Skip to content
Advertisements

Branson, Missouri – Family, Nature, and Cheese Whiz – Full-Time RV Life

Our next stop was Branson, Missouri, nestled in the foothills of the beautiful Ozark Mountains.  We’d heard about Branson being a popular tourist destination with wonderful shows.  When we pulled in, our impression was quite different, and we were thankful we were there to see family.

To quote Mike, “There are beautiful mountain views, but it looks like someone went crazy with a big can of Cheese Whiz.”  At first glance, he was right.  There was billboard pollution literally everywhere.  Advertisements for shows, attractions, new apartment complexes, and resort hotels littered the roadside and were distracting and often obstructed beautiful views surrounding the city.

After big, amazing, and wonderful squeezy hugs when seeing our oldest daughter, Dani, and her main man, Aaron, our surroundings were forgotten.  We hadn’t seen her in almost a year, so there was a lot of catching up to do.

cheeze

Dani and Aaron under the giant meatball

The first thing ‘the kids’ did was take us downtown to get a glimpse of Branson proper and brought us to Pasghetti’s–a typical touristy restaurant.  I don’t recommend the place for the food.  Our homemade ‘pasghetti is much more delicious (and more economical), but it is a cutesy place on the outside and well decorated with a relaxing atmosphere on the inside.  It’s a hard place to miss–there is a humongous spaghetti and meatball with a giant fork and a neighboring green pepper adorning the large building.  We had to take time to get ‘cheesy’ pictures.

We also saw the huge King Kong on one of the downtown buildings and passed many restaurants, show theaters, the Titanic attraction, and the other typical tourist traps.

After spending some time in Branson, we realized there was quite a lot in the area to see and do.  Dani and I have a long history of loving roller coasters and wild rides.  Our first day together we visited Silver Dollar City, an amusement park set in a lush, green valley.  The park has many roller coasters, bluegrass bands, and country craftsmanship exhibits.  It’s a perfect place for family fun and offers something for every age.  There are a lot of up-and-down hills to navigate among the forested park, but the landscaping and surrounding views are gorgeous.  Dani and I enjoyed our day together screaming and laughing on the roller coasters.  Below are some views of the park.

cheeze_008cheeze_009cheeze_012cheeze_010cheeze_011cheeze_013

Silver Dollar City also provided excellent hands-on instruction on useful activities, such as milking a cow:

I introduced Dani to geocaching while we were there.  This took us on a hiking adventure to Lakeside Forest Wilderness Area.  We hiked three or four miles through forest seeing snakes, deer, rabbits, squirrels, and birds.  We found three geocaches, but still did not see the entire area.  We missed Old Soldier’s Cave and the bluff trail.  It’s a location we plan to revisit so we can see the entire wilderness area.  It’s a lovely park that is entirely natural–I highly recommend discovering this hidden gem while in the area.

cheeze_015

While Branson does have many touristy areas or “money pits,” as we call them, there is so much more to experience and see.  What I did notice about the mountain city was the appreciation and dedication to America’s veterans.  Every business proudly offered veteran discounts, employees shook hands and thanked veterans for their service, and the music and atmosphere was very patriotic.  While shopping at a local Wal-Mart, a young man, approximately eight or nine years old, looked up at my large and imposing husband and said, “May I shake your hand, Sir?  Thank you for your service.”  It brought tears to our eyes to see his sincerity and sense of purpose.

The longer we stayed, the more we could appreciate about Branson and the surrounding area.  Of course, seeing Dani almost every day was worth every second we spent there.  We also got to see locations we would have glazed over had we stayed a shorter amount of time.  There will be more Branson experiences in future posts.   The very best times involved the faces below:

cheeze_014cheeze_007

Have you been to Branson?  What were your favorite places to see?

Safe travels to you.

Dawn

 

 

 

Advertisements

Boondocking Casino Style – Full-Time RV Life

casino_005

It was time to leave Leisurlee Acres Cattle Company (the Oklahoma cattle ranch of our friends, Randall and Julie) and head for Branson, Missouri.   We left later in the afternoon when Mike completed his workday, so we knew there would be a stop somewhere for the night.  We planned on a Wal-Mart for a quick sleep, but noticed there were many casinos while we drove through Oklahoma.  We’d heard of other RVers stopping for the night in casino parking lots, so we figured we’d give it a try.

