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.

Good Times with Good Friends


Here we are in Golden, Colorado.  The photo above shows the pretty sky and some nice rock ridges to climb.  The view that day towards Denver did not look quite so nice:



Along the ridge nearby are a few old mine entrances.  This picture made it in just because of the warning sign.  It says “ABANDONED MINES CAN WILL KILL YOU!”




We have been blessed this week with seeing many friends that we have not seen for too long!  Lonnie and Laura had us over for a very elegant dinner.  The table setting was gorgeous, the company delightful, and I forgot to take a picture!  We are so much like family there – I wish I had a picture.  Sigh.

Great long-time friends Giny and Joe came over one evening.  The rangefinder camera in Joe’s hand really works… because it is a cover for an iPhone!  Great seeing them!



Steve is a buddy who retired from his dental practice just a couple of months after I did.  It was fun planning our practice transitions simultaneously, and it was fun getting together with Steve and Laura again this week!



So it’s been a busy time.  We got a little snow, but nothing that lasted more than a few hours.  I got a few more cities up on my Antarctic Adventure page, including a couple videos, which you can see HERE.

And I’ve almost finished the dulcimer!  At the time of this picture, I had to add two more tuning keys.  Now all I have to do is get it strung!IMG_2005

Plans Change Again!

Well, last week I PROMISED that I’d have lots of good pictures up from our South American trip.  Then we made a last minute decision to make a trip from Houston to Denver and catch the Rocky Mountain Dental Convention… So a lot of the time I thought I’d spend sorting pictures was spent relocating!  But Dear Wife Cherryl did a lot of the driving so I did get to spend some time sifting through pictures, but I’ve had the last two days in meetings so I’m no where near done.  But if you’d like to see the partially done work, it will be in a special page for the whole South American Adventure.  Click HERE to jump to it.  Maybe next week I’ll have it done!

This blog is just for the trip up from Houston.  We broke it into a few relatively reasonable drives-  Monday we drove to see our Son-in-Law’s parents in Keene, Texas and had a good evening with them.  Then a couple more hours down the road and spent the night in a rest stop.  When we opened the refrigerator first thing in the morning, a large glass casserole dish (Full of yummy enchiladas), fell from the top shelf to the bottom glass shelf and the glass exploded!  Not the dish, but the glass cover over the bottom drawer.  What a mess!  It is obviously safety glass, and shattered without leaving huge jagged glass shards, but little pieces went everywhere!  Took quite a while vacuuming and sweeping repeatedly.  Have you every vacuumed out the inside of your refrigerator?



We spent another night in a little almost abandoned campground in New Mexico.  The sunrise was pretty in spite of the spartan landscape.



Every once in a while we have to put fuel in our moving house, and it’s easiest at the truck stops.  Here we are playing with the big guys:



As we drive, we can keep an eye on our “Toad” vehicle through the rear video camera.  With the son coming up directly behind us, I thought the view was nice, so I’m sharing it here:



Here is a view of our present campsite.  Cherryl took this after a short hike up to the top of a little hill in the park.



Here is the famous “Peeping Tom Bear” looking into the Colorado Convention Center.  Some of the meetings were fun and others barely tolerable.  That’s the way it goes!



Then we got to have dinner with longtime friends (and former hygiene team member) Debbie and Mike.  It’s been a good, but busy week!


“Home” Again

Well, we’re home again.

Sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned… (So you’ve noticed that too!?)

After our South American Cruise ended last week, we spent a few days in Santiago, Chile.  We got up Monday morning at 2:40am, to meet our 3am scheduled ride from the wonderful hotel to the airport.  That all went well, our flights went well – Santiago to Panama City, and then on to Houston.  We even got bumped to first class for that second leg!  But it was over 10 hours of flying, and many more waiting around, so we arrived in Houston Monday evening rather tired.

My original plan was that I would have most all of the week to go through all the pictures we’d taken, and get at least the first half of the trip a little better represented than I have so far.  Here’s where it started going a bit differently.

We have never left Fudge Ripple, our “home with wheels” for this length of time before.  I’m not usually too worried about things going wrong while we’re gone, but I try to take the usual precautions (Water shut off, nothing loose outside, windows closed except for a couple rainproof windows cracked open, etc.).  I will admit to a bit of worry when I got an email from the park where we left the motorhome saying there was a huge storm forecast, and to take needed precautions.  What could I do while away?

