Sunday, July 31, 2011

North Country 2011--Day 5

No electricity to start the day but then a day of lighthouse hunting.

Well the electrical situation here in the park in Oshkosh has not gotten any better. Actually, this morning it got worse. There still was not enough power to run the A/C units but it did cool down enough last night that it was okay. About 9:00 this morning we lost power completely. After an argument with the Park Manager, who insisted power was on at the campsite power pole and the problem was in my coach, I took a table lamp out and plugged it into the pole. Yep, no power. He finally decided there must be a wire fried between the main circuit breakers and our site. So we unhooked, loaded everything up and moved two sites over. Still not enough power to run the A/C but we do have power for everything else. We ran the generator again, at $3.96 a gallon for diesel, all afternoon while we were out and about so the A/C would be on for the dogs. Amazing what we do for our four legged furkids. This evening they both are sacked out asleep. You'd think they were the ones out running around instead of sleeping in the coach all day. Bridgit's favorite place is on the back of the living room couch.

We finally were able to get out and explore the area around noon. With the big air show going on just to the north of us we had to wind through a little traffic. We did stop for lunch at a Red Robin restaurant. From there we headed north to see the lighthouses on Lake Winnebago. Oshkosh is located right on the west edge of this lake. There are six lighthouses on the lake. We did get to see four of them. One is on private property and not available to the public and the last one we failed to locate down in the town of Fond du Lac, right on the southern tip of the lake. Only one of these lighthouses is still in use as a navigational aid and it is at a small boat harbor. The one pictured here, Asylum Point Lighthouse, was built by the WPA back in the 1930's but was rejected by the Department of Transportation, so it's light was never turned on.

We closed out today with just relaxing here in the coach, getting ready to move on to our next adventure tomorrow, which will be a moving day of about 60 miles over to the shore of Lake Michigan. Some storm clouds did move in this evening, which made it hard to get a good sunset picture, but nothing came of it but a few sprinkles. This area is really lush and green and already is running a humidity at above 90%. The last thing they need is rain.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

North Country 2011--Day 4

Another day, another move down the road.

Well, it was time to travel again today. Pulled out of Amana around 9:00 this morning and headed north. We are still looking for that elusive cool weather. We arrived at the Circle R Campground, just south of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, around 2:30 this afternoon. They did not have our reservation, although I made it online over a week ago, nor had they received my deposit check I mailed last Monday. Oh well, they found us a spot. (There is a huge air show that is held in this area annually and this park is loaded with RVs and tent campers) It only has 30amp electric but with water and sewer. After we checked in and were moving into our site they came out to say that due to the park being full and only having 30amp we would not be allowed to run our air conditioner off their electrical grid. It did not matter that the rig next to us, which happens to be one of the camp host, had their A/C running full blast. We tried to just open up all the windows but the humidity got to us so we buttoned up and turned on our diesel generator and ran the A/C for most of the afternoon. This evening we have the windows open again. It is not hot but the humidity is at about the 80% level.

Anyway, we have just relaxed around the coach today. Tomorrow we'll get out and explore the area. Although the weather has been hot there have been a few clouds in the sky which make for very good sunsets. This is what we saw out our front window this evening as the sun was going down.

Friday, July 29, 2011

North Country 2011--Day 3

Bicycle riders can be obnoxious, but we did get a break in the heat.

Today was a little better as far as the weather. It was cooler than yesterday and the humidity was not near as high. One of the locals told me today that the reason the humidity is so high in this area is due to the corn and soybean fields. If that is the case I can see why it is this way. The corn and soybean fields go on for miles and currently are all lush and green. Since we had nice weather we decided to drive out to Interstate 80 to Little Amana. Actually, it appears that this is the newest of the "Amanas" and is not much more than a couple of hotels and some shops and restaurants to draw folks in off the Interstate. We also stopped at the nearby Tanger Outlet Mall so Jo could do some shopping there. On our way out, on Highway 151, we encountered a huge mass of bicycle riders coming toward us. This is the week that a huge bicycle ride is held. People come from all over the world to ride the length of Iowa. Today was their day to arrive in the Amana Colonies. There should not have been a problem while we were going out since we were traveling in the opposite direction. Major problem, in that these folks don't know how to stay on their side of the rode. They ride several abreast and continually try to pass each other which pushes them over into the lane of oncoming traffic. It appears they expect the oncoming car to just pull off the road for them. On the way back we got stuck behind them. Each chance we got to pass we would only to be in behind another group. Even when their is a loan rider they resent being passed by a car and shout obscenities. There were literally thousands of these bicycle riders. At each community the locals had set up food and drink (for sale) tents so at these locations it was madness with the cyclists walking around and in the roadway. Was finally glad to get past all this and back to Amana.

Once back to Amana we headed to the Amana Meat Company and Smokehouse. This is a wonderful place with about any fresh meat you could desire. We had a token, given to us at the RV Park, that was good for a major discount on smoked brats. In addition to the brats we picked up a few other things. Afterward Jo wanted to go to the Amana Woollen Mills to check out their store. After browsing for awhile we headed back to the coach but first stopped at a local ice cream shop. The afternoon was spent relaxing around the coach and a good nap for Rick. Tomorrow will start another leg of our adventure with us moving on into Wisconsin.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

North Country 2011--Day 2

Another day and more sweat. Still too hot for this guy.

Well, we made it through the night with just the one A/C unit working on the 30amp power in Missouri last night. We headed out this morning around 8:00 and got back on Interstate 35. Next stop, Amana Colonies, Iowa. We drove north to Des Moines and then headed east on Interstate 80. The Amana Colonies are made up of several different towns called Amana. There is Amana, which is where we are at, and then North Amana, South Amana, Little Amana, East Amana, etc. Each little town is unique and has different shops and attractions to see. Mostly these are original German settlements so there is a large German influence in the area.

We are at the Amana Colonies RV Park, just out side of Amana. This is a nice, well kept park that is set up for small to medium size RV rallies. We were first here in June 2008 for a Monaco America (RV Club) rally. We have full hookups with 50amp electric. Since everything is working correctly we have decided that the electrical problems we experienced last night were park related and not a problem with our coach. We got in to the campground around 2:00 PM. While checking in at the office an old friend, Bill Schiffert, from my high school class walked in. Bill also stores his motor home in the same facility as we do when at home in Oklahoma. He is here with a RV club rally. Many of the RV clubs will be having their own rallies this week and next prior to the big semi-annual Family Motor Coach Association rally that is being held in Madison, Wisconsin, week after next. Anyway, after getting settled in here at the park we relaxed awhile before heading into town to the Ox Yoke Inn for dinner. This is a very special German restaurant that we enjoyed several times when we were here in 2008.

During our drive up the last two days we have been noticing the corn fields that are in abundance. In Oklahoma and southern Kansas the corn stalks had reached about two feet high and then had died due to the heat and drought. Over in eastern Kansas the fields were looking somewhat better and definitely improved as we drove through Missouri. They definitely have gotten more rainfall in this part of the country than we have received back home. Here in Iowa the corn fields look great and appear about ready to harvest. Just could not help stopping to have a picture with some of these stalks. It is still too hot here for my taste. Though the temps were only in the low 90's today the humidity is very high. Probably has to do with the rain they received this morning here in Amana. It was still hard to stay outside for very long at a time without becoming soaked from sweat. As the sun went down the temps dropped some but not the humidity. We were graced with a beautiful Iowa sunset.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

North Country 2011--Day 1

"On the road again, can't wait to get on the road again." Ole Willie could not have said it better. It is great to be back on the road again.

We rolled out of our driveway just before 8:00 this morning, heading north. After a quick stop at the Flying J to top off the fuel tank we made pretty good time. We were well onto the Kansas Turnpike before noon. Made a few stops to let the dogs to their business and one stop for lunch and we were into Kansas City area before 3:00pm. That is good because that gave us a chance to get all the way around the City before their rush hour traffic started up.

Tonight we are at Miller's Kampark in Liberty, Missouri. This is just a few miles to the north of Kansas City on Interstate 35. We have stopped here before on our way north. Just a small park that mostly caters to people who are temporarily working in the area, mostly construction people. It was getting hot by the time we left home (they were expecting to set a record today with temps in excess of 105) and it was really hot by the time we arrived at the campground. We actually ran the generator in the coach all afternoon so we could have the roof air conditioner working since the dash air just was not doing the trick. Anyway, we have a pull through spot for the night with 50amp hookup. That was so we would be able to run both A/C units to get the coach cooled down but it was not to be. Had problems with the electric pedestal at the site and our Electrical Management System that I had added to the coach a few years ago kept shutting down the power. Finally had to change the plug over to the 30amp outlet and all is fine, except we are only able to operate one A/C unit on 30amp. Now that the sun is down only one A/C will be fine for the night. We'll only be here the one night. Tomorrow morning we'll head further north, searching for the elusive cool weather.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Goodbye to my Cousin Jack

Saying goodbye to another of the Stone Clan. Today would have been his 74th birthday.

My cousin, Jack, passed away this past Saturday. He has been in poor health with a very rare degenerative condition for the past several years but his death was a real surprise. Jack's real name was Delmer Durwood Stone and he was born on July 18, 1937. He was the oldest son of my Uncle Delmer, my Dad's older brother. Both Jack and his brother, Jerry, were from Uncle Delmer's first marriage, which did not last very long. Soon after Delmer divorced he met and married Aunt Fay in 1942. She took in his boys and raised them as her own. A couple of years into the marriage a third son, Jim, was born.

Jack was one of five cousins that were born within five months of each other. They were always referred to as "The Filthy Five". Jack was the oldest of the five and my brother, Bill, was the youngest. This year represents their 74th birthdays. In this picture are all five: Bill Stone, Yvonne Hunt, Gene Smith, Theda Wilson and Jack Stone. Over the years the Stone clan became a very large family and even though there were a three older cousins The Filthy Five were pretty much the leaders. When this large family gathered for holidays and other occasions this band of five took on the challenge of keeping all the rest of the cousins in line.

Jack grew up in the south side of Oklahoma City and graduated from Capitol Hill High School. He earned a degree in journalism from Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma, in 1959. That same year he married Peggy. Together they raised three children, two boys and a girl. Jack spent most of his adult life working in journalism, mostly for the Anadarko Daily News in Anadarko, Oklahoma. He retired as executive editor for that paper in 1996. In retirement he loved to spend time fishing or drinking coffee with his friends at Indian City Lanes bowling alley in Anadarko.

The below pictures were taken at the Stone Family Reunion in the summer of 2007. The one on the left is of Peggy and Jack. The one on the right is Jack, seated, with his brothers Jerry and Jim.

Due to his career in journalism, Jack touched many peoples lives over the years. He also was very active in his church, First Baptist Church, Anadarko, where he was a Deacon and taught Sunday School. He was a major part of the Stone family and will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Independence Day and an Anniversary

Want to wish all my friends and family a Happy Independence Day. This country was founded by a group of people that felt they should be free to set up the type government they desired. These people became the Continental Army. Since then men and women of our nations Armed Forces have maintained that freedom. So, on this day we need to stop for a few minutes to thank our services members, both past and present, for serving.

On a related note, it was 45 years ago tomorrow that I stepped on an airplane for the
first time to leave Oklahoma, heading for San Diego. That began my love affair with the United States Navy. As anyone who knows me realizes that the Navy has been a major part of my life. So, tomorrow, July 5, marks a major milestone in my life.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Our little girl graduated

Bridgit Jeane is now a graduate.

Joanne has been taking Bridgit to obedience school one day per week for the past several weeks. The idea was to attempt to throttle back her barking along with learning to walk on a leash and some other refinements. Not sure the barking problem has been cured but she did do somewhat better on the other issues.

Actually, her classes started back in April but were interrupted when we went down to Texas in May. After a few weeks break she returned to class to take up where she left off. She is a sweet little girl but still likes to bark at anyone or anything or, actually, sometimes at nothing at all. Oh well, she is part of our family and sometimes you just have to accept family members as they are.

Here is Bridgit with a couple of her classmates wearing her mortar board.