Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Fixing Mistakes and Other Things

I'm sure some of you have noticed I made a few mistakes in the last post. Mary Ingalls went to St. Paul to a doctor for her eyes, not Mankato. Sorry. I also neglected to mention Pa's bell. Charles Ingalls made the bell, and the church still uses it as you can see in the photo. As we drove around the village, we saw the site of the school, and the church, and the hotel. The site now have modern private homes on them. I also spelled Oleson wrong. Oh well, I'll get better.
As far as eating out goes, we don't really do it very often. But, there are some places here that we have wanted to go to because folks recommended them, and we have only seen them in St. Cloud. You know about Val's with the great milk shakes, and Maid Rite, but the other day we went to Culver's. Maid Rite is a chain, so is Culver's. Let me tell you that they are nothing alike. If you want a GOOD burger, go to Culver's. Man, did we enjoy the Cheeseburgers. They were huge. With the basket you get fries and a drink. You can substitute, but pay$1.00 for other sides. Tom got a short shake instead of soda (or Pop as they call it here). It was so thick he had to use a spoon. We didn't have room for dessert, and everyone know, I really had to be full if I left and didn't have ice cream. They have some rally good looking sundaes. We have heard that they are the best. Needless to say we will be going back some night after supper to get some of these sundaes. I'll report when we find out just how good they are.
The campground is emptying out. Some of the seasonal RVers are leaving for the south or west. Leona and Joe left yesterday morning early. We all said our good-byes the day before. They are really nice folks. They'll be missed. You know, it's really sad to have spent the whole summer with these folks, and to think we probably will never see them again. We know were some of the folks go for the winter, but some just go different places. Joe and Leona go down by Corpus Christi, Tx. We just may see them. If we don't, it was a great pleasure meeting them.
We have about 2 weeks left here. Last night we had our last pot luck dinner. Cris went and got ribs for John to cook in the smoker. They were delicious. I wanted to take kielbasa casserole. Well, you can't but fresh kiebasa in St. Cloud. You can get smoked, but that's not what we needed. So, they got just plain halushski. For those of you who don't know what that is, it's cabbage and noodles. Everyone liked it, Cris took some pictures, and will most likely put them in his video picture frame. He keeps it on the counter in the office. It's fun to see all the pictures from the whole season.
As I am writing this, we are watching the Mets. They have just scored their 4th run of the game, and we are wondering if they with hang onto the lead. Lately they have not done well at that. It's only the 2nd inning, so we'll see. LET'S GO METS. We just had a thunder storm roll through. Now the sun is shining. It will probably be cold again tomorrow. The electric blanket is on, and so it the heater. The trees have been changing this week. Not much here except yellow.
We went to the orchard today to get some apples. They are sort of small. I guess because of so little rain this year. We bought the Cortlands. They have some different names that have been developed by the University of Minnesota. We decided to get something we knew. Also some cider. We are missing Braces' in Pennsylvania. They have home made fresh apple cider doughnuts. You buy them, and they are still warm. They are usually gone before you get very far down the road. We'll adjust. We'll get them next year.
Not much longer till we get to the warmer climate. June and Bob we are ready to come south. Are you ready for us? We'll be there soon.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Walnut Grove

Yes, That's THE WALNUT GROVE. On our way home from Madison, S.D. we stopped at Walnut Grove, Mn. Our daughter is a real Little House on the Prairie fan. She asked us if we got a chance to go, would we take some pictures for her. Well, Tom sure enough took pictures. About 150 of them. The town itself was not much bigger than Waterville, N.Y. Probably smaller. I think we took a picture of the population sign.

We started at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum. You go into the main building where you buy the tickets, get your map, and any other instructions you need, which also houses the gift shop. Off you go on the tour of the different buildings. First you go to what is called Laura's Room. It has so much information. There is a corner for genealogy, with pictures of her grandparents and other family members. It tells where they came from and when they came to America. From there is goes to parents and siblings, with lots more pictures. Pictures are labeled Ma and Pa Ingalls, etc. We found out that Mary really was blind. There is a case where the newspaper at that time wrote about Mary being ill, and her eyesight was failing. The next couple of papers had article saying how they went to Mankato to see the doctors to get her some help, and one more that said her sight was now gone.
If you remember the show, the store owners were the Olson family. Actually their last name was Owens. There is a number of photos of the real family, as well as others from the town. Some of them were mentioned in the show. It was so interesting to see the real people and know they really existed. They also had the fireplace mantle from the show. The one with the initials of Charles and Caroline. CI-CI. That was cool to see.
The room was filled with pictures and memorabillia. You can actually see her grow up. They have pictures and info on Laura and Almonso Wilder. From the time they were young til they were quite old. There are also pictures of their daughter Rose. She was married, but there is no mention of any children. There is mention that she left some items to her lawyer. So as far as I can figure, Laura's line ended with her daughter.
After that we went to the other exhibits. They have a miniature one room school, with slates and primers. There is also a small church resembling the church of the time, with a pump organ you could try to play. Then it was on to the Heritage Building. It showed how life was at that time, with covered wagon, utensils, etc. Lots of the pioneer stuff. The was also a house there called Grandma's House. It was furnished with pieces of a time years after the Ingalls family had left the area.We ended with a trip to the gift shop where we bought a few items, and called it a day.
It had been raining for most of the day, so we left the rest till the next day. Actually, we may have saved the best for last. The next day we went to the sight of the Ingalls' family sod house. This is where they lived during the book "On the Banks of Plum Creek". All that remains is a depression in the bank. You can actually see where the house was. You can see how they dug out the bank, and how they picked a spot high enough so they would stay dry. There are markers to show where the spring still runs into the creek, and what Laura called the "Big Rock" in her book. No one knows the site of the little house they built, but can guess the approximate location, or what part of the farmers field it may have been in. The fields around the site have been planted with native prairie seed, but the rest of the area is up to date farm. To get to the site, you have to drive up to the barn, pay $4.00 per car, and drive out to the site. You can get a pretty good idea how far they had to walk to school. It was at least a mile. Of course, they could walk across the prairie.
Then it was time to go back, hook up the Tracker, and head back to St. Cloud. I forgot to mention that we stayed at Plum Creek Campground. It was county owned, with nice wide sites. Just before the turn into the campground was the area where they hold the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant every summer. For 2 week-ends every July they perform this program. From what we have learned, it is a very nicely done festival.
We hope you all enjoy the photos we add, and don't forget to check the ones from our trip to the Corn Palace. Tom was having some trouble with the connection. All is down loaded now. We have quite a few fellows in the campground now that work for the pipeline being installed here. I think we are all really working at the same time on our computers. What with the storms going through, we have had a rough few days with the internet. We just have to do things early in the morning. That's easy enough.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Our South Dakota Adventure

First of all, I have to split this adventure up into more than one entry. Second, I know I said I would write more often, but we did not have internet service while we were gone. When we came home, the service here at the campground was really slow. We had some really nasty weather for a couple of days. Most people were inside and on their computers. Tom had a pretty hard time downloading pictures. When he got up this morning he did them in a few minutes.
Today has been a beautiful fall day. The only thing that was bad about today was that Penn State lost. The Mets won, though, so 1 out of 2 isn't bad.So, back to the adventure....
We took off last Saturday for South Dakota. Tom and I are now citizens of the State of Great Faces and Great Places. Many RVers become citizens there. There are many good tax advantages, among other reasons. There are no state inspections, drivers' licenses cost $8.00 every 5 years, and there is no state income tax. Those are just some of the reasons. We did this all in Madison. It took only about a half hour to change the plates on the Tracker, and about the same to get our drivers' licenses the next day. Very quick and easy. Emily's plates will come later. After all that, we went over to Mitchell, S.D. The home of the Corn Palace. As you will see in the pictures, all of the murals on the outside of the Palace are made from different colors of corn, with other grains to add texture. Tom got some really good pics to show you. There are a few of those tourist trap shops that we all love to visit, and we ate in a saloon. The sandwiches were pretty good, and they gave a nice pile of fries to go with it.
While we were in the Palace, they were in the midst of a Polka Rally. The clubs were having the parade of flags , so we stopped to watch. After the U.S. flag came in, in came the Canadian flag, South Dakota, Poland, and the flag of the club. Then all of the state flags came in in alphabetical order. The folks carrying them bowed to the U.S. flag and went on. The polka band played patriotic songs in the background. When they were done, they formed a horseshoe. We sang the Star Spangled Banner, and then they retired the colors. It was nice to see. Out in the hallway they have state books. Tom found the Pennsylvania book and singed our names. We bought a couple of things for Connor in the gift shop, I bought a pair of earrings (turquiose and gold flecks) and we were on our way.
Our next stop was to an archaeological site. It was the site which was an old Indian village thousands of years ago. We went in and paid the small fee, and signed the book. I was really surprised to see the name just above mine was Joyce Roberts. That's my Mom's name. I knew for sure she was in New York State. It was weird. We went on a short walking tour of the facility, and then went into the building where the digging was done. It was really interesting to see how they go about finding what they find, and how they take such care, and what they do with it all. It was well worth the trip out to the site.
On back to the campground we went. We stayed at Lake Herman State park. It was quiet, with large sites. We were just about by ourselves. There was only one other camper there after Sunday afternoon. It was chilly, but really nice. Right next to the State Park was a little place called Prairie Village. We would have liked to go there, but it was closed after Labor Day. We did see a little old engine, but not much else. I'm sure it would have been a great place to see.
Tom will post the pictures later. The rest of the trip will be posted tomorrow.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Good Eats, New Schedule, and Trip

Well, let me start by saying, this week I have found out that more folks read our blog than I thought. I was really surprised to hear from e-mails and a couple of phone calls that people really look forward to seeing new posts. So, I have decided to try to post more often. In the next few weeks it won't be hard to think about what to write. We have lots planned.
First of all, let me tell you about 2 places we went to eat. Last week we went to a chain hamburger place called MAID RITE. They have loose meat that is steamed instead of fried or broiled. We really didn't know what to expect, except that one fact. We had no idea that they covered the bottom half of the bun with mustard. I am not a fan of regular yellow mustard. I like sweet hot honey mustard in moderation. Well, we were a bit disappointed, but we figured live and learn.
Today we went to a little place called Val's. It is a little place with no seating, you have to take- out. You can choose what you want on your burger, and what size fries. We ordered small fries. They give you so many that we thought they made a mistake. The burgers were good, too. But the hit of the day, as far as I'm concerned, was the milkshakes. They have a bunch of flavors. Banana, cherry, vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, pecan, creme sickle, just for starters. You can mix any flavors. Tom had vanilla, I had pecan-vanilla. It was by far the best milkshake I ever had. Needless to say, we will be back there before we leave here. If not for burgers, then for shakes.The food today was definitely better than last week.
Now for the schedule. One of the work camper couples have moved on. Mary and Gerry left after Labor Day. They are headed for California. That left 4 couples to fill the hours of 5. We had a meeting, and decided to have our hours extended. After Labor Day the office closes at 7 during the week. We stay open later on the week-end. So, we will have 5 hour shifts each on Sunday thru Thursday. 9-2 and 2-7. Still three shifts on Friday and Saturday. We all had to switch around for the appointments that were made with doctors, dentist, and trips that were set up. We are all set to go for the rest of the season. Which brings me to the next item.
On Saturday we are off to South Dakota to change our domicile. That means drivers' licenses, registrations for Emily and the Tracker, and becoming citizens of the state. For a lot of reasons it is beneficial to RVers to do this. South Dakota welcomes us folks with open arms. They make it easy and quick, and we should be done in about a day and a half. It's too bad that we won't get to vote at home. There is someone who could really use our votes for county coroner. Sorry John! The trip over there will take about 4 and a half or 5 hours. We will be staying in a state park, and will surely take pictures. We'll let you all know how it all comes out.
And for those at home...I finished the Connor's rainbow blanket today. It came out rally nice. I hope he likes it. He picked out the yarn. Maybe we'll add some pictures tomorrow. Tom is already in bed. It's going for 11 o'clock, which is past our bed time. We have lots to do tomorrow to get ready for the trip. We work the late shift (5-8), and want to be ready before we got to work. I keep thinking we will forget something every time we move or go someplace. I have to get used to the idea that we take everything we have with us. How could we forget anything.
That's just one of the things a first year full timer has to adjust to. We are really loving it.
How could I have forgotten to say PENN STATE BEAT NOTRE DAME !!!!! The Mets are in by 6 and a half games. Things are looking Good.

Monday, September 3, 2007

What a Great Week-end

That's exactly what it was. Great! As you would expect, we were filled up again. Tom and I were off on Friday and Saturday, but worked for most of the activities. On Saturday morning we went into town to a small farmers market for some fresh veggies. Therefore, we missed the arts and crafts hour. The kids made sun catchers with colored tissue paper and plastic wrap. We didn't see the completed project, but I am sure they were all really nice. They made enough kits for about 40 kids. They had to close the doors when they hit 39 just to make sure everyone had enough materials. I would call that a great success.
In the afternoon came the famous animal races. My personal favorite. The kids just have such a good time. This time we had some elderly ladies come and play. Once they got the hang of it, they were just as excited as the kids. We had eight races total, and two drawings to split the door prize. Tom was out taking pictures all week-end, as you will see. It took about an hour and a half to set up and have to races. Time well spent!! Nothing beats a happy smiling bunch of kids
The lawn jarts contest that was scheduled next, had to be cancelled. Only three people signed up to play. But, I have to tell you, the sign up sheet for the massages was filled up. You could get a 10 minute massage for $5.00. They lasted about 15 minutes. Both Saturday and Sunday sheets were booked solid. We were so busy helping out, we didn't sign for one. That was our loss.
Sunday was our Pancake Breakfast. For $2.50 you could have all the pancakes you wanted, 2 sausage links, juice. coffee or tea. Or......Biscuits and Gravy!!! John and Shirley can sure make good gravy. Sausage gravy is one of my favorites. Tom tried it for the first time. He really enjoyed it, too. Of course, you can only have 2 biscuits, but we give enough to fill up the whole plate. You sure don't go away hungry. It took almost no time to clean up, but that is Roger and Dorothy's job. They always do the pots and pans. The tables stay out for the bingo later in the evening.
We had to go to work at 5 o'clock. We had the night shift on Sunday night. We missed the bingo, but had all the kids who didn't go to that, came to the office to play pool, or some other kind of games. Tom was out delivering wood, and taking any roadies (people coming in off the road for the night) to their sites.
We came home at 9:15 to the great news that the Mets had won and the Phillies had lost. LET"S GO METS. We watched Big Brother, maybe I should say I watched Big Brother, and Tom checked things out on the computer, and we hit the sack.
Today, we had work at 1:00. So many folks went home early. As we walked up to the office, so many of the sites were empty. School starts here tomorrow, so they all have to be home to get ready. When we came home, we again found out the Mets had won and the Phillies had lost. What more could we ask for them this week-end? Not much. Just think where they would be if they had beat the Phillies last week.
Now for some other events of the week-end. It would be very remiss of me not to mention the win of Penn State. We watched the game before we went up to the animal races, and Tivoed the end. Tom had also heard about the game in Michigan, and switch to that, and we saw the big win against them in The Big House. The end of that game was really exciting. I think we will like that new Big Ten channel.
We also have to mention our Grandson's first day of school. He lets everyone know his teacher is beautiful. He thinks he's such a big boy now. He can ride the bus all by himself. He is so happy about going to school.
I think that is about enough for this post. Maybe I should have split this one up. Tom will post the pictures, so let us know what you think.