Turns out the storm was a wimp and nothing happened.  But while we were so glad to see our home, we found out the water heater was not working.  We have a really cool water heater (Too cool if it’s not working!) that heats the water on demand; technically giving an endless supply of hot water, if you are hooked up to the water in the park.  Tuesday the first priority was hot water.  The weird thing was the heater was actually hot, but we couldn’t get hot water in the house.  I looked all over for blown fuses or thrown breakers, to no avail.  So I called the manufacturer.  They were very helpful, had me do a bit of diagnostic work and told me quickly that I needed a new “Summer loop pump”.  There are three pumps that send water through the hot portion of the heater – two for the furnaces; front and rear, and one for the hot water.  We ordered the pump, second day air, with the hope that I could install it myself.  He asked if the main hoses from the burner go up over the frame rail, and when I affirmed that, he said “Too bad – you’ll have to empty your storage area, take out a wall, and then get to the distribution box with the pump.”  The good news is that all our junk stored stuff is on slide out trays, so I can slide them out, climb into the “basement” storage area and reach the partition wall which had to be removed to access the box with the pumps.


The recalcitrant pump is in the spotlight on the left.


Thursday we got the pump, and I was able to install it pretty easily, considering.  Great to have hot water again!


A major distraction this week was my dulcimer.  Around Thanksgiving I got myself a Christmas present – a kit to build a Mountain Dulcimer.  They are easy to play, and I thought it would be fun to create my own.  So I spent a fair bit of time on it instead of pictures.

Here I have glued the front and back onto the sides, and using a few spare books in lieu of clamps.


This is after the glue set – waiting for the edges to be further trimmed and sanded.


Now all sanded, ready for applying the finish.


First coat of finish oil applied, it will get to dry enjoying the view out the window.



Another fun thing this week was Cherryl getting invited to join some of the ladies in this park for a daily exercise session.  While there, they invited us to a regular Thursday evening get-together at a crazy local hangout called the “Train Wreck”.  It was fun to meet lots of the folks who are staying in this park pretty much full time.  We had fun meeting lots of them, but I will admit it was so loud that shouted conversations were needed, and a guy with my poor hearing didn’t have much of a chance!  Fun anyway!



There were other paperwork distractions during the week, (Naps!) so guess what – my week devoted to sorting through pictures didn’t work out that way.  I have gotten them culled from all the photo gadgets… it works out to slightly under 4,000 pictures!  So NEXT WEEK, I PROMISE, I will get started showing you a few of my favorites!





Plethora of Plantations

We spent a couple of days with good friends Jeff and Marilyn in Gulfport, Mississippi.  They have lived out of their RV for about 3 years now!  We had a great time with them – camped side by side: (OK, I was really taking a picture of our rig.  But theirs is next door!)



I was really hoping we could dine in this elegant establishment, but the timing never worked out…


Jefferson Davis Home

We enjoyed a nice long walk 😉 to the last home of Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy.


This carriage is the last he rode in… posthumously.  It is decorated with rifles and cannon.



Inside the house is restored to as close as they could to the period.







A ways behind the house is the cemetery, complete with the tomb of the Unknown Confederate Soldier.


A sign announcing “Snake Crossing” got my attention!


St Michael church

This church in Convent, Louisiana has been there a while… we were told many slaves and their babies were buried there.


Poche Plantation

Just down the street from St Michael’s is the Poche Plantation, which just happens to have RV sites on the back of the property.  So now we have lived on a plantation! (for a couple of days…)

The “Big House” was built in the 1870’s, after the civil war, so no slaves toiled here.  It faces the Mississippi River, but there is a huge levee between it and the river.  In 1929, the government was going to build the levee to control the river, and told all the homeowners along the river that they would have to move their homes or demolish them… at the homeowners’ expense!  The owner of this home fought it because of the beauty of the home, and the government paid to have it moved back a safe distance from the new levee!


Again, it is furnished to the period, with many original pieces still remaining.



