Thursday, June 30, 2016

RED OAK CAMPGROUND ON OKMULGEE LAKE IN OKLAHOMA-CAMP 4

As I wrote in last post we discovered that even in the first part of June first come first serve campsites can fill up FAST!

We had gone to the Hickory Point area on this lake first and discovered it completely full on a Thursday afternoon.

When we had previously looked at Red Oak we had seen a couple of 30 amp sites that we could MAYBE squeeze our 50 amp trailer into.  We own the adapter to go down to 30 amp and knew it meant there would be a lot we wouldn’t be able to use, but we needed a nearby place to put the camper for 5 days. 

We figured if we had to we could just park the camper in a site and go to stay at the farm, although we preferred to not do that. 

So back to Red Oak we went.  As is our usual habit we stopped at the park attendant’s trailer first. 

A very lovely cheerful woman greeted us and when I asked her if she had anything we could use for five days for a 37 ft, 50 amp fifth wheel with 4 slides she asked her husband inside.

They put us on the handicapped site!  She said rules were that if someone came in TRULY needing the handicapped site then she would have to bump us, but in all the time they had been there they had NEVER had to bump anyone, in fact she didn’t remember any handicapped people ever camping on it.

This site was great! A pull through, easy set-up with at least some shade and less than a football field from the restroom.

It was fairly level, amply wide and had a sewer hook-up.  No other sites (other than the host site) had sewer hook-ups.  Because of the sewer it was $21 a night rather than $18. 
We weren’t at the camper enough during daylight hours to take an aerial view of the camp ground, or even to observe the wildlife much.  In fact we barely even slept there because of various errands and chores that needed done while we were in the area.

It was a well maintained campground with decent restrooms and more than sufficient amount of dumpsters and we will go back there in the future if need be.  I would suggest if you are planning on staying at any of the campgrounds on this lake you arrive as early in the day as you can and be prepared to find it full. Have a back up plan in case it is full

Nor did we visit any attractions.  But then this was our home base so we had previously visited many of them and blogged about them on various “staycations” over the last few years.

We have previously visited the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks, OK and the Tulsa Zoo in Tulsa, OK both are great.  Nice habitats for the animals and plenty to see.

The Creek Nation Festival in Okmulgee, OK was  scheduled for the week after we left, but we had attended it on more than one occasion.  If you follow the hyperlink above  you can find out more about it, the rodeo and the free concerts included in the event. 

The free concerts each year at the Creek Nation Festival have different artists every year.  Arrive to the concert venue early and bring your lawn chairs.  They do use the jumbotrons so everyone can see.

Taken a Fall Foliage Tour  of the area.

These were all well worth visiting again and we may when we are back at the farm in the future.

After our five day stay there we headed out to go north, but once again the fates had other plans for us.

Jan who hopes that sooner or later she and her husband will be moving on down the road at regular intervals away from OK

Monday, June 27, 2016

BACK TO THE FARM—CAMP 3.5


Because the farm is not an actual campground, but we are trying to keep track of things as we go for when we are old and getting senile (no jokes please) We decided any time we must be at the farm for one reason or another it would be a halfway point between two campgrounds.  Thus the 3.5 in the title.

Being the good “grandparents” we are we took plenty of time to spoil our grandpuppies and grandkitties bringing extra treats, a wading pool for the dogs, and of course letting them into the air conditioning on the 100 degree days that hit during this pit stop.

Most of our days were spent checking out local area campsites for future stopovers for appointments and holidays.  The spring rains had pretty well made the driveway on the farm impassable for the fifth wheel.  Rather than fight with it we had decided staying at local campgrounds would be a better option.  Less possibility of damage to the camper for certain.

We have return trips to the farm area scheduled for July and September due to various appointments and then the holiday season as well to be with our son for Thanksgiving, his birthday, and Christmas.  So we needed convenient, less expensive and winter camping options for those three time periods.

The first day out doing this little errand we checked the campsites at the Okmulgee, OK Lake Campground and Dripping Springs COE Campground that is on the same lake as the Okmulgee one. 

Okmulgee Lake has two rv camping areas (Red Oak and Hickory Point), several day use areas and tenting areas. 

Dripping Springs has several campsites as well.

All are first come first serve sites.  We decided we preferred Hickory Point the most and because it was less than a 30 minute drive to the farm it was a viable option for the July and September visits.

