Archive for the ‘Summer 2011’ Category

Casa Grande Ruins “The Great House”

Thursday, October 20th, 2011


Casa Grande Ruins

October 20, 2011

We drove out towards Coolidge, Arizona today to visit the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument.  First order of business was a stop in the Visitor Center to watch a rather poorly done documentary about the Ruins and to look through the interpretive information.  We followed that with a lecture from the Park Ranger and then wandered around among the Ruins.

Casa Grande Visitor Center

The Casa Grande “Great House” was built by the Hohokam. 

Distant view of Casa Grande

The Hohokam people lived in the Sonoran Desert of Southern Arizona as long as 3000 years ago.  They designed and built large earth structures out of “cliché (a mixture of water and soil ),” and created hundreds of miles of irrigation channels to bring water from the Salt, Verde and Gila Rivers to their fields.  They were artists and traders who used sophisticated decorative techniques and materials obtained from miles away to create beautiful pottery and jewelry.

The Casa Grande Ruins are the ruins of a four-story, eleven-room building built around AD1300 to 1350.  It was abandoned about 550 years ago. 

Casa Grande "The Great House"

Archaeologists speculate about the purpose of the structure suggesting that it may have been a dwelling, a storage structure, or a meeting place.   One interesting feature of the building is a round window located high on one wall that lines up with the summer solstice on June 21st

Note round window which is a summer solistice marker

 The ruins of many smaller dwellings surround the “Great House” indicate that there was a Hohokam Village located there.

Ruins of surrounding village

The Hohokam played a game in a ball court – the ruins of one are on the premises.

Sign for prehistoric ball court

Prehistorical ball court

We enjoyed being free to wander among the ruins. 

K.C. at Casa Grande Ruins

K.C. and Bob at Casa Grande Ruins

Bob near the "Great House"

Bob exploring an ancient dwelling

Here is the view from the picnic area.

View from the picnic area

Before we left, Bob bought me a beautiful Native American flute.  It was a most interesting trip.  As always, we were amazed to learn how sophisticated and innovative the ancient people were.

Touring Will Roger’s Childhood Home in Oolagah, Oklahoma

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

September 8, 2011



Today we went to visit Will Rogers’ childhood home in the country near Oolagah, Oklahoma.  The family home began as a simple cabin, but Will’s father and Will added on over the years.  It is now quite an impressive place.

Entry to Will Roger's childhood home

Will Roger’s childhood home

We really enjoyed our visit  because it was basically a self-guided tour with an opportunity to donate.  They had goats, donkeys, chickens and other livestock running around out in the yard.


Donkey at Will Rogers' childhood home


Will Rogers' livestock


An awesome country scene at Will Rogers' childhood home

Another cool thing is that many of the furnishings in the house actually belonged to the Rogers.  When the granddaughters decided they would give the estate to the state, they spent much time finding historically authentic items to replace any that they felt were missing from the home of their grandparents.

The kitchen


The kitchen stove


The front room


Neat fireplace in the front room


One of the bedroom at Will Rogers' childhood home


The well at Will Rogers' childhood home


Bob relaxes at Will Rogers' childhood home

We also visited the Will Roger’s museum in Claremore, Oklahoma which is quite an impressive Museum.

Will Rogers' statue at his museum


Will Rogers

We enjoyed our visit to both Will Rogers’ childhood home and to his museum in Claremore. He was a man of wise words that still hold true today.

We have enjoyed our time in Oklahoma, but now it’s time to move on down the road to Arizona where we plan to set the motorhome up for a year.  The motorhome is getting old and the price of gas keeps rising.  It’s time to semi-retire the Kram-A-Lott Inn.   We have ordered a Casita travel trailer and will be picking it up in Texas on October 28.  We’ll spend most of the winter in Arizona in the motorhome but will use the Casita when we have the urge to travel out and about.

Lake Oolagah – In and around Tulsa

Thursday, September 8th, 2011
September 8, 2011


Lake Oolagah

Our campsite at Redbud Campground on Lake Oolagah was one of the nicest in the country.  The campground is located on a bluff overlooking Lake Oologah and the Redbud Marina.  The view was breathtaking.

