Part 2…..The Beautiful LBJ Ranch

The front lawn of the Beautiful LBJ Ranch…..Home of our 36th President of the United States…..

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In Part 1, we had finished walking around the front of the house and pool and toured part of the first floor of the Ranch.  Now we are back outside walking around the back.

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Around the back corner was an area of concrete 12” pavers.  As the Presidents guests came to visit, he would have them cast a square and sign it.  The are all arranged in an area around a patio.  This particular one was signed by John Glenn in 1962, our astronaut.

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At the back of the house was a large driveway area and parking.  You can see how the house has been added on to through the years.  Now as we looked to the right, here is the Secret Service Command Post.  The Secret Service maintained a presence with the Johnson Family for 46 years, beginning  when he became vice president in 1961.  When he became President in 1963, the Secret Service maintained a 24 hour protection for the family.

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After the Presidents death in 1973, a Security detail still remained with Lady Bird until her death on July 11, 2007…..Making her the longest protected First Lady in the Twentieth Century.  This building is closed right now.  Funds are being raised to replace a new foundation and then restore the building so it can be opened to the public.

After reading this, It gave me some food for thought.  The cost of the Secret Service protection is huge considering the years they serve the President and family.  I do realize it is necessary and deserved even after leaving office for the President and First Lady.  Our presidents are getting younger.  President Obama has many years left.  But now look at President Trump and his wife Melania.  He is 70, but she is only 47.  Just think of the cost it will entail in the future years.  Even if Trump dies before her, she is young.  She is used to a jet set life style.  She is use to traveling and living to the fullest.  She will not be living out on a ranch or small town area.  Melania will always have the best.  The only way she will loose Secret Service coverage is if she would remarry in the future.   I am not trying to bring politics into this, but it is just some food for thought…….Lots of Money….

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Behind the Secret Service Command Post is a series of dark green buildings.  This was the Command Center.  With in 4 weeks of President Johnson taking the oath for the Presidency in November 1963, after President Kennedys assassination, the LBJ Ranch had enough equipment for a small city:  microwave towers providing 120 channels to Austin, two-way radios, teleprinters, cryptographic machines, and an extensive telephone system with 100 lines.  These buildings housed the switchboard and a 50 kilowatt emergency generator.

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The President was said to be on the phone 18 hrs. a day.  You can see the TV antenna in the back yard rise above the house and the little picture in the upper right is the switchboard in 1965.  Lady Bird remembered it as “the bane of my life….aesthetically”…..This picture is from 1965 and I noticed the 2 new bedrooms and the pool have not been added yet.  Next we came to a glass enclosure containing 2 cars.  We had passed these on our way into the house to begin our tour.

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These were the cars of Lady Bird Johnson,  2 Lincoln Continentals.  It was rather hard to take a good photo because of the glare on the glass.  We went to another building called The Klein Shop.  It used to be the maintenance building for the ranch.  Now it is the museum for LBJ’s car collection.

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This is Lyndon and Lady Bird crossing the Pedernales River on the dam in 1959.  This is a 1934 Phaeton, featuring a V8 Lincoln Zephyr engine.  He added a Rifle rack, Wet Bar with Water Faucet, and steel plating underneath to prevent damage.  He took his guests hunting on the ranch to escape the stress of politics.

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These are 1967 and 1968 Lincoln Continental Convertibles.   They featured Suicide doors, Power Windows, Power Door Locks, AM-FM Radio, 8-track Tape Player, and VHF Radio.  He always purchased them from an Austin Dealer, Roy ButlerMr. Butler always made sure Mr. Johnson always had the first new Convertible in Central Texas each year, always white with a tan leather interior.  He loved to ride guests around telling his story’s.

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This is a 1962 Amphicar.  Manufactured in West Germany.  This was the only mass produced civilian amphibious automobile.  3,878 were built between 1961 and 1968.  Color choices were,  Beach White, Fjord Green, Regatta Red, or Lagoon Blue.  He would love to take guests around and pretend his breaks went out when approaching the river or a lake.  Then he would just glide right in and shock them….lol…In this picture, Lady Bird is on the front of the boat with a cup in her hand, and LBJ is driving his car.

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This was a 1915 Fire Truck Type 12 American La France restored.  It is a beautiful peace.  It was gifted to him on Nov. 1964 by the people of Brady Texas.  It was also used for many years as a tour vehicle on the ranch.

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President Johnson used Cushman golfcarts to bring his guest from the airstrip to the house.  In this picture Senator McGovern had just flew in to seek advice and support on the 1972 Presidential campaign.  On the back is Sargeant Shriver and Lady Bird listening, and of course their dog Yuki.  The tour at the house was now done.  We walked back past the Airplane Hanger/Visitor Center and headed for our little pickup.

 

It was really bittersweet to leave.  I could have hung around their all day just relaxing and exploring by the river.  Sitting up by the house under the oak trees.  Just imagining the hustle and bustle , or all the barbeques and guests that had walked these grounds.  We would now be heading east on the taxi strip past the entrance to the runway, to the road that we came in on.  On the way we spotted a cute Jack Rabbit.

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I had to really zoom this picture as we were much farther away.  He got scared and ran for the fence.

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Then he ran across the road into the tall grass, not to be seen again.  This picture looks almost fake, but it is real, but zoomed in.  He was moving really fast.  Finally we were on the ranch road that ran along the banks of the Pedernales River.  We again we driving through the overhang of the beautiful Oak trees.  We passed the home on the left that was Lyndon Johnsons Grandfather, Sam Ealy Johnson Sr.  Little farther down the road on the right side along the banks of the River was the Johnson Family Cemetery.

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Most of the people buried in the cemetery are related to Lyndon Johnson. His great grandmother, Priscilla Bunton, was the first person buried here. She passed away on April 28, 1905, during a violent storm, and her family was unable to cross the flooding river to lay her next to her husband in the Stonewall Community Cemetery. The family chose a grove of live oak trees on property belonging to Lyndon Johnson’s grandfather for Mrs. Bunton’s burial site. Her gravestone is the white Georgia marble marker with the lamb on top. In 1937, LBJ’s father, Sam Ealy Johnson, Jr., was buried in the cemetery. Sam Johnson had been a state legislator who was much admired for his work.  In 1946, Frank Seaward, a rock mason from Stonewall, built the wall enclosing the cemetery. The wall was constructed to give identity to the cemetery, as well as to minimize the harmful effects of Pedernales River flooding. Repairs were made on the wall after major floods in 1952 and 1959.

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The most prominent gravestone in the cemetery is the gray one with the Martin name on it. Frank and Clarence Martin were President Johnson’s aunt and uncle. The President bought the ranch from Frank Martin in 1951. President Johnson’s gravestone is the tallest marker in the main row. To the right are his mother, Rebekah; his father, Sam Ealy, Jr.; and his paternal grandparents, Sam Ealy Sr. and Eliza. To the left of the President is where Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson is laid to rest. The remaining headstones belong to the President’s brother, Sam, and his three sisters, Rebekah, Josepha and Lucia. Rebekah’s husband, Oscar Bobbitt, is also buried in the main row as well as Lucia’s husband, Birge Alexander.

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The President’s Funeral
President Johnson’s body lay in state at the LBJ Library in Austin, and then in state in the Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C. President Johnson’s funeral at the LBJ Ranch took place on the cold and rainy day of January 25, 1973. He once told Mrs. Johnson, “When I die I don’t just want our friends who can come in their private planes. I want the men in their pickup trucks and the women whose slips hang down below their dresses to be welcome, too….” Hundreds of people attended the funeral, which was conducted by Reverend Billy Graham.

While living at the Texas White House, President Johnson loved to visit the cemetery. He said, “I come down here almost every evening when I’m at home. It’s always quiet and peaceful here under the shade of these beautiful oak trees

This is such a beautiful cemetery.  It is peaceful, and so serene.  I can see why he loved it here.  I’m sure he spent many hours thinking about family, his childhood, and about this being his finally resting place also.  I’m sure he contemplated many of his decisions of the country as he sat under these oak trees.  How ironic that just across the road and down a short ways was the home that LBJ was born in.

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The original home was torn down in the 1930’s.  President and Mrs. Johnson had it reconstructed in 1964 as a guest house.  It was never intended to be an actually copy of the original, but it is close.  The original home was built in 1889 by Johnson grandfather, Sam Ealy Johnson Sr.  Lyndon’s parents moved here after their marriage in 1907.  Lyndon lived her for 5 years before moving into Johnson City.  We drove further down the road to the last building by the main gate.  This is the a Junction School House the Lyndon attended at the age of 4.

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This school was built in 1910 to serve the rural inhabitants of Gillespie County.  It did just that for 37 years, teaching the 3 R’s.   Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic.

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Lyndon attended this school in 1912.  Their were about 40 students, girls on 1 side and boys on the other.  This was the beginning of his education that would guide him in his passion as a teacher, and eventually become President of the United States.  He eventually signed over 60 educational bills into law, more than any other president.  He even came back to this school house for the ceremony to sign one very important bill.   Sitting at a picnic table on the lawn of the Junction School with Miss Katie Deadrich (his first teacher) at his side, President Johnson signed the Elementary and Secondary Education Act on April 11, 1965.26-esea-1965-bill-signing-lyndon-johnson-kate-deadrich-loney-bw-600

We were finally done with the tour and headed back to Johnson City.  We had just enough time to stop for dinner at a fabulous Barbeque restaurant.  Excellent.  Back to the Motor Home, pulled in the slides and away we went……1 PM….right on schedule…..We had thought about goint to Austin….but….It was time to head for Harlingen….Enough Play…..Time to get back to a Normal Life style….lol….One thing I didn’t touch on was Lady Bird….

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Now remember back at his Boy Hood Home in Johnson City we were told, the Johnsons married smart women, educated and with money.  His mother was very educated and was a teacher.  So this is a little about our First Lady.

Lady Bird was born:   Claudia Alta “Lady Bird” Johnson (née Taylor; December 22, 1912 – July 11, 2007)  She was named after her mothers brother Claud.  Her nursemaid Alice Tittle said she was as “purty as a Lady Bird.”  The nickname stuck for the rest of her life.  Her father and siblings called her Lady, and Lyndon called her Bird.  She even used Lady Bird on her marriage certificate.  She was a well-educated for a woman of her era, she proved a capable manager and a shrewd investor. After marrying Lyndon B. Johnson in 1934 when he was a political hopeful in Austin, Texas, she used a modest inheritance to bankroll his congressional campaign, and then ran his office while he served in the Navy. She bought a radio station, followed by a TV station, which generated revenues making them millionaires. As First Lady, she broke new ground by interacting directly with Congress, employing her own press secretary, and making a solo electioneering tour.

After being introduced to Lyndon by a friend, 0n their first date, Lyndon proposed. Lady Bird did not want to rush into marriage, but he was persistent and did not want to wait. Ten weeks later, Lady Bird accepted his proposal.  The couple married on November 17, 1934, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in San Antonio, Texas.

