Oklahoma Again!

Leaving Lincoln

On our last weekend with family in Lincoln, Nebraska, we ate well… maybe even too well for a few here…


Cherryl and Casey making music… and a farewell breakfast was fabulous at Green Gateau!


Orphan Train Museum

As we headed south (Where we hoped it would be warmer!) we saw signs for the Orphan Train museum, in Concordia Kansas.  If you note the hours on the sign below, it’s closed on Sundays and Mondays.  We didn’t feel it was worth the wait till Tuesday, but we looked around and read up on the Orphan Trains.

In the mid 1800’s, railroads were building lines across the country, and advertisements were sent all over the world, especially Europe, promising “free land” and a chance to start a new life.  Millions arrived in New York and Boston, and could not find work or decent housing.  Work that was found often involved very dangerous machinery, crippling or killing many.  Disease ran rampant and took an amazing number of parents.  With no family system for support, the children became wards of the court.  Many cities, but primarily Boston and New York, had thousands of orphans to deal with.  They arranged for children to be placed on trains headed west, and a different stops they would line the kids up and see who was willing to adopt them.  Many families felt sorry for the poor children, and many wanted children to be workers on their farms…

The Orphan Trains ran from the mid 1800’s till the 1920’s.  Numbers of children involved are hard to document, because records were spotty, and I think no one involved was really proud of what was going on.

Since the museum was closed, we just wandered the grounds, and looked at statues representing children that were adopted in this general area.


As we continued south, we decided to drive past Oklahoma City, our original estimate of a stopping spot.  A ways past the city is Ardmore, Oklahoma.  I have a good friend who I thought grew up in Ardmore, (Yep, Darrell, that’s you) so we figured that could be a good stopping spot.  Outside Ardmore is Lake Murray, and we found a very nice campsite here.  We’d thought of maybe two nights here… but it was so nice we extended it to a week!  Right on the lake, almost empty campground, very quiet and nice.





Lake Murray CCC

In 1929 the massive stock market crash precipitated the great depression.  Thousands were out of work, so President Franklin D. Roosevelt came up with federal works programs.  The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Works Progress Administration (WPA) were programs to get people work, and build cool state and national parks.  What a concept!… working for your country and your paycheck, instead of just a governmental handout…

They built in a style called “National Park Rustic”, very strong and fitting naturally into the environment.  Lake Murray has many of the CCC and WPA structures to explore.  Most of the following buildings were erected in 1933-35.

This water tower and pump house was used till the mid 50’s, when it was replaced with a new facility.



This little building (the pump house?) is locked up and empty.  At least Cherryl thought it was empty… The window on the other side has no bars or glass.  It is very dark inside, and Cherryl stuck her head in to see inside.  The occupant of of the house rushed to the window from the inside – and she screamed dramatically as a huge buzzard stopped a few inches from her face!  When she got out of the way, her new friend perched on a neighboring tree.





Lots of old cabins are in one large area, close to the original office building.




Tucker Tower was originally built hoping to be a retreat for Oklahoma governors, but that never worked out.  It is now the park’s nature center.  It has a beautiful view of the lake.



Many of the CCC buildings are made of huge stones, and really do blend in well with the natural environment.


This bridge and adjoining shelter is named in honor of E. J. Johnson, CCC project director in Lake Murray from 1935 to 1942.  A beautiful bridge that is not even noticed unless you get off the road and hike through the brush.




Icing on the Cake

To top off the week, we were going to an awesome vegetarian restaurant we found in Ardmore (Veggies) when we bumped into a gal we’ve known since she played with our daughters in grade school.  So she invited us to dinner at her house – and we had a very nice dinner and time with Chelsea and her great family!

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State of Union Address

LAHRS Annual Train Show


I have no idea what LAHRS stands for, but they got me at Train Show!  So lots of us went down to spend time with model railroads…






I usually don’t include meals in my blog, probably because, well, we all eat most days, and what’s so special about that?  But once in a while, you find something unusual…  As in the LeadBelly.



On the menu was a “Full Leaded Jacket”… A cinnamon roll, sliced with a burger (Veggie) in between, and smothered with chili and other stuff, surrounded by pita chips.  So bizarre I had to try it!  Fantastic! I loved it!  It was not a cinnamon roll covered with frosting, so it was just a little sweet and spicy and great!  I’m told cinnamon roll with chili is a mid western “thing”.  Now I know. (And I’d do it again!)




Dental CE


I had a day of pharmacology, presented very well, even to the point of being fun!  How amazing is that?! The Nebraska Innovation Center was a very nice venue too.


Union College


The last time I put a few pictures of Union College up, I had some folks say they had always heard of Union but never seen it.  So I decided I’d shoot up the whole campus.  OOPS! Shouldn’t say it that way!  I’d PHOTOGRAPH the whole campus.

