September’s half gone!

As much as I had planned to keep up to date after we got back to decent internet service, it just didn’t happen amid all that was going on, so I’ll try to catch up.

Two weeks ago today, we pulled away from Rock Eddy Bluff and headed toward a bus rally in Ogallala, Nebraska. Since we were in the state anyway, we stopped to visit my sister Florence Marie at her home in Weeping Water, on the east side of the state. She had just come home from a trip to Hutchinson, KS to a class reunion at the school where she taught home ec and was librarian. Her son Jim Walter from Elkhart, IN came down to take her and I think both of them had a good time. We visited with both of them and Florence Marie’s daughter Kris and Gary Wissel and their son Matt, as well, but Florence Marie is the only one who got a picture.

Jim left Tuesday morning and we left a few hours later. We traveled across I-80 and really enjoyed the mostly flat, straight road after a month in the Ozarks!

Our gathering of Eagles was at Lake Ogallala, just below the dam for the bigger Lake McConaughey. We had a beautiful setting for a rally and Nebraska showed us a “warm” welcome. We had not yet (and haven’t even now) escaped the heat and humidity! Our tiny Flair was the smallest of the 15 coaches that attended. Three were Prevosts, two counting us were motorhomes and the rest were Eagle conversions. We’ve been around long enough that we usually know most of the people and buses that come to rallies, but this time we met new friends from California, Florida, Iowa and Texas in addition to the familiar faces.

In addition to several good restaurants and beautiful lakes, Ogallala has some unique attractions. I am always intrigued by historical homes and the Mansion on the Hill is definitely unique. It was built in 1887 by a widower who served as a cashier in the Bank of Ogallala, L. A. Brandhoefer, but apparently he never lived in the house. He sold it to a banker and the society pages of the local paper state that Brandhoefer and his new wife were frequent guests there.

The walls of the house, both exterior and interior, were solid brick. The rooms were pretty good sized. Each bedroom had a large closet, which was unique for the time. We lived in a house in northern Kansas that was built just a few years prior to this one and there was only one closet in the whole house! Another unusual feature was that the house had 2 bathrooms, but no running water. Not sure how they drained the tub and while it was better than an outhouse, I’ll take flush toilets every time!

The kitchen, especially by today’s standards, was pretty small and work surfaces were nearly non-existent. Several of us have had or currently still have Hoosier cabinets like this one and I remember a wood stove in our kitchen when I was a young child. I’m pretty sure Mother cooked on a more modern gas one, but the wood stove was a warm place on cold winter mornings.

Maybe it says something about our age, but we found ourselves saying “We had one of those” way too often as we went through the rooms on three floors of the house.

The Petrified Wood & Art Gallery was another one-of-a-kind exhibition. Twin brothers Harvey and Howard Kenfield started collecting Indian artifacts after they returned from the Korean war, followed by collecting petrified wood. Somewhere along the line they started building miniatures using finely cut petrified wood as shingles and other building materials.

In 2000, they donated their entire collection to the foundation that became the Keith County Community Foundation, stipulating that it stay in Ogallala. The current structure was originally a skating rink and dance hall and later a hardware store.

One of the twins (don’t ask me which, I couldn’t tell them apart!) showed us a piece of stone that bends. He said it is sandstone and it is the mica in it that allows movement. The only other one in existence, he said, is in South Dakota.

The Little Church of Keystone has a unique story, as well. Keystone today is a tiny community, but even in 1908 it was not big enough for two church buildings. A small group of teenage girls, supported by a local rancher’s wife, raised enough money to build a church. With a special dispensation from the pope, both the Catholic and Protestant congregations were allowed to use the same sanctuary.

Inside the sanctuary, there are two altars, one Catholic

and one Protestant.

In order to be able to accommodate the congregation for each separate service, some ingenious inventor came up with reversible pews.

The last regular services were held in 1949 but the Little Church is still available for weddings and other events.

Our friends Wilbur and Laura Bradbury in their purple Prevost came to the Landing after the rally at a more leisurely pace than we did, but we enjoyed having them while they visited Wilbur’s sister in Andover. They are always welcome, but for now, we’ll look forward to seeing them in Yuma.

I had an appointment with my cataract surgeon, Dr. Gangadhar, on Tuesday. For now, I will have surgery on my left eye on Friday Sept. 20. The right one will be scheduled at a later date.

One of my favorite things about coming back to the Landing is being here for grandchildren’s school activities. There’s only one granddaughter still in the Sedgwick school system. Jadelyn is a freshman in high school and more involved than Ben and Bailey together! On Tuesday afternoon we went to a volleyball match. I really like watching her serve. Then on Friday evening, we attended the high school football game. Jadelyn is on the dance team and they cheered alongside the cheerleaders. I think she enjoys what she does, don’t you?

At half time, the dance team did their routine and then the marching band came on the field. During concert season, Jadelyn plays bassoon and since it doesn’t usually work well marching, I expected to see her playing flute, her first instrument. I had a hard time finding her…playing bass drum! Next on her schedule is the fall school musical. This year they are doing “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” and she will be playing Lucy. Believe me, we will be here to see that performance, even though it’s after we would normally leave for Arizona. We’re hoping there won’t be an early snow this year!

