Tuesday, December 29, 2009


As some may recall, our Norcold refrigerator started sending us warning signals back in July of this year while we were camped without electricity for over 110 days at Trujillo meadows USFS Rio Grande National Forest Coplorado.
We were worried at that time about being up in the clouds with powerful lightning storms that rolled through. Worried enough, that we drove a eight foot long ground rod all of the way into the ground and grounded the Ollie's generator and the aluminum frame to that ground with automotive jumper cables.
As it turns out that may have been a very good thing to do for an extended stay in those conditions. But the EMP, that's electro magnetic pulse, may have already caused damage to our printed circuit board in the refrigerator. Many on here know that the powerful EMP of a nucelar detonation will destroy electronics for hunderds of square miles and in a similar manner the EMP of a nearby lightning strike will destroy them in a much smaller area.
We devised a grounding system to shunt the EMP spikes harmlessly to ground at Trujillo meadows, but just like closing the barn door after the mule is gone, we may have been a little too late.
A RV place at our county seat has tested our refrigerator and decided that it is most likely that the circuit board is out on it. We left our Ollie with them at the RV place after recieving their assurance that it would be kept inside their building if kept overnight, as we have been staying in it and plan to leave out as soon as is possible, it hasn't been Winterized. Hey, we are going to Florida , for goodnes sake !
They have another Norcold refrigerator in their shop that they think the circuit board will work from it if needed.
Fingers crossed.
More to follow as it unfolds.. .. .. ..
WELL, AS WE ALL KNOW, WHEN THINGS START GOING BAD, THEY SEEM TO MULTIPLY ! The Rv place slid the fridge out into the Ollie's floor to work on it and the board is bad. Then they discovered that the board isn't interchangeable with the fridge's board that they have in their shop. They have called our Good Sam club's extended service plan and are proceeding with getting one ordered in here by the most expedicious route.
Oh, geeze, now we are emptied out ( our clothes & stuff ), the fridge is in the middle of the floor, at the dealership, and the clock is counting down to the wedding on the beach ! It's gona' be a close one !

Saturday, December 26, 2009


The visitors Information Center in Baxter Springs Kansas is located in an old, and beautifully restored, Phillips 66 Service station. It had many route 66 souvineer items in it, but it was closed for the Hollidays when we were there.

Great architecture and wonderful brick work adorn many of the main street businesses.

Friday, December 25, 2009


About the dessert in the photo above, I am getting some PM's asking about it. It is a BEAUNILLA CHEESECAKE. The cafe on the route offers it in Chocolate and in Strawberry. Guy Fieri of Diners, Driveinns & Dives describes it as "kind of a Mexican cannoli". I would describe it as absolutely devine ! It is made with a crispy deep fried tortilla on the outside ! And I mean, it's to die for ! They are a large dessert and Betty and I shared one. After a meal that's so good that you readily clean your plate, remember, just like Mama told you, you may have trouble holding a whole one by yourself . But if you start on one by your self, it's likely that you won't be able to stop as long as there is even a single scrap left !
Post Script, re: The weather in Coffeyville Kansas where we had been working at Amazon.com. The direct TV reciever is still set to recieve the local channels up there, and if I heard it right, the temperature is one degree and there is eight inches of snow on the ground !
Woo Hoo ! We bugged out just in time ! Merry CHRISTmas everybody !

Thursday, December 24, 2009


Lunch on the run ! As we fled Coffeyville Kansas where we had worked for Amazon.com for several weeks, after leaving the Sugar Beet Harvest up on the Canadian border country, we gained a bit of a lead on the storm that would soon have states Governors declaring a state of emergency. We had hastily rounded up our stuff where we were camped at Elk City Lake State park located just 5 miles North West of Independence Kansas, and were out running the fast approaching storm. We had worked at loading our stuff well past lunch time and were famished ! Since we are fans of the Food Network's Diners, Drive inns and Dives, we had seen a show featuring a restaurant that was on our route to the East, located on Old Historic Route 66, in Baxter Springs Kansas. One last quick check of the live radar told us that if we didn't tarry long, we could stay ahead of the storm that was coming up behind us. We couldn't resist, we just had to stop in for lunch. As it turns out, we havn't been the only ones to stop in while on the run ! Jessie James had robbed the place back when the building housed a bank ! Lunch was great ! We ordered the open faced roast Beef sandwiches and the plate was heaped with hearty, but fine tasting fare ! Served on antique heavy dinnerware. There were no quick and "flashy" fast food type food stuffs on our plates, but for example the mashed potatoes, both scoops of them on each plate, were not instant or dehydrated, but actualy freshly prepared potatoes. Flavor and boquet of each item on our plates was of similar quality, and most excelent. Even though Betty is absolutely worn out from our stint at Amazon, you can see the look of enjoyment on her face as we lunch. Folks, let me tell you, THIS PLACE HAS A MASTER CHEFF !! That means that un expected things can happen, like this exquisite desert, the likes of which I hadn't consumed since being in Torremelenos Spain in the early sixties ! Note that before I could snap a quick photo, Betty had already sunk her fork into this chocolate delight ! Now here is the thing that I enjoyed as well as the fine food, the atmosphere made this blue collar working couple, I was wearing my bib overhauls, feel at home while consuming master cheff prepared foods that were worthy of the finest dining places on the European Continent. Here is a look at the interior so that you might also get a feel for this fine old establishment located on Historic old route 66 in Baxter springs Kansas. Here is a quick video look at the entry way to the Cafe on the Route:


It was beginning to be a struggle for us. Fatigue from long hours at Amazon, the refrigerator went out and our days and nights were totally switched out. We had moved the refrigerator stuff into an ice chest and continued to work at Amazon. But Mother Nature was fixin' to over power us.
By now most of us are aware of the blizzard that is sweeping down across the prarie, down deep to Texas.
To make a long story short, we bailed out. The quality of life was diminishing rapidly as our resources dwindled. We turned in our ID cards, ect. and hastily loaded our plunder, then split out, just ahead of the fast approaching storm.
Since we can follow the storm's position on live radar, via the internet, using our 3G device while rolling down the highway, we were able to modify our exit route a little to put more distance between us and the storm. Instead of traveling straight South, the straightest route to Arkansas, we went to the East about a hundred miles, then turned South. The reasoning behind this was that the most direct route would put us traveling continually in the leading edge of the fast moving storm. The margin for error in that plan was too slim and we were needing to pause for an hour or so to catch a meal, ect..
We are now at the house in Arkansas and the storm is coming in right behind us. Betty is at the store picking up a few supplies so we can weather out the storm in better shape. I will leave to top off fuel in our vehicles and get extra generator gas when I finish this posting.
Refrigerator situation is still not good. We may be able to get someone to look at it right after CHRISTmas.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


It seems logical that since we have a Jeep as our daily driver, that some of our favorite roads aren't part of our Nations Interstate highway system. The interstate highway system serves the pourpouse wonderfully, if all your focus is on getting from point A to point B. But let's face it, they are just plain old boreing and lacking in character ! They contribute to drivers getting into a travel zone I call the doldrums, after a sailing vessel's becalmed situation. It's a situation where the driver becomes jaded to the high speeds, the inability to enjoy the scenery or to focus on any fleeting thing for more than a few brief seconds. Yep, interstate driver, your'e trapped in the doldrums !
Fedral standards give a substantial measure of safety to the motorist, simply because the drivers have a prety good idea of just what's coming up next. The interstates are pretty much the same nationwide.
However federal standards creeping into the state's highway programs are wiping away the character and flavor of even lesser highways at the state level.
Recently we found an old stretch of Kansas highway that had became grown up, somehow falling through the cracks of federal standards and hadn't been torn up as the new state highway that was built to federal standards replaced it. There is quite a difference between this and what we now a' days accept as normal. It recalls the days when a open ditch or construction zone would be marked only with a round coal oil filled open flame flare pot.

The wide smooth highway seen in the background, that replaced the old one that we are parked on, has a posted speed of 65 MPH.
On this overcast drizzly day of the photo, we were sightseeing along the wonderful old highway that somehow still remained, and saw many hawks perched at strategic locations, silently hunting for dinner along the old road. A major cold front was approaching and the birds of prey were foraging ahead of the coming Winter storm.
Hey, it's just good for your soul to take the road lesser traveled, from time to time.
He, he, you might find that you develop a habit of it and like most things where you have to give of yourself, the rewards will out weigh the small personal in convenience.
As this old highway entered Independence Kansas, we were able to see where the old route through the town had ran. Naturally, we followed it to sample the flavor of this historic old town. The new route was more expedient, alright, but, you didn't get a look at cool little things like this one of a kind hand built little fully operational truck. As you look at the photo, remember that Betty is five foot tall. Compare to the Jeep's size.