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Unfortunately Lady Bird had 3 miscarriages, but finally  they had two daughters together: Lynda Bird (born in 1944) and Luci Baines (born in 1947).   Lyndon and Lady Bird and their two daughters all shared the initials LBJ. The daughters lived in the White House during their teenage years, under close scrutiny of the media.
Both daughters married. Lynda Bird married Charles S. Robb, who was later elected as Governor of Virginia and U.S. Senator. Luci Baines married Pat Nugent and, later, Ian Turpin. Lady Bird had seven grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren at the time of her death.12ladybird-2-600

Lady Bird Johnson was a lifelong advocate for beautifying the nation’s cities and highways (“Where flowers bloom, so does hope”). The Highway Beautification Act was informally known as Lady Bird’s Bill. She received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest U.S. civilian honors.  Her love for flowers is apparent at the ranch.  Their were acres of wildflowers growing in their natural state.  In closing of this blog, I came across a picture that I will never forget, nor will the people who lived through the era of the 60s’.  I still remember that weekend of the assassination.   President Kennedy was assassinated on Friday.  That afternoon the Presidents body was loaded on Air Force One and this picture was taken before they left Dallas.  It was on tv and all the new media.  ………A Moment in History…..Vice-President-Lyndon-B-Johnson-is-sworn-into-the-office-of-the-Presidency-aboard-Air-Force-One-hours-after-the-assassination-of-Presi

When President Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, President Johnson was sworn into office aboard Air Force One in Dallas before they took off.  Mrs. Johnson was by his side as well as Mrs. Jackie Kennedy, the Presidents now widow.  Mrs. Kennedy still had her pink suit on, blood spattered from her husbands blood.  She never changed it till morning.  They wanted her to change clothes, but she said “No, let them see what they have done”.  President Johnson finished out this term and was elected to one more term of 4 years.  He then declined to run again, knowing his health was not good.

He was a Great Man, Lady Bird was a Great First Lady….They made a Wonderful Couple.  The built a Wonderful Life and a Legacy to Last an Eternity….

 

 

 

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Part 1…..The Beautiful LBJ Ranch

 

THE HOME OF OUR 36TH PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES….LYNDON BAINES JOHNSON…..

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The next morning after we had visited Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Boy Hood Home, we got up early.  We were going to head 14 miles west of Johnson City to the LBJ State Park, the home of the LBJ Ranch also known as the Western White house while President Lyndon Johnson was in office, from 1963-1969.

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When we checked in the day before, the manager said we could see it in plenty of time in the morning and she would let us check out at 1pm instead of 12.  So we were up early so we could be their by 9 am.  We arrived and went to the Visitors Center and obtained a free park pass.  You can buy a CD Guided Tour tape, but we didn’t purchase it.  They had many very nice souvenirs of course.   So we headed to the Ranch.  We found out the Ranch House guided tours were on the hour.  Tickets are sold at the Airplane Hanger.

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We proceeded along the road.  We followed the road on the south side of the Pedernales River all the way to the edge of the property on the east side.  We crossed the little bridge on the river and made a left and entered the LBJ Ranch.

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We wanted to be at the hanger before 10 so we passed the School House, his Birthplace Home, the family Cemetery where LBJ and Lady Bird are buried and other family homes knowing we could see them on the way out.   We followed the Pedernales River now heading back west towards the Ranch that sat on the shore facing the beautiful river.

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The trees on the drive were so beautiful.  Big old oak trees.  Along the way we also passed many cattle.  They were roaming free.  The homes had fences around them so the cows wouldn’t go up to the houses.  lol.

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The LBJ Ranch is still a working ranch and these are descendents of his original herd.  This little baby just stood their and looked at us.

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Now this one found a way to itch his back.  He was moving back and forth rubbing on the tree branches with his eyes closed.  He must have been in heaven.  lol.  We made it almost to the house and the gate was closed.  We had to make a right turn and headed north.  Now what we didn’t realize was, that their was a airstrip on the ranch.  President Johnson would fly in on a jet.  So we had to go north around the far end of the runway to come back to the house.  It was full of pasture land, all fenced and kept in perfect shape.  after we looped around the end, we came upon the Cattle Show Barn.

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Their were several very nice buildings and many pens to separate the cattle.  We could have stopped but we had to keep going to make the 10 am House tour.  We followed beside the runway all the way to the ranch.   And their it was.  …..Amazing….. in front of us was the “Air Force One and a Half”, as President Johnson called it.

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This is a Lockheed JetStar VC-140.  It had a crew of 3, 2 pilots and 1 stewardess.  Its maximum speed as 605 mph, Cruising Speed, 520 mph, Range, 2,200 miles, with a service ceiling of 45,000 ft.  In 1953 Lyndon Johnson constructed a 3,000 ft. grass landing strip as he was spending a lot of time working in Washington.  By the time he became president a series of improvements had resulted in a 6,300 asphalt air strip.  But when he became president the airstrip wouldn’t support the weight of the Boeing 707, the “Air Force One”.  He would fly into San Antonio or Austin and use this plane to fly to the Ranch.  It made it much easier for him to take his work home.

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It looks so small inside but he really liked this plane.  This plane holds so many memories of so many dignitaries of the world.

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President Johnson looking out the window with his dog on one of his trips.

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We parked in the taxi way as it approached the hanger.  The original hanger is now the Museum/ticket office and the starting place for the tour.  This building held so many items of history.

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This is a favorite photo.  This was a large canvas of President and Lady Bird Johnson in the Museum.  They also had many recorded phone calls that you could listen to during his administration.  It was so interesting to listen to his speech, his choice of words, and Texan accent.  We purchased our tickets and our tour started.  Our Guide was a lady very well versed in the history of the Johnson Family.  She told the story with warmth and knowledge.  She took us out the back door and up the side of the house.  Through a gate and their we were.

 

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We were at the side of the Ranch House or Western White House.  This house has been built on many times during the years.  It was originally owned by his Aunt and Uncle.  He lived down the lane and later in town, but would come out and spend time on the ranch learning  and working the ranch.  In 1951, his Aunt and Uncle extended an offer to  him to buy the ranch.  Of Course he did.  He Loved this Ranch.  He had such wonderful memories as a child here and of the Perdenales River as it ran past the front of the ranch.  He spent many hours playing in the river.  Memories of his childhood were so near and dear to his heart.

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Our guide told us during his presidency, Johnson would hold many staff and other meetings here.  In nice weather they would sit in the grove of Oak trees down by the River.  After their work was done for the day, he would hold his famous barbeques.  If it was very large it would all be catered in and they would eat under the Oaks by the river.  Many famous politicians from the US and abroad would attend.  Most all of them arriving in his plane or by helicopter.  He spent 20 percent of his presidency here.  So as we went to the house, our guide told us we could not take pictures of the inside.  After Lady Bird died, the house was restored to the era of when he was president.  Lyndon Johnson died of a heart attack at age 64 on January 22, 1973.  Now Lady Bird didn’t pass until Jul 11, 2007 (age 94).   She live here as well as in Austin, and spent much of her time with her daughters.  She had saved all the furnishings and historical items so that the history could be preserved.  The house was then restored by the  National Park Service and opened for the Public.  The first room that we went in was the West addition that was were the Presidents Western White House office was.  The inside pictures I will display were taken from the internet.

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In this room was 4 desks.  This was  President Lyndon Baines Johnsons official desk.  Across from him was the desk of his Ranch Manager.  Their was also 2 other desks in their that were from his Washington crew.  One I believe was for his Press Secretary Pierre Salinger.  On the wall facing him was 3 tvs that were always tuned to the 3 major networks.  Now our guide said, “Just Imagine.  All 3 tvs going, 72 phone lines that came into the house ringing, and cigar smoke filtering through the air.  lol.”  Yes, never a dull moment in that house.

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Here is his recliner that has the Presidential Seal on the headrest.  His pillow reads “This is my ranch and I do as I dam please”……We went outside, the next part of the house we could not go in.  It was the original part that his Aunt and Uncle lived in.  We then walked around the front passing some huge Oaks and past the front of the house that was seen so many times during his presidency.

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I remember pictures of upstairs porch with that criss cross railing.  Here is President Johnson, Lady Bird and the 2 girls, Luci Baines and Lynda Bird.

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On the east side of the house, 2 bedrooms had been added on.  Presidents in the front and Lady Bird’s on the back side.  Also a Pool was added.  President Johnson could now just go out his bedroom door to the pool.  The pool is still being perfectly maintained today.

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We passed this piece of concrete that was on the approach to the front door.  It as added when LBJ bought the ranch in Aug 1952.  We then entered the side door and went down a long hallway passing all the room till we entered the living room.  Now all these inside pictures I have again taken from the internet.

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The Living Room had one of the stairways going upstairs.  We unfortunately couldn’t go up.  Lady Bird Johnson called this room “Grand Central Station”, as their were doors in all the walls leading to different parts of the house.  It was always hustle and bustle.

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Interiors of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Ranch also known as the Texas White House in Stonewall, Texas on Tuesday, January 31, 2012. (Austin American-Statesman/Rodolfo Gonzalez)

We were then taken into the kitchen.  It had an Industrial frig as well as industrial stove.  Many large meals were cooked here.  The guide said, that after Lyndon died, his girls remodeled the kitchen for their mother.  The yellow counter that you can see in the corner was replaced with modern counter.  After she died it was all restored to original yellow.  We never seen the Dinning Room, but we heard it was under construction.  We went back down the hall way seeing all the rooms we had passed on the way in.  We seen closets full of their clothes, bathrooms, and a sitting room.  The Sitting Room was once the Master Bedroom, but Lady Bird got tired of waking up in the middle of the night and finding by the Presidents side several members of his staff talking with the President.  So Therefore, that is why the 2 bedrooms were added on.  Lady Birds was very large.  She had a fireplace with a seating area, large windows to look outside at her flowers and a full wall enclosed curio cabinet for her special keepsakes.  A beautiful room of comfortable peace and serenity.

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Across the hall was the Presidents room.  He had a regular hospital light above the headboard.  Of course his 3 tvs were installed, and you can see his table for his Chiropractor treatments.  The guide said his Chiropractor was still living in Johnson City and she was always picking his brain for stories.  Every nite he would get an hour treatment.  He was suppose to be relaxing but he was always on the phone or talking with someone in the room.  After he left the presidency, they returned to the ranch to return to a normal life style if possible.  Lyndon Baines Johnson died at his ranch at 4:39 p.m. on January 22, 1973 at age 64, from a third myocardial infarction (heart attack).

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Johnson was napping in his ranch bedroom when he suffered his last massive coronary, called his beloved Secret Service agent Mike Howard and fell to the floor, almost instantly dead. It was exactly two days after the presidential term he would have served, had he run again in 1968, and almost the same moment that his successor, Richard Nixon, declared a peace in Vietnam that had eluded LBJ and would not last.
After Johnson’s first heart attack in 1955, doctors had told him that if he ever started smoking again, he would kill himself. But almost as soon as he left the presidency, he resumed fierce chain smoking, overeating, and, sometimes, overdrinking. Some of his aides privately muttered that the boss was committing slow motion suicide. But when one of his horrified daughters begged him to stop the cigarettes, Johnson shook his head and exclaimed, “No, I’ve raised you girls, I’ve been president, and now it’s my time!”   I also read that he was laying in bed and called his Agents that he was having massive chest pains.  The Agents found him in bed still with the phone in his hand.  But whether he was in bed or on the floor, he passed in his bedroom at his Beloved Ranch that he loved so much.  He had a life time of memories.  He was born on this land, his spent his childhood learning ranching, playing in the beautiful Perdenales River, later purchasing the property and making and developing it as his own.  He married Lady Bird and raised 2 daughters here.  Then becoming the 36th President of the United States and making this the Western White House So many important decisions were made during his presidency in this house and out under the Oak trees down by the river……..So Much to be Proud of……

Their is so much more that will be in Part 2.  Secret Service Command Post, Communications Center,  Their car collection, Birthplace home, School house and above all The Family Cemetery.  We left the house and seen so much more.  This has been such an inspiring tour so far,  learning so much about our president that I never knew.  We take so much for granted as a child.  We need to appreciate what we have as an adult and learn about our Beautiful Country we have and the Men who Have Made it Great.

……Stay Tuned for Part 2…..

But this is my Most Favorite Picture of the Day…..Rich on “Air force One” and a Half…..

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Boyhood Home of Lyndon B. Johnson, Johnson City Texas

Texas Hill Country is so beautiful.  After traveling mostly in eastern and southern Texas, this was such a gorgeous area.  Full of Beautiful scenery.

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It is the area where the desert meets the high plains and plateaus.  It can feel the harshness of the summer heat and drought, and also the winter storms, the cold and the snowstorms.  It is also the home of the beautiful wildflowers in season, most famous is the Bluebonnets.  This is the area our 36th president (1963-1969) Lyndon B. Johnson was born in and grew up in.  He loved and cherished it all his life.  We finally arrived in Johnson City (named after his ancestors) on Tue afternoon.  We found a reasonable campground right in town.  We had just enough time to find his Boyhood home.  The Lyndon B Johnson Historical Park is divided into 2 pieces.  His boyhood home and other exhibits in town and 14 miles west is the LBJ Ranch, the family home for over a century, his home and also the Western White House during his presidency.

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We decided to find his Boyhood home.  In town we could have seen many things such as history of Hill Country, restored structures of towns past, photos and movies of LBJ and Lady Bird, but it was so so hot, we decided to just see his Childhood Home.

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We was able to park right out front.  it is situated on a city block, comprised of 1 3/4 acres.  It is surrounded by a white picket fence.  Lyndon moved here in 1913 at the age of 5 and lived here for the next 24 years.  He moved from the farm as they called it then, west of town 14 miles, along with his parents and 2 sisters.  His dad, Sam Ealy Johnson Jr. paid $2,925 for the house.  It was called a Folk Victorian house built in 1903 by W. C. Russell, the Sheriff of Blanco Co.  

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As we approached the house the Park Ranger was swinging on the porch.   It turns out we were the only ones for a tour.  It was really causal and the Ranger did an excellent job.

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As we entered the house, this was the first room.  This was the office of Lyndon’s dadSam Ealy Johnson was a State Legislator for 12 years.  This house was originally very small.  It as constructed with a “dog run” or “dog trot”.  The main room is separated from the sleeping quarters by a breezeway that is covered.  It makes for more cool breezes.  It cools and circulates the air when the windows are open.  This room was the breezeway at one time until it was enclosed as a room.

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Off to the side was a bedroom.  This was the Girls Bedroom.  Eventually the Johnsons had 2 more children, a girl and a boy.  They raised 2 boys and 3 daughters in this house.

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We crossed back through the office to the Dinning room.  This was the center room for the house.  Now with time, a room was added on each side of the house off this dinning room.  Therefore, there’s  a door on each wall to a connecting room.  Also they added porches to each corner of the house.  It was surprising to feel how comfortable the temperature was inside the house.  Because of the porches shading the house and the open windows, their was a nice air flow even on 90 degree days.

floorThe back Sleeping porch and porch to the Tub room were screened in.  This also made 2 more doors in the Dining Room.

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This is the kitchen which was quite cheerful.  Because of its location, it didn’t heat up the house in the summer and had plenty of cross draft from the windows.

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One the other side of the Dinning Room was the Parents Bedroom.  Their bedroom was facing the front of the house and they also had a porch.  It was covered but not screened enclosed.

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This was the door to their porch.  They sure made beautiful wooden screen door back then.  Love the detail.  Notice the worn threshold?…..Years of the Johnson family walking and running out the door.

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The next room off the parents bedroom was…..of course the boys…..The parents had to keep a close watch over them…lol…also since this was the farthest room from the dinning room and the fireplace, they had a stove for the winter.  It is hard to see, but Rich spied a bucket under the bed.  …..Now we all know what that was used for….

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Off the boys room was a room they called ….The Tub Room….I believe this was pretty elegant and modern in that era.  Love the picture above the tub.

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This is the screened in porch between the Tub Room and the Dinning Room.   So beautiful isn’t it.  And this design allows the girls to use the Tub Room without going through the parents and boys rooms.  Really quite an amazing design.  Finally, back to the Dinning Room.

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To front of the house was 1 last room, The Parlor.  This was a rather formal room.  Lyndon’s mom was Rebekah Baines, one of the few college educated women in the area.  Education was her passion.  In this room she taught Elocution lessons (public speaking) and Debating techniques to the neighborhood children.  I asked the Ranger more about her.  He said, just remember, the Johnson men seemed to know how to marry women with money….lol….She came from money.  For her first years of marriage and during Lyndon’s first young years, they lived out at the farm, surrounded by other family members as it was owned by an Aunt and Uncle of Lyndon’s.  Life out their was much harder.  So that was when Sam moved the family in town to the more modern home.  She was so much happier to be able to live a more comfortable lifestyle, raise her family and be able to still teach.  I also asked about the authenticity of the furniture etc.  The ranger said it has been restored to 1920s era.  The only authentic pieces of the Johnsons are most of the things in the Parlor.  The furniture is original.   Most everything else in other rooms are replications.

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We walked out the back door to the beautiful yard.  It was full of beautiful Oak trees.  You can see the water system they had rigged up, and in the distance at the end of the path was a small barn for livestock.

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The windmill through the trees….It was a beautiful blue sky day.

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This picture was taken from near the barn looking to the back of the house.  You can see a small shed that I think was used for butchering and smoking meats.

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This is the back of the house.  The kitchen is in the middle, Sleeping porch in the right and the porch connecting the Tub Room on the left.   During the years after the Johnsons lived their, it had been altered and changed quite a bit.  It was given to the National Park Service and with the help of historians, architects, carpenters, stonemasons, and many local business people the restoration was completed.  It was opened in 1973 after 3 years of construction to restore its originality.

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This was an amazing tour to see where this little boy grow up to be the man he became…..

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…..The 36th President of the United States of America….

One can surely see where he received his roots.  His father was a State Legislator.  He helped his dad campaign for re-election and sat in on legislative sessions.  His mother was well educated and taught him public speaking and debating.  His life was formed as a child to succeed in life, to serve the people of the United States.   He was an Amazing Man.   

After we left their, we were hungry, so we scouted around town.  It is a town loaded with little antique shops and stores.  You can only imagine through the years since he was president, the amount of visitors they have had in this town.  All over the country and also the world.  I’m sure many world leaders or representatives and families have shopped in this town on the way to the Ranch.  We found a cute little restaurant that had its own winery inside.  Prices were a little steep, but we had the BEST CHICKEN FRIED STEAK ever.  It as awesome.  Finally back to the Motorhome.

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Tomorrow we would head out to the LBJ Ranch …14 miles west

…..IT WAS MAGNIFICENT….

 

 

 

 

Oklahoma State Capital Tour and Steak and Shake

We were making a small vacation of this delay in Oklahoma City, waiting for the Motor Home to go into the shop.  We had added taking a tour of the State Capital to our list.  Last year we toured the Iowa Capital in Des Moines and was so impressed.  It seems that all Capital buildings are open for either a guided tour or self guided.  We checked out GPS on the phone and found out it was near.  So off we went in search of the State Capital of Oklahoma.  Of course traffic these days around capitals seems to be one way with circular drives around the whole complex.  So if you miss your turnoff, around you go again.  So finally we parked right in front.  After asking questions we were told to park in the designated spots of the House and Senate.  Of course they were out of session.  That seems to be the norm.

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On the approach it also looked very stately with a Dome.  But it was not gold gilded like Iowa State Capital.  We found out later Oklahoma’s capitol was designed 95 years ago to have a dome, but the money ran out and the work was not resumed until 2001. So for all those years.  The building was just flat, looking very stately but no dome.

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On the top if you look close is an Indian. The Guardian,” his body facing east in an Indian tradition and his face looking south, is 17 feet high but the entire structure, including a spear thrust into the ground at his feet, is 22 feet tall.  “The Guardian” is supposed to reflect Oklahoma’s heritage as the former Indian Territory. Nearly 40 Indian tribes call Oklahoma home, more than any other state.    Upon walking up to the building we realized that we came at the time of a major restoration, inside and out.  Scaffolding was covering a big portion of a wing.  We had boarded walkway to guide us to the entrance which was in the lower level.  Upon entering, of course we went through security and then on to the Visitor Center.  Their was a bunch of high school age kids and their teacher waiting for a tour.  We entered the very nice gift shop and visited with the very nice lady.  We had the option to tour our self or go with the group.  We decided to go with the kids as we might learn more.  A few minutes later our guide came and off we went.  Down the hall and up the stairs, turn, more stairs…..lol….Around the corner and look what we found.

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This is a 9ft.  bronze replica of the statue on guard at the top of the Dome.  On we went with the kids.

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We came to a Beautiful Grand staircase.  We kept going until we came to the rotunda featuring the State Seal.

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It was situated right under the dome.  You could look up through the circular openings in the floors, all the way to the top of the dome.

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It was magnificent.  At the very top is the State Seal and if you look closely you can see different levels that have railings around them.

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We walked up another floor, and looked down at the State Seal.  So impressive with all the granite everywhere.

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Now as we were trailing the kids, the tour guide said, “Don’t you have any questions?…Did you bring your pens and notebooks?”……Of course,  No Response.  They were just their to do the tour and have a fun day out….Notice the railings in the rotunda are all beautiful marble swirled.

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The stair railings were also all marble and wrought iron.  On we went.  The one thing we were disappointed in, was all the paintings or anything decorative and art items had been removed for remodeling.  So the walls were very plain.  But they were remodeling, so that was to be expected.

Oklahoma capitalThis  is what the rotunda looks like with some of the art and paintings on display.  Next we went to the Hall of the Governors.

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This room holds the sculptures of all the Oklahoma State Govenors.

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This painting is my favorite.  It is called “Flight of Spirit”.  The artist is Mike Larsen, who is of Chickasaw decent.  It is just beautiful.

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Here is another painting, depicting the history of Oklahoma.  The colors are so beautiful and vibrant.  Above is a stain glass curved window that lets light in

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Next we went to the Supreme Court.  It doesn’t look quite at large as I thought it would be but it was interesting.  Our guide gave us some good facts that I already forgot….lol…Guess I should have brought my pen and paper.

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‘Then on to the Senate.  The kids all sat at desks of the Senators as the tour guide talked.  You notice the balcony area,  it is open to the public to watch proceedings.  Some of it is glassed of so the noises of the news reporters cameras clicking are not heard.

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Out in the hall we came across another beautiful mural depicting the history of the oil industry.

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Now we entered the House of Representatives.  This time we were at the back of the room.  As you can see the balcony areas wrap all around the room.  If you look close, on the wall are the old fashion black bladed fans that are original and still can be used today.  The ceilings in both houses are stained glass.  At one time, they had been closed and sealed up to  make A/C more economical.  In the last decade, they decided to restore them to original.  They are beautiful.  At this time, it was the end of the guided tour.  We left the group and wandered a little our selves.  We finally left after about an hour and a half.

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Located on more than 100 acres in NE Oklahoma City, the Oklahoma State Capitol is the only capitol in the world surrounded by working oil wells. One is even named Petunia #1, because it was drilled in the middle of a flower bed.   In researching, I found several interesting pictures from the past.

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This one shows the many oil rigs around the capital.  It also shows the capital before the dome was added.  71225-004-CE0ECD1FAnother picture with all the oil rigs.  The capitol building is directly atop the Oklahoma City Oil Field.

Finally we headed back home.  We had 2 more days to enjoy.  I had wanted to go to Oklahoma City Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge.  It would have been so much walking, so we passed on that.  It was really hot so we just enjoyed the a/c, and did caught up on laundry.  We did so some shopping and found a Steak and Shake.

 

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Steak and Shake design of today

 

Now for those of you who don’t know, Steak and Shake started in Normal Illinois in 1934.  I grew up not far from their.  I thought it was only a local or Illinois chain.  They have the best Steak burgers, Chili, Chili Mac, and Chili 3 ways and skinny fries.  They are also famous for their old fashioned shakes…..

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When I was a teenager, they were drive in restaurants.  They offered curb service with carhops or eat in.  We would go to Peoria and cruise Main St.  Drive in and around Steak and Shake and back out again down Main. 

 

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Steak and Shake of the 50’s and 60’s

 

That’s what everyone did with cool cars.  A place for the guys and the girls to met…lol….Now I have found out they are in over 31 states and International.  They are only offer eat-in or drive-through now.  When Peru Illinois first built theirs, Tina was just 16.  She applied and got her first job their.  She just received her license and drove to Normal to get her training.  She did that several weeks.  I was a little leery but she did well.  She worked their for quite awhile.  They are open 24 hours, so she put in some very late nights.  I can’t believe I let her work till 2 am sometimes.  I wonder if that is even legal today.  So long story short, we went in and had a wonderful dinner.  I had my regular, Frisco Melt with fries covered with cheese.  It is 2 Steak burgers with American and Swiss cheese on buttery Sourdough bread, grilled to perfection with their Sweet and Tangy sauce inside.  Rich had a Triple burger and fries.  Mmmmm Mmm…good food.

We had a nice relaxing time at the campground.  We noticed it was so windy their.  Every day it just blew.  Also right by the office was a huge concrete storm shelter.  Oklahoma has so many tornadoes, they have to be prepared.  I was also planning on going swimming in their indoor pool, but the nite before some little kid made a deposit in the pool…..lol….The manager had to clean and drain it.  So much for that.  Finally Monday morning, we were told to be at the Rush Truck Shop at 8 am.  We drove about a mile and entered the yard and got in line.   Well the 8 am appointment ended up 1 pm.  We finally got in and were out by 2:30.  All that waiting for an hour and a half of service.  Oh Well, finally on the road again and heading south.  Next stop Johnson City Texas.  We have always wanted to tour the LBJ Ranch.   For those of you who are young,  LBJ stands for Lyndon Baines Johnson, our 36th President of the United States.  I was surprised how many do not know that.  Even the kids and grandkids had no idea.  I guess that shows our age.  We lived that chapter of history when President John F Kennedy was assassinated and Lyndon Baines Johnson was sworn into office on Air Force One.  We crossed into Texas finally and spent the nite at a campground.  On Tue. we drove on to Johnson City and found another campground.  On the way we had entered Hill Country.  It is the most beautiful area of Texas.

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The trees and landscape were so green.  The road wound up and down and around hills.  Some place you seen what looked like small mountains in the distance.  Such a beautiful area.  After we checked in, we started our touring of LBJs life in Johnson City and the Ranch west of town.   Next Blog……LBJs Boyhood Home and LBJs Ranch on the Perdernales River. Also known as the Western White House during his Presidency 

 

 

Oklahoma City National Memorial

We left McNabb on a Monday.  We went to Galesburg and visited my brother and sister in law.  We stopped and bought KFC and brought it their home and visited.  We then proceeded through Iowa, and down to Missouri and visited our friends Cici and Larry in Excelsior Springs.  We had a really nice visit and took off heading south.  We discovered late afternoon we had a power steering leak about 100 miles out of Oklahoma City.  We slept at a Rest Area, in the morning we unhooked the pickup and drove to the nearest truck stop and bought some to put in.  We headed into Oklahoma City and after several phone calls and stops we finally got an appointment for the following Monday….This was Wednesday……So many shops didn’t work on power steering, and another didn’t have tall enough bays.  We could have kept looking, but we decided to make a little vacation out of it.  We found a campground near by and settled in.  We had lots of nice shade, a picnic table, and near all the shopping and sites to see.  We decided to go see the Oklahoma City National Memorial.  We have seen it twice before but it never gets old.  The first time was when it was just being built back around 2000.  It was only in the very early stages and the reflecting pond and grassy areas was nothing but red red clay.  We seen it completed years later but never went into the museum.  So this was a must this time.

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On the Morning of  April 19, 1995 a truck-bomb exploded outside the Alfred P Murrah Building in down town Oklahoma City, left 168 people dead and destroyed one-third of the building. The blast destroyed or damaged 324 other buildings within a 16-block radius, shattered glass in 258 nearby buildings, and destroyed or burned 86 car.  At that moment of 9:02, it changed the lives of many in Oklahoma City and through out the nation and world also.  Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols constructed a homemade bomb concealed in a rental truck.   McVeigh motivated by his dislike for the U.S. federal government and angry about its handling of the Ruby Ridge incident in 1992 and the Waco siege in 1993, McVeigh timed his attack to coincide with the second anniversary of the deadly fire that ended the siege at the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.  Ironically McVeigh was stopped for no license plate only 90 minutes after the bomb went off.  He was arrested for illegal weapons possession.  With in several days forensic evidence quickly linked McVeigh and Nichols to the attack; Nichols was arrested, and both were charged.  They were both tried and convicted in 1997. McVeigh was executed by lethal injection on June 11, 2001, and Nichols was sentenced to life in prison in 2004.  These are just the highlights of the story.  It is a very heart wrenching story, but again, another story we must never forget.  Plans were made for this memorial to commemorate all the victims of this needless tragedy and those who survived and changed their lives forever.  This is something that all must see if ever going through Oklahoma City.  It is very easy to get to.  So this is what you will see…….

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Upon walking up to the gate, you will see the original chain link fence constructed to keep everyone out as the debris was cleaned up.  In this fence everyone started bringing flowers, mementos, stuffed animals and remembrances of the victims.  It was stuffed full.  The items are periodically removed and catalogued……and as you see it continues today…..

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This was one that drew my attention…..Chase Dalton Smith 3, and his brother, Colten Wade Smith 2.  They were the only children of their parents.  They were dropped off at the Day Care Center on the second floor.  They were both killed along with a total of 19 children in the Day Care which was at the front of the building.  Their were 4 infant cribs in front of the windows with the youngest being 6 months.  The oldest in the Day Care was 5.  3 teachers also lost their lives.

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This is the gate or wall as you walk up and enter the Memorial. This was actually a street before that went in front of the Alfred P Murrah Building.

20170608_152213This Beautiful Reflecting Pond is what you see as you go through the door way.  As you look around, it is such a feeling of powerful tranquility.  Everything you see has a meaning.  The pond was the original street where the Ryder truck was parked and detonated.  Above the wall behind me at the top is etched “9:01”. 

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On the other wall at the end of the pond above the opening is etched “9:03”.  They represent the calm before, and the moment the healing began.  9:02 was the moment of terror and murder.

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As you look to the right, You see all the beautiful glass chairs.  Their are 168 chairs with 19 of them being of small size for the children.  They are arranged on top of where the Murrah building stood in 9 rows to commemorate the nine stories of the building.  Each chair corresponds to the floor each person worked on or was visiting.  The Day Care was on the Second Floor.

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Here I found Chase and Colten’s chairs.  To see this it definitely tugs at the core of your heart.  Why can anyone do such a thing.   Kill innocent children.

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At nite these chairs are all lite up.  This site of open 24 hours a day for people to enter onto sacred ground for quite reflection.  Each chair has a persons name on it and people will leave flowers or memorials to different ones.

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One the other side of the pond is a large building that withstood the bombing.  It was the former Journal Record Building.  Right in front is the only tree that with stood the blast.  It is a 40 foot tall Elm tree that was located across from the parking lot of the Murrah Building.  The bomb scorched the tree badly. It left glass and shrapnel stuck in its bark.  A hood from one of the cars that blew up was found burning in the crown of the tree.  It is now called the Survivors Tree.  Owners of landscape nurseries, arborists, urban foresters and expert horticulturists from across the state and country have come together to work and preserve this piece of history.  Every year seeds are collected and given to the Nurseries.  They plant the seeds and distribute the resulting saplings each year on the anniversary of the bombing. Today, thousands of Survivor Trees are growing in public and private places all over the United States.

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After we walked up to the Survivors Tree,  we went on to the front of the actual Memorial Museum. 

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This was the Journal Records building at the time of the bombing.  All the windows were blown out but it structurally withstood the blast.  In the front you will see many tiles designed by children all over the United States.  They carefully chose and installed these tiles in the front.  The rest of the tiles have been carefully saved for the future.  On the walkway is some chalk board areas that were installed for the children to draw or write messages.  Up on entering and purchasing your ticket, they have you take the elevator to the 4th floor.  You then work your way down.  Their are so many items and information saved.  Many recordings of survivors, emergency responders, and news people.  The one that really stood out was a room that we entered and we all took a seat.  Across from us was a wall of windows that were solid.  We thought we were going to see a movie.  In this room was the City Water Dept. holding a hearing about an issue.  It was recorded and started promptly at 9am.  As you sat their those 2 minutes seemed an eternity as the hearing progressed.  Nothing happened in the window screen area.  All of a sudden, the bomb went off.  It was huge and massive.  You could hear the chaos, the screaming and the running of the people. 

In that instant of the bomb, the window screens before us lite up with the pictures of the 168 people who were killed in the bombing. 

It was a moment of shock.  It was hard to comprehend the immensity of it all.  This is the only recording of the actual bombing.  Finally we walked out of the room and walked on.  So many displays.

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This showed a door that had been blown and some other debris.

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This picture is of the men’s bathroom that was walled off with windows so we can see in.  You can see the men’s urinals on the wall and the plumbing.   Such Violent forces.

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We finally moved down to the floors where they talked about the investigation.  These were automobile parts found blown up.  The wheel hub actually belonged to the Ryder truck that Timothy McVeigh had rented.  Because of it and another piece they were able to check serial numbers and immediately find out that the truck had been rented to McVeigh.  It didn’t take much for them to put the pieces together.  He had been stopped because he didn’t have a license on his car.

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This was his car,  1977 Mercury Marquis, that he had just bought as his had broken down.  He was stopped just 90 minutes after the bombing.  The Oklahoma State Policeman found he had a gun.

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He was then arrested for Illegal Weapons Possession.   The Authorities put it all together in 3 days and found him still in jail on this unrelated charge.  He was never remorseful of what he had done.  McVeigh was executed by lethal injection at 7:14 a.m. on June 11, 2001, at the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana.  Terry Nichols was given Life in prison in 2004.  Their was 2 other accomplices, Michael and Lori Fortier testified against McVeigh and Nichols; Michael was sentenced to 12 years in prison for failing to warn the United States government, and Lori received immunity from prosecution in exchange for her testimony.  Finally we walked out the door.  It was definitely a heart wrenching experience to think that anyone could do such a terrorist attack, especially an American.  How could anyone kill all those innocent children.  Oklahoma City will forever be changed as they honor all the victims and all the people that has helped with the healing process.  They have all been made stronger.  It is hard to believe it has been 22 years already.  And they still come and leave mementos in the fence…..So if your ever in the area,   Please take the time to visit…….

