Almost There!

 Posted by at 12:36 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 272014

I must have been worn out Friday night because I slept right through a brief but loud thunderstorm at the Claremore, Oklahoma Elks Lodge. I’m usually a light sleeper but Terry said I never flinched as she got up and closed the roof vent and came back to bed.

Yesterday morning we were up early again and left the Winnebago at the Elks lodge while we drove a couple of miles to the Will Rogers Memorial. The cowboy humorist has always been one of my heroes for his quick wit and his ability to poke fun at the big names of his time, and himself, without using all the vulgarity today’s “celebrities” do.

The museum has displays on Rogers’ life and career and a lot of Western artwork. This life size statue gives you a look into Rogers’ personality. Though he became famous and his name was a household word, he never let it go to his head and never stopped being the Oklahoma cowboy he started life as.

Will Rogers statue 2

From there we drove a few more blocks to the J.M. Davis Arms & Historical Museum. Besides displaying the world’s largest private collection of firearms, the museum has fascinating things on display like guns taken from criminals ranging from street corner thugs to the likes of Bonnie and Clyde and Jesse James.

Davis gun museum outside

Gun wall display

Colt handgun display

Frank Delmar gun

There are also nooses that were used to execute condemned criminals.

Lawrence Mabry noose

But it isn’t all about guns. The museum also has collections of German steins, Western artwork, walking sticks, musical instruments and more. I’ll have feature stories on both the Will Rogers Memorial and the Davis gun museum in the next issue of the Gypsy Journal.

Back at the Elks lodge, we got ready to roll and pulled onto the turnpike right at 11:30. At one time this was the world’s largest McDonald’s restaurant and it spanned the turnpike for 56 years. It was closed last year for a major remodel and is supposed to re-open sometime in 2014.

Largest McDonalds closed

There was a stiff wind blowing but we made our way across the rest of Oklahoma and crossed into Missouri, where we stopped for fuel at the Flying J in Joplin. We love seeing grass, trees, and water again!

Oklahoma lake

Terry always finds neat things to photograph along the way, like this decrepit old barn.

Anybody need an antique gas pump?

Gas pump coillection

Back when we were just starting to convert our old MCI bus we stopped at I-44 Bus Sales picked up some valuable pointers from the owner.

I44 Bus Sales 2

Meramec Caverns is a famous landmark and signs announce it every few miles along the way.

Meramec Caverns sign best

We hit Saint Lois about 6 p.m. and traffic was hectic. Terry did manage to get a couple of pictures of the Gateway Arch as I dodged potholes and crazy drivers.

Gateway Arch

I didn’t even snivel when we crossed the Mississippi River. I was too busy trying to stay alive!

Crossinfg Mississippi

Eventually we stopped for the night in Vandalia, Illinois, dry camping in a dirt lot next to a KFC and Ponderosa Steakhouse. And just to prove it really is a small world, when we went into the Ponderosa to east, we ran into RV vendor friends Dwane and Janet Trannum from Almost Heaven Microfiber. They are on their way to Elkhart and Goshen for a couple of RV rallies and were parked near us. Hopefully we’ll get to visit when we’re all up there and settled in.

We’re only about 335 miles from our destination, so sometime this afternoon we’ll be at Elkhart Campground. We’re really looking forward to seeing everybody there, and getting some rest after this fast trip across the country.

I have to apologize for any confusion about our Free Drawing this week. On Wednesday I announced that it was for an audiobook of Big Lake Blizzard, the fourth book in my Big Lake mystery series. But the last two days I have had the cover for Big Lake Lynching, the second book in the series posted and said it was for that book. Faithful blog reader Charlie Dyck caught the error and let me know about it. That will teach me to post a blog when my brain is fried. This week’s prize IS Big Lake Blizzard. Thanks for pointing that out, Charlie.

Big Lake Blizzard audio

All you have to do is click on the Free Drawing link and enter your name in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening.

Thought For The Day – You know you’re on the right track when you no longer find yourself looking back.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  3 Responses to “Almost There!”

  1. Wow bud – you guys are really rolling. Been there, done that. We’re working on the other style now (your normal) Seems to be a better way.

    Thanx for the inspiration on the “right” way. 2 days 200 miles. We just left my chauffeur (Green Smart) and heading north.

    Yours Truly
    Bertha Butt (reigning Buckeye Beauty Queen)

    Travel Safe my friend

  2. I so excited about my upcoming adventure with the Westerfields. I hope we get to stop in some of these places … the Arms Museum looks fascinating!!! Great barn pic Miss Terry!!!

  3. Welcome back to Indiana. You will get to see a LOT of the rain, that gives you the grass and trees, this week. I haven’t seen you writing about your tours of Amish country, take time to see it.

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