Wednesday, May 29, 2013


South Range WI (Low 40 Mostly Sunny High 60)

We are having issues with our DirecTV Genie DVR.

The DVR is rebooting every 10-12 hours and it is losing the guide amongst other problems. DirecTV sent a technician from an authorized reseller in the area who once he saw the Winegard automatic dish was looking for a way to leave. This is an automatic dish that they cannot adjust so when the signal was in the high 70s on a couple of satellites he said he could not complete the order so he left. These are common signal strengths for those satellites and has not affected our TV watching.

Bob fared even worse with DirecTV. We had heard horror stories like this years ago but it was not an issue when we were signing up for service and getting two HD DVRs, nor was it an issue when we got the Genie DVR in March after we upgraded our dish to SWM technology. The system worked great for two months but is now on the fritz and Winegard is saying receiver and DirecTV is saying Winegard as the problem. We believe Winegard because Bob took our dome automatic dish and got the same symptoms as the roof mounted unit.

For the time being we are working around the reboots and programming manually just like the old VCR days. If we don't get this resolved soon we will dump DirecTV and go with Dish Network or just go to broadcast TV and Netflix.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


South Range WI (Low 37 Mostly Cloudy High 59)

Catching up on places we visited while we were in Clear Lake IA. 

Located in the tiny north central Iowa town of West Bend (population 800) is the Grotto of the Redemption, where you can witness "A Miracle in Stone".

You don't have to be Catholic to enjoy it, you don't even have to be Christian. This is an art lovers paradise and a mecca for precious stones and gems. There is so much to see here and we took so many pictures we decided to break it up into a few blog entries. The pictures really do not do justice to just how beautiful this place is.

The Grotto of the Redemption, actually a composite of nine separate grottos, each one portraying a scene in the life of Jesus the Christ. is the largest man-made Grotto in the world and contains the largest collection of precious stones and gems found anywhere in one location. The theme of Redemption gives unity to this sacred space.


The Grotto of the Redemption is the inspiration and life work of Fr. Paul Dobberstein (1872-1954), a Catholic priest. For a decade, he gathered rocks and precious stones from around the world then began construction in 1912. 

He built the Grotto because of a promise he made to Mary the Mother of God. While in seminary he contracted pneumonia which was nearly fatal. He promised that if he recovered he would build a shrine for her.

For the next 42 years, Fr. Dobberstein created hundreds of intricate rock settings that form the Grotto’s walls and ceilings, evoking a spiritual experience.

Matt Szerensce, a parishioner, and Fr. Louis Greving, the next Catholic pastor in West Bend, worked side-by-side with Fr. Dobberstein and furthered the work of Fr. Dobberstein after his death. The local community also lended a hand because some of the pieces were incredibly large and needed man and horsepower to put into place. Fr. Dobberstein was 5'6" and weighed 130 pounds, how he did a lot of the work was amazing to us. Here is a bronze statue of him erected in 1992.

Here are some of our favorite photos of the Grotto. Remember that each stone or gem was placed by hand creating this masterpiece. The statues are Italian marble donated throughout the years.

Like we said before you don't have to be Catholic to enjoy it, you don't even have to be Christian. This is an art lovers paradise and a mecca for precious stones and gems. We highly recommend a visit to this place. There will be more blog entries on this amazing place so stay tuned.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, May 26, 2013


South Range WI (Low 38 Warmer With Some Sun High 60)

We realized that we had not updated our photos Flickr for a long time. We recently were using our Verizon MiFi a lot so did not want to use our data for so many photos so waited until we got to a park with fairly good WiFi, Oakwood RV Park in Clear Lake fit that bill.

As a reminder here is the link to all of our photos on,

Here is a direct link to the set for Peculiar MO (September 2012 to April 2013). The set contains photos for snow, birds, squirrels, etc.

Here is a direct link to the set for Waukee IA (April 2013 - May 2013). The set contains photos for snow, Salisbury House, birds, etc.

Here is a direct link to the set for Kellogg IA (May 2013). The set contains photos for tulips, Vermeer Mill, Scholte House, Historical Village, Maytag Dairy Farm, etc.

We should have WiFi from our parks in the future so should be able to keep Flickr up to date better.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, May 25, 2013


South Range WI (Low 28 Variable Cloudiness High 57)

After a soggy few days in Prior Lake Minnesota, although Thursday was nice and dry, we headed yesterday to South Range Wisconsin continuing our trek to the city of Houghton Michigan for the summer.

Here is the route we took:

View Larger Map
While in South Range we plan to visit the Kounty Quart House for lunch a few times, which may be our favorite eating out place we have found while full-timing. We liked it so much we blogged about it here and here. We split the reconstructed Reuben for supper last night; potato pancakes for the bread, corned beef, homemade dressing, homemade red cabbage. An amazing meal that is way too much to eat for one person. Truth be told we should have gotten 2 meals out of it but it was so good. 

We do feel like we are 'camping', at least for a few days. We are getting a diagnostic code on our DirecTV receiver indicating bad wiring. We can watch TV ok and our recorded shows but the online Guide is not staying populated so we have to make sure to manually record any shows we want, man we are roughing it this holiday weekend.

In the meantime we are close to Lake Superior so if the weather is nice we plan to do some sightseeing around the lake. There is a church in nearby Superior Wisconsin that we want to tour. Finally, Jo will get a haircut in Duluth so we will eat breakfast there and Bob will walk around Canal Park while she is getting sheared.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, May 24, 2013


Prior Lake MN (Low 44 Sunny High 71)

Today we are leaving Prior Lake and heading to South Range Wisconsin where the weather will be (Cold with Clouds and Sun High 60, Overnight will be thunderstorms and a low of 40). Looks like the nice weather we finally got here will not be in our new location :-(

Catching up on our recent stay in Kellogg Iowa and our tour of the Maytag Dairy Farm. The Des Moines Register a while ago had a list of the "Top 100 Things to Eat Before You Die". On that list was Maytag Blue Cheese from the Maytag Dairy Farm. Neither one of us likes Blue Cheese at all but there was other cheese involved so we gave it a go.

The Maytag Dairy Farm, while not part of the Maytag Corporation, was started by the son of the founder. They have become world renowned for their blue cheese and the Maytag family is still involved. While you cannot tour the barns anymore due to liability issues (Shakespeare was right don't you know?) there was a neat film on the farm and the process.

We then went on the tour. This is the Maytag home and the cheese making barn to the right from a distance.

Here is the blue cheese that is being hand folded into 1 oz, 2 oz, 4 oz, 8 oz and 1 lb packages.

The ladies that do the wrapping do an incredible job, the end product looks amazing.

After the cheese wrapping demo we went to the tasting area. All the cheese was great and we ended up buying some Edam cheese. The last cheese we tried was the blue cheese since it was supposed to be the best. We can honestly say we liked it better than any other blue cheese we have ever had, but still not good enough for us to like enough to buy or eat, sorry Maytag.

This is a very short visit but worth it, especially the cheese tasting.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, May 23, 2013


Prior Lake MN (Low 40 Sunny Warmer High 64)

Catching up on our recent stay in Kellogg Iowa when we went to Pella to visit friends and see the sights.

We blogged earlier on the Vermeer Mill which sits at the corner of the Historical Village.

The Historical Village Complex is the restoration project of the Pella Historical Society. Twenty-four buildings surround a courtyard with red brick walkways, blossoming trees, and beautiful tulip gardens (some of our tulip photos came from the Historical Village). Some of the buildings have been on the site for more than 150 years; others were moved in and restored.

We tried to cram everything in Pella into one afternoon which meant we missed some things and those we saw we rushed through. This did not do justice to the Historical Village since this was last on our list in Pella and we were there just before closing. Imagine 24 buildings set in a town like setting crammed with exhibits. Really needed a lot more time so we will visit again.

The main attraction for us was the boyhood home of Wyatt Earp.

Before our visit we didn't know that Pella was not only the home of Dominie Scholte and his band of Hollanders from our recent blog post on the Scholte House and Gardens, but also the home of the Nicholas Earp family and its most famous member—Wyatt. Here is the last photograph of Wyatt taken 2 weeks before his death.