We were driving through the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and saw billboards for the Grand Casino Hotel and Resort.  Mike looked for the exit while I called their general information number to see if overnight RVs were allowed.  A friendly voice on the other end welcomed us to park for the night and gave us directions to their preferred lot.   We parked the RV and noticed we were one of two RVs and a couple 18-wheelers.  Security was patrolling and we stopped one of them to double check our parking spot.  They told us to pull out the slides and make ourselves at home–something we would not have done without the specific invitation to do so.

casino_003

We wanted to show our appreciation by giving them our business, as we usually do for a stop-to-sleep stay in a parking lot–be it Wal-Mart or other arrangements.  We bought a couple of drinks ($5 margaritas since it was Cinco de Mayo) and selected two slot machines that were open.  Mike and I aren’t gamblers, but we committed to the process and set ourselves a small limit to play.  Mike won first.  Then, I won.  Then, our winnings won.  We didn’t win a huge amount, but it was enough to get us excited and feel a little lucky.  We probably could have kept playing our winnings, but money is way too hard to come by to throw it all away.

casino_002casino_001

We really tried to give the casino some money, but the odds were in our favor.  We got a free night of lodging, won back the margarita money, and walked away with almost $100.  It was a win/win situation for us.  Not to mention all the lights, bustling activity, and sounds were an excellent mental reboot to prepare for the long travel day in the morning.

We pulled up stakes and got on the road early the next morning after a good night’s rest and a positive casino experience.  We may consider doing this in the future for those stop-to-sleep nights while traveling.  It’s safe and free.  It’s also a fun way to be able to show appreciation by spending our dollars in their beautiful casino and resort.  They have great meals, as well, for both late night and breakfast.

casino_004

We left the Citizen Potawatomi Nation feeling rested, grateful, and ready for some road time.  Thank you for the wonderful hospitality.

Watch out, Missouri, here we come.

Safe travels,

Dawn

Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge – Meers Store and Restaurant – Medicine Park, Oklahoma – Full-Time RV Life

WMNWLR

We recently boondocked in Cache, Oklahoma, where we enjoyed a unique and beautiful landscape.  We were staying in mainly flat and grassy grazing land for cattle, but in the distance a small mountain range provided a scenic backdrop.  The mountain range was the Wichita Mountains, all surrounded by golden and green prairies dotted with colorful wildflowers.  The mountains were formed in a failed continental shift approximately 540 million years ago, and are topped with granite and other geological rock formations.   They are home to many historical towns, such as Meers, Medicine Park, Cache, Indiahoma, etc., and a portion is occupied by Fort Sill Army Base.

The part I visited was the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.  We spent one rainy and windy day with our host and hostess touring the refuge by truck and having lunch in the historical gold-mining community of Meers, Oklahoma.  The only building left is the Meers Store and Restaurant, where we had a famous MeersBurger with our good friends, Randall and Julie.  The restaurant was rustic and eclectic with delicious food served with a smile.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I loved this refuge so much that I made two solo trips back to take photos and observe the buffalo and longhorn herds scattered throughout this gorgeous park.  There was so much to explore from lakes to dams, trails and side roads, and the majesty of the mountains, prairies, and wildlife spotted across the countryside.  It was breathtaking.

WMNWLR_001

This was my first photo beyond the entrance to the Refuge.  The prairies, trees, mountains and sky–all in one shot.

WMNWLR_028

One of the many lakes

WMNWLR_025WMNWLR_023

WMNWLR_004

Many homes left standing were made of cobblestone.  This house was part of the Refuge.

WMNWLR_006

Glorious vistas from any viewpoint in the Refuge.

WMNWLR_005

One of the dams.

WMNWLR_026

Another dam.  This one quite ornate.

WMNWLR_033

So much depth to the landscape.

WMNWLR_030

The rock formations were interesting.  The one to the left reminded me of our bullmastiff, Lexie.  The one in the middle made me giggle.  What do you see?

WMNWLR_027

So many places to observe majesty, solitude, peace, and tranquility.