Betty is working in the "picking" department at Amazon, for the CHRISTmas rush season, and is walking up to fifteen miles a day. My sweetie is melting away right before my eyes ! Just look at how her clothes hang loosely on her ! A couple of more weeks and we will up anchor and head South to the Gulf of Mexico.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


The long hours that we are working at Amazon have been a physical challenge for Betty and I, but we are about half way through the season. It is also hard for our dogs Poco and Dillon.
Today is a day off for us and we have slept in, catching up on the news and weather, ate out and walked the dogs. During the walk around the Prarie Meadows Camp sites loop we saw that one of our neighbors is also a Geocacher and that their Volkswagon is a travel bug, much like our Oliver travel trailer is. Had the camera with me so I took these pix:
Look at Poco, who has slipped into my warm spot, pillow and all, when I got up.
Here is a look at the neighbors VW and fifth wheel toy hauler RV. I wonder if the VW is hauled inside ?
A look at the travel bug lugo in the bug's rear window. Note the license plate on this cool VW with nerf bar bumpers.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


We expected a few days off before the CHRISTmas rush season got into full swing at Amazon.com, but it wasn't to be. They called today starting mandatory overtime and eleven hour days, also adding an extra day to our week ! Internet sales must be astronomical ! Our Turkey dinner didn't even have time to hit bottom befor...e we are off and running on the CHRISTmas rush season ! He, he, and, we still have CYBER MONDAY to go yet !! Here is a quick roll by to give an idea of the size of Amazon's Coffeyville Fulfillment Center. Remember, we are only seeing a small part of two sides of the place, and trucks are being loaded on every side.
Friends Jeff and Glenda arrived in their Casita yesterday afternoon and we sat around Jeff's wonderful campfire late last night shooting the bull and reliving great times togather. The Barred Owls and the Coyotes were responding to my calls and the visit was great, we stayed late around the campfire.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


One thing that seems to always catch our eye when traveling through our wonderful land, is the many and varied hitching post and Carriage step styles. These durable posts and steps were often an eye catching item since they were often in the front of business and homes. Here are a few from the Coffeyville / Independence area:
This simple pipe hitching post served as the only marker of the Dalton's graves for fifteen years, until one of the brothers served his time and returned to place the monument seen here slightly in front of the pipe.
Carved from stone, this unique post has held up well. Click the photo for a larger view. The nearby sign has a great story about the post.
This more traditional appearing hitching post seems timeless and has no doubt been "re-set" in it's origonal stone works because of it's proximity to automobile traffic.
These intresting and sometimes ancient hitching posts and carriage steps continue to fascinate us and the occasional photo will likely continue to pop up here, as they were a important part of the development of America as we know it today.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


We have a habit of looking over a town's surface streets as we tary there for awhile, looking for former main arteries that have since dried up as State Highway departments improve traffic flow patterns. Those traffic flow changes leave dried up business and their buildings as well as other cool "time capsule" things associated with that time frame.
Hot Springs Arkansas has it's Bath House row, and , Independence Kansas, has it's Bath Tub row. So, whadd'ya think, was there a plumbing related business nearby ? Here's a look:

This bathtub row has made some pretty cool elevated garden beds.

Monday, November 23, 2009


When we arrived at Coffeyville to work at Amazon, we had a choice of several places to park our Oliver Travel trailer. Some of those choices were, Heritage Rv park, Walter Johnson Rv park, Riverside Rv park and Elk City Lake State Park. The Lake being the furtherest, with a commute of about 20 minutes.
Being Mountain folks made the choice easy for us. We chose the Lake !
Many of the "Old Timers" at Amazon prefer Walter Johnson, a closer commute or have friends there and have prepared their RV's for Winter with bales of hay duct taped up in heavy plastic garbage bags. Click photo for larger view.
Wonder if we will be wishing for this winterizing technique before this workamper stint is over ? Click the photo below to view a short video of Walter Johnson Memorial RV Park operated by the city of Coffeyville Kansas.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Saturday was a day off, so we went Geocaching. Here is a look at one cache we went to:
I have looked forward to going to and researching this one ! The Dalton Family was a family divided. Law enforcement and Outlaw elements. Makes you wonder how they handled looking across the table at each other on Thanksgiving !
Given the date of law man Frank Dalton's death, near Fort Smith Arkansas, do you suppose that he worked for the famious Judge Issac Parker ? If so, how did Parker handle the fact that Frank's brothers were such notorious outlaws ?

Then, there are the pennies that have been left on the monument of Law Man Frank Dalton's grave, . . . .. What's up with that ? Any ideas ? Please comment with the link at the bottom.


While geocaching in Coffeyville Kansas at a cache named PO'S TREE, a sharp, shiney, tricked out Jeep Rubicon pulled up to say Hi. The driver was a long time neighbor of Po and gave us some cool background about him. Then, as Jeepers tend to do, the conversation turned to Jeeps.
I had asked about a cool overhead shelf in his Jeep, located just above the sun visors. The shelf had caught my eye because our Jeep's dash is always covered with things like GPS, Camera, binoculars, ball caps, and just on and on. That very cool shelf just seemed to be the perfect solution ! Here is a look:

Well, to make a long story short, it turns out that Doug Misch makes those cool shelves and other sweet Jeep storage and convenience items. Before long we were talkin' Jeeps at Doug's office a short distance away, and Betty and I were looking at some of the slickest Jeep solutions ever ! Here is a look at Doug Misch in his office, after hours, taking care of business for his newest satisfied customers, that he met at a geocache.

There was so much cool and practical stuff at Doug's place, that we left with more than the shelf, or those sweet storage bags for the Jeep's headrest, we had found a friend. Thank's Doug, for your attention to our needs.
Should you have a intrest in 4X4 innovations, Misch 4X4 products may be viewed at: www.misch4x4.com If you want to call him instead, he is at: 620-251-9100 . Or mention it to me and I have a hand full of brochures that show many of his cool products.

Saturday, November 21, 2009


One of several prarie homes for the Ingalls family as they lived in America's Heartland.

Located near US Hwy 75 between Bartelsville, Ok and Independence, Ks. Easy to find, well marked and is a travel trailer friendly pull through loop back to the highway.

Betty, Poco and Dillon the retired drug dog.

Self service, open 24/7 and pet friendly. It is a cool place to visit and think about how it was for the Ingalls family.

The obligatory disclaimer sign, with the rest of the story:

Friday, November 20, 2009


An Independence Celebration:

Thursday, November 19, 2009


This morning at 0430hrs, the outside temperature was 30*. One of the first things we did at our lakeside campsite, upon arrival, was to build a freeze proof water hose connection to our Oliver. We knew that we would be here for about six weeks, putting us into much colder weather that would freeze the water hose that runs to the trailer. Here is a look at the hookup:
We purchased duct tape, 4' sticks of 1" inside diameter foam insulation and a heat tape to go inside next to the water hose. The heat tape stays plugged in all of the time and comes on at 38*, to keep the hose from freezing up. Since the water stays on all of the time at the freeze proof faucet, it defeats the freeze proof feature, so we wrapped it along with the hose in adhesive foil backed foam tape. The next step, should this prove not to be sufficient, will be to place a large cheap plastic trash can over the faucet and place tent stakes through the trash can lip to keep the wind from blowing it away. This will provide rain protection, dead air insulation and give a place to coil up our extra hose while keeping it hooked up for ready use.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


No, NOT cammo, but COMMO, as in communications ! As we wander about our wonderful Nation, enjoying and marveling over all of the cool and sometimes not so cool stuff, we are challenged with the mechanics of keeping in touch.
In the previous blog entry I was raving about the great 3g connection here at the Lake in Kansas. Here is the reason why:

