Sunday, June 29, 2014

Welcome To Ontario

(Thinking about changing the blog name to "How We Ate Our Way Through The Americas")
We took off from Toledo around 9 a.m. and head for the border.  In Detroit, we turned off at the exit just before the bridge to Windsor.   We found a great place to buy quesadillas with chorizo for $1.50 and a liquor store.  The liquor store was closed and as we turned away a car drove by and honked.  It was the owner and he asked us to give him a few minutes to open.  It was a pretty seedy part of town with many rundown and shuttered buildings including the YMCA.  Pretty bad when the YMCA closes!
We hopped back in the car and crossed the bridge.  There is a $10 toll before crossing and the woman was very nice.   We drove across the Ambassador Bridge taking pictures as we went.   As we came down off of the bridge there was a short line of about 10 cars in each lane.  We picked lane four and finished our quesadillas while we waited.
Our lane shut down for a change of personnel but it took only about five minutes.   We got up to the booth and the young woman was politely asked us our nationalities, asked to see our papers and if we had been to Canada before.  After answering she said she wished she was on a vacation for the summer, wished us a good stay and off we went.  No inspection.  We should have doubled up on wine.
We started out on the 401 E to London but after an hour and a half and a stop a service area we detoured down to the 3E.  Must more scenic, through the countryside and many small towns. It was a great drive and what we thought would be a precursor to our weekend.  
Arriving in Simcoe we found our way to Mike and Pat’s place.   They have a very cool house and tomorrow I will take some pics to show you why.  Residential neighborhood with a split-level house but the inside is a much different world.  Mike also has a huge collection of arrowheads and other pieces dating back 10,000 years which he has been digging from the sandy soil of Ontario for most of his life.  They have a beautiful backyard with a pool that makes me want to go home and do some gardening.  What?
Friday night we went out for dinner at Dover Cove and walked around on the pier.   Mike had shown me his best friend’s house down along the water at one point and before we knew it, we were sitting on Scott and Carma’s balcony overlooking the water.   We talked quite a bit and enjoyed some wine and cocktails before retiring and heading back home.  We sat out on the front lawn and continued the conversation until midnight.
Our friend Carma on the balcony offering us a nice beverage.
In the morning we fixed our usual Mexican breakfast.  I think we need to change the menu to something else but it was good.   We got going around 10:30 and headed out to Baccus Heritage Conservation Area in Port Rowan.  A wonderful park built on property owned by the Baccus family that has the original grist mill in operation for more than six generations.   Because it was the park’s opening weekend, there were tour guides in costume who gave tours of the cabins, school house, Baccus home and the grist mill. 
It was fascinating and the guides know their stuff.   The guide in the grist mill is also the curator for the conservation area.  Very well done, detailed and just fun to see.   We spent most of the day there and then took off for the beach.  Mike drove us down to Hastings Road where a devastating hurricane had taken place I think in 1956.  After,  we drove around the beach area.  The beach was packed with swimmers, kids, umbrellas, ice chests, it looks like a nice place to enjoy the beach. 
Lookin' good Señor Guerra!
Home bound we took a short nap, a swim in the pool with happy hour and then grilled some chicken served with a rice dish and salad.   We talked again all night and I think Mike and Pat want to come down to Mexico.  Today is the big game between Mexico and Holland and we will be watching it and making Sunday a lazy day. 


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Our Trip To Ada, Oh

Where in the heck is Ada, OH you're asking?  It is a small community 250 miles east of Chicago and an hour and minutes to Toledo.  We spent last night in Toledo and are moving to Detroit today before crossing back into Canada and heading to Simcoe.  I will be telling you about a major trip change in the next few days.  A good change that makes our trip even better!
Anway, Juan did his Fulbright (one of three) in Ada, OH.  He was hired to teach American dancers Mexican folkloric dance from the state of Veracruz but with a twist.  He had to demonstrate the dance as it emerged from the days of black slaves in Mexico to current day folkloric dance.  He did a lot of research before going to Ada including a trip to the west coast of Mexico to study under a dance tutor who is the director of a famous Mexican dance troupe. 
During his stay that cold, cold, winter, he made good friends with the ONU arts director and his staff.  They have remained in contact since.   It wasn't really a plan to go to Ada as we were originally driving through all of Canada.  As the plan changed I realized we were heading that way and I told him that Ada was close to Chicago.  He said, "let's go".  He sent an email and off we went. 
We arrived at the Freed Center for the Arts and walked into the office.   Before we knew it, out come his ex-colleagues to greet us.  One friend, Christine was at home and received a call that we were there and flying down to the university.  Truly amazing to see how much they had missed Juan and how happy he was to see them.  

The first night we stayed at Christine's house.   She lives in town (population 2000 when students are on summer vacation) and insisted we stay with her.  As always, we spent the evening talking up a storm about university changes and where did students go after the dance program.   Christine left on Wednesday for Costa Rica where she will do some teaching and vacationing.  She has learned Spanish and loves to do total immersion.  She is really coming along with her language learning.

Night two was spectacular.   We stayed on a farm about 20 minutes outside of town.  Laurie and Charlie are great hosts and live in a very cool farm house.   They have a large porch with a rocking chair and patio furniture.  We stayed outside for quite sometime before heading in for protection from the rain and Laurie fixed an excellent meal with beef they had raised.  After dinner we headed back out to the porch for a drink and then off to bed. 

Yesterday morning, we sat out on their porch again and talked about rving.  They have a popup and are thinking about changing to something else.  Retirement is around the corner for them and they are considering camp hosting.   That was the conversation and you know how much I love rvs and rving.  We offered to house sit for them anytime they decide to go away for a long spell.  We would fly up and work on the farm mostly doing what I learned at Sal and Barb's, driving a tractor mower.
We drove through Amish country, Pfeiffer Station, after leaving.  Everyone was out in the fields working between the rains but we did stop at a country store after driving around.  We've been talking about getting a Class B like a Roadtrek.  Well, we found a super good deal.   A 97 Roadtrek 190 in excellent condition and they are only asking 12K.   We'll think about it and see if it fits into the Mexican import regulations.

We then stopped in Kenton, OH.  This is a small town and county seat about 26 miles from Ada.  Juan had been there once and we were looking for a small restaurant where he said he had had the best breakfast of his five month stay.  We found it.  We met the owner and you can see her in the picture.  The restaurant has been there since the 30s and her mother took it over in 1982 and then our friend did so in the mid 90s.  The food is fantastic and the town very historic.  We recommend this place.

After breakfast we went for a walk and wanted to visit the county building.   We saw this across the street on top of a building "IOOF".  That was "odd" to me, so we headed across the street to look around.

We walked around inside and the whole time that IOOD was on my mind.  I saw a woman working in the County Commissioner's office and stopped in to ask.  She said she knew all about it and had personal experience.  It is the International Order of Odd Fellows. 

Her husband who is 55 years old is the youngest member.  She was incredibly nice and I'm sorry I didn't get her name.  She showed us the VFW museum next door, printed out information for us and gave us postcards of the building which will be celebrating 100 years next May.  People in small towns are the nicest people you'll ever meet.  Easy to approach, great for local information and just down right friendly.  Thanks City of Kenton, Oh

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

The Rest of Chicago (In Pictures)

This was the beginning of our Sunday adventure.   The parks were packed and there were all kinds of activities going on.  I tried to get a pic of myself in front of the globe, but it didn't work out.

A very impressive city.  It appears that the city is well-managed.  It's very clean and there are restaurants, coffee bars, theaters and museums and most of the venues are free and we were surprised that things were not expensive.

They have created some pretty imaginative gardens that fulfill the needs of the outdoors and fresh air.  I have to admit, it could be a glum looking place.  When we first pulled into town it looked run down and the above ground is old and rusted.  Apparently, crime has decreased after the last year of violence where a teenager was gunned down everyday.

A stroll along the riverwalk watching the ships go by.  Amazing the number of people taking the tour through the skyscrapers.  We saw the Trump building, Oprah's apartment, and one-bedroom condos that go for $300,000.  Yikes!

