Opening Door County

Becky’s Birthday

We gave our daughter a surprise birthday party in our “home”.  It was fun because our grandkids helped decorate and did a pretty good job of not letting the cat out of the bag…

At least Becky acted surprised!

Nothing better than a good bowl of Melting Ice Cream Birthday Cake!

 

Omro Wisconsin

We had a great time for about two weeks at their house, and then it was time to move on.     We were headed for Door County, Wisconsin.  We are trying to have short driving days, to help us remember we’re retired and don’t have to do 9 hour marathon driving days.  So we stopped at a campground in Omro.  No frills, just long level sites and electrical hookups.  Water and dump station near the office.  But only $15.  A great place if you are just passing through.

IMG_1127

 

Door County

A small peninsula cuts from eastern Wisconsin into Lake Michigan, and creates Green Bay on its western shore.  A couple of miles north of the tip of this promontory is Washington Island.  The small stretch of water between the peninsula and the island looks fairly safe, but storms can arise almost instantly out of nowhere and turn it into a very treacherous channel.  When French trappers arrived here in the early 1600’s, the local Indians told about how many lives had been lost in making that crossing.  They gave the channel the attractive name “Porte des Morts”, or “Door of Death”.  Over the years the peninsula was called the Door of Death Peninsula, and then just Door Peninsula, and now is officially Door County.  We haven’t yet braved crossing the Door of Death, but we sure are impressed with how beautiful everything is here!  We had loosely planned to stay maybe five days… but have extended our reservation to ten days.

It has rained a lot since we’ve arrived, but we still love it here.  We’ve spent a little time riding bikes through the forest, looking at nice beaches, checking out quaint towns, shopping at huge produce markets, and eating very well!  (We have made some awesome scones, and some terrific home made bread in our convection oven.  Our first baking in the convection oven has turned out very well, and we are encouraged!  Some have said you can’t bake in convection… WRONG!)  

Last night was our 43rd anniversary! (Congrats to us!)  We went out to dinner and then to an interesting theatrical venue.  The Peninsula Players have been doing professional Summer Stock productions for 84 years on the shore of Green Bay!  They are the longest running professional summer theater in the country.

The play was called “George Washington’s Teeth”, and I thought as part of my ongoing professional continuing education I really should see it. 😉  It was well done and fun, but the coolest part was the beautiful grounds and facility.  Right on the bay, they have a lot of chairs in a lightly wooded area, and a large bonfire.  I’ve never sat on a log by a lakeshore 5 minutes before curtain time before!  I didn’t take any pictures there, but here is a promo of the company you might enjoy.  If you don’t like it, I didn’t make it, so fine…

 

We are staying at the Wagon Trail Campground near the northern tip of Door County.  They claim to “Specialize in Quiet Nights and Secluded Sites”.  Our spot is both quiet and secluded, and absolutely gorgeous.

IMG_1132

IMG_1139

IMG_1133

 

Many trails lead from the campsite off into the forest.  Our bikes really aren’t mountain bikes, but managed these trails adequately.  Absolutely beautiful!

IMG_1146

IMG_1149

 

IMG_1150

IMG_1152

The water is high now, so lots of docks are low in the water or under water.  We’ve had a lot of rain, and sometimes a lot of wind as well.

IMG_1159

IMG_1140

 

IMG_1207

The little towns are adorable.  I plan on shooting architecture photos next week,  but here’s a cute house on the highway.

IMG_1254

 

We took a Trolley Tour from Egg Harbor up through the Peninsula State Park and around the old town of Ephraim.  The driver/tour guide was a lot of fun, and described almost everything as the “Best in the country” or “Best in the world”.  Who knows? Maybe he’s right!

IMG_1233

IMG_1226

State Fair!

Minnesota State Fair

I’ll admit it… I thought it was super crowded at the International Pathfinder Camporee at Oshkosh.  Close to 60,000 people, close to each other… close enough for me.  Well, the Minnesota State Fair has roughly 225,000 people EVERY DAY!  And even more the day we went! (I’m sure they didn’t count us).

It was great fun, and greatly tiring!  Exhibits, Dock Jumping Dog Shows, Lumberjack and Lumberjill Shows, Lots of Carnival Rides, Tons of “Eat only at State Fair Food”, uncountable Animals, and PEOPLE!  I’m sure we saw about 5% of what was available, and that took most of the day!

I was told that you are almost required (by tradition) to buy a bucket of cookies from Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar.  This Sweetie has three locations on the fairgrounds where you can buy a cup or a bucket of chocolate chip cookies (what other types are there?). Some folks waited 45 mins or more in line to get their cookies!  We got our bucket miles from the entrance and spent only 5 mins in line…  They make well over 2 million cookies per day!! That’s 200,000 per hour! In the 12 days of the State Fair, they go through 54 tons of chocolate chips and 62 tons of flour!  Huge trays come out of the ovens, and while you watch, the workers scoop them into buckets, overflowing the top to dangerous levels!  If you do the math, it seems like everyone attending the fair must eat 10 cookies… As you might guess, I tried to do my share.  Awesome cookies, straight out of the oven…

Here is my attempt to document our day at the fair:

 

The next day we decided to watch Rogers & Hammerstein’s movie “State Fair”.  You’ve got to love the lyrics of the theme song:

“Our State Fair is a great State Fair – don’t miss it, don’t even be late.
It’s Dollars to Doughnuts that our State Fair is the best State Fair in our State”

 

Fun with Less People

A little time bike riding (Some with wheels on feet) took us to a nice park, playground, and a small lake.

IMG_5282

IMG_5287.jpg

 

Home Projects

I had the privilege of helping Kevin with an exciting home project… I’ll show you more when it is finished!  We got to use plenty of wood working tools and feel very manly! 😉

I also am working on a couple projects for our Fudge Ripple Home on Wheels.  A few weeks ago I installed a water softener, which provides nice soft water regardless of what the water is like where we stop.  At the same time I got a water De-ionizer, and a small pressure washer, for cleaning the coach.  It removes EVERYTHING from the water (except the water itself).  When you wash or at least rinse with De-I water, it dries without any spotting.  A great way to keep the coach looking new!  The hard part is finding a place to install it!  I wanted to use empty space under the hood (in front of the motorhome) and not take up valuable storage space in the basement.  I’ve had to move the airhorns, and the windshield washer fluid reservoir, and some other small parts, to make room.  So now the pump and tanks are installed, and ALL I have left to do is get water and power to the whole thing.

 

IMG_5429

 

And so ends another long week…

What’sa Wissota?

After leaving the scene of the Camporee, we started out towards our kid’s place in Minnesota.  We figure being retired gives us the right to only travel a few hours per day… So we spent a quiet weekend in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin on the way.  We didn’t see any falls, but did spend some time at the Lake Wissota State Park.

IMG_1069

IMG_1085

 

The lake was created in 1917 when a hydroelectric dam was completed at the confluence of five rivers.  One of the engineers on the project took the first syllable of Wisconsin and the last two of Minnesota and came up with a name for the lake they created.

A small village was built nearby to house the 700 or so workers that would build the dam.  It was complete with water and sewer systems, houses, bungalows, bunkhouses, a central dining hall and a school.  In 1918 the dam was producing electricity at a rate  equivalent of 1,120 tons of coal per day.  Today that’s worth about 16,000 homes.

 

IMG_5253

A surprising amount of the State Park is prairie.  Very pretty and makes for nice bike rides (Level!)

IMG_5258

IMG_5265

 

Our campsite in Chippewa Falls was quiet and peaceful.  We’d requested a site with full hookups, and when I showed up the camp host wanted to show it to me in case I wanted to choose a different site.  He was afraid, with our big rig, it would be too difficult to back into.  I assured him it turns sharper than one might think, and that I would try it.  It involved a reverse U-turn, but with my faithful wife on the wireless radio to guide me, we made it in one seamless turn.  He had left, but was watching from a little ways down the road.  He then came up and said I needed to give him lessons on backing up; he was very impressed.  He talked about that to anyone who would listen all weekend.  Funny.

IMG_1065

 

 

 

Camporee Cleanup

The Camporee is History

The Camporee ended with a bang, literally, as a HUGE fireworks show lit up the sky forever!  I heard many kids say they had never seen a show this amazing!  There is only so much an iPhone can do to capture the essence of a fireworks show!  It was a fitting culmination of a great time for thousands of happy campers!

The first part of the week the campers left, and we and MANY others took everything apart.  The stage alone was put on at least 24 semi trailers. (Some may have left before I could count them).  More than 50 semi trailers were filled with other supplies and equipment.

IMG_5221
The tear down pictures basically look just like putting it up – in reverse

 

We turned in our golf cart – there were 1,000 golf carts for workers to use. (Coincidentally there were also 1,000 Porta Potties added to the existing bathrooms for the EAA camp).

IMG_5223
This is what 1,000 golf carts look like

 

We watched them stack dumpsters three high, and line them all up, getting ready for something huge to cart them off.  I figured over 200 dumpsters in one area alone!

IMG_5246
Hundreds of dumpsters, stacked 3 high

 

We were privileged to have our new friend Winston, and long time friends Marilyn Oliver and Pastor Ron Whitehead (Head man over all this awesome Camporee) over for dinner after things got a little quieter Monday evening.  Winston couldn’t believe he got to meet Ron, so we did a short video so his family would believe him! Winston supervised cooking fresh corn in coconut milk, garlic, turmeric and curry – Fantastic!

 

It was a little sad to see everything taken apart, and the place empty out… but a little peace was good too!

IMG_5244

 

EAA Again

Last week I tried to go through the EAA museum, but it was insanely crowded.  I decided it would be better to do it this week, after the Camporee Crowd had left.  After our Maranatha team had finished its work, and the whole place cleared out, I figured I should be able to spend lots of time looking at the fabulous displays in the museum.  My new buddy Winston wanted to go too, so we spent the morning at the museum… but not inside.  We chose to go outside, to “Pioneer Airport” – a re-creation of a 1930’s style airport.  There are plenty of planes to look at in hangers there, but the best part is being able to fly in some of them!

IMG_5234
Sculpture of generations of flight near Pioneer Airport

 

Winston had told me that when he was a young man, growing up in Trinidad, he wanted to be a pilot.  He even got accepted into a flying school, but his father squashed the idea.  He has only been in a small GA aircraft once.  I figured he needed to get in an old biplane! (And of course I did too…)

My flight was in a 1927 Swallow.  This particular plane is believed to be the oldest plane still flying paying passengers!  It looks pretty good for being 92 years old!  The Swallow was designed to support a new industry: air mail.  This plane never carried mail, but is special because its first owner was the first woman in the state of New York to own an airplane. She loved flying, and even flew advertising flights for Old Gold cigarettes. (I forgive her)

The Swallow now has a larger engine, still a radial, and has had an electrical system and radio added.  But she’s basically the same gal she was in 1927!  We did a couple gentle maneuvers; a lazy 8 and a stall.  A great way to see the countryside!

IMG_1013

 

My Pilot, sitting in the seat behind me…

IMG_1020

 

Winston’s flight was in a 1929 Travel Air E-4000.  Travel Air was state of the art in those days, and built rugged airplanes suited for the grass runways then available.  The three principals of the company had worked building the Swallow, and proposed some enhancements to their boss.  He refused to listen to any ideas of change, so they all quit, and started Travel Air.  Their plane was very successful, but ironically, when it was time to improve on their design, they couldn’t agree which way to go.  So they all quit and formed their own companies.  They were Clyde Cessna, Walter Beech, and Lloyd Stearman…  Those of you who like airplanes will know those names and their companies!

IMG_0991

 

 

The only crazy thing… we spent our whole time in Pioneer Airport, and I never got to see more of the museum inside.  Guess I’ll have to come back! 😉

 

 

Pine Harbor Campground

We are now in a pretty wooded campground in Chippewa, Wisconsin.  Looking forward to a peaceful weekend.

55,000 Thousand People!

Here we are with over 55,000 others at the International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  This is the main stage being assembled last week, in preparation for the evening meetings.  It was built with the top layer first, then raised up a bit, and another layer installed under the top layer, and so on for several layers.

IMG_5096.jpg

 

The theme is “Chosen” – saying we are chosen of God, and we need to choose to respond to Him as well.  Every evening there has been a play portraying a part of David’s life, how he was chosen of God, and times when he trusted God and times he failed to do so.  The production has been very well done, and the stage, scenery and effects are great.

We are fortunate to be staying in our “home on wheels” in an area of RV’s.  We have full hookups and are very comfortable.  The pictures below were taken from on our roof.  You’ll notice the “street” in front of us is pretty open and not busy.  Most other places in this huge area are packed with tents.  In these pictures it looks like RV’s go on forever – but that is only about 2 percent of the real estate here.  The tents literally go on for miles. We walked a big circle around maybe a quarter of the lot before everyone arrived and it was 3 miles.

When all these people arrived, they hit local stores, like Walmart, to get things they had forgotten or had decided not to take with them.  They also needed food to feed their groups. Here are pictures of empty shelves at the Walmart where fruits and vegetables should have been.  Camping supplies were also sold out.

 

 

 

IMG_5163

It is impossible to describe what over 55K people on one big field look like!  People as far as you can see!

IMG_5156

Over 100 countries are represented here, and they all are very proud of their flags!

IMG_5177

There have been hundreds of activities for the kids – I have no idea how they even decide what they would like to do!  We’ve spent a few hours just looking around at the tents full of educational opportunities, entertaining shows, delicious foods and lots more.  They have had hundreds of kids donate over 30,000 hours of community service in the Oshkosh area.  We’ve seen evidence of horseback riding, water skiing, and basketball competitions. The plethora of things to do would give you a headache!

 

EAA

Of course this is at the Experimental Aircraft Association grounds in Oshkosh… so one has to visit the amazing EAA museum.  We got far too little time there; I think we’ll come back next week when the crowds are a bit less!

The machine on the bottom right is a weight and balance calculator for old bombers.  It would let you calculate all the parameters before you actually loaded fuel and payload.

IMG_5188

 

IMG_5187

A section is dedicated to the “Rutan Legacy”- Burt and Dick Rutan and their amazing unconventional aircraft.  Space Ship One in the foreground here was the first non-government manned spacecraft that was able to go to space and back, and again within 2 weeks.   Voyager was the first manned (and womaned) aircraft to fly around the world without refueling.  11 days in a cockpit far smaller than a regular twin bed.  Amazing!

IMG_5189

After spacecraft it only seems fitting to include a moon shot of my own- last night was a beautiful full moon.

IMG_0979

 

 

Doing Duluth

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, Minneapolis

Becky and the grandkids spent an afternoon with us at the zoo.  Giraffes figured prominently…

The conservatory portion is very pretty, but we only saw it from the outside.  Grandkids are more interested in animals… but it did look like Peter would loved to have walked in among the water lilies like the worker was doing.

IMG_4945

Our cute grandkids got to feed a giraffe!

Headed North

With all three families together, we loaded up Kevin’s Polaris General, and headed for a rented Lake House, a bit north of Duluth, Minnesota…

IMG_4975

Lake Superior Marine Museum & Maritime Visitor Center

The focal point of this museum area in Duluth is the Aerial Lift Bridge.  It is one of only two of this type in the world, the other being in France.  Built in 1905, it originally had a trolley car suspended from the top structure, and would take pedestrians across for a nickel.  Horses and carriages and even some cars made the trip.  With car traffic becoming more common, the bridge was upgraded in 1930 by having a roadway that lifts straight up.  The roadway weighs about 900 tons, but with that same amount of counterweights, it is said it takes very little electricity to open or close it.

IMG_0828

A land locked tug:

IMG_0823

IMG_0826

Island Lake, Minnesota

Our hosts for the beautiful lake house warned us that some phone wires would be too low for the motorhome… but they have done this before and had a special stick made to lift them so we could drive under!

IMG_4979

The house was on the shore of Island Lake.  You may notice a few islands!

default

 

Sunrise over the lake:

IMG_0846

 

An early morning double rainbow seemed a great omen…

 

 

IMG_4976

IMG_2596

 

We had several kayaks, a paddle board, a paddle boat, and several tubes.  Time spent playing in and on the water was wonderful!

IMG_3610

IMG_2884

 

IMG_2541
We also got some fun rides in “The General”… and it’s never really done till you get stuck!

Here is a short video recap of our time on the lake and on the trail…

 

Split Rock Lighthouse

1905 saw some of the worst storms Lake Superior has ever seen.  29 ships were lost that year in one storm alone.  With Radar and GPS decades away from being invented, during a storm it was very hard for ships to navigate and stay off the very rocky coastlines.  In response to that disastrous year, the Split Rock lighthouse was created.  The 133 foot cliff was a great spot for a light, but there were no roads anywhere near it.  So a derrick was built to lift all the supplies up the steep cliff to build the beacon.  For years it was only accessible by boat, but now the road makes it much easier (and safer) to visit the lighthouse.  While there we were treated to a torrential downpour, complete with extremely close lightning and deafening thunder!  It added to the mystique of the old lighthouse!

