Thursday, November 1, 2012


Home again!

Got home about 3:30, unpacked Rhoda and took her to her favorite park (ing place).  I'll clean her in a couple of days - yuk, she's got LA clay and bugs all over her.

Then I'll pack her up again to go to the Kissimme Rally on Tues.

When will the fun stop:)

thanks for traveling with me again.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012


5 states in one day.  Just a lot of driving today.  Mostly not on interstates until I hit Mobile, AL and got on I-10.  Hard to get across the panhandle in any decent time without going I-10.

Prettiest part of the trip was just south of the LA border where I followed the Mississippi River for about 20 miles so close that you could easily see the knees of the cyprus growing along the edge of the river.

Other than that, just a lot of driving - some easy with no traffic and lots of barren fields waiting for spring and some heavy traffic around cities and lots of different speeds from 25 in school zones to 70 on I-10.

Home tomorrow after probably another day of 7-8 hrs. driving but at least it's warmer so I could shed 3 of my 4 layers:)  Love it.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

STILL in Arkansas!

Good grief, I left Eureka Springs at 8:30 a.m., stopped driving at 5:30 p.m. and I'm still in Arkansas!  And I thought TX was large.  But I've been traveling diagonally from NW AR and now in SE AR near the Mississippi River.

Of course I spent almost the first hour back tracking.  I used the map from the campground and obviously didn't have my bearings.  After driving about 1/2 hr. I came to an intersection I hadn't expected and even after looking at the map I couldn't find that route so I resorted to Gertie and after several tries she finally recognized one of the towns I gave her but she was having me go back the way I came so I pulled over, got my map out again, still couldn't find that route anywhere.  While pondering what to do next I looked down the road and saw, not too far ahead of me "Welcome to AR".  WHAT!!!  How could that be!!!  Oh shoot - I went north on 23 instead of south and was back in MS.  So, back to Eureka Springs and so about 9:30 left again.

Some times I wonder how I traveled all around the US this summer and didn't end up in Argentina.

Anyway, for 6 hours I wound, climbed, descended, braked, down-shifted, kept on the road as I wove my way down through first the Ozark Mountains and then the Quachita Mountains into Hot Springs all to avoid interstates and Little Rock.

The scenery was pretty and leaves very colorful (sorry, I'm at my limit again for pictures so use your imagination) but I might actually look forward to I-10 when I get to FL

Monday, October 29, 2012

Eureka Springs, AR

              Left behind 30 Roadtreks all parked in a horseshoe:

That's Rhoda on the left

and headed to Eureka Springs via a curvy, narrow road.  Went directly to the campground - Wanderlust (great name) and then directly to the trolley stop.  They have a great trolley system here and it's so needed.  The streets are very narrow, very steep hills and heavily traveled & parked on even though this picture shows none of that:)  - it's a side street.

One of the non-hilly streets
I first went to see (on a different trolley) "one of the finest religious spaces of modern times" and AIA have placed Thorncrown Chapel 4th on its list of the top buildings of the twentieth century.  I present Thorncrown Chapel:

Inside the Chapel
consists of 425 windows and over
6000 square feet of glass

Walkway leading to chapel
It surprised me, I thought it was made of steel
but it's made of wood
in the woods and on the rocks
It was a beautiful structure and such a sense of peacefulness both on the inside and outside.  So glad I saw it.

I then had lunch back in town at "Local Flavor".  Everything was nice and fresh & beautifully presented but not so sure about the local part.

Then took a different trolley (it was 1 price for all day, all trollies) up to an old hotel high on a bluff - the Crescent Hotel.  It definitely was old but great that it has been maintained.

Walked the streets, found a Rocky Mountain store in the middle of the Ozarks.

Took the 4th trolley to an antique store a little out of town and then back to Rhoda to watch a beautiful sunset to the west (out her back windows) over the hills, through the fall foliage and admired the full moon to the east (out the front windows) - almost perfect for Halloween.

Heading south, southeast tomorrow through Hot Springs to the Mississippi River, crossing yet again at a different point.  Not sure how far I'll get but it's all about the journey, not the destination. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Frost in Branson

Those aren't white leaves, it's frost from yesterday
but today it was more prolific - everything
was white

So, do you hear the whine in my description - you heard right!  It's cold.  Sun is nice and no wind and no hurricane so I guess I can't have everything.

But we're having a good time anyway.  Went out to dinner last night in Branson at a Cattle/steak place and saw a bit of the town.  Eating out is fun but my refrigerator is still full.

Sally will be happy to know that I now have running water in Rhoda.  Got some good help from Fred and Jane who reassured me that I could have water and luckily I still had water in my tank from this summer so could practice.  Chancey to use a hose to get our water with the temps being so low.

A bunch are going zip-lining today but not me!!

Tonight we're having a catered dinner with the whole crew and then tomorrow I'm leaving for Eureka Springs.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fun in Branson

Yesterday (or whenever it was I posted last) I said I'd tell you about out special treat today (well actually it WAS yesterday).  Several of us went to have lunch at The College of the Ozarks, also known as Hard Work University.  I'd had never heard of it but it consistently is ranked as one of the 10 ten conservative colleges or as one of the top 5 "choosiest" in the nation.  The students pay no tuition and graduate with no debt.  They offer 44 different majors but each student must work 15 hrs/wk on campus and may work the summer term to pay off their room & board fees.  The campus is gorgeous and this Keeter Center, which is a resturant and lodge is magnificent!  I think the statistic was that it was 70% built by the students.  Anyway, the lunch was raved about by everyone.  Another group went for dinner and a third group is going for brunch on Sunday.  They have a dairy making their own dairy products, grass-fed beef, grow their own veggies, etc.  Well, have you heard enough - anyway, a real treat.
All natural stone fireplace and a
tree pulled out from the bottom
of a lake which they
Our group in front of the
Keeter Center

"Smallest" of their rooms

My lunch - mac & cheeses with
their own smoked ham & bacon
cooked in a cast iron skillet

Then last night we went to a show:  "Best of the 60s".  It was fun, lively, and reminiscent and guess what - just about everyone in the audience was about my age - go figure.

Unfortunately, most of the big shows are dark right now as they're getting ready for the big Christmas season so we haven't had much to choose from but that's ok, there are enough of us here to keep each other occupied with stories, hints, tips, food & troubleshooting our Roadtreks.

Later I'll try to keep back up-to-date with another surprise:)

Friday, October 26, 2012

Freeze Warnings in Branson

And why did I retire to Florida!  So I wouldn't have to freeze ever again.  And not only are there freeze warnings in the forecast for here in Branson but I'm living in a tin (well actually a fiberglass) can.  But hey - there are 35 others just as crazy as me and we're all single so no one to cozy up to.

But we're having a good time despite.  

So, first let me back up since my connection seems to be better at this Ozark campground just outside Branson.

Last night, as predicted, the smoke detector started chirping again but I fooled it because I hadn't gone to bed yet since I'd gained an hour.  Ha, ha, it thought it was going to wake me up like all my ones at home do.  You know it's like why does your tooth break or your kid get an ear ache on a weekend?  Why do smoke detector batteries always go bad in the middle of the night - always.  I leave that for you to contemplate.  Oh, and I had to get the manual out to find where the bloody thing was.

Where else but in Alabama are you likely to find:  a Coon Dog Cemetery or a National Bird Dog Museum or towns with names like Arkadelphia or Muscle Shoal or a church called "Fellowship of Encouragement"?  But I do like to wrap my tongue around the town name of Iuka.

OK, back to today.

I was traveling just as fine as could be with about 2 other "cars" and 82 trucks when there appeared a flashing sign "Severe Congestion ahead.  Consider alternate route".  So I pulled off to consider that and Rhoda was game but Gertie had other ideas - like "make a U turn", repeated every mile for about 15 miles until she got the idea that I wasn't going to do that so she got her maps out and found another way to go - right under the largest flock of geese I've ever seen.  They just kept coming and coming right over Rhoda's clean roof.  Thank goodness we got a hard rain later in the afternoon.

I have that book "Off the Beaten Path" but I don't think this alternate route would be found in that book. 

I did find out though that they grow a lot of rice in this very, very flat part of Arkansas.  In fact there was a Riceland factory I passed - that's what gave it away.

I wondered if back in the ole, ole, ole, ole days all of the earth was this flat before she opened up and spewed out all the indigestible rocks and boulders to form our magnificent landscape.

And speaking of magnificent landscape - the northern part of AR is so unlike the central part.  I guess it's referred to as the Ozarks but I'm not sure I'd call them mountains but they're much more than hills.  Beautiful vistas and the trees were still quite colorful.  I'd say this area rivals the Blue Ridge Highway for sure.  And, BTW, for those of you who followed my blog this summer - I DID use tow load while driving through this area:)

Potluck dinner tonight with everyone and plans in the works for a special lunch tomorrow which I'll tell you more about tomorrow and then maybe a show tomorrow night.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

FLW, Mighty Mississip, AR

This is what I woke up to this morning - a beautiful sunrise over the Mississippi River with a barge heading down river and no mules or men pulling it, just a tug.

This is the 2nd time this year I've been able to camp along the River - last time near Natchez, MI and this time in W. Memphis, AR at the Tom Sawyer RV Park.  It was nice last night to sit by the river and watch the barges go both directions and I think they travel all night as I could hear them as I drifted off.

But, back to yesterday.  I decided to go to The Rosenbaum house (designed by Frank Lloyd Wright) instead of waiting to do it on the way home.  Of course I was in awe!!  This is the only house solely inhabited by the original owner and even though by the time she gave it to the town of Florence, it was riddled with termites.  The town raised the money to take the whole structure down and rebuild it according to original plans and help from Taliesin West.  It was so bad that even the books in the house were being eaten by the termites.  It was a great tour because there were only 3 of us so we could take as much time as we wanted and ask all the questions we wanted.

OK, I'm in McDonalds near Little Rock and the internet is WAY TOO SLOW & the food is pretty disgusting so I'll fill in the details from Branson - I hope.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Heading to Branson

     Heading to Branson, MO to meet up with about 37 other "solo-trekkers".  We are calling our gathering "Meet in the Middle" because solos are coming from all corners of the US to meet in the middle of the US.
     There'll be lots of chit-chat, eating, sharing, shows, and wanderings.
     The gathering begins Thurs. afternoon and I'll leave on Monday to go to Eureka Springs, AR with a few other "solos" to explore this "Swiss Alps of the Ozarks" - a Victorian town with lots of Painted Ladies, shops, mountains, forests and supposedly one of the most architecturally beautiful churches in N. America, set in the woods.
     On my way home I'm hoping to swing by Florence, AL to see a Frank Lloyd Wright house - the only one in AL

So, I got an earlier than expected start today which was a good thing:

  • before I got to Orlando there was an accident so had to detour out of my way to stop at Lorraine's to get some of Buzz's famous pasta fazool, Lorraine's famous banana bread and to help her get rid of some over-done (for them, not me) chocolate chip cookies - dinner tonight!!

  • "check engine" light came on while on the detour so after hugging Antonia & getting my goodies, I had to go to the Roadtrek dealer:  Leisure Time RV in Winter Park to see what was going on.  The NICEST young tech gave me a lesson in filling my gas tank, turned off the light and we're hoping that's the issue.  So an hour later I'm on the road again.
  • and you know how annoying it is when your smoke detector's battery dies and it starts chirping?  Well, try that in a vehicle driving down a highway & there's nothing you can do about it until you stop.  I got a new battery from Lorraine but was going to wait until I got to Leisure Time to put it in but of course it then didn't chirp anymore - probably in the middle of the night tonight.
  • So, that's my 3 strikes for today and that better be the end of it.
I'm at Deer Run RV Park tonight in Troy, AL after passing Malone, FL when I got off I-10 to get on Rt. 231.  Only stopped 3 quick times - gas (cheapest it's been since last presidential election) at Loves which I loved, loved, loved because they had long-handled windshield cleaners so I could actually get all the way to Rhoda's middle, then once for lunch and once for you know what.  Gained an hour - Central Time (the hour I lost at Leisure Time) so was able to get to my planned-to-stop-at place.

BTW - if you need a typewriter repaired, there's a shop in Cottondale, FL that can do that for you.  Can't miss the little town - right in the middle of many cotton fields.
BTW - what do you think they do at a "Bull Testing" place?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


     It's taken me almost 2 weeks to get my technology all up and running since I got back to FL with my land-line phone just being fixed yesterday and my TV this past week-end so I've put off my final entry here until I could sit down and think about it.

    This is mostly just a wrap up for me but maybe others will find it interesting.

    First, the last leg of the trip.

    Left VA on Labor Day back on Rt. 29 with again lots of red lights which wasn't good for Rhoda's new brakes but by Lynchburg it got better but the speed limit kept changing from 50 to 55 to 65 and once in awhile to 70.    Also, Rt. 29 (future Rt 785) took some abrupt turns so you needed to stay alert.

     Kudzu druids began to appear here.  How sad.  Also, tobacco fields were prevalent.  Neat plants standing tall and erect and turning yellow now - part of the drying process as I also saw trucks with loads of plants going to drying sheds I presume.

     N. of Greensboro, NC I got on to Rt. 220 which also had lots of turns so again, be alert.

     In Rockingham, got on Rt. 1 to Wallace to Cheraw and on to Rt. 52 to I-95 south in Florence.  It was now 2 p.m. (I'd left at 7:30 a.m.)  So the decision is how far to go.  At exit 33 in SC,  near Beaufort, there were 2 campsites (KOA & a private one) but I kept driving and so at that point I guess I was rather committed to go all the way - too close to stop for the night but later than I'd driven on the whole trip.

     Got to Lorraine & Buzz's about 9:30 p.m. so it was a 14 hr. driving day and about 800 miles.  Never would have believed I could do it but it was good to be this close to home - on the 3rd of Sept.  Left the following day for my home and here I am.

Wrap-Up Details
I saved my last allowable picture for this map showing my completed circle
TOTAL MILES DRIVEN:  9600            average of 115 miles/day
                                                  most driven in one day (other than last day) 300, least 7
TOTAL COST OF CAMPGROUNDS:  $1775         average night of $22
                                                  most expensive: $68 (outside Yosemite), least $3 in a National
TOTAL FOR GAS:  $ 2600
TOTAL DAYS TRAVELED:  (not counting returning to FL)  82

REFLECTIONS:  This blog made my experience limiting (campsites with wi fi, 2 hrs. average per night to publish it) but also has provided a permanent journal for me to refer to and to remember.
                               I will always be grateful for the outcome of my brake/tire problem.  There are no coincidences.
                               The planning every night or morning got to be a little tedious at times and that was even with not knowing where I was going or what I might see.  I'd like to be more disciplined to do more research before leaving.  But I loved the freedom too of not having a lot planned but you do have to know when to turn and in what direction and basically what kind of road you're on and will it end or continue and how far until the next gas station.
                               Our National Parks are just AMAZING.  Each one is so different.  We need to keep funding them to preserve them!!
                               And Blogspot is very frustrating!  I couldn't place pictures where I wanted them, couldn't place text where I wanted it, and of course ran out of storage space or some such thing so couldn't post all the pictures I wanted to but maybe I just need to "read the book" or maybe because it's free, that's all you get - you get what you pay for and all that.
                              But all in all, it was a great trip but must admit that by the end I was ready to be done for awhile.  Maybe it's because I was on the go every day and never in the same place twice except a couple of times.  Maybe I'll try something different next time. . . there's always next time.
                             And until then. . . . thanks for traveling with me.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Monday, Sept. 3rd

Just a quick note to let you all know that I'm here - in FL.

I arrived last nigh at 9:30 to Lorraine & Buzz's in Orlando.  It all had to do with fresh produce needing to be kept cool and my inability to sleep with the AC on because it's so noisy and I knew that it was too hot to sleep without it so I pushed on - 14 hours of driving, just over 800 miles and 3 gas fill-ups:(

I'm heading to my house shortly and get Rhoda unpacked and start getting settled.

I won't have my internet hooked up until maybe tomorrow but then I'll do a wrap-up and ask for your input on an evaluation of this "blog experience" so don't leave me now.

Stay tuned. . .

Sunday, September 2, 2012


Sunday, September 2nd

  • Left later than planned (8:45) due to heavy fog
  • Drove in overcast, fog, rain, mist all day (remnants of Isaac I guess)
  • 1 hr later I entered PA, 5 hrs later I entered MD, 45 mins later I entered VA
  • Followed the wide, flat, shallow, lazy Susquehanna River and almost saw Huck Finn out poling on his raft
  • Visited Liverpool, PA & would like to know it's history - I imagine it was a prosperous river-front little town back when river traffic was the main means of transportation for goods and people
  • heavy, heavy traffic in MD & VA Sunday afternoon.  I thought people would be staying put until tomorrow, Labor Day.  Guess I thought wrong
  • lovely horse farms in VA
  • great entertainment tonight at campground north of Charlotsville, VA - cloggers.  What energy.  What enthusiasm.  What great exercise.
  • Reflected today on the places passed thru and the history in my life:  Utica - my Aunt Helen and her family, Elmira - my Aunt Bev's hometown, Greene - where I student taught, Painted Post & Horse Heads - 2 sorority sisters were from there and I never believed they were real towns and then hearing on the radio The Old Rugged Cross and thought of my mother.
  • Drove through a fair amount of construction and was grateful - throughout the US our roads are in terrible shape.  Improvements often mean inconvenience.

The Road Taken:
  1. Owego to Painted Post, NY - Route 17
  2. In Painted Post got on to 15 S (future 99).  Was on Rt 15 most of the day.  It changed from 2 lanes to 1 lane to 2 lanes to 1 lane.  From new road to patched road.  Some with shoulders, some without.  Through lovely, hilly farm country and little villages and big cities.  From 35 mph to 45 mph to 55 mph & sometimes 65 mph (but not very often).  Driving Rt. 15 you definitely need the attitude of the journey being the reward because you don't make good time but most of the time there's lots to look at when the traffic isn't bad.
  3. Pay attention to the Route #s as there are abrupt turns like in Williamsport, PA
  4. In Harrisburg you can choose to get on I-81 if you're tired of 1 lane driving and at least you've missed northern PA and trucks.
  5. You go through prime Civil War territory of Gettysburg, Frederick, MD, etc if you want to spend time looking at all of that.
  6. 11 joins 15 for a spell but when it splits off, make sure to stay on 15 near Frederick
  7. 15 sort of becomes 29 near I-66
  8. Near Culpepper, VA you'll have a choice of taking 17 east for a short distance to near Richmond and picking up I-95 or staying on 29 toward Charlottesville which I did (I'll hit 95 much further south)
So far, my feeling is that unless I really want to putter around and probably it's best to do that in a car rather than Rhoda on Rt. 15, I think I'd opt to hop on I-81 near Harrisburg.

I'm really bummed that I can't see my trip come full circle
Google - not fair!!
Mileage:  399       Gas:  $84 @ $3.80 in PA (20 cents cheaper than NY.  In MD gas was 10 cents  cheaper than NY and in VA it is 30 cents cheaper than NY so I'll definitely fill up before I leave the state).           Campground:  $40

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Completing the Circle

Saturday, September 1st

Happy First Birthday Sweet Antonia Rose
first experience with corn on the cob
  Well it's been almost a month since my last post but I'm back on the road to complete my circle of travel around the US of A.

Mommy & Antonia visit the Franklin County Fair
To catch up:  

This is how we slept 3 in Rhoda

A beautiful sunset welcomed me back to the Lake
Fran, Bev, myself, and Linda (the www's) take a ride
on the hand-made Adirondack animal carousel in
Saranac Lake, NY
This was the scene this a.m. before I left

This is where I've been for the month - mostly

This is Fish Creek State Park in the Adirondacks
where I plan to camp next summer for a week or 2
OK, so today: closed camp and drove out about 10:30, stopped for farm-grown tomatoes, strawberries, concord grapes, sweet cherries, and peaches.  Refrigerator was already mostly full of NY State apples and Chateaugay cheese curds.  Tastes of "home.

All the lake areas from Long Lake to Old Forge on Route 28 were FULL of people and cars for the last hurrah weekend.  Lots of water activities, lots of shopping, lots of back-packers looking weary and dirty.  Old Forge was so full of people and cars parked on both sides of the road that traffic just crawled through town and I felt like I should be waving from a convertible.

I had thought that by late Saturday everyone would have been where they wanted to be for the last weekend of summer but there was a steady stream of cars driving north into the Adirondacks all day.

Stopped to see niece Anna & family in Oxford, NY in their charming, old, full of character home.

Stopped in Endicott, NY to buy Spiedie marinade for Buzz & Lorraine and then on to Owego for a night in a motel as I couldn't find any campgrounds.

New Feature:  I'm trying a new route to FL from upstate NY so I'm documenting it here with brief comments so I'll remember next year or for those to follow:)

Malone to Blue Mountain. - Rt. 30 S
Blue Mt. to North of Utica - Rt. 28 and at that point it becomes 28/12 (road becomes 2 lanes)
In Poland 28 & 12 split - stay on 12 all the way through Utica and to N of Binghamton (this route is
     now just 1 lane but a lovely drive with rolling, green hills, farm country, well maintained, cute
     small towns)
N of Binghamton, get on I-81 S for a couple of exits - get off at Rt. 17 W (the future 86)


Mileage:  303           Gas:  $89 @ $3.99              Motel:  $120 (first night since I started my this 3 month
                                                                                                    journey so I guess I can swallow this)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses in IL, IN, OH, PA, & NY

It's August Already

Well, I do have lots of excuses for why I haven't been blogging in so long but I think they're legit:

  • cousins wi fi wasn't working (1 night)
  • cousin's reunion was in a remote area of IL with no internet and no cell (4 days)
  • on the road with a baby and daughter in Rhoda which meant that we ALL were in bed at the same time and even if there was internet - which there wasn't at the site - too much to get rearranged for eating and sleeping (2 nights)
  • many little second cousins running around and aunts and uncles to catch up with so that by bed time there was no time or energy left to post (3 nights)
  • and even now, I'm posting sitting at my daughter's friends house while 3 under 3 are getting acquainted and I'm being rude being on the computer but I know some of you are wondering where I am and what I've been up to 
But, it's all been a blur for the last 9 days.  Lots of family reunions and little sight-seeing - just Niagara Falls.

So, my sojourn is basically at an end.  I should be at Chateaugay Lake by Sunday and then about 3 weeks recuperating, unpacking, repacking, catching up with friends and more family, going to the County Fair, and hopefully just chilling by the lake.  

My posts will be sporadic for awhile but hopefully you'll check in with me once in awhile and hope to see some of my Solo Trekkers in "the middle" in October.
Second generation cousins
Plumb cousin reunion

Cousin David cooking steaks

4 generations

All kinds of things use our highways
Guess where

One of the cities we went through
Kast Family Farm with one room
school house in background
This is the way Antonia traveled
in Rhoda and she slept
between the 2 beds.
Worked well.

Well, I changed the oil again so must have gone at least another 3000 miles since last time
LOTS of gas but I don't think $3000.00 worth since last posting
Camping:  lots of free nights with a 110 converter in driveways but a few nights in campgrounds

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Frustrated in Iowa Part 2

Tuesday, July 24th

All excited this morning to go to a little farm town called Quasqueton and see Cedar Rock - a Usonian house by Frank Lloyd Wright operated by the Department of Natural Resources and it was unique because it was the most complete Usonian home with all the furnishings, landscape, etc. and there were real tours, etc.

So, I drove for an hour on little country roads, all excited.  I knew I was early with the first tour at 11 but I wanted to make sure I got on that tour.  Gates were closed!  I pulled over and called the phone # to see what time the gates would open and the recording said that due to budget constraints, Cedar Rock was now also closed on Tuesday.  AAA book is not up-to-date!!!  Dang I was upset.  Another car pulled up too who didn't know of this change.  I actually debated on spending the night but knew this would make for a very long day on Wed. so left this for next time:(   The house wasn't even visible from the road as I gather it was down a bank towards the river.  I should have taken a picture of the gate:)

I had one more possibility - it was a house in Cedar Rapids - the Douglas Grant House which I knew was privately owned but thought I could just drive by and shoot a picture out the window.  So on I went.  (Do you know how confusing towns are in IA - Cedar Rapids, Cedar Falls, Cedar Rock, Cedar Valley, Cedar Grove, and just plain Cedar.  Then there's Sioux Rapids, Sioux Center, Sioux City and in SD Sioux Falls).

Of course I knew it was on a residential street which got narrower and narrower and finally a sign for dead end and of course it was the last house, down a winding, curving hilly driveway with a sign at the top saying "private".  And of course you couldn't see the house from the top of the driveway and because I'm such a law abiding person, I didn't walk down the driveway to see the house and invade their "private-cy".

Bummer of a day and here I am in Davenport, IA - again the only campground in miles but it's a decent one and I got to be entertained with this original "RV" that moved in just after me.


mileage:  172                        gas:  $45  @ $3.56                            Camp:  $30

Frustrated in Iowa

Monday July 23rd 

Well, Patrick, I opted to not go to the Spam Museum - sorry.

Entered Iowa about noon and began my Frank Lloyd Wright pilgrimage - better than corn any day.

First stop - Mason City which I found out was just recently named the 4th most important city to visit for architectural value - behind Mumbai and Venice and I forgot the 3rd.

First stop was the City National Bank and Park Inn Hotel which were commissioned by a BOD who wanted Wright to design a building to house the bank, a hotel, offices for lawyers who were on the Board, retail stores and some extra space for future renters.  A large undertaking for Wright but it was amazing.  It's just undergone major restoration with the hotel owning and occupying most of the whole complex.  The bank is now their ballroom.  This is the only hotel Wright designed that is still standing and still in operation.  

Front of the building

Window detail of original bank portion
Side of building but main entrance for the hotel

Lobby of hotel

Ladies lounge upstairs over lobby
I then went to see The Stockman House which Wright also designed:

Only open on week-ends :(

In town additionally there are several houses designed by students of Wrights but I didn't go to see them as I wanted to get to Charles City to see the Alvin Miller House:

This house was under renovation so not open!

Well, 1 out of 3 I guess isn't bad and I was psyched as tomorrow was the star attraction!

So, again, campsites in the state of Iowa are about as scarce as in SD.  Guess there aren't that many tourists in Iowa unless that is, you like to watch the corn grow.  BTW, I'm wondering what the other crop is that is vying for space - thinking it's soybeans but don't know for sure but it does make for better sight seeing - dark green, low growing vs light green, tall.

Anyway, I had 2 "parks" to choose from - both county parks and that was it for miles.  First one - closest to where I was and where I was going tomorrow - it was more like a low rent area and luckily for me the only elec. offered was 50 amp and I didn't have a converter plug but the guy without teeth next door was already trying to help me out.  Told him I'd better see if I couldn't find a pole with 30 amp.  Had to drive backwards 20 miles to the other park but it was great so saved by the amperage.


mileage:  246                                   gas:  $71 @ $3.60                         Camp:  $16

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Out of the Prairie and into MN

Sunday, July 22nd

This is what the corn is looking like in SD
 The sun didn't set until after 9 last night and I sat out until after 10, hating to go in even then.  It was a beautiful evening.  The air was gently moving, very warm but not hot and it seemed good to not have to put on a sweater after the sun went down.  The grasshoppers or cicadas were singing their hearts out or rubbing their wings to beat the band.  The conductor would stop them all at once for a moment of peace and then start the string section in slowly and quickly grow to a loud crescendo and play for awhile and then stop dead in their tracks again.

Sunset last night behind our campground

 Everyone e-mailed me to say I had to go to the Corn Palace since I was in Mitchell, SD.  I'd been when my family & I went cross country many years ago but I felt guilty just driving by so detoured and saw it again.  It's getting pretty professional looking and not as big as I remembered it but still quite an undertaking to every year re-do all the corn and related materials.

Drove past DeSmet, SD - home of Laura Ingalls Wilder which we visited on the same cross country trip and I believe saw an outdoor play there about her life.

 Then I was off to Sioux Falls, SD and decided I needed to see if there really were falls in Sioux Falls.  There were and a very nice park.  I can imagine in a year when it rains, these falls must really be magnificent.  I also was surprisingly treated to an air show going on overhead and all in 98 degree heat.

Entered MN about 2:30 on I-90.  I saw a sign that I-90 was the Eisenhower Highway which I think is the same designation given to the New York thruway or also I-90 except that in NY State you have to pay to drive on that highway.  I wonder if it's the only state to charge for the pleasure and I suppose that if I wanted to I could drive this highway all the way to Albany NY and beyond.

At the first rest stop in MN, the picnic shelters all faced the 5000 acres of corn (it looked better in MN than SD).  I guess MN thought picnickers needed entertainment while eating their lunch so they could watch the corn grow.  The rainmaker must have drawn a line between SD & MN because it did seem almost magical that the corn looked so much better just over the state line.

However, the farmers aren't quite as observant of state lines because even though I-90 is only about 10 miles north of Iowa, there's already miles and miles and miles and miles of corn.  Can't wait to drive into Iowa tomorrow.


mileage:  176                            gas:  $56  @ $3.60                           campground:  $34
P.S.  I was informed this morning by the owner of Fam-e-ly Fun campground in Mitchell that it got to    
         103 yesterday, not 100 as I reported.  Today it probably came close to the 100 even here in 
         southern MN