Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Week in One of Our Fav Cities - Santa Fe

We love Santa Fe and have been here a number of times. This time we stayed at Santa Fe Skies RV Park, which is where we stayed last time in 2012. It is a private campground. There aren't any public campgrounds near by. The closest State Park is for smaller rvs only. It is a nice park though sites are real close together. It is on the out skirts of town and up high enough for a nice view. It has a trail that goes around the campground with a lot of pretty desert plants and flowers and cactus. Plus though pretty busy we were able to get a spot through the Labor Day weekend.

Per the norm of this trip, we got some rain one day and a nice rainbow.

One day we went into town with Savannah. She likes walking around the Plaza and of course the grass in the center of the Plaza. They have now blocked the streets around the outside of the square so no car traffic which is nice. We window shopped looking in at some of the art galleries and other artwork and southwestern jewelry n this very artistic town. Another day we went to the Tuesday Farmers Market at the Railyard. They have Farmer's Market on Tuesday and Saturday and also have musical concerts and Artist Markets on Sundays and lots of other events during the summer. We bought some famous New Mexico Hatch chilies, yellow cucumbers and some other goodies. One evening we went to RealBurgers who has won contests for their great Green Chile (Hatch of course) Hamburgers. They are really good.
Thursday we are going to take a drive on the Turquoise Highway which we haven't done on any of our other trips here.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

A Little Time in Oklahoma and Texas

We want to get to Santa Fe before Labor Day and so we just made a few stops of two or three nights each. Plus the weather is in the high 90's and 100's and we really want to get to some little cooler weather which Santa Fe will be. We had a long drive to Oklahoma which turned out longer than we thought. We were going to stay at Red Canyon State Park near Oklahoma City. However, when we got there the office had just closed and there was a sign saying only motor homes under 40 feet can go down the steep road to the campground. We decided not to try it and I quickly looked for another place to stay. We headed west to Fort Cobb State Park. Gracie, our GPS, directed us to the far side of the lake on some narrow country roads. We ended up at a dead end at a boat launch but luckily there was room to turn around and we figured out how to get there. Our GPS has mostly been great but we do have problems it seems with some of the state parks. We got to the park and it turned out to be a very nice spot where we were right on the water.

We just stayed two days and just relaxed at our site, mostly in the MH with the air conditioner going. We had s thunder storm while there. In fact, we had just gotten out of the motorhome to go to the office to register and there was a loud crack of thunder. There wasn't a lot of rain but thunder for hours and some lightning in the distance.

Our next stop was Palo Duro Canyon State Park, near Amarillo, TX.  We stayed here a number of years ago and it was very nice though we did have a big thunderstorm while we were there.

Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the US behind the Grand Canyon of course. It is 120 miles long and 20 miles wide at points. It has a depth of 800 feet. The office is at a high point and you then drive down a steep windy road to get to the campground. Last time we stayed at the far campground. However we couldn't stay at the area this time. There are a number of areas on the road that flood when it rains. In fact, when we were here before that was the case the day after the big storm. They are in the midst of building bridges over the low spots. Unfortunately they made a small area and the road is about 2 inches too short for large motorhomes to get through. Oops :(  I guess they will be fixing that problem eventaully. So we stayed at the first campsite loop which was also very nice. We have 50 amp electric again and so can still use the air conditioner as it is still very very hot. We drove around one day to take some pictures. There are a lot of nice hiking trails but just too hot to even think about.

Below is the road work they are doing. This  would be flooded if there had been a lot of rain and some of the dips are much deeper than the one below.

We just spend a few days here and our next stop is Santa Fe and weather than should be around 20 degrees cooler. Still warm but not nearly so hot as it has been this last little while.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

A Visit to a Presidential Library and Museum

Our next stop was to a pretty Corps of Engineer park near Little Rock, Arkansas. Maumelle Park is on the Arkansas River and we got a nice waterfront site to spend a few days.
There were some other spots in a different section that were even nicer but only had 30 AMP and we really wanted 50 AMP to run the air conditioner as it is still very hot.  We are near a boat harbor but still have a good view of the water.

The main reason we wanted to stop in this area was to see the William J Clinton Center and Park and so we headed off on the short drive to Little Rock.  The center includes the Clinton Presidential Library as well as the Clinton Foundation. It is on the Arkansas River. In fact the Main Building cantilevers over the River echoing Clinton's campaign promise of "Building a Bridge to the 21st Century."

It is a very well done museum.