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Kenner Church of God

Back in 2012 when we first came to stay at Rock Eddy Bluff, the Coreys took us with them when they went to vote. Their polling place was Kenner Church of God, a little country church just a few miles down the road. We met a few of the members that day and attended church there the next Sunday and every week thereafter until we left. I know I’ve said it before, but the Kenner people really know how to make you feel accepted and at home. One of the reasons we came back this year is that when Coreys contacted us to ask if we could come, they said the people at the church had been asking about us. So for the last four Sundays, we’ve been in the second pew from the front. Today is the last time for this year as we will be leaving next Sunday. I thought I would show you around a little.

As you walk into the sanctuary from the fellowship hall, there is a pew across the back set apart from the rest. It bears this sign:

Since the garden here has been producing a good crop of tomatoes, the cucumbers were just what we were lacking. When we were here before, there were eggs occasionally but whoever used to bring them must not have an abundant supply anymore.

At the front of the church is a huge stained glass window on which the pulpit is centered. We appreciate the pastor, Bev Sharp, and her commitment to the community. She knows about every aspect of her congregation’s lives and is a real prayer warrior as well as a good preacher and pastor.

To the right is a copy of one of my favorite hymns, How Great Thou Art. In fact, I find the words of the second verse coming to mind often as I walk up the lane to the mailbox. “When through the woods and forest glades I wander…”

Through the school year, they faithfully fill backpacks with food that are distributed to children each week so that they will have nutritious food over the weekend when they might not have anything. They also helped supply school supplies before the fall semester started. We will miss being a part of this little congregation that does such big work in their community.

One day this week after a very stormy night, the owner’s daughter called and asked if LeRoy could please apply his lumberjack skills to a tree that had fallen across the lane. She had driven her children up toward the road where they meet the school bus, but they had to run the last quarter mile or so because they were met by this.

The partially hollow tree had broken off at the ground and now lay across the road. LeRoy got the tractor and the chainsaw and soon went to work.

LeRoy has been at work off and on this summer removing part of the sun scorched old decals from the side of the RV and had a plan for replacing the rest. Unfortunately, this first attempt did not work as planned so we’re on Plan B. In the meantime, he has at least made it shine!

While we really don’t want a pet while travelling, we have really enjoyed being around Holstein. However, we think having us around as long as it took to do laundry this week was more than she wanted. I’ll leave you with this parting shot.

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Rock Eddy Bluff

Today, this blog is being written in Stickney Cabin at Rock Eddy Bluff, near Dixon, Missouri. Tom and Cathy Corey live in this lovely little cabin when they are at home, but while they’re gone, we’re looking after Holstein, the cat, and the hummingbirds and taking advantage of fast internet.

I have a few pictures from around their property. There are actually 4 cabins available for weekend or vacation rentals, two primitive ones called Line Camp and Phoebe’s Perch, and two modern three bedroom units, Turkey Ridge and Indian House Bluff. All are secluded and the views are just superb and very peaceful. It’s a lovely area for hiking. The Gasconade River is down below and there are canoes for the use of either the owners or visitors. Hammocks abound around the property so you can just lay back and rest if you want. This one is Phoebe’s Perch.

Turkey Ridge is just up the road from where we are parked in our RV.

Indian House Bluff is the most secluded, sitting off the main road and away from the other cabins.

The mailbox is on Maries Rd 511, which is just about half a mile from our RV up this lane.

As I said at the beginning, we are in charge of keeping the hummingbirds fed. It’s a twice daily job and they are very demanding!

On Thursday this week, we drove to Lebanon, MO to meet our friends Jim and Paulette Pruitt for lunch at Dowd’s Restaurant for fried catfish. We met Jim and Paulette at Desert Trails RV Park in Tucson in 2011 and although none of us have wintered there for several years, we’ve kept in close contact. They live in Rogersville now year round.

We’ve been attending the friendliest little country church we’ve ever seen in our travels since we’ve been here, Kenner Church of God. They accepted us as their own in 2012 when we stayed here and have taken us under their wing again this year. Today was Congregation Appreciation Sunday and the pastor and her husband provided a great lunch with more food than we could (or at least, should) eat. They had suggested that everyone dress as someone from another era, so LeRoy and I chose the time in which we grew up. I had a full skirt with a flowered apron and pearls, while LeRoy rolled up the sleeves of a white tee shirt and cuffed his jeans. The pastor has a collection of more than 200 old hats and about the same amount of gloves, so she shared the hats for ladies of the congregation to wear. I declined, since I don’t think June Cleaver would have worn her apron and a hat at the same time! We had a great time.

We plan to leave for our Silver Eagle rally in Nebraska in just two weeks if all goes as planned, so our time here is winding down. I can’t say that we will miss the chiggers, which have been especially bad this year, or the oppressive humidity, but we’ve had an enjoyable time here at Rock Eddy Bluff.