A moonlit September evening at Redbud Campground on Oolagah lake


View from campsite at Redbud Campground on Oolagah Lake

One of our memories from Redbud Campground is of spending the evening in the women’s restroom along with the rest of the campers in this small campground.  We had a tornado warning in the area and the brick restroom building was the safest place to be.  After watching an awesome thunderstorm for an hour or two, we were able to return safely to our motorhome.

We spent one day driving in and around Tulsa revisiting all of the places where Bob lived, and other places of interest from his past.

Bob attended classes at Tulsa University while working at Douglas Aircraft and Reliance Electric.


When he was first married, Bob and Opal lived in a house in Valley View in North Tulsa.  In 1965, they moved from Valley View to Magic Circle on the east side of Tulsa.

House in Magic Circle


Toni and Bobbie's Grade School

While living at Valley View and Magic Circle, Bob was laid off by Douglas Aircraft because the industry had spun down from the aerospace years.  Bob says that unemployed engineers were a dime a dozen, so he opened five barber shops.  While cutting a customer’s hair, Bob solved an engineering problem for the customer by working a mathematical equation with soap on a mirror.  The man immediately asked Bob to come into Unit Rig for an interview and they hired him on as an engineer.  Once he was working as an engineer again, Bob gradually sold off the barber shops.

Barber Shop at Allstate Shopping Center


Barber Shop at Circle Plaza Shopping Center


One of Bob's Barber Shops


Bob moved his family from Magic Circle out into the country at Inola in about 1973.  While there, Bob kept about 40 bee hives and harvested pecans from his pecan trees.  One day he fell out of a tree while harvesting pecans and cracked two ribs.  He had to fly off to Columbia, South America the next day with aching ribs.  They also had a shetland pony on the farm.  One day, Bob was playing with the pony and kicked out at her as she ran by.  The girls and Opal were watching from the window and had a good laugh as they watched Bob land flat on his back.

Bob's house near Inola


Bob built this shed on Inola place


Bob's little red barn on the Inola place

Bob put a little windmill out in the yard at Inola.  It’s now nearly hidden by a bush.

Windmill in tree at Inola place

After Inola, the family moved to Tucson for a couple of years. Upon returning to Tulsa, they moved into Sungate in southern Tulsa so Bobbi could finish high school. 

House at Sungate

They moved to Catoosa where they stayed until Toni finished high school, and then Bob and Opal moved into condos where Bob was active in the condo association.  From there, Bob retired and he and Opal moved to a place on Lake Fort Gibson where he enjoyed his dog, boats, noodling and fishing.

It was a fun day of seeing the sites from Bob’s past.  In a couple of days we will go and tour Will Roger’s childhood home and Museum.

Osage Hills State Park – Pawhuska, Bartlesville and Woolaroc

Tuesday, September 6th, 2011


First week of September

Pawhuska, Bartlesville and Woolaroc, Oklahoma

We drove over to Pawhuska, Oklahoma.  Pawhuska is the county seat and is a historical oil town.  It was a thriving place back when gas was 10 cents per gallon.

Ten cents per gallon, please

Bob says this is a typical drip gas system that was used by Okies back in the day to gas up their rigs (or still is used illegally).


Drip gas system

Pawhusa has awesome old buildings in it.

Welcome to Pawhuska

Masonic Lodge

Built in 1906

Old City Hall

They have restored part of old downtown.

Downtown - looking good

The residential has a lot of gorgeous mansions and then some not quite so nice.

A Pawhuska house we can afford

Now this looks livable and affordable

The main reason we were in the area was to go to the wedding of our nephew, James, at Woolaroc Museum and Wildlife Preserve.  Woolaroc was the country home of Frank Phillips, founder of Phillips 66 Petroleum.  Frank imported exotic animals so when you drive through the preserve you can see buffalo, zebra, emu, ostrich, deer, etc.  The word Woolaroc comes from taking part of the words “woods, lake and rocks” to form the word Woolaroc and describe the area.

Buffalo at Woolaroc


We're running late and this buffalo will not clear the road!


 The wedding was held in the picnic area down by the lake.  It was very nice.

Bob and James

Happy to see you

James and the Minister

The flower girl


Waiting for the Bride



It was a wonderful wedding.  I think we’ve become partial to weddings in the park!