Second was Red Oak. We actually preferred it, but had to make it second  simply because it had only one site with 50 amp that we could easily get our rig into and it was very clearly marked HANDICAPPED.  Because both of us enjoy good health now this was not a viable option for us, or so we thought.  See next post.

Dripping Springs we pretty much ruled out because of the size of the spots.  It is an older campground and so it is geared more toward the older smaller campers or tents.
All three are well maintained.

Another day we went to the Kellyville area to check out the campsites on Lake Hudson.  The distance, combined with the size and quite frankly condition of some of the campsites caused us to rule this one out. They are doing some renovations to this campground, so we will check it again in the future,

None of these sites would be an option during the holiday visit as they are all closed then.

We also checked out Tulsa RV Ranch which is 15 minutes from the farm.  While it costs slightly more it is open for the holiday season and has monthly rates.  So we plan on booking there soon to camp that month there.

While at the farm we helped our son with several chores, tried to find a lost cat that sadly has not been found as of this posting date.  Even more unfortunately it was my lap kitty Sir Oliver Inkwell that went missing.  I am still upset about it two weeks later.  There is a chance he is still there in the woods and just hiding from the dogs, but not likely at this point.

My son needed to do some travel for work and since our camper wasn’t suppose to be ready for a few days yet we agreed to farm sit while he went on site. 

Wouldn’t you know it.  We had no sooner made that decision and the camper was ready.  Sort of…

As soon as they brought the repaired camper around the corner I spotted it.  A dark scrape all down one rear corner  that had not been there when we brought the camper to them for the topper repair.

The silicon disk for the king pin was also missing.  They replaced the silicon disk immediately after we pointed it out and the paperwork showed that we had one on there when it arrived.

We pointed it out to them as well about the damage to our unit which was more concerning, much more. They immediately inspected the unit and agreed it was lot damage done there on site. Only they couldn’t get to fixing it right away.  Seriously?  I held my temper and asked when they could fix it.

I know it wasn't major damage, it could have been a lot worse, but the point is they damaged it. It is hard to tell from this photo but the scrape is all the way down that corner,

Could we hang around a month or so?  They had an opening they could put us in for then OR we could leave it with them that day and they MIGHT be able to get to it sooner, maybe in two to three weeks, but they REALLY didn't have a good place to store it they were so packed with everyone wanting their camper work done to head out for the summer.

We had travel plans to head north and needed to be back for another series of appointments in July so we made a locked in appointment for that time frame, got a receipt showing that it was lot damage, they were going to pay for the repair in full and it would be done immediately when we brought it back so as to not further interrupt our travels.

Several photos were taken by both them and me.  As you can see it is a scuff.  There appears to be no fiberglass damage, but it will need to be buffed out and resealed.  They will also need to replace the rain channel and some of the trim.  They tell us it should only be in the shop two to three days at that time.  We’ll see. I'm certain there is more work our son needs done on the farm for a few days. 
.
Of course this now meant we needed to use the local campground now instead of in July as we had planned while waiting for our son to return from Texas.

It was a Thursday in early June when we pulled our camper to Hickory Point to find that the nearly empty campground we had seen on Tuesday was now completely full!  Not a good sign, or was it?

Just on a lark Gary drove us back the two miles or so to Red Oak, our second choice….

Red Oak and what happened there in the next post.


Friday, June 17, 2016

TAYLOR FERRY SOUTH, FT. GIBSON, OK—CAMP 3

All though I was born in raised in Oklahoma, camping with first my parents and then of course my family, I have  personally never stayed at Ft. Gibson Lake.  My parents, and now us, owned property on Grand Lake, so that was where we threw our blankets on the ground to sleep.  Later after Keystone Lake was built we went there.  So this campground was a new experience for me.

Gary on the other hand spent a lot of time camping on Ft. Gibson, Grand Lake and Tenkiller. Mainly Ft. Gibson, so he was familiar with the area.  Neither of us had been here in our 43 years of marriage, so needless to say it had changed some since Gary was last there.

Despite rain and a really rough section of highway 69 in Oklahoma we arrived well before dark to set up camp, boy am I glad we did. 

When Gary had reserved this site, #75, he had looked at the photos of it and knew it was slightly sloped. He also knew it was long enough to accommodate our set-up. However, we had gotten so use to the big upgraded campsites in Arkansas and Missouri he forgot to check the width.  Let’s just say I am very proud of how well he parked it. 




