Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's a Circus!

Baraboo was the home of the Ringling Brothers, and the original winter quarters of the circus.  They would bring the whole thing here to make repairs and prepare for the upcoming season.  The original buildings, and some new ones, are now a museum to celebrate excitement.  More than two thirds of the world's hand-carved circus parade wagons are on display.  They even have performances, but on a small scale.  Just enough to tempt us to see the real thing when it pulls into town. 
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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Going Home

That was a busy weekend!  We went to Minneapolis, where we met Rob and Jackie, saw Jeff, Teri and Makenzie, and played with Mom.  One day we went to Deer Park (I was saddened to see that the population has dwindled from 226 to 216) to visit dozens of cousins (way too many to name here, but there wasn't time to see all of them) and Auntie Vi.
 Isn't this just the perfect growing-up house?  That's my room on the top.  What more could a girl ask for?

The KOA in Maple Grove.

Now we're in Portage, WI, just a few miles from the Wisconsin Dells, where we'll be playing today.  This is the view from my desk.  Doncha love America? 

The entire back window area is our double desk, all the way across.    
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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Chippewa Falls

Can you imagine my excitement when we drove over the Chippewa River and saw this NSP (Northern States Power) hydroelectric dam?  Built in 1928 on the site of what was once one of the largest saw mills in the world, it still produces power.  NSP is now part of  Xcel Energy, but wasn't it nice of them to keep the old sign.  I think it was probably done just to make us think of all the years Dad worked for NSP.  How
many poles do you think he climbed through the years?

Chippewa River

There is a small but nice zoo in Irvine Park, just right for a town of 13,000.
The white peacock closed just before I got the camera ready.

The natives say Chipp'wa.

Jacob Leinenkugel began brewing beer here in 1867 and it's still family run, with one of the daughters eager to become the sixth generation - and the first woman - to stir the hops.
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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Door County, the food

GrandpAl needed a rest after lunch at the Sister Bay Cafe, where we had the best store-bought lefse of all time, potato pancakes like Mom used to make, the the very best pie crust (Door County cherries) ever.
That's a lot of bests with no pictures.

Have you ever been to a Door County Fish Boil?  This one is at Pelletier's in Fish Creek.
These chunks of local whitefish are dropped into a huge pot of boiling water,
 along with baby red potatoes and sweet boiling onions.

The Master Boiler controls the flames by adding or removing planks of wood around the fire.
They use about 18 cords of wood in a summer. 

Immediately before removing the stainless steel baskets of food, he throws fuel oil directly onto the fire beneath the kettle, yells out "boil Over", and runs quickly away.
That's exactly what the water and fish oils do - boil over.  They call it "poor man's lobster".
Served with clarified butter, it does kind of taste like lobster with imagination.
I told you it was all about the food, didn't I?
ps  Spellcheck doesn't know what to do about lefse.
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Door County

Door County is at the very tip of that teapot spout peninsula that sticks up on the east edge of Wisconsin, and is gorgeous, for many reasons.  Partly because it is between Green Bay
(the body of water, not the Packer town) and Lake Michigan.
They have a large display of Barn Quilts scattered through the county.

Sister Bay has sod roofs on several buildings.

Apparently the road planners have a good sense of humor.
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Al was last here in 1982, (probably -old guys can't always remember) in his Piper Saratoga for the world famous air show. More than 50,000 people and more than 10,000 aircraft, all arriving and departing at the same time!  How do all those volunteers do it?    The military should study those skills.

The museum is amazing, with dozens of experimental airplanes, way too many to show you here.  And my shots aren't nearly as good as those on their web site.

