5/19/2000 - 7/7/2000
5/19 Got a late start as Dianna's plane from ABQ was rerouted to Tulsa last eve and she didn't arrive until this morning. She was in Albuquerque visiting the kids before we left Dallas. Last minute things to take care and left about 1:30 pm. Her car began exhibiting squealing noises when she turned and we thought it might be a U-joint. Were ready to take the car to the dealer & leave it when Richard thought to take the wheel off. Of course, a thunderstorm decided to descend about that time. Pulled into a parking lot and he pulled the right front wheel to find a very tiny pebble between the wheel and wheel rim. That's all it was! But another delay; finally left about 3. Didn't get very far, someplace in OK, just north of OK City.
5/20 Arrived in Kansas City mid afternoon. Tried to find a place to stay with no success. Found a park right on I-70, east of KC. It was clean with lots of nice trees, but we've slept beside the interstate before and have no intentions of doing it again.
5/21 Some more searching and by the grace of God found an RLDS park in Independence. It's small and very clean. They had one full-time space that had just been vacated. Their phones go through the central switchboard so we have no long distance service. We have the end space which is surrounded by bushes and a tree so have lots of privacy and shade. Very nice.
5/24 Went to Station Casino. It's a beautiful casino along the Missouri River. Got to have Maggie Moo's ice cream - pretty good.
5/25 Toured Truman's Presidential Library. They are remodeling so some rooms were not open. One floor was totally devoted to letters he wrote to Bess. They sure told a lot about what was going on in those days, plus his deep love and devotion to her. Not many of hers to him were saved for posterity. Check out the Truman Library
5/26 Went to a concert at Independence Square in the evening. It was so nice to walk to the town square, sit in a lawn chair and enjoy the local symphony play. It really made us feel part of the community; something that is all too rare these days.
5/27 Toured Truman's home and farm. We now know more about Harry S than any other President, I do believe. Went to Station Casino, again, this time for a wonderful Italian dinner. Check out the Truman Homes
5/29 Drove to Corning, Iowa to see Dianna's great-grandfather's former dry goods store. It still says "Z T WIDENER, 1882-1895 at the top of the building. Ended up meeting a woman who is the city's unofficial historian. She had gone to all the cemeteries around the area and had the information on all markers in them. So we found her great-great-grandparent's graves. Took some pix and did a rubbing of the markers. An appropriate thing to do on Memorial Day.
5/31 Drove to Country Club Plaza, south of downtown Kansas City. It's an area that has been done in Spanish style architecture. Lots of fountains, statues, exclusive shops, restaurants, horse drawn carriages and a river that you can stroll beside or take a ride down it. Very beautiful and most romantic. Ate at Hibachi, a Japanese restaurant. It's been a long time since we had Japanese. It was very nice. Check out Country Club Plaza
6/4 Toured the Arabia Steamboat Museum. It's a private museum and very
nicely done. Two families got together in the 80's to raise the Arabia,
a steamship that sank in the Missouri in 1856. The river channel was changed
so it ended up in a farmer's field. Had to get his permission to excavate.
Almost her entire load was still on board though there had been rumors
that it had been off-loaded years ago. They have brought up silks that
are as bright today as they were 160 years ago! Her holds were loaded with
goods for people to start their new lives with "out west" and also to sell
so there are millions of beads, hundreds of pieces of farm equipment, clothing,
china, even some champagne that still tastes good and perfume that smells
nice. It's the only fresh-water excavation in the country. They are cleaning
artifacts right at the museum. Most interesting.
Check out Steamboat Arabia
6/8 Ate at BB's Lawnside BBQ, recommended by people where R works. It was great and we got to listen to a jazz band for wonderful entertainment. Dianna even got on the dance floor with some other single women who wanted to dance! She ached all over the next day as proof!!
6/9 Missy Deidra arrived today. She thoroughly enjoyed her "first" flight and took a whole roll of film out the plane's window to prove it! Can't imagine the pix showing very much at that altitude! Dayna wanted to send her bike as she's just learned to ride a 2-wheeler fairly well but it had to be boxed and a $45 freight charge paid. We told her we'd go to some garage sales to see if we could find one.
6/10 Deidra must have brought the rain with her so we couldn't do any outdoor activities today. Wanted to go to the zoo but ended up at garage sales. It was a good day for them in this certain area as several houses on several streets had them. Found one that was rusted, had flat tires, wheels didn't turn and was filthy. It would have taken a lot of elbow grease and money to put it in running condition. Almost despaired of finding one but at the next to last house there was a girls' pink bike standing in the rain. It looked like it was in good condition but we saw a little girl there so thought it might be hers (as it was at another house). But it was for sale and the owner only asked $5 for it! Deidra whipped out her money that her mom had sent to "buy anything she wanted" and paid for it herself. It in perfect condition (after Papa took off the training wheels) and she's in seventh heaven riding it around the park. Were going to go get her a helmet when Don, the manager, pulled out one he had in his garage for his grandkids. He said for her to use it as long as she's here. So lots of blessings today!
6/11 More rain. Were lazy and didn't go to church. Went to the mall where there's a carousel and play equipment. She enjoyed the play equipment and the "teapot" ride on the carousel most of all. There was also an event where many booths were set up with arts and crafts for sale. She found a pair of pretty pink, heart-shaped earrings.
6/12 Rain and more rain. Deidra has been anxious to go the swimming pool at the park but it hasn't been warm enough or sunny enough.
6/13 Found a different city park that we have to drive to. Deidra found a friend and they enjoyed the merry-go-round and monkey bars.
6/14 Played miniature golf after R got home and we ate dinner. Got a root beer float at Mugs Up Drive-In afterward. Very warm and humid.
6/15 We finally got to go swimming today! We had purchased water wings for Deidra but after a short time with them on Nana suggested she take them off. She did and by staying in the shallow end had a good time. She stayed in the water so long she was shivering!
6/16 Laundry and house-cleaning day today.
6/17 Went to the National Trails Center here in Independence (run by the National Park Service) where we learned all about the Santa Fe and California/Oregon Trails. It took 2-3 months to get to NM and 5-6 months to get to Oregon. Many trails began right here in Independence. Check out the Trails Center Also went to Fort Osage. It was once the westernmost and most expensive trading/protection fort built. Clark of Lewis and Clark suggested its location. Check out Fort Osage
6/18 Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop was having Bushwacker Days this weekend so went to check it out. It's south of KC. They had trapper teepees with authentic tools and men, women & children dressed in period costume. There was a stage where several different acts put on shows like Mexican dances, country/western singers, etc. There were several food booths and a reenactment of a civil war battle. They also had an actual stagecoach and Deidra got to for a ride. Lots of fun in spite of the heat and high humidity.
On the way home stopped at Union Station in downtown KC as there were two old trains on display. One was the Postal Service exhibition train which is touring the country. It shows the history of the postal service and stamps over the past 100 years. It also had a former private car to tour. The other was a steam engine & cars that had taken passengers to Chillicothe, MO on Sat. Would have liked to go but they wanted more money than we wanted to spend. Deidra & Poppa got to go up in the steam engine & she got to blow the whistle!
6/20 We toured the RLDS Temple that is located just behind us. It dominates the skyline around here. Check out the RLDS Temple
6/22 Another week has gone by before it was the right weather conditions to go swimming again. She does love the water, like her mommy used to and would learn to swim very quickly if she had lessons.
6/23 Laundry/cleaning day.
6/24 R decided to take us to the St. Louis Arch today. Didn't get up and going very early so didn't get there until about 7pm. Stopped at a walnut outlet store on the way and Deidra found a "kitty" made from rabbit fur that she is in love with. Bought Dom a wooden toy tractor. Got beautiful, laser cut boxes for Dayna and Darin to put decks of cards in and a cribbage box for me. Deidra's eyes were as big as saucers when she first saw the arch! We went in to see about tickets for the next day. Deidra and Nana convinced R to go this evening so we got tickets for 8:15. Needed to eat dinner so went to find something to eat. Couldn't find anyplace within walking distance so went back to the museum store and got some jerky and drinks. Just as we were about to open the food they announced that they would take tickets for anytime. So we got in line and went on the tram earlier. Got to eat the jerky while waiting in line but had to carry the drinks unopened. What a hassle. Deidra was most impressed with the sights from the top and enjoyed taking pictures of St. Louis and the Mississippi River. After dinner we tried to find a place to spend the night, but discovered that every room within 150 miles of St. Louis was booked! There was a convention, a ball game and regular summer vacationers, so after driving into Illinois about 50 miles we headed back toward Independence. We stopped several times to inquire about rooms, but everything was booked till we were about 50 miles from home. By then we decided to give it up, and arrived home at about 4am. Check out the Arch
6/26 Went to the mall so Deidra could ride the carousel. Dianna bought a package of tickets as they were cheaper that way and she has to use them before we leave next week.
6/27 Made reservations for Deidra & Dianna to take the Amtrak to KC, just as an adventure. Got to the depot (just around the corner) and waited for about 50 min. The train never came so we went back home & called to change reservations. Was informed they were made for the next day anyway. Somebody goofed!.
6/28 Ran to the store before getting on the train. Had plenty of time (or so we thought) to walk to the depot when we got back. Were just about there when the train pulled in and back out without us on it! So went back home & made reservations for the next day, again.
6/29 Finally made it on the train & to KC - a whole 20 minute ride! The depot is right next door to Union Station & across the street from the mall where the Crayola Cafe & Store are. Walked to the store so Deidra could buy some "Magic Markers". Had lunch and caught the train back home.
6/30 Housecleaning day. And back to the mall to ride the carousel again.
7/1 Have been told to go see Fantastic Caverns, near Joplin so today we went. Got to ride a jeep through it. In the 40s & 50s the main hall was used for country/western concerts and the stage & lights are still there. After Carlsbad nothing compares but it was pretty. Deidra had never been in a cave before so she enjoyed it.
Went a different route on the way home and ended up touring Precious Moments. They have a chapel with lots of beautiful stained glass windows done in the Precious Moments style. Along one side was a depiction of the 23rd Psalm and on the other was the Lord's Prayer. It also holds memorabilia of special figurines created for young people; one was for someone who died, another was for a little girl who couldn't wear bangs (as almost all figurines show) because of her cowlick in front. It is amazing the lengths they went to to create unique figurines. They are very sensitive to their customer's desires. We had never seen so many different types of PM articles. Managed to get away without purchasing anything!
7/2 Went to church in the am. After lunch we went to Kansas State University in Lawrence. It is an absolutely gorgeous, very old college of rock & brick buildings. They have a Natural History Museum on the campus which we enjoyed. Tried to go to Powell Gardens on the way home but they were having a special event that evening so we ended up going home.
7/3 Drove up to Pawnee City, NE today. Dianna's mom was born there. Cousin Calvin still lives there. We called him before we left but he was going to be busy all day & unable to show us around. We went to the county building where we looked up deeds, mortgages, marriage certificates and wills. Made copies of a lot of it but there were too many to copy them all. The family bought & sold a lot of land there! Found out where many relatives are buried so went to three different cemeteries to take pictures. The last name was on headstones at one cemetery but not the correct first names. We wondered if the graves were reused or something. The last one was on private property. We found the owner and asked for permission to search for the graves. He was a little skeptical at first but when he questioned Dianna and found out it was the Flanagins she was looking for it was no problem. The Flanagins have been in the area for over 150 years. The cemetery ended up being about 1/2 mile off the road, through fields that were 1 1/2 ft high and barbed wire. R finally found the very overgrown cemetery. The Flanagins had the most impressive plot with a cement border around it. Took lots of pictures. It was well over 100º and the humidity was very high. We all had bug bites on our legs and were miserable when we finally got back to the truck. Deidra did very well tromping through fields half as tall as she is!
7/4 Didn't do too much during the day. Had a bar-b-que that evening and then enjoyed a wonderful fireworks show right from the park. Everyone gathered to ooh and ahh, making it a wonderful "block party". The fireworks display was put on by the city and RLDS and were being launched just over the park's back fence.
7/5 A lazy day after a busy weekend.
7/6 Beginning to get ready to leave Sat. am. We got decals and pin-striping on the truck that, sort of, matches that on the trailer. It really gussies it up! Deidra and Dianna went to the mall for a last carousel ride and to Maggie Moo's for an ice cream cone. Deidra really enjoyed all the different places we ate while with us, trying everything put in front of her.
7/7 One last day for swimming. Deidra has really improved her swimming ability while with us. She would be a regular water rat, like her mom and uncle, if she had a place to swim regularly.
7/8 Left for Dallas. We will take two days for the drive, then leave for Mesa Monday morning to see Richard's folks, Don and Eloise, for a few days, on to Albuquerque to leave Missy Deidra with her folks and then home to Dallas. Deidra knew the area we were driving in was heavily traveled by wagon trains a century ago so she kept looking for the ruts. She didn't understand that the indentations she saw were, most likely, made more recently. She needs to go to some spots right near her home, up in Santa Fe, to see some real wagon wheel ruts.
After we stopped for diesel about 50 miles north of Oklahoma City Dianna noticed something strange about the right rear tire on the 5th-wheel. She asked Richard to pull over "to satisfy her curiosity". It's sure a good thing we did! Turns out the tread had pealed from it, causing a lot of damage around the wheel well. Of course it was over 100º making changing the tire a miserable job for Richard. Within five minutes of being back on the road Dianna again noticed a problem with another tire, this time on the left side. Pulled over and found the same thing had happened. Fortunately this one did very little damage. Now out of spare tires we put the bad one in the car and drove 25 miles to the nearest town to get a replacement. A tire store was open late in this small Oklahoma town which had a tire we could use. And at only $85 we thought it was a bargain! Back to the trailer, changed the tire and on our way again. Richard drove slower and, holding our breath, arrived at Guthrie, just north of Norman where our niece and family lives, without further incidents. It was almost 10 pm before we had a chance to eat, the restaurant turning out its lights as we left! We were hot and exhausted after our day's adventures.
7/9 Drove to Turner Falls, OK where we told Deidra we would swim and play in the water for a couple hours before going on home. It's a city park built around a river and natural falls. It has swimming pools, water slide and is a great place to go and cool off.
Got to Dallas safely and set up the trailer at our new home at Destiny RV Resort in Denton. Had dinner, went swimming and to bed.
7/10 Up early for our drive to Mesa which we'll do in two days as well. Got as far as El Paso where we spent the night at a nice motel with indoor pool and hot tub. It's a good thing they were indoor as we had a tremendous thunderstorm that night. Deidra managed to lose the "kitty" she got on our way to St. Louis. She was devastated as she had taken it with her wherever she went.
7/11 Arrived in Mesa early afternoon. Visited Richard's folks and, generally, stayed cool. Swam in the pool at the complex his folks live in.
7/12 Went to Arizona Mills Mall, a huge outlet mall, for the afternoon. Put Richard's folks' electric cart in the back of the truck so they would be able to get around. Bought Richard and his dad hats at the Australian shop and got Deidra a Tweety Bird t-shirt that he had been wanting for weeks. Visited Carrie, our nephew, Brian's wife, who showed us a video of their new home in Tucson where they'll be moving next month. Also got to see the absolutely gorgeous baby furniture they got at an auction, paying a fraction of it's worth. She's due in November so Richard's mom will, hopefully, finally get her November family event she has been wishing for for years. They have a pool so Deidra and Nana went swimming. Carrie had just eaten so we went on to a Chinese restaurant without her.
7/13 Deidra and Nana went swimming at Brian and Carrie's in the morning, then on to visit Richard's parents. Went to Price Club in the afternoon and then had dinner at the complex where Don & Eloise live. It's an assisted living community with different levels of care. Everyone wears an emergency pager that summons help if needed. They have a dining hall where meals are prepared for the residents. Their monthly fee includes 28 dinners a month. They get three or four choices of entrés, side dishes and desserts. And it's all delicious! We really enjoyed our meal and our wonderful visits with Mom and Dad (great-grandma and grandpa to Deidra). It had been over a year since our last visit.
7/14 Drove to Edgewood where we'll only have tomorrow before we head back to Dallas.
7/15 Richard repaired the door into the spa room and then we went to dinner at Garduno's (we have to get our green chili fix there each trip home!) with everyone but Chris who had to work. It was a birthday dinner for Darin and Dayna's birthdays.
7/16 Drove home to Denton and missed Deidra already.
7/17 Back to the old grind of work, etc.