Wednesday, April 27, 2011


One of the things I love about doing this job, is all of the interesting people we get to meet. Just down the road from the RV park is the American Racing Pigeon Union...yep, you heard right. I never knew pigeons were unionized but...

So I've been working with a woman there for the past couple of days on her ad and I learned so much about what their organization does. For anyone out there who is up on this stuff, don't hold me to all of the info. I took in a lot of info...hopefully I've got the details correct.

They have a great website and I've tried to read up on the art of flying, etc. but not a whole lot of spare time as we're finishing up this job tomorrow.She shared with me that the birds are gotten very young and around 28 days old they learn where "home" is. I don't think I mentioned these are homing pigeons....not the garden variety, sit on the ledge outside city hall type...pooping on everything. Well, I'm sure they do a fair share of that but anyways, I digress....

If you look on their website, their lofts are pretty cool. There are pictures of ones folks have built. These pigeons race anywhere from 100 to 600 miles. They have little bands on their legs and that is how the whole "Who came in first ?" thing happens in a race. The birds are crated Friday and then driven to the release point (however many miles away that is). Each bird pays an entry fee of $425 to race and around 300 can be in a race (you do the math). On Saturday morning, a half hour after sunrise the pigeons are released. Off they go for home! When they get home and come in the little trap door, saying "Honey, I'm home"...their little band is automatically scanned by a device and this is their official time. Those times are entered on the computer and a winner is determined and a hefty prize purse is awarded. Cool, huh ?

We talked about bird conditioning and training, etc. and I was fascinated that this sort of thing even exists. Seems it's been around since the 1800's and is really huge....with clubs all over the U.S.and the world for that matter. Next door to the Union building is a nondescript building with a sign out front that says "World of Wings". Thought it was probably part of their operation. In between the two buildings is a building that is just being built. Turns out it is the new museum for the organization. A 6000 sq ft. building that will be awesome when it's completed. Today I stopped at the World of Wings to learn more about what they do.

This area is where there are several buildings of pigeons. In where Randy (the caretaker of the birds) was, is the quarantine area. (I was a little worried when he first told me that...thought bird flu, something nasty that maybe people could catch, etc. Not to worry...nothing like that. It is an area for new birds before they are incorporated with the other birds there. This is where I met Blinky. Blinky was just purchased and is the last offspring of one of the most famous racing pigeons from Belgium. Seems his father was purchased by a rich American from the owner in Belgium when the bird was around 15 or 16 years old. A pigeon usually lives to around 20 years of age but usually loses the ability to breed around that age. The other thing that can make the bird go sterile is the trauma of being shipped overseas as this one was but the American was hoping that he could still sire babies and darned if he didn't. Blinky is one of the last offspring and was purchased for $7000. Yep, that's three zeros after the seven. Wow! Blinky is seven years old and did have a sort of regal look about him. Reason his name is Blinky is he has a problem with a tear duct in one eye and once a month, when it gets clogged, he starts Blinking a lot and then they have to drain it. Talking to Randy is where I learned about the entry fees (the museum gets some of that). People take their pigeons to this facility to train them or have meets. The whole thing was really quite fascinating...I could have stayed there for several hours listening, learning, petting the pigeons but duty called and I needed to get back to work. It's a tough life but you know, someone has to do it. Last week it was a baby elephant...this week it's about pigeons. Perhaps, you could say this job is for the birds.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

It's A Girl !

Sorry I haven't posted in a few days. We arrived here on Friday, got set up and then Linda went to meet with the park manager while I worked on some ads from our last park. This is a new park too and there is a lot of prep work and research that goes into lining up businesses to call on. We've been working till 10 most every night. We're glad when Friday evening and the weekend rolls around so we can relax (although we still do some work then too).

Today we went to the Fireman's Museum and saw this cute display outside..

Working hard or hardly working ?

We went up to Pop's too and it's a pretty neat place...On the legendary Route 66, it's a popular destination.

They advertise having hundreds of types of soda. I didn't look around too much as there was a huge group of high school students in there and the place was mobbed. Neat place though...

Over the weekend we went to the Oklahoma City zoo. Some really big news at the zoo so we wanted to go...Here's the info from their web site..."The Zoo is proud to announce the first elephant birth in the Zoo's history! Asha, a 16 year-old female, delivered a healthy 304-pound female calf on Friday, April 15 at 9:13 p.m.". Go to the zoo's facebook page to watch the birth. We got to the zoo right after it opened, on Sunday morning, but the baby was bonding with her mom and her aunt so none of the elephants were on display. That's ok...we're just pleased for the new mom. The zoo sure has been busy since's only about a mile from the RV park and every time we drive by, the place is packed with cars. Babies are good for business !
We were in the bird section when the caretaker came by to feed them.

She pushed this cage up to the door of each display, put a frame covered in netting up over the door that connected the portable cage to the bird's cage so that if one of the birds flew out it would only fly into her cage and couldn't escape. It was really cool. It looked really heavy to push around though.

Back in January there was a baby giraffe born at the zoo. Here's that baby...Fun day at the zoo...

We also went over to the casino for a short while. I find those slot machines to be so intimidating....some have so many symbols and lines and ways to win. Mind boggling ! I was hoping the Survivor machine would be lucky for me but nope...Linda and I played away the $10 in free money we got from a coupon she found..added 2 whole dollars of our own to the pot and then were ready to leave. I'll leave the slot playing to my mom....too confusing for me ! Not sure what's on tap for this weekend since it will be our last weekend here before leaving for Colorado. Hey, just got word today that we're headed to Montana and Wyoming for some work. Yahoo ! Never been there...anxious to see new sights ! We'll share more info as we know it.

Be Sure to click on the "facebook" link for the zoo and watch the video...she gets her first bath on the video too...Cute !!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Goodbye to the Critters

Left the state park this morning and are now set up at Twin Fountains RV park, in Oklahoma City. View isn't as nice....our back window looks out on the freeway. (Sure as heck hope that no ones careens off the highway cause they'll wind up right in our living room)

We really enjoyed our time at the last park. Every morning we'd see all kinds of critters as we'd leave to drive into town. If we left around 8 or so we'd usually get to see one big gobbler strutting his stuff for a couple hens in the open field near the office. Terry, the park ranger showed us pictures of deer and turkey that would come up on the patio outside his office window. He had a picture of three buck that were fighting out under the tree outside his window and also a big gobbler and hens. The other night when we came back to the park we saw a roadrunner run across the road from the office and it had something in his mouth. Come to find out, Terry says Cheeto is a female roadrunner who comes up to the office with her prize kill of the day...drops it at the office door...taps on the glass and then runs off. She then comes back later on to reclaim her prize and take it for dinner but she wants to make sure that everyone in the office sees it first. How cute ! Must have been Cheeto that we saw coming back to scoop up the dead snake that we saw the other day.

The baby squirrel fully emerged from the tree the last day before we left. He or she was chewing on the tree blossoms and bark, scampering right around the opening and venturing out on the nearby limbs. We've been having really strong winds the last couple of days. Today they are 24 - 45 m.p.h. Yesterday, Linda swore that the baby was clinging on for dear life....afraid of falling off the tree limb.

Temps are cool today...only in the 50's. Have the electric radiator running to keep it toasty in the rig. Tomorrow back up to 75 degrees and sunny. For those of you who heard about the tornado that touched, it wasn't near us. During the last few days, when the tornado watches were in effect, we were south of where the danger area was. We are a little closer to those areas now but hopefully the weather will straighten out. Usually tornado weather isn't at its height until May so things are firing up a little soon. The TV stations go crazy here when these tornado warnings kick in. You don't get any regular programs on at all....constant weather updates even if it's not in this immediate area. The announcers get really excited about it too. They have helicopters in the area, reporters chasing the storm systems, etc. It's pretty crazy. Like sitting in my mom's living room, watching the weather channel times 10.....I finally turned the TV off and we played cards. Couldn't even make that work....Linda whipped my butt !