After that we went to the stockyards to a steakhouse restaurant.  We weren’t really impressed….lol…So home we went…..Another adventure was planned for the next day….

Oklahoma State Capital Tour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Grandkids…..

This year Austin graduated KindergartenHe was really excited.

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They held the graduation in the High School Auditorium.  This was his teacher.  After the ceremony, they went to Spring Valley to the Gold Mine Restaurant that Aunt Connie works at.

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They held a little party for him.  His little Jar is cute.  Tina rolled up $1 bills and tied them like a Diploma.  Put his picture inside and a Graduation Hat on top….Great Idea for any occasion.  We weren’t able to attend it so Tina held a small Party at “Fish and Fun”.  Its a little recreation area with a fishing lake and pool area with 3 different sizes pool.  The lake is lined with houses,  house trailers and camping trailers.  It is only several miles outside McNabb and is Membership only.

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Aunt Beth brought a cake and all the kids went swimming.   I bought him the pump container to fill water balloons.  They all had a good time with that.  Finally got a group picture of them all.

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This was hard.  Cameron didn’t want to cooperate….lol…and then theirs Dexter…

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Austin and Miley have both been involved in Sports this summer.  Miley will be in 3rd grade next year.  She is growing but Austin is growing faster.  Soon, if not already Austin will pass her by.

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Miley has also been involved with the Cheerleaders this year.  They did a performance at a High School game at half time.  She is so tiny and petite, and has been involved in gymnastics since she was 3.  So she can do lots of great moves.

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Here’s the whole family, including Tina, Ed and of course Dexter.  They stopped in Wisconsin Dells on their way up to Wisconsin for their annual fishing trip with Grandpa Dan Dolder. 

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Next we have little Carly.  She was 5 this year.   She is such a “Princess” and she’s so smart.

FB_IMG_1497792040882 She will enter Kindergarten this fall.  This photo is at PreSchool.

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Now this is one of my favorite pictures of her…Her hair is all natural curly and is very hard to control….Pigtails or pony tails are best..

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Her she is sticking her head out of her Mamas new car.  Tammy is in Love…..lol…..with her car….

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Next is her Big Sissy Cassidy….She is 13 this year….Now an “OFFICIAL Teenager”Cassidy went to live with her dad this year.  He lives nearby, and now she’s getting to know her other family which is a good thing.  She spends lots more time with her Grandma and Grandpa.

She comes out to her moms house a lot.  Probably almost every weekend.  So their all working it out.  It’s nice for all of them.  Teen years are tough.  Cassidy will enter 8th grade this fall….Almost High School….

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This is a favorite picture….

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Now for their Big Brother Cameron….He just had his“19th Birthday this month.  We are so proud of him.  This past year he has achieved so much.  Last year in the early spring, he dropped out of High School.  He was so far behind, he would have had to take summer classes, if not another year.  He has struggled all of high school.  He said he was going to get his GED.  We were all skeptical, but he made us all believers.  He enrolled at the Junior College.  He had to take the courses that would build his knowledge in all academic areas up to a certain level, so he could enroll in the GED Class.  He completed them and enrolled in the GED classes.  He finished in Nov and received his GED.  Then, with the help of Uncle Scott, he enrolled in CDL classes at the college and completed them in Feb this year.  Finding a job has been hard as he is only 19 and most company’s wont insure him until he is 21.  But he has found a job with the help of Aunt Tina with AG View FS Fertilizer Company.  He is doing so good and is well liked by the company and all the employees.  As you see the family has been behind him, but only because he has showed so much drive and initiative to complete his studies.  He found his goal to complete the GED and he pushed himself to succeed.  He now gets up everyday on his own, anxious to go to work.  Sometimes he leaves as early as  5:30, and works till 8.  But it is the busy season.  He has come so far this year.

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Scott and Brandy also had a big celebration in their family this year.  Brandy’s daughter Staci, has now graduated also and received her BSN in Nursing.  She will soon be taking the “BIG TEST” to obtain her license and then pick her job to begin her career.  In the mean time, she is helping out at the bar.

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One more photo is my niece Ashley’s little girl, Vivian.  She is Richs sister Connie’s Daughter.  Last year just before we left for AdventureLand, Connie held her Baby Shower.  Little Vivian is growing like a weed and is almost 1……And Guess What…….Vivian will be joined by a new little baby sister or brother this fall.  Exciting news…  The family is growing….

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This is a photo of Scott and Brandy’s Billboard for the bar….”ONE PAW’Z PUB”…..It is located on Rt. 89 at the corner of Main Street into McNabb.   Rather IMPRESSIVE isn’t it.

 

 

 

 

 

Part 3…Summer Camp Music Festival 2017

So now it is Sunday, last full day of Summer Camp.  I went and got my assignment…..Back to VIP…This time I am going inside and spend my 12 hours and just roam……Got my ride on the cart, went past Main Gate, and their was Rich…lol..still working……down to the road along the forest and all the way back past parking, VIP TENT CAMPING areas, and he stopped at the VIP TENT…..The guy at the pedestal scanners needed relieving so I stayed their for about and hour.  Again I had a Volunteer.  She was just a young girl from Michigan.  A free spirit but very nice.  It amazes me all these young girls of 18 or 19, who come to this festival from out of state.  What do their parents think of what goes on here?  Finally another Security person was left off so I went inside to  …..”ROAM”…..I walked in and tried to absorb it all…..Right be side the door started the bar….It was almost the whole width of the tent.  At the opposite end was the stage.  In the middle was of course the dance floor.  On either side was furniture.  Sectional Pit group Sofas scattered around for informal settings.  Coffee tables or ottomans, several side tables, even decorative lanterns or decorations on side tables, even some floor vases with tall grasses to make everything homey.  But now remember it had rained.  This was all erected on what was grass or field area.   So now it is mud.  From my doorway across the front of the bar and down the middle to the stage, they brought in 4 x 8 sheets of plywood.  On either side where all the furniture was, it was still in mud……OH YUCK……

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So this is what a VIP ticket gets you….Notice all the mud that has been tracked and the wicker sofa with the vase of grasses to make it elegant………Amazing…lol…

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Over on one side were girls giving massages.  They brought their equipment in and sat it in mud….All around the tent inside was more tapestry’s hung to go along with the theme.

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Above, they had material banners in pretty colors and shapes.  All the poles were wrapped and strung with lights.  Stars were hung and other decorations to match the theme.  It was really quite nice except for the mud.  The whole one side opened outside to a fenced in area.  They had picnic tables, a vender giving away different teas, several hammocks, some sun shades that you could get under on the grass.  Wished I had taken more photos out their.

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Also some games, several HUGE JENGA games and also FRISBIE, and BAGS…..

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While out side, I heard music and looked over to the parking area.  Their was a group playing  …..HEY JUDE by the Beatles….

So I soon discovered that the bands played for an hour….then their was an hour break for tear down and then setting up the next band.  During that time the crowd would come in….and then leave….head up to Moonshine….and then come back again…..

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During that day I seen around 6 different bands. These were all bands that were also playing on a big stage….The perk for the VIPers were they had their own performance to see at VIP also…..The plus for me was as Security, I walked right up to the edge of the stage to watch…..Theirs nothing like seeing a concert.  I’m not a fan of some of the music but when you are right their it really gets you into the spirit and into your soul.  I absolutely love to watch the keyboard player….and some of the guitarist were sensational.

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This group was the only country group.  Yonder Mountain String Band….Again not my type, but so enjoyed watching her play the Violin.  She was amazing.  They were playing at Sunshine Stage later.

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Photo taken by Aaron Bradley at Campfire Stage…..

My favorite was Mungion….The are a group from Chicago area.  They were just formed last year.  Their music was just Awesome.  Their music is blending elements of Rock, Jazz, Latin, Metal, Bluegrass, Jam, Electronic, Classical, World, and Funk.  They had some vocals but I really enjoyed just their music.  I was able to stand right by the keyboard player.  He was amazing and the lead guitarist. …..WOW…..Such a joy and inspiration to stand right by them and feel the music and vibe.   That hour went fast.  They have some stuff on U-Tube and already have produced a CD.  Check them out……But still nothing like being ……..RIGHT THEIR……. As the day went, everyone behaved.  The costumes started showing up

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Here is Uncle Sam…..

 

Two more to enjoy….Miss Butterfly,  and the Mr Geisha….lol…????

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This guy carried his own Palm Tree……

Next Picture…..Beware…..Almost Porno….lol…..Censored……….RATED  R 

But my FAVORITE……………………….OMG…..REALLY……SOOOOOOO     DISGUSTING

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He walked around like this all day …………..and all nite….

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How could you do that…..How could someone even admit you knew him…but he had friends…..He would have to know everyone is starring and his picture is being taken….Guess he likes being…..NOTICED….Evening came…The last band started.  Now it was dark, the tent with the lighting was taking on a whole new Beautiful effect.  The spot lights were shinning on the whole ceiling circling and twirling and changing colors…..”ENCHANTING”…..

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Finally I was relieved.  It was a good day.  Lots of entertainment, I simply roamed and sat.   Everyone was well behaved……………SO FAR……Their was one more party to start later ending at 4 am.  I rode back to Security Office….Passed Main Gate….lol….Rich is their Again….I asked about Monday.  Everything was supposed to be done by 4 am.  Then it would be time to herd out 25,000 people by noon.  Really, How can that be done.  So yes, I was needed show up at 7 am.  When I came out of the office, This is what I seen

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It looked like a floating Jellyfish….Pretty cool…They were heading for the big stages for the LAST BIG NITE.  Back to bed, told Kitty, One more nite of rocking and rolling and window rattling…..lol.

7am up and at um.  Got my assignment.   Guess What……VIP TENT AGAIN…..Rode down past Main Gate…..Their was Rich….still….arrived and went in.  “It was now out of control”.  “They were wild”.  I found the kid, poor Colten, that I was replacing.  He said “theirs nothing you can do, just sit back here by the bar“.  He was so glad to leave.  The party was suppose to be over at 4am .  The music was going strong.  Techo Dance Music,  dancing all over.  people partying inside and out.  Laying on couches, but nobody passed out….Miracle….People were going past me into the bar and making their own drinks.  The bartender was standing by me.  He looked at me and threw his hands in the air and said…”I Give Up…Their out of Control”…I had the best seat in the house to watch all this Chaos…..The mud had gotten worse.  Standing water….miserable…They didn’t care.  I now had a radio again, so I could hear the progress of shutting down the Festival.  Security and Police officers arrived.  Immediately the music stopped………The officers voices boomed over everyone………..”PARTY’S OVER….Go to you sites pack up and LEAVE”….They herded them like cattle and with in a few minutes they were all gone….7:30 it was empty…..I was told to stay their and kept them out…….OMG…..The garbage was everywhere.  Just filthy.  They had a Green Team member all the day before, buy apparently not during the night.  I parked by the door.  Amazing how many did come back during the morning surprised they were closed.  The cleanup crew started cleaning up the bar, the company who were hired to decorate started tearing down.  All the furniture was moved to the side…..I watched as people came to use the bathrooms.  Their was Porta Pottys as well as Bathroom trailers.  They had regular sit down toilets.  the rooms were rich in wood and slate look walls…..Remember this is VIP.  Nothing but the best.  Early on, they would open the door and walk in….later they would open the door and stare, and finally walk in…towards the end, They would open the door stare….close the door and leave…..They were so so bad.  Finally the were all locked up and the semis came in and started hauling them away already.  The radio was full of activity.  Security and law enforcement were going through the forest.  Every was suppose to leave by noon. Wake anyone up, get them packing, smash all tents to the ground”.  They were looking for bodies….lol….The kids seem to leave all their things.  Tents, sleeping bags.  etc.  So you need to make sure nobody is still sleeping.  They made several canvases through the woods.  The parking lots became active.  Peoples cars wouldn’t start.  They needed jumper cables.  A security guard was in the parking area and came upon a person counting a whole lot of money.  More that he should have had, so she called for the cops to come and investigate.  She thought he might have been selling drugs.  At the main gate, they were trying to bring their cars back in to pick up stuff.  Nope, they had to carry everything out.  ….Lost and found….So many people lost their phones…we would send them to Soul Shine tent…..lost car keys??? now that’s a problem….But they kept leaving….it started to slow….

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This is what they looked like as they came walking out of Moonshine Area…I looked over to VIP TENT CAMPING, they looked like little ants, just packing up all heading the same direction.  They kept coming out of the woods.  Rich gave it a Great Analogy…..”Remember the pictures of the troops in war marching home?   Bent over, walking slowly, bandages and limping…..lol…Yes, it was an ARMY of  Tired homeless looking people, trying to make it to their car”.  Rt. 29 was a massive traffic jam.  Noon came, still plenty of people.  The VIP campers were starting to move out.  The venders were packing up.  All shower and potty trailers locked.  I looked around…..Mud…..Shoes stuck in mud and walked out of….A guy came limping into the bathroom area, he had one shoe on, and barefoot on the other.  So many were now barefoot.  They looked miserable, Hung Over, or what ever.  3 pm came and I was approaching Bladder explosion.  I figured 4 pm max, and I would have to call.  It had finally quited down, so I almost wondered If I was forgotten.  All radios were given back at noon.  Radio World was closing up.  I was sitting by the entrance now to VIP by the road.  I decided to call Rich…..He was still their at Main Gate….It was starting to wrap up, but still plenty going on at the gate.  Finally 3:45 they came around to pick me up…………YES…….Just in the nick of time….Rode by Main Gate….Rich was still their….OMG….Checked out at Security, Tina told us how much they appreciated us.  By that last day, they were becoming shorthanded.  I think a lot of the kids are hired and don’t show up after a day or two.  Finally headed back to the trailer.  Sooooooooooo Peaceful………..Finally Rich came home……..He just completed working over 21 hours straight…..Nooooo Way….Not me….He was so tired…We were told we could stay till the next day and they would keep the electric on.  So that was a huge plus.   Rich was not ready to drive.  So we spent the rest of the day in A/C, watching tv, napping, and watching out the window as the stragglers left, the workers started tearing down.  Now all the generators, pottys, showers and all equipment were being hauled out.  They started tearing out all the electrical wires that had been installed, rolling them up and heading to the next area.  Their was no down time……20170530_100033

The next morning we got up and prepared to leave.  They had cleared out alot   When you looked at the forest area, you could now see in easily, but it was littered with bright colors.   Tents, Sleeping bags, etc.  All left behind smashed to the ground.   But so much trash to remove.  But they were hard at work by daybreak, hauling out the generaters and showers.  We left around noon, and headed home…..Returned to McNabb, parked and layed low that day…..Still Tired….

Now I know it sounds like it is all just a huge glorified Music Fest, full of drinking and drugs, but their is a lot of positives also.

The SoulShine Tent was full of Alternative things to do and participate in to make your Festival Experience Wonderful and Memorable without the use of alcohol and drugs.  255764_10150265152650791_277732215790_9417287_4044931_nThe one that was most apparent to me was the Green Team.  They were all over the park.  The garbage in the prime areas were divided into 3 barrels, red, blue and green.

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Signs told you to throw into the proper recycle bin.  Volunteers attended the bins regularly.  They went through them and sorted and also scoured the areas and picked up trash.  All the trash in the park was picked up regularly by Green Team members on a Hay rack, dividing into bags, glass and cardboard.  I seen them digging out the cardboard that had been thrown down in the muddy areas to walk on.  Then all garbage is dumped in a large hill in the recycle area to be gone threw, ….PIECE BY PIECE….Imagine that.  The day after the Festival, the Green Team was scouring the Parking Areas bagging garbage.  They also have a drive to collect Cigarette Butts.

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Last year they collected 69,000 Butts for recycle.  They also collect the wrappers and cellophane as well as the Rollie Pouches.

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Their is also an area for a Food Drive.  They were mainly looking for canned food that would be delivered to the Peoria Area Food Banks.

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Also their was several groups that you could be part of.  This group is promoted by one of the biggest headliners “MOE” .  It is a group that travels and sets up with Moe at festivals and promotes how to have fun and enjoy your Music experience WITHOUT alcohol and drugs.  Also their was a Book Drive to promote literacy and a Personal Hygiene drive, collecting shampoos, soaps, toothpaste and brushes, even unused items from the festival, like ponchos, condoms, etc.  They were also their to give out info and help if needed.

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Their was also workshops.  Soul Patch is in its 4th year.  It is an ongoing gardening area that teachs techniques to take back home.

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They learn basic and advance techniques of permaculture and urban gardening education!  These girls were making signs to put in the planting areas.    Their was also classes in Yoga every morning,  Hula Hoop classes for the latest moves….Art lessons and displays as well as an auction.  Even watch Glass Blowing.  Near us was a Kid Camping area…. It was a place to bring the kids for activities like painting, and different crafts.  Also they had magicians and others doing different interactive activities with the kids.  Another important aspect was the had Counselors present.  I’m sure they were of a Great Value to have present…So their were many positives going on also……Many groups trying to make this a Positive Experience…..

I also have to say, we were treated with respect.  They were all their to have a fun weekend in their own way.  The problem people were dealt with immediately by security and law enforcement.  Medical issues were also immediately addressed.  The staff was monitoring closely throughout the park throughout the Festival.  Upon leaving so many of the kids actually Thanked Rich and I for being their, and making this a safe festival.  They were all so HAPPY to have had a WONDERFUL time

So Would we do this again?????……We Would Love To…..But………….Don’t know if the body is up to this much longer.   For me 12 hours was hard if I didn’t have a chair or stool.  Rich pushed himself, even if he won’t admit it.   The thing is, we knew it was only for a few days.  The one thing that made it possible was,  we had our RV.  The Luxury of our bed, A/C, our own potty, and electricity.   All the comforts of home…… So we did push…..But it is NOT healthy to stay at the Main Gate 21 hours….but it was his choice....lol….So I don’t know….Never say Never…..

But we are so glad we did,  It was another experience that well never forget nor be sorry we did……Another Bucket List …..Check Off….

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Part 2 Summer Camp Music Festival 2017

The last post I wrote about all the preparation that we seen when we arrived on Monday.  Our first day for work was Wed.  The gates didn’t open till Thur. for the Pre party, so Wed. was still preparation for opening.  The Security Office was about 50 ft. from us, so it was nice and close.  I walked over for my morning shift of 7 am – 7 pm.  I was assigned VIP area.  After I signed in with Tina and got a Security vest, one of the guys gave me a ride in a golf cart.  We were told to bring a chair if we wanted or anything to make our 12 hours bearable.  I took Richs stool from Adventureland.  It was also chilly in the morning, around high 50s to start.  So I wore my brightly colored tie dyed sweatshirt…..When we were here 6 years ago, Rich’s brother, John had let us ride around in the park once, and I pretty much new the layout.

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VIP was down at the bottom closer to the parking lots and Rt. 29.  It hugged the tree line of the forest.  At the end of the road before it went back up the hill, was a huge tent.  It was the VIP tent.  As you turned the corner to go up the hill, their was a parking area.  I was left off their and he said just sit their, watch and make sure their was no trouble.  Now that’s easy enough……It was really muddy….As I looked in the grassy area, their was a golf cart.  On the front it said ARTIST RELATIONS.  Nobody was around, so I just climbed on the back and made myself comfortable.  Their was another Security Guard at the gate going up the hill, Colten.  He had a scanner and had to scan everyone who was going through the gate.  This was the entrance to the back of the Moonshine Stage.  Right by me was parking for the Moonshine Stage.  I learned that each stage has its own production team as well as runners.  It is their job to run for anything needed, whether it was in the park or shopping at a store.  They had parking passes called Runners.  So that day, I just sat all day on the back of the unclaimed cart.  It sprinkled, I moved inside.  I watched at supplies came into the VIP tent.  Beer trailers, tables, picnic tables, some furniture, and many items.  All I knew was that was the tent that would have special perks for the VIP ticket holders…..”And I found out later”…..I sat their and watched Porta Pottys come in.

20170524_075800Shower trailers and Generators and a full size semi full of Ice for the VIP area.  Vendors started coming in and setting up their food areas.  The funniest thing I seen all day was a semi who was bringing in a shower trailer.  They told him to turn up the slight hill in the grassy area and drive up by the tree line……Well, he didn’t get far, he was stuck.  It took the next hour or 2 to figure out how to get him out.  Quite Entertaining.  Finally after 12 hours, I was relieved got a ride back up to the Security area.  Rich was at work by this time, as he was working nites.  He was at the Front gate.  For me it was a long day, but really not bad as I sat all day doing nothing.  Next morning, I checked in and that’s when things started happening.  I was in the Security office, and a call came in that someone found a person in their vehicle in line turning blue.  Turns out he had a Heroin Overdose.  He was hauled into Peoria, but didn’t hear anymore, but i’m sure he made it.  My assignment on Thur was Artists Check-in.  I was dropped off and worked with the nite guy for awhile before he left.  All the employees, Artists, Medical team, law enforcement came through this gate.  I had a hand scanner and scanned all persons entering unless Law officers or Medical.  Their was many law depts. present.  Local Chillicothe, Peoria County, State Police, Drug Enforcement, and plain clothes officers.  They all flashed their badge.  Everyone on a golf cart, mule or side by side had to be scanned.  On the front of each golf cart was a Summer Camp decal with a scanable device behind it.  All carts had to be scanned.  HR was also located on this road, so their was lots of traffic.  That was where I learned more about the many parking passes.  Each vehicle had to have certain passes to enter.  All the Artists stopped at the trailer in front of us and checked in for all their wristbands and laminates.  In front of the trailer was 3 or 4 carts called Escorts who then took the Artists to the right stage.  Late morning the gates opened up for the Pre Party ticket holders for Thur. Nite.

