Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Road Trip, Part One

We arrived back home at 10 pm on Monday evening, July 4.  What a way to celebrate the Fourth of July, driving all day!  But it was worth it, as we did so much and saw so many relatives.  It was a wonderful two weeks of vacation.

Our trip started late on Sunday, June 19.  That was Father's Day.  We had a good worship service, recognizing all the dads in the congregation.  That afternoon, the kids (Evan and Shawn/Crystal/Bailey) took me (and Sondra) to lunch at the Market Broiler restaurant for a Father's Day celebration.  I was given some gifts and we had a relaxing, enjoyable afternoon together.

So we left late on the evening of June 19, headed to Oklahoma.  We had rented a 2011 Ford Fusion to have more room, as there were three of us adults -- me, Sondra and David.  It was a comfortable ride with good gas mileage as well.  We drove through the night, arriving in Shawnee on Monday, June 20, around 8 pm.  Actually, we stopped for a bite to eat in El Reno, Oklahoma (about 30 miles west of OKC) at a place called Sid's Diner.  It has been featured on the TV show "Man vs. Food" and has been listed in food magazine articles for having one of the best burgers in America.  It has a famous burger piled high with cooked onions.  Their milkshakes were absolutely delicious too. 

Arriving in Shawnee, we dropped David off at mom's house, and then Sondra and I headed over to Jason's house to stay.  Before I continue describing some of our visits and activities and such, here's a quick summary of our trip by mileage, gas prices and MPG:

     Total miles driven:     4,258.8
     Gas prices by state:       $3.49 in Flagstaff, AZ
                                              3.29 in Albuquerque, NM
                                              3.43 in Amarillo, TX
                                              3.27 in Del City (OKC area), OK
                                              3.19 in Springfield, MO
                                              3.63 in Rancho Cucamonga, CA
     MPG on the trip:        Highest was 38.9 mpg from Gallup, NM to Amarillo, TX
                                       Lowest was 30.7 mpg from Oklahoma City, OK to Amarillo, TX
                                       Average mpg for the entire trip was 34.1

On Tuesday, June 21, we helped celebrate Macyn's first birthday.  Jason and Shelly had a lot of friends and family over for a barbecue and outdoor games.  In those first few days there, Macyn was taking 3-5 steps and then plopping down.  During the days we were there, she began walking without need of help.  It was great fun to see that milestone in her development!  Sometimes those are some of the things we miss, being in California.  So, it was special to be there as she gained her confidence and began to walk everywhere!

Wednesday was a day to visit with mom and family. Sondra and I took Jace and Kylee to Denny's for breakfast. While there, the waitress found out I was a pastor and she talked about her involvement with prison ministry there in Shawnee. We talked at length and I gave her a copy of my book, which she will share with some inmates she ministers to.

At noon, I went to a Kiwanis meeting with Jason at the local Golden Corral restaurant.  My brother Roger and his son, Daniel, had flown in to stay with Marti and Bill on Tuesday night.  So, Wednesday night we all gathered at Bill and Marti's for dinner and pictures and a "talkfest."  We caught up on the news of the family.  Some friends of Bill and Marti came over for dessert and joined in the good time of sharing.

Thursday was a special day.  First, we took David to Cracker Barrel.  We had told him so much about this place for their good breakfast menu.  It lived up to our expectations again.

We went to see our good friend Patricia Murcray that afternoon.  Patty was in the middle of packing and getting ready to move from Oklahoma to Tennessee.  We reminisced and cried and hugged.  She is very special to us.  Her husband, Jim Murcray, was my best friend ever since college, seminary and ministry days.  I miss him greatly.

Thursday evening was tremendous fun.  Our grandkids had not been to a circus, and we heard that the Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus was to be in town in Oklahoma City.  We got tickets for that night and sat close to the floor to enjoy the evening.  Sondra and I had not been to a circus since our kids were little, so it was fun for us too.

On Friday, David and Roger and Daniel and I went out to see our Uncle Johnie (and,yes, that is how it is spelled on his birth certificate) in nearby Earlsboro.  He lives in a modest house on 40 acres and still takes care of his cattle, horses and llama.  He is 92 years old!  He has fascinating stories to tell and it was such an interesting time with him.  As we pulled in, our cousin Buddy (Vic) and wife Ruth were at the gate also.  They had driven down from South Dakota, without letting anyone know they were coming.  We had a fun morning together there.

That afternoon, we went over to our Potawatomi headquarters to see Jason and get a tour of the building.  Jason is the Gaming Commissioner for the tribe, and he took some time to take us around.  In the bottom photo, the Vice Chairman of the tribe (Linda Capps) is standing in the middle.  She has become a good friend to the family.

That evening was the beginning of the annual Family Festival on the Pow Wow grounds.

I will be writing a Part Two, so come back again.....I am tired and will get back to this later!

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