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August 2008
August 1 - 3, 2008
Friday, August 1. Mike made several calls this morning regarding the problem with the emergency brake. He found that Reeder Chevrolet is a Workhorse repair facility and it is only about 10 miles from our location. They could get us in this morning to have it looked at. We packed up and headed down the road, a pretty scary experience as Mike read on the forums that it could lock up at any time. When we got parked in the lot at Reeder Chevrolet, it appeared to be locked up ‚?? with the shift lever in Drive and the emergency brake lever off, it wouldn‚??t move.

When we were checking in, the service guy told us that this motorhome had been at this location for service back in 2002 by a previous owner when it had only 4,000 miles on it. We knew it started out in Georgia.

Mike's suspicions were correct. They are ordering the parts and will repair it as soon as they come in, to the tune of around $2500 (covered by our extended warranty - yeah!!). Our out of pocket cost will be around $250. They disabled the emergency brake and we were able to drive it back to the RV park - we did have to chock the wheels as there is nothing to hold it from rolling. Fortunately, the sites are level and we carry wheel chocks with us.

It could be a lot worse. Now, we have a few days to check out the Knoxville area.

Saturday, August 2. We took a drive to Knoxville this afternoon, stopping at the local Camping World store ‚?? boy, they are high priced. They were having a drawing for free prizes and our number was called. There was a table full of items to choose and we selected a serving tray that keeps items hot or cold ‚?? it may come in handy some day. We also got a free hot dog, chips and beverage for lunch. While we were there, we looked at a few of the Foretravel motor homes and a Country Coach that they have on the lot. They all seem way too big and expensive.

We drove to the downtown area and found a lot of road construction and heavy traffic. We saw a few historic buildings, a cemetery, and then we got lost. The Google maps on my Blackberry helped us to get out of there and back on the road to the RV park again.

We‚??ve been having trouble getting a decent wi-fi signal on the aircard this morning. I made a call to AT&T and found that they are having trouble with their data signals. I get a signal but it is inconsistent and then just freezes up. What a pain.

Sunday, August 3. This morning we decided to hang around the park so we could go to the afternoon bluegrass jam session. We were in for quite a surprise and ended up taking part in the celebration of a wedding that took place this morning and also 2 birthdays. Cake, ice cream, and fruit punch were served. The musicians consisted of 3 guitar players, 2 banjo pickers, a dobro player, a mandolin player and a bass player. Additionally, there were 3 females that got up to sing. It was quite an entertaining afternoon and we got a good taste of the local music. Unfortunately, neither of us brought a camera along, so my writing has to be the only documentation.
August 4 - 10, 2008
Monday, August 4. This afternoon, we drove to Sevierville to the Smoky Mountain Knife Outlet, a store that consists of 3 floors of knives and anything related. I spent most of the time in the antiques and kitchen ware floor while Mike perused the entire remainder of the building. The only things we purchased were some toothpicks for our Swiss Army knives and some birthday cards.

We were hoping to hear that the parts for our repair came in, but no luck there. We continue to wait.

Tuesday, August 5. The part for our repair came in this morning so we had a 1:30 appointment. They were finished with the repair at about 5:30 this afternoon. As it turned out, our share of the expense was $181 and the total bill was $2300. Once again, the extended warranty saves the day - sure hope that we can extend the extended warranty when the time comes.

We were both real tired after all of the sitting around and waiting today. It was an early to bed night.

Wednesday, August 6. We were on the road before 10:00 this morning (that‚??s good for us), headed north through the Cumberland Mountains, very pretty country. The countryside is covered with trees, mostly hardwoods and there are very few stretches of open ground.

As we drove past Jellico, TN and a little further north, Corbin, KY, we were reminded of a very enjoyable Miata trip through this area back in 2003. Mike and I were living in Florida, so we met the Badgerland Miata Club (8 cars) at Corbin, KY. The purpose of the trip was to drive the ‚??Tail of the Dragon‚?Ě, a section of US Hwy 129 that has 318 curves in an 11 mile stretch. It was so much fun that many of the drivers went back and forth several times, just for the thrill of the drive.