My personal favorite highlights of the Refuge were the bison, which I still call buffalo, and the longhorn cattle with their sweeping horns.  They were so regal grazing on the prairie without so much as a glance at my voyeurism from the truck window.  I respected the animals’ space as was requested at the Visitor Center, but I did witness someone in a Class C motorhome get out and walk to about ten feet from a bull bison to take photos.  I’m sure the pictures were beautiful, but it’s a chance that probably shouldn’t have been taken.  I wish my photographs were portrait quality, but I was in awe of the beauty around me and wanted to etch the memories on my brain instead of through the lens–at a safe distance.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At the end of the Refuge was a small town called Medicine Park.  It was filled with little shops, cafes, coffee shops, and consisted of quaint buildings and homes made with the natural round cobblestones of the Wichita Mountains.  The town is centered around Bath Lake with a lovely waterfall and swimming area.  It is a one-of-a-kind small town that is worth driving out of the way to spend a couple of hours.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another adventure I had in the Refuge was driving our truck up to the top of Mount Scott.  This was a brave feat for me because of spatial issues in my vision and the tiny, winding, mountainside cliffs on the road leading up there.  While at the top, I got to see artillery testing from Fort Sill (just poofs of dust as artillery hit the landscape), miles of roads leading into the Refuge, and vast open spaces with rocky terrain.  I had to sneak in a selfie, because Mike would never believe I navigated that road by myself without proof.  It was worth the white-knuckle drive, during which I simply did not look down.

If ever in this part of Oklahoma, I highly recommend the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge.  It is a beautiful drive, easily accessed, and full of wildlife sightings and wide-open spaces.  Be sure to stop at the Visitor Center to view the history of the park and to heed the wildlife warnings.

This is one of my most memorable natural parks.  I hope I did it justice so you can enjoy it, too.

Safe travels, Dawn

Six Months Full-Time RVing – The Top Ten Honest, Nitty Gritty Lessons – Full-Time RV Life

IMG_2159

Have we really been living and traveling in our RV for six months already?  Time does fly when you’re having fun, or, in our case, adjusting to a new lifestyle.   Our lives have been filled with adventures, ups ands downs, minor glitches, great successes–and we have absolutely no regrets, even when it’s not all rainbows and roses.

Things we have learned along the way:

