Tales Of Our Grand Lakes, OK Trip – June 2006
On Saturday, June 3rd, 2006 Kelly, Abby, and I packed up the car for our trip to Oklahoma for our week long reunion with all of our siblings and Uncle Glenn & Aunt JoAnn Ketner. The Ketner's had reserved two nice condos for all of us to stay at Grand Lakes, OK.
We left at 8:00am and drove a few miles and Abby began to complain that she was hungry. So we saw a Hardee's sign so we exited off the highway in hopes of finding the Hardee's. After driving many miles without finding it I turned around and went back to the highway. On down the road we saw a Hardee's just off the highway and we stopped and got breakfast.
Finally we got back on the road and we were on our way. We stayed on the road and didn't plan to stop until we stopped for lunch. We brought food in a cooler for a picnic lunch. Abby was playing her loud music and we kept telling her to turn it down. Just before we got to Rolla, Kelly wanted to stop at the rest area. When we found a parking space and went to the restrooms we found three buses with High School kids that also had stopped for a bathroom break. They were just returning from some type of trip to Washington D.C. and stopped for a break. Kelly & Abby had to wait in a very long line for the restroom. They had to wait about a half an hour. I only had a five minute wait and then I sat at a table under the trees and waited for them to get back to the car. When they got back we got back on the road and continued on toward our destination.
On the other side of Springfield, Missouri we stopped at another rest area and had our picnic lunch. We just ate and got back on the road as we wanted to make it by 4pm to Grand Lake where we were meeting Uncle Glenn & Aunt JoAnn along with my brothers and sister.
We got back on the road and just when we got on the Oklahoma Turnpike my "check engine" light came on. I told Kelly I was going to stop at the next gas station or exit and check it out. Shortly we came up to a station and we stopped. Since we were almost there I decided to gas up also so while the gas was pumping I checked things under the hood. Everything seemed okay. Kelly & I knew that the oxygen sensor needed to be replaced so we just assumed that was why the light came on.
We drove on until we got to Grand Lakes where we were met by Uncle Glenn, Aunt JoAnn, Dan & Mary Martin (brother & sister-in-law). We checked in and Dan showed us all the rooms and we moved our stuff in. We were checking out the place when Mary & Dan Koch (sister & brother-in-law) showed up. We greeted everyone and they moved their stuff in after Dan (my brother) showed them around.
We were sitting around visiting and talking about the past and waiting for Tom & Glenda Martin (brother & sister-in-law) to arrive. After waiting awhile it was decided that we were going to go eat and leave a message at the desk for Tom & Glenda. I am not sure who decided but we were told we were going to "The Roadhouse" a restaurant we saw on the way in. Kelly, Abby & I rode with Dan & Mary Koch and Dan & Mary Martin rode with Uncle Glenn & Aunt JoAnn.
When we got there they set up a table for the 9 of us as Tom & Glenda had not arrived. We all sat down and the waitress gave us our menus. Dan (my brother) began to tease our waitress. I don't think she was sure how to take him. We all ordered and talked as we ate. It was a great time around the table.
After dinner my sister Mary said she had to go to Wal-Mart and I told her we needed to go and get some stuff too so we rode with them to Wal-Mart in Grove, OK. We almost missed the store as it was behind a grove of trees. (Isn't that nice, a town named Grove with a Wal-Mart behind a grove of trees?)
After we searched the store for what we needed we met back in front of the store and loaded the car with all the food we had purchased and headed back to Grand Lakes. When we got back we brought all our groceries and put them away. We had the refrigerator quite full by this time. I was wondering what we were going to do when Tom & Glenda arrived because we had taken most of the refrigerator space.
We sat around chatting for some time and then Tom & Glenda arrived. We greeted them and helped them get settled into their room. Then we sat around and listen to a CD of Tom's band and talked. Finally we headed off for bed.
The next morning when I got up to check my e-mail at the community computer I noticed Mary Koch, Dan & Mary Martin, and Uncle Glenn & Aunt JoAnn leaving. They were making an early morning run to the Wal-Mart. We sat around and visited while waiting for them to return. It began to rain and we had quite a downpour and then they got back. The weather started to clear up.
After the weather cleared up we went outside and had a picture taking session. This was to the first of many picture taking sessions. Everyone got their camera out and started snapping away.
Each night a family was responsible for the evening meal. Sunday evening was Tom & Glenda's night. Tom & Glenda cooked Ribs on the grill for us. They also had corn on the cob, baked bean, and brownies. We were licking our chops after this meal.
After dinner some of the family came down to the condo that we were in and played games. Kelly & I retired to our room to sort through our pictures and watch a movie.
Monday we got up and visited for a while and took pictures out on the grounds. Around 11:30am or so we decided that we would grab some lunch and then go to the Har-Bar Village in Grove, OK. Kelly, Abby, and I decided to go to Taco Bell so we told them we would meet them there. We went to Taco Bell and then met them there.
After we all got there we went on a tour of the place. Uncle Glenn didn't go and we missed him but we took a ton of pictures for him to see. We spent about three hours going through all the buildings and exhibits. Then we left and everyone except, Kelly, Abby & I went back to Grand Lakes. We went over to Wal-Mart as we needed a few more items from the store for our dinner which we were doing on Wednesday night.
When we got back Dan & Mary Martin were almost ready with Monday nights' dinner. They fixed a tasty casserole with all the fixings. The dinners each night were just great. We sat around and talked after dinner for a bit.
After dinner a few of us went out and went swimming. Out came the cameras and more pictures were taken. Some watched and others messed around in the pool. After we cooled off we got out and went back to our condo and got dressed and sat around and visited. The whole time someone was taking pictures. I am sure there will be pictures that we would like to see deleted.
Those in our condo went to bed early as we had to get up early to go to Eureka Springs, AR. We were going to the "The Great Passion Play".
Tuesday morning we all got up early as we were going to the Passion Play. Dan & Mary Martin, Tom & Glenda Martin & Uncle Glenn & Aunt JoAnn rode in the Ketner's car and Kelly, Abby & I rode with Dan & Mary Koch in their car. Dan (my brother) gave us a map that was printed off the internet on how to get there in case we got separated. He was going to lead in the head car. We followed and Mary (my sister) was doing a great job keeping up with them as they were not following the map they gave us. They stopped and turned around a few times and then after about 20 minutes we were on the road according to the map.
After we had gone down the road a bit Dan (my brother) turned off the road we were supposed to be on. After he drove now this side road a couple of miles he stopped at a service station and we all got out for a bathroom break. When we went in they told us no bathrooms that we had to go across the street. Well, we went across the street and the guys used a "Johnny on the spot" and the girls had a restroom with a half inch of water on the floor.
When we got back in the car Mary (my sister) told Dan (my brother) that we had to go back to the main road which was where we had turned to come to the service station. He said he knew he was just looking for a restroom.
We got back on the road and looked back and Dan was heading the other way. Mary honked at him and we continued on the road according to the map. After about ten minutes we didn't see them behind us so I called them on my cell phone. I got Mary (my sister-in-law) on the phone I told them where we were and she told me she was back at the service station. I explained how they could get back on the road that was on the map. She said they would catch up.
We drove on to Eureka Springs and we got there and waited for them. They got there about a half hour after we arrived.
When everyone got to Eureka Springs where The Great Passion Play is held we began our full day. First we all went to eat lunch. We ate and nearly froze to death in the lunchroom but then after we ate we warmed up as the sun was coming out.
Next everyone checked out the gift shop and then we got ready to go on our "New Holy Land Tour". This was a real treat and we got loads of pictures. We saw a replica of the tabernacle and they had a guide take us around and explain everything. We went and saw Bethlehem and got a look at what the stable probably looked like at the Inn that didn't have any room. A woman played Mary and explained everything about Bethlehem. Then a guide who played Peter showed us around the Sea of Galilee and told us some fish stories and shared how he was called by Jesus to be a "fisher of men". Then we went to the Upper Room where our guide who played John told us about the Upper Room and the Last Supper. Then a guide who played Mary Magdalene told us about the cross and we got to see the empty tomb that was a replica of the tomb Jesus was laid in. It was an exciting tour and we had trolleys take us to each of the places and then on the way back our driver entertained us with some singing. It was a lot of fun.
After the New Holy Land Tour we a checked out the gift shop again and went to the Bible Museum and then we went to the Sacred Arts Museum Gallery where we saw loads of pictures and exhibits. We wandered around took pictures and the day was getting on and it was almost dinner time.
Next we went to the Buffet and ate our hearts out. The food was good and we enjoyed ourselves at this pig-out. Then we knew we had to walk off our dinner so we walked around again and visited the gift shops again. Several of us made trips back to the cars to drop of stuff we had purchased. I know I needed the exercise but I really didn't want to exercise I wanted to rest from the long day.
Next we went to the "Parables of the Potter" presentation. This was exciting as the potter explained how he made the pot and also applied it to the Bible. The presentation was out of this world.
We then again visited the gift shops and took pictures made trips back to the car and then stated looking for our seats for "The Great Passion Play" We got into our seats early and watched people come in and watched the actors sell ice water, programs and the such.
Finally the program started. I won't tell you all about it but I want to recommend that you go see it. It was very well done and I was moved by it. The accuracy of the program was very good.
After the program we found our car and got ready for the trip home. Mary (my sister) was going to drive the lead car home.
Things going home were going quite well. Mary (my sister) seemed to know where she was going and the other car seemed to be following with no problem. After we had been driving for several hours Kelly & I noticed that we were heading North-East and we were supposed to be going North-West. I ask Mary if we were on the right road and she said yes and she said we were in Oklahoma. The signs were Arkansas so I asked again and she said no that we were in Oklahoma. We sat back and waited until Kelly couldn't hold it in anymore. She just saw a sign saying we were heading towards Joplin, Missouri and so she pressed the issue. Why was there Arkansas signs if we were in Oklahoma? Mary pulled over and checked the map and sure enough we were in Arkansas. She plotted a route that would take us back to Oklahoma and before you knew it we were home at Grand Lakes. It was 2:00am but we were home. The bed seemed very soft and it was calling our name when we got back.
We slept in the next morning as it was a late night. When we got up Kelly, Abby & I decided to do a few preliminary things to get our dinner done for the evening so it we wouldn't be so busy at the last minute. Abby mixed up the cheesecake she was making for dessert and Kelly cooked the ground hamburger and the ground turkey. I heated up the water for the lasagna noodles and when it was all done Kelly put the dishes together. I also put the fruit salad together except the bananas.
The dinner seemed to go well and we sat around after dinner and talked about everything we could think about. We had a wonderful time getting reacquainted and we took advantage of this special time together.
The next day was Thursday and we were biting at the bit to do something. Tom & Glenda had to go home. We all went out for breakfast together. After breakfast we all said our goodbyes to Tom & Glenda. Some made plans to see him later in the week.
We all went back to the condo and were busy running around trying to decide what we were going to do for the day. It was Mary & Dan Koch's turn to make dinner so they were making plans to go to Wal-Mart and somewhere else. (I can't remember the name of the store.)
After several runs up and down the hall Kelly & I decided to go check to see what it would cost to rent a pontoon boat. We drove down and Dan & Mary Martin came soon after us with Aunt JoAnn. They were checking on jet skis rental. (Not Aunt Joann, Dan & Mary.) We decided to go back and get all of our stuff and go. Aunt JoAnn was going to go with us on the pontoon boat and Dan & Mary were going on a jet ski.
After we got a cooler, our cameras, bathing suits, and anything else we thought we might need we headed down to get our pontoon boat. We got on our boat and headed out. Abby got a tube that we were going to pull her on behind the boat. She got on the tube as soon as we got out in the lake and we started pulling her around. Aunt JoAnn & I sat and watched and Kelly drove the boat. Kelly tried to dump Abby without success. Shortly, Dan & Mary came out on their Jet Ski and we kept seeing them going from one side to the other as they raced by us.
For a very brief time I got on the tube and after much screaming on my part, Kelly stopped and pulled me in. It was a good laugh for those on the boat. Abby got back on the tube and we started pulling her around lake. Kelly tried and tried to dump her but Abby just hung on.
Finally our time ran out so we made our way back to shore where we rented the pontoon boat. We had a great time and we were ready to go home and rest awhile. Dan & Mary came back too, as their time ran out too.
My sister Mary and her husband Dan were preparing dinner when we got back to the condo. We tried to stay out of their way as they worked on the meal for the evening.
Soon everyone began to gather in the living room of the condo where we were staying and we sat around and talked and took pictures while Dan & Mary Koch made the final preparations for the dinner.
We had Beans & Cornbread with all the fixings. Dan fixed a carrot cake that everyone just loved.
After dinner we sat around and talked and shared stories. We visited until late and then slowly people left to go to bed.
Friday morning when we got up Kelly, Abby & I ran to Wal-Mart to get some CD to put pictures on. Everyone decided to make CD's for each other of all the pictures that they had taken while we were on this trip. After we got back from Wal-Mart, Kelly started trying to make the CD's of all our pictures. She was having trouble saving the pictures on the CD's we bought, so Mary (my sister-in-law) gave us some CD she bought from her work and we were able to make the picture CD's fine. We made one for everyone.
After we finished making the CD's we started getting things packed. We didn't want to leave everything to the last minute. We packed everything we didn't need and went through everything and packed it and set it by the bedroom door so we could put it in the car first thing in the morning.
This was the evening that Uncle Glenn & Aunt JoAnn were cooking. Everyone got their leftovers together and took them down to the condo that they were staying it. Uncle Glenn started the grill and he brought out these fat burgers. They would make Hardee's, Burger King, Wendy's, McDonald's and all the rest look like kids burgers. These burgers were BIG!!! Hardee's has a Six Dollar Burger and this one was even bigger than that!!! He grilled the burgers to perfection and also cooked some hotdogs. They were huge too. We had pies and leftovers from the other nights. WOW what a feast!!!
After dinner we sat around and visited. We got into a bit of a heated discussion but it cooled off before we all went to bed.
Saturday morning we all packed our cars and we got our condo in ship shape and after we checked out we said our goodbyes. Then Kelly, Abby & I went for breakfast with the Ketner's and Dan & Mary Martin before we were all going to go off our separate ways. We sat down and had an enjoyable breakfast and tried not to talk about the trip ending. We rehashed the good times and the good food.
Finally it was time to go. We all went outside and began to say our goodbyes. We gave everyone hugs and promised to see each other soon.
Then we got in our car and headed down the road. We planned to stop and spend the night one more night. As we were driving we decided we wanted to go to Branson, MO but we didn't want to stay in Branson, MO. After looking at the map we saw that Springfield, Mo was just North of Branson so we decided to find a Hotel in Springfield, MO and then drive down to Branson. After checking our Choice Privileges book we found one and so when we got there we checked in cooled off a bit and then made plans to go down to Branson. At the time it was about 80 outside and we thought with our windows open that wouldn't be a problem. (Our car didn't have air conditioning.) On the way down to Branson the temperature rose all the way to 104. (We didn't know that until we got back to the Hotel and saw it on the news.) When we got into Branson we were hot out of our heads so we stopped at a McDonalds and got some sodas and sat and cooled off a bit. Then we drove around town and took some pictures. The car was running a bit hotter than usual so we stopped and let it cool. (We didn't know that it had gotten up to 104.) We stopped at a local Wal-Mart and went in and walked around to cool off. When we got out we decided because we were totally hot out of our brains to head back to the Hotel. We stopped at Cracker Barrel for supper and then went back to the Hotel. What a blessing to get back to a cool room and so we relaxed the rest of the evening.
When we got up in the morning we decided to hit the road before it got too hot and try to make it all the way home. We drove straight through and final got home and boy was we glad to be home.
We had a very enjoyable time with my brothers and sister and their spouses. It was also great to spend some quality time with Uncle Glenn & Aunt JoAnn Ketner.