Monday, November 29, 2010

Oops. Technical Difficulties

Apparently I posted my Happy Thanksgiving post twice. Sorry about that. We are having a nice time at Mr. Trucker's parents' place.

Our truck, parked for the interim. This is where the adventure
began, two months ago. 

This is part of my Mother-in-law's bird feeding
station. It sure is pretty with all the snow.

Mr. Trucker did a little relaxing...

Mr. Trucker, nephew Ben, and Jingles, the dog
indulged in a little risky behavior...

Living on the edge. The lake BARELY has a crust of ice at
its borders. Fortunately, it was only about a foot deep there.

And otherwise enjoying family...

That's nephew Ben, on the left, and Father-in-law, Jerry
on the right, with a mouse pad we picked up at the
Ben & Jerry's factory tour in Vermont.

BTW, do you ever check out the links on the right side of my blog page? You should! The first two are blogs I've followed and enjoy very much. Crazy Aunt Purl can always be counted on to make me laugh. And the Pioneer Woman has a top-notch website with all kinds of fascinating commentary, tips and recipes, and fabulous photography. Roth Shirt Co is my brother, Ed's Tshirt company, and well worth a look. The Adventures of Anthyllide is written by the son and daughter-in-law of some neighbors of Mr. Trucker's parents. This young couple is REALLY living the dream, sailing around the world and living on their boat. The final link (so far) was suggested to me by my dental hygienist, Nancy, when I had my teeth cleaned last week in Green Bay. The blog author of Florida Backroads is Nancy's brother, Mike, and it is also a very well written and fascinating blog.  Anyway, check out one or more of these links when you have time.

Well, we'll be back on the road in another 24-48 hours or so, and then I'll resume regular posts.  See ya!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving! On hiatus.

Hello Dear Readers:

Do not worry if you do not hear from me much this week. Mr. Trucker and I arrived at our "home" (his parents place) on Tuesday at noon and have been busy catching up with family and loved ones. It is very cold here, considering that we travelled from 62 degrees in Illinois and Indiana on Monday to snow and now 8 degrees with very cold wind-chill in northern Wisconsin.

Our truck needs a good cleaning, but it is tempting to hibernate inside my in-laws cozy house instead. We DID drive our CAR from here to Green Bay on Wednesday for a full day of doctor, dentist and eye doctor appointments, not to mention hair cuts, and to pick up Sassy at the bus station, where she would be arriving from Minneapolis. Her bus was over two and a half hours late, due to worsening road conditions, and then we still had a harrowing three hour drive back north on really bad roads. But it has been good seeing family.

Hope you also had a nice Turkey Day with YOUR loved ones and that you have the good sense to stay out of the store early this morning!

You will hear from me again once we are back out on the road, probably next Tuesday or Wednesday!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Our Weekend Excursion

It is 4:30 a.m. Monday morning, and we are already at the dock at Jewel Osco in Melrose Place Park, IL. We are SUPPOSED to be going home today. It is 62 degrees and I don't think it got much colder than that in the night. Last night we walked a good 2-3 miles and did a little Christmas shopping, and I was amazed by how warm it is here for November 21-22. I DO think it will be colder in northern Wisconsin when we get home, but that's okay!

On Saturday we were tooling along down I-55 in south central Illinois when Mr. Trucker was suddenly overcome with an episode of what we can only figure was food poisoning. He suddenly felt the necessity of being stopped, somewhere with a bathroom. How fortunate that we happened to be passing a roadside oddity that I briefly mentioned in these pages before

Remember THIS guy?
We always see this place from the highway and I try desperately to get pictures of the oddities outside, usually failing miserably. But THIS time we had researched it on the internet, and knew a bit about it, including how to get there...

We're gonna get our kicks...
This is more than just a roadside oddity, it's an actual Antique store that takes up an entire (more or less) former High School. It's apparently called "The Pink Elephant", although the only reason I know this is because inside there is a motion-activated tape recording that plays, everytime you pass it, and it says "Welcome to the Pink Elephant. We have antiques upstairs, downstairs, and on the stage..." And they DO! Mr. Trucker wasn't able to fully appreciate the enormity of the place and all it contained because he was about ready to pass out and fall over from stomach cramps and dizziness. He didn't want to leave until his ill feelings had passed, so we were there quite awhile.

