Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Another Minnesota Chapter

Yep.  We’re in Minnesota for our third visit.  Remember what we said about feeling like being a ping pong ball?  I do believe that the trek from Wisconsin to Minnesota is becoming a ride that Jeff could probably do in his sleep!

We are once again staying at the city park in Hutchinson.   Since we are trying to see Jeff’s mom about every third day at the assisted living facility where she is we try to make each visit special.  The trip from the campground to where Dorothy lives takes about 65 minutes as we meander through the towns of Dassel, Cokato, Howard Lake, Waverly, Montrose, Buffalo and St. Michael.  That’s quite the haul before arriving in Albertville.  Getting her outside on those beautiful sunny days gives her a good dose of Vitamin D!

We all know that the flip side of the sunny days brings spring-time rain showers which are good for the crops but bad for humans and the onset of the mosquito population.  It has put a slight damper on our early morning walks that’s for sure.

So much rain that the fire pit (at the bottom of
the picture) was even drowning.

The City of Hutchinson did however do a nice job of spraying recently for their upcoming Water Carnival festivities.  The campground where we are sits right along the Crow River which is used for some of the planned events.  We didn’t have to travel too far to enjoy our “first-ever” boat parade.  Fireworks were seen from the inside of our coach due to the mosquitoes.  Kay did get a picture outside before scurrying quickly inside.

The community of Buffalo is unique.  You will first notice some buffalo statues as you drive around town (we've heard over 20 so far), even though the city is named after a buffalo fish found in Buffalo Lake, that the city is built on.  Buffalo is known for its lake beauty, quaint downtown with the unique specialty and occasional shops, and its general rural friendliness. 


A sign along the road peaked our interest for a scenic lookout a an area called Pigeon Lake near Kimball, Minnesota.  We made sure to have our binoculars in the Jeep because we definitely wanted to get a good look at what we had noticed was a large numbers of American White Pelicans and Cormorant in this area.  The Pelican is one bird that neither of us ever remember being in Minnesota while we were growing up.  The plaque that was displayed at the pullout explained this area as the Pigeon Lake Nesting Area.  The population of birds has surely changed over the years with the Pelican population seemingly being the more dominant bird here.  Here is one site that talks about the nesting site.  Hope you find it as interesting as we did.   We love our birds.

A quiet day for the island on this particular day.  Other days find this area completely covered with birds.

We can’t forget to include some fun stuff that we ran into such as the Bake Shoppe in Dassel, Minnesota that sells $.50 Kolache’s.


Or, the new drink that is made with Ginger Beer, called a Moscow Mule.  Recipe calls for a jigger or vodka, ginger beer on ice and a splash of lime juice.   Moscow Mule Trivia.   Thanks to our friend, Sam on the West Coast, we are informed of its history and the fact that serving it in a copper mug is to keep the drink cold and all the more delicious for a very good refreshing summer drink.  Thanks, Sam! 

The Back to the Fifties classic car show in Minneapolis was the ultimate for us.  We spent the day with Brian (Jeff’s bro) and Jan (Kay’s sis) - who have been married to each other for 43 years strong – at their invitation to drool over the classics with them.  Brian was participating with his 64 Chevy Nova and is currently restoring his third car, a 64 Chevy Malibu.  We had so much fun walking and walking, and walking - 3.96 miles per Kay’s Fitbit.  Did we see all 11,955 registered vehicles?  I don’t think so, but we will share some of our favorites with you.
Jan & Brian with their 1964 Nova

1955 Nomad

1957 Chevy

1950's Jeepster

1966 Corvette Coupe

1927 Oldsmobile

1964 Studebaker Avanti

1937 Dodge School Bus converted to an RV

It’s time to return to Wisconsin. 

Jeff's first cousin, Carol and her husband Dale, have a home in Hutchinson.  Carol made us dinner and had her sister, Barb and husband Loren, join us for a fun evening around the dinner table the night before we were leaving. 
Jeff's first cousins, Barb & Carol
Hugs from the North Star State.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Fun in the Badger State

Our return back to the Midwest feels somewhat like a game of ping pong as we travel the open road between Minnesota (Land of 10,000 Lakes) and Wisconsin (Badger State).  This is where our families and close friends reside so it is something that we do with a smile. We’ve already shared with you that we arrived in Minnesota right before Mother’s Day.  So, where are we now and what are we doing?  It’s Wisconsin’s turn!

10 ft. chicken from Ron's former Chicken Hut Restaurant.
Quite a unique lawn ornament, don't you think?

The biggest impact for us this summer has so far been looking for a new “toad” – meaning towed vehicle - for the coach to pull.   After traveling with our little Jeep Wrangler for these last four years we have determined that it would be even nicer if we had a little bit larger vehicle for some stuff or extra bodies to ride along.

Jeff’s search was successful in finding us  Jeep Grand Cherokee Laredo in Hopkins, MN (a western suburb of Minneapolis).  It was pretty much what we were looking for in another Jeep and we are very happy with it.  This past winter was its first winter in snow with the previous owners, coming from North Carolina where it’s been in the family for quite a few years.  We are putting some additional touches into the vehicle but it looks in fantastic shape with no rust or any damage to the exterior.  Just a few inside things that we can live with but oh so quiet with a smooth ride and pushes the coach down the road quite nicely!

Staying at our friends Ranch in Mondovi, Wisconsin has been good as we are able to feel grounded to get all registration and title work completed with South Dakota on the new Jeep, as well as a new tow bar installed.  Our next task – get the old Jeep ready for sale!

What fun we’ve had since we’ve arrived in Wisconsin.  We hope you enjoy the photos.  We will be making the hop across State lines within a couple of weeks back to the Land of 10,000 Lakes and will definitely have more pictures to share.

Baby raccoons caught in the hay mow.

Kay's daughter, Jill, painting Julia's little toes.

Ron cooking burgers & brats on his Big Green Egg.
  The pizza was delicious also.

Who is that movie star behind the shades?
The "Graduate", of course.  Ampere is
the foreign exchange student from China.

You know these two - Grandpa & Julia!

Yummy S'mores with lots of marshmello sticky!

A perfect evening for everyone to enjoy the sweets.

Joe wants to take Mommy kitty home.

Captain Ron and his co-pilot on the Mississippi near Pepin, WI

It does look like a "party pontoon" doesn't it?

Lot of fresh asparagus to pick along the ditches.

Jeff enjoying a hot tub moment.

Jeff and Ron working on getting the pool up to speed.

With so much asparagus picked, Ron pulled out his pickling
recipe and with everyone's help in the kitchen we should
be able to taste them within a couple of weeks. 

One of the many garage sales that we had fun going to. 

Mama Kitty with 4 of her 5 babies in the barn.  This is where our
grandson, Joe, wanted to sleep and make sure they were okay.

Karen's job is to ride around in this awesome van and service
her clients who have pools & spas.  It's the Big Green Egg, again!
Another new kitty at Jeff's daughter's place.

Cassie and Jeff's daughter, Jena looking intently on how to replace fishing line.

#2 Mama Kitty with her brood of two!

Jeff with his daughter, Jena.

At the Ranch, Jeff's new buddy, Zoey.

Hugs from the Badger State.