Thursday, August 13, 2009

Monday and Tuesday (8/10 & 8/11).   We are continuing home today but we stopped at the Studebaker Museum in South Bend, IN.  The Studebaker was such a cool car and so ahead of its time (see picture.)   The reason that they went out of business was that they did not keep their plants up to date and by the time they had to re-tool, they just didn't have the capital to do it.  

We stopped at the Evangola State Park on the western border of NYS for the night.  It had rained so much the prior day that the road to the campground was flooded and we had to go the long way to get into the campground.

Got up Tuesday and headed for home.  We arrived in Fultonville about 3:30 and stopped to see Sue's family and our bunny rabbits.  It was good to be home.  Seeing our home was soooo good but it looked like the weeds were about to overtake the house (see picture.)

For all we have seen, we still love the Northeast and feel that we live in a beautiful state (see picture.)  We are happy to be home among family and friends.   We have missed everyone and have missed spending time with everyone.  We look forward to getting together with folks as soon as we can.  We promise that we won't make anyone look at the 10,000 pictures we took - yes, we really took 10,000 pictures.

To say this was the trip of a lifetime would be an understatement.   We have loved every minute of the trip.   This country that we live in is amazing.  People keep asking us what the best part of the trip was and we say the diversity of our country.  Each place we stopped was so different and so interesting - each in their own way.  We have seen such a wide range of things - landscape, museums, architecture, oddities, people, culture and nature.   What fun it has been!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Thursday to Sunday (8/4 to 8/9) Once again, sorry for not posting more regularly.   The nearest wifi hot spot was about 45 minutes away.

 We have been at the Bluegrass Festival and are having a great time volunteering and listening to music.  The music runs all day and there are many activities for families and individuals wanting to improve their music skills (of which Rich and I have none.) The camp grounds are very nice (see picture.)

There are many nationally known performers and many up-and-coming groups (see picture.)  The music is really high quality and the festival is very well run.   The range of food vendors is great - too much good food in one place!  The festival events are alcohol free and so there are no unruly or out of order people - just folks enjoying themselves (see picture.)  

Last night, Rich and I went to the showcase tent where they have all kinds of activities.  We did some dancing - correction - we fell over our feet attempting to dance.   They were calling some square dances and we had fun trying.   The great part about this group is they are all about having a good time and don't care if you mess up.  

We left this morning and are planning to drive pretty much straight home.   We expect to be home by Tuesday night.  At the rate we are going though, we won't make it.  We have given no less than ten tours of the T@B today.  It has probably slowed us down by about three hours. We have enjoyed talking to everyone today. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tuesday & Wednesday (8/4 & 8/5)   We left the Twin Cities area and headed to the St. Cloud area (actually Avon) for the Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association Festival.  We arrived late afternoon and set up our camper.  Our friends Kim and Kevan made dinner for us and we enjoyed a nice fire in the evening.

Wednesday was a work day.  Sue helped organize the t-shirts for the 500+ volunteers.  Then the rest of the day we both volunteered at the main gate directing people to the registration booth.  Early arrivals were eager to start playing music and we could hear people play music at their camp sites.

The festival officially starts on Thursday but many people arrive early just to make the experience last even longer.  We are looking forward to hearing a lot of great music.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Monday (8/3)   We are sure it will not surprise you to learn that we went to the State Capitol in St. Paul.   This capitol was completed in 1905 and has a traditional dome configuration.  It was very nice and well kept but not overly ornate (see pictures.)   A lot of the decorations on the ceilings were painted and not carved.   It did have a great deal of beautiful marble from all over the world. Originally, two million dollars were raised for the project but the architect said he though the people of Minnesota wanted a beautiful capitol and to do that he would need four million dollars. The money was raised and the building ended up costing four and a half million dollars.  
We ate lunch at a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives restaurant.   It was called the Nook and was just your local little bar.   The Nook has won many, many awards for their burgers.   Sue had a Triple B - a bourbon-bacon burger that was great.   Rich had a Blue Burger - a burger loaded with blue cheese.  All we can say is we know why the walls are lined with awards - the food was outstanding.

In the afternoon, we went to the Museum of Russian Art.   Being Monday, everything we wanted to see was closed.  But, that was okay, as this museum was very nice.  There was a special display called "Postage Stamps: Messengers of the Soviet Future."  To look at the pictures on these stamps, it looks like Russia was such a wonderful place where everyone is happy.  These stamps were really messengers carrying the Russian propaganda.  

For dinner, we are headed another Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives pick. It is the Bryant Lake Bowl  - a bowling alley that serves great food.  We are hoping that it is as good as lunch.  No wonder Sue can't fit in any of the clothes she brought with her.   DIET - here I come when I get home!!!!
Sunday (8/2)  We left Oshkosh and headed to Minnesota.   We drove most of the day and checked into the William O'Brien State Park just north of Stillwater and east of the Twin Cities.  

We set up and then headed to the Mall of America to meet up with our friends, Kim and Kevan, for dinner.   We did not go shopping but went just to check it out.   We had been there about 15 years ago and just wanted to see how it had changed.  It is wild to see a roller coaster in a mall.   The mall is so big, I don't know how anyone could shop in it.

Saturday (8/1)  We got up and went to do laundry - yeah! - our last time to do laundry on the road! We came back and broke down our screen room as rain was predicted and we did not want to deal with a wet screen room.  We packed everything up for an early departure on Sunday.  How lonely our T@B looks as it nears the end of its big adventure (see picture.)  How quickly the end of the trip is coming.

In the afternoon, we went through the big C17 and C5A.  These planes are very large and can really move supplies to the troops when necessary.  

This afternoon's air show is the big event.   They have the most planes at this show and also include pyrotechnics.  They do a re-enactment of an air raid complete with bombings.  The bombings are simulated with ground pyrotechnics (see pictures.)   It is very impressive.  

The entertainment in the Theater in the Woods consisted of a movie and a comedian.  The movie was a six-year documentary on the building of a race plane.  It showed the plane being made, crashing, being rebuilt and eventually winning a race.  It really showed the love of flying the couple who built and owned the plane had.  The final entertainment of the air show was Jeff Dunham - ventriloquist and helicopter pilot.   He is a world class entertainer who loves to fly helicopters.   His performance is alway a highlight of the air show and did not let anyone down as the laughter never did stop.   What a nice way to end our stay here.

I have included some random pictures that show various aspects of this massive event.

Friday (7/31)   Today, the girls (Sue, CeCe and Mary) spent most of the day shopping.  Rich and Austin (a friend's thirteen-year old grandson) went to the Sea Plane Base.   The air show includes sea planes and has a base for them on Lake Winnebago right next to the Oshkosh air field (see pictures.)  Rich chose the picture of the white plane at the Sea Base - I am sure he was just interested in that sinking plane.  In the afternoon, Rich and Austin watched the C17 and C5A military cargo-moving planes come in.   The C17 is actually a flying hospital when needed.  They then watched the air show.

While walking around after dinner, we saw a contraption worthy of the Flintstones.  This homemade contraption is truly a work of art - what kind of art is up for discussion.  The frame of it is the Y of a tree and the rest is whatever its builder could get his hands on (see picture.)

We all went to the Theater in the Woods in the evening.   Livingston Taylor (James Taylor's brother) sang and played guitar.  He was followed by Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles, the pilot and co-pilot of Flight 1549 which made an emergency landing in the Hudson River in New York City this past January.   Everyone on board was rescued thanks to the professionalism of the pilot, co-pilot and three stewardesses.   Captain Sullenberger was very emphatic that it was a total team effort.  Although it was a serious topic, the fact that everyone survived, gave leeway for a little humor.  In fact, Jeffrey Skiles could have another career as a comedian if he wanted.   They were like watching the comedian and his straight man (Sully.) They really emphasized that they were not heroes but highly trained professionals just doing their jobs.  At the end of their talk, Tom Poberezny, EAA President, came out and announced that Jeffrey Skiles had donated to the Young Eagles Auction, held the night before, his shoes and flight jacket from Flight 1549.   The two items raised $76,000 for the Young Eagles Program. Mr. Skiles also donated his flight bag from Flight 1549 to the EAA Museum.  It is signed by both Co-Pilot Skiles and Pilot Sullenberger and has the date and Flight 1549 signed on it.  It will be kept on display in the museum.