Monday came too soon and it was time to say goodbye.  Enrique went off to work and Fabi and the twins went to the summer camp at their Catholic school where Fabi works as a secretary.  Off we headed to Fort Wayne and ended up in Ada, Oh. where Juan did his Fulbright.  That comes next.

Monday, June 23, 2014

From The Big City to The Little Town

We had way too much fun yesterday running around to see all the sights.  We had a great Mexican breakfast of enchiladas rojas with beans and rice.   We went downtown, visited all the parks, watched the boats pass by on the river and enjoyed a coffee at an outdoor café.
We took off this morning and headed to Ada, Ohio where Juan did his Fulbright at Ohio Northern University.  A walk down memory lane.  We arrived here at almost 5 p.m. because of a time change.  Everyone is happy to see us and we had a great Italian dinner with friends.
We are parked at our friend Christine's house and tomorrow we will spend the day here at the university.   In the evening we will move to a farm about 20 minutes outside of town.
I will do a complete post in the morning.  I'm too pooped to pop.  It rained all night last night, all day today and is raining cats and dogs now.  I hope it passes or we may just put this rv on pontoons and head down the river.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Break From The Rain - Chicago Day 3

The rains have let up at least for today.  There have been heavy rains, flash flooding and a shut down of the main artery into Chicago due to a fallen bridge support that has closed five lanes.  It has been a bear moving around town.   We did manage to get out yesterday for awhile, at least enough to eat a great Mexican breakfast.   Later on in the afternoon we hung around with Enrique, Fabiola, the kids and Enrique's mother who is here visiting from Monterrey.  We watched a movie on a huge flat screen tv (all these rich Americans) and ordered a true Italian pizza pie.   We watched videos of the dance group that Juan had downloaded that showed Enrique and Fabi dancing.   Good memories but a few tears at the same time.
My attempt at backing into a small driveway from a narrow alley.  Got it done though!  Too many flailing arms!  You know the routine.

The architecture in Chicago is incredible.  You can walk the streets all day and see beautiful homes, schools and office building that date back over 100 years.  In the picture below, if it weren't for the satellite dishes you wouldn't know when this picture was taken.

Happy family!
Just the guys out for breakfast!  We followed Enrique to the glass repair shop to change out his broken windshield.  A policeman near his work had stopped him several times and given him warnings about the windshield.  He knew his time was coming so it was a good thing to change it.  This is when we went out for breakfast.   Nice to be in a Spanish speaking environment.

So Sunday out for breakfast at the taqueria and then sightseeing!  Alright!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Chicago - My Kinda Town!

We left Madison after our stay at the Home Depot and decided we needed to dump and top off with water before spending the weekend in Chicago.   We drove to Camping World and the dump was free and so was the water.
We took back roads to Chicago and arrived to the windy city around 3 p.m. but traffic was a mess.   We found our way to our friends house off of 35th St.  The kids were home and their grandmother from Monterrey.   We chatted until Fabiola arrived from work.  She is a secretary in a local school and Enrique does job training.   He came home about an hour later.   Fabiola fixed a great dinner and we were up until 1 a.m. talking about what had happened over the last 20 years.   They have three kids; Fabiola 14, Frank and Luis are 12.  Great kids and very active.
They have a huge driveway in the back of their house and they insisted we park here at their house.  The rv fits fine and they share the other side with their neighbor in the upstairs flat.   It is Saturday morning and we are heading downtown for "tacos".  Yippie!   Some great Mexican food.
More later today.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Truly Fascinating - Madison, WI

It rained off and on last night but it was a peaceful rain.   This morning it made up for what it didn't do last night.  I woke up at 5:30 and realized there would be no walking or jogging on the park track so I went back to sleep.  Up at 7 a.m., I did my exercise in the rv, made coffee and we watched the news. 

A light breakfast and off we went to the visitor's center to check our mail.   The center didn't open until 10 a.m. but the building was open.   A nice Amish guy came in to use the phone.  He was waiting for parts he had ordered for the furniture shop next door. 

