Tuesday, July 29, 2014


After moving to a Coast to Coast park at Ft. Atkinson WI, we took a day trip to Spring Green and the House On The Rock west of Madison on July 21. Interesting history of the place is too long to repeat here. It is  the web, particularly at wikipedia.org/wiki/House_on_the_Rock . My impression is that a talented but eccentric man built the original house, literally on and around a vertical rock, for his own pleasure. When he realized that the public would be interested in touring it, he added many collections and other unusual attractions in more prosaic buildings. Some of the objects displayed in the place are original antiques; others were made by him and his staff. It took us three hours to walk through all of the rooms over often uneven floors and up and down many ramps and steps. Some of the areas in the original house had low headroom. Management does not offer hard hats to its customers!   Pictures by the Canon A 1100 IS.



This is a small sitting room in the original house. A few of the stained glass items in the house are Tiffany; the rest was made Bauer and Coble.


 Jo and statuary


This stained glass piece is featured on one of the postcards sold in the gift shop.


Another good example of a stained glass window.



Faberge display


One of the many musical instruments rigged to play mechanically in the displays.



This mammoth shark has a full-sized rowboat in its mouth and is being attacked by a giant squid!


This is the largest of the pipe organs in pipe organ display area, with percussion  played by the large mechanical figure.

This image also is on one of the gift shop postcards.



One of the features of the place is this giant carousel. It is not made to carry people and the statues do not move up and down. Very colorful, and the carved statutes, below, are different than any we have seen in carnival carousels.





This orchestra is composed of mechanical figures endlessly playing mechanical instruments.

Having paid my dues, I would not go there again. Some of the displays reminded me of what I sensed during hallucinations I had during an illness several years ago.


Sorry that this one is not in focus, but I wanted to show this unusual sunset


We arrived at the Hanewalls’ farm at Beloit on July 14 after spending another week in the  Quad City area. Our usual RV parking spot there was beside this granary building. But since a new metal roof was being applied, we parked next to another building.

Photos by the Canon A1100 IS



Watching the metal roof being applied was fascinating. The lift machine was essential to the job as the roof slope was so steep. It raised the scaffold on which the long panels were lifted to the height needed. The horizontal wooden strips first were applied to the old roof. The strips acted as a sort of ladder for the young men screwing the metal panels to the strips. Here the boss is raising a panel to be put in place by the men above.

The lift machine was very maneuverable as the front and back tires were steered at the same time. It literally could turn on a dime.



The panel in the above picture is being muscled into place.


In this earlier shot a panel is being attached by screws. Cordless drills are used with magnetic ends to hold the screw against the driver so the worker can reach with one hand to drive the screw into the wood strip while holding on to the roof panel with the other.



Here is one side completed as far as possible with the equipment on hand. A Cherry Picker will be required for the next step of covering the cupola and finishing the ends.





Although Peter and Sue rent out their farm land, Peter keeps quite busy in maintaining the land. Here he has cut limbs from trees in the old farmstead yard and is picking them up with a loader to move to a central pile for burning in the fall.  Mowing along ditches and around the buildings, spraying weeds, and maintaining equipment and buildings keep him so busy that he wonders how he ever had time to do the farm work.






More chain saw work will be necessary here to cut the limbs short enough for later burning.

Saturday, July 26, 2014


We spent the 4 th of July weekend in Bloomington IN with cousin Marilyn and husband Paul Uselding.



Marilyn enjoying a happy hour on the deck of their home.

Below Jo joins at the same happy hour.






Jo found the two bowls in the foreground which matched their nice wine glasses made in Romania.


Here is a birds eye view of our motor home parked on the neighbor’s nice slab. I rarely see the top of the rig. Fortunately, I had enough electrical cables to reach the Uselding’s garage outlet.


One evening we visited a local brew pub for a light dinner.

That was my first beer in a couple of weeks.



Marilyn introduced us to this large antique mall a few miles from Bloomington.



Paul, Honey and Marilyn bidding us goodbye.

Sunday, July 13, 2014


On June 28 we took a day trip  on highway 411 across the Smoky Mountain ridge.The northern entrance is  in Gatlinburg, now a crowded tourist town.  The photos are in the old Canon Power Shot S2 IS. I was hoping for a clear day with blue skies, but instead the day was typical of our days there – overcast skies with occasional rain and rare partly sunny periods. The elevation at Gatlinburg is 1289 ft., at Newfound Gap, 5,049 ft., so there was quite a climb in the 15 miles to Newfound Gap



Chestnut trees were the trees most prized by the timber companies cutting in the Smokys beginning around 1900. Humans, bears and deer thrived on their nuts dropped in the fall, but a blight began killing the trees in 1904 prompting the timber cutters to harvest them before they died of the blight. Now an insect is killing the fir trees, leaving standing dead trees throughout the mountains.