  1.  Relationship Goals.  Mike and I are together twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.  While we make a point of disagreeing with respect and trying to be as open and honest as possible, this lifestyle has revealed weaknesses in our communication style.  As a result, the close quarters have forced us to strengthen our ability to interact more effectively–simply for survival purposes.  We do have disagreements and moments when we are on opposite pages of a different book, but our perpetual togetherness facilitates the need to find a way to obtain common ground when we are out of sorts.  It has enhanced our teamwork and enriched our marriage.
  2. Anything Can and Will Go Wrong.  Our first day on the road forced us into the Cummins shop for an issue that was under warranty and easily fixed.  Since then, Mike has had to make several minor repairs.  These included electrical problems with connection for LED lightbulbs, a water heater snafu, defective motor on the automatic front window shade, a mucked up and jumbled entertainment system, leaking bathroom plumbing and clogged kitchen drain, and the basement slider drawer.   Thankfully, my handy husband could take care of those issues on his own without calling a mobile repairman or putting us in the shop.  We continue to pray that nothing major happens when we are on the road, but try to be fully prepared for the inevitable when it does occur.  Mike has learned to have extra parts on hand, such as hot water heater repair parts, hose clamps, fuses, electrical connectors, etc.
  3. Fellow RVers Are Amazing.  We have met so many wonderful friends in the places we have stayed and even through this blog.  We physically share the same place for a short time and then continue building our community virtually by keeping up with our fellow travelers through social media.  We’ve enjoyed swapping stories with our RV neighbors, developing relationships with RV/campground owners, interacting with local residents, and connecting with people we meet on the road.  For example, we met a young couple with a small child in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Mississippi.  They were in a small travel trailer with no generator, so we plugged them in to our rig so they could have air conditioning throughout the night.   It turned out he was an RV repairman and gave Mike pointers on a couple of mechanical issues.  It’s a vast community, but it’s tight, helpful, and loyal.
  4. It’s Not the Constant Adventurous Lifestyle We Dreamed About.  Yes, we see new places, have quality family time, experience new areas of the country, and sample local restaurants and attractions.  We also feel sadness when leaving a location and excitement to visit a new one.  However, this is still real life.  We still have grocery shopping, budget rearranging and surprises, daily chores, car maintenance, motorhome upkeep, and all responsibilities based in adult reality.  Mike works long and arduous hours–we aren’t wealthy and we don’t have disposable income.  Our schedule isn’t as flexible as we’d hoped, and often we are simply tired and worn out on the weekends.  We don’t always get to experience adventures together–most of my past blog posts on local endeavors are me discovering them alone, exploring with a new friend, or getting out with family.  We save the most exciting enterprises for the weekends when we can explore together.  We live life with a different set of goals and a fresh view in the front window.  It’s real life with its usual demands, but it’s a fulfilling existence rolling wherever we want to go.
  5. The Downsizing Continues.  We are still getting rid of stuff.  I packed another bag and a half of donation items and Mike cleaned out the ‘basement’ and got rid of unused tools and outdoor items.  We’ve learned to streamline as time goes by, and we don’t hold on to anything that doesn’t have a direct purpose.  It continues to be a liberating experience and we constantly are amazed with how we live so richly with so few belongings.
  6. An Unlimited Data Plan Has Been a Game-Changer.  With Mike’s work, streaming information, and just doing daily activities on our electronics–the unlimited data plan we have with AT&T has been a life saver.  No more data diet and our service has not changed.  Thank you, AT&T.
  7. Experiences Can Be Done On The Cheap.  Most of the places we have gone are inexpensive and/or free.  I love to find out-of-the-way places and natural areas, which are usually beautiful and unique.  We do some of the usual tourist things and pay entrance fees to places of interest, but we hold out on the cheesy tourist stuff so we can do the big bucket list items (seaplane ride to the Dry Tortugas, an aerial tour through the Grand Canyon, etc.) when they arise.
  8.  We’ve Buttoned Down Our Travel Style.  When we first decided to live this lifestyle, we had dreams of being on the road constantly.  However, we’ve found the 30-day stays in a certain area works better for us.  While the two days here and two days there lifestyle looks amazing, it’s difficult to maneuver due to our particular needs.  We like to take time to learn the area, experience local flare, and also have downtime for relaxation.  Our travel days to a new location are on the weekends because of Mike’s work schedule.  We’re groovin’ to our own rhythm and it works for us.
  9. Our Travel Statistics And Expenses were a Pleasant Surprise.  Miles Driven:  3,527 miles ~*~ Driving Time:  58 hours ~*~ Diesel Expenses:  $995.84  ~*~ Campground Costs:  $3,545.  We will see how they compare with the next six months.
  10. We Have No Regrets.  Not one.  If we are homesick for family or have an emergency, we can pick up and go.  If we are bored in a certain spot, the road promises new adventures.   We get to decide our travel destinations and don’t have a two-week vacation time limit.  It fits us, and we love it.
Screen Shot 2017-07-04 at 11.53.52 AM

Places We’ve Stayed The Past Six Months

Our home is always with us, even if we’re in a new state each month.  We have each other with a roof over our heads and wheels under our feet.

As we toast to another six months, safe travels to you.

Dawn

Oklahoma! A ‘Leisurlee’ Boondocking Visit – Full-Time RV Life

IMG_3278

Oklahoma! Where the wind comes sweepin’ down the plain.  That’s where we were headed.

Randys_003

Our friends, Randall and Julie, extended gracious hospitality to Mike and me during our short visit to Oklahoma at the Leisurlee Acres Cattle Company, which is their cattle ranch outside of Cache, Oklahoma.  There were sprawling pastures, shady trees, friendly cows, no traffic, and a distant view of the Wichita Mountains.

Randall and I grew up together.  His parents were close friends with my mom and dad.  His dad and my mom have known each other since toddlerhood because our grandparents were also dear friends throughout their lifetimes.   His siblings have always been our ‘cousins.’

lee

The ‘cousins’ circa early 80s

We all reached adulthood, went our separate ways, had families, and lived life.  We kept in touch occasionally, but hadn’t seen each other in person for ages. About 20-plus years, in fact.  When I stepped out of the motorhome to greet Randall, the timespan slipped away.  He was family–we were welcomed and the visit was perfect from that moment on.