After crossing into Kentucky, we realized that there weren‚??t quite as many trees and forest as there had been in Tennessee. We were seeing more and more farms and open ground. We stopped for the night at Batesville, IN at one of our membership parks, the Indian Lakes Thousand Trails Park where we can stay for free. Getting to the park was a challenge, as I turned the wrong direction and took us a few miles down a narrow country road looking for a place to turn around. We finally ended up at a ‚??T‚?Ě in the road and had to disconnect the car in order to turn back. You can believe that we were sounding like the Bickersons when that happened. All worked out well, we got settled in for the night. The negative was no phone or wi-fi signal. It‚??s a good thing Mike has lots of movies saved on his computer.

Thursday, August 7. It was a later start this morning, closer to 10:30. It rained pretty good for a while last night so it was cool this morning. Frisco and I had a nice walk while Mike took his shower. It‚??s nice to be back in the midwest, spotting robins, Canada geese, and plump doves (the southern doves are thin).

Mike took the first shift and drove to the west side of Indianapolis, a big and busy city. We ended up having to take the bypass around to the north instead of the more direct southwestern route due to construction and possible long delays. All went well. We stopped at gassed up for $3.57/gallon ‚?? what a deal!

My shift ended just east of Bloomington, IL and at that point we decided to continue on to our destination at the KOA, De Forest, WI where we will be spending the next month, possible 2 months. It will mean an additional 3 hours of driving today, but probably worth it as we can relax in the morning and not have to worry about driving another day. It also means we can spend more time with Pat and possibly take in a good ole Wisconsin Friday night fish fry that can‚??t be complete without an Old Fashioned. Can‚??t wait!

At 7:30 pm after a 10 hour drive, we arrived at our destination, got checked in and had the car disconnected and the motorhome hooked up by 8:00. The mosquitoes found us right away. It is nice and cool here, no need to have the AC running tonight ‚?? the first time since leaving Rockport, TX on May 5.

Friday, August 8. What a whirlwind day this was. Pat arrived this morning around 8:30 to spend the day with us. It sure was nice to see him again, as the last time was in March when we met in Mexico for Ben and Jill‚??s wedding. While we were having coffee, our friend Roger showed up, so we sat and visited with him for a while. He and Pat live just a short distance away. Right after Roger left, our niece Rachael and her two kids, Reanna and Ryan, stopped by. They live less than a half-mile from here, so we will be seeing quite a bit of them while we‚??re here. It was nice to see them all again ‚?? the kids have sure changed in a year. So that was the morning, whew!

Early afternoon, Mike and Pat took off to have some lunch and I ran some errands for a little while. Not long after we all got back, we headed to Stoughton (about a 30 minute drive from here) so we could see Tracey and Savana and so Frisco could play in the yard with Lucky. He was sure happy to be able to run in their huge fenced yard, to chase and play with another dog again.

We went to Springer‚??s restaurant on the north side of Lake Kegonsa for the usual Friday night fish fry and an Old Fashioned *bleep*tail. Nice! The Canadian lake perch was delicious. The drive back home seemed long, as it had been such a busy day.

Saturday, August 9. Fortunately for us, my cousin, Dawn, had planned a family event at her house in Stoughton today. It was a celebration of their 1st granddaughter, Lyla's birth and their daughter, Kate's graduation from college. This meant that we could see much of the family (1st and 2nd cousins on my side of the family) all in one place. My brother, Ron, stopped by too. It was great to see them all again. Dawn's yard is such a nice place for a gathering as she has beautiful vegetable and flower gardens and lots of interesting sculptures throughout.

After spending the afternoon at Dawn's house (only 1 block from Pat's house), we walked back to Pat's for dinner. He cooked some good ole Wisconsin Brats on the grill that were delicious.

Sunday, August 10. Mom was surprised to see us this afternoon, and it was so good for us to see her. We sat on the deck overlooking the little lake behind the care center where she lives. Apparently, the dam on this lake was washed out this spring when heavy rains caused lots of flooding and the lake was almost all dry. The day was just beautiful, clear blue skies and comfortable temperatures. We had a real nice visit.

This evening we were invited to Pat and Roger's house for dinner. Pat's son, AJ joined us and brought fresh picked sweet corn from his dad's farm. It was delicious! Sweet corn and midwest tomatoes are among the things I have been looking forward to having when I got back to the area.
August 11 - 17, 2008
Monday, August 11. Since we were both running out of clothes to wear, it became the day to take care of that kind of stuff. Pat came over and stayed until mid-afternoon. It was another beautiful day and we enjoyed sitting around outside.

