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Sat. Nov. 9 to Fri. Nov. 15- Sun City AZ

Saturday-  Bob is coughing and sneezing, so he stayed home with the dogs. I went to the “Shoppers Paradise” here at the park. It was also “Western Day” ,s so there was a cowboy and his horse. Hmm, it was also the patio sales day. Too much on the same day!

Paradise West

I wandered through the very few vendors, skipped the patio sales, and went to the Craft Fair at the Congressional Church up the street. This is one of my favorite craft fairs. It was bigger than last year. Then I went to Walmart, Target, and Sprouts.

I returned, we ate lunch and took a nap. Bob still feels pretty bad. We sat outside reading until dinner time. We ate dinner, then watched the “Last Czar” on Netflix. It is a docudrama and it was interesting from the view point of Russian History.

Sunday- We did our normal Sunday tasks. We finished watching the “Last Czar”. Of course, we know the ending, but it was interesting to see how they arrived there!

We did not nap today. Bob was feeling a little better. We watched” Kaminsky”, season 2, on Netflix.

We sat outside with the dogs, then cooked and ate dinner. We watched TV.

Monday- I went to the exercise class, then rode my bike around the park. I returned to find Bob working with the paper shredder. It is broken. We seem to go thru a lot of them!

Bob started working on our insurance for next year. The Capitol Checkbook came out today, so he could not work on it before today. I think we are going to stay with our hated current insurance, as the options are worse.

Bob has been sick with a cold which has gone to his lungs, so he has been staying in side most of the time. This afternoon, we are having a pot luck at Mike and Linda’s, so Bob wore a mask to the pot luck. We had a great time with our Alfa friends.

Tuesday- I was off to the Retired Nurses Breakfast. Gabriel, who does the BBQ food truck at the park, runs the kitchen at the local golf course restaurant, where we have the breakfast. He had to raise the breakfast price $3 each this year. The group was approached by a  Medical Facility which does stem cell treatments. They are going to sponsor the group, paying the extra $3 per person for us. They get to speak to the group 2x a year in exchange. Sounds good to me! Anyway, breakfast was minimal this month, as it starts in December.  Below was the table decorations, that we could take home. I am a bit disappointed in my picture. It was really cute. Two Oreo’s, one malt ball, 1/2 a Reeces PB cup, and the candy corn. The gal who made them, had to slam on the brakes, when driving to the breakfast, so they a a little off from what they were originally!

Turkey

The speaker this month was from Hospice of the Valley, the largest Hospice in the area. I am very familiar with them. as I did a lot of referrals to them when I was working at Del Webb Hospital. The speaker did a nice talk on the difference between Dementia and normal memory loss from aging.

I returned home, we ate lunch, and I had a Chiropractor appt. at 3. Bob went with me, as we stopped in at Walmart afterwards.

Wednesday- We had the monthly Alfa breakfast this morning. It was a lot of fun, and the food was very good. Then MaryAnne and I left early and went to Maj.  It turned out it was only the two of us playing. We had a great time playing the new way, for two people, that we learned last year.

I returned at noon, we ate lunch, then took a nap, as neither of us slept well last night. We sat outside with the dogs, as the weather has been so beautiful, with bright sunny skies and temps in the nice and dry low 80’s.

Thursday- I had a 7:30  am appt. with the podiatrist, for follow-up from my MRI. I was taken back at 8 AM. The MRI showed that I have lost most of the tendon in my left ankle, it is basically a fragile string, which is why I have been having so many problems with just walking. Yesterday, just walking across Walmart, I had to circle the ankle several times to get the bones back in line. He said that I need surgery. He also said, it is an easy surgery for him, but my recovery is not fun. 2 weeks, totally non-weight bearing, then 6 weeks in a boot. Plus lots of PT. Eek!

I told him about the hand surgery on Thursday, next week, and he said for me to think about the ankle surgery. I told him I think we will do it in the fall, when I returned.

I raced back to Paradise, and hopped on the bus. Bob was supposed to meet me there, but he was not there yet. When he arrived, I told Bob and MaryAnne about what the Doc said. We discussed it, and decided that I should have the surgery in January. So I called and made a pre-op appointment. 

We took the ‘geezer’ bus to the South Mountain Farm, where we had a picnic breakfast. The breakfast was spinach and peppers quiche. Neither Bob nor MaryAnne could eat the quiche with preppers, so the gal brought out two cheese quiches.  She also served a huge bowl of fruit, scones and muffins. It was very good. I felt sorry for the gal who was allergic to eggs!

After we ate, we wandered over to the gift shop. None of us purchased anything. We also wandered around the farm. It’s a beautiful place, and would be a great place for a wedding reception.

South Mountain Farm

South Mountain Farm 2

Above was our picnic lunch under the pecan grove. Below are just some beautiful cactus.

South Mountain Farm 3

South Mountain Farm  4

We thought the sign above was a hoot!  Below was one of the party venues

South Mountain Farm  5

South Mountain Farm 6

The farm has chickens, they also sell fresh eggs.

South Mountain Farm 7

They also have this desert tortoise. He was huge! There was no sign saying how old he is or how much he weighs. At first I thought he was not real, until he moved.

South Mountain Farm 8

We safely returned to the park.

At 4, we went over to the pool area, for the Welcome Party. The band was great. The food was not! Gabriel was selling nachos ( Velveeta over chips) and hot dogs. We enjoyed the music and then returned to feed and walk the dogs. Below is the band and some of the dancing.

Welcome party 19

We went to dinner at In ‘N Out burger.

Friday- I went to the “Stretch and Strengthen” class. It was aerobics today. I returned and went went to Walmart. We ate lunch and took a short nap. We sat outside most evenings this week. The weather has been awesome!

Sat. Nov. 2 to Fri. Nov. 8- Sun City AZ

Saturday- We went to a craft fair at the local Methodist Church. This is a decent size craft fair and I go every year, just to look. There are always some creative items to view.

From there we went to Home Depot for a two sided socket extension. Allen had put one in over the kitchen counter and we liked the idea. HD did not have any, so we went across the road to Lowes, which had one for $12.99. We purchased it and returned home.

I had not slept well last night, so I took a nice 2 hr. nap. I took a nice long bike ride for some exercise. We sat outside with the dogs in the evening.