Sunday, April 10, 2011


A low key weekend. On Saturday, we went to the Sam Noble Museum of Natural Sciences in Norman. It's on the campus of Oklahoma University, which is really beautiful. Lots of green space and at the end of each sidewalk where it connects with the main road, there are brick archways erected by past graduating classes from OU. The earliest that I saw was from 1915 but they were really neat as we passed them driving up through campus. Here is a video on the museum that explains it better than I ever could.

They had lots of neat exhibits and some of the dinosaurs were huge. After touring the museum, we went to a local restaurant that Terry, the park ranger had recommended. It's called Cheddar's and I didn't realize that it's a chain until I just looked it up on the internet. We both had grilled portabello sandwiches with fresh steamed broccoli and carrots. They were great ! Our waiter's name was Cole and while we were waiting for our meal, he brought out a tray full of food for the table behind us. He sat it on the tray jack and then took two of the plates and served them. Trouble was he took them from the same side of the tray and apparently he didn't have it sitting correctly on the tray stand. It flipped up and went crashing to the floor. Poor Cole ! He was so embarrassed when the room got so quiet and everyone looked his way. His shoe was covered in something that looked like mashed potatoes. Thank Goodness the manager came to his rescue and orchestrated the clean-up and reordering of food for the table. When Cole recovered and had gotten cleaned up, he came to our table with our order and I asked him if he was OK and if he got his shoe cleaned off. He said, "Yes"....he was a nice college kid and our meal was super. That was about the extent of our Saturday...came home and watched the race in Texas. We passed by the Texas Speedway on our way to Oklahoma so it was neat to see the race there this week.

Today I washed the roof on the rig and rinsed some of the dust and pollen off the sides. They've been saying on the local news, each night, that the oak pollen is really high but it doesn't seem to bother either own of us. I could tell that there was a coating of it on the roof from the yellow colored water than ran off when I rinsed it. The campground wasn't packed with people this weekend like it had been last weekend...odd. We had two other rigs in our section and the next section over was pretty full. This is our last week here....we start wrapping up calling on the businesses over the next couple of days and we'll pull out of here on Friday and move over to the other park in Oklahoma City. We stopped by there this week and got to meet the manager and his staff. It's a nice park so we're looking forward to being there for the next two weeks.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Quiet Weekday....

As soon as Sunday afternoon rolled around, the campsites around us cleared out and it's back to just two rigs in our section. Ahhhhh....Look at these sites. They back right up, overlooking the lake. So pretty...Before the weekend craziness starts up, with all of the crowds, we went for a walk on the beach tonight and soaked in all of the peacefulness.  There has been some significant erosion along the shoreline, which has made for some interesting things. Took some pictures of some of them.
We drove up to Oklahoma City today to call on some businesses up there. Was a hectic day....lots of driving. It works out really nice having Linda drive so I can focus on the sales calls, she plans the most efficient route and then drives. Boomer, well he just goes along for the ride.  :) He's in his glory too...being out everyday with us. He didn't go with us on Monday, when we took Bertha to the garage. Got up at 5:30 so we could be on the road at 6...arrive when garage opened at 7. Would have made it too if they hadn't moved the garage (I hate it when that happens). Got there about 7:15 and sat till 2:15, while they checked Bertha out. Too bad we didn't take our laundry with us, as they had a really nice lounge, complete with a free commercial washer and dryer. We could have taken care of it in the 7 hours that we were there. After checking it over, test driving it and checking it again....nothing. The fear of finding nothing was on par with finding something that would cost mega bucks. It appears that the floaty - fish tailing sort of feeling was all in our heads. Hmmm....I was sort of feeling it on the other end. We are relieved that there isn't anything wrong so will now try to ignore any wayward motion we feel from this point forward. Yeah...ok.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

And Then There Were Three...

Started watching the squirrel, outside our window, this morning and lo and behold up popped two babies. We had a great time watching them throughout the day and watched mom nurse them....a site most people would never get the chance to see up close. She has an interesting technique for feeding them. She would drape herself across the opening to their house and we'd see the babies underneath her nursing. After mom finished feeding one of the babies, she grabbed a hold of him in her mouth and scampered down the tree and away with him. We don't know where she took him or if he came back but later on we saw her come back to the tree. Actually the one she left behind had been looking for mom for quite some time. I'm sure she had told this little one to stay put but you know how impatient kids can be. Overall she's had a really hectic day, feeding two hungry kids and gathering food to keep her own strength up. We've caught her taking naps throughout the afternoon......the temps are in the low 90's with 40 m.p.h. winds so perhaps the heat has taken a toll on her too.