20170526_231858  They all had parked their cars and loaded up all their stuff on wagons, carts, or anything with wheels.  They lined the fence waiting for the gates to open.  Finally the gates opened and the lined moved fairly fast, but it was so funny to watch.  The stuff they brought was unreal.  Tents, coolers, chairs, Hoola Hoops, Poles with signs on top.  What they couldn’t bring in was drugs, alcohol and weapons.  My partner had a radio for a while and then left, but the action had started to pick up.  Calling for Security, and parking all the Rvs, and Rvs with electric.   Later that day, they dropped off a Volunteer.  She was an older woman from Maryland.  She had driven straight through with her 19 year old daughter.  When you sign up for the Volunteer program, you put down a deposit on your ticket.  You give 15 hours and have your card signed off and your money is returned.  You do 5 hours a day at a gate or working for the Green Team in Recycling.  They were camping in a tent in the forest.  She was rather interesting to talk to.  She was a black woman and her and her husband live in a big Victorian Home in Maryland.  Finally, time to go home.  I had sun burned my nose and my lips, which would haunt me into the following week.  That nite Rich was at Front gate again.  He had to make sure they went through proper gates.  He was next to the search areas.  They all were searching for contraband.   They found lots of drugs, and alcohol and weapons.  It was all taken away.  But lots of it got through too.  The next nites Rich heard many calls for Law enforcement, Security and Medical.  Lots of people who would hallucinate,   get in fights and were out of control.  Lots of stuff happened in the forest.  He heard one call where their was a 300 lb. man causing problems.  It took many men to tackle him and bring him down.  He was then hauled away.  lol   Lots of that went on at all hours.  Friday, I was to go in at 11 am, but all the shifts were filled, so I didn’t have to work.  So this was my chance to explore.  Rain was predicted so off I went.  20170526_122304

This is the Security Compound.  We are parked on the left side, back by the garage.  The dark brown trailer in the back is the Security Trailer.

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This is the view from our Compound to the Red Barn after all the campers were their.

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Looking into the forest area, theirs wall to wall tents, you can’t hardly walk in between.

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But they put them up to make walk ways and different little communities.  I took the main road back to the Sunshine area which was already muddy.

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I found all the stages and checked out all the vendors.  I found some really unique areas.

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Did you want a Hammock?….Well here you go….The Community Hammock area….Their were all full of course….Notice the Ferris Wheel in the back ground……Really….Kids partying, on drugs, or alcohol??…..sounds dangerous to me….

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Do you feel like swinging???  or how about the trapeze bar….Here ya go…

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The strangest of all is this one.   I couldn’t see what was happening so I walked closer….The kids were all sitting back to back in a circle in the center.  2 kids on the outside were ringing the gongs….20170526_231143

Over and over and over…..It kept going gonnnnnnnng, gonnnnnnnng gonnnnnnng…….in different keys of course…..Just look at their faces……They are ZONED OUT….

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Now look closely at the girls….lol….no tops…..They were coming out of the forest with their group leader…lol…wearing only glitter and jewels on their boobs…..Lovely….Now the bands played all day long on different stages, so you heard music constantly.  Kids walking everywhere.  One of the guys who gave me rides said….”Just remember, Each one of these kids has a mother who loves them and is proud”.…..lol

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Here is the Watering Trough…..They were not only filling water jugs, they were also taking small baths and washing their hair and faces….This area became so muddy by the end with standing water.  But look, so far they all have shoes on….lol….It was still early in the festival….

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This was another area of venders and this was before it rained…Can you imagine after it rained?  I didn’t go back their again.

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This girl was up by Moonshine and was such a Flower Child…..Finally I went back home as it was getting dark.  It started pouring and the electric went off at 2 pm.  Ours didn’t come back on till 10 pm as we were the last on the list.  Of course we had our generator.  Luxurys of an RV.  It turned out, on the evening news, 2 people were hit by lighting near one of the stages and taken in to the hospital.  They were ok.  All the electric was shut down I heard.  Of course all the stages were first to restart.  It dumped lots of water.  Later I took another walk around 10:15…..I wanted to go into the forest.  I remember how cool it was to see all the different camp areas, the use of colors, beautiful tapestry’s and of course their appearance.  So I took a walk. I went to one of the openings in the forest.  On the map you can see the main trails that criss cross through the forest.

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I waited to enter to avoid a mud pit.  I kept walking and took a turn up the hill.  This is what I found.

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A place that had vendors and a small band playing.   I looked over to the left and I seen a trail up the small hill.  Of course I walked that way….

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It was really cool, lined with their colorful tapestry’s hung in the tree forming a path. So much color and beautiful lighting.  It gave off a feeling of PEACE…..On each side was tents so close you couldn’t walk between them.  I kept going…  Breathe….lol…

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It started to narrow.  You could see people on each side in the distance.  I was thinking it was a back way to Camping Stage…..It came to an end and another smaller path started…..lined with glow sticks in the ground.  The aromas of incense and “other things”…..lol…were strong.

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All of a sudden I had an out of body experience…..lol….I seen myself…..”An old lady with white hair and a Security Staff T Shirt”.   I decided time to turn around and leave.  I nervously took this picture and turned around and left….lol….I was Soooooo out of place….Then I went back up the road, checked out some of the stages.  The Vibe Stage was going full blast but it was nothing but mud and standing water, so I didn’t get close….The kids didn’t mind…..It was more Techo music.  I could see lots of dancing and hula hoops and just a lot of kids free dancing at a distance.  I wanted to go to Sunshine stage, as it was going full blast, but it was a real mud pit walk area, so I turned back.  On the way back, I seen this interesting person with an umbrella.

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It must be homemade.  I believe it was a girl.  It is rather hard to see but she had it pulled over her head and their was some kind of light inside.  Strange.  After I took this picture, I looked inside better and she was holding the handle with one hand and in the other was a sticker that she was placing on the other side of the umbrella right in front of her……??????  lol….Tripping????   No Words for that one, just interesting. 

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As I walked back I was passed by many Festi Cabs.  These were 3 seater golf carts that were brought in by another company.  They were of course for hire.   Their were many of them running a regular route, with regular pickup areas set up.  Finally back home and bedtime.  By now the music was so loud that the windows in the Motorhome would shake with all the base.  The Camping Stage was across the road, and the Vibe Tent was not far also.  So every nite it would shake and rattle till 4 am.  I did grow accustom to it.  Kitty threw up the first day on the dash, but after that he was fine also.  Next morning I was assigned to VIP area again.  So down we went, to the VIP area.  The golf cart almost got stuck in the mud.  This time I was left off at the Moonshine Stage Back Entrance.  It was a direct route between VIP and Moonshine. 

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It now had a drive in gate and also a walk in gate with 2 pedestal scanners.  The scanners were now my area.  Their is my Tie dyed Sweatshirt on my stool.  Everyone going up to Moonshine had to scan.  Now I seen many kids coming down from the camping areas in the forest looking for the showers and pottys.  They were beginning to look rough.  Many were now barefoot.

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Soon the Moonshine stage started up and the music began.  This is from my gate looking up towards the arena area of Moonshine.  On top of the hill is the venders.  A perfect nature amphitheater in the grass.  The parking area in this area for the artists as they came was pretty tight.  But those professional drivers always made it work.

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This is one of the Bands buss’s as it was making the turn to enter Moonshine Stage.  I took this picture from my gate.  They all had to walk through this awful mud….Yuck….Did they care?    NO !!!   Some had shoes….Some now had none.…All day long this was my job making sure everyone scanned green at the gate and had the proper wristband to enter.  Most everyone was very nice even very friendly and happy, but you also had a few A Holes.   They would try to sneak through many ways.  I would have to call them and make them come back.  Some were ignorant and belligerent.  It seemed most if them had VIP and Artist placards.  They seemed to believe they were above the rules.  I did find out later that VIP ticket holders did NOT have to go through the search area.  So if they had contraband, It came in….AGAIN REALLY???….So money does talk…..By 8 pm nobody had come so finally I called Security and was finally relieved.  I did 13+ hours that day.  But we were fed good….lol…So as I go home every nite, Rich is already gone….I look at his tickets….HE”S WORKING 18 HOUR SHIFTS…..wow, I can’t do that….He asked to stay at the Main Gate and that’s where he stayed.  He liked it their.  They needed a …STRONG PERSONALITY….lol…their….(nice way to put it) .  It seems many of these kids would walk back to their cars and get their drugs and try to walk in his gate.  He had to stop them and make them go through search.  His gate was only for people leaving.   You wouldn’t believe some of the excuses they would make up….YES HE WAS GOOD AT HIS JOB….This is now Saturday nite.   2 more days to go…..too much for this blog…..so

Stay tuned for Part 3…..My 2 Days in VIP TENT……

 

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This cool looking Mushroom was carved and painted.  It was inside the fence by the scanning pedestal’s.  It was actually in the camping area….

 

 

 

Summer Camp Music Festival 2017 – Part 1

This year we brought up our traditional Pinata from Progresso Mexico.  Last year we bought Mexican candy too, but not this year.  Some of it was pretty bad.  I just filled it from the General Dollar Store.  We brought home a cute blue fish this time.  We wanted to do the Pinata before we went to Summer Camp, but the weather wasn’t the best.  It was chilly and damp.  So we met at Granville Park in the shelter.  Only Tina and Tammy and the kids came,  but they enjoyed it.

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Cassidy 13, Carly 5, Dexter 2, Miley 8, and Austin 6……Cameron 18, was the rope puller…

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They all had a turn hitting the piñata with a steel base ball bat.   That fish was made so well.  They hit and hit it many times before it finally opened and the candy fell out.  They had a good time and filled their bags with all the candy.  So another Pinata to the trash….lol…inner-picture

On Monday, we drove down to Chillicothe, which is only about 40 minutes away.  The Summer Camp Music Festival is located in Three Sisters Park, south of town on Rt. 29, across from the Illinois River.   Three Sisters Park is 400 acres of farmland and forest areas.  It was donated by 3 sisters.  The master plan envisioned the creation of a living history farm, a central activity building, large festival areas, a welcome center, restaurant, agricultural equipment museum activity area, and outdoor natural amphitheater. The open fields and forested areas offer unique space for special events, concerts and festivals.

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Summer Camp from Air….Copyright, Jason Kaczorowski Photography 2011

Summer Camp Music Festival has been held here for 17 years.  It is a perfect area to put on this festival.  This year they were expecting 25,000 people attending to enjoy over 100 bands on 9 stages.  It is always on Memorial Day weekend.  It is a 3 day event, but if you came for the pre party event, it was 4 days of party, music, drinking, and all the fun you can imagine.   This is an event that was created and put on by Jay Goldberg Events and Entertainment, and is said to be one of the top 40 music events by Rolling Stone.  I compare it to Woodstock of many years ago.

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We had attended “Scamp” as they also call it, about 6 years ago.  We are people watchers.  It was such a fun,” ENLIGHTENING” weekend.  The people we seen, their dress, or lack of…lol…their free spirits, and the music that seemed to touch their soul to the core.  We always wanted to go back.  Richs brother John, is head of RV Parking.  Their is a lot of planning into making this festival work.  Each manager has his area that he has to plan down to detail.  Now John with RV Parking, has to plan his area into camping slots.  He marks out the field and know just how many campers he can get in.  He begins almost a week ahead to prepare his area.  When the gates are open.  Him and his crew lead each camper to their spot.  Each one has to have their camper scanned in to show available tickets at the box office.  It is a lot of intensive work, as on the first day 2/3s of the people are in line waiting to come in.  Now that is only 1 area.  You have Electric Rv Camping, Camping areas, Security, Vending, Artists, Vips.  Then you have all the Emergency Equipment.  OSF Hospital from Peoria operates a regular staffed clinic for any emergency and transport if needed, also all the police departments on regular patrol.

They rent the park for 2 months, May-June.  Their is so much preparation.  Electric has to be run for all the areas.  Even for Electric RV sites, Vending sites and then the stages.

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Their is 1 permanent stage…….Moonshine…..It is a wooden built stage that is positioned to make it a perfect amphitheater.  The whole hillside slopes gentle down to the stage making it a perfect seating area for concerts.  This stage was the venue for the biggest headliners.

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This is the  entrance to Moonshine area and all the Vendors.

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Another area and Stage is Sunshine Stage.  It is also full of Vendors and some carnival rides.  The Sunshine Stage is a huge stage that is brought in by semi and set up.

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It is probably the 2nd largest stage.  It is also where some of the main headliners performed.

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The next stage is called Starshine Stage.  It is also a stage brought in by semi.  In this picture, they were setting up and testing lights about 10:30 one night.  That was about the latest I could stay up…..lol…

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Now next is Vibe Tent.   It is a large long tent with a stage inside.  It was the home of the Electronic Dance music.  Now this tent wasn’t to far from us.  It played every nite till 4 am.  The windows in the motorhome shook with every base beat.  Their is also 2 smaller stages, Camping Stage, which is near the forest and also Campfire Stage, which is near the campfire.  They also played all night long.  Then we have the Soulshine Tent.  They also had performances as well as many other things.  Vendors, Lost and Found and some other projects.  Down in the VIP area, their was also the VIP tent.  The had 1 hour concerts all day long.  Many of the bands were also playing up on the big stages.  Last, we have the RED BARN.  It is the permanent building in the middle of the park.  Every nite they would hold a concert that was an extra charge.  Now can you imagine the electrical nightmare.   They bring in many huge generators and position them through out the park.  All electric is feed off of them.  20170523_084316

Then can you imagine planning for 25,000 people for bathroom and shower facilities.  This picture is of just a few of the portable potty’s and showers.  They tried to position them for the convenience of everyone in all areas.  They also needed electric to work.  They also brought in many regular porta potty’s.

They also have to bring in and install fencing.  Obviously the parking area has to be fenced off to guide them to the right gates.  Then many areas with in the park need to be fenced to guide the crowd to the right events.  All the perimeter areas of the park need fence in good repair.  Those areas are also patrolled constantly to keep kids from sneaking in.20170604_091546

When they sell tickets, you receive wristbands and you can upgrade with laminates.  Each wristband is scanned into the system.  The categories are Volunteer, General Admission, Staff, Guest, Vendor, Artist, and VIP.  The laminates are used for clearance into certain areas as backstage and also your level of ticket, such as Production mangers or even the top management team.  They are also used for the ones who are escorts.  The Vendors, Artists, and Rvs all have Escorts to take them to their locations.  Many areas you had to scan your wristband to allow you in to that area.  Several areas had electronic pedestal scanners installed in the ground.  Other areas we were supplied with hand held scanners.  Each area was programed in the scanner to accept only the proper wristband.  When you buy your ticket you buy a base 3 day tent camping pass.  That is over $200.  An Rv is more and of course Electric with RV is also an upgrade.  Now you can also buy upgrades for your different access areas, VIP Camping, VIP RV, and VIP Rockstar.  The next thing to try to understand is parking passes.  Each car has to be checked on entering for their pass.  Those categories are General, Employee, Runner, Artist, Vendor, VIP, Vip Deluxe, VIP Super Deluxe, VIP Rockstar, VIP Non Electric,  South Lot, and then 1 day passes.  As Security, we had to check the windows for parking passes at the entrance gates, and also according to our job assignment area, we had to make sure they were parked in the right areas.  After purchasing all their tickets that they wanted, many of these people had spent close to $1,000 just to enter.  Upon checking online before the gates opened many of the VIP upgrades were sold out.  So lots of money was brought in by the festival.  But also look at all the expense in planning.

All the different departments also had hand held radios for communication.  These were all rentals also.  They were handed out as needed, usually trying to have at least one in each area and the managers and important people obviously had them all the time.

Transportation was another issue within the park.  No one was allowed to bring in their vehicle, 4 wheeler, or golf cart.  A select few did bring in theirs, but they were upper management.  Golf carts, side by sides, mules, all equipment of that type were rented and supplied to each department as needed.  Their were many.  Of course the Emergency Team had their share that would accommodate a stretcher, the police enforcers had theirs, and of course in Security we had ours.  When we checked in for our shift, we usually were given  a ride to our location.  I always got a ride back, but Rich had to walk back sometimes.  Many of our Security people were on duty patrolling at all times.  Partly watching over everyone and also checking in on us and taking care of our needs.

I almost forgot about food.  There was a food tent set up for workers on duty.  We were fed free, only if you worked days.  The managers were given tickets to hand out to their workers, but we as security couldn’t leave our post.  Lunch and Dinner were delivered to us every day.  We were given 2 sandwiches many times, fries, Mountain Dew, Pepsi, or PowerAde.  My last meal was a huge container of Spaghetti, salad and Garlic Bread with soda.  We were constantly given water.  It was all free to us.

So their is so much planning that goes into this festival.  I’m sure I’ve forgotten some things, and many other things we don’t even know about.  It was amazing to watch it come together and work.  People come from all over the USA.  You’ll find license plates from many different states in the parking lots.  They even ran a shuttle bus from Chicago to the Festival this year.  Fly into Chicago and take the shuttle for $51 each way.  You hope and pray they all come have a wonderful fun filled weekend and go home SAFE and HEALTHY.

We arrived on Monday and checked into HR.  We were met my Tina, head of Hart Vitale Security.  I had emailed her that we would be coming with a 38″ ft MH.  She took us up to the Security Compound.  Rich had to make it into the narrow fence opening, but he made it.  All Security was to camp their.  The Security office was also their for our check in and retrieving our assignments.  The had us back in front of a garage building.  Next to us was a bunk house that had 5 different doors.  2 were bunk rooms of 6 each, the others were showers and toilets.  We relaxed the rest of the day.

 

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Our view of the Red Barn before all the Electric RV section filled in….

 

We had to attend 1 meeting and we had a choice of 4.  Tue. morning we walked over to the church for our meeting.  It was a general meeting of dos and expectations and information.   Way way to much to absorb without working it first.  We then stopped by the Security trailer and got our schedules for the rest of the weekend.  I was to start Thur morning at 7 am at VIP area.  Rich was to work Main Gate.  So we finished Wed. off with going into Kroger’s and stocking up and then parking the pickup in Employee parking.  We couldn’t have ours in the park either.  So Hope I haven’t bored you with all these facts and everything, but I think its important to realize what is all put into putting on a Festival like this.  These were just a few observations that I made.

Next,…..THE FESTIVAL ITSELF……What did we see……What did we do……

……….What an Experience……..

 

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Psycho Silo Saloon….Langley Il…..So Unique….

If your ever crossing Illinois on I80, this is the coolest place to see…”Psyco Silo Saloon”….located in the ghost town of Langley Illinois.  It is now a renovated outdoor bar, with entertainment, built with old railroad ties and bridge planks.  It is bringing in bikers, hot roders, or anyone who wants to spend a relaxing afternoon or evening.  It is located at the intersection of Il. 40 and US. 6 between Sheffield and Wyanet.  It is only 2 miles off of I 80.  It was the elevator in Langley next to the tracks.  Built around 1901, it hadn’t operated for years.  The town with a few houses had become a ghost town and they were even gone.  All that stood for years was the elevator with trees, brushes and weeds growing up and  over taking the whole area.

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I had heard about this place just over a year ago.  I had wanted to go, but just wasn’t a priority.  Scott and Brandy decided to do a party run in their motorhome last sunday  and asked us to go.  Its only about 40 minutes away, so its not far.20170521_123758

We met at the bar at 11 am.  Only 6 of us went after all, as it was so cold.  It has a high of the 50s.  Sure not use to that temp.  After a fun ride over with music at its peak…..lol….lets say a few beers, certainly not the driver, we turned off Rt. 6 onto what use to be the Main St. of Langley On the way up to the elevator, the owner had placed old cars and vehicles in different places.  All old….old antiques.  As we approached, the elevator came into view as it was hidden in the trees.  Many different decks had been built.

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All around the edges were rusty car bumpers, some doors, and so many different old parts on display.  It was so unique.

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They flagged us through over a bridge and parked in a larger grassy area.  It was only the 2nd weekend they have been open this year.  Everything is outside.  Their is no inside, therefore they obviously close in the winter.

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As we walked up to the bar, their was so much to see.  Over on the left side was what appeared to be a junk pile….lol…

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But I’m sure these are the things that he displays when he finds a place for them.  The building in the background is the new restrooms.  Modernized too….that’s a +…..lol..

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We climbed up the first flight of steps…Their was a roof of an old silo and underneath was a bar in an Old Truck….

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That was so cool.  The back end of the cab was cut out and a cooler was set in their.

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Also on that level was the stage for the band.  They had 2 playing that day.  This was Cody Calkins who really has become locally very popular.  For 2 hours he played and hit every note….Later another band Vice Squad set up in the stage area and played.  They were awesome.  If you notice the stage is really the side of a trailer cut out still hooked up to an old truck….How cool is that….Then we climber the stairs to the next level…

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Their was the main bar.  Now were actually in the old elevator.  It was decorated with license plates and old things.  I was also told that one of the guys from “The American Pickers” also had been their to check them out.  This is their kind of stuff….

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The deck area is so big.  Many tables and also some old non matching rocking chairs.  We walked around the corner and found 1 inside room…..Of Course…

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The one with the Slot Machines….Almost every bar has them these days.

Then we walked to the back side and their was the souvenir clothing.  T Shirts, Sweats, bandana’s, tank tops, koozies,  sunglasses, etc.  so many things.

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Their again, it was an old trailer pulled along side with the side cut out.  At closing, they just put all merchandise back in the trailer and lock up…..Great Idea….Oh…..and don’t worry.   If you run out of money, they also have an ATM machine….You can always get more…lol

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This is on the wall in the bar area on the deck.  I walked around for quite awhile, just looking at everything.  As the story goes…..The Owner is Troy Thompson of Princeton Illinois, which isn’t far.  He had seen it many times as a kid, as they drove by.  Finally 3 years ago he decided to fulfill his dream, he bought it and with the help of family and friends he renovated it with all the antiques that he has been collecting.  He has done a fabulous job.  This little town that still had a name but no houses now has come to life every weekend.  Before that, its only claim to fame was a shoot out of some bank robbers.  The robbers had robbed a bank in a neighboring town of Manlius and hid out in a train car.

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As we listened to music, we looked through the parking lot…Their was Scotts Camper….It was a fun day, but it was so so cold.  Fortunately at the upper bar, they had a long heat pipe installed in the ceiling.  I finally went and sat in a rocking chair.  It was really quit comfortable.

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So many unique things has been done.  Love these old tractor seats made for the tables.  Finally it was time to leave.  I was cold to the bone but so glad I came.  Many people started coming in as we sat their, but it was so cold.  Usually the parking lot is filled.  We seen many bikers, old car enthusiasts, and many people just came to enjoy.  It seems to bring out everyone.   They are also gearing up for a 4 day Memorial Day Party….Full of Entertainment, drinks, and also they have sandwiches and appetizers.

 

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Scott Rich and Brandy

 

Another unique place in the Central Illinois Valley.  Amazing what people can do when they have a dream….and a desire.  What a preservation of Old America for everyone to enjoy….

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This is a barbeque cart….has a grill inside with serving table…..

””PARTY ON””