Posts Tagged ‘oklahoma’

Springtime 2015

I guess I’ve been in a funk or something, but I’ve had little desire this year to write about what I’ve been up to.  Like in years past, I’m losing the details of my life for lack of keeping a journal.  With one exception — I have Facebook, so even if I’m not writing much, Facebook is recording the places where I’ve eaten, short snippets about my activities and the photos I’ve been taking when I’m out and about.  Today I’ve been doing a little maintenance on this blog, taking passwords from most of my entries, so I decided I should write something….

First of all — for the first time this year, I’m working in town instead of traveling.  Most of the year I’ve been moving around the southern part of the country, in Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Florida.  But I have been to Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, DC, New York and Vermont.

At the end of February, I was working in Las Vegas, so at the end of my trip, decided to take a vacation and stay there.  Five days later I was driving to Arizona for another workweek.

Last month I took another vacation, driving from my home to Washington State and back.  LONG trip, but enjoyable.  There are a couple of things from that trip worth writing about.

I cut my hair and shaved when the weather turned warm, as you can see in the picture.  My hair is getting long again, but I’m still clean-shaven.  Thinking about getting one more haircut before fall, when I’ll start going all Grizzly Adams again.

The power switch on my GPS unit stopped working, so I bought another.  Can’t neglect one of my most-important tools for improving my life!

Finally got around to replacing my car’s windshield, which had been cracked by a rock, only to get hit by another rock on my most recent vacation.  Need to get that taken care of before the chip turns into another big crack.  Anyone who’s seen my car might have noticed I keep little bumper stickers/decals on my rear passenger wing windows to help me find my car in a crowded lot.  My “Life Is Good” stickers became faded, so I replaced them with the Futurama Hypno-Toad and a souvenir sticker from the Ben & Jerry’s factory.

Finally went out to dinner with someone for the first time since being divorced.  Had fun!

Visited with family and friends in Colorado and Washington during vacation.  Had fun!

Sightseeing stops this spring have included Boulder Dam, Picacho Peak, President Eisenhower’s Library, Fort Hays, Cripple Creek, Devil’s Slide, Snake River Canyon, Little Bighorn, Deadwood, Wall Drug, Lake Champlain and the Ben & Jerry’s factory.  Had fun!

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KS Chanute Tioga Lobby (1)

Tioga Hotel lobby, in Chanute

So I was here again, at the Tioga Hotel in downtown Chanute.  The last two times, I’d been there during my last week as a field technician (long story about how this is my third time as a field technician).  For a change, this wouldn’t be my last rotation.  It was two rotations ago.

I was supposed to start working my way down to Anadarko, Oklahoma for a scheduled equipment upgrade.  I did maintenance in Chanute, then in Parsons.  While in Parsons, I noticed my rental car was badly leaking oil and ended up driving back home to return the car and swap it for another.  As it turned out, there was maintenance work to be done around here, so I got to spend the weekend sleeping in my apartment.

Cosmic Castle, in Parsons

Cosmic Castle, in Parsons

On Monday morning, I started driving toward Anadarko.  I spent three days working there.  Ate at a really good barbecue place called Jack’s, which featured a dozen meats on the menu (or so the manager said) — I ate about a half-dozen.  There at Anadarko, was the American Indian Hall of Fame, which featured busts of famous Indians in American history.  While in the visitor center, I noticed two busts inside on a table instead of outside on pedestals, like the others.  The story, the guide told me, was those busts were blown off their pedestals by a tornado that passed through, last year.  The second tornado to hit the hall of fame in the last three years.  I was amazed!  Tornadoes hit the same spot twice in three years?

America Indian Hall of Fame

America Indian Hall of Fame

I started my next rotation in Fargo, North Dakota.  A cold place, right?  Well they were having a warm spell while I was there, above freezing until the day I left.  I was there for another upgrade. and maintenance at another site.  What was so remarkable about my stay in Fargo, is I had to stay at a different hotel every night, because none was available two nights in a row.

The Fargo Dome and one of my hotels, in front of it

The Fargo Dome and one of my hotels, in front of it

On Monday I flew down to Phoenix, so I could fix a down site there.  I had a tight connection in Dallas.  When I got to Phoenix, my checked bags hadn’t.  I ended up going to the job site without my tools or a new change of clothes.  But, luckily, I was able to use a small set of tools we give each customer to keep with our equipment.  My bags finally arrived on Tuesday afternoon.

View from Route 66

View from Route 66

I spent Wednesday driving to Peach Springs for another upgrade.  Got to drive on Route 66 (now I’ve driven on Route 66 in every state it passed through).  Ate at a place called Road Kill Cafe, and the next day on my return drive ate at an old diner called the Galaxy Drive Inn.

My rental car while in Arizona

My rental car while in Arizona

Then, the next rotation, I flew to Las Vegas.  I ended up spending the entire week there.  I was able to visit with some friends who’d just moved there.  I ate at a few good restaurants.

My rental car in Nevada

My rental car in Nevada

And, I had an unexpected day off that Sunday, so I visited Hoover Dam and Boulder City.

Hoover Dam

Hoover Dam

I wonder what awesome places I’ll be seeing this week?

First Day of Vacation:  Did a little sightseeing near home.

First Day of Vacation: Did a little sightseeing near home.

Most people want to go somewhere warm and exotic for spring break, or some decide to hit the slopes for some last skiing.  Where did I go this year?  Iowa.  For the second or third or fourth year in a row (I don’t remember).  I use spring break to take my daughter to visit relatives.

But I digress.  I need to talk about my last work rotation, which started in Garden City, Kansas and ended up in Texas.  I flew from Garden City to Corpus Christi, spent a couple of days there, then drove to Hebbronville, then to Roma.  After finishing up in Roma, I drove back to Corpus Christi via Harlingen.  The weather in Garden City sucked (12 degrees and snowing sideways when I left).  The weather in Texas was awesome (50’s and 60’s and mostly sunny).  If I hadn’t been working, Texas would have been a great spring break.  I ate at three barbecue restaurants.  Two were good (Miller’s and Rudy’s) and one was so-so (Bill Miller).  I ate at a restaurant in Hebbronville called Peppers, which had awesome pork chops and served so much food on the plate, I couldn’t even eat half of when they gave me.  I felt so inadequate.  The night before leaving Texas, I got to visit with my uncles and aunt who winter down there, and I got o meet a friendly little Yorkie named Dexter.

Kayla and Her Lucky Dad

Kayla and Her Lucky Dad

Now, about spring break —— Took my daughter Kayla to Iowa.  She spent the first night with her grandma and the second with her sister.  The next day, we got together with my cousin Kim and her family for pictures.  the day after that, Saint Patrick’s Day, we didn’t wear green, and we went to the movies and walked around a mall (I found a place that sold second-hand clothes, selling Hawaiian shirts for $6 — kinda wish I still wore them).  Kayla and I returned home on Tuesday.  We’ve hung out at my apartment for the rest of the week, until today when I took her back to her mom’s house.  During our spring break, it snowed three times (not much accumulation, though).  We saw two movies at the theater and a whole slew on Netflix.  We walked around a retail mall and an antique mall.  We went to church.  We ate out 14 or 15 times.  Since I started traveling for work, I haven’t been stocking food in my apartment, and yet we managed to go to Hy-Vee and Wal-Mart about a half-dozen times.  Well, maybe we ate out less often than I thought.  I managed to work out a few times (but not enough).  And I slept in every morning.  And Kayla got up earlier than usual so she could message her friends on Facebook before noon.

Now Kayla’s back at the house.  She goes back to school tomorrow morning.  But I still have two more days of vacation left.  I’m going to sleep in until I go back to work.  I’ll go see the new Muppet movie.  I’ll do laundry.

I’ve already found out I’m scheduled to be working in Oklahoma on April 1st, so I’m hoping my entire next rotation will be there.  I like Oklahoma — I’ve eaten at a few good barbecue places and diners there.

IA Le Claire 2

 

A few years ago, a public television station produced a show called “The Land Between Two Rivers” — a show about Iowa (between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers).  The picture above is the view from my hotel yesterday morning of the Mississippi River.  But my tale isn’t about Iowa.  My tale is about the land between the Mississippi and Ohio RiversIllinois.

I’m in Oklahoma City.  When this rotation started, I was going to drive to Wichita and work my way here for a job that starts tomorrow.  That didn’t happen.

My plans were changed.  I found myself flying to Saint Louis instead, then driving to Decatur, Illinois.  After finishing up there, I drove to Moline, Illinois for another job.  I spent the night in Le Claire, across the river, thinking I would be working in Muscatine, Iowa the next day, yesterday.  But just as I started for Muscatine, I was instead told to drive to Newburgh, Indiana.  Turned out to be a seven-hour drive through Illinois.  Newburgh is on the Ohio River.  I was tempted to stop and take a picture, but was pressed for time.  Had to get to a job.  Today I drove back to Saint Louis, also on the Mississippi (if you didn’t know).

During the last three days, I traveled on familiar highways and on new ones.  I saw the farmers out in the corn fields in their combines.  I saw orange and red trees, more than two weeks ago when I crossed from Detroit to Chicago.  Autumn has fallen on Illinois, for sure.  I ate at an awesome Chinese restaurant in Decatur and an even more awesome Japanese food restaurant in Moline.  Unfortunately, I’ve worked late hours and had big dinners, so I haven’t worked out the last three evenings.

This evening, I flew into Oklahoma City, where I’ll be spending the rest of my rotation.  Guess I’d better get to bed.  Maybe I’ll have a chance to work out some while I’m here.