IMG_1593

The view from our front window

Randall and Julie had a spot ready for us down their long lane.  It was within walking distance to their home and beside the lush, green cow pastures.  I spent my growing-up years in the country, so this was a setting near and dear to my heart.  Only someone who has spent many years in the congestion of a large city (Jacksonville, Florida), where traffic, crime, and lack of personal space is the ‘norm,’  can appreciate that first cleansing breath of fresh air while standing on real grass (and being able to spread arms wide and twirl in a circle without touching another human being–Sound of Music style).  That’s how much I loved being there.  It wasn’t a location thing, it was a soul thing.

Randys_005

Julie and Randall

Our visit was easy.  Except for water, we were pretty self-sufficient.  The weather was cool, so generator use was minimal.  We ran it just enough so Mike could work.  The four of us would meet up in the late afternoons for dinner, swap stories, and share memories.  We then went back to the RV for the rest of the night and pursued our individual interests during the day.  On the weekend, they gave us a tour of the Wichita Mountains National Wildlife Refuge and recommended a buffalo burger at Meers Restaurant.  We had the pleasure of meeting Julie and Randall’s cohorts (the majority were retired Army veterans and their wives) at a cookout on Saturday night.  There were lots of delicious food items, humorous shenanigans, and wild and hilarious stories.

It was, hands down, my favorite ‘camping’ location ever.  It was an uncomplicated, down-to-earth, and renewing visit spent enjoying the simple things.  I loved visiting with Julie on the back porch.  Mike had the opportunity hold the gate while Randall introduced a young bull to the herd.  We got to do some four-wheeling around the property.   We spied turkeys, rabbits, squirrels, and coyotes throughout the visit.  We had a colorful hummingbird that flittered outside the RV window every morning.  Even the dogs eventually became friends and started tolerating each other towards the end of the trip. Yes, it was a fabulous visit with family.

I also loved the cows.

RandysRandys_001Randys_002Randys_004

 

Randys_006

The four of us–it was sad to say goodbye

Julie and Randall, we cannot thank you enough for the opportunity to spend time at your home.  Thank you for sharing your oasis with us.  We can’t wait to visit again–if you’ll have us.

Love, Dawn

P.S. Randall is a retired Army veteran.  I want to thank him for his service and also the service of his friends.  It was an honor to meet each and every one of them.

Review of Cedar Hill State Park – Dallas, TX – Full-Time RV Life

We stayed at the campground in Cedar Hill State Park while visiting Dallas.  It was a spacious park set among hills and trees with historical sites and hiking trails.  It’s among the banks of Joe Pool Lake with swimming, boat launches, and fishing areas.  Much of it is under construction due to recent flooding, but there is still plenty to see and the campsites are large and private.

1.  PRICE POINT, CLEANLINESS, AND APPEARANCE

We stayed a week and the price point was rather steep since we also had to pay for the Texas State Parks Pass to avoid paying the daily $5.00 entrance fee to the park.  The week stay was around $280, but we did have access to the park and full hookups.  The sites were spacious and secluded in a peaceful wooded setting.

2.  EASE OF ENTERING AND EXITING THE SITE AND ACCESS TO HOOKUPS

All sites were back-in only with plenty of room to navigate our 40′ motorhome with parking for the truck and golf cart.  The hookups were convenient and in good working order.

3.  AMENITIES/WI-FI

There was no campground Wi-Fi provided, but we had full cell coverage on ATT.   There was no pool and the swimming areas at the lake were closed due to recent flooding.  There were a couple accessible boat ramps and fishing areas surrounding the lake.  There were bathhouses/bathrooms located conveniently in the camp areas.  Most of the hiking trails were closed due to flooding and resulting mud.

4.  FRIENDLINESS OF STAFF

The staff was very friendly and welcoming. They explained the advantage of the state park pass and how it would save us money in the long run during our stay.  They were very informative on directions and how to reach our site.

5.  WOULD WE STAY AGAIN?

Yes.  It’s a beautiful park, even though much of it was closed due to recent flooding.  It was conveniently located to Dallas and the surrounding area, and it was a quiet location to have visiting friends and family enjoy the outdoors.  There was plenty to do inside the park as far as exploring, beautiful scenery, and geocaching.

