Thursday, June 30, 2022

Do Nothing Days and an Early Departure

Wednesday, June 29

Needed a full day of basically laying about to recover from yesterday's driving.

I did do some light riding on Yagi, the TW200, to fully explore the motorable sections of this COE campground.  Not much to report, both RV loops have good views of the lake, the tent loop was OK as well.  

Wandering down a "Nature Walk", found a dirt road which led to this barn:

Here's how the campsite looked like in the daytime:

Sitting in one's lounge chair, reading and relaxing, one becomes just another mostly unmoving feature of the grounds to the local fauna.  I was able to use the zoom feature on the Nikon Coolpix S9900 I got from CCjon with some success.

Thursday, June 30

Another do nothing day, not even any riding.  The campground however is filling up and we've decided to displace tomorrow and hopefully able to drive the whole 487 miles that separate us from home.

Not much else to report on or take pictures of.  The lake turns out to have an active algae bloom and there's an online warning about swimming in it.  Not prohibited but not recommended either!

So, now in the afternoon, we're flanked by campers here for the long weekend, no swimming, dogs barking and someone playing the radio outside, it's time to leave early.  For whatever reason, the A loop is full but the B loop is mostly empty!

Martha has some allergy reactions going on as well, so she's happy we're leaving two days ahead of schedule.

It'll be good to be home for a bit, this trip hasn't been the greatest.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

A Taste of Oz, now in Kansas

 Yes Toto, we're now in Kansas.

Long driving day yesterday, with a stop at the Wizard of Oz Museum in Wamego, KS.  I didn't realize there was such a following of this movie, and the museum should definitely make any fan of the movie happy.

Lots of movie and post-movie merchandising on display.  Of course, the main characters are exhibited.

I remember liking the marching song sung by the
bad witch's soldiers: "Oh-Ee-Yah! Ee-Oh-Ah!"

A Flying Monkey would keep other people
away from my campsite...

The Emerald City

Old Dutch Mill, built in 1879, moved into 
town later on.

After the museum touring, it was time for more gas and a grocery run.  We made it into the Rolling Hills Campground run by the Army COE around 6PM, so yeah, with an 8AM departure, a long day of driving.

The sunset was nice, and a first use of the Nikon to capture a sunset, provided by CCjon:

Nice campground, not crowded at all so far but am sure that'll change once the long 4th of July weekend crowds show up.  Still, the swim beach is a short walk away and the water was nice.  Hot few days coming up, so I'm sure we'll be in the water.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Lazy Day at Prairie Flower Recreation Area

 Didn't do much today but the 3 Rs: Rest, Relax and Read.

I did venture out with Yagi, the TW200, to explore the nearby town of Polk City, IA but it wasn't much to write home about.

I did spy a whole fleet of houseboats at the marina though:

Max optical zoom

Here's a 2016 pic of the VRRV's interior, it should give you an idea of how big the stock dinette table is.  Now it's easier to adjust the blinds, access the overhead compartments and just sit comfortably.

So far so good on the smaller table.  We'll be testing it some more over the next five days or so remaining of this camping trip.  Tomorrow: Kansas!

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Back on the road, Matchstick Marvels and camping in the Prairie Flower Recreation Area, Iowa

We left Martha's Dad's place at 8:30 AM and were soon driving through Minnesota on our way to Iowa and tonight and tomorrow's campsite in the Prairie Flower Recreation Area.

It's another Army Corps of Engineers campground, with electrical hookups and water nearby.  

We drove most of the day, pausing only to check out the Matchsticks Marvels Museum and to briefly visit with friends of Martha's family in Marshalltown, IA.

I was quite impressed with the attention to detail and work that went into each of the displays at the museum!  Definitely a labor of love as I can't imagine the return on time investment was realized by the artist on each model.  

It's a small museum so only a few of the over 70 matchstick replicas are on display at a time.  Here's a few that caught my eye, the info sheet following each tells you a bit about the object and what it took to create it.

This beautiful sailing ship was my favorite:

The above are just a few of the models created by Mr Acton.  Check out the website for more models and accompanying pictures:  LINK

Of course, if you find yourself near Gladbrook, IA, stop and visit, it's only $5 to get in!

Here's a pic of our campsite for the next day or so:

All pics taken with Pixel 4a camera phone.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

My FIL's mind's eye : Then, the Farm Now

Note: All the pictures are in this post we're taking using the camera that CCjon generously gave to me.  It's a Nikon Coolpix S9900.  All but the last two which are screen captures.  Thanks CCjon!

My FIL's home in Holmen, WI is situated at the western edge of what used to be a 240 acre farm, back in the day.  Yep, just down the road from his present home, were the farm buildings such as a grain silo, the barn, etc.

He and his brother grew up and worked the farm under their Father, Norman.  

The above is to background info, to provide some context for this:

The above oil painting, by my FIL Richard, was done not sitting at a specific location overlooking the landscape shown, but from memory...or, his Mind's Eye.  Its the view he recalls while gazing out the kitchen window, washing dishes.

When he mentioned the silo was still there but the barn and other buildings were gone, I thought: Then and Now picture opportunity!

I rode Martha's Scooter: Stewie the short distance and was able to get pretty close to the old silo:

I walked around a bit, seeking the same angles used in the oil painting, knowing that I'd never really find a match.  My goal was to get as close as possible to the oil painting's viewpoint.

I'm not sure what the heck that grey metal object is in the foreground, to me it looked like one of those Giant Coffee Kettles one sees sometimes in more modern form along the nation's highways.

Anyways, I shot some more pics but couldn't find the angle used by my FIL in his mind's eye.

I would return in the evening, when the light was better, and got this angle:

See the path in the foreground?  It led to the
house my FIL grew up in, now gone.

That near white board fence line?  I think perhaps remnants of it, can be seen alongside the highway in the picture above.

My FIL's painting again, for reference

I was standing in line with the silo pictured in the extreme right of the painting above:
The view in the painting, is to the left as you
look at the silo.  Pretty close to where the farmhouse
once stood.

Here's another picture of the silo, you can see the parts of the concrete pad where cattle apparently were kept, near the barn which is gone.

So, that's it.  From my FIL's mind/memory/hands to today's reality.  He got it pretty close I think.  Too bad photographs don't exist of that view.

Here however are a couple of archival satellite images I found, the only constant easily spotted: the silo.

Google Earth Pro circa 2015?

LaCrosse County GIS, closer to
what is there now

We leave Wisconsin tomorrow, heading home slowly, with the goal of being home in time for Thing One's birthday.