Thursday, August 28, 2008

Frog Strangler...Iowa Style

About 3 this morning, the skies over Iowa opened up with a CRACK!!!! and off and on until about 6:30, there was more thunder and lightening than I ever remember. Once or twice, the thunder was so loud right over our heads that it caused me to actually exclaim!! I won't say here what I said..... those of you who know me well can probably guess. Dave was out of bed several times watching the lightening and checking the weather page on the computer. The attached picture is from the end of the storm. The good news is, the dogs have learned what rain on the roof sounds like. They HATE to go out in the rain. They can wait hours if it's raining. When things finally settled down, we all got about an hour of sleep before it was dog time. Dave had to pull up his pant legs and carry one dog at a time and wade to a more or less dry spot. Our door mat was beginning to float away. One of the campground guys brought us a couple of wooden pallets to use as a front porch until the water subsided. It's mostly gone in our space now. The sun is trying to come out. It's about 85 and really really really humid out there.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Harley-Davidson Museum

Harley-Davidson has opened, just this summer, a museum in Milwaukee WI. Since the inception of the company they had the fore thought to retain one of everything so after 104+ years they have put some of it on display. After several hours in the museum I stopped by the corporate headquarter on Juneau Ave. To most this is of little significance but Harley-Davidson is an icon in American Industry, neither General Motors or Ford have performed longer. I had a couple of questions while at the museum about duplicating the 1933 tank art on my motorcycle and the staff was extremely helpful; in the end I met the Curatorial Director who said he would help after the 105th celebration, which is underway this weekend. I never expected to get that kind of help.

Monday, August 25, 2008

WI State Fairgrounds RV Park

First note the RV Park's web page has no pictures; and it is fair to say it is clean but compared to the previous park which was a happy accident this one will do for a couple of days, but just. There are several large gravel lots they are also renting out to RVers but we got into the primary (high rent) portion of the park with all the amenities including 100% pavment. Just south of the park on the actual fairgrounds there is a motor raceway and this afternoon there has been a race car testing on the track, kind of like trains in the distance only not so much. My primary purpose for being here (Paige is humoring me) is to visit the New Harley-Davidson Museum tomorrow and as it happens this coming weekend HD is hosting it's 105th anniversary party. So we have to be out and down the road Wednesday morning to make room for the party goers who booked this site way before we did. The area is teeming with motorcycle enthusiasts already; come the weekend it will be crazy.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Silver Springs Campsites, Rio, WI

Silver Springs Campsite near Rio WI is unique in our Rving experience. First the staff could not be nicer or more helpful. The sites and I use the term loosely are arranged around the placement of the power outlets/water connections all placed in grassy settings. There are paved internal roads but no defined site driveways or site boundaries. In some cases there are four sites clustered around a common power/water station. We reserved a place but upon our arrival it was plain they were not expecting our setup, being nearly 65 ft. long all up. We arrived with our waste tanks nearly full as the previous park did not have full hook ups and we forgot that this park also did not have full hook ups. After checking in we circled the park to get back to the dump station and circled the park again to reach our newly assigned site. On our way here (Saturday midday) we saw no signs of camping activity but upon turning into the park found a near county fair atmosphere with hundreds of people camping, swimming, recreating, etc. We must be something of an oddity in these parts as I have fielded numerous questions from passers-bye about various aspects of our rig, set-up and lifestyle. The staff assured me once I was parked that when we leave on Monday there will be no problem because nearly everyone else will have left by Sunday evening so we’ll have all the room we need to pull off the site. We are settled in for two days before we head into Milwaukee for two days.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tahquamenon Falls State Park

As part of our journey north to see Lake Superior we took a side trip to Tahquamenon Falls State Park (with the dogs). Considering how badly behaved the dogs can be they were angles. We walked them along a busy boardwalk path through the forest for 1/4 mile to the lower falls view points and back without an outburst. All in all it was a very pleasant experience.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

We saw them all!

We didn't do it on purpose but we managed to see all 5 Great Lakes this summer! Not such a big deal I guess but I still think it's kind of cool. We decided since we were headed north in Michigan to go to the Michigan Fiber Festival, we should check out the UP. That's Upper Peninsula to us 'southerners' (?) Then we decided we should of course cross the Mackinac Bridge. The Bridge itself was kind of underwhelming (sorry) - we thought it would be higher and somehow I thought it would be scarier.... they have a rescue squad for people who get part way across then freak out and can't drive themselves! The Astoria Bridge across the Columbia is certainly comparable. However, the Mackinac Bridge crosses two of the Great Lakes. We had seen Lake Ontario from the Canadian side when we went to the Friday the 13th event and Lake Erie on our way west out of Pennsylvania. In our campground just north of the bridge we were about 50 miles away from Lake Superior.... how could we pass this up? So this morning we loaded the dogs into the car (there needs to be a rescue squad for that!!) and off we went. We saw the lake, we saw some waterfalls and a lighthouse.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hopkins MI

We have holed up here near Hopkins in what has turned out to be a very nice RV Resort called Hidden Ridge. That said, one wonders how we found it if it was 'hidden' but here we are. We are set in one of the newest sections of the park so the grass hasn't taken hold yet but as the pictures shows there is lots of room for us and we are very close to the pool. Speaking of the pool, well there has been nearly non-stop Marc Polo for five days now. The pool picture was taken from our seat at the computer table in the coach. There was a fiber festival near here which is what first got Paige's attention and as it happens there is a Car Museum near by as well. I chose to ride to the museum and visit a Harley Davidson dealership in Kalamazoo before the fiber event took off. A click on this blog title will connect you to the Gilmore Car Museum web page if you are interested. The following pictures are sample of the quality and variety the museum offered.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

You Say Tomato

Pacific Northwest Natives can be pretty full of themselves whilst listening to folks from other parts of the country try to say the names of places in the PNW. We laugh hysterically at Seequim, Poooyoop and other places that are pronounced a little differently than they are spelled.
This PNW native got her comeuppance when we were in Maine.(Remember,I reserved the right to return to Maine in future posts since we had no freaking Internet there!) We stayed near a town called Damariscotta... which syllable would you put the emphasis on? Next to that was Wiscassett..... Wiss-ka-set. I could go on, but I won't. You get the idea. Don't get too cocky, it's liable to come around and bite you,er, somewhere.

Monday, August 11, 2008

RV/MH Hall of Fame, who knew?

Elkhart IN is the RV capital of the world. Within 20 miles there are over a dozen major manufactures so the hall of fame is not such a huge surprise. Our visit was a whim which exceeded any preconceived notion. The museum is a very nice collection with examples from the early 1900s to the mid 1980s. Both of us have early memories of late 50s travel trailers like the one pictured below.

I know I have seen pictures of my mother's family camping in the late 1920s in RVs like the earlier examples in the museum.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Studebaker, South Bend IN

Visited the Studebaker National Museum today; this facility opened in 2005 so it was new to me since the last visit in 2005. It was funded by private donations from the members of the Studebaker clubs across the country. I have never owned one or even ridden in one so at best all I can claim to be is a sympathizer

Monday, August 4, 2008

Cuyahoga Valley

We have been here nearly a week between Cleveland and Akron and it has been pretty nice. There is a couple we know from winters in AZ who live near by. I contacted them prior to our arrival and we got together for dinner out and three days for motorcycle riding. I got to see places I would have never found on my own. The Erie Canal ran through here and there is a National Park (Cuyahoga Valley) which has done an excellent job of preserving the remains of the canal and making it into a public trail for walking, running and biking.

Brandywine Falls

I met a couple of friends of my friend when we were at swap meet, they build hot rods/rat rods and are having way too much fun at it. Here are a few pictures of their latest handy work.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


One of the questions people ask most when you tell them you live full time in a motor home is 'what part of the country do you like the best?'

The truth is, for me anyway, I like all of them. We haven't been to a place yet that I couldn't find something to like. Well, maybe not the I-5 corridor of California. We mostly just drive thru there and it is kind of boring and parts are pretty stinky. For the most part, we are in beautiful places. Some times we get to stay long enough to look around. Sometimes we can't stay but put it on our list of places to come back to. We recently stopped for just one night near Lake Erie in the state of New York. As soon as we left the expressway and pulled onto the county road to the campground, I knew I was sorry we couldn't stay. Now you say, 'but you are retired and don't have a schedule, why couldn't you stay?' True, we don't have much of a schedule. We have learned in the past 3 years that even if we don't, the rest of the world still does. There are scheduled events that fill campgrounds. Big holiday weekends (Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day being the summer biggies) that fill the campgrounds even earlier. If you are trying to get to a National Monument (like Mt. Rushmore) in the summer time, the campgrounds fill up. See where I'm going with this? So even if we don't have a schedule, the rest of the world might.

If we plan to go see or do something that is at a specific time (The Michigan Fiber Festival) then we have to get there on time. To the Harley Davidson plant in York PA before they shut down part of the tour to re-tool for next year's model.

So, we have been to places we like. Some we would like to go back to. Some we have been back to, and some we enjoyed but don't need to go back to again. We pretty much make our own schedule but have to work around the rest of the worlds'.