It is a park that has wildlife, including rabbits, squirrels, deer, snakes and spiders.  We saw our first live-for-real tarantula (sorry for the blurry picture, but I wasn’t going to get closer for a better shot).

IMG_1562

There are many things to see in the Dallas area and we packed in only a few activities while there.  We visited Southfork Ranch, Dealey Plaza, the Mustangs of Los Colinas, and the Veterans Memorial Park in Irving.

Here are a few pictures from our hikes in Cedar Hill State Park with family and friends:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Mustangs of Las Colinas and Irving Veteran’s Memorial – Full-Time RV Life

There are many sites in Dallas to visit, but we were short on time and caught just a few local highlights.  Since my goddaughter lives in Irving, we concentrated on those areas for short spurts of sightseeing.  The following were highlights of that whirlwind afternoon.

The Mustangs of Los Colinas was an exquisite stop.  It’s a sculpture of spirited mustangs running through a body of water–all set amongst a busy office complex.  The artwork by Mr. Robert Glen was meticulous.  The horses were captured in all their majesty and it was easy to imagine them stampeding through the water, wind blowing in their manes, and running on strong, graceful legs.  We were visiting by day in bright sunlight and it was breathtaking.  I can’t imagine the view at night.  The Mustangs of Las Colinas were amazing.

irving_009

irving_025irving_024irving_023irving_021irving_020irving_019irving_018irving_016irving_015

 

Our next stop was the Irvin Veterans Memorial Park.  This park paid tribute to the local servicemen and women who sacrificed all for the United States of America.  It’s a peaceful place to reflect and give honor to those who have served to protect our nation.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Our visit to Dallas was short and very productive.  The time with family was the most important and special.  We can’t wait to visit again.

Now, it’s on to Oklahoma!

Safe travels,

Dawn

Perfectly Imperfect – A Simple Lesson from a Wildflower – Full-Time RV Life

I was with my daughter today doing some geocaching and enjoying a local museum.   Outside the grounds was an abundance of Queen Anne’s lace wildflowers dancing in the breeze.  I was trying to capture their beauty in photographs as they pirouetted in the gentle wind.  It was an impossible task.

wildflower_002wildflower_001wildflower

 

Among the intricate white blooms was a tiny handful of daisies.  It seemed they were begging to be noticed with their bright yellow centers and fragile petals.  Each daisy had a personality of its own, but the shy little one at the bottom right appeared to be hiding his face.

wildflower_003

 

In all our travels, I am reminded how breathtaking nature can be–big and bodacious or small and mighty.  It is simply beautiful in its perfect imperfection.

Just like us–perfectly imperfect and magnificent in our own quirky uniqueness–adding vibrant color and charisma to an otherwise mediocre landscape.

Safe travels, Dawn

Southfork Ranch – Dallas, Texas – Full-Time RV Life

Our visit to Dallas was short and sweet, but there were a couple of places that were high on our to-do list, and this little jaunt was one of them.  During the years of 1978 through 1991, there was a popular TV series, Dallas:

 

Of course, the phrase “Who shot JR?” was the biggest cliffhanger in TV history.   Millions tuned in to watch the feud between the land-loving, ranch-running Bobby and his evil, greedy, oil tycoon brother, JR.   Cliff Barnes was the villain (or was he?) always in the mix trying to foil the backhanded and sneaky business moves JR tried to make.  Jock and Miss Ellie were the quintessential mom and dad duo leaving a massive legacy to their children–the ranch from Miss Ellie’s family and the oil business Jock built from the bottom up–and was always a contention of war between the family.  The show was nominated for 15 Golden Globes, 19 Primetime Emmy Awards, and 4 People’s Choice Awards.  Netflix has the series on DVD and it can also be purchased on Amazon.  While the series was riveting back in its prime, it probably would not gain popularity today.  In fact, they tried to revive the television classic featuring the next generation with cameo appearances from JR, Bobby, and Suellen, but it only lasted three seasons.

