Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday August 29, 2014-Pine View Campground, Ft. McCoy WI

Today I decided that since we won't be back up in the near future, I should go back down and pick up the rest of the Munzees that I didn't cap on Monday. Stella had just gotten up and didn't want to go out so early, so she fixed me a breakfast of leftover breakfast pizza that was even better the day after than when it was fresh. I capped all day and had a great time. It's fun for me to "people watch" while I am capping Munzees. I can see the puzzlement on people's faces when they see me and I know they wonder what I am doing. I have always been friendly to folks when they ask me and I explain the game to them.

I came home and Stella was making supper, so I laid down on the couch to rest and promptly went to sleep, but after a short nap, I woke and ate another good meal. Ol' Stella takes pretty good care of me!

I want to tell you a bit more about Fort McCoy, where we are staying. The park is on a small part of the Army base, but is separately run. As I have said previously, Michael was stationed here and actually deployed out of this base when he went to Iraq in Operation Desert Storm. When they took us on the tour of the base, they pointed out the actual barracks that Michael was in and Kelly still gets a little teary, remember the bad days when Michael had to go overseas. Again, we appreciate his and all soldiers service.

This base is huge and trains Army reservists from all the surrounding states, but we met some soldiers from El Paso that were here for training. We have grown accustomed to the bugle calls throughout the day and into the night, and of course the sound of gunfire as the trainees learn and familiarize themselves with the weapons they will use. Maybe I'll download reveille and play it for Stella in the morning. And maybe not, I still like her cooking...

So long.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Wednesday August 27, 2014-Pine View Campground, Ft. McCoy WI

We've been taking it easy for the past few days. I went out on Monday to cap some Munzees in the area and did pretty well for awhile. My cell phone service (AT & T) has been very poor here and today I had trouble getting connected with the Munzee network, which slowed me down considerably. As I slowly moved down the highway, going from shopping center to truck stops, the temperature outside kept rising, with high humidity, and I finally was overcome from overheating and gave up for the day. I had plenty of ice water in the truck, and was glad that Stella was with me for moral support and to take over the driving if I started feeling worse, but we made it home and I was fine.

Today we decided to make a drive over to some local tiny towns where some Amish folks live. Stella found this in a visitor booklet that she picked up here at the park.

This is the only picture of an Amish farm on the drive. We were disappointed by the drive because there were some obviously Amish homes, but there also non-Amish homes right next door and frankly, the Amish places weren't all that pretty, like the ones in Ohio and Indiana.

Here is another "find" from the booklet, Down a Country Road. It's a group of small houses that contain locally made crafts and foods. It's a cool place to go and beautiful to see but we didn't buy much there. 

I believe the 1900 on the barn refers to the year it was built. Of course, the front is badly in need of some more paint, but it appears to be legitimate.

This  is cute. What appears to be a series of tiny storage sheds are actually restrooms. The green one is the only one that is open.

Stella took advantage... 

I think the owner missed some sales by not offering coffee in the kitchen shop. I know we would have bought a cuppa.

What a nice place to sit with your coffee. 

We stopped off at the Wal Mart in Tomah to buy supplies for the rest of our time here. We are leaving next week, after the long Labor Day holiday. The dogs were glad when we got home, especially when they saw that we had bought them more food and doggie treats. I guess we're out of the "dog house".

So long.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday August 22, 2014-Pine View Campground, Ft. McCoy WI

We were up at our normal time this morning and Stella had a good plan for preparing breakfast for all of us. She decided to cook and eat outside this morning, even though it was very warm and muggy. I was glad I didn't have to hook up and leave this morning...

Just before 10, Michael called to tell me his battery was dead again, so I went over and in no time at all, he was running and preparing to hook up and come over for breakfast. It wasn't long until they arrived and breakfast was served. Stella did another good job with pancakes and sausage and we all enjoyed our meal. We sat around, chatting and visiting, but about 11:30 they decided they needed to get on the road. They are going back to the Dells to meet with their son Dan and his family for the weekend, and are looking forward to some grandkid times.

We came inside after getting everything picked up and brought inside and took it easy the rest of the day. We will miss Michael and Kelly and sadly, we won't see them again until the Heartland National rally in Goshen in June next year. Of course, we'll stay in touch, but we'll miss our good friends.

So long.

Thursday August 21, 2014-Pine View Campground, Ft. McCoy WI

We didn't do much today, slept in this morning and ate a light breakfast. It has gotten to where I must take Tramp out every morning for a long walk. When I close my computer, even if I only intend to get another cup of coffee or get a drink of water, he is up and ready to go and ends up "guilting" me to take him out. I seldom disappoint him because I like to take morning walks, so it's all good.

Michael and Kelly invited us to go over to Ft. McCoy to go to the commissary to buy groceries. Michael called and said his truck battery was dead again and he needed a jump-start. Of course I went over and we got his truck started but he decided to stay home and do some chores while we went over to the base. 

It's funny how some of the gate guards (they wear Police uniforms but I'm not sure whether they're actual Police Officers, Military Police or base Police Officers) check identification for visitors. In all of our trips onto the base, only one time have we all been asked for an ID. Most of the time, either Michael or Kelly show their military ID and we are all let in. 

We went over to the commissary and did our shopping. I went in and didn't do anything special, since Stella controls all of the shopping. I did fetch a few items for her, just to help out. She said that some things were cheaper and some not, but we bought most of the items that we need for the next few days. When we checked out, I noticed that Kelly showed her military ID, but Stella checked out and paid in cash, but the clerk said they normally don't sell to civilians but she knew we were all together, so she didn't make a big deal of it. 

