Thursday, November 8, 2007

The End of the Trip

On October 25th we arrived back in Cambria. Our trip for the summer was a great deal of fun. Stopping to see friends and relatives along the way added to the excitement and joy of traveling across this great country. We will do some "local" RVing for the next few months as we plan our 2008 trip. Below are some STATS on our 2007 trip.

Miles Traveled .......................... 10,642 (124 days)

Gallons of diesel fuel ................ 1,736

Highest price paid for fuel ....... $3.49 (California when we got back)

Lowest price paid for fuel ........ $2.85 (Memphis, TN - across the street from Elvis)

Average cost to park RV ......... $27.23 per night (Represents 60% of our nights/ 40% were free)

Average cost of food for 124 days . $33.14 per day (includes eating out)

Best place to live ..................... While we enjoyed seeing the USA, we still think the best place
to live is right here in Cambria, CA.

What did we enjoy seeing the most ... Gettysburg. Go see it for yourself and you will understand.
City we enjoyed the most ................... Charlotte, North Carolina

Most spectacular scenery.................... Zion National Park and Southern Utah.

Most exciting thing we did ................ The TIGERS tour in Myrtle Beach, SC - sitting with tiger
cubs is an experience of a life time.

Worst roads............................................ Pennsylvania and Rhode Island

Highest toll fees..................................... Pennsylvania (go figure)

Worst weather .................................... Heading toward Chicago in a lightning storm.

Best weather ....................................... Mary's sisters cabin in the mountains of Northern PA.

Unexpected happening ....................... Blowing out our suspension air bag because of a pot hole.

Best entertainment ............................ Grand Ole Opry and most of Nashville

Most memorable site ......................... Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Graceland (because we are
part of the whole R&R scene)

Worst meal .......................................... River boat on the Wisconsin Dells. Did you ever eat Prime
Rib 1/8 inch thick and in the form of a round patty?

Best meals ............................................. About 110 of them - Jerry made them every night

Worst unexpected event ................... Mary put glue in her eye instead of eye drops (emergency
room anyone?) Dr. said "what is with you people - I get
about two of you a year that put glue in your eye?"

Would we do it again .......................... YES and we are planning our trip for 2008 now.

Have a great Holiday Season and when we start our 2008 trip we will let you know.

A special thanks to all of you who followed our blog and sent us your comments (especially Ashlee).

Jerry & Mary

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Oct. 16th - 20th

After leaving Ft. Worth we took two days to drive to El Paso. Spent the night and then on into Tuscon, Arizona to see our long time friends Joe and Carole (been 10 years). We parked at their placed and had a great time.
It was off for our final leg of the trip back to California. We are at our daughter's house seeing the grandkids and having a fun time telling them all about our trip.
Jerry will be back in Cambria on Oct. 25th while Mary goes from L.A. to Utah for a Xango convention. She will be back to Cambria on Monday the 29th.
It has been a great trip. We really had fun seeing both friends and relatives as we drove around this great country. We will now put together some statistics and post them in a few weeks.
Thanks to all of you that took the time to see us and we hope to see many of you again next year. While this was a 4 month trip, next year we will make it a 7 or 8 month trip. Go a little slower and see a little more of the USA.

Jerry, Mary & Chanti

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Oct. 8 - 15th.

From Memphis, TN we left for Sherman, TX to see Jerry's cousin Bob. On the way we hit 3 very heavy rain storms. As a result we stopped for the night in Texarkana. That place is a whole story by its self. The county line runs down a main street. You can buy liquor on the Arkansas side of the street, but not on the Texas side (county laws for that part of Texas).
The next day we made it to Sherman, TX, spent the night with Jerry's cousin and his wife and then off to Ft. Worth for Jerry's final ISS talks. Of the 4 ISS shows that he spoke at, his workshops on Prospecting - Presentation - Close had the most attendance of all the business workshops ISS put on. As a result they want him to do their 2008 shows. First one is in January in Long Beach.