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Green Bay

It's a Cheesehead shareholder dream come true!  A tour of Lambeau Field, home to the Packers.  The current capacity is 73,142 - in a town with a population of 104,000.  Following the most recent stock offering, only the fifth in the history of the team, there are over 360,000 shareholders.  Every game is sold out and the waiting list is over 90,000.  There have been several remodels through the years, but it's been at 1265 Lombardi Avenue since 1957.  Previously known as City Stadium, it was renamed in 1965 to honor Curly Lambeau, the guy who started it all in 1919 when he asked his employer,
the Acme Meat and Fish Packing company, to help with the cost of uniforms. 

The view from one of the fancy boxes.

On the field.  See the aluminum benches.  That's it.  Just benches.  No backs.  Heated only by butts.

Vince Lombardi

Curly Lambeau

There is so much more information that can't possibly be included here.  Go to
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sault Ste. Marie

Today we drove to the twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie (soo saint marie), one in Ontairo, one in Michigan, separated by St. Mary"s River.  The Soo Locks allow ships to travel from Lake Superior to Lake Huron and beyond.  Well, in a senior moment, I remembered the camera, but forgot to put that silly little memory card in it.  Darn.  So I'll bore you with Great Lakes Facts for a while.

Lake Superior, Lake Huron, Lake Erie and Lake Ontario are in both the United States and Canada.  Only Lake Michigan is entirely within the United States.

The Great Lakes contain one fifth of the world's fresh surface water, about six quadrillion gallons of water.  If all that water was spread evenly across the U S, the entire country would be covered in 9.5 feet of water.

Lake Superior ranks as the largest lake by surface area in the world.  It contains 10% of the earth's fresh water.  Waves have been known to reach more than 20 feet in height. 

The finger-like formation of Lake Michigan causes the water entering it to circulate slowly, and on average remains there for 99 years before leaving the basin through the Straits of Mackinac.  (Which I'm gazing at this very minute.)

Lake Huron has more than 30,000 islands, including the world's largest freshwater island, Manitoulin.

Lake Ontario has the oldest lighthouse on the U S side, at Fort Niagara, completed in 1818.

Lake Erie can have a differential from the eastern and western ends of as much as 16 feet, caused by high winds.

Are you hoping that I'll remember the camera next time?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Mackinac Island

Here we are on the U.P.  (Upper Peninsula) of Michigan, in the delightful Lakeshore RV Park, right smack on the shore of Lake Michigan.  Here is the view from Homer's perspective.  

The Mackinac Bridge looks kind of familiar, doesn't it?  But it's painted beige and green.  It's the third longest bridge in the world, the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere, with a total suspension of 8,614 feet, and a total length of 26,372 feet, just shy of 5 miles.  The deck could move as much as 35 feet east or west in severe wind conditions.  They say the weight of the cars would bring it back to its position.
I kind of don't want to be one of those cars.  

Yesterday we took the ferry to Mackinac Island, where they don't allow motorized vehicles.  Everything is done by horse (500 of them, many the gigantic Clydesdales - did you know they are from Clydesdale, Scotland?) and carriage or cart, or bicycle.  It's beautiful and peaceful, but the season doesn't begin until June   Only 600 people live there year-round, but in the summer that number increases drastically with tourists and workers who tend them.  There are more fudge shops than a girl could visit in one day,
but that doesn't stop one from trying.
The Grand Hotel is the crown jewel of the island, high on the hill.  It opened in 1887 with room rates of
$3 to $5.  Today the range is $254 to $723.  It has the longest Front Porch in the world at 660 feet.  Each season they serve more than 83,000 pounds of prime rib, 23,500 pounds of ham, 83,500 pounds of potatoes, 14,000 pounds of strawberries.  More than 50,000 Grand Pecan Balls,
the hotel's most popular dessert, are served each season.
Nope.  I'm not going to say it.

Do you notice a pattern of enormous amounts of food served?
I need Jenny Craig to come slap me upside the head.

Some here spell it Mackinac, with the French silent c.  (What's the point of that?  No wonder French is so hard to learn.)  Others use the English spelling of Mackinaw.
But it's always pronouced  Mack-in-aw.  Now you know, doncha.
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