I enjoyed the kid’s rocking horse in the playroom.  (Enjoyed LOOKING at it… they wouldn’t let me try it out)


The crystal balls on the bottom of the chandeliers were very popular… ask me sometime for a couple funny stories regarding these.





The wallpaper in the dining room was very unique, and in bad shape.  The owner talked to manufacturers all over the states and Europe, looking for a similar pattern.  Finally a French company said they didn’t have a similar pattern; they had the original!  They had been the original supplier to the mansion!  They recreated the wallpaper, and that now adorns the walls. It is unusual in that the pattern does not repeat… and there are unique colorful birds here and there, but only one of each bird in the room.




Poche Plantation at night:


Oak Alley Plantation

This is a magnificent antebellum plantation on the other side of the Mississippi.  It is justly famous for many reasons, but most obvious is the namesake walkway through the oak trees to the entrance of the “Big House.”

Ironically, the owners were told they would have to cut away many of the oaks when the levee was to be built.  Power or Prestige prevailed, however… they moved the bank of the river so the Oak Alley would remain undisturbed!






Photography is not allowed in the house, but this is from the front balcony looking out through the Oak Alley.



All along the levee were preparations for bonfires, a Christmas tradition along the river.  This one is just opposite the gate to Oak Alley.




There used to be 20 slave cabins… now there are 6 that have been reconstructed and furnished.


A tour guide said that the half-moon cutout on the outhouse door indicated it was for the women.  A complete circle, a full-moon, was for the men.  I’d never heard that before.

Lake Charles

A nice lakefront walk houses a small marina and a large park, including a kid’s playground with a climbing house that looked three stories tall!

This represents Captain Johannes Goos, who settled here in 1855 with his wife and seven children.  He was a lumber miller and shipbuilder, and used some of his ships to run the Union blockades during the Civil War.  He built a hospital, and took care of both the Confederate and Union soldiers.  A very good guy, so he gets his statue in the park.



A walk further along the lake revealed many beautiful homes… maybe today’s version of the plantation “Big Houses.”



Just in case you think all homes in this part of the world look like plantation “Big Houses”, here are a couple of structures near our Poche Plantation grounds, complete with “ladies room”…




OK, here is the second picture I’ve posted from inside a Wal*Mart.  This little robot thing was slowly sliding down the isle, with a bright light shining on the rack adjacent it.  It must have been recording shelf content for restocking or inventory purposes.  So what would happen if it approached a person? (Me). It stopped, and turned around and headed elsewhere.  Funny thing; it encountered me again!  I had the poor thing moving all around trying to avoid me.  If this Wal*Mart is poorly stocked, it’s my fault.



Houston, Texas

So here we are in Houston.  We have a nice site, with the nose pointed right at a little lake.  From inside the motorhome you can’t see any land in front of us – just water.  We can pretend we are still living on a boat.

We’ve seen a heron, many coots, and a couple of turtles enjoying the lake.




You may notice we have sun covers over the wheels and tires, and over the windshield and front windows.  We are planning on leaving Fudge Ripple here for a bit, while we explore some places we’ve never been before.  We have a huge adventure planned, starting Sunday evening.  I’m hoping we will have sufficient internet coverage to keep posting at least a few pictures for the next few weeks.  So come back next week to see where a ten hour flight south can get us!


(The sunsets on our little lake have been fabulous!)




Being Thankful!

St Louis


The year Karen and Loren lived in St Louis, Ashlyn was 2 and Bryan was born.  They thought it would be fun to check the area out again, so we met them there.

This is a park near where they lived:




And of course, if in St Louis, you need to check out the arch!






The view from the top at sunset was really awesome!  Which is good, because it involves lots of long lines and  crowds to get up there!






Monday was a quick trip to the zoo – and a bit of “King of the Turtle!”



We did see a few animals in the zoo, including this Takin.  Funny looking guy I don’t remember seeing before.




The high point of the zoo when Ashlyn was two, was the Carousel.  So we had to pose by it now.



In addition to animals, there are many beautiful buildings in the zoo.




Here is Cherryl trying to look like Beauty, the “Gruff Grandma!”










Then it was on to Branson, where we took in a concert by “Six,” an a cappella group that we really love. (I think this is the fourth time we’ve heard them!)