The Amish fascinate me.   Their lives look so perfect and simple.   The ones we ran into in Cesco, IA and in Harmony, MN are always well-dressed, clean cut, and their horses and buggies look like they are ready for a show.  They are very polite and many speak English as a second language.  I would love to live with them for a summer.   The Amish way of live is wholesome, happy and most of all the closest to nature humans can get.  JMHO

We went back for the trailer, hooked up and off we went.   We had to keep a close eye on the map and the GPS as we chose an unconventional route through farm country.  We traveled through Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin on our way to Madison.  We stopped several times mostly at visitor's centers to pick up maps and see what was around the area.   We drove through flash flood warnings but luckily the rains pretty much stayed away.

We are now in Madison at our favorite stop, Home Depot.  They have security cameras here and they had to notify security of our stay so we wouldn't get asked to leave.   They also spoke with the MOD (manager on duty :) ) and he cleared it.  

I'll leave you with some pictures of yesterday and the places we stopped.  As far as we know, we will be in Chicago tomorrow.

A wreath from 1878 (the year my grandfather was born) made from human hair from local family.

Our friend below, Norman Borlaug was a Nobel prize winner for his work with grains.  He traveled the world helping other countries to develop and grow grains.   He is remembered as the man "who fed millions".
Ellen Church was the first flight attendant ever.  She actually worked on the aircraft as a nurse back then.  Her career was short-lived.  After 18 months in the air, she returned to nursing.  Thanks to her, we have flight attendants both women and men.

We've passed lots of farmland in the last two months.  Farms of all kinds.  Some that raise fruit, grains, vegetables, dairy, cattle even alpaca.  The list goes on.   We need to remember that all the things we buy in the grocery come from people who work endlessly.  Their jobs aren't 8 to 5 and five days a week.  A farmer works everyday all year long.  Sure there are corporate farms, but what we have seen is that farmers in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are still alive and not doing so well.  We need to support them.  My mother's family were dairy farmers.  My dad's sister Lucy married dairy farmers.  They are a regional milk producer in Kansas City, the Zarda dairy and owners of Zarda drive in restaurants.  BTW, they use my mother's chili recipe to this day. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Live In Harmony

Harmony, MN that is!  A small town with a city park offering both primitive and electric sites.  We chose no hookups.  The weather is still not very good although it was sunny.  Lots to report on but we are sitting outside the closed library and the bugs are driving me nuts.

We had a fun day, saw lots of Amish and visited a town on the Iowa border, Cresco where a Nobel Prize winner was born and raised and the first flight attendant in the world comes from this town too.  Both visitor's centers were very helpful and both had wifi.  Too bad we didn't connect earlier.

Lots of pics as we visited three towns today.  We are planning on Chicago for this weekend.  I found a place next to the convention center called the McCormick Place Marshalling Yard, it is used for the convention center events where the semis and tour buses park.   It is secure 24/7 with a guard patrolling and is in the center of Chicago right along the lake.  Cost is $30 a night and it is boondocking only but taking into account parking fees, rv parks that are 30 to 50 miles away, it is a good deal.

If anyone has been there or has any info let us know.  We will be visiting friends but if you know Chicago central, there aren't big home lots with long driveways.   We have access to public transit and we should be able to move around easily.

More tomorrow as we will be in Madison, WI at a Home Depot. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

We Found The Ball of Twine - Darwin, MN

We woke up this morning to the sprinklers as I mentioned in the previous post.  We got on our way and off we went looking for the "largest ball of twine in the world" according to the Guinness Book of World Records. Taking the back roads that were twisting and windy, we ended up going through many little towns, some with only 300 inhabitants.  We drove into town and saw the sign that said "visit the ball of twine museum" and then before we knew it we were out of the town.   We turned around and headed back and asked at the local gas station.   They pointed us into town which was across the highway.  
As we drove through downtown, all 10 businesses, museums and the post office, we found it in front of the city park.   Lo and behold, sitting in a glass covered kiosk was the infamous ball of twine.  It was beautiful, close yet so far away.   It is in a hermetically sealed room where no one has access.  They say people used to get close to the ball of twine but would attempt to snag a piece of it.  Fear that it would dwindle over time, it was permanently enclosed.

The museum revolves around the ball of twine and the town's founding fathers.  Did you know that "Weird Al" Yankovic made a visit to the museum?  And he also wrote a song about it, "The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota".  However, locals say he made up stuff that he put in the song like staying at the Ball of Twine Inn.  The place does exist right across the street from the museum but it isn't an inn, it is a restaurant.   Locals are very sticky about this.

We exhausted our visit to the museum and said goodbye to that big ball of twine.   It will be with me forever.   We purchased some post cards which we sent from the post office so they will be post marked.  I sent one to our house in Mexico to see how long it takes to arrive if it does.  Our local Santiago post office has a collection of post cards.  They like the pictures of far away places!
Rummaging through some things that weren't on display, I found this photo from the ball team of 1900.  You wonder what happened to them all.  I hope they had good lives.  They sure look happy in the picture.  Old photos fascinate me.  Kind of spooks me to look at them.  Kind of like movies.  There are movies we watch where everyone has been gone for a long long time.

As we passed through the town of Delano, we saw this peeking through the trees.  We made a quick turn to investigate and found it was St. Peter's Catholic Church and grade school.  Just like where I grew up.   The convent, rectory, church and the school.   This school was built in 1929.  You never know what you'll find.

Or next stop is St. Olaf where Rose Nylund (Betty White) from Golden Girls is from.  We watch an episode every night before bedtime.  We have all the DVDs and other episodes we have recorded since 1985.   We're not sure what to expect but we hope it is good.
We landed in Rochester, MN.  at the local Home Depot.  The manager said there was no issue and to enjoy our stay.   We left to get water and found a car wash where the owner came out and offered his services.  We told him we were on a trip and needed water.  I offered to pay him and he refused saying anyone who comes to Minnesota from Mexico deserves free water.   How about that!   We used to think that gas stations in the U.S. had water but I guess not many anymore.  One station said we could buy water in gallon jugs.  I guess they don't understand the concept of rving.  Another place said we could go to the local campground.  :)
More tomorrow.

Weathered The Storm - Meeting Friends In Monticello, MN

I received an email Sunday night from Donna, a friend who lives in Big Lake, MN.  I met Donna and her husband Leo in the RGV when we stayed at the Kenwood Rv Resort in La Feria.  If I have the story right, Donna's sister in Arkansas reads the blog.  She told Donna that I was working in the Rio Grande Valley and staying at the same park.  
Donna opened the door at the rv park for us.  We didn't know anyone and she did.   She would talk to us at the activities center when we were there working and she would whisper in my ear, "you're working too much".  She introduced us to others in the park as some were a bit standoffish because we were two guys from Mexico.  All that changed and Kenwood became part of our winter.
We became friends over the winter and we have kept in touch since.   They invited us out for dinner at a great place in Monticello called the "Cornerstone Café".   Not only did we have a great meal, we talked up a storm.   We know we will see them in the fall when they come back down to the RGV.   Their a lot of fun and great for conversation.   Donna knows I don't mince words and we can talk freely about anything.  My kind of folks.   Anyway, thanks you guys for a great time last night.
We left Leo and Donna and headed for the local Home Depot.  The storm has really picked up and I had heard winds gusts were up to 60 miles per hour.   We got whipped around until about 10 p.m. just in time to go to bed.   The manager asked us to park in the corner and we went where he told us.  
Juan woke me up at 6:45 saying, "we gotta move now".  I thought someone had knocked on the door or something and I had ear plugs in so I didn't hear a thing.  Good thing he did!  The giant sprinklers had come on and water started to seep in from under the slides.   No damage done as we caught it just in time.   We are now in the middle of the lot and obviously using excellent wifi.  Thank you Home Depot.  Now where is that giant ball of twine?

Monday, June 16, 2014

Meeting Friends In Big Lake, MN

We´re spending the night at a Home Depot only after having a great time with friends from Big Lake.  We don´t have a strong signal and we are in a big wind storm.  I will post pictures and tell the story of our great evening here.  We actually had dinner in Monticello, MN. 

More tomorrow (Tuesday morning).

Sunday, June 15, 2014

An Interesting Story

First off, I am proud to say I was carded last night.  We had our pizza night and picked one up at Buca's in Thief River Falls.  I ordered on the phone and when we went to pick it up I saw a sign offering a senior discount, 55 and over.  Okay, the girl probably has no idea what 55 is much less what it looks like but she said she didn't believe I was over 55 much less 57.  That's my bragging for the summer.
It rained since yesterday at 5:30 p.m. and just stopped, so almost 24 hours with high winds whipping the trailer.  I tried to take a nap this afternoon but the wind spooked me.  This morning we had breakfast at Biff's Kitchen, formerly Dee's Kitchen.  Yep, we ate out three times in the last two weeks, way too much for us.  Anyway, it is Father's Day and we needed to celebrate.  I had checked the internet and this place has all excellent review.  It's true too!   I don't know where they get their rye bread but it was the best rye toast ever.   Friendly service, good food and the placed was packed.  I shy away from places that say bistro, ye ole sandwich shoppe, etc.   Doesn't attract me, usually store bought food.  This place bakes homemade rolls, cinnamon rolls and muffins. 
We stayed around the house because of the rain and I decided to do laundry.   We'll be boondocking again and it was best to get it done.   Wow, we spent $38 for a three-night weekend.  
So here's the interesting story.   I was reading the obituaries for Grand Forks and the local area.  Not morbid, but it gives you an idea of who made the place.  Everyone who had died in the last week was 88 to 96 years old and them majority over 90.  Scandinavian heritage, hard working farm people and healthy living.   Meet Vieno Maatto.  She died last week at the age of 91.  Listen to her story:
Vieno Niskanen was born, at home, near Sotkamo, Finland on March 29, 1923 to Matti and Hanna (Torvinen) Niskanen. She was the second child, of eleven children, born to her parents, two of whom died in infancy.
n her youth, Vieno spent her summers rowing boats and swimming in Finland's pristine lake country. During winters, the mode of transportation was cross country skiing. Even after many years had passed, she would proudly show her skiing awards and only spoke of Finland in glowing terms.
However, her early years were not always easy. She grew up in poverty and spoke of having to get a job at a local farm after graduating from the 8th grade. While skiing, she would carry matches to light quickly in order to scare away the wolves in winter. And while she didnt speak much about WWII, she talked about having to run across the snow covered yard with a white sheet over her head to hide from Russian planes that were dropping bombs nearby. She also spoke about how people would carry in soldiers who had died and place them in saunas to thaw so that they could be placed into caskets and sent home to their families.
Vieno met Onni Maatta (from neighboring Kuhmo) at a local dance and decided he was the man for her. They courted for several years and were married December 14, 1947. Onni had aspirations of a better life and began his quest of moving to the United States. They were required to get affidavits from her aunt and other people in ND stating they would have jobs waiting for them when they came to the US.
Vieno, Onni and their young daughter Marja Leena boarded a ship and sailed to the US in February 1954, disembarked in New York and boarded a train to Lakota, ND where they were met by the Finnish community of the area. They did not know a word of English when they arrived. With the help of the Finnish community, they set up a home near Pelto, ND. In 1960 they bought a house and moved to Brocket, ND. Her family grew with the addition of daughters Laila and Paula.
Vieno was a stay at home mom, but also cleaned, painted and did whatever needed to be done in order to earn extra money for her family. She worked as a nurses aide at the Gronna Home starting in 1974 until her retirement in 1991. At home, she had an enormous garden and canned many quarts of produce. She enjoyed sewing, quilting and knitting. Her hands were seldom idle.
Onni and Vieno made their first trip back to Finland in 1967 and again in 1976. They would not visit together again as Onni died suddenly in January 1980. After Onni's death Vieno made many trips back to her beloved Finland. She greatly treasured going back to visit her family and friends in Finland.
In her later years, Vieno continued to live in Brocket where she received visits from family and friends, gardened, quilted, was active with the community center and continued her tradition of never sitting still for much more than a cup of coffee. She continued to cross country ski until she required knee surgery when she was 80. In November 2011, she moved to an independent living apartment in Lakota to be nearer to friends. In August 2012, she moved to the Odd Fellows Home in Devils Lake and due to failing health, moved to Elim Care Center of Fargo in April 2013. At Elim she made new friends and was well taken care of by the kind and loving staff.
Vieno died peacefully at Elim on December 8, 2013 at the age of 90, with her daughter Laila by her side.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Stinky Weather Won't Stop Us

This is a great little rv park.  We are just a mile from downtown Thief River Falls and can walk just about everywhere.   Last night was quiet and two couple left this morning.   What started out as a lazy day turned into a marathon.

I got up at 5:45 and had the opportunity to hang around on the internet for awhile.   Juan got up about an hour and a half later so breakfast didn't happen until later.   The cable isn't working but we don't watch much television.  I did want to see news but it turns out the digital works fine.  The park offered to refund our $2 a day.  Turns out after checking our receipt they didn't charge us extra anyway.

We headed out for town and found that two rivers merge into one.  There is a great trail that encompasses nine city parks with lots of things to see.   We opted to save that for tomorrow as the weather is cold, windy and cloudy.   BTW, at home in Monterrey it is 42C today, yikes.   People are complaining that they can't sleep it is so hot.

We got a good look at the city though.   We did some garage sales along the way.  One led to another, and another, and before we knew it the clock was ticking by.   I am looking for used books for a school reading project at home and garage sales seem to be a good place.   I decided to post something on Facebook and here on the blog requesting books for elementary and secondary aged students that can be sent to San Antonio where can pick them up on our way home.

We stopped by the train depot and watched a train go by, went to an arts and crafts fair at the city arena before popping into Walmart for some veggies.  The fair was fun and we were easily convinced to buy a dozen homemade cookies.  The woman who baked them came around and offered us a sample.   Hey, for $2.50 a dozen you can't beat good homemade cookies.   We also had a long conversation with a woman who was promoting local hospice and how the organization can pay family members to help take care of their loved ones. 

We looked around for a small farmer's market or roadside stands but not around here.  The word at Walmart here is that cashiers make only $9.25 an hour to start which pales in comparison to those in Williston, ND.   By chance our cashier was really an HR person who was filling in for someone.  She said many of their employees moved to Williston and are living in tents for the summer to take advantage of the $17.85 an hour Walmart is paying there and they will return to their jobs in TRF in the winter.   A new way to work, you go where the pay is. 

We are splurging tonight on a pizza.  We scoped out several places and think we have found a winner.  Tomorrow we will hike it off.

Friday, June 13, 2014

More Than We Expected It To Be - Theif River Falls, MN

It was not the best night we have had but not the worst.  The Wally World last night was active until around 11:30 p.m.  but hey, we had three free nights there coming and going and the the first two were great.  If we hadn't had to get up at 5:30 for a web conference we would have been fine.  The wifi connection from Buffalo Bill's did the trick though and we had coffee as we participated in the NatGeo conference.

We took off at nine o'clock sharp and headed east.   We stopped in Rugby, ND and this is what we found:

My friend Darren from Mexico City told me it would be coming up on the radar and we found it.  We continued east to Grand Forks, ND or East Grand Forks, MN, which ever one you want to use.  We stopped and asked for directions to the Falls Stay and Play Rv Park in Thief Falls River.  

We passed this guy working the fields.  Funny, Cuba lost its petrol-based pesticides years ago when they broke with Russia.  It only took them five years to return the soil to its organic state.  They now produce 80% organic veggies and fruits in Cuba.  But chemicals are big business on the American continent and it won't be in my lifetime to see organic produce available to the masses.

We pulled in and found a great rv park, 33 spaces, full hookups, cable tv and the strongest wifi we have had in any park or rv spot on this trip.   The Passport America cost is $12 a night and they are known as having the meanest pizza in Minnesota.  We're going to find out this weekend.  Actually, the company next door owns the rv park, Petro Pumpers and they sell the pizza.  Handmade, hand-tossed and good eatin'.

We will spend the weekend here.   There is a casino, hiking trails, a birding center and a lake all of which we intend to explore.   Then it is off towards Chicago.