I must have been worn out Friday night because I slept right through a brief but loud thunderstorm at the Claremore, Oklahoma Elks Lodge. I’m usually a light sleeper but Terry said I never flinched as she got up and closed the roof vent and came back to bed.
Yesterday morning we were up early again and left the Winnebago at the Elks lodge while we drove a couple of miles to the Will Rogers Memorial. The cowboy humorist has always been one of my heroes for his quick wit and his ability to poke fun at the big names of his time, and himself, without using all the vulgarity today’s “celebrities” do.
The museum has displays on Rogers’ life and career and a lot of Western artwork. This life size statue gives you a look into Rogers’ personality. Though he became famous and his name was a household word, he never let it go to his head and never stopped being the Oklahoma cowboy he started life as.
From there we drove a few more blocks to the J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum. Besides displaying the world’s largest private collection of firearms, the museum has fascinating things on display like guns taken from criminals ranging from street corner thugs to the likes of Bonnie and Clyde and Jesse James.
There are also nooses that were used to execute condemned criminals.
But it isn’t all about guns. The museum also has collections of German steins, Western artwork, walking sticks, musical instruments and more. I’ll have feature stories on both the Will Rogers Memorial and the Davis gun museum in the next issue of the Gypsy Journal.
Back at the Elks lodge, we got ready to roll and pulled onto the turnpike right at 11:30. At one time this was the world’s largest McDonald’s restaurant and it spanned the turnpike for 56 years. It was closed last year for a major remodel and is supposed to re-open sometime in 2014.
There was a stiff wind blowing but we made our way across the rest of Oklahoma and crossed into Missouri, where we stopped for fuel at the Flying J in Joplin. We love seeing grass, trees, and water again!
Terry always finds neat things to photograph along the way, like this decrepit old barn.
Anybody need an antique gas pump?
Back when we were just starting to convert our old MCI bus we stopped at I-44 Bus Sales picked up some valuable pointers from the owner.
Meramec Caverns is a famous landmark and signs announce it every few miles along the way.
We hit Saint Lois about 6 p.m. and traffic was hectic. Terry did manage to get a couple of pictures of the Gateway Arch as I dodged potholes and crazy drivers.
I didn’t even snivel when we crossed the Mississippi River. I was too busy trying to stay alive!
Eventually we stopped for the night in Vandalia, Illinois, dry camping in a dirt lot next to a KFC and Ponderosa Steakhouse. And just to prove it really is a small world, when we went into the Ponderosa to east, we ran into RV vendor friends Dwane and Janet Trannum from Almost Heaven Microfiber. They are on their way to Elkhart and Goshen for a couple of RV rallies and were parked near us. Hopefully we’ll get to visit when we’re all up there and settled in.
We’re only about 335 miles from our destination, so sometime this afternoon we’ll be at Elkhart Campground. We’re really looking forward to seeing everybody there, and getting some rest after this fast trip across the country.
I have to apologize for any confusion about our Free Drawing this week. On Wednesday I announced that it was for an audiobook of Big Lake Blizzard, the fourth book in my Big Lake mystery series. But the last two days I have had the cover for Big Lake Lynching, the second book in the series posted and said it was for that book. Faithful blog reader Charlie Dyck caught the error and let me know about it. That will teach me to post a blog when my brain is fried. This week’s prize IS Big Lake Blizzard. Thanks for pointing that out, Charlie.
All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.
Thought For The Day – You know you’re on the right track when you no longer find yourself looking back.