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Travelogue of Our Roamings

Summer of 2007


Brownsville | Wichita | San Antonio | Rock Hill | Tucson | Houston

Tulsa, Oklahoma / Gordonville, Texas

Okay, this one will be a short one. Anna and I spent much of the time in different states. And it rained almost constantily (absolutily every day for almost 3 months in Gordonville).

Anna's next assignment is in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She chose that to be close to family for a niece's graduation, and another niece's wedding. While working in Tulsa she will be staying with her parents to be closer to family. During her multiple days off she will be coming to our house on Lake Texoma (about 3 hrs away). I will also be traveling back and forth, working on our new home and spending time with Anna and her parents. They have a small apartment away from the house that they have built in the last few years. This were Anna and I will be staying while in Oklahoma.

Everything started well for us here, we enjoyed a couple of weeks of quite togetherness time in our new home. Then we started to get ready for Anna to move some of her stuff to her parents'. We both made the trip north to move her stuff, and then I return to Texas while she started work.

About three days later it started to rain, and it didn't stop for two months! No kidding! It rained every single day for over two months. Making it very hard to get any real work done on the outside of the house. The yard was basically a swamp too. All the rain had another effect. It caused the start of massive flooding around the Lake Texoma area. To the point that the lake's damn overflow over the top. Our favorite local restaurant was flooded to the peak of its roof.

We spent much of the time during this wet weather with both of us in Oklahoma. Anna's work schedule also limited our travels. Plus were spending a lot of time with the family. Our niece, Kristen's, high school graduation was very nice. She was one of the valedictorians and got to make a great little speech. Our other niece, Valerie's, wedding kept getting put off because her fiance' was delayed getting back into the country, and then couldn't get leave (he's in the Army). But Anna had a good time at the wedding shower that they decided to go ahead and have.

Our first trip was up into Kansas to see a giant earth moving and mining shovel called Big Brutus. This is now the largest mining shovel in existence. This is a massive machine that looks like an old steam-shovel, but ran on electricity. It is 16 stories tall and weighs 11 million pounds! You can see this shovel from miles away before arriving. Big Brutus was built on the minesite during a Kansas coal mining boom in the early 1960's. It was used to mine coal around the clock from 1963 to 1974. After that they decided that it would be too expensive to move it somewhere else for use, so the left it behind when the mine closed. Touring the inside reminds you of being on an old naval ship. With big iron bulk-heads and huge pieces of machinery everywhere. Anna's parents went with us, and her Dad had a great time climbing all over this giant machine. The dirt shovel, or scoop, could contain 150 tons of material. There are several other mining machines and tools to be seen here, and the visitor center has a nice little museum area including many scaled models.

I made a quick trip to eastern Oklahoma for a little fossil collecting from some Pennsylvanian era deposits. Mostly crinoid pieces, blastoid heads, and other small marine fossils. I had found this spot some years ago, but had never had a chance to return. So, one day when the rain stopped I grabbed my collecting tools, jumped in the truck and took off. The nearby lake was also flooding from all the rain, and all the water had the area heavily over grown. But it was a fun day out.

While visiting Oklahoma we went to Jenks, a Tulsa suburb, to visit the Oklahoma Aquarium. Our niece, Kristen Ward, came with us. The Oklahoma Aquarium is very nice. Not many large tanks, but a very large number of small extremely well done aquarium tanks. In this way it was more attractive than a number of other aquariums that we have toured. Oh, and as special treat for me there was a large antique fishing tackle exhibit. We all had a very nice time.

While back in Gordonville we found a wonderful restaurant in Gainesville, while going for groceries. Actually it a taqueria, but there's nothing wrong with that at all. The place is called Sofia's Taqueria. Check our Restaurant Review page for more details. We pretty much eat here every time that we are near Gainesville. My sister loved the food too. We spent some of this time to expore the lake area to check out all the flooding.

Anna's contract ended a couple of weeks eariler than expected. We happily packed up and moved here back to Gordonville full time. We spent the next several weeks. relaxing, checking out the lake as the water started going down, and deciding what we wanted to do next. It was during this time period that I started talking to my old employer in Houston, Lyondell Chemical. There were several job openings that they wanted to discuss with me. Anna and I talked about it, and we decided that going back to Houston for a few months to let me work one of these assignments wasn't too bad. We never thought that we would move back to Houston, but this company pays very well. And they are opening up a new office in the Dallas area, that I may be able to work at in the future. Between now and then we decided that it would be a good idea to move back to Houston for a while and let me work as a contractor. The company in going through a lot of changes now, including being purchased, and being there every day will increase my chances of getting a job with them outside of Houston (in the past they wanted everyone not working in the manufacturing plants to be at the headquarters).

It took a few weeks to work out all the details, and then I packed up the car and moved myself back to Houston. The plan was to stay in one of the "extended stay" hotel chains for a few weeks until Anna could join me. Then we would look for an apartment.

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