Beavers Bend Resort - Monday, June 13, 2005
A word of note before you start reading. This narrative includes lots of pictures, more than I normally include. Since the focus of this trip was to celebrate my sister's 60th birthday, all the additional photos are included for the benefit of the family. Terry and I do hope you enjoy reading about our trip and Beavers Bend. Now on to our trip to Oklahoma and my sister's 60th birthday.
For this trip, Terry and I headed to Southeast Oklahoma. We camped at Beavers Bend Resort Park, a Oklahoma state park that is located just outside Broken Bow, Oklahoma. This trip also celebrated a milestone, my sister Dian's 60th birthday. Her two sons and one daughter plus associated spouses joined us at the campground for the celebration. David and Sandi, good friends of Di and Ron (my brother-in-law), also joined the celebration. By the end of the weekend, there were eleven folks at Beavers Bend for the celebration. Terry and I are took our trailer to serve as "party headquarters and chuck wagon" for the group. We did all the cooking for the group. Of course, Terry and I be stayed in our trailer while the rest of the group stayed at the Beavers Bend Lodge.
Why Beavers Bend? First it's an incredibly scenic area, and second, for the fishing. Di and Ron have visited there a couple of times before and love the beauty the area provides. The main draw for a lot of people is the year-round trout fishing. Ron and his friend, David, are avid fly fishermen and they love fishing for hours upon hours in the streams that flow gracefully through Beavers Bend. As I mentioned, the whole area is a incredible piece of natural beauty that is devoted to water sports and spending time in the great outdoors.
|The Beauty of Beavers Bend Resort Park|
|Deer wandering through the park|
This past January, Terry and I, plus Di and Ron, had taken a day-trip to Beavers Bend so we could see the facilities and get the lay of the land. We absolutely fell in love with the area as well. But I was a little bit apprehensive about camping there because the Oklahoma State Park system doesn't take reservations for their campsites at the park. A very strange policy. From what I have learned, it looks like this policy may be changing. We marked several sites on the park's map and hoped we would be able to secure one of them when we came back in a few months. We knew for sure that we wanted a site on the "F" loop or Fern Drive.
Due to a very important project at work Terry wasn't able to leave on Monday morning like we had planned. As you'll learn by reading on, she was able to finally join me at the campsite Wednesday around lunch time. Di, Ron, and their friend David arrived Tuesday around lunch time. Di, Ron and David came up early to get a lot of trout fishing time in before the birthday festivities began. As I've mentioned, Beavers Bend is just like driving into the mountains of Colorado. The park is located smack dab in the middle of a national forest. The area is a fisherman's dream, both for fly and lake, or sport fishing.
Since I had to head straight out Interstate 30 East to get to the park, we brought the trailer home on Sunday to load the supplies needed for the trip. Also, since we live on the east side of Fort Worth, I could be hooked up in front of the house and leave from home instead of the RV storage lot. Over the past few weeks I had been "perfecting" our menu for the trip. Due to weight, and the limited storage space, especially refrigerated, I worked out the menu with a daily shopping or needs list. That way I knew exactly how many folks I was feeding and what supplies would be needed at well. We calculated our storage in the trailer and decided to pack enough food to carry our group through Friday breakfast. We decided to run into town Thursday afternoon to purchase ice to chill all the water, juice and soft drinks that would be needed for the weekend. Also when we were in town, we would pick up the rest of the groceries to carry us through the weekend.
Terry and I worked through the weekend shopping and loading the trailer. I wanted to leave as early as possible Monday morning. First, I wanted to get an early start to make it through the Dallas traffic corridor. Second, I wanted to arrive at the park as early as possible to secure an optimal site. I woke up early Monday morning, showered and grabbed a quick light breakfast. I decided that I would stop for a break and breakfast after getting through Dallas. After hugging Terry and assuring her that I would be extra careful towing the trailer, I pulled away from home around 6:00 in the morning. I made it through Dallas encountering no traffic difficulties at all and ended up stopping at Cracker Barrel in Greenville for breakfast and a break. I arrived at my exit off Interstate 30, Highway 259, around 9:45. I had a little over a quarter of a tank of gas. I found out soon that I should have filled up when I had the chance, but I had felt sure that there would be upcoming filling stations. I was wrong. For over 60 miles there was nothing except beautiful countryside. A brand new Fina station suddenly appeared on the horizon and I was so relieved. I know that I was running on fumes. In fact I ended up putting more that $50 of gas in the truck. I talked to the folks inside the station and they said lots of folks come in saying they almost ran out of gas. Whew, totally a close call.
I continued traveling down Highway 259 arriving in Idabel, Oklahoma a short time later. To avoid the downtown area I took the truck bypass around the town. A few minutes later, I arrived in Broken Bow. I made a mental note of restaurants, grocery stores and the local Wal-Mart, but I didn't want to stop with the trailer in tow. In another 10 miles or so, I arrived at the park's entrance around 11:00. Thank goodness I already had a map of the park that we had picked up during our January trip. Using the map I was able to navigate to Fern Drive. The odd numbered campsites faced the river and that's where we wanted to be. Normally when you arrive at a park on either a Sunday afternoon or Monday, the park is pretty empty, not this time. On the Fern loop, there were only two empty campsites, and one of them was on our list of preferred sites, site #3. Yea. Now came the fun part, backing and positioning the trailer into the site by myself without a spotter. I got out of the truck to survey the site and see where I needed to position the trailer.
As it turned out, it was a good thing I decided to come up to the park early. When I arrived, there was only two spots left on the Fern or "F" loop. It seems we booked our celebration weekend when the park's hugely popular "Festival of the Forest" was being held and the park was totally sold-out for the coming weekend.
I was lucky, F3 (or site #3 on Fern Drive) was very level and would work perfectly with our trailer. Plus the site was very spacious and would accommodate our group perfectly! After surveying the site once again, it took me around 10 to15 minutes to get the trailer placed and my Level-Airs in place. Even through I wasn't sure if I was going to need them, I always put them down. They are one of the best things we've added to our trailer accessories. As I noted in one of my previous articles, Terry gave me a set this past May for our anniversary. She got diamonds, I got a set of Level-Airs; I feel I got the better part of the deal, at least from my viewpoint, not from Terry's. The temperature at the park was in the lower 90's but the humidity felt like it was over 100%. I was soaked to the bone very quick. My main focus was to get all of my outside necessary connection done and get the air conditioning turned on to cool the trailer down. After getting the A/C turned on I set out to see where I could find a cell signal to let everyone know that I had arrived safely and what site I was in. There was no cell signal at the campsite. That was going to be nice, but also a bit inconvenient, since I am a senior network engineer and I need to be reachable at all times. I turned the A/C on high and left to find a cell signal.
|Overview of #3 Fern Drive||Level Airs Inflated|
|Additional view of our campsite||Picnic table by the river|
|Spillway Sign||View From The Overlook|
|Fishermen fishing the spillway area|
The spillway overlook provided a fair signal on my cell phone. I checked in with everyone and let them know that I arrived safely and what campsite I had secured. To cool off and get some lunch, I drove back into Broken Bow stopping at Arby's for lunch. While in Broken Bow, I also stopped at the grocery store to pick up a few things that Terry and I had forgotten to pack. To keep it simple for dinner that night, I picked up a Mexican TV dinner. I didn't want to go to a whole lot of trouble since it was just me I was cooking for. Arriving back to the campsite, I spent the rest of the afternoon getting some more of our stuff unpacked and set up. I also lucked out when I setup our DirecTV dish and got it pointed and acquired a signal in record time. Way to go Chuck! Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't. This time the magic did work and I had a great signal and picture. For the rest of the afternoon, I rested and relaxed. I decided to get up early the next morning, while it was cool to finish the outside setup. Di, Ron and David would be arriving Tuesday around lunchtime so I would have additional help in setting up the canopies and chairs. I wanted to have the campsite "perfect" by the time Terry arrived on Wednesday afternoon.
As I mentioned, I kept it real simple for dinner. A TV dinner really isn't camping food, but it was easy and I was tired from the long drive and the humidity. After eating dinner, I relaxed, stayed cool and watched a movie until around 9:30 when the park had a power failure. At least it had cooled down somewhat. And at least I still had lights in the trailer that were running on battery power. I wasn't worried about the refrigerator, it had already switched over to propane when the power was lost. I was beat anyway so I opened up the trailer's windows, turned on our Fantastic Fan, and went to bed. Around 3:30 in the morning, I woke up and noticed that the power was back on and the trailer had cooled down. I got up and closed the windows and went back to bed. Overnight it had rained and there were still thunderstorms surrounding the park. Our weather radio was blinking an alert light. Terry and I have found that having a weather radio with us is very important. You never know when bad weather will develop.
Beavers Bend Resort - Tuesday, June 14, 2005
I woke around 7:00 after a pretty restless night of sleep. That's normally the case when Terry and I are separated. I was pretty hungry, so I fixed a breakfast of cold cereal, and juice plus a peanut butter and honey sandwich. Yum! Since it was still cool outside, I decided to finish setting up most of our outside stuff. After finishing, I watched a little TV to catch up on the news while waiting for Di, Ron and David to arrive. I also made another trip up to the spillway to check in with work and give Di a call to see how their trip was progressing. They were about half way and were expected to arrive at the park around 12:30 - 1:00. I spent the rest of the morning reading and staying cool in the trailer.
Around 12:30, right on schedule, Di, Ron and David arrived at the campsite. Since they had never seen our trailer I gave them the grand tour of the trailer and our campsite. They all were amazed at the amenities that the trailer and the campsite offered. They were all hungry, so it was time to start lunch. On the menu:
The BBQ was left over from a family gathering and Memorial service that we had the middle of May to celebrate our mother's incredible life. She had passed away this past February. Also during our week of camping I would also be using some smoked chicken that was left over as well. After lunch, Di and the "boys" left to get checked into their hotel and purchase their fishing licenses and I spent the rest of the afternoon napping and watching some DVD's that I had brought along for the trip.
Before leaving, we agreed on a time for dinner, around 7:00. On the menu:
The chicken was awesome and the corn must have been wonderful as well since David ended up eating three pieces. I must admit, I had prepared a delicious dinner. The group was pretty tired so they headed off to their hotel in town and I hit the sack around 10:00. Di and the "boys" were staying at one of the local hotels and would be checking into the lodge on Friday. I use the term "boys" but they're really grown men. Of course, when it comes to fishing, they're still "boys." Tomorrow, Wednesday, Terry arrives, yea! I have talked to her a couple of times and she's gotten the OK from her boss to be able to leave and join all of us.
Beavers Bend Resort - Wednesday, June 15, 2005
I woke around 6:00 to a beautiful clear morning. A morning like this is what RVing/camping is all about. Friends of mine always ask me what's the big deal about camping. Unless you're here, looking out on the scene that I am, words can't express my feelings. I just tell them, it's a feeling that's hard to describe, cool morning temperatures, birds singing, woodpecker's pecking, a cup of hot coffee, and a graceful deer looking for her morning breakfast. Camping is the way that Terry and I "recharge" to face the rigors of our everyday live. Each of our camping trips are very precious to us.
The best thing about today is that Terry arrives. Yea, she should be leaving Fort Worth very soon. Around 7:30, Di and the "boys" arrived. They left immediately to go fishing and would have breakfast later. That left Di and myself to hold down the campsite and prepare breakfast.
On the menu:
I started cooking the bacon and sausage for the breakfast casserole, lit the oven, and waited for it to preheat. Soon it was the correct temperature. The casserole took around 45 minutes to bake. Di and I ate breakfast around 9:30. The "boys" would eat when they got back from their morning of fishing. This was the first time I had tried the breakfast casserole recipe and it came out wonderful and was so easy to prepare. I've included the recipe below:
- 4 slices of bread
- 12 to 16 ounces of bacon or sausage cooked and drained
- 2 cups of shredded cheddar cheese
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 2 cups of milk
- 1 teaspoon dry mustard
Grease the bottom of a 9" x 13" pan. Tear up 4 slices of bread and place in the bottom of the pan. Sprinkle cooked crumbled bacon or sausage over the bread pieces. Sprinkle cheddar cheese over the bacon or sausage. Mix eggs, milk and mustard together; pour over casserole. Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.
After cleaning up the breakfast dishes, Di and I spent the rest of the morning putting the finishing touches on the campsite. We wanted everything setup perfectly by the time Terry arrived. We got both of the canopies set up and Di spent about an hour "policing" the campsite and cleaning off the picnic table area. The picnic table was at the bottom of an incline and the cement pad was covered with a lot of dirt and debris. So far, my only complaint about the park has been the cleanliness of our campsite. There were cigarette butts everywhere. It was sort of amazing to me since campers were normally very aware of the environment and don't litter, but not the previous campers in our site. Di and I settled down for a rest after all our hard work and, all of a sudden, I heard the afternoon bell! No, I'm not reverting back to high school. Something I haven't mentioned yet, an ice cream truck comes through the camping areas twice a day. Way cool! On the truck is a variety of ice cream novelties, bottled water plus snow cones. What a great idea! Di had a crunch bar and I had a banana fudge bar. I hadn't had one of those since I was a kid! It really brought back fond memories. Below are some additional pictures of our trailer with all of "stuff" setup and ready for Terry's arrival. I've also included a couple of additional views of the river that runs through the park. The pictures do not even begin to do justice to the beauty that surrounded us. I've also included a picture of the park's swimming area.
|Our Pilgrim setup||Look at the trees surrounding the campsite|
|View of the river from our campsite||Additional view of the river|
|Beavers Bend Swimming Area|
Yea, around 12:30 Terry finally arrived! She had gotten a late start from Fort Worth. She also loved the park and the campsite. The "boys" had arrived back to the campsite around an hour before and had finished off the breakfast casserole before lunch. Everyone was hungry so we sat down for a lunch of deli meat and cheese sandwiches, chips and cokes and all the fixin's. After lunch, Di, Ron and David, went back to the hotel to take a nap. The streams were very swift and the "boys" were pretty tired from fighting the currents. Tonight is Di and Ron's 37th anniversary so we decided to eat dinner out. Dinner out would also give me a break from cooking. The rest of the afternoon, Terry and I rested and read until it was time to leave for dinner. We had picked out a restaurant in town, a local steakhouse, called "The Oaks." Everyone said their meal was wonderful. I had a catfish platter and Terry had chicken strips. Personally, it was some of the best catfish I had ever eaten. On the way into town, we stopped at the Spillway to take a couple of pictures and look at the lake.
After dinner in Broken Bow, we headed back to our campsite and built a campfire. We sat around the campfire, talking and enjoying David's excellent music. David is a very accomplished guitarist. He has inspired me to pick my guitar up and start talking lessons. What an incredible way to end the day! After Di, Ron and David left, Terry and I sat out by the campfire watching over it and waiting for it to burn down. Around 11:00 we decided it was time to turn in for the evening. We'd both had a big day and were really tired. There was a 50% chance of thunderstorms and showers that night and the next day. We decided all we could do was just watch and see what developed.
|Our Wednesday Night Campfire||David playing his soothing music|
Beavers Bend Resort - Thursday, June 16, 2005
I woke around 6:00 to a beautiful clear cool morning. First thing, I put on a pot of coffee to brew. Terry was still asleep. She must have been real tired from her drive and the stress of work. I grabbed a cup of coffee and went outside to watch the morning spread its wings. The river this morning, unlike yesterday, was moving real swiftly. Around 7:00 I heard the trailer door open and Terry joined me to enjoy the cool morning air. About 30 minutes later, Di and the "boys" drove up, so I guess it was time to make another pot of coffee and get breakfast started. On the menu this morning:
Ron and David commented that it was the perfect breakfast to start the day out with. Breakfast was wonderful and is one of my favorite meals to prepare and eat when we're camping. After breakfast was over, the boys headed out for a morning of fishing while Di, Terry and myself stayed at the campsite to read and relax. I also made some tuna and egg salad that we'd be needing later on for lunch.
|Fishermen hard at work||How big was it?|
|Ron, checking the gear.|
Around 12:30 the boys showed back up from fishing, ready for lunch. We also noticed a big change that was coming in the weather. The weather was changing very rapidly and our weather radio was bleeping out warning after warning. I had also turned on The Weather Channel. The radar showed a huge ugly thunderstorm cell heading straight toward us. About 2:30 it started getting darker and darker and then the sky opened up. All sorts of thunder and lightening; so way cool! I love thunder and lightening. During the storm we also lost power at the park once again. We all decided it would be best to retreat to the comfort of the trailer. Since the A/C wasn't working we opened up the windows. We were all quite comfortable while we waited for the storm to pass. All of the reports that we had gotten indicated that it was a very fast moving storm. Abut an hour later, the power came back on and there were blue skies above. The boys were happy they would be able to head back out to the streams for another afternoon of fly fishing.
After the boys left, Di, Terry and I headed into town for grocery shopping. It was time to get all of the drinks (water, juice, cokes, etc.) iced down in preparation for the arrival of the gang tomorrow. We also had to take care of the rest of the grocery shopping to have enough food to last through the weekend. It was time to replenish our food stores. I had already worked out a shopping list of the items that we needed.
On the way out of the park, we saw David in one of the streams and we stopped to take pictures. Of course me, with my bad knees, wanted to venture out to the bank and stick my feet in the water. I finally made it to the bank and back with a little difficulty and a whole lot of Terry's help. The water in the stream felt so good. In fact, the water was down-right chilly. I wanted to spend the rest of the afternoon there with my feet in the water, but we had groceries to buy. It wasn't much of a problem getting down to the steam's side, but it was a little difficult getting back to the road.
|Relaxing by the cold water.|
|The "perilous" trip back||Terry says, "Just follow me!"|
|David in fine form|
An hour or so later, we arrived back at the trailer. Terry worked on stowing all of the groceries. Our little refrigerator was definitely full! Terry gave us all implicit instructions that no one but her was to open the refrigerator. She had stuff piled all over the place and she didn't want anything falling on to the floor. I still had no idea how Terry found room for everything, but she did. She always works miracles like that. Around 5:30, the boys arrived back at the campsite, hungry and ready for dinner. We never know when they're going to show back up. When they're fishing, they loose all track of time.
On the menu tonight:
At least all the rain had stopped. There were still thunderstorm cells all around our area but they looked like they would miss us. We had a major yummy dinner. Everyone loved it. Since Di, Ron and David would be checking out of the hotel they were staying at, Di gave them specific instructions to be back early from fishing. She wanted to get back to the hotel somewhat early so they could pack their bags and be ready to check out first thing in the morning. Tomorrow they would be moving over to the lodge to be with the rest of the group that would be arriving. Ron and David both said they would be back early and headed out for an evening of fishing.
Terry, Di and I were setting outside by the campfire and it was getting later and later, darker and darker and still there was no sign of the boys. Di started imagining all sorts of bad things that could have happened to them in the swift moving streams. First off, we had no idea where to start looking. They changed their fishing locations all the time and most of the time didn't decide until they drove up to a spot. We were about ready to see if we could find a park ranger when they finally drove up around 10:00. It seems like they had lost their way and ended up on the wrong side of the bank and had to walk a long way to get back to where the car was parked. They didn't want to cross the stream in the dark. Di wasn't too happy with them. They left to head back into town and their hotel. Terry and I sat outside a while watching the lightening in the distance before heading to bed. It may be another bumpy night, but we'd be safe and secure in our trailer, at least we hoped so.
Beavers Bend Resort - Friday, June 17, 2005
Wow! What a night we had last night! Overnight we had thunderstorms, lightening and rain! Terry and I were up most of the night listening to the rain on the roof and watching the "lightening show." It definitely was a bumpy night. Terry and I felt for the folks that were tent camping. We can relate since we've been there and done that! We've tent camped in the rain, and yes, we survived. Still some of our most precious camping memories coming from our camping trips that camped in our tent or popup. Now don't get me wrong, the convenience and comfort of our trailer is incredible, but we still miss our little popup. After the rain last night I headed outside to check and see if there was any accumulated water on our canopies that I needed to release. There were a few pockets, but everything was still standing and in tact. The best news from the weather radio was that the showers were over for the weekend! Yea! That meant we'd have good weather when the rest of our group arrived later that day and for my sister's birthday celebration the next.
Terry woke up around 7:00 and helped me start setting up all of our chairs. Since there was a good chance of rain overnight, we had stowed all of our outside chairs under our trailer's awning. Di, Ron and David arrived around 8:00. A short time later, it was time to start breakfast. By lunchtime today, the rest of the group would be there. That meant I would get to start cooking for eleven. The meals were all planned out, so we knew we could pull it off without a hitch.
On the menu this morning:
As usual, so far, another group of satisfied breakfast customers. We ate up enough French toast to feed a small army, but we're camping, so you're supposed to eat hearty. Terry and Di finished up the dishes. I started checking the levels of our two grey water tanks. Since we were in a campsite without a sewer hookup, I had brought along a 25 gallon portable blue tote so I could dump our two gray water tanks. I knew the 40 gallon black water tank would have enough capacity for the week, but I knew there was no way we'd make it through the week without having to dump the gray water, one 40 gallon tank connected to our shower and bathroom sink, and the other 40 gallon tank connected to the sink in our galley. Even though Terry is especially careful when doing the dishes to conserve the water sent down the drains, both gray water tanks were getting close to being filled to capacity.
After the breakfast dishes were washed and put away, I started dumping our trailer's gray water tanks into the portable blue tote. I figured, since it was Friday, if I dumped at least 25 gallons from each tank, that would allow us to easily make it through the end of the week. I hooked up my extra sewer hose connecting it to the blue water tote and sprang a leak, a big one. I immediately shut off the valve at the trailer and hooked an additional hose that I kept with us. I started draining again, and the hose's connector popped off the end of the hose. Oops. What are the odds, two hoses going bad in one day! On my trip to the park, I had remembered seeing an RV supply store right outside of Idabel, so it was time for a road trip. I looked at the time and knew that I had about an hour and a half before I needed to start preparing lunch, so the trip would have to be quick. I'd go buy the new hoses, then take care of the dumping after lunch. I had already pulled enough water from the galley grey water tank to allow the lunch dishes to be washed.
