April 26, 2019

To start off, I’ve gotta tell you that Abigail LOVES cows and goats and sheep….and we are in Wisconsin, America’s Dairyland, so guess what? She goes bug-eyed crazy at just the hint of a cow in the distance or the smell of a cow in the air as she hangs her head out the car window. And as soon as she starts barking, Agnes has to join right in….not even looking in the direction of the cows. She is so weird. LOL! I love my pups, but I’m gonna go deaf with Abigail’s high-pitched bark in my ears. Oh, and when Abigail goes nuts, Agnes gets the nervous farts! And it smells HORRIBLE…..just like Joe’s Limburger cheese! My dad would be so proud of her. LOL!!

When we loaded stuff in the camper to prepare for this trip, we kinda went a little overboard. Our “list” was pretty extensive and we have found that we packed a lot more than what we needed. One thing is 175′ of water hose. Yip, 175′! We’ll definitely need it though when we stay off the grid and need to pull in water from a creek or river to put through the filtration system. Of course, we have every tool under the sun on board also. BUT, we’ll eventually be thankful that we packed the “whatchamacallit” in about 7 months down the road. 🙂

A couple of days ago, Joe did some rearranging of the storage spaces to make things more convenient and accessible. He moved the water filtration system to the top of the large box on the back and moved the ladder to the storage space under the camper and this made for lots of extra space.

One thing Joe decided was that we needed to get a chair bracket made to mount some chairs and small table to the top of the large box at the back of the camper. This way I could easily grab a chair and table to work on the blog if he was out with the pups. We Googled “metal fabrication near me” and found Kingsland Welding and Fabrication just a few miles down the road from the KOA. Andrew Kingsland is the owner and per his website he “has over a decade of welding and metal fabrication experience in commercial buildings and large industrial projects across the United States.” Joe talked with him just a few minutes and Andrew knew exactly what was needed. As soon as Joe got back in the vehicle after talking with Andrew, he was about to have a coronary just telling me about how phenomenal the shop was and how amazing the Siegmund-type welding table was that he used. Of course, I know hardly anything about fabrication, so all I could do was sit there and listen to him rave about how unique Andrew was. You’d think Joe was a 6 year-old at Disney World! HA!! Andrew completed the mount that same day including powder coating and adding his unique logo to the end. So, if you’re ever in the DeForest area and need some fabrication done, check out Kingsland Welding and Fabrication on County Road V in DeForest and you will not be disappointed. Guarantee it!

The other day, we ventured up to La Crosse, WI which is about 2 hours northwest of us. The city is on the Mississippi River and the downtown area is very clean and has some beautiful buildings. I probably took more pictures than necessary of the old buildings, but I just couldn’t help myself. While there, I had to stop in the Duluth Trading Company and pick up some new pants and shoes for me and a shirt for Joe. Love their stuff! While I was shopping, Joe took the pups out walking through the city to check out some new smells and sights. (BTW, there are lots of squirrels in the city.) This was some much-needed “Lori time.” LOL! I also perused an old used record shop to find a Dave Brubeck album for our friend, Stan Mohr, a US postal carrier in Kentucky. He mentioned on Facebook the other day that he was looking for it, so I was gonna nose around a bit to see if by chance this place had it. Unfortunately, they didn’t, so I just ordered it on Amazon and he received it yesterday. This is his response via text when he received it: “WAS THAT YOU? What a great record and great surprise! Just hitting the street now, so I’ll text later about what a great record it is, the one I hoped to find used somewhere. Thanks so much!!”

We took day-trips over to Lake Michigan, Monroe and up to Door County. Unfortunately, most everything by the Lake and in Door County is closed until May, so our time was pretty much just spent driving around and soaking in the scenery. Can’t express enough the beauty of this state. So much to see and do here. And folks are just downright friendly here! Everywhere we go, folks go out of their way to greet you and make sure you are being taken care of (except for this crappy oil lube place I mention below). If it didn’t get so crazy cold up here, I wouldn’t mind settling up here, BUT because it does get cold as the dickens, we WON’T. Nope! 🙂

We made a stop at Dregne’s Scandinavian Gifts to check out their stuff and Joe pounced on this Icelandic dark chocolate bar. He claims it is the best he’s ever had. If it ain’t white chocolate, I want no part of it, so he ate the entire bar all by himself….all “7 servings.”

We came across this critter on the side of the road the other day. A self-propelled speed bump that was 3′ from tail to nose. Can’t say I’ve ever seen one of these up close.


Oh, and did I mention that Joe is normally the breakfast maker in the family? I specialize in lunch and dinner, but he is the one that rustles up the oatmeal, malt-o-meal or grits. Well, he was doing laundry again the other day, so I decided to pitch in and make some malt-o-meal. Yip, screwed that up. I forgot the salt. And boy did he make sure I knew that. He toots his horn so loud about his “breakfast making” skills, that he wakes up all the neighbors. He is uncontrollable! LOL!

Made another trip to the Chalet Cheese Co-Op in Monroe yesterday ’cause Joe was almost out of Limburger. And we definitely don’t want that to happen….at least not when we are within an hour of restocking! Don’t know what he’ll do when we run out of this batch and we are in the middle of South Dakota! Wait! They ship! I feel much better now. 🙂

We made a stop at the Alp and Dell cheese shop and stocked up on some more cheese and beef sticks. They have a place where you could watch them make the cheese and we checked that out. Real informative. Pretty cool place with tons of cheese, meat and wine.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Had to run some errands yesterday and getting the car serviced was on the list. Went to a car lube place down in Sun Prairie that advertised a 25% military discount, but that place was soon shot down. Joe wasn’t in there more than 3 minutes when he turned around and left. The attitude of the service guy was nothing short of deplorable. I don’t care what the discount is, no place is gonna get my business if they have crappy customer service. Nope, we just went across the street to Broadway Tire and Auto and got quick stellar service and a 10% military discount. Money and time well spent!

Here’s some photos from this week.

April 21, 2019

The KOA in DeForest, Wisconsin is a very nice place to stay. The property is well maintained by folks that travel from all over and stay and work at the campground for several months at a time. And the hosts are super friendly and really bust their tails making sure the sites are clean and manicured and we have what we need. Can’t complain at all about our stay here. Amenities here are:

  • Store open 8am – 6pm everyday
  • Free coffee and tea!
  • 24-hour laundry room
  • 24-hour bathrooms with showers
  • 2 fully-equipped cabins
  • Free WiFi
  • Playground
  • Swimming pool
  • Two doggie playgrounds with water and poop pouches 🙂
  • Great walking path around the whole property
  • Trees everywhere

Most campers just roll in and stay for just a night or two, but then there are those that homestead here. There are a few campers that are working in the area for a few months and sleep here at night. Some campers weren’t prepared for the snow that pummeled us last week and scrambled to find hotel rooms. Heck, we were toasty warm in our little camper. Snow didn’t stop us at all.

Then there are those folks that actually LIVE here. One example is John and Bonnie Schumann who have been married 62 years and call this KOA home. As you can see by the photos below, they are pretty much dug in with no plans to move on. Pretty nice folks though.

There is also the occasional crisis at the campground. This large motorhome in the videos below miscalculated the turn into their slot and got stuck. Of course, the mushy ground didn’t help at all. They had to call a big wrecker to pull them out. That was a hefty bill to pay. And they were just staying for one night! Sucks to be them.

There have also been a few tent campers that were here during the freezing cold nights last week. There were two 20+ sisters at one site that were actually sleeping in their car. They put some salmon and zucchini on the grill but had a heck of a time getting the fire to take hold. We gave them a bag of charcoal and some lighter fluid and that did the trick. I guess they left very early in the morning ’cause they were gone when Joe got up at 5am. They did leave a note on our windshield which was really nice.

There was also another couple from Cleveland, Ohio that stayed a few nights during the freezing weather which didn’t seem to faze them a bit. They had planned this getaway for over a year and couldn’t easily change their plans just because the weather was gonna be messy and cold. They made the best of a cruddy situation. Really nice folks too! And Andrea has an education and travel blog that you ought to check out. You can find it at clevelandrea.blog.

A shout out to the DeForest Family Restaurant that is about a mile from the KOA. Jack and Kiki Amiti are the owners and they run a super place! The food is very yummy and the staff is amazing. They are open all day every day. And their fried cheese curds are SOOO good!

We called on the folks at Sew n Sew’s Upholstery in Searcy, Arkansas last week to cut some replacement cushions for our bench seats. Emily knew exactly the sizes we need ’cause they made the covers for the original cushions. We will pick those up when we come back through Arkansas next month. Those guys do great work and are quick and very reasonable. You can check them out on Facebook at Sew n Sew’s Upholstery by Chrissy

I tried my hand at making matzah break last week in preparation for Passover. I must say that it turned out pretty good. Matter of fact, I’m gonna make another batch this afternoon. MMMMM!

If you didn’t know, we have long restraints for our pups while they are in the car. This keeps them from getting up in the front seat and getting in Joe’s way of driving. Abigail has her perch between our front seats….and she’s very happy there…. and Agnes gets the whole back end. Every once in a while, Agnes is allowed to sit on Joe’s lap. She’s so spoiled.

Yesterday was the first really warm sunny day we’ve had since we arrived in Wisconsin, so I took advantage of the beautiful day and napped in my lawn chair for a few hours. And being as fair skinned as I am, the obvious happened. I ended up with a really nice sunburn on my face. I was such a dork. Joe wanted me to post a pic of my sunburn, but I flatly refused. Nope, not gonna show you. LOL!

We plan to leave DeForest sometime the first week of May and head back to Arkansas for Memorial Day week for a few days to celebrate my birthday and pick up our grandson, Brennan. Below is the route we plan to take. One stop on our way is Revillo, South Dakota, which is where Joe grew up before moving to Arkansas. When we leave Arkansas the first week of June, we will head to Bedford, Kentucky to take Brennan to his other grandparents for the summer then head over to Fort Thomas, Kentucky to hook up with one of Joe’s Marine Corps buddies, Stan Mohr. From what I’ve learned of Stan over the past year on Facebook and Messenger, he is a nut, but a good nut. He cracks me up all the time on Facebook and can’t wait to hear all the “war stories” about him and Joe goofing around. GET READY STAN!!

Here’s some other random photos from last week:

See ya later!

April 15, 2019

Have you ever experienced something and just couldn’t explain it? Words just didn’t do it justice and even the photos you took didn’t quite capture what you just experienced? Well, that’s the way this past week has been. The beauty of Wisconsin is so hard to capture…but I’ll try my best.

CAVE OF THE MOUNDS: Earlier this week, we visited Cave of the Mounds,a Natural National Landmark located in Blue Mounds, Wisconsin to the west of Madison. According to their web page: “Cave of the Mounds was accidentally discovered on August 4, 1939. Workers, who were removing high quality limestone from a quarry on the Brigham Farm, blasted into the Cave. The blast tore the face off the quarry and revealed a great underground cavern. All quarrying stopped and never resumed. The dynamite blast revealed a limestone cave more than twenty feet high opening into other rooms and galleries, all containing numerous mineral formations.”

Emile in the ticket office answered tons of questions beforehand and our tour guide, Julia, was simply amazing. Her passion for the Mounds was totally evident in her presentation. She knew EVERYTHING about the place! And we lucked out and were the only folks on the tour. We met Jeremy and his teammate after the tour who were instrumental in making sure everything in the cave was working properly, from the lights at every turn to the extensive wiring throughout the caves to meld it all together. Great bunch of folks that made the day unforgettable. If you get the opportunity, you definitely need to check out the Cave of the Mounds,

Here are the many photos we took.

THE HOUSE ON THE ROCK: I would have to say that the highlight of the week for me was our trip to The House on the Rock in Spring Green, Wisconsin. For 18 years, Joe has told me stories and about this place and now I FINALLY am able to see what all the hoopla was about. And he was right!! From the moment we we arrived, my mouth was open like a big mouth bass. And every word out of my mouth was “holy crap!” or “oh my gosh!” or “look at this!” Again, words and photos cannot do the place justice. The website says: “For over 60 years, the House on the Rock has been a majestic work in progress. It began in 1945, when a man named Alex Jordan had a towering goal: to build a man-made retreat as awe-inspiring as the view from the rock upon which the house would eventually be built. From that spark of imagination, the House on the Rock has evolved to include displays and collections of the exotic, the unusual and the amazing that can be viewed as three separate tours.” We took the “ultimate experience” package which included the segments below.

One thing we noticed about the experience is that the younger folks, under 30, just didn’t seem to enjoy the place as us older folks did. The items on display are dolls, trains, trucks, cars, boats, carousels, airplanes, sea creatures, historical items, doll houses, weapons, knights, replicas of old towns, and much more. Kids and young adults today can’t relate to the items on display…they are not video games, TV, movies or other technological stuff. They just walked on by the displays, didn’t even care to stop and check out all the neat stuff. Heck, I was totally enthralled and overwhelmed at everything I saw. It symbolizes the age of wonderment; a time of my youth; stuff I could relate to and experienced at a kid. We were there for almost 5 hours and I can bet the under-30 crowd were out in less than two hours. We could’ve easily stayed longer to soak more in, but were just plumb wore out physically and emotionally. Being old is not for sissies! LOL! What’s sad is that 30 years ago, House on the Rock was the leading attraction in the upper mid-west; now it’s theme and water parks like Wisconsin Dells. Our entire visit cost less than it would to go to a water park.

And while we were visiting House on the Rock, Abigail and Agnes had a playdate at Shadyside Kennels in Spring Green. They loved it! They saw cats and horses and made friends with other pups staying there. Of course, they were excited to see us when we picked them up and we were excited to see them as well. They heard our voices as soon as we arrived and went crazy!! And I must add that Missy does a great job running that place. The price was much lower than anyplace in Central Arkansas. Can’t beat the great service for a great price!

Below are some photos and videos that we took, but you really have to visit it for yourself to get the whole effect. I promise, that if you are over 30, this place will move you like none other.

Check out our photos below.

MISCELLANEOUS OBSERVATIONS

  • The town of Mount Horeb has the friendliest folks. We stopped and ate at the Subway there and had the best service from the nicest folks.
  • Wisconsin is full to the brim with apartment buildings and townhomes. Everywhere you look, a new building is going up. But that doesn’t mean that single-family homes aren’t around. They are. And folks have a lot of pride in their property. Clean yards, no junk cars or trash piled up, freshly painted; just downright nice places. Not necessarily expensive, just well maintained. So unlike the property you see else where.
  • There is a bar in EVERY single town, no matter how small. I guess, in the winter when snow is up to your ears, everyone heads to the bar to hang out.
  • Surprise! There is NOT a WalMart, Dollar Tree or Dollar General in every town. Yes, you heard right! Heck the nearest WalMart from DeForest where we are staying is about 30 miles away in Sun Prairie. I’ve only seen one Dollar Tree and maybe two Dollar Generals since we arrived April 2.
  • If you are a Coke fan, Wisconsin is not the place for you. Pepsi is the drink of choice here. Every fast-food joint, gas station or restaurant serves Pepsi. NOT COKE! Now, root beer IS a big favorite here also. Love me some root beer!!
  • We travel mostly the rural roads and about one in five farms has a large quilt square displayed proudly on their barn. I posted some photos last week of these beautiful barn quilts and more are displayed below. No two are alike.
  • In Beaver Dam there is a place called Shultz’s Cheese Haus. And the proprietor is none other than Deb Moen. Yes, a Moen! Did I tell you that Moen is a common name up here? This is the root of Joe’s family. And there are even streets named Moen. Go figure!
  • Unlike other places we lived, churches are sparse up here. Instead of one on every block, you may find just one in each town or every mile or so in the cities. And the religions are predominantly Catholic, Lutheran or Episcopal. We’ve only seen one Baptist church in all our travels.

Now in the time it took for me to write this post, Joe has done all our weekly laundry in our handy-dandy washer/spin dryer and they are all hanging out to dry on this lovely Wisconsin sunny Spring day.

Check out these other photos.

April 7, 2019

Well guys, it’s been 6 days and I can’t even begin to put into words all the things we’ve experienced so far. Leaving our home in Cabot, Arkansas to spend 2+ years in a 19.5′ camper with our 2 pups is quite the undertaking, but the adventure is one we have been dreaming about for a few years. We have been given this amazing opportunity to travel and see the world and we are going to take advantage of it.

Currently, we are based at a KOA in DeForest, Wisconsin (north of Madison) until the first part of May. A KOA is NOT where we planned to stay, but unfortunately with all the flooding they have had up here, the majority of the state and national park campgrounds are closed until the end of April. This KOA is nice and the folks are wonderful, but we really didn’t want to have to pick up dog poop daily or adhere to leash restraints. Oh and by the way, you have to have a $30 permit for your pups before they can go into a dog park in Wisconsin. Sooooo, Abigail and Agnes will NOT be able to run free in a dog park while we are here. Bummer for them. 😦

There are tons of places we want to explore in Wisconsin in the next few weeks. Next week, we plan to visit House on the Rock in Spring Green. Joe has been telling me about it for the past 17 years and now I FINALLY get to see what he’s been bragging about!!

Mid-May we will make our way back to Arkansas to see The Sound of Music for my birthday, May 25. My son, Matthew Hampton, was part of the team that made the costumes for the show and I’m pretty proud of his accomplishments.

When we leave the first part of June, our grandson, Brennan, will join us for a week and we’ll take him to his other grandparent’s home in Kentucky. From there, we plan to head back up north and hit US Highway 2 that runs just below the Canada border all the way to Spokane, Washington. From there, who knows.

We have an ongoing list of places we’d like to visit in each state and welcome any “you gotta see this” suggestions you may have.

Below are some photos that we took along the way. Enjoy!

Rolling along Hwy 9 in the Ozarks.


Apparently folks are allowed to smoke in restaurants in Iowa.
Finally here!
Our first stop for dinner in Gratiot, Wisconsin. Great food and great service! We camped just behind their building at the train depot since the campground was still messed up from being flooded.
Our first official cheese stop. Joe has been waiting for this for years!
Joe’s very favorite!
Yip, it smells just like stinky feet.
This is one very happy man.
Got to eat dinner with my son-in-law, Jake Hampton, while he was working in Madison.
Cheese anyone?
Agnes checking out the Wisconsin capital.
Wisconsin Capital.
Joe kicking my butt at dominoes.
Mmmm!
I have no words……
Abigail after a long day of riding in the car.

Off to another week in Wisconsin! Take care of each other!

Off we go!

The day we’ve been waiting for is finally here and we are SOOO excited to start our journey. YEEHAW!

Before I go much further, I do have to “toot the horns” of those folks that have helped us make our adventures possible:

Today we are heading toward Monroe, Wisconsin. Of course, it’ll take us a few days to get there, but our ultimate “first stop” is the cheese shops in Monroe…..especially those that specialize in Limburger cheese…Joe’s very favorite!

Limburger cheese? Yip, the stinkiest cheese EVER! EVER! A few years ago, a friend gave Joe some Limburger cheese and Joe wanted to make cheese dip. Sounds innocent enough, right? He put a big chunk in the microwave and 2 minutes later, the house reeked of Limburger cheese! It was the most horrible smell I could’ve ever imagined. Two week-old roadkill smells better than microwaved Limburger cheese. I am not joking! No amount of bleach, Lysol, candles or open doors could get rid of the disgusting stench in our house. Believe me, I tried EVERYTHING to get that smell out of my house. I really thought I was going to have to buy a new microwave. It was almost 2 weeks before the smell of stinky feet was finally out of the house. I warned Joe, that he will never, EVER be allowed to microwave Limburger cheese in our house….at least not as long as I’m alive. ’nuff said.

So, here’s our route for the next few days. Standby for photos along the way.