Our Rig

Our Rig

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Anadarko & Wichita Mountains OK

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One of the most rewarding experience for us as we travel with our RV in North America  is MEETING PEOPLE.

I have mentioned already in my earlier posts meetings that were planed and meetings that were not planned ,but they all enriched our lives adding acquaintance  and friends as we go along, with some the connection ends after a while and with some it continues through e-mails till we meet again  in the future even if takes years till it happens.

This meeting with Lonnie and Hazel happened close to Labour Day 2014 in Oklahoma ,it all started in November 2013 after I posted my 2014 summer RV route and got a mail from Lonnie saying” I see that you are passing close to my place,I would like to learn more about your country and your culture,come and stay with us for a while”,this was a start for a long e-mail correspondence that finally led to our meeting.

From the e-mails I learned that Lonnie is a Comanche what made me even more interested to meet with him and learn about the First Nation people first hand.

Anadarko OK-Loney&Hazel's place

Lonnie and Hazel are a great interesting couple ,Lonnie is the most decorated Comanche in the US military,lived many years in Europe and is very interested in the history and culture of our country so obviously we were not short of “stories” ,each one about his own faith and back ground.

Anadarko OK




United States Air Force Master Sergeant (Retired) Lonnie (Torralba) Henderson has earned the distinction of being the most decorated Comanche veteran, having earned 65

Decorations, Medals, Badges. Citations and Campaign Ribbons.

He served in the Oklahoma Army National Guard from 1956-1959, and retired from the Air Force after serving from 1959-1986. Sgt Henderson was on a 105MM gun crew with B Battery, 158th Field Artillery Battalion, 45th Infantry Division, based in Anadarko while serving in the National Guard.

In the Air Force he served in the intelligence field as a ground and airborne Cryptographic Linguist. Sgt Henderson is qualified in Russian, Vietnamese and German. He saw duty in Vietnam, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Japan and Panama and flew reconnaissance missions in the along the West German/East German/Czechoslovakian borders, in the Baltic, Barents, White, Mediterranean, Adriatic, Ionian and Aegean Seas, the Gulf of Tonkin in the South China Sea and over Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, the Gulf of Mexico, against Grenada and various areas of Central America. His only stateside assignment was at Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska.

He has over 1000 combat flight hours and over 5000 hours of combat and combat support hours in C-130 and RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft. He has also logged a few mission on the AWACS aircraft.

His awards are the Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal (19), Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, Air Force Good Conduct Medal (7), National Defense Service Medal, Combat Readiness Medal (4), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Grenada), Vietnam Service medal with three Campaign Stars, Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960 Device, the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award (9) with the V for Valor Device, Air Force Long Tour Ribbon (6), NCO Professional Education Graduate Ribbon, Small Arms Expert Rifle Ribbon, Cold War Service Medal, Basic, Senior and Chief Air crewmember Badges and the Combat Crew Badge, the Comanche Nation Honourable Service Medallion, the Comanche Nation Combat Service Medallion.

Sgt Henderson retired a second time from the Caddo-Kiowa Technology Center in Fort Cobb. He is from the Grey Mountain family and lives with his British-born wife, Hazel, in Washita, west of Anadarko.

His awards are:

1 Meritorious Service Medal

19 Air Medal

1 Air Force Commendation Medal

1 Army Good Conduct Medal

7 Air Force Good Conduct Medal

1 National Defense Service Medal

4 Combat Readiness Medal

1 Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (Grenada)

4 Vietnam Service medal with three Campaign Stars

1 Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm

1 Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960 Device

9 Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with the V for Valor Device (the V is awarded for combat operations)

6 Air Force Long Tour Ribbon

1 NCO Professional Education Graduate Ribbon

1 Small Arms Expert Rifle Ribbon

1 Basic Air crewmember Badge

1 Senior Air crewmember Badge

1 Chief Air crewmember Badge

1 Combat Crew Badge.

1 Cold War Service Medal

1 Comanche Nation Honourable Service Medallion

1 Comanche Nation Combat Service Medallion

Total: 65


Lonnie took us to few Indian Museums that completed some of what he told us the other day,it was very interesting to hear and learn about the lives of different  Indian tribes along the years, not only about the relation between them and the white man but also between different tribes.

Wouldn't it be nice if all people from different faith and cultures would learn and treat each other in respect rather than try to change the one that is different from him…. ?????

Anadarko OK  Anadarko OK Anadarko OK  Anadarko OK

At noon and after a light meal we took off to the Wichita Mountains Wild Life Refuge –wild ,rugged and weathered –it is a symbol of the old west standing at the threshold of modern times.For centuries ,this remarkable land was the province of a few nomadic hunters and food gatherers. Today the refuge serves everyone by conserving part of America’s national wildlife heritage.

We saw only few animals such as Buffalo,Prairie Dogs and Long Horns

Witchita Mountains OKWitchita Mountains OK      Witchita Mountains OK

BUT I could not “complain” about the views especially from the highest Oklahoma peak ,mount Scott.

Witchita Mountains OK   Witchita Mountains OKWitchita Mountains OK   Witchita Mountains OK

Witchita Mountains OK

Shula prepared an Israeli typical light dinner which everyone enjoyed , we had a drink to celebrate the new friendship and wished it will never end….

Anadarko OK

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Oklahoma City

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Actually Oklahoma City was not on our itinerary but after “meeting” Claire on the Open Roads Forum we changed our minds and eventually meet with Claire for a day in the city.

Claire took us to all the interesting places including the Cow Boy Museum ,Marina,Old Town and others,it is so easy when a local person is your guide.

Oklahoma CityOklahoma CityOklahoma City

We learned so much in such a short time ,nothing could replace this kind of hospitality and education.

Although we meet for the first time it seemed like we new each other for a while and we hope our paths will cross again.

Thank you Claire very much for this wonderful day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Red Rock Canyon S.P OK

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We chose our next stop to be in between Oklahoma City and Red Rock Canyon S.P for obvious reasons ,in Oklahoma we will be meeting with a “friend”   from the  face book for the first time,it is interesting and we are very looking forward to finally meet.

A casino with a “C.G” on the parking lot is our “home” for the next few nights,each site has full hook ups,yes FULL H/U ,a table and an open view to a huge meadow,there were 4 other RV’s occupying half of the sites and it was FREE.

Gambling is not our “thing” but we walked in for a visit especially to cool off and escape the 100 F outside.

On the next morning we visited Red Rock Canyon S.P just 35Miles West from the Casino.

It sure was a pleasant surprise to see the colors of the huge rocks in this huge flat plateau .

Red Rock Canyon S.P OK Red Rock Canyon S.P OKRed Rock Canyon S.P OK Red Rock Canyon S.P OK

It is a small S.P but has a RV and Tent camp ground,picnic tables ,swimming pool and some hiking trails.

On our visit there were only 2 RV’s in the whole S.P ,but I am sure they will have more coming in during the Labour Day weekend.

Red Rock Canyon S.P OK

The Historic Hwy 66 still has its nostalgic flavour but it is loosing it to tourist restaurants,Indian Trading Posts and other businesses that have nothing to do with the good old Hwy 66 and that is a shame.

Hinton  OK-Hwy 66    Hinton  OK-Hwy 66   Hinton  OK-Hwy 66

Just before El Reno stands Historic Fort Reno,a military post established 1874 to provide security in Cheyenne and Arapaho lands,at time home to buffalo soldiers ,9th & 10th Cavalries,it also served as German prisoner of war camp during WW2,in 1947 the fort turned to USDA for agriculture research.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Turner Falls Park OK

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A few miles South of Davis at the West end of the Arbuckle Mountains ,a fantastic photo opportunity and family play spot awaits at Turner Falls Park .With a waterfall cascading gently  down 77 feet of board rock face into a shallow pool and plenty of great places to swim,camp,hike or picnic.

Turner Falls OKTurner Falls OK We have found a c.g just 3 Miles out of the park and after visiting the C.G in the park we realized we made the right decision….

The fee to enter Turner Falls  Park is  12$ per person for a day use and 6$ for senior citizens, I did not check the camping rates.

We explored the park that has out standing natural beauty but for my taste is spoiled by making it too commercialized and was filled (on our visit) with too many people that did not care what they left behind….

Turner Falls OK    Turner Falls OKTurner Falls OK    Turner Falls OK

We tried to separate the nature from the plastic bags,empty cans and other things that usually belong to the garbage bin but it was too much and after a short while we left even before having our traditional picnic in the nature, sorry we will NOT be back.

Coming back to the C.G we found out that we have an electrical problem,still not sure what cased the trailer batteries to drain and not recharge ,but it is Sunday today ….doesn't it all happen on week ends /holydays?????

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Beaver Bend S.P Oklahoma

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Goodbye Arkansas and hello Oklahoma, 5 and a half weeks in Arkansas was not enough to see it all but we sure  did explore the North and the West of this beautiful State.

We hiked,camped on lakes,visited historical sites,strolled historic down towns,attended fairs , experienced rainbows ,sunsets and the most important meet good people that will stay in our hearts.

It took us 3 hours on a scenic route from Oauchita Lake AR to Beaver Bend S.P OK,the park has 300 RV sites most of them in the woods but we were lucky enough to get one(last one) close to the river .

Beaver Bend S.P OKBeaver Bend S.P OK

All site next to the river have concrete pad,electrical and water hook ups,the site are specious and coast 25$ per night.

The S.P has a huge history museum ,beach , picnic area and many trails.

Beaver Bend S.P OK       Beaver Bend S.P OK

Beaver Bend S.P OK

The beach has grass that goes up to the water,small island and Bald Cypress trees standing in the lake ,something a have never saw before.

Beaver Bend S.P OK        Beaver Bend S.P OKBeaver Bend S.P OK        Beaver Bend S.P OK

Beaver Bend S.P OK

This was our first stop in Oklahoma and lets hope it will stay good as this one.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hot Springs Arkansas

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President Andrew Jackson designated Hot Springs as the first federal reservation in 1832.As the first piece of America protected for future generations , Hot Springs is essentially America’s first National Park .The picturesque beauty of this unique city is matched by colourful history feathering some of the most iconic figures the country has ever known.

The naturally thermal spring waters that flew into the bathhouses were believed to have healing properties,which is why presidents ,outlaws,athletes and other celebrities visited the Spa City.

Hot Sprimgs AR  Hot Sprimgs AR

Today you can still soak in a terminal waters,as well as receive massage and spa treatments on the world famous Bathhouse row, but not with these rates:…….

Hot Sprimgs AR

Hot Sprimgs AR  Hot Sprimgs ARHot Sprimgs AR P1100149

We could not be in Hot Springs with out having a soak ,the problem was to chose from all the bathhouse which one to chose,so we went with the one that was the most authentic rather than the modern ones.

I chose to do the bath with out the Swedish Massage ,if Swedish Massage than it should be done by a Swedish Gal…..so the procedure was as follows:

First of all No couple baths…so sadly each one went his own way and latter we compered notes  that were almost the same except the pampering issue that depended on the host,

I had to get rid of everything in a locker room and followed my host covered with a sheet to an old style bath that stood on legs , it was half with warm water ,this was changed by my host till I almost could not take it,then he started the pump and slowly I got into a half dozed mode….till he woke me and pointed to a 360 degree shower and then to a bed with a hot towel under my low back…man oh man this was close to heaven-sorry no pictures,but as I was almost “well done” he took me to a steam room where I did not survive more than a few minutes , then a relax room or I would call it recovery room from all the “treatment” but  my skin is smoother now and I can say I did it in Hot Springs.

After drinking a “gallon” of spring water we took a ride to the observation tower on top of the hill to see the view from 215 feet and have some lunch.

Hot Sprimgs ARHot Sprimgs AR       Hot Sprimgs AR

The main street has it all,restaurants,shops,ice cream parlours,coffee shops,hotel and of course bath houses,before  heading “home” next to Quachita Lake we enjoyed our evening stroll  as things got  slower in the city .

Hot Sprimgs AR

Great atmosphere and highly recommended to visit Hot Springs even if the Hot Bath with no cure all your health problems.