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Showing posts from July, 2012

Look... up in the sky...

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Been a little uppity lately... uppity on the roof, that is. It's been a while, maybe a year, since I've really cleaned the top of the RV -- something they say should be done every 6 months. Out'a sight... out'a mind... it doesn't get done. So the other day, Dar and I got up early to get the job done before the sun interfered. Nice to see a clean white roof again. In my opinion it now looks as good as it ever did... even after 5 years.

When finished with that, other roof-top jobs started sticking their sharp thorns into the comfort-seeking part of my mind. You'd think a roof is just a roof... something to simply shed water and to keep us dry. But there's a lot of gear up there, and seals and sealant... which all are exposed to the extremes of UV, hot and cold temps, rain, snow and ice (yes, once in a while), tree sap, dirt and sand driven by high winds (remember, this thing does go down the road). No sir... this roof isn't anything like the roof of a ca…

Checking In

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We've been in Beaver Dam a little over a week now. No post to the Journal would be complete without some mention of the extraordinarily hot and dry summer this portion of Wisconsin has endured so far this year. Most farmers and growers seem to reference 1988 as the last memorable hot dry year... but this one is far worse according to experts who watch these things.

It seems once an area gets into one of these patterns it's tough to get out. Unsettling as it is, we've repeatedly watched approaching storms... seemingly aimed right at us... dissipate completely as they move closer. One local farmer told me they now consider the corn crop a failure and will begin chopping it up and feeding it to their cows... to help stretch the hay crop a little further in the next few months. Hay is suffering too.


Other parts of the Central USA are experiencing similar conditions... we're not alone in this. But for the farmers, growers, and consumers of food (pretty much everybody), the…

July 16 - On Wisconsin

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We're back at our "home base" near Beaver Dam WI and the rough plan for the next few months is to be in the Midwest long enough to enjoy Fall... our favorite season of the year. We both grew up in the Beaver Dam area and have great memories of Falls past... harvest time, cool days and cooler nights, the explosion of reds and oranges and yellows and shades of brown, the crunch of dried leaves underfoot, the preparations for Winter. Good memories that we'll try to re-live come October.

My last post, a full week ago, had us arriving in the Twin Cities to see our good friends Jim and Sue. It's time to bring the record up-to-date... so here goes.

We arrived at Lebanon Hills Campground in the TC suburb of Apple Valley on Sunday the 8th. This is one of our regular stops when coming/going between Wisconsin and Washington and we always enjoy our time with these friends. The visit usually involves a boat excursion... this year we launched at Fort Snelling (the confluence …

July 9 - Small Town to Big City

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Granite Falls is a community of about 2,900 people. Like many towns in the upper Midwest, it's neat-as-a-pin clean and emits a feeling of community that I don't often get in other parts of the country. People were out on this warm Saturday in July doing odd jobs around the yard, working in the garden, hosing down the driveway... things like that. Unlike so many small towns we see elsewhere in the country there's virtually no trash laying around, no dead rusting cars in the yard, no piles of unidentifiable junk wherever you look... none of that. It's a community that reeks of pride... by people who apparently like living here. It shows.

Just a few miles down the road is the community airport. A local contractor and businessman, Ron Fagan, has a budding aircraft museum in a couple hangers out there. I wasn't expecting too much... but it turns out I should have. They have a great and nearly irreplaceable collection of some of the finest WWII fighter and trainer planes…

July 6 - Hot Midwest Summers

Hot Midwest Summers

too hot to be out too hot to be in unless you've got a tonic and gin we sit by the fan while the a/c's on high cruising the net and watching the sky, for signs the heat wave will soon abate.
well listen to me as you sweat off your bacon in a few short weeks we'll be shiverin and shakin as a stiff north wind brings a cold fall zest then we'll look back on these days as the best, when we were warm and snug... lazy and sedate.
and watch out what you wish for 'cause you're sure to get it. what goes 'round comes 'round don't you forget it. we need the extremes to appreciate the means.
Reiley Bud Rhiemer

July 5 - Dash Across the Dakotas

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Yesterday morning, July 4, we broke camp near Bismarck and headed east, then south, then east again... and before long we found ourselves in Aberdeen SD. We'd gotten wind of a good place to camp for a night or two... at the local county fairgrounds. On the north side of town, the fairgrounds turned out to be a perfectly fine spot to park, with hundreds of electric/water sites, a few more with the full trifecta (electric, water, and sewer), and they only charge $15/night. On a hot day, staying cool is worth 15 bucks to me.

The bonus, as far as Dar was concerned, is that we were only a mile away from where the city of Aberdeen sets off it's collection of fireworks on Independence Day. So about sunset (9:39pm in these parts) we got in our seats on the lawn in front of the bus-house, an adult beverage in one hand, a mitt-full of popcorn in the other... and waited for the show to start. In the meantime, we enjoyed the shows of other nearby communities and private displays in a wid…

July 3 - Progress Across the Prairie

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Allow me to bring the record up-to-date. After spending a few days touring the T. Roosevelt National Park, historic Medora, and the Chateau deMores, we took a couple days off to relax, catch up on work, and keep our activity level low to help deal with the high heat. We've had temps in the mid to high 90s every day since we've been here.

In a campground like Cottonwood, with no hookups, we're totally independent and self contained. If it's hot outside, it's hot or hotter inside. For the most part, we managed without discomfort, and actually grew to thrive as we adjusted and acclimatized to the conditions. We ran the generator (and A/Cs) for a couple hours on two of the worst days, which helped, and it did cool off enough at night to make for good sleeping. It really wasn't so bad.

This morning we broke camp and headed east... destination Bismarck. I had a little trouble snagging a full hookup campsite considering the warm weather and the busy holiday week... b…

July 3 - North Dakota State Capitol

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There's a lot to be said for North Dakota these days. Contrary to the miserable financial condition of most States in the Union, North Dakota is in great shape money-wise. As a result of all the drilling and production activity in the booming Bakken Oil Field in the western part of the State, they've got money coming out of their ears. There's a huge and growing rainy day fund into which they keep pouring money. And although recently rejected by the voters, the fact that some group could actually propose the abolishment of all property taxes says a lot about how well-heeled North Dakota actually is these days.

If nothing else, North Dakota is an example of fiscal restraint... of only spending the money they have and no more. The legislature meets for only 80 days every other year. During that time they hammer out a few hundred pieces of legislation and balance the budget... and then they go back to their normal lives (which for some, means full-time fund-raising for their…

July 1 - Hotter Than Hell?

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It was a blistering Sunday. The air temperature was already into the 90s by the start of the 10am church service, and a barely detectable breeze just toyed with the congregation...almost made matters worse. The little church had no air conditioning, only a few windows that opened, and even fewer electric fans. It was going to be a long hour.

The congregation along with a few visitors were fanning themselves with the weekly church bulletin as the pastor entered. When ritual called for them to stand as services began, some remained seated, fearing they were close to loosing consciousness and it might be better to be closer to the ground if they keeled over.

The pastor, a caring man, was concerned about his flock... concerned that he might loose a few during the course of the service. He upped the pace a bit, not noticeably rushing, but moving along a bit faster than normal. He was also prepared... never letting an opportunity to make a point, to teach a lesson, slip by.

When the time c…