Louisiana to Texas

With some time to kill, Jack and I headed South today through forest areas of Lousiana heading down to Alexandria and on to Lake Charles.

Alexandria is almost the centre of the state and the ninth largest city. Sitting on the edge of the Red River, it once supported French trade activities at Post de Rapides. Alexandria, in the parish of Rapides, was first settled around the 1790's.

During the Civil War gunboats arrived in Alexandria around Spring of 1863. Occupied by Union forces during this period they then departed to Vicksburg, Mississippi. Alexandria suffered much through the Civil War with cotton wars, and the ultimate burning of Alexandria as the Union troops departed its shores.

The city was rebuilt and has two remaining properties that survived the fires – one being The Kent Plantation House (circa 1795) which although moved from its original site, still remains on one of the first Spanish land grant allotments.

 

We weren't intending to stop before Lake Charles but when I looked up Kent House and found it was open today and held tours it was a must see!

 

Our first part of the tour started with docent, Miss Carolyn, who gave us a tour of the outbuildings, starting with the Milk House.

A small building, the milk house has an outside cistern that's purpose was to keep the milk cold for butter making.

 

Inside the milk house were variations of butter churner's and mold's for pressing butter blocks.

 

Next, the Kitchen House. This was separated from the main house mostly in part to the fires that often happened in a kitchen. This is the third of such buildings for the Kent House – #1 burnt down, #2 destroyed by a tornado.

 

Notice the brick hearth out front of the fire place? They used to use it for cooking also. Placing hot coals on the hearth, it gave the ability to cook another dish over the coals whilst others were being cooked in the fireplace. Baking in the oven, was only done a couple times a week.

Herb racks were also used for drying homegrown herbs for both cooking and medicinal purposes.

 

As with most large affluential homes, the lady of the house was in charge of the keys, especially for expensive items. Salt and pepper were even kept under lock and key, only being doled out to the cooks each day as an allowance.

Bottle trees, a tradition of the African Americans, were believed to attract bad spirits with the colours of the bottles and keep them away from the houses. The wind creates sounds in the bottles sounding like moans. When they heard the sounds they believed the spirits had been trapped. The bottle would be removed, stuffed full of sticks and leaves and then thrown into the river, thus getting rid of the evil spirits.

 

Next a two room slave cabin of a higher class, as it bears wooden floors. It is brick to board, with saddlebag construction i.e. the fireplace is in two sides or two rooms, one side for the women and the other side for the men or husband/wife and kids the other side. They are very small rooms, sleeping on the floor amongst the kitchen and living areas.

Next we stepped in to the laundry room where all manner of agitators, washboards, irons and other interesting artefacts reside. The Lye soap mold, used ash from the fireplace and pig fat for the moisturiser.

What about rolling your own tobacco? Well the cigar mold would be perfect for pressing and drying. By the fireplace is the cutter for cutting your ends before smoking the cigar.

 

She showed us a candle maker mold as well. Hair tongs, thrown in the fire and used to crimp hair. Hmm I smell burnt hair!

Outside are two old sugar kettles. These were used for laundry – 1 for washing and 1 for rinsing.

 

The gardens were also a staple requirement with a house and sometimes the slaves were given a plot of their own to grow. If they were able to grow something the house garden didn't have or might require for a dish they would actually pay to use some of that produce.

Over to the barn which is made up of hand hewn Lincoln logs it's a dog trot design with two separate barn rooms with a 'breezeway' like central area to keep air flow during the hot summer months.

 

The cotton picking bag would hold 100lbs and would go over your shoulders and be dragged behind as cotton was picked. Some would hold up to 300lbs! Very much back breaking work picking cotton.

 

The other barn building has lots of cool old skill carpentry tools including a foot driven jigsaw.

The blacksmith shop always had a dirt floor because of fire hazards, Windows were for getting air in for the heat.

 

Mr Hinson trusted William the blacksmith slave so much that he allowed him to often take the wagon into town on his own which would almost be unheard of for fear of flight of their slaves.

Eden House, the newest acquisition to the outbuildings has a 300 hundred year old loom and eventually this little house will have samples of cotton to finished fabric product on display.

 

This property was originally on 500 acres, Pierre Baillio II ended up with around 1700 acres.

The property used to also produce sugar cane and indigo. Molasses and sugar were made from the cane and indigo obviously was cooked to produce the blue indigo dye.

This cane press once driven by mules was fed cane stalks, producing the juice that would then be taken for refining.

 

Now Miss Carolyn is quite small and you can see just how short these doors are which were part of the original mill. Mostly slave boys would be the ones to feed the fire for the mill process.

Le Grande the biggest one of the kettles was used for the first round of juice, the paddles were used once brought to the boil to get rid of the 'trash' off the top; Le flambeau the second process during the firing off; Le sirop, now like cane syrup molasses at this point they would take half of it and bottle it for cooking use; final kettle then crystallised and this became their raw granulated sugar.

The hearth is sloping back so if it boiled over it would flow back to the previous kettle and be saved for reprocessing.

 

This beautiful live oak tree is spectacular! So called because their leaves always stay green. (I thought that's what an evergreen was???) it's long low and bendy limbs left unsupported can grow back to the ground. You can see how it has started enveloping the limb support.

The monument beneath is there as a nod to the plantations cemetery as all plantations had their own. Gustavus Baillio, one of the 14 children joined the confederate army and died the day after his 16th birthday.

The second docent, Miss Sandy, took us on the house tour. It is 218 years old, took 5 years to build and was built by Pierre Baillio.

All the brick under the house was handmade by slaves. Some bricks still have fingerprints and even a toes can be seen in them. All the timbers used were from trees on the plantation. Gardens were meant to be looked upon and therefore viewed from the balcony (besides the flooding issues of the bayous beyond). All plants in the garden are period correct as would have been at the time, the grass and brick work period for the garden also.

 

The handwritten recipes of the daughter in the right hand painting are now written into a cook book. The children were well to do with the third also having been to Harvard, coming back home to become judge.

 

The boys bedroom has the only original floors left in the house. The bed in this room is a rope bed to which would have been rest reached and tightened each day – hence the phrase “sleep tight”. The mattress would have straw and often tree moss which might have bugs and chiggers still in it – hence the phrase “don't let the bed bugs bite”.

Into the dining room and above the table is a large wooden paddle known as a 'punkah' – an Indian fan. A boy too small to work in the fields would stand in the corner and pull the cord to work the punkah during the hot months. (Further research shows that the operator was also known as a punkahwallah)

 

Houses were taxed per room so no closets or hallways as they were considered rooms and would be taxed accordingly.

A fireplace on the internal walls of a room was influence of the French. The English had fireplaces on the outside walls at the ends of the house.

Next we visit the parlour room for the ladies. They could sit and chat/gossip, do their needlework and take tea beside the fire. The picture above the fireplace of one of the Baillio women shows a hairstyle covering her ears. In those days you were not to show your ears so if a lady had not the hair to cover she would have to use horsehair, curled and styled into additional ringlets etc to be worn.

In the corner of the room is a sewing table, a fabulous looking little piece with a 'work bag drawer' of beautiful upholstery fabric. This would hold your needlework projects. The drawer above would house threads, needles etc. I want one! How neat is that?!

 

Last, the girls room with its ornate bed was much better than the boys, this feather bed was built in 1810. On the ceiling you can still see holes as this room would be partitioned for the older girls on one side and the younger girls on the other but if the county clerk was coming around to check rooms for taxes the partition could be quickly taken down!

The beautiful armoir, hand made in 1840 has a hidden drawer, the centre leaf piece where the doors close to could be removed be secret latch and the drawer was in behind it where jewellery could to be stashed.

The second owner of the house was a Mr Robert Hinson. The original style of the house was French creole and by the time he bought it creole was out and Greek revival was in. With the addition of the two side rooms at the end of the verandah he had changed the style.

These rooms have higher ceilings, additions of wallpapers and no exposed beams. By now, it was deemed you didn't have enough money to finish the house properly if your beams were exposed.

The gothic revival furniture and empire pieces also show changes in the time periods. This was mostly used as Mr Hinson's office, a more formal area for meetings and receiving businessmen.

 

The beautiful piano was played by his daughters for the entertainment of guests. It has not been restored as piano tuners are afraid to touch it's gorgeous piano wires of sterling silver as it is too precious.

It has beautifully ornate candle holders for light to the music sheets and keyboard and the handles on the sides of the piano lend its use to be dragged onto the porch for entertainment, for it to be heard during parties in the garden below.