This setup made me think of you, Aunt Jenny,
although I don't think you even have the internet to see it

Old cameras, including a Brownie (remember those?)
There were some very nicely set up displays

Very visually appealing
And there were some things that just made me scratch my head and go "seriously?"

Elvis I can understand, but Vinnie Barbarino as an antique?
I mean John Travolta is still alive, for crying out loud!


People COLLECT Strawberry Shortcake? Why?
 Here's a shot Mr. Trucker wanted me to take for his Dad, Mr. Mechanically and Electrically Inclined

Dad D, I think you would have liked this place
It looked like your basement, only on a larger scale!
And Rick S, you will be gratified to know that the phone you have at your pottery shop may be worth some money. Although you might have to soak it for a week or two to get all the clay off it

Rotary dial telephones. I remember these distinctly, although
our kids would probably go "huh?"
For some reason that I can't explain (because I generally hate antique stores), I was fascinated with these little guys

Maybe I had one of these in a FORMER life...

Or perhaps they strike some cord of remembrance from childhood?

I sensed a definite ice cream theme to this place

The antique on the far right is not for sale...oh wait! That's
the guy who works there. Oops. My bad!

In the summer months, this place is open for business
But all in all, it's the stuff outside that really makes the place...

I guess this is why it's called "The Pink Elephant", rather than
"The Spaceship", or "The big guy in the blue swim trunks"

Betcha didn't know there were really FOUR Stooges!

Take me to your leader

According to the "Roadside America" website, this guy was
featured in the movie "Flatliner", which I'm embarrassed to say
I own. I'll have to watch it again now, more closely
So if you're ever near Livingston, Illinois, you can check it out for yourself...or just marvel as you drive by.

Today's Silly Sounding Place Name is actually a Silly Looking Place Name, because I don't know how it's even pronounced:

NOT Mt. Olive, the OTHER one!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I see London, I see France...

The other day we passed through London, OH. Such a cute little town. They even had a store downtown called "Piccadillies". And just for Mr. Trucker's B&B buddies, there was a barbershop called Mug & Brush. Unfortunately, we didn't get a picture of it. But I did get some shots of some architecture

Some governmenty looking building in London, OH

London, OH

London, OH
Also, somewhere in Ohio, we saw THIS billboard

Clever. This was for some hospital's Emergency Room

Our delivery was in Delaware, OH and we drove through some pretty backwoodsy areas. These people raise ducks, chickens and even pea hens

I'd like to raise some chickens when we settle back down someday
Mr. Trucker says his father also wants to raise some Banty hens
so Mr. Trucker's mother better get prepared!
In the morning, I saw a sign for Alum Creek, just outside of Columbus and kept thinking: "why does that sound familiar?". Then I remembered, my late sister's ashes are scattered at the Alum Creek sailing club, where she had been a member and spent many a happy hour. I got pretty teary remembering Marcia. We left Ohio behind for Indiana

Bye bye, Ohio
and the World's Largest Fireworks Store

Shelton World's Largest Fireworks Store
Now wait a minute, isn't the World's Largest Fireworks Store in Illinois? And in Iowa? And Michigan? And New Jersey...I think every state lays claim to this. In fact, I think every fireworks store of ANY size lays claim to this. There oughtta be a law...

Our next stop was in Indianapolis

downtown Indianapolis
On trying to leave Indy, Mr. Trucker took a wrong turn and we ended up way too close to the downtown and some very dicey turns

I wonder if Emeril attended here

downtown Indy. I don't think we can drive down that street

Actually saw a helicopter land here

Cute shop that appeared to have lots of eye candy

In case you were wondering...they're open
I love the way this following shot turned out...

