Wednesday, June 27, 2012

So hot.....

We chose Topeka, KS because last year we spent this same time frame in Oklahoma City, OK and we needed to get further north.
We're not there yet!  Time here started OK, with temps in the 80's and nights in the 50's.  This past week has turned brutally HOT!  Heat advisories everyday, temps in the 100+ degree mark.  Air conditioning can't keep up.  Been tough.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Only a week left? Really?

Hard to believe we leave the Capital City KOA here in Topeka a week from tomorrow to keep heading North towards Chicagoland.

Been busy here this weekend with the park over 75% full.  A big group of FMCA Covered Wagons is here this weekend, I think they said 21 rigs in all.  Kind of neat how they get out on a specified weekend and enjoy each other's company in different places.

Speaking of enjoying company, our first weekend here Connie hopped on the hayride and met our 'across the street' neighbor, Cody.  We've really enjoyed his company, as he's versed in sports, a college and pro football fan and a cigar aficionado.  He's been here for six months while his kids finished school in Dallas (about 15 minutes from where we stayed at Shady Creek RV Park) and he started his new job.  Weeknights watching TV outside and talking sports and life (and a few beers) has been fun.

Sadly, his time here is coming to an end.  He's closing on his house in Dallas this weekend, and his new one here in Topeka on Monday, so he'll be rolling out of here Tuesday or Wednesday.  Just another example of how people of like interests tend to gravitate towards each other.

Loving the lifestyle, looking forward to moving along when the time comes.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rock Chalk Jayhwak

Today, we took the afternoon off and headed to Lawrence, Kansas home of the Kansas Jayhawks.  It's our 8th of the ten Big XII campuses to visit (only have Oklahoma State and Iowa State on the list).

Town was about the size we figured, but seemed much older in the residential area.  The campus was very hilly, and very understated.  Not many tall buildings, pretty spread out.

Our first stop was Memorial Stadium.  The stadium is dedicated to the University of Kansas students who fought and died in World War I.  It opened in 1921 and you can still tell the original bowl shell that's been added to over the years with the pressbox and extensions of the bowls in the 60's.  Other than the new field turf and new jumbotron, she really shows her age.  We're figuring it would be a tough sell for a recruit seeing those facilities.  

Not much history to KU Football, especially recently.  The names of Gayle Sayers (the "Kansas Comet"), John Riggins, and John Hadl (later of AFL's San Diego Chargers) helped a little.  But looking through the 2011 Media Guide, the history pickings are rather thin.

Of course, that isn't what makes you think of KU.  That would be basketball, and the legendary Phogg Allen Fieldhouse.  Got lucky to get in.  Was going to hold the door for a woman entering and it was locked.  "Don't worry, I have a code" and in we went with our own personal tour guide!  "I love showing this place off!"  

She showed us an alumni donor section that was walled off during games, and also had a private viewing area into the practice facility.  Would hope that the big buck alumni have something, because inside the area there's nothing upscale at all.  No suites, no cushy seats, naughta.  Just some old time chairs at midcourt on both sides and bleachers.  

We got kicked off the floor before I got any pictures, but from the first level it was steaming hot in there.  Empty and with just work lights on.  Can't imagine the heat with 17,000 and TV lights in there.  Have to think it's very Fenway, Wrigley-ish that we're not going to change this place.  Ever.

All that being said, it was wonderful to see this legendary place.  Wilt Chamberlain, Danny Manning, Paul Pierce, the list of great ballers to play here is long.  The Booth Family Hall of Athletics is fantastic.  They have a great housing of memorabilia, and are not afraid to boast of their 5 National Championships.  Would love to put it on the list of places to see a basketball game here, but just seeing it empty was fantastic.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Wind, wind go away....

Man, it has been windy here at the Capital City KOA in Topeka!  Average winds 20 mph+ (gusts up to 40 mph) for the last three days, with temperatures in the 90's.  Have been almost locked in during this whole time with the A/C running and feeling the rocking and rolling of the rig.  First time in recent memory we're starting to get a little cabin fever.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Our Journey to Oz and the Little Apple

Today we took the afternoon off to journey to Wamego, KS and the Oz Museum.  There were over 2000 artifacts relating to L. Frank Baum's books, a showing of the Wizard of Oz movie, board games, and silent films.  Some terrific pictures, features on the munchkins and main characters of the film. 

We had no idea Baum wrote series of Oz books and the transformation of the books to the theatre to the technicolor magic of MGM's 1939 release.  Buddy Ebsen (Jed Clampitt) was originally supposed to be the Tin Man but couldn't handle something about the costume.  Shirley Temple was originally offered the role of Dorothy.  W.C. Fields was originally offered the part of the Wizard.  Stan Laurel was in the theatre version before he hooked up with Oliver Hardy to form Laurel and Hardy.

Official "Death" Certificate of the W.W.O.W
Great artifacts leading up to the film, the film itself, then the aftermath.  Well done.  Touching vignettes with the munchkins from a few years ago.  Margaret Hamilton autographs as W.W.O.W.  

About 15 miles to the West of the Oz Museum is the city of Manhattan, Kansas and the campus of the Kansas State University Wildcats.  The two was bigger than we imagined.  There was a football camp going on at Bill Snyder Family Stadium, but we got in to take some pictures.  The upper deck on the East Side (added in 1998) shoots straight up and increased the capacity to 50,000.  Looks and feels smaller, actually.

Kansas State is the 6th of the ten Big XII schools we've been to. 

Directly north of the stadium was Bramlage Arena.  Only way inside was through the offices.  No problem.  

Totally forgot former Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber was the new coach there.  There was some sort of practice going on (and they were waxing the aisles, so we couldn't get close), but we would have looked for him.  Arena holds 12,528 although the largest crowd was 13,762.  Looked like a great venue to watch basketball.  TV makes it look a little dungy, but thought it was very nice.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

The week behind....

Not much went on this week as we settled into our new adopted hometown of Topeka, KS at the Capital City KOA.  Winds have started picking up each day, but it's still so mild we can get by with the fan for most of the morning and evening while running the air during the afternoon.  We have had wonderful evenings.

Forbes Air Field has been really busy lately with large Air Force 737 cargo planes landing, along with a few fighters either doing touch and go's or refueling.  Great staying in a place that has a free air show.

Wednesday we found either (a) how great our vision insurance used to be or (b) how awful our vision insurance is now.  Take your pick. Used to be we'd hop into the eye doctor, pay our $10, have our glasses within a week and never pay another dime.  That was when we were working.  Now, that we're retired -- wow!  We had no idea glasses cost so darn much.  $600 later and we've got our glasses for the next couple of years, and that's going 'cheap' on everything -- no scratch coating, no reflective whatever, cheap frames, etc..  Yikes.

Friday, we saw the hayride rolling with no one on it, so Connie hopped aboard and so did a camper from behind us.  After conversing, it's our second person we've met since leaving Sea Breeze RV Park who has also stayed at Gulf Waters RV Park in Port Aransas, TX.  Cody grew up in Kansas City, is a Mizzou grad, and is a common occurrence we find in 'full timers' -- he's waiting on his house to get built.  His wife and family are actually living about 5 miles away from where we stayed in Aubrey, TX (The Colony).  We enjoyed his company Friday night talking college and pro sports, and again Saturday night as we watched the NBA Eastern Conference Finals (campground here doesn't have ESPN) and Stanley Cup Final game 5 outside the rig.

We learned from the guy at LensCrafters that the first two weeks of June are the busiest for tornadoes here.  Didn't want to hear that.  Hoping that our luck holds out.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Our travel to Kansas

Yes, Toto, we're in Kansas.

When last we left, we were waiting out Mother Nature and delayed leaving Shady Creek RV Park by a day.  Well, we got the storms, and Oklahoma City didn't.

It was our first hail storm of note, a good 5 minute droppings of pea to nickel sized hail and it just came out of nowhere.  Was partly cloudy, then all of a sudden it sounded like a small bird flew into the side of the rig.  Then it hit.  Had a few dents added to the front of the rig and our propane heater, but nothing broken or permanently damaged.  We had had so much rain in the two days that the pool was at high tide.

We had a decent day on Thursday to travel to the Elks Lodge in Edmond, OK.  No problems getting through Oklahoma City, traffic was pretty average.

The folks at the Edmond Elks Lodge were wonderfully accommodating from the phone call letting us know they only had 50 amp connections to our arrival and subsequent 'few' in the bar, great folks.

We knew ahead of time that we turned into pumpkins at noon on Friday, because they were having a flea market that would take up all of their parking lot, so we were on the road to Wichita, a mere two hours.

I guess you should know if the place your going to is on the other side of 14 railroad tracks, things probably aren't looking up.  When we got to the Wichita Elks, which billed itself as having "electric and water".  No one there, raining, 15 amp outlets on the side of the building, but no way to get there and no signs of water.  Not where we wanted to spend 3 nights.  We make a quick call to Charlie at the Capital City KOA to see if we can come in earlier than Monday.  Like today.  Like in 2 hours.

Carmen hates riding.  It was tough telling her we had two more hours to go, and we weren't really done yet.  She got through it, though.

We saw some great looking casinos along I-35 including the Winstar which had world replicas of famous buildings as their exterior surrounding the buildings.

So here we are!  A month in Topeka, Kansas.  Got some plans, but all Fred P 'soft plans'.  Stick with us and see how they come out.