Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Currently in Waukee IA (Low 64 Partly Sunny High 79) 

We left yesterday from Clear Lake Iowa and headed to Waukee, also in Iowa. Our destination, Timberline Campground.

It was approximately 130 miles, this is the route we took.

While here we will be meeting family and friends and of course eating out

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


Currently in Clear Lake IA (Low 64 Some Sun, A Thunderstorm in Spots Currently 69) 
Heading to Waukee IA (Currently 73 A Shower or Thunderstorm in Spots High 81)

Mason City Iowa is just a few miles from Clear Lake on the other side of of I-35. We did not know that it was ranked as the 14th best city for architecture sightseeing. Frank Lloyd Wright is a big reason for that. It started in the early 1900s when FLW was in Mason City designing the Park Inn Hotel. Dr. George and Eleanor Stockman met FLW while he was in town and asked him to design a house for them, what is now known as the 1908 Stockman House.

They wanted the $5,000 Fire Proof House that was featured in a Ladies Home Journal article. Here is a model of the fire proof house.

Here is a model of the final product, slightly different than the fire proof house.

Here is a picture from the visitors center showing the house and some of the interior. You could not take pictures during the tour inside the house.

The 'theme' of this house according to the tour guide was symmetry. Here is the front of the house, notice the windows, how the centerline of the windows is at the centerline of that side.

The back of the house shows the same symmetry.

One neat thing is that there were no exterior gutters. Here is how the rain gutters were setup.

We heard a couple of things from the tour guide or from the movie at the visitors center that made us glad we took the tour. The Stockman House is the only prairie style house that you can tour in Iowa and it is the only middle class prairie style house that you can tour in the entire United States. All of this in Mason City Iowa, pretty cool.

We leave today for Waukee Iowa for more friends and family.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Currently in Clear Lake IA (Low 52 A Thunderstorm in Spots High 74) 

After a haircut for Jo and pedicures for both of us, along with a good food at Jensen's Cafe, El Toro Restaurant and Zuppa Cucina, we left Prior Lake Minnesota yesterday and headed to Oakwood RV Park in Clear Lake Iowa. We are in one of the longest pull thrus we have ever seen.

It was approximately 125 miles, this was the route we took.

Bob's sister KB and friends Sam and Kevin were also camping in Clear Lake this weekend. We met them at 'The Musky Lounge' where we have eaten before. This time instead of the musky burger we split the walleye fish fry and the broiled shrimp. Good food and good company.

The rest of the weekend we plan on more eating out and doing some sightseeing, just having a great time.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, August 26, 2016


Currently in Prior Lake MN (Low 50 Partly Sunny Currently 58)
Heading to Clear Lake IA (Currently 61 Times of Clouds and Sun High 73) 

You know it's time to head south, that winter is just around the corner, when you see these pants at Sam's Club, fleece lined pants.

Yesterday was a great day. After a couple days traveling in a row we both slept in and had breakfast at home. After showers we went to one of our favorite places to eat, Jensen's Cafe. After a wonderful meal, with lemon ricotta pancakes to share later, we took Jo to her haircut appointment.

While Jo was getting her hair cut Bob shopped at Sam's Club then Walmart and then a Farmers Market. He timed it pretty good as he only had to wait about 5 minutes and Jo was walking out. We then got much needed pedicures.

Yesterday was also a great day because it was the beginning of pumpkin season. Look what Bob found in Sam's Club.

These mini muffins are one of our favorite pumpkin things, a fantastic start to pumpkin season.

Our new rule is when we see fleece lined pants for sale we head south so today we are heading to Clear Lake Iowa. Bob's sister and some friends will be camping in Clear Lake so we are sure food and good times are ahead.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, August 25, 2016


Currently in Prior Lake MN (Low 63 Mostly Sunny High 76) 

It was a dark and stormy night. It was kind of eerie at the Northern Wisconsin State fairgrounds. We were the only ones there at the campground and there wasn't a streetlight, or any light, to be found. A storm was coming in and it rained overnight.

Maybe that is why the sunset was so spectacular.

After spending one night we left yesterday and headed to Dakotah Meadows RV Park in Prior Lake Minnesota.

It was approximately 120 miles. Here is the route we took.

Last night Bob was able to connect with an old college friend. He met for supper and spent about 3 hours catching up on our exploits in the 70's to today. Another great benefit of the lifestyle we have chosen is reconnecting with old friends.

Today we plan on eating at Jensen's Cafe, one of our all time favorites and one of the places we discovered while fulltiming. Jo is also going to get a haircut and if we can work it in we are getting pedicures.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, August 24, 2016


Currently in Chippewa Falls WI (Low 60 Cloudy with Chance of Rain Currently 67)
Heading to Prior Lake MN (Currently 68 Partly Cloudy High 85) 

The day started out promising. SlideMaster finished the sliding cargo tray and began the installation. This gave us an opportunity to go into Antigo and visit Peroutka's Meat Processing.

Known for beef jerky, hot dogs, and all kinds of sausage, we bought chicken brats, philly steak and cheese brats, hot dogs, snack sticks, etc. Sadly they were out of beef jerky, you almost have to be there when they start selling as it sells out quickly. We got diesel and then lunch at McDonalds and headed back.

We put everything back in the basement area and hooked up and headed to Chippewa Falls. By now it was too late to go to our next intended stop in the Twin Cities area since we would be dealing with rush hour traffic.

It was approximately 130 miles to Chippewa Falls and the Northern Michigan State Fairgrounds. This is the route we took.

The day that started out promising turned sour with the perils of moving your house down the road at 65mph. We have three hanging lights above the island, we had three now we have two.

The end light worked it way free and swung around breaking the light fixture. A couple of the roads we were on were real rough. We had glass everywhere we had to clean up before we could let the cats out of the bedroom. A cute story about the cats and their travel day. It was about 1:30p when we left and the cats just couldn't figure out that we were leaving. Normally we are out by 11a. Usually as soon as Bob gets the bedroom done and the slide put in JJ leads the way with Sandra following shortly thereafter. Tiger sometimes goes up on her own but usually has to be carried. This time JJ and Sandra would have nothing to do with us leaving. We finished everything downstairs and still they weren't moving. We had to coax them with food.

We got here and got the glass cleaned up and the rod threaded back into the bracket and tightened. We now have another thing to add to the checklist. We were rewarded, however, with a pretty good sunset.

We will blog about our new sliding cargo tray later.

We leave today for couple nights in the Twin Cities that will be jam packed with pedicures and haircut and eating out of course.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, August 22, 2016


Currently in Deerbrook WI (Low 46 Mostly Sunny High 76) 

After a great six weeks at the City of Houghton RV Park we left yesterday for Deerbrook Wisconsin. We are at Innovative Industries (SlideMaster).

This is the route we took for the approximately 150 mile journey.

Along the way we stopped and visited our friends Bob and Carol. We saw their property and house in the woods in Conover Township. We then went out to eat lunch and then back to their place for more conversation. We met Bob and Carol a few years ago at the City of Houghton RV Park and have stayed in touch ever since. They were the inspiration to camp without a sewer hookup for a week at The Soo (Sault Ste. Marie Michigan). We are so glad that we did, we had a great time. Bob and Carol are selling everything so that they can join the fulltime RV community. We are so hoping it sells soon. After a great afternoon we continued our journey. 

We are at SlideMaster to get a sliding cargo tray. Here is an example from the web.

We got here early Sunday evening and are hooked up, electric only, my aren't we getting adventurous? They measured this morning and are fabricating the slide. While they are doing that we are heading off today to a great meat market and Wal-Mart in nearby Antigo, and of course someplace for lunch. Tuesday morning they will install the cargo tray and we will be on our way.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, August 21, 2016


Currently in Houghton MI (Low 49 Light Rain Currently 57)
Heading to Deerbrook WI (Currently 55 Partly Sunny High 66) 

We cannot believe it already has been 6 weeks and we head off today to Wisconsin to get a sliding cargo tray installed. An incredibly fast 6 weeks that was a mixture of mostly relaxation and sightseeing of course surrounded by good food and nice people. First the foodie review after we show the view we had when we were relaxing by sitting outside and reading.

There are a lot of great places to eat in the area. The one that we ate at most was probably Roy's Pasties and Bakery. Jo's all time favorite pasty is a nontraditional pasty consisting of chicken and broccoli and cheddar cheese. The traditional pasty is also very good.

Roy's also serves a breakfast danish that is pasty-like in that cheese, egg and meat is stuffed inside a danish. Desserts are also good at this bakery.

Another place we ate at a lot was Suomi Home Bakery and Restaurant. Suomi serves a Finnish custard pancake called Pannukakku that Jo craves.

Omelets and pancakes are also very good at Suomi and they also serve a very good pasty.

The best pizza in the area is the greek pizza at The Ambassador.

We already blogged about Carmelita's in Calumet and the thimbleberry margarita.

The food there is really good too.

Another spot in Calumet worth mentioning is Connie's Kitchen which serves Bob's favorite traditional pasty in the area. They also have a Wednesday special of a green pepper pasty that is Bob's favorite nontraditional pasty. We bought extra green pepper pasties, and Roy's chicken and broccoli and traditional pasty to freeze to  have later in the year.

Since we have been here before and seen most of the places to see already we didn't do much sightseeing. We saw and blogged about the Copper Country Fire Museum in Calumet, the historic Catholic Churches in Houghton-St. Ignatius and Calumet-St. Joseph, visited 'The Gipper's' grave, visited a Canal Park on Lake Superior, it was a treat when a Tall Ship visited, toured the Birthplace of Professional Hockey in Houghton, and saw The Blooze Brothers in the historic Calumet Theater. We kinda felt like we didn't do much but if you stack it all up together that wasn't too bad. We still have a couple of things we can do the next time we are here.

Like we said we mostly relaxed and most of that was sitting outside and reading. We lost track of how many books we read. All in all it was a great time in Houghton.

We head today to Wisconsin to get a sliding cargo tray in our basement area.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, August 19, 2016


Currently in Houghton MI (Low 63 Rain High 75) 

Some things have changed since the last time we were in the Houghton area for Bob's birthday. As we blogged about before here in 2013 the area has a number of places that you can get a free meal on your birthday. The things that have changed are:

Kaleva Cafe in Hancock still has the free meal but with a very restricted policy. You have to be a local and a regular and be approved by the manager the day of your visit. Although we ate there a few times we felt we would not be approved so didn't even go.

The Loading Zone II in Lake Linden also still has the free meal but no longer is it the rack and a half of ribs that Bob got in 2013 it is a half rack, or a small pizza, or one of the regular entrees.

The other places still have the free meals; Gemignani's in Hancock, The Hut in Calumet or The Waterfront in Hancock (same owners so 1 meal), Gino's in Hancock, and Habanero's in Hancock. With so many choices and only 2 meals since Kaleva Cafe is the only one open for breakfast Bob's birthday eating consisted of the following after a light breakfast at home consisting of a peanut butter and thimbleberry jelly open faced sandwich.

We headed out to lunch which was across the waterway. Surprisingly one of the few times that we have been stopped waiting for waterway traffic to pass under the bridge was on this trip. This time it was for a sailboat which is real hard to see in this photo but you can see the bridge elevated.

Here is a picture that if you zoom in under the bridge you can see the guy on the sailboat waving to us, wishing Bob a Happy Birthday.

We finally got across the bridge and drove to Lake Linden for lunch at Loading Zone II where Bob got the half rack of ribs, baked potato, salad and a drink. Jo got a chicken and broccoli pizza with cheddar cheese. We forgot to take a picture here.

We went back to the park and sat outside reading waiting for the next meal which is also across the bridge. Supper was at Gemignani's where Bob got a free meal of the pork tenderloins which were char crusted and then topped with an onion and mustard reduction. Along with that came roasted vegetables and a side of spaghetti with meat sauce. Jo got the cheese and raisin ravioli with a garlic cream sauce and roasted vegetables which is a favorite of hers. Here is a picture of the free meal.

Here is a picture of Jo's meal.

We liked Gemignani's so much we are planning another visit before we leave. It is worth it at full price :-)

The same sailboat that was heading out to Lake Superior when we went to lunch was heading back to the marina so we got stopped on the other side of the bridge coming back.

We are leaving Houghton on Sunday and headings towards the Kansas City area so we might be able to enjoy some more free birthday eating along the way. The places that Bob has signed up for like First Watch and IHOP are not located in Houghton

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Currently in Houghton MI (Low 61 Some Storms High 82) 

Our cat JJ has taken an interest in the Olympics and in the balance beam routines. We didn't know we had a coach in our midst..

We have never seen him that interested in any other television program. As he watched he tried to coach the gals on the balance beam. You can see his paw pointing out to Laurie Hernandez from the United States to keep her foot on the beam.

Another picture showing him ready to catch her if she falls.


We are glad that wherever we go our Olympic coach and his 2 assistants are always with us.

Till next time, 

Bob and Jo

Monday, August 15, 2016


Currently in Houghton MI (Low 54 Partly Sunny High 79) 

We recently did some sightseeing as we drove to the Stanton Township North Canal Park.

This park is on Lake Superior at the entrance to Keweenaw Waterway which is a partly natural, partly artificial waterway. It cuts across the Keweenaw Peninsula separating Copper Island from the mainland. 

Parts of the waterway are variously known as the the Keweenaw Waterway, Portage Canal, Portage Lake Canal, Portage River, Lily Pond, Torch Lake and Portage Lake. We left Houghton and drove along the canal on Canal Rd. It was a nice drive with some great homes backed up to the water and then inland where we saw kids picking wild berries of some sort. After a slight detour since the road to the park didn't have a sign we arrived at the park. Here is Lake Superior.

Across the waterway is McLain State Park and the Keweenaw Waterway Upper Entrance Lighthouse. We have visited McLain State Park on a previous trip to the area.

Here is Bob with the lighthouse in the background.

This is a primitive park that has a shelter house but everyone else there had driven to the beach and was exploring there versus using the shelter house.

An outhouse.

It was great to walk along the beach of Lake Superior and enjoy the scenery. Another great day on the UP.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, August 13, 2016


Currently in Houghton MI (Low 58 Periods of Clouds and Sun High 68) 

Bob noticed this ship on a recent walk along the waterway.

Turns out it is the "Mist of the Avalon" and is one of the Tall Ships headed to the "Tall Ships Duluth 2016" later this month. The "Mist of the Avalon" stopped in Houghton for a couple of days so we were able to get a few good pictures.

First our local big ship, the Ranger and the "Mist of the Avalon" in the same photo.

The the "Mist of the Avalon" with the Lift Bridge in the background.

Sadly the crew told Bob they were heading out at midnight and wouldn't be at full sail until they reached Lake Superior. We had to get a picture of that from their website.

Another great day on the UP. Did we mention that it is wild blueberry season?

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, August 11, 2016


Currently in Houghton MI (Low 54 Storms High 76) 

The Gipper, and we don't mean Ronald Reagan, although he did play him in a movie. Here is the real George Gipp.

We borrowed a lot of this from the Village of Laurium website. Sorry this is so long but it is an interesting story. Turns out George Gipp was born in nearby Laurium. He has been enshrined in the National Football and and Michigan Halls of Fame and more recently in the Upper Peninsula Sports Hall of Fame. We found it interesting that he never played high school football. However, he was an all-around athlete. He participated in track, hockey, sandlot football and organized baseball. The Laurium Baseball Team was the champion of the Upper Peninsula in 1915 with George Gipp playing center field.

Gipp had a four-year, 32 game college football career at the University of Notre Dame. The Gipper scored 83 touchdowns while the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame won 27, lost 2 and tied 3 games. During Gipp's final 20 games, Notre Dame amassed a record of 19-0-1, scoring an incredible 560 points to their opponents' 97. On defense, Gipp was truly invincible. Not a single pass was completed in his protective zone during his four years at Notre Dame. As a college freshman, Gipp drop-kicked a 62 yard field goal against Western State Normal.

Off the field, though, Gipp had a sweet spot for life on the other side of the tracks, and little liking for the stiff-collared academic life and it caused him some problems. In 1919, Gipp was expelled from Notre Dame, allegedly for cutting classes. Not quite true, says another account. Gipp, it is said, had a craving for the delights offered at a notorious dance hall verbotten to Notre Dame students. Caught exiting this den of delight, Gipp was expelled.

The expulsion raised a howl across this land. Hardware stores within marching distance of the university did a brisk sale in tar and feathers. The commotion quickly reached through the stalwart walls of the administration office and Gipp was soon back on the field tossing touchdown bombs. Sounds similar to the way athletes are treated these day, my how thing have not changed.

Gipp enjoyed combining the sport of football with the sport of gambling, it's said. One Saturday afternoon Notre Dame found itself down 17-14 to Northwestern. Irate, Coach Knute Rockne aimed holy Irish fire at his players' ears during halftime. Rockne glanced over at his star player, leaning and dreaming against a locker, perhaps replaying a missed eight ball shot from the night before.

The locker room fell silent as Rockne glowered at Gipp, a gaze that could melt holes in lead walls. "I don't suppose you have any interest in this game," Rockne said through a snarl. "You're wrong there, coach," Gipp answered, straight and sure of himself, "I have $500 bet on it and I don't intend to blow my money."

It was during the Illinois game on November 20, 1920 that Gipp contracted a serious streptococci infection of the throat. The late Dr. Andrew C. Roche of Calumet had wanted to remove Gipp's infected tonsils in the summer of 1920. Gipp said he would have them removed before he returned to school in the fall. The tonsils were not removed.

Gipp's last game was against Northwestern at Evanston, Illinois. Notre Dame trailed Northwestern. Rockne held Gipp out of the game because of the throat infection plus a painful shoulder injury. The crowd chanted "Gipp! Gipp!" They wanted this win. Rockne relented and let the pleading Gipp onto the field. He responded on the very next play with the winning touchdown. Gipp stayed in the game until the Notre Dame victory was assured; then walked nonchalantly off the field. But the sore throat worsened, and two weeks later Gipp entered the hospital. Diagnosis: pneumonia and strep infection.

Slowly, Gipp's life ebbed away despite the doctor's efforts and blood donated by his teammates. Somber Rockne entered Gipp's room. "Gipp," he said to the ailing young man, "you've been selected Notre Dame's first All-American." But Gipp was fading fast. "Sometime, Rock," Gipp said, "when the team's up against it, when things are wrong, when the breaks are beating the boys, tell them to go in there with all they've got and win one for the Gipper. I don't know where I'll be then, but I'll know about it and I'll be happy."

Shortly after, the Gipper passed on. He died on December 14, 1920 at 3:27 AM. He was buried in section 20 lot 70 of Lakeview Cemetary, located outside of Calumet about 12 miles from Houghton, on December 18th with military rites from the old Calumet Lightguard Armory. Calumet and Laurium businesses closed for the funeral.

We went looking for his grave. Here is the Gipp gravestone with George's gravestone in the background.

A closeup of his gravestone.

Win one for the Gipper - It was in 1928 and the mighty Army football team had Notre Dame stalled, stymied and staggered. Rockne, known for his fiery halftime talks, changed character in this scene. In a soft and calm voice Rockne related the story of Gipp, the hospital and his dying star player. He concluded with the immortal words: "Win one for the Gipper." Not a single eye was dry.

In the second half of the Notre Dame players erupted from the tunnel with blood in their eyes and steel in their bones. The Notre Dame line beat invincible Army, back, back, back toward the goal line. With a cry of "There's one for the Gipper," the Notre Dame fullback tumbled over the line for the winning touchdown.

No matter where you are in this great country there is always a story to be told if you go looking for it.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo