First leg of the jouney

Trip Start Jul 04, 2009
Trip End Jul 30, 2009

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Where I stayed
Camp Dubay Shores
From Home to Wausau

Flag of United States  , Texas
Wednesday, July 8, 2009

First Leg of our Trip

July 4

This morning, we got everyone in the Excursion and pulled out for the trailer—we almost even got there when Tom remembered that he'd left the stabilizer bars for the trailer sitting on the driveway—not a good thing. A 34’ Airstream REALLY needs those stabilizer bars to keep it from swaying and moving the tow vehicle all over the road.  So, we had to turn around and go back to the house.  Only an hour lost!  About 9:30 then, we were hooked up and ready to go—the trailer is stuffed with clothes, stuff for the wedding and bird stuff.  The Excursion is stuff with us, the dog, the cat and the 5 birds. It’s way too hot to leave anyone in the trailer so we head out for Ardmore, Oklahoma.  It is miserably hot in San Antonio as we leave and we keep telling ourselves that it will be cooler once we leave Oklahoma, for sure!

The trip to Ardmore was really uneventful.  Seamus, the kitty, wasn’t happy about being in his crate so he did puke a bit but considering what he’s done before, that was minor.  The interesting thing was that as soon as we left Texas, I lost the 3G network on my phone.  From then on, all the way to Wisconsin, I only had it in the cities.  Oh well, it did feel weird—I thought, where am I? On the moon? Where is all the electronic wizardry I had just a border crossing back?  However, the phone continued to download the email and all that so I was ok with the rustic places I found myself. The one really odd thing I noticed was the church in Waco advertising 30 minute worship!!  Wow, I guess they want to be SURE you get home in time to see the Cowboys.  Come worship with us—we get you in and out!

We got to Ardmore about 4 and it was SO hot—I bet it was 105.  We got the trailer unhooked and the electricity on but it was so hot, it kept tripping the breakers when the a/c units were on too long.  So, the trailer didn’t cool down as fast as it would have normally but it did cool down eventually. We were too tired to go get dinner and just stayed in.  The rv park was called Hidden Lake RV—it does have something approximating a lake—or a really big stock tank.  They had kayaks for rent that looked WAY too big for the "lake."  The only pictures I took was of the impressive flock of Canada geese that were there.  There were a lot of them and they did hope we had something for them but we sadly didn’t. The weather was really hot and still and we should have recognized that a storm was coming. Sure enough about 6, it started raining and it rained all night—really hard in the middle of the night.   NO fireworks anywhere which was fine with Iris, our paranoid little old dog, but then the thunder scared her instead. 

July 5

This morning, we left for Emporia Kansas.  Oklahoma had some interesting things (at least to me) as we were driving—all interstate driving so I didn’t have to do a lot of co-piloting.  First, we saw the Oklahoma Horse Shoeing School!  All I could think was YAY! If academia doesn’t work out, I can still get a skill!  Then, I saw a little, very reputable little place near a truck stop—the sign said simply LUNCH TOPLESS.  Now, there were two silhouettes of shapely women but all I could think of was burly truck drivers walking in, taking off their shirts and thinking “Whew, I love to eat lunch without a shirt.”  Sometimes I think folks just don’t really think when they make these signs.  Or maybe it’s just me.  The last thing we saw in Oklahoma that amused us was Cowboy Travel Plaza that proudly proclaims it has the world’s biggest Beer Cave!  Now that is something to be proud of!

The park in Emporia Kansas was nice—it had a tent at the front for the price fireworks sale going on.  There wasn’t much to see or do so we mostly went to bed.  We did manage to convince the direct TV service to hook up and we could watch a little of the news.  We also found that Emporia was the home of the National Teachers Hall of Fame!  That was about it for Kansas.

July 6

We headed out of Emporia for Iowa.  We had to cross through Missouri first and that made me think of one of the funnier student stories I know. When I was teaching at Texas A&M, finishing up the PhD, I read a student essay about the problems in Kansas before the Civil War.  The folks of the time often blamed supporters of slavery for much of the trouble in Kansas and call them “border ruffians.”  This young man got all mixed up and wrote the whole essay calling them “border puffins” instead which cracked us all up and has led to a family wish for a poster with little birds with brightly colored beaks, in sombreros with bandoliers strapped across their chests, waving rifles over their heads as their ride their horses into Kansas.  Invasion of the Border Puffins!  That mostly got me through Missouri.

In Iowa, we noticed some oddities in their highway signage (as my highway dept. engineer father would have said.)  When they have construction on the interstate that closes one side and diverts it to the other they don’t say “Caution: Two Way Traffic Ahead!”  No, their signs say “Head to Head Traffic.”  That just seems odd and inaccurate—sounds like a huge game of chicken to me.  Their signs for Rest Areas are also deceiving since to the rest of the US, a Rest Area has bathrooms. They label them all Rest Areas—maybe to save money?  They often go to the trouble to put an additional sign down the road that say “Modern Rest Area” which apparently means it DOES have restrooms.  Kind of like everything’s up to date in Kansas City.  They also rather distractingly number the miles on the interstate in two tenths segments so that there are all these little signs  Mile 55.2, 55.4.  I disapprove of those—they catch my eye and annoy me.

We LOVED the rv park in Webster City Iowa actually. It was gorgeous. It was actually outside the town (not hard to accomplish) and was in a park donated by some folks in 1919.  There is a lovely golf course Tom wants to come back and play on.  The rv park had big spaces and really nice facilities—only problem is that it is first come first served so you are taking your chances.  Briggs Woods Park is worth seeing.

July 7

We left Webster City, a little regretfully, and headed out for Wisconsin.  We had to go into and cut across the bottom of Minnesota—this is where my mother was born so I had to look and see what it looked like—beautiful state.  We didn’t see a lot of it but it was very nice.  The roads were horrible.  We were very glad to see the Mississippi River and cross into Wisconsin. There was a lovely little Rest Area (modern by Iowa standards) that we stopped at for lunch.  Recycling bins! I loved it.  There were shady spots all over to sit and enjoy the lovely weather and a little hiking path that went right down to the river.  Really pretty introduction to Wisconsin.

We had to get off the interstate finally at Tomah, that we discovered is the Gateway to Cranberry Country—I know they are proud.  We took a state road and saw LOTS of cranberry growers—at least lots of sign for them.  There was a Cranberry Expo every year, apparently. You also start seeing lots of signs advertising cheese.  We’ll have to try some. 

We got to Mosinee, where the rv park is, without incident. It is a very pretty rv park by a lake.  The slots however are NOT level.  It took much backing and angling to finally find a way that the trailer could be reasonably level so we could put out the slide—that took quite a while.  But Tom did it—I can’t imagine  backing up such a huge trailer with such a huge suv, but he’s good at it.  Got all set up—flags up, awnings out.  I think we’ll be sitting out a lot—there is not satellite because of all the huge trees and no cable.  But it really is a pretty place and we’ll be gone a lot for wedding stuff!

July 8

Today, Jennifer and Dan—the bride and groom—fly in from San Antonio first. Then Travis, the youngest child and music wrangler for the wedding comes in from Memphis.  Sometimes this evening, Melissa, the middle child and the vow wrangler (as they are calling her since she is performing the ceremony) gets in from China.  Very exciting to have all my kids together again—we’ll scare these folks.  It should be a busy day.
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profj on

What a trip!
I can imagine all of you in the excursion. And it's loud. Hugs to tom and the kids.

dkay1968 on

Mileage Signs in IA
I think they measure by tenths so if someone breaks down in a snowstorm, they can tell the HP exactly where they are. Just a thought on my part though.

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