Mike and I were familiar with the show, so we piled into the truck with our goddaughter and her mom to go take a look.  As we approached Southfork Ranch, the heart of Dallas, Mike started blasting the intro song through the speakers and opened the windows.  As we drove by with the theme song blaring, we were transported to circa 1980 as all the faces of the familiar characters ran through our heads and we ‘Da-Da’d’ the tune at the top of our lungs.  Seeing the big white house and beautiful wrought-iron gate with the tree-lined entrance was magical, even if the ranch was closed for the day.

IMG_1201

The entrance to Southfork.

Yes, we parked the truck on the side of the road like common tourists.  I peaked through the heavy wrought iron and got this tiny glimpse of the house:

IMG_1209

I then walked a few steps to the side of the gate (okay, I know it wasn’t really appropriate, but I couldn’t help myself) and got this view:

IMG_1217

I even walked out on the street to snap this scene:

IMG_1193

Because the longhorn lazing in front of the ranch didn’t really show up well in the above photo, I got closer and spied this perspective along with some of the outbuildings:

IMG_1218

I’m not sure if the longhorn will turn into steaks and hamburgers or if they were for ambiance, but they were wonderful to see.

Of course, a cheesy tourist visit isn’t complete without cheesy pictures:

IMG_1207

My goddaughter, Gabby, and her mom, Sherrie.

And obligatory selfies (sans ridiculous duck lips):

IMG_1215

To be honest, the ranch is much smaller than TV made it out to be, and the land surrounding it does not appear to be as massive.  We didn’t take the tour because we got there too late, but we might have been disappointed.  It’s best to leave the lives of the Dallas rich and famous to our imaginations, keeping JR and Bobby and their beautiful home intact.

Our drive to Southfork was spectacular because of our fond memories and the ability to totally immerse ourselves in the experience with youthful exuberance.  Watching Gabby’s what-in-the-world-is-this-all-about facial expressions was entertaining, as well.

For now, all that’s going through my head is, “Da-Da, Da-Da, Da-Da-Da-Da-Da-Da, Da-Da-Da, Da-Da-Da.” At least that’s how it runs through my head–does it yours?

Until the next adventure,

Love, Dawn

Dealey Plaza, Downtown Dallas, and Stevie Ray Vaughan – Full-Time RV Life

Downtown Dallas, Dealey Plaza, and visiting the grave of Stevie Ray Vaughan were among the places we visited during our short stay in Dallas.

The legendary guitarist, Stevie Ray Vaughan, is laid to rest in Laurel Land Cemetery in Dallas.  Being a musician, Mike wanted to pay his respects while we were in the area.  The cemetery was massive and  contained several geocaches hidden in the peaceful gardens, so we enjoyed a brisk walk and found some treasures.

The drive through downtown Dallas was slow due to traffic issues.  It did give us a chance to see some of the architecture and bridges, both new and old, as we passed through.  Most photos were taken while moving, but we managed to catch some highlights.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

One of the more sobering sites was Dealey Plaza where President John F. Kennedy was shot and killed.  We have watched many videos, documentaries, and conspiracy theories surrounding this sad event in our nation’s history.   Being in the spot where it physically happened was tough.  The day we were there, tourists were waiting on waning traffic so they could lay in the street posing with smiles by the X’s that mark the location of John F. Kennedy’s shooting–where the President of the United States took his last breath with the horrified First Lady at his side.  The atrocity of the moment is immortalized in videos, and to witness people taking selfies at the infamous ‘X’ with duck lips, peace signs, and happy faces made me angry.   Our goal is to see all historical landmarks, and I’m not sorry we toured Dealey Plaza–but it hurt my heart to observe fellow Americans visit the area with such lightheartedness and lack of respect.

Dallas_011

Dallas_009

The Grassy Knoll

Dallas_004

From the defacement of the word allegedly on the marker, conspiracy theories cloud the historical facts.

Dallas_012

The open window on the right, seen through the tree branches, was where Lee Harvey Oswald took aim and fired at President John F. Kennedy.

Dallas_010

The spot where President John F. Kennedy was shot.

Dallas is a beautiful city.   It’s unfortunate a part of its history is shrouded in the tragic shooting of President Kennedy.  Words cannot express the myriad of emotions when visiting this site of American history.

I will leave you with these words to honor a President who sacrificed all for the United States:

Dallas_007

Love, Dawn

%d bloggers like this: