Published: September 22nd 2012September 22nd 2012
Back in the States and back to daily driving. We entered in Minnesota and we met up with Trish and Greg and their family at the local St. Cloud Perkins. It was nice to catch up after about 5 yrs, meet their kids and get some recommendations for travelling through Minnesota. We ended up at the Mall of America, despite us both hating big crowds and malls...
We found a nice close parking spot thanks to my disabled placard...(that thing sure comes in handy sometimes...like a Saturday at the biggest mall in America) and we braced ourselves for the mob. We walked in a bit overwhelmed, but headed for the middle. All of a sudden I heard a shout from behind...I ignored it, sure I couldn't be the reason for a rude yell, yet again i heard "Hey, Excuse me, you..." We turned around and there was a man in yellow and short shorts hurtling towards us on his bicycle. He looked sort of official so we stopped as he said "Are you the ones with the camper parked out there?" "Ummm...yes?" "You're going to have to move that thing...we treat RVs like unclaimed baggage at the airport if you
know what I mean"..."Ummm, no, but okay"
I'm not particularly proud of the next moment...I'm usually all gung-ho, independent, "just because I have artificial legs doesn't mean I can't do that"...but I pulled out the "disabled card". "Oh sir" I replied all polite and apologetic, "You see, I have 2, not just 1, but 2 artificial legs that makes it really difficult to walk far distances. Is there anyway we can stay there so I don't have to walk that long way all the way across the huge parking lot and across the street?" At this point I may have batted my eyelashes...He looked me up and down, whispered some words into his little handy walkie talkie on the shoulder, waited for a reply, then with a smile stated, "Alright, no problem ma'am, enjoy your day", with a tip of his hat. (Ok, that didn't happen, but if he wasn't wearing a bicycle helmet he probably would have) "Why, thank-you, we will!" We ended up not spending much time there anyway, rode the "log ride" in the amusement park after we got a free ticket from a random stranger and headed back to the road for Wisconsin.
were thinking of just driving through Wisconsin, but after stopping for supper and remembering it was the "Cheesehead" state, decided to stay to do a cheese tour. Found a nice park to park in for the night and woke up in Wisconsin Dells. We thought we were just entering another little farm town, but discovered what appeared to be more of a Wisconsin Vegas filled with neon lights everywhere and several Bible-themed adventure parks, water slides and mini-golf courses. We were almost tempted to try out "Wizard-Quest" after someone recommended it as "a great time running through different worlds freeing wizards from their evil lords" (ok, that made us run out of town faster), but we did wander around a little entertained by "Ripley's Belive it or not" and Haunted mansion decorations. We asked around for a cheese factory tour and ended up driving about 45 minutes out of our way to just miss the morning cheese making at the closest factory. :( We did, however, still get to taste everything from fresh cheese curds to 10 yr cheddar and bought some for the evening. We also happended upon a local winery and enjoyed an evening happy hour with local
cheese and wine.
Next stop, Milwaukee to tour a little local micro-brewery with a very entertaining guide and to learn a few things about "hops". Found a nice little campground on Lake Michigan and enjoyed getting our "large body of water fix" to last us til we got back home. We settled into our little campsite and after our nice beach afternoon, the weather quickly deteriorated as the wind picked up and it began to sprinkle. We quickly packed everything up, herded the dogs back in the camper and it began to pour. Luckily, Eugene was recently made leak-free by Charles and we enjoyed the close thunder and lightning with front row seating from the bed window completely dry.
The next morning we hit the city of Chicago for the Chicago Art Institute where we enjoyed seeing several Picasso, Dali, Monet, Van Gogh, etc. Impossible to see it all in one day, we retired after a few hours and headed for the closest pizza place...we seem to eat a lot of pizza on this trip..but Chicago is known for their pizza, so we figured we should go for it again! We were a little surprised when the pizza
came, it wasn't just a pizza, it was a pizza cake...or some kind of food item that is 6 inches thick...it was huge and we could barely finish half of it! Oh well, leftovers for the road! Cultured and well-fed, we headed for the Kentucky border and found another parking lot to stop in for the night.
We crossed into Louisville (Lu-uh-vuhl - as pronounced by the locals) and enjoyed another ridiculously huge meal at "Lynn's Paradise Inn", an astonishingly tacky and colourful cafe with more random decor packed into a room than you could imagine...it had manikin legs coming out of the walls and upside down lamps hanging from the ceiling! Again, stuffed, we left happy and headed for a tour of Mammoth Caves. The tour was great, even though I picked the easiest and shortest one. This of course meant that we shared the tour with a lot of whining children and bickering geriatrics limping through the caves and manhandling the walls despite the tour guides persistent requests to not touch the cave walls. (Charles overheard one wife threatening her husband and muttering under her breath "why did I marry you anyway?"):( The caves were vast with
over 300 mapped miles and filled with incredible stalagmites, stalagtites, etc.
Next stop Tenessee, land of music! Will we be discovered with our musical duo in Nashville? not likely, but you never know! Part 5 coming soon!
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