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Well that was a fun 40 hours. Thank you Godaddy. We're back up and running, but in the next 30 days there will some scheduled down time.

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Author Topic: Back east road trip... 3 weeks!  (Read 602 times)

RockWoRM

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Back east road trip... 3 weeks!
« on: June 15, 2019, 08:31:10 PM »

Hey all,
Not specifically Jeep related, but thought I'd share if Ben's ok with it.  And we have a bit of time before the Rubi trip.  :cheers2:

As usual, not so much up to posting pics yet, so I'll try to give a decent narrative.

Since Moab has always been my bucket list... and for the most part fulfilled. The wifey had hers. It was to drive back east and see all the things on her bucket list. This included the river walk in San Antonio, New Orleans, and seeing fire flies back east in the Smokey mountains.

Day 1.
We started the trip leaving home in my truck and us and our mini dachshund that just had to come along b/c he could NOT be left alone. This meant all hotels, stops and eat places, had to be pet friendly which turned out to be not much of an issue.
First leg was home to Flagstaff. Across Mojave desert and east. Long drive.
 
Day 2.
Next am we headed to Sedona, Az. Trying to stay ahead of the rain storm that came into Ca. that weekend. A few showers, but not bad. Going into Sedona was a bit cloudy/overcast, but not too bad and we got a few pics as the sun came out. Sent Doug a couple b/c it looks a bit like Moab. Very cool. Headed SE on some back roads to avoid Phoenix. Saw some cool country and as we got further east we came across some cool Seguro cactus lands in Az. Ended up in Las Crusas, NM., for the night. There was a Cracker Barrel next door for dinner so that worked out.   :biggrin:

Day 3.
SUCK!!! Across NM thru west Tx. heading for San Antone. Looooong day! Who ever said west Texas suks? Well, they were right!!! Miles and miles of nothing!!!. Tim... seriously... you'd better take some time off mid summer and go check out Waco b/c I doubt it is much better!>?. Anywho, about 50 miles outside SA landscape started to change a bit. Getting greener and semi hilly and wild flowers here and there. At least something to look at! HOWEVER... bugs and butterflies up the wazuu! Wiped out my truck mega! Anyway, got to SA by dinner and checked in to hotel. Took the wiener (our dog) and headed for the river walk to look for a place to eat. Actually pretty cool. San Antonio rive runs thru town and the city figured out a way to divert a section of the river thru a downtown area below street line. Easy walk from the hotel and very well lit up, we ended up selecting a TexMex restaurant that was pet friendly. Not bad, prices ok, but nothing to get excited about since we live in the Mexican food capital of the world. lol.
The river walk itself is pretty cool to see. But after a day or 2 you've purdy much seen it all. There is also the Alamo, but the wifey didn't much care for that. Plus I saw if a few times 40+ years ago while in AirForce boot camp, so no biggie for me.

Day 4.
Got up and went back over to river walk to see it in the daytime. Found a cool coffee place for mini breakfast. Walked around a bit and got ready for the days drive. Not needing to go very far since we had 2 days to get to New Orleans, we passed thru Huston and kept going. Thinking we'd get as far as Lake Charles, LA., we pushed our luck and went a bit further. Mistake!  :shaking:  Heading for Lafeyette LA we got caught in five o'clock traffic going east across I-10 over a body of water that had NO bypass! Almost 2 hrs. later we got to our La Quinta hotel that turned out to be a motel 6 reject!!  :flipoff:  Nerves frazzled and wifey not happy, I pulled out the secret stash of Jameson whiskey to smooth things over!  :biggrin:

Day 5.
Having plenty of time to get to N.O., we decided to try a 'off the beaten path' route instead of the interstate. Good choice! We went thru New Iberia and went to the Tabasco plant to check that out. Scenery has really changed by now. Green everywhere and water everywhere. Got a couple of cool items in the gift shop and snapped a few pics. Tried some, as they called it... Scorpion tabasco sauce. One little sample drop on the back of my tongue and I was like "Holy He!!!!!!". Good flavor, but DAYUMN was that hot!!! :devil: Rated half the hot as a ghost pepper. Can't imagine a ghost pepper!?  :shaking:
Drove thru a ton of bayou country. Kinda like taking highway 12 thru the delta to the east bay times 10! Miles and miles of bridges crossing water seemingly forever. Amazing.
We ended up just a few miles out side N.O. mid afternoon and took the Mississippi river road to check out some old southern plantations. Ended up at one called Oak Alley. Beautiful estate lined with huge oak trees similar to those around Visalia...,  right next to the Mississippi river.  Really pretty.
I will say by now and the last couple days the climate/temp is changing. Way more  humidity... but the temps not too high yet. High 80's. Got to our Hotel in downtown N.O., no problems. Pretty cool older property... but very dog friendly. Ended up just taking wiener and us down to the bar for happy hour and drinks and a pizza that was pretty darn good.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
break... will continue the story later...    :cheers:
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Mr.B

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Re: Back east road trip... 3 weeks!
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2019, 10:34:45 PM »

Nice trip trip report. Just so you know, I think i was conceived in New Orleans. That really weirded out the PO, but seems to me just fine.   :cheers2:
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RockWoRM

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Re: Back east road trip... 3 weeks!
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2019, 09:27:15 AM »

Just so you know, I think i was conceived in New Orleans.
Forgive me if I try not to picture that... 
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RockWoRM

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Re: Back east road trip... 3 weeks!
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2019, 10:18:11 AM »

Friday, Day 6.
K, so next morning we got ready to go check out the French quarter. I had no idea how extensive it was. Seemed we walked for forever! Except for wiener... he got to ride in the doggy cart the wifey got him just for this trip. It was a crack up... every one thought we had a baby until they saw him. And then it was "oh, what a cute puppy" Lol. He is 12 years old. Anyway, we got to the quarter and the wife wanted to go to 'Cafι du Monde'. They are famous for their Beignet's. There was a line a half a block long... and supposedly it is like this all day, every day! And that is all they sell!! That and coffee. Luckily, we sat on a bench next to a couple that told us the line was for eating inside, but there was a to go window around the corner. Score! Only took 5 minutes and we had our beignets. If anyone doesn't know what a beignet is (pronounced ben-yay), it's a deep fried pastry kinda like a donut, but way better, and covered with powered sugar! Purdy darn good.  :high5:
Walked around all the shops and stuff and eventually found our way up to Bourbon street. By this time it's close to noon. We happened by a place called 'Pat O'briens' that is famous for their Hurricane drinks. Noon, on vacation, walking... why not? We each got a drink and shared a shrimp 'Po boy'. Drink was killer... 4 oz. rum to 4 oz. mix over ice in a tall glass. Woot! And the samich not bad, either.
Again I'll mention the humidity is higher than what we're used to, but it was in the mid eighties and not too bad. Maybe Hawaii like. Started on down Bourbon street heading back to Hotel, checking out possible dinner spots for later. Got back to Hotel late after noon. I think we walked about 6 miles/ probably just a mini warm up for a Doug hike, but we were pretty pooped. DID NOT feel like walking back for dinner that night. So we went down to the hotel bar for happy hour. Chatting with the bar tender, he told us of a little cafι just around the block that he guaranteed was good. So later on we gave it a shot. (they also had pet friendly tables outside) Just as we got there and sat down, a Tcell came over and started raining like crazy. Waitress was nice enough to let us bring Monty in with us, so that was cool. Since we wanted to try different things on this trip... Debbie got the fried green tomatoes and gumbo. I got the Cajon catfish. Even tho there is catfish all over Ca., I've never bothered trying it. Not sure if Louisiana water ways are any different from Ca. waters, but the catfish was killer! Not fishy at all. And the fried green tomatoes were really good too!
All in all a fun day.

to be continued...

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timatoe

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Re: Back east road trip... 3 weeks!
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2019, 11:11:15 AM »

Sounds like a fun trip.  Yes west TX is quite baron.  Waco area is more in the lakes region of TX, we planned to go out there this August but life is getting in the way as usual.  We have a couple or three years minimum to worry about that though.
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Mr.B

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Re: Back east road trip... 3 weeks!
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2019, 03:54:27 PM »

Forgive me if I try not to picture that... 

 :rofl:
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RockWoRM

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Re: Back east road trip... 3 weeks!
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2019, 04:20:00 PM »


Day 7
One more day in New Orleans.
Since we had already decided we were not going to do the usual tourist stuff, like swamp tours, alligator watching, and other touristy stuff. I did want to go see the WWll National Museum that is there. Luckily it was less than a mile walk from the Hotel. Debbie wanted to stay in and chillax and take care of Monty. And speaking of... since this was a pet friendly hotel... we still needed a pet potty place. Even tho he is completely house trained, there was a public dog park just a block away. So no biggie to take him down there for doggie business. So I'm walking him down there and at the cross walk just a hundred ft. from the park, all of a sudden he jerks on the leash. I turn around just to see him squatting. I told him 'NO' we're almost to the park. Too late! It looked like a cannon ball being shot... and all over the street!  :rofl: I run pick him up and get him to the sidewalk, where he commences to make another pile! At least I had a doggie bag in my pocket for that one. By the time I cleaned that up a car going thru the intersection made chocolate pie out of the first one. Oh well. He's never done that... but obviously he had to go!!!   :laughing:
Taking him back to the room, I grabbed a couple water bottles and heading for the museum. Very cool and glad I went. It was much much larger than I expected. 3 separate buildings holding all kinds of stuff. Jeeps, half tracks, Higgins landing boat, AMTracks, etc.  They had the famous German 88mm all purpose gun. And there were a number of actual full size aircraft hanging from the ceiling. C47 (DC 3), Spitfire, B17, B25, Mustang, Corsair, Hell Diver and a couple others. Basically a self guided tour with listening stations that explained the different sections of each display area. They had the war divided into European, Pacific and The home front sections. A lot to cover for such a vast war, but they did a very good job! Spent 3-4 hrs there and could have easily spent the entire day if I had stopped at every audio/video station.
Back at the hotel, Debbie had picked out a couple restaurants to try for the evening dinner. Hotel was ok with leaving pets in the room, so we got to have an evening to ourselves. lol. This time we played it smarter and got an Uber down to Bourbon street.  :2thumbsup:  Quite the different scene. Way more people everywhere. First dinner place too crowed, so opted for #2 and it turned out to be very good. A band was playing outside and it was really noisy, but 2 couples sitting next to us starting chatting and it was obvious they had been partying much earlier.  :cheers2:  So we're sitting there and the waiter comes up to the table and lays down a couple oyster shooters!  :eek: OK. Not only have I never tried raw oysters, I'm not at all fond of bloody mary mix or even tomato juice! But couldn't say no... so down they went! WHOA, spicy. But ten times better than any bloody mary I've ever tried. They were really good! Ended up doing 2 more (and getting a round for our neighbors)
After dinner we just walked up and down Bourbon street and watched all the crazies. Found one bar with a trio band doing mostly blues rock, so hung out there for awhile. Fun night. Did'nt stay out too late b/c of Monty, who was quite happy when we came home. lol.
And one more thing... stopped at a couple places selling Louisiana type hot sauce. What a rip off! They all wanted like $20 and up for a little bottle. Total tourist traps!


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RockWoRM

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Re: Back east road trip... 3 weeks!
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2019, 08:25:20 PM »

Day 8

Leaving New Orleans and heading for Georgia and then Tennessee. Not trying to make this a push day, since we had 2 days to get to our Cabin Rental near the Smokies, we headed east on I 10.  Although everything looked lush and green, going thru Mississippi and Alabama seems somewhat anti climatic to us. Relatively flat, but with rather tall trees along the intestate and elsewhere, there really wasn't much to look at.
But, checking out the Navi map there appeared to be a section of road that went near the ocean. (Gulf coast) So we turned off @ Gulfport and got down to the beach. Kinda their version of highway 1. Drove that east down to Biloxi. Really pretty area. Not like the pacific coast tho.  Nice sandy beach's kinda like LA, but completely flat and no surf to speak of? Really calm. Maybe the time of year? But we saw some people in the water about 200 yards out and standing up only to the waist.

