Saturday, Oct 11, 2014 – Safely Home Again

I loved the outline of my car and trailer with the frost still on the grass.

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I left the RV park about 9:30am to drive the one mile into Amana.  I stopped at the Lily Pond to take some pictures of ducks.  It was a very peaceful sight.

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Here are some photos along the streets of Amana.

 

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I left Amana about noon and continued towards home.  Below is another peaceful sight of rolling Iowa cornfields and a farmer harvesting his crop.

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I arrived home about 7:30pm or so.  I got to watch the sun set in the last part of my drive.  I thought that was very appropriate, the sun setting as I finish out my 15 day trip.  I drove 2788 miles over the 15 days.  I was towing the trailer all but about 400 miles.

I added the three states I stayed in to my map. That makes 24 states so far in the past 28 months.  Friday night was my 140th night I have slept in the EggCamper.   I think I have towed the trailer about 18,500 miles during that time.  I have driven more miles than that on the trips but I am trying to keep track of the number of miles towing as well.

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Thanks for following along!  I will be winterizing the EggCamper and won’t be taking any more trips until next year.  I will enjoy traveling from my recliner as I research for next year’s trips.

#140 – Friday, Oct 10, 2014 – Moving on down the road

Happy Birthday Mom!

I left Wisconsin Dells this morning about 11:00am.  Most of the day was sunny and it was a nice drive.  I stopped at a couple of thrift stores along the way.

I stopped at a scenic overlook and saw this…

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It is the House on the Rock….I talked to some people that had just come from there and were very impressed.

So I drove on down the road and paid $28.50 to visit a house on a rock.

The surprise to me was that most of the self-guided tour is to see the collections.  The house itself is not very large.  The house was opened to the public in 1960 and the owner spent many years acquiring collections of stuff.  The tour is supposed to take 3 hours.  Well this was an unplanned stop so I did the speed version and did it in 90 minutes.  It is a lot of walking.  You kind of feel like a lab rat as you just wander up and down hallways viewing things.

You can read about the house at

Click to access 2014_Brochure.pdf

You can see photos at

http://thehouseontherock.com/HOTR_Attraction_PhotoGalleryShow.htm

Absolutely the most magnificent of all is the carousel.  It is indescribable…it has 269 animals (none of them horses) and 182 chandeliers.  They claim it is the worlds largest carousel and that it is worth almost $5 million dollars.

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I left there about 3:30pm.  Just as I was leaving a lady ran up to me.  I had met this lady and her husband in the RV park at Munising last week and then we both were at Tahquamenon Park and what are the odds that a week later we would run into each other again.

I arrived at the Amana Colonies RV park about 6:15pm.  I went one mile south to the Colonies to find something to eat.  I chose the Ox Yoke Inn.  I had Chicken Schnitzel and Spatzle noodles.  They were both okay.  I would probably order something else if I ate there again.  The service wasn’t that great.

 

Thursday, Oct 9, 2014 – Shopping & a movie

I went over to the Tanger Outlets and hit a few stores.  This outlet mall is different from any other I have seen.  It is an outdoor mall with a roof over it, so you still feel the outside weather temperature as you move from store to store but you are under a roof.

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I had some lunch and went to a movie – “Gone Girl”.  It was good but not exactly a happy movie.

So I wanted to come to the Wisconsin Dells because I had always heard it compared to Branson, MO.  I have visited Branson probably 35 times in my life.  So here are my observations.

The Dells is very much a family destination.  There are numerous indoor and outdoor waterparks here.  The two major ones are Noah’s Ark and Mt. Olympus.  Noah’s Ark has 44 waterslides plus much more.  Mt. Olympus has 51 waterslides plus more.

There is every motel brand represented here along with numerous independent motels and then the Mt. Olympus has 1500 rooms.  Mt. Olympus has obviously over the years purchased small independent motels across the area.  All over town are one and two story motel units painted the signature Mt. Olympus colors with signs stating which building number of Mt. Olympus they are.  According to the website, Mt Olympus has many options for families to stay such as rooms with 3 queen beds and bunk beds as well.  I will say all of the independent motel units around town look very well kept from the street anyway.  There are 17 campgrounds as well.

There is every fast food and casual dining option available here along with many independent restaurants.  There are a lot of entertainment options for children….mini-golf, arcades, go-karts, zip-lines and on and on.  What is missing is the entertainment options outside of waterparks for adults.  There are two options I would have seen if I had come during the summer when they are option…a famous water-ski show and a lumberjack show.  Also a huge difference from Branson is the shopping options.  In the Dells area, you have the Tanger Outlets (mostly high-end brands), a Wal-Mart and a Kohl’s along with the normal tourist t-shirt shops and that is it.

Another big difference is the entire Dells tourist area is four lane versus the two lane option for a big part of Branson.

An interesting difference is also the lack of public hotel and dining prices.  In Branson, almost every motel and restaurant you pass has a sign of some variety advertising, 2 night stay for $99, 2 people for 1 night $60, $9.99 buffet, all you can eat pizza $6.99 and so on and so on.  Here you see absolutely none of that.  I read that the tourist council or chamber does not allow it.  You see things like…2 night Fall Special, World’s Best Chicken, Pizza Buffet….any thing they can advertise to entice you without an actual price.  Even McDonald’s does not advertise prices.

I have found customer service here in the Dells to be much better than it was in Door County.  In Door County, you felt like they were just meeting your needs and that was it.  It was the exception if someone actually greeted you, smiled at you or went beyond just completing your transaction.

So, after all that, my observation would be that if you have children that love waterparks then this is definitely the place to come.  If you are visiting someplace without children and don’t want to visit waterparks then you would be happier choosing Branson, where you can attend shows and have considerably more shopping options.

Wednesday, Oct 8, 2014 – Exploring Wisconsin Dells

 

It was sunny and breezy here today, in the low 60’s.  Well I spent money again today to look at rocks.   I will say that this cruise was cheaper and I enjoyed it more.  The one I took last week was $36, the one I took today was $21.

I took the Upper Dells Boat Tour on the Wisconsin River.  It was a nice ride and you got off at two stops to walk scenic areas.

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We saw a couple of bald eagles, one in flight and one on the beach.  It was several yards away and I was on the wrong side of the boat so this photo is the best I could get even with my zoom lens.

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Here are some photos from the first stop.

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Here are some photos from the second stop.  There was a long involved story about a famous photographer in 1888 that invented stop action photography and a photo that was taken of his son jumping from one rock to the other.  Anyway, today they have a dog perform the jump.

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After the cruise I walked up one side and down the other of the downtown area.  There are three fudge shops within a three block area.  T-shirt shops, restaurants, bars, etc.  I am here at the end of the tourist season and many of the shops have already closed for the season or are only open on weekends.  I also see a lot of painting and carpentry happening at businesses apparently to get everything ready for next spring.

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Here are some photos I took while I drove around.

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I had lunch at a place called “Hot Dog Avenue”…guess what they specialize in….Judy they were very creative with their trash cans…I think you could do this

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And finally a photo at the end of the day

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Tuesday, Oct 7, 2014 – Moving On to the Wisconsin Dells

I left Egg Harbor at 10:00am this morning.  Over the weekend the campground had quite a few trailers.  On Sunday most of the trailers left and by today I was the only one left in my section.

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I made a few stops along the drive.  The sun shone on my trip most of the day and it was in the low 60’s most of the day.

In my research I had read about the “West of the Lake” Gardens in Manitowoc, WI.  They were a small garden right on the side of the highway and bordered on the other side by Lake Michigan.  It was very small.  They only has 16 parking spaces.  They did not have anything exotic but it was a lovely 20 minute break and you feel like you are at the ocean with the waves of Lake Michigan crashing in the background while you are looking at the flowers.

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I continued on and drove by a lot of cornfields, some dairy farms and a wind farm. I arrived at Wisconsin Dells, WI KOA at 5:00pm.  I unhitched and drove around awhile and then stopped for some dinner and then back to the trailer to watch TV.  I have cable here, the first time since I left home.