Yep, that clearance on the driver’s side slide is barely and inch, and that was with him sitting so far back on the ancient asphalt pad putting the rear stablizers down would be a tricky proposition. 

Some of you may ask why we didn’t pull further forward and park the truck at an angle, or on the grass as many of our fellow campers did.  Two words “picnic table”.
The concrete table and benches sit so close to the pad our kitchen slide would not have cleared it. 

Why not further back then?  Because then we wouldn’t have been able to get out the camper door.  The final set-up had us stepping off the camper steps onto the table pad, then down to the pad.  Actually this was pretty handy because otherwise that final step would have been a bit of a stretch for my short legs.

Once we were certain that we would clear on all slides, using the knotted rope system of measurement we rolled the slides out.

For some of you newer folks I guess I should explain the knotted rope system.  When you get a camper with a slide(s) clearance on obstacles around your trailer/motor home/pop-up can become a concern anytime you set-up.  That’s where a piece of rope, or clothesline in our case, comes in.  It’s a handy “yard stick” that is easy to store and easy to use.

To make one you set-up in an area that you are certain your slides will clear then tie a knot in one end of the rope.  This is your start point.  We leave a tail end on each end of the rope to hold on to when measuring for a more accurate measurement, because you never know…an example was this set-up where an inch could have made a major difference.

Hold the starting point knot touching the trailer/motor home/pop-up.  Then stretch the rope out as level as possible to just past the edge of the slide when it is fully extended.  Knot that end, leave a piece to hold on to and then cut it off. 

This next part is VERY important.  LABEL it.  All knotted ropes look the same.  You are going to make one of these for each slide on your unit and you don’t want to mix those ropes up.  Ours has a tag on it made with white duct tape (a very valuable asset when you have a white camper—don’t ask how I know) and a permanent marker. 

Store all the ropes together in a place on the camper that has very easy access for all future set-ups.  This little measuring tool can help you prevent some unhappy situations.  Just be certain you look all the way up that the tree doesn’t curve toward your camper especially if you are in a situation like we were.

Then when you go to set-up measure from the side of the camper to the obstacle with the proper knotted rope for any slide you are concerned about.  This saves both time and money (you don’t want to have to repair a slide you know).

Back to our set-up.  Even though we had measured with the rope we take precautions when it is as close as we knew it was going to be that day.  So Gary stood outside watching the living room slide go out and signaling me through the window when I needed to start or stop the extension.

That’s when it happened there was a LOUD clattering and a SPROING! Startling both of us tremendously.  Our first thought was the slide had hit the tree.  Only Gary was standing right there and could see we were still in the good clearance zone when the noise happened. I stopped moving the slides immediately and rushed out to see what had happened.

It took us a little bit to figure out that one of the less than a year old slide toppers had broken.  The sproing sound was the tension releasing as the awning came disconnected from the trailer, putting a small hole in the awning.  We both stood and stared in disbelief.  Now what?

After a bit, when we had gotten over being startled, we tried running the slide back in, thinking maybe Gary could re-attach it.  Nope, not with the tension being released and a couple of parts missing. 

This created another problem.  Sooner or later we would need to break camp, and that topper was laying on the slide.

Insert photo of topper on slide.
Luckily we were less than two hours from our dealership and the topper was still under warranty.  The dealership was, of course, closed for the day by that time.  I called them the first thing the next morning before leaving for the first of the various appointments we had gone back to Oklahoma for. Because it was so late in the week they couldn’t look at it until the following week.  That’s good because we had already paid for nine nights and didn’t really want to break camp to take the unit in after we had worked so hard the night before setting up.

Instead, Gary checked youtube and found out how to take the topper off, turned out it was just two screws because it had already released on the outside edge.  The tricky part was the very sloped uneven ground and using a tall ladder on that ground.

Before climbing up on the ladder Gary used our selfie stick duct taped (there is that ever needed duct tape again) it to a broom handle then put our camera on the selfie stick to look at the topper and roof to see what type of screw driver he would need. 
While he held the camera high I used his phone as a remote to snap the photos.

Insert another topper photo here
Normally we would have used the quadcopter to do this job, but this particular park would not give us permission to fly the quad and even if they had the tree branches over the tree would have been a problem for the photos we needed.

Once the topper was down we took it to Tulsa to the dealership on one of our appointment days and dropped it off so they could get started on the repair while we finished up our nine nights at the campground. 

We spent the majority of our time at the camper writing, listening to audiobooks and walking around snapping photos with Gary’s new camera. 
Wildlife,


especially birds are abundant here.





 Of course the camera has a video feature.  Gary missed a great take off and flight of the geese, so we settled for a trial video of them swimming off when a fisherman disturbed them.

On one such walk we walked down and around campsite #94.  It and several others in that area looked recently refurbished, longer and wider concrete pads, table area further from the camper and the water up near the electrical box instead of down the hill and 100 ft or so away as ours was.

Between our various appointments and visiting with our son we didn’t get to see any of the local sites, but decided while we waited on our camper repairs to be done we would try to visit some of them in the days that followed as we moved back into the farm house.


Jan who is back in OK for longer than she planned to stay.

ALL MOST LIKE GOING HOME-Camp 2


Because of various appointments back in Oklahoma in just two weeks we left Bull Shoals and went over to our home away from home, Branson, Missouri.  I have wrote a lot about Silver Dollar City (SDC) and the Indian Point COE campground in the past.  So I won’t describe the camp ground or park in detail on this post.  If you are interested in previous posts on either location simply click on the hyper links above.

The 2016 observations of changes at Silver Dollar City can be viewed here

Generally we camp in either site one or two, but both were previously booked due to both the blue grass festival going on in the park and the Indian Motorcycle Rally that was going on across the road from the COE.  Lucky for us most bikers don’t need a longer campsite so we were able to get site 5.


 I love this 50 amp site and it will be the one we will hope for in the future.  It is 60 ft. long, wide and so easy to back into I didn’t even have to spot Gary as he did so, he parked it perfect the first try.  Even better, for those of you with big rigs and/or a towed.  It has a separate parking spot for that as well.  It is also not far from the marina with its small cafĂ©.  You can take a short walk to go to a package store across the way for the necessities of life.  The bathroom is nearby and so is the dumpster.  If you want a shower though you will probably want to drive to it.

There are four shower rooms in the shower house on the next area over.  They are large handicapped accessible rooms with all the facilities in that room.  They are unisex rooms.  Because there are only four I highly recommend you take your showers in off peak hours, although there is one other shower house in another section up the hill with four additional shower stalls.

Again these COE sites are water and electric only ($10 per night with the parks pass/$20 without) and what I consider the worst dump station set-up we have come across in all our years of travel as far as easy access.  It is a dual dump station on a narrow paved loop of dead end road that has some pretty good drop offs at various points that could easily do damage to your rig if you are not very cautious.

We have taken our 37 ft. Montana fifth wheel through it twice, it can be done, but it was VERY nerve wrecking to do so.  We’ve decided this trip that we wouldn't dump the trailer there, but take our chances that the next campground we go to will have a better set-up.  It is simply too nail biting with the longer rig to do it.  It wasn’t that easy when we had a 30 ft. one either.  Our first fifth wheel was 28 ft. and it wasn’t too bad. 
Obviously they have not changed the setup for dumping in the 40 years we have been coming here.  

So you can get an idea of some of the drop offs on the curves of the loop I have stepped down from the pavement to the ground with one foot to give you a depth concept.  You can see grooves in the pavement where some were not successful at negotiating the curves.  The hardest place is, of course the entrance/exit.  If another rig is waiting on that road you cannot get out until they move forward. 






The facility itself is pretty average, just bad for trailer under carriages if you make a turn too tight.

If you arrive before the designated check in site and your site is still occupied they well tell you to go up to this loop and park in the center of it until the site is available. Then you have to back out of the center of the loop and then negotiate those curves.  Something to consider if you are like us and tend to generally arrive early.

The day after we arrived we had to go back to Oklahoma for my brother in law’s memorial service.  He had died the Sunday before.  He will be sorely missed. Being at Branson the day before his service was bittersweet.  It brought back memories of him and his wife coming over here with us a few years ago.  We had a wonderful time on that trip. We were celebrating my sister in law being in remission. We were all so happy!
       
                                                Jim Patterson 1950 to 2016

The rain apparently followed us from Arkansas as it rained a good deal more while we were at Branson.  That didn’t deter us though from catching some good shows at SDCand going back to the College of the Ozarks campus for another good meal and to actually tour some of the grounds this time.  Both of these “events” will be highlighted in a separate post of course. 


As well our trip to Dogpatch USA.  Not only will I write about it, but we were able to do a fly over with the quadcopter, with permission from the owner on two different days.  If you would like to see what remains of this old amusement park then and now please see my Dogpatch USA post.  

Unfortunately the Thursday before the holiday we watched in horror as shore patrol and emergency team divers looked for the occupant of an apparent boating accident.  I don’t know if they ever found the people either, they had not as of the time we left.  All I know is the boat was found with the motor running going in circles with a tube behind it. The ski rope for the tube was around the prop.  A very sad way to start the holiday weekend.

It rained every day for a part of the day or night, but didn’t discourage the holiday campers.  As you will find in most campgrounds, it was a family atmosphere as tents popped up like mushrooms all over the campground.
When you have mushrooms you sometimes have  unique critters show up.

Of course there were your usual robins, deer, vultures, squirrels (they sure grow them scrawny in Missouri, ours at home are fat little fellows, but then they are always into the bird feed and pet food), and one woodchuck that we saw.  Unfortunately because of the rain we didn’t get any good photos of any of them.

We were able to do a fly over with the quad copter at this campground with the permission of the park attendant. 


The peaceful time at this clean campground went quickly and soon we were headed back to Oklahoma for what we thought would be a short 10 day visit.  Surprise, surprise sproing!  Taylor Ferry South on Ft. Gibson lake had a surprise for us as far as the camper was concerned, post to come in the near future.

Jan who is currently in Oklahoma posting as fast as she can while she has wi-fi.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

DOGPATCH, USA THEN AND NOW

                                                It’s a typical day
                                                In Dogpatch, USA
                                                Where typical folks
                                                Do things in a typical way…

The above is the beginning of the opening number for the musical Dogpatch, USA.  I’ll write a little more about the musical later, right now let’s talk about Dogpatch in its hey day and how it is now. 

In 1975 we took our first family vacation with a three year old in a backpack or on a leash (if you knew how fast that child was you would understand the leash for certain) and a six month old in an umbrella stroller we visited both Silver Dollar City, and Dogpatch USA.  Both have definitely changed since then.


While SDC has grown from being a historical town with artisans demonstrating old time crafts to a full-fledged amusement park with top name entertainers performing throughout the season Dogpatch met the opposite fate.

That is…until recently.  While it is not back on its feet as an amusement park, it is being renovated with hopes that it will be some day be a thriving artisan center  with the proper volunteers and backers.

My husband I were very excited to discover we could actually once again go down to the town where Al Capp’s famous comic strip characters came to life.  On Saturdays you can go on a self guided tour to see the improvements being made.

1975 Honey House


2016 Honey House being renovated


I contacted the owner ahead of time and asked if we might take the quadcopter in and video the place.  Not only could we, he would love for us to because there were a few areas they wanted an aerial view of themselves. 

The honeysuckle

 and wild flower scents

 filled the air as we drove from the current entrance gate to the infamous Kissing Rock

In a way it was sad to see all the disrepair that still exists, but there was also the glimmer of hope with the ongoing repairs, new roofs and fresh coats of paint that are slowly being done.  That particular weekend there were only a handful of volunteers mowing, and painting.  But you could see the love for the old park in their eyes. 

In 1975 and 2016



If you would like to volunteer to bring this park back to life contact them through the Dogpatch USAfacebook page.

Bud Pelsor, the owner gave us a brief tour of where he wanted the videos done by the quadcopter, if we could do it safely and then left us to snap photos and fly the copter over the park. 

The day was pleasant and all went well until we changed batteries on the quad.  Unknown to us there was a malfunction in the filming and we didn’t get half the filming done.  Unfortunately we didn’t discover it until we were back in Missouri at our camper. 

I immediately contacted one of the volunteers, through the Dogpatch facebook page and asked if we could return on Sunday to try it again.  The response was immediate “yes”.  We were thrilled.

We were blessed with a second nearly windless, dry, clear day to try it again.  We got some great aerial footage.

Afterwards we went to Bud’s and chatted with him awhile.  He’s a personable man, who is very interesting and easy to talk to.  His beautiful large wolf/dog hybrid laid peacefully nearby as we chatted and a few of the volunteers milled around.  Making copies of the video for themselves from the flash drive we had given Bud.

All in all it was a wonderful two days to bring back the memories of vacations past, and seeing the steps toward the future.

I want to thank not only Bud, but the volunteers that chatted with us and made certain we got all the footage needed including, but not exclusive to Eddie, Steve, George and Michael.

Now a little bit about Dogpatch, USA both the park and the musical and how they came to be.

In 1934 Al Capp (Alfred Gerald Caplin 1909-1979) developed the first comic strip based on southerners.  While today it would be considered hugely politically incorrect in its stereotyping and phrasing it was a huge success not only in the USA, but around the world.  It was satirical to say the least.  Previously all carton strips had been about northerners.  It’s funny he chose to develop characters from the south, especially since he was a northerner himself and knew little to nothing about the south. 

I remember more than once my father mentioning that much of the strip was cleverly hidden political satire.  It was the first comic he read every Sunday morning and always had a laugh at the goings on of the Yokums and others.  Want to know more about Al Capp? Wikipedia has a very long and informative article on him.

The inhabitants of Dogpatch became so popular a musical was performed on Broadway in 1956, with a film production using most of the same actors for the characters appearing in 1959.

The opening number I mentioned previously not only pokes fun at the way of life of the inhabitants of Dogpatch USA it introduces the main characters.

It's A Typical Day lyrics



Soloists: It's a typical day
In Dogpatch, USA.
Where typical folks
Do things in a typical way.
First we rubs the sleep from our eyes,
Get's our grub, and shoos 'way the flies.
We spend what's negotiable,
Then we gets sociable,
Sittin' around swappin' lies!
And then we drops by to collect unemployment pay!

All: Which leads us to say it's a typical day
In Dogpatch, USA!


Lonesome Polecat: Lonsome Polecat, Indian Brave!
Hairless Joe: Hairless Joe, me needum a shave!
Both: We livin' an' sleepin' n' doin' housekeepin' in big subterranian cave!
While Kickapoo Joy Juice we makeum is heap "grade A!"

Skraggs: Take us boys what's known as the Skraggs,
Mammy said she had us as gags!
Can't git that depressin' an' homely unlessin' ya comes from a long line o' hags!
There ain't any widders or orphans we won't betray!

Moonbeam: Howdy boys, I'm Moonbeam McSwine,
Sleepin' out with the pigs is my line.
The fellas admire me,
But they don't squire me
Unless the weather is fine!
But I does allright when the wind blows the other way!

All: Which leads us to say it's a typical day, in Dogpatch, USA...It's a typical day
(echo: it's a typical day) in Dogpatch, USA! Where typical folks: echo: typical folks)
Does things in a typical way!

Marryin' Sam: You're no friend to Marryin' Sam,
If your name is Sir or Madame.
But if you're a bachelor,
Pack up yer satchel or I'll have you pushin' a pram!
For fifteen cents extra I furnish the bride's bouquet!

All: Which leads us to say it's a typical day, in Dogpatch, US...

Earthquake: Step aside for Earthquake McGoon!
Bustin' out all over like June!
I stands on the corner,
Enormous n' ornery,
Makin' the fairer sex swoon!
Spoken: My secret desire is to tangle with Daisy Mae!

Daisy Mae:Like he said, my name's Daisy Mae!
Cuz my ma, she planned it that way.
My one aim in life is to be a good wife,
And marry Li'l Abner someday!

All: She's practicin' up chasin' gophers an' antelopes!
She ain't never caught Li'l Abner, but she's got hopes!

Pappy: Mammy here's sassiety's queen,
And she heads the local machine.
Mammy: I'se sweet but I'se mystical,
And pugilistical,
Matter of fact the champeen!
Both: Li'l Abner we has both learned,
Still don't know how money gets earned.
His heart is the tenderest,
But neuter-genderest,
Far as young gals is concerned!
Abner: I gets purty tired of runnin' from Daisy Mae!

All: Which leads us to say it's a typical day, in Dogpatch, USA!!!!
TCM (Turner Classic Movies) now owns the rights to the movie and clips from it can be viewed here.

More info on the history of Dogpatch USA can be found on Wikiedia

Based on the popularity of the main characters they were soon appearing as “spokes persons” for various products such as Cream of Wheat.  As well as mascots for our military.

In 1968 the town of Dogpatch, formerly Marble Falls opened as an amusement park.  It was an immediate success, but a series of problems eventually lead to its demise as an amusement park in 1993.  

ABC did yet another version of Li’l Abner in 1971, this time it was the modern world coming to Dogpatch.
My family visited Dogpatch in 1975 and again in 1978.  Both our children enjoyed it immensely.  It is sad to see all the things that made the park so special either gone or deteriorated, but then Bud and his crew of volunteers are working hard to breathe life back into what was once a booming enterprise.
I hope you enjoy the photos and the video.

Jan who enjoyed the adventure. 

Friday, June 10, 2016

SILVER DOLLAR CITY 2016


For the most part SDC has not changed from when we were here last fall for the Harvest and Craft Festival.  But there, of course, are some noticeable changes.

First there has been a slight increase in admission price. Our two Senior Passes were a total of $191.  The tickets for the Branson Bell are now $51 instead of $50, unless you have a season pass.  Those tickets have gone up from $25 to $30 for the special cruises for season pass holders.   What amusement park hasn’t raised its prices this year, or most years? Meals are up slightly too, making the 10% season pass discount a tiny bit more valuable, but not much.

How you get the passes has also been adjusted slightly.  If you are getting a one day they have kiosks outside the gate you can do a self serve ticket purchase.  Bigger amusement parks, like Universal Studios in Florida have had such kiosks for years, so I guess SDC is joining the ranks of the big boys.

You still have to go to the ticket booth to purchase season passes, if you haven’t already got them.  But the lines are much shorter now.

The next thing we noticed was they seem to have a lot more international workers present.  A good thing since they have more and more visitors from all over the world each year.

One more thing is different before you even get in the gate.  Bag check, yep heightened security has come to the Ozarks, it saddens me to see the innocence disappear, but that is today’s way of life.

Of course inside there are the new for 2016 merchandise as you go through into the park.

Another change is the “refillable” mugs.  While they still sell them they are only good for the season you purchased them in with one exception.  If you purchased your mug prior to 2011 they still honor the “lifetime” refill for those mugs both glass and plastic.  So if you are thinking about throwing away your old mugs you might want to reconsider that decision.

They also have a “value” pricing system on selling this year’s mugs. They are $13.99 for a single mug.  Purchase two at the same time and the total will be $19.99.  If you need more mugs purchased at the same time mugs 3 thru…. Are $7.99 each.  So if you are traveling with a large group it would be wise for everyone to get their mugs at once and split the cost evenly.   Refills are $1.63 for fountain drinks and $2.33 for specialty drinks (slightly less if you are purchasing other items at a stand that honors the season pass discount).

Luckily we still have our pre-2011 and had them with us.  Although our mug says the refills are $1.75 they have simplified matters for the concessionaires and these mugs are also filled for the above prices

Just in case you are interested the bottled water sold there is Dasani and it is $1.99 a bottle. Or you can do as we do, fill your mug with water for free. Last year we got free ice water from places selling fountain drinks for free.  Since this practice is common in most theme parks I imagine it is still available now too.  

There are a few new concessions, like fried bread sandwiches to be had. A few of the merchandise shops have changed locations, and of course new shops, but for the most part the park is the same. 

The hills are just as numerous and steep, but luckily this year we are both better able to climb them.  No scooter rentals this trip. We didn’t check, but I heard someone mention the price of the rentals for both strollers and ecvs went up slightly this year.  Again a normal thing for amusement parks.

On the subject of ecvs (electronic convenience vehicles) one thing we learned last year when I was in desperate need of one, if you know you are going to need one reserve it ahead of time, especially during the festivals.  We arrived before park opening last year during the Harvest Festival, Gary dropped me at the gate and I went on in to get an ecv because we hadn’t brought ours with us.  Huge mistake.  They were already out of the first come first served ecvs.  All they had were the pre-reserved ones.  They said I could come back later in the day and they MIGHT have one that was turned back in or someone didn’t show up for a reserved one.  I passed and just took it very slowly through the park.

Of course we were there this year for the Bluegrass and BBQ Festival there were some great bluegrass groups to watch. 

One such group was the Willis Clan from TLC’s reality show The Willis Family.  Only eleven of the twelve children were performing.  The oldest daughter was not present. 
During their second show on the first day we were in the audience really enjoying the show when a massive storm rolled through and as it did it took their sound system with them.

True troopers they are they still managed to entertain the audience without microphones.

We went back the next day to see the show again.  They had changed it up a little bit, but not much.  However, this time they had a sound system.


The rain continued on and off all week, which made us lazy and want to stay at the camper.  Although we did go in and out of the park a few times.  We only saw a few other shows, they were all very good.