 Since we had enough time, I talked Debbie into stopping at the USS Alabama Battleship museum in Mobile, Alabama. More WWII stuff for me!  :2thumbsup:  Fortunately, they had a nice picnic area with grass and trees… so her and Monty had a place to chillax in the shade. Toured the battleship and they also had a few tanks on display, another building with more planes and next to that the USS Drum fleet submarine. Plenty to see. Only took me about an hour to check it all out well enough.

About mid after noon we started to get a bit hungry, so Debbie started googling places to eat in the area. She found a BBQ place that got great reviews, so we gave it a shot. Plugged it in to the Navi and we ended up in what appeared to be an all black neighborhood for miles. lol. What the hey... no biggie. We got killer ribs with biscuit, collards, beans, mac n cheese all for $13!  :eek: And an order of peach cobbler on the side. Awesome!

Ended up in Mongomery, Al. for the night.

Day 9

Heading NE up thru Georgia we again tried taking some back roads on their so called 'Antebellum trail". This avoided all the traffic thru Atlanta. Nice scenery, but didn't really see many old south homes. Ended up in Macon, Ga. and tried a triple D dinner/restaurant. Meh, it was ok, but nothing great. Maybe I should write a letter to Guy.   :flipoff:

Made our way up to Athens, Ga. and spent the night. Debbie talked to the girl at the desk and asked if there were fireflies in that area. She said "once in awhile". So since there was a river running thru that area we decided to go check it out. Had no clue on which way to go, so just driving around, I saw a sign for a nature trail by the river. Just dumb luck. Got down there just at dusk and went for a walk. Within 10 minutes I saw a little flash out of the corner of my eye. Debbie didn't believe me. After a couple more minutes a couple more flashes. This time she saw them. In about another 5 minutes we started seeing them all over. Score! Wifey happy.  :high5:

Day 10

From Athens we headed N towards Hiawassee, Ga., a little town in the mountains where my Dad grew up. He was born in 1911 and had 16 brothers and sisters... all on a 160 acre homestead several miles from town. He had kept 22 acres in hopes of going back to live some day. Last time I saw it with him was almost 45 years ago. Really wanted to see it again. Luckily, a road going into the property was named after the family, so I was able to google map it. Otherwise I doubt I could have found it. Anyway, we got there and Debbie couldn't believe how pretty it was. Said "I could totally live here". But here's the kicker... when Dad passed away many years ago my Mom sold it!!!! Grrrrrrrrr!!!  :shaking:

Drove back thru Hiawassee and headed towards the little town of Waynesville, NC. near the east end of the Smokies. Also a beautiful area! Got a cool little cabin at the top of this mountain/hill that I kid you not...  could give Hells revenge a run for the money!!! (there... I threw in some tech. lol) I seriously couldn't believe how freak'n steep this road was... and with switch backs thrown in. Twice I chirped my tires going up!
Cabin was super cool little place with a killer deck view of the Smokies!  This totally called for breaking out the Jamison again!  :cheers2: And to top it off, twice as many fireflies come out that night right by the cabin!

Day 11

Staying at the cabin for 3 days we had time to explore. Was going to go into the Waynesville historic district, but a wrong turn took us on a country road going the wrong way! But maybe some things are meant to be... b/c one of the things on my list was to find Sorghum syrup! What the heck is sorghum syrup you ask? Well I'll tell you. It is made from sorghum cane, similar to sugar cane, but with a completely different taste. Kinda like molasses, but lighter and sweeter... just different. We always had some growing up b/c my Dad would go visit annually and bring some home. Love it!
Anyway, going down this road, was a little country nick knack type store. Debbie wanted to stop and look. Boring. I waited in the truck. She comes out with a little grin on her face... SCORE!!! lol.
Found the historic district and spent some time exploring. Cool 1800's building and a general hardware store kinda like the one in Placerville. Cool.
That evening we had our reservations for our synchronous firefly tour. Quite unbelievable. 10 time the number we had previously seen. Amazing show.

