Texas Country Oaks Dance Hall, Edna, TX, New Years 2012

Thursday, May 25, 2017

May 25, 2017

May 11, 2017

 Yesterday we drove up to Smith Rock State Park to say hello to some of the hosts and Josie who is the new Ranger 2.  They were all working on the two new host sites that will accommodate large RV’s with 50 amp service.  We’re going to need the extra hands during the week of the solar eclipse in August.

May 15, 2017

 On Saturday Jerry & Maryln Howlett and Jeffery & Susan Wetzell drove over to Redmond from the Salem area to have lunch with us.  We met at Oishi’s Japanese Restaurant where we have been several times.  The food was excellent and seeing our friends was great.  We will all meet again in July at Smith Rock State Park for our hosting gigs.

 The weather here in Central Oregon hasn’t been great this past week with cloudy skies and temperatures dipping down into the low 30’s at night.  I think the high yesterday was around 50.  Last week we had some really nice weather with daytime temp’s getting up to almost 80 degrees.  The local’s around here call it the “great Central Oregon fake out”.

 Our new B-2 hosts arrived on Friday giving us a full complement of workers.  They are the primary greeter’s and sell firewood everyday.  They also close the day use park gate that I open in the morning.

May 24, 2017

 A lot has happened since I last wrote anything so let me get right to it.

 On Friday the 19th we got up at 3 AM so that we could be at the Redmond Airport by 4:30 to catch our flight to Portland.  I don’t think that Joyce or I slept more than four hours that night.

 After getting to Portland we jumped on an Alaskan Airlines flight to Newark Liberty International Airport, NJ., arriving there about 3:30 PM.  Our next stop was at the Budget Car Rental to pick up our car.  Joyce and I are enrolled in Budget’s Fastbreak service so we just went to the kiosk, grabbed our paperwork and the off we went.  Well, not so fast there Crocker’s.  When we got out to the car there was another gentleman that had his bags in the Chevy Cruse that we were supposed to take.  We told the lot attendant about the mix-up and he quickly got us an “upgrade” to a Ford Focus.

 We then started the 81 mile drive to our hotel in Stratford, CT.  First, we had to navigate the New Jersey Turnpike up to the George Washington Bridge where we ran into total gridlock.  After getting across the bridge we headed up through Yonkers on the I-87 then on up into Connecticut.  All-in-all it took us nearly four hours to make that drive.

 We finally got checked into the Homewood Suites hotel and then Justin, Adrian, Travis, Harold, Michelle, Abigail and Skyler came over to see us.  Joyce and I were happy to see them all.

 So, why in the world were we in Connecticut in the first place?  Justin has been attending the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University for the past two years working on his Masters Degree and we were all there to celebrate his graduation.

 We had a wonderful time visiting with family and friends and of course the graduation ceremony  was amazing.  Some really great things were said about Justin and you can rest assured that we are all proud of him.

This is taken from the commencement program:
“Justin W. Crocker attended Ohio State University from 2001 too 2005, graduated magna cum laude with a BA in criminology and was commissioned in the U.S. Army as an Infantry Officer.  He served as a rifle platoon leader with the 4th Infantry Division from 2006 to 2009 and deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  Justin later completed the Special Forces Qualification Course and served as an Operational Detachment-Alpha commander and company commander with the 3rd Special Forces Group from 2011 to 2015.  Justin deployed multiple times to Central Asia in support of ongoing counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations as a Special Forces Officer.  In 2015, Justin began his studies as Yale University as a General Wayne A. Downing Scholar through the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point.  Upon completing his studies at Yale, Justin will assume command of a Special Forces company in the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  His is married to the former Adrian M. Dauby of Tell City, Indiana.  They have a son, Travis.  He’s the little one running around the room right now".
Justin is 2nd from right.


Justin, "Focus Travis. Focus."







