Saturday, October 31, 2015

New Mexico, Gallup - Saturday, October 31, 2015 - Tucumcari to Gallup, NM

Our trip through New Mexico on I-40 was filled with all kinds of mountain and mesa views.

Although this looks like a pile of asphalt sitting along the interstate it is actually lava rock in the 3000 year old El Malpais (badlands) lava fields near Grant, NM.
We had to make a pit stop in Albuquerque because our “check engine” light came on several times as we were going up and down the mountains.  This happened last year so we knew where to stop.  For some reason the crankcase filter is getting plugged.  We need to find out why, but for right now the new filter will get us going.  We were able to get the filter at the Freightliner Service facility but they couldn’t get it installed until Tuesday.  They pointed us to a repair shop that was just one exit back.  Normally Greg would replace a filter but to replace this one you have to get into the engine compartment and crawl over the engine to reach it – it takes a skinny guy, luckily one was working today at the repair shop.  I should have taken a picture of the engine compartment.  The first guy that came out to look at it just said, “really?” and called over someone smaller.
Although they are few and far between there are a few touches of color out here.

We passed over the Continental Divide at exit 47.  I was busy taking this picture and missed the sign that gave the elevation, I think it was 7,263 ft.  I didn’t realize what the Continental Divide is until I looked it up.  Basically it is where the flow of rainfall divides.  To the west of the Divide the rain drains through watersheds to the Pacific Ocean and to the east it drains through a river system to the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.  It tends to follow a line of the high peaks along the main ranges of the Rocky Mountains.

We were pleased when we filled up with diesel out here - $2.32 is much cheaper than the $4.00 plus we were paying per gallon last year.  I tried to snap a picture of this sign showing $1.99 per gallon for regular gas if you paid cash.  It was flashing back and forth between the credit and cash number and all I could ever get was the credit number, which is still pretty good.
We are staying this evening at USA RV Park in Gallup, NM.  This is in the mountains of upper New Mexico.  When Greg looked at the expected low for this evening he found that it is expected to get into the low 20’s.  Definitely not staying here for more than one night!!!

Friday, October 30, 2015

New Mexico, Tucumcari - Friday, October 30, 2015 - Rainy Travel Day

We got the front tires balanced before we headed out of Pratt, KS this morning.  That got rid of a little shimmy we had after getting the new tires put on.  The front tires were balanced when we put them on but we threw at least one of the weights so we knew they were out of balance again.  My question is, if we spend $800 per tire why can’t they make them so they are balanced when they go on, why do they have heavy spots?  Greg just shook his head.  I really don’t think I’m being unreasonable J.
Going to miss these guys.  I was able to get both kids to not make faces for a picture when I showed them that I didn’t have a good picture of their family for our “family picture wall”.  Their picture that is up there now is one they had taken at Great Wolf Lodge – they all have on wolf ears.  Guess they didn’t want that up there forever.

Last night with Grandpa and Grandma was spent in some serious Connect Four contention.

We saw a lot of this today – open range and rain.  At least Greg did, I slept most of the day.  I couldn’t take many pictures because of the rain and the scenery was all pretty much the same so I didn’t feel too bad about napping.  We traveled a little over 360 miles today, touching on Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico.

After seeing all of the pretty much flat open prairie, Tucumcari Mountain looked pretty strange.  We are staying the evening at Mountain Road RV Park.  This is a nice little country park with graded gravel sites, full hookups and 50 amp service for $27.80 for the night with our Good Sam discount.  Flying J truck stop is just down the road so we can fill up before heading out in the morning.  Still cold, it's 45 degrees here.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Kansas, Pratt - Thursday, October 29, 2015 - Last Day in Kansas

We’ve enjoyed some good times with our Kansas family and friends this week.  When we checked on the cows they gathered around for a drink.
On Wednesday evening we joined David and Tyler and Rachel for a Ducks Unlimited fundraiser.  David and Tyler did the auction of items, there was quite a crowd.

David and Tyler working the crowd to get those bids up. 


Today I stopped by Cheyanne’s room for their Halloween party.  Her mom and grandma Karen made her up as a lamp – best looking lamp I’ve seen.  For trick or treating she will have lights inside her lampshade for a more realistic look.
Kindergarten through fourth grade had a parade around the school before returning to their rooms for treats.  I couldn’t get my camera to snap a picture so she made it around the corner before I got a good shot.