Day 12

Drove to Ashville, NC in order to go see the Biltmore Estate. Pretty amazing place built by the millionaire George Vanderbilt. Impressive and worth seeing. Kinda like seeing Hearst Castle. BUT>>> Freaking expensive/overpriced IMHO. Having driven 3000 miles and a major tourist attraction, I guess they knew they had us by the short hairs!   :biggrin:
Got back to Waynesville and found a place with southern menu... so of course I tried the fried chicken! Could'nt eat it all.

tomorrow... heading to Tennessee.


 
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Screaming Bear

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Re: Back east road trip... 3 weeks!
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2019, 06:58:18 AM »

Nice in depth trip report Randy. Hows that southern hospitality and nice easy pace down there? Thought you might have walked the bridge in memory of MLK. Are you heading over to West Virginia and the Shenandoah Mtns or starting your journey back west? So much to see. In the NE we called Fireflies "Lightening Bugs". They were in large numbers and put on quite the show every evening in summer. I don't miss the humidity at all, though I do miss the fantastic Fall colors.
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RockWoRM

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Re: Back east road trip... 3 weeks!
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2019, 06:05:10 PM »

Already home... this is just a re-cap. People were friendly from about Louisiana on. Not so much in Texas. Had some kids/punks/whatevers driving a jacked up coal burner truck with the windows blacked out try to cut us off and then flip us off for no reason other than they saw my plates.  :shaking:
They call them lightening bugs down there, too. Would have loved to keep going to other states, but Debbie still working and we needed to head back.

Day 13

Rain finally caught up with us and the mountains were fogged/rained in. So we took I 40 into Tennessee. As we got thru the mountains, it started clearing a bit. So we took some side roads again that would take us to Gatlinburg. Pretty country. Stopped at a liquor store that had bill boards everywhere... so I guess they worked.  :biggrin: Anywho, liquor only available at such stores like in Moab. So we sampled some moonshine. These are regulated of course, so not full potency, but I tried one called 'Blue Flame', and I couldn't even finish the little thimble sample I got. WOW! Anyway, the store was slow so the owner was chatting with us. Asked us which way we drove in. He said the road we took was where the moonshine TV show people live which was good for a chuckle. Only watched the show once or twice. Meh.
On to Gatlinburg, which we had heard was a cool place to visit... NOT! OMG... what a tourist trap. Seriously, the main street looked just like a carnival midway at the county fair! We didn't even stop! What a joke!
Since the weather was getting better we drove back into the Park and went to place called 'Cades Cove'. Nice drive, but when we got there there was a traffic jam a mile long... just b/c some jackwagon tourists had to stop to see a stupid bear. And the sign said, "NO STOPPING FOR ANY REASON"> Idiots... just like in Yosemite valley!  :pissed: We turned around and left.

Heading west now, we got as far as Chattanooga for the evening.

Day 14

Since we made no plans for the home run, we just did whatever. So what does one do in Tennessee? Why go to Lynchburg or course!  :rofl: Did'nt do the tour b/c of Monty, but did go thru all the shops in Main street square. Got me a JD coffee mug with my name on it. lol.
After Lynchburg, still heading west, we wanted to stop and see at least one Civil War battleground. So we stopped at Shiloh military park. Weather really nice by now... (for the time being). Self guiding tour with paved roads. Markers all along the route with who/which side was there and why. Hornets nest. Peach orchard, sunken road, bloody pond, etc. Very precise. Old cannon's and monuments all over. Since I've also read a bit on the Civil war... it was surreal to see the exact places where thousands of soldiers of each side once stood only a hundred yards apart killing each other! Crazy!
Decided to skip the Nashville crowds b/c of CMA stuff going on, and found a dog friendly just outside of Memphis.
Half way between Shiloh and Memphis, we ran into some of that rain the news has been talking about! Wow! I do not think I have EVER driven thru any rain storm that was harder than that! I slowed down to 45mph, had the wipers on super high... which I never have needed to use, and I still couldn't see!!! I'm just grateful it did hail!  :eek:

Day 15

No real plans... just get home via I-40. Ended up in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Saw some of the areas that were on the news for flooding. Waters down... didn't look that bad to us. One road completely closed off with state trooper making sure. Water way far away and road dry. Who knows???