We took the groceries home and went over to their place for another visit as they are leaving tomorrow. We will see them in the morning because Stella is making a farewell breakfast for them.

So long.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Wednesday August 20, 2014-Pine View Campground, Ft. McCoy WI

We had a couple of laid-back days yesterday and today. Yesterday we stayed home most of the day. Michael's truck battery was dead so I went over and jump-started his truck. We let the truck run for awhile and went over to Ft. McCoy so they could pick up some packages that had been shipped there. We came back home to let the dogs out and went back over for a campfire. We have had several campfires and like some of the other nights, the mosquitoes ran us back inside. 

Today we went to Tunnel City, where Michael wanted to show us the three train tunnels that went through a hill. Unfortunately, a mining company has bought all the property and actually mines and removes the sandy soil to ship out to the fracking operations in the oilfields. As we left, a neighborhood resident stopped us to ask if we needed directions, but we explained what we had found and he told us the road down to the tunnels had been closed for some time. When we left, ironically a train was crossing the road, so we got to see a small part of what we came to see.

We left Tunnel City and drove down to a German restaurant. Michael and Kelly have been by this restaurant and had been wanting to eat there, but when we arrived, the place was closed. Kelly researched it on her phone and found a telephone number but soon learned that the restaurant had closed in June. Bummer! We are two for two today.

We ended up eating at the China Buffet in Tomah. The food was pretty good and the waitress was very attentive. We made a short stop at Wal Mart before we came back home but tonight, instead of mosquitoes, we were bothered by gnats that seemed to swarm all over us. It was our last night for a campfire and Michael burned up all of his firewood. He was tired of carrying it around, so in honor of our last campfire, he burned it up. We had a very nice night, sitting around the fire, chatting. Some of the neighbors came by and visited for a bit and we made plans to have a last breakfast together on Friday morning when they pull out. I envy Michael and Kelly, being able to spend time with their kids and grandkids. Oh well...

So long.

Monday August 18, 2014-Pine View Campground, Ft. McCoy WI

When we left the Army base, we went over to the small town of Sparta where we found a huge field of fiberglass figures of all kinds. We spent some time walking around and looking at the different figures, some pretty complete, some not so much.

I'm not sure what Michael expects to get out of there. I don't think that I would drink it!

Anyone for a boat ride? 

How about a four wheeler ride? 

Looks like a horse graveyard 

Looks kind of like ET. I don't know what to think about that outstretched finger! 

 Golf anyone?

Need a set of elk antlers? 

How about a cute little mouse? I'd hate to see the mousetrap! 

How about an ice cream cone! 

Elvis has left the building... 

THAT much beer would keep someone drunk for awhile! 

I am the champion! 

Is that Bevo, the Texas longhorn? 

More down horses and other assorted "stuff" 

Lots and lots of figures. We didn't talk to anyone here, so we don't know if they sell these or use them as forms to make new ones. 

After our tour of the base, I have a new appreciation for the Army and the men and women that train here. I am also impressed with the amount of arms training that goes on here by the reservists. Michael also took us on a tour of many firing ranges (a 50 mile trip, according to Stella and Kelly) for everything from hand grenades to tanks. Then, back at home, we listen to the sound of machine gun fire, rain or shine and daylight and dark. We are perfectly safe here though and know that the soldiers that train here are ready for action.

So long.

Monday August 18, 2014-Pine View Campground, Ft. McCoy WI

Today Michael and Kelly took us on a guided tour of Ft. McCoy, where Michael has been stationed during his career in the Army. He showed us the main headquarters, many office buildings, mess halls, warehouses, hospitals and barracks where he was assigned while on duty here, including the barracks building that he was in just prior to his deployment to Operation Desert Storm. Thank you for your service Michael.

We had lunch on base, not in a mess hall but in a new, modern building that is also used as a recreation hall. This building is across the street from a small convenience store/gas station, the PX (Post Exchange) and the commissary.

We later went to the well-done museum on base. 

 A standard Chevrolet utility vehicle, like the one that Michael used as his primary vehicle.

 We've all seen vehicles like this on in the movies. 

 The old style Jeep, used by the Army since World War II.

 A light/medium tactical vehicle.

 Construction vehicle that in many cases, are off the shelf vehicles.

 A field laundry unit.  I'll bet the Maytag man doesn't come out to work on this.

 A huge tractor and trailer, I believe, used to transport tanks. It takes a big 'ol truck to pull a 50 ton tank!

 A new, heavily armored Humvee.

 I thought this was interesting, a Combat Engineer tank that is equipped with a blade to move dirt, smash barricades and razor wire and a cute little "snub nosed" cannon. Of course, I don't want to be on the receiving end of the cute little cannon!

 A 155mm howitzer

 The Abrams combat tank

 An 8" Howitzer

 A tracked, armored personnel carrier.

 A mobile anti-aircraft gun

 A UH-1H "Huey helicopter, the primary helicopter in Vietnam.

 A Cobra helicopter gunship, similar to ones still in service.

A little-known fact that Kelly and Stella found. Lt. Louie L'Amour was stationed at Ft. McCoy. I had many of his books.

We went over to Sparta WI to a fiberglass molding company and I will make another posting with some photos of this.

So long.