Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Monday, October 30, 2006
WE'VE TRAVELED I-40 ACROSS NORTHERN ARIZONA AND NORTHERN NEW MEXICO SEVERAL TIMES. COMPARED TO I-70, I-80, AND I-90, THE I-40 HAS THE FEWEST MOUNTAIN CLIMBS AND MOUNTAIN PASSES, MAKING PULLING THE CAMPER EASIER.
WRITTEN BY REX
OVER THE YEARS WE'VE SEEN THE SIGNS FOR DIFFERENT ATTRACTIONS AND ALWAYS TELL EACH OTHER OVER THE RADIO THAT SOME YEAR WHEN WE HAVE TIME WE WILL CHECK SOME OF THOSE ATTRACTIONS OUT. THIS HAS BEEN THE YEAR, THE AREA HAS A LOT OF HISTORY, THE HUGH NAVAJO INDIAN NATION, THE RAILROAD, THE PAINTED DESERT, PETRIFIED FOREST, GALLUP, AND OF COURSE THE MOTHER OF ALL HIGHWAYS "ROUTE 66".
TODAY WAS ONE OF THOSE STOPS AT THE METEOR CRATER JUST WEST OF WINSLOW, ARIZONA. THE CRATER IS 50,000 YEARS OLD AND OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE HIGH DESERT. IT'S 2.5 MILES IN CIRCUMFERENCE, ABOUT A MILE ACROSS, AND 500 FEET DEEP. A BIG HOLE IN THE GROUND!! THE TOUR GUIDE WAS FROM MILWAUKEE, AND THE MILE LONG HIKE ALONG THE RIM WAS VERY INTERESTING. THE SITE IS PRIVATELY OWNED AND INCLUDES AN RV PARK.
WE'RE WATCHING THE WEATHER CLOSELY AND DISCUSSING DROPPING THE TRUCK AND TRAILER AT WILLIAMS ARIZONA AND TAKING THE HONDA UP TO THE GRAND CANYON TO HIKE DOWN INTO THE CANYON TOMORROW.
Sunday, October 29, 2006
Today we went to the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest National Park. Essentially you drive through the 28 miles of park and stop to do hiking trails to see points of interest or to look at scenic overlooks. The views we saw were truly awesome.
Seeing the park today makes me feel sad that we didn't have a blog the last 6 plus years to record all of the wonderful sights we have been privileged to see. I wish I had a better record of all of our travels.
After the park, we stopped at a couple of bars for a drink then home for homemade pizza.
Saturday, October 28, 2006
When we checked in at Red Rock State Park in Gallup yesterday, I asked the lady if there was a Saturday morning Farmer's Market in Gallup. She gave us directions to a Saturday morning Flea Market. So we got up early and left by 8:00 AM to go to the Flea Market. The lady at the park said they started selling at 7:30 so we wanted to be there early. Apparently no one told the vendor about the 7:30 AM start. There was hardly anyone there and very few booths open. And it was COLD!! We did walk around but left at about 8:20. We had noticed a Safeway on the way to the Flea Market so we decided to go there and stock up for the next three days. So we did!
In the same strip mall that had Safeway, there was a Western clothing store. We had to go there cuz Rex has been looking for another plaid Western shirt with snaps. We lucked out and found one that he liked in his size. Believe me when I say...this is a very hard thing to do!
After we got done grocery and shirt shopping, Rex wanted to go to old downtown Gallup and walk around. So he navigated us there and that is exactly what we did. Some of the old shops were really interesting and we saw a lot of Indian jewelry and various other artifacts.
Of course by this time it is time for a cocktail and we found THE AMERICAN BAR in downtown Gallup!! Let me tell you the American Bar had only 2 white patrons (guess who??) everyone else was Native American.
Now we needed to hit the road and do our big 110 mile travel day to Holbrook AZ. After checking in at the KOA and showering it is time for happy hour. We had noticed the Empty Pocket Saloon on the way in so we went there for happy hour. The bartender was a really nice lady that ended up giving us a dozen "farm fresh" eggs. And they were .....one still had feathers on it!! No lie!!
Now I need to add a little footnote about our visit to Independence, MO. While walking around the square one day, we notice a big white thing in a store window. Rex and I stopped and really looked...yup..it was actually a casket!! The store name----Direct Casket Sales--OK now I've seen it all!!
Friday, October 27, 2006
JUST AN OLE FASHION TRAVEL DAY ACROSS NORTHERN NEW MEXICO. IF YOU HAVE TO SIT ON YOUR ASS BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A VEHICLE THIS IS THE DRIVE TO DO IT. THE RED ROCKS AND BUTTE CLIFFS ARE SPECTACULAR, AND FULL SUNSHINE MADE THEM EVEN MORE COLORFUL. WE MADE A PIT STOP AT THE SKY CITY CASINO AND THE GOVERNOR OF NEW MEXICO WAS STANDING OUTSIDE MAKING A SPEECH TO GROUP OF INDIANS.
WRITTEN BY REX
THE WIND (10-15 MPH) TOOK IT’S TOLL ON OUR TRAVEL SPEED, BUT WE MADE THE 311 MILES AND FINALLY GOT OUT OF TUCUMCARI. WE WERE BOTH A LITTLE TIRED OF THE LIZARD LOUNGE.
TILL TOMORROW FROM SOMEWHERE IN ARIZONA.
Thursday, October 26, 2006
WE ARE STILL PINNED DOWN BY A HIGH WIND ADVISORY FOR THE EAST SIDE OF NEW MEXICO, SO WE’VE DECIDE TO JUST SIT IT OUT AND MOVE ON WEST TOMORROW. THAT GIVES ME ALL DAY TO BLOG ON A BUNCH OF TOPICS. WE ARE ALSO ON THE SOUTHERN EDGES OF THAT COLORADO SNOW STORM, SO I DON’T THINK WE WILL BE IN SHORTS AND T-SHIRTS TODAY.
WRITTEN BY REX
Wednesday, October 25, 2006
We hit the road this morning with the goal of getting to Gallup, NM which was about 400 miles from our overnight stop. Unfortunately Hurricane Paul had other ideas…..this is a rare Pacific hurricane and the winds from Paul have reached inland as far as New Mexico. We have mentioned several times that high winds are very difficult to travel in while pulling a trailer. So at 10:30 this morning our travel day was done. We only made it 90 miles to Tucumcari. That’s OK…we have plenty of time and we are on vacation and driving in that wind is just too dangerous. Apparently other RV travelers feel the same, this RV park is filling up fast.
So now we are at an RV park with cable TV and a very slow internet connection. So the first thing I am interested in is what do we have around to make for supper. Looking in the cupboard, I spotted SPAM…OK..OK we bought more than one can. So then I looked in the SPAM cook book. OK….OK …I bought a $3.00 SPAM cook book at the SPAM museum. Anyway I looked through it trying to find a recipe that Rex would like. Bingo…we are having SPAM Swiss Pie. Some of the ingredients are heavy cream, Swiss cheese, and 6 eggs, oh and of course SPAM!! For dessert sour cream apple pie!! This should be an interesting supper!
Since we had a plan for supper, we needed to make a trip to the grocery store. Driving in a new place we always look for a place for an afternoon cocktail, but in Tucumcari that is a tough assignment. Actually we saw one right away, but when we went back to it the door was boarded up. The main drag (historic Route 66) of Tucumcari has a lot of boarded up businesses…it looks kind of sad! But we are persistent and were rewarded with the Lizard Lounge. If the wind keeps up like it is suppose to and keeps us off the road tomorrow, we will get to know the bartender quite well!!
The weather has also made it necessary to change some of our other plans. We originally planned to go to Monument Valley and to hike down into the Grand Canyon, but forecasted nighttime temps in the teens has made us rethink that plan. So our new plan is a visit to The Painted Desert, Petrified National Forest, and a meteor crater. Not a bad substitution in my opinion!!
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
IT’S BEEN A FRUSTRATING DAY. FIRST WE GOT A LATE START FOR OUR PLANNED 340 MILE DAY TO TUCUMCARI, NEW MEXICO.
SECOND OUR FIRST FUEL STOP OF THE DAY WAS A MESS. FIRST I PULLED INTO A STATION THAT WAS CLOSED CAUSING ME TO HAVE TO PULL OUT OVER THE CURB TO ESCAPE. DOWN THE STREET I SELECTED A STATION ON THE OPPOSITE SIDE OF THE HIGHWAY, AND AFTER GETTING PULLED IN I COULDN’T GET THE PUMP TO WORK. AFTER SEVERAL TRIPS INTO THE STORE THE LADIES TAKING MONEY DIDN’T HELP EITHER . MEANWHILE ANOTHER VEHICLE PULLED INTO THE PUMP AHEAD OF ME AT A SLANT IN EFFECT CUTTING INTO THE LINE, SO I WAITED HIM OUT, CLOSING DOWN HALF THE PUMPS IN THE STATION. 30 MINUTES LATER I FINALLY WAS FULL OF FUEL. IT’S A CHALLENGE TO PULL INTO A GAS STATION WITH A 34 FOOT TRAILER BEHIND YOU AND I HATE IT. WITH A 33 GALLON TANK IT’S SOMETHING I FACE TWICE A DAY WHILE ON THE ROAD.
THIRD A 15 - 20 MILE AN HOUR CROSS WIND CAME UP KNOCKING OUR SPEED DOWN TO LESS THAN 60 MILES AN HOUR. FOURTH THE WHOLE 340 MILES IS ON ONE OF THOSE FAMOUS “REX SHORT CUTS” ON A TWO LANE HIGHWAY, MAKING PASSING IMPOSSIBLE FOR ME AND FOR THE SEVERAL HUNDRED SEMIS TRYING TO MAKE A LIVING OUT ON THE ROAD. WE FINALLY GAVE UP AT 3:30 PM IN DAHART, TEXAS AND CHECKED INTO AN RV PARK AND WENT FOR WHISKEY AND BEER. DAMN THIS IS TEXAS, LAND OF BEER BARS AND NO WHISKEY!!! SO NOW WE’RE 250 MILE FROM ALBUQUERQUE, ENJOYING COCKTAILS, AND SUPPER LOOKS TO BE AT THE REGULAR LATE HOUR. WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF HITTING ALBUQUERQUE TOMORROW AFTERNOON DURING THE RUSH HOUR? SCREW THAT, WHERE’S THE NEXT COCKTAIL LOUNGE IN NEW MEXICO?
END THE BLOG WITH SOMETHING POSITIVE, IS WHAT I TOLD MARY LAST WEEK. WELL HERE IT IS: WHEN WE STOPPED AT THE TEXAS TAVERN WE WERE DRESSED IN SHORTS AND T-SHIRTS!!! AND TWO WEEKS FROM TODAY STARTS “THE GREAT NEVADA RV ADVENTURE” !!! WHAT COULD BE MORE POSITIVE THAN THAT?
TILL TOMORROW FROM SOMEWHERE IN NEW MEXICO……..
Monday, October 23, 2006
TODAY FINDS US IN PRATT, KS WITH THE DOOR OPEN AND THE SUN SHINNING. WE GOT A LATER START ON THE ROAD FROM INDEPENDENCE THIS MORNING AS MARY WENT AND HAD THE OIL CHANGED IN THE HONDA, AND I WAS TRYING TO AVOID SCRAPING WINDOWS. DIDN'T WORK, EVEN AT 9:30 I STILL HAD FROST ON THE WINDOWS.
WE GOT OFF THE ROAD AT 3:30, THIS IS GREAT TIME TO CALL IT A DAY, AND YOU GET THE PRIME CAMPING SPOTS IN THE RV PARK.THE PRESIDENT TRUMAN STUFF WAS PRETTY COOL SINCE IT WAS BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF LIFE FOR US. THE ITEMS FROM THE 50'S LIKE TV'S, RECORD PLAYERS, AND KITCHEN APPLIANCES WERE FUN TO LOOK AT. TOMORROW SHOULD BE TUCUMCARI, NEW MEXICO.
Sunday, October 22, 2006
I just have a few comments to add to the previous post regarding the Bingham-Waggoner House we saw on Saturday. The original house was added on to in 1899 bringing it to it's current 7,000 square foot size. Like the Villa Louis in Prairie du Chein, the ceilings are very tall, just a shade under 14 feet. Modern day basketball players would love it there!!
In the 1800's it seems they had a different room for every activity, the ladies parlor, the men's parlor, the informal family sitting room, the music room, the dining room, etc. In the music room of the Bringham-Waggoner House they had a beautiful Swiss Music Box. Our tour guide, and I do mean OUR tour guide,(we were the only two taking the tour) took the key, flicked the flywheel, and played it for us. The music was very pretty and the animation was truly beautiful. OK I need to more fully explain this music box...first the size of it..it is about 5 feet tall, 4 feel wide, and 3 feet deep...needless to say not the type of music box to sit on one's desk!! This music box was constructed in Switzerland and the animation I talked about were three little swiss guys that moved when it played. They reminded me of the kind of guys you see move on a coo coo clock. It was a very cool music box!
This tour was very usual in many ways and one of the most unusual things was the fact that none of the rooms had velvet ropes blocking them off. You could walk right up to every thing and really take a good look...in fact they rent out this house for weddings and other occasions. We were really amazed by that.
This home was beautifully furnished and three stories and I was real impressed by the access we had to all of the antiques in it. Rex and I agreed....these were VERY wealthy people!!
Today we went to the Vaile House. This house is not nearly as impressive as the other one but still worth seeing. This house was constructed in 1881 and deeded to the city of Independence in 1983. For the 40 or so years before the city got it, it was used as a nursing home. There is 10 fireplaces in the house all of marble and very beautiful. The original house sat on 9 acres and had a huge pond which no longer exists, but there is a fountain in the yard now.
All in all we really enjoyed these two house tours and a glimpse back in time to see how the other half lived in the last part of the 19th century.
Saturday, October 21, 2006
"THE BUCK STOPS HERE" IS THE SIGN THAT SAT ON PRESIDENT TRUMAN'S DESK. IT'S ABOUT THE FIRST THING YOU SEE ON ENTERING THE TRUMAN PRESIDENTIAL LIBRARY. THE LIBRARY HAS BEEN RECENTLY RENOVATED AND THE DISPLAYS ARE ALL QUITE MODERN AND UP TO DATE. THERE IS A LOT OF MOVIE TAPE OF THIS PRESIDENT SO VISUALS ARE VERY GOOD. HE SPENT MANY YEARS IN RETIREMENT, AND HAD HIS WORKING OFFICE HERE AT THE LIBRARY. HE PICKED HIS BURIAL SPOT VERY CLOSE TO THIS OFFICE AND TEASED HIS WIFE IT WAS SO THAT HE COULD SNEAK INTO THE OFFICE AND STILL GET HIS READING AND WORK DONE.
WRITTEN BY REX
ALTHOUGH HE LEFT THE WHITE HOUSE WITH ONLY A 30% APPROVAL RATING, HIS LEGACY IS RICH IN HISTORY AND VERY TOUGH DECISION MAKING. "GIVE 'EM HELL HARRY" AND "IF YOU CAN'T STAND THE HEAT GET OUT OF THE KITCHEN" ROUND OUT OUR HISTORY LESSONS FOR TODAY.
AS PREDICTED THE COLD RAIN MOVED IN TODAY, SO WE'VE RETIRED TO THE CAMPER WITH THE HEATER RUNNING FOR AN AFTERNOON NAP, AN OLD JOHN WAYNE MOVIE POPPED INTO THE DVD PLAYER, AND LEFT OVER HOMEMADE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP.
Friday, October 20, 2006
MARY AND SCROOGE, OLD FRIENDS FROM THE MISS MARQUETTE, GOT A HOLD OF US IN E-MAIL TO EXPLAIN THEY HAD TO CHANGE OUR PLANS TO GET TOGETHER ON SUNDAY DUE TO A FUNERAL AT HOME IN MONONA, SO WE DECIDED TO DRIVE OVER TO BOONVILLE TO MEET THEM AFTER WORK. SCROOGE IS A PIT MANAGER, AND CHAD MOINES IS A SHIFT MANAGER. MARY IS DEALING POKER. SCROOGE COMPED US DINNER TICKETS AND WE HIT THE CASINO BUFFET LINE ON FULL ATTACK! WE REALLY ENJOYED OUR VISIT AND GOT ALL CAUGHT UP ON FRIENDS AND FAMILY.
WRITTEN BY REX
IN THE MORNING WE KNEW IT WAS GOING TO BE THE BEST WEATHER DAY OF OUR KANSAS CITY VISIT SO WE HIKED OVER TO A MUSEUM, AND A TOUR OF THE BINGHAM-WAGGONER ESTATE BUILT IN 1852. THE ESTATE TOUR WAS REALLY INTERESTING AS IT WAS JUST MARY AND I AND THE TOUR GUIDE, AND UNLIKE REGULAR OLD HOME TOURS WE WERE LET INTO EVERY ROOM IN THE HOUSE TO WALK AROUND AND LOOK AT THE FURNISHINGS AND PAINTINGS UP CLOSE. WE WERE EVEN IN THE THIRD FLOOR SERVANTS QUARTERS.
WE PAID $1.989 FOR FUEL IN BOONVILLE.
Thursday, October 19, 2006
Today has been surprising in many ways. First of all the trip from Osceola IA to Independence MO was really easy when you take into account it is actually the big city of Kansas City. We have been avoiding the Kansas City area for many years because of the traffic. Today made us realize that all of the road construction they have been doing the past few years has really improved the area. Thank God!!
We are camped in the very historic city of Independence MO. For the "historically challenged", this is the home and birthplace of Harry S. Truman, the 33rd President of the United States of America. We got here about noon, did a couple of loads of laundry, and then set out on a hike.
So where did we go on our hike? Our first stop was Clinton's Soda Fountain, the site of Harry Truman's first job. He made $3.00 a week for opening at 6:00 AM, scrubbing the floors, stocking the shelves, and waiting on customers. No union there I guess!
