Thursday, December 31, 2015

Lawton, Oklahoma for the Evening

Thursday, December 31, 2015 – New Year’s Eve

We left Lebanon, Missouri this morning around 8:30 A.M. and we stayed on I-44 all day.  Traveled 395 miles today with nothing of interest happening.  When you’re traveling, that can be a good thing.  Lots of hills, but nothing else.   The photos I took today came out fuzzy, so only a few tonight.


Hotrod truck going down Route 66

I dread going through Oklahoma City, because there is always a lot of traffic and lots of roadwork.  Usually, I take I-40 west, but today we took I-44 west.  It skirted the city and there was no roadwork.  In fact we have had no roadwork delays in our two days of travel.  We decided to take the more southerly route, due to the recent big snowstorm that rolled through this area a couple of days ago.  Instead of the high road, we’re taking the low road and avoiding mountains.

Arrived in Lawton, Oklahoma about 4 P.M. and we’re checked in for the night.  This Walmart is crowded tonight.  Fort Sill is in Lawton and there is a big game tonight between Missouri and Oklahoma, so between the the game and New Year’s Eve, this town is hopping.  It is around 36 degrees with a low of 29 tonight, with a chilly wind coming out of the the northeast.  Not a night to be outside.


Dolly working on Facebook with Fergie and Yuma at rest.



Happy New Year to everyone!  See you later.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Starting our Journey Today

Wednesday, December 30, 2015
Just as the snow started falling, we left home at 8:30 A.M. heading down I-55 toward St. Louis.  Wasn’t long before we were out of the snow and driving in cloudy skies and 32 degree temperature.  Not a bad day for driving.  We decided to drive through St. Louis rather than take the longer bypass. 
Heading SouthGoing by the smoke stacks in Springfield, Illinois
Just as we entered the city limits we started noticing flashing signs telling us that I-44 was closed.  We kept driving and the signs didn’t give us any specific direction to go.  Told us to take I-55, so we did.  As I went further, the road split, one going to Kansas City and the other back toward Chicago.  I thought if I went toward Chicago, I would hit I-44, but no. Ended up going back over the Mississippi River to Illinois, south of St. Louis.
Turned around at the first exit in Illinois and went back toward the Kansas City route.  Started seeing more signs saying I-44 exit was closed and to take I-64 or I-70.  I didn’t know where those were, so followed the traffic taking the exit to I-44.  Wasn’t long before we knew why I-44 was closed.  As we left the interstate at the blockades, we could see the entire interstate was flooded.  Photo is not great but you can see the water is everywhere as the road dips into the valley ahead.
Once exiting the interstate, there were no signs to tell us where to go, so we wondered through the back hills of the town of Bowles south of St. Louis somewhere for about a half hour.   Finally, saw some road workers, working just off the road we were on, so stopped and asked how to get to Tulsa from here.  He told us to go about a mile up the road we were on and get on Missouri hwy 30 going west.  Take that road for about 40 miles to St. Claire and we would hit I-44 on the west side of the floods.
We did that, and finally, we were back on track again.  So glad I didn’t get stuck somewhere where I would have to stop and turn around, but luckily I didn’t.  Lost a little time, but the scenery on hwy 30 was pretty as it went tjhrough the Ozark hills.
We hooked onto I-44 about 40 miles east of Rolla, Missouri.  We have stayed at the Walmart in Rolla a couple of times, but never liked it because there is no flat place in the parking lot.  We went 60 miles further down the road and stopped at the Walmart in Lebanon, Missouri.  This is the stopping point I had hoped to make before dark.  We got here at 3:30 P.M. with plenty of light left.
See you later.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Storm Delay

Monday, December 28, 2015

This was to be the morning the Lanings’ were to head out on our southwest journey.  However, the weather has different plans.  The Goliath Storm sweeping across the country hit us last night with 30 mph winds, rain and ice.  Temperatures this morning are hovering around 32, making for rain and ice. 


Looks like we lost a few limbs on our Weeping Willow tree this morning.


It is supposed to be windy and rainy all day, so not sure if we will get the final packing and hooking up the jeep today or not.  I will wait till later in the day to make a decision as to whether we will leave in the morning or wait one more day to let things calm down. 

Last night we celebrated our grand daughter, Erin’s 10th birthday at the Pizza Ranch.  We had a great time.


See you later.

Monday, December 21, 2015

First Day of Winter

Monday, December 21, 2015

Woke up this morning to a 50 degree day, but windy and rainy.  Was only sprinkling a wee bit when Yuma and I headed out, but within minutes there was a deluge and we had to make a run for it.  Going to do nothing today, but stay inside. 

It was back on September 26th when I took the photos below.  The family went to Indianapolis for one marathon and three 5000 K races.  Steve ran the marathon.  He has been to every marathon they have had.  I believe this is his eighth one.  Steve has run in marathons all over the country.  Steve’s son, Nick ran the 5000 K along with Kristi, my daughter and her son Lane.  Dolly and I are proud of all of them.



See you later.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Can’t Beat the Weather!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

The weather has been quite mild this fall and I can’t complain.  However, the wind out here in the country has been blowing quite often, putting a chill in the air.

On the chilly morning Yuma walks, I find that Yuma does not like the cold.  When I turn to walk back home, he makes a dash for the house, not waiting for me.  I think he will be glad to get back to the southwest again.  We will see.

Yuma loves food.  He will watch intently as Dolly prepares dinner.  The other activity he likes is sleeping in my chair next to me, even though he has a comfortable bed waiting for him.

This week, I must finish my packing and get everything ready to leave on the morning of the 28th.  So far, the weather looks to be holding up for a nice departure.  Supposed to be in the 50s on Christmas.  Can’t beat that.  I’m sure the little ones would like to see a white Christmas, but I can do without.

See you later.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

2016 Southwest Journey is Almost a Go!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

We have already had our first snowfall for the year.  There was no wind so it actually was quite pretty.  Yuma didn’t know what to make of his first snow walk.  You wouldn’t know it was the middle of December today.  It will be in the low 60’s with rain.  Yesterday was in the mid 60’s; but things are changing.  By this time next week it will only make it to the 30’s.
First snow

First snow for Yuma
I have been slowly loading the motorhome in preparation for our upcoming trip to the southwest.  Our plans are to take a direct route to Ajo, Arizona for our first two week camp.  It will take us seven days to make the trip if the weather holds up and we have no problems.  Me, Dolly, Fergie and Yuma are going to head out Monday morning, the 28th of December.

Earlier in the Fall, I took the motorhome to a tire shop and had two new tires placed on the front, had them balanced and aligned.  Also had them check the brakes and grease the fittings.  The brakes were fine, so I don’t have to worry about going down the mountains we will pass on our way.  Fortunately, the mountain passes are fairly low when taking the southern route. 

I will begin daily blogs once we get on the road so stay tuned.

See you later.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Danvers, Illinois

Saturday, October 10, 2015



This morning is turning into a beautiful Fall day, so after our morning walk and breakfast, Yuma and I decided to take the jeep for a ride over to Danvers.

Danvers is about five miles west of our house and has a population of about 1100.  Beautiful horse enjoying the morning.


Still harvesting corn, but the farmers are nearing the end of their season now.image

Danvers is a typical small village in central Illinois.  Many of the residents farm part time and work in Bloomington/Normal or Peoria during the week day.imageimage

imageThat’s it!  No stoplights, only stop signs.  The village bar is in the nicest building.  There are some nice old homes in the village too. 


Yuma is intently looking out the side window of the jeep as we ride down the road.  We have our pumpkins covering the lights in our driveway.  The first is looking north toward the road and the second is looking down the driveway.


Our fence has been there for many years and is showing it’s age.  We’ve lived here since 1987.  The kids and I put up the fence about 25 years ago.


See you later.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hiking the Trails

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


As the sun rose this morning, Fergie, Yuma and I took a walk to the swimming lake.  The geese were honking up a storm and taking their morning baths. 

Will be a beautiful day with a high near 70 and breezy.  Dolly and the crew plan to walk trails this morning along the White River.

The trailhead is just west of our camp site, so we are off.  It isn’t long before we are walking along the small White River.


You can see from the white water mark on this oak tree the water can flood this entire area at times.  We follow the river for about four miles as it winds around the reserve.


The trail is beautiful as it follows the river, but soon we reach a large meadow.IMG_20150930_120410540-002IMG_20150930_123431454-001IMG_20150930_121846268-001

We finally end up back at the camp site and it was time for a rest.  We could not believe that Fergie walked the whole time.  Usually, she gets tired and has to be carried, but I think she didn’t want Yuma to think she was a baby.

When we turned off hwy 136 yesterday to our campground, we could see a large church steeple, in the very small town just off the highway in the opposite direction. 

This afternoon, we drove the five miles back to the town of Penfield to see the church.  There are no stores or gas stations in this small farming community, but it did have one beautiful church.  There was very nice log cabin that has been beautifully maintained.


See you later.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Harry L Swartz Campground

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Dolly and I decided last week we would take the MH out for a few nights.  This would give us a chance to check things out before heading out for a three month  journey.

I had recently read that Chris and Cherie of Technomadia stayed at this campground several weeks ago.  We only live 50 miles away and had never heard of the campground, so we decided to check it out.

Several days ago, I changed the oil in the MH and in the generator, so today, we packed up, and headed out.  First, we stopped to fill the propane tank and then I hooked the jeep to the MH and started southeast. 

Traveled I-74 for about 10 miles towards Champaign, Illinois and then exited on Hwy 136 due east for 40 miles.  The campground is located in the Champaign County Forest Preserve District


There is a lake at the campground and it was full of geese.


The trees are all ready turning and beginning to look like fall.


There are only about three campers in the campground.  Here is a view from our site.


Looks like Yuma and Fergie are ready for bed.  Hope it isn’t too crowded for the four of us.


See you later.