After school she had gymnastics.  She did well on the balance beam.

She was just starting to learn on the uneven bars.

We’ll be heading out first thing in the morning.  Stopping by the local farm tractor repair shop to get the front tires on the coach balanced before taking off for Mesa and warmer weather.  Last night was in the low, low 30’s here – definitely time to head south J.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Kansas, Wichita - Thursday, October 22, 2015 - Old Cowtown Museum

On Thursday morning we headed to Wichita with David and Lisa to explore Old Town.  We didn’t find too much to explore L.  Online we saw all kinds of comments about great shops and restaurants – we did find a nice restaurant for lunch and then we moved on.
The most interesting thing we saw was this “ghost sign” that apparently is not always visible.


A few blocks away was the Coleman Company Museum and Outlet.  These arches denote where The Coleman Company stood from 1900 – 1996.  The company evolved from producing lighting products to providing products that served our military and has created outdoor memories for many generations.  It was the first company to produce goods labeled “made in Wichita, Kansas, USA”.
The museum displayed all kinds of old Coleman products – we have owned and used a lot of these.

I didn’t realize Coleman ever made waffle irons, irons and toasters.

This mantle maker was retired after 50 years of service.  Coleman is the sole remaining mantle maker in the U.S. and Canada producing more than 80,000 mantles each day.
The Old Cowtown Museum is a must see destination in Wichita if you are interested in history.  We’ve toured several “wild west towns” and I think this one had more buildings than any we have seen yet.  This statue, “Coming Thru the Rye” by Frederic Remington sits outside the entrance to the museum.

Downtown Wichita and the Arkansas River (not much more than a trickle right now) were visible when we stepped outside of the visitor’s center and gift shop.

The information on the Heller Cabin states that it is high quality construction with hand hewn half dovetail log construction.  This 1869 cabin is believed to be one of the few remaining settlement structures in Kansas.

The Heller Cabin served as a trading post.

As we walked along the sidewalk leading to the main part of Old Cowtown we noted that one of the important facts displayed about Wichita is that White Castle began here in 1921.  David tells us that there is no White Castle in Wichita now, the closest one is somewhere near Kansas City.

As I was looking at this chuck wagon I realized that this was the predecessor of the current RV kitchen I use every day.

A look down the main street of Old Cowtown Museum

The Nunger House is believed to be the oldest house in Wichita.  It was originally built about a mile from where it is now located in the museum.  Mr. Nunger used the “public room” of this house for fur trading with the Indians, land sales transactions with the new settlers, a hotel, a post office, a judge’s chambers, a hospital, the site for the Episcopal Church, the coroner’s office and a public meeting place.

Mrs. Nunger was probably kept pretty busy in this kitchen being hospitable to all of the people Mr. Nunger had coming and going.

David looks like he is trying to make a point to some imaginary students in the schoolhouse.

There was a row of tiny desks for the preschoolers and a row for each of grades one through four.  Lisa decided that the second grade desks looked “just right”.

David couldn’t resist the swing outside.

The funeral parlor was decorated for Halloween and really kind of creepy.  I did want to note the workmanship in the woodwork, pretty amazing when you realize it was all handmade.

We stepped into the newspaper office and were allowed to make our own business cards.

The fabric store had some of the most wonderful display cases.

You could get everything from paint to cigars in the pharmacy.  Some more great display cases.

The Meat Market was down a side street.  Based on advertising, fresh oysters must have been a big deal.

The Grain Elevator was at the end of the side street next to the railroad tracks.

Across from the Meat Market was the Dance Hall.  The floor was really smooth indicating that a lot of good times went on there.  I couldn’t get David and Lisa to take a spin around the floor.

Beautiful chandelier from the Dance Hall.

The Saloon was built in 1885 and housed the Rockford Town Hall in El Paso (now Derby), KS.  It was moved to Cowtown in 1966.

David and Greg bought us ladies some refreshments in the Saloon.

Another side street was a “residential” area.  This house was my favorite.  It belonged to the editor of the newspaper.

Before we downsized and moved into our motor coach we had a marble topped table very similar to this one, ours was rectangular instead of round but the legs were almost identical.

Our big outing today was our two mile walk around Lemon Park and dinner with David and the kids.