Sunday- We did our usual Sunday morning tasks. After, we had lunch and a quiet afternoon and evening. We sat outside with the dogs, did a bike ride, and BBQ’d chicken.

Monday- Bob had an 8:30 PCP appt. so he left at 8. I went to the  “Stretch and Strengthen” exercise class at 9. It was very good. I miss my water aerobics, but when I try to do the water aerobics, I set off pain in my left shoulder, due to the partial rotator cuff tear. I just get too into doing the exercise! This class seemed to work well for me. It was tougher than I thought it would be!

I arrived back at 10, and Bob was already back. He was just taking the dogs for a walk. At 10:15, Tony called. He said that he had still not received the Declaration that Bob had sent to him times 3 times last week. Bob printed it out and we drove it over to the Toyota dealership. Tony is going to submit it to Capitol One. We are waiting to see what happens. The Declaration is to prove our South Dakota residency.

We returned, ate lunch, and Bob took the hitch off the back of the rig, as we will be not be using it, and it had to come off before our Freightliner appt. on Friday. Bob made the appointments for our blood draws in April, before we leave.

At 3:45 I had my 3D Mamogram. I returned, we ate dinner and had a quiet evening.

Tuesday-  I went to Maj at 10. On the way, I stopped in at Activities and purchased tickets to the trip to South Mountain. The tickets were $25 each, which includes transportation and lunch.

Bob went over to Mike and Linda’s to assist with removing and putting in a new, used, washing machine. Allen also helped. After they took out the old machine, Mike decided that he needed new tubing for the rear. This resulted in a guys field trip to Home Depot. Mike found a short tubing and Bob pointed to what we use. Mike’s eyes lit up and he purchased the same tubing we have. The guys had lunch at the hot dog vendor in the parking lot. Bob and Allen had brats.

They returned and put in the new machine. I returned from Maj, took the dogs for a walk, ate lunch, and went to my manicure. From there I went to the MRI of my left ankle. I swear that a 20 minute MRI is the longest 20 minutes of your life! I had trouble bending my left knee to get up from the table. My back hurt, but it was nothing compared to my knee. I drove home and rode my bike to loosen my knee. That helped with the knee, but my back, left hip, left thigh, and left foot hurt all night.

Wednesday- I am still very sore this morning. I did not go to the exercise class, as it was the aerobics session and I did not think it was a good idea today. I also looked up a new chiropractor and and waiting for a call to set up an appointment.

At 10, I went to Mahjongg, as there were going to be two new folks there. I did a lot of teaching this morning.  The two new folks have played before,  but not a lot, so they needed a lot of guidance.

I returned and we checked our insurance benefits. My hand PT will start on 11/27.  WE had a quiet afternoon and evening. 

Thursday- I went to Maj in the morning. Bob did some tasks around the rig to get ready to leave tomorrow for our Freightliner appt.  I returned, we ate lunch.

I had a Chiropractic appt. with a new Chiropractor, who I really liked. I returned, we ate dinner, and Bob went to the Astronomy Club meeting. I watched a Hallmark movie.

Friday-  We packed up the rig. At 9, we walked the dogs over to Linda and Mike’s rig. They had volunteered to keep the dogs for us for the day. That made our day so much better and we really appreciated their taking the dogs for us. The only thing I hate about full time RV’ing, is when we have to take the rig for a repair. Having the dogs with us really makes it a hard day!

I followed the rig in the car down I-101 to Tollison, which is at the corner of the 101 and I-10. We arrived at 9:40. We checked in with Kurt, the RV guy. The first thing he asked was when we had the radiator blow out the last time. It was last January, after our Quartzsite visit. He said if it only needed the radiator blown out it would only be about 2 hours. We kept our fingers crossed!

We went to Costco and killed time. We ate lunch at Café Zupas, then went to Best Buy to purchase a cord for our DVR. MaryAnne had lent me an exercise CD, and I watched some of it. When I went to turn it back on, it would not work. So Bob played around with the DVR and found that the cord was the issue.

We returned to the Freightliner. We checked in with Kurt, who told us that the tech was at lunch, but that all they had to do was blow out the radiator. Whew! He also said everything else was great. What had happened, was in Michigan, the chipmunks had built a nest back there. Bob cannot get to the back of the radiator, so the tech had to do the work. This was the cheapest repair we have had! We were back at Paradise by 2 pm.

While Bob parked the rig, with the security guard ( they always take you to your site and assist with parking), I went to Linda and Mikes’ to retrieve the dogs. Of course, they were happy to see me. Roxie had laid on top of their couch, looking out the window, Karlie curled up on a blanket to sleep, and Koda was a little more upset. Karlie and Roxie are used to being left occasionally with others, and they know Mike and Linda. This was new to Koda. She did work on getting her treats though! Linda said that Roxie even found a treat she had hidden and then brought it to Linda to show it to her! Our dogs are a hoot!

We set up the rig, and went to a fish fry dinner at the Peoria Café. We drove, picking up Linda and Mike on the way. MaryAnne had a taco salad and everyone else had the fish fry, except me. I had an omelet.

We dropped off Mike and Linda, and then went to Walgreens. Bob is coming down with a cold.

Sat. Oct. 26 to Fri. Nov. 1- Sun City

Saturday- We took the dogs to the groomers at 9 AM. After we dropped them off, we stopped at the Library, as they were having a book sale. Bob purchased 2 books. I did not even look, as I have too many books to read at the moment.

We stopped at Lowes and Home Depot to check out paving stones. We need to do something to keep the weeds down, as we have a lot of rocks, in addition to some concrete. Neither store had stones of the right height. Our concrete is 3.5 inches thick and the pavers were either to tall or too short. Oh well, looks like we will need to do concrete.

We sat outside waiting for the dog groomers to call, ate lunch, and picked them up at around 12:30. We returned and had a quiet afternoon.

At 4, we took the dogs to the dog park. Unfortunately, again, there was only one other dog there, and he was not interested in playing.

We returned, ate dinner, and went to play Mahjongg with Alan and MaryAnne at Allen’s rig.

Sunday- We did our usual Sunday tasks. The Redskins had played on Thursday (losing again!), so we had a quiet afternoon. We sat outside with the dogs and enjoyed the 84 degree weather. We ate dinner at home and watched some TV.

