PAGE 2–MORE ADVENTURES

I’M BACK.    Yes there are more adventures to come in this day.  Here we go.

Next stop was the town of Bloomington, Il.  We stopped here to see a very historical figure.  There are some statues of  Lincoln in Bloomington.  And ,of course, we all know that the town of Lincoln is not far from Bloomington.  Anyway, we went to Bloomington to see the statue of Lincoln in a struggle with two of his close friends over his “free the slaves” speech.  The two men were David Davis and Jessie Fell.  Lincoln stood strong and prevailed in this fight.  The interaction was called the “Convergence of Purpose”.  The statue was erected in 2010.

After viewing this unique statue and reading all the plaques associated with it, we headed to the City Court House to see a statue of Lincoln sitting on a bench in front of the building.  I had a little trouble finding it at first and had to ask a local where it was.  I finally found it.  As I sat down on the bench next to Lincoln and looked him in the eye before taking the selfie, a young gentleman came up to me and asked if I wanted him to take the picture.  Of course, I responded yes.  Here is the picture.

As I talked to the young man, he began to tell me about some history of the town that could be found in the Museum that was in the Court House.  I then asked him if he lived in this town and he said “Yes, for about a year.”  I asked him what brought him here.  “Oh” he said, “I was offered the job as Director of the Museum.”  So then I asked him if he would mind if I took his picture with Lincoln.  He naturally replied, “Of course. Would be happy to.”

Here is Adam, the Museum Director, sitting with Abe Lincoln in front of the Court House.

I’m sure Lincoln enjoyed visiting with both of us.

Off to the next town and next adventure–PAGE 3.

 

 

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Drove over 300 miles today and nothing happened.

Seriously, do you believe that heading? Of course, we had some adventures.  Here they are.

First we stopped in Peoria, Il., to see three special things.  First we saw a replica of the St. Louis Arch.  However, this one was a bit smaller and had a car anchored in the middle of the arch.

Next we saw an ice cream building that literally looked like the product they were selling.

The third and last thing we saw was the Giant Rooster with a Top Hat.  Notice how I captured the sign behind him that said this was a “Quick Stop”.

But the good news after seeing all of these unique markers, was the fact that the store just behind the rooster was actually a bakery.  So naturally we had to stock up on the good things they had inside.

Ah, yes, the start of the day can be filled with adventures and yummy donuts as well.  Eat your heart out.

I’m going to continue this days blog on the next page, simply marked PAGE 2.

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How about just a short relaxed story of our day?

We got up at 6:30am and got ready so we could go on the 9am tour at the Winnebago plant, which was virtually across the street from the park we stayed last night.  Here I am enjoying a glass of grape juice–Merlot ,I think.  Not at 6:30am.  It was more like 6:30pm the night before.  Geezes!

Didn’t really know what to expect we’d see in the plant but it turned out to be very fasinating.  We met our tour guy, Lowell, and 18 other people a the Winnebago Visitors Center.

We were boarded on the tour bus and driven a short distance to the plant grounds.  Just about every where we looked on the grounds around the plant buidings, there were RV’s in different phases of completion.  Hopefully you get some idea from this picture.

Once on the grounds we were escorted onto a couple of the plant floors.  The first one we saw was where they made all the accessories.  These included furniture, cushions, chairs, cabinets,etc.  They had cutters, sewers, sewing machines, and computer operated machines to cut things precisely to the measurement needed.

Here is Georgie in her tour gear.  Plastic glasses, ear plugs and orange vest.  Fashionable, right?

After this, we went to the assembly plant known as the “Big Bertha”.  Here we saw them assembling the actual RV.  They were putting floors on the chasis, walls, windows and interior finish.  Even exterior decals were attached.  It was quite amazing to see the people perform.  They obviously knew what they were doing and they did it quickly and accurately.  You can really appreciate the quality of a Winnebago when you see this factory at work.

I think the guide told us that they had a staff of over 2,500 employees.  Most came from the local town but many were drawn from the surrounding area.

After this fascinating tour we went back to the Service Center where Georgie bought several little parts we needed for our RV.  Nothing terribly mechanical.

We then went back to our RV and drove into Forest City, the closest town to Winnebago.  We decided to have Chinese food based on the recommendation of two sales clerks in the Winnebago Service Center.  The food was really good.  We had Sweet and Sour Shrimp and Chicken.

We then started our ride to Davenport, Ia., where we were staying tonight.  On the way there, we went through the town of Waterloo, Ia.  The name Waterloo brings up many thoughts from history.  But for us it was about the music.  I looked up the song Waterloo and found a video of ABBA singing the song in their beautiful manner.  Since I had found their album with the song on it, we decided to have an ABBA Concert.  We were singing along and clapping our hands.  Georgie was driving so she could only clap one hand.  Very entertaining.