Per Wikipedia
 The archives are the largest as well, containing 2 million photographs, 80 million pages of documents, 21 million e-mail messages, and 79,000 artifacts from the Clinton presidency.[7][8] The Clinton Library is also the most expensive, with all funding coming from 112,000 private donations

 It has an exhibit of Clinton's  campaign and inauguration and a timeline of  his eight years in office. Also an exhibition of his youth and campaigns for Attorney General, Congress and Governor. Other exhibits are of Vice President Gore and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Holidays and other events and life in the White House with the first family, including daughter Chelsea, and even pictures of Socks and Buddy.

A few of the many gifts received by dignitaries from around the world.

Some holiday pictures and other artifacts below

Some of Clinton's saxes that he has played since his youth and a Real Cool Cat named Socks.

There was a full sized replica of the Oval Office and the Cabinet Room.

Nice View below from the upper floor and an exhibition of the work of American artist Dale Chihuly.
He is created with revolutionizing the Studio Glass movement. 

This was our first visit to a Presidential Library and we will have to make time to visit some other ones in our future travels.
The next day we drove back into Little Rock to stop at an afternnon farmer's market. I thought it would be bigger but I think their Saturday market probably is. They just started doing a Tuesday late afternoon one.We walked around the River Market area which is on or a street over from the Arkansas River. It was still very hot and not much going on and so we went back to our campsite and just enjoyed the rest of the afternoon with our lovely water view.
Next stop is Oklahoma.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

A Stay in Arkansas with Side Trip back into Memphis

We had planned to stay at a state park in Arkansas, not far from the Tennessee border. We set the GPS and followed her directions. As we came off the 40 and started driving it seemed it was taking longer than I thought it had shown on google maps. Well, there turned out to be a reason for that. Gracie had directed us to an entirely different state park, Lake Poinsett State Park, in Harrisburg, Arkansas.It is a smaller park and it looked nice with very few people. Besides it was late in the day and we didn't want to do any further driving.

The sites are close together but since there wasn't anyone around us it was fine and actually very peaceful. We didn't originally plan to be driving west during the normally hot weather of August but we are. It is in the 90's and looks like it will be that way most of the way back to Calif. The air conditioner will be getting a lot more use than we have ever used in the past.  It was nice in the later afternoon sitting out in the shade with a nice cold drink and my kindle.
We are only about an hour from Memphis and so decided to drive there to go to Graceland, Graceland, Memphis Tennessee(always makes me think of the Paul Simon song). We arrived at Graceland and it was mobbed. Lots of cars in the large parking lot, lots of people in line for tickets and even more people in line for the shuttle. Yikes, as Joe said it looks like a busy day at Disneyland. The thought of being hurdled like cattle through Elvis's house didn't really appeal to either of us and so below is the only picture I took before we left.

We decided to check out Sun Records and we were glad we did. Sun Records is an independent record label that opened in 1952. The owner, Sam Philips, and his wife and one other person took the gutted building and created a place where up and coming artists could record their music.

The first music recorded there, according to the enthusiastic tour guide, was mostly Blues and R&B, with artists like Howlin' Wolf, BB King and James Cotton.
However, Sun Record's claim to fame is that it was the birthplace of Rock and Roll. We hear about the story of a young man who kept bugging Sam Philips to let him record. At first Sam didn't think he was that good. Then one day, this young ma and a few other musicians were recording a song Sam thought he might be right for him. It wasn't working and it was late at night when he started fooling around when Sam was in the other room. He started wigging his hips and tapping his foot and he  started playing a blue tune, That's Alright,they hadn't played before. Sam ran in and said something like that is more like it. You have something there. Yes, this was Elvis Presley and you know the rest of his story. Other great rock and rollers, like Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison also recorded here. In the later days after a move to a larger location and a period of around 20 years of being closed, it was reopened and artists such as U2 recorded some of their songs. Bono and his group recorded some of the songs from Rattle and Hum, one of my favorite albums,

 Our guide told an interesting story of some guys in prison who started a group, which they of course mamed the Prisonaires. They were an African American doo wop group who had a hit called Walking in the Rain. They became so popular they were allowed out on day passes to play throughout Tennessee and even played for the governor a number of times.

 There  were lots of instruments used by some of the many recording artists and even a radio station.

It was a very intereting tour and we glad we decided on it. Beale Street is a popular street with lots of restaurants and bars, but we decided to head to a restaurant, called appropriately South of Beale, which it is. It was another good restaurant. We planned on just having appetizers. We first ordered chicken and waffle sliders and ruben fries. I always wanted to try chicken and waffles and with the side of maple syrup they are really very good. We were going to try some other dishes, such as fried green tomatoes but were already full.

We had a nice time in the short time we were in this area. Unfortunately we have another encounter with mosquitos. Not at our campsite but we took a short walk on a trail near the lake and I got more bites than I can ever remember having before. More than when we had them in our MH in Michigan.
Anyway, we are only driving a few hours to another spot in Arkansas, near Little Rock. Stay tuned.