Monday- We were out the door at 6:45 to go to Sonoran Quest Labs for our blood draws. We had made the appointment way back in July or August, as we had so much trouble getting blood draw appointments last year. The Lab only does appointments; they no longer do walk-ins. There are other Quest labs in the area that do walk-ins, but they are much farther away.

We used the email to scan the bar code to check in, and we were taken on time for our lab draws. We returned home, ate breakfast and walked the dogs. They had a quick walk before we left this morning.

The weather is going to be cooler today, with temps in the 70’s. The wind has also picked up.

We left at about 1:20 to go to Bob’s Ophthalmology appt.  He had a great appt., with no eye changes and he does not need to return for a year.

We stopped at the Toyota dealer to look at the Highlander. We are still deciding what we want to purchase. Our options to tow behind the car are so minimal, that we think we are going to have to purchase a tow dolly and use that. We have not wanted to do that, as it is hard to find a place to put the dolly when parked. Friends have placed it under the rig when storing it, so we might do that. It’s a toss up between the Highlander and a Ford Edge, what we have. The Highlander has much better ratings.

We returned home, looked at more car info, ate dinner and settled in for the evening.

Tuesday- Bob had a cardiologist appt. this morning.  I went to Maj. I returned at 12, ate lunch, and quickly walked the dogs. Bob had stopped at a detailing place for the car. They were to be done by 12:30. They were 15 minutes late. I had a ophthalmologist appt. at 1:15. We made it with time to spare!  My eyes are the same as last year.

We went to the Toyota dealer for Bob to test drive the Highlander. Today my eyes were dilated. We decided on the Highlander and will be going on Thursday afternoon to purchase the car.

We ran home. walked the dogs, and we went to dinner at 5 with MaryAnne, Ray, Paula, Charlie and Allen. We were to meet at a Chinese restaurant up Union Hills. Unfortunately, we were running late, as I had been on the phone, scheduling my ankle MRI.

They all arrived at the restaurant to find that it is closed on Tuesdays. MaryAnne texted me for a suggestion. I responded saying Jade Star, our favorite in the area. They were open and we all arrived at the same time. They had a large round table available for us and we had a really great dinner.

Wednesday- Even though I had the “Health Chicken”, which was only chicken and vegetables, I was still up almost 2 lbs. this morning due to the sodium. Oh well, it will go away in a day or two!

The winds picked up last night. The rig was rocking most of the night! We are having gusts to 35 mph. We were scheduled to be at the Freightliner at 10, but a little after 7, we called Kurt ( the RV guy at Freightliner) and told him we had to reschedule due to the winds. They were not having the winds there, but Linda and Mike are there today( they spent the night there), and Linda texted later, that the winds had picked up there also.  Below is a picture of our patio this morning with the chairs and tables knocked over….

Patio wind

Here are the flags down the street. Also the palm trees are blowing in the wind….

Flag palms

We ran to CarMax and had an appraisal of the Edge. Then we went to the Credit Union to close out our CD to add to our payment for the new car. We returned to the rig and ate lunch. We called the dealership and made a 3 pm appt. to purchase the Highlander.

We arrived and it took until a little after 6 to complete everything. Our only issue turned out to be that the sales guy took the back license plate off the Edge, but because Arizona only has back license plates, he forgot to take off the front license. We discovered this when we arrived home, so I called. No one answered the phone, so we will call again in the morning.

Thursday-  I called just after 7 AM and our sales guy called Bob back. He was going to find the license plate for us, which he did.

Bob had an appointment with an Optometrist to have his eyes examined for new glasses. We already knew there was no change to the prescription, but he still needed a prescription for the glasses. At Target, with our insurance, it was $5. At the Ophthalmologist office, it would have been $60.

Then we went to Costco and Bob ordered glasses. We returned to the rig and had a quiet rest of the afternoon. The winds died down overnight.

Friday- We picked up MaryAnne at 10 and went to Happy Trails RV Park in west Surprise for their Vendor Fair. Their Vendor Fair is huge. We wandered around until 11:30, only purchasing a $10 magnifying glass.

While we were wandering around, Tony, the money guy at the car dealership called. Bank of America, which had approved our loan, had denied it due to our address. Since we do not have property, even though our credit ratings are in the high 800’s, they denied. We have had this issue before.

So Tony asked is he could change our loan to Capitol One. We had tried our credit union, but their % was higher than BOA or Cap. One. We said yes. Then he needed the insurance declaration, with our address on it, so we told Tony we would be home by 1 and would send it to him.

We went to Denny’s for lunch, then returned to the rig. When we entered the rig, we were not greeted by dogs. After a few seconds, Koda showed up, whimpering. Obviously something was wrong, as she normally is a wild child, jumping happily all over the place! Roxie showed up and acted normal. Karlie had been asleep, and acted normal, for her.

I ran my hands over all of Koda’s legs and did not find any immediate issues, no blood or bones out of align. So I called the Vet office for an appointment while Bob worked on getting the getting the Declaration to Tony.

We went grocery shopping. We returned and at 5, we took Koda to the Vet. She still had a limp and had been hiding under the desk. The Vet, Dr. Johnson, not our usual Vet, gave her a very thorough exam, moving all her legs, and finally her left front, which was the one we had discovered was the issue. No problems. She decided that it was probably muscular, so she gave us an anti-inflammatory for her. She said she would do an X-ray if we wanted, but since it did not appear to be a bone, we declined.

While we were there, we also asked them to check her anal glands. They should have been the size of a pea, instead they were the size of a grape. The tech evacuated them and told us to return in a month. I asked if she could show us how to do it, as it would be a pain, not to mention expensive, to take the dog to the Vet every month. She said yes, that next month, make the appt. and state that it is for the tech to teach us how to do the evacuation. Hey, I’m a retired nurse. I can handle this! I have seen and done worse tasks!

We returned home, fed and walked the dogs. Koda received her first pill after she ate. At 10, after their last walk, all three dogs played. Koda was back to her normal self!

Sat. Oct. 19 to Fri. Oct. 25- Sun City AZ

Saturday- I had my hair appointment at 10. Bob checked on the weeds and they were not dying quickly. When I returned, we took Bob’s bike to the bike repair store. Somewhere on the road, we had lost the post and seat to Bob’s bike; they are  somewhere between Michigan and New Mexico!. I hope it did not hit anyone! We were very lucky that we did not lose the bike. We had to wait a bit to be waited on, so we were given a nice discount on the service. While there, Bob is also having a tune-up.

We went to lunch at Kneaders and both had nice sandwiches. We returned to the rig. The weeds looked the same, so later in the afternoon, we stopped at Walmart for a commercial weed killer, then at the Library, to look at Consumer Reports; we are looking for a new car and wanted to look at the car reviews. We are going to have a problem finding a vehicle which can be towed 4 wheels down; the manufacturers have changed the transmissions.

It was almost dinner time, so we ordered carry-out from Texas Roadhouse and picked up our order. We returned home, ate dinner and walked the dogs. We had a quiet evening, binge watching Designated Survivor on Netflix. We are so glad to have our Jabba internet again!

Sunday- We did our usual Sunday tasks, checking our accounts, doing laundry etc.

We went to lunch at In ‘N Out burger. It was also not busy, but then all the snowbirds have not arrived yet!

We had a quiet afternoon and ate dinner at home. We continued binging Designated Survivor.

Monday- We were off to the Orthopedic office for my hand appointment that I had made before we left. Originally, the Doc was to see me for my left thumb, but I added my right pinky, calling several months ago. Both the left thumb and the right pinky have been moved out of joint by arthritis. Yes, it is very painful!

The only thing that he can do for the finger is to put in a post, which will mean loss of motion. I don’t think I am goin going to do that. I am going to have surgery on my thumb. He is booking 2 to 3 weeks out. I will need to have PT and recovery is 3 to 6 months. I should have full range of motion and no more pain.

We returned home and Bob sprayed the weeds, again, this time with Ground Cover. He could not do it yesterday, as there was too much wind. Tomorrow he will dig them up.

Bob had rec’d the water bill and we had a $134 charge on it, so we stopped in at the office to check on that. It was for spraying the weeds in August. Huh? Sylvia, the assistant manager, said that she had tried to call us several times and did not get return call. That is not true, as we rec’d no messages. On the bill, there was also a late fee. Again, huh? Bob printed out the previous bill and of course, the bill said zero. We had not been late. Turns out for some reason they started charging us $1 a day for being late paying for a bill, we never received. What a farce! So we are working on this. We are not even sure that they sprayed the yard, so we have to check with our neighbor, Peggy., who was here all summer.

We had a quiet afternoon and evening, eating dinner at home. 

Tuesday- I had my PCP appointment at 10:15. I was almost late, as a major traffic light was out, and the traffic was backed up. It was my annual physical, so we went over everything. I still have my asthma problem, with a productive cough. So she ordered a chest X-ray and a stronger dose run of Prednisone.

I tried to get the X-ray, but the place had a 1.5 hour wait. I returned home and we ate lunch. We took Karlie to her Vet appt. at 2 PM. Her heart murmur has increased from a 4 out of 6, to a 6 out of 6. She is not showing any signs of congestive heart failure, yet, and she is still playing. So no changes. Dr. Hummel held her Leptospirosis vaccination,  but did give her the Kennel Cough vaccination.He also did her anal glands.  He was amazed that she was doing so well.

We returned home and the other dogs greeted her and gave her a good sniffing…we had a quiet evening.

Wednesday-  I was out the door at 8 to go to have the chest X-ray. I arrived at the Banner facility ( Banner has purchased Valley Radiology, which is sad…). I gave the gal my insurance card and drivers license, signed the paperwork, and sat down. I was immediately called in. I was back on the road before 8:30! 

I returned to the rig. Bob is still working on cleaning up the weeds. He was able to talk to Peggy, and she said that yes, they had sprayed and cleaned up the weeds in August.

We had our Endocrinology appt. at 1 PM. Both of us are now on a yearly basis. Bob is still off all Diabetic medications!

We returned and had a quiet evening.

Thursday- We both had dental appointments. Both of us had good check ups. We return in late March, before we leave. We went to Walmart for a few items.

We returned home and ate lunch. At 1:45 I had an appointment with the Podiatrist for my foot. He ordered an MRI, as I have been doing everything I can do. I am still having issues. So now we are waiting for the office to call to make the appointment.

While I was there, I told the staff,  that the scheduler called about the hand surgery, but since it was an unlabeled 800 #, I did not answer. The gal left a message with a number to return the call, and when I returned the call, it was to a different doctor. I left that information and had not heard back. So I asked to speak with someone. The Scheduler is in another state, so I could not, but the office manager got working on it. The doctor’s scheduler had quit and they had not hired a replacement, yet, which was what the confusion was…so, I am now scheduled for November 21 to have the thumb fixed. ‘

We stopped in at Fry’s to pick up items we could not get at Walmart. We returned home and had a quiet evening.

Friday- We were up and moving early. The carpet cleaning company arrived at 8:30. We sat outside in our fenced area with the dogs.  It was  beautiful outside and a nice dry day for the carpet cleaning. Once they finished and left, Bob ran to the bike shop to pick up his bike, stopping on the way at Ace Hardware to pick up a washer for the stopper in the sink in the bathroom. It had degenerated and the water was leaking out of the sink. Fortunately, not under the sink!

While he was doing those tasks, I stayed outside with the dogs. We all really loved the great weather. It was 70’s and very low humidity.

We took the dogs to the dog park at 3, as we felt they needed a good run. Unfortunately, there was only one other dog there. It was a schnauzer, so it had energy also, but they did not play. Bob tried throwing the tennis ball, but that did not work either.  We think we need to go a little later.

We sat outside until time to cook dinner.

Sat. Oct. 12 to Fri. Oct. 18-Whites City NM to Sun City AZ

Saturday- Another moving day. We drove from Lubbock to Whites City,NM to visit Carlsbad Cavern. We stayed at the RV Park at the entrance to the park, Whites City RV Park, $42 per night, for 2 nights. We ate dinner at home.

Sunday- We drove the 7 miles up to the Cavern entrance. Our self tour was free, due to our NP Senior Pass. We had our NP Passport book stamped. Then we took the elevator down the 700 feet to the Cavern. We walked the Big Room loop, which is 1.25 miles long and takes 1.5 to 2 hours.

Carlsbad 1

The temperature inside the cave is 56 degrees, so we wore jeans and light jackets, which turned out to be perfect. Going early, around 9:30, meant that many times we were the only ones on the trail. Sometimes we would pass people and some times folks would pass us. It was nice and quiet. I am claustrophobic, but this cave was not problem. There is a paved walkway and very high ceilings. Below is the commercial area of the cavern.

Carlsbad 2

Carlsbad 4

The big room is 8.2 acres.

Carlsbad 5

Carlsbad 6

Below is the Lions Tail.

Carlsbad 7

Carlsbad 8

Carlsbad 9

Below is part of the walkway.

Carlsbad 10

Carlsbad 11

Carlsbad 12

You would never catch me climbing down that ladder!

Carlsbad 13

We could barely see anything in the lower cave. My picture is completely black.

Below is the only time we had to walk thru a tunnel, about 3 ft. long.

Carlsbad 14

Carlsbad 15

At the top of the cross, there were two seating areas where they must have some programs, as these areas sat a lot of people.

Carlsbad 16

Below is Mirror Lake. Note that the sign is upside down, so that you can read it in the lake.

Carlsbad 17

Carlsbad 18

Needless to say, the Bottomless Pit was a dark hole…

Carlsbad 20

No bats in this part of the cave. No bugs either!

Carlsbad 21

Carlsbad 22

Below is the Chandelier…

Carlsbad 23

Below is the Totem Pole…

Carlsbad 24

Below is the Caveman…

Carlsbad 25

Below is the Rock of Ages…the floor was wet and slippery in this area….

Carlsbad 26

Carlsbad 27

Carlsbad 28

Below is the Chinese Theater….

Carlsbad 29

Carlsbad 19

Of course we took the elevator back up to the Visitor Center. We ate lunch at the Cavern restaurant. We returned down the mountain to the rig and did laundry. Later, we took a short nap and had a quiet evening.

Monday- We left Whites City and drove to Deming NM. On the way we noticed that the engine heat was climbing. Bob had hosed down the radiator a few days ago, but of course the back side of the radiator is still dirty. We did not overheat, but it came close when we were gaining altitude.

We arrived at the Escapees Dreamcatcher RV Park. We checked in, $22 FHU 50amp. We parked and set up. Then we went to Walgreens for a prescription. Then to Walmart for a new Direct TV remote. Ours was no longer turning off the TV or changing the sound. The remote we purchased was identical to the one we received from Direct; it is an actual Direct TV remote.

We returned to the park in time for the social hour at 4. We sat and talked until 5:15. We returned and I ordered Mexican food take out while Bob took the bikes off the back of the rig and checked the coolant in the radiator. The coolant was okay, so we plan to visit the Freightliner facility in Tollison, as soon as we can get an appointment.  I returned with dinner and we had a quiet evening.

Tuesday- I knew things were going too well! We had an issue putting in the small slide in the bedroom. Bob had to tip the front of the rig down, and the back up, to get the slide in to the motor home.

We moved to Benson AZ; to the Escapees Saguaro RV Park. We checked in, $25 per night plus electric. We had difficulty getting the back slide out, so Bob did the same thing, to get the slide to go out.  We were tired and had a quiet evening at home eating leftovers for dinner.

Wednesday- Taking the dogs with us, we drove to Sierra Vista to visit Ronda and Brian. Ronda is Bob’s cousin. We arrived and the dogs met up with their canine cousins, again.

Ronda and  Brian took us to lunch at a really nice little German Restaurant. This was not the one we had been to before in Sierra Vista. Thank you for lunch Ronda and Brian!

We returned and talked for awhile before Brian had to return to work. The girls were really happy to see us when we returned. We had left them outside, in a shady area, with water.

We left and returned to Benson and had a quiet evening.

Thursday- We still have a problem with the slide, which we will have to work on… and our Freightliner appointment is for Oct. 30. Our final lap for the season! We drove from Benson to Sun City to our annual site at Paradise RV Park. When we arrived there were 3 rigs, ahead of us, waiting to be taken to their sites. So I went to check the mail and promptly rain into MaryAnne. We greeted and I went to the office to check us in.

We arrived at our site to find it overgrown with weeds. It must have been the wet summer, as we have not had that many weeds before.

Cecil and Mellissa had already arrived, and they greeted us when they returned home. We went over to MaryAnne and Ray’s rig to pick up a box that they had accepted for us. While there, Allen stopped by. Donna had to fly out the previous night to Ohio, as her sister had to assist her partner, who is having emergency surgery, and Donna needed to take over taking care of their mother.

We continued setting up, then went with Cecil, Melissa, MaryAnne and Ray to Bucca de Beppo for dinner. We had a 50% off coupon on pasta for the whole table. MaryAnne and Ray only had salad, but Cecil and Melissa had ordered lasagna, as we had. They only had one lasagna; they chose to change to ziti. Due to the no lasagna, the manager comped their meal. We paid a lot less for our lasagna with the 50% off! We have found that Bucca has decreased the size of their portions and raised their prices, so we don’t go there very often. Others must not be going either, as the place was almost empty! 

Friday- We had a busy day. Marilyn and Don, who live across from us, stopped by to welcome us back. They said that they had a recipe for killing the weeds. So we ran to Walmart to pick up white vinegar and some salt. We returned and Bob mixed up the recipe and sprayed the weeds.

We went to Café Zupas for salads for lunch. The we stopped at Costco for gas and a few items. Gas was $2.89, which is much higher than what we have been paying in other areas!

We returned and the weeds looked the same. So we are going to wait until tomorrow to see what happens. We ate dinner, and went to play Mahjongg with MaryAnne and Allen at Allen’s rig. 

Sat Oct. 5 to Fri Oct. 11- Wichita, OK City, to Lubbock TX

Saturday- We had a quiet day. In the evening we went to dinner with Bob’s cousins, Terry, Karen, and David at a really good Mexican Restaurant.

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From left, Terry, Bob, David, and Karen. I heard a lot of stories about Bob that I had never heard before!

Sunday- We did laundry and had a quiet day. We leave in the morning.

Monday- We left around 10 AM and drove through the base to the back exit. It was closer to I-35 south. We traveled south to Oklahoma City. We had planned to stay at Tinker AFB, but they do not accept reservations. When Bob called, they said they had one site, and his was the third call. So we punted and went to Council Road RV Park off of I-40, west of OK City, FHU 50A, $38 night with a Good Sam discount of $3 per night.

While traveling south, we noticed that a truck stop/gas station had a dog park at their truck stop. So we stopped and let the dogs run and sniff. We had subs at their Subway.

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We went to dinner at a nice little German Deli, called Ingrid’s. We had looked up restaurants on the Triple D website and up it popped. Evidently, Guy Fieri had been there when Ingrid still owned the restaurant. We found that out when talking to some folks while eating dinner. We both had excellent meals. We liked the German Potato Salad, so much, that we bought 1/2 lb. to take home with us.

Tuesday- While driving yesterday, we had made a reservation for the tour of the Braum’s Ice Cream Factory, just south of OK City. We could not get a reservation for the 11 AM tour, so we made a reservation for the 9 AM tour. So we were out the door a little after 8AM.

We were the first to arrive. You had to be there at 8:45 for the free tour. They start promptly at 9 AM and a group of folks, who did not make it there by 9, missed the tour. There were only about 10 of us on the tour.

The tour started with a video of the factory and all about the business. They only sell their products within a 300 mile radius of the factory. They make deliveries, every other day, to each of their stores. They do everything themselves. They are a family owned company. They grow most of their own feed or purchase it from local growers. They grow their own cattle, milk them 2x a day, and everything they make is in their stores within 36 hours. They do not accept any government subsidies. I was not allowed to take pictures inside any buildings. Below is the visitor center.

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We took the van from the Visitor Center to the Dairy Building. Below was on the way to the building. Braums has their own private roads, river water, and the white buildings are the cows stalls.

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We toured the building seeing all the different products being made. They even cook their nuts, bake their cones, package and store everything. Below is a picture, which was inside the building. I liked the picture and asked permission to take a picture. Our tour guide granted me permission.

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Below is the Bakery. Oh, did it smell good!! It was an interesting tour of how they bake their cones, cookies, bread etc. Braum’s has their own stores, where they sell hamburgers, salads, and ice cream. They have a little grocery inside, where they sell 1/2 gallons of their ice cream, and all their other products.

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Once we returned to the Visitor Center, we were given a choice of an ice cream bar or a small cup of vanilla ice cream. We both choose the bars.

Our next stop was at the Land Run Memorial of 1889. This is a really interesting memorial. It depicts the people, who at 12 noon, took off trying to get to a piece of land that they wanted. Some people cheated, they were called Sooners, who staked out their claim early. The government did not really have a good plan for this run. It must have been crazy… Bob’s family was not involved in this, they were in Kansas well before this occurred.

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This last picture of the memorial, is of the starting shot that started the race…

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As you can tell, it is a really big memorial!

We decided to go to a place called Earl’s BBQ for lunch. We arrived and when we entered the restaurant, there was an overwhelming odor of cleaning fluid. Ugh! We left.

We went to George’s Happy Hog BBQ, which was okay. From there, we went a few blocks to the State Capitol. Note the crane.

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When we arrived, we found the Capitol building under renovation. We weaved our way thru the construction entrance, went through security, and went to the the Visitor Center. We were there for the 1 PM tour. It was 12:40. They said, since there was very little to see, due to the construction, we went immediately, just the 2 of us, on an abbreviated tour.

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The above, Native American sculpture, is by one of the delegates. It represents all of the tribes in Oklahoma. Below is the entranceway we would normally have entered, below the mural.

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Below is the dome. They are working in the area, so this is the best picture that I could get.

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Below, from a different direction, you can see the murals below the dome.

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This was a struggle to get decent pictures. Here is another one of the murals.

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Below is the House. We could not go to the Senate.

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On the right side, along the wall, those are the only Democratic seats. All of the rest are
Republican. The House, before WWI, was primarily Democratic, but it flipped and has stayed Republican. Note the seats up on the balcony. The balcony goes all the way around. They vote via the buttons on the desks and the count shows up on the board above, in the back of the room. The room was not as ornate as other Capitols that we have visited. Here is the ceiling.

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That was it! The building is going to continue under construction for at least 2 more years….

We had dinner at home.

Wednesday- We were watching the weather closely, as there was a front coming through Oklahoma. Our plan was to drive to Amarillo. We left at 9 AM. We drove west on I-40. At about 80 miles, the wind became very strong. I checked the weather app and found that we were going to be having a “wind advisory. This was not listed earlier, before we left OK City. So we pulled into a Loves Truck Stop. All the parking spaces were taken. We tried a Casino, which had 50 amp hook up, but it was too slanted. So we found a little RV park, for $32 for FHU, Good Sam discount. We set up and  went to lunch at a nice little restaurant downtown. We ate dinner at home.

Thursday- The winds had decreased, so we left and continued on to Lubbock, skipping Amarillo. We parked at the Elks Lodge, $25 FHU, 50 amp. This was a very nice Elks Lodge, with a concrete pad and nice picnic table. We had a quiet evening.

Friday– We went to the Buddy Holly Museum.

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That is the only picture that I could take inside. They do not allow pictures or videos. Too bad, as it was a very interesting place! We paid our $6 each, senior rate, and went to the movie about Buddy Holly.Lubbock 5

Charles Hardin Holley was born 9/7/36 in Lubbock. He was named for his grandfathers, Charles and Hardin. His mother thought his name was too big for a little boy, so she stated calling him Buddy.

“Buddy developed an interest in music at an early age that ranged from country and gospel to blue grass and rhythm and blues. He created a rockabilly sound with a distinct flavor by integrating all these genres into the songs he wrote and performed with The Crickets. Buddy Holly’s short-lived career encompassed twenty–five hit records before his tragic death at the age of twenty-two. Though his music career and life were brief, Buddy Holly created an innovative sound that influenced the direction of popular music”. Taken from the Gallery Guide. His name was accidently changed from Holley to Holly, when there was a mistake on the first music contract that he signed.

After the 15 minutes movie, we entered the gallery. This took us through his childhood, his career, his guitars, his marriage, and “The Day the Music Died”.  What was really interesting, was the impact, in his short career, that he had on other artists. Paul McCartney said that the first 40 songs that he and John Lennon wrote, were based on Buddy Holly’s music. There was also a room with awards, from the museum to various artists. There was a guitar that was given to Paul McCartney, who came to the museum to accept it; he signed it and it was on display. Surprisingly, we really felt this was a very interesting museum!

Across the street, was the West Texas Walk of Fame, “which honors those individuals with a strong connection to Lubbock and the West Texas area, who had devoted a significant part of their lives to the development and production of the performing and visual arts and whose body of work has been influential nationally in one or more of these areas.” From the West Texas Walk of Fame brochure.  We were surprised at some of the names….

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Of course, Buddy Holly was in the center.

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Dan Blocker was from O’Donnell TX. GW Baily is from Lubbock.

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Tanya Tucker is from Seminole TX.

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Waylon Jennings from Littlefield, Mac Davis from Lubbock, Jimmy Dean from Plainview.

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Roy Orbison from Wink, Gatlin Brothers from Odessa, and Bob Wills from Turkey TX. From here, we went to lunch. We stopped at the Lubbock Cemetery.

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He is buried near the rest of his family.

We stopped at Walmart and Costco, returned to the rig, put the items away and took the dogs to a dog park.

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We ate dinner at home.

Sat. Sept. 28 to Fri. Oct 4- Platt City MO to Wichita KS

Saturday- We had lunch with Bob’s college roommate Carl, and wife Juanita, at a little local café in Platte City. We had dinner with nephew Aaron, wife Casey, daughter Rory, and son Jack at the Ground Round in St. Joseph.

Sunday- We went to the pancake breakfast (free) at the park. The plan was to go to the City Market in downtown Kansas City, but I became ill. I did not want to be far from a bathroom!

We watched the Redskins lose, again…

In the evening, Bob went to meet up with niece Stormy, her husband and one of her sons. I stayed home. They had a great visit. It turned out that her father, John, who passed away in May, had all the family pictures. So Bob wants to get to see all of them at some point.

Monday- I was feeling better, so we did our usual Sunday tasks. We went to lunch with niece Brandy at the Tin Roof restaurant in Weston MO. Lunch was not only fun, the food was really good.

When we left lunch, we went to the mall in St. Joseph, to meet up with Bob’s 2nd cousin, Scott. That was interesting…Scott had contacted Bob, based on both of their Ancestry DNA. Scott was adopted by a family in St. Joe and is related on Bob’s father’s side of the family. He knows who his mother was, but they discussed who might be Scott’s father. He looks a lot like Bob’s first cousin Jim, but the state information about Scott’s adoption does not seem to match anyone in the family.

Scott has Cerebral Palsy and his wife is a little person, so it was interesting meeting them. It was not at all what we expected.

We stopped in St. Joe for gas, as the price was $2.29 vs $2.49 in Platte City.

We returned home, ate dinner, walked the dogs and had a quiet evening. I found on FB that friends Judy and Fred had a fire in their Alfa. The rig is destroyed. They were at a park with family, and at 2 AM, Judy woke up when she heard a bang. She got up and found the refrigerator on fire. (we no longer have a propane refrigerator, we have a residential refrigerator). She woke Fred up. He told her to get out. He used the fire extinguisher, but it did not put out the fire, as it was behind the refrigerator. He got out without incident. They lost everything, including their clothes. They are not full timers, they have a home in Washington state, so they do have somewhere to live.

When it rains, it pours! They had lost their dog, Millie, a few months ago. Then the Alfa  fire. Four days later, Judy had a stroke. So it is a very bad time for them. We will miss them at Paradise this winter!

Tuesday-  We left Basswood at about 10 AM. We traveled back to I-29, turned south on I-475, then west on I-70. We traveled about 30 miles, then turned south to Topeka.

We drove into Shawnee County Park at about 11:50. There was a sign on the office, that they would return at 12. The gal arrived back just before 12, with her lunch. She checked us in. We set up in site 44, where we could get satellite. $18 senior rate, for 50A W/E.

The park ranger had suggested the Blind Zebra for lunch. So we drove the 3 miles to the restaurant, which turned out to also be a brewery. Bob had the Octoberfest beer, which he liked. He also had a sample of the Hazy IPA which he said was very good. We both had their BBQ special which was very good.

We stopped at Walmart for me to pick up some Omeprazole. I have been taking Zantac, from Costco, so I wanted to change over until they figure out about the cancer causing agent.  

We returned and took a short nap. Then we went to Baskins Robbins. They had my German Chocolate Cake flavor this month! We ate dinner at home. We were watching the weather carefully. There was a tornado north of us, in another county.

Bob had noticed that the rig had been heating up when we climbed hills, again. So he washed the radiator. We will keep an eye on this issue.

Wednesday- We woke up to rain. We left around 9:30. We traveled to Truckhenge. A local attraction. The gate was closed, but I did get these pictures at the entrance.

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Obviously, down the road there was more that we could not see, but basically it was a waste of time.

We went to downtown Topeka. We drove to the Brown vs Board of Education National Historic Landmark, which is the Monroe School.

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We did not go into the museum, as we wanted to make the 11 AM Capitol Tour. The tours were  9-11-1-3. We left and went to the Capitol. They have free parking underneath the building for visitors, which was very nice. We were sent into an 8 minute movie about the renovation of the Capitol, which took 14 years. There were 4 of us at the beginning and we were joined by a school group. The website states that the tours are for 25 people and when there are more there would be another tour. We were well over 35 people but they did not have a second tour.

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The building originally started at the center, as seen below.

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They ended up adding two other wings, making this a  4 prong building. Below is the capitol complex.

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While we were waiting for the tour to start, we saw this picture of Pres. Eisenhower.

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On the floor in the visitor area, there was a map of the Kansas counties. Bob is originally from Doniphan County, the farthest on the top right of the state. He lived in a town called Iowa Point, in the upper right corner of the county. He went to Atchison Hight School in the city of Atchison.

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The tour started and we walked down “Constitution Hall, sort of a tunnel,  with pictures on both sides,  to the Rotunda.

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The view of the inner dome is composed of 256 glass panels. The 900 lb. chandelier is a replica of the original fixture, which was donated in 1942 to the WWII scrap metal drive.

Around the bottom floor, under the rotunda, there were these murals on the walls. There were actually 8 murals, here are four of them. They were painted by David Overmyer.

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They show the struggles of the pioneers and significant topics in Kansas.  There was a “Liberty Bell” on this floor.

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The floor itself had directional squares pointing to the N, S, E, W.

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We hiked up a long flight of stairs to the next level. On this floor, we found the Cage Elevator which goes from floor 1 to 5. We did not ride it.

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On this floor, there was a large mural in the east wing, Tragic Prelude, which features abolitionist John Brown. The people did not like the mural, as it shows John Brown so large. ( this is the John Brown who was hung in Harpers Ferry WV). In his left hand is a Bible. In the right hand is a rifle. Note the tornado in the left corner. It is to show the coming storm( the Civil War). I have tried to get the whole mural in this.

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This was just outside the ceremonial Governor’s Office.

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The Governor is a woman. She signs bills here. Behind where I am standing to take the picture, is the actual entrance to her office. Here is the winning quilt of the Kansas State Fair.

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The Governor is highlighting the Kansas County Courthouses. It is a rotating display. Here is the Doniphan County Courthouse, which just happened to be there!

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In the Rotunda area on this floor, there were more murals, depicting the history of Kansas. They go from the land rush to Amelia Earhart and Pres. Eisenhower.

In the West wing, there was another large mural, painted by the same artist.

We went up another flight of stairs. On the base of the stairs, was the Kansas Seal.

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Our next stop was the State Library. The library was designed by a woman in 1900. We walked up stairs and across a glass floor. The glass floor was for the natural light.

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This picture above shows three floors. The kids are heading to the next large mural, outside the old Supreme Court.

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The above mural is about Brown vs Board of Education. The artist, Michael Young, of Kansas City, created this mural in 2018, to depict the legacy of the 1954 landmark US Supreme /court desegregation case, with roots in Topeka. This mural is very detailed. The boy on the teachers left, has a Band-Aid. The newspaper boy, in the right corner has a snickers bar in his pocket…

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This is the Old State Supreme Court. The court was moved into a more modern building. This room is used for legislative hearings, and is not open to tours when the Legislature is in session. There were 7 Justices. Their pictures are around the room, up until 1974, when the court moved to the new building. All the new Justices pictures are in the new courtroom.

Next we  moved to the House. There is seating for 208. In Kansas, the Republicans sit on the left and the Dems on the right. Different than most of the states, where the Repubs. are on the right and Dems on the left. Most of the visitor seating is where we are seated. If the area becomes too full, then they open the far side, behind the Speaker. They have the usual buttons to push for votes. On the left and right sides, under the curved portion on the top floor, is where the votes show up on the screen. The Chandeliers are electrically moved down for cleaning. They had a lot of dust, so they must be due to be cleaned! There is lot of stuff on the desks, mostly sports memorabilia. The interns sit in the hard chairs up by the front on the right.

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When they renovated the Capitol, they found murals which had been painted over on the ceiling. They had to renovate them.

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Next we moved to the Senate.

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This room is much smaller, but more ornate. They do not vote via a machine. It is all done by voice vote. Note the stain glass windows, decorative ceiling.

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Note the copper pillars. They are decorative and were done in Italy.

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Note on the bottom of the column, there is a round vent for outside air to enter the room. Needless to say, since the renovation, the building is air conditioned.

The tour guide, then dumped us! He took the kids to the place where they could join the tour of the Dome. We had, by now, missed the 12:15 tour of the Dome. We were disappointed. He did not even give us directions on how to get back to the Visitor Center. We had to wander around trying to find our way back down.

When we finally found the desk in the Visitor Center on the ground floor, the guide was sitting there. I let him have it. I thought it was rude to just dump us on the 5th floor and I let him know it!

We left and went to a nice little restaurant called the Wheel Barrell. We had great sandwiches and Bob had a nice Octoberfest beer. Below, the picture is of the Veterans Memorial, in front of the Great Overland Station.

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The Great Overland Station is the 1927 Union Pacific Railroad Station. Looking at the pictures of the inside, we decided not to pay the admission and go in.

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We went to dinner at Texas Roadhouse. It was pouring rain when we left the restaurant.

Thursday- We left the park at about 10:00, after dumping our gray tank, driving south on I-35 to Wichita. We drove through town to McConnell AFB. We are staying at their FamCamp. We have 50 amp W/E for $14 per night. We are staying for 4 nights. There is a full hook up, part of the park, but those site are reserved for active military.

It was Bob’s birthday, so we went to Prost, a nice German Restaurant for dinner. Bob had a nice Octoberfest beer for with dinner. WK beer

Needless to say, I was the designated driver!

Friday-  We went to Costco for gas, $2.19 vs $2.29 on base. We ran in and picked up a few items, then we went to find the Pizza Hut Museum. Yeah, there is such a thing! We love quirky little museums…

This museum is located on the campus of Wichita State University. It is the original Pizza Hut building.Two students started the pizza business with assistance from family and friends in 1958 in this building on campus. They built the business from there, until they sold Pizza Hut to Pepsi in 1977. The museum is free and has student docents. 

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We walked in and there was no one there. We wandered thru looking at the various displays.

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Both of us remember that we had one of the Pizza Hut frisbees!

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We went to lunch at a very nice little restaurant called Tanya’s Soup Kitchen. It had really great Yelp ratings and we know why. There was as long line. You order and pay, they give you a number, and you sit at a table and they rapidly bring your food. Bob had 1/2 a Rubin with potato salad. I had Delilah’s Light lunch, which was sliced chicken breast, apricot relish, sharp cheddar, and romaine on an onion Kaiser roll. It came with the small soup of shrimp and sweet potato soup. It was all delicious! They have a real winner!

Our next stop was at the Frank Lloyd Wright’s Allen House.  “The house was but they do offer tours. The house was commissioned in 1916 and completed n 1918. It is named after the first owners, publisher Henry Allen and his wife Elsie. It was the last of the architect’s famous prairie house, which emphasized horizontal lines, earth tones and a continuous blending of interiors with exteriors” taken from the website.  Here is the front and the side.

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We returned to the rig, had a short nap, and a quiet evening.