Yes! This is ABBA.

When we finally got to Davenport, we were really tired.  So a Margarita and a glass of wine, helped to relax us.

Since we had left-overs from lunch, Georgie warmed up the Chinese food and we feasted on it once again.  Yum! Yum!

 

After dinner we took a walk around the RV park and got back to our site shortly after watching the sun start it late night move into the horizon.  I told Georgie to remind me to go out and take a picture of the sunset in about a half-hour.  I forgot but she remembered.  I walked quickly to the edge of the park and caught a few pictures.  This one says it all.

That’s about it for this relaxed day.  Talk to you tomorrow.  Oh, here is our RV parked at the campground tonight.

Good night my friends.

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Today: Nothing planned on our drive to Forest City. But just wait and see!!!

We spent the night Chamberlain, SD.  We actually got up early and were on the road by 8:30am.  A relatively new record for us.  As we drove on I90 toward our destination at Forest City, Iowa, about 320 miles away, we had some unplanned yet interesting things happen.

The first thing I saw was this sign that says the Center of the Nation.  In actuality the center point is about 20 mile away and is marked by a very small placque.  The Monument at the current Center of the Nation is quite large.  Great for picture taking.

The road along the way was again very natural, with only a few farms and some cattle grazing.

      

Soon after this, I noticed that our engine light on the RV had come on.  I stopped and checked the oil and water but all seemed ok.  We drove to the next town, Kimball, where we  stopped at the first auto repair we saw.  Turned out to be the right decision.  The staff was so nice.  They did a full diagnostic in about an hour and confirmed that nothing would keep us from continuing our trip.  There was only a minor issue with something that got stuck in one of the air filters.  We were on our way again.

With the good news about the RV we decided to celebrate by having lunch in the Walmart parking lot.  Yum!

Then we were back on the road.  Two interesting items caught my attention while Georgie drove.   The first was the number wind-turbines set up on miles of farm land to catch the wind and ultimately produce electricity for the locals.  As we learned on an earlier trip, they also sell the excess energy to other communities.  What was startling was the vast number of turbines.  They covered the landscape for about 30 miles.  Most interesting.

The last thing we saw was the uniqueness of the farmsteads.  Each and every farmstead sat on large acrage of plowed fields.  The houses were anywhere from 300 yards apart to a 1000 yards apart.  But each and every one had trees growing around the house.  When you looked out to the horizon it was like little green spots planted in brown.  We think the reason for the trees was to give the homeowners shade but more importantly to protect them from the wind and other seasonal issues.  Look at this picture.  We saw hundreds of these tree clusters.  In fact, we saw only a few house over our 70 mile ride, that did not have a tree cluster around the house.  Quite a tree-mendous thing I guess.

WAIT!!!! The day is not over yet.  We made a decision to take some side roads off the freeway to get to our destination, Forest City.  We could have taken the freeway but we needed a break from the bumpy road and farm scenery.  We headed initially through the town of Blue Earth.  We were stunned to learn of the one unique item that was in this town.  Here is Georgie standing with===yes!  The Jolly Green Giant.  He was erected in 1979 and now stands 60 feet high in Giant Park .  I got Georgie to stand next to him for a picture and suddenly he was 160 feet tall.  You be the judge.

You would think that after a busy day like today, we’d just go to our camp and get into bed and sleep.  Not so much.  Georgie wanted to get the car washed because we were going to do a tour of the Winnebago factory.  Our RV is a Winnebago.  Well she wanted the bug ladened vehicle looking sharp when we parked in the Winnebago lot with all the other people.  So we stopped at the first car wash that could accommodate an RV.  And here we are.

 

 

 

After this fun yet unplanned day, I’m going to bed.

Good night all.

 

 

 

 

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The Beautiful Drive from Yellowstone East Exit to Buffalo, Wy.

You may have been fortunate enough to make this ride, but seeing these mountains again is worth the time.  Here are pictures of that ride.  It needs no words.

                             

 

                

And then there were the snow-capped mountains.

          

                        

Is it possible to drive over 300 miles and see more beauty then this?

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The rest of the road to our overnight in Buffalo, Wy

All along the road to Buffalo, Wy., the scenary was beautiful.  When we left Coby, Wy., we knew we had over a 175 miles to go to reach Buffalo.  All along the way the landscape was incredible.  It was tough to capture this beauty while driving along at 60 mph.  I tried.  Here’s what I got.

  

  

   

The road provided some interest as well.  It was about 40 miles of steep uphill followed by 40 miles of steep downhill.  There must have been about 10 signs along the way saying “Check Your Brakes”  Steep 7% downgrade.  Well, fortunately Georgie was driving so I just prayed.  We made it!!!  What a day!

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Old Faithful

Our next stop was at Old Faithful (OF).  I know many of you have probably seen it more than once.  When we arrived there were lots of people standing around waiting for OF to blow at 11:14am.  It was now 10:54am.  We stood there looking at each other and taking pictures of the “quiet” OF and calmly waited for the moment when he let it go.  Before we got to OF’s place we saw some other very interesting cousins of OF.

                   

There was also one particularly active geyser that caught our attention.       

Finally it was time for OF to perform.  And perform he did. On time and with a great  show.

            

And for some of my old male friends, that is Old Faithful Geyser as the sign says.  It’s not Old Faithful Geezer.

                                      

 

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Yellowstone Bison

We started our drive through Yellowstone.  The first thing we encountered were the long lines of cars with people who had the same idea we had.  It took about 20 minutes to get through the gate.  After driving for about 30 minutes we were stopped by a long line of cars on the road with no indication as to why.  Turned out as we moved further forward, people would capturing pictures of the Bison that were grazing at the side of the road.  Each car had to take several pictures apparantly.  When we finally made it to the front of the line we saw a turn off where we could park and take our time getting pictures.  We jumped out of the car and went to the field where the bison were roaming.  All was going well and then Georgie decided to start “SHOOTING THE BULL”.   Fun time.

        

       

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Driving through beautiful America.

On Sunday, June 2, we left Georgie’s family in Spokane and headed east to our home in No. Carolina.  It was an estimated 2,500 miles back to Flat Rock, NC., and somewhere between 33 to 36 hours of driving time.  But how else would we get home?

Our ride started in Spokane after we went to church at 9am.  From there we went to Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.  The most impressive thing is how beautiful all of these states are with unique landscape, mountain terrain, grazing animals and limited amount of commercial signs messing it all up.

The first day we drove from Spokane to Missoula, Mt., a distance of 200 miles. After a good lunch we fired up the RV and ended up in West Yellowstone, Idaho.  We found a nice campground and got a good nights sleep.  The next morning (today), we headed for the West Entrance to Yellowstone and found ourselves in a long line of cars trying to get into the park at 9am in the morning.

We were patient and finally got to the ticket booth and showed the guard our park pass.  He waved us on in and we took off.  We got about 15 miles and suddenly there was a long line of cars moving very slowly on the road.  It later turned out that several Bison were on the side of the road and every car had to stop and take multiple pictures of these magnificent animals.  When we finally made our way to the front, we took one picture and drove a short distance to a turn out where we saw several bison grazing in the nearby field.  We took lots of pictures and didn’t once hold up the traffic.

After that we continue to drive to Yellowstone Lake and absorbed the tremendous beauty that has made this such a popular park.  Of course, we went to see Old Faithful and got there about 15 minutes before he started his performance.  And when he blew his top he was only one minute late from the scheduled program time.

After these exciting events we started to head out of the park.  The road to Buffalo, Wy., was again outstandingly beautiful with only a minor exception.  We caught the road to Buffalo in Cody.  From Cody the sign said it was about 188 miles.  We later discoverd that about 40 miles of this road was up hill on fairly steep terrain and then another 40 miles down hill that included numerous warnings of “STEEP DOWN GRADE AHEAD–8%–TEST YOUR BRAKES”.  What made all of this so fun was the fact that Georgie was driving this road the whole way to Buffalo.  We made it there by about 7pm.  We ate a good dinner in downtown Buffalo and then drove a short distance to the Deer Park RV Campground.  Got there about 8:30pm and they greeted me with “Hi, Mr. Farmer, you made it”.

So now after an exhausting day, I’m pooped and want to go to bed.  So I’m not posting any pictures until tomorrow.  Enjoy dreaming about how cool those pictures will be.  Good night!

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Sisters having fun.

So for the past few days the “sisters” have been out roaming the area looking and buying.  Thursday they went to an “ART IN THE PARK” show.  After some time they showed up with these new hats.  Interesting.

Georgie, Vicky and Nina.

Then today they put on their very own sister shirts and went to the FARM MUSEUM near Vicky’s house.  This was apparently a very large place because every place they went people commented on their shirts and wanted to take pictures.

Here are some pictures I took of them when they got home.

  A Normal Pose

    The Back of the Shirts

    The Goofy Sisters.

  The Calm Sisters.

If you can’t read the front of their shirts here is what it says.

Donna–I’m #1 Put Me In Charge

Georgie–I’m #2 Don’t Tell Me What To Do

Nina–I’m #3 I Feel Your Pain

Vicky–I’m #4 I Don’t Want To Grow Up.

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