We invited Dan and Sharon over for dinner tonight and it was so nice to see them again. A year is a long time, but once we are together for about 10 minutes it feels more like a week. We got caught up on the latest news and had a nice dinner and visit.

Wednesday, August 13. Yesterday, Pat and Mike did some guy stuff shopping, so I went to visit my cousin, Fran. We looked at pictures and updated my family tree program with her recent great grandchildren additions to the family. There are several that I haven't met yet. In the afternoon, we hung around Pat's house, did some gardening, and walked to the local Mexican Restaurant for lunch.

Today, I had a haircut appointment with Marion, our stylist from back when we lived here. It was nice to see her again and I feel so much better after having several weeks of bad hair days because I needed a cut so bad. I did some shopping after that, but didn't find anything to spend money on - how can that be?

It got rainy when I got back home and we had a good downpour. Mike and I shared a bottle of wine and had a nice dinner. It was a good night for sleeping, cool and refreshing.

Friday, August 15. It's hard to believe that we have been here for a week already - time flies! Yesterday, we were in Stoughton by 10:00 and went to breakfast with Pat. It's nice that he has been in between jobs and hasn't had to work all week.

Mike and Pat went to the shooting range, so Savana and I went to some garage sales. When we got back to their house, she had to mow the lawn in order to earn $$, so I helped her a little bit and did some pruning and cleanup of Pat's flower gardens. They sure don't need much because he does a really nice job.

We stuck around for dinner, then headed back to De Forest.

This afternoon (Friday), we headed up to Wyocena to visit with Mom again. We walked around the block and she enjoyed getting out of her room and "that place" as she says.

Pat and Roger picked us up and we headed to Lake Wisconsin, to Fitz's on the Lake, a nice restaurant in Okee. Dinner, drinks, and company were excellent, as was the ride through the beautiful Wisconsin countryside. Roger knows the back roads pretty well, so it's always a joy. On the return trip, we took the ferry across the lake to Merrimac - the timing couldn't have been any better as we got to see the sun set over the lake. Just after that, the full moon rose above the hills and farm fields - very nice!

Saturday, August 16. Happy Birthday, Sonja! We had a nice conversation this morning, so good to hear her voice again.

Pat, Tracey, and Savana joined us this afternoon and we sat around talking and played dice games; Right, Left, Center and Farkel.

Since Pat and Mike's birthdays are near, today was our celebration together. We weren't sure if we would be together on the actual days, so they exchanged gifts (you know kids, they just can't wait!). We gave Pat a very nice Damascus steel pocket knife. Pat and Ben gave Mike a Garmin nuvi GPS travel assistant that will be great for our lifestyle. Pat had it wrapped in a box within a box within a box, so he didn't have a clue.

We got a surprise visit from Louie (Mike's cousin) and Dave in their cute little Miata. It was great to see and visit with them for a while.

Mike cooked chicken and summer vegetables on the grill for dinner. All in all, it was a very enjoyable day. It was another day of gorgeous weather, cool and refreshing. Savana will be spending the next few days with us.

Sunday, August 17. We spent the afternoon with Dan and Sharon's family (our nieces, nephews, their spouses, and 8 children) at Rob and Rachael's house. Their children, Reanna (3) and Ryan (1 today) both have birthdays this month, so they celebrated both of them today. The kids range in age from 2 months to 8 years, so there was lots of activity. It was a fun afternoon and good to see everyone, especially in one place.

After the party, Dan and Sharon stopped by and we yakked some more.
August 18 - 24, 2008
Tuesday, August 19. Happy Birthday, Pat! To celebrate, we spent the day together and went to the Auto Museum in Volo, IL. Before leaving for Volo, we stopped at the Sugar and Spice Restaurant in Stoughton for breakfast.

Mike got to use his birthday present from Pat and Ben, a nuvi 750 GPS, that took us turn by turn to our destination. What a nice gift! The museum is a huge complex consisting of 4 buildings that house car collections, several of which were used in movies. Many of the cars are for sale and didn't seem to be too unreasonably priced. I think my favorite was a 1968 Volkswagen Beetle that has undergone a floor-up restoration - what a cutie! There are also 3 buildings of antiques and collectibles.

For the route home, we changed the settings on the nuvi to take us the "shortest" route instead of the "fastest" route. We then got to go through the towns of Delavan and Lake Geneva, through some major construction and detours. It took us a lot longer to get home. We met up with Tracey and went to the local Mexican restaurant for dinner. All in all, a very nice day.

Wednesday, August 20. Happy Birthday, Mom and Jill! Today is Mom‚??s 90th birthday, so we headed over to visit with her later in the afternoon. We met Dan and Sharon there, went to the picnic tables out back and reminisced about her long life. Mike and I gave her a card that told what was going on the year she was born, so we had lots of different topics to discuss. Mike and Dan drove to Pardeeville and picked up dinner from the Caddy Shack. After dinner, we had some birthday cake.

Around 8:00 this evening, we got a phone call from Patty (Mike‚??s sister) and Jim telling us they were on their way here from Prairie du Chien. After we watched a movie, we took Frisco for a walk and got to the front of the park just as they arrived. They picked out a tent site and proceeded to set up their new tent ‚?? a little bit of a challenge as they had never set it up before and it was pretty dark. It didn‚??t take long and they were all set up. They came over to our motorhome and we sat and visited until after midnight.

Thursday, August 21. Happy Birthday, Rachael! August is a big month for birthdays in our family. We had coffee and breakfast with Patty and Jim, then visited until about 11:00 when they left to go to see Mom. Had a nice time.

Mike and I were lazy the rest of the day; reading and resting, a couple of walks with Frisco ‚?? not much. It felt good that we didn‚??t have to be on the run. It was a busy day with phone calls for some reason; Pat, Jill, Rene, Rosemary, and my cousin Ken.

Friday, August 22. Pat suggested that we go to Baraboo today to Delaney's Surplus to see the metal sculptures of Dr. Tom Every. Also known as Dr. Evermor, he has been constructing from scrap metal since 1983, and has built the World's Largest Sculpture on a science fiction landscape. Click Here to see Forevertron

What a place of amazement. On our arrival, all you could see is the scrap yard and a building that houses surplus items, anything and everything. We walked along a rough gravel path and the 1st sculpture that we saw was the Forevertron, it looks like a spaceship and was designed to launch himself "into the heaven on a magnetic lightning force beam." Surrounding the Forevertron are gigantic insects that appear to be protecting it.

The grounds are scattered with birds, insects, spaceships, and even a bird symphony. They are whimsical and it is fun to determine what objects went into their creation. We enjoyed it immensely and would recommend it to anyone that appreciates art from scrap metal.

This evening, Pat and Roger picked us up and we headed to the Dorf House in Roxbury for their Friday Night Fish Fry. We met up with Roger's family; Gary and Susie, Bev and Jim, and Dick and Bobby. Pat's son AJ and his girlfriend, Amy also joined us. Dinner was excellent and service great - considering we had a group of twelve in the party. Had a great time!

Saturday, August 23. Happy Birthday, Mike! We spent the day at Pat's house, hanging around the yard, playing with the dogs, and enjoying the beautiful day together.

Pat fixed a delicious pork roast on the grill and we complimented it with grilled zucchini, onion and summer squash fresh from their friend's garden. A slice of carrot cake topped it off. Mike said he had a great birthday and couldn't have celebrated any better way.

Sunday, August 24. A family gathering of about 20 people gathered this afternoon to celebrate Mom's 90th birthday. We served cake and ice cream, sang Happy Birthday, and shared gifts and stories with her. Again, it was a beautiful day in southern Wisconsin.

It got cold during the night, down to the mid 50s.
August 25 - 31, 2008
Monday, August 25. I can't believe that I'm sitting here with long pj's, socks, a corduroy shirt, and a blanket covering my lap. It's kind of like winter in Florida or Texas this morning, about 53 degrees. The sky is a clear, crisp blue and the sun is just coming up. A beautiful way to start the day.

It was laundry and house cleaning day. Mike vacuumed while I did the laundry and we got the bathroom cleaned thoroughly too. Our vents need regular cleaning around here as the gravel roads make it real dusty.

Late this afternoon, I went over to Pat and Roger's house to walk with them when Pat got home. They have a nice route that they walk and it is good to be with someone. I have been getting good walks in the morning but probably not long or far enough. Pat got fresh sweet corn yesterday from AJ so they brought some over and we had chicken on the grill, sweet corn, and a cucumber salad (one of our neighbors at the park has a big vegetable garden on the grounds). We made plans for our weekend Miata trip on September 20. Diane, the gal that bought our Miata is letting us use it for a weekend - we're looking forward to that, just like old times.

Tuesday, August 26. For some reason, we couldn't get moving this morning and in addition, Ben called and we talked to him for about 45 minutes. The plan was to get up and get to Stoughton so we could help Pat paint the trim on his house. It was 10:30 before we got there and he had everything ready for us and had already gotten some of it done. It really wasn't a problem because we were finished with the whole front side by about 1:00.

After a quick lunch, we headed to my brother, Ron's house and spent the rest of the afternoon there.

Thursday, August 28. Yesterday, we met Pat on the east side of Madison, did some shopping, then headed to State Street. We parked near the capitol square and then walked to the end, near the University campus and then back. Several blocks at the end are under construction so it was loud, messy, and crowded.

We stopped for coffee at a sidewalk cafe and did some people watching. I was hoping to spot my brother, Rick, in the area but no such luck.

Today, we headed to Wyocena to visit with Mom. The weather was nice, so we sat on the patio and played several games of Right, Left, Center, a simple but enjoyable dice game. She seemed to enjoy it and won 4 of the 5 games that we played. It was a nice visit.

Saturday, August 30. Pat and Rog met us at our house and we drove west, through the beautiful Wisconsin River Valley about 65 miles to Richland Center. There, we met up with Tom and Leslie, our friends from Milwaukee whose family owns the 80 acres of land where we have camped for over 30 years. What a beautiful place!

There was evidence of the damage from the heavy spring rains; such as downed trees, a deep and fast moving stream, and a bed of gravel under the Airstream trailer to help keep it from sinking when the water from the stream rises.

We had a very nice visit, although short, as we left there at around 5:00. Frisco had fun playing with the 4 other large dogs, although he and Lexington didn‚??t get along well. He is a real ankle biter and held his own. We dropped him off at the motor home and then headed to the Cannery Grill in Sun Prairie for dinner. The restaurant is located in the refurbished Oconomowoc Canning Company building where local vegetables were processed for 100 years.

Sunday, August 31. It‚??s hard to believe that the month of August is gone and the end of summer is near. Today was another busy, active day where we were on the go from sunup to sundown.

We arrived at Pat‚??s house at 9:15, the gathering place for Pat, Guy (Tracey‚??s brother), Justin (Tracey‚??s brother-in-law), and Mike to load up Guy‚??s Suburban with an arsenal of guns and related equipment, then head to Dodgeville for an afternoon of target shooting. Pat‚??s friend, Dan‚??s parents (Dave and Cheryl) own a 200 acre farm, located in the scenic bluffs and deep hills of southwestern Wisconsin where they raise crops and a herd of Scottish Highland cattle. A steep and winding cowpath took them to the bottom of a hill, a creek bed where they can shoot without having to worry about noise or injuring anyone or anything. These guys get together and do this once or twice every year and Mike was glad to be able to join them this time.

I stayed back and hung out with Tracey and Savana. We went to Dana‚??s (Tracey‚??s sister) house where she demonstrated the Nintendo Wii Fit game for me. It is a video game that consists of a balance board that helps you get physical exercise while monitoring your weight and body mass index, helps you to set personal goals for fitness and weight loss. I found it to be fun and may consider a purchase in the future.

Dana and Tracey were considering a drive to Dodgeville to meet up with the guys later in the afternoon, but both had other things going on and decided not to go. So Savana and I drove out there. I sat and visited with Cheryl and Dave, we had some dinner, and then the guys joined us. After dinner, they took me for a ride on the 6 wheeler to show me the cattle and the creek bed. What a beautiful view from the top of the hill! Then it was a ¬Ĺ mile ride to the creek bed, a path that was quite rough due to the washouts caused by the heavy spring rains. All along the way, the cattle (a gentle shaggy haired, horned breed) graze freely on the vegetation. According to Dave, they are much easier to raise than other beef because of their heavy protective coats, they don‚??t need to provide shelter in the winter. The males are identified by their rather straight horns and you can tell the females by generally larger horns with bends in them. Check out the pictures in the photo gallery. The meat is also very lean. We shall see if we like it, as we purchased some to try out.

Dave started a bonfire when we returned to the house and we enjoyed that and the company for a while before heading back to Stoughton and finally, back to De Forest.


Created on 08/01/2008 07:10 AM by bridge
Updated on 09/01/2008 08:09 AM by bridge
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