IMG_0942

IMG_0889

IMG_0853

 

 

Music by Bensound.com

 

 

 

 

Making Memories in Minnesota

Nebraska

We spent a lot of last week in Little Creek campground on the border of Iowa and Nebraska.  A short drive south took us to the Platte River State Park; another very pretty park where we saw a wild turkey and a couple of empty teepees.

IMG_4791.jpg

The Teepee Village was very picturesque and available for camping… but with it so hot there were no Indian wannabes.

IMG_4796

IMG_4795

 

Iowa

We had to drive the car and motorhome separately for a while, till we got the car set up to be towed. (Is a Suburban a car or a truck? Comments?)  As we were driving, I commented to Cherryl following in the car/truck (by hands free cell phone) how beautiful the farmland scenes were.  She replied with far less enthusiasm than I obviously  had.  I was thinking the cornfields rolling over the gentle hills were gorgeous.  Later, once the car/truck was being towed behind our Fudge Ripple, she said she could see what I’d been talking about… “The view is much better from the motorhome!”  Sitting higher gives a view over the tops of crops and lets you see the shape of the countryside.  Maybe even as high as an elephant’s eye! A great way to travel!

IMG_4800

IMG_4802

Cherryl eyeing Soybeans…

IMG_4810

Tasseling

We have learned a lot about Tasseling… it seems that at exactly the right time, thousands of school kids and maybe retired folks work extremely long, hard hours ripping the tassels off of corn plants.  While this might sound like vandalism, it is a necessary step in the production of hybrid seed corn.  Only certain select cornstalks are allowed to keep their tassels and pollinate the pretty little silks of the growing corn kernels.

IMG_4805

IMG_4807

Nice scenery for morning walks…

IMG_4814

IMG_4816

IMG_4817

 

Minnesota

Midweek we made it to our daughter’s home north of Minneapolis.  Great to see the family!

Thursday evening the city of Champlin had a “Touch a Truck” event.  Tons of the city and county trucks (really, MANY tons!) were on display, and kids were encouraged to climb on them.  And not only climb, but honk horns, turn on lights, and even (if you’re a little boy) rub your hands on greasy tractor parts! (guess how we know that!)

IMG_4924

Dayna got in the ambulance, but wouldn’t get in the patient’s stretcher…

This was not a “brief” case!

IMG_4855

Everything from Ambulance to Zamboni!  Hummers, tractors and tracked toys, blades and backhoes, firetrucks and a fireboat, mega mowers and snowblowers, police cars and even police horses! Great fun for all of us kids!

Even more fun than “Truck Touching” was having my other daughter and grandkids come from Washington!  Now the whole family is here, except poor Loren who has to work a few more days.  He’ll be with us mid next week however…

Breakfast Banana Splits

How cool is that! Build your own Breakfast Banana Split, with many yogurts, granolas, berries, nuts etc… Fantastic!

IMG_4926

 

L’More Chocolate Shop

An afternoon trip to the cute shop where Becky works as a chocolatier.  So many awesome delightful chocolates!  Rather difficult to get 4 grandkids to decide on what they want now and later… and keep track of all the exotic flavors of truffles!  We left with raspberry, elderberry, peach, key lime, peanut butter, peppermint, and apricot truffles!  Life is Good!

IMG_4935

 

 

Trying to find Cooler Climes

My buddy Brad said that I’m not too good at this retirement thing… I keep finding work to do!  Well, I’m not doing too well finding cooler climates either!  We are now right at the edge of Iowa/Nebraska, in an absolutely gorgeous campground.  I didn’t know something this pretty existed in this area!  But before I get into all that, a brief wrap-up video by Kim at Union College about the Maranatha project we just finished up.  (His shot of the final room still didn’t have all the baseboards and light fixtures up…)

Fantastic Car Museum You Can’t See

My good friend in Lincoln, Terry, has told me of his friend’s car collection.  It is a VERY private collection, and you have to know someone (like Terry) to get invited to see it.  He has told me how amazing this collection is, but as effusive as he could be, he could never describe what an awesome museum this is!!  There are hundreds of cars, not in a warehouse, but in a artfully designed environment that rivals any public car museum anywhere.  Trust me, I’ve gone to MANY world class car museums, and this is right up there with the best of them.  BUT! No photos allowed… So now I have the impossible task of describing all the cool things we saw.  If I had to pick a favorite, it would be the black 1933 Duesenberg SJ Boattail… a majestic machine that epitomizes elegance and power, while being absolutely HUGE!  Second runner up would be the 1934 Packard V12 Boattail.  Long and elegant, another huge but sporty convertible. The detailing on both these cars is fantastic.  This room of the collection includes many Auburns, a 812 Cord, a Cadillac from around 1914 (I’m not sure of the date) a couple dozen other rare and amazing cars.  A Hudson from the ’30s that the owner raced across the country and won!

Another room has a “Hollywood Corner” with famous movie cars… not replicas, but the actual cars used in movies or TV shows.  Like the General Lee from Dukes of Hazzard, a time-traveling Delorean from Back to the Future, some George Barris cars like the Munster’s cars, the Monkee’s car, and a whole area of Bat Stuff.  Like the original Batmobile (another George Barris Car) in it’s own Bat Cave, with lights flashing on fancy equipment.  There is a Bat Cycle, a Bat Boat, and mannequins in Batman and Batgirl garb.

Maybe the largest room has Drag racing cars, actual cars that have won famous races.  Dragsters, Stock Cars, plenty of Corvettes… I have already gone on too far without any pictures… Wish you could have been there!!

 

Mahoney State Park

So after leaving this hidden car museum (no external signage at all) we headed out of town.  We stopped for the night at a park near the border of Nebraska and Iowa, and felt it was so beautiful we’d stay a while… Plenty to do nearby, and the park itself has a zip line course, pool and waterpark, driving range and miniature golf, lake with small boats, and two campgrounds.  The only drawback is that we thought Lincoln was hot… this place has been scorching!   Temps in the high 90’s or as high as 102 for a while.  Glad our “home” has good air conditioning!

IMG_0787

IMG_0791

IMG_4735

IMG_4736

IMG_4737

 

The Scoundrel of Dagger Gulch

A theater in the park presents corny old-style melodramas during the summer.  Great fun, with people (kids) throwing popcorn at the villain and booing and cheering as should be done at any proper melodrama.  We were told ahead that in addition to throwing popcorn, we were free to throw wadded up currency… and a surprising amount of that was hurled onstage!  The actors would sometimes stop mid-line and grab for it, sometimes race others for it, sometimes stepping on it and sliding it within reach… it was a hilarious addition to an already crazy play.

Guess which one was the villain!

IMG_4730

 

Sass Memorial Iris Garden

Hans, Jacob and Henry Sass worked over 5 decades doing Iris hybridization.  In the ’30s and ’40s they introduced many new colors of Iris and developed Iris that did well in the harsh conditions of the prairie.  Unfortunately, Iris are not blooming now, but the garden was still pretty.

IMG_4738

IMG_4739

 

Strategic Air Command

IMG_0801

When I was a kid, the Strategic Air Command was the top of the heap of military excellence.  Always ready, amazingly powerful, it was an icon of American ability.  The SAC was headquartered in Omaha, so it’s only fitting that they have a huge museum here.

When you enter the building, you are at “eye level” with an SR71, one of the most amazing aircraft ever produced.  Created by men with slide rules in the ’60’s, it still holds many speed and altitude records.  I’ve been told by some of the very few who got to fly them, that they flew far faster and higher that the Air Force has ever admitted.

IMG_0803

The leading edges look sharp enough to shave with, if you could figure out how to hold it…

 

Inside a B24 Mitchell Bomber like Jimmy Doolittle took on his famous raid of Tokyo after Pearl Harbor.

IMG_0808

 

One of my favorites is the B36… a huge bomber created just at the end of the propeller age and start of the Jet age.  Six huge “pusher” props, with 4 jet engines outboard on the wings, to aid in take off.  Called the “Peacemaker”, it never flew in wartime, but is an amazing airplane.  There are so many planes in the picture below you might have a hard time finding the B36, but the cockpit is to our left, three props are visible behind the wing, and two jets further outboard.  Far too big of a plane to get in one little picture!IMG_0814

 

The XF-85 “Goblin” was an attempt to have a fighter escort for the B36 bomber… that rode inside the bomber and was dropped out when defense was needed.  The part about flying it back into the bomber was too tricky, however, so the project was abandoned.

 

I had a toy CH-21B helicopter like the one in the picture below.  It was very big, and had motorized rotors that would spin and make it very difficult to play with!

IMG_0812

Another noteworthy plane is the U2, which caused no end of trouble when Francis Gary Powers was shot down over Russia and convicted of spying… this is not his U2; I think the Russians still have what’s left of his.

IMG_0813

 

Good Friends

One evening we had a nice visit from Angie, one of the hygienists in my former dental practice.  She teaches dental hygiene in Iowa, and was kind enough to come visit us in our wheeled home (and bring cookies!)  Really fun to catch up with her! And really negligent of me not to take a picture!

 

The Durham Museum

The Union Pacific Railroad built what may be their flagship station in Omaha.  This Union Station was opened in 1931, as one of the country’s first art deco stations.  Since the UP stopped passenger train service a few decades ago, the station has been restored to its original splendor and is now the Durham Museum.  Great exhibits on history of the area and the nation, trains you can walk through, model trains, a whole section on the Trans-Mississippi Exposition… I walked and read till I thought my feet would fall off.

IMG_4786

 

There are many sculptures of folks waiting for trains, buying tickets, or moving luggage.  If you get close to them, you can listen to their conversations!

 

I had to include this young guy, because he is named “Hollis” after a famous influential local.  Or after one of my favorite Uncles…

IMG_4771

 

A Rauch & Lang electric car – “The Car of the Elect”.  (I won’t even try to guess what that was all about!)  With a 70 mile range, it was a great car for elite city dwellers.  The truck is a 1932 Douglas; built in Omaha, Douglas produced very sturdy trucks and no passenger vehicles.

 

Big tall gas pumps like this one had a large glass cylinder that would fill with fuel, then you could watch it drain down into your tank.  An early way to make sure you were getting an honest measurement! (Note the 16 cents per gallon sign, with a huge percentage being taxes!)

IMG_4784

 

Trans-Mississippi Exposition

I really enjoyed the exhibit on the Trans-Mississippi Exposition.  In 1898, hundreds of buildings were erected with a large lagoon in the center.  It was an era when people were hungry for new experiences and knowledge.  The buildings were lit with electric lights, and at dusk thousands would gather to watch the buildings come ablaze with light one at a time, creating a light show of a sort.  Many had never seen electric light- none had seen that many lights!  Some of the things that lots of people saw for the first time:

  • Electric Incandescent Lights
  • Electric Horseless Carriage
  • Water Faucets
  • Flush Toilets
  • Jell-O
  • Sno-Cones

It’s fun to imagine how amazing this Expo would have been!

If you’d never had electricity, how cool would this fan have seemed!

IMG_4779

 

Ever ridden in an ostrich-drawn carriage? (Notice that it’s a Studebaker!)

IMG_4781

 

Next week we will move a bit farther north… maybe we will find some cooler weather!

 

Maranatha Project Wrapped Up

Another week has passed, and we have wrapped up the Maranatha project redoing 34 rooms in Rees Hall, the girls’ dorm at Union College.  We have spent the last three weeks ripping out the desks/dressers and bookshelves out of the rooms, as well as light fixtures, electrical outlets and more.  We were simultaneously turning big piles of beautiful wood into beautiful and strong cabinets and bookcases.  So we manufactured 68 of the cabinets, involving a total of 340 drawers, and 68 bookcases.  Solid oak face frames and drawer fronts not only look great, but should last forever.

I could show you hundreds of pictures, taken by the Maranatha team leaders, and some more that I shot, but I’ll spare you that.

Here is one of the best rooms pre-renovation.

IMG_4159.jpg

And here is what it looks like with new flooring and cabinets…  OK, my picture with the lap drawers in and the baseboard placed is not uploading… hopefully soon!

IMG_4164

Here are a few shots of work in the shop:

 

Parts started multiplying and taking up lots of space!