Day 16

Driving across Arkansas, Oklahoma and on into Texas. Found a Costco in Ok. City for cheap lunch! lol. Ended up in Amarillo, Tx. Gee, guess what is in Amarillo? THE FAMOUS BIG TEXAN 72 OZ. STEAK!!!   :rofl:  Had to go for at least a picture, right?> But people going in and out said it was good. Soooo,  :smokin:  And actually, it was really good for a tourist place. Good prices and Craft beer only 5 bucks a pint!  :cheers:  Fun place to eat.

Day 17

Amarillo to Flagstaff, Az.  Did'nt want to push it, so did a short driving day.
Edit: Braiin fart... we did Amarillo to Albuquerque, then to Flagstaff... so one more day inbetween. Nothing exciting... just driving.
 Checking out the 'Route 66' stuff along the way. Painted Desert/Petrified Forest NP was along the route, so we checked that out. After seeing Moab and Sedona... meh.
And one of the funner things we did getting to Flagstaff, was we just HAD to stop in Winslow, Az. Guess what we did there? Stood on the corner!  Nuff said...  :flipoff:
It was actually fixed up really cool and we had a killer lunch at a diner there!

Day 18

Heading for Laughlin Nv. for the night. Debbie has never been, so went there for the last motel night. Stopped at Seligman, Az., which is the start of, IIRC, the longest original section of route 66 not abandoned by the interstate. Had lunch at one of the cafe's in town. Another good choice. Awesome lunch. Not really any bust's for food places we tried... lucky guesses.
Left Monty in the room with the AC cranked!! It was 111* that day! Welcome home!  :rofl: Checked out the Casinos just for the hey of it. Not really hungry... not really in the mode to gamble (loose money) but cool to see.

Day 19

Got home by late after noon. All well... except for the million and 6 weeds that came up since we apparently got rain after we left! Guess what I got to do on Fathers day.   :thumbsdown:
« Last Edit: June 29, 2019, 08:09:03 AM by RockWoRM »
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timatoe

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Re: Back east road trip... 3 weeks!
« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2019, 10:12:57 AM »

Been a bit since I was in OKC, had no idea they had a Costco there.  It's always been Sam's was the only choice.  Should've stopped in downtown OKC by "Bricktown" quite similar to San Antonio with the South Canadian River being diverted through downtown etc.  It use to (naturally) run just south of downtown.  "Bricktown" was the undesirable part of town when I grew up, it was nothing but warehousing and hobos, all the streets are still red brick, thus the name.  It's now the hotspot of OKC with the ballpark for the AAA team and the Ford "Thunder Dome" etc....  Nice place to spend an evening.
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RockWoRM

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Re: Back east road trip... 3 weeks!
« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2019, 05:01:00 PM »

Been a bit since I was in OKC, had no idea they had a Costco there.  It's always been Sam's was the only choice.  Should've stopped in downtown OKC by "Bricktown" quite similar to San Antonio with the South Canadian River being diverted through downtown etc.  It use to (naturally) run just south of downtown.  "Bricktown" was the undesirable part of town when I grew up, it was nothing but warehousing and hobos, all the streets are still red brick, thus the name.  It's now the hotspot of OKC with the ballpark for the AAA team and the Ford "Thunder Dome" etc....  Nice place to spend an evening.

Actually, we did drive right past the thunder dome and then thru downtown by mistake. Typed in the navi location wrong. Looked like a nice down town.  Did'nt see the river, tho.?
THe Costco was new and a few miles from down town. We actually saw a lot of Sams clubs in the south, but we are not members.
We also stopped at a 'Bucky Beavers' in Texas. Never heard of it before, but there were a few. Kinda like a combo food, tourist, truck stop place, but much bigger. Was nice inside. Cheapest diesel fuel price for the whole trip!   :thumbsup:
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