The day I’d picked to do that was gray and cold…  24F with a wind chill of -8,357F.  Or something like that.  So I did quick pix and was done.  Maybe sometime when it’s warm out and things are green I’ll try more artistic photos.

I’ll start with the church… seems a fitting place to start.




Lots of bright stained glass in the foyer and the sanctuary.



A beautiful organ is surrounded by stained glass… looks strange with no people!



At the corner of the campus is a building originally built as a Carnegie Library.  I wrote about these fascinating buildings in a previous blog, so I won’t go over it again now.


The Clocktower was built in the 70’s, and is in the center of the campus.



Most of the sidewalks leading into the campus have these arches, this one says class of 1929.



I’m not sure what all goes on in these buildings.  I think Music is here, and I’m tempted to make up something else, but I really don’t know.  If you know and would like to comment, I’d be happy to hear it.


The Ortner Center is at one end of a Boy’s Dorm, and is the entryway to the cafeteria.



The Dick Building is full of classrooms and offices.



The Krueger Center is the new science complex, and is very impressive inside.



Prescott Hall is another Boy’s Dorm.  I think it was built in the 60’s, and it looks VERY similar to Sierra Towers, the dorm of similar vintage I lived in while at La Sierra University in California. (Several years ago)



The “Old Gym” is somewhat of a landmark.



Rees Hall is the main Girl’s Dorm, and was built in 1957.  It has been enlarged since then, and this is the dorm where some people (?) remodeled a bunch of rooms last year.  And some of them (?) will return to upgrade more rooms this year too…



The library, meeting spaces, bookstore and who knows what else are in the Don Love Building.



I think the nursing program is upstairs, and I know the fitness center and pool are downstairs.




We are here in Lincoln, Nebraska for several reasons, not a one of which is the weather!  We thought we’d had our Fudge Ripple movable home in cold before, but that was apparently just a “warm up” for this place… it was -1 F the other night!  Now I know that’s not too big a deal if you live in Minnesota or someplace like that, but I’m really not sure why our schedule seems to be testing both us and our motorhome.  The good news is that the motorhome has done very well.  The heated tile floors give the furnace some rest time, and the fact that it’s very well insulated makes the whole thing work.  We, however, really feel cold when outside!  After my meeting next weekend, we hope to head south!!


Freezer Frozen

Maybe in sympathy with the cold weather, the ice maker in our refrigerator decided to act up.  I think some water froze in the little trough that pours into the cube making gadget (If this is too much technical language, I sincerely apologize).  So the little ice cube making computer controller thing would periodically add water, looking to fill the cube making gadget, but instead it was pouring out across the bottom of the freezer.  The freezer itself was doing it’s part very efficiently, and so we got a solid sheet of ice one inch thick under the freezer drawer.  Friday night we pulled out the drawer, and couldn’t get it to close, which led not only to the discovery but the necessity of fixing it right then. The majority of the iceberg came out in just a few pieces, which I threw outside. (It’s been a week, and some of that ice is still out there on the lawn!) We used the hairdryer trick to thaw out other chunks of ice and eventually got it restored to normal.  I got no pictures because it wasn’t really fun at the time…


Floor Ice

The next day Cherryl was trying to get a bunch of frozen-together ice cubes from the ice cube bin, and it slipped, and went all over the floor.  That very effectively broke them all apart.  It was fun for me so I got a picture!



TV Repairman

I bet you didn’t know I was a TV Repairman!  Well, maybe just a perfectionist fusser.

We have a TV mounted on a “Televator”, which lowers it behind the couch when not needed and raises it when you want it.  When it’s closed, all you see is a slightly raised area of the Corian type countertop, sort of like a lid.  A while ago, I slipped while reaching something over the couch and jarred that “lid”.  Since then, the TV has come up a little crooked, as in the photo below:


It has bothered me, not only because it’s lopsided, but because I was afraid I’d have to move the whole couch out and that looked difficult.  But I finally got around to it, and did remove the couch to get at the panel underneath the TV.  Since this is not a house, the couch is securely bolted to the floor.  Once it was out of the way, I removed the panel and looked at the way the TV was mounted to the Televator. I could find nothing out of line.  I finally wondered what would happen if I just twisted the TV.  I did, and it leveled out just fine.  SIGH.  Taking the couch and panel apart were apparently just for fun.  But now the TV is level…




What is special about the number 88?  It was an Oldsmobile for many years…  It is used in Ham Radio to mean Love or Hugs and Kisses…  And was Cherryl’s mother’s birthday milestone this week.  Joanne has been a big fan of Micky Mouse since he was created, so Mickey helped her celebrate.  I guess when you are 88 you can pose or not as you choose.



“Laurel’s Orchestra”

Sunday we had a great afternoon at the Orchestra, which features our good friend Laurel.  OK, it’s not really HER orchestra, but we like to think of it that way!  A great program including Bizet’s Carmen, Rossini’s Thieving Magpie, and one of my all-time favorites, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto #2.  Wonderful!!



