Thursday, July 29, 2010

#16: A Swimming Hole

A, C, and SuperD enjoy a small waterfall at one of Turner Falls' swimming holes.

I don't normally like swimming in lake or river water, but it was SO hot at Turner Falls that I was ready to jump in any water I saw. It was absolutely refreshing! We tried out several different swimming holes, including the main pool, the Blue Hole. It was there we encountered the largest crowds, namely because the Blue Hole had a water slide and a diving board. It was very family-friendly, with both shallow and deep water areas. Next, we swam and played in the stream near our campsite. This is where we were eaten alive by horseflies. You could barely walk along the shore with being bitten.
Early the next morning, we awoke early and headed to the swimming hole at the base of a large waterfall. We were the only people in the pool of water for about 20 minutes. It was fabulous having the place all to ourselves! Once people began to arrive, we headed downstream to some uninhabited areas and soaked for a while longer. I truly could have stayed for several days more, simply lounging in the cool water!

The swimming hole also made my top 20 list. It was awesome! There was a little tiny waterfall that ended up being pretty deep, there were ropes that we could swing off of into the water, and little fish!!!!! The thing I enjoyed the most at the swimming hole, was swinging off the ropes into the water!!!!! It was a blast!!!!! I also like sitting under the waterfall. Again, there were horseflies, which added more pain to my body..... I really enjoyed it though!!!!! I want to swim in the swimming hole more!!!!!! :'( I want to go back very soon!

We went to a swimming hole at Turner Falls. I was trying to catch fish. They were little teeny fish. You had to have a fishing license to catch them. We went on a rope swing. It was cool! I actually got to flip off it! I was like, "Whoa! Splash!" I made big, big splashes! They were huge! It was fun! Every time I got out of the water, I was cold, and horseflies tried to eat me. I got back in the water because they hate water.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

#9: A Superlative Place

near Davis, Oklahoma

Superlative - "an adjective that's used to compare things...usually end in 'est'"

I have driven past Turner Falls Park many times, but I don't know that I have ever visited this beautiful place. Turner Falls is the oldEST park in Oklahoma with the largEST waterfall in the state. Our family took a 2-day vacation to camp, hike, and swim at this destination. Our favorite part of the park was lazing around and not doing anything. The camping was our least favorite part. It's not how SuperD and I remember it. The park was filthy when we arrived Monday morning, for the trash pick-up had just begun from the busiest weekend they have had so far. We found a fairly level site and pitched our tent near the stream. When we made our lunch, I have never seen flies swarm so badly. They were everywhere! C dropped his bread crust on the ground, and it was literally covered within seconds! Even worse were the horseflies which simply would not leave us alone any time we went near the water. The only way to deter them was to jump on in.

By evening, many other campers had arrived, many of whom were loud, disrespectful of others and their surroundings, and partied well into the wee hours of the morning. Sleeping on the ground was practically unbearable, and as we prepared to retire, the rain began to pour. I won't say we were miserable, because the rest of the trip was heavenly, but we have determined that on our next trip to Turner Falls, we will rent a cabin instead.
As you will see in the following posts, our overall trip was incredible! We feel very relaxed and rested for the week which lies ahead.

Turner Falls made my top 20. It was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We packed up our tent and took a long trip to our campsite. When we got there, we passed a lot of stores and food places. Then we went down a lot of twisty roads and tight turns. When we got to the campsite, we set up our tent and went swimming. The thing I didn't like about camping, was that after we swam, the horseflies came out and started biting us!!!!!!! IT REALLY HURT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I got bitten about 10 times!!!!! That night, we ate s'mores, watched the lightning, then went to bed once it started to rain. The problem was, that our tent started getting wet on the inside!!!!! So we made sure to stay away from the sides of the tent. Overall, our camping trip was fun!!!!! I liked it!

