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Author Topic: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks  (Read 34099 times)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #90 on: October 22, 2011, 02:21:04 AM »

October 21, 2011   Day 31      Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Today was a fun and challenging day.  We made the 45-minute drive to the War Eagle Caverns, going around curve after curve.  When we arrived, there was the aroma of wood burning, smoke rose from a fire pit, and it was a nice walk through the woods to the gift shop.  The gift shop has many interesting rocks and fossils, and they have some high-quality merchandise.  We bought two $12.50 tickets, and then doubts struck.  The owner said she didn’t think my scooter could make it back up the hill at the end because the slope was too steep.  I had done my homework and called twice, but I never spoke with her.  I did describe my scooter, and two different men had told me to “Come on down.”

We decided that the prudent thing to do would be to go take a look, and Dean and I agreed that we were pretty sure my scooter could handle it.  Going down was no problem, but we had only been told about one downhill slope and then it was supposed to be level.

As we walked down to the cave, our guide told us about the trees (which are well signed).  The sassafras was my favorite.  On each limb of the tree, there are leaves with 3 different shapes.  One is a typical spearmint leaf shape, another has 3 lobes, and another is irregular.  It is the only tree that has different shaped leaves on the same plant.

At the cave entrance, we learned that it was made of limestone, and we were both surprise to see such blunt stalactites and stalagmites. (Picture 1)  In the “Upside Down Room,” (Picture 2)we saw evidence of a sea floor, complete with crinoid fossils, but the floor had been flipped 180° and was now a cave ceiling.  How could that happen?  I have already e-mailed science friends to find out the answer to that question.  Cute brown  bats hung everywhere and weren’t disturbed by our presence (Picture 3)

There were two waterfalls flowing, despite this being a very dry year and the lake being at its lowest level ever (Picture 4)  There were also 2 pieces of flowstone enlarging (Picture 5), but otherwise it seemed like it was a dead cave.

Our guide was excellent, and we really enjoyed learning.  As we left the cave, that slope seemed steeper now.  I gave the scooter full juice, and it was like the Little Engine That Could.  It just kept going.  Thank you, Lord!

My favorite experience at the cave would be seemingly insignificant.  As we got to the car, there was an insect who either has a body shaped like a leaf or he had a leaf on his back, and he was scurrying across the parking lot.  He went under our car, so i never got to find out exactly what he was.  As we drove away, a deer bounded across the road, his feet barely hitting the ground.  i know that lots of you see deer all the time, but I don't, and I thought it was exciting.

On the way back, we stopped at Celestial Windz-Harmonic Bizaar (yes, that’s how he spells it).  In the front yard is the World’s Largest Windchime (Picture 6), according to “The Guinness Book of World Records.”  This is a fascinating shop.  He has a huge collection of fabulous tuned windchimes, ranging in size from small to over 6’ tall.  He has a fun shop with combination windchimes/birdfeeders, singing bowls, art glass & home décor, wind dervishes, spinners, and more.  I think we spent about 2 hours listening to the various windchimes, and we left with a hole in my pocket.  Dean bought  himself a beautiful Christmas present 2 months early.

It was now 6:00, and we needed to be at a performance by 6:45.  We stopped at a grocery store, hoping they'd have a deli.  They didn't, so we bought bananas and nuts for dinner.

Then we went to the Queen Anne Mansion to see “The Ghosts Have Answers.”  After freezing Dean out two nights ago, and boring him to death last night, this had better be good.  And it was!  In fact, Shawn Paul was GREAT!  He is an outstanding illusionist.  There were about 30 of us in a small room, so we were up close and personal.  He made unbelievable things happen right in front of our eyes.  His partner told us the contents of my purse, item after item, and there was no way he was telling her.  He was right next to me.  Everyone who wanted to be involved (probably 20 of us) was, so he couldn’t be using plants. 

The mansion itself is a marvel.  The owner spent $500,000 having it torn apart, moved, and re-constructed in Eureka Springs.  Then he spent several million on landscaping, furnishing it with antiques, and decorating.  We only got to see 4 rooms, but you can pay to see the whole thing.

Tomorrow we move to Mountain View/Bullshoals/Mountain Home area, and then we will be heading to Louisiana.  Anyone have any favorite places for us to visit in Louisiana?

Staying at the Kettle Campground--$25 tonight because the Passport America discount is only 10% on weekends.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Wendy

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #91 on: October 22, 2011, 11:57:28 AM »
I love bats but cute? You are so good at finding interesting places to visit.
Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

ArdraF

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #92 on: October 22, 2011, 03:34:13 PM »
I'm so glad you enjoyed the Turpentine refuge!  It sounded interesting in the article.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #93 on: October 25, 2011, 09:46:39 PM »
October 22, 2011   Day 32      Lakeview, Arkansas

The 90-mile drive took three hours because the road was winding and we got lost right by the entrance. There is a great big sign with about 8 local sites, none of which is the state park.  But…if you look just beyond that big sign, there is a little sign and registration booth.  So…we took the scenic route, until we finally found a fat spot in the road where Dean made a spectacular U-turn.  There hasn’t been a frost here, yet, and the trees aren’t very colorful, but they are so much prettier than our California trees. 

We got set up, but we can’t get Motosat reception where we are.  Dean searched and searched, re-positioned the coach, all to no avail.  So, no TV or Internet, but that’s OK.

We went up to the Visitors’ Center, saw their interesting exhibits and art, and closed the place.  We’ll go back for the movie.  They showed all the flood damage from this spring, and there’s a lot I don’t understand.  They say they are the last in a series of  dams, and they can’t open their floodgates until the dam is breeched.  They know how much more water is coming, so why not open them and flood a little instead of waiting for the breech, as they did, and then opening them up a lot???  I know I’m not an engineer, but it makes no sense to me.  That’s the same thing we heard in Iowa.  Iowans couldn’t understand why they didn’t open the floodgates a little 2-3 weeks earlier.  They would have had some flooding, but not massive flooding.

 Miekle, an RVForum member, told us we should eat at Fred’s Fish House in Mountain Home. The sign said, “CATFISH, STEAKS, RIBS”, but the word FRED’S had a burned-out bulb.  So, we took the scenic route over the dam, which was quite impressive and made a U-turn in the Jeep (so much easier than in the motorhome!).

 I ate Southern.  I don’t like catfish, but I liked Fred’s.  I don’t like hush puppies, but Fred’s were crisp and full of flavor.  I’d never had green tomato relish, which is like pickles, and they were really crispy and good.  The dill pickle was the second best I’ve had.  I’d never had peanut butter pie, but they told me it’s their specialty and a Southern delight.  It was good, but I wouldn’t order it again.

Staying at Bull Shoals/White River State Park—AWESOME PLACE, right on the White River, FHU, $77/3 nights (Saturday was higher priced; on the others nights we got a 25% senior discount, and every time I added it up, I thought we owed more, but she was sure she was right and I felt I’d done my part by being honest), BEAUTIFUL, squirrels, birds singing when we arrived, then cicadas chirping tonight, picnic tables, trees that inhibit Motosat except on the ends of the rows, a busy little squirrel whose home is a hole in the tree right outside our RV—he pokes his furry head out and is quite entertaining
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #94 on: October 25, 2011, 09:47:36 PM »
October 23, 2011   Day 33      Lakeview, Arkansas

Today was a “Bah! Humbug!” day.  I had read about the Blanchard Springs Caverns after an RVForumer (Ardra?) had told me about them, and they sounded amazing.  So, we wanted to do them first thing.  We drove 1 hour 45 minutes to get there, and it was a pretty, scenic drive through small towns.  Part of the way, trees overhung the road, making a shady lane. 

I had called there twice while I was planning to check on handicap accessibility, and two different people said it would be great.  So I solved the problem I anticipated, but walked to the front door with dread after reading their “Information Sign”.  It seems that they are hyper-vigilant about White Nose Syndrome, which is killing bats, especially in the East.  They are right to be protective, but why didn’t they tell us about the measures we needed to take?  If you have been in a cave since 2000, (and we’ve been in 2 in the last week!) you can’t wear any of the same clothes, shoes, carry your camera, etc.  Well, we figured we could leave our coats in the car (it’s a steady 58° in the cave).  We could put my purse and Dean’s camera in the car.  We could go in the restroom and wash our shoes (which would be cold).  Oops!  Dean was wearing the same pants, and he couldn’t leave those out in the car.  So, we came home and prepared for tomorrow—Take 2!

Staying at Bull Shoals/White River State Park—AWESOME PLACE, right on the White River, FHU, $77/3 nights, BEAUTIFUL, squirrels, birds singing when we arrived, then cicadas chirping at night, picnic tables, trees that inhibit Motosat except on the ends of the rows, a busy little squirrel whose home is a hole in the tree right outside our RV—he pokes his furry head out and is quite entertaining.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #95 on: October 25, 2011, 09:57:03 PM »
October 24, 2011   Day 34      Lakeview, Arkansas

The Blanchard Springs Caverns are the most amazing caves we’ve visited, and we’ve seen a lot of caves, missing Mammoth Caves.  When you enter the cave, you go through an air-lock so that warm air from outside doesn’t come in through the large man-made opening.  I gasped when I entered the enormous Cathedral Room.  It seems to go on forever with a wonderful variety of formations.  Dean wasn’t able to capture the whole room because of lighting—you have to see it to believe it. 

We got some good pictures, and I’m gong to let them tell the story, but they aren’t even 50% as spectacular as the real thing.  Picture 1 is a stalagmite. Picture 2 is a curtain of stalagtites.  In the background of Picture 3 is a dark column, which is really beige in color, that is 216’ tall.  Picture 4 is a beautiful column and a stalagmite.  Picture  5 is beautiful flowstone that is sparkling with water.  In every cave, some of the formations look like “things”.  Picture 6 looks like different things to different people.  To honeymooners, it is The Love Boat.  To those who’ve been married for several decades, it looks like a battleship.  To those who have been divorced, it looks like the Titanic.  Picture 7 is of beautiful draperies.  Picture 8 shows glistening flowstone on the right (and it was really that shiny!) and broken bits from the 1811 & 1812 earthquakes that we had heard of before.  The earth fractured, and the Mississippi River ran backwards for 3 days because in Tennessee it was filling in the fracture by creating a new lake, Flatfoot Lake.  They say the earth moved enough to ring church bells in Boston.   Picture 9 is of hollow “soda straws”, and the end will eventually become solid, pressure will build up, and they will make a new hole.  On the MOS Scale of Hardness, with chalk being a 1 and diamond being a 10, these are a 3, so they are easily broken.

After the tour, we drove to Blanchard Springs.  The path was so pretty (Picture 10).  The springs put out 70 gallons of water per minute. (Pictures 11 & 12)

I copied the explanation of how the springs get their water, though I have to admit that I don’t understand it.  In both of the Missouri caves, spring water bubbled into the cave from underground springs.  In this one, water comes out of the cave.

“As rainwater soaked into the Ozarks for millions of years, it moved through cracks in the limestone and widened the cracks to form the BSCaverns.  The water stayed in the caverns until surface erosion carved valleys and allowed the water to escape.  The spring is in such a valley.  As this valley cut deeper and deeper, lower sections of the cave were drained.  New springs then developed below older, dried up springs.  (I get it up to here.)  Blanchard Springs probably came out of the holes high on the bluff above many years ago when the streambed lay 20-30’ above its present level.”  The sign also says the stream flows through the bat habitat in the cave and makes great fertilizer water.

Our guide told us that the bat guano makes great gunpowder.  They mined Eastern caves for it in the Revolutionary War, and they used this cave’s guano during the Civil War.  In fact, there was a big battle here over it.  We saw several piles of guano, some of which were 200 years old, and one was 7’ high.

There are 2 other BSCavern cave tours, the Discovery Trail and the Wild Cave tour.  I saw pictures of what you’d see there, and they would be excellent tours if you were capable.  We didn’t see bats, but there are lots of them further back in the cave, and you would see them if you went on one of the advanced tours.  We also missed going to the Ozark Folk Center because it is only open Wednesday through Saturday.  I think it would be very enjoyable, too, and it’s really close to the caverns.

Staying at Bull Shoals/White River State Park—AWESOME PLACE, right on the White River, FHU, $77/3 nights, BEAUTIFUL, squirrels, birds singing when we arrived, then cicadas chirping at night, picnic tables, trees that inhibit Motosat except on the ends of the rows, a busy little squirrel whose home is a hole in the tree right outside our RV—he pokes his furry head out and is quite entertaining
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #96 on: October 25, 2011, 09:59:04 PM »
More pictures
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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  • Posts: 1195
Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #97 on: October 26, 2011, 08:31:28 AM »
I love bats but cute? You are so good at finding interesting places to visit.
Wendy

Thanks.  Actually, it's RVForum members that give me a lot of the places.  Before each trip, I try to mine their vast store of knowledge, and they give me great ideas that aren't found anywhere else.  And, yes, the pippistrelle is so tiny and fuzzy, with his tiny ears, he is just darling!
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #98 on: October 26, 2011, 09:00:52 AM »
October 25, 2011   Day 35      Conway, Arkansas

The state parks in Arkansas have a check-out time of 3 PM, so we let Sherlock enjoy the leaves and vultures as they flew over the White River.  We went up to the Visitors’ Center to see their 15-minute film about the area.  I also wanted to learn how they taxiderm a fish because they had a lot of them on display.  What a waste!  All they use of the real fish is the skin, and they paint on that.  Most of the time fisherpeople just take a picture, and they get a model made out of plastic.  Lots of those were on display, showing various kinds of fish they’ve caught on the White River.

Bull Shoals has 2 great handicap-accessible trails, so we strolled through the woods, looking for the bobcats, deer, rabbits, and other critters that the Visitors’ Center lady says she sees on her lunchtime walks.  We heard loud rustling of leaves, indicating larger animals scurrying away, but we never saw them.  We did see lots of different grasshoppers.  One was an interesting study in camouflage.  He looks like a think piece of wood when he’s at rest, and when he flies, he is a brilliant yellow.  I would think that would make him more easily spotted by birds and eaten.  Maybe they are prolific.

We had good roads with well-handled construction areas.  We’d come to the flagger, and the flag would go up for us to proceed on the one-lane road—just like a presidential motorcade, everyone else stopped for us to go!

We went to see the new George Clooney movie, “Ides of March”.  Linda’s review—It’s only half a movie.  There’s no ending, and it leaves me hanging.  I want half my money back.  The part they did tell was intriguing.  Dean’s review—It’s a good movie.  At the end, the story had been told by that point.  That was the story.

Staying at Conway’s Wal-Mart—easy parking
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

ArdraF

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #99 on: October 26, 2011, 03:37:33 PM »
Linda,

Yes indeed, 'twas I who mentioned Blanchard Springs Caverns and I'm so glad you enjoyed them.  In fact, it inspired us to want to return one of these days.  We didn't know about the walk (maybe it didn't exist 20+ years ago) but it looked beautiful.  Also we didn't know about the springs outflow.  Neat!  It looks like the area has been developed quite a bit since we were there.  I read recently about the bats having White Nose Syndrome and it's becoming critical in some caves.  I'm just glad you had enough time to return the next day.  By the way, we've found that cave photos are really hard to take so tell Dean he did a good job.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #100 on: October 26, 2011, 07:03:46 PM »
October 26, 2011   Day 36      Bossier, Louisiana

We ate a quick half-a-sandwich for breakfast and set out in the Jeep for Petit Jean State Park.  At the movies last night, people told me how beautiful the area was, and I had called ahead to make sure that the falls were still running, to which the ranger replied, “They are always running.”  The colors were the best we’ve seen, and it is beautiful forested country. The weather was absolutely gorgeous--low 80's, with a very gentle breeze.   There were several RVs camped, and they have full facilities.  They have the smallest Visitors Center ever.  Dean went in to get directions to the falls, and the ranger on duty this time told him he’d be disappointed because they were barely a trickle.  I had called only 2 or 3 days ago, so I was unhappy.

We came back to Conway to pick up the coach (Walmart was on the road we needed to take out of town, so it did make sense to leave the coach there.), and set off to Brown’s Restaurant, just 35 miles away.  It had been highly recommended, and there were big signs along the highway advertising their 100’ long buffet.   I had called ahead, and they told me they had big rig and RV parking—well, it wasn’t a total lie.  The BP gas station next door is out of business, and trucks had parked there.  The parking lot at Brown’s specifically PROHIBITS RVs.  There were only 2 empty spaces.  Lunch was $9.  There is a senior discount, but we didn’t ask, and it wasn’t offered.  Drinks were extra.  The food was OK.  It was All-You-Can-Eat, but nothing special…except for the wonderful hushpuppies, fried okra, and catfish.  The fried chicken might have also been wonderful; I noticed a lot of people loading up on it.   I had another piece of catfish instead of dessert.  The gift shop has lots of Arkansas “Hog” souvenirs, Christmas ornaments, stained glass hangings, coonskin caps, fudge, and trinkets.

Staying at Horseshoe Casino in Bossier parking lot—row parking, crowded, I’m posting early so we don’t have to run the generator.  It’s too late to call parks now, but if we were earlier, I’d check out other options.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #101 on: October 26, 2011, 07:13:07 PM »
.  I read recently about the bats having White Nose Syndrome and it's becoming critical in some caves.
ArdraF

The problem is mostly on the East Coast.  The ranger told us that they are decontaminating people when they exit Mammoth Caves because they have the problem in them and they don't want it to spread.  He also spoke ill of private caves because they don't take precautions.  They can be shut down if they have it.  However, they also know that there are pitifully few inspectors, and they don't want to discourage paying customers.  Each night, the average bat eats 3000 insects (I think of mosquitoes--yea, BATS!).
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Wendy

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #102 on: October 26, 2011, 07:18:24 PM »
Technically, they're not supposed to ask you how old you are. And technically, they're not supposed to give you the senior discount unless you ask. So we always ask for it :)
 
Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #103 on: October 27, 2011, 10:19:29 PM »
Technically, they're not supposed to ask you how old you are. And technically, they're not supposed to give you the senior discount unless you ask. So we always ask for it :)
 
Wendy

I love saving money, so we'll make a point of doing that from now on.  I did hear them ask another party if anyone qualified for a senior discount or military discount.  I really like the way the people in Missouri and Arkansas honor their veterans, and some of the places even have a hierarchy of veteran discounts (from least to most)--retired, then active military, and the ultimate-- people who have been POWS or received a Purple Heart (they get in places free). 
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #104 on: October 27, 2011, 10:31:45 PM »
October 27, 2011   Day 37      Bossier, Louisiana

It was late when we came in, and we just wanted something simple, so we ate at the Horseshoe’s coffee shop—The 8-Ounce.  I thought their short-rib grilled cheese with BBQ sauce on sourdough was great, and Dean really enjoyed his burger.  The casino was nice and gave us enough money to fill out gas tank the next 4 or 5 times.  They have a wide variety of games, with a wide variety of denominations.  We won at $10 blackjack.

At noon, we dropped by the Harrah’s Louisian Downs Casino, just long enough to earn 30 points at the slots to earn their “free” buffet.  It was expensive for being free, but tasted wonderful.  I had my first gumbo (SPICY!) and catfish.  I loved their chicken ala king.   Everything was deliciously prepared.  They had 4 varieties of sugar-free pies.

We drove  217 miles to Jackson and ate my delicious dinner preparation. (Thank God for microwaves to heat up leftovers.)

Staying at Jackson’s Walmart.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Wendy

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #105 on: October 28, 2011, 11:07:30 AM »
How come you always win gambling? What are your secrets :)  Glad you're still having fun.
 
Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #106 on: October 29, 2011, 02:21:39 AM »

October 28, 2011   Day 38       Biloxi, Mississippi

Jackson is a difficult capitol to see.  It is only open Monday through Friday, one of the very few that are only open 5 days.  Many are even open for the afternoon on Sunday.

 We went to the what we thought was Old Capitol Museum first.  I had talked to a volunteer there, and she had arranged with the Capitol Police for us to park the motorhome on Amite St. in the “Bus Parking” at the curb.  If that weren’t possible, the only way we could have done it was to leave the coach at Walmart, drive into the capitols with the Jeep, then go back and pick up the coach.

We mistakenly went into a war and soldiers building, with all manner of veterans departments and organizations.  It had wonderful metal doors with great metal art on them commemorating famous battles.  It wasn’t worth going inside, but the outside sculptures were interesting.

The original capitol was used until 1901.  After that it was abandoned and fell into disrepair, then was used for the State Fair, and as state offices, re-abandoned, then was made usable, but not restored state museum..  When Hurricane Katrina came through, the roof was taken off by the wind and many artifacts that were stored there in a little museum were lost forever.  The legislature then decided to reconstruct the old capitol as a museum (with federal relief funds?), but it’s kind of a hodgepodge.  They didn’t bring it back to the original.  Instead, they tried to represent all the different things it had been.  However, it did have a good movie and some interesting tidbits.  I learned that Mississippi was the first state to let women own property.  Voters had to pay a poll tax until 1968—amazing, isn’t it?  They were very proud of the capitol dome that they discovered (Picture 1).  They had a Keeper of the Capitol. (Picture 2) His job was to have worn carpet replaced, arrange for any repairs and renovations, open the Capitol in the morning and lock it up at night.  He also kept the books for the capitol’s expenses and was the state librarian.  He was allowed to sleep in the capitol building, as his job was non-ending.

We could see the new capitol’s dome, so we walked about 5 city blocks over to it.  The sidewalks were in disrepair, and only about 50% of the corners had curb-cuts, which made navigating challenging.  The capitol, built from 1901-1903,  (Picture 3) had a statue in front (Picture 4).  The only tours are self-guided with an inadequate list of facts.  They are very proud of the architecture on both capitols.  There seems to be little symbolism of relevance to Mississippi.  They use Greek keys, pineapples, garlands, and a Roman portico.  They tell us that the eagle is 8’ tall with a wingspan of 15’, and is made of copper clad with gold leaf.  But, what relevance does the eagle have to Mississippi?

The old state supreme court (Picture 4) was held in the capitol building. There were 6 seats.  Are there 6 justices?  Wouldn’t that be bad because there could be tie votes.  Behind the justices’ chairs there is a wood area, and behind there is a wide carpeted platform.  Why?  These are questions a tour guide would answer.

 The state supreme court  now has a building of their own across the street, but there was yellow “Do Not Enter” tape across all the stairs leading to the front of it, and there was yellow tape blocking all of the front doors.  Why?

Picture 5 is the House of Representatives, and Picture 6 is the Senate.  They are unique for 2 reasons.  They are the only capitol of the 35+ we have visited where you enter from the front of the chamber instead of the rear.  Secondly, they were the most squished and cluttered chambers we’ve seen.

We then traveled a little over 200 miles on interstates to Biloxi.

Boondocking at Grand Casino—hoping to be able to find a different spot tomorrow.  High today is in the high 50’s, and it is drizzly.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #107 on: October 29, 2011, 02:30:10 AM »
How come you always win gambling? What are your secrets :)  Glad you're still having fun.
 
Wendy

Don't let anyone ever tell you they always win.  I am well up on this trip, but that's unusual.  We gambled a little tonight, and I lost.  But...not nearly what I won before.  Dean and I set a certain amount  aside for gambling when we go out.  We each have our own pot, and when it's gone, we quit.  If we win, we add that to our pot.  Dean had a great streak at blackjack, and that's what he used to pay for our Motostat.  By limiting our losses, we don't hurt our budget.  Blackjack has the highest payback rate of any casino game at less than 1% casino profit, and we've studied the odds on different hands and how to maximize our wins and minimize our losses.  When we see you, I'll share it with you.  But, casinos always have the edge.  And, over the years, they have more of our money than we have of theirs.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #108 on: October 29, 2011, 02:41:33 AM »
I forgot to post pictures--it's late, and my brain is only firing on 2 cylinders.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #109 on: November 02, 2011, 03:11:52 AM »

October 29 & 30, 2011   Days 39 & 40      Bay Saint Louis

We were shocked that the coast has not been more rebuilt since Hurricane Katrina.  As we drove into Bay Saint Louis, we saw lot after lot with no buildings and a ‘FOR SALE” sign, some re-built buildings with “FOR SALE” signs—probably 90% of the land along the coast is on the market. 

When we came into the RV park, I asked the owner about his experience.  He said he had over 5 feet of standing water on his property for over 3 weeks after the hurricane.  His property taxes have increased from $1200/year to $7200 now, primarily because people have abandoned their property and aren’t paying taxes, so those who do pay taxes have to pay more.  His insurance also used to be $1200 and is now $7200.  The whole RV park was a loss, and he had no flood insurance.  He says they have never ever had a flood before, and no one had flood insurance.  His house, which is 2 miles away, was totally under water.  I now understand why the re-building hasn’t taken place; they don’t have any money to do it. 

An RVForumer told us to  eat at The Mockingbird Café because they have great burgers and salads, so we drove to the shore to give it a go.  The place is a cute re-modeled bungalow, and the burgers were quite delicious.  Even the beach was blockaded with K-rails.  We decided to go to a movie, but we had to stop at Walmart to pick up boiler anti-freeze.  We ran out last night when we were boondocking.  It was super cold because a storm was coming in, and the wind was blowing a gale.  I like to froze, so I made sure we had a place with electricity for Bay Saint Louis.  Walmart didn’t have it, but Dean spent so long that we by-passed the time for the movie.  We decided to drive to Gulfport to see  what was there, and we passed a beautiful casino with a walkway that spanned the whole highway.  The Island View Casino gave us a free buffet ($23/each) for playing blackjack for an hour, gave us $10 in free play each for being new to them, and we broke even. 

The second day we went to the movies, drove around, and went shopping.  We didn’t make it to Lil Ray’s in Long Beach, which is famous for their bread pudding.  The sun came out, and we welcomed it.  Our hearts go out to these poor people, who are trying to make it back.

Stayed at Hancock RV Park—50 amps, FHU, $41/2 nights on Passport America, really nice managers who told us we could check out as late as we liked.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #110 on: November 02, 2011, 03:26:00 AM »
October 31, 2011   Day 41      New Orleans

We were grateful that the managers let us stay at Hancock late, as the trip was only 66 miles, and this park is full.  The park in the French Quarter wanted $75 a night!  We chose to return to Jude, where we stayed in 2009. 

We made arrangements to take a Mississippi River dinner cruise on the Natchez, the only  still operating steam-powered paddlewheeler. (Picture 1) Coupons for $5 off per ticket were available when I googled “New Orleans Discount coupons”.  The tickets were $56 each.

 The buffet was very good, with tender amberjack fish, which I had never tasted before, juicy chicken, fabulous smoked beef brisket, and bread pudding.  I love good jazz, and the Dukes of Dixieland played sweet music.  (Picture 4)  When they took a break, Dean went below to see the steam engine. (Pictures 2 & 3) We met an interesting couple from Austria and enjoyed great conversation.  It was a great evening, one I would highly recommend to others.  I am going to plan another jazz evening while we are here.

Staying at Jude Travel Camp – 50 amps, FHU, WiFi, cable, no atmosphere, total $35.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #111 on: November 03, 2011, 10:21:21 AM »

November 1, 2011   Day 42      New Orleans

We got up early to be at the Jean Laffitt National Park, located in the French Quarter.  It is the only national park composed of six sites, separated by over 200 miles, and it is the only urban national park.

They do a walking tour at 9:30, and give out free tickets starting at 9:00.  However, there are only 25 tickets, so we wanted to be there early.  We got our tickets and then enjoyed reading the displays while we waited about half an hour for the walk to begin.  Our guide, Maggie, was great, and I would recommend this tour for anyone new to New Orleans. 

I learned so much.  Jean Laffitt was a “legal” pirate, who the King of France granted permission to raid Spanish ships.  Later, he brought troups into the Battle of New Orleans and was the main reason that Andrew Jackson won that battle and the War of 1812.  In return, he bargained for a presidential pardon.  He was honored with a national holiday on January 8 up until the Civil War occurred.

The Mississippi is 2300 miles long, and means “great river” in French.  They established New Orleans 100 miles upriver from the mouth because it was the first land high enough and dry enough to buld a settlement.  The French Quarter was the original high land, and it did not flood during Hurricane Katrina.  However, many of  the buildings had their roofs blown off by the 175 mph winds and were totaled by the torrential rains.  We have seen a lot more construction going on this time than we did 3 years ago, but well over half of the homes are now vacant lots or are “tear-downs”.  We also see many shopping areas that had major name-brand stores that are fenced off and vacant.

New Orleans was originally a native American trading post.  In 1541 Desoto explored the Mississippi River that he had heard about from the Native Americans.  He found the river in Memphis, explored it all the way to Texas, and then his men killed him. 

100 years later, the French king asked fur traders in Canada to explore further.  La Salle found the Mississippi, and he sailed its whole 2300 mile length, placed a cross, claimed it for France, and left.

As time progressed, Spain got more and more active in Florida, and the King of France got nervous about their proximity, so he hired 2 Canadians to come to France and bring over 400 colonists.   They were the ones who started Mardi Gras as a one-day celebration, kind of like one last party, before the 40 days of Lent.  They asked the Native Americans to bring drums and food and celebrate with them.

In 1700, Jean Baptiste realized this would be a great place to establish a port and trading post.  The King of France, aged 4, was managed by corrupt adults, and that corruption extended over to New Orleans, where they say, “We have the best government that money can buy!”  The ranger said they have worked hard to clean it up, and she believes it is better, but still present.  Baptiste drew pictures of green pastureland, crystal blue waters with pearls lining the riverbanks, and solicited illiterate farmers and fishermen.  They came over and didn’t have enough money to return.  However, there weren’t enough people to have a great hold on the land because of diseases like malaria and yellow fever.  So the king ordered the emptying of the Bastille—but they had to come to Louisiana if they wanted out, and they had to be married.  Who would marry them?  Prostitutes were willing to leave.  However, after they came, many reverted to their previous profession, hence Bourbon Street. 

The king of France decided that governing Louisiana was too big a pain and too expensive, so he gave it to his cousin, the king of Spain.  However, he didn’t tell the citizens who found out  3 years later when Spain sent its first governor.

The ranger then told us about a dozen ethnic groups, why they came, and how they have contributed to New Orleans. 

In 1800 the king of Spain decided that Louisiana wasn’t worthwhile, so he gave it back to France.  Once gain, the residents didn’t find out until 3 years later.  They were so happy they threw a big party.  But, 6 weeks later, Napoleon sold them, and he told them they were now Americans.  They were not happy!  They thought that Great Britain looked down on them.  Canal Street is the dividing line between the French Quarter and the American side (Garden District) with their big beautiful homes on big lots.  The Brits were not welcome in the French Quarter.

In 1892, the first paddlewheel steamship came to NO (New Orleans).  Before that they had always come downriver on flatbottom boats, pushed by poles.  Then they took apart the boat and sold the lumber, because people were willing to buy it to build homes.  Then they would walk back upriver on the Natchez Trace.  With the paddlewheelers came prosperity, but all the different factions were fighting. 

Meanwhile, the British were rallying the Native Americans to participate in the War of 1812.  In Europe, American ships were being stopped and boarded by the British, and they were stealing what they wanted. They would also kidnap American citizens and force them to fight for France.  President James Madison wasn’t going to tolerate that, so we attacked Canada and got slaughtered.  However, we did burn the Canadian capitol, York.  Of course, they retaliated and burned Washington, D. C.  Madison temporarily freed the slaves to defend NO.  This is when Lafitte came to the rescue of the outmanned US.  In the Battle of NO, less than 20 American died, and half of the British troops were killed.  There were parties and parades, and the walls between the different cultures came down.

In the 1860’s, with the influx of Irish and Italians, the partying of Mardi Gras began.  They were both very Catholic cultures, and the Irish celebrated St. Patrick’s Day on March 17, while the Italians celebrated St. Joseph’s Day on March 19 by throwing cabbages, carrots, cups, and beads.  Both groups had parades, and the whole city celebrated.  Then they turned it into a 3-day celebration and included the 18th.  Then they decided to include the weekend before the 17th and the weekend after.  Mardis Gras now lasts 2 weeks.  The pictures on TV show the Bourbon Street scene, but families celebrate in parks with parades and different kinds of parties.  The motto is, “We’re all gonna have a good time!”

Our guide pointed out two large buildings donated to NO by the Baronessa of Pontalba, who loved NO.  One building housed the government, and the other housed the priests.  She also had a cathedral built in between them (Picture 1).  She felt that she had been so generous that President Andrew Jackson, hero of the Battle of New Orleans, should tip his hat to her when he came to town on his horse.  However, he refused.  So she had a big statue of him on his horse erected, and when she looked out her third-floor window, she could see him, with his horse rearing back on two legs, tipping his hat to her.

The tour ended at the famous Café du Monde, where we enjoyed café au lait and beignets.  (Picture 2)

I have been eager to see wildlife, so we headed to the national wildlife refuges’ headquarters and the two handicap-accessible refuges.  They were almost devoid of  critters.  Louisiana has been in a drought, and the wet areas in Bayou Sauvage have become mudflats.  The ranger said we wouldn’t see much out there, but we would possibly see some life at the Big Branch Marsh.  We saw several oyster fishermen, about a dozen gulls, and 2 great egrets.  Definitely not what I hoped for!

Staying at Jude Travel Camp – 50 amps, FHU, WiFi, cable, no atmosphere, total $35.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Wendy

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #112 on: November 03, 2011, 10:42:18 AM »
Glad you enjoyed Jean Laffitt NHPP. I went on one of the walking tours years ago. Aren't NPS rangers wonderful (just a little prejudiced here :) ). Interesting how this trip has wandered from your original plans....it's nice that RVing plans are set in jello, isn't it?
 
BTW, Linda, Hovenweep National Monument, also part of the NPS system, is made up of 7 separate sections in 2 states. Come visit us next year and we'll give you a great tour.
 
Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #113 on: November 04, 2011, 06:14:00 PM »
November 3, 2011   Day 44      New Orleans

Today was “Dean’s Choice”, a visit to the Stennis Space Center, America’s largest rocket engine test complex.    The SSC has tested every main engine that powered more than 130 space shuttle missions, and there has never been an engine problem on any of the missions. 

For me, the most exciting part of the day was learning that NASA announced a month ago that we are going back to the moon.  The SSC will do the testing for those engines, also. 

When we first went into the visitor center, we were issued tickets for a bus that transported us 6 miles away to the actual complex.  After passing two guarded gates, we came to the Naval Meteorology and Oceanography Command Center, which employs the largest number of oceanographers in the world and houses one of the fastest supercomputers in the world.  There are more than 30 other resident agencies, including the Department of Defense, the National Data Buoy Center, the EPA, Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne, Lockheed Martin, Rolls Royce, and two university postgraduate programs in oceanographic mapping studies.  They also have NOAA,  which is the National Oceanographic Something Something, and I learned that we drop buoys in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans and the Bering Sea.

We were dropped off at a space museum where we saw an actual Apollo module, a mock-up of a segment of the ISS habitation and laboratory module of the International  Space Station, and a historic pictorial timeline of the evolution of space flight.  We saw a 3-billion-year-old piece of moon rock, which looked just like my meteorites.  I would have enjoyed seeing what the chemical composition of it was.

On our return trip, our driver told us that we were driving through a 125,000-acre, forested acoustic buffer zone.  The first time they tested the 5-engine second stage of the Saturn 5 rocket they rattled windows all the way in Mobile, Alabama. The sound waves deflected off the heavy cloud cover that day, magnifying the sound. They now have weather minimums requirements before a test of that magnitude can be performed.

Staying at Jude Travel Camp – 50 amps, FHU, WiFi, cable, no atmosphere, total $35.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

ArdraF

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #114 on: November 04, 2011, 06:18:43 PM »
Linda,

Still enjoying your travels!  The description of New Orleans history was very interesting.  Thank yous continuing! :)

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #115 on: November 04, 2011, 07:48:54 PM »
November 2, 2011   Day 43      New Orleans

Today I wanted to go to the New Orleans Museum of Art, and, though it wasn’t Dean’s favorite thing to do, he acquiesced.  While he wouldn’t give it an overall “Good” rating, he did say that he saw several exhibits that he enjoyed—and that’s a high rating.

 The AAA-gem-rated museum has 46 galleries.  The whole 3rd floor is Asian, African, and Native American art with pieces from the time of Christ to present.  There is a wide variety, including pottery, jewelry, maska, all of high quality.  On the 2nd floor were primarily paintings by the European masters, such as several Degas, one Picasso, and some Muros and Monets.  There were about a dozen paintings that I thought were spectacular.  I didn’t enjoy the Modern Art at all—tattooed faces, a plain green background with 5 circles that I could have painted—I just had no appreciation.  We enjoyed many of the works in the adjoining sculpture garden, especially “Diana, the Huntress” (Picture 1).  We stayed until closing.  We came on a Wednesday, when it was free, but I meant to make a donation after we saw it.  It wasn't until now that I remembered.

As we left, I heard wild birds at the lake in the park, and my heart sang.  White ibis are very common birds, but I was so happy to see them perched in a tree—little white clouds of feathers.  We saw one great blue heron in a tree (Picture 2), and lots of different waterfowl (Picture 3).

The barbecue at The Joint had been recommended, so we stopped.  It is truly a joint, and most of its business is take-out, so we brought some back to the coach.  At $11 per person, the plates had lots of meat.  The pulled pork was excellent—very moist and flavorful, but none of the smoked flavor that I was hoping for.  Cole slaw was good, but the dressing wasn’t, so we wouldn’t order it again unless we could order it dry.  The beans were excellent.

Staying at Jude Travel Camp – 50 amps, FHU, WiFi, cable, no atmosphere, total $35.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 07:51:08 PM by Dean & Linda Stock »
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #116 on: November 04, 2011, 07:52:56 PM »
Linda,

Still enjoying your travels!  The description of New Orleans history was very interesting.  Thank yous continuing! :)

ArdraF

Thanks.  I would have typed it for my personal log, but I posted it because I thought you might find it as interesting as I did.  This is our 3rd trip to NO, and I enjoyed it this time much more than the other 2.  I have some more things on my "Next Time" list.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #117 on: November 04, 2011, 08:00:45 PM »
Glad you enjoyed Jean Laffitt NHPP. I went on one of the walking tours years ago. Aren't NPS rangers wonderful (just a little prejudiced here :) ). Interesting how this trip has wandered from your original plans....it's nice that RVing plans are set in jello, isn't it?
 
BTW, Linda, Hovenweep National Monument, also part of the NPS system, is made up of 7 separate sections in 2 states. Come visit us next year and we'll give you a great tour.
 
Wendy

I don't think we've ever had a dull NPS ranger--they are truly great!  And, those of us who work hard to be interesting deserve recognition--that's not prejudice, it's well-earned pride.

This trip has deviated far more than any other, and there are upsides and downsides.  The thing I love most about retirement is FREEDOM--to do what I want to do when I want to do it.  The downside is not having the research done for an overall plan and constantly scurrying to figure out where we are going to be and when so we have a place to land at night and receive mail.  That's interesting about Novenweep.  We'll take you up on it, but probably not for a couple of years.  We are hoping to see you at Anza Borrego after the first of the year, and we will be going to Alaska in May.  I am toying with the idea of doing South Dakota, Michigan, Wisconsin, after Alaska while we are still up north, coming down with the leaves if they are good.  I will check their weather often when we're in Alaska and make the final decision then.  When is the best month for Hovenweep?
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #118 on: November 06, 2011, 08:57:28 AM »
November 4, 2011   Day 45      New Orleans

Today was my pick, and it was the most exciting day of the trip!  We went to the Audubon Zoo, a mid-size zoo with a lot of animals I’ve never seen before.

We were greeted by this elegant black and white swan (Picture 1) and an unusual duck (Picture 2).  Neither had I seen before in all our trip to zoos, and it set the stage for what was to come.

Keepers were holding a tiny Eastern screech owl (Picture 3) and this barred owl  (Picture 4).  It was the first time I’ve been able to see owls up close.

The babisura (Picture 5) from Indonesia whose name means “pig deer” had the weirdest curbing tusks growing from his snout.  Another first for us.

We had seen white Bengal tigers before, but the zoo’s signage was so informative that even when we met old friends, we learned things we didn’t know.  The white Bengal tiger Picture 6) lacks a gene for the typical orange coat.  Both parents must carry the recessive gene.  They are not albinos; they are leucistic.  They have blue eyes, not pink, and have color in their stripes.

The Asian elephant (2 humps on the forehead and small ears) enjoyed being brushed off (Picture 7)—kind of like a massage, as well as a cleaning.  And I GOT TO PET HER.  SHE had wiry hair on her side, and her skin was dry and hard.  What a thrill!         CONTINUED                                         

Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #119 on: November 06, 2011, 09:01:38 AM »
I had huge expectations for the aviary, and I was disappointed at both the lack of identification and the lack of variety of birds.  Their sign said there were 34 different types, but we didn’t see more than a dozen.  One sat and posed (Picture 8) while we were trying to get a shot of a beautiful fluorescent blue bird who flitted by.  The scarlet ibis was brilliantly colored, and his friend joined him for a photo op (Picture 9).  This unknown was unique (Picture 10).  However, we saw many interesting birds later in the open.

The golden lion tamarin (Picture 11) is a favorite.  He is monogamous.  The father and older siblings rear the young, carrying him on their backs, and returning him to mom only for feedings.  They live on the coast of Brazil, are critically endangered, and are so cute!

The drill baboon males (Picture 12) have a beautiful large shiny rainbow bottom to attract females.  It gets even brighter when he’s excited.  He’s very endangered.

The Sumatran orangutan mom (Picture 13) was trying to eat a lef and had amazing patience, as he baby jumped on her, tried to take the leaf away, and swung all around her.

The African white pelicans shared space with the rhinos. (Picture 14)
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

 

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