Graduation Party
The Gangs All Here


The knife and scabbard were made by Ron Cutler of Payson, UT.  440 Stainless Steel and buffalo horn.  The shadow box was made by Rick Stills of Rathdrum, ID.
 On Tuesday the 23rd we drove back down to Newark to catch our flight back to Bend.

 Just a note about driving in the New York City area.  Don’t do it!

More later.

Barry & Joyce

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

May 9, 2017


 Here is another edition of “Where We’ve Been and You Should Go Too”

Washington, DC

 Joyce an I both believe that every American should visit our nations capital at least once in their lifetime.  Standing in front of the actual documents that formed our country at the National Archives, watching the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery and walking through the White House is something that we will carry with us forever.

 Not only did we visit those places but we also toured the Capital, visited the National Air and Space Museum, the National Botanical Garden and the U.S. Air Force Monument.  Also, we toured the Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Memorials.  At the Lincoln Memorial we had the privilege to stand in the exact spot where Dr. King gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

 We took almost one whole day touring the World War II, Korean and Vietnam War Memorials.  At the Vietnam Memorial I found the name of a friend who lived across the street from me while growing up in Fresno, CA.

 Revisit our blog entry from October 2012 here to learn more and to see the pictures we took:  http://barryandjoyce.blogspot.com/2012/10/

 We were only in the area for one week and were only able to just scratch the surface of places to see.  But that is just another good reason to return.

April 20, 2017

  On Monday Joyce and I went over to Central Point to check out two home builders, Adair Homes and Hiline Homes.  We are not ready to buy now but we wanted to learn more about the process and costs involved.

 On Tuesday we welcomed Jim and Jeanne Glaspey to Valley of the Rouge State Park.  They will be staying here until the 25th then we’re all going back up to their house in Oakridge.

 Yesterday we drove out to Jacksonville to have lunch at the Back Porch Bar & Grill.  Jim and I had their Roy Rogers burger, Joyce had the barbecue Beef Brisket sandwich and Jeanne selected the Pulled Pork sandwich.  All of our food was excellent.  If you are even in the Jacksonville area make sure to make a stop in this great place.

April 26, 2017

 On Thursday the 20th Jim’s sister Donna and her husband Dwayne Hayes came down to the park for a visit.   Then on Friday Jim’s brother Ron and his wife Trisha came down to join in on the fun.  We spent most of the weekend just relaxing and enjoying each others company.  The girls did drive up to the Seven Feathers Casino Resort to play bingo.  No one won any money but they had a good time.

 Monday the 24th we packed up and headed up to Jim and Jeanne’s home in Oakridge.  We plan to be here until we go over to Tumalo State Park in Bend for our first hosting gig for the summer.

May 1, 2017

 While we were in Oakridge Gary and Marcia Stevenson had Joyce and I, Jim and Jeanne and Chuck and Sue Svendsen to their house for a delicious Chicken Parmesan dinner.  Thanks for the great time Gary and Marcia.

 Yesterday we packed up and headed over to Tumalo State Park arriving here about 1 PM.  We will be here for two months volunteering as the Yurt Hosts.  If you are in the area please stop by to say howdy.

May 7, 2017

 We’ve been here at Tumalo for a week now and have gotten into the groove as the Yurt Hosts.  Tumalo is a very busy park with most of the campsites and yurts sold out on the weekends.  If you want to camp here in the spring and summer we highly recommend you make a reservation way in advance.  In Oregon State Parks you can make your reservation up to nine months in advance.

 Our co-host’s Thom and Sharon Page who hail from Los Osos, CA are new to volunteering in Oregon.  Our other co-hosts, Bob and Kathy Bourdage have a home in Camp Sherman and are just filling in for a few days until the scheduled hosts arrive.

 A few days ago Joyce and I were talking to Thom and Sharon and they mentioned that they are members of the Family Motor Coach Association.  One of the benefit’s that they told us about is the FMCAssist program that really perked our interest.

