Mississippi River

Eureka!  We crossed the Mississippi today.  In my last post, I was still recovering from the trip around Minneapolis.  Obviously, I wouldn’t make a good truck driver.  Lots of traffic, changing lanes, and a long trailer stress me out.

Today, I crunched the container that contains the dog food.  If something is located in the wrong place when we open the slides (like the keyboard the other day), it gets crunched.  Apparently, I have yet to fully understand this.  Hopefully, my feeble mind will eventually understand and we can stop crunching things that require replacement.

We currently think that we will stop in Fargo, ND long enough to get an oil change and stock up on any essentials before we venture through the rest of North Dakota.  We have been told to plan carefully at this point.  Although we have only reserved one night in Fargo, we may extend it to two just to get stocked up and set for the rest of the trip.  We’ll make that decision once we see the campsite in Fargo.  No matter what research you do, you don’t really know how good the campsite is until you see it.

It’s been raining all afternoon.  Regis and I have been researching where we go from here (and I’m getting very excited about Teddy Roosevelt National Park) and the dogs have been sleeping.

Gentle Rain

We drove from Madison, WI to the western outskirts of Minneapolis, MN (279 miles).  There was a gentle rain most of the way that wasn’t an issue until we started to go around Minneapolis.  I hate driving the trailer around cities and rain just adds to the stress.  It was my turn to drive when we went around Chicago and it was my turn to drive when we went around Minneapolis.  There is something wrong with my planning.  I’m going to have to work on this.

I have always appreciated truck drivers but my respect has increased a great deal since my trip around Chicago and now Minneapolis.  I am glad I’m not a truck driver.  (Here’s to you Jeff!)  I’m going to make sure that Regis has to drive when we do Fargo, ND.  I’ll bet its a tiny town with great streets!

I saw a lot of dead deer on the sides of the highway on the way up.  I have never seen so many before.  Also, there were no vultures.  At home, the deer would have been surrounded by vultures.  Doesn’t Wisconsin have vultures?  By the time we got to Minnesota, I saw well over 20 dead deer.  I didn’t count but I’m pretty sure there was approximately one for every ten miles.  So sad.

Dart didn’t jump to catch his disc yesterday or this morning at the campground.  He would slowly retrieve it, but wouldn’t catch it.  Today, at the rest stop, he was his regular, athletic self while leaping and twisting to catch the discs.  It was hot at the Madison campground and cool at the rest stop.  Perhaps he shuts down as the temperature rises.  I’ll have to pay attention and see.

Right now we are camped next to a large family with dogs, kids, parents, and grandparents.  I have no idea how they are all fitting in their trailer.  Dart is not the friendliest guy in town, so I can’t let him spend time outside with all the activity so close.  But, he has spent a little time watching the activity through the screen door.  He’s been good and quiet.

Tekoe mostly sleeps.  If we sit outside the camper with the dogs, Tekoe spends time watching campground activities and stays awake.  Since this trip is giving her an opportunity to spend more time awake soaking in life, I think it will be good for her.

Farmers Market

Today we went to a Farmer’s Market in Madison, Wisconsin.  It was great!  Obviously, asparagus, rhubarb, onions, and lettuces are in season.  There was plenty of cheese bread from the bakeries and lots of plants.  We got some fresh asparagus, venison sausage, ham, eggs, and pastries (of course).  We saw some great cow cookies.  I love Madison and the surrounding area.  It’s beautiful.  There are almost as many bicyclists as there are motorists.  Isn’t that the way it should be?

I tried to find the Olbrich gardens.  After passing them once and returning, I found them.  There was only one parking space in the parking lot and I could not park in it.  If I had my Highlander, it would not be a problem.  A Ford F-350 crew cab (made to pull a mini-mansion as Vickie would say) was not meant to park in that spot.  I had to give it up.  Shucks!

We spent some time in the dog park with Tekoe and Dart and wore them out a bit.  We then sat outside the camper in the sun and people watched.  An oriole showed up in the tree above my head and sang his heart out.  I ran for my camera, loaded the big lens, and got ready to take a great picture to post.  Of course you all know that he flew away before I could focus.

We saw a crane (probably immature Sandhill) flying overhead today and making a very strange sound.  It’s probably a normal sound for a crane but sounded very strange to us.

Since Wisconsin is about cheese, I had to get a cheese pic.  Look closely below and you will see a mouse climbing the pole for the cheese.

A-frame

We managed to get around Chicago.  Although it could have been worse, we hated it.  Absolutely hated it.  We kind of feel that the rest of the trip to the west coast will be a breeze after getting around Chicago.  Six lanes of traffic.  Argh!!!  But, the pace was good and we were never stopped in traffic.  We did get stuck around Madison, Wisconsin because of an awful accident.

Wisconsin is beautiful.  We stopped at a gas station to let Tekoe and Dart have a break and get some water.  Next to the gas station was a bakery.  We didn’t notice it at first, but when you stepped out of the truck, your nose told you it was there.  I ventured in and picked up a Boston Creme doughnut for me and a glazed twisty thing for Regis.  OMG.  Heaven.  It turned out to be lunch for us.  Oh, it was a reason to consider moving to Wisconsin!!!

Our current campground is not as beautiful as yesterday’s, but the staff is SOOOO nice.  OMG nice.  They escort you to your site and they are just delightful.  There is the Camp K-9 that has some agility equipment and a separate dog park.  It has bowls of fresh water.  Wow!  I took Dart to the mini agility equipment.  It started well, but running the mini A-frame did him in. The surface was slippery and he shut down as soon as he got off the equipment.  I wasn’t sure if he was just upset or hurt because he wouldn’t do anything after that.  After letting him settle at the camper for awhile, I took him out to play with his flying disc.  He tried it once and then he wouldn’t run out to catch it.  Although I don’t see anything obviously wrong with him, he clearly has some physical problem if we won’t play with his disc.   I plan to let him rest tomorrow and see if he recovers.  Although an energetic Dart is enough to drive us crazy, it’s not good when he isn’t driving us crazy.

We are outside Madison, Wisconsin and they have a farmer’s market tomorrow that is the largest producer-only farmer’s market in the country.  We’ll hit it first thing tomorrow.  I hope to visit the Olbrich Botanical Gardens, not far away.  We also need to do the wash (boring) and go to the local Camping World to pick up an extension cord.  

Wine

Tekoe is feeling much better today.  She didn’t eat much breakfast though, but she has perked up and ate dinner well.  I put her back on her pain medication this evening but will keep her off the antibiotics.

Today we went grocery shopping.  Grocery stores can sell hard liquor.  Regis had a blast in the liquor aisle and was very interested in the Tippy Cow product.  We didn’t purchase any but would love to taste it.

Tippy Cow

We visited two wineries and loved it.  The weather and the vineyards were beautiful and the wine was great.  We are proud to have supported the local economy with our wine purchases. I just hope we haven’t overloaded the RV now!

Since the sun came out this afternoon, Regis and I practiced being lizards in the sun.  With those nice furry coats, the dogs are not sun worshipers and stayed in the shade.  We hit the road again tomorrow.  We have to go through or around Chicago.  Not looking forward to it!

Tight Turn

We woke up this morning to see that Tekoe got sick last night.  Then, she ate breakfast but puked twice afterwards.  She’s been on an antibiotic and I gave her and Dart Dreambones last night.  I am going to stop her medication and see if she improves.  She had trouble with puking before we left home, so I cut back on her antibiotic but now I’m going to stop it altogether.  She was very interested in an early dinner this evening and she’s resting peacefully right now.

Coming back from the shower this morning, I walked past a bush that had a bird nest in it.  Mom or Dad didn’t like that much and flew right past my head.  I wasn’t feeling the love.

Dart is beginning to get the routine down.  When we pull into rest stops, he is prepared to play with his flying disc and becomes very focused on that possibility.  He will not pee or drink water until he gets to play.  He stares at the storage box with the disc in it.  Or, at the person closest to the box since they might be the hero who will retrieve his disc for him.

We drove across the southern Michigan peninsula today and it was beautiful.  When we arrived at the campground, there was a very tight turn into the entrance.  Sadly, I was driving.  I couldn’t make it and wound up blocking traffic with the tail end of the trailer hanging out in the road.  Regis had to jump out and provide directions to get me out of the mess I’d gotten myself into.  Both lanes of traffic were stopped on this little two lane highway while he directed me back out so I could drive up the road, turn around, and go in from the other direction.  Regis was considering taking a selfie of him and the situation but didn’t think the stopped traffic would find it amusing.  If he did that, our trip would probably have ended here in Michigan.

The campground is beautiful.  We’re going to stay for two nights.  We noticed several wineries near by.  Guess what I’m hoping to do tomorrow?  I’ll have to see if any of them are pet friendly.  They are close enough that we might be able to leave the dogs in the trailer and see how it works out.

I think it’s the tail end of winter here.  Fortunately, Regis got our fickle heater to work.  It’s cold enough for me that I have to wear gloves and two jackets.

I will have to learn to pay more attention to all the details of my surroundings.  Dart does.  I noticed a hitching post for dogs at the camp store.  After setting up camp, I took Dart with me to the camp store so we could get information on things to do in the area.  I figured I would hitch him to the post when I went in.  I failed to notice something that he noticed immediately upon getting within 50 feet of the store.  There is a statue of a mule within 10 feet of the hitching post.  Dart HATES that mule.  He had a similar reaction to some rocking horses we encountered on a play ground.  I don’t think it would have been conducive to a continued stay in the campground to attempt to tie him to a hitching post while he was letting that mule know just what he thought of him.  Dart is quite the character.

Michigan campground

Hummus and a Keyboard

We are currently not far from the birthplace of Thomas Edison in Ohio. The campground isn’t great, but it will work for the night.  It’s downright chilly.  Since it was 85 degrees when we arrived at yesterday’s campground, it’s a shocker to arrive in this campground at a chilly 57 degrees.  From shorts to sweaters.  Brrrrr.

At the rest stop today, I took out some chips and hummus and laid them on the front seat while Regis went to the facilities and I finished playing with Dart.  When we were done, I opened the door and tossed Dart into the front seat, forgetting about the chips and hummus.  He landed front foot first in the hummus.  Maybe the hummus was too garlicky, but Dart would not lick it off his foot.  After tasting the hummus, I agreed with Dart.  I am grateful that we got a truck with vinyl seats and flooring.

Hummus

The other casualty of the day was my keyboard.  It apparently bounced around in the trailer while we were traveling and wound up getting crunched when the slides were extended.  I am also grateful for Walmarts that not only have $9.88 keyboards, but Rum Chata too!

Keyboard