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Welcome to the travels of Doug and Nada. We love the Lord and are traveling full-time in our motorhome with our German Shepherd, Homer. Homer is the star attraction wherever we stop and he gets us talking and sharing with many people. DON'T FORGET: YOU CAN ENLARGE EACH PHOTO BY CLICKING ON THE PHOTO! The newest blog post is at the top and they go back in time as you scroll down. If you want to see each photo larger, you can just click on the photo and it will enlarge. If you decide to leave a comment, don't forget to sign it so we know who left it. ;-) Folks: This site is under continual construction as we travel and see this beautiful country. Check back for more updates and photos. Thanks for visiting with us! May God bless your day!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

9/29/2011 - Bureau of Engraving & Printing & Cabelas Fort Worth

Today we toured the Bureau of Engraving and Printing where they print half of the money printed in the US. We weren't allowed to take cameras or cell phones into the complex so we don't have any photos to post. The ad above is from the Fort Worth Magazine. They have a special visitor's center outside the compound and the security is quite tight and the screening is extensive. Then you get on a bus and it takes you into the compound. We had lots of fun as we were mixed in with a group of local homeschool students from the Dallas -Fort Worth area who were on a field trip. It brought back many memories of doing such field trips with Josh. It was really quite interesting to see the whole process from an elevated glass enclosed walkway. I've never seen so many hanging security cameras!

Next we went to Cabelas and did some looking. ;-) I loved that cowboy on the horse sculpture that was out front.

Tonight we just experience a Texas thunderstorm as a huge front moved through the area. We had pea sized hail and winds of 50 MPH according to the weather channel. Homer was under the table as the motorhome rocked in the wind! We're not sure about coming to Dallas anymore since every time we come we have experienced horrible thunderstorms. Our temps should be in the upper 80's tomorrow (instead of 100 like it was today) so we are going to the Historic Stockyard District to see the cattle drive and historical area.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

9/28 - Branson, MO

During the National Homeschool Leaders Conference in Branson, MO, we had some time to do some sightseeing. We met the Perez family at the Hard Luck Diner for dinner where the waiters sing to you. The guy on the right was one of the finalists on American Idol. It was a real experience as the two waiters sang to Gavino's mother. Sorry for the funny color of the photo.... My iphone flash did not go off for some reason. ;-(

Then we went to the Titanic Museum.....

Here we all are on the replica grand staircase.

On Sunday evening Doug and I went to see Yakov Smirnoff and the Russian Circus. It was superb! In the photo below, the clown, Andrei, has enlisted Doug's help in pre-event fun of crowd volleyball with a huge beach ball.

In the photo below, they are serving our dinner to us.

We have moved on to Texas. We stopped in Mellisa, TX just north of Dallas and had a lovely visit with our friends, Wade and Jessica Hulcy. It was great to see them! Josh always called Jessica his Texas Momma since he frequently stopped at their home on his trips west to NM and AZ. Today we moved on to Aledo, TX, just west of Fort Worth, where we are camped for a few days so we can again sightsee Fort Worth. Tomorrow we plan to go to the US Bureau of Engraving and Printing - one of two places where our currency is printed. We also want to visit the Historic Area of the Stockyard and see the daily cattle drive.

Monday, September 12, 2011

9/12/2011 - Ha Ha Tonka State Park

About 5 miles from Windermere is Ha Ha Tonka State Park. The park is a treasure of various features: A former castle, natural arches, sink holes, and lake front. We went today.
The castle was the dream of Robert McClure Snyder. In 1904, he purchased Ha Ha Tonka Lake and Spring in Camden County and immediately began constructing roads and making extensive improvements. He once said, "Here I will spend my leisure, secure from the worries of business and the excitement of city life. I will fish and loaf and explore the caves of these hills, with no fear of intrusion." The above is an aerial view of the ruins of the castle and below is rendering of what it looked like before the fire. In the foreground is the two-level carriage house which had places for horses and cars.

Snyder maintained ideals for which he was recognized, never failing to accentuate the importance of family values. In a personal message to his son Robert Jr., he encouraged him to "lay down for yourself principles of truth - of honor - of self respect - and of unselfishness - and do not violate them - thus will your life be a success and a pleasure to you and every one who knows or meets you." It was said that Snyder's business dealings were honorable and his name was synonymous with commercial integrity. His tragic death, one of the first automobile fatalities in Missouri (he was thrown out of the car when his driver swerved to miss a child who ran into the path of the car).

Above is the water tower for the castle. Below, Doug is at the beginning of the trail - a short walk to the castle sitting on the high bluff.

