars, a Highway Patrol car, ambulances, fire apparatus and a command vehicle all traveling east bound on I-20 made us concerned for our friends that are ahead of us. We finally got to the road construction that we had been warned about for several miles. Of course, we couldn't see ANYONE actually working, but they did narrow the lanes to one lane, as we had been repeatedly warned about. We also saw a red car that appeared to have overturned on the other side of the freeway. I believe that there may have been someone in the car because I saw several first responders look into the car and the ambulances that had arrived had not loaded anyone up to take them to the hospital, so it looked pretty grim for the passenger(s) in the car. At least none of our friends had been involved!

We need to renew the license plates on the truck and trailer, so we had researched someplace to stop along our route to get them inspected. Texas now has an asinine law that a vehicle must be inspected for safety issues before being issued new registration, so we stopped at a place called Tommy's Towing in Wills Point. We had intended to stop at the Explore USA RV dealership but they don't do inspections. They referred us to Tommy's, so it all worked out. We ran into a problem with one of the tires on the trailer. It had become out of alignment apparently when the springs had broken on the way to Oklahoma but that had been corrected. The tire would not pass the safety inspection, so we had to return to Tommy's after getting a replacement tire installed. I guess we could have taken it to another inspection shop, but we had already paid Tommy's, so we will return to get it inspected. The truck passed inspection, no problem.

We arrived here at the Tyler Oaks park about 4:30. Michael and Kelly were here along with Lin and Deb & Mike and Peg. Terry and Carol arrived shortly after we did, so everyone that was coming from Oklahoma was here. 

After a quick set-up, we were ready to visit with our friends. We sat outside with some of them until the bugs started biting and we went back inside. It's good to be here among friends!

I didn't set up the sewer hose because we intend to go finish up what we started today and that would be one more thing to do tomorrow. Stella called one of the Discount Tire stores in Tyler and had ordered a replacement tire for the trailer, so the plan was to meet Janie for lunch (previously planned), then to go pick up the trailer and take it to Discount Tire to have the tire installed and then to drive back to Tommy's Towing to get the inspection done on the trailer. Sounds like a full day tomorrow!

So long.

Sunday September 24, 2017-Roadrunner RV Park

Well, another Oklahoma Rally has ended and it was another good one! This was Rex and Stacey's last rally as chapter leaders but Orville and his wife Barbara have stepped up to take over. I'm sure that they will do very well in their new role.

I want to recap what we did on Saturday. We had our normal get together in the morning with sweet rolls and coffee before splitting up for the day. Many of the folks that will be leaving tomorrow (Sunday) went to get fuel or make other preparations, but the rest of us just hung around, visiting with friends, old and new. 

Rex and Stacey prepared another fried fish "extravaganzas" for us. I'm not sure where Rex gets the huge amount of fish, but there was PLENTY for everyone as well as hush puppies, and it was very tasty. Rex manned the fryers to cook everything, and the rest of us brought sides and desserts for supper.

Saturday night, we played a card game called Cards Against Humanity. It's an interesting game, but fair warning, it can get pretty raunchy and some of the language is X-rated. 

Sunday morning, there was another coffee klatch, but there was a lighter turnout, possibly because several trailers were leaving this morning. I walked around to say goodbye to those that are pulling out and wished them well. The last day of a rally is always rather bittersweet, because the fun's over for now. Of course, for us and many others, the fun will continue in another location.

Orville had suggested that we try a restaurant called Earl's Ribs Palace today, so this afternoon, a group of about 14 went over there to eat. The food was good and the service was great. We enjoyed our meal and spending time with our friends, some of whom will be returning home after this rally is over. We will continue on for the last rally of the season in Elmendorf Tx.

So long.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Friday September 22, 2017-Roadrunner RV Park

Today I went with a group of the guys from the rally to the 45th Infantry Division Museum in Oklahoma City. It was an infantry division of the US Army from 1920 until 1968. Headquartered mostly in Oklahoma City, the guardsmen fought both in World War II and the Korean War but traces its lineage from frontier militias of the southwest United States throughout the 1800's.

There is a huge display of weapons from flintlocks to modern that are still used today. The guides and docents are a wealth of information on all displays and the background of them. 

The building that the museum is housed in is very interesting. It was built by the WPA in 1930 as an officers club. When people learned of this, there were so many complaints that the building was converted and used as an armory. It was made into the museum after the division was inactivated in 1968.

There is a large amount of information on the American Civil war as well as many other wars from the past.

This display consists of artifacts from Adolph Hitler's personal use items.

This cape was actually worn by Hitler as seen before in a German photograph.

This white-framed mirror was in Hitler's residence and is probably the last thing that he looked at himself in before committing suicide. Lt. Colonel Horace K. (Tony) Calvert recovered the mirror and had it shipped back to the United States as shown in the photo below.

The airplane on the pedestal is an F-80 "Shooting Star" jet powered aircraft that was used extensively in the Korean war.

There is a huge display of military equipment here. I have shown you a few pictures of some of the interesting items.

The Bell UH-18 (Huey) helicopter used by various branches of the military. It was first flown in 1956 and variations of it are being flown today.

This is a heavy tank that was produced by the Detroit-Chrysler corp. which ceased production of them in about 1973.

This is a "Scorpion" anti tank self propelled gun.

This is a command and recon carrier. It was apparently used as reconnaissance vehicle commonly used by field commanders. It provided heavy armament for secure reconnaissance patrols.

This is the famous "Patton" tank used by the Army from 1952-1977.

If you are in the Oklahoma City area, you may want to visit this interesting little museum. It is worth your time.

So long.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Wednesday September 20, 2017-Roadrunner RV Park

Today a large group of us went to the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum in downtown OKC. This a very moving and meaningful place for me. I can relate to the rescues, and later the recovery of the victims as well as the arrest and conviction of Timothy McVeigh, Terry Nichols and Michael Fortier for the crimes committed.

A diagram of the area.

Photo of the destroyed Federal Building.

The above two displays are artifacts recovered from the rubble with photos in the background.

I'm sorry that the photos are on their side. This is a key piece of evidence that was found in the wreckage, actually on the street. It is the actual rear axle from the Ryder truck that had been loaded with over two tons of explosives and detonated. The VIN of the truck had been inscribed on the axle, which led authorities to locate the truck rental form and obtain McVeigh's name.

These are items used to amputate a woman's leg after she was trapped under a huge pillar. The tools consisted of a handled scalpel, some string or small rope to make a tourniquet and a small pocket knife. The procedure is described below if you can read it. 

Newspaper headlines and articles on the attack.

Many rescue and search dogs were used to locate victims in the rubble.

A famous photo of a firefighter cradling a baby. The photo became so popular that someone made a statue of the figure.

This is the shirt that McVeigh was wearing when he was arrested by Oklahoma State Trooper Charles Hanger. Description and information is shown below.

The above is an explanation of the events of McVeigh's arrest. 

The yellow Mercury that McVeigh was driving when making his getaway from Oklahoma City.

Weapons being carried by McVeigh when he was arrested. The weapons, a Glock .45 caliber handgun and a large knife were both being carried concealed and recovered by Trooper Hanger. 

The three photos above are handwritten notes and a pair of earplugs found in McVeigh's car. They were admitted into evidence in his trial and carry tags from the court.

This faint marking is found on  building, left there on 4-19-95 by Search Team 5. Very poignant memories of a horrible time.

The survivor tree remains outside the building. After the bombing attack the tree had most of its leaves blown off and was damaged by the force of the blast, yet it remained alive as an inspiration to others.

A better photo of The Survivor Tree.

This statue is titled "And Jesus Wept. A sorrowful reminder of the 168 people that died including 19 children.

This Museum was very moving to me. I related to the many searchers that found survivors as well as recovered bodies. I really related to the investigators that worked to gather evidence to build an airtight case against the monster Timothy McVeigh which resulted in his execution just four years after his conviction. Good job people!

As you can tell, this museum had a powerful effect on me, bringing back memories of my own cases and arrests and making me proud of my career.

So long.