There's still some fall color to be had from time to time
When we got to Chicago, it was night, and then we got caught in dead-stopped traffic right in the heart of downtown. I wish my camera took better nighttime shots

Sears tower at night. Only, apparently it isn't called
the Sears tower anymore

Does ANYBODY know what this building is?
We've been trying to figure it out
I forgot to report that a few days prior to this, we had gone from Oconomowoc, WI, down THROUGH Chicago to get to Ohio, and we passed through the downtown at noon and we all know what THAT means

Well, BESIDES panhandlers, that is...
Actually, this poor guy looked like he was really just down on
his luck, and not a professional panhandler, so we gave
him some money

That's right, dear readers. We scored us some
Jim's Original for lunch

Mr. Trucker LIKES the hot peppers they always include

I tried the "pork chop (with bone) on a bun" this time.
It was not worth the hassle of eating it.
Anyway, back to our nighttime journey through Chicago. Traffic sure can get backed up there from one small accident. This set us back so badly that we knew we weren't going to make it to the Lake Forest Oasis, which is where we had planned on spending the night. With three minutes left on his 14 hour clock, Mr. Trucker took a big chance and exited the highway, heading for a Shell station sign. There was not room for trucks at the Shell station, but what we DID find, right under the overpass, was a large, empty parking lot of a building that said "Auditorium" on it, but didn't appear to be in use that night. We pulled as far to the back and edge as possible, pulled the curtains, prayed that a policeman didn't come knocking, and went to sleep. After our eight hour break, we pulled out of that parking lot, just as a police car was pulling in. He may not have even been there because of us, but what a save! We didn't even know where we were till after we got back on 94 and saw a sign that said "Skokie". There's really no place for a truck to stop in the area of the traffic jam, and those Oases that you see over 94 are about your only option, except that we ran out of time and Mr. Trucker didn't want to get his first ever violation. 

We made it to Wisconsin early for our next two deliveries. While there, we saw this lovely vehicle

The owner was pretty proud to have me take his picture
The rims rotate when the car is stopped
Here's one of our silly Wisconsin names

That's right. Say it with me...Wauwatosa
Because of not being able to shower every day and my hair getting longer and thicker on top, it has become necessary for me to wear a hat on my non-shower days, or risk being laughed at. The green beret I knitted has stretched badly and doesn't look that great. I have become enamored of slouchy hats for some reason, and have been searching for patterns on the internet. The other day I crocheted one

I cellphoned a picture to Sassy and she said I looked gangsta!
Mr. Trucker must not have liked it much, because he encouraged me to look at the half price hats at a Cracker Barrel the other day. I ended up with this one, and I'm so glad I did

I actually really like the way this looks on me,
and that's saying something!
In fact, last night, at a WalMart in Beloit, WI, I was waiting by the cash registers for Mr. Trucker to get done picking out his Ben & Jerry's flavor and a woman walked by, a total stranger, and complimented me on my hat. When Mr. Trucker finally found me, I asked him if he had put her up to it, but he hadn't.

Before buying the Ben & Jerry's, we walked around quite a bit in Beloit, trying to decide where to eat dinner. Sometimes we can be so indecisive! We almost ended up at the Road Dawg, they had a very popular all-you-can-eat buffet, one of those with the crab legs. I hate those places. As always, it was packed with people who were gorging themselves on crab legs. Entire families, with the kids ploughing their way through huge plates heaped with crab legs and other plates heaped with the shells. There is just something very wrong about that whole thing. Mr. Trucker and I don't like buffets because we never feel like we eat as much food as we paid for and therefore are subsidizing all the people who eat way more than their share...

Our frugality kicked in at the last second and we ended up at Subway, splitting a $5.00 footlong meatball sub. It felt good to be in Wisconsin for a day or two, we were so close to home, we could almost touch it. And we are supposed to be going home for our first home time in two months either tomorrow or Monday. We thought maybe our dispatches would keep us in WI until then, but no...we are now on our way to southern Illinois (nearly to St. Louis) to drop off and then pick up a load that we will sit on until 5:00 a.m. Monday, when we deliver it in Melrose Place Park, Illinois. Then hopefully, the dispatcher won't keep us waiting on pins and needles for the load that will take us home, for a week!!!

Today's Silly Sounding Place Name (from our own dear state): Mukwonago, Wisconsin!