Once the Bagnell Dam was put in 80 years ago, the water started to fill behind it creating Lake of the Ozarks. The Lake of the Ozarks measures more than 90 miles in length and has several tributaries supplying it. The lake's somewhat skinny serpentine shape has earned it the nickname "The Magic Dragon." In total, it has over 1,100 miles of shoreline. Robert Snyder never got to see the finished castle due to his death in a car accident. His three sons finished the castle as a hotel. The castle burned in 1942 when a staff person lit a fire in one of the fireplaces and an ember caught the wooden shake roof on fire. All that is left is the sandstone shell.

We saw lots of skinks running around. A lot of people mistakenly call them salamanders. They are a type of lizzard. Below are some interesting clusters of moss growing on the walls.

Next we headed to one of the larger karsts (a natural bridge formed through water erosion). Doug took these interesting photos. Note the couple having a picnic lunch under the arch.

Then we headed down to lake level and took some photos looking up at the castle ruins. You can hardly see the castle for the trees that have grown up on top of the bluff.

9/12/2011 Photos of Windermere by Doug

Doug took another bike ride around Windermere this morning. He even rode up the hill to the prayer chapel and took some photos of some of the buildings of the camp.
The photo above is from lake-side looking up at the prayer chapel on top of the hill (notice the cross on top of the hill) and the photo below is from the prayer chapel looking down at the camp.

The camp has a water obstacle course (above) in the lake and a high and low ropes course. Our son, Josh, would have loved it here!
Above is part of the high ropes course and below is the climbing wall.

More of the high ropes course in the photo above and a scene of the lake below. The Lake of the Ozarks is really narrow and pretty shallow here as we are close to one of the sources of the lake. Near the dam where our photos were from on a previous post, we were told it is 80' deep.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/10/2011 Osage Beach and Windermere

Saturday we went to JB Hooks for lunch. It sits high on a bluff looking out over one of the horseshoe bends of the Lake of the Ozarks. We had been told the food was delicious and the view beautiful and it was!

Below is a view of the outside dining overlooking the lake. Doug is in the cowboy hat (naturally).

The Osage Beach area is full of beautiful lakeside homes and condos. It is quite developed.

Next week we will be attending a conference for homeschool leaders at a near-by conference center. On Friday, we took a short ride over to Windermere Conference Center - about 15 miles from Osage Beach. The Conference Center sits on Lake of the Ozarks (although the lake is very narrow at this point - more like a small river or stream). This area of the lake is not developed like the east side of the lake.
Above are some of the water activities at Windermere and below is the Lakeview Lodge where we will be having meetings starting on the 18th.

9/6-8/2011 - Hershey record floods

Record flooding took place from North Carolina up through New England from Tropical Storm Lee moving through the area.
Many of our friends were evacuated and had major water damage to their homes. It brought back memories of Hurricane Agnes in 1972. The photo above is of the Giant Center in Hershey where they were getting ready for the RV Show. It is one of the largest shows in the country. You can see the RVs parked in the parking lot. The Swatara Creek normally runs along the the tree line that you see at the bottom of the photo but due to 13" of rain, the creek was flooding. It set records for the highest flood waters ever recorded. The road that disappears into the water is Rte. 39.

Above is a photo of the Pizza Hut and Wendy's Restaurants on Hershey Park Drive. They had been under water halfway up their windows. This photo shows all the mud once the flood waters receded. A major clean-up is underway.

Monday, September 5, 2011

9/5/2011 Grant's Farm & Home

Today we are traveled 3 hours west of St. Louis to Osage Beach on the Lake of the Ozarks. The weather broke yesterday and instead of the temperature flirting with the 100 degree mark, it was in the low 80's. Today it is even lower. Here are some photos of our last day in St. Louis.

Here is a daytime photo of our campsite in St. Louis.

Yesterday we took advantage of the cooler weather yesterday and we went to Grant's Farm and to Grant's home. Grant's Home is a National Park Historical Site and is one of Ulysses S. Grant's many homes.

These photos show Winter Haven which was the home of Ulysses's wife's parents and was where the two met.

He owned 90 acres here which was eventually purchase by August Bush in 1904. The Bush family owns 281 acres which is now named Grant's Farm (http://www.grantsfarm.com) and is a combination zoo and animal park. There is a parking fee but admission is free. At the far end of the parking lot are the stables of the famous Clydesdales - this is what I (Nada) wanted to come see! This is not the main stable for breeding - that is at Warm Springs Farm in Booneville, MO (http://www.warmspringsranch.com). We had our photo taken with one of the retired Clydesdales named Luke.

From the other end of the parking lot, a tram takes you from the parking lot through a fenced deer park where there are all kinds of deer, elk, cattle, bison, wild horses, turkeys, etc. free to roam the many acres. There is a replica of the first home Grant built here. Grant's wife named the home "Hardscrabble" - she didn't really like it and when her mother died the Grants moved into Winter Haven.

The fence that surrounds the deer park (which can be seen in this photo) the Bush's had made from the Civil War rifle barrels.

After the ride through the deer park, the tram stops for everyone to disembark and walk through the zoo section where you are free to walk among the exhibits.