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Sat. Apr. 13 to Fri. Apr. 19- Austin to Lake Takoma TX-Joplin MO

Saturday– There was a thunderstorm arriving, so we held off leaving. We worked quickly getting ready to leave, including bringing in the slides. We waited out the storm, and left a little before 11, which is the check out time.

We drove east and stopped at the rest area for lunch. We wanted the storm to get through Austin, so we would not be caught in it.

We continued on to Austin, and turned south on I-35, which was under massive construction. This created a terrible traffic jam. We exited and used the “Texas U-turn”, which are awesome, and we wish that they were everywhere.

We drove into Austin Lone Star RV park at about 2 PM. The office was closed, but they had an envelope with my name on it. It included a pass for the gate and a map with our site circled. While I was getting the information, Bob disconnected the car. We went through the gate and up to our site.

We set up and took the dogs for a walk. We also took them to the dog run. Bob was able to get Koda and Roxie to run, while Karlie and I watched.

We ate dinner at home, using all the leftovers.

Sunday-  We stopped at the office on our way out of the park, and paid the balance on our reservation. The employee gave us maps on how to get downtown without having to use I-35, bypassing the construction and the traffic back ups.

We drove to downtown Austin, stopping at Mean Greens for lunch, a salad place. We were disappointed. The salad was not as good as Café Zupas, it was more expensive, and we did not get the roll and the chocolate covered strawberry!

Our goal was to go to the Capitol, as we thought that the parking would be better. It was, as we found a nice, free parking space, near a side entrance. We walked up to the Capitol building, and the next tour was in about 5 minutes.

The tour was only 30 minutes, but since the Legislature is in session, it was a good thing we went on Sunday, as we were able to see both the House and the Senate. If we had gone on Monday, we would have missed these places.

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We entered thru the main entrance. We had to go thru security, and of course, I set off the metal detector. I always say,” two new knees”, but the security guy  still ‘wanded” me.

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All of the elevators have these emblems on them.

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Below is a picture of Santa Ana surrendering.

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Below is the rotunda, looking up at the dome.

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Throughout the Capitol, each door had these massive hinges shown below.

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Below is the Senate chamber.

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This is the House side with our docent, Chad.

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Even the light fixtures have the Lone Star.

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On one of the floor areas.

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Another floor display.

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Of course, the tour ended near the gift shop!

The salad for lunch, was not very satisfying, so we stopped at Voodoo Doughnuts for a treat. I dropped Bob off and drove around the block many times, as the line was long. It was located in a very “young” area, with lots of people in their 20’s. This Voodoo is open 24 hours.

We returned to the rig and played with the dogs in the dog run. There were some toys in the park, so I said to Bob, since Koda does not seem to like balls, why don’t we just leave some of our balls in the park.

So Bob pulled down the box. He went to hand me a regular size tennis ball and I dropped it. Koda grabbed it and ran with it. Huh?? Roxie had tried to get Koda to play with the medium size ball. ( we have 3 sizes, small, medium, and regular tennis ball).  When Roxie tried to get Koda to play, she grabbed the ball and dropped it. I took the ball and rolled it to Koda, who looked at it like it was from Mars! I rolled it to Roxie who picked it up and dropped it. We did this back and forth about 10 times and finally decided that balls were not Koda’s thing. So now, we find out she likes regular tennis balls. So that is her new toy!

Bob runs with the dogs in the dog park, and they both chase him, barking and having a great time. We ate dinner at home.

Monday- We left around 10 AM and went downtown to the University, where the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum is located. There was specific place to park, which was free.

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We visited the Library, enjoying the self tour.Below is a limo that LBJ had made for him to ride around in Texas. It is not armored or bullet proof. It is located right inside the entrance.

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The Library/Museum is 10 stories. On the main floor, they had  information about LBJ. then we walked up a marble staircase to the hall of Presidents and First Ladies.

It started with George and Martha Washington ….

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And went as far at George W and Laura Bush.

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The portraits are hung two years after the President is out of office, so Obama’s portrait is not yet hung.

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On the other wall was the Library portion open with glass so you can see the information. It is only open by appointment. These are between the floors that are open to the general public.

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Below you can see a really nice mural, depicting LBJ and others.

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Here are two views of the LBJ Oval Office.

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A view of Austin from the 10th floor of the Library/Museum.

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We left around 12:30, going to Terry Black’s BBQ. We waited about 30 minutes in line. The food was very good.

We returned to the rig, walked the dogs, then went to Costco, Walmart and the Liquor store. We returned, ate dinner and took the dogs to Petsmart. We thought we would have Koda pick out some toys. She ignored everything…. Oh well, it was worth a try!

Tuesday- We left and drove up I-35, ugh!. Bob had found a alternate route, so we turned drove east on Hwy. 71, past the airport. Then we found that it was a toll road, oh well. So we turned north on the toll road. We had no idea how much it was going to cost. There were no actual toll booths, just signs saying how much each segment was… Payment was either through Texas pass or by mail. The drive was much nicer than going thru the City of Austin on I-35, so whatever the cost, it saved us a lot of time and frustration!

We drove back onto I-35, north of Austin. We continued north, finally arriving, around 2:30  at the Thousand Trails Lake Texoma. There is nothing going on in the park during the week. We had to pay an extra $3 per day for 50 amp, but moved into a 50 amp FHU site.

We settled in and I sat outside with the dogs. Koda decided to dig to China! She was having a blast and dirt was flying! We do not know what she smelled in the hole, but she smelled something and went after it.

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When she finished, we washed her paws and scraped the dirt back into the hole so we would not turn our ankles in the hole.

We ate dinner and had a quiet evening.

Wednesday- We have no internet at the site, so we went to the Adult Lounge to use the internet. I worked on some articles and sent them to my Editor. We had found that the Elks Lodge in Oklahoma was closed, so we had to find another place to stay. We  are now going to a Casino in southern Missouri, then on to our next planned stop.

We returned, walked the dogs, and went to Backyard BBQ, a few miles down the road for lunch. We just did take out, returned, ate lunch, and took a nap.

We walked the dogs, ate dinner, and waited for the weather to change. The weather radio kept going off warning us of the severe thunderstorms coming. We had already checked out that the restrooms near us had brick walls and we would move there if there was a tornado alert.

When following the weather, we saw that we were in an area that just had rain, so we were lucky. The worst of the storms, and there were several, went around us, both to the east and the west. Whew! We went to bed late, because we wanted to wait out the last storm.

Thursday- We decided to have a quiet day at home. We completed some tasks around the rig. The weather was cooler and very windy. We were glad we were sitting still today.

We ate leftover BBQ from yesterday for lunch. I took a nice nap. At 4, I went over to the Adult Lounge to try to download the  pictures from my phone and to work on the blog. I sent another article to my editor.

I returned and we cooked dinner. The skies had cleared and it was bright and sunny, but remained very, very windy.

Friday- Fortunately, the wind died down this morning. We packed up and left around 9 AM. We drove north, immediately crossing into Oklahoma,  on horrible roads! The CD player would not work! We thought it might not be working because the roads were so bumpy, but it turned out it was actually that the batteries were dead.

We changed them when we stopped at a rest area, walked the dogs and changed drivers. We continued on through Oklahoma. Our destination was Down River Casino in Joplin MO.

Before we arrived in Joplin, our last drive through Oklahoma was on I-44, which was a toll road. We were glad to pay the $6.50 toll, as the road was nice and smooth. The first smooth road of the day!

The toll road ended when we crossed into Missouri. We exited at exit 1, and turned onto the road to the Casino. We could see the RV park on the right, so we drove into the park, chose a site, and I ran over and paid the $15 for the night. We could have stayed for free, if we went to the Casino and joined their club. We were tired, as it was already after 3 PM and we had decided to just pay the $15.

We set up, then took the dogs to the city to a dog park we found on Google Maps. They had not run in days and Koda really needed to get some energy out. ‘

We arrived to find that the park was not a dog park. There were baseball diamonds, a swimming pool, various playground equipment but no dog park. Bob checked Google and the next park was 26 miles away.

I spotted a fenced in picnic pavilion. There was no gate, but the shelter was covered and the tables were in the shelter, with grass all around. No one was around, so we took the dogs in and ran them around the large area. Even Karlie ran, which was good to see!

Finally, the let us know they were done, we loaded them back in the car and drove back to the Casino. It was bout 6 miles each way! We ate dinner and had a quiet evening.

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