Becky, Kevin, Dayna and Peter joined us at the campground for Silver Dollar City.  Becky brought some yummy food, and we all cooked and added to it.  We had a nice Thanksgiving dinner with ten of us in our motorhome!  It was great!



Silver Dollar City is a huge park now, themed in the 1880’s.  They have craft demonstrations, many little shops (!), lots of food, and some of the best roller coasters anywhere!

SDC actually grew up around the Marvel Caves, as a way to entertain folks waiting for a cave tour.  The caves are really fascinating, and have a bit of history.  In the early 1800’s someone thought there was marble in the caves, so he called them Marble Caves, sold shares as a mining outfit, and built a little town near the cave to facilitate extracting all that marble.  During the Grand Opening of the establishment, a geologist descended into the cave, and announced that there was no trace of marble there!  The promoter then decided all the minors could extract bat guano, as there were some deposits 40 feet deep!  It took years to “mine” all that *%#@* guano out, and then the town was deserted.  Eventually the name became Marvel Caves, and it became a tourist attraction.



So Thanksgiving week in Silver Dollar City was lots of fun, but we definitely had some cold and rainy days!





They claim to have over 6,500,000 lights up!







Friday night was our own little sing-along, with ukuleles, a dulcimer, and happy voices.


And we must include the shot of everyone in their Christmas PJ’s!




And maybe an “Old Time” photo just for fun:



And one where we let the “women folk” smile a bit…

Old Color












More Missouri Cold!

Cedar Creek Resort and RV Park

We spent a week just outside Columbia, Missouri… and it was still COLD and RAINY!  The campground was down a mile dirt road, and all dirt roads in the camp, too.  So we got all muddy, inside and out.  The area around was very pretty, but the mud took a bit of the fun out of it all!  It didn’t feel much like a “Resort and RV Park!” A few days after our arrival, the rain stopped, the mud dried, and the world seemed nicer. The day before we were to move on, I washed all the mud off the motorhome and the car, and they looked so much better!  Then we saw it was forecast to rain that night… so we left early!  Spent the night in a Cracker Barrel parking lot, and it was very nice.  It rained, but no more mud.




Plenty of nice walks around the campground:



This was the view out our windshield:



Rock Bridge Memorial State Park

Rock Bridge Park has a million step boardwalk (OK, so I didn’t count them, I estimated) through the forest to some interesting cave formations, and naturally a rock bridge, or arch.  Being unprepared to go spelunking, we didn’t venture more than maybe 30 feet into one cave.





Rain drops kept falling on our heads…






So after our overnight at the friendly Cracker Barrel, we headed for St. Louis, where we would meet up with all our kids and grandkids to spend the Thanksgiving week together.  But that’s next weeks’ story – see you next week!



Before There Was Email…

Pony Express

These stables were built in 1858 in St Joseph, Missouri, and purchased two years later to be the eastern terminus of the Pony Express.  Wagon trains had been headed west from St Joe from the mid 1840’s, and during the “Gold Rush” from ’49 – ’51 more wagon trains started their trek here than any other Missouri River “Jumping-off” point.  The train tracks and telegraph lines from the east ended here.




By 1860, there were really only a few methods of communicating between the east and west coasts.  Ships could deliver mail (and goods) from the east coast, down South America and around Cape Horn, and up the western coast all the way to California.  The fastest ships could make the trip in about three months.

Another option was to have the ship dock in Panama, have the mail sent by land across to the Pacific coast, then shipped up to San Francisco.  This could be accomplished in about four weeks.

Or you could choose a stagecoach… Running between St Louis to San Francisco via El Paso only took 21- 23 days.



So the time was ripe for a private venture to drastically improve the communication possibilities… And the Pony Express was created.  The hope was to get governmental mail contracts and get paid very well.





A course was laid out over 2,000 miles, with relay stations every 10 – 15 miles along the way.  The rider had two minutes at a relay station to get a drink, relieve himself, and move the Mochila, or mail bag, to a fresh horse.  The home stations were about 100 miles apart, and usually larger and somewhat more comfortable.  Here the rider would hand off the Mochila to a fresh rider, and wait for the rider coming back the other way.  He would then reverse over the same route he’d taken first, so each rider would have “his” route to repeat.