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What a difference the years make!

Fifty years ago yesterday, Robert Craig Willis was born. I remember the day well, but I won’t bore you with the details.

Although he was born with dark brown hair, it soon turned a much lighter shade.

My, how time flies! This weekend, he’s celebrating his 50th birthday in Hawaii, where the Army has sent him. We weren’t there for his birthday, but we did at least talk to him and his family.

Many happy returns of the day, Robert! Love you so much!

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Today’s blog brought to you by

I have a helper this morning. Holstein decided my computer was a very interesting distraction! She’s such a pretty cat and I really am more of a cat person than a dog person, even though we don’t currently have either.

LeRoy asked if I was going to catch up on Colorado pictures before I continue in Missouri, so I think I will just post some of our summer pictures. I have trouble thinking our mundane day-to-day stuff is interesting, but the pictures can speak for themselves. The first several are from our trip to Breckenridge, both in town and along the way.

Cute little store along the way
Our view from our anniversary lunch in Manitou at Amanda’s Fonda
54 years and counting. I think I’ll keep him!
Hot air balloons above the plains on the way to Buena Vista
Sunday afternoon ride

One last one from our Golden Bell volunteer get together. We had a great time visiting with friends.

Next time, Missouri!

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I’m back!

Boy, what a summer this has been! You don’t realize how dependent you become on good phone and internet service until you don’t have it. We loved our time at Travel Port, honestly not doing much, but the blog suffered. Even when we went to Woodland Park and used McDonald’s wifi, it was just too much hassle. Photos wouldn’t import, the website didn’t recognize my phone, etc. Anyway, it’s (somewhat) better now.

Let me explain. Earlier in the summer, we were contacted by Tom and Kathy Corey at Rock Eddy Bluff Farm Cabins near Dixon, MO to see if we would be interested in coming to stay at their place while they tour the US for a while. In the summer of 2012, we were there for a couple of months, providing a deterrent to vandals and feeding the dog and hummingbirds, LOTS of hummingbirds! We enjoyed our time in that peaceful setting in the Ozarks back then, so we changed our plans to stay in Colorado until September and on July 27, we started toward Missouri.

We had thought we might stop to see granddaughter Jordan, Marc and Rae, but they were out of state for a conference, so we made a detour (recalculating!) to the Landing for the night and got to have dinner with Heidi, Tim and all three kids who are still in the area. Ben will be leaving for Air National Guard basic at the end of September, Jadelyn starts high school as a freshman on August 14 and Bailey starts her sophomore year at Friends University this fall. We probably don’t have a lot of opportunities ahead for all of us to be together, so we cherish these times.

We arrived at Rock Eddy Bluff on Monday and were given a tour. Nothing much has changed since we stayed here in 2012, except that Coreys have moved into Stickney Cabin, which was just being built that summer. Their daughter and family now live in the main house, but they are away until this weekend. We got acquainted with the three dogs, Cricket, Sophie and Polly, and the cat, Holstein. Polly went along on vacation, but we are feeding the rest while we are here. There also horses and barn cats to feed until Heather and family return. And the hummingbirds!

One of my memories of our time here before was picking fresh produce from the big garden. This year we have had tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchini and there are big warty pumpkins coming on. The garden also provided us fresh zinnias this year for a spot of color in the RV.

In the next few days, I’ll try to get pictures around here. This is a remote area with some primitive cabins and one modern one where people can escape their busy lives and just enjoy the beautiful area. I remarked to LeRoy as we were coming in that the views would be spectacular if you could actually see them. There is always a tree or a hill in the way! Wide open spaces have me spoiled!

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Travel Port RV Park, Lake George, CO

I’d like to take you on a short tour of our home for the summer. We discovered Travel Port in the summer of 2012 when the Waldo Canyon fire encouraged us to move farther west from Woodland Park, where we had been staying. This quiet little park, where the camp hosts, owner and campers are more like a small community or family than a business venture, had an opening and we stayed for a month or so. Each Saturday night then they had a potluck dinner with a different theme. Now it is only every other weekend, but the camaraderie that is built around the tables keeps people coming back year after year. If you’ve been there once, you’re known by name when you show up again. Since we weren’t going to volunteer at the camp again this year, we decided to go back to Travel Port. It’s better known to the locals as Gilley’s, since Bob Gilley (and his wife Pat, who passed away a year ago in the winter. Pat’s memorial service was attended by long time campers as well as local residents who couldn’t help but love her.

One of the things many travelers notice as they drive by is that the fence along Highway 24 is lined with bicycles. They may not even notice the RV park, but they certainly notice the bicycles. A Colorado magazine, Out There Colorado, I think, wrote an article about the place, so I’m copying their article.

A small part of Bob’s collection

To the left of the entrance are mini storage buildings and to the right are more of Bob’s treasures, as well as the office and park.

Even weeds are flowers if you aren’t the gardener! As we walk around our area at Travel Port RV park, it’s either weeds or nothing, so we kinda like the colorful addition of the weeds!

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