Saturday, October 17, 2020

Tulsa State Fair


The Golden Driller at the Expo Fairgrounds

Each year, in the last week of September and the first week of October, the City of Tulsa hosts the Tulsa State Fair.  There are buildings housing vendors; new cars, trucks, and boats for sale; livestock barns full of animals waiting to be judged.  The midway is crowded with games and food trucks selling everything from giant cinnamon rolls covered in pecans to deep-fried mashed potatoes on a stick.  There are roller coasters, Ferris wheels, bumper cars.  You could easily spend an entire day at the fair and not see all that is there.

Of course you know without me telling you, there was no Tulsa State Fair this year.  However, the powers that be decided to allow the Junior Livestock Exhibit to take place.  The food vendors, who are desperate to earn a living with all the fair and festival cancellations, agreed to set up and sell their wares during the event.

After watching our oldest grandson play football early one Saturday morning, consort and I decided to take the three grandsons to the fair.  My favorite thing about the fair, aside from people watching, has always been the livestock barns.  When consort and I took our kids to the fair decades ago, we walked through the livestock barns while I quizzed the kids on cow breeds -- because we all know the importance of identifying cows, right?


Consort and I, and our three grandsons, roamed through the expansive cow barn.  I did not take any pictures of the bovine; consider it a small gift from me to you.  We took our time walking through the domestic fowl exhibit and were rewarded by seeing two chickens lay eggs.  I believe this definitively answers the age-old question, Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

The boys enjoyed deep-fried Oreos, gator chips, corn dogs, pretzels, ice cream, and slushies.  They were definitely on the sloshy side when we ushered them back to the car.

We left the fair and headed to our favorite store open only in October:  Spirit Halloween.  Visiting Spirit Halloween has become a tradition.  All five of us have a blast trying to outdo each other with the weirdest, scariest, and creepiest things we can find.  It's a thrill to be frightened to death in a well-lit, controlled environment.  The above pictures were my pick for the "creepiest" category.

We are parked again at Bluff Landing, about ten miles east of Broken Arrow.  The weather has turned cooler with overnight temps running in the low 40s.  Daytime temps are in the 70s making for beautiful afternoons.  The leaves are just beginning to change color here in NE Oklahoma.  We will be anchored in Broken Arrow for another week before we begin the trip south to Brownsville to spend the winter.  We've been traveling more than parking in the past three months and are ready for a long stop at 4 Seasons RV Resort.  We're looking forward to reconnecting with our favorite Winter Texans, but will sorely miss all those Canadians who are unable to join us this year due to the coronavirus, especially my favorite Canadian.

It is wonderful being in our hometown, immersing ourselves in the lives of our daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren.  We love knowing where everything is and how to get there without the aid of Waze.  There are no words for the pleasure we've felt reconnecting with friends.  But I have to say, we have definitely been bitten by the gypsy bug.  We have an intense desire to keep moving and experiencing all this beautiful country of ours has to offer.  But for now, with winter fast approaching, we're happy to be heading to south Texas:  warm temps, palm trees, and, of course, the Gulf of Mexico.  See you soon!


Queen of all she surveys
Constantly increasing intellectual acuity
Living happily ever after

The unwelcome side of RV life

Just so you know I'm being safe out here

Where have you been in the last couple of weeks?  I know exactly where consort and I have been:  In the exact same place in the exact same circumstance for over a week.  I'm beginning to wonder if we're still in Punxsutawney experiencing our own personal Groundhog Day.

When we left Missouri a couple of weeks ago, we headed for Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, our hometown, to spend time with our daughter, SIL, and GSx3 (grandsons times three).  During our time in Broken Arrow, we planned to stay with the GSx3 while daughter and SIL traveled to Las Vegas to celebrate a wedding anniversary with a group of friends.  

We arrived in Broken Arrow and spent a beautiful, uneventful week parked at Bluff Landing, our favorite local campsite.  After a week, we decided to move the trailer to daughter's house and park it in the street while we stayed with the grandsons.  The thought of packing for two humans, two canines, and one feline was overwhelming;  moving the trailer -- essentially packing EVERYTHING in one big box -- seemed the easier solution.

We had a great time with the grandsons and were able to attend our oldest grandson's football game.

For those of you who read the blog regularly, you may remember we had a truck issue, followed by a repair, in Wilkes-Barre, PA, home of Mom & Pop's Pierogies.  The auto shop in Wilkes-Barre replaced a wheel bearing.  On the drive from Wilkes-Barre to Broken Arrow, the truck seemed to be making an abnormal sound.  Consort decided to take the truck in to the local Ford dealership once we arrived in our hometown to have them diagnose the problem.

Diagnostics revealed there was a wheel bearing that needed replaced, and it wasn't the wheel bearing we had replaced in Wilkes-Barre.  We agreed to the repair and left the truck to be serviced.  On the day we were scheduled to pick up the truck, we received a call from the dealership.  The wheel bearing issue was resolved, but the truck continued to make the same noise.  Upon further checking, the mechanic determined the turbo bearing was bad.  The cost for repair?  Nearly $6,300, and that's on top of the cost to replace the wheel bearing.

Our plan was to pick up the truck after the wheel bearing repair, then move the trailer from the street in front of daughter's house back out to Bluff.  We made arrangements with the dealership to pick up the truck prior to the turbo repair so we could move the trailer.  After the trailer was safely ensconced at Bluff Landing, we planned to take the truck back to the Ford dealership for the final repair.

We picked up the truck and drove across town to daughter's house.  We hitched the trailer then drove back across town headed to Bluff Landing, about a 20-minute drive.  We drove three miles on streets to reach the turnpike, then entered the highway.  We drove eight or nine miles on the turnpike before exiting.  When we exited the turnpike, we made a left-hand turn and began the final leg of the trip to Bluff.  After only a tenth of a mile, consort said, The rear tire on the trailer is smoking; we need to stop.  We took the first available right-hand turn off the main road onto a side street and parked.

Both consort and I got out of the truck to go back and check the tire.  We're thinking a fender might be rubbing the tire, or maybe we have a blowout.  What we found was nothing.  Literally.  There was no tire and there was no wheel.  Only the axel and brakes remained.  As we stood, dumbfounded, looking at the gaping hole, a gentleman passing by in a pickup stopped and said, I think that's your wheel back there.

It was.  Consort walked back and retrieved the wheel/tire combo, then immediately got on the phone with our insurance.  We were assured they would send a wrecker tout suite.  The agreed upon plan was to have the fifth wheel towed to Bluff, then have mobile RV repair come out and repair the wheel.

Three hours later, after numerous phone calls and texts with the insurance, we decided to give up on the wrecker.  It was 8 pm and apparent that nothing was going to be done.  We unhitched the trailer, left it in the street, and drove back to daughter's house.

The next morning, we delivered the truck back to the Ford dealership for the turbo repair.  Consort was also on the phone with the insurance company trying to find a tow.  You wouldn't think it is a big deal to tow a vehicle, even an RV; but, as it turns out, fifth wheels are a bit trickier.  Around two o'clock, 23 hours after the wheel fell off, a wrecker arrived to tow the fifth wheel to an RV repair shop.  During all the phone calls with mechanics, it was determined the repair was too big for a mobile RV repair unit.

The wrecker that was sent out is made to tow 18-wheelers.  It was enormous, as you can see from the photo; it completely dwarfs the trailer.  The tow-truck driver used chains to hold the axel up so it wouldn't drag on the ground, hitched the fifth wheel, and delivered it safely to the mechanic.

In the meantime, the Ford dealership repaired the turbo issue.  While repairing the turbo, it was discovered that another wheel bearing had gone bad on the truck.  And this particular wheel bearing was the same one the shop in Wilkes-Barre had just replaced.  Apparently, we got a defective part in Wilkes-Barre.  There have been more phone calls, and an exchange of photos and information, after which the Wilkes-Barre shop determined to take care of the replacement repair at no cost to us.  

The excellent insurance consort purchased from Progressive will take care of all the towing and trailer repairs.  The first estimate for towing came in at $5,000.  Our insurance company declined the bid and contacted 918 Wrecker Service who agreed to tow the trailer for half that cost.  Prior to this incident, if you had told me the cost to tow a fifth wheel would range between $2,500 and $5,000, I would not have believed you.  I have now caught up and am fully in the saddle.

While the repairs are going on, we're staying with daughter, SIL, and GSx3.  It's like being at a resort.  I'm not sure who is enjoying it more:  Consort and I, who are able to fully relax, or the wee mangy mongrels who are free to run in and out of the house and all over the backyard.

Working out logistics on all of these repairs has NOT been fun.  Consort and I have received a crash course in the procurement, maintenance, and transportation involved in fifth wheel repair.  But we're blessed.  Of all the places these annoyances could happen, there is no better place than in your own hometown.  That fact alone reduces the stress of the situation by half.  Staying with grandsons not only keeps you busy, but it is conducive to huge belly laughs.  It's hard to stay annoyed when your mouth is full of laughter. 

As of today, we're still waiting on repairs to be finished.  Both the RV repair shop and the Ford dealership tell us we'll have our vehicle and trailer by the end of the day.  We have no expectations; we've been told the same thing, "ready today," more than once.  But no complaints.  It will all be done eventually.  In the meantime, based on all that is going on, I believe we're experiencing our very own Groundhog Day right here in Broken Arrow, OK.  

Reading:  Insurance policies
On the TV:  Politics
Current hobby:  Re-organizing closets and drawers
                           (Don't judge! I love it & am quite good at organization!)

Friday, September 25, 2020

Cats and Dogs


Fulton giving D.O.G. a good-morning kiss

Now?  Are you ready to play now?

D.O.G. and Fulton sharing a meal

Monday, September 21, 2020


We landed last week in Fulton, Missouri, consort's hometown.  We arrived looking forward to spending time with good friends and reacquainting ourselves with consort's old hangouts.  The first day, when we pulled into town, it was pretty late in the day.  We followed our normal routine of feeding and watering the livestock, and setting up camp.

Day two we headed over to the home of consort's long-time friend who we had been unable to reach by phone.  Consort walked up to the door, while I waited in the truck with the wee mangy mongrels.  After just a few moments, consort turned to me and hollered, They're not home, but look what I found!  The man was holding up a tiny black-and-white kitten.

About 20 years ago, consort and I had a long-haired, black-and-white, male cat who met with an untimely death.  We have mourned the loss of our cherished cat ever since.  We have looked, off and on, over the years for a new kitty that was similar to the old cat:  Must be a kitten, must be a male, must be long-haired, and must be black and white.  The kitten consort was holding up ticked off every must-have on the list.  What's a body to do?  We brought the kitty home.

Later in the day, we caught up with our friends who live in the house where we absconded with the cat.  The friends were aware of the stray kitten hanging around their porch and had been setting out food for him.  They already provide a home to three full-grown cats and knew that adding a kitten to the mix was not a good idea; they were overjoyed to learn we had taken the kitten with us.

Of course, the question on everyone's mind is, How are the dogs going to react to the kitten?

This is Annie checking out what the cat has to eat.  Other than making sure the new kitten doesn't have something better to eat, Annie doesn't care much about the cat.  The cat, who we've named Fulton, because that's where we are and that's where we found him, uses Annie's back as a jumping-off place to further his roaming.  The first day the kitten was in the trailer with us, he climbed up and was sitting on the counter.  Annie walked up to check him out and possibly let him know he's NOT allowed on the counter.  The cat eyeballed Annie, assumed the pounce position, then jumped onto Annie's back.  He rested only a second then leapt to the ottoman.  Annie had no reaction when the kitten landed on her back.  Once Fulton jumped off, Annie just shook her head and walked away.  Their only other interaction is the exchange of food.  Annie loves the dry kitty kibble, and Fulton loves the dry dog kibble.  

D.O.G., on the other hand, is in love with Fulton.  All of his fathering instincts have kicked in.  He follows the kitten around herding him away from what D.O.G. considers danger.  The cat walks up to D.O.G. and lays down on his back under D.O.G.'s head.  D.O.G. begins to wash the kitty with a tongue the size of Fulton's head.  Fulton squirms and leans into D.O.G. while D.O.G. gives him a spit bath.  The whole time D.O.G. is bathing the kitten, the kitty is batting the dog tags that hang from D.O.G.'s collar.  After bath time, Fulton darts thru the trailer with D.O.G. in full chase.  When Fulton lays down to nap, D.O.G. sits calmly beside him waiting for his new buddy to wake up and play.  We think it's fate.

I haven't mentioned Bella in almost two months.  Bella was our rescue dog; she was found on the side of the road.  She lived with us for six years and stole every human heart she came in contact with.  She is inquisitive and energetic.  Although consort and I think we're pretty active, there was no keeping up with Bella.

While in NE Tennessee, I had the pleasure of meeting K, the granddaughter of our good friends who own Roan Creek Campground.  K is the same age as my middle grandson and was looking for a loyal companion.  When she visited Roan Creek, she would come by the trailer and take Bella out for walks.  The two of them hit it off immediately.  After watching the two of them interact, consort and I decided Bella would have a fuller, more active life living with K.  

K and I spent about a week holding dog obedience school.  K learned obedience commands, and Bella learned to trust and listen to K.  At the end of the week, we let Bella go home with K.  That was one of the hardest things consort and I have ever done.  But we gave K, and her mother, an out:  We'll be in Tennessee another week; if keeping Bella is too much responsibility for K, she can bring Bella back, no worries.

Well, there have been no worries.  Bella is having a blast in her new life.  K's mom works at a marina, and the owner of the marina has declared Bella the company mascot.  She's allowed to roam all over the store; she is given treats and belly rubs by both employees and customers.  Bella is missed, but we are so happy she has found a place where she is the number one dog belonging to a little girl who loves to play.  We wish Bella and K long, playful days and warm, cuddly nights.  We look forward to seeing them next time we visit Roan Creek.

Monday, September 14, 2020

We love Pennsylvania!

Consort relaxing in nephew & niece's outdoor living room

We've spent the last week anchored down at Fox Den Acres, about an hour southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and we have had the most wonderful time.  We came to reconnect with our really good friends who also happen to be family. 

My uncle and aunt live very near downtown Pittsburgh, and we have spent about half our time with them.  We have laughed and exchanged ideas.  We have enjoyed mouth-watering meals and lively conversation.  It will be weeks before I digest it all. 

This aunt and uncle share their home with the parents of my mangy mongrel, D.O.G.  I am, of course, in love with these dogs.  Liza is a New Englander and Leo is from Hungary.  Both are purebred Pulik.  Liza is the most common color of Puli, black.  Leo's rusty-gray coloring, known as masko fako, is more rare.

My nephew and niece keep a permanent campsite at Fox Den Acres.  They've been camping here for quite a few years.  They have a beautiful new camper and a perfect outside living space.  We were able to spend two weekends with them and have thoroughly enjoyed catching up.  They have a group of friends they meet up with each weekend throughout the camping season.  Consort and I enjoyed meeting all of them.  Their stories of weekend escapades were completely entertaining; and, after meeting each one of them, totally believable. 

 Niece and Nephew's campsite at Fox Den Acres

Consort and I will be taking off in the morning.  We will be heading west and a little south to consort's hometown of Fulton, Missouri.  I'll catch up with you on the flipside.  Peace out.

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Groundhog Day

The truck repairs were completed on Friday and, after one more stop at Mom & Pop's to stock the freezer on Saturday morning, we were back on the road.  We drove across central Pennsylvania and were delighted with the sights.  We had a beautifully smooth road that wound between mountains without ever taking us over one or through any quaint little towns for the majority of the day. 

As we neared Punxsutawney, we drove past quite a few Amish farms.  The farms are charming and well laid out, very picturesque.  We encountered two horse and buggies on the road and ended up following one for about a half-mile before we could pass.  As we pulled around the buggy, I rolled my window down, leaned out, and enthusiastically waved at its passengers.  I don't know whether it was my energetic waving or the massive fifth wheel/truck combo, but the couple in the buggy looked less than pleased.  I imagine it would be terrifying to be passed by an F350 diesel dually pulling a 40-foot fifth wheel while riding in a two-seater, horse-drawn buggy on a narrow road.  I also imagine that folks hanging out of their vehicles and gesturing to the passengers of the buggy could be equally terrifying.

Our sole reason for visiting Punxy, PA, is to see the home of Punxsutawney Phil, the furry, four-legged star of Groundhog Day.  As I began researching Punxsutawney and Groundhog Day, I learned that the movie was not, contrary to popular belief, filmed in Punxsutawney; it was filmed in Woodstock, Illinois, about 65 miles northwest of Chicago.  There are just a couple of locations from the movie located in Punxy:  Gobbler's Knob and the town square.

The town itself has a pretty downtown area.  Phil lives in a burrow that is housed within the town's library.  At the town square where the library is located, you can view Phil at play or asleep through a glass wall.  It was quite a thrill.  Below are our photos of the day.

Gobbler's Knob is about a mile and a half from the Walmart where we are currently boondocked. There is a museum and gift shop, both closed due to CV-19; a stage where Phil makes his appearance to forecast the weather, and a short hiking trail with sculptures and interesting facts about Punxsutawney Phil.

My photos do not do the sculptures justice.  The sundial was, in my opinion, the most interesting.

From Gobbler's Knob, we headed into Punxy to the town square to see Phil.  He was sleeping peacefully in the late afternoon sun.

Across the street from the town square is the Fraternal Order of Eagles where there is a Tree Clock Glockenspiel.  The FOE celebrated its 100th anniversary with the addition of this rare tree clock created by Verdin Company of Ohio.  The clock features three clocks and a thermometer.  Every hour, four groundhog statues come out of the top, and the tree begins to play music.  A really beautiful piece of artwork.
All around Punxy you will find statues of Phantastic Phil in all manner of dress

If you put wheels under this one, I'll take it.  Seven bedrooms,
six-and-a-half baths, 4500 square feet. 
For sale:  $120,000
Loved the windows and stained glass of the YMCA
Bottom photo is of the Weather Discovery Center
Random Photos

D.O.G. and Annie taking a break from hiking
There was just enough wind to make the day perfect for walking in the woods

Fungi found while hiking.  The bite marks are from
neither consort nor I