It is usually about proximity to the cellular tower, though not always. Line of sight can be almost as powerful of a factor as proximity. For example, in Colorado we found a place up on a mountain where we had "line of sight" to a cell tower over in New Mexico some eighteen miles away and had a good enough signal that we could upload lengthy videos. Locating that gap in the mountains was a wonderful thing and it allowed us to hook up our next job in North Dakota, while camped at 10k elevation !
The North Dakota job, Sugar Beet Harvest, had a cellular tower so close by that we could hear the North wind howl through it's metal beams at times.
This conectivity, or, commo has made it easier to pay bills, visit with friends, video confrence with the Grand kids and post here on the blog.
Our digital camera is another commo tool that we use to post pix to the blog and to various forums, ect.. The kin folks back in Arkansas like to see what we are up to these days, and a quick photo can show folks what it is that you are talking about on a forum. Our camera is a very early Kodak Easy Share C813 that is travel worn to the extent that the finish is worn thin in many places. He, he, while up in the Rocky Mountains earlier this year, it traveled to the continental divide about 12K elevation, in the bib of my overhauls, and that was when I first noticed that it had developed a hick up of sorts. It would turn on and run the lense out as usual, but the lense cover stuck in the closed position, keeping the LED display on the back blacked out. The cure seems to be a simple flick with a finger nail and it opens like it should. It is a 8 mega pixl resolution camera and when it finally succombs to the rigors of travel and my redneck neglect, we will likely move up to a 10mp or better unit. Hey, I mean, after all, we need to improve our commo ! Right ?
Here is a look at the camera's case, note that is quite travel frayed also:

Our easy share is a battery consuming machine, if, you use the regular AA batterys. But the Ultimate lithiums last quite a bit longer and we are trying a newer battery that we are just beginning to learn about, the Lithium Photo. Here is a look at both:

Yeh, commo, ain't it cool ?

Saturday, November 14, 2009


The 3G connection here at the Lake is so good that I am watching an old classic movie "A BRIDGE TOO FAR", chatting with a old Navy buddy in Ohio on Yahoo messenger and posting to the blog as I upload a video to the blog !
Now, that's a smokin' hot connection ! The video will give you a look at the connection supporting four multimedia tasks at once !

Friday, November 13, 2009


Our Civil War not only divided our Nation, it divided familys. And, our American Natives were no exception. The Osage Nation in Kansas was also divided on the issues. A battle between Union supporting Osage and Confederate Calvary Officers occoured South East of Independence Kansas. This monument marks the event.

Here is the complete text from the monument:
In May, 1863, a mounted party of about twenty Confederates,
nearly all commissioned officers, set out from
Missouri to recruit troops in the West. Several miles
east of here they were challenged by loyal Osage
Indians. In a running fight two Confederates were
killed and the others surrounded on a gravel bar
in the Verdigris river about three miles north of
this marker. Ignoring a flag of surrender, the Osages
scalped and cut the heads off all but two of the party.
These, wounded, hid under the river bank and escaped.

After the war when settlers began staking claims on
the Osage reservation, Congress authorized removal of
the tribe to present Oklahoma. In 1807 a treaty was
signed in a grove on Drum creek, three miles southeast.
Ironically, the cheap lands to which the Osages were
removed became a great oil field and for a time they
were the wealthiest people per capita in the world.

The monument just piqued our imagination and prompted further digging into the incident, we were curious about the two survivors and how they made it, being wounded and all. It turns out that they walked eighty miles to safety and one of them died as a result of his wounds. It took months for the remaining Calvary Officer to recover enough to get back to his unit for duty and report the out come of their mission. As they crossed the river one time they lost a pair of shoes and during the eighty mile walk through hostile territory they took turns wearing the shoes that remained and the other wraping their feet with clothing articles.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Independence, Kansas:

Monday, November 9, 2009


A quick video look at Elk City Lake State Park's new Shower and Laundry room. It is one of the nicest we have seen in quite some time ! After ten hours at Amazon, it is a treat to take a long hot shower in this new, clean, well lit and heated facillity. Kudos to the State Kansas for having the needs of workampers in mind for this project ! Sombody had their "thinking cap on" while this one was in the planning stages, for sure.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


We have been home for only seven days since May the fifth of this year, so, our "stuff" is beginning to accumilate to a critical state. We can carry it all by carefully packing. However when we stop for an extended stay, such as our current stay at Elk City Lake State Park, we need a place to put stuff. A place out of the way, to improve the quality of life in our small space.
We have used our sun room by sewing Susan for storing clear totes full of stuff. But, as you well know, digging through several totes while looking for a speciffic peice of clothing to meet a weather exposure need, can be frustrating and tedious.
Then one day up in North Dakota, while looking for some special clothing at Gander Mountain, we saw our first Hunter's Closet. We thought it over for a few days, weighing the pros and cons. Then we bought one. Here is a look: