Roger here.... We are DEFINITELY not in Kansas anymore, as you can see from the picture of Chaplin and me standing next to a tree that actually had green leaves and some kind of purple fruit. We have traveled to Arlington, Texas (between Dallas and Ft. Worth) where the daytime temperatures are in the 60s and the sky is sunny. (By the way, do you notice how skinny Dianne has become?)
Doesn't she look great! She lost eleven pounds working at Amazon and is determined to keep off the weight. I lost ten pounds. We are both stronger, more flexible, and feel great.
The restart to our adventures started very early Sunday morning, as we began an eight-hour drive from Coffeyville, KS to Arlington via Tulsa (impressive skyline) and Oklahoma City. The highlight of the drive was a stop at the Texas welcome center, where I picked up so many brochures and maps that the friendly Texas lady at the counter insisted on giving me a bag to carry them. (It was a really cool rest park). Sacajawea, our GPS, successfully (sometimes she DOES make mistakes) directed us through the congested Fort Worth traffic to our campground for the next two nights. We are staying at the Treetops Carefree RV Resort,
a beautiful wooded park in the middle of Arlington's hectic shopping area. (Dianne here: For our Indiana friends, think of Castleton Square on steroids, and that will give you an idea of the area surrounding this RV park!)
We were amazed to find such a restful place in the middle of suburbia. More good news, surprisingly, through all the trees, our satellite found a hole to the southern sky, so we have internet and Direct TV.
The purpose of our stop here was to see my first cousin, Beth, and her husband, Russ, and their daughter, Becca.
Beth and I were in the same grade and in the same school from kindergarten to high school graduation. She was like a sister to me. Her husband, Russ, was one of my good friends. We last saw them at their home in Chattanooga last spring, and were surprised to learn that Russ had been transferred to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area. Since we were driving straight through Ft. Worth, we had to stop to see them.
Sunday night, after we got settled at the campsite, we went to their house to watch the finale of Survivor while we enjoyed Beth's delicious homemade beef-vegetable soup. Dianne and I have watched every edition of Survivor since its outset many years ago. It was fun to watch it and share views about the characters with friends.
Today, we spent the afternoon in Ft. Worth, one of the prettiest cities I have seen, and traveled a few blocks to the historic Ft. Worth Stockyards.
What a neat place! It is filled with shops,
restaurants, honky tonk saloons, cowboys, horses, and more Texas atmosphere than you can imagine. The sidewalks have stars imbedded in the concrete every few feet with the names of famous Texans. The first indoor rodeo arena in the country dominates one side of the street.
We walked inside to take a peek - really cool
(sorry for the dark picture).
We missed the twice-a-day driving of longhorns down the main street, but we did get to pose next to a neat car with long horns on the front grill.
We also got a great shot of Beth in the cheesy, but fun, jail,
and Dianne in front of the water tower.
The cowboys and tourists riding horses down the street added to the atmosphere,
as did the cowboy music coming from the restaurants and bars.
We were all hungry after all the walking, so we stopped for lunch at one of the Texas barbecue restaurants, Riscky's. I was drawn to this particular restaurant because it advertised Texas Deep-Fried Pickles. We shared an order as an appetizer and they were as good as I thought they would be.
Notice all the grease in the picture - good thing I took my cholesterol meds this morning. The place had a great atmosphere and the food was delicious. Russ had a cheeseburger. The rest of us had a BBQ chopped brisket sandwich with Texas fries - yummy.
The funniest moment of the day happened as we were driving out of the parking area onto the brick street. One of the cowboys waved to us. Russ and I smiled and waved back. Then he waved again and pointed. We both thought he was trying to get us to notice an attraction or a business. Then he waved, smiled, and pointed again. A jolt of reality helped us to realize that we were turning the wrong way on a one-way street. After a roll of the eyes and yet another wave to the cowboy, our third one, we turned the car around and waved to the cowboy one last time.
The rest of the day went quickly. We stopped by the motor home to give the dogs some exercise, went back to Beth and Russ' house, ate some delicious lasagna for dinner, and said goodbye until the next trip through Texas.
On to Austin tomorrow.
Short note from Dianne: I couldn't resist including a photo of the back of my commemorative T-shirt that I EARNED through sweat and exertion from working at Amazon these past few months. I actually wore shorts and a t-shirt all the way through December at work. Walking 6+ miles a day carrying a 3-pound scanner, heavy lifting, stooping, squatting, climbing stairs for 11 hour shifts with no place to sit (except break room) all helped me to shed the pounds I wanted to lose. My goal now is to KEEP THEM OFF!
All in all, it was a good experience for me, and Roger and I made some really good friends that we hope to cross paths with again someday. The good thing about that is, we all live on wheels and can keep track of each other through travel blogs, e-mail, etc., so we'll know when we're in the same area of the country.
We've been blogging for a little over a year now, and our visitor map has just re-set for the next 12 months. Here's a photo of what it looked like for Dec. 2008-Dec. 2009.
I'm including this link mainly for myself, as we also use our blog as kind of a scrapbook of our adventure. (A perfect scrapbook that takes up no space or weight in the motorhome!) I was astonished to see where some of the people were who read (or at least clicked on) the blog -- even Iran! The Hawaii spot was of course our daughter. The spots get larger upon repeated clicks. It's really fun for me to see where our readers are!! Thanks to you all, and I hope you continue to follow our journey with us!