Cottage on the Knoll at Cedarcroft Farm B&B

Sandra & Bill Wayne's blog for the Cottage on the Knoll at Cedarcroft Farm. We'll post thoughts about the B&B, what's going on around here, and discounts for last-minute cancellations.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Showers, in and out

We're in the middle of a stretch of intermittent thunderstorms, and I took the opportunity to replace & upgrade the shower heads in the Cottage. One side has an attached 4-way shower head, while the other has a hand-held head with the same 4 options. Remember - when you use both sides, you use up the hot water twice as fast!


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

B&B Update

We've been back a week now, and our priorities have been to:

1. Find homes for Miss Topsy's 4 kittens. Miss Topsy is a stray cat, obviously dumped by some city person, that arrived very pregnant in March. 2 weeks before our trip, she presented us with 4 kittens, 2 white & 2 black. So, we had to hire a kitty sitter as well as all the other arrangements. When we got back, they were running all over the place. So far, 2 have found new homes, 1 is definitely spoken-for, and there's a possible for the last one. Then, Miss Topsy gets fixed.

2. Replace the electric water heater in the Cottage on the Knoll. I made the mistake of building it for a 40-gallon heater, which proved insufficient. We've replaced it twice, added a softener, tried a tankless, all to no avail - it's the hard water. So, after 8 1/2 years we've updgraded to a 50 gal. heater, and believe me it was an adventure fitting it into place - it's a skoosh wider & taller than the old one, so plumbing adjustments were required. It works!

3. Mow, mow, mow. Grass was 6" to 12" high when we got back, thanks to the 3.5 inches of rain while we were gone. Mowed once last Wednesday, then again on Sunday. Will use the tractor to open some trails today, then mow the yard, etc., tomorrow or Friday before the guests arrive. I suppose I'll have to trim some trees, as well.

Anyway, come stay - there should be plenty of hot water, the grass should be short & trails open, and we won't make you take a kitten home.


Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Tueday, 5/8 - PM

Home at last! Pulled in at 2:30 PM after 15 days and 3693 miles in 7 states. We were greeted by Scruffy (our horse) who wanted food & hugging, Miss Topsy (the stray cat) and her 4 kittens - 2 black with blue eyes, 2 white with a spot on the head. Also, grass from 6 inches to 1 foot high and a rain gauge containing 3 1/4 inches of water and a drowned bumblebee. Took over an hour to get all the credit card expenses into Quicken. I think we're finally unpacked and a load of laundry done. I see no damages here from any of the storms, so that's OK. It will be good to 'sleep in' in our own bed after 15 nights in motels.

What did we do today? Well, we left Tulsa in the middle of a big thunderstorm and I missed a road sign - so we took a somewhat longer road (US-412 & 69 instead of I-44) but still made good time. Because of flooding problems, we'd decided to skip old 66, so our only travel stop was the local museum in Joplin - the mining museum was excellent, but they knew nothing about Melissa Fuell (a leading Black educator from the area - she wrote a book about Blind Boone and sang with him), nor did they have anything on noted ragtime composer James Scott (first published in Carthage, the County Seat). Makes one wonder.

According to the car's computer, we averaged 20.5 mpg at an average of 44.3 mph. We stayed at 9 different Holiday Inn Expresses, 1 Holiday Inn, and 1 Comfort Inn. The worst of the HIEs was better than the Comfort Inn. Ate a lot of great Mexican/Southwestern food (green, please) and some good BBQ (no, it wasn't KC, but still OK). Visited 4 indian casinos (Acoma, Mescalero Apache, Comanche & Cherokee) and in the end broke even. Saw statues by Ft. Sill Apache sculptor Alan Houser at Ruidoso, Lawton & Oklahoma City - we recognized his style pretty easily.

I'll probably write a bit more after we recover. Sandra has 50 pages of notes & comments, so she'll transcribe them as I do the pictuers and before long we'll have a whiz-bang web page for our trip.


Monday, May 07, 2007

Monday, 5/7 - PM

Monday evening - I didn't post this AM ... because there was a thunderstorm in Lawton. We left after the rain had gone thru and visited the Oklahoma History museum in OKC - yes, they do have operating oil wells on the Capitol lawn. It's a very well done museum and I learned a few facts I didn't previously know. We left OKC in old 66 hiway, but ran into some heavy rain and switched to the Turnpike. Also, we skipped the Gilcrease because it woud have put us driving thru Tulsa in the rain during rush hour. We checked in at 3 PM, got settled, then went to the Cherokee Casino. Lots of specials today. We each got $5 free play for being new members, $5 for seniors day, and Sandra got $5 for ladies' night - plus 2/1 buffet. We ended up playing for a couple of hours, found some hot machines, and walked out after giving them back only $5 of what they gave us.

Tomorrow's plans have changed a bit, as well. A lot of the creeks & rivers around here are really flooding, so we'll skip Old 66 and stay on I-44 to Joplin. We'll plan to visit the museum there, then boogie on home to meet the kittens (and take care of everything that has been piling up - the worst part of a vacation).

Only a very few pictures today; I'll post when we get home.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Sunday, 5/6 - PM

Didn't have all that far to drive today - missed the weather so far. Went thru a lot of flat country, broken up by eroded river bottoms - turned out to be pretty scenic. Got to Lawton about 1:30 & checked in to our HIE. Then went to their regional Museum of the Great Plains, then out to Ft. Sill. The post museum was closed & a bridge was out leading to Geronimo's grave, but we did get to visit the graves of Quanah Parker & Satanta. Drove from there out to the Washita Mountains Nat'l Wildlife Refuge, went thru their visitor center/museum and drove around looking at buffalo. Dinner at Cracker Barrel (the BBQ place we were looking for was closed) & mad a donation at the Comanche casino.

Tomorrow AM we're heading for Oklahoma City to see the state museum. After that, we may hit another museum, take old 66 to Tulsa, visit the Gilcrease and end up at the Cherokee Casino.

Miles from Lubbock to Lawton - 303
Miles after checking in in Lawton - 82

Sunday, 5/6 - AM

Sunday AM - We're off to Oklahoma today - weather does not look good as we'll be traveling thru and stopping in an area the Weather Channel shows in red. We won't be anywhere near Grensburg KS, but we've been thru it several times. Fairly short travel day today because the museums in Lubbock aren't open, but that gives us time to see some in Lubbock & Ft. Sill (if they're not blown away before we get there).

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Saturday 5/5 - PM

From Levelland TX (just west of Lubbock). Got up real early this AM because it looked like it would be a long day. Went up a scenic climb to Cloudcroft - the drive was scenic but we didn't see anything at Cloudcroft to take pictures of. Then it was cross country to Ruidoso, thru the Mescalero Apache reservation - lots of horses in the little valleys. Stopped at their casino (Inn of the Mountain Gods) and donated a few $. Over the hill to Lincoln, a neat little town noted for the Lincoln County War & Billy the Kid. On to Roswell, where we found that the UFO museum is now charging $5 to visit, the money going to moving out of downtown. We decided we like it downtown so instead went to the art museum - some nice pictures there, some Peter Hurds, even an O'Keefe. Most interesting was a large 3-panel painting of a Pow Wow - looked just like the one we saw.

Miles: 303.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Friday, 5/4 - PM

Another big day. We left Silver City about 7 AM and went to City of Rocks State Park. For you Missourians, it reminded me of Elephant Rocks, but the rock is volcanic tuff rather than granite. The park is essentially a neat place to camp, with campsites scattered among the rocks.

Then we drove down to Deming, in kind of a barren area, and stopped at the local welcome center, which included an old steam engine. Then it was on to Las Cruces to visit Sandra's Uncle Murray. Then, over the hill to White Sands - it was very windy and the sand was blowing, making a light haze.

We're now at a very nice HIE in Alamogordo. Tomorrow's a long day, with stops at Cloudcroft, Ruidoso, Lincoln (Billy the Kid) & Roswell before going on to Levelland TX (outside of Lubbock). It'll be a long day and we're shooting for an early start, so don't expect a morning post.

Friday AM Addendum - Gas Prices

Gas prices, whew. At regular gas stations, we paid a high of $3.17 at Chinle, AZ. We saw stations at $3.29 in other places, where we found other stations for $2.99. In Silver City, the going rate is $3.15. The most? I forgot to get gas in Sliver City before going out to Gila Cliff Dwellings and all those mountain roads had me woried. Fortunately, a little trading post out there had gas. I paid $10 for 2.7 gallons - that's $3.64/gal - but it's better than running out on a mountaintop in the absolute middle of nowhere.

Friday, 5/4 - AM

This Comfort Inn was "OK" - nothing wrong with it but not the same quality as most HIEs. Does have a hot breakfast, though (make your own waffles)- if we get any with all the cyclists.

Today we visit City of Rocks State Park, then go on to meet Sandra's Uncle Murray in Las Cruces, finishing up at White Sands & spending the night in Alamogordo. High winds predicted for today, we'll see how that affects things.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Thursday, 5/3 - PM

Whew - what a lot of mountain driving. We left Holbrook at 7 AM, but lost an hour when we went into NM. After a few miles of desert we went into a series of volcanic mountains. Stopped at the Chamber at Springerville AZ, where they have info and tours of an ancient pueblo we'd never heard of. Then thru more mountains in New Mexico, where we met the Gila Bicycle tour. I guess Missouri will be like that this fall.

The main attraction today was Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument. While at a comfort stop, I read the literature we picked up at Springerville - "allow 2 hours each way." C'mon, it's only 43 miles. Yep, 43 miles, not more than 1/4 miles of which at a time is straight, and the curvy parts (like most of the road) are either climbing or descending. The cliff dwellings themselves are among the few you can actually walk thru. Only inhabited between 1270-1300 AD, a non-Mimbres group but part of the Mogollon culture, they say. Sorry, still running behind on pictures.

Dinner at the same place we ate at 5 years ago when we went thru here, and just as GOOD! We recommend La Cocina in Silver City. Jury is still out on the Comfort Inn here.

Sandra's high point - when she went into a Silver City grocery store to buy beer, SHE WAS CARDED! Not too often one can get a Senior discount and be carded the same day!

Miles: 326, time on road or sightseeing - 10:15

Thursday, 5/3 - AM

Day 10 - a good night's sleep and we're heading generally eastward. Today's route is thru Arizona mountains to Show Low & Eager, then southward thru New Mexico's Mogollon mtns thru Alma to Silver City. The highlight will be a side trip from Silver City to Gila Cliff Dwelling National Monument. Tonight our only non-HI stop, a Comfort Inn (the HIE was full). Hope to have time to get the pictures caught up tonight.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wednesday, 5/2 - PM

Only took 37 pictures today - it was rainy this AM and the Hopi don't allow photographs. We toured the Hopi Museum at Walpi, then drove thru a lot more empty country to Leupp. From there, we took an unscheduled side trip on bumpy gravel(?) roads to Grand Falls of the Little Colorado. The falls were dry.

Next stop was Sunset Crater National Monument north of Flagstaff. A 1000-year-old cinder cone that affected indigenous people of the time and is reflected in their oral records. Due to time constraints, we skipped the connected site, Wupatki.

Then, it was east on I-40 to Meteor Crater - finally got to see it after having to bypass it in 1961, 2002 & 2006. Drove thru Winslow Arizona - did you know they have a "Standing on the Corner Park?"

Stopped at the HIE in Holbrook. Had dinner at a buffet with some really neat murals, inside & out. Drove old 66 & saw a Wigwam Motel, with a lot of old 50s cars parked around it.

Distance - 340 miles.

Wednesday, 5/2 - AM

Today we leave Chinle & Canyon de Chelly for other sites & sights. After a hot breakfast, we'll head for the Hopi Mesas & hope to visit their museum. Pictures are limited on the Hopi reservation. Then, we'll visit Sunset Crater, a volcano north of Flagstaff and perhaps the Wupatki ruins. Another possible sid etrip is the great falls of the Little Colorado, depending on time & what we hear. Finally, we plan to stop at Meteor Crater, a place that we've always had to bypass because of time.

No time to post yesterday's pictures yet, but you can see our 2005 pictures of Canyon de Chelly

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Tuesday, May 2 - PM

Another very full day. After a hot breakfast at the Thunderbird Lodge (the HI is too high), we got ready for our trip to Spider Rock. Adam Teller, (a local Navajo with an anthropology degree) of Antelope House Tours picked us up in a brand new top-end Jeep at 9 and we were off to the canyon. Lots of pictures, some good stories, and a much better feel for life in the canyon. 5 hours later, we got back to the motel, downloaded my pictures, and headed back out - this time for a tour of the rim overlooks. This tour was rather damp, but we still took a lot of pictures and met some interesting vendors at the overlooks. Said our final goodbye to Spider Rock and came back (listning to KCNN, Navajo Radio) to find our parking place still there. Amazing.

On the email - our farmwatcher, George, sent a picture of the kittens, who are out of the nursery box and gallivanting across the kitchen. It will be interesting when we return.

Sorry, no pictures tonight. Maybe I'll get caught up tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 1 - AM

We're waiting for our tour guide to arrive at 9 AM. Gave me time to process pictures from the last two days and get them posted. Yay!

Today, we take a Jeep tour up Canyon de Chelly (tse gi) to Spider Rock. Hope to hear lots of good stories. Will get back maybe 2 PM, then take a drive along the rim for more pictures. Should use up both batteries.

Motel is a Holday Inn. Towels aren't as nice as HIE, and restaurant is expensive. Nice room, and we can load the car thru a sliding door.

More tonight - and I hope lots and lots of pictures.

I see I didn't comment last night - we drove thru some pretty spectacular scenery to the Bisti Badlands, then to Farmington and across to Ship Rock. Lunch has a burger on frybread. Drove over a rutty road about 2 miles, halfway to the rock, and took lots of pictures. Stopped at the Red Rock Trading Post mentioned in many Hillerman novels, then went on to climb Lukachukai pass where we celebrated our 30th Anniversary on an overlook. Drove down the other side, stopped at Totsoh Trading post (see last year's comments from Phoenix) in Lukachukai, then on to Chinle. Here, we had dinner at the motel, expensive but it WAS our anniversary. A full day - 264 miles.