The Earp family’s English and Scottish descendants immigrated to America in the early 1700′s. Like the Scholte band 150 years later, the Earps came to America for religious freedom. Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp, named for his father’s neighbor and commanding officer in the Mexican War, was born in Monmouth, Illinois, on March 19, 1848. When Wyatt was two years old, his father Nicholas moved the family to Pella, Iowa. While living in Pella, Nicholas held the office of U.S. Provost Marshal of Marion County. Wyatt Earp, the famous gun-slinging western marshal, grew up as an ordinary Pella boy, spending most of his spare time working on his father’s farm.

Nicholas Earp’s experience as a captain in the Mexican War earned him the responsibility of training troops for the Union Army. Wyatt’s three older brothers enlisted in the Union Army while Wyatt stayed home and tended the farm. Finally, at the tender age of fifteen, the lure of the Civil War overwhelmed Wyatt. He ran away from home and enlisted in the army. As luck would have it, the first person Wyatt encountered among the army ranks was his father, who promptly sent him home, back to the cornfields of Pella.

In 1864 Nicholas’ hitch in the army ran out. Although Nicholas was against secession, he disagreed with freeing the slaves. The elder Earp organized a wagon train of forty families with similar ideas against emancipation, and headed to California.

Here are more pictures of the Earp Home.

Here are more pictures of the Historical Village which we hustled through after our visit of the Earp home.

Much has been written about Wyatt after he left Pella but it was cool to find out that a boy who later became a famous U.S. Deputy Marshal, lived in Pella on the site of the Pella Historical Village.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


Prior Lake MN (Low 41 Mostly Cloudy and Showers High 54)

Rain seems to be prevalent throughout our stay at Prior Lake so far so yesterday we opted for an inside activity, Star Trek: Into Darkness.

Unbelievably this is the 12th feature film in the Star Trek universe, pretty good for a show that started in the 1960s and lasted only three years. Bob is a Trekkie and has been since he saw the original series. Jo likes Star Trek so this made this a good choice to ride out the bad weather.

At first we were a little leery of the JJ Abrams rebooting but the 2009 Star Trek film was pretty darn good. From the cast (we agree with Sheldon on "The Big Bang Theory" that Zachary Quinto is good as Spock, to Kirk to Scotty and the others, the casting is great) to the story to the action, the 2009 film was a lot for this film to live up to.

With the same cast and with some old time references sprinkled in like Harcourt Fenton Mudd, to Tribbles, to the NX-01 starship from the Enterprise TV series (not called Star Trek: Enterprise until later), and old Spock, this movie draws us more into this timeline. By wiping out the timeline in the first movie it gave the writers some freedom which they used but they still paid homage to the old timeline with those neat references.

This movie is action packed and the great thing about these JJ Abrams versions is that you don't necessarily have to be a Star Trek fan to like them. Here's hoping that they do many more. With the first weekend box office numbers it looks like they will.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


Prior Lake MN (Low 61 Periods of Rain High 69)

Catching up on our recent stay in Kellogg Iowa when we went to Pella to visit friends and see the sights.

The Scholte House, built in the winter and spring of 1847-1848, was the fulfillment of a promise Hendrik Scholte made to his wife Mareah to alleviate her homesickness and disappointment. He had promised to build her a house with all the comforts of the home she had left in The Netherlands.

The Scholte's left the Netherlands with 70 other families for religious freedom that could be found in the United States and because of the potato famine of the 1840s.  Hendrik Scholte was a Dominie (Pastor) and started his own church in Pella and is considered the founder of the town as well. 

A couple of interesting things about this house it that it remains pretty much as it was in Pella’s early days, and a Scholte descendant occupied this house from 1848 until 1987. The museum’s Director now lives in the home’s east wing.

Since this was the house of the leader of the effort to move to Iowa this treasured house contains much of the earliest history of the colonization (de kolonie in Dutch). 

Although the rest of the house has been restored and redecorated, the library has miraculously survived with its original furnishings.   Carpets, wallpaper, and ceiling paper date back to the mid 1850s. Here is the library.

Here is the carpet underneath other carpets under the table.

Here is the wallpaper on the ceiling.

The following photos are from our tour of the house.

There were a lot of paintings in such a big house but this one caught our eye.

The Gardens surrounding the house are amazing and worth a leisurely stroll. Some of the many tulip photos we took were from this garden.

If you ever get the chance to visit Pella allow a lot of time to visit all the sites, it is truly an extraordinary town.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo