Posted by: Barbara Evanhoe | September 15, 2011

Good Times on the Road, at Grand Lake and Beyond…

How time flies!

We pulled out of Myrtle Beach a week ago last Monday, and spent an enjoyable three days on the road, camping Monday night at a cute little place near Birmingham, Alabama.

Our travels on Tuesday took us to a great campground situated right on the banks of the Mississippi River, and appropriately named “Tom Sawyer’s”.

We parked no more than 100 yards from the river bank, and could watch tugboats pulling and pushing huge barges up and down the river right from our camper. It was fascinating, and quite surprising that these huge “creatures” were so quiet as they passed!

Barge on the "Muddy Mississippi"

Our third day of travel took us to Cedar Oaks RV Resort on Grand Lake in Oklahoma, just a 5 minute drive from my sister’s home.

Keith and I enjoyed four fun-filled days with sister, Carol, and her husband Dave, just hanging out and playing like we had nothing else in the world to do….and we didn’t, since we are all retired!

“The boys” golfed and fished while “the girls” headed for the theater to see “The Help”, and shopped ’till we dropped at the five excellent resale shops in Grove ~ I was quite impressed with the quality and selection, and picked up a number of new additions to my wardrobe.

We all enjoyed an afternoon on the lake, dining out, and hanging out on the deck, and following my sister’s Fantasy Football team rack up the points.

Let me tell you….if you happen to be an onion ring aficionado, I can recommend two places for a fine ring: the American Grill ~ a retro little diner on Highway 59, that served up huge, crispy delights, and the Upper Deck ~ which is right on Grand Lake, and we boated there for dinner, so I can’t really give you an exact location, but I can say that their onion ring appetizer is “ginormous” and excellent, and well worth checking out.

Our little foursome gathered at Sandy’s diner on Monday morning, for breakfast, before we packed up and left for Winfield, Kansas, and the 40th Annual Walnut Valley Festival.

Breakfast at Sandy's diner, Grove, OK

Keith and I have been to the festival in some fashion, most years since the late 1980’s, but this is our first festival together.

He always camped with friends in “Darson’s Acres”, in the “West Campground”, while I was a part of the “Mushroom Parachute Camp”, located in the “Pecan Grove”.

It takes at least one trip to Winfield for the festival experience to see why thousands of folks travel from all over the world to camp out in crowded spaces and endure heat and/or freezing temperatures, in order to share music and comaraderie for one magical week….but if you’ve never been, you should put it on your Bucket List so that you will understand.

The “prime real estate” at the campground was already full when we arrived at the Cowley County Fairgrounds late Monday afternoon ~ several days before the festival even started ~ so we decided to head for the empty field southeast of the grandstand, where there was plenty of space because water and electric hook-ups were not available there.

Luckily, we can “dry camp” without utilities for several days using our water storage tank, battery-powered 12 volt lights, and a generator to charge the batteries and provide regular A/C power when needed.

With temps in the 90’s on Monday and Tuesday, we admit that it was a bit toasty at bedtime, but today and tomorrow, daytime temps will struggle to get up to 65…aahh, wild Kansas weather swings!

Here is a picture of our campsite the day we arrived…..on Saturday we’ll post a follow-up pic to show how the place has changed. You will be amazed!

Pre-festival Campsite

After setting up camp and settling in, we spent a fun day on Tuesday with our good friends, Dean and Barbara, who own a wonderful antique store named “Antiques and Americana” in Douglass, Kansas. We almost didn’t recognize Dean when we saw him ~ he’s sprouted a famously fabulous white beard in the past year, and he looks like Santa Claus!

Check out their facebook page and “Like” them. They are getting ready to post some new photos of the fun things you will find in their shop.

After a super huge breakfast at Beiderman’s in Winfield, we drove over to Douglass so Keith and I could do a little shopping. We spent over an hour browsing through the shop.

Funny story…several years ago when I was closing out my house in Towanda, I sold them a smoking stand that I had purchased in a shop in Winfield while at the music festival. As Keith was browsing, he spotted the stand, and immediately fell in love with it. So, after a bit of friendly haggling over the price, the stand made its way back home to our camp in Winfield!

The rest of the day took us to south Wichita, to a fine Air Museum ~ which is to be expected, since Wichita is the Air Capital of the World.

Keith, Dean and Barbara at the Wichita Air Museum

After a quick trip to the Great Plains Nature Center to procure my National Parks Senior Discount Pass, and an early dinner at City Bites, we headed back to the campground for a fun evening of picking and grinning with my “Winfield Family” from the Mushroom Parachute Camp.

I’ll leave the rest of the Winfield story left untold for a few more days, and pick up where this post leaves off, soon ~ promise. Right now, we’ll be off to visit and make music with friends, old and new, as the festival continues to unfold.



  1. Thanks for helping us spread the word about Antiques & Americana! I’ll be working on the website tomorrow (hopefully). Love you both!!!!!

    • Looking forward to seeing those pics ~ thanks again for brunch yesterday!

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