The mattresses were filled with grass, hay, straw or horsehair (bugs included), and the bed frame was made of rope.  Every night the ropes would need tightening. Legend has it this is the origin of “Sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite!”

As the riders raced through towns, ladies would offer baked goods with holes in the middle so the riders could grab them (the food, not the ladies) and eat easily on the fly.  Another legend has it that this is the origin of the doughnut… but that is patently false as doughnuts with holes in the middle had been around in Europe for a long time by then.  But it’s a cool story.


The Mochila had four compartments, or Cantinas; three were locked shut, with the only two keys at the opposite ends of the trail.  The fourth Cantina  was open, to add mail at other stops if needed.  The total weight of the mail was limited to 20 pounds, so letters were written on onion skin paper.

The Pony Express riders were young, and the pay was pretty good, if you didn’t mind long hours, very difficult terrain, and occasionally hostile Indians. (Only one Pony Express rider was killed by Indians.)  The youngest rider was only 11!

Only young men of sterling character were accepted in the Pony Express.  One of the business creators was a very religious man.  He gave each rider a special edition Bible, and required they sign the following oath.  I’m thinking it would be hard to enforce today…


The route went from St Joseph Missouri through what are now Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and on to Sacramento.  From there the mail went on by boat on the Sacramento River to San Francisco.

The first riders left from each end of the route on April 3, 1860, with each Mochila making the first trip in about 10 days.  The mail was usually delivered at that speed, with service once per week at first, and later going to twice weekly.

The fastest Pony Express run was to carry presidential election news:  the 1860 election results were telegraphed to Fort Kearny in Nebraska Territory (then the end of the telegraph line), then the Pony Express carried the news to Fort Churchill, Nevada Territory, where it was telegraphed on to California.  “California’s newspapers received word of Lincoln’s election only seven days and 17 hours after the East Coast papers, an unrivaled feat at the time.”

A very long trail!


The Pony Express only ran for about 19 months.  During that time, only one Mochila was lost; it was headed east and ran into some Indian wars on the route.  (The mail bag finally showed up in New York 2 years later.)

When transcontinental telegraph lines were completed, the need for the Pony Express melted away.  It was an amazing accomplishment!


Steam Locomotive

Across the park from the Pony Express stable is this huge locomotive.  While not as big as some I’ve reported on lately, it is still immense.  Built in 1937 for about $100,000, it weighed 576,000 pounds.  It ran for 20 years before being retired…  I personally don’t weigh anywhere near that amount, and worked for way longer than that before retiring. Just saying…


Peculiar Park

We stayed for a few days in a Peculiar Park… Peculiar Park Place, to be exact.  In the town of Peculiar, Missouri.  It is really a nice RV park, with the only really peculiar thing being the way our GPS pronounced it… “Peck You Liar”…   Very funny.




Seriously Cold!


National Toilet Plunger Museum

After last week’s adventure in the National Roller Skating Museum, I’m sure there are those who think I’ll go to any museum possible…  Well, maybe that’s true.  Which leads me to the National Toilet Plunger Museum.



Ok, there is no such place as the Toilet Plunger Museum.  But this thing was near our campsite, and I’m not sure what it really is.  Any ideas?  I do know (from careful experimentation) that a basketball thrown into the open top seems to exit somewhat randomly from one of the four holes underneath.  If that’s your idea of a fun game, maybe you need to get out more.  Maybe a plumber invented it…


Fudge Ripple

Some have asked what it’s like living in a motorhome… so we will start by showing what our home looks like.  Maybe later we will try to show more about what living in it is like…



When we arrived at our campground in St. Joseph, MO, there were green leaves and red leaves all over the trees.  One tree in particular, right in front of our motorhome, had green leaves on one side and red on the other.  But over the course of just a few days, they all fell to the ground.  Then the cold came.  And then the snow.  Not too much snow, but plenty of cold.  It got down to 6 degrees F.  That’s colder than retired people need!!  Our home is very well insulated, and with the heated tile floors, the furnace doesn’t even have to run too often to keep it nice inside.  But it’s still mighty cold when you go outside!


The following is the same view as the one at the top of the page.  What a difference in a few days!