Nebraska State Capitol

The Trip Advisor website said the Lincoln Governor’s Mansion tours are available on Thursdays from one to four.  So we thought that tour, and a tour though the State Capitol would be fun.  Turns out you need reservations two weeks in advance to get inside the Mansion.  So we moved on to the capitol building (Right across the street).

The first capitol was built in Lincoln in 1868.  It was created with local limestone.  It seemed only fitting: local, symbolic, inspirational, whatever.  The only problem was that Nebraska’s limestone is very porous, and it started to dissolve soon after completion.  Eleven years later, it was obvious they needed to replace it.  The newer, more impressive building was completed in 1888. (More 88’s) However, it was not built too well either, and the foundation sank.  So a third, much more impressive structure was erected, starting in 1922 and completed in 1932.  Lest you scoff at taking 10 years to put together  a building, listen to how and why they did it that way.

First is the requirement to stay out of debt.  This was to be a “Pay as you go” building. (Can you believe it?)  The plan looks to be a cross inside a square.  They would build it in four phases, the first phase being the outer ring of the square.  This was built right around the old building, allowing governmental work to continue during construction.  When the outer ring was finished, offices were moved to their new quarters, and the old building in the center was torn down.  The second phase saw the north, east and south legs of the cross built.  Phase 3 was the creation of the tower.  Rising 400 feet above the plains, and visible from 30 miles away, this was the tallest state capitol building, a source of Art Deco pride, for three years until Louisiana’s capitol was finished at 50 feet taller.  Whatever, it is very impressive!  Phase 4 finished out the west leg of the cross, and over the next 30 some years the interior was completed with highly symbolic paintings, mosaics and carvings. (Done as they could afford it!)





The Nebraska legislature meets in this room.  It is the country’s only Unicameral – meaning it is not divided into two parties.  Voters do not even see a candidate’s political affiliation on the ballot.  They have worked with this system since 1937.  Seems to be working out…



Doors to the old Senate quarters (Unused since the 1937 Unicameral system started) are very unique.



The judicial brach meets in this beautiful room.  All though the room are symbols of Nebraska, equal opportunity  and justice.  They are very proud of the acoustics in this room, and credit the special sound absorbing stone of the walls and the elaborate walnut ceiling with creating this effect.




Chamber doors with ornate detailing…



Another nice set of doors leads to an elevator to the 14th floor.  The elevators look like the 1920’s, but we were assured they were renewed just 8 years ago, so would safely convey us to the top of the tower.



Inside the dome at the top are more murals depicting important Nebraska values, like helping others, sharing, hard work, etc.



Everything on every wall throughout this capitol building seems to represent something. Most of it I don’t remember, but some things, like this chandelier, I never did hear.  If you have any clue what this represents, please comment and let me know!



On the very top of the tower, perhaps with the chain from the chandelier hooked around his toes, is “The Sower”.  He obviously represents agriculture, but also the “chief purpose in forming society, to sow nobler ideas of living”.



This is the Governor’s mansion, that we were not allowed inside…



And St Mary’s Catholic Church, across the street from the capitol, starkly contrasting in architectural form from the First Baptist Church on the corner.







Done in Denver

Saturday after church we had a wonderful lunch with longtime friends Dick and Eleanor. Later in the afternoon we were joined by Ken and Tonya, and their great kids Asher and Shiloh.  What a great time!


The sunset was spectacular, as in the photo at the top.  How could it get better than that? But it did!



Monday we got snow!  Had a fun dinner with super buddy Bill, who won’t let me take his picture!  Drove up to his place in Cold Creek Canyon that night, and spent a little time checking out his great spread in the mountains.  It’s really grown since I first saw it a few decades ago!


Tuesday we drove to Grand Junction to see Ron and Chris.  So good to see them!  We enjoyed staying in their beautiful house and we ate really well too!  But again, I forgot to take any pictures!  Here are a few from the trip back down.



Later Wednesday we were planning on leaving Golden at about 3pm, but were delayed a bit (!) by having to clean ice off the slide toppers.  These are awnings that cover the slides when they are out, to keep leaves and snow from building up on them and coming inside when we slide them in.  But if they get frozen, it is a real pain to get them clear enough to slide in.  Do I look happy?



Getting the snow off was pretty easy; the ice bonded to the awning fabric was far more difficult!  The starboard side was in the sun, and with the snow off the ice melted pretty fast.  We moved the motorhome so the sun hit the other side, but it was getting late and the sun didn’t do it… I had to scrape all the ice off.


Wednesday night we spent at the “Chateau Schuler.”  A beautiful home when it is not hidden behind a big RV! Darrell and Lisa were great hosts, and showed us a wonderful time and even a fun movie!




Amazingly enough, I’ve finally finished the Amazon Adventure page!  If you have lots of time on your hands, you can read it HERE.