Where's Mom ?

Taking Junior for a ride...
Resting up for the next round of feeding....

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Just Hangin' Out...

We drove into Norman today to check out the business district and get our bearings for finding our way around. It's not as big as I envisioned it to be but will make it easy to navigate and get our work done.

We are really enjoying our site, next to the lake. This little guy lives in the tree outside our window and is really fun to watch. He pops up out of a hole in the tree. I think he was taking a little siesta here.

When we arrived yesterday, Terry told us that the campground took a direct hit from a tornado last May. Several areas were destroyed by the tornado and they are still in the process of rebuilding these areas. The marina was completely destroyed....several boats were never found. Close to 200 hundred trees were brought down by the storm. The park closed for 18 days and then reopened. He was away from the park but followed the tornado back into the park. One of the campground hosts gathered all of the campers that were here at the time and got them into one of the cinderblock restrooms. He stood outside, after getting them inside, turned around and saw the tornado coming. For some unknown reason, instead of going into the women's restroom where he had put them, he went to the men's restroom and crouched down in the corner of the building. After the tornado passed, all that was left was the women's restroom and the cinder blocks in the corner of the men's restroom where he had been crouching. He was one lucky man !! Terry showed us the picture of it and it looks an awful lot like this picture here (this picture is off the Norman Emergency Management site). That triangle shaped cinderblock piece that is tipped over looks just like the area where he was crouching. Scary stuff !
Where the marina used to be...
New 3.5 million dollar marina..    

It's a gorgeous day here today and the park is swarming with people. This park gets 1.1 million visitors each year, Terry told us, and I can see why. A great resource for people who live in this area !

Friday, April 1, 2011

10 and 2

We left Texas around noon on Thursday and started to Oklahoma. We had great weather for driving and drove till about 6:30 when we stopped at a park near Ft. Worth. Only thing that wasn't nice about the trip was the fact that Linda had to drive like my grandmother used to (or how we were all taught in driver ed class - at 10 and 2) the whole 550 miles.
  For about the last two weeks we've noticed that the rear end of the truck has been really squirrley and  feels like we're driving on ice. We chalked it up to grooved "hill country" roads and one guy told us that the roads are paved weird to allow for drainage when it rains. OK...sounded reasonable but was really freaking me out when I'd be sitting on the passenger side of the truck and when we go around a corner, the rear end fish tails. Not so nice....We hook up the rig and hit the road. Still doing it...can't be the roads. So first rest stop we made, I called ahead to Oklahoma City to medium duty garage and made an appointment for Bertha to get checked out Monday morning. In the meantime, while Linda is driving at 55 m.p.h., with two hands gripping the steering wheel at 10 and 2, my stomach is in a giant knot for the 550 miles it took us to get here. Don't know what it is about this motion that wigs me out's the same feeling I get when I ride a ferris wheel and my car would always be the one to stop on top and swing back and forth...Nope...hate it. Is probably why I put a pleat in my dads pants, from gripping it so hard, when I rode one time with him. Or if I ride in a really small plane (sorry Roy), and any jerky movements. Ohhhh, makes me queasy just to think about it. Well, I had 10 hours of that the last two days. Long trip to say the least but we made it safe and (sound ?)...well let's say I still have my sanity.

We are in Norman, OK at Lake Thunderbird State Park....really nice. This is the view through our back window. We overlook the lake..very serene ! We drove around the lake tonight (more 10 and 2 style driving but this time it was my turn) to get our bearings. Will check out more of the area this weekend before starting in on Monday (once we get done at the GMC garage). The park ranger we are working with is super nice. He's camping, this weekend, just a few sites over from us. Glad we got here early today as all of the sites have filled up since we arrived. Will take more pictures and post later this weekend....lots to see and do in the area.