It was only a few short hours to OKC where we spent a couple of days with John and Christiana (Lucia’s sister), and their twin 5-year boys–the cousins. It was fun as always. We caught up, slept late, sat around, slept late, ate, played games, and slept late.
We were worn out.
Since San Diego, most of our time was on the road. SD was the turning point literally and figuratively. We turned east, with only a few more weeks left so we did a lot of driving.
San Diego to Scottsdale to Fort Worth to OKC to Coffeyville, KS to Branson to Greeneville, TN to Greenville, SC.
Coffeyville was also a short trip. It was nice to make a couple of three-hour trips to get to our locations. Most of our driving has been six to 12 hour trips, with 8 hours being the normal distance. None of our trips were hard, though the back-to-back days were the most challenging.
The kids rarely had an issue, rode contentedly, and kept themselves occupied. That was a blessing. I think without this kindness from the LORD, it could have made the trip totally different. They were an absolute joy to serve and to be served by them on this trip.
Coffeyville is where Harty and Barbie Blackert live. They have been there for many years now, coming from PA. Barbie and Lucia have been best friends for life. They met in the 8th grade, hit it off, and have been knitted together ever since.
They went to Bob Jones together. Barbie was in our wedding, and they went to Hawaii with us in 2000. We love them. They have stayed in our home in Greenville, which was nice to return the favor by staying in their abode.
Barbie is enthusiastically intense. That is about the best way to describe her. Full of joy and non-stop talking. During our first dinner with them, Ansa sat and stared at her. It was hard for her little mind to take in. Barbie is intense in a delightful way, but if you have not seen a lot of that, you just stare.
Tristen and Lena (their 17-year old) picked up immediately from where they left off the last time they were together. They began putting a play together for a presentation a week later. We stayed for eight days. They did the Phantom of the Opera. It was awesome.
The adults spent many nights staying up, one night till about 2:30AM talking. Harty was waiting for Nadia (16) to come home with her friend from a week at camp. They were getting in late, so we stayed up with them and talked.
We ate a lot. Barbie is an excellent cook. This was the first time on the trip where we ate more than what we should have. Our eating habits and weight gain/loss was going well until Coffeyville.
We went to their church meeting with them on Sunday. I spoke to their Sunday school class. That was nice.
Haydn and Ansa spent the week in the pool–the love of their lives. Ansa had two cats to play with all week. The other love of her life. She walked around cradling a cat for most of the week–when she was not in the pool.
We also spent a good bit of time in Coffeyville, famous for the Dalton Raid. The town has tried to really play that up. We went into the actual Condon Bank that they robbed. We walked down the street where they were gunned down. We went to the Dalton museum.
It was fun and interesting. It was also surreal to think we were standing in the very bank that they robbed and died shortly thereafter.
This was a good week for all of us, but mostly for Lucia. I’m so glad she could spend time with her friend. They chatted in the living room, in the car, in the pool, in the bedroom, in the kitchen, and any other place they found themselves.
We also went to Woolaroc, which is the retreat center that Frank Phillips–of Phillips oil fame–created to capture and secure an America that had passed. That was a great experience.
They had an amazing museum there, one of the most amazing museums that I have ever visited–so odd in such a remote place. It is really off the beaten path. Really.
There were paintings, ancient Indian paraphernalia, hundreds of guns, pistols, rifles, and other weapons.
There was an airplane, old oil trucks, and more animals than you’ll find in nearly any other museum. They also had an “old frontier life” area where guys, who have not grown up yet, wore frontier clothes, shot old rifles and threw hatchets. We did all of that.
They gave us a walking tour around the old pieces and paraphernalia that made up their camp. That, too, was amazing.
I did ask the old frontiersman about his leggings. As in, what’s underneath the loin cloth. He said the leggings were just for the legs, and the front and back doors are wide open. I did not fully understand what he meant until he lifted his loin cloth to reveal his upper quad.
Thankfully, that is all he revealed. I kinda like the legging idea, though wearing them anywhere, but in a camp like his, would be weird.
I would love to go back to Woolaroc again. It was really a cool place. It stands for Wood, Lake, and Rock.
We left Harty and Barbi after eight days, making our way to Branson, MO.