 After doing more research into the FMCA and their benefits Joyce and I decided to become members.  You can read more about the FMCAssist program here:  https://www.fmca.com/benefits/fmcassist.html

Grandson Travis


1st time we have done this but, we've got our Swivel Wheel for sale.  Call if you're interested.



Later,

Barry & Joyce

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

April 19, 2017

March 31, 2017

 As most of you know I am a planner when it comes to our travels.  One of the things I hate more than anything is pulling into a RV park or campground and being told that there is no room at the inn.  So I plan our stops and 95% of the time we have made a reservation so we don’t run into the hassle of trying to find a place at the last minute.

 I had tried to make a reservation at Travis AFB some time a go and they wouldn’t make one for us.  The gal that works in the park said there were so many people there that they couldn’t figure it all out so they just stopped taking any reservations.  What?  We think they need some adult supervision.

 Our friends Rick and Patty Stills are at the Dixon May Fair RV Park so we called them to see if any sites were available there.  Rick said there was plenty of room so Joyce jumped in the car and headed down there while I finished getting the rig ready to go.  We got a site right next to Rick and Patty’s with full-hookups for $30 a night.

April 2, 2017

 Yesterday Joyce and I had breakfast with Joe and Lori Martin at Bud’s Bar and Grill here in Dixon.  Joyce has known Lori for many years and Joe and I go back to our days working together at the 60th Airlift Wing Aircrew Standardization and Evaluation at Travis AFB.  It is always fun to meet up with them.

April 4, 2017

 On Sunday we made the move back to Calistoga with me driving the RV and Joyce driving the Honda.  We’ll be here for four days this time and then head back down to Dixon for a five day stay.

 Yesterday we picked up Joyce’s mother and went out to her brother and sister-in-law’s home in Conn Valley outside of St. Helena.  Joann made a delicious chicken enchilada supper and then we had one of her famous cherry pies for desert.  Not loosing any weight here that’s for sure.

April 8, 2017

 Our stay at Calistoga went by way too fast as always .  On Thursday the 6th we left the RV park  around 9AM and made our way back to the Dixon May Fair RV Park for another visit with Rick and Patty Stills.

  The day before yesterday I bumped into the control panel for our inverter system and the darned thing quit working.  This exact thing happened a few weeks ago and after doing some trouble shooting, I finally removed the panel from the wall, disconnected the data/power cable, waited a few seconds and plugged it back in.  The panel rebooted and everything worked good.  This time I did the same thing and had no luck getting it working.

 I called Magnum Power’s technical support and they had me doing some additional  troubleshooting as well.  Rick and I went down to the hardware store and I got a new cable, took the controller out to the inverter and plugged it in, bypassing the cable into the rig.  It still didn’t work so we believe the controller is bad.  Ordered one through Amazon Prime for shipment to Beale AFB, our next stop.

 Last night the four of us along with Rick’s son Matthew went down to Bud’s Pub and Grill for supper.  Joyce and I used to go there a lot when we were living in Vacaville and have enjoyed their food.  Last night’s supper was outstanding.

April 13, 2017

 On Sunday the 9th, several of Rick and my Air Force buddies came by the park for a visit.  We had a great time telling stories and just enjoying seeing each other again.  Hope we can do that again next year.
Johnny Patrick, Rick Stills, Tim Nichols, Fergie Ferguson, Klint Ramsey and yours truly. 


Rick, Terry Stenz and Me.

 Monday morning Rick and Patty packed up and headed out for their trip back to their home in Rathdrum, ID.  Joyce and I were sad to see them got but we’ll see then again in the fall on our way up to Glacier National Park.

 On Tuesday it was our turn to leave Dixon and head up to Beale AFB near Marysville, CA.  The run up was fairly easy in moderate traffic and we’re now set up in the Famcamp with a full-hookup site for only $18 a night.

 The inverter control panel was waiting for us at the office when we got here and I got that installed.  However, three of the little buttons that are used to setup and adjust the inverter system had fallen down below the face.  I can turn the system and charger on and off but I can’t fine tune the inverter.  I got on the phone with the company that supplied it to Amazon hoping that they would just ship me a new one but that didn’t work out so good.  The solution was to just order a new one from Amazon prime and then send the this one back for a refund.  That will all happen today…hopefully.

 Yesterday we drove over to Nevada City to visit our friends Jerry and Marilyn Howlett at their beautiful home.  We met them nine years ago at the Oregon State Park’s Host Orientation in Salem and have been hosting with them at Smith Rock State Park every year since.

 After visiting for a while and having lunch they took us on a tour of the area which included a stop at the Empire Mine State Historic Park where they volunteer two days a week.

 Jerry and Marilyn gave us a fascinating personal tour of the mine and grounds.

The owner's cottage.






All the gold that was taken out of the mine would have fit in this square.
 This is they was the miner's were tansported into the mine.
After the great earthquake in San Francisco, the mine's owner bought all of the rail lines steel and used it for shoring.  This is a picture of a small portion.

More (and better) pictures of the Empire Mine:  https://www.bing.com/images/search?q=empire+mine+pictures&qpvt=empire+mine+pictures&qpvt=empire+mine+pictures&qpvt=empire+mine+pictures&FORM=IGRE

 After we left there we stopped at Marshall’s Pasties in Grass Valley to get one of them.  A Pastie (pronounced “Past-e”) is a traditional food brought to the mining areas by the early Cornish settlers from Cornwall, England.  They are flaky baked pies that are rolled and crimped and filled with fresh vegetables, including potatoes, onions, parsley and a meat.  And yes, at first I pronounced the word a tad differently.

 To top off a wonderful day Jerry and Marilyn took us to dinner at Casa Las Katarinas.  Thank you Jerry and Marilyn for the wonderful day.

April 17, 2017

 On Friday the 14th I drove over to Penn Valley and met up with Mike and Sylvie Kemp.  Mike and I were stationed together in the 7th MAS at Travis AFB for many years and he now is a flight engineer for 10 Tanker, the company that flies DC-10’s that drop fire retardant.  Mike said it's fun.  Hmmm......

 On Sunday we packed up and headed north to Win-River Casino in Redding, CA, a place we have stayed several times.  The RV parking is pretty much a large parking lot with hookups but it works for us,

 After getting setup we went to the casino’s restaurant for their Easter brunch.  The food was just OK and way over priced at $27 each.  Won’t do that one again.

 This morning we left Redding about 10AM and made the trip in off and on rain to Valley of the Rouge State Park near Rouge City, OR.  Joyce and I have stayed here several times and in fact, we hosted at the park several years ago.  Using our Oregon Disabled Veterans Pass our stay here is free with only an $8 registration fee.  By-the-way, Oregon extends this benefit to all disabled veterans, not just to Oregon residents.  Learn more and how to apply here:  http://oregonstateparks.org/?do=v.page&id=19

Michele and Family, Harold, Skyler and Abigail, Easter Sunday.

 More later.

Barry & Joyce

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

March 29, 2017

“Places We Have Been and Where You Should Go Too”

 As most of you know I am a really like visiting places that have had a large impact on American history.  One time in our history that I like to study is the American Civil War and specifically the battles that took place during that time.  No other battlefield is more iconic than the one that took place at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

 Joyce and I toured the Gettysburg National Battlefield in September 2012 while on our way to Boston, Massachusetts.  On recommendations form friends we hired a tour guide who went along with us in our truck and will drive your vehicle if you like.  Joyce and I highly recommend you hire a guide as well.  Our guide Erick brought the three days of July 1, 2 and 3, 1863 to life with his extensive knowledge of the battle.

 Some of the highlights of the tour were:
 The area where the battle first started on the morning of July 1st.  Erick outlined where the Northern and Southern Army's were located and how they were used on that first morning.  He also told us that all the battle monuments in the Battlefield are places so that the fronts face the enemy.
- The Eternal Peace Memorial.  This is the only memorial in the park that is dedicated to peace.
- The North Carolina Memorial.  From this area General Robert E. Lee ordered the attack on July 3rd against the Union forces commanded by Army of the Potomac  General George Meade and which became known as Pickett's Charge.
- The Virginia Memorial.  Here you will find the famous statue of Gen. Lee mounted on this favorite horse, Traveller.  A mile straight across the battlefield and inline with Gen. Lee stands the statue of Gen. Meade.
- After driving through The Peach Orchard and The Wheatfield, we made our way up the hill passing Big Round Top to Little Round Top.  This is where Union Brigadier General Gouverneur Warren, Meade's chief engineer alerted Union officers to the Confederate threat and brought Federal reinforcements to defend this position.
- The Pennsylvania Memorial.
- High Water Mark.  From here Meade's army defended against Pickett's Charge on July 3, 1863.  This was the climatic moment of the battle.  On July 4th, Lee's army began retreating.

You really need more than one day to see all the area has to offer.  In fact, I wish we had planned to stay for at least a week.

While in the Gettysburg area you will also want to visit:
    -  Battlefield Museum and experienced the Gettysburg Cyclorama.
    -  The Soldiers National Cemetery.
    -  General and President Dwight David and Mamie Doud Eisenhower's home.

 Joyce and I stayed at the Artillery Ridge Camping Resort that was very nice.  Using our Passport America discount the rate was under $30 a day, very reasonable for the area.


March 21, 2017

 The weather here in the Central Valley has been going crazy today.  In all my time living and visiting this area of California today is the first time that I can remember seeing tornado warnings posted.

March 26, 2017

 We had a really nice visit with my mother and two of my brothers.  We didn’t do too much, just relaxed and enjoyed being together.  We did go out to dinner a couple of times, one place being Me-N-Ed’s Pizzeria.  The first pizza I ever ate was at one of the original locations on Blackstone Ave. in Fresno back in 1958.  That’s been a while ago folks.

 Yesterday we hooked up and headed up Hwy 99 to the Lodi Elks Lodge that is actually located just north of Lodi in Woodbridge, CA.  They have 11 RV parking sites with 30/50 amp electric and water hookups.  After getting setup we walked over to the lodge and had a couple of adult beverages.  For you traveling Elks, this lodge takes reservations.

 On the way up we stopped at a Valero truck stop near Chowchilla to top-off of our fuel tank.  The $2.70 a gallon that we paid wasn’t too bad considering we are in the Peoples Republic of Kalifornia where everything is cost more.

March 27, 2017

 We left Lodi about 9:30, jumped on Hwy 12 headed to the Calistoga RV Park in Calistoga in the Napa Valley.  Every time we get on that highway I swear it will the last time but, we did it again anyway.  This is one of the roughest and hard to drive highways in the state and it just gets worse every year. But, the alternative after leaving Lodi is to go up through Sacramento which adds a bunch of time.  OK, one more time.  I am never going up Hwy 12 again!

 I mentioned in an earlier post that I had discovered a new part of my family a while back that I didn’t know existed.  My GGG Grandfather, William Enoch York Senior was born in the territory that became Alabama back in 1790 and died at Ider, DeKalb County, Alabama in 1883.  One of his sons and my GGG Grand Uncle John, was born in Grainger County, Tennessee on 15 June 1820.  In April 1845 John left Dade County, Missouri, with the Captain John Grigsby’s company bound for California in a wagon train.  He arrived in what was to become the Napa Valley later in the year.

 As many of y’all know Joyce grew up in Saint Helena, California and low and behold, John and many of his descendants are buried in the Saint Helena Public Cemetery.  The cemetery association has mapped the cemetery and posted a list of those buried there, including their grave locations with the date of burial.  So this morning armed with my camera, computer and lists that I downloaded, I headed over there to do some exploring.

