Thursday, May 30, 2013

2013-15 From Tulsa Oklahoma to Farmington Missouri


Campground: Hwy 160 Rv Park, 8180 Hwy 160 S, Highlandville MO.  $9 a night full hookup free wifi.  Passport America rate.  Simple little park behind a large Antique Mall with about 50 vendors.  About 25 miles north of Branson MO.  

Campground:  St Joe State Park, $21.  Near Park Hills Mo., 573-431-1069  State park with two campgrounds.  One for ATV users.  One for Horseback riding.  I’ll be staying in the one for the Horseback riding campsites. $8 reservation fee, which I did since there was a chance I wouldn’t get a site otherwise.

Last thoughts on Tulsa Ok area.

Here at Bush Creek campground, by Friday afternoon the small campground has filled up for the Memorial Day Weekend.  I had to grin as I saw an SUV back into the site next to mine.  A trailer attached carrying 3 ATV’s.  After parking, the back door to the SUV opened up and one after another, 5 little urchins came tumbling out.  with a few more coming out of the other side of the vehicle.  Three or four tents eventually got set up and then doors to the SUV were opened up and out came pouring, you guessed it, loud country/rock music.


By Sunday afternoon, they were packed up and gone.  

I toured downtown Tulsa and was pleasantly surprised at how compact and clean the city is.  All their high rises are centered on a few main streets in the downtown center.  A mix of Art Deco buildings from the 30’s and 40’s to much newer and grander corporate buildings.  Driving out from the center of town I even noticed that the buildings that were further out, some closed, were still in pretty good shape.  Also there were some handsome large churches around the center of town, with the Boston Avenue Methodist Church being the grandest of all.  With it’s tall main spire, all done in an Art Deco style and most impressive I might add.  The residential areas all have lush green lawns and treed.  Most looking like arts and crafts bungalows made of sturdy bricks in shades of tans and traditional red brick as well.  Although the city is cut up by quite a few expressways crisscrossing the city making for easy access through and around town, it also has a tendency to cut neighborhoods apart from each other.  The Boc Center is right downtown as well.  A most impressive center for large concerts, basketball and hockey games, etc.

The Golden Driller  

Of course I’m staying about 13 miles west of the city in a wonderful rural area, but would have no problem driving into town, especially with a good GPS program to guide me around.  I use my Verizon Cell phones Google maps program and it’s works fairly well for most of my needs. Driving back from town one day, I saw a bald eagle gliding along on an air current parallel to the freeway along the Arkansas river.  What a stunning site.

Tulsa is oil country so I’m sure that’s one of the reasons the area looks and feels so prosperous.  I’ve even seen a few of the one armed oil rigs bobbing up and down, some in the most unusual places.  I could easily see this as an area to spend more time in.  Unfortunately, I’m concerned about the region being in Tornado alley.  So I’ll be heading on out on Wednesday.  

I’ve decide to head out on Tuesday instead as the weather is going to deteriorate considerably on Wed. in the Tulsa area.  The new camper is a breeze to break down and prepare for heading on down the road.  The drive through Tulsa was very blustery but the new camper and my diesel truck handled the winds pretty well.  I maintained a speed of only 65 mph which for towing in wind gusts of 25-35 mph worked out just fine.  

Sorry to have to leave the Tulsa area as there were a number of other places and local attractions I would have like to visit, including a section of route 66 which is supposed to be pretty good.  But it’ll have to wait for another time.  A day or so later and it looks like I made the right decision to head out ahead of those storms.  

Distance Traveled:  218 miles

I’m staying south of Springfield Missouri.  I’m also about 30 minutes from Branson MO but I don’t have any plans on visiting that mega entertainment town this time around.  Springfield is considered the birthplace of Route 66 as it is where Woodruff worked on plans for building the Mother Road and a telegram was sent to Washington requesting highway number 66 be designated for the new road.  One of the many museums dedicated to this wonderful road is right in the center of town along the original Route 66.  It has some great vintage pictures of the heyday of this beloved route.

Billboards which I thought at one point were banned along highways seem to have proliferated in this part of the country.  One of them advertising The Fantastic Caverns with the only jeep driven ride through a cave in North America.  Well you know I had to go on that ride.  Starting out early in the morning, contending with heavy local work time traffic, I got to the cave for their first tour of the day.  Along with three Vietnamese (living in San Diego) we enjoyed a leisurely tour through the caves.  It’s not the most spectacular set of caves I’ve been through, but the ride through it was fun and the stories were interesting.  The cave was discovered by the landowner just before the Civil War broke out.  He kept it a secret so that it wouldn’t be taken over by either the north or the south as it contained bats which create guano (bat poop) used to make gunpowder.  Later the caves would be used during prohibition as an underground speakeasy and later as a stage for country and western concerts and a weekly radio station show.  Showing even a cave can have many stories to tell.

Speaking of those billboards if you head south on hwy 65 towards Branson Missouri, you’ll be inundated with mile after mile of billboards advertising all those Theatres in Branson.  Kind of a reminder of what the entire country looked like 40 years ago. Hint, it’s not pretty.

Springfield is a very prosperous area and I understand from the locals a relatively cheap place to live.  One of the reasons for the very large homes in the area that would cost 2 to 3 times as much anywhere else. A number of commercial manufacturing companies call Springfield home as well.  

I dropped into the Pythian Castle, which I was told by the receptionist, that there were over 1,000 of them built throughout the world. Most have been demolished over time as the land becomes more valuable and real estate what it is finds it more profitable to tear down the classy old building and build bigger profit making buildings in their place.  This castle like the others was built to house orphans and the elderly.  Designed to give the residents a feeling of being in someplace special rather than just a place to keep them.  It’s also certified to have ghosts and they even have ghost tours and special murder mystery nights and other special events.


there’s so much to explore in this area including the original Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World.  This being the hometown of the stores.  But I’m scheduled to head out tomorrow to visit with my niece Kim and her family and my sister Dorothy.  Along with continuing an easterly trek to keep ahead of the heavy storms building west of here.  One of the reasons I’ve ended up near them for a visit in the first place.   

Distance Traveled:  218

Once again I’ve headed out ahead of some bad weather west of me and before it hits Springfield, I’ll get an early start this morning.  I won’t discuss the pancake I almost became as two semi trucks had me sandwiched in between them.  Let’s just say I survived and hope it never happens again.  Double Ekk.  Note to fellow campers and self:  watch truckers coming back onto highways from rest areas.... they expect “you” to move out of their way as they enter the highway.

Continuing NE along Interstate 44 which parallels much of the original route 66, I eventually turned off I-44 and dropped down on country road 8.  If you’ve ever heard the phase, “over hill and dale”, this is the road.  it started out pretty narrow with no shoulders, going over hill and dale which included many turns and dips.  heavy forests opening to green farms with happy cows grazing the thick grass and homes appearing out of nowhere.  As I crossed into each new county, the road continued to improve.  Adding small shoulders, then eventually wide paved shoulders as the scene opened up to more farmland and small towns like Steelville, Huzzah Valley, Shirley, Potosi and Springtown.  

Driving into St Joes State park, it seemed to go on for miles, passing the first campgrounds and activity areas, finally arriving at the 2nd campground designated for campers with horses.  Two well paved loops with good back-in campsites on the outside of each loop making for easy back in sites.  With threatening skies ready to dump rain, I finally had the camper set up and headed out to lunch.  Come to find out the State Park is a long affair with an entrance off of a rural road at both ends.  My campsite, at the far end from where I came in, actually is only about a 10 minute drive into the small town of Farmington Missouri.  How convenient.  So close to shops, restaurants and the always needed laundromat.  

Well, I’ll be visiting with my Niece Kim and her family as well as my sister Dorothy starting tomorrow and since this blog has gone on for over 3 pages, I’d better end it and tell the rest of the story next week.  

more pics on PICASA

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