Georgia On My Mind

Tuesday we hit the road travelling through Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and into Mississippi. We made an overnight stop at Olive Branch and today are hitting the road for Georgia.

As Elvis crooned across our airwaves yesterday Jack said we would make a stop at Tupelo to Elvis' birthplace and Museum. Yippee!

This morning we made the stop in Tupelo, Mississippi to visit the Museum. No photos are allowed in the Museum which features times during the Depression when times were tough for Vernon and Gladys Presley. There are many photos, memorabilia, clothing worn by Elvis and more.

Elvis Aaron Presley was born January 8, 1935 (his twin brother was stillborn) in the tiny little two room 'shotgun' style house at this very site.

The small church Elvis and his family attended was a block over on Adams Street. When the church needed to build a larger facility it was used as a house and later purchased by the Museum in 2008 and relocated here to its current site on the house and Museum grounds.

 

He grew up with the church services and the gospel sounds that would set Elvis on a path of music, beyond the weekly gatherings around the radio listening to the Grand Old Opry.

It was Reverend Frank Smith who taught a young and shy Elvis a few guitar chords. He was encouraged to perform during services, often with his parents. The Reverend would walk and play which statements attribute this to Elvis performance style.

Also noted in the Museum was that Elvis used to entertain himself with simple toys and Captain Marvel, Jr comics. Speculation maybe? They also suggest his signature hairstyle and perhaps the TCB (taking care of business) lightning bolt could have been attributed to these comics.

 

In 1938, the family lost their house when Vernon was sent to prison for forging a check (cheque) where he served 8 months of a 3 year sentence. Gladys would work to keep food on the table.

As Elvis continued school, taking his guitar with him at times performed for friends. His teacher entered him in a state contest where he placed 5th.

In 1948 the Presley's moved to Memphis. This became a turning point in Elvis' career where he began performing with other boys who played music. He still had the intention of being part of a Gospel quartet.

In 1953, he paid $3.95 to make his first recording 'My Happiness' and 'That's When The Heartache Begins'. Then if you have ever done a Sun Studio's tour in Tennessee, we all now what happened after that and how Marion Kesker had saved the recording and later Sam Phillips produced many of Elvis' recordings.

The grounds to the Museum are spectacular with plaques of information during the years of pivotal moments, a bronze statue depicting a young Elvis in oversized overalls and a meandering walk both wheelchair accessible by way of ramps and paths or stairs to the top of the property to another statue called 'Becoming'.

 

This stunning statue shows a small Elvis and as a mature, larger than life flamboyant style as he had become.

 

Onwards and we cross into another state we have not visited – Alabama. We will pass the Talladega Super Speedway. Now comes to mind, besides NASCAR races of course, is Talladega Nights – Ricky Bobby, shake and bake – a very funny movie. We will make a stop here on the return trip to the Motorsports Speedway Museum and Hall of Fame!

 

From Alabama winding through the Talladega National Forest, we continued East heading across the border into Georgia.

 

We found the range, then the hotel and we are ready for an early start tomorrow. We missed the registration as we forgot we would lose an hour!

Kat xo

 

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The Flying Fortress

To aviation enthusiasts around the world, some of the WWI and WWII planes are the jewel of the crown when it comes to modern warfare. They were the forefathers in air defence and you can't mistake their distinctive sound, gleaming metal and intriguing nose cone art that made them what they are.

This weekend in Oklahoma, such beauty of the skies is visiting the Wiley Post Airport. The B-17 bomber known as “The Flying Fortress” was produced by Boeing in Seattle, Washington. During the years 1935-1945 some 12,000 were produced, with 4,735 being lost during combat.

This morning whilst shooting with the Territorial Marshals, we were just about to start stage 5 in the Saloon when I heard the sound of her go overhead and I ran out to see where she was. I yelled to Jack and we watched her almost hanging in mid air like a model as she cruised across the skies.

After we had unpacked and got changed, we headed for Wiley Post to see the 'Madras Maiden' in all her glory. She was produced in 1944 but didn't make it to combat with the 381st Bomber Group in England. She was bought and sold at various times and eventually purchased by the Erickson Collection in 2013 in Madras, Oregon.

From the Liberty Foundation website – '….restored to her combat configuration and painted in the colors of the 381st Bomb Group,mane sporting the Madras Maiden nose art, N3701G flies today to honor our veterans, educate current and future generations as to the high price of freedom and to preserve our aviation heritage.'

She is flown today by pilot, Connie Bowlin who not only flies this beauty but has also flown the famed Memphis Belle on many tours.

We have heard that the original Memphis Belle is soon to be installed in the National Museum of The United States Air Force in Ohio that Jack and I had visited back in 2016.

 

As we waited in line with anyone from 4 year olds to a B-29 veteran, we boarded the B-17 for a look and wondered at their cramped conditions in the bomber. An engineering and flight marvel that we were so pleased to see.