 It didn’t take me long to find the grave of John, his wife Lucinda Hudson and several of his children along with other descendants.  I took a lot of pictures of gravestones that I will be posting on FindAGrave.com soon.  Read more about John here:  https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=5698851  In that article about John and his wife on the page, the writer talks about the Bear Flag War (Revolt).  Read about that here: http://www.history.com/topics/bear-flag-revolt.  Here is more about the California State Flag:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_California
Had to throw a picture of Travis.  Growing like a weed.

That’s probably enough for now.

Barry & Joyce

Monday, March 20, 2017

March 20, 2017

March 15, 2017

 On Monday morning we hooked up our towd and left the Elks Lodge about 9:30 AM.  Despite the heavy traffic on I-10 we made pretty good time.  After stopping for some $2.49 diesel fuel we headed to toward Golden Valley, AZ west of Kingman.  The drive up was mostly uneventful with light traffic.

 We arrived at the Tradewinds RV Park about 1:30 and then called our friends Keith and Joann Taylor who came out to the park to lead us to their house out in the desert.  When I say it’s out in the desert I mean just that.  Most of the drive was on gravel/dirt roads with a lot of dust to go with it.

 Keith & Joann have a nice home that is completely off the grid.  Ninety-nine percent of their power comes from four large solar panels they have installed that are coupled to huge battery banks and all of their water is from a well.  They use a generator only to run the well pump to fill up the 1000 gallon water tank and if he has to do any welding.  They fixed us a delicious chicken dinner and since we haven’t seen them in about four years we then we did some catching up on our travels.

 On Tuesday Keith and Joann fixed us breakfast and then we drove over the mountains to the old mining town of Oatman.  This little town is known for the wild burros that roam around town begging for something to eat and generally hang around for pictures.

 Their Solar System

They do have some beautiful views.

 The town was named to honor Olive Oatman, a young girl from Illinois who was taken captive by Indians and forced into slavery.  Founded shortly after a gold find was made near there in 1915, the town grew to over 3,500 in just one year.

On Old Route 66 to Oatman



Oatman, AZ.






Chow Time
Now it's siesta time.

Come on Keith.  Give the little guy some.

 After spending time walking around we then drove up to Laughlin, NV.  Our first stop was at the Riverside Resort where Keith and I toured the Don Laughlin Classic Car Museum while the girls played for a little while.  The cars in the collection are amazing,
I love old cars.























Here ya go Jeff Bright!



This one's for you Jim Glaspey.



 We then went to Harrah’s where we had dinner at the buffet.  And yes, we all ate way too much.

March 16, 2017

 Yesterday morning we left Golden Valley and made our way to the Elks Lodge in Needles, CA.  The Lodge is small but they do have six full-hookup RV sites.

 Joyce decided to drive up to Laughlin, NV. to make her donation to the state’s welfare fund.  Me?  I just hung around the house for a while then checked the lounge.

 This morning we headed on down the road toward the Sierra Trails RV Park in Mojave, CA.  This is another Passport America affiliated park that we have stayed in the past.  We got a pull-through site with 30 amp electrical and water for $20.  Nothing fancy here but it works for us.

March 17, 2017

 Yesterday evening we drove into California City to have dinner at the Green Tea Garden.  One of the best Chinese meals we have had in a long time.
Mary 18, 2017

 We left Mojave around 10 AM and headed toward the Elks Lodge in Fresno.  Since we hadn’t dumped our holding tanks in a couple of days we stopped at the Flying J just north of Bakersfield to take care of that task.  We had a little hassle over the cost for using their dump station but we finally got it done.  We then had a late breakfast at the Denny’s there.

 The Elks here takes reservations and we’re glad they do.  When we arrived our site was the last one available.  Unlike the Tempe Elks, the Fresno Elks Lodge is not a very active.  Their lounge is only open when the have meetings and rare dinners.  But, they do have ten RV spots with water and 30 amp electrical service for $20 a night.  Very reasonable for Fresno.

Lodge RV Parking

That’s all folks.

Barry & Joyce