Sunday, July 24, 2011

Thelma and Louise Part THREE AKA "Buttercup and Daisy"

Our "Semi" Daily pose with each other. Daisy with freaky hair and Buttercup is looking to blend in with flowers! We were off on our adventure from Independence Iowa!

We saw many beautiful barn quilts and many beautiful Iowa farms. I think Iowa is a real all American state.

I even enjoy the very flat parts(well that's actually about all there is).

I actually have no idea how to even pronounce this towns name but looking it up on Google I discovered it's called Methland! Wow, I would never had guessed that at all. It all looks so lovely to me.

This is our destination!!!!! I don't know why anyone leaves this country, we haven't even scratched the surface and when you look up each little town they all have something unique about them!

This was our destination for the day! Well it was our "tour" spot for the day. Burr Oak Iowa was the only place that Laura lived which she never wrote about in her Little House books. They lived here after they left Walnut Grove with a sick baby and many debts. They moved to
Uncle Peter's house in 1876 in Gillford Township MN. While they were there baby Freddie died.

They had promised to go to Burr Oak Iowa to help some people run a hotel in an attempt to get out of debt, so they buried their baby and in deep sorrow they arrived in Burr Oak.

Pa and Ma thought the Hotel was a rough place for little girls to live so they actually lived in 3 different places in the less then two year stay there. But the "Masters Hotel" is the only building that Laura lived in as a child that is still standing and is still in the same place. It would not even be considered a very large house now so it's hard to imagine as a working hotel!

This is the side of the hotel that shows the outside entrance to upstairs.

This was the Hotel before it had been restored!

And this is how beautiful it looks today. We were very pleasantly impressed with both the inside and out.

Their last baby Grace Pearl was born in Burr Oak Iowa. In one of the books I read Laura said that as Mary went blind that it was Grace's beautiful blue eyes that was the last thing she saw.

Laura loved her teacher Mr. Reed, who was a permanent resident of the Hotel. He was a great elocutionist and he taught her well and was much needed it as her life progressed.

This was a display about Spring Valley Minnesota where Almanzo's parents had a beautiful farm. I REALLY wanted to visit there but Buttercup was in a hurry!

This was a display about Almanzo as a child. It's in Malone NY. Buttercup wouldn't go there either cuz she only wanted to be gone 3 weeks.. Something about small children at home or some nonsense :)

When we first got to the Gift shop and entrance the lovely lady "Barb" told us a bus load of kids were coming for an end of the year field trip! So didn't we want to go on our own tour????? uuhhhhhhhh YEAH.....In fact 2 bus loads of kids arrived before we left but they were well behaved. It was still really nice to get our own tour!

This was behind the Hotel. I don't know about you, but I think Buttercup looks very suspicious!

I, of course was just the lovely Auntie posing in front of the bank. It has a notorious history too! Bank Robbers and stuff!

Laura wrote about playing in the old cemetery around the white stones. She and a friend use to go after the cow and bring it home that way. There was also a crazy lady and her crazy son that lived near that would scare them and they would run by her house!

Some of the beautiful white stones in the cemetery she played in. Buttercup had a "Letterbox" to find in the cemetery but, of course, she had the wrong one :) I knew those were not pine trees!

We had a lovely day exploring Burr Oak and we didn't really see it all but it was onward and upward!

Oh yes the Land of Lakes and BUGS.. Gross bugs by the zillions. but we were only passing thru at that point

The wild flowers were just beyond beautiful in late spring in Minnesota, with lots of rivers, streams and lakes and very green from all the rain.

And here is my beautiful Buttercup in her beautiful flowered top matching the beautiful flowers! I love her so much!


And this is was where we were headed!

And who would guess on a Thursday night in Pepin Wisconsin you could not find a room to sleep in!!!!!!! A FISHING TOURNAMENT! Excuse me! We were coming to see where Laura was born!

So back to Minnesota we went and yes you read that right it's where "Grumpy Old Men" was filmed. Not sure why :)

We have a big beautiful country!

But they have really creepy things on the river in Wabasha! A very Catholic state! Which isn't creepy, but this stone or wood or whatever he was priest was creepy! I didn't want to sit on the bench behind him :)

We had a lovely dinner at Slippery's. The lady at the motel we were at had a hard time figuring things out but we did find this great place to eat fish! and a beautiful view!

And this was our final resting place at the Coffee Mill Inn. The lady was hysterical but I don't think she understood how funny she was. When you tell someone your address is Emmett Stone Lane and she starts it off with an "M" you know your in trouble. I think we ended up filing it out! We stayed in better places but worse too! Pretty sure its usually filled with fisherman! BUT they were all in Pepin~

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thelma and Lousie Part Two AKA Buttercup and Daisy :)

Mary Ingalls. Laura's older sister.

OK me and "Butter" slept late cuz we had an exhausting couple of days( not sure what our excuses were the rest of the trip) But we new our next destination and that it would not take very long to get there.

It was The Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, which in Laura's Little House books was referred to as the Blind School in Iowa. They all saved their money and went without many necessities so that sister Mary could attend, after going blind from what was probably encephalitis or meningitis.(although in the books Laura said Measles)

It's in a lovely little town in Northern Iowa called Vinton. The people of the town were very nice. Vinton is located on the Cedar River which had some flooding problems this year.

Another little quirky fact about Vinton is that the Courthouse was featured in the 1996 John Travolta film called "Michael"! along with a few other rural scenes. Since I don't know the movie it doesn't mean much,but I intend to see it now if I can rent it!

This is how the school looked at the time Mary attended, which is not a great deal different from how it looks today.

They have changed the name to The Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School. The "Sight Saving" is because they evaluate children and see if they can be fitted for glasses that can help them and a few other medical procedures.

We did not go in to the School since it is out for the summer. (Probably would not if it had been open) but I think if we had to do it again we would be braver and ask if we could go in and look around. This was our first "official" stop and we were not as sure of ourselves as we got at the weeks went on :) We knew by the internet that there were no "official" tours.

The School was open in 1852. Mary attended between 1881 and 1889 missing one year because of illness or lack of funds. She was never well and suffered facial pain and after completing college she was taken to Chicago to relieve it. She suffered many strokes and eventually died after suffering one when she was in her early 60's.

Contrary to the silly way she was portrayed in the TV show Mary was a very serene serious young woman, who accepted her fate with great courage. Laura always looked up to her. She helped support the family by giving music lessons and making things with beads that she learned at the Iowa Blind school.

She lived with her Mother until her mother's death and then went to sister Carrie's home but suffered several strokes and within a few years of losing her Mother, Mary also passed away.

I loved the pattern and the old bricks that this school was made of. Every view was something to look at, something very pretty. There was some construction going on but you could still vision Mary walking those grounds and around the walk way.

We had our own picnic lunch at the Kiwanis Club park which is right by the school.

He joined us for lunch :)

I have read since returning that there is a chance this school could be closed, along with the School for the Deaf. I hope that doesn't happen.

And after our picnic we were OFF! and we landed in.................... INDEPENDENCE ~

I wonder how many Independence's their are in this country, I know we were in two! Actually I do know, there are 16!

This Independence is one of the coolest little towns we stayed in. The first thing we did was go to a fast food place and in came a young Amish couple with a baby. I had to hang on to Buttercup cuz she WAS going to snatch that baby! She was dressed like you would dress a doll to look like an Amish baby. I think what I loved most was her little black socks and her chubby bare legs under her little blue dress. Unlike the Amish baby in the following picture, OUR baby had a white bonnet on and she had little black ringlets on her forehead. So cute we could not take our eyes off of her! And then they got up and left with her!