 

Sensational! Hoping to see her in the skies again tomorrow during Wild Bunch and capture it on video.

Kat xo

 

Happy Mother’s Day

To all the Mum's and Mom's out there may your day be filled with loved ones, phone calls, pressies, flowers or heart felt messages. Like my little spur of the moment poem for my Mum, Heather.

To my Mum,

I may not have always been the perfect child

And at times I know I was driving you wild

Over the years I have respected you more

For all that you did for all of us four

For my three I am extremely lucky

Not as many trials as you had ducky

I know we did not always see eye to eye

And more than once have made you cry

But for me the black sheep

Who utters more than a peep

Loves you dearly

Not only once yearly.

 

Boom! Beat that Golden Child! Hee hee hee……..love you too Chris! Lol!

Joee aka Kat xo

 

Can’t Beat A Good Match

The Great Spaghetti Western is one of those annual matches that are just a super, fun time, cowboy match that strives to give everyone a great experience.

It had been raining Friday but by the time we arrived at the range it had stopped, leaving it particularly damp, slippery and muddy but then we've had that the last 3 matches so I guess this weekend shouldn't be any different, right?

 

Saturday and Sunday turned out to be beautiful days with plenty of sunshine and a temperature increase into the 80's.

Ready, set, go! The match started with the pledge, prayer and the beautiful Abbey Hayes singing the National anthem. Seven posse's started into 5 stages with a bang. Saturday we did stages 6 through 10.

In the afternoon we did side matches including the super stage. Great fun using 4 pistols, 2 rifles and 1 shotgun. What a hoot that is! Jack and I both ended up winning the men's and ladies for that.

Then it was drinks time with friends and dinner on the range provided by the Cowboy Church. Things got a little bit crazy but we all had a great time and that's what it's all about!

 

Sunday and I'm feeling a little seedy but it's time to get into the last 5 stages (1 thru 5). Jack and I had a great posse to shoot with – Aint Dunnit, Cat Daddy Carson, Colorado Jackson, Whiskey Kid, Panhandle Cowgirl, Silver Sam, Shakie Tex, Lil Magill, Brazos Belle, Crooked Bullet, Lamesa Kid, Choctaw Al, Kansas City Sneed, Oklahoma Dee and Forty Dog Kid.

 

Lunch, LOCAS photos and awards ensued. Complicated Lady took the advantage at the LOCAS picture time to pass the Number 1 pin along to Pistol Packin' Pami.

 

Smokin' Limey loved her shirt that I had surprised her with when I gave her Cadburys chocolate (she likes the Aussie version better than the pommie and US versions). I got the Union Jack flag fabric when I was back in Australia (of all places) and thought of her straight away. Suffice to say she absolutely loves it.

 

Jack came 1st in Silver Senior's with Lefty Wheeler 2nd and Texas Mean Gene 3rd. He finished 13th overall.

 

I had a good match, finished clean and 1st in Lady Wrangler with Calamity Di Bar 2nd, Honey B Graceful 3rd and Okie Fenokie 4th.

I managed 3rd overall and 1st lady. Congratulations to Rusty Remington taking the top honor's!

 

A huge thank you to all The Texas Ten Horn's, once again you have put on a great match and with the addition of the new range's it flowed perfectly. Thanks for having us!

Kat xo

 

The Great Spaghetti Western

Jack and I are headed off this morning down to Leonard, Texas and The Texas Ten Horns annual match – The Great Spaghetti Western.

What better way to start the weekend with rubbish on tv last night, we got to watching Sergio Leone’s all time greatest Spaghetti Western trilogy starring Clint Eastwood – A Fistful of Dollars, A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

We got through the first two and will have to watch the other one later.

Wherever you may be this weekend and if you are shooting, tear it up!, have fun! and stay safe!

Kat xo

Kansas to Missouri

Our gracious Kansas hosts, Bertie Winchester and Cooncan, put us up for a couple of nights so we could come shoot with them and spend time catching up. We met the new addition to the family, Sully, who was a bundle of energy, keeping us entertained and for at least Friday night, Jack seemed the flavour of the day.

 

We headed out yesterday to Lenexa where the Powder Creek Cowboys hosted their monthly match in perfect weather. Some 64 cowboy's and cowgirl's turned out for it and before long we were shooting 5 stages.

 

This is a good practice place with target placement, varied distance, height, shape and diameter making for an interesting shoot.

 

We enjoyed it, as it had been far too long since we had been there for their annual – Prince of Pistoleers. (Probably 4 years ago)

We almost had a mini version of our Land Run posse with Jack, myself, Bertie Winchester, Cooncan, Fannie Kicker and Titus A. Gnatsass.

We were missing Bertie in this picture of the ladies of our posse which included from Iowa, Hail Hot Mary and Gunslinger Grace.

 

We spent the afternoon chatting, trying to fix the speaker for tunes, drinking beer (well maybe that was just me) and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, all while Jack snoozed.

It was a fabulous visit getting to meet more of their family and we certainly appreciated the hospitality.

This morning we left them and headed for Kansas City, MO. Last time we stopped in at Union Station and every bit of history it had to offer. THIS time we headed back near there to The National WWI Museum and Memorial.

At the end of Memorial Mall (like ANZAC Parade is to the War Memorial in Canberra) is the Liberty Memorial with the museum being a sub terrace to it, the Assyrian Sphynx's, Cinerary Urns, Exhibit and Memory Hall's.

 

As you enter along the black granite causeway to massive bronze doors, it opens to a glass and light filled entrance. The glass walkway to the exhibit halls allows a view to the poppy field below.

 

Each of the 9000 poppies represents 1000 deaths. Nine million souls perished during WWI. If you catch the reflection juuuusst right you can get a view of the Liberty Memorial in the glass with the poppies as well.

Next we went into the 12min video of how the beginning of World War I commenced and then into the beautiful exhibit galleries. A very well thought out display with timelines, personal accounts and more.

 

As we moved through each gallery space there were many artefacts, uniforms, firearms etc.

 

There were life sized trench dioramas with sound and ambient lighting. Propaganda posters, medals, heavy artillery and so much more.

 

Towards the centre of the exhibits are another full on trench and battlefield setup with a short film across a grand screen, interactive tables depicting anything from camouflage to air combat, sound booths for personalised accounts, prose etc.

 

This is a very well thought out museum moving through the timeline culminating in the entrance of the United States into Allied forces during the campaign.

 

We finalised our tour by taking the elevator to the upper level and the courtyard surrounding the Liberty Memorial and the Assyrian Sphynx's.

The Sphynx's as stated in the brochure – 'Memory' faces East toward the battlefields of WWI, shielding its eyes from the horrors of war. 'Future' faces West, shielding its eyes from an unknown future.

 

I regretfully state that we decided we needed to get on the road and did not see the Exhibit Hall or the Memorial Hall 😦 during the car ride home I realised we had missed one of the main things I did want to see. The Exhibit Hall features flags of the allied nations in the order they entered the campaign. The Memorial Hall houses the largest fragment of the 'Pantheon de la Guerre' and includes bronze tablets with the names of 441 Kansas Citians that died in WWI. Disappointed much.

 

However, IF you ever get the chance to go through Kansas City, please do allow for a visit here. It was fantastic, very moving and just a stunning facility.

A great way to end our quick trip to Kansas/Missouri, thanks again to our wonderful hosts (actually saw a couple of cowboy's in the museum) and now we are back in Oklahoma getting set to head south to Leonard, Texas this next weekend.

Hope you have had a wonderful weekend wherever you may have been.

Kat xo

 

Kansas Bound

Travelling today listening to the usual eclectic mix of music of Elvis, Toby Keith, Darius Rucker; throw in some Australian Crawl, Lee Kernaghan, Dire Straits; sprinkled with a small dose of “not your grandmother's music” (or perhaps even your mother's!) Saddle Tramps and we were on our way to Kansas.

I had my moments in the backseat – not because I was naughty, lol! – to do some car projects behind a slightly more tinted window and away from the glare. Got quite a bit done and Jack could stil see me with his “check on the kids” mirror anyway. 🙂

We took a slight detour into the older part of Wichita and headed for the river. We found 'The Keeper Of The Plains' a 44 foot tall cor-ten steel sculpture that stands at the concourse of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers.

Before we headed to see that, we found ourselves inside Exploration Place. The equivalent to Questacon, in Canberra back in Australia. I had asked at the counter about restrooms and the girl at the counter pointed me to the right direction and for how to get to the bridge to the statue.

I came out of the bathrooms giggling. Here is what I found on the back of the bathroom door. (Sorry, I thought it was funny)

 

It's no wonder the lady at the entrance, waiting on school kids, was having trouble to round them up as they were probably reading all the doors too.

Anyway, Jack and I decided that it would probably be a good place to visit but the bright spark reckoned it would be quieter on a weekend??!!?? I don't know about that.

Off we headed to the bridge that would take us across the river to a small exhibit and the spectacular statue before us.

 

Around the base of the statue are two walls of an outdoor exhibit made from granite and other media portraying the American Indian life, culture and language.

 

The sculpture by Kiowa-Comanche artist, Blackbear Bosin features music in the background and small water mist jets as you meander around the base of the rock it is perched upon. Out the front of the statue on the river are fire pits known as 'the rings of fire' that are lit at dusk which would be a sight to see!

 

This was one of those places that gave an ambient and serene backdrop to a bustling city beyond the rivers edge.

A must see if you ever get up through Wichita, KS.

Kat xo