Oklahoma and the Cherokee Casino

Oklahoma and the Cherokee Casino

We drove all day today, through Missouri into Oklahoma trying to make up a day for an extra day we plan in Santa Fe. Parts of Missouri are beautiful but it is the land of millions of billboards. Tonight, we’ll stay at the Tulsa NE/Cherokee Casino/Will Rogers Downs KOA campground.

Apparently, Will Rogers was a native son of this area and is buried nearby.  He was a huge star in the 1920’s and 30’s and beyond.  “Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects” and “I’m not a member of an organized party, I’m a Democrat” were two of his famous witticisms that seem especially apt nowadays.

Tonight’s dinner was at the bar at the Casino run by the Cherokees. The staff was very nice there, but like most casinos I’ve visited the clientele was very sad-looking, very old, handicapped, obese, unhealthy looking, most of them were heavy smokers.  We had a great conversation with the pretty, young Cherokee bartender. She wants to travel and have her young son experience the benefits of traveling across the country and the world.

It was fascinating to be parked right next to the racetrack. We were able to watch the horses working out on the track the next morning, although we had missed the last race of the previous evening.

Hailing from Massachusetts, where there are some of the toughest gun laws in the nation, it was also a little startling to see the “No Weapons” signs posted on the door to the KOA campground. It would never had occurred to me that a campground catering to families would have to post a sign barring weapons from their property.

It’s very, very windy here with low humidity, very dry.

All throughout the night we heard sounds of small animals underneath the RV. When we woke we found chipmunk-like holes in the ground around us. Were they prairie dogs? Who knows?  We’d welcome any comments from those who are more knowledgeable than us.

Ohio to Stanton, Missouri

Ohio to Stanton, Missouri

Time to leave Ohio and we have a new plan. We’ll try to drive as far as possible the next few days in order to arrive in Santa Fe a day earlier.

Indiana rolls by looking much like Ohio – flat as far as the eye can see. Farms and huge factory complexes like Ford and GM dominate the landscape. Surprisingly, few fields are planted or even turned over, just the dried-up stalks of last years’ harvest sticking up out of the ground. This year’s long cold spring has delayed planting.

Missouri is much greener, more signs of spring. Pink and light green buds are bursting forth on the trees and shrubby roadside growth. We see signs for Hannibal Missouri, the birthplace of Mark Twain.  Oh, I long for more time to stop and visit!

One Pot Meals

We knew we wanted to eat healthy but well during this trip, and we obviously have a small kitchen in our 24′ motor home, so how to accomplish this?  One additional factor was ease of preparation. Who wants to spend a lot of time cooking and cleaning up after a day of sightseeing or driving?

Our solution was to cook as many one pot meals and to prepare ahead by freezing some of our favorites from home and taking them along.

Tonight’s easy, delicious meal was Veggie Chili with Chicken Sausages:

  • Defrost home-made (frozen for traveling) veggie chili in the microwave
  • Brown chicken sausages in large cast iron skillet
  • Add chili into the skillet, simmer to correct doneness
  • With a small salad and some crusty bread, it’s easy, filling and delicious!


Hauling steel in a dump bucket

Hauling steel in a dump bucket

I’m riding the truck with Matt this morning and we’re hauling scrap metal to Butler Indiana. He operates a MACK 18 wheel “dump bucket” for B & K Trucking of Delphos, and he’s taking me on his regular route.  We are crossing the farmlands of Ohio, and I can see huge mega-farms, smaller local farms and even smaller Amish farms with their paddocks of draft horses as we head toward Indiana.

Our destination is a large steel processing plant where flat roll sheet products are manufactured. It’s an incredibly large and complex operation and our delivery and our 18-wheeler is just a tiny little speck in a bigger and very busy picture. Not only do we deliver 58 bundles of sheet metal, we also pick up 24 tons of slag, a by-product of the recycling process. The slag is destined for a homeowner who’ll use it as a base layer for a new driveway.

On the way we pass scores of hydro-electric windmills, just fields of them.  These farmers have harnessed wind power to run their operations. On route, I have the chance to chat with Matt and find out lots of info about the jobs in the area, the standard of living, his thoughts on trucking as a profession, and why the residents here voted for Trump in 2016. “He promised to bring back manufacturing jobs” was Matt’s take on it. (Trump won Ohio with 51% of the vote. Obama had won Ohio by 3%).

I also learned the quick facts on the difference between the Amish and the Mennonites both of whom live in the area.  The simplest (and somewhat tongue in cheek) explanation is that the Mennonites would drive their car to Walmart while the Amish would drive their horse and buggy there.

A Google search later tells me that “Ohio is home to the largest concentration of Amish in North America”.

Matt says that there’s a bit of conflict between the local contractors and the Amish businessmen who can put up barns for a lot cheaper than the union carpenters. Things are always more complicated than it seems to a casual observer or visitor to a region. It helps to have a local explain it to you.

All in all, today is turning out to be just the eye-opening experience I hope to have on this trip.

Hanging out in the heartland: Delphos, Ohio

Hanging out in the heartland: Delphos, Ohio

We’ve arrived in Delphos, Ohio to visit my step-son (Steve’s son) Matt, who moved out here eight years ago for college and never came home.  He recently purchased an old brick farmhouse on the original Lincoln Highway, one of the earliest transcontinental roadways built in 1912 to accommodate the increasing interest in auto travel.

We can’t wait to see his first real estate purchase and find out all about his plans for the property. We’ll be staying for four days, enough time to roll up our sleeves and give him a hand with some moving in projects, as well as meet his friends and see heart of Ohio.

Delphos is a town of 7,100 located in northwestern Ohio, about 14 miles from Lima, with the self-proclaimed moniker of “America’s Friendliest City”.

It became a major port on the Miami and Erie Canal in the 1850’s, and was the transfer point for multiple railroad lines.  Delphos eventually  became known as a major manufacturing community, spurred by the presence of the railroads and the establishment of the original, historic Lincoln Highway which runs through the town.

It seems as if we have a farmer in the family!  Matt has already started up his menagerie of farm animals with chickens who produce eggs on a regular basis.  Next up are pigs, cows, and we can just imagine that a horse is in the future.

Although the old farmhouse needs lots of work, the lovely plot of land and the vistas of cornfields as far as the eye can see allow the possibilities to shine through!



Driving the ‘ol Tin Can

Driving the ‘ol Tin Can

Heading out early we spent the day crossing Pennsylvania and heading to Ohio, and I got my first chance to drive the ‘ol tin can during this trip.  My two hours behind the wheel were a pretty good experience for me. Although I had driven this RV before, a 24′ Thor Elite motor home,  it was a little of a challenge when it started to rain, and I had to jockey to keep up with the massive long-haul tractor trailers, giant FedEx tandem trucks, car trailers, and just about every type of truck you can imagine traveling on Rte. 80W/Pennsylvania Turnpike.

We’re heading just south of Cleveland to stay for the night. Tomorrow, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and a peak at lake Erie!

“It’s a fast paced life here on the road” from “America Moves by Truck” by Jack Kapanka, our song of the day.


Chicken sausages are really good on a rainy night!

  • Sear in olive oil in a small Le Creuset
  • Turn heat down,  then add finely chopped onions, green peppers and tomatoes (I used all of the veggies that were starting to go bad).
  • Cover and let simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve in rolls, with good mustard and cold beer!  NO grease! Pretty quick and easy.