Saturday, June 30, 2012

June 30, 2012

We had a relaxing morning, ate breakfast (cereal with dewberries), took showers and waited for the people in site 82 to leave.  They left before 10 am and we moved to that site.  We then drove to St. Anthony Falls in Minneapolis and walked the Heritage Trail across the stone arch bridge and by the lock and dam.  This is part of the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area.  It has the only waterfall on the Mississippi River. There are ruins of the old Gold Medal flour mill alongside the river.  Along the trail we found two geocaches.

We left downtown and drove to Herkimer Brewing.  We couldn’t find a parking place until we discovered VFW post #246 next door.  We parked in the VFW parking lot and went in and had a beer. They were playing bingo.  They told us they had just sold the air rights to their parking lot for $1.2 million.  A paking garage will be built but the ground floor will be reserved for VFW parking.  Then we went next door to Herkimer Brewing and had a couple of beers and some fish tacos and some onion rings.  The onion rings were really good – lightly battered tempura style.  Their german style beers were also very good – Jim had an altbier and I had an amber goze.  Then we drove to Fulton Brewing and it was really crowded with people going to the Twins baseball game.  Jim and I shared an IPA which we didn’t care for.  We drove back to camp and I made stir fry chicken and Thai Sweet Chili Lo Mein Noodles.

Friday, June 29, 2012

June 29, 2012

After having breakfast we drove a few miles down the road to a school baseball field and found a geocache in the woods nearby.  We left the Superman travel bug in the cache.  There was another one across the road by a small lake and church.  We picked up another travel bug here named Willie Winker.

Jim and I went to the Mall of America.  This is a HUGE three story mall (biggest in the U.S.) and in the middle is amusement park with rides.  We walked all three floors and then had lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings in the mall.  We were there over three hours.

Afterward we drove into St. Paul to historic Fort Snelling.  This fort was completed in 1820 and is situated at the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. The round tower is the oldest building in Minnesota.  People in period costumes explain the various buildings and exhibits of the fort.

After all the walking, Jim wanted a beer and found a pub with $1.00 beers for happy hour.  We had one and then headed back to camp.  After getting to Apple Valley we went to WalMart for a few items.  Camp is more crowded tonight since it’s the weekend.  We sat outside and ate supper then looked at maps and books to try figure out where we might want to go on Sunday when we leave here.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 28, 2012

The camp host came by this morning while we were eating cereal and raspberries to tell us there was a cancellation for Saturday and we could stay.  We will have to move about 8 sites but that is ok.  We went into Bloomington today and had the Silverado's oil changed and the tires rotated at a Chevy dealer.  Then we went to the Mississippi National River and Recreation Area visitor’s center in St. Paul.  We watched a movie about the river.  Jim found a brewpub a few blocks away (Great Waters Brewing) and we went there to drink a beer.  Across the street was a nice park with bronze statues of Charles Schultz’s cartoon characters.  Charles Schultz was from here. Around town there are lots of dog house statues with snoopy and the yellow bird on top.  They were painted and sold for charity just like the cow parade in Houston a few years ago.

Next we drove to the Cathedral of St. Paul.  This huge church has beautiful stained glass windows, dome and a carved pulpit.  Someone was playing the organ while we were there.  We drove a couple of blocks back to the National Park visitor’s center.  Jim noticed there was a geocache there.  We asked the park ranger about it and she reached behind her and pulled out an ammo box.  We signed in and then left.

Jim wanted to go to the art museum in Minneapolis.  The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is a really large museum and it has a lot of stuff to look at.  After dinner Jim and I walked down to the other Casita and sat outside and talked to Jim and Pat from Tennessee.  They have owned their Liberty for a while but this is the first time they have taken it out to camp. 


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

June 27, 2012

After we got up this morning I washed the Casita and the front grill and headlights of the Silverado.  We left and drove to Minneapolis.  On the way we stopped in Olivia to take a picture of a giant ear of corn.  We got a space at Lebanon Hills campground in Apple Valley just south of Minneapolis.  This is a county park.  We will be here through Friday night.  If they have a cancellation we may stay on Saturday night also.

Jim dropped his glasses swatting away a May Fly back in Wisconsin and they have a small scratch.  He wanted to go to Costco to see if they could make him another pair.  They said it would take 5 to 7 business days and we don’t want to stay here that long.  We left and drove to Town Hall Brewing in Minneapolis.  We had a beer and some dill pickle chips stuffed with cream cheese and fried.  They were served with blue cheese dressing for dipping.  Yum!  We stopped at Harriet Brewing and had a sample of their four beers.  Down the road a few miles was Minnehaha Falls -- we went there also.

It is 96 degrees today and very muggy.  Feels like Houston.  There are some dewberries and raspberry vines around camp and I picked some of them (reminds me of being in Alaska.)  We can have them on our cereal tomorrow.   There is another Casita a few sites down from us from Tennessee.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

June 26, 2012

We had breakfast and then hooked up and drove across the street to WalMart.  I bought a postcard of the Jolly Green Giant to send to mother.  While at WalMart the doctor from the VA hospital in Iowa City called to tell Jim that the blood test did come back positive for Ehrlichosis.  All the other test were fine.  He asked how Jim felt and told him to finish his antibiotics.

We went to the rest stop about ½ mile down the road and read the sign about the two highways merging.  In the rest area were two geocaches that we found.  We left and along the highway stopped at two more rest areas and each had a geocache.  Some of these are very cleverly hidden.

