grandson mason

grandson mason

grandson jaxson

grandson jaxson

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

30/31JUL07 - Brandon, Manitoba



















Monday and Tuesday was spent relaxing and doing choirs. Each morning Dan started by washing two weeks of dust and dirt off the RV. Unfortunately, there are no “car washes” sized for RVs. So Dan starts by doing the roof, which is the most challenging; being 12 feet up in the air on a wet, soapy, rubber roof is not relaxing or easy. We used to try and complete the entire rig in one day, but now spread it out over two. It is amazing how the prairie dust is everywhere and gets in everything!

Tuesday afternoon was spent visiting Ron and Lynne Curtis in Neepawa, Manitoba. In a previous blog entry we mentioned that Ron was a dive master that helped Ed and Elaine Riesmeyer with dive instruction. But we also knew Ron and Lynne previously when they visited us in Houma, along with Ed and Elaine, for Mardi Gras 2007. We won’t bore with you all details of Mardi Gras, other than to note that they left with a pick-up bed full of beads and Mardi Gras paraphernalia. Now many people catch beads during Mardi Gras and then let them collect dust in the attic or garage. Ron and Lynne had a future use for the beads and Mardi Gras items! Turns out Neepawa is the Lily Capitol of Canada, if not the world, and has an annual Lily Festival in July. Ron and Lynne designed a float for the local parade based on a Mardi Gras theme, playing Cajun music, and throwing the beads! Needless to say they won the competition for best float, and people were still wearing their beads days after the festival.

During the afternoon Ron took Dan to visit a couple of Hutterite colonies. Turns out Ron’s fulltime job is as an Agriculture Advisory to large farms, and by doing this work he has become good friends with several large Hutterite colonies/farms. We do not profess to know any real details of Hutterite religious beliefs or life style but it appears to be a farming colony (about twenty families) being completely self sufficient based on their religion. They accept and use modern technologies but not at the expense of their communal life style or religious beliefs. Children grow up speaking German until age five in the home; meals are cooked and served by one central kitchen; and housing is duplexes or town houses.
http://www.hutterites.org/

Ron and Dan started by visiting one of the older colonies, Spring Hill which was over forty years old, and then they visited a new colony, Rolling Acres. Both colonies were very similar. Noticeable differences were that the houses at Spring Hill had mature trees and beautiful flower gardens, the landscape was bare at Rolling Acres; the different support shops at Spring Hill were in different buildings and at Rolling Acres everything was under one roof. And we say self sufficient, we mean self sufficient. These colonies have complete electric shops, complete machine shops, complete welding shops, cabinet making shops, and emergency generators. Other examples – since Rolling Acres is a new colony, they are still constructing buildings. To save money they have built their own concrete plant to pour foundations; and bought their own mobile crane to lift roof trusses for the buildings.

The hi-lite of the afternoon was when Ron arranged for Dan to ride in the cab of a combine harvesting wheat at Rolling Acres. Dan joined a Hutterite named Joe and his son in a brand new New Holland CR-970 combine. Turns out there were two swath cutters, two combines, and one collector hopper harvesting wheat. First the swath cutters cut the wheat into neat rows; the combines pick up the cut wheat and separate the wheat seed from the stalks; and then the tractor with the collector hopper comes by and the harvested wheat is transferred while both machines continue to drive side by side. In this way the combines can run non-stop until the fuel runs out. Dan found it interesting that the tractors had at least one or two Hutterite children in the cabs riding along with their fathers.

Ron and Dan then joined Lynne and Corrie at Ron and Lynn’s house for dinner. They were also joined by Ed and Elaine, along with their daughter Kim and here husband Brian (another dive master). Ron bar-b-que’d up some excellent steaks purchased from the Hutterites. It was an excellent dinner finished off with Hutterite pies.

Monday, July 30, 2007

24-29JUL07 - Brandon, Manitoba (underway is the only way!)



Upon arrival at Ed and Elaine’s in Shilo, Manitoba, it was the usual routine of setting up camp. In RV parks we always hope for a pull through spot so we don’t have to back-in, and expect all utilities centrally located on the driver’s side for easy hook-ups. When you use someone’s driveway you can run into some interesting challenges. On our long trip in 2004 we ran into low hanging power lines; very big and low hanging tree limbs; no level spot in the drive way; and having to run water lines or power cords long distances. Ed and Elaine’s driveway is plenty big enough, but we ran into problem with electrical. Their breakers were 15 amp and our air conditioner kept popping circuit. Luckily after our 2004 trip Dan has accumulated all sorts of heavy duty extension cords; adapter plugs and surge protectors. Dan had a device that allows two heavy duty extension cords on two different 15 amp breakers to be combined into one 20 amp breaker. Since Manitoba was also experiencing record heat, not running the AC was not an option.

Ed is the oldest of Corrie’s three younger brothers and works at the local Canadian Army post as a civilian in boiler maintenance. Elaine also works on base, but Ed and Elaine have developed a private business that doesn’t quite fit the prairie/farming landscape. They started recreational diving many, many, years ago. This hobby has grown into a very nice business – C&L Scuba. They teach recreational diving to people that drive hours all year round to get qualified; and because of this they are one of the largest dealers of Mares diving equipment in Canada.

Thursday was spent doing as little as possible as the effects of the drive from Texas caught up to us. The only thing accomplished was washing two weeks of dust off the Toad. Friday it was off to Ed and Elaine’s cabin just outside of Riding Mountain National Park. The reason for this was twofold: to escape the heat, and so Ed could check out some scuba students during their open water examination. Friday night the students showed up and so did the other dive masters. Corrie, Dan, Elaine and Gumbo sat around battling the mosquitoes while the divers disappeared into a special area of Clear Lake inside the park.

Saturday morning was the last of the open water diving and the rest of the weekend was devoted to R&R. First Dan and Corrie walked across the highway to local farmer’s market to get fresh veggies. Corrie found stand that made fresh jams with the local berries. Dan wanted to buy one of every jar that had a berry he had never tasted. Corrie limited him to two, so we got Saskatoon berry and Goose berry. Then it was off in Ed and Elaine’s pontoon boat to tour Clear Lake. Ed and Ron Curtis (one of the dive masters) had just started fishing for pickerel (Dan is not sure but this fish may actually be what Americans call walleye, not pickerel), when the rains came. So it was back to the cabin to dry off. In the early evening it was back on the lake to finish getting our limit of pickerel.

Sunday morning was bright and sunny, so it was decided to attack the pickerel again. While we waited for Ed to launch the boat we were attacked by every mosquito in the National Park. Once underway the mosquitoes disappeared. After cleaning the fish, we cleaned and locked up the cabin and headed back to Shilo. Upon return we took advantage of the C&L Scuba indoor pool while we contemplated the fresh pickerel dinner that awaited us. The fish dinner was excellent, topped off by vanilla ice cream with goose berry jam!

Monday, July 23, 2007

21-23JUL07 - Minot, ND (still stranded!)





Because of our toad being in the shop, we were effectively trapped on Minot AFB. So Saturday and Sunday was spent riding our bikes around the base (and around), and hanging out at the pool. We had to limit our bike riding because Minot was experiencing record heat! The base has great facilities, including indoor, air conditioned, rock climbing, putt putt golf and batting cages; but no one uses the rec facilities other than the pool. Being an ex Air Force brat, Dan believes this is because everyone now has two or three cars in the family. When Dan’s family lived on AFBs very few families had two cars (in fact more families had no cars, than those with two), and no teenagers had their own cars! So the recreational facilities were always being used because you had no way to go anywhere (let alone TV, internet, game boys, etc, etc, now available).

Another sign of the changes in life styles, is the new housing going up on base. No more quad-plexes and duplexes; everything is now duplex and single family houses. And it looks like everything has four bedrooms, as well as two car garage. Even though Dan’s dad was senior enlisted in Air Force, the best they every got for housing was duplex, single car garage, with three bedrooms! One night Dan was standing outside and a C-130 flew low and slow, making multiple passes over the base spraying something. Dan could only think Agent Orange! Turns out just the Air Force’s way of spraying for mosquitoes.

Another observation is that even though the cold war is over, the USA is still heavily armed with nukes. Minot is home to the 5th Bomber Wing (ie one of two B-52 squadrons left) and the 91st Space Command (ie ICBMs). You see the Minuteman III silos all over the landscape, as well as the ready bombers sitting on the runway with signs saying warning armed guards and vicious dogs. Dan finds it funny that now there are directional signs on the roads telling you how to get to the silos (as well as online maps). This was classified when he was a kid, but every farmer knew where they were since the farmers sold their land to the gov’t for the silos.

Monday morning we rented a rental car just to run errands in town. Dan got his tools from the toad and had the RV electrical system repaired in minutes (finally our luck was improving). We were going to go to the North Dakota State Fair in Minot, but it was just too hot. The next morning we took the rental car and were gonna go to the Scandinavian cultural center, but on the way stopped at the Ford dealer.

Turns out the toad problem, was bad fuel. So we got rid of the rental car, paid for the toad, and beat feet back to base. We broke camp in an hour and immediately started driving to Brandon, Manitoba. After three and one half hours we arrived at Corrie’s brother (Ed and Elaine Riesmeyer) to visit family and friends in Canada (EH?).

Trivia: 1) Where is the largest Scandinavian festival in the USA? 2) Where is the only other B-52 Bomber Wing located in USA? 3) B-52s used to carry two AGM 28 Hound Dog air to ground missiles; what was unique about the missile’s fuel system?

Saturday, July 21, 2007

17-20JUL07 - Minot, ND (stranded!)









On our last day in Pierre we decided to try the RV park located on the Minot Air Force Base in Minot, ND. We have a four year old book listing all the military recreational facilities. The book stated that there were only six spots for RVs and that no reservations could be made. Dan called the number listed and asked – if the facility was still there, and if no reservations were taken? Dan was told that all spots were taken and that no reservations could be taken. We were also told that two sites “might” be vacant tomorrow but no guarantees. Fully understanding that we might not find a space, we decided to get up early and drive hard for six hours and try our luck.

http://www.minot.af.mil/

We arrived on base to find one space open. We immediately called Outdoor Recreation Office to tell them we were backing into space. We were then told that the space had been RESERVED over the phone earlier in the day! When questioned on how this could be, it turned out the Supervisor had decided to ignore their published rules. We decided to drive to the office and “discuss” the situation. Although the parking lot in front of the office was empty, we were told not to park there because nearby buildings were being spray painted. So while Dan drove off to find a spot for fifty five feet of RV and tow, Corrie went in to “discuss” the situation. By the time Dan got back to the office, it was perfectly clear that Corrie had indeed “discussed” the situation. End result was personal phone call from the base Executive Officer (or as the Air Force says, the Deputy), but no RV spot.

Being extremely tired after long drive and “discussing” the situation, we decided to dry camp on base (ie no water or electric hook-ups) since it looked like two RV spots would be open the next day. The next morning Corrie got up early as always, and every half hour would drive over to the RV park and check to see if anyone was leaving (sort of like a vulture circling over head?). At 0800 Dan gets cell phone call to fire up the RV and drive over now. We got a spot for our intended three day stay; and funny thing, when we went to pay the only charged us one third the daily rate?

Next couple of days were spent just relaxing and catching up chores. As with most Air Force Bases the facilities are excellent, including complete, modern, gym that stays open until midnight. Dan’s favorite is the outdoor pool with pretty big waterslide! Corrie and Dan also have enjoyed numerous biking excursions on the bike paths of the base, along with the mandatory walking tour of downtown Minot. Of note in Minot is the Old Soo Railroad Depot, free museum dedicated to the Soo Railroad Line. Very good explanation of how railroads were not only important for main line towns, but all the small communities on the deadend tracks. Unique was display of winter scenes of buildings and cars that were collectibles issued by the mysterious Department 56. Turns out Dept 56 was division of Hallmark still in business today.

On Friday, 20JUL, Dan decided he wanted to drive over an hour to Parshall, ND, to see an eccentric museum based on Paul Broste’s rock sculptures. We had two pamphlets from ND saying museum opened at 1000. We arrived at 1045 to find out museum opened at 1200. However, Corrie new that nearby town (New Town) just happened to have an Indian casino. So it was off to the Four Bears Casino to donate to the cause. After, an hour we decided to stop in New Town for lunch before returning to Parshall.

www.parshallnd.com/rockmuseum.htm

http://www.4bearscasino.com/

After lunch the bad luck commenced as we left town. Dan noticed that AC was not cooling car and that car was accelerating slowly. Then the car lost power, and started to misfire. We immediately made a U-turn to get back to town. Dan just happened to notice small non-descript building that said – Sammy’s Auto Shop. Dan pulled and found Sammy Westphal. Sammy’s guess was fuel filter or fuel pump. He called the only auto parts store in town, and found out they did not have either part. Sammy guessed that only tow truck in town would charge big time to tow car to nearest Ford dealer in Minot. It was then agreed that Sammy would drive Corrie and Dan back to Minot AFB (for a fee), where we would get the RV for towing the Ranger back to Ford dealer.

Since Sammy had not bothered to bring vehicle registration or proof of insurance, he couldn’t get on base. So we paid him his fee, and hi-jacked a taxi with passenger trying to leave base and convinced them to take us back on base to our RV. We un-hooked the RV and headed back to Sammy’s. Once there, we hooked up the truck and set out for Ford dealer in Minot.

Upon leaving Sammy’s more bad luck, Dan noticed that speed gauge stuck on 65mph and cruise control would not function. We dropped the truck off at dealer and made it back to the AFB RV park. So we ended up driving 360 miles and going nowhere! Dan started to troubleshoot the problem with the RV, which by that point had grown to include half the 12 volt systems on the dash were not working. Troubleshooting was complicated by the fact that all Dan’s tools were in a toolbox in the truck. So we were forced to extend our stay until Tuesday, hoping that the car dealer can find and fix the problem on Monday!

Lastly, we apologize for listing link to Muffler Man in our North Platte blog as RODEsideamerica, it should have been ROADsideamerica! We have corrected the link.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

15/16JUL07 - Pierre, SD









After a very restful evening for all, got on the road slightly later than normal. Very relaxing drive heading almost due north on US 83. As we approached the Nebraska/South Dakota border, Dan noticed a very large building in the middle of nowhere, with about a hundred cars in the parking lot on a Sunday afternoon. Can you say Indian Casino? A half an hour later, and donating $10 to the Sioux cause, we were back on the road.

South Dakota has interesting way to encourage tourists to stop in different areas. They have green signs resembling a movie directors clipboard(?) with any and all movies that had any portion of movie filmed in local area. For example, “Traveling Through Rosebud” was shot in 1972 near the Rosebud Casino we visited. And somewhere in South Dakota is a sign noting where Kevin Costner filmed “Dancing with Wolves”.

While stopping for lunch, it was decided to check out one of the Army Corps camp areas, or State Recreational Areas around Pierre (pronounced pier, not pee-air), SD. We like these areas because they are often located in scenic areas (or historical), have good recreational facilities, and are cheaper than commercial RV parks. They do have some drawbacks – sometimes no water at site, no laundromat, no cable/internet, and maybe several miles from nearest town. We decided on Farm Island Recreational Area.

www.sdgfp.info/parks/regions/oahesharpe/farmisland.htm

Turned out to be a good choice. Nice location, not too far from town, and good facilities. We got a spot right on the lake and even Gumbo got a chance to swim. Park also had paved bike trails connecting back to town. Dan did quick bike tour of park and discovered small visitor center dedicated to Lewis and Clark’s travel through this area. Dinner that night was at Jake’s Place, a sports bar, followed by a Wally Mart run.

The next day we slept late and awoke to small white flowers that had bloomed overnight, took a long walk around the park, before heading into Pierre to walk around and mail some post cards. We happened upon a hardware store called Hanks, advertising Hank’s Soda. Dan tried a Birch Beer. Turns out Hank’s Soda has nothing to do with Hanks Hardware and contained no birch ingredients. The soda is a premium soda made back east and sold nation wide.

http://www.hanksbeverages.com/

Upon returning to the park it was decided to stay one more day and not get back on the road until Tuesday. After paying for another day, Dan took off for long bike ride through the nature area of Farm Island. Farm Island was connected to the “mainland” by a causeway constructed by the CCC. The CCC then established a CCC camp on the island that was used by the CCC for many years. After the CCC abandoned the site, it was allowed to return to nature. All that is left now are foundations and hiking trails.

Trivia: 1) What state had more young men by percentage in the CCC (think 40%)? 2) What is unique about Pierre’s location as opposed to any other state capitol (think the 4th dimension – time)? 3) What CLASSIC movie is Rosebud a key part of?

14JUL07 - North Platte, NE































Unfortunately for one of the travelers, last night was kind of a continuation of the travel frustrations of the previous day. We were afflicted with various noises throughout the night that made sleep difficult for Corrie. We endured our next door neighbors gas hot water heater constantly running, that sounded like a jet engine about to flame out; a semi idling outside our RV while they tried to position a trailer; and every now and then sound of freight trains blasting their whistle and rumbling by. Luckily, Dan was able to sleep through all this and rest for today’s drive to North Platte, NE.

Today’s drive was much more relaxed then yesterday’s and we arrived at the RV park in North Platte with plenty of time to enjoy the pool and decompress. Dan happened to notice that was a very big “tourist trap” right next to the RV park called Fort Cody Trading Post, and suggested they check it out!

http://www.fortcody.com/

Yes, it turned out to be your typical tourist trap, but it was also something more. They had your typical touristy things based on “western” theme – kid’s cowboy and Indian outfits, road apples and cow pies, petrified wood, agates, etc. But they also had several displays of Buffalo Bill Cody artifacts from his traveling wild west show. Turns out he lived in North Platte for thirty years and the idea for his traveling show and first “trial runs” were right here in North Platte. In addition, they have a display of 20,000 hand carved figures (some of which are animated) depicting the entire wild west show. Every half hour the animated show comes on and explains the history of the wild west show and the history of this miniature display (we were fortunate to be there on the half hour). Lastly, out back they have some larger items on display including a MUFFLER MAN! For all things muffler man; and the rare Uniroyal Girl, and the rarest of them all – Texaco Man, check out:

http://www.roadsideamerica.com/

Lastly, while reading some of the literature on North Platte we discovered a museum dedicated to the North Platte Canteen that we hope to visit some time in the future. Seems that on 17DEC41 the citizens of town were going to welcome some Nebraska Army personnel traveling via train for deployment to the war. Turns out train had soldiers from Kansas, but the town folks supported the Kansas boys with cookies, cigarettes, coffee, postcards and taking messages for loved ones in the few minutes the train stopped. Rae Wilson, drug store clerk, decided they should do the same for every train with troops stopping in North Platte. On X-mas day 1941 started a volunteer effort that provided small comforts to over six million service personnel, no matter the weather or time of day. The Canteen’s efforts were documented in the New York Times and were the subject of a Charles Kuralt video.

http://npcanteen.net/

Trivia: 1) The photo labeled Oakley, KS, commemorates a competition on between William Cody and William Comstock; what was the competition? 2) What did the winner get? 3) Why does Muffler Man’s left hand point down, and right hand point up? 4) Who was given the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1872, and then taken back in 1916?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

13JUL07 - Garden City, KS


Today being Friday the 13th we of course ran into some bad luck. Nothing serious like broken RV or accident; just minor things that made the drive frustrating and the time on the road way too long. First thing was Navigator (or more correctly, the Naviguessor) estimating it was 300 miles to get into Nebraska. Wrong! After 200 miles we hadn’t even gotten out of the pan handle of Texas. Seems the Naviguessor had mis-read the scale on the map! In Dan’s defense, we must remember he was an engineer on board the Coast Guard Cutter MUNRO, not a deck watch officer.

The start of the drive began with gray, overcast skies, that soon turned into thunder, lightning, and driving rain. Most of the morning was spent battling the elements. In addition, we ran into our first major road construction, thankfully not at the same time as the rain. We were trapped on narrow strip of resurfaced road with no shoulder on either side. When you are driving 8-1/2 feet of RV on a nine foot lane, the pucker factor definitely goes up!

After we discovered our distance miscalculation, it was decided to drive a little longer than normal to finish over 300 miles in Garden City, KS. As usual we checked the RV books to find a RV park that sounded in good shape and reasonably priced. As we approached the park, Dan said this looks very familiar, and than said - we stayed here three years ago on our retirement RV trip! The RV park wasn’t in the best of shape three years ago, and had gone down hill some. But being worn out, hot, and with slightly frazzled tempers, we checked in, and hit the pool to relax.

By the way, we knew we were in Kansas home of the Wizard of Oz, because the sign at the border says KANSAS OZ-SOME (get it?), and the RV park had streets named after Oz characters (Scarecrow Drive, Auntie Em Street, etc). When we checked in they told us we were lucky that we hadn’t been there yesterday, because the wind and rain were extremely high and heavy causing many problems for RV’ers. Dan wanted to ask - if any mean ass school marms had been seen peddling a bike in the storm screeching --- I will get you my pretty? But figured they might not appreciate his sense of humor.

US 83 Trivia: 1) What is the school mascot for Hamlin, TX (think Crispian St Peter’s hit single from the 60s)? 2) Where is the world’s largest, free, community pool located? 3) Where did Frank Baum get the name Oz (think filing cabinet)?

Thursday, July 12, 2007

12JUL07 - Anson, TX





Today for us was kind of the “real” start of the full time RV’er life style. Although we do have a time constraint and a place to be (Brandon, Manitoba in about five days), how far we want to drive, route taken, and where to stop are strictly up to us; and usually planned day-to-day.

For example, we prefer two lane roads over the Interstates, especially the old US highways. Although only two lanes most of the time, they are usually well maintained and often have less traffic. The scenery on the Interstates can be beautiful, but often there is a sameness to it and everyone seems to be going as fast as possible to get nowhere first? To us on the two lanes (or the blue highways as one author wrote) the pace is more relaxed, the scenery is constantly changing, you actually travel through small town America, and you still see those hokie roadside attractions (two headed rattlesnake, biggest ball of twine, etc) we always asked our parents to stop at (and they never did). Certainly these blue highways can be a mistake (like US 30 [aka Lincoln Highway] through North Illinois/Indiana, or US 1 through coastal parts of NE), put we still prefer them.

In fact one of the things on Dan’s agenda is to pick a couple of the old US highways that are still in one piece (not like Route 66 which is largely gone) and drive them from end to end. Corrie’s vote is still out on this one. Take the road we are on, US 83. This road may be the longest North/South road in USA. It starts at USA/Mexico border in Brownsville, TX, and runs continuously north to USA/Canada border at Westhope, ND. It probably would been faster speed wise to get on I-35N and take Interstates to Canada, but we opted for the scenic route (besides speed limit on most TX two lanes is 70mph!). If we had more time, Dan would have actually headed south to get to Brownsville so he could claim to have driven entire length of US 83; maybe next time.

True services on these two lanes, especially in the remote areas we will be traveling, can be few and far between. For us that means a little pre-planning the night before departing. We have several books that list locations of RV parks, state parks and national parks for every state in USA. Dan looks at the books and figures what will be in the vicinity of where we want to end our drive the next day. For today’s driving Dan figured we needed to be about an hour north of Abilene by the end of driving, but there was no RV facility at the point. Should we drive north for another hour to reach next one, or cut drive short 20 miles out of Abilene in Anson? Since this was our first day of driving and we got on the road one hour late, we decided for the only RV park in Anson. As you can see from the picture, RV park does not have many facilities (ie pool, showers, laundromat); but the beauty of RV’ing is you have your own bed, kitchen and living room. So all we really need is electricity (50amp preferred, but 30amp will do), water, and sewage dump. However, this park does have cable for free!

While we are on the subject of driving, Dan has another habit that Corrie shakes her head at. Whenever we pass through the small towns on the blue highways and they have a town square with court building in the middle, Dan will drive completely around the square! If Corrie is lucky no one will be on the streets to wonder – what the hey! We are not sure how this started, but it started on our retirement RV trip in 2004, and probably was triggered by Corrie telling Dan this was not a good idea?

In closing we need to introduce some of our traveling companions. First and foremost is Gumbo the wonder dog. Gumbo is our second Jack Russell Terrier, unfortunately Gumbo has every bad trait the breed is known for. Next up is Blitz the Seattle Seahawk mascot. We would have preferred the Saints mascot, but a Fleur de Lys is not much on conversation. Number three is Mini Objee, the mini-version of the USCG Academy bear mascot. For those of you who followed our 2004 trip, you know we traveled with the real Objee until he left us when we attended Dan’s 30 year reunion at USCGA. Lastly, Pardi Gras the Mardi Gras bear from New Orleans. Pardi Gras literally fell into our lives when someone threw him at us at Mardi Gras 2007. Keep an eye on our pictures in the BLOG because these rascally characters may show up time to time.
Upon arrival we had lunch, and because of the portions, dinner at the Sirloin Cafe. As the name implies all the food groups are covered - beef, beef and more beef. Corrie had the basic burger which equalled three big macs. Dan had the hot sirloin steak sandwich expecting something with sliced steak, but got two tiny pieces of white bread smothered by world's biggest chicken fried steak. In the early evening when it had cooled from high 90s to low 90s, we went to Anson to walk around, entire town is two square blocks centered on courthouse (at least we won't have to drive around it tomorrow). Almost entire town is empty buildings. Another small American town done in by movement to the big cities; mega-stores; and interstate system. On way out of town found shaved ice stand where they knew how to stuff them just like in Louisiana. Tomorrow we shoot for 300 miles on the road and crossing Oklahoma and Kansas to Nebraska!

US 83 Trivia Questions – 1) What town claims to be the center of Texas (think Adam and Eve)? 2) There is statue of Chas Noyes and his horse in town square of Ballinger, Texas; what does statue commemorate? 3) What is the school mascot of schools in Winters, TX (town name is big hint)? 4) In what sport has Abilene had three national champions in last seven years, last being 2005 (think double dutch)? 5) Who is the town of Anson named after (think last President of the Republic)?