While in the area, we visited Frank Phillips’ city home also which is located in Bartlesville.  Frank owned all of the property around and would only sell lots to his neighbors if they built under his strict guidelines.  The neighborhood is beautiful and awesome.

City home of Frank Phillips

Frank bought his son a house across the street so that the Phillips could see more of their granddaughter.  Frank’s son promptly gambled the house away!  Frank bought it back the next day and then ran the gambler out of town.  

The house he bought for his son.

Also in Bartlesville is a Frank Lloyd Wright tower building.

Frank Lloyd Wright building

All around town they have these very colorful, psychodelic buffalo statues.

The white one has the lyrics and music to "Home on the Range" printed on the side

Bob got a kick out of this wall.  He said, “That makes a lot of sense.  Put up a wall to keep people out and then turn it into a  rock-climbing wall.  How could a kid resist?” 

Bob's rock climbing wall

Having thoroughly enjoyed our week at Osage Hills State Park, we left  and moved to Redbud State Campground on Lake Oologah.

Moving across Oklahoma

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Twin Bridges State Park to Osage Hills State Park

August 29, 2011

We left Twin Bridges State Park at about 8:30 a.m. and headed west on Oklahoma Highway 60.  After a stop in Fairland, Oklahoma for breakfast, we continued on our way.  Part of the route we took was along old Route 66 where we enjoyed seeing old bridges and buildings.

Replacing a bridge on Old Route 66

An old building along old Route 66

Another cool old building on old Route 66

Old building on old Route 66 - neato!

Along Route 66 - groovy!

At Vinita, Oklahoma, we continued west on I 60 separating from Route 66 there.  Osage Hills State Park is on the Osage Nation Reservation about 11 miles west of Bartlesville, Oklahoma. 

A view of downtown Bartlesville, Oklahoma

We passed the Conoco-Phillips plant.  Originally, Conoco-Phillips was Phillips Petroleum and was owned by Frank Pillips. The gas is still sold as Phillips 66. Frank was an ambitious barber-turned-bond salesman who visited Bartlesville in 1903 to assess business opportunities in the surrounding oil fields.  He returned in 1905 with his wife and young son.  A series of dry holes nearly caused him to abondon the business, but then a string of 81 successful oil wells led to the founding of Pillips Petroleum.  In 1909, Frank build a mansion for his family. His granddaughter donated it to the Oklahoma Historical Society in 1973, along with most of the furnishings.  We’ll be going to see it, I’m sure.

The Conoco-Phillips Plant

Bartlesville, Oklahoma was settled in 1979.  It has many old and interesting features including side roads that are still made of brick.

Brick roads in Bartlesville, Oklahoma

An old house in downtown Bartlesville, Oklahoma

We’ll show more pictures of Bartlesville on another day.  We arrived  at Osage Hills State Park about noon and visited with the Park Ranger.  They are very nice here.  We were the only people in the Park for the first night.  On Tuesday, two more rigs pulled in, but it’s still nice and quiet here. 

Our campsite at Osage Hills State Park

Bob setting up the Direct TV dish to receive satellite signal

Osage Hills State Park was built by the CCC during the depression.  The workers built roads, bridges, walls, cabins and buildings for Park personnel.  There is also a public swimming pool here.  Unfortunately, it is closed because their lifeguards had to go back to school.  They close it when the lifeguards leave, and school starts in mid-August here.

Building built by CCC

Cabin built by CCC - still in use

Rock walkway typical of the ones the CCC built when they built the cabins

Another cabin built by the CCC that is still in use

A picnic shelter built by the CCC

The lookout platform built by the CCC

The steps to the lookout built by the CCC

Bob resting in lookout built by CCC

The view from the lookout platform built by the CCC

The lookout platform built by the CCC

A trail built by the CCC's from the lookout they built down to Lookout Lake

There is also a trail down to a waterfall that we may hike in the next few days.  Then again, it’s 100 degrees here so maybe we won’t!  We will be exploring the area which is rich in Native American history.

Deer in camp at Osage Hills State Park


Raccoon prints on walls of dumpster

The restrooms near our campsite. They were built by the CCC. I took a shower with a scorpion here!


A CCC building that didn't stand the test of time


Ruins of a CCC-built cabin

We’ll be doing more exploring of the area, so check back often!