Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Heading Southwest – Illinois to Oklahoma City

It got down to 13 degrees overnight and we woke up a bit concerned Sunday morning since Ken had de-winterized the rig on Saturday.  However, with the heat on and a light under the tanks, the motorhome seemed to weather the chill without incident.

We left Quincy, IL at 10:30 am on Sunday, travelled across the state of Missouri, and stopped in Quapaw, OK, at 5:00 pm.  This was a 351 mile jaunt, a bit much for us in one day, but we wanted to get some miles under our belt on our first day out.

Ken was a bit concerned when we got the late start since he really doesn’t like parking after dark.  He also left town rather frustrated since our hot water heater was kicking out when he started it up after its long winter nap.

On the suggestion of Ken’s brother, Michael, I had calculated our first stop at the Downstream Casino, where you can spend the night free for up to 3 nights with water and 50 amp service.  

Downstream Casino is right on the borders of Missouri and Oklahoma, so much so that you get off Missouri exit 1 and cross over in to Oklahoma right at the casino property.  Having spent a lot of time in Europe, I’m no stranger to ‘roundabouts’ but the end of exit 1 dropped Ken in to the first roundabout (rotary) he’d ever encountered in the motorhome…no big deal since traffic was very light on this late Sunday afternoon.


Ken was very happy that we were able to get in and set up before dark.  This allowed him time to dump the malfunctioning hot water heater since it looked like we were in for another cold night and he thought it safer to have the unit empty in the cold.


The signs indicate that you must go to the complex, get a players card if you don’t have one, and then register your site at the gift shop.  

What we found out between talking to the shuttle driver and the gift shop clerk was that when they aren’t very full in the RV park, which they obviously weren’t when we were here, they really didn’t pay any attention to registering guests. We also found out that when they are slow like this, you can call the hotel when you want a shuttle ride and they will scurry right over to pick you up rather than standing out at the shuttle stop waiting for the next time one makes it around to you.  

As you can see from the picture below the RV Park was nearly deserted.  I think there were maybe 5 RV’s total overnight.








By the time we got the dogs walked and cleaned up a bit, it was dark.  The casino is neatly lit at night, awash in moving colors up and down each of its facades.




Not having any hot water was a good excuse for not wanting to do cooking and cleanup in the RV.  We took the shuttle to the casino, got our Q Club players card, stopped by the gift shop and then,  made a decision on which of 4 restaurants to visit.  We decided on the buffet which was $13.95 a piece with a very large selection of soups, salads, fresh fruits, appetizers, entries, side dishes, desserts and drinks.  We aren’t usually big on buffets but this one was a treat for me since they had large cocktail shrimp and also had brussel sprouts, both of which are some of my favorite foods and Ken hates brussel sprouts so much that I can’t even cook them at home because he detests the smell.  Ken had a variety of main dishes as well as enjoying some homemade desserts.

We walked the casino floor which as usual I found interesting but definitely not enticing.   It’s definitely a spot for people watching.    Coming from the Mississippi River we’ve seen a lot of so-called riverboat casinos that aren’t exactly upscale, but as you can see from this hotel lobby, they’ve done a good job of making this place nice, more low-key elegant than Vegas with that Native American touch to remind you its an Indian casino.


We took the casino shuttle back to the RV and were snuggled in by 9pm.   I warmed water in the teapot for washing up and we watched a little TV before bed, Ken mostly with his eyes closed.  We didn’t even need to put up the antennae to get decent network reception.

All in all, I’d say our first overnight at a casino was a very positive experience. The only suggestion I will make in our RV Park Reviews is that they do more to encourage people to pick up after their pets.  You probably would not notice this issue if you were walking your dog but I think it would go a long way to put out some trash cans and a few doggie bag dispensers.  While we keep our doggie bag dispensers on the leashes, this is not the case with all pet owners and no trash cans can be an excuse for not picking up for some.

On Monday morning we slept in, took our time getting ready in the morning but were still on the road by 9:30 am on Monday.

Unfortunately there was a pretty gusty wind to meet us as we made our way down the Oklahoma City tollways.  Toll costs were $9.75 on the Will Rogers Tollway heading in to Tulsa and another $9.75 on the tollway between Tulsa and Oklahoma City.  

We picked up 58 gallons of fuel in Vinita, OK, at $3.09 per gallon.  The lady at the counter said we were lucky to have gotten in just then since she was about to raise the diesel price by a nickel. 

We arrived at our next destination, the Twin Fountains RV Park in Oklahoma City, just before 1:30pm, logging 203 miles for the day.   This appears to be a perfect park for our purposes, with very friendly, helpful staff who even had a RV Repairman here to work on our hot water heater within a few hours. 


This park was recommended to us by our RVing friends,  Ed and Marilyn Dray.  We are finding that our RV family really make this lifestyle extra nice with all the helpful recommendations, and lessons learned.  We were drawn to this lifestyle by the adventure and we seem to stay hooked because of the people!

We have also been very lucky in terms of the service we’ve received along the road.  Bill’s RV Service (405-414-4785) here in OKC is highly recommended.  They came out quickly when called on our water heater, diagnosed it quickly as a bad ECO (electronic cut off) switch and we had hot water within an hour  for a  reasonable cost of $100,  considering service at our door.  So, I’ve still only had to use a shower house once so far in our RVing adventure!

We took the dogs for several walks, had a late lunch of chili I’d made before we left home.  Then, best of all we enjoyed nice long showers before going out to eat.  If you’ve follow our blog long you know we are big bbq fans.  Earl’s Rib Palace was voted the best Oklahoma barbeque for 2010 so that was our destination.   The reputation is well earned.  Like most of the best bbq joints, this place doesn’t look like much from the outside, or the inside for that matter, but you can’t help but stop with the aroma from the place just grabbing you and pulling you in.  Ken and I both went for the ribs since they were out of brisket.   They served really cold bottles of beer which were a good idea if you used their hot sauce on the meats.  We’d rate Earl’s a close second to Pig Out Inn in Natchez.  The dry rub they use is awesome and the baked beans are great, almost up to those we still rank #1 in Natchez.  The prices are also reasonable with both of us having beers and a big plate of ribs with sides getting out for $27 plus tip.  There are even some ribs and a bit of fried okra left for Ken’s midnight snack.

Tuesday we will take a break from travel and will do some Oklahoma City sightseeing before continuing on toward Arizona.

Hugs, C

1 comment:

Debbie Goode said...

Glad to see your travels are going so well. We have notice this year more than any other a lot of folks not picking up after their dogs and a lot of rv parks not doing much about it. I hope it is not a trend that continues...we always pick up after our two! Be safe and have fun!