We found Ft. Worth and the surrounding area to be very nice. However, unlike Minneapolis/St. Paul which are right next to each other, Dallas/Fort Worth are over 30 miles apart. We drove to Dallas on Saturday to see the Kennedy Memorial and the area that President Kennedy was assassinated. We took the tour of the 6th floor Book Depository. It is a great tour. We had head sets that explained what happened at each part of the tour. The great part of that is that we had the ability to stop the tape if we wanted to stay at one spot and look at it longer. There was the window area that Lee Harvey Oswald took his shots at the President and you really do get goose bumps when you look out of that window. Anyone that has ever shot a rifle knows that shooting at something moving from left to right is much harder than hitting a target moving 5 miles per hour and moving away from you. Oswald was able to get off 3 shots at the motorcade/President. Down on the street there are X's that mark each of the spots where the shots hit the President. Oswald paid $12.85 for that rifle. As one reporter put it (on a video of that day) "the President of the United States's life was taken for $12.85." Also on the tour you hear from the reporter that "passed Oswald coming out of the Depository" as he ran in to call the police. The tour covers everything from President Kennedy running for office, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Crises, right up to his trip to Dallas and what followed for the days after.

The other photos to the right also show the Water Gardens in Fort Worth. This is a real experience that you have to experience, not read about. If you ever make it to Fort Worth make sure you include this. It is right next to the Convention Center.

From Ft. Worth we are off on our second to last leg of the trip. We will leave here and go to El Paso for one night and then to Tuscon, Arizona to see some old friends (old in that we have known them for a long time, and come to think of it, they are old). Last stop is to see our kids in L.A. After that it is back to Cambria and our 4 month trip will be over.

After we get back we will do a wrap-up of our 4 month trip.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Oct. 4-8 Memphis, TN

From Nashville we headed to Memphis. We only went 10 feet when I knew we had a problem. Our coach has a "air ride" suspension. However, the front end would not rise and a big "hissing" sound came from the front right side. We drove - slowly - to a Freightliner repair shop (our chassie is made by them) and discovered we "blew out our air bag" on the right side. Now, let me make it very clear, we did not blow it out -- the highways of America blew it out. We hit some really bad "pot holes" and on a couple, I thought we would fall apart. Turns out we damaged our air bag. That was a one day delay in getting to Memphis and the new air bag, of all places, was shipped from Memphis. Luck was on our side that this happened in a major city.

We finally made it to Graceland and the RV park right behind the HeartBreak Hotel (yes that is for real). A great park and walking distance to Graceland. Prior to that, we decided to go into Memphis and visit the Sun Studio, the place that was the start for Elvis (not to mention Carl Perkins, Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash). When you stand in the recording studio and look at the microphone (see photo to right) that was used by these guys in the mid 50's you get goosebumps. Then they played some of the "out takes" of Elvis and these others during their famous recordings - it is as if you are there at that time.

All these year we had heard that "That's all right (Mama)" was the first song Elvis recorded at Sun Studio and he did it for his mom -- not true - you will have to go there to find out the real first song (that he did to for his mom). And "I Walk the Line" by Johnny Cash - that drum that stands out in the background - not a drum at all - that too, you will have to visit Sun Studio for the answer.

The next day we went to Graceland. How many times have you heard on the news that there was an "Elvis sighting?" So we get to Graceland and guess what -- Elvis is dead. Damn what a disappointment. Oh well, after you go to Graceland you will almost believe that he is still alive, until you come to his grave sight.

We could not begin to describe what it is like going through Graceland in this Blog. If you ever get the chance to make to Memphis, take the time to see Graceland. Many people do each year as they make 57 million a year on tourist going to Graceland.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sept. 28 - Oct. 3rd.

Our week in Jackson Springs, NC was very relaxing. Jerry worked on his book, Mary worked on her business. Then it was off to Charlotte, NC. to see an old friend of 40 years. We had a great evening at her home and another chance to catch-up on families since we last saw her over 15 years ago.
Then it was off to Nashville, TN. and the Grand Ole Opry. We had tickets to the 9:30 pm show. We had a great time and would love to come back again. With one exception. While they call it the Grand Ole Opry, for our night they needed to change that "e" in Ole to a "d." We did not grow up listening to "country, bluegrass, Nashville sound" music. Thus, unless a singer really hit the big time and crossed over to rock & roll or pop chart music (like Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles, Marty Robbins, etc.), we really don't know much about them. Today, artists like Reba McIntyre, Dolly Parton, Tim McGraw and the many other big names, if they make it big in country music, their music also hits other charts and we most likely have heard them.
Our night at the Opry (see big picture down below), well it was full of a lot of 50's & 60's one (or two) hit wonders that are still hanging on and showing up at the Opry. Two hours of oldies we never heard. The good news is we always love live music and that is what we got. So it was great fun.
We did get to hear an up-and-coming new star (to country) that in time we are sure will make all the charts. His name is Josh Turner (in fact he may already be "up" we just never heard of him before) and this guy had a great voice. Very powerful and dynamic. This guy will go far.
We heard that "sometimes big stars make a surprise appearance." That didn't happen at our show.
What did happen was the first appearance at the Opry by a new singer. Write this name down as she will make it "big time" in country music and will cross over to the big charts. Her name is Ashton Shepherd and what a voice. When you think of what a female country singer should sound like - this girl has it. On a scale of 1-10 her voice was a 12. The whole audience went wild after she sang her songs. She was a little of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and June Carter Cash all rolled into one. Watch out for this kid. Her performance alone made it a great time at the Grand Ole Opry.
We are here until Wednesday (still more to see) and then it is off to see Elvis in Memphis.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Sept. 14 - 28

