Saturday, August 15, 2009

Sally signing off for a week...

I'm flying from Omaha to Denver, first to see my brother, sister-in-law and nieces for a day, then for 6 days with high school girlfriends in Manitou Springs. It's birthday party time. We all turned or will turn 60 this year; time to celebrate.

Gregg has plans for time with kids and grandkids in Nebraska while I play.

Tonight we are back in West Des Moines for the 3rd time this summer, our focal point I guess. We keep criss-crossing here. It's one of our favorite stops near a beautiful huge shopping area, Jordan Creek, with a pretty little lake and lots of nice restaurants with lakeside seating.

It's our 21st night in a Walmart parking lot in the past 4 months. One of our favorite homes away from home. 24 hour security. Close to everything. We've also stayed in Kohls, Costcos, Sam's Clubs, church lots, Jr. College lots, soccer parks, Presidential library lots, museum lots and a river ferry lot. We often ask permission and find it's almost never a problem.

We talk to other RVers often and find few who share our passion for the parking lots and we wonder why. Sure, there is usually no view, but we're usually doing this while traveling through somewhere and just stopping to eat and sleep. They are so easy and convenient and best of all, totally free. We've only spent 56 percent of our overnights at RV parks, averaging $13 per night overall. That's a little higher than our hoped-for $10 average but we've stayed at some pretty pricey places this year such as Door County's $32 and Spring Green's $36. Beats hotels all to heck though, doesn't it? Now that we are headed back to family in Nebraska and Iowa, we'll get our average back down again...unless they start charging us!

Mason City, Iowa

Ahhh, this is one of the events this trip was planned around...the Pyrotechnics Guild annual summer show. Indescribable. Only those of you who have been to a Lake Havasu City Winterblast in February or to an Olympics opening or closing ceremony or Presidential inauguration fireworks display would even have a clue about how stupendous these shows are. We have learned at Winterblast to get up close and personal and sat right up front last night. Best show we have ever seen. Set to music, the most incredible things happen in the sky. If you ever have a chance, BE THERE! Next August is in Appleton, WI. Who knows? Maybe we rovers will be there...
Here's someone's really good video of some of the 2009 show...

More in Mason City - a Frank Lloyd Wright preserved home. The 4th FLW that Sally's toured this summer - becoming a habit!

Mason City was home to Meredith Wilson, composer of The Music Man. Mason City IS River City. 76 trombones. Trouble with a capital "T" and that rhymes with "P" and that stands for POOL. They have a nice recreation of a streetscape from the early 1900's time period of Music man.
And, last, but not least, Forest City where Winnebagos are built, is nearby. We toured the plant and saw motorhomes being built. We've been shopping for our next RV and found this classic 1960's Winnebago to be just what we've been looking for!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wife is Good

Read Gregg's new cap...yes, Sally bought it for him. Couldn't resist.

Wife is Good and Life is Good in Decorah, Iowa -
BEAUTIFUL campground.
The downtown shops are interesting.
A company called StoryPeople is here and creates
the most unique product that I could never begin to explain. Here, look at some in a store window (that's some of downtown Decorah reflected in the window). Says "feels like some kind of ride but it's turning out just to be life going absolutely perfectly". That about sums up how we've been feeling these past months.

Great small museums...

Great biking and yes, the Iowa corn is tall!

We are loving it here, staying some extra days.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


We are now back across the beautiful Mississippi in Iowa, in the small town of Decorah, in the most beautiful RV park we've yet seen with wide green lawns and bike trails leading for miles and miles around town.

The last thing we did in Wisconsin was a tour of Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's personal home.
Very, very beautiful with tour guides who really know their business - fascinating. Pricey but well worth it and you see why they need the high price tags. It's a big job trying to preserve this place that was designed more for beauty than for structural soundness. The home is wrapped around the top of a hill from which the views are incredible. No glaciers came through this swath of SW Wisconsin and NE Iowa to level hills. The land rolls and rolls and the sun and rain create lush, lush landscapes.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Spring Green

Southwest Wisconsin -

Breathtakingly beautiful.
We are camped along the beautiful Wisconsin River.
REAL cheese curds, not those fake ones.
Fresh and squeaky.
Hot & humid - first time we've turned A/C on in SIX weeks, since June 24 in Southern MN.

The House on the Rock -
The strangest place you can ever imagine. Think Walt Disney, Michael Jackson, obsessive-compulsive collecting, strange, strange, strange...
These pictures are only a MINUTE sampling of the strangeness there.

I'll post more another day after my tour today of Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

More EAA

Just another couple of pics to go with Gregg's post below about the EAA museum.......Gregg & his favorite, the Piper Cub and me and my favorite, the Flying Flea.

EAA AirVenture Museum

We just could not pass through Oshkosh, WI without visiting the EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) AirVenture Museum and Pioneer Airport at Wittman Field. Oshkosh is home of the worlds largest aviation event, held each year for a week in late July. To give an idea of the scale of this show, it is attended by over 500,000 people and includes some 2,500 aircraft. If all were parked side by side, the flight line would be about 5.2 miles long! About 40,000 campers make the convention grounds their home for the week-long event at Camp Scholler, an integrated 700 acre campground. During the convention, Wittman Field becomes the worlds busiest aiport in terms of takeoffs and landings. Aerial events are scheduled each day at which time the airport is closed to traffic. The museum is open year around and is home to over 250 aircraft and five movie theaters featuring subjects of aviation interest. Pioneer airport which is a part of Wittman Field is a 1930's replica grass airfield and includes over 50 vintage aircraft. EAA members fly homebuilt, classic, antique, warbirds, ultralight, rotorcraft as well as "plain vanilla" conventional aircraft. EAA AirVenture is the place to be to find out what is happening in aviation.