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Wandrin 2006

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by Lloyd Treichel





Dateline: June 15, 2006 -- Green Bay, WI

[To view photos full sized, click on the thumbnail photo]

Colorado to Wisconsin -- short version...

The blue skies of Colorado and the Rockies were left behind when I headed off to Wisconsin. Over the years, I have taken many of the roads heading east across Kansas or Nebraska.

When driving along I-80 in Nebraska, one gets the impression Nebraska is flat. The route I chose to travel this time was in the Nebraska hills -- a roller coaster ride from one small town to another.

The Dowse Sod House was a highlight on the Nebraska map. I found the house about three miles off the paved road. With improvements over the years to preserve the sod walls, the house stands after the initial construction in 1900 -- a rather late soddie construction. Undoubtedly, the two foot thick walls make for comfortable year round living.

With numerous scenic wind mills along these back roads, I finally was able to get a photo of one where there was room enough to pull off the road.

This back road travel allows me to recall my farming youth and realize how the farming practices have changed. With air-conditioned tractors, no-till agriculture and herbicide resistant corn and soybeans, farming is very different in 2006.

As I passed the beef feed lots, I wondered how much hamburger is consumed every day in the US?

My route across Nebraska and Iowa went through many small towns. Are you looking for an inexpensive home in a small town. Take all the equity from your big city home and settle here with money left over. For a job, check with a local rancher and drive tractor or cattle truck.

As I passed through Iowa, I stopped to visit road acquaintance Lee the Painterly Painter. On the yard where Lee is parked, I found this patterned scene on the barn and its doors.

Dyersville, Iowa has been a stop in past journeys to visit the National Farm Toy Museum. After a short stop to determine that there was nothing there that I should purchase to add ballast to the rig, I headed over to Field of Dreams movie site. Build it... and the tourists will come... to see the site where the movie was filmed and later released in 1989.

Dutchman's Britches. I think that is what these flowers are called. They certainly are an unusual shape for a flower. Pretty at any rate. [June 13, 2006... Received an email stating that these were Bleeding Hearts. That is what I remember them being called. However, I was told they were Dutchmans Britches. I believed that comment without any research. I have now searched the internet. These are Bleeding Hearts. Dutchman's Britches are less heart shaped and are all white.]

Sundae at the Farm... On a recent Sunday I made visits to "Sundae At The Farm" exhibits. This is an opportunity for farmers to check out their neighbors, but is more for the city folk to get to understand where their milk comes from. It also helps explain the farm smells.

At one of the farms, the cows were in stanchions so there was a chance to be up close and personal with these bovines. It was fascinating to watch kids look and point. Standing behind a cow with her tail up and depositing a load in the gutter did bring back some memories. I didn't stand too close.

Sundaes are served with your choice of toppings. I don't pass up ice cream. Okay. So I don't pass the bakeries either.

Vanity Plates...

RNGR WGN -- on an Expedition

737DRVR -- guess this to be a pilot

MAITOY -- on a Mercedes

ELVSNME -- on a little car that appeared it would not have room for both
[A reader wondered whether the small car contained "Elves and Me"]

747 400 -- another pilot?

BADPACK -- something to do with the Packers?

DUCKDOG -- a pickup truck that retrieves ducks?

I LURCH -- after the Addams Family, he is still around!

FABULIS -- ego?

WEQUAH -- on a VW with stuffed eagles in back window. Perhaps an American Indian dialect for "eagle"?
[Received from a reader: "Homes of fire-hardened mud are called wequah (Home of fire and earth). These sturdy structures often also serve as a stable, barrack, fletcher, armorer and weapon smith. Now whether or not this is a true statement remains to be seen. I found this on the web (and it was, by the way, the only listing for it) on a "gaming" e-mag. Maybe the driver of the little VW was a gamer. Somehow it sounds more romantic if it were an Indian name."]

Search for Cinnamon Rolls...

When I stopped in Madison, I stayed at the Mendota County Park. There were several bakeries nearby. At the first stop, they were proud to say they only made them on Friday. What does a guy do who needs a cinnamon roll fix every day. The second bakery was out of singles, but they did have nine to a box. I passed on that offer.

As I passed through Kiel, Wisconsin, I stopped at Roeck's Bakery. They had cinnamon rolls. Once again they were a variation on the theme. These were cinnamon rolls with various toppings including blueberries. That was my choice. Good selection.

At Green Bay's Farmer's market on the east side, I bought a cinnamon roll. That was a bad choice. It had a half inch layer of butter frosting and the interior of the roll was soggy. That was the first day taste. On the second day, it wasn't any better. Result: it was a dumpster cinnamon roll.

Ranging far and wide from the Apple Creek Campground in De Pere, Wisconsin I found the Mom and Pop's Bakery in Darboy, WI. Their cinnamon roll will be worth the diesel fuel for the 14 mile one way trip. Since there is a bicycle path nearby, I will use that as an excuse to head that way for the next one.

Recent Book Reads...

We Die Alone by David Howarth. Taking place in World War II, Norwegian resistance forces try to reclaim their country. A betrayal by a countryman leaves an injured Balsruud crossing a winter landscape to save himself from a certain death by the Nazis. Crossing the snow covered landscape to arrive in safety in Sweden is a story that will keep you turning the pages to the end of the book.

This is an amazing story of the human desire to survive.  

Honeymoon With My Brother by Frank Wisner. When Frank Wisner was left at the altar with non-refundable tickets for a honeymoon retreat, the author took his brother on his honeymoon. That short honeymoon evolved into a two year journey with his brother Kurt to many parts of the world. During their travels, the brothers strengthen their relationship recognizing the skills each of them bring to the journey. This inspirational story of world travel, self discovery and relationship building is told with emotion and humor.

In addition to retelling the travel adventure, he includes useful advice to the world traveler. Some of that advice certainly applies to travel in the United States.

Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden. On rare occasions I read fiction. With suspense and romance, this prose novel frequently became poetic and captivated my attention to the last page. Written as first person historical fiction, the book educates the reader about the life of a geisha and the role played in Japanese society.

Waiting For Snow In Havana by Carlos Eire. Subtitled Confessions of a Cuban Boy, the author describes his life in Cuba as a boy and his subsequent flight to the United States. The author's memories pour out on the pages with adult insight and retrospective. Does an eight year old child really understand what has happened to his country. He only knows that his daily life in Cuba has changed and Castro and the Cuban Revolution are responsible.

Things really don't get a whole lot better when he and his brother arrive in the United States as orphans. In the three years before their mother is allowed to join them in the United States, these teenagers quickly become adults in this new land.


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