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RVing message boards => Trip reports, journals, logs => Topic started by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 23, 2012, 11:06:40 AM

Title: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 23, 2012, 11:06:40 AM
This is Part II of our Alaska trip, which never happened.  Instead, we had exciting adventures in Portland’s wonderful hospital and 4 days later arrived home.  Dean spent 4 days at Long Beach Memorial and 6 weeks on IV antibiotics at home.  The good news is that Dean still has all his toes and hopefully a little more sense. He may realize that he’s not Superman and that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound (or 2 months) or cure.  The great news is that for a $36,000 hospitalization, we paid $235.  Thank you, Medicare, and his Aetna supplement.  The bad news is that it is far too late to go to Alaska, so we’ll have to go next year.  However, we will get to see glaciers in Glacier National Park (and maybe a bull moose?).

August 21, 2012      Day 4      Lakeview, OR

We left for Glacier NP and spent Night 1 in the Merced Walmart parking lot—super noisy with train whistles A LOT during the night punctuated with police and ambulance sirens blaring. 

Nights 2 & 3 were in South Lake Tahoe with the coach parked behind Harrah’s and with us enjoying lovely weather and all the amenities of the hotel.  Tahoe has never been lovelier.  They have taken down the trees that were infested with pine bark beetle, and the new small trees are loving the sunlight and growing as we watch.  I think the water of Emerald Bay should be in the Top 10 Bays of the World.

Today we encountered lots of smoke from the Berry Hill Fire which was/is huge, and we are camped right down the road from the Fire Base Camp.  Hundreds of little individual dome tents were all over a field, and I watched a bright red water-dropping helicopter land.   I always wondered how they did it, and I assumed there was some sort of hydraulic crank that let them bring the bucket inside.   NOPE.  They set down the bucket and land next to it.

I recently found the website “rvpark reviews”, and I find it very helpful.  Unfortunately, as I looked up town after town that we were approaching, the reviews for all the parks showed druggies, criminal activity, dilapidated facilities, tight spots, erratic power, creepy people, and there are no large parking lots (think Walmart), so we drove until 7:30.  I love the park I found in Lakeview, and I’d like to stay another day and see the birds at the reservoir and just relax.  However, Dean hears the call of the glaciers, so I imagine we’ll be leaving.  This is like an oasis in a huge desert.

Staying at Junipers Reservoir RV Resort—FHU, shade, spacious sites, 50 amps, hiking trails, free fishing with rainbow trout 2’ long, birdwatching, wildlife on a large working cattle ranch. No bad smells or flies.  It’s 11 miles off US 395, but well worth the drive.  We were escorted by the host, and I’d rate this 9/10.  It doesn’t have a pool, but I didn’t bring a swimsuit anyway. $16.25 (Passport America) or $30 for all others

August 22, 2012   Day 5      Hermiston, OR

We fell asleep to a soft lullaby mooed by the resident cows, and woke up to a bullfight!  I love this place!  Two macho bulls had literally “locked horns” and were pushing each other around a large grassy field while all the other cows watched.  It reminded me of  a combination of wrestlers trying to get the other guy out of the ring and junior high kids watching an after-school fight.  Occasionally they would disengage, then lower their heads, and go at it again.  They ended up on the other side of the cows who blocked my view, so I never got to see the winner.

The drive was long, almost 400 miles, with quite a few curves, some of which weren’t marked with a “reduced speed” sign, but they were marked with lots of rubber on the pavement.  We found a good park close to the highway, and it was early—only 6:15.

Staying at Pioneer RV Park—50 amps, FHU, grass & asphalt, nice managers, well-maintained, $16 with Passport America (50% off), but the best at any price in the Pendleton area.  Superb for a travel-through, but not scenic.  No trees, and they have excellent WIFI.  They also have cable, but Dean doesn’t remember how to connect it, so we will have to read.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Jeff on August 23, 2012, 11:52:15 AM
Linda:


Glad to hear you're back on the road and that your driver is able to perform.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Tom and Margi on August 23, 2012, 02:43:22 PM
So nice that you can be back on the road and sharing your travels with us, Linda, and happy to hear the good news about hubby's health.
 
Margi
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Ken & Sheila on August 23, 2012, 08:14:21 PM
Linda,

Sorry we will miss you. We just left Glacier a couple of days ago - headed to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone with a couple of stops before at Dillon, MT (Virginia City and Bannack) then Arco for Craters of the Moon NM.

Enjoy Glacier.

While there take the trip up to Polebridge, check out the Mercantile, Bakery/Store (*it is the town!). Either take lunch or buy it in Polebridge and head back into the park just north of "town" and go to Bowman Lake. Have lunch on the lake shore. Warning it is a narrow gravel road up to the lake, but cars do it all the time. It is a walk to the lakefront from the parking, but Dean can drive you down - follow the road to the boat ramp.

http://www.polebridgemercantile.com/about-the-merc/

ken
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Lorna on August 23, 2012, 08:46:44 PM
Hi Linda and Dean,

Glad to see you are back on the road and Dean is ok.  We were in Glacier two or three weeks ago and sorry we missed you.  Check our blog for our report.  Enjoy the park and if you see anyone using my driver's license and golden age pass tell them that is illegal ;)   Where are you going after Glacier?
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Wendy on August 23, 2012, 09:14:28 PM
Glad to hear you got your wheels rolling again. And why didn't you post sooner to tell us that everything was ok? Tell Dean to behave himself and stay well or we'll smack him around. Where are you headed on this trip other than Glacier? We stayed at Pioneer in 2006 on the way to Seattle. I really don't remember anything about it so it must not have been fabulous or awful... but it was $12  :)
 
Travel safe.
Wendy
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 23, 2012, 09:30:47 PM

August 23, 2012   Day 6      St. Regis, MT

We made a lovely 300-mile drive on US 395 and I-90 and saw lots of quaking aspens and forest with streams, beautiful deep blue lakes, and of course, the large Columbia River.

We went into the tiny town of St. Regis (pop. 300) and bought the sweetest cherries I’ve ever enjoyed and huckleberry ice cream.  They had blueberry everything—pies, pancake mix, preserves, syrup, taffy, milk shakes, and lots more.

Staying at Campground St. Regis, a destination camping park.  50 amps, FHU, good WiFi, nearby hiking, bike riding, and fishing, lots of trees, but good satellite reception, very friendly hosts      $31.24 (with Good Sam)
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 23, 2012, 09:46:56 PM

Sorry we will miss you. We just left Glacier a couple of days ago - headed to Grand Tetons and Yellowstone with a couple of stops before at Dillon, MT (Virginia City and Bannack) then Arco for Craters of the Moon NM.

While there take the trip up to Polebridge, check out the Mercantile, Bakery/Store (*it is the town!). Either take lunch or buy it in Polebridge and head back into the park just north of "town" and go to Bowman Lake. Have lunch on the lake shore. Warning it is a narrow gravel road up to the lake, but cars do it all the time. It is a walk to the lakefront from the parking, but Dean can drive you down - follow the road to the boat ramp.


We are really sorry we missed you.  It would have been such fun.  We should have been there before now, but we bought a lift for my scooter to give me total independence in case Dean were ever again incapacitated.  When it came, $2100 later, it was missing two important advertised features, so we talked  back and forth and finally convinced them to take it back.  We had to get that done before we left, lest they say we had it too long. 

We'll definitely do Polebridge and see Bowman Lake.  Your specific details about how to get to the lakefront is so helpful.  I hate to sound like a wimp, but how were the mosquitoes?  I have become increasingly allergic to their bites, but I am trying some new protection this time.  Hopefully it will work.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 23, 2012, 10:12:43 PM
We were in Glacier two or three weeks ago and sorry we missed you.  Check our blog for our report.  Enjoy the park and if you see anyone using my driver's license and golden age pass tell them that is illegal ;)   Where are you going after Glacier?

I'm so sorry we couldn't get together.  When I finish this, I will check out the blog and use it as a guide.  What a pain to not have your license!   You can use Ned's Golden Age Pass, but you need your license for everything.

We are going to ND, MI, WI, MI, OH, Indianapolis (if we get that far before we boogie home for Thanksgiving), with the bulk of our time in Wisconsin and Michigan.  We want to see the pretty fall leaves in Upper Peninsula (my teaching partner was a "Uppie") and thought we might come south with the leaves.  I didn't do my usual pre-trip post asking for suggestions because I wasn't sure we were going to be leaving until right before we left.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Ken & Sheila on August 23, 2012, 10:30:40 PM
>>I hate to sound like a wimp, but how were the mosquitoes?  I have become increasingly allergic to their bites, but I am trying some new protection this time.<<

Mosquitoes love me and I didn't have a problem. But that said, I would still use some kind of spray or ??

Have fun. It was our second trip there and we really enjoyed it. It wasn't in our plans, but we changed our plans several times this year!

ken
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Ken & Sheila on August 23, 2012, 10:40:23 PM
Linda,

I forgot to mention that as of a few days ago the "Inside North Fork Rd" out of the Fish Creek Campground is closed about six miles up the road, so take the Camas Rd to the "North Fork" road to Polebride. If you take a left at the Mercantile you will go north to the northern park entrance. Signs there will direct you to Bowman. THe Camas and most of the North Fork are paved, but from before the town and on is gravel. Note the Inside North Fork road is all gravel.

ken
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 23, 2012, 11:35:57 PM
Hi Linda and Dean,

Glad to see you are back on the road and Dean is ok.  We were in Glacier two or three weeks ago and sorry we missed you.  Check our blog for our report.  Enjoy the park and if you see anyone using my driver's license and golden age pass tell them that is illegal ;)   Where are you going after Glacier?

Sorry, Lorna, but Dean is the Computer Guru, and he's asleep.  I found the Meriweather blog, but I can't find the Glacier NP blog.  Can you give me the route (computer route) to get to it?

 Thanks, Linda
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Betty Brewer on August 23, 2012, 11:51:14 PM
(my teaching partner was a "Uppie") and thought we might come south with the leaves. 
So who was that?
BB
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Ned on August 24, 2012, 08:17:45 AM
Sorry, Lorna, but Dean is the Computer Guru, and he's asleep.  I found the Meriweather blog, but I can't find the Glacier NP blog.  Can you give me the route (computer route) to get to it?

Linda, all the blog entries are in date sequence, but here's (http://www.usabyrv.us/wordpress/2012/08/17/aug-5-8-2012-glacier-national-park/) a link to the entry on Glacier NP.  Lorna is off to Victoria today.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 24, 2012, 06:10:48 PM
So who was that?
BB
Most recently, Bonnie Morey, but also Carla Woodruff.  Millie Goldschmitt was in 4th grade, and we taught together for many years, too.  CSD used to recruit heavily from Mancato and the surrounding area, and they would recruit in the winter.  It wasn't too difficult to convince them to come out to sunny California.  There were also rumors that our asst. supt. had a female acquaintance there who made life enjoyable for him while he recruited. 
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 24, 2012, 06:19:05 PM
Linda, all the blog entries are in date sequence, but here's (http://www.usabyrv.us/wordpress/2012/08/17/aug-5-8-2012-glacier-national-park/) a link to the entry on Glacier NP.  Lorna is off to Victoria today.
Thanks so much.  It looked so professional that at first glance I thought you had copied a brochure, and then I read the words.  Wow!  Are you into scrapbooking?  I have lots of pics that I need to work on getting into my books!
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Tom and Margi on August 24, 2012, 06:27:19 PM
Ned is a computer professional who has probably forgotten all that most of us have yet to learn.  ;D   I've been following their travel blog for some time and think their new format is really super!  Years ago he wrote a program called Rolling Stock which makes keeping records for all things RVing very painless.
 
Margi
 
 
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Ned on August 24, 2012, 06:29:16 PM
Thanks, we just try to remember the things the docents tell us and what we read on the various signs.  Sometimes it takes a bit of looking on Google to refresh the memory :)

We don't do scrapbooking, it's enough work just trying to keep up the blog and our itinerary pages and still hang around here.

The blog is built using WordPress, so simple even an RVer can do it :D
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 24, 2012, 07:00:26 PM
August 24, 2012   Day 7      Coram, MT

We really enjoyed the lovely drive today and saw hundreds of cherry stands (no exaggeration!).  They also sell elk and buffalo jerky and “hucks” (huckleberries).

Flathead Lake is HUGE and beautiful.  Every family took pride in their orchards and homes. 

We got some sprinkles today, and it is cold, but tomorrow will be nice.

Staying at North American RV Park – 50 amps, FHU, grass & gravel, nice spacing, excellent WiFi, well-maintained, tree sites or satellite-friendly sites available, very close to Glacier entrance.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Ken & Sheila on August 24, 2012, 09:31:43 PM
Nice Park, we've stayed there twice. Used to honor PA rate in the summer, but still a good park.

ken
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 25, 2012, 09:17:59 PM
Nice Park, we've stayed there twice. Used to honor PA rate in the summer, but still a good park.

ken

I've become aware of more unusual, kind services they offer, like curbside trash pick-up daily, book exchange, games, puzzles, guest computer, TV, microwave & coffee maker available in guest lounge 24/7, a well-stocked general store, and free iron and ironing board available.  It's truly like we are guests!

We are going to Polebridge for breakfast tomorrow and taking it to Bowman Lake, providing the weather is in the 50s or better (I confess to being a wimp!).
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 25, 2012, 09:20:40 PM
Thanks, we just try to remember the things the docents tell us and what we read on the various signs.  Sometimes it takes a bit of looking on Google to refresh the memory :)

We don't do scrapbooking, it's enough work just trying to keep up the blog and our itinerary pages and still hang around here.

The blog is built using WordPress, so simple even an RVer can do it :D

I had heard you are a computer whiz!  I was teasing about scrapbooking.  I keep busy enough during the RVForum log; having a blog is more than I can handle yet, but if and when I do, I'll contact you re WordPress.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Ned on August 25, 2012, 11:25:33 PM
having a blog is more than I can handle yet, but if and when I do, I'll contact you re WordPress.

I'll be here, just holler.  Or stop by and see us in Texas again and I'll help you set it up in person.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 26, 2012, 12:29:24 AM
I'll be here, just holler.  Or stop by and see us in Texas again and I'll help you set it up in person.
We may take you up on that next spring!  We had such a good time in Texas, but we never do "repeats".  However, I feel a strong magnet pulling me back to Texas and Alaska, and Sherlock thinks your park is the best he's ever visited!  We're in a great park now, but no birds or leaves.  He hopped in Dean's seat when we first came, uttered a "HMMPH!" and turned his back on the window.  I laughed until tears fell.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 26, 2012, 12:41:46 AM

August 25, 2012   Day 8      Coram, MT

We got up before 7:00 to see wild animals.  When we left at 8:30, it was 32°.  Hot coffee sounded good, so we stopped at the first café inside Glacier NP at Apgar.  Coffee and service were great; breakfast was passable, but not worth $26.  Lake McDonald was a disappointment—brown in color (I think it was a reflection from all the dead trees on the other side of the lake) and all the harlequin ducks have migrated. 

At Avalanche Creek, we did the Trail of the Cedars, which was very pretty.  The sound of the waterfall (Picture 1) rushing toward the creek and the cedars were beautiful.  The lack of sound from birds and squirrels was puzzling.  I was amazed at this toppled cedar with its shallow, perfectly flat roots (Picture 2); it was like a work of art.  I expected those tall cedars to have deep roots.

We were lucky to have our Handicapped Placard and that someone was just leaving because the parking lot at Logan’s Pass was jammed with a gridlock of cars going both ways in the lanes.  Note to Me:  NEVER AGAIN GO ON A WEEKEND—it’s a madhouse, and I could picture fights breaking out.  Outside the Visitors’ Center and tiny display area was the second largest glacier we saw (Picture 3).  They say the glaciers will be completely gone in 2030 (just 18 years!) and those that are left are only 25% of the size they were in 1850.  At the visitors’ center, we saw lots of red ground squirrels (Picture 4).  The squirrels, a female moose grazing at the side of the road, and enormous ravens were the only wildlife we saw, and we purposely stayed so we’d be driving around at dusk.  We’ll try again at dawn tomorrow.

We followed the Going-to-the-Sun Road to the biggest glacier we saw (Picture 5) and 2 beautiful turquoise blue lakes colored by the flowering glacial silt. (Pictures 6 & 7)  We made many stops to gawk and had turned this 2-3 hour drive into  6 hours, so we drove about 1 mile out of the park to the town of St. Mary for lunch.  We ate at Johnson’s, which had been highly recommended.  They have been there for about 50 years and bake all their own breads.  Their soup was delicious, and service was great.  It’s worth stopping just to read the interesting Johnson family history on the menu.   The original owner died about 4 years ago at age 96, and his kids (in their 50s +) run it now.  I wanted huckleberry pie to-go, and the waitress recommended that we stop at Two Sisters, which we did on our way to Many Glaciers (a separate part of the NP).  There was no parking lot fairy this time, and we drove around twice and gave up.  I would have liked to see the interior of this original magnificent waterfront hotel.

On our way back to the RV park, we stopped at the St. Mary’s VC in Glacier NP to see the film and exhibits.  I especially enjoyed the 3 flags—United States, Canada, and Blackfoot Nation—all flying at the same level because they all own part of the eastern part of the park—all working together for the benefit of the park and its visitors. (Picture 8)  Two other tribes, the Kootenai and Port____, also own part of western Glacier NP.

Staying at North American RV Park--$77.04/2 nights with 10% discount for registering using internet or Good Sam   
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 26, 2012, 12:44:45 AM
More photos...
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Roadhappy on August 26, 2012, 04:09:11 AM
Really enjoying your trip writeup.  It seems like I'm living through everyone on the forum.  :)

Robin
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Bonnie Lawrie on August 26, 2012, 11:01:09 AM
Hi Linda,
     I am so looking forward to your upcoming trip postings. Please let me know if you receive this! Thanks. Happy Trails!
                                                                           Bonnie
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 28, 2012, 09:44:11 PM
August 27, 2012      Day 10    Billings, MT

We had a great start to our day with ¼ of the cinnamon roll that we bought at the Polebridge Bakery.  It was wonderful! (Just like Ken told us it would be.) 

We drove about 10 miles from Great Falls Walmart to the Benton Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  As we approached the Visitors’ Center, I saw my first sharp-tailed grouse (the ranger told me what it was).  One grouse chased another into the bushes.  The ranger had a place where he parks his fire truck, just the right size for the motorhome.  We detached the Jeep and made the wildlife drive.

 The lake was really low, and most of the birds were small sparrows and brown ducks.  (Picture 1) We had been here before in the month of May, and there was a lot more activity.  We are between the summer season (many birds have already left) and the migrants from the North haven’t arrived.  We decided to just drive on through, and I had taken off my binoculars when a huge hawk flew low right across our windshield.  He took my breath away.  I have no idea what kind he was because I was so startled.  In the second “lake” there were probably a hundred Canadian geese (Picture 2). 

We chose not to take the interstate and stick to US highways.  There should be no shortage of wheat this year.  There were rolls of wheat everywhere.

Staying at Billings WalMart

Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 28, 2012, 09:46:26 PM
Really enjoying your trip writeup.  It seems like I'm living through everyone on the forum.  :)

Robin

Thanks so much.  I'm looking forward to especially great times in Minnesota & Michigan.  If you've been in any of these states, be sure to give me tips.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 28, 2012, 09:48:14 PM
Hi Linda,
     I am so looking forward to your upcoming trip postings. Please let me know if you receive this! Thanks. Happy Trails!
                                                                           Bonnie

Bonnie, I am so pleased you joined.  Yes, all is good!
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 29, 2012, 11:56:09 PM
August 28 & 29, 2012      Day 11       Medora, ND

Tuesday--we traveled and saw lots of cows and wheat.  When we arrived at the RV campground, the dirt was blowing from the dirt roads within the campground, we were escorted to a back-in (totally my fault--I forgot to request a pull-through), and we had no trees for shade in weather that was over 100°.  However, we have great full hook-ups, the AC keeps us comfortable, have WIFI that works well, and Cable TV.  We passed by the FDR National Park, and we weren’t impressed.  I had planned on staying extra days, but I decided instead to book into Bismarck for the 30th through Labor Day so I could do my cleaning that I wanted to do.  We will kick up aw lot of dust when leaving, which would sabotage my hard work.

Wednesday—You can’t judge a book by its cover!  Theodore Roosevelt National Park is great!  We saw a 17-minute introductory film at the Visitors’ Center which raised questions, so we talked with the ranger who was full of answers and interesting information.  I have always admired Roosevelt, but I now find him so intriguing and inspiring that I bought a 500-page biography, which I’ll probably finish in the next week or so.

History Buffs: Roosevelt came here when his wife, Alice, and mother died in his house in New York ON THE SAME DAY.  His wife died giving birth to his daughter who was also named Alice.  He refused to say the name Alice ever again, and he called his daughter Baby Lee.  She was taken in by his sister, and Roosevelt took off for his Elkhorn Ranch in North Dakota.  He did not return until his soul had healed 2 years later.  He hated being called “Teddy” because Alice called him that, and he didn’t want to hear it from anyone’s lips but hers.  He remarried and had two more children.  He said that he would never have been president if he hadn’t come to ND.  He also said the happiest years of his life were those he spent here.

Current Events Buffs:  I planned to see several sites and refuges in the Berthold area, not knowing of the discovery of the Bakken formation, which has made North Dakota the second biggest oil-producer in the U.S.  Located two miles below the surface, it was not extractable until a highly controversial technique, “fracking” or hydraulic fracturing, allowed oil companies to quadruple their daily oil production.  This has brought tens of thousands of new jobs, and many of the workers are staying in RV campgrounds.  There are those who drink and are rowdy, and I read horrible RV park reviews, so we skipped that loop on our trip.

 (excerpt from Visitor Guide)  “All 3 ND national parks are having serious issues due to the oil boom.  New wells can be seen from inside park boundaries.  Each new well means another drill rig, well pad, pumpjack, debris pit, flare pit, storage tanks, and access roads on the landscape.  Each new well requires 2000 “trucking events” to complete its setup and begin pumping oil.  Noise and dust from heavy truck traffic and pumping equipment is constant.  Numerous flares can be seen in the formerly dark night sky as excess natural gas is burned off.  Socioeconomic impacts are altering local communities.“  I was told by the KOA park manager in Bismarck that he won’t let them stay there.  He also told me they are drilling like crazy, then capping them because they don’t have the transport capacity yet.  They only have to pump a certain minimal amount of oil every 2 years while they are developing their support system.

We embarked on the 36-mile drive, but it was so hot (over 90°) that I thought all the animals would be hidden from view.  However, we’d get to see the geological features. Sure enough, we came around the first curve and saw all these whitish hills among the grass.  Then I saw a prairie dog on top of one of those hills, stretching his front paws to the sky, and emitting a shrill cry.  The prairie dog on the next hill responded in kind.  Every time we stopped, those nearest our car did this same warning. Today we saw THOUSANDS of prairie dogs, and Dean took lots of pictures.  But they only do their warning once, and you can’t stop and get a camera on them before it’s all over. (Picture 1)  There were several prairie dog towns on the tour, and we were always treated to a different show.  They dug in the dirt causing mini-dust clouds; they jumped, bounded, and chased each other.  Some were quite chubby, well prepared for the coming winter.  (Pictures 2 & 3)

Not even a mile further on, we saw HUNDREDS of bison.  One stood right next to our car saying, “Please don’t disturb my sleep.” (Picture 4)  Another came right up and greeted us (Picture 5).  Throughout our drive we saw groups of 30-40, and Dean couldn’t avoid all the buffalo pies on the roadway.

We saw pretty badlands, second only to those in South Dakota. (Picture 6)  Some had scoria, which is formed when veins of lignite (coal) in the rock formation catches fire and bakes the surrounding sand and clay.  Lignite doesn’t emit enough heat to be useful to people, but once ignited, it is hard to put out.  One of the fires lasted from 1951 to 1977.  (Picture 7)  Over the years, erosion removes the softer earth on top and leaves the bluffs this bright red color.

As we were just admiring the small hoodoos and cannonball concretions, a white-tailed deer bounded across our path.  I’m glad we were driving slowly.

We had such a great day that we planned to go back at dusk and look for elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats.  We were told by the ranger to go around 7:30 for best light for pictures.  Unfortunately, it was too dark, so we’ll get up early tomorrow and try to catch them at dawn.   I wish we had at least one more day here. 

Red Trail Campground ($30) is actually fine.  After boondocking, I was into “clean”, and seeing the dust popped my bubble.  I’d stay here again.  It has everything, including nice people and fun things like karaoke
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Wendy on August 30, 2012, 08:47:31 AM
My parents really liked Roosevelt NP, said it reminded them of "Death Valleywith grass."

Unfortunately, most NPS sites are having trouble with industry and towns encroaching.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on August 30, 2012, 12:46:10 PM
Linda, when I read in the first paragraph that you weren't going to go through the T.R.N.P. I said on no, they're going to miss a really neat place.  I'm so glad you changed your mind.  I love the place!  It's such an interesting contrast to the South Dakota badlands - one with grass and one without grass.  We even saw a herd of wild horses our last time through there.  Anyway, I'm glad you went.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on August 30, 2012, 10:37:22 PM
Linda, when I read in the first paragraph that you weren't going to go through the T.R.N.P. I said on no, they're going to miss a really neat place.  I'm so glad you changed your mind.  I love the place!  It's such an interesting contrast to the South Dakota badlands - one with grass and one without grass.  We even saw a herd of wild horses our last time through there.  Anyway, I'm glad you went.

ArdraF

Ardra, we were always going to see it, but I just had really low expectations, and I was VERY pleasantly surprised.  I would have loved to see the wild horses.  I thought of you when I bought my Roosevelt book because you are such a history buff.  Remind me when I see you next, and I'll give it to you.  i am hoping to see RVForum people in January (no, not in Quartzite).
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on August 31, 2012, 03:53:57 PM
Me?  A history buff?  Goodness, dear Miss Taylor, my seventh grade teacher and Miss McCormick, my h.s. history teacher, wouldn't agree at all!  ::) It turns out I just hated to memorize dates and such, but now that I'm all grown up I do enjoy learning about such things.  Anyway, I'll look forward to the book.  And I'm so glad you were so pleasantly surprised!

ArdraF
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: MN Cake Eater on August 31, 2012, 07:46:19 PM
Hello from Minnesota!  I'm not sure your route thru MN, WI and the UP of MI, but would love to help you out with travel advice.  Please drop a message to your travel route.

Paul
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 01, 2012, 12:11:16 AM
Hello from Minnesota!  I'm not sure your route thru MN, WI and the UP of MI, but would love to help you out with travel advice.  Please drop a message to your travel route.

Paul

You wrote at the perfect time, Paul.  Just tonight, Dean and I just spent an hour or two revising our route through Minnesota, based on new info.  For now, it is Detroit Lakes (stay there) to Park Rapids to Lake Itasca SP (stay there), on US 2 to Duluth (stay), then I-35 to Minneapolis/St. Paul. 

I have conflicting info on Lake Itasca SP and Avay Up Nort.  Friends who live in Park Rapids say that the SP can't handle our 38' rig, but the SP says "no problem"--that they actually have much larger rigs come in.  I'd like to stay there because it's a SP and has 50-amps (we are an all-electric coach, no propane at all, and the beast loves those kilowatts for cooking, washing, etc.)  My friend says Avay up Nort is great, has 50-amps, big-rig parking, FHU, but its website and RVparkreviews.com says it isn't so.  I think what we have decided is to go into the SP and see for ourselves, being careful to not get into a pickle.  Then, if that doesn't work, we could go over to Avay Up Nort.

Then on to Madison, Milwaukee, up US 41 to Green Bay, checking on leaf color in MI before deciding on whether to do the Door Peninsula, over US 51 up to Ironwood, east on SR 28 across the Mackinac Bridge, head S on I-75 to Flint, Lansing, Ann Arbor, and Detroit, then look at the date because we MUST be home in Southern California for Thanksgiving--possibly go into Cleveland, Columbus, Indianapolis.  However, our focus is on the Big Three--Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan.  Anything beyond that is gravy.

We would appreciate any knowledge you have on this, especially any guesses on when the leaves will be at their peak on the UP and any info on RV parks in the UP.  They sound kind of marginal to poor, but we can happily boondock on any level site for a few days.





Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Lorna on September 01, 2012, 01:50:56 AM
Linda,


There are two parks in the St Paul/Minneapolis area that we have stayed at, our favorite is in Apple Valley near the MN  zoo and the other is Ham Lake Campground on Constance St? in Ham Lake.  Both have room for 38' coach and 50amp.  Apple Valley has FHU at all sites in the one area for big rigs.  Be sure to check out the state capitol in St Paul and the MN zoo.  There are other things but I am usually there to visit family.


In Madison I am not sure of a campground because the only time that we stayed there was many years ago and it was a county park.  Be sure to see the capitol there because it is located on an ismas? between two lakes.  In Milwaukee I wish I were there because would take you around.  Since we aren't be sure to see the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Discovery World on the lakefront.  The zoo is also very good.  We have stayed at the fairgrounds which is convenient to most everything and has FHU and no problem with a 38'.  However is an asphalt park with no shade but it should be cooling off when you get there.  When we are there every summer we have a reserved site at Oak Creek Estates on College Ave and 23rd St.  It is a mobilhome park with sites on either side of the park. The east side of the park has more shade but the west side is nicer and easier to park.  Right now they are doing some construction on the east side.  Both parks are right off I-94, fairground park is on the way into downtown and Oak Creek is on the south side on the way to Chicago.


In the Duluth area we stayed at Northland RV Park in July and it is a very nice park with FHU and 50amp.  Their laundry room isn't the best but everything was working when we were there.


In upper Michigan be sure to go to Pictured Rocks National Seashore and do the boat trip if they are running.  If it is to windy and rough they won't take you out.  Also, Whitefish Point to the Shipwreck Museum and the Bird Observatory.  If it is a beautiful day when you get to St Ignace take the ferry out to Mackinac Island it is worth the time.  The fort and the Grand Hotel are very interesting.  As for lower MI Barb Weimart probably has more info.


Give me a call or email me for the phone # if don't have it if you would like more info on anything in MN and WI.  The leaf color should be good in the northern areas and possibly Door County.  You can probably do Door County in a day or at most two.  Green Bay Packer Hall of Fame is a possibility if you are interested in football.



Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: MN Cake Eater on September 01, 2012, 08:12:05 AM
Hello Stocks, Welcome to MN at the most beautiful time of year! 

It sounds like you have some plans already made, so I'll try to fill in the gaps.  I'm familiar with the Park Rapids area, but don't know much about the state parks.  The state parks we've been to with 50 amp service have been big rig friendly.  (We travel in a 40 ft. DP.)

I'll start in Duluth.  Beautiful area!  If you are looking for a CG, you might want to consider running up the shore to Two Harbors.  City owned campground with newer big rig area.  It sits right in town and is on Lake Superior.  Another option is the KOA that's probably equal distance south of town.  Camping in the Woods. 

Hinckley, about half way to Mpls. on I35 has a casino with a very nice campground too.

Lorna had two good CG's in Mpls.  Dakota County parks has a wonderful CG in Apple Valley.  About 1 mile from the MN Zoo and 10-15 from the Mall of America (can't miss this!).  You'll feel like you're camping in the woods and only be 5 minutes from Target, grocery stores and other shopping.

Ham Lake CG in Ham Lake, MN is another good choice as is Bunker Hills Regional Park (Anoka County Parks) in Coon Rapids, MN.  Only $25 per night.  Both these CG's are on the northside of the Twin Cities.  Apple Valley is on the southside.

After leaving Mpls, consider driving down US Hwy 61 towards LaCrosse, WI.  A very nice CG in Wabasha, MN (Wabasha Motel & RV Park), my sister and niece work there and you can visit the National Eagle Center.  Also don't miss LARK Toys in Kellogg, MN.  It's a toy shop and museum and is rated as 1 of the top 10 independent toy stores in the world.

A good area to stop in WI is the Wisconsin Dells area.  Lots of campgrounds!  By the time you get there all the kids will be back in school and the place should be much quieter.  A couple fun things to checkout in this area is the Circus World Museum in Baraboo and the train museum in North Freedom, WI.

Skipping ahead....Green Bay Packers museum is attached to Lambeau Field (easy parking) is interesting.  Hard to believe such a small city is home to a NFL team.  The National Railroad Museum is located in GB as well.

Off to MI, the Houghton/Hancock area is wonderful.  We've stayed at the city CG in Houghton.  It's beautiful!  Marquette is another scenic area.  We also spent time this summer in the Mackinac City area.  Make sure to take the ferry out to Mackinac Island.  It's a wonderful way to spend a day.  I can't remember the name of our CG in Mackinac City (it was southeast of town), but it sat on the lake and had a free shuttle to the ferry docks.

After leaving Mackinac City head down towards Petosky.  Two wonderful CG's, KOA and Hearthside Grove.  Both owned by the same family.  Hearthside is where we stayed in July.  Very upscale and the nicest park we've ever stayed.  The KOA is a former KOA of the Year award winner.  Make sure to continue to Charlevois, MI.  Another beautiful town, but the thing to check out is "Castle Farms".  (Easy RV parking) Take the self guided tour.  This place is incredible!

Here's my fall color report for UP of MI and northern WI.....you should see colors in the UP during mid-Sept.. You might have to wait until mid until late Sept for northern WI.  Southern MN usually doesn't get very good colors until October.

I hope this info helps you out.  Let me know of any other questions.

Paul 
 





     
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Ned on September 01, 2012, 09:26:57 AM
The campground in Apple Valley, MN, is Lebanon Hills and is part of the Dakota County parks system.  You can reserve sites online at their web site here (http://www.co.dakota.mn.us/LeisureRecreation/CountyParks/Locations/LebanonHills/Campground.htm).
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 01, 2012, 06:12:15 PM

August 30 & 31, 2012      Days 13 & 14      Bismarck

Aug. 30—We got up early and did the 36-mile auto tour in reverse.  We saw 3 times as many prairie dogs running everywhere, some new white-tailed deer who crossed the road right in front of us (Picture 1), and 3 times as many bison.  Everyone was up and grazing, and there were many little calves out running around.  Yesterday, we saw no young bison at all.  However, we missed the elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats.

Nice weather, just hitting 80° with a very gentle breeze.  Today we saw more fields of white plastic rolls—and all that wheat I have been mentioning is really HAY!  What can I say except that I am a city girl? As part of 49’ers Day celebration at my college, I drew the lucky straw to represent my sorority in the cow-milking contest.  In all seriousness, I asked my future husband whether the cow I had drawn was a boy cow or a girl cow.  I thought dairy cows were a special breed of cow, just like a poodle is a special breed of dog.  It made sense to me!  Anyway, as we traveled today, we saw hay, hay, and more hay.

When we came into the KOA, the owner escorted us to a lovely, large, pull-thru spot, facing trees instead of RVs, but the TengoInternet didn’t work, so the manager moved us to another nice spot.  He really bends over backwards to make everyone happy, and it’s a real Pride of Ownership kind of park.  He’s owned it for one year, and he shared how hard he has worked to build it up and how glad he is that we are here.

Aug. 31—We were guided through the State Capitol (Picture 2) by a recent graduate of UND.  The capitol is one of the youngest; it was built in the 30’s.  Oily rags in a janitor’s closet caught fire and burned down the old building in 1883.  I didn’t do the math at the time, so I don’t know what happened in the intervening 50 years.  However, when they did get around to building it, it was during the Depression, so they didn’t spend a lot of money on interior decoration. They did have a nice entry, but it has been blocked off since 9-11, and you now enter through the basement. 

Their one big splurge was these huge lights (Picture 3) that cost $1,140 each, weigh 1,000 pounds, and use 109 light bulbs each.  The government is still thrifty because not one of them was lit.  They are in a lobby that is used for press conferences.

They also commissioned a Great Seal (Picture 4), which has an Indian on horseback pursuing a bison toward the setting sun, an anvil, a plow, a sledge, a bow with 3 arrows, a tree with 3 bundles of wheat, and a tree arched by a half-circle of 42 stars.  This is interesting because they were the 39th state admitted to the Union.  They made a bad guestimate as to in what order the states would be admitted, and they have never chosen to correct it.

Total cost of the building was $2 million.   It is done in a very simple art deco style and has some very pretty woods, especially the rosewood.  The building is 18 stories tall, and is the tallest building in North Dakota.  The capitol occupies the first 2 floors. The other floors are other state offices.  The capitol has no dome, and 80% of the capitol’s space is usable, whereas in Minnesota, only 29% is usable.  Now I’m anxious to see St. Paul.  Outside of the Senate and House of Representatives are these little alcoves, (Picture 5) each built with a roof-like structure to keep the echo down.  (Do they want to keep their conversations with the lobbyists secret?)

Both houses meet from January to March in odd years, and the members earn $152/day when in session and $427/month when not in session.  There are 97 members of the House.  The theme of the House is Moon & Stars. (Picture 6) They have all the latest electronics, but the furnishings are simple.  There are 47 members of the Senate.  The theme there is the Sunset.

They did put decorative, symbolic doors on their elevators (Picture 7)

In 1981, they built on a 4-story addition to house the State Supreme Court, at a cost of $10 million.  Justices have to be 30 years old and have lived in North Dakota for 3 years. They serve for 10 years. The appellant gets 30 minutes to state his case, and then the prosecutor gets 20 minutes.  If the appellant wants to rebut what the prosecutor says, he needs to have saved some of his 30 minutes, or he’s out of luck. That’s how they can hear 260 cases a year.  (And, they work 11 months a year!)  The walls are covered in a soft velvety material, which captures the voice so people don’t have to use a mike.  2 of the 5 justices are women, However, I was disappointed to learn that North Dakota has never had a female governor.

They are making the capitol more decorative by spelling out NORTH DAKOTA in petunias. (Picture 8)

Our guide shared her exciting news that her Concealed Carry Permit had just arrived.  She is a self-confident, physically robust woman in her early 20’s, but she says all North Dakotans are frightened.  She said the oil boom has brought a lot of scummy people, crime, homeless people sleeping in the trees, beggars, traffic, and that she doesn’t feel comfortable walking anywhere alone.  Men tried to kidnap one of her friends when she was in the Walmart parking lot.  Williston is the center of the Bakken formation, and the old people who have lived there all their lives have had to move out because of the violence and murders, high prices at their stores, inability to get into barber shops, etc.  I read a statement by a police lieutenant that said he never had locked his doors since the day he was born—in fact, no one knew where the key was for the lock, but he has put new locks on all the doors in his house since the oil boom.  Sounds like the Wild West!!

Staying at the KOA—good WiFi close to the office, where we are now, FHU, $43 with KOA card, spacious sites (I looked out the window, and told Dean that sites on both sides of us were vacant, only to find out that that is just grass.)
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 01, 2012, 06:13:36 PM
More pics
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 01, 2012, 09:51:15 PM
Ned, Lorna, and Paul--THANKS SO MUCH!  You have given this teacher a lot of homework and things to think about.  I'm sure I'll be asking more questions as I get into it, but it will take me a couple of days, as I am also working on cleaning the inside of the coach.  Dust blew in today while we were gone, and there is a fine layer everywhere.  And, I had already dedicated Sunday to vacuuming and scrubbing floors, etc.  Going through your suggestions will be fun!

Ned, I want you to teach me how to do that thing where you type "here" and underline and it takes you to a website.  That is so cool!  I hope it's not a trade secret.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Ned on September 01, 2012, 10:16:58 PM
Ned, I want you to teach me how to do that thing where you type "here" and underline and it takes you to a website.  That is so cool!  I hope it's not a trade secret.

To insert a link like that, you must be in the full message editor (not the quick reply editor), highlight the text you want to display, then click the Insert hyperlink icon (farthest left above the row of smileys) then insert the URL.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Bonnie Lawrie on September 02, 2012, 12:10:30 PM
Hi Linda & Dean,
     Thank you so very much for posting such interesting information and photos. I am enjoying YOUR trip! If you happen to be in Escanaba, MI around dinner time, you might want to go to the Stone House Restaurant for a delicious fish fry dinner.  Being a Yooper, I would highly recommend pasties, too. They are served in restaurants all over the Upper Peninsula.
                                                                                    Happy Trails,
                                                                                              Bonnie Lawrie

             
August 30 & 31, 2012      Days 13 & 14      Bismarck

Aug. 30—We got up early and did the 36-mile auto tour in reverse.  We saw 3 times as many prairie dogs running everywhere, some new white-tailed deer who crossed the road right in front of us (Picture 1), and 3 times as many bison.  Everyone was up and grazing, and there were many little calves out running around.  Yesterday, we saw no young bison at all.  However, we missed the elk, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats.

Nice weather, just hitting 80° with a very gentle breeze.  Today we saw more fields of white plastic rolls—and all that wheat I have been mentioning is really HAY!  What can I say except that I am a city girl? As part of 49’ers Day celebration at my college, I drew the lucky straw to represent my sorority in the cow-milking contest.  In all seriousness, I asked my future husband whether the cow I had drawn was a boy cow or a girl cow.  I thought dairy cows were a special breed of cow, just like a poodle is a special breed of dog.  It made sense to me!  Anyway, as we traveled today, we saw hay, hay, and more hay.

When we came into the KOA, the owner escorted us to a lovely, large, pull-thru spot, facing trees instead of RVs, but the TengoInternet didn’t work, so the manager moved us to another nice spot.  He really bends over backwards to make everyone happy, and it’s a real Pride of Ownership kind of park.  He’s owned it for one year, and he shared how hard he has worked to build it up and how glad he is that we are here.

Aug. 31—We were guided through the State Capitol (Picture 2) by a recent graduate of UND.  The capitol is one of the youngest; it was built in the 30’s.  Oily rags in a janitor’s closet caught fire and burned down the old building in 1883.  I didn’t do the math at the time, so I don’t know what happened in the intervening 50 years.  However, when they did get around to building it, it was during the Depression, so they didn’t spend a lot of money on interior decoration. They did have a nice entry, but it has been blocked off since 9-11, and you now enter through the basement. 

Their one big splurge was these huge lights (Picture 3) that cost $1,140 each, weigh 1,000 pounds, and use 109 light bulbs each.  The government is still thrifty because not one of them was lit.  They are in a lobby that is used for press conferences.

They also commissioned a Great Seal (Picture 4), which has an Indian on horseback pursuing a bison toward the setting sun, an anvil, a plow, a sledge, a bow with 3 arrows, a tree with 3 bundles of wheat, and a tree arched by a half-circle of 42 stars.  This is interesting because they were the 39th state admitted to the Union.  They made a bad guestimate as to in what order the states would be admitted, and they have never chosen to correct it.

Total cost of the building was $2 million.   It is done in a very simple art deco style and has some very pretty woods, especially the rosewood.  The building is 18 stories tall, and is the tallest building in North Dakota.  The capitol occupies the first 2 floors. The other floors are other state offices.  The capitol has no dome, and 80% of the capitol’s space is usable, whereas in Minnesota, only 29% is usable.  Now I’m anxious to see St. Paul.  Outside of the Senate and House of Representatives are these little alcoves, (Picture 5) each built with a roof-like structure to keep the echo down.  (Do they want to keep their conversations with the lobbyists secret?)

Both houses meet from January to March in odd years, and the members earn $152/day when in session and $427/month when not in session.  There are 97 members of the House.  The theme of the House is Moon & Stars. (Picture 6) They have all the latest electronics, but the furnishings are simple.  There are 47 members of the Senate.  The theme there is the Sunset.

They did put decorative, symbolic doors on their elevators (Picture 7)

In 1981, they built on a 4-story addition to house the State Supreme Court, at a cost of $10 million.  Justices have to be 30 years old and have lived in North Dakota for 3 years. They serve for 10 years. The appellant gets 30 minutes to state his case, and then the prosecutor gets 20 minutes.  If the appellant wants to rebut what the prosecutor says, he needs to have saved some of his 30 minutes, or he’s out of luck. That’s how they can hear 260 cases a year.  (And, they work 11 months a year!)  The walls are covered in a soft velvety material, which captures the voice so people don’t have to use a mike.  2 of the 5 justices are women, However, I was disappointed to learn that North Dakota has never had a female governor.

They are making the capitol more decorative by spelling out NORTH DAKOTA in petunias. (Picture 8)

Our guide shared her exciting news that her Concealed Carry Permit had just arrived.  She is a self-confident, physically robust woman in her early 20’s, but she says all North Dakotans are frightened.  She said the oil boom has brought a lot of scummy people, crime, homeless people sleeping in the trees, beggars, traffic, and that she doesn’t feel comfortable walking anywhere alone.  Men tried to kidnap one of her friends when she was in the Walmart parking lot.  Williston is the center of the Bakken formation, and the old people who have lived there all their lives have had to move out because of the violence and murders, high prices at their stores, inability to get into barber shops, etc.  I read a statement by a police lieutenant that said he never had locked his doors since the day he was born—in fact, no one knew where the key was for the lock, but he has put new locks on all the doors in his house since the oil boom.  Sounds like the Wild West!!

Staying at the KOA—good WiFi close to the office, where we are now, FHU, $43 with KOA card, spacious sites (I looked out the window, and told Dean that sites on both sides of us were vacant, only to find out that that is just grass.)
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: jagnweiner on September 02, 2012, 12:23:07 PM
Linda-

We have a cabin just east of Park Rapids and if I weren't out of the country I'd probably be there right now. It's a neat little town. After Labor Day most of the crowds should be gone.  As far as things to do, Itasca is the top attraction. Downtown is nice.

I can't think of any real fine dining options; nice restaurants tend to go in and out of business rather quickly. Companeros in Dorset has good Mexican, but that's starting to get a ways from Itasca. For breakfast, the West 40 just west of PR on Hwy 34 is very good. Rockys has a pretty good pizza and the Schwarzwald downtown has decent German food.

Have fun and enjoy.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 02, 2012, 08:21:59 PM
\
     Thank you so very much for posting such interesting information and photos. I am enjoying YOUR trip! If you happen to be in Escanaba, MI around dinner time, you might want to go to the Stone House Restaurant for a delicious fish fry dinner.  Being a Yooper, I would highly recommend pasties, too. They are served in restaurants all over the Upper Peninsula.
           
Bonnie, we'll definitely try your suggestions-the pasties for sure.  I'll have to look at the map for Escanaba.

 If you just want to reply, you don't have to quote.  Just hit "Reply" at the bottom, and write what you want. 
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 02, 2012, 08:33:38 PM
Scott, thanks for the restaurant info.  I don't mind cooking, so we only go out if there's something special, like Bonnie's pasties, or it"s super late when we pull in and i don't have any reheatable leftovers.

 I'm looking forward to shopping at Summerhill's closing sale (they shut down on Sept. 9) in Park Rapids.

 I am thinking of trying "Bad to the Bone BBQ" in Laporte, but it's only open Thurs.-Sat. after Labor Day and Brigid's Cross Irish Pub & Restaurant in Bemidji.  A friend in the area recommended Sparkling Waters and Tutto Bene in Bemidji and Douglas Lodge, but they didn't score very well on Trip Advisor, so I put them on a back burner. 

Do you know anything about any of these? 
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: jagnweiner on September 02, 2012, 08:56:28 PM
I'm afraid not, Linda. We don't eat out that often either. I have eaten at the Douglas lodge and it wasn't bad, but that was at least 7-8 years ago.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 02, 2012, 09:39:34 PM
Sept. 1 & 2      Days 15 & 16      Bismarck, ND

Sept. 1--We enjoyed the North Dakota Heritage Center right next to the Capitol.  It had outstanding exhibits on their fossils and about Plains Indians.  They had a great duck-billed dinosaur mummy (Picture 1)  (not a fossil because it is mummified—think Egyptians—instead of fossilized).  They actually have the mummified skin and you can see the scales.  It was found by a high school sophomore  on his uncle’s farm, and he named it Dakota. He died 65 million years ago.  He was a 3½ ton dinosaur.   He died by the side of a river and was quickly buried by river sediment; some of its soft tissue mineralized and turned into rock.  He died a little before the big dinosaur die-out.

This museum taught me a lot.  We had devoured the information in the Beringia Museum in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and I thought I understood it all.  I had taught my students about the “land bridge”, but I thought it was kind of like hopping from little island to island, and small.  I learned there about its size and wished I could go back and re-teach. This map shows the huge land mass up outside of Alaska that is named Beringia, (it’s brown), and where the ice had melted is all brown.  This was the migration route of the Asians who followed the bison.  I knew what it looked like up by
Alaska, but not further south, especially not into Central and South America.  I found it fascinating, and Dean went on ahead, so there are no more pictures.

However, in the background you can see a birchbark tipi.  Now, I taught about the Plains Indians in my 3rd grade classroom.  I read many books and even visited them so I would be knowledgeable.  I learned and shared Plains Indians’ myths with my students.  I burned sage in my class, as they would do, to purify before gatherings.  I played Native American music from the Plains Indians.  So, I was surprised to learn that they built permanent structures of thick birchbark. I learned so much at this museum.

The museum told the history of North Dakota.  I learned that after Norwegians, the next highest group of immigrants were the Russians.  The last section was wonderful displays of the birds of North Dakota.  This museum is worth of its AAA “gem” rating.

We came back to the KOA and discovered we had electrical problems.  The owner and his brother worked on it for a couple of hours and discovered that the problem is the park’s, not ours.  They said they would get the electrician to come out—not likely on Labor Day weekend (at least in California).  We do have 30 amps, but that isn’t enough to keep the coach and my husband happy.  On this 99° day, the AC in just the front half sucks most of the juice, so we will eat out at Ruby Tuesday’s (I really enjoy their salad bar.)

Sept. 2—I spent all day plotting and planning the new information given me by RVForumers.  I’ve changed our routes in Minnesota and Wisconsin to include many new and interesting sites.

We still only have 30-amps.  One of the reasons I chose this park is that I needed 50 amps so I could vacuum and wash.  We haven’t used AC all day, despite it being in the high 80’s, so we could wash.  I’m going to ask for a partial refund tomorrow.  Any ideas on how much I should ask for?  I’m paying $42/day.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Billy Bob on September 04, 2012, 09:11:41 PM
Hi Dean & Linda I have been following your post and have enjoyed the info. & photos. Dean hope that you are doing Ok now. Sorry you had to miss your Alaska trip this, hope you can make it next year.
You asked for 50 amps & paid for them I would  ask for half price 30 amps sucks when you need 50 for your rig
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: MN Cake Eater on September 10, 2012, 06:25:56 PM
Hello Dean and Linda, I'm assuming you must be in Minnesota by now. 

Today around 3:45pm, I was driving North on Interstate 35W thru Bloomington and seen a Airstream Motor Coach going south.  Any chance that was you?

Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 17, 2012, 06:40:46 PM
Hello Dean and Linda, I'm assuming you must be in Minnesota by now. 

Today around 3:45pm, I was driving North on Interstate 35W thru Bloomington and seen a Airstream Motor Coach going south.  Any chance that was you?

I'm pretty sure that was us.  There aren't many Airstream coaches--most are trailers.  We were on 35W, but I'm not sure of the time.  I'm sorry we didn't get to meet you.  We have had a good time here, and we are leaving the Twin Cities tomorrow morning.  We are headed to Wabasha to the National Eagle Center tomorrow.

Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 17, 2012, 06:54:08 PM
It is going to take a few days for me to get 2 weeks of logs with pictures posted.  Please be patient with me.  Linda

Sept. 3         Day 17      Jamestown, ND

We traveled 100 miles to the National Buffalo Museum.  It has good parking for any size RV and is open until 8 PM.  On the grass hills, buffalo were grazing, including this white buffalo.  (Picture 1)  Yes, he is white!  However, it had just rained for about half an hour, and buffalo find wallows (large shallow holes), urinate in them, and then drop and roll, covering themselves with their own urine.  Yuck!  But, that’s what the flies think, too, so they stay away, which is good because bison have anemic little tails to brush them off.

The museum is in an old building, but they have put a lot of effort into it.  Museum admission was $4; everything else was free.  They had lots of free printed information, many bones, fossils, pictures, buffalo jewelry, and quite a bit about the Native Americans, as well as an observation deck (with a hole 4” in diameter that could cause big problems if a lady caught her heel in it). The stuffed brown bear from Alaska in the museum was definitely out of place (Where is the Border Patrol when you need them?).

 I thought it was interesting because I learned a lot and worth the low cost of admission.  Dean didn’t.  They also have the largest buffalo statue in the world.  It cost a lot and the governor came to unveil it, but it’s seen better days and didn’t impress me. 

In a pen outside are 2 very active billy goats    and 2 Rhode Island Red roosters (Pictures 2 & 3).  The billy goats ran around, played, and jumped, just like a winning Super Bowl team.  They tired, and one goat went over to eat.  A rooster charged him, pecking at his eye area.  The goat shouldered the rooster, and he flew, only to attack the goat’s hindquarters.  The goat chased the rooster for about 6 steps, and the rooster quit.  I thought they put on a good show!

There is a frontier town (free) with about 15 stores, a pony ride ($5), and a stagecoach ride.

Staying at Jamestown WalMart.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Wendy on September 17, 2012, 07:50:30 PM
You take your time. We can enjoy your travels in small bites :)
 
Wendy
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: MN Cake Eater on September 17, 2012, 08:34:03 PM
Enjoy your drive down beautiful Hwy 61!  Plenty of things to see and do!

Lake City-Beautiful Lake Pepin.  The birthplace of water skiing.

Wabasha-Nat'l Eagle Center.  Also the the inspiration to the Grumpy Old Men movies.  Check out Slippery's Bar (about 6 blocks north of NEC) for pictures and props from the movie.

Kellogg-LARK Toys.  Right on Hwy 61, just 7 miles S. of Wabasha.

Have a safe trip!
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 17, 2012, 10:07:32 PM
Sept. 4      Day 18         Detroit Lakes, MN

As we drove to the Ronald Reagan Minuteman Missile State Historic Site—Oscar Zero.  I saw one swan a swimming and 2 golden eagles. The gentleman I had talked to earlier told me that they had parked 91 semis, and we would have lots of room for our RV.  The site was NOT RV-friendly, so Dean had to detach the Jeep, back up, and re-attach.  But, he was VERY happy with his tour.

Since Dean was the only one to go in (more mis-information—I was told I would only be able to see a small part of the site and would not be able to get down to where the interesting part was), Dean did the following write-up:

The Air Force chose North Dakota for a variety of reasons.  Vast open spaces were required (the size of New Jersey).   Low population density was necessary to reduce civilian casualties in the event of a massive first nuclear strike.  Also, North Dakota is closer to the Soviet Union than many other states. 

At the peak of Minuteman Missile deployment, there were missiles located near 6 Air Force bases in Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.

The Air Force grouped its Minuteman force into 6 wings.  Each wing had 3-4 squadrons.  Each squadron was divided into 5 flights, and each flight was responsible for 10 missiles. 

The 321st  Strategic Missile Wing based at Grand Forks Air Force Base is shown on the map. (Picture 1)  (Please excuse the picture quality—there was a nasty glare on the glass cover  which affected the focus.)  The 321st consisted of 3 squadrons—the 446th (top section of the map A, B, C, D, and E).  The 447th (middle of the map F, G, H, I, and J) and the 448th (K, L, M, N, and O), the O being Oscar, the site I toured.

Each of the letters A-O represents one flight of 10 missiles.  Each dot represents a silo.  Each star represents the missile alert facility for that flight.  The Oscar Zero Center (missile alert facility) is at Cooperstown, North Dakota.

The missile alert facility is the control center for a flight.  It consists of the above-ground portion, living quarters (Picture 2), recreation facilities (Picture 3), dining (Pictures 4 & 5), administration, maintenance, and security areas.  The elevator and ladder to the below-ground section is behind a secure door controlled by the missileers (launch control officers) 60 feet below ground in a blast-resistant, secure area. 

The underground area, including ladder, elevator, and two rooms that are behind blast doors, is inside a 4+ feet reinforced concrete and steel wall.  The first room is a support facility that contains air vents, filters, back-up generators, etc. (picture 6 & 7).  All of the equipment is bolted or welded to the floor.  The floor is mounted on shock absorbers.  The blast door for this room weighs 14 tons. (picture 8)  The door and locking pins are manually operated (hand-operated hydraulic pump).

The second room, the launch control room, is even more solidly built.  The launch commander’s console (picture 9) and the deputy launch commander’s console (picture 10) are shown.  All areas below ground are controlled by the missileers. 

Day-to-day operation of site security is handled by two 3-person teams.  The teams alternate to provide 24-hour coverage.  These 2 teams cover 3 days and are then relieved.  The 2-person missileer crews serve a 24-hour shift in the launch control room.  When their relief arrives, the existing crew must allow access to the elevator room.  The relief crew then goes down to the support room and checks out all the equipment, then closes and locks the blast door.  Then they report to the launch control room, the blast door of which must be opened from the inside.  The relief crew takes over the duty, and the original crew returns to the surface.  The blast doors are closed and sealed when the original crew leaves the launch control room.  Anything that the launch crew might need during their 24-hour shift, including food, must be brought down with them.  Should anything delay the relief crew, the original crew stays there.  The room must never be unmanned.

The Oscar Zero site is de-activated because of the START treaty, and silos have been filled in.  However, there are still some squadrons functioning elsewhere. 

Staying at Detroit Lakes Walmart—because we are having trouble with our Motosat.  As I understand it (pardon me, Techies), there was an update that we have to install.  But Dean’s e-mail is out on a cloud.  However, our 6-year-old travel MAC, doesn’t reach out to the cloud,   So, Dean was somehow able to transfer it from the cloud to somewhere that our e-mail could reach, and he got the update.  He wanted to be in a place without trees so he could get our Internet going, but it still doesn’t work.  We could have stayed in a Passport America park with everything for only $15 a night if we had known.  Now he has to find another treeless spot tomorrow and work with a Motosat techie.

I would not choose to spend the night in Detroit Lakes again, even at the RV park.  The whole town is by the railroad tracks, and the trains ran all night.  They didn’t just blow their whistle; they sang a whole concerto.  And, there must have been at least a dozen trains.  AND, it rained hard intermittently, which made loud noises on our roof.  Decidedly, not a good night’s sleep.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 17, 2012, 10:10:44 PM
More pics....
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 17, 2012, 10:15:04 PM
You take your time. We can enjoy your travels in small bites :)
 
Wendy

Thanks.  It's really hard for me to leave anything dangling, though.  I have a real need to complete (my son's phrase for me), and it really bothers me if I don't.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 17, 2012, 10:17:13 PM
Enjoy your drive down beautiful Hwy 61!  Plenty of things to see and do!

Lake City-Beautiful Lake Pepin.  The birthplace of water skiing.

Wabasha-Nat'l Eagle Center.  Also the the inspiration to the Grumpy Old Men movies.  Check out Slippery's Bar (about 6 blocks north of NEC) for pictures and props from the movie.

Kellogg-LARK Toys.  Right on Hwy 61, just 7 miles S. of Wabasha.

Have a safe trip!

I love your tips!  Thanks.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 17, 2012, 10:24:23 PM
Sept. 5      Day 19         Lake Itasca State Park, Park Rapids, MN

We chose to stay in Detroit Lakes last night because of its proximity to Tamarack National Wildlife Refuge, where the ranger promised me a good place to park the RV and an opportunity to see bald eagles, trumpeter swans, and a variety of ducks, geese, and grouse.  We got up really early to see as much as possible, and gobbled a quick PB and J.  We sailed right along until we made the turn-off and saw the road was limited to vehicles under 9 tons.  We weigh 15 tons, so we went down to a fat spot and made a U-turn.  We’ll have to do it in the Jeep tomorrow.

We knew we’d be way early, but went on to the State Park anyway.  Camping cost was $25 for en electric only + $5 for each vehicle each day (total $20) + $8.50 for not reserving using our non-functioning Internet.

We cruised by our campsite, and sure enough, people were still there, so we went to the Headwaters of the Mississippi (Picture 1).  Dean walked across the Mississippi (about 30’). 

There were lots of information boards.  We learned that early Indian people were aware of the lake at the source of the Mississippi River.  They camped here over 8,000 years ago   More recently, the Ojibwe lived here, and they called the lake “Omushkos”  (Elk Lake because its shape is like an elk’s head, with the tributaries being the elk’s horns), and the river “Gichiziibi” (Great River).  The name Mississippi has its origin from the Algonquian Indian language; “Misiziibi” means “a river spread over a large area.” 

The travels of the traders to these lakes and riverways introduced European and American Indian cultures to each other.  The Indians and traders cared about their furs and fish—the idea of headwaters just wasn’t important.  Lewis & Clark and Zebulon Pike looked but didn’t find it.  An Indian chief, Ozawindib, showed Henry Schoolcraft where it was.  He claimed it and named the lake “Itasca” by combining the end of the Latin words verITAS and CAput meaning “truth” and “head.”  He said he was sorely tried by “voracious, long-billed, and dyspeptic musketoes”, but there were no mosquitoes today.  Schoolcraft’s expedition collected valuable scientific information, inspected fur posts, vaccinated 2,000 Ojibwe against smallpox, and achieved an intertribal peace treaty with the Dakotas.

Lake Itasca is 1475’ above the ocean, and the Mighty Mississippi flows 2552 miles to the Gulf of Mexico.  Unfortunately, it isn’t the only thing that goes to the Gulf.  The loons that I was so hoping so see left a day or two ago for their winter homes in the Gulf.  They are “early migrators.”

The weather was beautiful. We had a nice lunch on the patio at the Headwaters Café before starting a lovely 10-mile wilderness drive.  Then we went on to Douglas Lodge and had coffee while overlooking the lake.  And, we discovered that they have free WIFI!

We drove a few miles to the main visitor center.  There are also two informational multi- kiosk-type areas that they call visitor centers. A 5-minute film introduced us to Lake Itasca.  The small museum had lots of history and exhibits.

Lake Itasca SP is beautiful, and I would recommend it as a destination.  We came back and had dinner in the RV.  Dinner at the Douglas Lodge runs $14-20.  It had mediocre to good reviews on TripAdvisor, but at that price, I want “very good.” 

Staying at Lake Itasca State Park, Bear Paw Campground, Space 26-E—electric only, lots of pretty trees, no satellite reception
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 17, 2012, 10:29:02 PM
Sept. 6         Day 20         Lake Itasca State Park

Dean and I like this campground a lot.  Sherlock loves it, but no one likes the constant “bonking” of pine cones on our roof.  However, they do make a good alarm clock.  We wanted to get an early start to see Tamarack National Wildlife Refuge and to be back by 1:00 to do the 2-hour Lake Itasca Boat Tour. We planned to go into Bemidji, sightsee, and have dinner.  Well, we saw Tamarack and got so entranced, we never got to the other two.

It took us over 1½ hours to make the beautiful drive back to Tamarack. We took a different road, and we couldn’t believe the large amount of color we saw.  Just yesterday, we had seen very little color.  Today, we also saw about 8 very colorful wild turkeys at the side of the road (no place to pull over and get a picture). 

We started at the temporary visitors’ center.  The main center is being retrofitted with energy-efficient windows, a new roof, and solar panels.  The ranger said the building really needed upgrading, and all the work is being done by local contractors, which helps out the local economy.  She told us that all NWRs are being made as energy efficient as possible.

The rangers have to bring the bird feeders inside each night because of  black bears and raccoons.  This morning, the ranger had forgotten to put food in the feeder outside, so she did that.   We saw many bright yellow goldfinches and a red bird (finch also?) (Picture 1)   A hummer flew within inches of Dean and me and drank from a feeder repeatedly. (Pictures 2 & 3) At our home we have several feeders, and we travelled to SE Arizona’s Ramsey Canyon to stay at a B & B with lots of feeders, so we’ve seen lots of hummers.  But, I had never been so close to a hummingbird without a barrier, and I was thrilled.

We drove down to the main center to look for a lake with swans, and instead, we found two beautiful sharp-tailed grouse—only the second time I’ve seen them.  The male was in the middle of the road, the female on the side, and they stared at us as we looked at them.  We just sat still and enjoyed the view, but when they stayed there, we decided to get the camera out of the backseat, which meant getting out of the car.  Immediately both of them ran into the bushes.  This was my first long look at a grouse, so I was excited.

We had gone a few miles on the 10-mile auto tour, seeing nothing when I yelled, “STOP!”   I had spotted a BEAR on the far side of the lake.  He was so far away, but he was moving—perhaps grazing?  Dean put his new camera lens on and looked—it was 2-legged bear (a man) poling a canoe.  In early September, members of the White Earth Band of Anishinaabe pole through the wild rice beds, harvesting the crop.  In the lower right, you can also see one of the 2 cormorants which I correctly identified.

We watched monarchs hover over brown-eyed susans (I thought they only ate milkweed), lots of other butterflies, and enormous buzzing dragonflies. We saw several maples with lots of red leaves, and many trees with yellow.  Fall has arrived.  I’ve seen this shrub turn red before, but here it was a more brilliant magenta, and it has an interesting half-green mix. (Picture 5)

We had glimpses of two large birds, and I am pretty sure one was a juvenile bald eagle.  I wanted to see swans, and I was already planning a return trip to where I’d seen one yesterday, when out the window I glimpsed mom and dad trumpeter swan and 5 babies scooting over the water in a lake.  We lingered there for a long time.  One cygnet was always lagging behind, and they were feeding.  So, getting a picture with all their heads up and all together was challenging.  Dean managed to capture 6 of them all with their heads up in one shot.  (Picture 6)

By now our ship had sailed, so we decided to stop at Summerhill Farms.  It’s about 6 shops with home goods, gardening supplies, wines, ladies’ apparel, and a restaurant, built on steppes on the side of a hill.  It is old, but well-maintained and charming.   I can climb steps with a rail, but these steps were tall and beyond my capabilities.  However, we accessed a back parking lot, and by using my scooter over grass, we were able to get to the restaurant.  Dean & I both had the ½ sandwich & delicious chicken wild rice soup, and we split a small red velvet cupcake.  Everything was wonderful, and I would definitely recommend it.

By this time, rainclouds had darkened the sky, and we decided to go to Bemidji tomorrow on our way to Duluth.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 17, 2012, 10:39:42 PM
Sept. 7         Day 21         Superior, WI

The countryside was so pretty as we drove to Bemidji, home of Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox.  The thermometer had just passed 50° when we left and the flags were blowing in the 16 mph winds.  We had planned to walk the waterfront of Lake Bemidji, the first lake on the Mississippi River.

 We both decided that it was way too cold, (Minnesotans were wearing jackets with their shorts), so we headed for Brigid’s Cross Irish Pub and Restaurant.  It was a great decision!  We enjoyed corned beef and cabbage egg rolls, (Picture 1), tender beer-marinated beef in Irish stew (Picture 2), and the best bread pudding I’ve ever eaten.  My grandfather was a chef, and one of my fondest memories is of him making me bread pudding, so anytime I see bread pudding, I order it.  Being #1 out of probably 200 samplings is high praise. This bar is a fun place, and they work to make sure everyone has a good time.  The waitress taught me to play the pub game, Skittles.  It’s played by winding a string around a spindle, pulling it quickly, sending it spinning and knocking down tiny bowling pins (Picture 3), and I got a high score.  They have Irish entertainment at night, and I bet this place rocks.

We had detached the Jeep at the Bemidji Walmart.  When we returned, Dean worked with Motosat again, trying to get Internet.  We had been dropped by the group that bought out Motosat because we were considered a “delinquent account” for non-payment.  We are set up on an automatic annual bill-pay, and when the other company bought out Motosat’s service, they didn’t transfer the billing information.  So, we’ve been without our Internet for 3 weeks while Dean has been trying to fix the problem.  As we drove to Superior, the lady from Motosat called to say we had been re-connected.  Som when we arrived here, the first thing we did was put up the satellite.  We still don’t have Internet .   It is past closing time.  We’ll try again on Monday.

Staying at Walmart
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 17, 2012, 10:44:27 PM
Sept. 8      Day 22         Superior, WI (outside Duluth)

It rained, rained, and rained some more.  Dean is a burger lover and friends had recommended that we try a unique burger bar.  So, at noon Dean went down the road to pick up a couple of burgers.  We had no idea that Superior is a pretty large city, and it is on both sides of a major bridge.  Dean had no problem locating the Anchor Bar, but he didn’t return to the RV for over 2½ hours!  The return side of the bridge was totally shut down, and Dean had a terrible time trying to get back.  (I would bet that he never stopped at a gas station and asked for directions!)  We enjoyed very good, inexpensive burgers—mine had cream cheese and green olives.

We went down to the Lakewalk & the Leif Erickson Park & Rose Garden, which was so beautiful that two wedding parties were getting their photos taken there.  I was surprised to see so many blooms, considering that we had such heavy rain and big winds. (Picture 1) These people really care about their roses.  They remove the several hundred rose bushes (perhaps over a thousand) each fall and re-plant them the next spring,

We drove to Canal Park to see the aerial lift bridge, built in 1905 by the Army Corps of Engineers.  This is a bridge with 2 vertical towers, one on each side of the river.  The section between the towers can be elevated to the top of the towers, allowing ships to pass under.  Luck was with us, and just as we parked, a large ship approached.  Picture 2 is with the bridge all the way up.  Picture 3 shows it going down, and Picture 4 shows the bridge all the way down. There is an interesting museum there with a film and lots of exhibits.  In looking for a place to have dinner, we drove over the bridge, hoping that no big ships came and made us wait because it takes 15-20 minutes for the whole process.  It’s pretty amazing that the bridge is still functioning so well.

Staying at Northland RV Park—FHU, 50 amps, nice manager, checks only, satellite-friendly
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Billy Bob on September 17, 2012, 10:53:34 PM
Keep the pictures and info on your trip coming. I enjoy keeping up with your travels
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Roadhappy on September 18, 2012, 01:01:26 AM
You're doing a great job in your travel posts.  Really enjoying it.

Robin
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Lorna on September 18, 2012, 05:30:16 AM
Thanks for your trip reports.  Northland RV Park is very nice.  We stayed there the end of July for a week and a half.  The laundry room needs some TLC.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2012, 05:31:16 AM
You're doing a great job in your travel posts.  Really enjoying it.

Robin

Thanks so much.  We're really enjoying living it.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2012, 05:45:34 AM
Thanks for your trip reports.  Northland RV Park is very nice.  We stayed there the end of July for a week and a half.  The laundry room needs some TLC.

We liked that park.  I got a Splendide for Xmas, 2010.  It washes and dries in one small machine.  It does only about 4 outfits (8 total shirts & pants) at a time, or 1 set of sheets, and it wrinkles cotton, but I love it.  Before Splendide (BS), we used to save up laundry for over 2 weeks and go into a laundromat, and we would have about 6 loads.  We would look up laundromats using our GPS.  90% of the time they were in the ghetto area, and about 20% of the time, I felt fear.  We were the ONLY white faces, and I felt that we stood out as much as we would if we put "Rob me" signs on our backs.  I felt even more vulnerable with my arthritis because I walk slower.   However, doing it one load at a time had its issues, too.  I told Dean that if I could have a Splendide, it would take care of all Xmases, bdays, Mothers' Days for 3 years (Super expensive little bugger, and installation was expensive, too).  We solved the wrinkle problem with a portable, quick steam system.  And...it gives us more time to travel and have fun. We put in a load when we go to whatever we're going to see that day, and when we come home, my clothes are all washed and dried.  I LOVE MY SPLENDIDE!
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2012, 05:52:55 AM
Sept. 9      Day 23         Superior, WI (outside Duluth)

The North Shore Drive, a drive up Highway 61 on a peninsula on the shore of Lake Superior, is recommended in many tour books as one of the most beautiful drives in the U. S.  It is a 320-mile round trip.  There were many small waterfalls which flowed into creeks, and those creeks flowed into Lake Superior.  In the spring, there is 4-5 times as much water flow as there is now.  There were lots of state parks and opportunities for hikers. The lakeshore was pretty when we could see it.  Grass and bushes have grown tall and frequently obscure views.  The further north you drive, the more beautiful the evergreens are.

We stopped at Gooseberry Falls State Park and enjoyed a short but pretty stroll to the falls (Picture 1)  There are 2 falls, the upper falls and lower falls.  Along the way, I discovered rose hips, radish-shaped bright red seedpods of the rose, something I had heard of but never seen before (Picture 2).  Rich in Vitamin C, they are used in teas and jellies to treat a myriad of illnesses.

The hidden falls at Temperance River State park have created a canyon, reminiscent of a miniature Grand Canyon with a creek running through it.  We could hear the roar, but you have to hike over rocks to get back to see them. (Picture 3)  They are a vanished ancient waterfall from a glacier and plunge into a pool below.

The best was the last, Grand Portage State Park, which is a joint venture with the Native Americans, the U. S. government, and the Canadian government.  The ½ mile walk through the lush forest was so rich with foliage you could imagine the “Indians” creating their 9-mile trail like this one to be able to circumvent 20 miles of falls. Later I regretted lingering and enjoying because I unintentionally provided the no-see-ums with a nice meal.  My legs have been itching ever since.  However, the falls were the biggest, (Picture 4) and the Visitor Center was brand new, so I’m glad we didn’t miss it.  We were so close to Canada that we could see the border crossing.

The trip home seemed much longer, though we drove the same road and had no traffic.  If I were to do this again, I would spend the night at the Grand Portage so I could shop in Grand Marais and at the other interesting shops along the way back.  They are famous for the Minnesota Agates found along the shore and available at rock shops, so I would have liked to have at least seen what they look like.

As we neared Two Harbors, it was almost 8:00, so we stopped at Betty’s Pies, a very well-known cafe.  We had delicious soup and sandwich and, of course, some of her famous 5-layer chocolate pie.  I would definitely stop here again.

Staying at Northland RV Park—FHU, 50 amps, nice manager, checks only, satellite-friendly
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2012, 06:19:40 AM
Sept. 10   Day 24         Prior Lake, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

Today was a travel day, ending with a nice meal in the coffee shop of the Mystic Casino, who owns the RV park.  I tried walleye, a popular fish up here.  It was a very, very mild fish.  The tartar sauces (two types) were excellent.  I would recommend eating here.

Staying at Dakotah Meadows RV Park—50 amps, FHU, spacious back-ins on the perimeter, sites narrow on one side on the interior pull-throughs, WiFi  $32, with an RV wash with a CATWALK


Sept. 11   Day 25         Prior Lake, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

We got up at 5:30 to get to the Fort Snelling State Park Visitors’ Center by 8:00.  We fought the horrible rush hour traffic, only to fail.   The address on its website is for the State Department of Natural Resources offices in downtown St. Paul.  They are the people who govern all the state parks.  We could see lots of places on our To Do List, but none opened for almost two hours.

We did a frantic search on our I-Phones, and found 2 addresses and 2 phone numbers for FSSP, so we called them.  They say that no GPS works and the lady gave me complex directions.

We decided we needed a detailed map of both of the Twin Cities, so we headed to AAA.  The lady there was amazing and so helpful.  She gave us lots of insider information.  After doing a lot of plotting, we decided to move to Apple Valley tomorrow.

We stopped at a Famous Dave’s for lunch and discovered that they will be closing in 2 months because the highway will be usurping their restaurant.  They found a new site 45 minutes away, so employees are going to have some hard choices to make.

 We chose this park because it has a catwalk RV wash, appeared to be as close to the Twin Cities as Apple Valley, and Dean really wanted to wash the roof and the bug juice on the front.  He bought 25 coins @ $1 each.  Each coin is good for two minutes of power wash/ rinse/etc.  Dean worked hard and the coach is clean!  Downside was we didn’t get to go explore.

We ate dinner at the Mystic River Casino’s buffet.  It was OK, and $14.  However, I wouldn’t go there again.

Staying at Dakotah Meadows RV Park—50 amps, FHU, spacious back-ins on the perimeter, sites narrow on one side on the interior pull-throughs, WiFi  $32

Sept. 12    Day 26      Apple Valley, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

Dean expertly maneuvered through the many “Detour” and “Road Closed” maze that surrounded the Capitol.  They are putting in light rail and causing the demise of many mom-and-pop businesses because there is no highway access to them, necessitating going through back roads and residential neighborhoods to get to a frontage road.  Road construction is EVERYWHERE!

All of the handicapped parking was taken by Capitol Security and a car with state license plates, but we found a spot that wasn’t too far away.  The scaffolding on the front of the capitol is because they are replacing a glass North Star skylight.  The current one lets water in much better than it lets sunlight in. 

Mimi started our tour by requesting a donation of $5 per person.  We usually donate at capitols, but they just have a plastic box with a little sign.  Sometimes when we say we want to donate, they don’t know how to make that happen and we even end up meeting the state’s treasurer.  The $10 amount was fine; in fact, we have given much more than that.  However, this just had a wrong feel to it.

This is their 3rd capitol.  The first wooden one burned in 1881 and was replaced by a brick capitol.  It was poorly ventilated, and the legislators claimed they couldn’t breathe (cigar & cigarette smoke?).

Cass Gilbert was chosen in a national competition to design the new capitol.  He had only designed 1 office, 2 churches, and a few homes for the wealthy, but he went on to design the capitols of West Virginia and Louisiana, as well as the U. S. Supreme Court building.  He was meticulous and spent 4 years on the paper designs because he designed EVERYTHING—furniture, flag cases, doorknobs, lights, and more.  It cost $4.5 million.

 The chandelier is secured in a box while they renovate, but it still sparkles.  (Picture 3)  It is made of glass beads and has 92 lights.  The capitol was the first building in Minnesota to have electricity.

The Governor’s Reception Room is where they greet important guests and do news briefings.  It was based on the Venice Council chambers and was meant to impress visitors so they would know that Minnesota was not just a “backwoods state.”  I thought it looked gaudy.  Like my home state, Minnesota has never had a woman governor.

A volunteer spent thousand of hours to design this Lego Capitol model (Picture 4).

Each governor chooses an artist to make his portrait, and I had to take a picture of former wrestler Jesse Ventura (Picture 5).  He was good buddies with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.  They attended each others’ weddings and still see each other frequently.

The stars in the floor of the rotunda represent that Minnesota is the “North Star State”, the furthest north of the Lower 48. (Picture 6)  I thought Maine was the furthest north, but the upper peninsula of Minnesota pokes up and beats them.

There are 134 representatives and 67 senators.  They work from January through May, earn $31,500 and full benefits.  This is one of the longest working sessions that we have seen.  At the front of the House chamber is this painting meant to inspire, which reminds the representatives that, “The voice of the people is the voice of God.” (Picture 7)

This voting board (Picture 8) in the house has been in use since the 1930’s.  There are 4 Andersons.  Thank goodness they all have different initials for their first name.  Our guide told me that there were 3 Andersons on the Supreme Court (now they only have 2), and they have had two governors named Anderson.

The staircase is cantilevered with no visible source of support (Scary!), and the architect used the same plans for that in the Supreme Court in DC. (Picture 9)

The Senate chamber is very ornate (Picture 10), as is the whole capitol (Picture 11).  Notice the saying inscribed on the black marble around the wall’s perimeter.  There were lots of inspirational sayings painted with orange paint on the walls throughout the capitol.  My favorite panel (Picture 12) was, “Next in importance to freedom and justice is popular education without which neither justice nor freedom can be permanently maintained.” (Garfield)  I hope that’s not the cat, but perhaps President James A.  The second part of the panel reads, “Education is our only political safety,” by Horace Mann.  I liked the sayings, but I thought the orange paint was out of place when contrasted with the overall ornateness.

Surprising (to me) facts that Mimi shared were that Minnesota was part of the Louisiana Purchase (I thought it was too far north) and that Minnesota played a big part in the Civil War.  They were the first state to offer 1,000 soldiers and 1/7 of their population fought in the war.  I thought they were too busy with developing their state, which was only 4 years old, and that they were needed on their farms.  At the turn of the century, they had such a big grasshopper plague that the governor put a penny bounty on each dead grasshopper.  That was big money at the time, and there were lots of grasshoppers. Laura Ingalls Wilder lived in Walnut Grove, MN.  I thought she grew up in Kansas.

We celebrated Dean’s birthday at Matt’s Bar, a true “dive” famous for originating the Jucy (sic) Lucy, an “outside inside” hamburger with melted cheese inside the patty.  It was good and messy. The fries were outstanding, but a half-order would have been plenty for us.

Lebanon Hills Campground—Thanks to Lorna & Ned, Paul, and Dave for the tip--$128.55/4 nights  FHU, 50 amps, WiFi—If it’s not a busy time, save $7 (I did) by avoiding the “Reservation Fee”.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2012, 06:21:47 AM
More pictures...
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2012, 06:37:22 AM
Sept. 13   Day 27      Apple Valley, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska is an amazing research botanical facility run by the University of Minnesota.  Admission was $11 each and worth every penny.  We started with the 3-mile drive and found these pretty Canadian geese enjoying it, too. (Picture 1).  The lane took us through a shaded forest of amazing huge trees and then to  “lands” like the prairie grasslands, home gardens, a Japanese waterfall garden, a rose garden, and more.  There were parking lots after each two lands.  Dean and I each described the drive as “tranquil”.   
 
We ate lunch at their restaurant.  Dean and I had a cup of soup and half-sandwich.  Everything was delicious.  It would have been even better if we had bought our lunch there and taken it to the outside shaded patio surrounded by beautiful flowers, tall, tall trees, and chirping happy birds. 

Guided walking and tram tours are available 3-4 times a day for $3.  The timing didn’t work for us, so we went exploring.

We found many blooming flowers with lots of bees and butterflies hard at work. (Pictures 2 & 3).  There were huge sugar maples, birch, and oak everywhere. (Picture 4).  This is not designed as just a display garden.  They have engineered 100 new flowers and fruit.  They developed the honeycrisp apple, which I frequently enjoy.  They had interesting, unusual items in their gift shop, and I got some Christmas shopping done. 

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is open until 9:00, so we headed there.  Admission is  free, so I had low expectations.  I was so wrong.  Audio tours were $4.  I could have spent an entire day there.  They had every kind of art collection represented.  I used to teach about the Kwakwaka’wakw (Kwakiutl Indians) who lived on Vancouver Island, so finding this gorgeous double-reveal mask was a treat. (Picture 5)  Picture 6 shows the same mask from the side.  As they did a dance and told a story, the mask would be closed to represent an animal, most often a bird, and then the dancer would eventually open to reveal a human.

The abalone button blanket was gorgeous. (Picture 7) They wore these at powwows and gave them away at yearly potlatches.  The center design of this blanket features a thunderbird and a sea serpent.  The thunderbird is powerful and man’s helper, and the sound of thunder is the beating of its wings.  The sea serpent is associated with bad luck, and only those who own the crest can use its image.

Their Asian gallery was amazing.  I spent over an hour there.  They had great modern art and works by the great masters of Europe.  It was a very complete museum.  Dean isn’t thrilled with art museums, and he maxes out at two hours.  I tore myself away at the 3-hour mark.  I am a novice at art appreciation, but I thought the works displayed here were quality work.  I would put this on a “Don’t Miss List.”

Staying at Lebanon Hills Campground
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2012, 06:45:51 AM
Sept. 14   Day 28      Apple Valley, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

Dean started the day with a call to Earthlink to try to get our e-mail straightened out. He was NOT pleased when he was connected to someone in India.  Dean had a hard time understanding the men because of his thick accent, and the man kept on having Dean do the same thing over and over.  Finally, he said it was an Apple problem.  Dean didn’t believe it.  But, he called Apple, and they offered him 3 solutions—one of which was to go to the Apple Store in the Mall of America.  We wanted to go to the MOA anyway, so we made an appointment.  The Apple Genius managed to get the problem solved. Dean is convinced it was an Earthlink problem that the genius was sufficiently knowledgeable to be able to resolve. 

I wanted to eat at Twin Cities Grill, which has several locations, and had been highly recommended.  When I asked the Genius where he liked to eat, it was like karma.  So we headed to the Twin Cities Grill. 

We stopped to gawk at the LEGO Imagination Center which has 4 stories of life-size models.  This mall is the biggest mall in the USA and has every store imaginable, as well as an amusement park in its center.

There was a huge scrapbooking event going on, and about a thousand people were standing in long, slow-moving lines everywhere to get free help and free products.  They do this a lot here, and they have plastic crates with long handles.  Atop the crate there is a seat cushion so they can rest in peace.

We enjoyed a delicious lunch at Twin Cities Grill, and I would highly recommend it.  I saw so much attractive food pass by our table as the waitresses bustled about.  Service was as excellent as the food.  I’m not a bread fan, but their dinner rolls are the best!

When I saw the Minnesota History Center, I said to myself, “Good choice!”  The building is a gorgeous, modern, 3-story building.  I paid, and my heart sank when the clerk told me that,  “All the exhibits are on the third floor.”  I wanted to ask, “What’s on the other two floors?”  The part of the first floor I could see was a beautiful lobby—and lots of wasted space.  When we got to the third floor, we discovered that all the exhibits were in two rooms, well less than half of the floor.

The first exhibit area was on loan from the Smithsonian to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Dakota Wars, which in a nutshell, was an Indian uprising caused by repeatedly broken treaties.  A lot of blood was shed on both sides. The settlers had been promised free land, and the Indians had been promised $9-$12 each year for 20 years in payment for all the lands the government had stolen from them.  Then the government failed to make the payment, took away their means of living by not letting them follow the buffalo, and they were starving.  The information was on about 100 storyboards with enlargements of photos from that time.  I learned a lot, and enjoyed it, but it was only one year in Minnesota’s history.  The second room was a cavernous room with a variety of paintings, none of which were about the state’s history.  What a waste of money—both mine and that of whoever funded this!

Staying at Lebanon Hills Campground
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2012, 06:47:27 AM
Sept. 15   Day 29      Apple Valley, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

Today we went to the Mill City Museum, a National Historic Landmark.  It shows how water & wheat powered the city's growth.  The room where the film "Minneapolis in 19 Minutes Flat" is shown typifies this museum.  The front and back walls are original stone, and all the rest is beautiful wood with modern seating.  This huge room used to house an enormous generator that was used if the river, which powered the mill, was too low.  The film is essential viewing.  It is both humorous and very informative.  I loved it! 

Then we went on the “Flour Tour” in an elevator.  As we moved through the floors, we stopped at each and saw wonderful displays that were narrated by the characters.  At the eighth floor, we got off and there was an observation deck, and we could see the ruins of the mill (it burned twice) and a panorama of the city (Picture 1).  Our guide was superb, and he was available to answer questions on the 8th floor.

When we came back downstairs there were a lot of great exhibits, advertisements for Gold Medal Flour, a 50’s test kitchen where they gave out samples of chocolate zucchini bread.  We had other things to do today, and the time on the parking meter was ticking, but we spent over 30 minutes at this area because it was so interesting.

This is a fascinating place, and I can’t believe AAA didn’t give it a gem rating.  I am going to write them a letter.  If you visit the Twin Cities, this is a “MUST SEE!”

Dean has had model railroad cars since he was a kid, so visiting the Twin Cities Model RR Museum was a must.  When we got off the freeway, the off-ramp’s name rang bells, so we followed it to Casper & Runyon's Nook, rated #1 restaurant by Trip Advisor. We had wonderful Juicy Nookies, essentially Jucy Lucys, but with better meat and bun.  I had great sweet potato fries (I should probably have asked them to leave off the dusting of cinnamon sugar, but they were SO good).  The accompanying sauce, possibly a chipotle, was so good that I would have asked for a lid and taken it home if it weren’t such a hot day.

In the Model RR Museum it was just one room in a building that in its former life was a repair facility for trains.  It held just one large club O-gauge layout.  In the Toy Train museum there were a bunch of Lionel (O gauge) layouts, one American flyer S-gauge layout, and one HO-gauge, and a couple of small N-gauge.  Dean had expected a true museum.  Admission was $6 each.  We were both disappointed, and we were gone 30 minutes after we arrived.

Staying at Lebanon Hills Campground
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2012, 06:51:23 AM
Sept. 16   Day 30      Apple Valley, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

Today was a perfect day in every way!  Today, like most of the days this week, we had a high in the low 80° range, with a nice little breeze.  We chose to come to the Minnesota Zoo on Sunday because they are open until 6, but we could have come on any day, because their usual closing time of 4 works if you get here at 9:00 when they open, and if you don’t use time seeing an IMAX film.  We got a discount ticket from the RV park, which saved us $2.

I knew it was going to be a great day when we passed a sign as we left the parking lot.  It said that this was a totally non-smoking facility.  And, we never saw or smelled anyone smoking all day long.

They had many interesting animals, including several I had never heard of before.  I will write primarily about those, but there were some that were just too cute to be omitted.

As we entered the zoo, one of the keepers was feeding the South African penguins while another recorded which penguin got each fish.  They do this to make sure that every penguin stays healthy.  Meanwhile, in the gallery, a volunteer was giving an interesting talk about them. (Picture 1)

The snow moneys, a National Treasure of Japan, were playing  (Picture 2) until the alpha male appeared, and they all kept a lot of distance from him.  Snow monkeys live further north than any other non-human primates.  Several feet of snow and freezing temperatures don’t bother them.

The grey wolves were the most beautiful I’ve seen.  One was black (Picture 3), and the other was white.  I am glad that they are protected here in Minnesota.  In Montana and Wyoming, the state is eliminating many wolves.

The aviary had many interesting and beautiful birds.  One flew across my path, and he was like a big beautiful blue splotch.  A woodpecker busily worked on a tree right in front of us.  Getting pictures was tough because of the netting and screens.  This little guy played hide-and-seek with Dean’s camera, while tearing into an apple.  Dean won and got Picture 4.

Outside the aviary, a keeper had a tiny Eastern screech owl.  I blew up the picture so you could see the detail and how his blotchy feathers look just like bark. If you look at her finger, you can see how small this Minnesota native is. (Picture 5)  He is a partial imprint because he had human contact at an early age, so that’s why he’s here.  He doesn’t know how to hunt and would die in the wild.

Three black bears entertained us as one swam in a pool and another awed us by ripping into a fallen log.  I have a new-found respect for a bear’s claws and strength.  All three were orphans, but they seem very happy (Picture 6).  As we watched, a keeper gave us information.

In the next aviary, we saw a beautiful royal blue cassowary sitting in her nest (Picture 7).  The hornbill had such bright colors (Picture 8).

Red pandas (Picture 9) are not really pandas, though they are really cute and eat bamboo leaves. They are related to skunks, raccoons, and weasels.  They also eat other leaves berries, blossoms, and bird eggs.  Their cagemates, the long-tailed goral, clambered easily over rock cliffs. (Picture 10)

The small-clawed otters (Picture 11) enjoyed naptime together.

The white-cheeked gibbons used their long arms for swinging and hanging.  One took a break to pose for Dean (Picture 12).

The DeBrazza monkeys (Picture 13) would not face us.  They had beautiful markings and a goatee that looked like it had been professionally trimmed.  They store food in their cheek pouches to enjoy later in a safe place.

The zoo is thoughtfully laid out.  They had numerous play areas and this water fountain (Picture 14).  This little guy ran from spout to spout, letting water hit him in the face until he got a drink, and he squealed with delight.  We shared in his glee.

The takin from China is unique (Picture 15).  He appears to have the nose of a moose, the horns of an upside-down gnu, and the shaggy coat of a buffalo.

The goitered gazelle (Picture 16) lives in windswept plains and never drinks water.   He eats 30% of his weight daily.  He can run 36 mph.  I looked, but I couldn’t see a goiter on them.

The amur tiger (Picture 17) is the biggest, and I think the most beautiful, tiger.

The Minnesota Zoo has really interesting and unusual animals, Minnesota animals, great staffing, and nice-sized enclosures.  I would give it an “A”.  But the thing that impressed me most was all the children and parents.  ALL the children were VERY well-behaved.  We’ve been to the San Diego Zoo many times (annual membership), and I have to say that these Minnesotans are on to something with their child-rearing practices. The parents were patient, great teachers and could teach us Californians a lot.  We’ve noticed it here before, but today families with children outnumbered those without by 10-1, so it really stood out.  The layout of the zoo helped because it catered to the need for kids to play, eat, and use the restroom—everything to keep them happy.

I would definitely put the zoo on the “MUST SEE” list for the Twin Cities.

Staying at Lebanon Hills Campground
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2012, 07:00:00 AM
More pictures....
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2012, 07:04:05 AM
More pictures....
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 18, 2012, 08:31:48 AM
Sept. 17   Day 31      Apple Valley, MN (outside St. Paul—Minneapolis)

I praised the wonderful weather we’ve been having, so today we had rain until noon and a high of 61°.  At the first glimpse of sun, we went to Fort Snelling State Park.  Admission was $5.  They have lots of bird feeders, which made for fun bird watching.  We saw lots of nuthatches and goldfinches dressed down for winter. (Picture 1)  Squirrels and chipmunks scurried busily preparing for winter (Picture 2).  The black-capped chickadees flew in quickly, got a sunflower seed or two, and were gone (Picture 3).  This downy woodpecker played “You can’t catch me,” with Dean behind a pillar, and it’s a good thing that we don’t have to pay for film these days.  Dean took a lot of shots, but finally got one (Picture 4).

After watching the birds and squirrels feed, we were hungry, too.  So, we headed to the last true deli in Minnesota, Cecil's Delicatessen & Bakery.  They are rightfully famous for their yummy Reubens.  It was the best Reuben I’ve ever had; the meat was so flavorful, not fat, and tender.  Get the smallest (1/4 pound) sandwich, not the New York big version—way too much meat.  It is an amazing deli that opened in 1949, and the 4th generation is now serving the food.  They have superb potato salad, very good cole slaw, great root beer, carrot cake, cobblers, and excellent service. They bake all their own pies, cakes, and breads.  They have old-fashioned things I’d forgotten about, like egg creams and phosphates.   Everything we saw being taken to other tables looked and smelled delicious. 

The free ($2 donation requested) Como Park Zoo & Conservatory was nearby.   The Oriental garden area was undergoing re-construction.  They had some bonsais, polar bears (Picture 5), orangutans, snow leopards, penguins, and Minnesota timber wolves.  There was a pool for the polar bears, but we couldn't shoot through the glass. One of the bears was resting and had burrs above her eyes.  The keeper explained that she loves to roll in the grass. They had beige zebras (Picture 6), and few exhibits had good labels.  I tried looking the zebras up on the Internet, but I couldn’t find out what type they are.

When we were here on Sunday, there were so many people that we couldn’t find a parking place and decided to return on Monday.  The popularity raised my expectations, which is too bad. 

We were both concerned about the small pens.  The seal pool that was indoors was the size of a kiddie pool.  The pool where the seals perform in their stadium is smaller than our swimming pool at home. When it’s warm and I am home, I swim 40 laps a day, and I’m not at all athletic, so our pool is not large. 

We have been fortunate to see lots of zoos and conservatories, and this one just didn’t compare.  They are landlocked and are trying to cram in too many exhibits.  I wonder if the association of zoos has established a space minimum size for each kind of animal.  If not, they should.

Staying at Lebanon Hills Campground
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Billy Bob on September 18, 2012, 06:41:40 PM
Dean & Linda Thanks again really enjoy your phoyos
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Lorna on September 19, 2012, 03:20:23 PM
I would be willing to bet that most if not all of the families with children that were there that day were home-schooled.  My niece has home-schooled all three of their children and when they are playing or any thing they are very quiet and well behaved.  We have found that with other home-schooled children, too.  They have interaction with other children because they participate in a home-school band and at their church.

The Minnesota Zoo is a must when you are in the Twin Cities area and glad that you enjoyed it.  I will finish it the next time we are at Apple Valley because my family and I only did part of it when we were there. 

Como Zoo, in St Paul, was one of my favorites when my two granddaughters were younger.  We would go to the zoo first and if they were good we would go to the fun park next door and after that we would stop at the arboretum if they weren't to tired.  It is about 10 minutes from my daughter's home.  Yes, I agree the pens are too small but they are limited in space.  Como Park has wonderful, open air concerts in the summer which I have attended several with my brother and SIL.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is also a must see when in the area.  Glad that you enjoyed it.  I was there many years ago and even though I am not really into art I was with someone that was and it made a big difference in what I was viewing.

Thanks for your trip reports, I have really enjoyed them and it has given me some new places to take my granddaughters when in the Twin Cities.  When you were on the North Shore did you stop at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park?  It is very interesting and the lighthouse is one of the most photographed lighthouses on the Great Lakes.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Billy Bob on September 19, 2012, 09:29:19 PM
Love the Lighthouses
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 19, 2012, 10:20:49 PM
Sept. 18      Day 32            Tomah, WI

Today was exciting from beginning to end!  We drove along the Mississippi River on US 61 to the Wabasha Public Library, parked the RV, and headed to the NATIONAL Eagle Center.  We have seen the word “National” too often on minimal attractions, but we were impressed with the beautiful building sitting right on the Mississippi.  We paid $6 admission, and we immediately went to the 1:00 presentation.  Wow!

The speaker told us that 3 of the 4 “girls” (bald eagles) were out “having their nails done.”  They go into the Raptor Center in Minneapolis for coping (having their beaks filed--sides and tips and their talons clipped.)   

She gave us a brief bio on each one.  The one still on display, Harriet, was 17 when she was hit by a car.  How?  If prey is killed on the road (perhaps a deer), they find this an easy dinner-to-go, like our fast food.  When they see a car coming, they think it is another predator coming to steal their dinner, so they “mantle”, raise their hackles and feathers, and cover it with their wings.  By the time they realize that it is a car, they can’t get enough lift quickly enough because they are such a heavy bird, weighing 10-11 pounds.  Females weigh 1/3 more than males.  The colder the environment, the more they weigh.  It’s not unusual for an Alaskan female to weigh 15 pounds.

They can store 1 pound of food in their crop, which makes take-off tough.  It takes them a long time to get above the height of a car.  Harriet’s left wing hit the top of a van and had to be amputated at the wrist.  They knew she was 17 because she was banded in the nest.  She is now 31.  In the wild, the lifespan is 25-30 years.  She has a cowlick on her head.  She has appeared on Jay Leno, the Today Show, and her picture is on Minnesota’s Support Our Troops plate.  Harriet likes to eat at 3:00, rather than 1:00, so they are hoping the others come back soon.

Angel, age 13, is the loudest, and on cue, she screams out to let everyone know she’s back.  She can see eagles outside through the windows that are everywhere, and she is saying, “GET LOST!” to those eagles.  She broke her wing and the bones fused.  Herons throw fish forcefully at eagles who invade their rookeries.  However, her wing could have been broken in a myriad of ways.  They got Angel within a couple days of her breaking her wing, so they re-broke her wing and put in rings and rods.  It healed beautifully.  But…it only takes bald eagles 10 weeks to reach the same size as the parents.  So, while her wing was healing, the muscles that needed to form so quickly couldn’t.  She can fly about 10 feet. 

Columbia was hit by a car.  She had lead poisoning.  They probably caught her within a day or 2 of her ingesting it.  It kills an eagle in 5-6 days.  She is brain-damaged.  Lead is inexpensive, so it is used in sinkers and tackle.  Sometimes it is in the fish that the eagles eat.  Deer hunters often dress the deer in the woods and leave a pile of guts.  Eagles have a bad sense of smell, so they would not eat what they couldn’t see.  If hunters would just cover them with leaves.  A piece of lead less than the size of a BB will kill an eagle.

The stomach acid of a hawk or eagle has a PH of 1 or 2.  Battery acid is a 1.  They can digest bones, but they cough up pellets of fur and feather.

Donald, a golden eagle, was eating road kill when he was hit by a car.  His age in unknown, but he is en years or more.  Golden eagles are here from mid-October to mid-March. Goldens don’t like water and don’t recognize fish as food.  The male and female golden eagles are together all the time.  They are a powerful team and have twice unsuccessfully tried to take a white-tailed deer here.  They are “booted” meaning that their leg feathers go all the way to the ankles.  Bald eagles are “fish eagles” , and their feathers go just halfway down their legs.

Washaka, age 3, the last bald eagle, is flighted.  She had a tumor on his left eyelid, which left him blind.  Most eagles can see a rabbit on a bluff over a mile away.  Washaka would not be able to hunt on his own.

Only 50% of eagles make it to their first birthday.  Only 20% make it to adulthood, 5-6 years old when they get their white heads.

Eagles have strong nest-site fidelity.  When they return to the nest each spring, they lock talons and do cartwheels to check out each other’s physical fitness to reproduce and raise a new family.  If one of them doesn’t pass, they will select another mate.  (I wonder who gets the house!)  Bald eagles’ nests can weigh 3 tons.  They aren’t neat eaters, so they add nesting material to cover up the decayed fish, bugs, etc.  Angel was messy and threw a morsel of fish in the speaker’s hair.  Then, with the center built up, they have to add material to build up the sides.

As eagles age, they have to grow longer feathers, so they molt  The National Eagle Repository gets all feathers that are molted, and they redistribute them to qualified native Americans for spiritual uses.

Angel was brought in, with her yellow beak, yellow eyes, and yellow feet (Picture 1).  She has a 7’ wingspan.  We were warned to quickly back up if she turns her back to us because SHE CAN SHOOT HER POOP 6 FEET! 

She is quite a character.  They feed the eagles fish that are donated by fishermen when possible because they are free, so they don’t always have the kinds they prefer.  If Angel is offered something she doesn’t like, such as carp, she looks for her handlers’ fingers that are carefully hidden under the bowl, so she can bite her!  She liked the northern pike that she was fed today. (Picture 2)  When she was finished, she announced, “I’m read to go now,” by flapping her wings. (Picture 3)

At the conclusion, we were able to get our pictures taken with a different bald eagle (Picture 4) so we could see the eagle really close (Picture 5).  Then she announced she was ready to go (Picture 6).

Every Tuesday they put leashes on the eagles and take them for a swim in the Mississippi.

Our speaker was fascinating and strong.  Holding your arm out with 10 pounds on it for 45 minutes is quite a feat.  When the eagle was eating, he put 50-70 pounds of pressure on her hand.  This is a “MUST GO TO” if you are within 300 miles.

It was after 3:00, and we had an early breakfast.  On TripAdvisor, I found T-Bones Grill and Bar.  I had the Reuben, which was very good, and Dean enjoyed his cheeseburger.  The building is architecturally interesting and pretty.  The owner is a cattle rancher, and “he wanted good food when he came to town,” so he developed his own restaurant.  Service was great.   I would recommend it.

We didn't stop at LARK because it was getting late, but it did look interesting.  We'd definitely stop next time.

It was only 50 miles to Tomah, which is near tomorrow’s attraction.  Should be easy, right?  SO WRONG!  We use the RV’s GPS and my I-phone’s Mapquest.  Both told us to turn right, and they took us out on a dike surrounded by huge rectangular ponds that are cranberry bogs.  Then the road turned to dirt!  Scary!  Water was on all sides of us, and we were on this narrow dirt dike—definitely could not turn around, even if we detached the Jeep. And, darkness was descending upon us.   When we saw a fisherman, I told Dean to stop and ask him for directions.  He didn’t know how to get a vehicle our size out of the bogs, so he hopped in his pick-up, explored, found a way out that would fit us, and came back and guided us out to the highway.  Relief!  His truck had North Carolina plates, and I am so grateful to that Southerner, who told us, “By the way, you found the best fishing hole in Wisconsin!”  As I said, it was an exciting day.  But this kind of excitement, we’d be happy to skip.

Staying at WalMart
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 19, 2012, 10:26:54 PM
I would be willing to bet that most if not all of the families with children that were there that day were home-schooled.  When you were on the North Shore did you stop at Split Rock Lighthouse State Park?  It is very interesting and the lighthouse is one of the most photographed lighthouses on the Great Lakes.

I was on a similar wavelength.  I was thinking that with the cold winters, families would play board games, cards, do hobbies--all of which means interaction.  We saw lots of kids, so I'm sure some must have gone to public schools.  It would be interesting to know the "why".  All I can tell you is that it is.

No, we would have enjoyed the lighthouse, but time was a factor.  We like to linger and savor, and this really should have been a 2-day trip.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Billy Bob on September 20, 2012, 08:35:51 AM
I liked reading about and the pictures of the eagle center would love to visit there. Some times you just can't trust those GPS they can get you in trouble, glad that you found the fisherman to lead you back to the Hy.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on September 20, 2012, 12:21:45 PM
Fascinating description about the eagles, Linda.  Thanks for passing it on to us.  And neat photos too.

You really were lucky to find that helpful fisherman!  We love our GPS but never entirely trust it.  Sure glad you didn't have to try to turn around!

ArdraF
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Tom and Margi on September 20, 2012, 12:29:10 PM
Loved your eagle article, Linda.  I printed it for Tom to read, too. 
 
We can sympathize with your getting stuck on the levee.  We were misdirected to a Mississippe River levee (navigator's fault -- me) and were stopped dead by an 8 foot clearance trestle.  We managed to disconnect and turn the little 1982 Suzuki Samari around.  Any larger toad and we wouldn't have been able to turn it.  Then, Tom backed up at least three or four miles to get us out of that jam.  That was the last time his navigator recommended a "short cut".   ::)
 
Margi
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: MN Cake Eater on September 20, 2012, 05:29:16 PM
Dean and Linda, I'm glad you enjoyed the Nat'l. Eagle Center in Wabasha.  Here I thought I was going to have a chance to meet you in person.  I read your post early this morning from my hotel room (Hampton Inn) in Tomah, WI.  Right across the street from the WalMart! 

I packed up for my work day and drove across the street at 7:45 a.m., but you were already gone!  Only a Class C and a 2008 or 09 Winnebago Destination sitting in the parking lot.  I hope you enjoy the remainder of your trip.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 20, 2012, 11:51:17 PM
Sept. 19      Day 33            Baraboo, WI

We had a short drive to Necedah NWR. The beautiful new Visitors’ Center has solar panels all over the roof which supply about 60% of the energy they use.  They had interesting displays, and s short film.  The gift shop was small, but they had nice, quality items.  I bought myself a Christmas present.

Necedah is the premier site working hard to save the endangered Karmer blue butterfly.  They have planted lots of lupine and are doing studies. However, we didn’t see any Karmers.  We did see lots of pretty dragonflies.

They have a lovely driving trail through heavy woods and meadows.  We went very slowly for quite a while and saw absolutely nothing.  We started driving a little faster and saw some turkeys.  We’ve seen turkeys everywhere, but have never been in a position to be able to get a photograph, so I suggested to Dean that we get a shot of them.  As Dean turned to get the camera, the turkeys ran into the brush.  I saw an adult bald eagle fly into a tree right above the turkeys, and he was followed by a juvenile bald eagle.  Then a fox bounded across the road in the same spot. I have never seen a fox in the wild before.  I yelped with glee, and when Dean turned around to see what was up, he spotted a porcupine on the intersecting road (Picture 1).  The picture is a little blurry, but he was moving right along and was quickly into the bush.  This is the second porcupine I’ve seen in the wild.   In 60 seconds, I had seen turkeys, bald eagles, a fox, and a porcupine.  I was in heaven! 

With the possible exception of Denali NP, I saw more different wildlife here than I’ve ever seen anywhere.  We saw trumpeter swans, a whooping crane in flight (no picture), raptors, Canadian geese, and snow geese.  (Pictures 2 & 3)  Unfortunately, they were either so far away or they came and went too quickly to get good quality pictures.

We made a wrong turn and stumbled across this doe and her 2 fawns.  I don’t know who was more surprised.  They took a long look at us, and we have a forever look at “mom” because we got her photo before she ran into the woods. (Picture 4)

Please pardon the picture quality on #1-3.  We'll get out the long lens on the distant shots and ask the critters to stay still and let us get their photos.

We didn’t see any, but I believe them when they say they have otters, flying squirrels, wolves, and bobcats.

At one time there were only 16 whooping cranes.  They were taken into protective custody, and through an intense breeding program, their numbers have slowly increased.  If you have seen the film about when the first whooping cranes were re-introduced to migration by following an ultra-light to Florida for the winter, that happened at Necedah.  The cranes thought was the ultra-light was a crane. They did it again the next winter, but they remembered the route.  They now migrate each year all by themselves.  One year they did have a tragedy.  The flock got into a terrible storm system, and 17 were killed.  This was a real setback, but they are now rebounding and number over 200.

We have had two wonderful wildlife days in a row—the best 2 days of my trip.  Nothing trumps Mother Nature!

Staying at WalMart
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 21, 2012, 12:05:59 AM
Dean and Linda, I'm glad you enjoyed the Nat'l. Eagle Center in Wabasha.  Here I thought I was going to have a chance to meet you in person.  I read your post early this morning from my hotel room (Hampton Inn) in Tomah, WI.  Right across the street from the WalMart! 

I packed up for my work day and drove across the street at 7:45 a.m., but you were already gone!  Only a Class C and a 2008 or 09 Winnebago Destination sitting in the parking lot.  I hope you enjoy the remainder of your trip.

We were there on the night of the 18th, and we left on the 19th.  We are such sleepyheads, actually slow starters.  The earliest we have left anywhere on this trip was 8:40, which we celebrated because it was so early.  I suspect you looked for us on the morn of the 20th, and we missed each other by 23 hours.  I would love to meet you.  You helped make our trip through Minnesota so enjoyable.  Contact us if you ever get out our way in Southern California, and maybe we can do the same for you.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 21, 2012, 12:13:43 AM
Billy Bob, Margi, and Ardra, thank you for your kind words and thoughts.  It's nice to feel like I have friends along for the ride--and for the travails. 

Margi, the pickles we've gotten into have all been joint efforts so far.  I will learn from your experience and be more timid about shortcuts because I would feel so bad if I got Dean into a big jam.  Sometimes those roads look so good, and peter out into dust.  I'm going to be more cautious.  However, it's nice that we have managed to keep from putting our RVs into the drink, so we must have decent problem-solving skills.  Someone above is watching over us.

Happy and safe travels,
Linda

Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Bonnie Lawrie on September 21, 2012, 12:13:19 PM
Hi Linda,
     I just loved your interesting posting about eagles! Being a fan of fine feathered friends, I am always eager to learn more about them. Thank you so very much for sharing your trip!
     Space shuttle Endeavor is flying into Southern California today on the top of a huge airplane. I hope to catch a glimpse of it as it crisscrosses the Los Angeles/Orange County area on its way to LAX.
                                                                   Happy Trails,
                                                                              Bonnie
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Lorna on September 21, 2012, 03:52:01 PM
Linda,

When you were in Necedah you were just south of where I was born and raised.  That is a huge cranberry area.  Ocean Spray has a plant Babcock.  My father worked on his cousin's cranberry marsh during his early married life besides running a farm.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Billy Bob on September 21, 2012, 04:00:13 PM
Dean & Linda your commits on Whooping Cranes on your Sept 19 post reminded me of the ones that winter here on the Texas Gulf Coast. Hope you don't mind I posted a few photos of them here. These were taken on TX 35 4 miles west of West Columbia, TX and about 5 miles from my home. We are 50 miles southwest of Houston, TX. The pictures were taken in Jan. 2012
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Bonnie Lawrie on September 23, 2012, 10:22:12 AM
Hi Folks,
     Linda just called me from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She asked me to let you know that she is unable to get WiFi, due to the large trees surrounding the RV park, where they are staying. She will be posting again soon.
                                                                      Happy Trails,
                                                                            Bonnie Lawrie
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 25, 2012, 05:33:57 PM
Being a fan of fine feathered friends, I am always eager to learn more about them.
     Space shuttle Endeavor is flying into Southern California today on the top of a huge airplane. I hope to catch a glimpse of it as it crisscrosses the Los Angeles/Orange County area on its way to LAX.
                                                               

Bonnie, thanks for posting the note re my lack of WiFi.  I, also, love to see any raptor--even the turkey vulture excites me.  One of my Top Ten Most Thrilling Life Experiences was getting to see bald eagles close up as our RV neighbor tossed out fish in Valdez, Alaska.   This went on for about 20 minutes, and I had chills from the excitement the whole time.  They were coming within 20 feet of me!  The next night the City Council enacted a law making it illegal, so it's not an experience I can repeat.

I'm glad you got to see the Endeavor on its flyover, and I'm sorry I missed it.  It would have been a thrill.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 25, 2012, 05:43:15 PM
Dean & Linda your commits on Whooping Cranes on your Sept 19 post reminded me of the ones that winter here on the Texas Gulf Coast. Hope you don't mind I posted a few photos of them here. These were taken on TX 35 4 miles west of West Columbia, TX and about 5 miles from my home. We are 50 miles southwest of Houston, TX. The pictures were taken in Jan. 2012

Oh, my goodness!  Mind?  Feel free to post anything anytime.  I LOVED THEM!  I've been asking every naturalist that I have met where they go to winter, and all they tell me is "The Gulf Coast".  That's a huge area--bigger than the whole Pacific Coast of California, Washington, and Oregon.  I am so glad to have an exact location where they were spotted.  Then I can call that area's Audubon and find out what's happening this year.  We are tossing about doing a 2-month Texas trip in the winter to see your "snowbirds".  So, this information is really helpful.  Thanks, Billy Bob.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 25, 2012, 05:46:55 PM
When you were in Necedah you were just south of where I was born and raised.  That is a huge cranberry area.  Ocean Spray has a plant Babcock.  My father worked on his cousin's cranberry marsh during his early married life besides running a farm.

Lorna, the Necedah area is rich in wildlife.  I picked up a Sunday newspaper in Milwaukee, and they have a whole page on Necedah, but I haven't had a chance to read it.  But, you can be sure that we will carefully avoid all cranberry marshes if/when we return!  We will relive that experience every Thanksgiving when we see the cranberry sauce.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 25, 2012, 05:56:31 PM
Sept. 20      Day 34      Madison, Wisconsin

I read about the International Crane Foundation a decade ago, and it was on my Bucket List. We paid our admission of $8 each ($2 off for being seniors), and walked outside to the pens.  The first thing we noticed was that the walkways sparkled.  They are made 75% of recycled tumbled glass from bottles and are 25% granite and glue.  To construct paths in one exhibit, they used 160 tons of glass and created a market for recycled bottles.  Pavement usually sheds water, but these paths absorb the water while recharging groundwater and reducing stormwater runoff.

We first met the wattled cranes (Picture 1).  These South African cranes need for rivers to rise in the wet season and flood the plains.  Flooding protects them from predators during nesting.  They nest at the peak of flooding and then follow the receding water with their fast-growing chicks.  Recently, dams have been built which altered natural flooding.  Cranes stopped breeding, the grasslands dried up, and farming and fishing communities collapsed.  ICF has been helping local governments and dam operators find new solutions, such as timed water releases, to restore flooding.  Wattled Cranes are the most wetland-dependent, largest, and most threatened of the African cranes.

I think the black-crowned crane is the most beautiful.  They live in the Sabel, a savannah in the middle of Africa.  Human populations have greatly increased there, and over-grazing and climate change have caused the Sahara Desert to encroach upon it.  These gorgeous cranes and people compete for a decreasing supply of water and land.  ICF is working to protect the wetlands, a critical resource for local people.  In the U. S. we use 200 gallons of water per person per day.  In most of Africa, they use less than 20 gallons.

They have the world's only collection of all 15 species of cranes in 4 outdoor exhibits.  Three of the cranes, including the blue crane that I really was looking forward to seeing, chose to be inside where we couldn’t see them.   Most of the cranes had pens with thick wire, which made it impossible to get photos, so we just enjoyed their beauty.  Every sign stressed the measures ICF is taking worldwide to maintain and increase cranes’ numbers.  The Education Building had many interesting, interactive exhibits.  I learned that it is illegal to have any endangered birds feathers.  At ICF they bury all the feathers that are molted.

We drove 50 miles to Madison.
   
We arrived at Olbrich Botanical Gardens on the shores of Lake Monoma just as the 50-ft.-high glass conservatory had closed.  So, we went to the outside gardens (free admission) that are open from dawn to dusk.  Wow!  They were very pretty and tranquil.  They had some pretty and unusual flowers, and the bees were loving them.  They had many very tall beautiful trees, some of which are turning colors.  The Japanese Garden was small, but very well done and tranquil.  (Picture 5) We may need to hurry up to see the Michigan leaves.

Through a joint effort of the U of Wisconsin, the Thai community here, and private donors, the only Thai Pavilion & garden in U. S. was donated.  There are no nails or screws in it.  The people who build it in sections flew in from Thailand, and they were on one of the last planes to land in Chicago on 9-11-2001.  I couldn’t believe the amount of gold leaf, and it’s just out in the open air.   There was a lot of symbolism in the pavilion, including crowns to honor the Thai king.  The lion on the front law is a sign of good luck and protects the Pavilion. They placed a large planter pot in front of the temple that reminds the Thai of the pot of water in front of their homes that welcomed visitors in their hot, humid climate.(Picture 7)   There is a miniature representation of a mountain landscape composed of stacked boulders, conifers, and other dwarfed plants.  They also had some traditional Thai topiary.  Surrounding the temple is a forest or jungle reminiscent of the Thai forests.

We didn’t make it back to the enormous glass conservatory.  There were lots of squirrels, chipmunks, cardinals, hummingbirds, robins, and other birds.  The gardens were beautifully maintained and had a wonderful serenity.  I’d give this site an “A.”

We had a wonderful dinner at Joey’s Seafood and tried cheese curds.  Everything, especially the tiny corn muffins, was delicious.  The halibut and chips reminded us of Alaska.   Service was outstanding.  Prices were fair.

Then we went to Costco, which had huge aisles and much less product than we’ve seen anywhere else.   We were pleased that the post office had drive-through mailboxes.  It was a busy day. 

Staying at Lake Farm Park, 50 amps, no water/sewer @ site, but available, quiet county park, near Wal-Mart, roomy, pull-thru or back-in sites, good phone & satellite signal  $25, $2/night discount for seniors, $10 reservation fee, extra fee for dogs.  They have a wildlife observation deck that I would have liked to use if it weren’t so cold and rainy.  They also have a bicycle trail, fishing, boat launch, and a variety of sports areas.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on September 25, 2012, 06:25:46 PM
Ooooohhhh!  Lovely.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Billy Bob on September 25, 2012, 09:37:01 PM
Wow what great pictures
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 25, 2012, 11:33:35 PM

Sept. 21      Day 35      Milwaukee, Wisconsin 

Having a checkout time of 3:00 (we have discovered that all WI state parks have this policy) gave us lots of time to see the capitol.  It was in the low 50’s and raining, and we had problems finding parking because not even the Capitol Police know what their parking signs mean.  We couldn’t get a picture of the capitol because of the rain.  We got lucky and had a wonderful guide, Jerry.  We were given a private tour—just the two of us.

The current capitol was built in 1917 and was updated in the 1990’s.  The first capitol was in Belmont, the lead mining center.  In its 45 days of operation in 1837, it made only one decision—to move the capitol to Madison.  Madison was named after our 4th president who wrote the Constitution. They built the new capitol quickly—of wood that was green (not cured).  As it aged, it developed leaks and huge cracks, big enough to put your hand through. They built the second capitol from 1850-1860 of sandstone.  They had outgrown it, so they weren’t too unhappy when it burned down.

In 1906, they started the new capitol.  It cost $7.2 million and had its own power plant, which is still in use today.  It is shaped like a + sign with four wings, an unusual design.  In the 1980’s they added central air-conditioning and improved the electronics.

George Post, the architect who designed the capitol also designed the biggest building in the world for the Chicago World’s Fair and the New York Stock Exchange.  He was 69 years old, and he wanted for the Madison Capitol to be his crowning jewel of his career, and he succeeded.  Dean and I have seen lots of capitols, and I think this one ties with Frankfort, Kentucky for #1.  Dean says it is #3, behind Frankfort and Charleston.  Post paid a lot of attention to details and really thought it through.  He used glass tiles in the floor while allowed light to be reflected from the domes above to the area below.  There were many different types of marble throughout the capitol—all were beautiful.  And, all the marble columns are solid.  Gold leaf is used throughout the capitol.  The ceilings are so varied, symbolic, and amazing, they could do a whole tour based just on the ceilings.  They could also do a whole tour just on the beautiful paintings.

We started in the Conference Room, where this painting impressed me. (Picture 1)  It represents transportation in the past present, and future.  The train dominates the background, and there is a ship and a car.  But, there is a tiny PLANE in the sky!  The Wright Brothers had just made their first flight in the same year, but the artist realized that planes were the transportation of the future.

The first wing we visited was the Supreme Court (Picture 2).  Every sign was of the same marble and gold leaf—really quite striking.    They choose about 75 cases that have the biggest impact from 750 petitions submitted annually.  They work from September through June.  They hold court 3-4 times per month, and they hear 3-4 cases per day.  Each side gets only 30 minutes to present their evidence.  If they want to rebut, they have to save some of those minutes.  The afternoon that the case is heard they hold a preliminary vote and select the judge who will write the opinion.  Currently there are 4 women justices and 3 male justices.  The historical, formal, ceremonial chairs are shown here, but behind them are the comfortable chairs that the justices actually use. (Picture 3).  The painting of the “Signing of the Constitution” (Picture 4) shows Washington behind the table.  In the right is James Madison with a cloak on his arm, and he is talking with Alexander Hamilton.  Near Washington stands Thomas Jefferson who is talking to another delegate whose back is turned.  In the group of four men standing to the left is Benjamin Franklin.  However, Thomas Jefferson was in Paris in 1878 performing his duties as minister to France, so he couldn’t have been there. Picture 5 is of the “Trial of Chief Oshkosh” who was accused of killing a Pawnee tribal member.  Chief Oshkosh has folded his arms, with trappers, voyagers, and tribesmen watching.  He was acquitted because he acted in accordance with tribal law.  It established that the spirit of the law is more important than the letter of the law.  Picture 6 is “The Signing of the Magna Carta.”

There are 33 senators who are led by the President of the Senate.  Above his chair are three murals, which together form “The Marriage of the Atlantic and Pacific.” (Pictures 7, 8, and 9)  In the center panel, America is sitting on the throne and is blessing the union of the two oceans through the building of the Panama Canal.  The Atlantic, symbolized by Neptune, places a ring on the finger of Pacific.   

Each senator represents 165,000 people, and serves a 4-year term.  The minority gets to sit in the front of the Senate.  They have to be recognized to speak, and they are not addressed by name.  They are called to speak as, “The Senator from the ___District may speak.”  The President of the Senate, Fred Risser, is the longest serving state legislator ever in the United States, having served 50 years and is still going strong.  In the Senate, they still do a voice roll call.  The governor has line item veto power.  Two-thirds vote of the Senate is necessary to overturn the governor’s veto.

In the Assembly, the third wing, there are 99 assembly members, each serving a 2-year term.  Republicans sit by the windows, and the Democrats sit by the doors.  They vote electronically.  In fact, in 1919 they were the first legislature in the world to have electronic voting.  I think that makes it even stranger that the Senate votes by roll call.  The governor gives his State of the State speech here, and they set up extra seats for the senators and Supreme Court justices.

Above the speaker’s desk is the painting “Wisconsin.”  (Picture 10)  A female figure, who is named Wisconsin, appears throughout the Capitol and other governmental buildings—in fact, there is a huge 284-foot gilded bronze statue of her atop the Capitol dome.  In this painting, she is sitting on a rock surrounded by women symbolizing Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and the Mississippi River.  Sometime after the painting was hung, a beaver magically appeared in the lower right corner.  Hmmm…

The Governor’s Reception Room is truly palatial. (PICTURES 11, 12, 13)  It has more gold leaf than all of the rest of the Capitol combined, and that’s a LOT!   The whole room, from the ceiling to the paintings to the carvings is just so elegant.  It’s where the governor holds his press conferences and meets with important people. 

The guide had to leave so we became “voyagers” and found the statue “Wisconsin and Old Abe”.  (Picture 14) This is a TRUE story.  Chief Sky, the son of an Ojibwe chief, noticed a treetop nest, with two fledgling bald eagles, and to capture them, he cut down the tree.  One eaglet died from the fall, but the other became his pet.  A few months later when he and his father were on a trading expedition, they sold the eagle in exchange for a bushel of corn.  Then some young men from Wisconsin were going to enlist to fight for the Union in the Civil War pooled their money from a trader who wanted $2.50.  They needed just a little more money, so they asked a civilian, who declined to contribute, so they gave him 3 lusty groans.  He laughed and paid for the total cost, and he returned the quarters to the donors.  After that, he received cheers instead of groans.  The young soldiers’ leader, Captain Perkins, named the eagle “Old Abe” after President Lincoln, and his quartermaster made a special perch on which to carry the bird into battle, and a young soldier volunteered to take care of her. They became the regimental color company and were named “Eagle Company.”  Old Abe was carried, perched upon a banner, through the din and smoke of 36 battles.  She always got excited by battles, and she would spread her wings and scream.  When she passed by great generals like U. S. Grant and William Sherman, they would doff their hats.  In 1864, Old Abe came back to Wisconsin with several volunteers who did not re-enlist.  She was famous and went to expositions and conventions, and she lived in the Wisconsin State Capitol.  She died from smoke inhalation in a fire at the State Capitol in 1881.  She became the insignia of the 101st Airborne Division, who are known as the Screaming Eagles.

We went back to the center rotunda, which is spectacular.  There are 4 beautiful paintings.  The colors in the paintings were so vibrant, as if they were alive.  My favorite was Liberty (Picture 15.)

We went looking for the state seal, which we have seen in the other state capitols.  They are usually in a display case or mounted in the capitol’s rotunda.  Wisconsin’s is in a hallway ceiling off the center rotunda (Picture 16).  Dean lay on his back to be able to shoot this picture.  I thought the badger was the state animal because they have so many of them.  They were important in the fur trade, but Wisconsin became “The Badger State” because the miners were so busy making money in the lead mining boom of the 1830’s that they didn’t take time to build houses.  They lived in mine shafts and makeshift burrows, like badgers.  The triangles on the seal represent lead ingots.  I think the rest is self-explanatory.

We drove to Babcock Hall Dairy Store to purchase highly-touted University of Wisconsin cheese and ice cream.  The campus is huge and, unlike any university I’ve ever seen, it is interspersed with other buildings along major city thoroughfares.  Students use bicycles and scooters to traverse the long distances between classes.  It was the oddest campus I’ve seen. They had several blocks with only university departments and lots of greenhouses.   There was no close parking to Babcock, and it was cold (50°) and rainy, so we took a pass.  I’ll look for another cheesemaker.  I wanted to see it at U of W because they offer a Masters of Cheesemaking, which I thought was an odd masters program.

I enjoyed this capitol so much that bought a book about the history of the capitol and its symbols

Staying at Oak Creek Estates (Thanks to Lorna)---FHU, 50 amps, no satellite Internet because of tall trees.  It’s a bit short (we stick out a foot into the road), but I think it’s the best in Milwaukee.  I feel better because they escorted us, and it’s their road.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 25, 2012, 11:36:10 PM
More pics...
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 25, 2012, 11:38:01 PM
More pics...
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 26, 2012, 07:34:27 AM

Sept. 22      Day 36      Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The Milwaukee Public Museum is expensive at $11 per person + parking, which for us was $11 (about 5 hours).  It is such an outstanding museum that I feel I could spend 2 days here and never be bored.  However, after 3-4 hours in a museum, my interest wanes, so if I lived here, I’d buy an annual pass and do it over several days. They had an IMAX Theatre, a planetarium, a conservatory that we never found, and a butterfly pavilion.  99% of exhibits were behind glass, so we didn’t get many pictures, except of butterflies.  (Pictures 1, 2, 3, and 4)   

 The third floor was the most fascinating for both of us because it had more information that was new to us.  They had extensive, intriguing displays and dioramas on the Arctic and sub-Arctic regions, Polynesia, Indonesia, Latin America, Africa, Asia, South America, Egyptian mummies, and Australia, and we learned so much.  Their displays included a lot of information on day-to-day life, but sometimes I was left with questions.   Most items were real, but the Easter Island head (moai) was a replica (Picture 5).   They told the story of how they have disintegrated and been destroyed.  I learned that originally they all had bodies.

The second floor has great exhibits about Native Americans.  They are only the second museum of maybe 50 displays I’ve seen to tell at least a small part of the whole story of  the Kwakiutl culture’s ugly side.  (They were very brutal, sometimes cannibalistic, and enslaved captives.)  I didn’t share this with my students when we studied them in 3rd grade because I thought it was inappropriate.  This museum did it by talking about the 3-4 performances the Kwakiutl did each winter, each lasting several days.  They had a couple of sentences about the “cannibal dance,” which young men entering adulthood performed under the guidance of a shaman and 4 female assistants.  They shared that the performer bites people as he dances.

There were displays about Wisconsin wildlife and plants on the second floor, also.  I spent so much time up there than I never saw the first floor, and Dean only had a brief overview.  It was about Old Milwaukee, the butterfly wing, insects, dinosaurs, rain forest, Greek warriors and pottery.

I’d grade this an “A”.  The only negatives for me were the lunch in their café (bring your own), and the signs.  They would speak of several things in the same sign, but did not identify by a numbered map on the bottom or a description, so if you didn’t know which was which, you didn’t know what they were talking about.
 
Staying at Oak Creek Estates (Thanks to Lorna)---FHU, 50 amps, no satellite Internet because of tall trees.  It’s a bit short (we stick out a foot into the road), but I think it’s the best in Milwaukee.   $40 cash/check
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 26, 2012, 07:39:47 AM
Sept. 23      Day 37      Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This morning we went to The Domes, Milwaukee’s indoor botanical garden, which cost us only $9.50 (multiple discounts—handicapped, senior, and AAA).  The Domes consist of 3 glass domes (Picture 1).   The Show Garden Dome, which I believe has rotating themes, currently has a theme of Don Quixote.  There are 4 statues with scenes from the book surrounded by colorful flowers (Picture 2).   “Enya” was playing subtly in the background—very nice touch!

The second dome had the Arid Garden. I really enjoyed its warmth.  The temperature outside was 52°F.

The third dome, The Tropical Garden, was the best.  One of my favorite plants was the Queen of the Night. (Picture 3)  It has fragrant flowers that can grow as large as a person’s head.  It only opens for one night, and that’s why it looks so droopy now.  It emits a sweet scent, luring bats as pollinators.

When I taught, one of the stories in our reading book was about the calabash.  My daughter married into a Hawaiian family, and they refer to their close friends as their “calabash family”.   So, I was pleased to see a real calabash for the first time.  (Picture 4)  These are not edible, though sometimes islanders dry them out and use them as  canteens or a percussion instruments.   These also have night-blooming flowers, which are produced along the trunk.  I can’t think of any other plants that do that.  Bats also act as pollinators for these flowers.  The wood is hard and is used for tools and tool handles.  The fibers from the tree are twisted into twine and ropes.

This garden had pretty orchids, such as Picture 5.  Brightly-colored birds flitted between the branches.  Dean tried and tried to get a picture, and, giving up, he said, “I can’t find any now.”  A bird was within a few feet over him, and squawked a reply, seemingly saying,  “Here I am!”  After teasing Dean and having him running around several times, now he just sat there posing, allowing Dean to take Picture 6.

We went to an indoor farmers’ market to eat at St. Paul Fish Company.  They had fresh cheeses, wines, frozen custards, gourmet chocolate candy, and many places to eat.

We headed to the gorgeous Milwaukee Art Museum (Picture 7) which is right on the shore of Lake Michigan.  The wings on the roof open at 10:00 when the museum opens, are closed and re-opened at noon, and are closed at 5:00 when the museum closes.   We watched these hardy Milwaukeeans on their WaveRunners playing on the lake.

We paid $5 to park, and entered through the Veterans War Memorial.  We took the elevator down ½ floor to the most beautiful long, shiny white marble hallway and lobby.  It was really elegant, almost palatial.  Admission was $12 each.  I was really surprised when I entered and all the walls were plain concrete.  Talk about a contradiction!

They had some pieces I really enjoyed.  I have long admired Frederic Remington’s work, both his bronzes and his paintings.  He lived only 48 years, which is our loss.  “The Bronco Buster,” his first sculpture, portrays a struggle between man and beast. (Picture 8) Theodore Roosevelt was given a cast of this by his Rough Riders, the men of the First U. S. Volunteer Calvary that he famously led up San Juan Hill in the Spanish-American War.

 “Entrapped Otter” by John James Audubon was also a favorite.  He went to England in 1826 to find a publisher for his 7-volume The Birds of America.  Like his drawings of birds, he based this painting on close study of killed specimens.  This violent composition of an otter that is caught in a trap is so different from the cheerful bird pictures that I have seen.  It was done with oils on fabric, whereas his other paintings I’ve seen were all watercolors or pen-and-ink.  It also has a reflective paint around the mouth, which is unique.  He painted this same subject at least 6 times.

The explanatory signs by the paintings were excellent.  However, overall, I was disappointed.  I felt that the building’s exterior was awesome in its beauty, but the artwork inside was not of the same quality.

Staying at Oak Creek Estates (Thanks to Lorna)---FHU, 50 amps, no satellite Internet because of tall trees.  It’s a bit short (we stick out a foot into the road), but I think it’s the best in Milwaukee.  $40 cash/check
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 26, 2012, 07:42:39 AM
More pictures...
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 26, 2012, 07:47:11 AM
Sept. 24      Day 38      Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Today was full of bumps in the road—literally and figuratively.  We went into Joliet, Illinois, to have a few hours of fun at Harrah’s.  They have a road game which ends on Sept. 30.  If we visit Harrah’s properties in different geographical areas, they give us $150 each, which did give us a net profit (their money was more than our losses).  But, there is no way it was worth it.. 

We have encountered frequent, massive construction everywhere on this trip.  However, never before have we had the big drops as pavement changes.  We encountered bridges that were out, detours, about 6 toll booths, and only one-lane traffic.  The trip that Mapquest told us would take 2 hours 11 minutes took over 3 hours of jarring, unpleasant travel. 

We also did enjoy all the trees, many in their fall colors.  It reminded me of a statement in my students’ social studies books that said that though there have never been monkeys in the US, if there had been, in the 1700’s they could have swung from tree to tree all the way from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, without ever touching the ground.

I also felt ripped off by the Wisconsin and Illinois.  We paid almost $10 in tolls, which was OK, but I hate paying double because we aren’t able to get their transponder.  We would pay $1.60 in toll, and we saw signs that said that transponders only had to pay $0.80!  I felt gouged.

Staying at Oak Creek Estates (Thanks to Lorna)---FHU, 50 amps, no satellite Internet because of tall trees.  It’s a bit short (we stick out a foot into the road), but I think it’s the best in Milwaukee. $40 cash/check


Sept. 25      Day 39      Green Bay, Wisconsin

Today was a day of obstacles we couldn’t hurdle.  And, almost every decision we made was wrong.  Our first stop was supposed to be the Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge.  I suspect it is an excellent site.  However, they have no big rig parking, and they suggested that we park at the Beaver Dam Walmart and take the Jeep for the 3.2 mile auto tour.  I knew it would be a lot of driving on county roads, but I thought that would be scenic.  After driving about 30 minutes from the freeway, we encountered a sign that said the road was out 2 miles ahead.  Our GPS said our turn was 2 miles ahead, so we hoped. (Mistake #1 of the day.)  The construction was just feet away from our turn.  We had looked for any possible detour, but all we encountered along the way were narrow roads that looked like they would be problematic.  At the detour, Dean determined that he couldn’t make a U-turn and would have to detach the Jeep (Mistake #2).   He took the Jeep to explore possible alternate routes and couldn’t find anything.  He made the U-turn without having to back up, so he didn’t have to detach the Jeep, plus he would have saved the time he spent exploring those tiny roads.  We decided to skip Horicon.  We backtracked to the major two-lane, striped road that we’d taken in, and we put our next destination in the GPS.  We found our way to a US highway and flew by the Beaver Dam Walmart.  He debated turning back, but we now knew that the Walmart was about half-an-hour from Horicon (Mistake #3—I should have asked how far it was when I talked with Horicon, but the ranger said, “Oh, everyone just parks down at the Walmart” like it was nearby.)

Our second stop was supposed to be The Bubolz Nature Preserve, which sounded like it was great.  I decided to give them a call because our day was full of troubles, and I found that they were doing some big educational all-day seminar and were closed for the day. 

We encountered lots of lengthy construction all day.  I breathed a sigh of relief when we got to this Sam’s Club at 4:00.  We chose it because we knew we’d have open spaces and could use our satellite.  After all, tonight many of our favorite TV programs are broadcasting their premiers.  I also wanted to re-connect with RVForum.

Staying at Oak Creek Estates (Thanks to Lorna)---FHU, 50 amps, no satellite Internet because of tall trees.  It’s a bit short (we stick out a foot into the road), but I think it’s the best in Milwaukee.

Staying at Green Bay’s Sam’s Club
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Ned on September 26, 2012, 07:50:50 AM
Quote
Staying at Oak Creek Estates (Thanks to Lorna)---FHU, 50 amps, no satellite Internet because of tall trees.  It’s a bit short (we stick out a foot into the road), but I think it’s the best in Milwaukee.   $40 cash/check

What site are you in?  If you have a chance, take a picture looking down the east side road.  We want to see how they raised the flooded sites.  The only other place to park in Milwaukee is the state fairgrounds in West Allis, and that has some problems of its own :)

Oops, I see you have moved on from Milwaukee.  And Wisconsin doesn't have any toll road, just Illinois :)
 
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 27, 2012, 06:02:10 PM
What site are you in?  If you have a chance, take a picture looking down the east side road.  We want to see how they raised the flooded sites.  The only other place to park in Milwaukee is the state fairgrounds in West Allis, and that has some problems of its own :)

Oops, I see you have moved on from Milwaukee.  And Wisconsin doesn't have any toll road, just Illinois :)

Oops on me.  Sorry, Wisconsin.  We really like you a lot, and now that we know you don't have toll roads, we like you even more.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: therealsimpsons on September 27, 2012, 07:03:28 PM
You could have stopped at any of the Illinois tollway oasis' on your way to Joliet, and purchased an I-Pass transponder.  If you took I-94 to I-294 to I-55, you would have gone under three of them. I think they are $10.00 and would have saved you 50% monetarily, and lots of time by not having to stop at the toll booths.

I'm glad you liked Wisconsin, but its mostly a suburb of Chicago.    ;D
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Ned on September 27, 2012, 07:17:11 PM
Quote
I'm glad you liked Wisconsin, but its mostly a suburb of Chicago.    ;D
Modify message

Only Lake Geneva :)
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 29, 2012, 11:10:21 AM
Sept. 26      Day 40      Green Bay, Wisconsin

We came over to the casino in the morning, and we took Space 5.  We couldn’t get anything with our satellite, but we saw that others at the end had their dishes up.  We’ll watch for a vacancy.

First we went to Green Bay Botanical Garden.  I didn’t expect much because it’s fall and temperatures have been near freezing, but I was hoping to see some pretty trees.  Admission was $5 each.  They must have lots of garden-loving volunteers because we saw many blooming flowers.  (Picture 1)  They had some huge tomatoes growing, many herbs, rhubarb, and roses.  Everything was well-labelled.  There were many labels for plants now gone so I can only imagine what it would be like in the spring.  It’s not a AAA gem because it isn’t like a big city botanical garden, but it is charming.

We only had an hour to visit the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary which closed at 4:30, but it’s free, so we can do it in two parts.  A cute bunny greeted us on the trail. (Picture 3)  I am thrilled by what many would consider commonplace because we don’t have much wildlife where I live.  Even though we were short on time, we lingered to watch this playful river otter and his buddy.  (Picture 4)  He seemed genuinely happy to have company and interrupted his slide to stop and watch us as we watched him.  Then, he scampered UP the slide.  It was like he enjoyed being photographed, and he struck a pose for Dean (Picture 5).  The cougar was beautiful (Picture 6).  We have seen chipmunks and squirrels everywhere dashing around preparing for winter, but this guy stopped for a moment to check us out.  (Picture 7)  A man came and told us we had to leave, but we will be back tomorrow for sure.

We went into the casino to eat dinner.  It also gave us a good chance to chat with locals, who strongly recommended that we tour the Door Peninsula.  I had looked at doing that, but I thought we were too early for fall colors.  In talking at the blackjack table, I learned that the leaves are close to peak.  I had a wonderful streak of luck, and forgot to eat dinner.  Dean also did well.

Staying at Oneida Casino RV Parking--$15, 50 amps, no water, sewer, or dump, beautiful trees, satellite reception in Spaces 8, 9, and 10 only.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 29, 2012, 11:50:39 AM
Sept. 27      Day 41      Green Bay, Wisconsin

Hurrah!  This morning someone moved, and we now have satellite reception!

This morning, Dean went to National Railroad Museum Admission was $10.  He enjoyed himself, and he will do his own post about it.  I loved having downtime to be able to clean the RV.

When Dean returned, we went for Part 2 of the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary.  We started with the raptors, all injured but beautiful, happy birds.  The main purpose of this sanctuary is restoring birds to health or providing a safe refuge for those who can’t be returned to the wild.  Wild Canadian geese, which many around here consider pests, abound.  However, I think they are beautiful.  I bought corn and enjoyed feeding them.  (Picture 1)  The thick wires of the cages prevented pictures.  Dean’s favorite was the gorgeous snowy owl.  I loved them all. 

When we came back to the main building, a naturalist was changing the dressing on an elderly red-tailed hawk. (Picture 2)  His wink was infected with maggots when he was brought in, and he is slowly responding to the good care.   Chipmunks and squirrels abound.  This one took time out to pose for us.  (picture 3)  The sandhill cranes were working hard to preen their feathers. (Picture 4)

This is not a big city zoo, and that’s not its mission.  We really had a good time.  Admission was free, but these animals don’t eat for free, so we will be making a nice donation to help out.

Staying at Oneida Casino RV Parking--$15, 50 amps, no water, sewer, or dump, beautiful trees, satellite reception in Spaces 8, 9, and 10
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Bonnie Lawrie on September 29, 2012, 12:10:29 PM
Hi Linda & Dean,
     I am enjoying your posts and photos so much! Thanks for sharing. When will you be in the U. P. ?
                                                                                      Happy Trails,
                                                                                                    Bonnie
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Billy Bob on September 29, 2012, 12:35:00 PM
I enjoy keering up with your travels in the N. C. US. I kmow that i would like to spend time in The Nat. RR Museum just love the trains. And we could spend a day or two at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary. Enjoy your photos and info on your trip.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: therealsimpsons on September 29, 2012, 05:01:14 PM
Did you get to see the Big Boy in Green Bay? Got to see two of them on our recent trip. One in Cheyenne, and one in Omaha. Magnificent!
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Lorna on September 29, 2012, 06:19:23 PM
Hi Linda,

Glad that you and Dean are enjoying Wisconsin.  In Milwaukee you probably should have taken pictures of the outside of the Art Museum and then gone next door to the Discovery World which is wonderful.  They give a history of the Great Lakes, fish tanks that you walk through, under and on top of.  They have a mock up of a schooner and other nautical items.  I believe the Les Paul display is still there on the second floor.

Hope you decide to go to Door County because you can drive the area in a day.  Don't know if it is to late for a fish boil in Fish Creek but if they are still doing it it is very tasty if you like fish.  It is a beautiful drive.

If you live near a park or a beach in Wisconsin Canada Geese are a nuisance because of their droppings.  They are Canada Geese.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 29, 2012, 08:59:49 PM

     I am enjoying your posts and photos so much! Thanks for sharing. When will you be in the U. P. ?
                                                                                     

I'm sure you know many of the places we've visited very well.  I am trying to do them justice.  We are having a wonderful time.  We just landed in Minocqua (outside Lac du Flambeau), and it is 21:00 Central Time.  We will probably be in Michigan Monday.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on September 30, 2012, 09:15:11 AM
Computer has gone schizophrenic.  May be gone awhile. 
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Betty Brewer on September 30, 2012, 10:56:29 AM
I received a very garbled misspelled message from Linda indicating her computer was adding and subtracting letters.  When she can contact Apple she will be back. 
Leave it to Linda to find a way to keep us posted!
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 02, 2012, 08:39:58 AM
I received a very garbled misspelled message from Linda indicating her computer was adding and subtracting letters.  When she can contact Apple she will be back. 
Leave it to Linda to find a way to keep us posted!

We thought we had it solved, and I was jumping for joy.  However, I just discovered that it is back, but in a milder form that I may be able to live with.  Dean worked many hours checking settings, and he decided that the only solution was to drive back to Madison, a 422-round trip, to get to an Apple Store genius.  I called yesterday morning to make an appointment, and no one answered the Apple Store phone.  So, I called technical support.  The tech said that he had 6 cases just like ours yesterday.  For the first time ever, Apple was infected with a malware--it's called "Flashback".  I did not pass it on to anyone because I didn't send any file folders from my computer.  However, it may have captured our personal info, but probably (hopefully) not.  I have contacted banks and credit cards, as a precaution.

We virus-checked all 890,000 files on our 6-year-old computer, which took all day yesterday.  We'll work more today.

How did we get it?  We have the best virus protection available, and we are very conscientious about immediately updating.  However, it only works when it is turned on.   When Dean was having trouble getting his e-mail from the Cloud at the beginning of the trip, he was trying different  settings, and he turned off the anti-virus.  AND, HE FORGOT TO TURN IT BACK ON!  A big OOPS!
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 02, 2012, 09:15:24 AM
Sept. 28      Day 42      Green Bay, Wisconsin

The Door County Peninsula is bounded on the west by Green Bay and on the east by Lake Michigan.  There are many state parks and great hiking.  It is a really pretty area.

Our first stop was The Ridges Sanctuary.  It sounded really interesting.  It is the home to 25 of the 45 species of endangered orchids (we saw none, even though the naturalist told me we would).  The naturalist told me that even with the cold weather we would see some of the hundreds of species of native wildflowers (we saw none).  It supposedly has 30 crescent-shaped ridges that mark the shoreline changes over the last 1200 years.  Lake Michigan extended a mile further inland than it does today.  Sand was deposited during the last advance of glaciers into Wisconsin, and that sand was carried by currents along the Lake Michigan shoreline into Baileys Harbor, then settled out of the slow moving water.  That sand was pushed into ridges by the tides and when lake levels have dropped, the ridge becomes exposed and is capped with wind-blown sand.  Then plants grow.

Admission was $5 each, and the people in the gift shop were very nice.  The trails were rigorous and really beat me up, only to be stopped near the end by planks that were too narrow.  On the way back to the parking lot, we decided to take a different trail which was supposedly also good for me, and when we were within sight of the parking lot, we encountered a non-accessible portion.  So, we had to backtrack.  I was really sore from all the sloped areas, tree roots, and what Dean called my “deathgrip”.   The one thing we did get to see was the only conifer which changes color.  It changes from green to an orange-brown.  This is a private place, and I think they just wanted our money and color-coated the truth in answering my questions regarding accessability.. 

We headed for the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek, which I had already heard about and a sanctuary volunteer had recommended.  She said that they did the premier “fish boil”.  Once we arrived there, we tried to order the fish boil for lunch.  We learned that it is only done in the evenings 4 days a week and requires a reservation.  They were booked solid, but they recommended Pelletier and the Old Post Office Restaurant, who also do fish boils.  The only opening at Pelletier were for the 8:15 serving, but The Old Post Office was able to get us in for the 5:15 boil.  Since we would be having an early dinner, we split a wonderful tuna melt at The White Gull.  They served it on separate plates with a scoop of delicious potato salad.  I would highly recommend The White Gull.  It has a lot of charm, antiques, great service, and they were helpful in getting us to a fish boil.

We then drove to the nearby Peninsula State Park.  Admission was $5 for 1 hour or $10 for all day.   There is a 9-mile road along the shoreline and a cute lighthouse.  There were so many beautiful trees in all shades of green, a few yellow and muted orange, and a very few red.   The water was calm.

As we went further north on the peninsula, there was more and more color.  Even the greens were varied and pretty.  Many or the roads had tree arches over them.   I said, "Oooh, look at that!" very often.

Everyone on the peninsula takes pride in their property, so it is a pretty drive.  There are many art galleries and cute boutique-type shops.  This whole peninsula, especially Fish Creek, is a resort area with a lot of history, and many people from the Chicago area vacation here.
 
The Old Post Office Restaurant in Ephraim was built in the late 1890’s, as a general store.  A decade later, a post office was put in at the rear.  We got there at 4:30 so we could see the preparations for the Fish Boil. 

Lake Michigan whitefish are caught fresh daily by local fishermen using nets (they won’t take bait).  The boil is cooked outdoors over an open fire, just as it was 100 years ago by the Scandinavian settlers of the Door Peninsula.   The boilmaster (chef), Earl, put in potatoes first and cooked them for about 10 minutes.  Throughout the cooking process, he told history and jokes. Then he added onions and cooked them for 10 minutes.  Last, he added cut chunks of  fresh fish. (Picture 1) Salt is the only spice used.  Fish oils rose to the surface of  the boil,   Earl announced that the boil was done by throwing a quart of turpentine on the fire, causing the fire to superheat, and the water boiled over bigtime! (Picture 2) We then went inside the restaurant and enjoyed the fish steaks, small red potatoes, white onions, homemade lemon, pumpkin, zucchini breads, and cherry pie with frozen custard ($1.75 extra).  My fish was delicious; Dean opted for the crispy, fried chicken, which he said was very good, also.

We were told by everyone that the best fish boil is at the White Gull Inn, but I can't imagine anything better than The Old Post Office.

Staying at Oneida Casino RV Parking--$15, 50 amps, no water, sewer, or dump, beautiful trees, satellite reception in Spaces 8, 9, and 10
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Billy Bob on October 02, 2012, 10:07:38 AM
We were in Door County in 2003. Thanks for the info and pictures brings back memories. Door County and the peninsula is a very scenic area. 
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 02, 2012, 12:32:18 PM
Sept. 29      Day 43       Minocqua, Wisconsin

We drove 100 miles north to Wausau and encountered Wonderland--beautiful leaves everywhere.    I said, "Oooh, look at that!" very often. They are the most varied, beautiful, and abundant leaf colors I've ever seen, even on our trips to Vermont and New Hampshire.  Pictures don't begin to do them justice. (Picture 1)  We did get a picture of the only conifer that changes color (Picture 2).

We went to Wausau to see the Woodson Art Museum, so we parked our RV at the friendly Walmart.  The Woodson is a AAA gem-rated venue, and I totally agree.  Admission is free, but we left a nice donation because we were so impressed. 

When we arrived, they were just taking down the booths from a special festival, "Octo-BIRD-fest," so we went on into the museum.  They have a permanent exhibit titled "Spectacular Birds in Art," which is amazing.  The paintings look so real that they could be photographs.  One of my favorites was "Gyrfalcoln", an acrylic and watercolor done by Roger Troy Peterson. (Picture 3)  I really thought that this carved kestrel on basswood done by Todd Wohli was a bird that had been stuffed. (Picture 4) This carved feather by Chris Maynard was incredible. (Picture 5) The shadows are not in the real picture, but the reflection was a problem.  He bought the molted turkey feather from a special turkey rancher who breeds the turkeys for colored feathers.  Then he made the cutouts from the feather using surgical tools and magnifiers.

We went outside to view the statues, which were lovely.  But, the best part was the active wildlife.   Chipmunks scurried; birds chirped; woodpeckers knocked.   We saw lots of robins, jays, and other nameless birds.  I thought the woodpecker was across the street, but Dean saw him right near us and started clicking.  As he neared, the woodpecker started running around the tree, and he was faster than Dean, but Dean snapped this photo.  (Picture 6)  He never did leave.  All the birds seemed comfortable with people being around.

A volunteer docent told me that people come from all over the world to see this small-ish museum.  Even Dean enjoyed it!   (That means it has to be awesome.)

We picked up the motorhome and drove on to Minocqua.

Stayed at  Minocqua WalMart because we got here after dark and we don't like coming into parks in the dark.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 02, 2012, 12:35:17 PM
Sept. 30      Day 44         Minocqua, Wisconsin

We went to the Chamber of Commerce to get maps and learn about scenic drives.  They weren't any people working there on Sunday, but the center was open so we could pick up maps.  We met some other people who were looking for information, but they already knew of a scenic drive.  We drove their 10-mile scenic drive and found vibrantly colored leaves (Picture 1).  Then we just explored, looking for more color.

Staying at Patricia Lake Campground--WONDERFUL!  Beautiful, wooded campground.  We are in Site B1, the only one with satellite reception--FHU, 50 amps ($19.50 with Passport America--What a steal!), helpful, considerate owners, can  check out at 3:00 for only $5 more
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 02, 2012, 12:53:43 PM

Oct. 1         Day 45         Minocqua, Wisconsin

We started early with a visit to the Wildwood Wildlife Park, a small town zoo.  They had many pretty trees. (Picture 1) Admission was $14 each, which I thought was a little steep.  After seeing all their animals, I realized it cost a lot to feed all those critters, so I think it is fair. 

The first area, which you must go through, is a Petting Farm, and I thought, "This is going to be hokey."  A very big bunny had the "laid back" attitude of  all the animals in the petting area. (Picture 2) There were goats and pigs, too.  They had several small animals in cages here.  During the summer they have animal shows and a walk-in budgie aviary.

They had many different injured birds of prey.  They have cranes, kangaroos, a llama, camel, emus, wallabies, buffalo, zebras, turkeys, deer, including an albino, roaming and willing to be petted, reptiles, primates, a Canadian lynx, wood ducks, bobcat, snapping turtles roaming free, a bobcat, Arctic fox, porcupines, foxes, quail, tiger, woodchuck, raccoon, prairie dogs, a leopard, and a mountain lion.  I'm sure I left some out, but I wanted to show that they had a wide variety and many animals.

They had several animals I had seen before, but I had forgotten the names of the aoudad, fisher, coatimundi, cavy, tamarin, marmoset (Picture 3), duiker (which we have seen many times in San Diego),  capybara, and kinkajou. I really miss my memory!  New to us was the muntjac..

You can feed many of the animals.  They have "bear juice" you can feed the black bears.  There are pellets for the rabbits, deer, and camel.  The deer approached even though I didn't have food for him (no quarters--I've been tossing them in the console in the Jeep ever since we encountered toll roads).  (Picture 4)

 There were 2 special exhibits.  There was a beautiful pheasant area, with the most gorgeous golden pheasant,  a "knock your socks off" beautiful red-and-gold pheasant, and many more elegant pheasants.   I was amazed at the exotic chickens.  Some were ruffled; others were super fluffy; some had really pretty colors.

We felt that many of the cages were way too small, but they were immaculate.  I really close to see a beaver and black bear.  We got closer to most animals than we have ever been anywhere before.  The river otters did have a nice large area, and they delighted us with their antics.

We had lunch at Culver's, a chain we've seen often in our travels.  Dean's fish sandwich was huge and tasty, my hamburger not so much.

I have an interest in Native Americans.  We couldn't go to the previous "Indian" museum in Green Bay because they were closed for inventory, so the George W. Brown Jr. Ojibwe Museum & Cultural Center was a must.  It is a small museum, and probably wouldn't interest many people, but I learned a lot.  There were many page-long explanatory signs (some written on Ojibwa and English), which I stopped to read, so we spent a couple of hours there. (Pictures 5, 6, and 7) Most people would be done in 15-20 minutes.  Admission was $3.

We didn't make it to the Woodland Indians Art Center.

Staying at Patricia Lake Campground--WONDERFUL!  Beautiful, wooded campground.  We are in Site B1, the only one with satellite reception--FHU, 50 amps ($19.50 with Passport America--What a steal!), helpful, considerate owners, can  check out at 3:00 for only $5 more
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: therealsimpsons on October 02, 2012, 06:34:16 PM
We really liked Door County. Your posts brought back memories. The Old Post Office fish boil was a treat!
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 02, 2012, 10:23:58 PM
Oct. 2      Day 42      Baraga, Wisconsin

We lingered at Patricia Lake CG to catch up on posting, and the campground waived the overtime fee.  They are really nice people.  As we got further east on the UP, the colors intensified.  Beautiful yellows and golds abound.  Some trees are bare; others have just started to turn.  So, I think we are at the peak time.  We have seen single red maples that were brilliant.  We have also seen a few amazing bright orange trees. 

When we pulled in, we checked the weather.  They were predicting snow on Thursday on two different weather websites.  That meant we would only have 1 day to see the whole Western Upper Peninsula.  And, this is the focus of our whole trip!  But, snow and lows of 25°-28° make us nervous.  As we head for bed, they have postponed the snow and turned it into rain, and the low is 34° on Thursday, which means more time to enjoy.  I checked on snow before we came, and they never get snow before Oct. 15, or at least that was true until we visited.

I am really looking forward to seeing wonderful colors tomorrow!

The only place to stay near the sights we wanted to see is Baraga Casino.  It is on the edge of the parking lot, just like a 4th row of asphalt parking spaces.  FHU, 50 amps, only $20 per night, no trees of course, so we have great satellite reception.  We didn't go into the casino, so I can't tell you anything about it.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 02, 2012, 10:27:06 PM
We really liked Door County. Your posts brought back memories. The Old Post Office fish boil was a treat!
Did you go to the same one we went to?  Did you go to any others?  Was Earl your boilmaster?  Were there any differences in your experience?  I'd love to know what the one in Fish Creek that was rated so highly by all did differently.  I just can't imagine how they could do it better, other than their dining room was prettier and full of antiques.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 04, 2012, 01:15:20 AM
Oct. 3      Day 43      Baraga, Michigan

This fantastic day started with a delicious Finnish breakfast at Suomi, in Houghton.  (Picture 1)   I had pannukakku--a delicious oven-baked custard-like pancake served with warm raspberry sauce and Nisu toast (a slightly sweet bread made with evaporated milk).

We saw an amazing act of kindness there.  Our waitress went over to a booth next to our table and asked them if they knew the people who had been in the booth behind them.  They said they didn't.  She told them that the couple had paid for this couple's breakfast.  All they could figure out was that when the lady was putting on her coat, she bumped the man's head, and maybe that was her way of showing how sorry she was.  He hadn't thought it was any big deal.  We had fun talking with locals, and they gave us good information.

We drove out to the end of the Keweemau Peninsula through beautiful forest.  Some of the trees formed a tunnel over the road.  Some had shades of green, yellow, gold, and orange--all on the same tree.  There weren't many red trees, but they were brilliant.  (Pictures 2, 3, 4, and 5)

At the end of the road in Copper Harbor, we happened on Fort Wilkins State Park.  We paid $8 to park our car, and we developed a real appreciation for how hard the life was for those soldiers and their wives.  When the United States took control of the western half of the Upper Peninsula from the Ojibwa in 1842, they encouraged development of copper mines.  Fort Wilkins was built to keep law and order.  The only way to get supplies to the fort was by boat on Lake Superior.  They were not able to get supplies for 6 months each year because of ice on the lake.  I was surprised to learn that in the years 1840 to 1870, more than 50% of the people in the US Army were foreign-born.  Many did not speak English well or understand the American culture and customs.  They were very poorly paid.  After their 4 year enlistment was over, only 4% of them re-enlisted.  The story of their lives was well displayed, and we both enjoyed the history.

We stopped at Swede's Rock Shop, which turned out to be just a tourist trap with poor quality merchandise.  We drove up the little mountain on Hwy. 26 and saw beautiful panoramas of the whole valley. (Picture 6,7)  We stopped at Eagle Falls, which shows evidence of the drought they've had this past year.  (Picture 8)  They do need the rain, but I wish it would choose to come at a time when we're not here.

We dropped into Tony's Country Cafe in Laurium to buy frozen pasties that we could eat later.  The Cornish miners ate these for lunch.  Pasties are beef, onion, potatoes, rutabaga, and spices wrapped in a tasty crust.  Tony's has a great reputation, and we had brought an ice chest to keep them frozen until we could get back to the motorhome. 

We ate dinner at Bambu Asian Cuisine in Houghton because it had been recommended.  I've never had better hot-and-sour soup; Dean's won ton soup was also great.  We tried an egg roll and a spring roll.  Both were delicious, but I think we prefer the spring roll.  Dean ordered sweet-and-sour pork, which was 95% pork.  It was good, but Dean missed the veggies.  I had sesame chicken, which was wonderful.

We needed groceries and stopped at Econo.  When we pulled in a parking space, we saw this sign.   (Picture 9)  When we checked out, the cashier asked for the store's card, which would give us a discount.  Of course, we didn't have one.  So, she ran her own card.  How nice!  And, we got an additional 10% discount because today was Senior Day.  They certainly treat others with kindness here.

Staying at Baraga Casino--$20, FHU, 50-amps, on asphalt at the edge of the parking lot.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 04, 2012, 01:17:18 AM
More pictures...
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: MN Cake Eater on October 04, 2012, 07:15:41 PM
You just visited one of our family's favorite getaway locations.  The Houghton/Hancock area is wonderful.  I'm hoping not too many people read your wonderful report or it might be a little more crowded the next time we go to visit!   :)

Enjoy your trip east thru the U.P.!
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 05, 2012, 01:12:20 AM
Oct. 4      Day 44      Baraga, Michigan

We got our day off to a great start with a return to Suomi, where I had Finnish blueberry pancakes.  They are thin, plate-sized, chock full of blueberries, and delicious.  I learned that the largest concentration of Finns in the US is in the next town over, in Hancock.  They have a university, Finlandia, which encourages students to learn more about Finnish language, culture, and customs, and to visit Finland as exchange students.  There are a large number of Finnish students who attend Finlandia.  The total enrollment is over 6,000.  There are a number of cooperative enterprises with Finnish businesses in the area, also.

We got lost looking for Houghton's Michigan Technological University Mineral Museum.  It was OK because we were treated to a delightful drive along tree-lined streets that were a riot of color.  Admission to the museum is free, but we left a generous donation because we enjoyed it so much.  It is in our top 2 of mineral museums we have visited, and we go to all of them we learn of.  The gift shop is definitely the best.  I had never seen Brazilian amethyst geode spheres before.  (Pictures 1 & 2)  I am kicking myself for not buying Picture 2, but it was over-priced.  The museum has great labeling of their quality specimens and is beautifully organized.  We especially enjoyed the video and fluorescent minerals.

We returned to Bambu for another wonderful meal.  Their lunch specials can't be beat.

As we made the 60-mile drive to Bond Falls, I called my friend, Millie, a Yooper (UPer) because she had recommended we go there.  She commanded us to stop at the gas station where you turn off the highway onto Bond Falls Drive and get fudge ripple ice cream. This area doesn't have many people, but we saw 12 people stop in to have ice cream, and no one bought gas at this gas station.  The temperature was high 40's, but they sat outside and ate their ice cream, while we sat sheltered in our car (California blood is thinner).  We remembered that Alaska has the highest per person consumption of ice cream.  What is it with cold climates and ice cream???

I took Picture 3 of Dean at the trailhead of Bond Falls with a beautiful sugar maple.  Bond Falls (Picture 4) is smaller now because of the drought, but it was worth the trip because we saw so much spectacular fall color along the way.  Even with clouds, sprinkles, and little sun, the bright colors shone through.

We skipped the Black River National Forest Scenic By-Way CR513, which  follows the winding course of the Black R, to Lake Superior, an  11-mile drive in the Ottawa Nat'l Forest  (15 miles N of Bessemer).  It was after 5:00, and would have been about 100-mile round trip, and the weather was getting worse.  We may see snow tomorrow.

Staying at Baraga Casino--$20, FHU, 50-amps, on asphalt at the edge of the parking lot.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: therealsimpsons on October 05, 2012, 09:27:13 PM
Did you go to the same one we went to?  Did you go to any others?  Was Earl your boilmaster?  Were there any differences in your experience?  I'd love to know what the one in Fish Creek that was rated so highly by all did differently.  I just can't imagine how they could do it better, other than their dining room was prettier and full of antiques.

I remember Earl as the boilmaster. The Fish Creek boil was full so we didn't get to go to that one. Another highlight of our trip was all of the cool light houses.

Stan
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Jeff on October 05, 2012, 11:16:10 PM
Back in the 1980's we did a family RV trip to Door County. We took the kids to a boil and when they saw the chunks of fish and potatoes decided that it was the worst meal we had ever asked them to eat!

I think they still feel that way. :D
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 05, 2012, 11:55:12 PM
I remember Earl as the boilmaster. The Fish Creek boil was full so we didn't get to go to that one. Another highlight of our trip was all of the cool light houses.

Stan

Thanks, Stan.  That lighthouse does look interesting.  We haven't been stopping for lighthouses, but we're going to start checking them out.  We appreciate the suggestion.

Linda
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 06, 2012, 12:03:26 AM
We took the kids to a boil and when they saw the chunks of fish and potatoes decided that it was the worst meal we had ever asked them to eat! I think they still feel that way. :D

One of many things I've learned since RVing is that happiness is found in very different life styles and food styles.  I couldn't believe that boiled meat or fish of any kind would be good, so my expectations were low.  I was pleasantly surprised when it tasted good.  Memories are impossible to change after the fact.  It's too bad your kids can't go back with a clean slate and re-experience it.  One of my most enjoyable experiences (usually) in each area is trying the local food specialties.  But, I too have had some foods that I didn't like that the locals think are wonderful, the most recent being etouffe (?spelling) in Louisiana.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 06, 2012, 12:21:19 AM
Oct. 5      Day 44      Munising, Michigan

We came (140 miles); we saw (lots of pretty leaves, despite the heavy cloud cover blocking the sun); we conquered (the casino 1 mile away in Christmas).  One of the side benefits of going to the casino is gathering information about the sights from the locals.  We learned a lot from this one, which was important because we are only going to have one sunny day in the next week, Sunday.  Tomorrow, snow is predicted.

Staying at Munising Tourist Park (city owned) Campground, $30, FHU, 50 amps, on shore of Lake Superior, spacious lots, friendly host, grass or gravel site.  We got a satellite-friendly site, but it took some jockeying.  Only about 6 sites are occupied, so if it's busy, you would probably have to make choices--satellite vs. 50 amps or sewer, etc.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Roadhappy on October 06, 2012, 12:44:20 AM
My DH makes etouffee with crawfish.  I use to turn my nose up but now it's one of my favorite dishes and I have to beg him to make it.   :)
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 06, 2012, 10:19:34 PM
Oct. 6      Day 45      Munising, Michigan

Wind and rain started last night and continued off and on throughout the day.  Occasional flakes fell but melted before hitting the ground.  But, it is COLD, with a low of 27° tonight, and the wind makes it even colder.  It was a perfect day to clean the coach and organize our itinerary and finances.

We ate our first pasties (I was told it is said with a "short a", that my mispronunciation with a "long a" is what strippers wear), and they were very good.  Tony's gets an "A".

Staying at Munising Tourist Park (city owned) Campground, $30, FHU, 50 amps
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Tom on October 07, 2012, 01:11:11 PM
Quote
(I was told it is said with a "short a", that my mispronunciation with a "long a" is what strippers wear), and they were very good.

LOL Linda. I don't know about strippers' attire, but I tell folks to pronounce it as paasties, not paysties, and to shorten the double 'a'  ;D

If you see them, try Cornish pasties; They're quite different, and my favorite. Cornish tin miners came to work in California during the gold rush, and brought the recipe with them. Our daughter lives in 49er country, and she has a standing order for Cornish pasties every time she comes to visit. Not as good as the ones my aunt in Cornwall used to make though.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Tom and Margi on October 07, 2012, 01:19:56 PM
Well, of course, I had to look up Cornish pasties.  Found this: http://britishfood.about.com/od/england/a/pasty.htm (http://britishfood.about.com/od/england/a/pasty.htm)
 
I had never hear of swede, so had to look that up, too.  Is it just like a rutabega or something different?
 
Margi
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Tom on October 07, 2012, 01:41:44 PM
Thanks for the link Margi. I don't like swede (pronounced 'sweed'), so have never had that in my pasties.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Jim Godward on October 07, 2012, 04:47:51 PM
I had never hear of swede, so had to look that up, too.  Is it just like a rutabega or something different?

Try a turnip, it will be what is normally used.  Rutabegaa are also used but my grandmother would only use turnips.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: BernieD on October 07, 2012, 11:50:08 PM
At the north end of the Mackinac Bridge between upper and Lower Michigan, by St. Ignace, there are a number of shops selling pasties.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 08, 2012, 12:35:34 AM
Oct. 7      Day 46      Munising, Michigan

BRRR!  As I write this, it is less than 32°, and our heater has quit.  Dean did his best, but wasn't successful, so we will huddle in blankets tonight.  I am ready to head for Arizona with the snowbirds or the Gulf with the real birds!

We started our day with the 1:00 Shipwreck Cruise on the glass-bottom boat out of Munising on the "Miss Munising."  Cost was $54 for the two of us.  We sat inside, but hearty people braved the wind and cold on the deck.  Captain Joe and his aide, Robert, were excellent.  All the windows, on the deck and under the boat, were very clean.

The first shipwreck we visited was the "Bermuda".  It was built of white oak in 1860 at a cost of $15,000.  Ships like this  headed to Chicago from Duluth, where they would unload iron ingots that were then made into steel.  Men, women, and children would come with wheelbarrows to unload the iron ore, and they would be paid $1/day.

In 1870, the Bermuda's wood hull sprung a leak, so they came into the bay at Munising (there was no town here then).  They tied the ship up to trees, and the captain and his aide went to get help, leaving 3 sailors aboard.  When they returned, the ship was gone and the trees had been uprooted. Their ship had sunk in 70 feet of water, some distance from shore, and the sailors, who were sleeping aboard, perished. (pictures 1)  Picture 2 is of the masthole.    They used wooden nails called trunnels to put the board together because iron nails would rot the wood.  To install the nail, they would drill a hole; three men held the wooden nail while one man wielding a sledgehammer, drove it in.  (Picture 3)

Later, a salvage company, using winches and straps,  towed the ship into water only 27' deep and recovered the hi-grade iron ore that was aboard.  The iron ore was worth $17,000.  In today's dollars, that is $26,000,000.  They have found a ship made of white pine that sank in 1700 and still looks good, so this ship built of white oak will be around for many, many centuries.

Lake Superior is constantly in flux.  Erosion can be a powerful force.  A man had a cabin on Grand Isle, an island off the shore of Munising, and when he returned one summer, he found it hanging out 10 feet over the water.  He put boards under it, winched it back 30', and built this seawall.  (Picture 4)  Michiganders have a tremendous will!

As Captain Joe steered toward the lighthouse, he told me that they get 180" to 240" of snow, and that he used to remove snow as his winter job.  He hated it, and he sold all his equipment last year.  They usually have snow every day from Dec. 10 to January 30, plus additional days before and after.  He needed 20 days of snow to pay his expenses, like insurance.  Last year, they only had 8 days of snow.  It was like he had a crystal ball that allowed him to get out and not have a financial disaster.

Our next site was the East Grand Channel Lighthouse.  It operated from 1809-1913.  George Pryor ran the lighthouse for a long time, and he was paid $400/year + benefits.  The benefits were 4 full cords of firewood. (Picture 5)  He and his wife raised several children here.  Talk about hardy!

We motored out to the wreck of the Helter.  The Helter was carrying 1million board feet of lumber on its deck and had a hold full of table salt.  Its 16-man crew was trying to navigate the channel in a storm, seeking shelter in the bay.  It hit a reef, and its 36-year-old wood didn't hold together.  All of the sailors were rescued by another ship.   In 1939, they decided it was a navigation hazard and a bad omen for sailors coming into the harbor.  They exploded it.  In the debris field, we were able to see the captain's bathtub and toilet.  The anchor was 4' x 8' and weighed 2500 pounds. (Picture 6)

In another area, we could see where the MMDuke hit the same reef, and they unloaded some of their iron ore over the side to lighten the load.  It's blue balls now.

When I called to make the arrangements, they told me we would be seeing Pictured Rocks.  The captain merely pointed them out from afar, and there is another tour that goes out to them.  Unfortunately, today was their last day, so we won't see the Pictured Rocks up close.

On the way back in, we saw more pretty colors (Picture 7).

We picked up chicken and beef pasties at Muldoon's, just a block away.  A few months ago, there was a competition between all the restaurants who make pasties in the UP.  Muldoon's won 1st place, so we bought chicken and beef pasties, as well as their famous gravy.

We drove into Marquette to see Presque Isle Park, which was very pretty.  We got to see North Michigan University, where several of my colleagues got their degrees.  I really liked their igloo-shaped sports arena.

Staying at Munising Tourist Park (city owned) Campground, $30, FHU, 50 amps
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 08, 2012, 12:43:53 AM
LOL Linda. I don't know about strippers' attire, but I tell folks to pronounce it as paasties, not paysties, and to shorten the double 'a'  ;D

If you see them, try Cornish pasties; They're quite different, and my favorite. Cornish tin miners came to work in California during the gold rush, and brought the recipe with them. Our daughter lives in 49er country, and she has a standing order for Cornish pasties every time she comes to visit. Not as good as the ones my aunt in Cornwall used to make though.

We were told these were Cornish pasties.  The miners here mined iron, but they came from Cornwall, and brought the pasties in their lunchpails.  Apparently, they really caught on with everyone.  I taught with several UPers, and they all LOVED pasties.  We are able to get them at a pasty shop in Los Alamitos, just minutes from my home, but I haven't ever stopped and bought any.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 08, 2012, 12:47:11 AM
At the north end of the Mackinac Bridge between upper and Lower Michigan, by St. Ignace, there are a number of shops selling pasties.

AAH, but which one is best?  Each place thinks theirs is the best.  It reminds me of the clam chowder in Oregon, all of which is great, but every place wants to be THE BEST!  Thanks, though, for the tip.  We may add to our pa-a-a-a-sty collection.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 09, 2012, 12:27:44 AM
Oct. 9      Day 47      Newberry, Michigan

Dean got up early and fixed the heater, but he doesn't know how he did it or what was wrong.  We got parked at our new site before 1:00 and took off for our adventure.

Today's log is dedicated to the brave men and women of the Coast Guard.  I am so inspired by their courage and the stories I heard today.

The Shipwreck Museum in Paradise is at the tip of Whitefish Point.  Admission for both of us was $20.   It is a museum dedicated to those who lost their lives and the Coast Guardsmen who tried to save them.  It is divided into 4 buildings-the history of shipwrecks, the lighthouse, the gift shop, and the Coast Guard surfboat museum.

The shipwreck building had stories of many shipwrecks and their relics, such as dishes, boiler, nameplates. It starts with the history of a Frenchman who first explored the area, before the people we've heard of, and how the Huron tribe turned on him, killed him, and ATE him!  They had the big lens that warned sailors of White Shoal.  It had a clockwork mechanism like a grandfather clock which was regulated by a pendulum dropping 44' through a tube into the heart of the tower.  Every 2 hours and 18 minutes throughout the night, the light-keeper had to wind the mechanism.  The bell from the famed wreck Edmund Fitzgerald which sank in the 70's was brought up at the request of the families of those who perished.  The wreck is in the Canadian portion of the Lake Superior has been designated a National Graveyard, and no one is allowed to go near it.

The Whitefish Lighthouse (Picture 1) is being restored.  It is usually available for tours, but more and more, we are finding that we are at the end of the season and things are closed totally, or at least are open for fewer days and have shorter hours.  The light in the lighthouse is still used.  It is lit by an LED light that is expected to work for over 20 years and is monitored from the Coast Guard station in Sault Ste. Marie.

We wondered what a surfboat was, and my son-in-law is a Coast Guardsman, so we wandered inside this building (Picture 2). Other visitors were confused by this, too.  This is a replica.  A docent inside told us that the "Shipwreck Coast" from Munising to Whitefish Point was 80 miles of chaos where over 300 whips went down.

The Coast Guard started as the U. S. Lifesaving Service.  It later combined with the Revenue Cutter Service, which was our nation's first tax collectors.  The Coast Guard is the longest continuous service because the Army and Navy disbanded after the Revolutionary War.

The U. S. Lifesaving Service established a boathouse every 10-12 miles around the shoreline of the Lake Superior.  It was chaotic because there were 10,000 to 20,000 ships traversing it every year, so there was lots of congestion.  There were no rules or laws.  The navigational aids were non-existent or rudimentary.  Sailors were blinded at night by fog and smoke.  The sands shift in the lake, but where there is a sandbar one day, there is none the next, but a new one has formed somewhere else.  Therefore, navigational maps were worthless.  They just couldn't chart these waters.

The first thing we saw was a surfboat replica which cost $85,000..  The originals, built in 1889, weighing 1300 pounds, cost $275.  They were made of white cedar plank and had copper nails, bronze oarlocks, a brass foghorn, a sea-brake, a spruce mast, 1 sail, and a grappling hook.   The surfboat was rowed by 8 oarsmen with 12-foot ash oars, and the Keeper stood at the stern, gripping a 16-foot steering oar.  With their backs to the dangers lurking ahead, the surfmen, wearing state-of-the-art lifevests, watched the keeper and did what he said.  The surfboat did have great handling advantages when it was near wrecks.  It had "scuppers" which allowed water that sloshed inside to exit, so it was self-bailing.  It had an air chamber under the deck which made is more stable.  This enabled the crew to take off the stranded crew.

The Coast Guardsmen were called "Storm Warriors."  They paid for their own uniforms and earned $1.33/day minus the $0.40 for meals.  In the early years, they had no pensions.  Later, they did receive a tiny pension.

There were 62 stations on the Great Lakes.  A wooden watch tower was built at each station, which gave the lifesavers an unobstructed view of the lake.  They watched for ships in trouble and recorded passing vessel traffic.  Each night and on thick weather days, two men would set out in opposite directions, until they met patrols from the adjacent stations.  Brass tokens were exchanged to verify to the Keepers that the surfmen had performed their duty.  Surfmen carried a patrol lantern and a pouch containing cotton flares.  if a wreck was discovered or a vessel was too close to shore, a red flare was lit to warn them off or assure the victim(s) that help as on the way.

The Keeper made the decision on how to proceed with the rescue.  Sometimes they couldn't take out the surfboat, so they used the Beach Apparatus  (Pictures 4 & 5).  Eight men wearing harnesses would push or pull this huge cart to the shoreline near where the ship was in trouble as quickly as possible.  Sometimes they would have to do this through miles of soft sand with rain, snow, hail, sleet or sharp sand, which would cut their faces..  Once on scene, the Keeper loaded, aimed, and fired the Lyle gun, sending a projectile with tethered shot line streaming over the stranded vessel.  Attached was a whip-line and tally-board stenciled with instructions in English and French directing survivors how to secure the lines for rescue.  A large 1" diameter hawser rope was then pulled to the wreck and tied to a mast as high above deck as possible.  By means of a pulley system and traveling block riding the hawser, the breeches buoy was hauled back and forth, recovering one survivor at a time.   (Pictures 6 & 7)

They told many stories, but this was the best.  In November, 1886, the Keeper of the Portage Canal Life Saving Station received an emergency telegram from Marquette saying that two big ships, the steamer Robert Wallace and schooner David Wallace, had stranded and were in great danger--110 miles away!  The keeper loaded the station's lifeboat and his crew on an Ontonogan RR train, and made the run through a raging blizzard in only 3 hours.  The lifeboat was transported by wagon to the wreck scene, and after several failed attempts in tremendous seas, the Keeper and his crew saved all 24 people aboard the two vessels.  11 months later, the same keeper repeated the same railroad journey to rescue 10 people aboard a stranded schooner.  A few years later, he died.  When a Lifesaver dies, his pension dies with him.  Surviving family received nothing.  He is buried in an unmarked grave in Eagle Harbor Cemetery.  Surviving children were unable to afford a headstone.

The Whitefish Bird Observatory, a watchtower undergoing reconstruction, is next to this flagpole.  The wind was about 30 mph, and those flags sounded like a whip cracking. (Picture 8)

Even though it was getting dark, we pushed on to our next stop.  We were rewarded by the colors of the Tahquamenon Falls State Park.  Their trees were brilliant and shone brightly--even through raindrops!   I was shivering by the time we reached the Lower Falls, (Picture 10) about 1/4 mile trail of cold and wind.  It didn't seem to bother the grey heron sitting at the base of the falls fishing.  (Picture 11)  It was getting darker, colder, and windier, but we made the trek 5 miles down the road to the Upper Falls (Picture 12), where they also had beautiful trees and what would have been a beautiful 1/4-mile trail if the weather were better.

Staying at Clementz's  Northcountry Campground--FHU, 50 amps, $26
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 09, 2012, 12:29:40 AM
More pictures...
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: therealsimpsons on October 09, 2012, 06:15:40 AM
Beautiful! Thank you.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Bonnie Lawrie on October 09, 2012, 11:00:57 AM
Hi Linda & Dean,
     Your post about Whitefish Point is fabulous and I learned so much from it! Your photos are great, as well. Thanks for sharing your wonderful adventures.
                                                                                            Happy Trails,
                                                                                                         Bonnie
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on October 09, 2012, 01:15:24 PM
We also loved Whitefish Point but, Linda, I have to say your description was excellent.  You got a lot in that I just plain don't remember seeing!  Kudos.  Also enjoying your pretty trees.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Billy Bob on October 09, 2012, 10:37:01 PM
Beautiful! Thank you.

Same for me Thank You Again
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 12, 2012, 08:02:55 PM
We're back for good!  (I HOPE!)  As soon as we got rid of the virus, our battery popped out of the computer.  The computer still worked because we had electricity, but the edges from the battery door threatened to scratch our desk.  No Apple Store within 200+ miles still, so we persevered.  Now, problem solved, CROSSING MY FINGERS!  It was inspirational to read such nice replies from friends.  What a nice way to get back in the groove!
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Billy Bob on October 12, 2012, 09:52:38 PM
Glad that you made it back without any major problems. I have enjoyed following along on your trip to The Northcentral US
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 13, 2012, 01:28:08 AM
Oct. 10      Day 49      Lansing, Michigan

We arrived at the Capitol and walked thru a dimly lit hallway entrance on the Lower Level that reminded me of a dungeon.  The next tour was at 12:30.  We watched an interesting film while waiting.  At 12:30 we discovered there was a large bus tour, so we decided to wait and go at 1:00.  Bad decision!  At the 1:00 tour, we were joined by 31 third-graders, and the docent gave us a very simplified tour targeted at 8-year-olds. Most of what I write, I learned reading pamphlets.

Each capitol we've visited has its own uniqueness, and Dean says Lansing is "The Best Restored Capitol."  When Michigan was admitted to the Union in 1837, Detroit was the first capitol, with an expiration date of 1847.  There was a lot of debate because each legislator wanted it to be in his district.  A speculator talked the governor and legislators into naming Lansing Township, while horrified observers, noting that not even a village existed, called it a "howling wilderness."  They threw up a quick temporary capitol, and it was called "Michigan, Michigan."  (I have to wonder what may have caused such a irrational decision--political corruption???)   It has served as Michigan's capital since 1847, but didn't become a city until 1859.  They had to wait for the Civil War to end before they could build a better capitol.

In 1872, they started making plans for the capitol.  They chose the best materials for the best price, and showed no favoritism to Michigan materials.  The final cost was $1.4 million, which was relatively very inexpensive.  It was completed in 1879.  The exterior is made of Ohio sandstone.  "Most of the Capitol's woodwork is inexpensive Michigan pine carefully hand painted (not stained!) to mimic costly walnut.  Called 'wood graining', this technique involves applying seven layers of paint, all by hand.  Every line of grain is carefully hand painted--even the pores in the wood."  (Picture 1)  Sometimes they mimicked maple.

None of the hall's "marble" columns were actually marble.  "Hand painted to fool the eye, the columns are cast iron, the pilasters are plaster."    They painted plaster over bricks so the columns look like marble.  They were able to make these "faux" materials for a fraction of the cost of real marble, walnut and maple.

Over the years, the population grew, so they took those rooms with 20' high ceilings, and divided the floors into two 10' high floors, doubling the square footage.  By putting in these half floors or "overfloors", they covered up the architecture and painted over decor.

When the building turned 100 years old in 1979, it was obvious that it needed attention.  It had been overtaxed, and really needed attention.  Plans were made to restore the Senate lobby, and it turned out so well that they decided to restore the whole building in 1987.   It would only cost 1/3 as much as building a whole new capitol.  Restorers discovered that no two rooms were painted the same.  "Over nine acres of hand-painted surfaces were carefully restored to look exactly as they did originally."  (Picture 2) They took out the over-flooring and restored the dramatic 20' high ceilings.  They installed new heating, cooling and safety systems and modernized all the functioning parts while restoring the decorative parts. 

Many of the original materials were gone, so they used reproductions to replace lost antiques.  Some original furnishings were returned.  (Picture 3)

The original roof was made of tin and leaked.  The architect had envisioned the capital having a copper roof, and it finally got one.

Our tour started on the ground floor.  It was designed to be storerooms and an armory, so it is plain and unadorned.  During the restoration, I'm sure they were tempted to decorate it, but they accurately returned it to its original appearance.  They did make a few changes.  The lighting fixtures are electric rather than gas.  Gray tile that would last was substituted for original strip pine flooring.  And, conspicuously absent are the hundreds of spittoons once found throughout the Capitol. 

Throughout the Capitol, the walls, ceilings, and floors are built of solid brick. At the time this was built, most buildings were built of wood.  This is one of the few capitols we've visited that never burned.

We took the elevator to the First Floor.  At one time, all branches of the state government, including the supreme court, legislature, governor, were all housed here.  But, now it's offices for the legislative leaders, the ceremonial office of the governor, lieutenant governor, and the legislature still meets here.

We looked up 160 feet to an opening at the top of the inner dome. (Picture 4)  The tip top represents the starry sky.  Dean says the white is clouds, but I'm not so sure.  Just below the eye are eight paintings of muses, sources of inspiration,  that were painted on canvas and glued directly to the inner dome.  The artist's name, Tommaso Juglaris, was forgotten for over 100 years until it was rediscovered in 1992 because of the restoration.  They not only did a physical restoration, but they also restored some of Michigan's history.

Michigan is really proud that they sent over half of the military-age males in the state to save the Union and abolish slavery.  They have 160 replicas of the battle flags that were carried by those troops. (Picture 5)  The real ones are housed in the Michigan Historical Museum. 

I saw two chandeliers that I really enjoyed.  They are both were originally gas and have been electrified, computerized, and restored.  The one outside the governor's office is elegant.  (Picture 6)  The other has was a magnificent cast metal chandelier, which features a beautiful elk and shield design. (Picture 7)  "It was recently discovered that they were actually cast from a mixture of several OTHER metals"  (brass and zinc, but no copper). In most capitols, these would be carved; these were made of stamped steel.  This is evidence of how practical they were.

Both chambers of the legislature meet officially on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for 9 months a year.  They earn $89,000/year.  The representatives are limited to 6 total years, and the governor and senators are limited to 8 years.

The House of Representatives Chamber seats Democrats on the left and Republicans on the right.  As of now, there are 64 Republicans and 46 Democrats.  They use a voting board to record votes.  "Original 1878 desks were refinished."   However, in an apparent contradiction, they don't replace chairs until they wear out.   You can see the mismatch. (Picture 8) They copied the authentic period design for the carpet.  The ceilings in both houses used to have ruby-and-white hand-etched glass panes representing each state.  "These were replaced in the House by plastic and in the Senate by plywood."  When they  did the restoration, they put in replicas featuring the coats of arms of all 50 states.  They also got rid of the dull eggshell white and re-painted it in terra cotta and teals.  "In both chambers the solid walnut members' desks...originally cost the enormous sum of $13.65 each!  They have done much of the restoration based on photographs since the original chandeliers and carpeting were thrown out over the years.  In fact, now all of the lights are computerized to dim somewhat at 6:00 PM and really dim at midnight in order to save money.  Total cost of the restoration was $58 million.

There are 38 members of the Senate Chamber.  The President of the Senate is the lieutenant governor.  The Senate Chamber, which was painted eggshell white, has been repainted in the original vibrant blues and silvers.  (Picture 9)

The old Supreme Court Chamber is now used by the Senate Appropriations Committee for hearings and meetings.

On the second floor, we saw the Gallery of Governors (most recent 14 governors) in the Rotunda.  GOVERNORS PAY FOR THEIR OWN PORTRAITS!  They give these portraits to the state when they leave office.  When they "age out", their portrait is put on one of the many bare walls in the Capitol.  I really liked this portrait of Governor John Swainson.  It looks like the painting is damaged.  However, it was painted this was on purpose.  He was only 35 when he became governor, and he left office when he was 37.  "The painting's unfinished appearance was intended to symbolize Swainson's then-unfinished career."  I had to find out about this, since I knew that the governors here have 4-year terms.  I learned that they had 2-year terms until 1966. 

Nest to Gov. Swainson is the portrait of George Romney.  He looks just like Mitt.

The Governor's Office and Parlor are here. (Picture 11)  He uses it for press conferences, bill-signing ceremonies, and special occasions.  His real office is with the legislators in the big building next door.

The current governor, Rick Snyder, is really popular because he and his republican really severely modified the "helmet law."  You don't have to wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle if you are 21 years old or more, have completed a motorcycle safety class, and have $20,000 medical insurance. 

Their first female governor was Snyder's predecessor.  Governor Granholm's name brought reactions which peaked my curiosity.  I could feel an undercurrent.  So, when we had lunch at Bob Evan's, I talked with people there, also.  I then read her biography on the Internet.  It sounds to me like she did a great job.  There is a lot of resentment because "she is a Californian".  She grew up in California, but came to Michigan when she graduated from Harvard Law School and married her Michigan-born husband.  She has lived here all her adult life.  She and her husband got offers to teach at UC Berkeley when she lost the election, and they accepted professorships there.  Why shouldn't they?  Our waitress said with disdain, "She was a Democrat, wasn't she?  And she was from California."  If my small sample of 6 is any measure, the Democrats are going to have a tough road to hoe this election in Michigan.  (I am politically unbiased this year--I don't like either one of them!)

I love the idea of spending "the people's money" wisely.  But, I hate the idea of faux anything in government.  Picture 12 is of a "faux copper" (stamped steel) light, which is quite pretty.   Why pretend?  Just leave it the color of steel, and be honest.  The faux marble really doesn't work.  For one thing, chips in paint happen as people use the capitol.  However, even if it were newly painted, there's no way it looks like marble or granite--only to a blind man.  Of all places where honesty is necessary, government and marriage are at the top.  I commend their thriftiness, and I think they should have been proud of it.  Politics and trickery are a terrible combination and definitely not the example they should have set for future legislators.

Staying at Lansing Cottonwood Campground, $64/2 nights with Good Sam, 50 amps, FHU, non-working WiFi, but available at office, nice people, free fishing
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 13, 2012, 01:51:44 AM
Oct. 11      Day 50      Monroe, Michigan  (outside Detroit)

There aren't many places to stay around Detroit.  This is the closest with the "mostest".  We made the easy 110-mile drive, quickly set up camp, and headed to the Apple store, which was about 60 mile drive to Troy, to either get a new battery or a new computer.  Those who know Dean know what we got.  Dean is really pleased with his new toy.  However, we couldn't bring it home because they had to transfer everything off the old one.  Oh, we also bought the battery ($129) because Dean rightly thought that our daughter could use the old computer in her classroom.

By the time we got out of the Apple Store 2 hours later, we decided it was time for lunch.  The "Genius" recommended a mall restaurant that was new to us, J. Alexander.  We looked at our watches, and it was 5:00, and we decided to have "lunner."  We both REALLY enjoyed our meals, and the service was great.  It wasn't cheap, but it was so good!  I was so impressed that I asked if there were others, and I got a list of their locations, which I will add to my States file.  I've only done that for 2 other restaurants.

We then went to Windsor, Canada, through the tunnel.  It was a real maze.  We have been to most of the Harrah's properties, so we wanted to visit Windsor Caesar.   Both of us had wonderful luck at the blackjack table.  We enjoyed meeting the people from Ontario, also, and we have added a Windsor attraction to places we will visit.

Staying at Sterling State Park--$132 + $29 for an annual pass (or $8/day)  FHU, 50 amps, great satellite reception, paved roads and pads, grass, fire pits, right on Lake Erie, some smell from nearby smokestack, very accommodating rangers
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 13, 2012, 02:10:53 AM
More pictures...
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Billy Bob on October 13, 2012, 08:08:57 PM
Glad that you made it back without any major problems. I have enjoyed following along on your trip to The Northcentral US

Guess that I misunderstood thought that you had finished your trip. Anyway I do enjoy your photos and commits on your trip
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 13, 2012, 10:03:07 PM
Guess that I misunderstood thought that you had finished your trip. Anyway I do enjoy your photos and commits on your trip

We have lots more.  We promise our kids when we leave each fall that we'll be home for Thanksgiving and try to get home a few days before.  We are headed next to Ohio (Toledo, Oak Harbor, Port Clinton, Cleveland, Sandusky, Cayuhoga Valley NP, Columbus, Powell, Dayton, Cincinnati) and then Indianapolis.  Then we'll look at the calendar and select from Plans A, B, and C.

I am enjoying your log, too, now that you are safe.  You make our problems seem miniscule.  It sounds like your boat captain was very professional.  We are planning a New England trip in the next year or two.  Do you recommend the ship you took?  Can you give me the name?  It sounds like you had an exciting time, rich with whales.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 14, 2012, 07:57:41 PM
Oct. 12      Day 51      Monroe, Michigan  (outside Detroit)

If I were a zoo animal, the Detroit Zoo would be my #1 choice.   It is one ne of the most modern zoos in the country, featuring spacious, open exhibits.  Designed to simulate natural environments, habitats are laid out over 125 acres.   Admission for 2 seniors and 1 car was $29.

There were several animals that were new to me  It was odd to see the Matschie's Tree Kangaroo IN A TREE!  (Picture 1) He can climb, because unlike his land-bound cousins, all 4 limbs are nearly equal in length.  The do carry their joeys in their pouch.  They eat leaves and fruit.

I have never been so close to a bull before.  Yes, he is small, but those horns could still do a lot of damage (Picture 2)

Did you know there are no wolverines in Wisconsin and never were?  The wolverine is a fierce predator with awesome claws.  (Picture 3) The state either got its name because of the trading of wolverine pelts at the "Crossroads" of Sault Ste. Marie or from the way the gluttonous French traders ate their food.  (I love the info I get from my I-phone!)

I have seen bear cats before, but I can't ever remember their real name--binturong. (Picture 4)  He is supposed to be a great swimmer and climber, but all I've ever seen him doing is relaxing.  Maybe it's because he lives in a zoo and doesn't have to fish or chase small mammals, like he does at home in Southeast Asia.

I think the giant anteater is an oxymoron, both beautiful and ugly. (Picture 5)  His beautiful fur on his paws is combined with the world's most ugly face.  His tongue is 24" long!  The white at the rear is a jealous anteater who ran over to get his picture taken, too.

The polar bear posed for us. (Picture 6)  He sure doesn't look like he can run a mile in 2 minutes. 

The snow monkey (Japanese Macaque) must be permanently embarrassed because his face is always very red (as are his private parts).  (Picture 7)  The zoo had a lot of snow monkeys, and they seemed very happy.  Some were grooming each other, and this keeps the social bonds within the troop and keeps the monkeys free of parasites.

The lioness (Picture 8) was very vocal.  She is a recent widow, and they are looking for a male lion. 

Just a big pussycat?  The only other cat in the zoo was this gentle-looking Siberian tiger (Picture 9).

The butterfly area was small, but it had pretty butterflies. (Pictures 10 and 11)  The morpho (Picture 12) was a streak of fluorescent blue as he flew right in front of Dean.  This camera-shy fellow kept his wings folded up and outwaited my patient husband.

We were greeted by beautiful macaws (Picture 13) when we entered the free-flight aviary.  It looked small, but as we came around each curve, we found more interesting birds.  I like the eye make-up this little lad uses, as well as his bright orange feet. (Picture 14)  The bright red on this scarlet ibis reflects the good care he's being given. (Picture 15)

Throughout the whole day, we saw keepers working hard to keep the enclosures clean, but they were willing to stop to answer questions.  There were zero wire cages or fences.  They used natural barriers, like moats.  Many of their animals are rescued animals.  I loved the Detroit Zoo!

Staying at Sterling State Park--$132 + $29 for an annual pass (or $8/day)  FHU, 50 amps, great satellite and cellphone reception, paved roads and pads, grass, fire pits, right on Lake Erie, some smell from nearby smokestack, very accommodating rangers.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 14, 2012, 07:59:51 PM
More pictures
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on October 15, 2012, 03:36:43 PM
Nice photos!  Linda, I'm so glad you tell us what we're looking at because I'd never guess some of them!

ArdraF
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 16, 2012, 12:35:03 AM
Nice photos!  Linda, I'm so glad you tell us what we're looking at because I'd never guess some of them!

ArdraF

Zoos are a favorite place for us to visit, but sometimes I get stressed when I see small enclosures.  It seems, though, that every zoo has some animals that are new to me.  And it bugs the heck out of me when I've seen an animal in 5 or 6 zoos and I can't remember its name--like the binturong.  I have been reading the book, Sacajawea, that you gave me a couple of years ago, and it is so interesting!
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 16, 2012, 12:37:18 AM
Oct. 13      Day 52      Monroe, Michigan  (outside Detroit)

We drove an hour through rain to get to President Gerald Ford's Presidential Library at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, only to discover that it just houses his papers and is for research.  His museum is all the way across the state to its western border in Grand Rapids.  OOPS! 

We did enjoy driving around the beautiful city of Ann Arbor.  At one time it boasted the greatest number of telephones and cars per capita in the U.S.  Definitely an upscale community!  On my cellphone I learned that they have an awesome mall, but we decided not to tempt ourselves.

Instead, we saved our money (Ha! Ha!) and went to the casino.  Actually, I won what Dean lost, so as a team we broke even.  I wanted to try their buffet that they were so proud of, but I found it pretty average.  We've been spoiled by the Las Vegas buffets, I guess.

Staying at Sterling State Park--$132 + $29 for an annual pass (or $8/day)  FHU, 50 amps, great satellite and cellphone reception, paved roads and pads, grass, fire pits, right on Lake Erie, some smell from nearby smokestack, very accommodating rangers.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 16, 2012, 01:53:02 AM
Oct. 14      Day 53      Monroe, Michigan  (outside Detroit)

I verified all my information today before we left for The Henry Ford in Dearborn.  The Henry Ford campus includes the museum, the Greenfield Village, the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, an IMAX Theatre, and the Benson Ford Research Center.  Senior admission to the museum is $15, plus $5 for the car.  It is very well maintained and has wonderful exhibits, so it is worth the price.

Seeing the original 1952 Weinermobile brought back fond childhood memories.  (Picture 1)  We sped past the dollhouse section, the farm machinery, oil wells, power, furniture, and "Made in America" manufacturing, all of which were beautifully exhibited and explained.  However, we could see by the size of the museum that we were going to have to pick and choose the areas where we had real interest.

We saw the bus that Rosa Parks was riding on when she refused to cede her seat. (Pictures 2, 3, 4, 5).  After the boycott ended, the riders were instructed by their leadership to follow Martin Luther King's non-violence.  Rules are listed on this chart that was posted in their center. (Picture 6)  I was surprised to see the whole Ku Klux Klan costume and the honest, forthright explanations. They had wonderful displays throughout the "With Liberty and Justice for All" section about the struggle for equality experienced by all groups that have been discriminated against.

The aircraft section was fascinating.  I didn't know that Edsel Ford, Henry's only child, got him involved with planes. From 1925 to 1928, Henry experimented with a small, economical airplane that would be the "Model T of the Air."  Charles Lindbergh took him on his first flight, and he only flew a few times.  He said, "I would rather build a big plane and learn something, even if it didn't fly, than build a smaller one that worked perfectly and not learned anything."  He could see that it was the transport of the future, and he developed the Flivver. (Picture 7) However, a special young man, who Henry treated almost as a son, died at age 25 flying an experimental Flivver, and that killed some of Henry's desire. 

Henry Ford did develop an all-metal aircraft, "The Tin Goose".  The Ford Trimotor (Picture 8) had rugged durability.  The display had a standard sheet of aluminum and the same thickness of corrugated aluminum so you could feel how much stronger and less flexible the corrugated aluminum was.  Its success opened a whole new era in commercial aviation in the late 1920's.

Henry Ford's involvement in aviation helped make passenger flights practical, but his aviation division was only in full operation from 1925 to 1932.  He lost over $5.5 million in that time, and he never turned a profit.

Using the plans from the 1903 Wright Brothers' plane, Ken Hyde built this replica to the same specifications with exactly the same materials for the 100th anniversary for the museum. (Picture 9)

The "Heroes of the Air"  taught me a lot.  Planes originally were used mostly to ferry mail, not people.  A pilot named Jack Knight waited in North Platte, Nebraska to transfer mail sacks from San Francisco and take them on to Omaha.  By the time he transferred the sacks, it was 10:45 P.M.  Citizens along his route lit bonfires to guide him in his effort to prove that airplanes could be flown at night.  He said that without the farmers' bonfires, he'd be completely lost.  The idea was to get the mail across the country in a continuous relay.  However, when he got to Omaha, he found out that his relief pilot was snowed in over in Chicago.  He was so determined to make it, that he hopped back into the plane and headed for Des Moines, which he found snowed in.  So, he continued on, hoping to make it to Iowa City before his fuel ran out.  He stayed on course by looking at his map with his flashlight.  He circled the place where Iowa City was supposed to be.  But, with a snowstorm coming, all the citizens had put out their bonfires and gone home!  One night watchman heard his engine and lit a fire just in time.  He landed, refueled, and went on to Chicago--after taking a catnap and warming up his frozen feet.  Knight together with the San Francisco pilot and the Chicago pilot--made it cross-country to New York in less than half the time it took by any other mode of transportation.

Navigation was a mammoth headache.  Sometimes the pilots followed train tracks, rivers, and landmarks.  Pilots taped several maps to their pants and made their own books, recording landmarks on the route they usually flew.  Landmarks they noted were tall church steeples and golf courses.  People across the U. S. wanted to help.  If people heard of a plane in trouble, they would rush out to light bonfires along a path and on the nearest landing field.  Pilots made a list of farmers who would let them use their phones in an emergency.  In 1920 the US Post Office compiled this into the Book of Directions.  In the 1920's in order to promote all-night flying, the Post Office set beacon lights along routes at 10-25 mile intervals.  They rotated in every direction and could be seen 40-100 miles away.

Another pilot wanted to get from New York to Cleveland for a romantic evening.  He was so desperate that he talked one of his buddies into taking him.  The plane was full of mailbags, so he laid down on top of the wing and held onto the wires the whole way!

As a young mail pilot, Charles Lindbergh ran out of gas, was caught in bad weather, and unable to see the ground.  Thinking quickly, he rose to 5,000 feet, jumped overboard, and parachuted through the fog while the plane circled around him out  of control.  Once on the ground, he took off to find his wrecked plane.  The plane was destroyed, but the mail was undamaged, so he walked it to the nearest post office.

When Admiral Byrd chose to fly over the North and South Poles, he had to fight the cold.  Oil can get sticky.  In order to keep the plane running, he built fires around the oilcans to heat the oil to a liquid so he could pour it into the engines.  He kept the engines warm through the use of canvas sacks and gas-powered stoves.  I wonder how he prevented a big explosion!  There is a big debate about whether he actually made it to the North Pole. I don't think he made it.  What do you think?  (Picture 10)  I can't imagine flying this tiny metal plane in such weather. (Picture 11)

Dean and I were in college when President Kennedy was assassinated, and we were devastated. We have been to the Texas Book Depository Museum, which is outstanding.  Seeing the actual 1961 Lincoln limousine that he was riding in when he was killed touched heartstrings. (Picture 12) 

The1972 Lincoln that Ronald Reagan sought refuge in when John Hinckley shot him is on display (Picture 13).  We could see the place where a bullet ricocheted.  Like all presidential cars after Kennedy's death, it is completely armored and has a permanent roof and bulletproof glass.  But, in a concession to the presidents' desire to be seen, the sunroof can be opened so two people can stand up and wave.  It had a flip-down bumper for the agents to stand on.  (Picture 14)
 
Their auto collection was like a timeline.  It started with horse-drawn carriages and went into the future with the prototype for the electric Ford Fiesta.  Remember the Corvair? (Picture 15)

The 1948 Tucker sedan (Picture 16) with its swooping fenders and 6 exhaust pipes looks like a Buck Rogers comic book rocket ship.  The center light turns with the front wheels to illuminate corners.  You can see the taillights from the side for safety.  The doors curve into the roof for easier access, and the grilles on the rear fenders feed cooling air to the rear-mounted engine.  It had a huge trunk.  Only  51 cars were sold before financial troubles killed the company.

There was a section on the evolution of the RV.  Henry Ford gave this trailer to his friend Charles Lindbergh in 1942. (Picture 17)  Charles and his wife used it as a home on the road and as a spare room and study at home.

This 1975 FMC motorhome (Picture 18) was used by Charles Kuralt when he taped the show, "On the Road", which lasted 27 years.  It carried a 3-man TV crew on America's back roads, where they inspired others to travel and camp.  No one ever slept in it.  His crew modified the interior, creating storage for equipment and film.  It was like a rolling studio.  They went to all 50 states and traveled more than 1,000,000 miles.  The motorhome cost $27,000 when the average wage was $8,632.

There were a lot of huge trains on exhibit.  The 1601 was an "articulated engine," which is a more powerful engine. (Picture 19)  I know Dean thought the Canadian train (Picture 20) was really special, but he's in bed, so I can't tell you what is special about it.  Maybe I can get him to comment tomorrow.

Our grand finale was a trip to the IMAX  to see "Rocky Mountain Express" about the Canadian train and building the railway.   We only paid $4.50 each because after the first admission, each subsequent admission is 50% off.  Dean really isn't into visiting period houses, but I've heard that their Greenfield Village is the best attraction of all.  I would recommend visiting the Henry Ford.

Staying at Sterling State Park--$132 + $29 for an annual pass (or $8/day)  FHU, 50 amps, great satellite reception, paved roads and pads, grass, fire pits, right on Lake Erie, some smell from nearby smokestack, very accommodating rangers
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 16, 2012, 01:56:19 AM
More pictures...
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Betty Brewer on October 16, 2012, 10:10:34 AM
Linda and Dean,
Your trip is adding so many things to my bucket  list!  However if I do not make it to all of them,  I will  have a lot more knowledge about places due to your informative reports.  Thank you so much.  I know how much time it takes!
I had a little chuckle about your  Gerald Ford Library  trip.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 16, 2012, 04:03:05 PM
Linda and Dean,
Your trip is adding so many things to my bucket  list!  However if I do not make it to all of them,  I will  have a lot more knowledge about places due to your informative reports.  Thank you so much.  I know how much time it takes!
I had a little chuckle about your  Gerald Ford Library  trip.

Betty, you got me started, and it is really addictive.  It takes a lot of time, but it makes scrapbooking easier.  And, I get tips from Forumers that are really good--more so on our spring trips than on the fall trips.

You once told us that these little boo-boos make for good stories.  And, I really did enjoy Ann Arbor.  It is so-o-o-o-o pretty, especially in the fall.  Unfortunately, it was rainy, or I would have gone to a cute cafe and had lunch and window-shopped.  Just from looking at the "average" homes, I know that I wouldn't want to pay what the shops would be asking, but I'm sure they had  wonderful, high-quality merchandise.  Dean isn't big on shopping, though, especially if we're not on a mission to buy something new (like a computer).  He could spend all day in the Apple Store.  Browsing just to enjoy what's out there bores him quickly.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: therealsimpsons on October 16, 2012, 04:51:15 PM
Quote
Dean isn't big on shopping, though. Browsing just to enjoy what's out there bores him quickly.



Thank you Dean!!  ;D

Seriously, I love reading your reports. Thank YOU Linda!
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on October 16, 2012, 04:55:59 PM
Linda,

When I mentioned your comments about the Detroit Zoo, Jerry surprised me by saying he'd love to go there.  It seems when he was a boy growing up on the west side of Detroit, they used to get on their bicycles and ride out there for the day.  Even though I lived in Detroit for eight years, I don't think I've ever been there, so I guess that's on our list for the next time we're there.  We did stop last summer at the old Fort Wayne which neither of us had visited before.  Sadly, it's in very bad repair with roofs disintegrating and quite literally buildings falling apart.  Such a shame.  By the way, we went there to see the Tuskeegee Airman Museum which is on the fort's grounds.

I'm glad you liked the Ford Museum.  When I was in college I was a Greenfield Village guide for two years (a plum job I might add) and I remembered the museum as being old and dusty.  As you can imagine I was delighted to see the upgraded bright and modern facility that was well arranged and so interesting.  I think you'd both love Greenfield Village.  When we had guide training we had to memorize all the details about every building.  The packet of materials was about four inches thick.  I was disappointed that they now rely more on recordings, but people whose time is limited don't seem to want to stick around to listen to someone tell them about the buildings.  It's too bad because a lot of interesting details get lost in the process.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 17, 2012, 10:11:33 PM
Linda,

When I mentioned your comments about the Detroit Zoo, Jerry surprised me by saying he'd love to go there.

  I think you'd both love Greenfield Village. 

ArdraF

I am hoping to get my last Detroit blog done tonight.  I don't know how "spur of the moment" you guys are, but be sure to get BBQ at Slow's (Dean and I both had brisket).  I'm going to try to get my favorite Detroit site finished tonight.  We've been so busy having fun and taking care of business that I am a couple of days behind.

I would have liked to see Greenfield.  The weather chased us out--really rainy and cold.  I'll put Greenfield on my "Next Time" List.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 18, 2012, 12:31:36 AM
 Oct. 15      Day 54      Monroe, Michigan  (outside Detroit)

I love seeing and doing new things, and I rarely like "Do Overs"--whether it's seeing a movie for a second time, or a book, or an attraction.  I'm sure I could count the list of places I would go to a second time on my fingers.  But, this would be my first stop if I'm ever in Detroit again.

 There aren't superlatives grand enough to describe The Guardian Building.  Our guide, Christopher, (Picture 1) said it is the most ornate in detail Art Deco Aztec-Renaissance building in the United States.  Absolutely GORGEOUS, it was nicknamed "The Cathedral of Finance" when it opened in 1929 as the headquarters for a bank, the Guardian Detroit Union Group.  It has a Southwestern United States Native American theme, with touches of Aztec.  The "Indian" theme was popular at that time as a symbol of peace and prosperity.

When we entered the elegant lobby, I felt like I stepped back 80 years in time.  This beautiful mosaic was the first thing we saw. (Picture 2)  When was the last time you saw "faith" and "ideals of financial service" in the same sentence?  Isn't that an oxymoron?  Wrapped around the big window in the lobby is an Indian headdress with feathers coming down the side.  Outside the window I saw beehives inscribed.  I was told that was because the workers were supposed to be busy worker bees.  The lobby was large and they had dances there after hours.  In front of the window is an indoor balcony where the band played dance music.  I can picture it!

The SmithGroup, the architectural firm that designed the building, still houses over 200 of its employees here. The lobby's vaulted ceiling is covered in vivid Rookwood tile laid in diamond patterns.  The architect, Rowland, used marble and stone from many different countries.  They even had a mine in South Africa re-opened to get the exact red color marble they wanted.  Rowland helped formulate the tangerine colored "Guardian Brick".  Almost two million bricks were used to construct the building.  Rowland also designed the Buhl Building across the street, which I would have loved to visit, also.  It advertises "elegant business suites", and if the inside is anything like the outside, I would love to work there.  Mary Chase Stratton made Pewabic tiles for the building, and her pottery is very famous today.

On our left was a little cafe.  Our tour, which was supposed to leave at 1:00 was postponed until 1:30.  So we purchased butternut squash soup (Yummy!) and split a delicious grilled turkey sandwich.

The grand archway into the banking hall is an elaborate grille of Monel metal, which is a unique, expensive composite of copper, nickel, and aluminum with a taupe-colored finish.  In the top of the archway, there is an original Tiffany clock, one of only three in existence. On the sides are a key shape, symbolizing locking up the money, and a sword, symbolizing protecting the money.

It has one of the largest suspended ceilings in the world. (Picture 3) It has a colorful canvas and horsehair treatment to improve the hall's acoustics.  People didn't want to be broadcasting their banking information.  The big yellow splash at the back wasn't there.  It has to be a reflection from something. 

There were 80 teller windows, 40 on each side of the center aisle in the hall.  The original teller windows were made of Monel metal.  They were melted down to make battleships during WWII, but some were "lost" (someone hid a few teller windows away).  They were re-installed on windows upstairs when they were found recently.  (Picture 4) They also melted down the Monel wastebaskets, and doorknobs.

The bank housed 40% of the area's resources. One-fourth of the depositors in Detroit banked here.  Unfortunately, when the market crashed, the bank did, too.  Wayne County took it over.  During the war, it was used as an armory.  Now Wayne County holds its commission meetings in a room underneath the Grand Arch, operates tours, rents our the Grand Hall to the Bank America, and has several little shops selling Michigan products in the Main Hall.  Kudos to Wayne County government, a political body that recognizes the value of restoring a building which is now a National Historical Landmark.

At the rear of the banking hall is an amazing 5-story high mural map of Michigan. (Picture 5)  It pays tribute to Michigan's industries.  They were aware that the sun would fade the brilliant colors, so they put in these sun-filtering windows.  (Picture 6)

Another distinctive feature is the use of a "notched arch" design throughout the building on windows, doorknobs, floor patterns, and drinking fountains.

There were two beautiful alcoves leading to the striking elevators (Picture 7).  These are original elevators, and they are LARGE.  With 40 floors of employees, they had to hold a lot of people, even though there were four of them. 

At the end of each hallway is a beautiful stained glass Aztec angel made by Tiffany.  He holds over his head the portal for fidelity and security. (Picture 8)  Dean is an excellent photographer, but it is impossible to capture the elegant feeling and stunning beauty of these areas.  These lamps were in the architect's plans, but they were never made.  When they restored the building, they commissioned an artist to make them to the architect's specifications. (Picture 9)

The original banking boardroom on the 6th floor is still intact, (Picture 10) which includes walnut and wood-paneled interiors.  The mahogany and walnut are all handcrafted and beautifully matched. Throughout this floor, there was so much wood--all hand-sculpted. I wish I could show the intricate detail better.  (Picture 11) Behind that door in the rear is a kitchen where chefs prepared gourmet meals for the board members.  The Monel doorknobs  have also been restored. (Picture 12)  When we look out the windows, we see other magnificent building.  One was "The Old Gas Building", which was the prototype for The Twin Towers.  Another is the Buhr building, and when I visit Detroit next time, we will wander through its lobby if they will allow it.

There was a grand room, which served as a dining room for all of the building's employees.  There used to be French doors leading to outside balconies where the windows are now.  When the crash happened, so many bankers jumped off the balconies they replaced the doors with windows that were hard to jump out of. (Picture 13)

We re-boarded the elevator to go to the top of the 3 basements.  The very bottom basement housed the heating system and boilers.  The middle basement was used for storage.  And the top basement was used to protect the money.  Look at this incredible safe!  (Picture 14)  It is so big that they rent it out for dinner parties and bridal lunches.  Dean says that the locks are just like the ones he saw in the missile silos. (Pictures 15 & 16)  The safe deposit boxes were huge and stored in a separate vault. (Picture 17)  Note that there were 2 combination locks instead of 2 keys.  There were timers on all the vault doors, and the safe couldn't be opened until the bank opened the next morning.  (Picture 18)  There are de-humidifiers in the ceiling to keep the money crisp.  This vault has been in 3 films with famous actors, "Game of Death," "Street Kings 2," and one more.  No one every stole one dollar out of this vault.

"Big Chris" told us that if anyone who has their picture taken with this "Indian" has good luck for 24 hours. (Picture 19) Since we were going to the casino tonight, I hopped off my scooter and had my picture taken.  And, it worked!  So, if you come, be sure to get your picture taken with the Indian.

When we exited, we went through this door.  We haven't seen a door like this that doesn't operate automatically in over 20 years.  The tour was free (Christopher deserves a nice tip!), but Valet Parking, which is a necessity, is $5.

Christopher recommended that we go to Cliff Bell's to eat and hear blues and jazz.  I looked it up on the Internet, and it sounds like a special place.  I wish we had better weather and could go.  He also highly recommended the Bucharest Grill.

We had heard from a couple of others who raved about Slow's BarBQ.  It is in a seedy neighborhood.  There is street parking and a dirt lot across the street.  There are so many people going in and out that you feel safe.  We had eaten at Red Smoke BBQ a couple of days ago, and we didn't think it was anything special.  But, Slow's was!  Their beef brisket was tender, moist, smoky--just delicious.  We also heard about the Yardbird Sandwich, piled high with juicy smoked pulled chicken tossed with mushrooms and cheddar and topped with applewood bacon. The wait for a table was 1.5 hours.  We got ours "to go."  Lots of others did, too.  It is a hopping joint, a testament to its good BBQ.

Staying at Sterling State Park--$132 + $29 for an annual pass (or $8/day)  FHU, 50 amps, great satellite reception, paved roads and pads, grass, fire pits, right on Lake Erie, some smell from nearby smokestack, very accommodating rangers
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 18, 2012, 12:34:40 AM
More pictures...
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on October 18, 2012, 04:54:20 PM
Okay, Linda.  You got us.  How did you find out about the Guardian Building?  Neither of us ever heard of the Guardian Bank Building and Jerry worked right across the street in the Buhl Building!  Fifty years ago we didn't appreciate the Buhl Building so maybe we need to visit both of them on our next trip to Detroit.  Did you get to the Renaissance Center?  It was built after we left.  Right across the street is the Mariner's Church which is a monument to Great Lakes sailors and their ships.  Also, the Fisher Building which is farther out of downtown (and might not even be open now because G.M. is no longer there) had a beautiful art deco theater where we saw Dame Margo Fonteyn dance.  Jerry went to Cooley High School and when we went back for his 50th reunion they had just renovated it.  They did a wonderful job on the art deco auditorium.  Sadly, Cooley has been closed because of Detroit's declining population.  If you drive around you might see where entire blocks have been leveled and replaced with vegetable gardens.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 18, 2012, 11:09:03 PM
Okay, Linda.  You got us.  How did you find out about the Guardian Building?  Neither of us ever heard of the Guardian Bank Building and Jerry worked right across the street in the Buhl Building!  Fifty years ago we didn't appreciate the Buhl Building so maybe we need to visit both of them on our next trip to Detroit.  Did you get to the Renaissance Center?  It was built after we left.  Right across the street is the Mariner's Church which is a monument to Great Lakes sailors and their ships.  Also, the Fisher Building which is farther out of downtown (and might not even be open now because G.M. is no longer there) had a beautiful art deco theater where we saw Dame Margo Fonteyn dance.  Jerry went to Cooley High School and when we went back for his 50th reunion they had just renovated it.  They did a wonderful job on the art deco auditorium.  Sadly, Cooley has been closed because of Detroit's declining population.  If you drive around you might see where entire blocks have been leveled and replaced with vegetable gardens.

ArdraF

Ardra, one of the reasons I enjoy posting is that so many people tell me about attractions.  Also, you may have picked up on the fact that I like to play blackjack on my first night in a Harrah's city.  I always ask the players and dealers about where they take visitors.  Usually, the pit boss overhears (a good pit boss hears everything), and he/she may add in info.  I get Audubon magazine, and they give me some sights, as do the RV magazines & Sunset magazine.  I use AAA Tour Book, and I look up "TripAdvisor Attractions and the name of the city" on line.  I started saving info about 30 years ago, and when I retired, I organized it by state on my computer.  Some info I get in RV parks.  I usually ask my neighbors what they've done and if they liked it if I see them outside.  I chat with people I meet while I'm waiting in line.  I don't know where I heard about The Guardian, but  from my notes I am sure I got it from a person rather than a magazine.

I didn't realize how tied you were to Detroit or I would have asked you for more info.  If you go to the Buhl, please send me a personal e-mail at my e-mail address (ask me now if you don't have it), and I want to see your pictures.  It's possible that these buildings weren't as grand 50 years ago because they had 30+ years of use, and if they weren't maintained, they could have been dulled.   Having a great guide makes a tour if they enjoy what they're doing.   I didn't have the proper money for a tip for Christopher, so I just wrote him a thank-you note and sent him a check tonight.  I never thought a building would knock my socks off!  Unfortunately, I didn't hear about the Renaissance Center.  I did have a theatre on my list, but when I checked on it, either it was not open on the days we would be there or it had something playing we weren't interested in.  I don't know if that's the same theatre.

We're in Cleveland area, headed for Columbus, OH, tomorrow morning.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 19, 2012, 07:59:35 AM
Oct. 16      Day 55      Medina, Ohio (35 miles south of Cleveland)

I am really sad that we won't have time to go to the Detroit Museum of Art because I've heard raves about it.  I came into Detroit with a negative image of gangs and inner-city blight.  As I leave, I look forward to coming back.   However, the only park "close" to Cleveland (27 miles away) is shutting down for the winter, so if we want to see Cleveland at all, we have to scurry.  Cleveland is not predicted to have rain on any of the 3-4 days we are going to be there.  Hurrah!

The drive was an easy 140 mile drive--at least it was easy until we came across the sign that said "BRIDGE OUT" and no suggestion for a detour.  All the GPS wanted to do was "Make a U-turn" or "Turn right," which we knew would be followed by 2 more right turns to take us back where the bridge was out.   I knew we were within 20 miles, so I called the RV park for new directions.  The lovely lady who answered knew nothing and turned us over to a lady (I think) who had such a raspy voice that we could not even get a hint of what she was saying.  So we drove and drove, then turned right and let the GPS guide us in.

It was too late to go to an attraction, so we went into the new Horseshoe Casino.  It's set up really oddly.  The building was formerly a meat market.  The parking garage is a block away from the casino, and the casino does not have a hotel. There was a sign saying parking cost $25, to which I reacted, "NO WAY!" (even after driving 45 minutes to get there).   However, other cars had come in behind us.  I would have gotten out, talked to the drivers, and had everyone back up.  But, Dean bit the bullet and drove on in.  The man in the next parking spot explained that if we played in the casino for 30 minutes, parking was free, and they would also give us a free buffet.  They  have the high charge because they are right next to the city's stadium and want to have parking for Harrah's customers, rather than stadium visitors.  There is a high city police presence, so we felt safe.  Their slots were pretty loose, and both Dean and I had fun and won (very unusual!).  I suspect that this is because they've only been open 5 months, and as they get a customer base, they will tighten up.  We don't bet a lot, so we don't usually make a lot, but we had fun winning.  The buffet was very good for a mid-size buffet.  Harrah's employees are always top-notch.


Staying at Willow Lake Park, Inc. $120/3 nights, (too expensive for what it is, but it's the only game in town--or even around the vicinity of town---old game of supply and demand, 50 amps & water, dump station, good WIFI, close spaces, but no one is here, so it seems spacious, the closest decent RV camp
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on October 19, 2012, 01:03:06 PM
Quote
I didn't realize how tied you were to Detroit or I would have asked you for more info.  If you go to the Buhl, please send me a personal e-mail at my e-mail address (ask me now if you don't have it), and I want to see your pictures.

Oh my, we haven't lived in Detroit for 50 years and our family ties are all gone now so we don't visit very often.  We went through there this summer so probably won't be back for a while, but will keep you in mind if we ever get to the Buhl Building.  You probably saw the RenCen as locals call it - the huge round glass buildings down by the river.  It's actually right at the entrance to the tunnel to Canada and the Mariner's Church is across the street that leads into the tunnel and Customs.  The downtown area looks so different now.  Mother worked at the J.L. Hudson Co. when it was a wonderful department store, now torn down.  We were driving around trying to find the plaque for the Finney Barn which was on the "underground railroad" to Canada.  That Finney was one of my g.grandfather's cousins.  The plaque used to be near Hudson's on Griswold St. but we couldn't find it.  Like you, we ran out of time!

ArdraF
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 19, 2012, 10:51:08 PM
Oct. 17      Day 56      Medina, Ohio (35 miles south of Cleveland)

Today is the "Pick Day" of our stay.  It's supposed to be 70° and sunny all day.  Since almost all of Cleveland's attractions are outside, I called each site and prioritized.  We got up at O'Dark O'clock (6:00 AM), which we rarely do, but I have been told there are lots of migrants (birds flying south) at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes.  A lady named Julie volunteers and comes on M, W, F, at 7:00 AM to capture birds in netting and do banding.  I've never seen that done in person, just on TV.  It's supposed to have lots of birds and be fully handicapped-accessible.

My heart sank when Dean opened the front drape and said, "Uh-oh!  Really dark clouds out there!"  But, we hopped in the car and made the beautiful drive to the Nature Center.  It is located in a very upscale area with many beautiful trees and lush landscaping.

No Julie!  Instead there were 3 busloads of third-graders.  They went into classrooms, and we never saw them again.  Heavy mist was falling, but we went out on the paved trail, where we met a birder.  He told us that Cleveland is The Second Grayest City in the US, right behind Seattle.  The marsh area would usually be a wonderful place to see birds, but today there were just lots of song sparrows, some warblers, and 1-2 blue birds that just gave us a glimpse--he said it was a jay.  We stopped inside the Nature Center, and we were told that Julie very rarely misses, but may have stayed home because of the rain.

We pushed on to the Cleveland Botanical Garden, located at Case Western Reserve University.  They had several small  pocket gardens, but not much space.  Dean and I were disappointed, not only at the size but also the landscaping of the Japanese Garden.  Dean said, "Someone should give their horticulturist a trip to Portland to see Washington Park."  The feel of the garden was all wrong.  Our assessment was undoubtedly affected by the drizzle and gray.  We did find this unique Santa Cruz begonia. (Picture 1) 

We went inside to the warm, dry, inside conservatory houses which houses Madagascar desert and the butterfly and bird-filled Costa Rican cloud forest.  In the desert we saw a large green chameleon who doesn't change color based on his environment, but on his mood.  If he gets excited, he turns bright blue or bright red.  Of course, they don't want to upset him to demonstrate this, so they put him with another chameleon and photographed all his colors.

These red-bellied firefinches were beautifully colored. (Pictures 2 & 3) This bird had an interesting mix of colors.  She's a female or an immature, so I can't name her.  (Picture 4)
The red fody is the brightest red I've ever seen on a bird. (Picture 5)  This gold-breasted waxbill looked more bedraggled than the others, but at least he stood still for a pic.  (Picture 6)

The radiated tortoise (Picture 7) is from my dream island, Madagascar.  He is called "radiated" for the beautiful star patterns on his shell.  He has powerful claws that he uses to dig tubers for food.  Compare his appearance with his food.  (Picture 8)

As we  entered Central America, we saw this huge cacao nut from which they make cocoa butter and cocoa butter (Picture 9)  The butterflies were beautiful. (Picture 10)  The colors on the birds were brilliant, too.  (Picture 11)  I have a giant owl butterfly in a display case on my dining room wall just like Picture 12.  His eyespot scares off birds that might eat him because they think he is an owl a predator that would eat them.  Costa Rica raises these butterflies and exports them as a source of revenue, and the farmers' profits encourage them to preserve the rain forests.  Isn't Picture 13  both pretty and interesting?

(Picture 14)  Can you see the little leaves moving along this branch?  Under each one is a leaf-cutter ant.  They will go a long way for the right leaves, but they also collect fruit, flowers, grasses and stems.  They cut and carry up to one-sixth of the leaves a forest produces.  All this pruning stimulates new plant growth.  They don't eat the leaves.  They just chew them and add enzymes to make a fungus garden. (Picture 15) The queen of the colony does not tend the garden' she's too busy producing eggs.

We learned from a docent that they do a "release" of newly-emerged butterflies each day at 2:00.  We ate lunch in their garden cafe.  My soup really hit the spot. 

We got back just in time to see the wonder of learning through a child's eyes. (Picture 16)  The giant owl butterfly found my finger a comfortable resting spot (Picture 17).  Picture 18 landed right in front of Dean's camera.

This blue-beaked beauty stopped eating to pose for us. (Picture 19)  The shy red-cheeked cordon bleu waxbill is, I think, the most beautiful of all. (Picture 20)  He doesn't sit still for 2 seconds--he reminded me of some of my students!  The gold-breasted waxbill stopped eating to stare at us. (Picture 21)  The ruddy quail dove came onto the path, looked at us, and posed. (Picture 22)  Aren't his colors striking?

The Cleveland Museum of Art was right next door, it wasn't raining, and admission is FREE!  The building is as beautiful as the art inside.  The coffin of Bakenmut (Picture 23) from 976-889 BC was a magnificent painted wooden coffin made for a priest.  I admired the intricacy of the drawings.  The pharaohs of  this time weren't being buried any more in the Valley of the Kings.  The coffins and funerary goods of the rich were placed in unmarked and undecorated family tombs cut into the cliffs on the west bank of the Nile.  There is speculation that this other coffin may be the mate (Picture 24) of Bakenmut.  I was amazed that anything could be so well preserved for 3,000 years.

John James Audubon did this beautiful oil painting of "Peregrine Falcons". (Picture 25) They are eating a duck.  I'll never understand why they paint dead birds and birds in gruesome situations.

They had all kinds of  knights' armor on display.  I was glad that they protected the horses too. (Picture 26)

It was a busy day--3 different sites, but tomorrow it's supposed to storm all day, and a good chance of rain after that.  So, we made hay while the sun tried to shine briefly in the afternoon.

Staying at Willow Lake Park, Inc. $120/3 nights, (too expensive for what it is, but it's the only game in town--or even around the vicinity of town---old game of supply and demand, 50 amps & water, dump station, good WIFI, close spaces, but no one is here, so it seems spacious, the closest decent RV camp
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 19, 2012, 10:55:25 PM
More pictures
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 19, 2012, 11:05:51 PM
More pictures
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on October 20, 2012, 01:42:11 PM
The weather may have been lousy, but the birds were brilliant.  Beautiful photos.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Wendy on October 20, 2012, 06:55:15 PM
Love the bird pictures. If you have time, the Rock Hall of Fame is a very cool place.
 
Wendy
Abq
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 20, 2012, 09:57:19 PM
Oct. 18      Day 57      Medina, Ohio (35 miles south of Cleveland)

It rained all day, and we stayed home and cleaned.  I loved it.

Once again, weather has chased us out. More rain is predicted.  On my list for next time are the West Side Market, The Renaissance Center, The Zoo & Rain Forest, Malley's Chocolate Factory, Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and the Wilds in Cumberland.

Staying at Willow Lake Park, Inc. $120/3 nights, (too expensive for what it is, but it's the only game in town--33 miles, 45 minutes--or even around the vicinity of town---old game of supply and demand, 50 amps & water, dump station, good WIFI, close spaces, but no one is here, so it seems spacious, the closest decent RV camp

Oct. 19      Day 58      Galloway, Ohio (12 miles from Columbus)

We drove 140 miles through light rain, heavy rain, medium rain, and cold rain.  Dean waited until it eased up to do attach the electricity, etc., and the heavens opened up on him.  I am so ready to go south.  More rain tomorrow!

But Sunday and Monday are supposed to be sunny and 64° and 73°.  I'm thinking of hibernating tomorrow and waiting it out, but our last day that was supposed to be sunny wasn't.

Staying at Alton RV Park--$36/night cash or $1 fee for credit card, 50 amps, FHU, really narrow spaces (no way could you put out an awning), great satellite reception, escort to site
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Betty Brewer on October 20, 2012, 10:30:24 PM
You've kept such a busy pace, you deserve a few R&R days.  Good luck.

BB
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 24, 2012, 06:31:01 PM
Oct. 20      Day 59      Galloway, Ohio (12 miles from Columbus)

It rained all night and until noon, so we waited until the 2:00 tour of the "Statehouse."   We parked in the garage under the capitol ($2/hour), and entered into what seemed like a bunker (Picture 1) and took the elevator up to the ground floor.  The tour desk was by a beautiful marble map of the 88 counties; each county was a different color and type of marble, none of which were from Ohio.

Our guide, Thomas, was very passionate about Ohio, its history, and "The People's House."  There are no metal detectors; they don't check your bags; they have always wanted to welcome everyone.  It is a long-standing belief that government works best if people are involved.

Thomas impressed us with how important Ohio has been and continues to be in U. S. history.  The day after the debates both President Obama and Governor Romney will be here, and Paul Ryan and Romney will be here the day after that, also.  Ohio is seen as a very important swing state.  No republican has ever won the presidency without Ohio, and only 2 Democrats have--Kennedy in 1960 and Truman in 1948.  Every president of the United States since 1861 has made a visit and a speech at The Statehouse.

When it was built, the Statehouse was the largest building in the United States.  However, 5 months later, the U. S. Capitol was built, and it moved Columbus to #2.

The ground floor originally was the heart of their central steam-heating system, where they had big boilers that produced massive amounts of steam.  Cisterns on the roof caught rain, and they were the first capitol with flushing toilets.  In each of the 4 corners of the building, they put in airshafts to bring in air and light.

Now, since there are no longer boilers, they have put in many displays about how government works. (Picture 2 & 3)  This state seal was hung from the rotunda's dome from the 1920's to 1965.  In 1989 it was discovered in a closet of the men's restroom of the Senate building, and it was restored in 1996. (Picture 3).  We've heard this story repeatedly in capitols.  It seems that some conscientious history-loving person wants to preserve history and "loses" pieces, which are then discovered when government starts renovating.
 
The cornerstone for the capitol was laid on July 4, 1839.  However, shortly after that, they quit building.  State coffers were empty because of the Financial Panic of 1837.  Use of prison labor was very controversial.  There was a cholera epidemic that killed off lots of labor.  The state Constitution said that the capitol must be within 30 miles of the geographic center of the state.  The capitol is right on the fringe.  Louis Sullivan, a landowner, had donated the land for the capitol because he knew that he would be able to make tons of money from the increased value of his other land.  They didn't resume building until they had some money in 1848.  It wasn't completed until 1861.  When it was completed, it was the largest building in the USA for 5 months until the US Capitol was completed. The House wing has been used continuously since 1857.  The Senate wing has been used continuously since 1859.

They used 12 ton blocks of Columbus limestone blocks for the foundation, and a total of 55,000 tons of Columbus limestone.  They built it block-on-block-on-block.  There was no structural steel.  Everything was supported by load-bearing arches. Just look at how thick these walls were (Pictures 5 & 6).  They were even thicker than those in the missions, more than 2 feet thick.

From the lobby, if you turn left you are in the "new" Supreme Court Building, built in 1890.  If you turn right, you are in the Statehouse.  We went into the Statehouse wing and rode the elevator to the second floor.  As we entered the rotunda, we looked up at the inside dome.  There is an outside cupola over the inside dome.  There is a glass state seal in the center of the dome. (Picture 7)  The bottom of the dome is ornate (Picture 8).  The sound of peregrine falcons is broadcast several times daily from the cupola to keep penguins away.

The marble floor under the dome has 300 hand-cut stones set in patterns that get progressively larger as they get further from the center.  This signifies that the people of Ohio and their government go on forever and the infinity of possibility. (Picture 9)

Hanging on the wall is an oil painting of the Battle of Erie.  In 1813 Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry of the USN (the man standing in the center of Picture 10) destroyed the British naval fleet at the Great Lakes.  He sent the message, "We have met the enemy, and they are ours."  In the right rear is a free African man names Hannibal with his red-sleeved arm raised.  He was Perry's assistant.  18% of his men were free Africans.  A duplicate of this painting hangs in the U. S. Capitol.

Lincoln's statue (Picture 11)  is in the lobby because of the 3 important events that happened to him in Ohio. He made an important speech before the primary election, when he ran against Ohioan Samuel P. Chase for the republican nomination.  He received the news that he had won the electoral college vote when he was visiting Governor Dickinson in his governor's office.  His body lay in state here.   At the bottom of the statue, you see the inscription about Vicksburg because General U S Grant led Ohioan troops there and accepted the British surrender there.  60% of eligible men from ages 18-45 served in the Civil War.  General Sherman, an Ohioan, said when he saw Savannah, "Not even I can destroy something so beautiful."  The Statehouse was used as a shelter for soldiers embarking on their enlistment, for soldiers who were camping, and as an infirmary during the Civil War.

"Greenback" Chase lost to Abe, but he did develop an impressive resume'.  He established our current currency, and our $50,000 bill has his picture on it  He established the Federal Reserve System.  He was the first governor to have his office in the new capitol in 1857.  He was the secretary of the treasury in the Civil War.  He was a 2-time senator, a 2-time governor, and the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court.

The painting of the "Signing of the Greenville Peace Treaty" celebrates the peace after the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 1794. The Chippewa, Miami, Wyandotte, Cherokee, Bluejackets of the Shawnee, and the Delaware had gathered together to fight this battle.  This treaty allowed for the development of the Northwestern Territories, which eventually became Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. It allowed the Native Americans to keep the land north and west of the Greenfield line (we all know how well that worked out for them!).  On the right side of the painting is Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, William Henry Harrison when he was a military officer.  It shows Mad Anthony Wayne accepting wampum from Little Turtle.

We got to see the Senate, but not the House.  (Picture 13)  As we entered, I noted the ornate doorknobs.  Our guide told us that every doorknob and lamp in the Capitol has the state seal of Ohio.  The lights were quite striking (Picture 14).  Unfortunately, the original light fixtures, "gas-o-liers", were all trashed in the 1880's and 1890's when the put in electric lights.  However, to cover their bases, they put gas tubing in the light fixtures in case this new-fangled electricity didn't work out!  The carpet is a duplicate of the original carpet.

Senators and representatives earn $60,000 base salary plus lots of extra money for serving on committees and doing extra duties.  Their calendar is very similar to the U. S. Congress; they serve full-time.  There are 33 senators, who may serve two 4-year terms.  There are 99 members of the House, who may serve four 2-year terms.

Again, we see another statue of Lincoln (Picture 15) above the chair of the President of the Senate, who unlike most states is elected by the senators, rather than being the lieutenant governor.  Thomas says there is a lot of arm-twisting, , chit-exchanging and back-room politics involved in this process.  Lincoln gave a 2-hour speech before the primary, when he ran against Chase, to a group of 720 people.  Immediately after the election, 2 states seceded.  5 states seceded before Lincoln even got inaugurated. 

Lincoln feared for his life so much that he didn't allow his family to board the same train with him when he came to visit Governor Dennison IN FEBRUARY.  I'm going to have to find out when they changed the inauguration date because while he was meeting with the governor, a telegram came and Lincoln found out that he had won the electoral college and he was now President!  Lincoln got 0 electoral votes from the states that seceded.  There were only 4 years 2 months between his campaign speech and him being brought back here to lie in state after his assassination.

In Picture 15 we also see the national eagle and national shield.  This serves as a reminder to the senators that federal law supercedes state law.  As the guide spoke, we sat in the gallery on ORIGINAL benches.

When Nathan Kelly, the plasterer, finished the plastering of the House, the leadership told him that they couldn't afford all the frills.  After all they were a poor state, so don't put so much into decorating the Senate.  He cut back substantially, according to our guide, but he was fired because it wasn't plain enough.  Look at the ceiling! (Picture 16) I know it isn't plaster, but talk about "ornate."  The Edison light bulbs in this

By the time they built the Supreme Court wing, about 20 years after the Capitol, they had lots of money, so they spared no expense.  The light fixtures are original.  They used a lot of gold leaf to decorate.   There were originally 6 State Supreme Court members, but now there are 7.  Thomas, our guide, told us that there are now 10 chairs because they hold committee meetings here.  The Supreme Court moved out in the 1990's, and moved again 5 years ago.

The 53 rooms of the original capitol were subdivided and in-between floors added so that it ended up having 300+ rooms.  When they remodeled in 1980, they uncovered lots of great architecture and the color of the original paint.  All of the marble floors had been covered by carpet, so they had to rip it out.  The original Capitol cost $1.3 million.  The renovation cost $150 million.

Our guide felt it was vital that we understand that Ohio is the greatest state.  It has provided or is tied for the most presidents.  Thomas Edison was an Ohioan, and his painting is in a stairwell.   John D. Rockefeller was a poor man living in Cleveland when he founded Standard Oil (now BP--British Petroleum).  And, of course, they

Ohio is "First in Aviation."  The Wright Brothers had a bike shop in Akron, so he has a painting in a stairwell.   And, of course, John Glenn, an Ohioan, was the first American to circle the Earth.  And....Neil Armstrong, "One small step for man, a giant leap for mankind," even those not from Ohio!

We give each capitol a designation, and Columbus has to be "The Most Original with an Enthusiastic Tour Guide."

Staying at Alton RV Park--$36/night cash or $1 fee for credit card, 50 amps, FHU, really narrow spaces (no way could you put out an awning), great satellite reception, escort to site
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 24, 2012, 06:36:38 PM
More pictures..Originally they were in the wrong order, but I think I got it straightened out.

Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on October 24, 2012, 06:58:52 PM
Quote
The sound of peregrine falcons is broadcast several times daily from the cupola to keep penguins away.

Penquins??  Really??  Disconnect with fingers - maybe pigeons?  ;D  Another interesting commentary, Linda.

Is anyone else having trouble seeing the last six pictures?  Mine won't enlarge and turn to a red X when I click on them.  The first ones are fine.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Betty Brewer on October 24, 2012, 07:47:08 PM

Is anyone else having trouble seeing the last six pictures?


All of mine were beautiful!

BB
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Tom and Margi on October 24, 2012, 09:28:34 PM
Mine are OK, too.  Thanks once more for your efforts, Linda!
 
Margi
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 24, 2012, 09:48:43 PM
Penquins??  Really??  Disconnect with fingers - maybe pigeons?  ;D  Another interesting commentary, Linda.

Is anyone else having trouble seeing the last six pictures?  Mine won't enlarge and turn to a red X when I click on them.  The first ones are fine.

ArdraF

Ardra, what can I say?  I just finished the post, and it's been a tough few days (see the next post)  Maybe my brain has arthritis, along with the rest of me.  Yes, it is pigeons.  We've had penguins, which my daughter collects, in our brains daily between a gift shop and the Columbus Zoo.  Short circuit!  But, it gave me a good laugh at myself.

I really screwed up the numbering, and I suspect you accessed it as I was correcting, which involved eliminating and putting back in to be able to get it right sequentially.  If it still isn't right, let me know what pics you can't see, and I'll put them in again.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 24, 2012, 09:52:59 PM
Oct. 21      Day 60      Galloway, Ohio (12 miles from Columbus)

When we came home from seeing "Argo", a fabulous movie, the coach was freezing cold.  Every surface was like the Arctic.  I decided that I'd sleep in my coat over my nightie. We got out all our blankets, and snuggled in them.  I've never spent a more miserable night!  My legs ached; my feet were numb, and I honestly worried about frostbite.  The one time I did fall asleep, I put my hand outside the blanket and woke up in pain, unable to move my fingers because they were so cold. It took several minutes to re-establish feeling.  So, I slept in mittens!  I wouldn't get caught again!  The cold ignited arthritis all over my body.  I put my washcloth under the faucet to wash my face, and the water there was ice cold, just like the tile floor. 

We made a hot breakfast with hot tea.  Heat rises and warms the hands.  We thawed out.

At 9:00 Dean went outside to work on the AquaHot unit, and the air temp was 36°!  The park manager said there was a hard freeze last night, so it probably went under 30°.   Dean couldn't get the radiator cap thing off the AquaHot because there's a spring that had a lot of tension.  The only trouble light that is on says it needs fluid, but it has plenty.  Dean topped it off to no avail.  He got the number of 2 RV repair services from the RV park manager, but neither could help us.  And, or course, these things always happen on Sundays!  So AquaHot was not open.

The first thing I did when Dean went outside was find the nearest LaQuinta because I knew have good, warm rooms, and they'd take Sherlock.  I had all the details worked out when Dean came back inside.  We made a reservation, packed, and moved over to the hotel.  Thanks for the RVForumer who put us onto them a few years ago when we had a problem!

I had read "TripAdvisor" recommendations for the Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. The "gardens" are a city park with big trees.  It's not like the flowers are gone because of the weather.  The gardens are just non-existent.

We came back and had lunch in their wonderful cafe that the site had recommended.  They were right on that one!   I had a great pumpkin Thai salad, and Dean had a good tuna melt. 

We had high hopes for the North and South Conservatory.  Both were not impressive.  They were small, and had common plants without any labels.  The Bonsai collection & Japanese garden were highly touted, as was the beautiful glassware. I love Bonsai, and I have been going to exhibitions for 40 years.  These bonsais were anemic.  It was the poorest excuse for a bonsai collection we've ever seen.  There were only about 10, and not one was worthy of being exhibited.  What Japanese garden?  The area around the bonsais?  It was just as unattractive.  There was a small room with a 5 or 6 "OK" glass pieces.

I would not recommend this attraction to most, but I had a fabulous time and wouldn't have missed it.  They had a wonderful 2-day Ikebana Show.  I felt like a 49er discovering gold!   I have been into ikebana (Japanese flower arranging) for 40+ years.  These were beautiful and so different.  (Pictures 1 & 2)  I learned that there are 3 schools (types) of ikebana.  I have always seen Ikemobo, and this new-to-me type was primarily of the Sogetsu school. I am used to delicacy and neat.  This is much fuller and more robust.  Listening to the sensei (teacher) was very interesting.  What a rich experience!

AND, there was an artistic exhibition of recycled trash that knocked my socks off!  Unfortunately, the camera doesn't capture its intensity and beauty.  (Pictures 3, 4, & 5)  Aurora Robson heats and stretches plastic bottles into vibrant captivating works of art that I'd love to have in my home.  She uses junk mail in her acrylic paintings and collages to develop a theme.  One was about character and had words like honest, fair, aware, and cooperation.  I have long been an environmentalist, but I've never been able to take the "trash" out of  "recycled art."  I never did it with my students because I thought it would be wrong to sell something I didn't believe. It always still looks like it belongs in the recycle bin.  But this....Oh, my!

So, between the wonderful lunch, the ikebana, and the art, we had a great day!

When we got back to the hotel, I was so looking forward to a warm shower and a great night's sleep.  The only problem was that the bed was so high I couldn't get into it!  I ended up sleeping well on the couch. And I was plenty warm.

Coach is Staying at Alton RV Park--
Dean, Sherlock, and I are at the Columbus LaQuinta in W. Hillard--$89/HEATED room, WARM shower, Clean, Continental Breakfast, Microwave/Frig.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 24, 2012, 10:54:06 PM
Oct. 22      Day 61      Galloway, Ohio (12 miles from Columbus)

We enjoyed sleeping in and barely made it downstairs by 9:00 for the breakfast.  It was so difficult for me to move that I was really slow.  We packed up, checked out, and headed back to the RV to call repair centers.  AquaHot gave Dean things to check; their quick fixes didn't work, and they recommended one of their dealers that's about an hour away.  Unfortunately, we can't get  an appointment until Wednesday.

We did some calling and planning for future destinations, and then headed to "The Old Deaf School" Topiary Garden.  It has a great concept, but it is a "wanna be" topiary garden.  It was begun in 1989 by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department.  It is supposed to be a re-creation using topiaries to construct Georges Seurat's famous painting, "A Sunday Afternoon on the Ile De Le Grande Jatte" (1884-6).  (Pictures 1, 2, 3, and 4).  We took pictures of the four good topiaries.  Half of the topiaries are 50% of more bare with a large portion of piping standing out.

We went up to the top of the hill and stood near the black marker.  There is a bronze replica of the painting for comparison.  It doesn't.

The emphasis in the brochure is on the 220 trees of various types that are in the park.  It might be a worthwhile place to visit if you lived in the area and wanted to see samples of trees you were thinking of planting.  Otherwise, it's a skip it for sure.

It was very handicapped unfriendly.  I had to go "off-roading" on my scooter over hills and ruts.  The price is right--FREE.  But, parking is a pain.  Metered spaces were full, but the people weren't in the park.  We parked in the library handicapped spaces next door, even though we weren't supposed to.

We went back to the hotel, let me off, and Dean went back to the RV.  It's much easier this way.

Dean and Sherlock are at Alton RV Park--weather has turned really nice, "Indian Summer."
I am at La Quinta with a great shower that has hot water.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on October 25, 2012, 01:35:45 PM
Linda,

First, all your photos come up today, so it must have been the timing.  They're great as usual.

Re the penquins.  It gave me a good laugh as I pictured penquins on window ledges.

Hope Dean gets the problems fixed and you can get back to being warm.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 25, 2012, 04:31:17 PM

Hope Dean gets the problems fixed and you can get back to being warm.

ArdraF

Ardra, things are good.  Problems semi-fixed; everything's working great for now, but Dean gets to add some things to his "Honey, Do List."  Each day I'm better, and today it's 75°, which is really a great healer for me.  I'm back to 75% of normal, so in another couple days I hope to be all the way back.  It was a life lesson that I have to pay attention to the thermometer and not just think all will be OK.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 27, 2012, 12:32:54 AM
Holding this place in sequence for when I finish The Columbus Zoo.  It was awesome.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 27, 2012, 12:35:42 AM
Oct. 24      Day 63      Galloway, Ohio (12 miles from Columbus)

I drove back to the RV park, and we went to the Aquahot-recommended repair facility an    hour east in Hebron, Ohio.  The people at RCD  were great!  They replaced the float switch and  the cap for $523 (OUCH!).   They said stir pump needs to be replaced, but would do fine for now.  They could have easily kept us there, had the necessary parts sent super-speed by FedEx, and made more money.  Instead, they were honest with us, so they get our highest recommendation for any RV repair.  They were worth waiting 3 days for!

We returned to Galloway because we had mail arriving.  We spent the rest of the day and night dealing with that shipment.

We are all at Alton RV Park tonight.

Oct. 25    Day 64      Indianapolis, IN

It was a warm, beautiful day of 75°, which we thoroughly enjoyed.  We made a 4-hour drive to Indy, got set up here,  went to see "Looper", and did grocery shopping. 

Staying at Lake Haven Retreat--FHU, 50 amps, grass and gravel, level, very tight spaces, $29, 20 minutes from downtown, everything is great.  DO NOT COME INTO THIS PARK AT NIGHT!  They have boulders at each corner of their narrow turns, and they are not lit.

Oct. 26    Day 65      Indianapolis, IN

It rained all night, and was supposed to rain all day.  We planned to stay in and catch up on laundry, etc.  When it stopped at about 11:00, we decided to see an indoor attraction, as the temperature has dropped 30°! 

We went to the AAA-gem-rated Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art.  Parking is beneath the museum and free with museum entry (2 Seniors/$14).  Dean forgot his camera, so I will try to make pictures with words. 

As we entered, there were huge, breath-takingly realistic paintings of the Grand Canyon.  Then came the Native American and Wild West paintings.  The quality was amazing.  The artists included many from Taos.  Even the modernistic paintings, which I usually don't like, were realistic and attractive.  My favorites were of a bison fording a river and two Native Americans in a deep, increasingly dark forest.  These paintings really lived!  They also had impressive statues, some of which were not bronze.  You could feel the speed with the way the horses' manes and the cowboys' hair flew backward.  These are definitely the best statues (including the Remingtons) and paintings I've seen on this theme.

They had a temporary "National Geographic" show of wonderful photographs.  Their theme was "The Earth."  Some had a message, like the picture of hundreds of Harley-Davidson riders crossing through the desert in infinite rows, destroying all that fragile habitat.  Others showed the Earth's beauty and interesting geographical formations, like the multi-colored pool in Yellowstone.  This was Dean's favorite section.

We had a delicious, but expensive, lunch at their cafe.  We got there 4 minutes before they closed at 2:30.  It's a good thing I didn't linger longer enjoying that bison!  They had bison burgers, but I couldn't imagine having one after feeling such admiration for the bison in the painting.

Upstairs they displayed scrimshaw using whale bone and walrus tusks.  The detail of the art was amazing.  The walrus tusks aren't large, and one carving was of a sled-dog team racing across the snow.  The artist depicted both the speed and beauty of the dogs in such a tiny space.

They had many beautiful recently-made Native American blankets, bowls, baskets, tools, clothing & feather head-dresses that were true to their heritage.  My favorite was a totem pole made by an artist whose grandfather had carved the same exact design in the 1930's.  That pole had been destroyed by the elements.  The grandson's pole used modern paint, which would last.

Most of the display pieces were less than 100 years old, and some were less than a decade old.  Everything was displayed in the best possible way.  The frames coordinated with the paintings.  The glass display cases were fingerprint-free.  There was plenty of room to stand back from large paintings to get the optimal view.  The whole museum was designed to house this collection, and they did it just right.

I loved their gift shop, too.  Dean bought me a gorgeous pair of earrings made by a Native American from ? Tribe (that's what it said on the back) for next Xmas.  I bought a small pretty wooden "secret" box with a silver horse and turquoise that will be a perfect pill box..

Everything about this museum is QUALITY and beautiful.  It is a "Must See".  I think so highly of it that I will go to it every time I'm in Indianapolis.  It is that good!

Staying at Lake Haven Retreat-
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 27, 2012, 11:23:54 PM
Oct. 23      Day 62      Galloway, Ohio (12 miles from Columbus)

I have been a fan of Jack Hanna's "Animal Adventures", so the zoo was my #1 destination in Columbus (actually Powell, Ohio).  The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has half-price Senior Day every Tuesday @ $11/both of us.  What a nice surprise!  Parking was $7.  I had high expectations, but they far exceeded them.  The animals are happy and have good-sized enclosures.  One big aim of the zoo is education.  Most of what they taught, I knew.  But one sign did intensify my desire to encourage our government to work on global warming.  It said, "An Arctic without ice would be like a garden without soil."

We've seen many wolves, but not the Mexican wolf.    By the 1970's, all Mexican wolves had been eliminated in the U. S.  They are trying to do captive breeding so they can be reintroduced to the wild.  (Picture 1)  They released some Mexican wolves in eastern Arizona.  The gray wolf (Picture 2) has been the notorious villain (think "Little Red Riding Hood") in movies and stories.  He's actually very smart and sociable and is wary of humans.

Many states (Minnesota, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, and Wisconsin are the ones I remember) are increasing the hunting of wolves.  The main advocates are hunters who see it as sport and ranchers whose livestock is killed by wolves.  However, there is a fund that Dean and I contribute to, that reimburses ranchers for any wolf kills.  There has never been a documented case of a human being killed by a wolf. 

We met a lovely docent, a retired special education junior high school teacher, in the aviary.  The zoo requires docents to undergo 18 months of training before they are  allowed to work.  She told us about the red-headed duck (Picture 3) who lays her eggs in nests of other ducks.  These drakes purr and meow!  The females squawk.  She helped me identify the red-breasted grosbeak (Pic. 4)

Can you see the white triangle on this bobcat's ear? (Picture 5 )  The females have that white patch so that her kittens can find her despite her camouflaged coat.  A group of bobcat kittens is a kindle.

The tufted deer (Picture 6) was new to us.  He looks like he is having a bad hair day with an unkempt tuft of hair on the top of his head.  They are found in Burma.

The red-crowned crane (Picture 7) is the second rarest crane.  They mate for life.  .Zoos are working together and sending eggs to a reserve in Russia for hatching and tracking.

The golden mantled flying fox (bats) were my favorite exhibit. (Pictures  8 & 9)  Bats are the only mammal that can truly fly.  The goldens are one of the smallest fruit bats, but they are 10 times bigger than any bats I've seen before.  The keepers were working with them, prying them off the wires and giving them shots or swabbing tears in their wings so they don't get infected.  Afterwards, they hung celery to reward them.  Their feet have 5 long toes, and the "hands" are hooks.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 27, 2012, 11:40:23 PM
Oct. 23 continued


I've always associated rhinos with charging.  But, this white rhino (Picture 10) fascinated us, as he yearned to have his mouth massaged, inside and out!  He wanted to have his hide scratched and massaged.  He had a ton of personality.

It was a pleasure to see the red pandas up and about. (Picture  ) Usually they are just a sleeping ball of fur.  Today they were chasing each other and playing.  The one on the right in Picture was blockading the path for his buddy.  When the left one turned around and left, it ruined his game, so the one on the right got up and left.  Look at those claws.

The markhor (Picture 11) is the largest goat.  In Persian, Markhor means "snake eater," which is really a puzzle because he is a vegetarian.

I think the Amur tiger is the most beautiful tiger.  These cubs (Picture 13) are best buddies for now.  The adult male and 2 females had been moved our for a few hours so these guys could have outside time.  Tigers are solitary.  These cubs were removed from the mother at two weeks of age when one of the cubs wasn't thriving, and they wanted to keep the sibs together.  Unlike lions who enjoy being part of the pride, tigers only come together to mate.  The docent told us that the mother would not recognize her own cubs!

I loved the manatee exhibit.  They have 4 rescued manatees (Picture 14) who are unable to return to the wild.  We enjoyed watching them eat lettuce.

The carousel (Picture 15) brought back great childhood memories of fun with my grandfather.  It was beautiful, and original, but it was missing the rings that we used to lean out and try to get.  If we got a brass ring, we got to ride again for free.  It's probably an insurance issue.  However, I did notice that there aren't any belts to strap children in, like on our carousel at Knott's Berry Farm.  It's one of only 200 of this vintage in the US.

This is only the second time we've seen the Fishing Cat (Picture 16).  They eat fish, birds, small mammals, snakes, and snails--all of the food groups!  Doesn't he have beautiful eyes?

They have the best exhibit I've seen of nocturnal animals, including the zoo in New Zealand that prides itself on having "the best."  The light was dim, but not dark, and the animals were active. (Picture  17)  The tiger quoll, the largest marsupial carnivore, is now rare in southeastern Australia. (Picture 18 )  The feather tail glider (Picture 19 ) is the size of a mouse and flits constantly.  The exhibit was a blur of activity.  This isn't his best side, but it is the best picture of many shot.  Congratulations to Dean on getting this one!
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 28, 2012, 12:08:52 AM
October 23 continued


We really enjoyed the next aviary area.  The kookaburra (Picture 20) is the largest kingfisher.  Picture 21 is a UFO.   The magpie goose (Picture 22) is regal.  I couldn't believe the docent when she told me that Picture 23 is a ruddy duck because he didn't have a blue bill.  She says these are his winter colors.  Not only do his feathers change, but also his beak.   Picture 24 is the masked ibis.  His wing feathers sparkle.  The lapwing in Picture 25 shook those yellow flaps from side to side, reminding me of a turkey.  The metallic starling (Picture 26) has piercing red eyes.

Is this kangaroo saying, "What are you looking at?" (Picture 27)

The white-handed gibbon (Picture 28) constantly explored.  He has a white frame around his black face.

We were surprised to see the small-clawed otters (Picture 29) playing on the rocks and lifting them, perhaps looking for insects.  They had a pool of water and a waterfall, but they stayed on land the whole time we were there (maybe 5 minutes).
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on October 28, 2012, 01:44:27 PM
We saw people on TV the other night talking about the U.S. bats and how the white nose fungus is continuing its spread to the west.  I hope someone has the foresight to gather up some uninfected bats that are farther west and ship them to another continent where they can keep breeding and, hopefully, avoid getting infected.  In a few years we may need a gene pool to regenerate our bat population because the current one sure is getting decimated.

More good photos, Dean!

ArdraF
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 30, 2012, 10:35:04 PM
We saw people on TV the other night talking about the U.S. bats and how the white nose fungus is continuing its spread to the west.  I hope someone has the foresight to gather up some uninfected bats that are farther west and ship them to another continent where they can keep breeding and, hopefully, avoid getting infected.  In a few years we may need a gene pool to regenerate our bat population because the current one sure is getting decimated.

More good photos, Dean!

ArdraF

These zoos have an incredible world-wide network, and I'm sure they're on it.  I had heard that the situation was improving a lot, so I hope the documentary you saw was a re-run.  We saw a display somewhere on this trip at a national park, I think in Minnesota, about the problem and how when man works together, we can conquer these environmental problems.

We went into a national cave site on our last trip and they wouldn't let us enter if we were wearing the same shoes, coats, clothes.  We had to go back the next day.  Dean cleaned his camera, strap, etc. meticulously with alcohol swabs.  The problem is the private caves that don't have any safeguards  .I'll keep my eyes open for more info.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 30, 2012, 10:42:31 PM

Oct. 23 continued--delayed because it didn't "take" the first 2 times

The white-handed gibbon (Picture 28) constantly explored.  He has a white frame around his black face.

We were surprised to see the small-clawed otters (Picture 29) playing on the rocks and lifting them, perhaps looking for insects.  They had a pool of water and a waterfall, but they stayed on land the whole time we were there (maybe 5 minutes).

The brown bear (Picture 30) was as curious about us as we were about him.  He came very close to the glass.  The polar bear (Picture 31) should have been out of his element on the grass.  He had a nice pool of water, but he really liked this tree.

I believe this is an East African crowned crane (Picture 32).  He has a varied diet of grass, seed, insects, invertebrates and small vertebrates, and soybeans.  His cousin, the West African crowned crane (Picture 33) seems to know that he is handsome.

We met several keepers as we toured the 3 continents.  They shared lots of information with us and were all so proud of their zoo.  They feel they are the #1 zoo.  It's hard to compare, but they do meet the basic requirement of having a moose (Picture 34).  We would say that, like cream, they are at the tiptop, along with the Doorly and San Diego Zoos. 

I am at La Quinta.  Dean and Sherlock are at Alton RV Park-
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 30, 2012, 11:08:34 PM
October 29      Day 68      Springfield, IL

We travelled 210 miles from Indianapolis.  We were ready to fill our gas tank, but we weren't able to get the $3.85/gallon price advertised at Pilot.  They wanted $4.14 for "car diesel."  We tried another station and found the same thing, so we decided to try in Illinois.  The first place we stopped had the same 30 cent surcharge because we didn't have a DOT license.  But, the second place did give us the same lower price as truckers.

Staying at Springfield State Fair Campground, $20 ($5 less for being seniors), 50 amps & water, all blacktop
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 30, 2012, 11:20:07 PM
October 30       Day 69      Springfield, IL

I've had abdominal pain for 4 days, and it wasn't getting better.  I've learned to be proactive and not wait for things to develop.  We went to the Express Care associated with Memorial Hospital.  They were very knowledgeable, efficient, speedy, and caring.  They wanted to do a CAT scan, but they didn't have a machine, so they sent me to the ER.  I spent about 6 hrs. there.  It turned out to be something weird that I hadn't heard of before called appendices epipliocae, painful but not serious.  The doctor prescribed Tylenol, and I'm feeling much better after the first dose.  The medical personnel were wonderful.  The doc even recommended that we go to Lincoln's New Salem, googled it on the computer, and printed it out so we would have all the info.  Amazing!

Staying at Springfield State Fair Campground, $20, 50 amps & water
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Wendy on October 31, 2012, 06:03:18 PM
Hope you're doing better. Is it about time to head for home?
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 31, 2012, 06:27:15 PM
Hope you're doing better. Is it about time to head for home?

Thanks.  I am doing much better.  The only reason I wrote of my experience is so if anyone is visiting Springfield and needs a doctor or hospital, Memorial and their Express clinics get an A+ from me.  When people write of their repairs or other unusual places, I make notes in my "States" files on my computer so if it happens to me, I have some basis for deciding where to go. 

We'll be home by Thanksgiving (I've actually planned for 3 days earlier).  But we are going south with each move, and it should get warmer and warmer.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on October 31, 2012, 11:53:12 PM
October 27      Day 66      Indianapolis, IN

55,000 attractive teenager dressed in blue jackets and pants (boys) or skirts (girls) are everywhere in Indianapolis.  They are members of an organization formerly known as the Future Farmers of America and are here for their annual convention.   Do you know what their new name is and why?  Answer will be at the end.  They have come here the last 3 years, and they will come to Louisville, KY, for the next 4 years.  Quite an economic boost! 

Our Capitol (State House) tour group included 2 female conventioneers from Minnesota--the only girls we saw with any sense--they were wearing long pants.  The weather is low 40's with strong winds.

Settlers came to Indiana to farm along the Ohio River.  They built a temporary capitol in Corydon in 1816.  It was a 40' (yes, forty!) square limestone building.  It housed both houses and the supreme court!

This Capitol (Picture 1) was built in Indianapolis in 1888. It stood in the middle of a forest.  They named their new city Indianapolis because "polis" means city, so it was "city of Indiana."   Indiana meant "land of Indians."  They figured that with a name like that, no one would have to ask where it is.  It is the longest capital name--6-syllables.  The land was given to the state by the federal government in 1877.  It took 10 years to build.  Its location was chosen because it was in the exact middle of the state--more centered than any other state capitol.  Apologies--Our tour was short, so pictures aren't as good and people interfered with focus often.

The capitol is built of Indiana limestone, as is the Empire State Building, the Pentagon, and 1/2 of the college buildings in the United States.  It has marble from Vermont and granite from Maine.

The legislature is composed of the House of Representatives and Senate.  We only got to see the House (Picture 2).  Legislators worked from January-April this year.  There are 100 seats.  Currently there are 60 Republicans and 40 Democrats. They receive $23,000 per year + benefits. They vote electronically.   The governor has the weakest veto in the U.S.  Only a simple majority is needed to over-ride his veto! 54% of their budget is spent on education.

Our guide, Jim, was a volunteer, and he was very interesting. (Picture 3)  He explained that the state seal was important and  is situated above the Speaker's chair, as well as being on every doorknob in the building and on every legislator's chair.  The seal honors the "forest buffalo" who created the first roads through the woods.  Indiana was 85% forest before settlers chopped down all the white oak and Indiana walnut trees to create farms.  The Ohio River was the liquid interstate.

There is a mural, "The Spirit of Indiana," above the chair, also; it was added in the 1950's.  It shows Miss Indiana stepping into statehood with the Governor Wm. Henry Harrison helping her.  She is surrounded by goddesses, including Ceres, the goddess of agriculture.

Indiana has the oldest Supreme Court in the United States (Picture 4) still operating at their original capitol.  Everything is original to 1888, as well as the 23K gold-leaf.  Hearings are streamed on-line.  The appellate has 20 minutes to present their case, as does the appellee. They have 3 hearings before lunch.  The pretty stained glass windows have owl eyes looking down to help the Supreme Court make wise decisions (Picture 5).  The governor appoints the justices for 2 years.  Then the voters get to vote aye or nay on giving the justice an additional 10 years.  They have to stand for election every 10 years thereafter.  Voters have never voted "nay" on any supreme court justice.

The outer dome is 235' high.  The stained glass "crown" of the inner dome is 105' up.  In the rotunda, there are 8 white Carrera marble 9-foot tall columns showing the values of Indiana. The whole capitol is all about natural light.  In addition to the light from the dome, there are lots of large skylights, and the offices have huge windows.

There are 20 bronze busts, but I liked the one of Col. Richard Owen.  Most busts are just a head and neck, but his has a collar, a jacket, and a cape.  He ran a POW camp during the Civil War.  Camp Morton held 3,000-4,000 prisoners.  Col. Owen was a true humanitarian.  He let clergy come in and visit with the prisoners.  He made sure they had good food and warm clothes.  Then he was re-assigned and sent into battle.  He was captured.  The captain of the POW camp found out who he was, and he gave him a horse and a gun to be able to go home.  He became a professor of geology at Indiana University.  He became the first president of Purdue.  Forty years after the Civil War, Confederate soldiers decided to collect donations to erect a plaque.  They got so much money, they decided to buy a whole bust.  That bust cost $5000 a hundred years ago!

The bust is right outside the office of the current governor, Mitch Daniels.  He has served two 4-year terms.  He is going to be president of Purdue University when he leaves, just like Col. Owen. His legacy is that he set aside land for forests and wetlands.

The lieutenant governor is in charge of economic development, agriculture, and tourism.  Outside her office is this big pig (Picture 7) symbolizing the pork industry.

The flag (Picture 8)  has a central torch of enlightenment which stands for education and 19 stars showing that Indiana is the 19th state admitted to the Union.

Answer:  They are now known as the National FFA Organization.  Why?  They now encompass all activities that involve the land.  Two girls we met had been at a forestry seminar earlier.  They also had exhibitors teaching about equine dentistry, greenhouses, and aquaculture.

This is a very pretty capitol.  I'm sorry we didn't capture more of it with our camera.'

Staying at Lake Haven Retreat-
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on November 01, 2012, 10:52:14 PM
October 31       Day 70      Springfield, IL

We've titled the Capitol in Springfield, "The Most Decorative Capitol."  When we entered the lobby, I had a feeling of awe as I looked up at the beautiful dome.  I had high expectations.  We got there about 5 minutes before the tour.  The tour guide was a few minutes late, which matters when the whole tour is only 30 minutes, and she has to be back to cover the Information Desk promptly at 12:00.  She was a walking tape recorder spitting out facts.  We can always tell when the guide is a paid state employee instead of a docent.  She repeatedly told us that all the information was on the brochure we'd receive.  However, it was just a one-page foldout which was primarily a map and a list of offices on each floor, one of the worst we've received.  The information I have comes from several other sources, too, including a teacher on a field trip, a Capitol electrician, and a Capitol restorer.

Illinois has had six Capitol Buildings--one in Kaskaskia, three in Vandalia, and two in Springfield.  The  current Capitol was built in 1868 and cost $4.3 million.  The design is in the shape of a Greek cross.  The 17-foot-thick outer walls are limestone from Illinois.  French artisans were brought in to do the work because they worked so cheaply.

The legislature is composed of the House of Representatives and Senate.  They work 65 days each year.  They start work at the beginning of January and earn $75,000-$100,000 + $135 per diem.  Sometimes a "day" may only be from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM.

We saw the House from the gallery.  There are 118 members of the House.  Currently, 64 members are Democrats, and 54 members are republican.  The replica chandeliers (Picture 1) were exquisite.  Five years ago they motorized the chandeliers so they n (Picture 2) o longer have to hand crank them down to clean them.  The ceiling was really ornate.  The letters in this part of the ceiling said "U" and "upside down S".  The guide kept telling us that the capitol was full of symbolism, but she didn't seem to know what the symbols were or what they meant.

The Senate (Picture 3) has 59 members, 35 Democrats and 24 republican.  Both houses use voting boards.  However, the Senate board (Picture 4)  has a feature we haven't seen in any other capitols.  When the senator speaks, his name appears electronically on the board, as does his picture in real time.  The ceilings were very fancy. (Picture 5)  The replica chandeliers (Picture 6) were gorgeous and are hand-cranked.  The desks are new.

The legislature was having big problems with plaster falling off the ceiling.  They had hung nets across the ceiling to catch the falling plaster, lest it hit the legislators.  In 1980, they completely gutted both chambers--even the floor was torn out.  They basically kept to the original plan, but they added flourishes and ideas that they had gleaned from other capitols.  They have totally closed the West Wing for remodeling.  It is where all the legislators' offices were.  They have slowed down the pace because of budgetary concerns.

The inner dome (Picture 7), composed of  9,000 mosaic tiles, has an eagle in the center and the state seal..  Springfield is the tallest domed capitol.  When the Capitol first opened, the dome was lit with 144 gas jets.  The carbon emitted from that and people smoking cigars turned the dome black and the pictures were invisible.  It was cleaned in a 2-year restoration in 1985-1986, and is sparkling now.  There is a border relief made of plaster to look like bronze (Pictures 8 & 9).  The scenes represented the important industries of Illinois and historical events.  The rotunda has 8 statues of important people (Picture 10).  I was surprised to see how short Stephen Douglas was. (Picture 11)

There is a Hall of Governors, with a portrait of each governor except Rod Blagojevich.  After he was impeached, the state refused to pay for his portrait, and he didn't choose to pay for it, either.

The Supreme Court has a beautiful ceiling and lights (Picture 12).  Lady Justice is trampling coins to show that justice can't be bought (Picture 13).  Slavery was a frequent issue in the Supreme Court.  They had to decide whether enslaved blacks that were brought to Illinois to raise crops were still slaves, or did they become free by their resident in a "free" state?  They tried to make their rulings harmonize state law with federal law.  During the Civil War, they had two important cases that rose from the battle between abolitionist Governor Richard Yates and the General Assembly, who didn't want to support the soldiers that Illinois had sent to the Union.

The Supreme Court room is currently used as a committee room.  They have overflow crowds when Bo Derek appears annually to protest horse slaughtering.

The state seal appears on all the doorknobs and on the governor's ceremonial office where he signs bills into law (Picture 13).  His real working office is in Chicago.

Memorabilia that was actually on the Challenger when it exploded was displayed. (Picture 14)

We followed a "special" tour group into an off-limits Committee Room.  It is the only example we've seen of a half-room.  (Picture 15) Many of the capitols doubled their floor space as their states grew by splitting rooms in half height-wise.  Then, when they have remodeled in the 1980's, they have taken out these extra floors to get back the feeling of grandeur.  The best way to see it is by the half-window on the right side of the picture.  The lower half is the office below.

This capitol is very large.  It is really glitzy and bright.  It deserves to have an enthusiastic, energetic tour guide, or a good pamphlet.

Staying at Springfield State Fair Campground, $20, 50 amps & water
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on November 01, 2012, 10:55:24 PM
More pics
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on November 02, 2012, 03:46:50 PM
What beautiful detail in the Illinois State Capitol.  I'm with you, Linda, I always regret it when I'm led by someone who is less than enthusiastic.  We encountered someone like that at a cave.  It wasn't a spectacular cave, but there were some very nice parts and they deserved a better explanation than the teenager who was bored out of his mind in "just a job."

ArdraF
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on November 03, 2012, 05:52:57 PM
October 31 continued

We had a busy day.  We parked near the "Old Capitol" and found ourselves right in front of the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices Historic Site. (Picture 1) It's the front half of the original 40-foot-long building that they have furnished with period pieces that Lincoln might have had.  They know the flooring is original or nearly so because it has wooden square-headed nails.  Our guide was excellent.

Lincoln started as a junior partner with Logan.  Lincoln worked and studied on his own, had no college, and passed the Bar exam.  Logan got elected as a U. S. representative after one year. Herndon, his junior law clerk, partnered with him for 16 years, and he said he would never have any other partner as long as Lincoln was alive.  They got paid in cash for each case and split everything evenly.  Mary hated Herndon.  Abe used to take his boys to the office and they really ran amok--spilling ink, tossing around papers, etc.

They practiced all kinds of law, including federal cases but they weren't at all famous.   The federal court was one floor below them in the same building.  They worked for whoever paid them.  He handled primarily bankruptcy and interstate commerce cases.  They argued 250 cases in the state supreme court.  Abe argued one case in the U S Supreme Court and lost it. Lincoln represented slave-owners and helped send slaves back to the South.  He represented slaves and helped them win their freedom   He represented Illinois Central Railroad, and he won a very valuable right-of-way for them.  He sued them when they refused to pay the $2000 tab.  The court ruled they had to pay him $5000.  If a couple divorced, all the woman would ever get was the dowry she brought into the marriage.  If the husband died, the couple's estate all went to the children.

Any man in Illinois could say, "My wife is crazy," and without any investigation, they would lock her up in an insane asylum.  Mary really did go crazy.  She suffered through the deaths of 3 of her 4 children, as well as her husband.  She endured horrible ridicule as a country bumpkin from the socialites when she was in Washington, D. C.  Her son, Robert, went through a required hearing because he was only her son, not her husband, and had her committed.  In Kentucky, it required no hearing at all.

He pled a case where ranchers sent hogs to be butchered and they yielded 100,000 pounds of bacon, and the packing house wouldn't pay them.  He worked for 6 months on that case and got paid $25!  His rent on his office was $4 per month.

There was a tiny post office on the bottom floor.  Postage depended on how far the mail had to go (Picture 2).  People wrote on both sides of the paper and both vertically and horizontally because 4 pieces of paper would cost quadruple. (Picture 3)

When Lincoln ran for office, candidates couldn't campaign for themselves--it was considered improper.  His friends and supporters had to do the campaigning because the office should seek the man rather than the man seeking the office.  He just did his regular work from this office, argued in debates, and shook hands.

When Abe was assassinated, he spent 2 weeks on a train, being off-loaded at 10 stops where he lay in state for people to pay their respects and being viewed on the train at two others.  Lincoln was very well thought of in Springfield.  When he had his final funeral in Springfield, there were 100,000 people waiting outside in a town whose population was only 16,000.

We went across a parkway to the "Old State Capitol."  When the capitol was moved to the new site, it became the Sagamon County Courthouse.  When they moved, it went through a series of governmental and private ownerships before it was bought and restored.

The furniture, lamps, wallpaper, and decorations were long gone.  They re-constructed the stairs (Picture 4) and rooms based on historical records and pictures.  It has been furnished with period pieces from the 1840's and 1850's that are similar to what would have likely been there.

The House of Representatives would have been really crowded (Picture 5).  Lincoln launched his 1858 Senate campaign against Stephen Douglas with his famous "House Divided" speech in Representatives Hall.  Lincoln's remains were displayed in this exact chamber as 75,000 mourners (some say 100,000) passed by to pay respects.

The secretary of state's office had an antiquated filing system. (Picture 6)  Each little box had several records, and each record was wrapped on a red ribbon or red tape (Picture 7).  That's where we get the saying, "cutting governmental red tape."  The state seal was sitting there, and we talked our guide into stamping a piece of paper from my notebook (Picture 8).  Imagine her embarrassment when it came out with a stamp for a fraternal order with clasped hands from MISSISSIPPI! 

The governor's office (Picture 9) was about the size of my kids' bedrooms.  The Superintendent of Public Instruction had a similar office next door.  The governor would come to work and find a huge pile of commissions for army officers waiting for his signature. (He was really encouraging Illinois citizens to sign up for service in the Civil War.)  When each one was signed, he would lay it on the floor to dry.  Sometimes the entire floor would be covered with the parchments.  He used a quill pen and put on plenty of ink, making his signature a striking one.  The superintendent of instruction gave the governor his office so he'd have more room to lay out the commissions to dry.

The Senate had slightly more room. (Picture 10)

Seeing both capitols in the same day was amazing because the first capitol was so small and bare, and the new capitol is huge (just the part we saw--the whole West Wing is shut down for reconstruction).  However, I felt the "people's work" was done more effectively in the smaller, older capitol building.

Staying at Springfield State Fair Campground, $20, 50 amps & water
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on November 03, 2012, 08:56:01 PM

Nov. 1         Day 71      Springfield, IL

I had heard that Lincoln's Presidential Museum was spectacular so I saved it for our last experience in Springfield.  We had to park a block away at a parking garage and pay 75 cents per HALF-HOUR up to $9.75 total.

We paid $18 admission fee.  We were only allowed to take pictures in the foyer. (Picture 1 in front of the White House.)  In the background you can see some of the spectacular dresses worn by "society ladies" of that time, including General McClellan's wife, Lincoln's VP's wife, and Mary Todd Lincoln.

We went to the two 3-D presentations first, avoiding field trip students who would be arriving in an hour.

First we visited a replica of Lincoln's boyhood home (Picture 2).  Lincoln only had one year of formal schooling.  His mother died when he was nine, leaving a tremendous void in his life.  His father re-married, and his step-mother adored him.  His first girlfriend died, probably of typhoid.  His second love, Mary, broke their engagement.

Lincoln kept studying, passed the bar, and partnered with a man named Stuart.  After one year, Stuart won a Congressional seat.  His rival was Stephen Douglas.  In those days, they didn't put addresses on homes.  Everyone knew where everyone lived, and they merely put up nameplates.  After establishing himself, he met and married a Southern lady, Mary Todd.  She was terrified of gas lighting and insisted on only using candles until they went to Washington, D. C. in 1861.  Over a 20-year period, he made bi-annual 2.5 month trips around the 8th Judicial Circuit, covering 14 counties and 10,000 square miles by horse, later buggy, and even later by trains.

Stephen Douglas authored the Kansas-Nebraska Act which permitted slavery to expand into future territories.  The Dred Scott decision by the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that Negroes were mere property, without rights as a human being under the Constitution.  Lincoln saw "no intelligible reason" for the Dred Scott decision.  Lincoln ran against Stephen Douglas.  Lincoln believed that slavery was wrong and should be put on a road to gradual extinction.  Douglas was for "popular sovereignty," letting each territory decide for themselves by voting.  Lincoln lost the election to the Senate to Douglas, but he became a dark horse candidate for the presidency in 1860.

Records here show that Lincoln argued 9 state supreme court cases.  Lincoln and Herndon argued 330 state supreme court cases, among the most of any firm. (They said 250 at the Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices Historic Site.)  The lady at the Law Offices stressed that Lincoln was so fair, in sharing all fees 50-50.  It seems to me that Herndon did a lot more work, and it wasn't fair at all!

Lincoln served in the state House of Representatives in 1836, 1838, and 1840.  Lincoln was a Whig, and in 1843, he lost the Whig nomination for the race for U. S. Representative.  In 1846, he won a seat in the U. S. House of Representatives.  In 1855, he lost his bid for a Senate seat.  In 1856, he helped launch the republican party and los the nomination for U. S. vice-president. In 1858, he lost the Senate race to Stephen Douglas.  In 1859, he toured the Midwest giving speeches.  Lincoln was clean-shaven until November, 1860.  He was the United State's first bearded president.

An excellent video with my idol, Tim Russert, as its moderator, showed the presidential election as if they had TV in 1860.  There was a 4-way presidential race.  The Republicans were kept off the ballot in the South.  Lincoln's theme was "Union."   He said, "A house divided by itself cannot stand."  John Breckenridge, the states' rights advocate, said slaves were property and split the Democratic party with Steven Douglas.  Stephen   Douglas  continued his theme of popular sovereignty--let the people vote their conscience regarding slavery.  John Bell, the pro-slavery Democrat, wanted to split the electoral college vote so no one would have a majority and the vote would go to the House of Representatives, where had many friends.  Lincoln got only 40% of the popular vote, but he won the electoral college by a large margin: 180 votes for Lincoln, 72 for Breckenridge, 39 for Bell, and 12 for Douglas, who got the most popular votes.

The museum had a room where they displayed all the cruel political cartoons. They depicted Lincoln as various animals, the devil, a child, and a joker. People's voices on tape were played saying what people said back then.  The personal attacks on both Abe and Mary were viscious.  Abe was criticized for being too Western and not refined.  A group formed the CSA, not the Confederate States of America, but the Can't Stand Abe.  In his first year of presidency, Lincoln was criticized as a "crude, country lawyer" and "That face alone could get him hanged."  They called him names, like the "original gorilla."  He was criticized as "stumbling around as a drunken man under intoxication of his new position."  Mary was criticized for her appearance and dress.  Mary was criticized for redecorating the White House and buying new china.  They started rumors that she was sneaking around with the gardener.  Lincoln had included his enemies in his cabinet, so these mean people and their snooty wives were their constant companions.  Mary was actually a strong-minded and educated woman who often flew in the face of the expected womanly norm.  There was such animosity that Lincoln entered D. C. without pomp.  They went on and on about how he "sneaked" into D.C.  I was very upset when I left that room.  Mary's only real friend was the black woman who helped her in the house. 

Willie, their son, died just two weeks after the presidential ball.  It hit Abe hard, but Mary was even  more devastated.  She gave away his clothes and toys.  She banished all his playmates from the White House.  She cancelled public concerts by the Marine Corps Band.  Mary stayed in bed for 3 weeks.  She attended seances and said she saw him every night.  Abe threatened her with being sent to an asylum if she didn't improve.  Willie died on a Thursday.  After that, Lincoln shut himself up every Thursday and vented his grief.

Two months later, Mary's half-brother was killed, fighting for the CSA.  She was accused of being a Confederate sympathizer throughout Abe's presidency, even though she often visited Union military hospitals, wrote letters to wounded soldiers, read to hospitalized soldiers, and brought them flowers and special meals.

During that summer, both depressed and sad, Abe wrote the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves in enemy territory.  Seward told him to wait until there was a Union victory.  He actually announced it after the Battle of Antietam.  He wanted to compensate slave-owners.  Chase, a long time abolitionist and member of his Cabinet, didn't think it went far enough.  He wanted to be president.  Attorney General Bates was against black equality.  He thought all Negroes would leave the United States and colonize Central America.  Secretary of the Interior Smith thought Negroes would all leave.  The Postmaster, a member of the Cabinet, didn't like the  Proclamation because he thought it was too radical and would drive border states like Kentucky into the CSA.  The Secretary of the Navy said Lincoln had the constitutional authority to free slaves in rebellious states.  Secretary of War Stanton was the only one to urge him to issue the Proclamation ASAP.  He wanted to use the Negro troops in the war.  Lincoln said his paramount objective was to save the Union and was not either to save or destroy slavery.  "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it.  And if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, i would also do that."  However, he said, "It is my oft-expressed personal wish that all men everywhere could be free."  At the moment it was issued, it didn't free a single slave since it only applied to slaves behind enemy lines.

The museum had two hands-on replica bronze castings of Lincoln's face, one done in 1860 and another in 1865.  You could see how tired and aged he had become after so many years of conflict.  As the casualty figures mounted, he felt the full weight of war on his shoulders.  Every day, he went to the War Department Telegraph Office to get the casualty figures.  Grant's troops marching into Vicksburg simultaneously with the win at Gettysburg, PA crushed the Confederacy's hopes for foreign recognition.

Andrew Johnson of Tennessee was chosen by the republican party as Lincoln's running mate in 1864 because he was the only Southern senator to remain loyal to the Union when the war began.

Lincoln signed the 13th amendment on February 1, 1965, giving slaves their freedom.  It was ratified by the required 3/4 states in December, 1865, after he was assassinated.

After his death, there was a funeral tour covering 1700 miles, with 12 major funeral processions.  The body was taken off the train, presented for viewing, and then loaded back onto the train over a period of 15 days.  He was seen by more people as a dead president than as a living candidate.

The National Lincoln Monument Association was formed to give him a great monument.  They built a monument.  In 1876, there was a bizarre body-snatching scheme to kidnap the corpse, hide it, and ransom it for money and the freedom of a master engraver who was residing at Joliet Penitentiary.  Providing security and maintenance was a pain, so in 1895 they turned the tomb over to the state.

After he died, his favorite son, Tad, died at around age 18.  Another son, Elliot, died as a child, so the only son who reached adulthood was Robert, who lived into his 70's.

My mood was somber as we left.  I felt like there was a lot of hard, righteous work in Lincoln's life, but little joy.

We went out to Oak Ridge Cemetery (free parking) to see Lincoln's Tomb (Picture 3).  Within a granite monument lie the remains of Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary, and three of their sons.  The fourth son, Robert, is buried at Arlington.  It is the second most-visited cemetery in the U. S. Before we entered a small museum inside the tomb, Dean rubbed Lincoln's nose for good luck (Picture 4).  Inside the tomb's foyer is a miniature statue of the Lincoln Memorial (Picture 5).  There are several more miniatures of Lincoln statues  that are placed throughout the United States.  A docent was in the museum to answer questions.

Staying at Springfield State Fair Campground, ONLY $10 because our hosts have left and there is no guarantee of water, 50 amps & water
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on November 03, 2012, 09:04:18 PM
Nov.2      Day 72      Kansas City, MO   

We had a long day.  I had called Harrah's St. Louis two days ago to see if we could boondock there.  They said it was OK and gave me directions about where the RV lot was.  As we entered the drive, we saw the letters for HOLLYWOOD  being put up.  I called Harrah's, and the number was disconnected.  We'd eaten at a Hollywood Buffet before and it was not good.   We had no interest in playing in their casino, so we decided to push on another 260 miles to Kansas City.   The roads were good, so they were easy miles.  We ate at Harrah's Buffet, $22 each and it was good, but not worth $22.

Staying at Harrah's boondocking--good lighting, great security.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on November 03, 2012, 09:10:19 PM
Nov. 3      Day 73      Topeka, KS

Today was a fiasco.  Dean had set our GPS to "AVOID TOLL ROADS".  We cost ourselves lots of time, miles, and gas, as well as going through a stressful ten miles of one-lane traffic on what should b e a 4-lane freeway.   Dean has faith in the GPS and always takes its advice over mine, so I've quit worrying about navigating.  I'm going to start mapping again and at least advise him.  He turned what should have been a one-hour drive into a 4.5 hour drive.

We'll see sights tomorrow.

Staying at Wal-mart.  Good parking.
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Ken & Sheila on November 04, 2012, 09:26:01 AM
Linda

If you get a chance go to the Brown versus board of Education exhibit while in Topeka.  It is well worth the trip.  We stayed at a wonderful county park while there with Terry and Betty (Lake Shawnee).  Hopefully the repairs are done at the capital, we did not get to see much of it when we were there in September.

Sheila
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: therealsimpsons on November 04, 2012, 04:51:08 PM
Linda,

As Illinois residents, we concur in your assessment regarding the toil of our 16th president, and the work that got done in those little office buildings in the 1800s. A long history of corruption controlled by the Chicago political machine has been our legacy since Lincoln. The buildings are bigger and so are the shady deals made in the back rooms.

We took our old coach, a 40 foot HR to Springfield, and parked right downtown, a block from the Lincoln museum. It was before we had the toad. We took up 3 parking spots, but it was a Sunday with little traffic, so we were undisturbed.

I'm looking forward to your narrative on Kansas City.

Stan
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on November 04, 2012, 05:14:16 PM

I'm looking forward to your narrative on Kansas City.

Stan

Stan, I'm so sorry, but we did Kansas City last year, so this year we only used it as a free overnight stop.  We did spend several days there, and we especially enjoyed eating BBQ at a different place each night--so sorry we didn't do a repeat instead of going to Harrah's buffet.

We are headed to Abilene, KS, and Oklahoma City.  We live in CA, and our kids insist that we must be home by Thanksgiving.  We spent Thanksgiving on the road in Florida, and it was the loneliest I've ever been, so I'll never do that again. 
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on November 08, 2012, 10:49:03 PM

Nov. 7      Day 77         Oklahoma City, OK

We drove into downtown OKC to the Myriad Botanical Gardens & Crystal Bridge Tropical Conservatory.  The grounds looked brown and un-watered.  There was construction on the grounds, and I thought they were taking down the sign since we couldn't find a sign anywhere.  I called the phone number listed on their website, and it was disconnected with no new number.  I called the OKC Visitors Bureau, which said they were thriving (definitely an exaggeration), and gave me a new number.   We found street parking easily once we knew where to find the entrance.  However, there was only one handicapped spot, and that was occupied.  The spot we used had a curb, and the only way to get to the garden entrance was by traveling the wrong way in a traffic lane for several spaces until I could get to the intersection's curb cut--definitely not very safe.

We paid a $6 admission to two lovely un-informed information clerks.  It was after noon, so we asked for directions to the cafe.  She pointed to the building that will be used as a cafe when they get someone to rent it.  No food was OK, but we were both thirsty.  She directed us to the basement coin-operated drink machine.  $1.25--no problem, in fact Dean was glad to unload his pocket of change.  But the machine doesn't take change. (Why does it have a change slot?)  We came up with 4 one-dollar bills, and Dean added 6 quarters to his bulging pocket.

We entered the tropical conservatory.  We strolled through it in 10 minutes.  We found a few interesting signs, but most plants weren't labeled.  Their orchids were beautiful. (Pictures 1 & 2)  They repeated many plants and we were curious about what this was, but no one knew. (Picture 3)  The golden trumpet vine was labeled (Picture 4).  They did have interesting architectural features--bridges, bamboo fences along walkways.

There were a few plants on the second floor.

We went up to the third floor and walked on a bridge above the canopy of the plants we had just seen.  It gives an interesting perspective.  There was a mini-garden of about 6 cactus at the end.

We went outside to search for any "gardens".  We found a group of people going through a nice children's play area and garden.  There was a tour of people who looked like firemen/cop-types, so I asked what the tour was.  It turned out that it was a group of middle management city employees there to familiarize them with the improvements that have been made recently.  Among the participants was Jennifer Lindsey-McClintock, the Public Information & Marketing Manager.  She came over to us, and I gave her some constructive suggestions.  I was very positive, and I didn't address anything for which I didn't have a solution.  She responded well, and she told us she'd check out the parking, phone, etc.  She suggested her two favorite sites, so we had a quick lunch and proceeded to the Centennial Land Run Monument.

Oh, my goodness!  There are actually 4 monument groupings now that represent the first Land Run.  (Pictures 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10).  It will not be completed until 2015, but it is already a 'DON'T MISS".  It is currently oddly situated--you have to drive to the back lot of the Pro Bass Shops and you'll see it on your right.

In 1890, Congress established the Unassigned Lands as Oklahoma Territory.   Lands iin the Indian Territory were swindled and opened (my words) and given in 40 acre sections to encourage people to settle.  If they worked the land for 5 years, they were the new owners.  At first there was Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory, established by pact.  Then it was made all Oklahoma Territory, and in 1907, Oklahoma became the 46th state.

The statues are huge, and you can feel the power of the horses and hear the hoof beats. The details and expressions on the peoples' and horses' faces are amazingly realistic.  It is something you have to see to feel, but better than everything that we saw at Myriad was the suggestion that we come here.

We went to the new, nicely decorated, immaculate Harkins Theatre ($6/seniors).  They have all the latest movies, $6 popcorn for 2 people, and the employees are very nice.  In California, we're paying $9.75.

Staying at Council Road RV Park, $31.50, FHU, 50 amps, lots of potholes on interior roads, friendly manager
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on November 08, 2012, 10:53:16 PM
Nov. 8      Day 78         Oklahoma City, OK

OKC's Public Information Officer, who we met at the gardens yesterday, told us that the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum was the best Western heritage museum and Western art museum in the United States.  So, we postponed our departure one day to go see it.  Wow! 

As we approached the entrance there was a huge impressive bronze statue of a cowboy.  Unfortunately, the sun too bright for good pictures.   (high of  79°--YEAH!) Admission for 2 seniors was $19.50.   In the lobby the statue, "The End of the Trail," (Picture 1) reflects a 19th century Indian warrior defeated and bound for oblivion.  The museum displayed a plaque with a thumbnail history of the  Indians being confined to reservations, being ravaged by disease and starvation, the Indian children being forced to attend boarding schools that forbade them to speak their own language or celebrate their culture under threat of physical punishment, and their being denied citizenship.  During WWII, things changed.  Young men enlisted in the armed forces, and other Indians went into the cities to work for defense industries.  From a low of 250,000 in 1890, the Native American population in the U. S. is now over 2 million.  Today, Native Americans blend their culture with achievement in many areas, almost as if this warrior lifted his head and continued on the trail.

While we waited for a film, we admired the large John Wayne statue.  He presided over the opening day of the museum and gave his entire collection of Western memorabilia to the museum.  We went into the theater and saw the orientation film that was narrated by Tom Selleck.

There was wonderful art on the hallway walls, and at the end of the long corridor was a wonderful statue of a seated, pondering Lincoln.  We continued into the National Geographic photographic art display.  We had seen many of the photos at another art museum earlier on this trip.  The pictures were so good we went through the whole gallery again.

We walked down another long corridor to the main galleries.  We saw oils, pencils, watercolor, ink, wildlife bronzes, and a type of paper art that we've never seen before.  It's carved special paper that is sturdy and delicate simultaneously and is used to make beautiful Indian scenes.  At the end was an enormous  female cougar, "Canyon Princess," picture 2.  It was cut from a 31-ton block of Colorado yule marble and stands 15' tall and weighs more than eight tons.  It took the sculptor five months to complete.  While I appreciate the magnitude of the job, I saw so many others that I thought were better.  My favorite was a mama otter with her pup on her tummy.  At that point we saw a "NO PHOTOGRAPHY" sign, so we put away the camera.

But, our eyes saw super high-quality work everywhere.
•   a large, superb, expensive gift shop
•   a 1900 Western cattle town with full-size saloon, church, and school
•   a hands-on children's cowboy corral where kids can dress up and pretend they are real cowboys/cowgirls in a bunkhouse
•   a gallery of exquisite artwork.  They have a show of paintings priced from $8,000 to $90,000.  Each year for about 3 decades they have bought the grand prize.   winner.
•   a gallery of Native American art
•   a gallery of fine American firearms
•   a gallery of Native American art on utensils, tools, and clothing
•   a Western Performers gallery with  separate areas for each of the TV cowboy and movie stars I grew up with, as well as some before my time, like Tom Mix
   a Western theatre where they were screening old cowboy films
   an awesome American Rodeo Gallery, with full-size pens for the bulls, calves,    and horses and a TV playing a tape of past performances in each of the 6 rodeo    events.  It featured clothing, trophies, equipment, and history of the stars.
•   outdoor gardens, statue, and art gallery
•   a very good cafe with menu food or buffet

Staying at Council Road RV Park, $31.50, FHU, 50 amps, lots of potholes on interior roads, friendly manager
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on November 09, 2012, 04:55:16 PM
Linda, I love the bronzes!  I seem to recall a Charles Russell art museum in OKC.  Did you see it?  Also, there was a Glenn Ford movie called Cimmaron about the race across the Cimmaron Strip in Oklahoma.  The bronzes reminded me of it.

ArdraF
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on November 09, 2012, 05:12:19 PM

Nov. 9      Day 79      Amarillo, TX

It was an easy 270 mile drive.  There were lots of crosswinds.  I loved the 82° weather.

Staying at Oasis RV Park off I-40 Exit 60--$29.25, FHU with 50 amps, all pull-thrus, awesome for us now, but I wouldn't want to be here in the summer.  I think the total asphalt with concrete pads and rectangles of weed-free xeriscaping is perfect.  There are no trees for the strong winds to blow down.  Very well maintained.  It's all level and perfect for handicapped. 
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on November 09, 2012, 10:32:19 PM
Linda, I love the bronzes!  I seem to recall a Charles Russell art museum in OKC.  Did you see it?  Also, there was a Glenn Ford movie called Cimmaron about the race across the Cimmaron Strip in Oklahoma.  The bronzes reminded me of it.

ArdraF

A year or two ago, Dean and I went to a Russell Museum in Great Falls, MT.  It was a good museum.  There were a lot of Remingtons on display there, also.  I was surprised to find that I enjoyed his oil paintings more than the bronzes.  I never got to see the movie "Cimmaron," but I do remember hearing the name.  Was something on TV with that name?

 We had to laugh at the fact that our GPS was intoxicated--really drunk-- in OKC, and it kept on taking us back to Reno Dr.  Several places we went to were on Reno, but our GPS would take us in circles and return us to where we had left 10 minutes earlier.  When we finally were able to navigate on our own, we left!
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on November 09, 2012, 11:41:17 PM
Delayed post--we were too busy having fun and I just finished it.


Nov. 5      Day 75         Blackwell, KS (just a few miles N of OK border)

Today we were at The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Meditation Chapel when it opened. The first large area housed an extensive art exhibit related to historic martyrs through a variety of media.  His works were compelling.  His grandfather was a dissident in North Korea, jailed, and executed.  In Eisenhower later years, his number one objective was peace.  When asked what his proudest accomplishment was of his presidency, he said that it was that no American soldiers shed blood during his presidency.  The focus of the art was the courage people have shown in standing up for what is right.

Then we went to a theatre and saw Eisenhower's farewell speech when he left the presidency.

Most of the museum was focused on his war years, not his presidency.  Ike had an interest in the Civil War, and there were many artifacts that he had collected.  There were excellent portraits that Ike had painted of his heroes, Robert E. Lee and Abraham Lincoln.

Ike was a late applicant to college.  He really wanted to go to Annapolis, but he was too old.  He graduated 61st in his class at West Point, and he was 125th in demerits.  He injured his knee playing football and was only allowed to graduate if he promised not to apply for mounted service.  On his preference card for his post-graduate assignment, he listed, "infantry, infantry, infantry."

I learned a lot of history about WWII  They did not address his reported affair with his driver.  They did have a taped interview with Barbara Walters playing in a mini-TV.  Reporters in those days were so much more tactful.  She asked Mamie if she worried about Ike when he was in Europe in WWII.  She said that of course, she did.  Barbara then said, with being away from Mamie for so long, did she worry about him being tempted to stray.  And Mamie said, of course, not, no, no, no, nothing like that.  And Barbara never mentioned the other woman's name and changed the topic.

There were lots of relics of the 50's, a typical kitchen, gifts that they'd received, their clothes, and we got a good understanding of their lives and way of thinking.  Each of us independently were surprised that there wasn't more said about the accomplishments of his presidency.  We spent about 4 hours at the museum, his family's mausoleum, and at his boyhood home (The Eisenhower Museum bought the other homes in the neighborhood and then removed those houses.)

The house Ike grew up (Picture 1) in was really tiny for the mom, dad, grandpa, and 4 boys. Tours are given in 15 minute intervals.

 I think Ike and Mamie maintained their humble personas.  Mamie was critiqued for not buying dresses in Paris and wearing the same dress twice.  She replied that she was quite happy with her $16.95 dresses from an American department store.

We couldn't help but compare with the other presidential museums we've seen.  This museum reflects more modest times.

By the time we had a quick lunch in the RV, it was 3:30.  I thought we'd drive a couple hours.  We drove almost 300 miles--way past dark.  Crazy!  But, Dean's happy, it was easy driving, so I guess it's OK.  We're safely here.

Stayed at Blackwell, KS Walmart
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on November 11, 2012, 10:47:01 PM
Delayed Nov. 6 Log   Day 76         Oklahoma City, OK

We liked Oklahoma's Capitol Building (Picture 1) so much we "accidentally" went for our second visit in the last couple of years. (Actually, Dean planned this trip, and I unthinkingly followed his itinerary.)  As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, I realized that we'd been here before, and I vividly remembered it.  Both times we went around in circles--literally--trying to find the entrance to the parking lot.  That triggered my memory, and when I saw Petunia #1, the oil well in front of the capitol, I knew for sure.  It was named because it was sunk 660' under the governor's petunias.  However, they found cracks in the Capitol's foundation and shut it down in 1956, despite the fact there is a huge pool of oil there, worth billions of dollars.

The flag (Picture 2) was flying straight out in the breeze, showing the Osage shield covered by a calumet (peace pipe) representing Native Americans, and the olive branch representing European Americans.  It has 6 brown crosses, which are the Native American symbols of stars, on the shield.  The large blue background represents the first official flag flown by any Native American Nation, the Choctaw flag of the American Civil War.

This was an opportunity to see how much I remembered.  Many of my memories were right on; some were absent; some were incorrect.  On the outside of the capitols are two lions (I remembered them as griffins) who stand for strength, peace, and integrity.  Atop the Capitol is the 3-ton statue, "The Guardian."  He represents all the Indians who walked the Trail of Tears and all the Indians in Oklahoma, the survivors of the Dust Bowl, floods, storms, and tornadoes and the Oklahomans who have died in the service of their country.  Oklahoma does the best job of any state at paying tribute to the Native Americans, whose land the Europeans stole through armed aggression and treaties that they never kept.  However, there are times when they, too, are insensitive and clueless, in my opinion.

Oklahoma was part of the Louisiana Purchase.  The U. S. paid 4 cents per acre. I think the original territorial capitol was in Guthrie.  The legislators noticed that the railroads were crossing in Oklahoma City.  They had an election to decide whether to move the capitol or not.  The state attorney general knew it was going to be a landslide for Oklahoma City, so he dispatched three men to get the Constitution.  They came dressed as laundrymen, stole it, and walked out with it in a laundry bag.  To this day, there is animosity over OKC "stealing" the state's Constitution.

When the Capitol was built, the legislature only allocated enough funds to build 3 floors because of budget constraints caused by WWI.  By eliminating the dome that the architect had planned, they saved $1,000,000 and were able to build all six floors.  They added the dome in 2001.  (Picture 3) It was supposed to be paid for entirely by contributions, and they had pledges for the total amount.  However, some of the pledgers suffered business reverses, and the state did pick up $2 million of the $21 million tab.

The state seal is the center part of the dome.  (Picture 4)   It was added in the lobby's floor in 1996. (Picture 5)  Each ray of the seal's five-pointed star represents one of the Five Civilized Tribes, the Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole, Creek, and Cherokee Nations.  All of them lived in Southeastern U. S. before their forced relocation. They were called "civilized" by white settlers because they lived in European style settlements as farmers.  How insensitive!  There were 61 other tribes residing in Oklahoma at the time the seal was adopted.  Were they "uncivilized?"  The state motto, "Labor Conquers All," is written in Latin with a green wreath. In the center of the star, figures symbolizing Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory (Eastern Oklahoma) "joining" together to form the state of Oklahoma.  The Indian territorial governments of the "Civilized Tribes" had 3 branches and were modeled on ours.  They had good relations with the white settlers.   

In the Hall of Governors, (Picture 6) they have busts of all their governors and my favorite painting.  You "read" it like a timeline from left to right.  It starts with dust and storms and progresses to their nationally-famous medical center and the astronauts from Oklahoma to a prediction of what the future holds.  You can see it at the end of the row of statues, but not in sufficient clarity to enjoy all of its symbolism.

I think Oklahoma has perhaps the most striking Supreme Court courtroom in the nation (Picture 7).  It is spacious, full of meaning, and is beautiful.  It was repainted in 1997 for only $7,700.  I especially enjoyed the plaster-of-Paris rosettes in the ceiling and their original light (Picture 8).

There were 5 territorial justices originally.  They complained of being overworked so they added 4 more to equal 9, just like the U. S. Supreme Court.  They are APPOINTED BY THE GOVERNOR WITH NO NEED FOR RATIFICATION BY ANYONE!  They do have to be re-confirmed every 6 years, but that has never happened.  However, two have resigned after charges of bribery were laid.  Recently, they have moved across the street to the historic state offices.  They are unusual in that they only handle civil cases.  The Court of Criminal Appeals is the court of last resort in criminal matters.  On our next trip, I want to see their new digs.

In the Senate there are 32 Republicans and 16 Democrats.  In the House it is just as lopsided.  There are 70 Republicans and 31 Democrats.  The governor, Mary Fallin, is a republican.   Oklahoma is definitely a "red" state.

In 1993, a $1.5 million restoration (as much as the original construction of the whole building cost) of the Capitol was done.  They removed paneling, dropped ceiling, some doors, and such discoveries were made.  They found elegant architectural details. 
The House Chamber (Picture 9) is much more elaborate than the Senate (Picture 10).  Some of the restoration work involved adding features that were on the original plans but never happened because they were too costly.  They used 20 gallons of gold paint with gold leaf in it.  The old-fashioned fans along the wall are original and still work (there's a lot of hot air in there!)  Each fan has the state seal in the center of its grille.  Of course, they have AC.  All bills about budgets and taxes have to originate in the House of Representatives.

Three pieces of the stained glass skylight panels from the Senate were found in the attic, and the company which made them still had the 1917 work order and was able to replicate them. (Picture 11) Light now filters through windows which were sealed in the 30's.  A story says that an overeager reporter climbed onto the roof outside the Senate to eavesdrop, so they sealed them.

There are many wonderful works of art throughout the Capitol.  The oils, architecture, and statues would rival works in many excellent art museums.  "Flight of Spirit," painted by a Chickasaw celebrates five world-famous Oklahoma Indian prima ballerinas, and it is beautiful.  It demands your attention, even from far away across the rotunda.

Oklahoma City is a "Don't Miss" Capitol.

Staying at Council Road RV Park, $31.50, FHU, 50 amps, lots of potholes on interior roads, friendly manager
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on November 12, 2012, 12:49:22 AM
Nov. 10   Day 80      Tucumcari, NM

I wrote yesterday's post in Amarillo before we left to eat dinner at Tyler's BBQ.  They were voted #1 Bar-B0Q in Amarillo by both critics at a contest and the people who ate samples.  His cafe is a family effort.   His mom and dad were out bussing tables and making sure everything had everything they wanted.  The food was wonderful, especially my tender, juicy kmm ribs and potato salad.  We have had other beans we preferred, but that's just a matter of taste.   He has a very different and delicious peach cobbler.  It has a spice cake type top, rather than a crust.  Really yummy!  We will stop there every time we are in Amarillo.   

When we started this morning, the winds were strong, and they did nothing but get stronger.  Tumbleweeds were crossing the interstate like they were being shot out of a machine gun.  Truckers were having trouble staying in their lanes, and so were we.

Soon we heard banging noise from our largest slide-out.  Dean pulled into an asphalt lot, used the RV to block the strong winds, got on a ladder, while I prayed.  Somehow he used rope to keep the slide top from banging.  He insisted on going 35 miles further to Tucumcari.  I wanted to stop at the little RV park just 1 mile away.

Cactus RV Park--$19.25, PA rate, level, FHU, 50 amps for part of the night--the whole park lost power sometime after we went to bed

Nov. 11   Day 81      Albuquerque, NM

What should have been a short 170 mile drive took us almost 6 hours.  We got up early. We were on the road by 8:00 to beat the winds, which were supposed to peak at 30 mph at 2:00, with gusts of 45-55 mph.  We figured to be in Albuquerque by about 11:00.  The best laid plans.... 

We noticed a dusting of snow and some patches at the sides of the road, but it didn't interfere with anyone's driving.  However, we came to a dead stop, and we could see miles of cars on the slight grade ahead of us.  A big semi-truck's front end was badly smashed up, and it was laying on its side, covering the 2 right lanes on I-40.  We were in the backed up traffic for about 10 miles.  For us it was a loss of time, but I hope that's all the trucker lost, too.

We pulled into the park at about 2:00, got hooked up, and Dean took off for the National Museum of Nuclear Science & History.  I wanted to stay at the RV and clean, preparatory for storage.  The GPS wouldn't take the museum address.  Dean tried a variety of ways to find it.  He came across some other businesses whose products we needed.  So, he did get something accomplished.  He now has good directions, and he'll see the museum tomorrow.

We wanted to eat Mexican in New Mexico, so we went to Sadie's, which was highly rated on Trip Advisor.  The food was good, but VERY spicy.

Staying at Enchanted Trails--$18.03, PA rate, FHU, 50 amps,
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Dean & Linda Stock on November 13, 2012, 08:54:23 PM
Thanks to all who contributed ideas, encouragement, and help to make our trip enjoyable.  We've had a good time and are now looking forward to "home time."

Happy trails to all!
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Betty Brewer on November 13, 2012, 09:30:06 PM
I'm always let down when  your travel journal end. It is like reading a travel brochure of places to put on bucket list. 
Please tell me you had been to the  Federal Building Memorial in Oklahoma City on a prior trip.  If not, you must return to see how moving this tribute is to the victims of that bombing!  It is worth the trip.Also  we visited the banjo Museum while there and had a blast.

 Linda  your travels are so much fun.  You guys are living the American Dream.  Glad to see you enjoy retirement.  You deserve it! Have a Happy Thanksgiving and please consider Quartzsite!  I know I know....
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: Tom and Margi on November 14, 2012, 08:10:53 AM
Thanks once more for taking us along on your journey, Linda.  You write so beautifully and cover interesting places so thoroughly that I really feel like I've "seen" the places you describe.  And thank you, Dean, for the wonderful pictures.  Can hardly wait for your next adventure!
 
Margi
Title: Re: Northcentral US with the Stocks 2012
Post by: ArdraF on November 15, 2012, 06:59:42 PM
Adios until next time.  I'm mentally preparing myself for Linda's travel reports withdrawal....  Safe home!

ArdraF