Every day we went in we planned on going to the  free show in Echo Hollow, every day just before the show was scheduled to start the skies would open up and pour until the show would be cancelled, then mysteriously the rain would stop.  It was almost like the fates were laughing at us.  Oh well, we were told it was the same show as last year and we saw it twice last season.  So we were fine with spending the time at the camper listening to audio books and discussing the day’s events.

We did try some of the barbque at the Red Gold Hall, we weren’t impressed.  It wasn’t bad, but we much prefer the good barbque we get at Massey’s in Okmulgee, Oklahoma or my homemade. 

One tip, if you are planning on going to next year’s Bluegrass and BBQ event if you wait until late in the day to buy your BBQ your servings will tend to be larger, as in large enough to share because the vendors have to throw out all leftover food. 
Gary purchased the BBQ sausage sandwich and instead of just one link on his sandwich the woman gave him all three that were left in the pan because she wanted to get things cleaned up so she could go home.  If we had known she was going to do that we would have only ordered one sandwich and split all those sausages.

The season pass 10% food discount is good at this location during the festival.
All in all it felt good to be in back in the park at a slow easy pace enjoying the shows we wanted to see, eating a few different foods with both of us back in good health.

If you have never been to Silver Dollar City I recommend it to anyone who loves amusement parks.

Jan who has been going to Silver Dollar City for over 40 years away from OK


HARD WORK U, A REVISIT


After our delicious meal last year at Dobyn’s Restaurant in the Keeter Center on the campus of the College of the Ozarks, aka: Hard Work U we were determined to go back this trip. 

This time we did not make reservations, and were lucky enough to be seated immediately.  I guess it was because it was finally sunny, at least for a while and the vacationers were all in Silver Dollar City.

The copper ceilings were gleaming, and the seating was just as rustic as before. 


The view out the large windows was gorgeous.  We had hoped to walk out on that balcony to take some photos of the scenery, but they were seating diners out there and we felt it would be rude to interrupt their meals to take photos.  Oh well, guess we’ll just have to go back another time.

The food and service was just as wonderful as it was last trip.    They once again started the meal with the fresh made rolls and cranberry biscuits,

 fresh butter and made on campus apple butter.


Using the copper clad menu we were offered we chose different meals to see if everything was equally as good. 
 You can also view the menu prior to arrival by visiting the website. We were not disappointed.  Gary had the pot roast.  

And I had the comfort food of all time, BBQ Mac n Cheese, complete with freshly made pasta and smoked gouda cheese sauce. so good!

Once again my meal was so huge I took over half of it back to the camper and ate off of it for two more meals. 

When dessert time rolled around Gary choose the chocolate cobbler a la mode, choosing salted caramel ice cream for the topping.

 I had the Lemon Blueberry Bread Pudding again. I was mildly surprised when it came out plated different and with no whipped cream, but it was still as delicious as I remembered.  Once again I took half of it back to our home on wheels, where I added whipped topping when I ate it for dessert the next night.

The price for the meal ran real close to what it did last fall when we were there and we still felt the luxury of the meal for this one time was worth it.

After our meal we went down to Honor Lake there on campus to watch the swans and ducks.  With all the various water fowl we have raised and ooed and ahhhed at in zoos we had never seen cygnets (baby swans).  These little guys were still at the downy stage and not the least bit afraid of us, Mama didn’t seem the least bit concerned humans were near her young as she preened on the island in the middle of the lake. The cygnets even seemed to be posing for us as we snapped photo after photo.



There is also a display of students of honor at the park

After enjoying the birds and the coolness of the breeze and shade we went on up to the Ralph Foster Museum, before everything started closing on the campus.  There was so much more to see we decided we needed yet another day on campus and went back the Tuesday after Memorial Day to finish up the museum thanks to the generosity of a gentleman (see post on the museum to learn about this). Visit the one room Star School and take photos at Look Out Point. While there we also went to the 911 Memorial and the Missouri Viet NamVeteran Memorial before we once again ran out of time, with still more left to see.

Oh well, I guess our next visit we’ll have to finish the grounds and perhaps have another yummy lunch?

This is running too long, so instead of including the descriptions of the museum and memorials here click on the links to be taken to the separate posts on them.

Jan who enjoys exploring places at a slow easy pace with a camera in hand traveling all over the USA.