Monday, May 30, 2005

Buckminster Fuller and Henry Ford

We went to the Henry Ford Museum today. It's not just about Henry and cars - although there are a LOT of cars. It's also an Imax Theatre, a history museum for American Culture, Aviation and Electricity, and it houses the Dymaxion House by Buckminster Fuller - which is the reason for our visit. What a day of learning! The IMAX theatre was an unexpected high point. We saw a 3D film called Aliens of the Deep. Spectacular. If you get a chance - see it. Did you know that there are thriving communities of creatures who survive without any benefit of energy from the sun? The sun could blow up, destroying all life on earth's surface and these communities thousands of feet below the ocean's surface wouldn't even know anything had happened. Their energy comes from the heat of the earth's core interacting with chemicals in the ocean. Then ... the Dymaxion House: This was one of Bucky's earlier inventions. Cool ideas. A rotating air vent in the top that would turn constantly to get the best air circulation. A pre-fabricated house made by airplane manufacturers where all the pieces would fit in a big tube and be transported to wherever you wanted your house to be. When you move, you can pack it up and ship it on ahead. It really was kind of wierd feeling tho. It makes sense that it was an early invention. He had visions of going into production with thousands of them, but it didn't take off. Here's the living room. Of course, we saw lots of old cars too - but I really perked up in the RV section. Here's a 1928 motorhome! And, here's the motorhome used by Charles Kuralt in the TV series 'On the Road' Then there was a lot of information about electricity. Henry Ford and Thomas Edison were good friends. We knew this from visiting Edison's winter estate in Florida Reviewing this history made us come home and rewatch the video we have on Nikola Tesla's life. Fascinating that we learn all about Edison when we go to school in this country, but you don't learn about Nikola Tesla who was the one who discovered Alternating Current, the type of electricity we actually use today. It appears to me that Nikola Tesla and Buckminster Fuller have a lot in common. They both claimed to 'discover' what nature already knew - not to 'invent' new things. And, they both believed that we have the resources and the knowledge to provide abundant energy, food and all other essentials to every person on earth. If we only had the political will. Speaking of energy - I'm all out! G'night.

Greetings from Michigan

Another new state to add to our map! It seems almost cheating that we get to add the whole state - including the upper peninsula - even though we're just passing thru the southeast corner. Actually, I don't understand why the upper peninsula is even a part of Michigan. Anyway - when we were getting ready to leave Indiana and continue east, we looked at the map and saw how close we would be to Detroit. Isn't that where Buckminster Fuller's Dymaxion house is in some museum? Sure enough. The Henry Ford museum. So we plotted our little detour because Buckminster Fuller is one of our heroes. Today we're leaving the motorhome at Shady Creek RV in Monroe, Michigan and driving into Dearborn to visit the museum. Yesterday we took a little drive to the shore of Lake Erie. Apparently, the ducks can't read! This is a scene that could almost be Florida. But, not this one. I think this is Toledo. I wonder what lakefront property costs around here? There's some pretty fancy houses. OK, we're off to spend Memorial Day in the Henry Ford Museum. I'll tell you all about it later!

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Memorial Day Weekend

An American tradition. Packing up the kids and going camping on Memorial Day Weekend. And I think they ALL came to Twin Mills Campground! It felt too intrusive to take a picture of a family around their campfire, so you'll just have to take my word for it. The smell of campfire smoke was everywhere and sounds of laughter from the families seated around them filled the air with joy. Biking, hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, and playing tetherball! I have very fond memories of tetherball as a kid - and I don't remember seeing one since then - until now. Odie was in heaven. He loves kids! Yet, we could find plenty of peace and beauty here too. This is a big place. We have apparently left the land of Tulips and entered Iris country.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Internet by Cell Phone

Before leaving Wisconsin, I took one more picture I want you to see. I think this is Trillium - and it brightens up the forest just like beams of sunshine. Traveling isn't always beautiful. Driving thru and around Chicago took forever and our only view was of trucks! And, what is this?!? Some kind of open pit mine. It was on both sides of the highway - I thought we'd wandered onto a movie set of some post-nuclear war reality. Now, we're back in beautiful nature, at Twin Mills Camping Resort in Howe, Indiana. This is a real family camping place and it is filling up for the Memorial day weekend. The Wi-Fi here is only available at the clubhouse and nearby sites. It's a big place and we are quite a ways from the clubhouse, so WiFi is not available. We're surrounded by trees and the satellite dish couldn't lock on to the satellite. So, it's on to 'Plan C' - for cell phone. Luckily, there is some cell phone signal here. Not much - but, with the external antenna, there is enough. We just got new phones, so of course, our Mobile Office Kit for our old phones doesn't work. Jim found a Verizon store about 20 miles away and picked us up a new kit. On our plan, there is no extra charge for using the phones for Internet Access, but you do use minutes. So, nights and weekends is the only time I'm comfortable using it. To read more about using your cell phone for Internet Access, there's a great forum on Yahoo. Hey! If you gotta have Internet on the road, you better have Plan A, Plan B, AND Plan C.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Peace and Quiet

Jim and I can sleep anywhere. It's a good thing because lots of RV parks are right next to highways and railroads - it doesn't seem to bother us. BUT, I have sure noticed a difference in the quality of my sleep the last couple nights. It is SO quiet here. The peacefulness permeates you. It's really pretty too. Here's our morning walk down to Little Elkhart Lake. This looks like such a fun place for families in the summertime. The park has been here 30 years. I'll bet there are kids, who are adults now, with memories of many summers here. And, the nearby town of Plymouth is so quaint and picturesque. We went geocaching again to get us out and about for a couple hours. This is a neighborhood ski slope in the wintertime. We must be getting better at this! We found the geocache in a record 20 minutes! So, we decided to explore the area a little further by car. Just north of the park is a delightful town called Elkhart Lake. Here's the lake - this area is a private beach. The tulips are spectacular. Nature is such an exquisite artist! Enough ... back to work. We gave our WiFi seminar in the evening.

Monday, May 23, 2005

A Record Day

We covered 400 miles, took 8.5 hours (including lunch stop), used $85 of gas and $8.50 in tolls, and traveled in 3 states: Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin. The rolling hills, green fields and pastoral farm scenes were beautiful, but the road was awful! I don't know if Wisconsin is known for bad roads or we were just unlucky in our choice, but I-39 and 43 rattled my brain loose and vibrated my skin off my arm while trying to hang on to the steering wheel. But we made it. It's very quiet and peaceful here at Plymouth Rock Camping Resort in the Wisconsin woods. And, we're doing good work. Jim set up their Internet Cafe which they've been advertising for the Memorial Day weekend.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Greetings from Iowa

We're putting another state on our map this morning! We have 400 miles to go today to be in Plymouth Wisconsin by our promised time. That will be a record for us. Twice as much as normal. We usually consider 200 a full day, a very full day. So, instead of our normal noontime departure we figured on 8am. It's 7:30 now and everyone else is already gone! We found a very nice park right off Interstate 80 in Kellogg, Iowa. $11/night! and attached to the service station with a cafe "Iowa's Best Burger Cafe". It was good! Especially the onion. Here's what Iowa cornfields look like in the springtime! Gotta Go. We will gas up at this station first ... with the 10cent discount for camping here, we'll pay 1.87. That's the lowest we've seen in 8 months. They use Ethanol here ... surprise,surprise!

Saturday, May 21, 2005

We're Baaaaaaaack

Our original plan, after visiting Nebraska, was to head south to Texas. But, as we looked at the calendar and we looked at the map, it started making a lot more sense to visit some of the Coach Connect RV parks that were further north. They are just coming into their season, and would benefit more from our WiFi training and support. SO ... From Nebraska, we're going to Wisconsin, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey and North Carolina, on our way to Florida and scuba diving in July and August. When we headed east on Interstate 80, it didn't take long to go thru 'The Arch' Then, the logical place to stay one night would be Prairie Oasis RV where we stayed a year ago! Cool. A first! The first time we've returned to a place we visited on this trip. Interesting. This park is just at a location that is right in the middle. They say that they have several 'twice-year-friends'! This is the park where I did their website. The hosting account is up for renewal and I hadn't heard from them all year, so it's a perfect time for a visit - I wasn't even sure they were using the website. Come to find out, they've gotten some good attention because of the website - even a banner on the Trailer Life page for Nebraska! Cool. So, here we are. The place is just as pretty as I remember. And now they have WiFi, so we don't have to worry about parking in the trees for our satellite dish. And, yippee - they're still making their own wine, and they gave us a bottle again this year! Thanx to the kindness of new friends, we had a spectacular dinner. Loy (from Holiday Park) gave us a bag of fresh spinach and a recipe before we left. "Saute onions and garlic; throw the spinach in to wilt, add stewed Italian tomatoes and simmer" Yum. We had some fish to complete the meal, but this was the pretty part. Thanx Loy! Then, this morning, Jim worked with David a little on his computer. Showing him a few things about managing his WiFi system and about maintaining his computer. Notice the bottles of homemade wine! You've seen elsewhere that we've 'worked for food' - now, this is the ultimate, "Will Work for Wine"! He gave us a bottle of red too, but he said we had to promise to wait 3 months to open it. Anybody wanna place bets if we make it?

Midwest Hospitality

We sure felt at home during our stay at Holiday Park in North Platte. Nice place, nice people. Family-owned for 35 years! For our last night there, we had a cookout/party with Loy, Richard, John, Vicky and Clayton. RVers are a sociable bunch! John and Vicky own the park, and Loy and Richard work here in the summertime. They work at a Fish and Wildlife park in Georgia for the winter. Here's Richard with his grandson Clayton. And, here's John taking Clayton for a ride. We learned a lot about midwestern hospitality here.