We went to Pipestone National Monument.  This is where the Indians have been coming for hundreds of years to get a soft rock called pipestone.  They carve their pipes out of it.  We watched  a good movie about pipestone and the Indians and then we walked a loop trail.  This trail takes you by a pretty little waterfall and the area where they dig for the pipestone underneath a layer of quartzite.  One of the rocks was called "The Oracle" -- it looked like the profile of an Indian.  Inside the visitor’s center there was a woman and a man who were carving pipestone into items for sale.   

We drove to Maynard, Minnesota and got a campsite at the Lions Park.  There are six electric hookups in the park and we are the only ones here.  They have pit toilets and water. 


Monday, June 25, 2012

June 25, 2012

The May Flies are not as bad this morning as they were yesterday.  We left camp and went to the post office for Jim to mail a letter, and then to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin to the Cabellas store.  Then we drove to Effigy Mounds National Monument in Harper’s Ferry, Iowa.  This is a place where the Indians made mounds in the shape of bears 2,000 to 3,000 years ago.  Also, they made round mounds where it is believed they buried their dead .  We went on a 2 ½ mile hike to view the mounds. Along the way we saw a red headed woodpecker. At the end of the hike was a nice view of the Mississippi River.

After leaving Effigy Mounds, we drove into Minnesota.  Now Jim has been in all 50 states.  I have one more to go, it is Michigan.  Jim found us a place to stay in Blue Earth, Minnesota so we drove there.  The campground is in the county fairgrounds and you can stay for 48 hours for free.  It’s only $5.00 per night after that.  There is electricity, water, a dump station and restrooms with showers.  In the fairgrounds there is a 55 ½ foot tall fiberglass Jolly Green Giant.  There is a former Green Giant cannery in Blue Earth.  The statue was built to celebrate the completion of Interstate 90 here in 1978.  There is also a golden stripe across the highway, similar to the golden spike which marked the completion of the first transcontinental railroad.  Jim bought pizza for us tonight for supper.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

June 24, 2012

We finally got to leave the camp we have been at for six nights.  Jim is still ok today.  We got up at 6:30 and it had been sprinkling during the night.  We even lost power one time.  We left and drove to Potosi, Wisconsin.

When we were driving through Dickeyville, I saw a church and yelled for Jim to stop and grab his camera.  We went to Holy Ghost Church and saw their Grotto and Christ the King Shrine.  It was built between 1925 and 1931 and is made of rocks, shells, glass, geodes, crystals, pottery, fossil, corals, gems and miscellaneous items set in mortar.  There are several shrines in the grotto garden to about 10 saints and  to Columbus, Fatima, the Blessed Virgin, and Christ the King.  This was beautiful.  Jim’s sister Judy would love all the rocks.

We continued to a Corps of Engineers campground at Potosi on the banks of the Mississippi River. This campground is by a double railroad track and trains come by about every 30 minutes.  You can feel the vibration in the Casita but it’s not too loud.  The May Flies are in great abundance this time of year and are covering everything. After unhooking and setting up we went to Potosi Brewing and the National Brewery Museum.  There were three floors of breweriana (brewery related advertising items and collectibles).  Changing displays are provided by members of the American Breweriana Association.  A $3.00 museum ticket also got you a Petosi beer after touring the museum. Thanks Scott for telling us about this when we saw you at National Homebrew Day at DeFalcos.  We went back to the trailer, had dinner, and watched the sun set over the Mississippi River.


Saturday, June 23, 2012

June 23, 2012

Jim is back to normal today.  He will still take his medicine for the next 7 days. We went to Walmart and got some groceries and a couple of other items.  Then we went to geocache a while.  We found four geocaches today, one of them was in the Walmart parking lot.  We went back to camp and Jim printed out an emailed mineral  and then we went back to town to a notary and fax service.  We sat outside at camp and looked through maps and books to see where to go tomorrow.  We will probably go through Dubuque and then to Potosi, Wisconsin.  Our friend Scott told us about a National Brewery Museum and we want to go to it

June 22, 2012

Jim doesn’t have a fever this morning and his headache is much better.  We drove to the Amana Colonies through the countryside. There were really pretty farms and lots of cornfields. The Amana Colonies are a group of villages that were started by the Amanians, radical German Pietists.  They had communal living, no private ownership.  We went to a few of the historical buildings still in use since the 1850’s.  Similar to the Amish they were almost entirely self-sufficient.

 I had a beer at Millstream Brewing and Jim watched me drink it.  He can’t have one till he takes all of his antibiotics. We went to the woolen mill, the furniture store and the meat shop and smokehouse.  All of these were still in operation.  We bought some cheese and sausage for lunch with crackers and honey mustard I had in the Silverado.  We also stopped at a cemetery to see the way they bury their people.  They are buried by the date they die, in order.  The oldest headstone was 9-14-1864 and the newest was 1-27-2012.  All headstones are alike -- plain and simple. We also got to sit in Iowa’s largest rocker.

 We drove back toward camp and found two geocaches in North Liberty.  Then we went to Lake McBride and saw a raptor exhibit and went to a bird blind.  There were owls, vultures, hawks, a golden eagle, and a bald eagle.  We found a geocache here also.  We found one more by a very long baseline array radio telescope (VLBA antenna).  There are ten of these spread around the US, one in St. Croix, New Hampshire, Iowa, Texas, New Mexico (2), Arizona, California, Washington and Hawaii.  They allow astronomers to make detailed studies of celestial objects.  Computers combine the data from all of these antennas to simulate a single antenna 5,000 miles wide.  The resulting images are very detailed – the array could resolve a football on the surface of the moon (if one was there).  The antenna weighs 260 tons and is 82 feet in diameter.  This geocache had a travel bug in it so we took it.  We will drop it off in another geocache. We went back to camp and had dinner.  The camp in totally full, noisy and smoky -- we hate weekends when we travel.  Jim is still ok tonight.  Maybe he will be ok from now on.