 

Shutters were very important in the time and not just for aesthetics. If your shutters were painted green it meant you made your money off the land. If they were blue you were from the water, an importer or exporter. If they were black you had read your letters, so being educated, perhaps a lawyer etc.

If all the paint and all the siding was taken off the Creole section it would be a mud like house. Clay, horse, bear, deer hair and Spanish moss similar to Adobe. If you had the money you would white wash or paint it as Kent House was.

Turning our attention back to where we had made our entry, the narrow staircases were made for original empire dress styles in the early days. As the years and fashion changed (as we know it was pretty dramatic between 1800-1865) Mr Hinson had taken out the middle banister section and put steps in to the front of the porch down to the garden for the ladies in their hoop petticoat gowns. This may not be the only reason but with the restoration of the property they have taken in back to the original.

 

The second room at the end of the porch is the master bedroom, children stayed in here until they were two before they moved to the other children rooms. The day bed was used for exactly that – day naps – as the main bed was not to be messed up after being made. Called the rolling pin bed, the rolling pin was used off the bed head and rolled across the feather bed to get it neat and then placed back into position on the bed head.

The Hinson family with its 11 children, all used the same water starting with father, then mother, then the eldest children down to the baby. By this stage the water wouldn't be so clean and much less than had started, perhaps hence the term 'don't throw the baby out with the bath water'.

Look at the gorgeous red ware set as well, a wedding gift to their granddaughter and one of few sets left. This room in its darkness appears just as it would in that time period although on the top jutting ledges of the armoir would have been lamps, the white ceiling reflecting light across the room so they could at least see a little!

 

As we finish up the tour, the final room on the back porch was 'the strangers room' or as we call it today, a guest room. If someone stopped and asked for a room for the night this is where they stayed. There was a separate staircase and the door to the room did not open into the main house so you could keep your family safe. You enjoyed having people stay as they were useful for gathering information, finding out if war was close, were the levee banks holding during storms etc.

 

What a fabulous hour and maybe a half pit stop. So glad I looked up a little bit about Alexandria and found this fabulous place. Wasn't out of the way either, was only quarter of a mile off the main road!

Now we are in Beaumont, Texas for a couple of nights before heading on to Fredericksburg and the Texas Hill country.

Au revoir Louisiene!

Kat xo

 

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Kansas to Minnesota

This morning after a fabulous breakfast and great hospitality from our hosts, we hit the road again and headed out for Kansas City.

We are visiting Union Station, just across the border in Kansas City, Missouri.

What a grand old lady is Union Station, with beautiful architecture, ornate ceiling rosettes, grand chandeliers AND Harvey's – a restaurant that once upon a time was a Fred Harvey house. I have a bit of an obsession with Harvey Houses.

 

Now there is Science City and a current exhibit of Mummies showing but we headed for the 2nd and 3rd floor history exhibits.

Union Station as it is today, replaced a smaller Union Depot that had served the city since 1878. The bigger station was built in 1914 on a new site away from floodplains just south of the central business district.

 

Just a few facts:

  • Jarvis Hunt, Architect was hired in 1906 for the building of Union Station.
  • When it opened in October, 1914 it was the second largest train station in the country.
  • It takes up 850,000sq ft/79,000m2 of real estate
  • Each chandelier, of which there are 3, weighs 3,500pds/1600kg
  • The Grand Hall clock face is 6ft/1.8m in diameter
  • The ceiling height in the Grand Hall is 95ft/29m high
  • In 1917 during WWI peak train traffic numbered 271 – 1945 during WWII peak passenger traffic was 678,363
  • 1933 Union Station massacre made headlines Frank Nash (notorious gangster, bank robber and escaped convict) along with 4 of his hit men attacked the men who had come to take him back to Leavenworth. 5 men including detectives and FBI agents were killed.

There are fabulous old photographs, information boards and displays of artefacts on the two levels overlooking the Grand Hall.

 

Mementos from special exhibitions are also on display along with information regarding the National Memorial and WWI Museum. The view across the lawn and fountain area to the Memorial is mighty fine. Landscape designer, George Kessler, indeed planned a beautiful city back in the late 1800's-early 1900's.

 

With a visit to Harvey's for extra breakfast (lol, don't need lunch! Have a go at the size of Jack's pancakes!!) we rolled out the door and back to the car to head further North through Missouri and into the state of Iowa.

 

Iowa is another new state to visit. We took a quick pit stop at Lamoni at the Welcome Centre and Amish store. I thought the buggy and horse were a statue when I saw the buggy parking sign! Lol! The horse must have realised the blonde needed an acknowledgement and with a turn of his head I realised it was real!

 

How fabulous Amish stores are with all their homemade and harvested fruits, vegetables, grains, and spices. Jack scored some Fig Jam and we got some awesome licorice wheels, YUM!

 

I head to the other end of the store where there is a neat little cafe set up and more goods. In the meantime, Jack perusing the information stand, finds the John Wayne Birthplace and Museum brochure. Winterset here we come!

Born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907, John Wayne is one of the most recognised western actor's history has seen.

 

This small museum has a theatrette, a gallery with costumes, guns and other items used in films he starred in. It has one of his last customised cars on display, a buggy and beautiful panels from the ballroom in The Shootist.

 

The wax statue and painted scenes of Monument Valley are excellent. Monument Valley lends the perfect western landscape to many movies. Director John Ford made John Wayne a star in 'Stagecoach' in 1939. John Wayne directed and starred in 3 other films in Monument Valley – 'Fort Apache', 'She Wore A Yellow Ribbon' and 'The Searchers'.

 

John Wayne starred in 152 movies! (200 actually, including cameo appearances)

 

The sweet little 4 room house and birthplace of John Wayne sits on it existing site just round the corner on the same block as the Museum and Gift shop. It has been restored and includes period furniture of 1907 when he was born.

 

Then it was back on the road!

We need to be in Faribault, Minnesota y'all!

Kat xo

 

Oklahoma/Kansas

After a feed at the chuckwagon (aka Dennys), Jack and I jumped in the buckboard and reined in the horses (aka Dodge van hp). We are headed for Abilene, Kansas along the Chisholm Trail. Well essentially the modern day version of it being the I-35 which runs all the way from Texas through Oklahoma and up into Kansas.

 

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail – the first cattle drive that headed north to Abilene. 1867-2017

 

We made good time and stopped in at the Dwight Eisenhower Library and Museum. The museum currently has an exhibit 'Chisholm Trail and the Cowtown that raised a President' and the library has two exhibits 'The Chisholm Trail: Driving the American West' and 'Eisenhower and the Great War'.

First up we watched a documentary on the Eisenhower years and about the man himself. Dwight David Eisenhower, known as 'Ike', was a formidable man indeed, one of compassion and decency.

Next we went on a short guided tour through his Abilene boyhood home. The house is on its original site where the Eisenhowers lived from 1898 to 1946 when his mother passed away. There are still items within the home that belonged to the Eisenhower's.

 

He lived here from when he was 8 until he was 20 before leaving for West Point Academy. Six boys were raised in this home.

The blanket on the fainting couch was woven by the great grandfather who was a weaver. It is over 160 years old and still appears to be in really good nick!

 

The wooden box with the lid in the kitchen is a dough box. Ida made 9 loaves of bread every other day, to keep the boys fed.

 

Next we went into the Museum and spent a good amount of time in here. The first part of the exhibition was information that most of us cowboys and cowgirls know of the Chisholm Trail, its origins, the cattle drives, the cowboy's and how Joseph G. McCoy and Jesse Chisholm made it into the history books.

 

Chisholm, after marrying, had worked for his wife's father's trading post along the Canadian River in the Indian Territory (Oklahoma). He also worked in a diplomatic capacity, brokering treaties with Indian tribes for the Republic of Texas and the United States Government.

Later after the Civil War, he went back to trading and essentially transformed the trails to be more usable by heavily laden wagons. He continued trading until he died in 1868.

McCoy after having been turned down from a few towns finally settled on Abilene, KS for his new 'cowtown'. There was a quarantine issue for Texas cattle at the time and after lobbying the Governor of Kansas got permission to create a corridor for cattle to be driven from Texas through to Kansas. Holding pens were built, paths were surveyed on the previously travelled trails that Jesse Chisholm had traded along.

It soon became the first of the cattle boomtowns. In a few years it had transformed from a small frontier town into a thriving boomtown.

The trail had been called many names and was finally officially recognised when the name was publicised in 1870. The Chisholm Trail was about 150 miles west of the old Shawnee trail. It was shorter and there were plenty of grazing grasslands and water for the cattle along this route and rivers were easier to cross.

 

Abilene, saw the usual well known figures flow through its streets such as Wild Bill Hicock, John Wesley Hardin, and more. Problems ensued with the cattle trade with cattle getting sick and the 'Texas tick' causing issues that essentially shut the cattle trails down in 1871.

It is said by historians that an estimated 3 million head of cattle made the trek from Texas to Abilene in a 5 year period. Safe to say Joseph McCoy's plans for a prosperous cattle business were indeed successful.

Whilst time and governance closed the cattle trails, the legacy of raising cattle and creating new agricultural ways has lived on for generations since.

One of Eisenhowers personal hero's, was a man named Thomas “Bear River” Smith who served as Sheriff in June 1870 until he met his demise in November of the same year. Smith had managed to tame the cattle town and was well liked. He policed mainly with just his spirit and a badge. He had outlawed gun carrying within city limits. His tenure was short lived when he was murdered during a homestead scuffle where his Deputy left him to fend for himself.

Into the next lot of exhibit rooms and there are lots of displays of Eisenhower growing up, Mamie his wife and beautifully displayed clothes of hers on rotating mannequins in climate control cases.

 

There are exhibits of his time during WWII and his exceptional leadership, D-Day, VE-Day, his presidential time etc. so much information, beautifully done and they are looking at changing the displays and renovating the museum. It will be an even more impressive museum when they do that. This is a Museum not to be missed.

 

The library across from the Museum had a, shall I say, more modern twist in a shortened version of the history of Chisholm Trail. There is also another exhibit currently being held there of Eisenhower and the Great War that we didn't see.

 

That my friends, is our quick history lesson and Museum visit for the day.

After a short stay with our Kansan friends Cooncan and Bertie Winchester we will head for Union Station in Kansas City before going on through to Morristown, MI.

See you on the trail!

Kat xo

https://www.eisenhower.archives.gov

 

Communism Tour

Thursday 17th August, whilst in Prague, Jack having an interest in history of past wars and effects chose to do a Communism Tour.

Not having known a great deal about it (history was not one of my subjects at school despite my obvious and very keen interest in it now) I thought this could be an interesting diverse look at Prague.

Now Katarina, our little tour guide, is only 30years old and has lived through part of this as a very small child. Her parents and grandparents however, lived through those turbulent times.

She was a wealth of knowledge. At this point it is now your turn for a history lesson in what I have recounted from her imparted information as we walked for, yet again, miles of Prague. (a little tram travel as well)

As previously mentioned in other blogs, originally Czechoslovakia was part of the Austrian Hungarian empire until during WWII it came under the Munich agreement.

Germany occupied Cžech until the end of the war when Russian troops moved and took it over. Czechoslovakia, disenchanted with western countries at the time, cooperated with the Russians.

They later came to find that power was being misused and the following elections communist parties were not being considered.

Along came the ‘Bloody 50’s’ and the ensuing protests came with imprisonment. One notable woman was accuse of treason and subsequently executed. She is said to be the only woman in the country to be executed for political reasons.

Ten others were executed and 48 imprisoned just for being associated with her. Another 248 ‘inconvenient’ people were executed and 2500 imprisoned around the 50’s. (Think a good majority of us can take a moment and be very thankful for the lives we have lived and are living)

I’ll try now to shorten some of the other notes I took down from this tour but I think you will find it interesting nonetheless.

  • In 1953 Stalin died with another (I had Kleenex and ?mark, I’m sure autocorrect took over here) people though it suspicious and wondered if they were poisoned.
  • After his death, for some reason they thought it a good idea to mummify his body! It wasn’t done well however and soon started to decay.
  • There used to be a large statue of Stalin situated on the opposite side of the river (to the main part of Prague). It was blown up in 1962 and not one scrap of it is left, apparently everyone wanted a piece of him!
  • During the 60’s liberation, hippies etc, CZ experienced a short period.
  • 1968 borders were opened, mostly to Yugoslavia. If you were a good worker you may have been allowed to go on vacation with your family to Greece for a week or two.
  • There was no more censorship of artists. Katarina’s grandmother was arrested for dancing to the Beatles and Rock’n’Roll music!

During our visit to Prague there were display boards of photos, a tank and a nightly cinematic display at the front end of Wenceslas Square. The anniversary of Russian tanks being sent in to ‘liberate’ the country on 21st August, 1968.

This caused massive protesting and 100 people died including a young Jan Polak who set himself on fire in protest of the occupation. He died 3 days later. His death mask cast in bronze is installed in his memory on the side of a building.

It is sad to think that someone would think protesting in this fashion would do them good by harming themselves in such a dramatic fashion. But like Polak, 13 others attempted this method of protest.

The 80’s brought with it another revolution around the time of the wall coming down in Berlin in 1989. At the start of the revolution in ’88, Katarina’s parents brought her to Wenceslas Square where hoards of people protested shaking their keys. (I got nothing….I have no explanation written for the significance of this)

Did you know?

17th January, 1939 – students who protested were sent to concentration camps. To this day that anniversary has been known as the Day of International Students.

A memorial for this is prominently placed in the city where the most conflict between students and police took place.

The year 1990 saw the beginning of the Velvet Revolution. Velvet as smooth as the fabric is, to indicate a smooth transition to peace.

The Velvet Revolution came to conclusion in 1993 when the country split and became Cžech Republic and Slovakia.

In our travels Katarina provided other, somewhat trivial information as we passed different places. Like;

  • The Rock Cafe where in 1994 Bill Clinton was given a saxophone to play during his visit.
  • The beautiful garden that once belonged to Franciscan monks who along with nuns, were imprisoned or disappeared during the communist regime.
  • Cžech Republic is one of the most agnostic countries in the world because it was not worth your while to speak of your religion for fear of persecution.
  • The last point reminds us that despite being churches in every town here they remain as a symbol and most are concert halls etc or are only used for Christmas services and the like.

So next stop on this tour is a visit to the bunker. Yes you read it right, a bunker.

The metro system was designed as an underground bunker but could really only hold half of the city’s people.

We head to one of the bunkers entrances through a bizarrely graffitied, gated, outdoor bar in semi suburbia??!!

As Katarina unlocks the door she explains the bunker. Built in 1952-1955 it features a 4000kg/4t door, stairs take you to a 60m depth and could accommodate 5000 people. That would give each person around half a square meter of space.

Now it is supposedly ready as a shelter for 2000 people. Probably a two week stay is all that’s possible. It you wouldn’t be any better off other than living a few days longer as there would be no supplies etc up top for replenishment anyway. She said she would, in what I would call true Czech tradition, head to the nearest pub and live out your last days drinking beer!

The last sections of tunnel we went into had some displays of older gas masks, hospital supplies and their practice propaganda for such an event.

There are 5 entrances in total, decontamination rooms and a 3stage filtration system for clean air. (Wish I could insert my surprised, wide eyed emoji in here)

On a final note before we headed back up above ground to appreciate the fresh air and sunshine Katarina told us that The Rolling Stones were the first band to play in Cžech Republic after the Revolution in 1990. They gifted money for electricity to be installed in the Prague Castle for the presidential offices.

Bet you didn’t know that bit of trivia!?

Kat xo

Day In Cheyenne

Last night we had a fabulous dinner with Wild Horse John, Saginaw Sue, Trigger Happy Ted and Misty Rider. A good catch up to start off our short stay in Cheyenne.

This morning was a leisurely start over coffee and then off to the country club for lunch on the deck overlooking the golf course.

 

A visit to the museum made for an interesting afternoon. Passing some of Cheyennes spectacular 1800's buildings, the Nelson Museum Of The West awaits.

 

With everything from taxidermy, firearms, Hollywood posters, Indian, cavalry, vaquero outfits, Spurs etc it is a fantastic exhibit over two floors, the third floor below – Lawmen and Outlaws display.

 

Gambling, guns and whiskey were the essentials for outlaws of the time or more likely is what caused the most grief in small railway and cowtown's of the west.

 

This a neat little museum and worth a visit if you are short on time, you can do it in a couple of hours.

We did get an extra personalised tour into the war bonnet room and the new exhibit acquisition room where they are organising new displays.

 

Then across the street into the military uniform display, what a collection! Mostly uniforms from actual military members and displayed with their name plate and photo! Such amazing collections!

 

A little saunter later down the road we arrived at The Plains Hotel for a rest and a beer. Yep, a Saddle Bronc for me, always got to try a local brew, well it comes out of Sheridan which is still Wyoming.

 

That takes care of today, won't be much to report tomorrow until we are at the airport!

Cheers

Kat xo

 

Now, Where Were We?

Oh yeah, so last Thursday we were heading here to Albuquerque, breakfast on the way, making a quick stop in Weatherford at the Thomas P. Stafford Air and Space Museum….as you do.

We have driven past it a number of times and it's the usual, 'we should stop and have a look at that place one day'. So this day we finally did!

 

In we trotted. To give some small background General Thomas P. Stafford is a well respected Oklahoman, and indeed throughout the nation, a man who was an author, fighter pilot, astronaut and test pilot. He commanded Apollo missions.

 

Inside the museum there are a number of planes from the Wright brothers days to the Lindbergh non stop Atlantic flight in the Spirit of St Louis, WWI fighters, experimental aircraft and modern day marvels.

 

Then there is a whole section on space exploration including the Russian joint missions during the space race. There are replicas of satellite launchers from around the world and unique information boards to imagine how much 'John Deere' horsepower it would take to fire up just one F-1 engine.

Go on, you're dying to know right? Try 56,000 John Deere 9620R tractors equivalent! The Saturn V rocket used 5 engines so that's enough tractors to reach from Weatherford, OK to San Francisco, CA or 283,800 tractors end to end.

 

Anyway, from the information we read in the museum Stafford was a very influential man both in flight and space, not only flying during service, commanding missions in space but teaching others to do the same and his expertise in these fields earned him the highest honours and Congressional Space Medal of Honor.

 

All in all, this was a neat little museum and is worth a visit, takes about an hour.

 

Now it's been a wild weekend but I'll get to that tomorrow after the Wild Bunch dinner and awards are done.

Kat xo

P.S. Well it's today now as the bugs were finding the light of the iPad in the darkness last night. Wild Bunch Awards and dinner tonight. Will do Wild Bunch blog tonight! 🙂

 

Smokin’ Guns At Rabbit Ridge Part 2

Okay, so after the exceptional opening ceremony yesterday, we shot 5 stages, got a little more suntan, had a blast with our posse and finished on a high note!

Friday I think as previously mentioned, was Wild Bunch, side matches, and a chilli dinner with joke night. THAT brought out some of the best and worst from all ages (might I add).

Saturday after the exceptional opening ceremony (see Smokin' Guns At Rabbit Ridge Part 1) we went through 5 stages of the main match which was pretty good and then we had a range dinner of catfish, shrimp and hush puppies with coleslaw and fries – of course a cupcake, and chicken tenders for Jack and others that didn't want catfish!

We had the band play last night but we retired reasonably early.

Throughout the night the thunder and lightning kept some of us awake and when it was time to see in the new day this morning it was still raining at a reasonable rate. Yuck!

Breakfast was had and by the time we left for the range it was very very light.

When we were ready to start shooting, all rain had ceased and we were blessed with spectacular cloudy, or cloudless weather for the rest of the day. It was particularly water logged and muddy – to say the very least!!!

 

Our group of shooters, Posse 1, (which included Annie Hicock, Fast Fingers Green, Billy Broncstomper, Belle Vaquera, Jackaroo and myself, C.S. Brady, Trail Agent, Slick McClade, Harpe, Jackalope Jeb, Red Jack Morgan, Okie Buck, Outlaw Bill Wilson, The Arizona Ranger and Three Sheets) finished in spectacular style, sliding into the very muddy Train Depot stage.

 

The clean match winners were announced and given a guncart hand towel. A neat idea and something different.

The veterans from each division (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, National Guard) were presented with a special challenge coin. I didn't know they had an area on the entry forms to state service, Jack had put his service down too and was pleasantly surprised to be included in this honour.

I present to you the 'Veterans Posse'. Everyone gave a standing ovation to these men and women. We thank you for your service.

 

Category awards were handed out with Jack and I both winning ours. Congratulations to the Lady Wranglers; Dew R Dye 2nd and Belle Vaquera 3rd! To the Silver Seniors; Three Sheets 2nd, 3rd and 4th!

 

We worked out 12 of the 16 in our posse placed!

The Mississippi State overall champions were Blackfish Kid for the Men's and Lady Gator for the Ladies.

The overall match champions were Slick McClade and Slick's Sharpshooter (not related, she belongs to a different 'Slick' family! 🙂 )

 

Well done to the Mississippi River Rangers for a fabulous and memorable weekend.

Kat xo