Newfound Gap parking lot.


The Appalachian Trail crosses the Newfound Gap. It is only 1972 miles from here to its northern end in Maine.







Yes, that is our road seen from the Newfound Gap parking lot. We took the Clingmans Dome spur road to the large parking lot there at roughly 6300 ft.


This sign explains what one sees if one walks the half mile up a seep paved path (330 ft. elevation gain) to the observation tower. Jo took the walk and the two  pictures  below. Due to my COPD, I stayed at the visitors center chatting with the docent.







Near the bottom of the mountain we stopped at another mill. This one built in 1898 was more sophisticated than that at Cades Cove. This one was powered by a water turbine. Its rpms were controlled by the quantity of water run through the turbine. When we there there it was grinding corn at 100 rpm. Jo bought a 5 lb package of whole wheat flour ground there. We will try it in pancakes!

We continued south to the bottom of the mountain at Cherokee, TN  on the Cherokee reservation. It is developed as a tourist town with rides, tubing on the river and souvenir shops.


We parked the motor home at Cades Cove campground in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for two nights. While there were no hookups, no satellite TV and no cell phone service, that seemed appropriate in an area where the simple living of the past was featured. The park officially was opened in 1934 and the land was donated by the states of Tennessee and North Carolina, we were told. The people then living in the park sold out, some retaining life estates. Some of the old buildings in Cades Cove (really a long sloping valley) remain to show the kind of life these hardy folks lived. An impetus to the park being created was the clear cutting of old timber and the scars left on the formerly pristine mountains. Enough years have passed so that the effects of the clear cutting are not readily notice able to the park visitors.

The pictures were taken by a Canon Power Shot S2 IS 5 mp camera with a 10x zoom on June 27.


This hen turkey and her chicks were not bothered by traffic passing near them on the loop road.


The park is keeping the  fields open by burning the growth every three years to prevent the forests from reclaiming the land. Most of the particles in the air are pollutants from nearby states a display sign said, rather than moisture.



Whitetail deer were commonly seen, not really disturbed by cars on the road. Black bears also are common in the area, but we were not fortunate enough to see any.


This large barn remains on display. Hay wagons were pulled in the door at the far left and a man on the hay wagon threw hay up to the mow and another man then distributed it with his pitchfork. Hence no second floor opening at the end for hay to be brought in with a hay fork. Their beef cattle were herded into the high country for summers, with just dairy cattle being kept at the farmsteads.


Jo paused on a footbridge on a nice hiking trail, of which there were many in the park. Just after we began going up the trail, two whitetail bucks sauntered along and stepped into the thick vegetation at the side of the path. The were a bit too quick to disappear for my camera.



A Visitors Center on the Cades Cove Loop road featured several buildings moved there to illustrate  kinds of structures built by the  natives. The mill for grinding corn and flour was original to the site. Its water wheel also powered a sawmill.


This cantilevered roof was common in the Smokys.




This mill was grinding corn to demonstrate how the mill worked. Corn ground there was available for sale.


Rain was moving toward the Visitors Center as we left.


In our 10 day visit to Florida  beginning June 13, Jo and I spent several days with her brother Steve and wife Lisa , a day with Jo’s nephew’s family, Tim and Susie Olson, who recently moved into a new home in Seminole, most of 3 days with my daughter Christine and family in Spring Hill, and a day with my cousins Marilyn, Pam and Barbara in  Deland. (Pictures taken in  the Canon A1100 IS point and shoot)


Granddaughter Alexandra and Jamie Patrick Hunt, just 10 days old. Both are doing well. Father Jessie works on shrimp boats.



Garry guided Jo and me to a visit to Homosassa Springs State Park, mainly to see the manatees. The facility was a private wild animal park which was bought by the State of Florida to be operated as a state park. It is best known for the manatees. The Homosassa River begins at a huge flowing spring a few miles inland from the Gulf of Mexico. The flowing spring water in the wintertime is warm enough to attract wild manatees. They cannot survive in cold water. In warmer months the 4 captive manatees, which could not survive in the wild and are kept at the facility, swim up to the flowing spring to be fed heads of lettuce three times a day. These ten foot manatees weigh about 3000 lbs. Their closest relative is the elephant.







The lettuce is dropped into the water enclosed by the pipes and the manatees swim up to take a whole head in their mouths and begin chewing on it.





Other animals in the park include alligators, a hippo and bears.


These are the bald eagles. As with all of the animals in the park, they cannot survive in the wild.


The park’s flamingos are remarkably colorful.