Friday, May 10, 2019

Tulsa; Oil; Fleet Admiral Nimitz and the Museum of the Pacific War; Kerrville


On the road again, heading south and west! From Unity Village, we headed to Tulsa for an event and some special time with Lynette Setzkorn. Suzanne's Tulsa event, Magnificent You!, was very well received at Tulsa's Center of Light. (It is a totally new presentation that will grab your heart - if you haven't seen it, you're missing out!) The event were hosted by Rev. Monica McIntylre, and garnered the highest attendance on record. 








We had a delightful experience - and a delicious dinner - with Lynette, Rev. Monica, and several friendly and interesting members of the Center of Light.













While in Tulsa, we stayed at Expo Square RV Park, a very nice campground near a huge arena where the state fair, car shows, equestrian and cattle shows, etc., are held. This great statue, the Golden Driller, honors the Oklahoma men who drilled for oil and built the oil industry in this part of the country. 




















Next time you turn on your home furnace, fly to a distant vacation, take a cruise, or get into your Chevy, Lexus or Mercedes, think about the hard work in rain, hail, snow or hurricanes that oil field workers, refinery operators, pipeline workers, and long haul truckers perform so that you can turn that ignition key and get to work or take your kids to school. I grew up in south Louisiana, where the offshore oil industry was the largest single industry, allowing anyone willing to work long, hard hours to make a good living for their families and even put kids through college. They are underappreciated today, and that's a shame. Our energy independence (and much of our national security) today is due to their efforts.



Before we left Tulsa, we had to go on a bike ride and walk through an amazing park, The Gathering Place, a brand-new attraction on the Arkansas River near downtown. It boasts great trails, gardens, a pond with a beach, unique and creative playgrounds, and eateries. With a price tag of $465,000,000, it is the largest private gift to a city park in US history; the park was the original idea of George Kaiser, and the Kaiser Foundation continues to lead the park project, although about 80 foundations, businesses and individuals also have made large contributions. 
















We left Tulsa for Texas, and it was an interesting trip. We had a major mechanical issue in Jacksboro, when a leveling jack hydraulic line burst. The line had been replaced a few months ago by Ocala Camping World, a national RV sales and repair company, but the service tech evidently didn't secure the hydraulic hose with a retainer, because we found that it had been rubbing against the inside rear drive tire for 3,000 miles, and in spite of being metal jacketed, friction and heat took its toll and it failed. (We are NOT happy with Ocala Camping World... they won't even return my phone calls.) In spite of our problem occurring over Easter weekend, we were very lucky to have been just a few spaces down in our campground from a mobile repair technician, who fixed our hydraulic problem Monday morning.



On to a great stop in Fredericksburg, Texas, where we visited the National Museum of the Pacific War; the adjoining Nimitz Museum was closed for renovation. Watching videos and listening to radio news reports of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in Hawaii and the Bataan Death March were particularly emotional, as were the displays and recordings of the battles of Midway, Guadalcanal and Tarawa. We were drained before getting to the Okinawa, Iwo Jima and other displays. You need at least a full day to see the entire museum. The ship model is USS Tennessee (BB-43), which was lightly damaged by Japanese bombers at Pearl Harbor- she was protected from torpedoes by the USS West Virginia (BB-48), moored alongside, which was sunk. Both ships were repaired and returned to the Pacific war; Tennessee was hit by a Japanese kamikaze suicide aircraft off Okinawa. I was fortunate enough to have served on USS Iowa (BB-61), built during WWII, decommissioned after the Korean War, and recommissioned in 1983 by President Ronald Reagan, one of my heroes. I also served as his escort officer when he and Nancy visited USS IOWA in 1986.




Admiral Chester Nimitz's famous quote, "Uncommon valor was a common virtue", was meant in that instance for the US Marines at Iwo Jima, but it can equally be applied to the young men and women who continue to be deployed and fight our enemies in the Global War on Terror, even though political correctness prevents the use of that descriptor any more. 






At Iwo Jima, the Leathernecks' incredible sacrifices against a dug-in, battle-hardened, suicidal enemy is one of most legendary in world history. Our Marines suffered over 26,000 casualties, including almost 7,000 killed in action; the Japanese lost 26,000 men killed. The battle is memorialized by the Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington, DC. The photograph of the flag raising on Mount Suribachi by Joe Rosenthal is one of the most stirring and iconic images ever taken.










Our next stop was Kerrville, in the heart of Texas Hill Country. This is a beautiful and very friendly part of America. Suzanne had two events here, and we enjoyed the company of our good friends Sylvia and Ed Reeves on multiple occasions. 
















While in Kerrville, we stayed at a very nice RV resort near this stream. You don't think about Texas having such scenery, but come to Hill Country and find out for yourself how beautiful it is! I first came to Kerrville to visit a great aunt in the 1950s. (My Lovely Bride reminds me with a smile that she wasn't even born yet...)













During a walk around town, we saw this sign... it reads, "Camping... spending a small fortune to live like you're homeless". Yup, I think that's pretty accurate!



















I went for a hike while Suzanne was teaching her Serving Spirit class, and this lake at Joshua Springs Park and Preserve near Comfort, Texas, provided a serene view for a weary hiker. 

















This fisherman may or not be catching, but at least the setting is fabulous! This is just a mile from Joshua Springs Park.

















The nearby town of Ingram has a replica of Stonehenge, built by local ranchers Al Shepperd and Doug Hill in 2/3 scale and originally erected on Al's ranch in Hunt, Texas. It sits on the path of the April 8, 2024 total solar eclipse. The duration of the eclipse will be 4 hours and 26 minutes, and there should be some neat festivities.











Finally, the Ingram site also has two replica Moai, Easter Island statues.  This one looks like he could use a serious haircut!