Day 9

Hello South Dakota!

Puppy woke up at about 6:45. It was faster for me to get dressed so I got walking duty. She stayed dry all night so yippee!

Both adults and a puppy went to the breakfast, since there were picnic tables we could have Lucy join us. Fun a local church was meeting at the hotel.

The famous pagoda!

Finally got on the road and with Weird Al playing we headed to Darwin, Minnesota. What is in that sleepy town? What does it have to do with Weird Al? The biggest ball of twine in Minnesota.

Called Fudge an he was hoping I could bring it back. Quincy on the other hand, just sat in the car. “I saw it through the window.”

Well it is a Sunday, this may not be the bible belt. But most places were closed. including the Twine Ball gift shop. At least we have our memories!

The local gas station in town made me feel like i was at home. With some sodas and a cinnamon roll we headed to the next stop.

Well lunch time came around and we decided to try Taco John’s. This far north I’m not sure they know what tacos are supposed to be. Chicken with tater tots. I ordered the Taco Burger. Tasteless taco meat on a hamburger bun.

We can definitely say we will not be back. Head west was the command. So that we did!

We came across this sculpture park. It was fun, but some of the sculptures were a bit dark. Got some fun pictures

So back on the road. Saw signs for Corn Palace. What? With corny souvenirs? Yes!

But again closed. Why so much advertising and be closed? Well back to the interstate! Found a tiny roadside chapel

Found our way to the hotel, laundromat is closed for the night… Bought another shirt.. Better be open tomorrow..

Set the camera up to get photos of the Super Flower Blood moon, At least that’s what this eclipse is called. Come back later when I can get pictures off the SLR….

Tomorrow I hope things don’t turn bad.

Day 8

Dang it has been a week on the road. Didn’t make much progress today. More like driving back where we came from. Well we did need to get the puppy, and visit a vet.

Quincy asked if this was the nicest hotel he had ever been in. Well no but you don’t remember much from the other one.

While pulling out of the space at the hotel. We noticed the carnage from the bug-apocalypse from the other night. so we decided to wash the car.

Living in Arizona has spoiled me. I haven’t had to use self car wash in years. Still haven’t gotten any better at it, my pants were soaked.

We pulled into the place to meet the breeder. He saw the Arizona plates on our car and said, “ I know who you are. The plates give it away.”

Her first time meeting us.

Got all the paperwork finished went to a grassy spot sat down and played a bit.

she won’t stay a lapdog for long

Got her situated in the car and took off south to Madison so that we can get a check up by a vet. We got there early so we decided to look around for the dog food for breeder was using.

So the breeder wanted us to have a well puppy check up within 72 hours of getting her. Since we won’t be home by then we look for nearby vets that could take a look at her.

Unfortunately there was none on our way to South Dakota so we had to do even more backtracking. The vet was really confused did you guys just move here are you staying in Wisconsin?

Well it really did start raining just a bit. When I turned on the rear wiper, he decided he did not like that Toyota Yaris behind us. So it launched itself at it.Well I guess I need to get another rear wiper. Maybe this one will be more accepting of other makes.

So we got her snuggled in to her bed and she slept almost all day long which is now unfortunate because it’s almost midnight and she’s not tired at all.

Now after about 20 minutes of walking around outside she’s slowing down maybe we can try to go to bed now.

Day 7

Slept in a bit then headed to the the Second floor of the hotel. There it was! A corridor to all the best the retail market has to offer. 3 stories of food, fun, and shopping.

Found a Dunkin Doughnuts. I made my first purchase, of many that day, and headed back to the room with caffeine and sugar. The door will not unlock. Huh? Called my better half and asked, “What room are we in?” The answer was not the number I was currently looking at. Glad I didn’t knock. Unfortunately I, got off on the wrong floor. Went to the correct last numbers but that first digit was wrong

Got the clan down to start the shenanigans. First stop get ride tickets. Headed to the first coster. This would be Quincy’s first thrill ride, other than my driving yesterday. He was a bit nervous, and excited. That was a smooth coster that spun the car around. Fun! Next a more traditional coster, with a Pepsi theme. After that sauntered over to the one that inverts the riders. Tried to get the young one on that, but he refused. I really loved the harness system super comfortable.

A few rides later and it was time for the 5D theater. While Alisa rested. Q and I donned the 3D glasses sat in a mine car and had wind and water sprayed while the movie played. That was fun. Quincy really enjoyed that.

Time for Mini-Golf. A 2 fer? Sure this adventure golf with the black light course for $4 more.. Take my money! Once we were done with the first 18, time for refreshments. Hmm Shake Shack.. Well that sounds yummy..

Well a decision was made, nope not doing laundry today! Lets buy more underwear so we can avoid laundry a bit longer. I have discovered it is a lot easier to buy lots of stuff when driving on vacation. When flying there is the – can this fit on the suitcase, question. Not with driving, still could pull a small trailer home if we need…

Afterwords it was time for the other golf course. It was cute and fairly playable. I wanted to check out the indoor go-carts but that was a bit much cause my wallet would start to complain.

The view from the chair.

Ended with dinner, a dip in the pool, a light show and snuggles in this odd shaped chair

Tomorrow we meet Lucy!

Day 6

Day 6

Got the clan out of bed in time for the free breakfast. The young food critic did not like the waffle he made, and was disappointed it is was only fruit loops and no whole milk. My thoughts started down the road – When I was your age we had regular cheerios and watered down skim milk! And we were happy. But that would be a lie.. Cookie Crisp with 2%….

The matriarch enjoyed the bacon and coffee, while I had a waffle and a mix of frosted flakes and raisin bran.. Why had I never thought of that before?

It is a bit scary how much technology seems to know about us. My phone knew the best roads to put me on. Twisty with hills… Remember you are in a bit of a top heavy economy suv… not a sports car…..

Back to the beginning.

My first visit to this city was 19,260 days ago. Yep this is the birthplace of the silly one. While driving around my wife of 11,317 days said, “Looks like a nice place to be from.”

I can’t say I remember much from before we left this town, also known as Pretzel City, when I was around 120 days old. So I don’t know if it has improved. But now, it looks a bit run down with many empty storefronts. But the hunt was on to eat a pretzel!

First Stop

Found this shop downtown, Hours said Thursday- Friday 11-3. It was 11:30 on a Thursday …. no one there.

So Alisa called Pretzel City Bar and Grill. Well they sometimes have pretzels but they are not on the menu now.

For a town that has pretzels every where, you can only look… No eating. I can find more pretzels in Goodyear. At least we have several shops you can buy tires from?

After another hour searching for someone that has something that looks like, or at least rhymes with pretzel. We came across Logan’s… there it was on the menu…..

The holy grail!

Well, it was a frozen pretzel they heated up. And the beer cheese tasted like it was from the time of prohibition, no beer… Well at least I can say I had one…

Stopped at the first gas station, filled drinks and grabbed a donut, that called out to me. Why are Wisconsin gas station donuts as good as the best we can get in the Phoenix valley?

Didn’t plan on it, but road construction made the navigator take us to Wisconsin Dells. What a fun place. Did the go-carts then came across Top Secret…

Don’t let people know

I’d go on for days on this place, but I need to keep it short so the FBI cannot trace your web browser.

After that found mini-golf, of course we did a course. Afterwords phoned Fudge to show him what he can do with the cars after he catches them

I had to explain that our HOA will not really let us do that in the front yard. We hung up and headed out. From Wisconsin to Minnesota.. Getting closer. What’s that. Welcome to Wisconsin? Did I drive the wrong way? About 30 minutes later Back to Minnesota..

While driving right next to the Mississippi River at dusk, a sound of rain drops hitting the window got Alisa’s attention. “Oh, we did hit the rain,” she remarked.

“No,” was the answer. “Look it reminds me of light snow flurries. But,” as I hit the wipers, and the guts of 100,000 bugs smeared across the front window. “Bugs! I’m glad I didn’t wash the car today.”

Pulled into the hotel for the next 2 nights. It is attached to the Mall of America. Tune in tomorrow for more shenanigans!

Day 5

Day 5

Woke up refreshed. It was worth spending a bit more for Drury Inn. Had a waffle and found that had fountain drinks. So filled up our travel cups and headed out to the gateway of the west.

As we are parking the youngest asks where are we going. We could just see the top of the arch so I pointed and said “there.”

This one is used to his father saying that to avoid answering the question so he asked again. “is it breakfast?“

“Nope you slept during breakfast.“ was the answer.

Then the complaint “Why did we park so far away?”

Pointing to the grass and concrete polls to avoid automobiles, “Because of all that!”

The last time the clan was here we went right in then up to the elevator. Not today! We got there at 9:45. Tram rides are sold out until 12:25…. we will be here a while.

Head to the snack bar and spent way too much $ for the most disappointing food. The toasted raviolis were fresh-frozen heated to thawed, served with a tasteless red sauce. I’ve had better tasting sauce from a Chef Boridee can.

Since we were there for the long haul, it was decided to get the tickets to the movie. It was made in the 70s and it was obvious. But they certainly made their money back for the millions of plays. Don’t get me wrong it had good information, just felt like I was watching re-runs

After getting back down to earth we headed to Quincy, no as, much as I was tempted because of the complaints, we did not leave him the car. Quincy Illinois.

He felt welcomed!

I was greatly disappointed, not with Quincy the kid, Quincy the city. The visitors center, that advertised stuff with Quincy written on it, was closed. The hours on the sign said we were there with an hour to spare… it was locked up tighter than a politician holds a donation check

At least had a good dinner and one more picture. Then headed north to one hour south of pretzel city… Our next stop

Smart kid!

Day 4

Day 4

That was not a good bed. At least my side, was like my last manager at a famous bank, unsupportive. Got the clan in the econobox we call our transportation. And headed to the Fantastic Caves. The only drive through caves in North America. Neat.

While our Jeep in badging only was parked above. A real Jeep pulled a trailer half filled with humans around the cave.

The navigator found a burger shop in downtown Springfield. I’m not sure how you apple wood smoke french fries, but they do. And with a selection of dipping sauces we were out of this world. The burgers wee even better.

Every mile there was at least 2 signs with this excited guy. So it called out to me. I had to stop

A candy factory. The clan’s queen noticed he does not have any teeth. Well after visiting the building above every square inch had candy. Including candy coated gummy bears. Then in the back, there it was…..

Oh….It Calls To Me!

Ok I had to go, it was filled with everything you could ever need from a gift shop. Dorito socks, cactus back scratches, giant green army men, Elvis gear, Marylin Monroe paraphernalia, and don’t forget underwear with questionable phrases on it… I was able to avoid temptation of taking a second mortgage out and need to rent a U-Haul to bring back stuff.

Ok back in the road… but again in the distance the signs called to me. Everyone else was oblivious to the siren call of ….

It is pronounced You-rn-os right?

The room gets blurry…. A memory bubble comes back from an earlier trip.

A few years ago we went to the Hoover Dam tour. The guide took every opportunity to make a Dam joke. Best dam food, best dam what ever. I asked “Do you ever get tired of that joke?”

The reply came with a big smile on the gentleman’s face “I’ve been doing this tour for 20 years and it never gets old.”

Pop goes the bubble, he couldn’t hold a candle to this place… Imagine every joke you can make with the name of the 7th planet.. They had it and 3 more.

Next stop. We stopped at, what is now the 2nd, largest rocking chair. The plant lover of the clan saw someone planting new flowers and had to chat. Once done she found another bottle of diet cheerwine and was ready to go.

The young Schmidtling asked what is next? A sight we have to “see” was my reply. Once there we called Fudge so he could see as well.

The sight that looks back!

“Wow a ball to chase!” exclaimed Fudge. “Wait, that is an eyeball”

“Yep,” I answered. “it is 12 ft tall.

Now a bit concerned came a faint, “That is a bit creepy.”

On to dinner. Zia’s on the hill. We saw it on one of those Netflix food shows about best fried food. Deep fried beef and pork ravioli. They were as good as they looked!

The day ended with the a dip in the hotel’s half indoor half outdoor pool..

Join us tomorrow…

Day 3

Day 3 Route

Packed the clan and headed out to a RT 66 museum. They had cars, trucks, and a old mock town. The leader of the pack noticed a Popeye collection. While browsing I discovered I have something the collection doesn’t have. A can of Popeye Energy drink. Quincy thinks I should donate it.

Had to find this place.

Since the purpose of this adventure is to bring Lucy home, I had to find this, now abandoned, gas station. A victim of Interstate 40.

Of course there are lots of signs for the Cherokee Trading post. I said my thoughts out loud and got a look of dissatisfaction from my soulmate. “If I get a pair of moccasins can I make fun of a person while walking a mile in their shoes?” I guess not.

Fudge was thirsty when he called. Good thing we were at the World’s Largest Pop Bottle.

Did not expect so much soda.. Left with a bottle of Lemongrad – So good it is worth standing in line for. And a Dang! Butterscotch Root Beer.

Who, other than Alanis Morissette, doesn’t love some irony. How about a Tesla charging station right front the Largest Gas Pump?

Hungry.. Need food.. See a sign in the distance. Taco Mayo? What? Are we so remove from the border they put mayonnaise on tacos?

We found the oldest restaurant on RT 66. Too bad it was drive through only today. I am always happy to have a burger.

Oh, says the guy who has lived in Arizona for the past 22 years. A bridge over dry creek. Wait! There’s water down there. How is that a dry creek? Maybe it is like a dry martini. But it was brown water so it would be a dirty one.

Finally in Missouri. See a sign for the next exit.It reads – K PP – ??? Does that mean there is a bathroom there? Turns out there was. Wondering what was at Z O. The people naming these exits may have left the gate open and the monkeys escaped…

Made it to Springfield. A bit bigger then East Springfield where the clan moved from all those years ago…

Day 2

Had to have the traditional Sunday morning breakfast.. Although we had to settle for grab and go tacos because of that celebration of Moms

A big thanks to Bugs … he taught me to be sure the take a left at Albuquerque. Now to find the spot we turn left at…

There it is..

As we were leaving the metropolis of Albuquerque, a sign appeared at the side of the road. Leaving District 3 Entering District 4.. Are we that prepared for the Hunger Games already? Good thing we have an archery business.

I’m sure the masses are asking where is Fudge? We begged him to come but he felt out kitty Jesse would be lonely during the trip. So he suggested doing a video chat. We called him when we got to Cadillac Ranch. He was amazed at how much paint there is

Zoinks that is a lot of paint

Once in Amarillo, my wallet was pleasantly surprised that gas was under $4 a gallon.. Filled the tank and our cups and said OK, here we come!

Oklahoma that is.. Booked a hotel in Elk City. But I am greatly disappointed. There were people working the front desk.. not Elk! False Advertising!

Tune in tomorrow for more adventure!

Day 1

Welcome to Albaquerke ..no Al’s BBQrk E?

Thanks Weird Al….

We left Goodyear at 4 .. Had dinner in Flagstaff Quincy said Chik-fil-a. So the driver hit the Siri button on the radio and said, “Directions to Chick-fil-a.” Then Siri sensing the clan is hungry quickly replied quickly with, “You don’t have an address for Carlos.”

What???? Doh! sorry Carlos.. (you know who you are) I put your last name as Chick-fil-a…. ugg

So heading East we came across Goodwater.. Wow and my soda ran out… Then the sign said no services. Why tell everyone you have good water and keep it all for yourself.

Passing into New Mexico I noticed the road was smooth. For those who followed the other travel tails, I complained about all the potholes. Wow this is nice. Well once in Albuquerque the roads became the pothole ridden concrete i remembered.

Got to the hotel and while checking in, the clerk said ,after mentioning we are headed east. Fill up at this fabulous restaurant down the road. Afterwords- if you want to “brave the food we serve the hours are from 6-9”…. maybe not..

More Tomorrow…