We went to Turner Falls so we could go to a Superlative Place because it is the oldest park in Oklahoma. We went swimming and hiking. We went to a Trading Post where we bought souvenirs. We went camping. We put up a tent and slept at the camp. The tent had a sheet over it so that if it rained, it wouldn't get the tent wet. There were bees, wasps, flies, and horseflies. They were eating our food which made me mad.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

#50: A Haunted Place

Could that be a ghost standing behind A? Most of the ghosts at Fort Reno are from long ago, probably before people wore flip-flops. While we didn't see any ghosts, we did hear many ghost stories on our Ghosts of Fort Reno Tour. For three hours, our tour guide, Jessica, told us about the history of the fort, the people who lived there, and the ghosts who still haunt the fort. Jessica has been an employee of Fort Reno for several years and claims to be a "sensitive". She said that from a young age, she would refuse to go into certain buildings because she could feel that something bad had happened there. She also claims to have seen and interacted with many of the ghosts on site.

Once the sun had set, our group of about 30 people walked from building to building at the fort, while Jessica told us which ghosts haunted each one. This building is a schoolhouse. Like most of the buildings at the fort, it is closed to the public because of disrepair. But when it was open, Jessica said she didn't like going inside or even near the school because the ghost who haunts it is not very nice.

This is a window at the Quartermaster's Commissary. Jessica encouraged us to look in the windows and take lots of pictures, hoping that someone would see something then or once we reviewed the pictures at home. I got nothin'. Apparently, several ghosts haunt this building, including a small girl who used to play Hide and Seek inside and the "Peekaboo Ghost", who likes to run past doorways from room to room, often waving or peeking his head out at you. Paranormal investigators once visited many of the buildings after dark and supposedly collected evidence of the ghosts' existence. The investigations discontinued when someone new came to oversee operations at the facility.

The chapel is one of two buildings which are open to the public. (If you are looking for a location for your wedding, they will rent it out for $250, which includes use of the basement for a reception.) Inside, Jessica told us she had once been decorating the chapel for Christmas, when she heard women's voices, laughing. No one else was on site at the time. Jessica asked the group if we would like to participate in a "Knock Test", and most everyone else agreed. She implored us to take it seriously, as some people on the tour truly believed that something might happen. We were told to be absolutely still, owning up to any noise we might make, so it wouldn't be construed as a ghost. So, the kids and I sat in the dark while Jessica invited friendly ghosts to interact with us. "...This is Jessica, knocking, now. KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK." Nothing. And nothing more. Except me, almost bursting out laughing! My heart was racing, preparing for someone to scare us from the basement! Of course, "90% of the time nothing happens, but it's the 10% that investigators hope for."

The other tour guide, Lindsey, is a paranormal investigator who had investigated the fort several years ago. She claims to have been walking along the sidewalk near the chapel when her equipment in her hand began showing signs of activity. She thought one of her team members was walking toward her on the sidewalk, so she began to excitedly tell him about the equipment. But when she looked up to talk to him, he walked right through her, continued for a few seconds, and disappeared! Of course, no one else had witnessed the event. Others claim that this ghostly figure is one of a soldier who often walks the sidewalk, dragging his rifle behind him.

Even now, I can't help but laugh. It was a highly entertaining evening, well worth the $16 we spent, as our money is matched by a donor to help repair the buildings at the fort.

This trip was hilarious!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don't believe in ghosts and neither does my family. So we got a kick out of this one. There were 2 ladies that were telling us stories about the ghosts that live in the different houses in Fort Reno, and what they like to do, and what they said to the paranormal investigators. It was sooooo funny!!!!! Around 9pm we went walking around the grounds and they told us more ghost stories. Later on, we arrived at this chapel were this one lady did a knock test. A knock test is where they invite higher realm spirits to come into the chapel and make noises after she knocks on the wall to let us know they're there. She knocked on the wall, we waited for about 2 minutes, and nothing happened. She said that happens a lot. I thought the ghost tour was really funny. I enjoyed it a lot!