One of our goals on this trip is to try to avoid major highways (and freeways) to get to our destination. Leaving Myrtle Beach we wanted to go to Kitty Hawk, NC to see the site of the Wright Brothers first flight. Looking at the map, we could get there via the Outer Banks of N.C which would include taking a ferry from Cedar Island to Ocracoke (2 1/2 hr ferry ride), so we headed that way. We road the ferry and then had to ride another one (1/2 hr) to get from Ocracoke to Hatteras. If you ever get the chance to take that trip - take it. It is great.

We made it a 2 day trip to get to Kitty Hawk camping right along side the Atlantic Ocean. We have now been parked right next to the Pacific and the Atlantic. The Atlantic coast line (at least from South Carolina to North Carolina) is nothing but sandy beach. Unlike the rocks and cliffs of the Pacific is it just flat sand with some roads no more than 6 feet above the top of the water. No wonder they flood so bad in storms.

Kitty Hawk is something to see. To think that in all this time of people on this earth, just 104 years ago man, under his own power, took to the air for the first time. Then within 60 years we flew to the moon.

What was really interesting was the fact that the Brothers not only build the first airplane, but they built every part. Obviously they could not go to the store to "buy airplane parts." In fact, they could not find an engine for their plane, so they built that too. They did not go with the traditional view of a propeller (for a boat) being an "air screw." Instead they saw it as a rotary wing and hand carved those also.

Their first flight --- 12 seconds and 120 feet (Bob Newhart had a great joke about flying coast to coast with the Wright Brothers but was concerned that it would be a long flight if they had to take off and land every 120 feet). They flew 3 more flights that day with the longest being 59 seconds and 852 feet (that would shorten that coast to coast flight).

While some people had made gliders (including the Brothers) no one made a "machine" that under its own power could take off and fly - they made it happen and WOW look what happened as a result.

Form Kitty Hawk we went to an "out of the way" resort in Jackson Springs North Carolina and will be here for a week. No driving, just relaxing. Next week we head for Nashville, Tennessee and the Grand Ole Opry -- So long Y'all

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sept. 6 - 16

Everyone has been to the zoo. You stand there looking at the animals and think to yourself "gee, it would really be something to be able to pick that little tiger cub up." Well think no more. As you can see by the photos to the right (and the ones under the map below) today you can hold many of these animals if you just travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and visit my niece, Kheria, (my sister Pat's daughter) at her Tigers Preserve. You can take a 3 hr guided tour and see some of the most exotic animals on this earth. You will get to sit in an area in which the trainers bring out Lion, Tiger, Lynx and Ligar (cross between a lion and a tiger) cubs and let them just walk around and all over you. It is really something. You can hold them, feed them and just play with them. Some just want to sit on your lap and relax.

If that weren't enough, then you move on to another area and play with a chimpanzee and a gibbon (Mary is holding Mia and I am holding Yogi in the first photo to the right). How about sitting pool side while tigers go swimming with their trainers. These cats just loved playing in that water. So much for "cats hate water."

When was the last time you held an Owl? Petted a wolf? Had a falcon fly so close his wings brushed across your chest? Watched a lion sprint past you? Had your picture taken with a Ligar (they have one that stands 10 feet tall - see big photo below).

They video tape your whole tour and take hundreds of photos delivered to you on a CD at the end of your tour. This is no petting zoo with a goat - this is the real deal - wild animals. Protected and raised to help prevent extinction. If you ever plan to head to SC this is a must see.

Prior to arriving in SC we went to Cumming, Georgia. Jerry spoke again at another ISS convention in Atlanta and we stayed with our long time friends Donna and Stu. Stu took us out on his pontoon boat to a nice place for Sunday brunch. Our dog Chanti met their dog, Nikki (that Donna bought after seeing our dog). We had a great visit with them.

We leave Myrtle Beach on Monday and have a few "free days" that are not planned until next weekend. We will throw the dart on the map tomorrow morning and see what it hits.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Labor Day Weekend

From Gettysburg we headed Northeast to spend the weekend at the mountain cabin Mary's sister Lavern and husband Bob had just purchased in the Northern part of Pennsylvania. On the way we stopped at the Hershey Chocolate Factory. This was a real experience in more than one way. First, you get to take a "Disneyland" type ride that shows how they make chocolate. Then you go to the food court which is really a candy court. They have a store that has nothing but racks and racks of candy (see photo to the right). This is the ultimate "Kid in a Candy Store" set-up. From bags of miniature Hershey Bars, 5 pound Hershey Bars, 25 pound Kisses and everything and every kind of candy that Hershey makes, there they are all over the place. At one of the 6 check-out counters our mouths dropped as we watched people buying $40, $80, over a $100 worth of candy.
The really kicker was trying to understand why some parents, at lunch time, would let there kids eat nothing but candy? You haven't lived until you are in a great big building full of hyper/whacked-out kids on sugar highs. One mother with 3 boys suddenly grabs her 11 year old and screams "what in the world has gotten into you - will you calm down and stop acting like this." Duh.
After a short stay in "Hyperville" we headed North to Lavern and Bob's cabin. In actuality, it was not a cabin at all. It was a very nice house. Two bedroom with a guest cabin out back. Just 25 feet from their porch was a private pond (see photo to right and below under Map) full of fish. With about 11 acres of privacy, it was a beautiful spot. The weather was perfect and each night we built a nice fire and just sat up into the early morning hours solving the world's problems.
Lavern caught fish from the pond one night and we had a fish fry. Bob brought a big bucket of clams and we had steamers another night. We relaxed and ate well. It was a fun time and we look forward to going back next year.
From Pennsylvania we headed South to Cumming, Georgia to spend time with some friends and Jerry was speaking again, this time in Atlanta.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Gettysburg, PA Aug. 24 - 29

There have been many book and movies about the Civil War battle at Gettysburg. Until, however, you walk the grounds, see the battlefields, understand what and how that battle was played out, well, they are just books and movies.
Words on this blog could not begin to explain what it is like to visit the Gettysburg National Military Park. It is an 18 mile auto tour that traces the three-day battle in chronological order. Starting on July 1, 1863 to the turning point of "Puckett's Charge" when the Confederates made their last attempt to break through the Union lines (and failed) and General Lee retreaded his army.
Each of the 16 stops has monuments and memorials for the different regiments from both sides of the war. There must be over 1000 markers for something that happened, a particular soldier or group/command/flank (L or R), etc. What we found interesting was the sobering atmosphere of everyone present as you walked around the battlefield sites. Even children could tell that something really bad had happened here and seemed to really take it all in right along with the adults.
While it was very interesting to read the scriptures on all the memorials, the one that caught Mary by surprise was the Minnesota Memorial. She remembers the history lessons in school about the Civil War but she never remembers anyone talking about the Minnesota regiment that helped play a very decisive roll in the final days of battle. It seems that when the Confederates made that last charge (Puckett's Charge) it was the Minnesota regiment that cut through and separated the left flank. This put some of the Confederates (to the very far left) isolated and under fire from the Minnesota regiment and the rest of the Union flank still holding their line. This is even mentioned in a presentation at the Visitor Center as a big decisive move of the battle.
A tour of the National Cemetery also has a memorial for Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address given on November 19, 1863.
If you ever have the time, make sure you visit Gettysburg and give yourself 3 or 4 days to really see it all.
You will want to also go to President Eisenhower's home and ranch. By today's standards for a presidential retreat, the house is not that big. The kitchen is very small and very 50's.
Included in our trip to Gettysburg was a visit from Fred & Sally, real estate clients of ours and a visit from a high school buddy of Jerry's, Elek and his wife Dorris who toured the area with us one day.
From Gettysburg it is off the the mountain cabin in Northern Pennsylvania to be with Mary's sister Lavern and husband Bob. We will be "dug in" for the holiday weekend.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Aug 14-22

OK,OK,OK -Sorry - seems some folks get up-set if we don't up-date our blog every week. We did try last Saturday, but we were in the middle of a storm and everytime lightning went off, our "wireless internet" cut off. Then of course you have the fact that we are having a great time. And that makes us feel guilty. We figure that somewhere, someplace there is a couple sitting in their living room looking at each other and saying "Gee - we are just not having any fun at all. I think Jerry and Mary are using up our fun." Maybe - but we are not giving this up - we are just having too much fun.

We left IL and went to Ann Arbor, MI. It was the first time in 45 days that the temp. at night was in the 70's. It was so nice to finally have a night that we could sit outside and enjoy the area.
We saw some friends that moved from California 17 years ago. Had a great time catching up on life, family and careers. We then went to Cleveland, OH to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (see photo to the right). It was a big suprise. We thought we would see some old run down building from the 20's that was converted to a museum for rock & roll. Wow - this place was first class. They have 4 movie theaters, and 6 floors of displays. The first film you see starts out by saying "believe it or not but there was a time when there was no such thing as rock & roll." Which of course is true. Prior to the 50's there was no such statement as rock and roll. Following the history (and knowing that we lived in that time) was really great. Mary liked the history of the different singers (groups) and the fact that they had report cards and notes from teachers for some artists. Very interesting what the teachers saw in their students. Some saw complete failures while others knew they would not achieve high academics, but could tell that they would go places other students would not. If you ever get to go to Cleveland, go see the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and spend the day. By the way - no cameras allowed, you have to check them in. When you go you will see why. We saw pictures (on loan to the Hall) never seen before. They belong to collectors (or families) and they don't want folks to take photos and copy them.

Something they do not have back in CA are the Service Centers along the Toll Ways. These are rest stops, however, they have gas stations and full food courts, including Starbucks and all kinds of foods. Really great. You can relax and have lunch, get gas and something for the road. The toll part (instead of "freeways" ) is not so cool. Image getting a ticket as you enter the state and then when you get to the other side, the toll booth guy says "that will be $52." Man oh man - what if you don't have it?

From Cleveland we went to Pennsylvania to visit Mary's sister Lavern and Bob. Had a great time. Parked on their front lawn. Then we left and drove to Cape Cod. We went to Plymouth to see Plymouth Rock. When Mary saw it she laughed so much her side was hurting. After all we all know the size of the Rock of Gibraltar, and of course we have Morro Rock in Morro Bay back home. So to see what made Mary laugh scroll down to the big picture below (under the map). We took the tour of the Mayflower (replica 1957) and it was interesting. See the photo of Mary sitting on one of the beds (to the right). We went to Boston to visit Jerry's uncle and cousin. Had a great time and they took us to see two of the homes Jerry was raised in.

From Boston we go back to Pennsylvania to stay at Gettysburg for a week. Then off to a mountain cabin that Lavern and Bob just purchased. We will be there for the Labor Day weekend.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Aug. 7 - 13th, Joliet, Illinois.

There are two things we do not want to do with our RV - drive at night or drive in a rain storm. As you can see by the pictures to the right, we got caught in a real bad rain storm just as we entered Illinois. It was along a very long stretch of highway without any off ramps. In short, we could not pull over and let it pass. Traffic slowed to about 25 miles per hour as thunder, lightning and extremely high winds blew us all over the road. When tree branches are blown off trees onto the highway it is not easy to keep this big rig in a straight line. Our poor dog almost had a heart attack. The poor thing is sitting on Mary's lap when a bright burst of lightning followed by the loudest boom just put her right up into the air. Now I am trying to control the RV in this storm and we have a dog going bonkers -- "are we having fun yet?"

We ended up in Joliet, Ill for the week and the home base for my first set of workshops for ISS in Schaumberg, Ill. about 45 min. away for which I rented a car to get there. My workshops had the second highest attendance of all 17 workshops on building a small business (I'll take it).

In Ill, they have Tollways (not Freeways). I don't really have anything against paying a Toll to travel a road, but between the Toll booths they don't have any off ramps. Four different times there was a bad accident involving 3 - 7 cars and each time traffic just came to a complete stop until they clear it. Getting the tow trucks there to clear it presented another problem. I'll take the California FREEWAYS anytime over this system - they need help.

We had a couple of interesting things happen at the grocery store. First, we have a new appreciation for the FOSTER FARM chicken commercials (with the out of state chickens that want to become Foster Farm chickens.) Would you believe that here in ILL, one whole raw chicken cost $8.65. Even worse, they only had about 6 whole chickens in the plastic bag in the bin. As for meats, that went for the entire length of the whole store. I guess the Atkins diet is alive and well in Ill.

As we checked out of this very large store, a young man was bagging the groceries. I went to take the cart and he picked up the bag with a carton of eggs in it and said "you may want to replace these eggs." I said, "Oh, are some of the shells broken?" To which he said - "No, I breathed on the carton." I made a split second decision and said "the eggs are in a shell, I'll take my chances."

If you have been following the news, then you know the heat wave is still following us. Record breaking heat and a few more thunder storms. From here we go to Ann Arbor, Michigan to see some friends that left California in the 80's that we have stayed in touch with. Then to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. From there we will be in Pennsylvania at Mary's sister's (and Bob) place for the weekend. Then it will be off to Boston, Mass.

More next week.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Wisconsin Dells 7/30 - 7/6

Here we are in the Wisconsin Dells. Now when I mapped out this trip, we would leave Cold Spring, Minnesota on our way to Schaumburg, Ill in which I will be conducting my small business workshops. So on the map, Wisconsin Dells was about half way and looked like a good stopping off spot for a week to just R&R.

I never heard of the Wisconsin Dells and I am going to bet that folks on the West Coast, unless they have relatives back here, have no idea what the "Dells" are all about. What a surprise.
This place is the Disneyland of the Central States. More than that it is the Water Park Capital of this nation. What a great place for a family to come to and have a "killer" of a great time. (We would love to come back here with our kids and grandchildren.) The Dells are part of the Wisconsin River and we have never seen so much activity, hotels, water parks, river boats (including speed boats that seat 20 people), water slides and the "Ducks" which are WWII (type) amphibious army vehicles (land and sea crafts) that drive on the streets and then go into the river. It would take over a week to really see this place and try to go to just 1/8 of what is here.

We arrived on Monday, and guess what! It was the hottest day on record. Now we have already determined that when we purchased this RV, someone stuck a "hot magnet" under our coach (I just can't find it). Once again on our trip, we hit one of the hot spots (read below for the others) because we have determined that the heat wave is following Jerry and Mary.

The RV Park we are at is a 10+ (on the scale of 1-10). Really nice, but it was so hot we just did not want to take part in what they had to offer. Please raise your hand if you want to take a sun set ride up a mountain (more like a small hill) on a ski lift and then hike back down -- in 95 degree heat. PASS.

We rented a red PT Cruiser for the weekend so we could go out and see "the Dells." We drove around and saw all these "tourist attractions" - it makes Las Vegas look like a small amusement park. It just goes for miles and miles.

We decided that a nice evening cruise on the Dells, with dinner would be just right for us old folks. So we booked a trip for Saturday night. So what happens that day? They get the first rain they had for over 2 months - gee, it is so nice to know we are here for a part of history.

We went on the cruise anyway. It had a inside cabin for dining and a observation top deck - that no one went on, but it was fun to see the Dells. Dinner however -- what would you expect if the menu said "chicken & prime rib" -- whatever you are thinking -- it was NOT. We have had a lot of prime rib in our life, but never a 1/4 patty? Yes, the prime rib was a 1/4 patty (like a hamburger patty) of (what they claim) prime rib. The vegetables - well that's what they were -vegetables. I looked hard to find the word "steamed" but could not find it. My chicken was pretty good, but when Mary put her fork in hers, it jumped off the plate and flew back into the "Dells." OH, not really -- it only made it to the railing and then died before it could fall in the river. Jerry pulled it back in and ate it.

Hey, we just want to write about a little fun. We really did enjoy the Wisconsin Dells and will come back again some time (in May).

We leave tomorrow for Schaumburg, Ill. Mary will see her long time friend Mary Stewart and Jerry will be conducting his 3 workshops for the Imprinted Sportswear Show (ISS). This will be one of the business parts of the trip. We will up date you next week.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Fargo, ND & Cold Spring, MN. 7/19-7/30

From Iowa we went to Fargo, North Dakota and stayed at Sean's Farm (Mary's oldest). Two other kids, Sue and Shannon with grandkids came out from California and joined us for the weekend and to celebrate Mary's birthday (7/22). We had a great time with a big campfire each night, and we mean BIG. Very relaxing to just sit there each night. No music, TV or radio. Just the sound of crackling wood. Sean has a large farm and surrounding area that they lease out to other farmers that grow soy beans. Big place and lots of animals, many for food.

From Fargo we went to Mary's home town of Cold Spring, MN. Like the Labor Day Pinderado in Cambria, Cold Spring was having "Cold Spring Days." They had a big concert with Lone Star (Walkin in Memphis, Baby I'm Amazed by You, I'm Already There) who has over 10 #1 hits on the country charts. Earlier that day they had a dog contest and Mary entered Chanti in the "Trick" division. Chanti can do many tricks, however, she got "stage fright" and did O, zip, nada, not one trick. Just sat there looking at Mary as she gave commands. Four dogs entered the trick contest. They had 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards - Chanti didn't even get a dog bone. When we got back to the RV she did every trick - so we gave a treat anyway.

We leave here on 7/31 and head for the Wisconsin Dells for the week.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Rain, rain and more rain

The wedding we attended in St. Paul was a "picture perfect" wedding. Late afternoon right along side the Mississippi River at a private boat club. The evening was beautiful.

We left on Monday and headed to the Winnebago Rally. Once again we hit a "heat wave." Only this time it was followed by heavy rain storms each night. It has been a long time since we have seen so much lightning, one right after another. There was entertainment scheduled each night in a very nice Amphitheatre and every night they had to cancel it. So everyone is just sitting in their RV as the rain falls. One night we had a tornado watch. That put us on the edge of the chair. Nothing "touch down" but we did have winds up to 80 mph.

During the day they had workshops on just about everything you need to know about your RV. Sitting in a outdoor tent in the heat and humidity - well you can guess how your attention level drops. However, even with the rain and heat we had great time, met some nice folks (including a couple that lived in Cambria and now live in Paso Robles) and we went the Winnebago factory. Purchased some items to up-grade our coach and learned a lot about the mechanics of our RV.

On this leg of the trip we had our first "incident." Mary went to put eye drops in her eye, but picked up a bottle of finger nail glue instead. It was instant pain for her. They had a medical RV and took her to the hospital by ambulance. She is doing OK, but each place we go we have to stop at an Eye Clinic to keep a check on it. Mary gives a whole new meaning to the statement "I'll keep an eye out for you."

We are now outside of Fargo, North Dakota at Sean's farm (Mary's oldest). Will be here for the weekend. It is the first time on our trip that we don't have to have the air conditioner on. Nights are great with a big fire.

More next week.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

In the middle of America

7/12/07 - 2,212 miles.

We left Zion on 7/05 and took a back road to Salina, Utah for the night. We left the park the next morning and had breakfast at Mom's Cafe. Great food. We then drove for 3 hours, at posted speed of 75 mph. We stayed at Fruita, Colorado (scheduled stop) from Friday to Monday.

The RV Park was right across the street from the Dinosaur Museum and a mile from Dinosaur Hill, a quarry site dig from 1901. And YES, that is Mary riding her bike up the hill to the dig.

On Monday we took off, passing through Vail Colorado, and spending the night in Denver. We left the next morning, leaving Colorado, and made our next scheduled stop in Minden, Nebraska at the Harold Warp Pioneer Village.

If you ever travel across county, be sure to put this stop on your trip. It would take more than a Blog to write about the 20 Acres of Americana this guy has on display. See the photo below that explains what the place is about.

From Minden we drove out of Nebraska into Iowa. We did not have any scheduled stop, just need a place for the night. Turns out the Flying J truck stop will let us park for the night - for free.

We are now in St. Paul, MN. We will be attending a wedding this weekend. Then on Monday we leave St. Paul and head to the Winnebago Rally in Northern Iowa. More next week.

Jerry and Mary

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

What would you take?

As we plan our first 4 month trip in our RV, the questions comes up "just what should we take?" So here is a question for those of you reading this. Q: If you had to plan a 4 month trip what would be the item (or items) that you would want to make sure you took along with you?