 

Units had to be moved a lot just to find spots for new ones to be stained and lacquered.

IMG_4158

Then all the finished furniture had to be taken across campus and up to the third and fourth floors!  Thankfully they used a SkyJack to lift them all up and through a window opening.  Here is a load of drawers being sent up.

 

Of course there was a ton of cleaning to be done… Here’s Kathy going above and beyond by vacuuming a part of the shop… note the spot in the lower left that she hasn’t gotten to yet!

IMG_4180

 

Obviously, the most important job of all was feeding all 100+ volunteers!  Cherryl worked in the cafeteria to aid the otherwise small summertime kitchen crew giving us wonderful food.  Really!

There is supposed to be a nice picture of Cherryl in the kitchen here, but it’s not uploading either!  ARGGG!

 

To close out the week, I’ll show you a few more pictures of the campus:

IMG_4174

 

IMG_4175

Our “home” is just beyond the tennis courts…

IMG_4176

 

IMG_4172

This is a nice little water feature outside the Krueger Science building:

IMG_4173

 

More Maranatha

64223092_10157373946312380_4495364482846949376_n  We are still hard at work in the cabinet shop, making lots more sawdust and some other stuff too.  Ok, all the desk cabinets are finished, and are being installed, and we are working hard to get drawers finished and bookcases built.

 

In case you can’t read it, the bucket of sawdust and scraps says “Desiccated Coconut”

Here are some of our cabinets being installed in the dorm rooms.  New flooring has been placed, some of it still covered with masking for protection from work in the closet area.

The bookcases we are creating now will be stained to match the lower cabinets, and hung on the wall above them.

IMG_4140

Here are some of the beat up old drawers that we are replacing! Think it’s time??

 

I’ve seen a bit of wildlife on my early morning runs around nearby Holmes Lake.  Lots of Tri-color Blackbirds, a Meadowlark, and other nice birds, but one critter stopped me in my tracks!  A cute little skunk was walking across the trail.  As he leisurely ambled away, it dawned on me that I could take a picture with my phone, so here is proof of a peacable skunk encounter.

IMG_3987

Here are better shots of early morning Holmes Lake…

IMG_4002

IMG_4004

 

Becky, Kevin and our grandkids Dayna and Peter drove down from Minnesota to spend a little time with us.  Kevin worked a couple of days in the cabinet shop with us.  Kevin even let us celebrate his birthday with him! Six flavors of iced bundt cakes… fantastic!

IMG_4011

 

To celebrate the 4th of July, the shop shut down a couple of hours early, and we went to the Lincoln Children’s Zoo.  I told the gal at the ticket booth I’m not from Lincoln and I’m not a child, but she let me but a ticket anyway.

They are rebuilding this zoo, and it was a nice zoo to start with.  There is a very clever area where kids can climb in a structure that surrounds a monkey cage, so it looks and feels like they are really in with the monkeys.  They have a giraffe feeding area that is set up for little ones to be at giraffe mouth level. Kids can buy lettuce, and then have great fun when the giraffe reaches out with an enormously long tongue and eagerly grabs and gobbles. Lots of gobbling and giggling!

The tiger cage has a jeep bisected by the glass of the enclosure.  If you’re lucky, the tiger will sit in the passenger seat and you can sit by him in the driver’s position.  We didn’t get that photo, but did get some of our grandkids and their cousins.

IMG_4146

IMG_4149

A couple of rescued Bald Eagles were being fed.  Magnificent birds! I couldn’t get them to move fully out of the shadows and this guy looks ticked at me for asking!

IMG_4030

IMG_4029

We saw a Lemur,

IMG_4098 3

A Fossa,

IMG_4075

A camel who looks like he could use a dentist,

IMG_4063

and someone else with teeth I’d rather not work on…

IMG_4036

Pretty birds,

IMG_4046

And odd birds,

IMG_4054

IMG_4055

(I had to cut this guy in half because a cage wire was in the way!)

And what would a zoo be without Peacocks?

IMG_4108

And a Parrot or two.

IMG_4122

Of course the cutest animals in the zoo were the grandkids and their cousins…

IMG_4091

IMG_4044

 

That evening we had a very special cake… decorated by Dayna and cousin Charlotte, it was very surprising when sliced!  Once again, Becky has created a great fun desert!

IMG_4127

IMG_4129