We went to a haunted fort. At Fort Reno, the people said that there were ghosts. It was really funny! We got to do a "knock test." It was really funny, too! The lady said they would welcome the higher spirits but not the lower spirits. If Dad had been there, he would have been tempted to yell, "Boo!" She said if you farted, burped, or made any noice, you had to own it so she could know if it was a real spirit or not. It was real quiet because the people were wondering if ghosts were real or not.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

#58: A Fort

in El Reno, OK
Fort Reno was established in 1874 during the time of the Indian Wars. A military presence was requested in the area because the people working with the Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians were concerned for their safety. (Go figure! We were trying to take their land!) It was named in honor of Major General Jesse L. Reno, an officer who was thought would play an important role in the Civil War, that is, until he died.
The Visitor Center is a restored Officer's Quarters from 1936. It is one of only three buildings at the fort which have been completely restored. The other two are a barracks/hospital and a chapel.
The Officer's Duplex has been restored externally, but it is closed to the public until the inside can be completed.
Fort Reno soldiers helped with the transition from Indian territory to Oklahoma statehood. Troops from Fort Reno were also instrumental in assisting during the Oklahoma land runs. Following statehood, the fort became one of three Army Quartermaster Remount Stations. Every branch of the military received horses which were bred and raised at Fort Reno. Special events, such as polo matches, horse races, and horse shows, brought people to the fort from all over the country, including Amelia Earhart. The remount depot at the fort was closed just after World War II.

During World War II, the fort served as an internment workcamp for German prisoners, who labored at nearby farms. Many of the former German POW's have returned to visit the camp and tell stories of how well they were treated during their time at Fort Reno.

A was surprised to find an old headline from her birthdate.
When we went to Fort Reno I saw a lot of different buildings. We even got to look inside some of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There were rooms for soldiers, generals, and other people in the war. Soldiers in the Indian Wars would get together here and make a plan. They would stay there and eat there. It was basically their house!!!!! We were also told stories about the fort. I enjoyed the trip. It was fun.

At Fort Reno, they had a downstairs, upstairs, and middle stairs. We saw lots of things, like a big American flag, the outsides of the buildings. We saw a gun and an old ax.

#89: A Prison or Jail

This is as close to a prison or jail as either of my children will ever get. I visited here during high school when my show choir, Act II, performed for the prisoners at Christmastime. It was here that I experienced the worst smell I had ever experienced. It was something like body odor, vomit, and the smell of spoiled milk which comes from the school cafeteria dumpster. Little did I know back then that I would smell something much worse 22 years later when my children and I would visit a landfill!

There's not much to say about the prison. We didn't get to go inside, so I can't tell much about it. The outside of the prison had fences all over it, so no one could escape. It had some guard towers and lots of lights. We got to drive pass it at night, and it was lit up so well, that it looked as bright as the sun!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No one could escape out of there. I hope that no one ever will.

We went to a prison. We didn't go inside, but we took some pictures outside. There were no guards nearby to keep us from taking a picture. We didn't want any guards to ask us what we were doing.

#73: An Artist's Inspiration

Hinton, Oklahoma

This mural was a special treat for us. Two years ago, when I moved back to Edmond with my family, I began another scavenger hunt with my children. The city has over 100 pieces of artwork featured around the city, and we were determined to find them and photograph them. I figured this would be a good way for my children to learn about their new home and see many of the places where I grew up. (We did a similar scavenger hunt when we lived in Tulsa, as we drove around the city looking for penguin statues.) As we observed the Edmond art, we began to see many murals created by Bob Palmer, a professor at the University of Central Oklahoma. Palmer has created numerous murals around the state, and we are finding his work almost everywhere we go. (Someday, we may have to go on a Palmer scavenger hunt.)

This mural depicts early Hinton history and includes the Legacy Bank, which is located directly across the street. Many of Palmer's murals are a record of Oklahoma history.

Mr. Palmer signs each of his murals, along with the other artists who helped him, at the bottom right corner. A liked how even the windows of the building were painted.

Mr. Palmer's artwork is all over Edmond and some other cities in OK. My family and I absolutely LOVE his artwork!!!!!!! He's really good. In Hinton,OK, we found a mural that he and some other people painted, and their inspiration was the bank that was across the street. The painted it in their painting, and it looks almost exactly the same!!!!! I LOVE Mr. Palmer's paintings! They're so good!!!!!

When we were at the Red Rock Canyon, my sister had to get a swimsuit so we could go swimming. When we passed by the bank, we looked to our right and saw a painting of the bank back in the old days. It had a horse and a person who was right next to it. The painting had lots of people on it. I really liked the painting because the bank was in the picture.

#96: The Middle of Nowhere

Western Oklahoma is pretty much the definition of the middle of nowhere. It's like Kansas. Flat fields, with not a tree in sight. Makes for a pretty boring drive.

Honestly, I don't have much to say about the middle of nowhere. It's the middle of nowhere! There wasn't really anything there but nature. We saw lots of grass, dirt, and a fence that didn't really seem to have a purpose.(There was nothing in it. Plus it was open.) I don't think I would want to live in the middle of nowhere. I would get SO bored!!!!!
I was in the middle of nowhere. I saw grass, dirt, and a big fence. I stepped in a big puddle of mud on accident and got my shoe all dirty with mud. When I tried to get out of the picture, I jumped over the puddle.

#20: A Wind Farm

Weatherford Wind Energy Center, Weatherford, OK

This is as close as we could get to the wind farm located in western Oklahoma. It is an awesome site to behold, and we spotted it from over 10 miles away! Customers of the Public Service Company of Oklahoma benefit from the power generated here. As I understand it, the wind farm operates on over 5000 acres of land, with 98 wind turbines standing. Each turbine creates enough energy to power 450 homes. That is more than 44,000 homes total. Each turbine is 262 feet tall, and each of its three blades are 122 feet long. The top portion of the turbine alone weighs over 50 tons. Interestingly, wind in western Oklahoma average 12 mph, which is 2 mph more than winds in Chicago. The experts think the turbines could withstand straight line winds of up to 200 mph, but they are designed to operate in winds of up to 56 mph. I tried to get a picture with Abby and Craig standing in front of the wind farm, but when I pulled the car over in someone's driveway to take the picture, two dogs came out to greet us. We didn't really want to risk being bitten!

I have to say that the wind turbines were HUGE!!!!!!!!!! They have 3 propellers and didn't make any noise(or, well, that I could hear). I got to take most of the pics, so I got to zoom in and see them pretty well! We got pictures from a lot of different angles, so out of all the pictures I took, I bet some of them turned out really well. I think it is so fascinating that we get some of our power from the wind! The wind turbines were set up on big hills, so they got a lot of wind pushed on to them. I liked seeing the wind turbines! They were AWESOME!!!!!!!

The wind farm had three little plane thingies that spin. It makes televisions word and stuff like that. There were a bunch wind turbines. They were white. I didn't hear any noise from them. They were big. They were in a field with a fence. There were dogs when we were trying to get a picture, so we stayed in the car to take the picture. The dog was running after our car when we drove off.

#86: A Canyon or Gorge

Red Rock Canyon in Hinton, Oklahoma holds special memories for me because the local Girls Scouts went to Camp Red Rock here each summer. I went only once, but I loved it. We slept in platform tents that were covered with Daddy Longleg spiders, hiked the canyon, and ate meals together in a mess hall which I believe had a mural that depicted a local Indian legend. The legend told of two Indian tribes who lived on each side of the stream which runs through the canyon. The daughter of one chief and the son of the other met at the stream and fell in love. The ensuing war that broke out when their clandestine meetings were discovered brought about great bloodshed, and as their blood flowed through the stream, it stained the rocks red. A tree near the head of the stream marks their meeting place. I hope to return to the canyon in the fall to hike more of the canyon and see if I can find that tree.

We hiked a short trail along the bottom of the canyon.

Several old logs sat in our way. This one, you could almost climb through.

The canyon is a great place for rapellers to practice their sport.

I had never seen a nest like this. Somehow, Daddy Longlegs seem more menacing when all clumped together!

Caterpillar A found on a fruit of some sort

The Red Rock Canyon was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think it made my top 10!!!!! Red Rock Canyon is our state park in Hinton, OK. It is not very visible on the road, but when you start to drive down into it, you will be amazed at what it looks like!!!!! All the red rocks and red dirt looks so cool! We took a hike after we ate under a shelter, and we found lots of interesting things, like a huge group of Daddy Longlegs, some slugs, and some Poison Ivy which I tried very hard not to touch. After we took a hike, we went swimming!!!!! It was so hot outside, so we didn't stay for long, but I had a great time and I want to go back so badly!!!!!

Red Rock Canyon had a swimming pool, and we went into a forest kind of thing. There was a Red Rock Canyon Snack Shack. There was a playground, and a lunch place. There was lots of trees, too. In the forest, there was a bridge going over a river.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

#2: A Landfill

Did you know that the garbage you personally generate every year weighs as much as a rhinoceros? That's 4 pounds a day. Our scavenger hunt book tells us that our country generates "210 million tons of trash - enough to cover the entire state of Rhode Island, 6 feet deep."

Initially, I was very disappointed that no one would let us tour a landfill. I kept getting the same answer - it's a hard hat area and would be a liability to have the public on site. The closest we got was to the chain-link fence with the razor wire on top. Thankfully, we weren't allowed to spend much time at the landfill. I was totally unprepared for the colossal stench coming from the huge pile of trash! I have never smelled anything so bad in all my life! I tried to laugh it off and remain composed in front of my children, but it took everything I had in me not to start gagging! Now I understand why everyone with whom I spoke at waste management sounded so shocked that we wanted a tour. Afterward, I wondered why it was necessary to put razor wire atop the perimeter fence. Why would anyone want to go to the landfill?

Ok, so this made #1 on my list of things that I hated and didn't like. The landfill is where all our trash goes, so it looked really bad! The landfill was this HUGE hill that kind of reminded me of a volcano! We weren't allowed in because it was a hardhat zone, so we didn't get some good shots. The reson that I didn't like it was because it looked gross, and it had THE WORST SMELL I HAVE EVER SMELLED IN MY ENTIRE LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I almost vomited right where I was!!!!! I will never go back again!

The landfill is stinky. It looked kind of like a mountain. There was a No Trespassing sign on the fence. The smell was like stinky, stinky garbage and throw up.

No Trespassing? No problem!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

#54: A Living History Museum

C and A with Teddy Roosevelt and the Rough Riders

The Oklahoma History Center hosted 'An Evening with Teddy Roosevelt'. Gib Young has portrayed President Roosevelt for the past 10 years, and on this particular evening, he took us back to 1915. He spoke of Roosevelt's efforts to create a buffalo preserve, his adventures on a great wolf hunt in Oklahoma Territory, and his victory with the Rough Riders in Cuba. Mr. Young is a great storyteller, and I was caught up in his portrayal. He is a member of the Theodore Roosevelt Association and has apparently done a lot of research. Not only did he speak for an hour in character, but he also took questions from the audience and spoke of other adventures in Africa, in the White House, and in the Grand Canyon.

One audience member asked him a question about words he had written about "one flag". Mr. Young then began what I later found out was a quote from a letter Roosevelt had written in 1919, to be read at an American Defense Society event. He died shortly after the event. His words are surprisingly current. Here we are, nearly 100 years later, and we are still struggling with the same arguments. "We have room for but one flag, the American flag ...We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language ... and we have room for but one soul loyalty, and that is loyalty to the American people." He didn't sound at all like he was quoting; it seemed natural and improvisational. He was fabulous! It was a nice evening, and both of the kids said they might want to go again if another historical figure comes to speak. Bully!

The living history museum was really cool!!!!! The actor, Mr. Young, was going to be acting as Theodore Roosevelt. Teddy Roosevelt was our 26th president, so it was fun to hear stories about him. He told us lots of things that Teddy Roosevelt had done, and what he liked to do. Some of the things he had done was, try to create a wildlife preserve for buffalos, go wolf hunting here in Oklahoma, he told us about the Rough Riders, and about he was that went on between them and Cuba. It was so cool!!!!! I like hearing about the time he was in Cuba. They had a great victory!!!!! It was delightful! Bully!!!!!

