Hello from Shawnee, OK

Hello from Shawnee, OK

Saturday evening October 3, 2009 (Second travelogue of this trip) I simply can’t believe it has been so long since I posted the first travelogue of this trip. Lots has happened since then. We left Goddard, KS on Monday 9/21. We are staying at the Holiday Inn Express (map). If you look closely at the map (zoom in) you will see a big building just to the west and that is a huge Wal Mart. That makes it very handy to do quick shopping (just like when we are in the bus). Tuesday we started setting up for a regional FMCA rally at the fairgrounds. The actual show was Thursday through Saturday. We did just OK in sales, but had lots of good leads. If any of those come to fruition, our sales will increase significantly. Part of the issue is that the sales tax here is 8.5% and that really gets folks attention on large dollar sales. Several folks said that they would order on the Internet and pay shipping. I did two seminars that were reasonably well attended and Pat did two craft classes. Her first one was full, but the second one was at 8:00 in the morning and that was too early for some of the ladies. It was about half full. Monday (9/28) we drove to Tinker Air Force Base (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tinker_Air_Force_Base). It is a huge (9 square miles) aircraft maintenance facility and has over 26,000 military and civilian employees. There we met up with some good friends who were staying in the “Fam Camp” (map) Many military bases have campgrounds that are available to active or retired military. This campground was very well laid out and would look like a good commercial campground. The campers are charged a nominal fee (about $12 at this location for full hookups). That fee is about 30-50% what you would pay for a commercial campground. In addition, they have full use of the facilities including the base exchange which is like a fully stocked Wal Mart. The prices are lower than public stores and they do not have to pay taxes. Our friends barbecued steak and we had a great time. Getting onto the base was a real challenge. We had to travel around the outside of the base to a check station where we had to show our identification, truck registration, and proof of insurance. We then had to drive back to the gate close to the Fam Camp and undergo a full vehicle search (hood open, all utility doors open, etc). At least we felt secure. Tuesday I worked in the room and took Pat to a close-by casino. This whole area is basically Indian reservation. Wednesday we went back to Tinker and toured the base with our friends. From there, we went to nearby Oklahoma City and toured the Oklahoma City National Memorial and museum (http://www.oklahomacitynationalmemorial.org). This is located at the site of the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. This was the terrible bombing that killed 168 innocent people including 11 children in a day care center in the building. The remains of the building have been cleared and a beautiful reflection pool and “Field of Empty Chairs” that honor those killed. There are 168 chairs arranged by the location and floor where the people were at the time of the blast. The children who were killed are marked with smaller chairs. I will post some pictures on the next blog (too tired tonight). The museum was very well done and extremely emotional. It included a recording made at a Water Board meeting in a building adjacent to the bombed building. By the time we left the museum we were emotionally drained. We returned to Tinker and had another cookout. I will continue our Oklahoma stay in our next blog. Tomorrow we will head home. It is about 700 miles. We will probably take two days to get home, but we are wiped out and may take three days. That is all for now.

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