Terry and I found the sewer hoses and connectors we needed at the RV supply store and headed back to our campsite. We arrived in just enough time to get lunch started for the group. By the time we had arrived, Jen, Di's daughter, Lee, her husband and their children, Cooper and Carson, had already arrived. Soon thereafter, Jon, and Jason, Di's sons, and Jon's partner, TC, had arrived as well. Yea, the party can now begin! We were just missing one person, Sandi, David's good friend. She should arrive in time for dinner. Everyone was hungry from traveling and getting up early, so it was time to start cooking lunch.
On the lunch menu today:
I felt that I had cooked enough Sloppy Joes to feed the whole campground, but the group finished up the whole batch and almost ended up licking the pan. Everyone left the picnic table with full tummies, so I guess they liked my sloppies. After lunch everyone sat around for a while talking and playing ladder golf. I went back to "work" to get the gray water tanks dumped using my newly acquired hoses. They worked perfectly. I had to make two trips back and forth to the waste dump, but now we had some breathing room with our grey water tanks. I am glad that I had purchased a new blue tote before this camping trip.
Throughout the weekend, Jon, TC and Jason were into a serious ladder golf tournament. Especially TC, I think they're all hooked. It is such a fun game that can be played by anyone. Terry and I highly recommend it. I ended up making the "ladders" myself out of PVC, but bought the bolos from a commercial ladder golf site. If you have the proper equipment, you can also make your own bolos by drilling a hole through the middle of two golf balls and then string a cord through them to make a bolo. As you can see from the pictures below, everyone had a great time tossing the bolos.
Intense Ladder Golf Competition!
|Jason showing good form||Now what was the score again?|
|Jon showing good Ladder Golf form||TC contemplating his toss|
|You go Jen! Show them how it is done!||Playing Ladder Golf with teams|
With the arrival of the rest of our group, the temperatures had cooled off. The forecast for the next day, when we were having the big birthday celebration, was for the mid to the low 80's. It couldn't be more perfect. Even though it was Dian's birthday, she spent a lot of time making up gift bags for all of us. The gift bags contained all sorts of goodies such as candies, pictures of Di and Ron, a special t-shirt for us to wear on her birthday, plus a music CD that contained songs that were special to them. Di also decorated a plastic cup for each of us to use for the weekend. What fun!
After everyone opened their gift bags, David, Lee and Ron ran to the Beavers Bend Fly Shop to buy Lee a fishing license. Di and her kid ran to the lodge to get everyone checked into the Beavers Bend Lodge. Jen also needed to put her kids down for a nap. I made a run into town to pick up a few groceries that would be needed for our big hot dog cookout tonight plus pick up additional ice. Since we were having our big hot dog cookout tonight, I wouldn't have to do any cooking this evening. I'd be able to sit back and relax. Carson, my grand nephew, was looking forward to the S'mores we'd be making after dinner. By mid-afternoon, Sandi, David's friend, arrived, so now our group was complete. Let the celebration begin!
Gift Bags For All
|TC & Jon opening their gift bags||Jason, what's in here?|
|Jen, showing Carson the special t-shirt||Lee, I got Maple Nut Goodies!|
|A group of relaxed "campers"|
Let's Goes Fishing!
|The fishermen return!||How do I get out of these?|
Everyone arrived back to the campsite around 6:00 for the big hot dog and S'mores cookout. I already had the campfire going so the wood could burn down a bit. I make awesome "fire-starters." Here's my secret. In the fall, anytime we're camping at a park that has pine trees, I gather three or four bag of good sized pine cones and bring them home with us. I then tie a string around each of them leaving around a 6"-8" tail. This next step should only be done by an adult and be performed very carefully. I take a coffee can and fill it with paraffin, or sealing wax, then let the wax melt slowly. After the wax is totally melted, I take a pine cone and dip it in the melted wax letting it drain a bit before placing on newspaper to dry. You've got to be very careful when you're moving the pine cones from the coffee can to the newspaper. If you drip any of the wax on the burner, there will be a flame-up. At home, we've got a smooth top range, one of those with the ceramic tops. The burners are not exposed, so melting the wax and coating the pines cones is much safer on that type of range. When using my paraffin pine cones, I normally use 3 or 4 to start a normal campfire. One match lights them and they burn very "hot" catching the firewood on fire very quickly.
The Great Hot Dog Cook-off!
|Jon cutting up onions, Carson helping!||TC and Carson fixing their dogs!|
|Now, daddy how is it done?||You hold it over the fire just like so.|
|Cooper enjoying himself||Best seat in the house!|
|Roasting the dogs!|
The hot dog cookout was an overwhelming success. When camping, there's nothing better than hot dogs with all the fixin's cooked over a blazing campfire. It doesn't get much better than that! For dessert, what else, S'mores! What a mess they are, but the mess was worth it, the S'mores were outstanding! After dinner all of us sat around the campfire talking, visiting and listening to the soothing music that David provided for our enjoyment. As you can see below, some enjoyed the S'mores more than others. Check out the Smores in my (Chuck's) beard.
Did Someone Say Smores?
|TC hard at work preparing his Smores||Do you think he likes it?|
|Smores preparation||Do you think they're ready?|
|I think I'll have one more.||Jason, tending the campfire.|
|Smores in the beard, what a mess!||Cool evening and beautiful music!|
|Dian, the birthday girl!||David taking a break from the music.|
|Its been a long day!||Its really been a long day!!|
Behind our picnic table was a dead hollow tree. We didn't know until later that it was also someone's home. Take a look below and you'll see what I'm talking about. There is abundant wildlife throughout the park. We all even saw an armadillo crossing our campsite a couple of times. Also there was one doe who kept visiting us the whole time we were camped. She just meandered through the campsite several times a day never afraid of us.
|Our Night Visitor!||A Peaceful End To The Day!|
Around 10:00, everyone headed to the lodge for a good night's sleep. Terry and I sat by the campfire enjoying the quiet of the evening until the fire burned down. This is the best time of the evening, listening to the sounds of the night creatures, enjoying each other's company by the fire and just relaxing after a very busy day camping. This camping stuff is hard work! Around an hour later, the campfire had burned down enough to allow us to head inside for a good night's sleep.
Beavers Bend Resort - Saturday, June 18, 2005
This would be our big day to celebrate my sister's 60th birthday! The day was shaping up to be perfect. The weather was cooperating, the rain had moved out, there were perfect temperatures, the humidity had dropped, all of my sister's children and grandchildren were here, and we were celebrating my sister's birthday in a setting that couldn't be equaled. Nothing could be done to make the day more perfect!
Terry and I woke around 7:00. We had already told everyone to start arriving around 8:30-9:00 for breakfast. On the menu this morning:
Breakfast Taco Buffet
- Scrambled eggs
- Bacon and sausage
- Shredded cheddar cheese
- Flour tortillas
- Hot sauce
- Hash browns
- Juice, milk and coffee
When you're cooking for a group, a buffet meal works perfectly. Preparing breakfast tacos, everyone could make them just like they wanted. Before the group started arriving, I got a jump on cooking the bacon and sausage while Terry worked on the eggs and flour tortillas inside the trailer. Di had also arrived early as well to lend a hand with the preparation. With Dian and Terry keeping things organized, all of the meals wouldn't have gone as smooth as they had. Dian got all of the cups, silverware and plates laid out while Terry and I continued to work on the food preparation. Right on schedule, the group started arriving and a short time later we had the buffet stocked and ready to be served. The concept worked out perfectly; everyone was able to make their breakfast taco just like they liked them.
Saturday Morning Breakfast Taco Buffet
|"Chef Chuck" tending the hash browns.|
After breakfast, several were already into an intense game of ladder golf and relaxing around the campsite. Ron, David and Lee headed out for a morning of fishing. The rest of the group decided to ride the Beavers Bend miniature train at 11:00. The 20 minute train ride winds through deep forest areas of the park. Due to my knees not bending very well, I stayed at the depot and waited for our group to return. From the pictures below, you can see that all had a great time. Carson's favorite part of the ride was the end. At the depot, there is an old fashion ice cream parlor and candy store.
A Ride on the Beavers Bend Express
By the time we had arrived back at our campsite, it was time to start preparing for the big birthday celebration hamburger cookout! My sister had requested hamburgers with all the fixin's for her birthday and we all were happy to grant her wish. We had a great time eating, talking and celebrating Di's 60th birthday. The hamburgers were awesome. It's pretty hard to screw up hamburgers, especially when you're cooking them outside on the grill. To top off our lunch, we had birthday cake and ice cream for dessert.
Dian's 60th Birthday Bash
For the rest of the afternoon, there was more relaxing, swimming, napping, ladder golf and reading at the campsite. Everyone just did whatever they wanted to. Jon, TC and Jason decided to get a game of poker going. Carson decided to go down to the picnic table and sit with the "big boys." Out of the game came the best two quotes of the whole weekend. As I mentioned Carson was down at the picnic table sitting with the boys watching them play poker. Jen, Carson's mom, called out and asked him to come to her. Carson looked up and said to her "Mom, I can't come right now, I'm playing with the guys." The comment broke everyone up immediately. A short time later, Lee, Jen's husband came back to the campsite, and asked Jen where Carson was. Jokingly she replied "He's down at the picnic table, playing poker and drinking beer with the boys." What an absolute hoot!
The Big Poker Game
|Our Beaver Bend Group||Dian and her family|
A Relaxing Afternoon At The Campsite
|Is there a chiropractor in the house?|
We decided that dinner would be served around 6:00. Tonight was going to be another easy dinner. On the menu:
Terry had made the spaghetti sauce at home before we left for Oklahoma. That way all we had to do was prepare the garlic bread, salad and cook the spaghetti. For those who didn't want the meat sauce, I also prepared a marinara sauce with sautéed mushrooms. As had been the case with all previous meals, there were no complaints, only compliments about the meal and a week of delicious campsite cuisine. It truly had been a fabulous week and weekend.
Saturday Spaghetti Dinner, Relaxing and More S'mores!
After dinner, we made another campfire, sitting by it enjoying David's soothing guitar music. What a wonderful way to end the day. Jon, TC and Jason were having another one of those intense ladder golf games, even in the dark. After the campfire had burned down a bit, it was time to start our S'mores, one of the culinary delights of camping. Around 10:00 the group was very tired from another day full of of activities so they left and headed for the lodge. Terry and I sat by the campfire and enjoyed the quiet for around another hour before turning in for the evening.
Beavers Bend Resort - Sunday, June 19, 2005
Terry and I woke around 7:00 and immediately started working on breakfast. Jon and TC had an early flight from DFW and needed to leave Beavers Bend around 9:30 to make their flight, so we wanted to have breakfast ready for them when they arrived.
On the menu for the final meal for this camping trip, my favorite, pancakes!
Pancakes and a Final Farewell!
|"Chef Chuck" flipping the pancakes.|
Thank goodness the group started arriving in shifts as they woke up and checked out of the lodge. I was able to keep up with the demand for pancakes. I kept two griddles going at full steam. After eating breakfast, Jon, TC and Jason had time for another round of ladder golf. We all kept warning them to watch the time, there was a flight to catch. Soon everyone was getting ready to leave. Terry and I said our goodbyes to Jon and TC, saying we'd see them again during the Christmas holidays. After cleaning up after breakfast, it was time to start stowing and packing. Jen, Lee and Carson headed over to the stable for an hour of horseback riding. Our campsite was in a perfect location. Everyone was within walking distance to the train depot and the riding stables.
Beavers Bend Stables!
|Beavers Bend Stales||Look at the cowboys!|
|Jen all saddled up and ready to go||Ready to hit the trail!|
It was great having all the help from everyone to help us pack up. Normally we don't have all the extra hands. Since no one knew where the items were stored, we had them just pile everything up as it was folded or broken down and put in cases. Right before we were ready to pull the slide in, Terry climbed the ladder to the roof so she could check the top of the slide for any branches or debris. I guess we're going to have to break down and purchase a topper for our slide. Around noon, we were ready to hookup and head to the dump to flush our tanks. Since Terry had driven up separately, we'd be in two vehicles for our trip home. She'd follow me. We'd communicate using our walkie-talkies during the trip home. We said our goodbyes to everyone and pulled out of our campsite. After about an hour at the dump, I was satisfied that the tanks were flushed, cleaned and ready for our next trip. While we were flushing FD, the ice cream man, and his ice cream truck came by. As hot as it had gotten, an ice cream bar was a cooling treat.
The rest of the group headed back to the Beavers Bend Marina. Jen, Lee, Ron and Carson had rented a boat for the afternoon to cruise around and enjoy the lake. Dian stayed on the shore with Cooper. It looked like they all had a wonderful time.
Cruising The Lake!
|Beavers Bend Marina|
On the way home, Terry and I stopped at Mount Pleasant at a Mexican restaurant for lunch. When traveling with a 30' trailer you've got to pick your stops carefully and find a place where you have room to park. We arrived home around 6:00, unloaded the food from the trailer, and I headed over to the storage lot to drop the trailer off. I arrived back home around 7:30 dead tired. What an awesome week it has been! Beavers Bend is truly an incredible place of beauty. Terry and I are planning on returning soon, probably in the fall when it is cooler.
Our next trip isn't scheduled until the end of July when we'll be camping at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas. We'll be meeting two other couple there for a relaxing weekend of camping.
Authored by Chuck and Terry Mencke
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"Beavers Bend Resort Area, Broken Bow, OK - June 13-19, 2005" was last modified: July 24, 2005
Chuck and Terry's Pilgrim 281 RB-S Adventures