The Bugler posed with C

I got to see a person who was acting Teddy Roosevelt, and he gave me an autograph. It says "To C, Theodore Roosevelt, July 8, 10." I asked him if teddy bears were really named after him, and he said 'yes'. He told us a story of a person [he knew] who could grab a wolf inside of his throat. He grabbed something inside and holded it until something happened.

C and a Rough Rider

#77: A Replica

Lady Liberty at the intersection of 2nd and Boulevard in Edmond, OK

Originally erected in the 1950's, this replica of the Statue of Liberty was a gift from a local Boy Scout Troop as part of a nationwide project to celebrate the Scout's 40th anniversary, with the theme "Strengthen the Arm of Liberty". Over 200 statues were placed in 39 states for a cost of $350 each. The 8 1/2-foot tall statue originally stood in Liberty Park to the northeast of the Edmond Library, but when Shannon Miller earned 5 medals at the 1992 Olympics, the Park was renamed Shannon Miller Park, with a rather large statue of her as the focal point. Lady Liberty disappeared for a while and then resurfaced at this busy intersection. She is made from sheet copper and weighs 290 pounds. I am happy to see her standing in Edmond once again because she is part of my early memories of Edmond. I glanced at her many times as we entered and exited the public library for the summer reading program, and it did not go unnoticed when she disappeared, even though I was an adult by then. To see her now in such a prominent place makes me smile when I pass by her. I hope my children will one day get to travel to the real Statue of Liberty and experience her great history.


The Statue of Liberty has always fascinated me. It looks so cool!!!!! So to have a replica of the Statue of Liberty here in Edmond is awesome!!!!! I like the Statue of Liberty, because it is a very pretty sculpture, and it is an important historic monument. The replica we have here was a gift from a boy scout troop. I think it was given to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Boy Scouts. So the replica is very important to Edmond.

The Statue of Liberty was holding a book kind of thing in her hand. It looks like a Bible or something. And she holds a fire staff thing. She is not as big as the real Statue of Liberty. She is teeny.

#12: An Old-Growth Forest

We happened upon this destination by accident. On our trip back from Arkansas, we took an old state highway, rather than the newer one. We ended up on a windy road which wound its way through the Ozark National Forest. It probably took us much longer, and I thought my mom was going to throw up from motion sickness. But it ended up being the most beautiful route. The trees were tall, and the view was thick with vegetation. I managed to pull off the road for a few pictures, but I missed a shot of one area that was completely covered in ivy. I have never seen anything like it! It was incredible!

The Ozark National Forest is ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!!!!!!!!!! It has really huge and tall trees!!! It's very green, and it has a great view of nature! We were in the middle of the forest, and there were tons of twisty roads through it. It was so cool getting to see all the old trees all through the forest. I love seeing nature! It's always so beautiful!!!!!

The Ozark National Forest was just like any old forest. We didn't go into the forest, but we drove through it. It was fun because we saw lots of trees.

#68: A Patisserie

Rick's Bakery, Fayetteville, Arkansas

Patisserie - "a shop where French pastry is sold." I had the hardest time finding a French pastry shop that didn't require reservations to eat. Finally, while visiting my aunt and uncle in Arkansas, we found Rick's Bakery. They sell cakes, pies, donuts, cookies, breads, muffins, and French pastries. The kids had never had a French pastry, and Rick's had several from which to choose. My mom and I both ordered eclairs, while A tried a Napoleon, and C ate a chocolate cream horn. We agreed that the Napoleon was the best.

Cream Horns

This trip was yummy!!!!! I loved it!!!!! When we went to the patisserie, I wasn't quite sure if I would like any of the french pastries, but I found one! I wanted to try a Napoleon. It was flaky and had whip cream in it, and chocolate on top!!!!! It was delicious! I LOVE THEM!!!!! I want to go back and get more so badly!!!!!

We went to a pastry shop, and we got to eat some pastries. They had a Happy Birthday room, and they had cupcakes, too. There was a picture of a cake with Yoda's face on it. I ate a Chocolate Cream Horn. It was REALLY, REALLY, REALLY good! I loved it! I picked it because it looked like a delicious treat. If you ate one, your tummy would feel like it just fell in love! That's how delicious it was.