Next we went to the Harry S. Truman National Park Service Visitors Center. I gotta mention this here, we buy a National Park Passport Pass for $50 which lasts for one year and I can't believe all the places where it is accepted...the Harry Truman Home for example, plus the Pipestone National Monument we went to on Tuesday for another. We are always amazed by how many places the pass is accepted. It is WELL WORTH THE MONEY!! We saw a 12 minute narrated slide show about the Truman home there and then hiked the 5 blocks to the home for a tour.
The home deserves it's own paragraph. The home was built by Bess Truman's very wealthy grandfather. He acquired his wealth in the 1880 milling industry. Bess was born in the house and when she married Harry in 1919 he moved into it with her, her mother, and her grandmother. WOW..lots of women in Harry's life!! Anyway, the house is furnished with the furniture used by Harry and Bess during there marriage. When Harry's term as president ended in 1953 he retired to 219 N. Delaware Street until his death in 1972. Bess died in the home in Oct. of 1982. She changed nothing after his death and his coat and hat still hang on a coat tree in the front hall. She never changed a THING after his death. It is a beautiful example of homes of the era and we really enjoyed the tour.
Then we returned home for homemade chicken noodle soup and the new episode of CSI!!
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
TODAY WE’RE AT TERRIBLE’S LAKESIDE IOWA. WE ONLY MOVED 180 MILES SOUTH FROM ONE CASINO TO ANOTHER. WHERE WE WERE THIS MORNING AT THE DIAMOND JO CASINO ON I-35 NEAR THE MINNESOTA BORDER THEY WERE EXPECTING 2-4 INCHES OF SNOW AT NOON TIME, WE WERE OUT OF THERE BEFORE THE SUN CAME UP. WE STILL HAVEN’T COMPLETELY OUT RUN THE BAD WEATHER AS THE FORCASTED LOW FOR HERE TONIGHT IS 32 DEGREES, AND OUR DRIVE WAS IN A COLD RAIN. TOMORROW IT’S ANOTHER 150 MILES SOUTH TO INDEPENDENCE, MO., WHERE WE PLAN TO SPEND A FEW DAYS.
WRITTEN BY REX
SO WHAT’S UP WITH ALL THESE CASINO STOPS? BOONDOCKING, CAMPING WITHOUT ANY HOOK-UPS, LIKE WATER, SEWER, OR POWER, IS NOT A PLEASANT THING TO DO, BUT IT DOES SAVE A LOT OF MONEY AND TIME. THE MOST POPULAR PLACE TO BOONDOCK WHILE TRAVELING IS A WALMART. MARY AND I HAVE NEVER DONE THAT, BUT INSTEAD LOOK FOR A CASINO PARKING LOT TO BOONDOCK BECAUSE CASINOS ALWAYS HAVE A LOT OF SECURITY, AND BIG PARKING LOTS. HERE AT TERRIBLE’S LAKESIDE IOWA THEY HAVE AN RV PARK WITH FULL HOOK-UPS AT ONLY $10 PER NIGHT, AND EVEN TONIGHT LATE IN OCTOBER WITH SHITTY WEATHER THE SPACES ARE FILLING UP.
TERRIBLE’S LAKESIDE IOWA HAD US BOTH THINKING ABOUT NEVADA TODAY, AS WE HAVE RESERVATIONS IN ABOUT THREE WEEKS AT TERRIBLE’S LAKESIDE PAHRUMP, NV. , DURING “THE GREAT NEVADA RV ADVENTURE”.“THE GREAT NEVADA RV ADVENTURE”, WILL MOST LIKELY BE THE SEQUEL TO “RV” THE RECENT ROBIN WILLIAMS MOVIE. ONLY THIS TIME IT WILL STAR MY TWO GRANDSONS AND THE REST OF THE FAMILY CAMPING IN NEVADA. I’M SURE YOU WILL BE READING MORE ABOUT THE ADVENTURE IN FUTURE BLOGS TO COME…………..WE CAPPED OFF THE EVENING WITH A TRIP TO INDIANOLA, IA AS DINNER GUESTS OF MARK AND JAYNE , CAMPING FRIENDS FROM YELLOW RIVER FOREST. STEAKS AND HY-VEE TWICE BAKED CHEESY POTATOES!!!
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
ON PAPER THIS IS WHERE WE LIVE, SO YOU COULD SAY TODAY WAS A TRIP HOME? SOUTH DAKOTA REQUIRES WE SHOW UP IN PERSON TO RENEW OUR DRIVER LICENSE EVERY FIVE YEARS, SO TODAY WAS THE DAY. ACTUALLY OUR LICENSES DON’T EXPIRE UNTIL OUR BIRTHDAYS (JAN. & APRIL), BUT WHO THE HELL WANTS TO GO TO SOUTH DAKOTA IN JANUARY? THE STATE IS VERY RV FRIENDLY AND ALLOWS US TO RENEW SIX MONTHS IN ADVANCE. TAKE A NUMBER AND WAIT WAS THE ORDER OF BUSINESS AT THE DRIVER’S LICENSE STORE. THINGS ARE FINE AT HOME, THE OFFICE THAT DOES OUR MAIL FORWARDING AND VEHICLE REGISTRATIONS, AND THE GIRLS STILL HAVE OUR CREDIT CARD NUMBER TO SNAG OUR MONIES AND KEEP THE MAIL AND OUR BILLS COMING.
I SEE A NEW TREND DEVELOPING, TODAY MARY SAW A ROADSIDE SIGN FOR THE PIPESTONE NATIONAL MONUMENT, YESTERDAY IT WAS THE SPAM MUSEUM. SO IT’S OFF TO PIPESTONE, MINNESOTA AND A LOOK AT THE MONUMENT. IT TURNED OUT TO THE QUARRY SITE OF PIPESTONE USED BY THE PLAINS INDIANS FOR PEACE PIPES. TO THE INDIANS IT IS, OF COURSE, SACRED GROUND, AND TO THIS DAY ONLY NATIVE AMERICANS CAN QUARRY AND REMOVE THE SOFT RED STONE. EVEN THEY MUST DO A BUNCH OF PAPERWORK AND CAN ONLY USE HAND TOOLS TO DO THE MINING. THE INDIAN ART WORK AND CRAFTSMANSHIP ARE BEAUTIFUL. I WONDER IF TOMORROW SHE WILL SPOT A SIGN FOR THE IOWA COWSHIT MUSEUM?
Monday, October 16, 2006
We are definitely on the road again!! It was up and at them this morning. It started to rain before we left so we had to work at a faster pace than we normally do when we have a short travel day. Anyway we pulled out at 9:15 this morning and headed West. Driving conditions were really shitty, heavy rain and really low visibility. They did improve once we got past the Rochester, MN exit so that was helpful.
When we got close to Austin, MN, I noticed a sign for the “Spam Museum” and I actually thought that sounded kind of interesting. Needless to say, we decided to visit it. I did mention to Rex, on the way in, that I went to high school with a guy that ended up being an executive with the Hormel Company and at one time he was based in the Austin plan but the last I heard he was in South Carolina. Anyway when we got there we were informed that the museum is closed on Mondays but the gift shop is open. I couldn’t resist the lure of a gift shop and the thought of SPAM postcards to send so in we went. The gift shop lady turned out to be the wife of the guy I went to high school with…..I was really surprised to see her and we had a great visit. It truly is a small world! We bought six postcards and made them all out to various people. Oh and of course we did buy some SPAM and we had fried SPAM sandwiches for lunch. It was good for a change. A SPAM sandwich once every ten years or so is about the right amount!
From Austin it was about 40 miles to today’s destination. So here we are parked in the parking lot of the new Diamond Jo Casino, where we will be spending the night. Early tomorrow morning we will be heading to Sioux Falls in the car to take care of driver license renewal and a few other things.
Sunday, October 15, 2006
In light of the fact that we are pulling out of Wisconsin tomorrow morning…I have had an extremely busy week end.
On Saturday I had the opportunity to visit with a very good friend…one that I have known and loved since we were six years old. Linda is one of my all time favorite people and every time I see her I am reminded of how special she is…and how special our friendship is.
I also managed to fit in a quick visit with my sister-in-law, Kitty, to take her some books on CD. Since going to dialysis with her I have been trying to think of something that might make the time more pleasant…books on CD were what I came up with. Sure hope she enjoys them….I still have more books.
Then it was the hardest “last visit” of all. My Mother. We attended the “Lord’s Acre Sale” and dinner at the local church. My Mother had a really great time visiting with lots of old friends. To give you an idea of who attends this event, at one point one of my old class mates said “Did you ever think you would be the third youngest person here?” His wife and grand daughter were the two younger than me. Anyway I am truly thankful that I spent so much time with my Mother this trip. It was real tough to say good bye.
Now on to Sunday and good byes to my children and grand daughters. This was also extremely tuff, but I did manage to spend individual time with each of my children. I love them all so much and will miss them terribly. I am also thankful that I had spent a lot of time with them.
I must say I loved every minute of the 5 plus weeks we spent in Wisconsin visiting friends and family. Because of logistics, I spent a lot of time driving but it was well worth it to have the opportunity to spend time with everyone. But I must say quite frankly, that I AM TIRED. The short travel day we have planned for tomorrow will be welcomed and so will the afternoon nap I have planned!
Saturday, October 14, 2006
A SLOW BLOG DAY. THE NEWS TODAY INCLUDES IMPROVED WEATHER WITH SOME SUNSHINE, 47 DEGREES, AND NO SNOW. THE COUNTY PARK WE’RE CAMPED IN IS HOSTING THE HMONG NEW YEAR CELEBRATION. THIS INCLUDES A SOCCER TOURNAMENT WORTH $1500 TO THE WINNING TEAM. THERE ARE 5,000 - 8,000 SPECTATORS, LOT’S VERY WEIRD MUSIC, AND FOOD. THE SHERIFF DEPUTIES ARE MOSTLY ON 4 WHEELERS, AND THE CROWD HAS REMAINED UNDER CONTROL.
WRITTEN BY REX
MARY MADE HER LAST TRIP TO MT HOPE TODAY TO SAY “GOODBY” TO HER MOTHER, AND TOMORROW HAS THE SAME TUFF CHORE WITH HER KIDS AND GRAND DAUGHTERS. VISITING FAMILY AND FRIENDS HAS BEEN GREAT, BUT IT’S TIME GET BACK ON THE ROAD AND SEE WHAT WE CAN FIND AROUND THE NEXT CORNER.
Friday, October 13, 2006
I know Rex blogged about yesterday, but I really need to add my two cents.
I did drive from Mt. Hope to La Crosse early yesterday morning...I left at 7 AM because it was snowing so hard I couldn't see across the street....I was afraid I would get snowed in!! Fortunately by the time I went 9 miles it stopped snowing and by the time I went 20 miles the pavement was totally dry. It is actually scary to be driving in that stuff when you haven't in several years. Yup Rex hit the nail on the head...we will now be leaving right after the Torchlight Parade!
So now I get to talk about Danny's house...it is just awesome and has a lot of character. There is an interesting story behind so many of the furnishings. Like quilts that his GRANDPA made,steps made out of wood from an old church, and a picture of his grandpa and great-grandpa standing in front of the barn with several horses. The frame is actually made from the wood of that old barn....just a lot of really cool stuff!!
Now on to the SAFE HOUSE SALOON in Lansing. Rex had been reading about this on line over the winter and really wanted to stop in (although he was less interested once he found out it is non-smoking). He did that before yesterday, but it was my first stop in there. I loved it!! It has the atmosphere of the 1920s, in fact movies from the 20s play continuously on the very big screen TV. The bartender wears a crisp white shirt, vest, and bow tie. The coasters are actually small crocheted doilies. The glass wear is actually reproductions of the period and oh, so pretty. There are private booths all with cloth tablecloths and runners. There are a few antiques, but most are reproductions including truly beautiful pool table. The bathroom also has really cool touches including CLOTH hand towels and a little wicker basket to drop it in after you use it. Oh and I can't forget the pull chain flusher...the whole place is just so cute!!
Since we have been in Wisconsin Rex and I really haven't spent much time together since I have mostly been hanging out with my Mother, children, and grandchildren. That was another really nice aspect of yesterday...we got to enjoy each others company and I liked it!!
Thursday, October 12, 2006
BRRRR !!!!!! IT’S A COLD MORNING IN LA CROSSE, AT 25 DEGREES.
WRITTEN BY REX
OF COURSE SINCE I’VE BEEN USING ELECTRIC TO HEAT THE CAMPER AND HOT WATER I HAD NO THOUGHTS ABOUT RUNNING OUT OF LP GAS. I HAD TURNED OFF THE ELECTRIC HEATER FOR THE NIGHT AND WENT WITH JUST THE TRAILER’S LP FURNACE TO PROVIDE SOME HEAT IN THE BELLY OF THE TRAILER TO PROTECT THE WATER TANKS AND WATER LINES. YA……. YOU GUESSED IT ….. I RAN OUT OF LP GAS DURING THE NIGHT.
I WOKE UP AT 6:30 AM TO A TEMPERATURE ON THE DIGITAL THERMOSTAT OF 49, AND ON THE DIGITAL INDOOR/OUTDOOR THERMOMETER OF 41 INSIDE. I RAN ALL THE FAUCETS TO CHECK FOR A FROZEN WATER LINE AND THEY ALL SEEM TO BE OK. I STEPPED OUTSIDE AND SWITCHED LP TANKS AND AN HOUR LATER HAD THE TEMP INSIDE UP TO 70 DEGREES. THE MORNING TV SAYS THE WIND CHILL OUTSIDE FEELS LIKE 15 DEGREES, AND THE HIGH TODAY IS SUPPOSED TO REACH 38 DEGREES. YESTERDAY I HAD SNOW FLURRIES TWICE DURING THE AFTERNOON, OF COURSE THE TEMPERATURE IN LAS VEGAS YESTERDAY WAS 75 AND AT LAUGHLIN IT HIT 85, GUESS WE MAY HAVE OVERSTAYED OUR WELCOME IN WISCONSIN?
SORRY ABOUT YESTERDAY’S “CUT & PASTE” FOR A BLOG ENTRY, I KNOW THEY AREN’T POPULAR ENTRIES, BUT IN LAUGHLIN, EXPANSION IS UNHEARD OF WITH THE MARKET PRESSURES OF INDIAN GAMING IN ARIZONA AND CALIFORNIA, SO AN ADDITION LIKE THIS IS PRETTY EXCITING.MARY GOT BACK FROM MT HOPE THIS MORNING. AFTER LUNCH WE HEADED OUT TO WAUKON TO SAY “GOODBYE” TO DANNY BECKER. MARY WAS IMPRESSED WITH DANNY’S NEW CABIN, AND HE HAS A NEW ADDITION, TUBBS, THE ST. BERNARD PUPPY. YOU KNOW HOW YOU CHECK THE SIZE OF THE PUPPY’S FEET TO DETERMINE HOW BIG THE DOG WILL GET? THE PAWS ON THIS PUP WILL SCARE YOU!!
THE DRIVE DOWN TO WAUKON WAS PRETTY ENTERTAINING AS THE SNOW WAS FALLING AND BLOWING, AND EVEN RESTRICTING OUR SEEING THE ROAD UP AHEAD. IT WAS ACTUALLY KINDA HUMOROUS AS WE HAD THE HEADLIGHTS AND HEATER ON AND WERE LOOKING ACROSS AT EACH OTHER GIVING THAT, “WHAT THE HELL?” LOOK.
WE’VE DECIDED TO NEVER STAY IN WISCONSIN THIS LATE INTO OCTOBER AGAIN.EVENING HAD US AT SWEENEY’S BY THE RIVER, TO MEET UP WITH JUDY AND JOE FOR DRINKS AND TO PICK UP A “FEW THINGS” TO HAUL BACK TO PAULIE IN NEVADA.TILL TOMORROW, WHEN THERE IS ONLY A 30% CHANCE OF A SNOW SHOWER.
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
THIS IS THE CASINO WHERE WE HAVE WORKED THE LAST SIX WINTERS.
Cover StoriesAVI RESORT UNVEILS NEWLY COMPLETED EXPANSION PROJECTTuesday, October 10, 2006 6:08 PM PDTLate last spring, the Avi Resort Casino held a press conference to unveil their all new lagoon pool. Yea, sure, we thought. A new pool. O.K. Let's go take a peek.Whoa! One peek and we could see that the Avi had built a pool definitely worthy of a press conference. With its landscaped rocks and cascading waterfalls; its tiki bar, hot tub and separate kids pool, the lagoon-style pool and area were a statement about the direction the Avi was going. They were emphasizing the “resort” part of their name.That statement was initially made a short time before the opening of the pool when the Avi opened their sleek parking garage with modern center-ramp design, outfitted with murals and Mojave Indian Tribal patterns on its walls.From pool to parking, it could be seen that his was a property with a purpose.And now, another statement has been made. And this one has been made on the inside of the casino.On Friday, October 6, the Avi unveiled their all new $32 million casino expansion project complete with new Banquet and Convention Center.And it proved to be a classic case of build it and they will come. The crowds that thronged to be the first to view the new expansion were treated to a doubling of the casino space; a new lounge; a new Race and Sports Book; and a new poker room. Some of the crowd-310 of them, more precisely-were awarded $10 vouchers on a first come, first served basis, to be used for play on the 310 new machines in the expansion area.Les Clavir, Avi Resort general manager, talked about the ambitious expansion project during a press conference held October 5, while finishing touches were still being completed in the new space.“It seems like, in the last couple of years, we've gotten together several times for this reason,” he said, referring to the resort's many expansions. “It's great when you see a project come together and become part of a dream and vision.“I'm pleased for our staff and the people who have worked hard to make this happen. We're a small property-when you consider the entire scope of things. We don't have a huge head office or a corporation to back us up. So to undertake projects like this and complete them is satisfying and makes us proud.”A quick walk through the new area reveals what Clavir is proud of:* Whispers-this is the new lounge designed to offer a quiet retreat and rendezvous spot the Avi was lacking. It is situated at the west end of the new room and-when the new Feathers Restaurant opens adjacent to the lounge in a month- will be an ideal spot to meet and hook up with friends and family before dining.* The Race and Sports Book-the Avi has offered sports betting in its make-shift sports book for the past few years but now, with the new book, it offers horse racing as well. And there is nothing makeshift about it. The new book is outfitted with multiple plasma screens for viewing sporting events and features eight individual interactive wagering kiosks utilizing the latest technology-kiosks much like those found in most of the finer turf clubs. And, thanks to these kiosks, bets can be made 24 hours a day.* The Poker Room-poker players now have a home of their own at the Avi in the form of the seven table, non-smoking room located adjacent to the Race and Sports Book. The room offers games of Seven-Card Stud, Omaha and Texas Hold ‘Em and, like the book, is outfitted with plasma screens on which sporting events and poker room information can be viewed. The room is managed by Ray Coats who has implemented a full menu of poker tournaments, promotions and special features.* The games-the new expansion area has its own Casino Cage and features 310 of the latest in slot and video poker machines. Among the new machines you'll find are “Deal or No Deal”, “Hee Haw”, “Green Acres”, “Golden Times”, “American Original”, “Quick Hit”, and the latest in slant-top design machines-”Golden Times.” Many of these machines are the popular penny variety.* The “look”-Native American influences are incorporated into the contemporary design elements of the new expansion - from the lighting fixtures to the carpet. Many of the touches found in the original area of the casino have been added to the new addition as well, so a walk from the older to the new is seamless.And if you have a crowd...While the new casino expansion is impressive, the strongest “statement” on where the Avi is heading is made by the 11,000 square foot Banquet and Convention Center located adjacent to the new casino space.“Years ago the Avi had a master plan and every couple of years, we get closer and closer to realizing it, as a result of projects like this,” stated Clavir at the press conference.That master plan was created, not in a bubble, but with the reality of the surrounding communities. It anticipated-and correctly so-the growth the area is now seeing.“This is one of the fastest growing communities in the country and we recognized that we had to look at where we fit in with that growth,” said Clavir.”And thus, the emphasis on becoming a true resort. And the creation of the new Banquet and Convention Center.“In our concept for this project we had to include what we felt the community needed and what we can use to grow ourselves,” Clavir explained. “The banquet and convention center does that. It's the largest facility of its type in this area. It accommodates 900 for a sit-down dinner or between 1,200 and 1,500 for concerts.”But dinners and entertainment aren't the main goal of the new facility. An emphasis will be put on the “convention” part of its name.“As you know, our neighbor to the north (Las Vegas) has gotten expensive,” Clavir stated. “Not just in rooms but food as well. We felt that there was an opportunity for our community to attract companies that would feel comfortable holding their conventions in Laughlin. And with our facility, and all the amenities that the area has to offer, we can accommodate them.“And, as we currently only have 450 rooms, other properties will benefit from this new facility...we're willing and anxious to share this opportunity with everyone. We're looking forward for this to have a big impact on the community.”The new Banquet and Convention Center includes a lobby and a business center that are connected to the huge main room. Actually, this state-of-the-art room is six rooms-or can be when giant sound-proof walls are pulled out to separate it into smaller rooms that can accommodate any size crowd, convention or party. And the parties can go their own way at the same time as each “room” has its own multi-media capabilities and audio-visual equipment.“The builder has assured me that if there is more than one group holding functions at the same time, noise won't be a problem,” Clavir said. “Each room is separate from the others with their own entrances.”And each room-or the entire big room-is connected to a brand new kitchen that has been built expressly for the center.With its own new banquet kitchen and catering staff, the convention center can accommodate a range of groups as small as 30 or as large as 900 people for a seated dinner. It will get its first test this Thursday, October 12, when the 18th Annual United Way Chefs' Food Fest will be held in the facility at 5:30 p.m.“I told the contractor I wanted two things,” explained Clavir. “First, the pool had to be ready by the first week in May for the “Phins to the West” event we host every year; and second, the convention center had to be completed by October 12 for the Chefs' Food Fest. The pool was completed the day before the Phins event, and I'm guessing the convention center will be ready the day before the Food Fest. So we'll be right on cue.”And those attending the Food Fest will be impressed with this room. The detailed, alcoves in the high ceilings and large wrought iron lighting fixtures help set this room apart from other similar rooms in Laughlin. It has a Vegas-quality to it that is topped off by the presence of a huge curtained stage at one end.So it can be seen with a simple glance that the possibilities of booking big name acts and big bands is a reality with this room. It can accommodate a large crowd and all the speakers and instruments any band could want.“It's equipped to handle all types of entertainment, like the kind we've had in the past and what we plan to offer for the future,” stated Clavir. “Only now, we can do it indoors.”That statement was met with loud applause-which made its own statement that the Avi is on to something. Something big.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
DAM THE WEATHER MAN !!! TOMORROW’S WEATHER FORECAST IS FOR HIGHS IN THE MID 40’S AND LOWS IN THE MID 20’S WITH RAIN CHANGING TO SNOW THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS. WELL SCRATCH THE ELECTRIC HEATER AND RETURN TO TRAILER’S PROPANE FURNACE SO THAT HEAT IS FORCED INTO THE BELLY OF THE TRAILER TO KEEP THE WATER TANKS FROM FREEZING.
I READ A NUMBER OF RVER’S BLOGS, AND THE SUBJECT IS HEADING SOUTH. THOSE THAT WERE IN MINNESOTA ARE NOW IN IOWA, THOSE IN NEW YORK ARE HEADED TO NEW MEXICO, AND MANY ARE GATHERING TO CARAVAN DOWN INTO MEXICO TO SPEND THE WINTER.
MARY LEFT THIS MORNING TO SPEND A COUPLE MORE DAYS IN MT HOPE WITH HER MOTHER. SHE ONLY HAS SIX DAYS LEFT TO FIT IT ALL IN AND HER SCHEDULE IS FULL EVERY MINUTE. AS FAR AS I’M CONCERN I’M READY TO HEAD SOUTH NOW IN SEARCH OF THE 70 DEGREE WEATHER.
A NOTE ON THE BLOG. THIS IS BLOG ENTRY #143. AUNT KATHY THOUGHT NEIL SHOULD GET CAUGHT UP ON OUR BLOG READING AND HIT PRINT A COUPLE OF WEEKS BACK AND THE PRINTER SPIT OUT 45 PAGES!
Monday, October 9, 2006
DATA STORM IS AN EXPENSIVE HARDWARE SYSTEM NEEDED TO CONNECT TO THE INTERNET VIA SATELLITE. ON AN RV IT’S PRETTY MUCH A PUSH BUTTON OPERATION AND THE SATELLITE DISH SETS UP AND SEARCHES FOR THE PROPER SATELLITE IN THE SOUTHERN SKY, LOCKS ON, AND YOU HAVE AN INTERNET CONNECTION. MOST FULLTIMERS USE A ROUTER AND EACH HAVE A LAPTOP FOR INTERNET SURFING. WHEN WE GOT HOME FROM SPOONER ABOUT NOON I HAPPENED TO CLICK ON MY LAPTOP AND BINGO IT SAID IT WAS CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET. I LOOKED DOWN THE ROW OF CAMPERS FOR THE FAMILIAR SATELLITE DISH AND SURE ENOUGH I SPOTTED IT. WE ARE JUST ON THE FRINGES AND RECEIVE A LOW SIGNAL FROM THEIR ROUTER BY THE WINDOW. MOST PEOPLE THAT CAN AFFORD THIS SYSTEM ALSO HAVE A SECURE ROUTER TO LIMIT ACCESS TO THEIR INTERNET CONNECTION, BUT THIS COUPLE ARE USING AN UNSECURED ROUTER. SO WE HAVE INTERNET AT THE CAMPER, HOWEVER ILLEGAL THE CONNECTION IS.
WRITTEN BY REX
SUMMER WEATHER MUST BE OVER FOR THIS WEEK AND MARY DECIDED IT WAS A HOMEMADE CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP NIGHT, SO AFTER A TRIP TO THE MARKET WE ARE CHOPPING, BOILING, AND DICING AWAY.
OUR THANKS TO SPOONER FOR THEIR HOSPITALITY AND USE OF THE GUEST HOUSE. YOU’RE LUCKY WE DON’T LIVE CLOSER OR WE’D BE SEMI-PERMANENT RESIDENTS.
Sunday, October 8, 2006
WHAT A BEAUTIFUL VIEW OF CABLE LAKE WE WOKE UP TO THIS MORNING FROM MY BROTHERS GUEST HOUSE. THE FALL LEAVES AND WATER ARE SO PRETTY. I DON’T KNOW WHAT IT IS ABOUT BEING “UP NORTH” IN WISCONSIN BUT IT SURE IS RELAXING. MARY AND I TOOK A DRIVE UP COUNTY TRUNK “A” AND THE FALL LEAVES WERE SPECTACULAR. WE ENDED OUR RUN AT LIPSIE PINES WITH A COCKTAIL AND HEADED BACK TO SPOONER AND UNCLE MIKES BAR FOR THE PACKER GAME. UNCLE HANS WAS ON CALL, AND SURE ENOUGH HE HAD TO DO TWO EMERGENCY PROCEDURES THIS SUNDAY MORNING AND AFTERNOON. WE DID GET A CHANCE TO TOUR HANNAH’S NEW HOME AND IT JUST FITS INTO THE WOODED SITE, COMPLETE WITH A COUPLE OF HORSES OUT IN THE YARD. AFTER THE PACKER GAME WE RETIRED TO THE HOUSE FOR ROOT STEW AND 25 YEAR OLD VIDEO OF OUR KIDS GROWING UP WITH SCENES SUCH AS THE, “THE BLATZ PUMPKIN”, AND “RUDOLF THE RED NOSE REINDEER”. THE RELAXING AND FAMILY MEMORIES REMIND US WHY WE COME HOME TO WISCONSIN.
WRITTEN BY REX
Saturday, October 7, 2006
TODAY WAS A TRIP TO SPOONER FOR A SURPRISE PARTY FOR WENDY !!! IT’S HALF WAY BETWEEN HER 50TH BIRTHDAY AND HER 10TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY, SO SHE DIDN’T SEE IT COMING AT ALL. THE PARTY WAS HELD AT UNCLE MIKES GRILL AND TAVERN. IT WAS A GREAT GATHERING OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS AND HANS DID THE BARTENDING WHICH WAS FUN TO WATCH. ONLY IN WISCONSIN WOULD YOU BE SERVED VENISON STRIPS DEEP FAT FRIED, AND THEY WERE AS TENDER AS IOWA CORN FED BEEF. IT WAS A GREAT TREAT TO HAVE A COUPLE OF BEERS AND VISIT WITH HANNAH & JASON TO HEAR ALL ABOUT THEIR NEW HOUSE, GARAGE, AND HORSE BARN. HANNAH IS USING HER COLLEGE DEGREE IN GRAPHIC DESIGN AT AN INTERNATIONAL COMPANY IN RICE LAKE THAT MANUFACTURES SCALES.
WRITTEN BY REX
JAKE WAS ALSO THERE AND RECENTLY BOUGHT A NEW TRUCK FROM A FIRE DEPT TO USE IN HIS ELECTRICAL BUSINESS. CATCHING UP WITH THE KIDS IS ALWAYS GREAT FUN.
ON THE WAY UP WE PLAYED WITH STREETS & TRIP SOFTWARE IN THE LAPTOP WITH A GPS ANTENNA. WHAT FUN AS IT PLOTTED US ON A MAP OF WISCONSIN AS WE MOVED ALONG THE ROAD. THE DOWNSIDE IS THAT IT TAKES A NAVIGATOR AND A DRIVER TO WATCH.