The Wapsipinicon River flows thru the heart of Independence. The legend of the River's name is a love story similar to that of Romeo and Juliet. A young Indian brave named Wapsi and an Indian maiden named Pinicon from opposing tribes fell in love. They tried to run away. When they were about to be caught they jumped to their death. "The murmuring river was singing their funeral chant. Without a word, the devoted lovers plunged into the river. Her father arrived to see them struggling in the water, sinking and rising and with one last gasp they sank"

The Wapsinpinicon River and dam.

The Wapsinpinicon Mill is located on the dam. It is celebrating it's 150th anniversary this year. I think the festivities were in a couple of weeks. Seemed like we missed every celebration! Which was really ok, it was very hot!

They make poultry and stock feed. It is on the National Registry of Historical places. There is also a museum there.

Because we stopped early enough we went walking down by the River and to the little park. I really beautiful little park.

The Motel that we stayed at was certainly not the fanciest but you could tell they had at some point tried to make it a lovely place. It still was but needed a little TLC.

We found out later that Independence has one of the largest Conservative Amish groups right outside of town. But we didn't know that so we didn't get to go see them :( Although on our trip we saw several.

There is also an old hospital that opened in 1873 under the name "Iowa Hospital for Insane" and they have tours! I can't believe Buttercup missed THAT opportunity!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Thelma and Lousie take on the Midwest AKA as Daisy & Buttercup

I'm thinking I really need to really back up. In 1949 when I was only 9 years old my Auntie Lou gave me "Little House in the Big Woods" by Laura Ingalls Wilder for Christmas. Now I will be the first to admit that I wasn't then nor now a 'big' reader. I read a little something most days but I'm far from a book worm.

When I was a kid I had way too many things racing thru my head. I don't think I was inside from sun up till sun down. But I fell in love with this little girl named "Laura" and I wished that I could have lived when she did, it sounded like so much fun(at that time). And my grandmother told me about similar stories that she and her mother went thru coming west.

Every year for the next 5 years I got a book from my Auntie Lou in the "Little House" series. THEN I got in my head that I'd rather have clothes then books! So I don't have the complete set of first editions! But I have most of them:)

Then came a long a little niece named Nikki, who's Mother(my sister) bought her a set when she was a little girl and she fell in love with them too. She and I have talked about Laura and the Little Houses for years. Several years ago we decided "someday" we were going to go visit all the places. Now I have been to a couple, one with my husband but it was pouring down rain and the other on the last trip I ever took my Mother on. She just loved it and I nearly had to drag her out of the museum in Missouri.

So this last year we(Nikki & I decided) we really better go if were going. Time marches on and who knows what the future holds. So save and save we did. We opened our own Credit Union Account and by saving all the little extras AND Uncle Brownie renting us a car(I think he thought we were going to wreck his) we made our plans and off we Went!

We had had a very busy couple of weeks, trying to plan this trip, get clothes gathered up, plans made, graduations to attend and stay RESTED! But we made it. And on Memorial Day off me and UB took off for the Airport to meet Buttercup :) And there she was just dragging herself down the airport walk yapping on the phone ~

After some confusion about which car we had rented and for how much we got a great Ford Escape! It was perfect for what we needed. Seats laid down and all our stuff packed in neat as a pin ... and you KNOW it stayed that way:) There also was this little matter of two keys given us that were welded together. We wondered later, just how that would have helped us.

It was hot VERY HOT but we said our goodbyes and headed out of town. Since it was already almost evening we stopped fairly soon cuz Buttercup had not really eaten and she needed her strength since she was going to have to do all the driving :( She didn't mind.

We got to the Ky border about dark and found a nice place to stay in Oak Grove(which isn't easy if you know anything about Oak grove)

Of course as we are unloading to get organized Buttercup notices this strange sweet smell and feel to her cosmetic bag. Someone forgot to screw on the shampoo lid..heheheheh.. Actually it got everything very clean and nothing was TOO badly damaged.

We were RUDELY awakened at 8 ish by a leaf blower! Actually it was earlier then that but I think that was as long as we could stand it. Some poor mother trying to get her baby back to sleep came out and screamed at them and they decided it was a tad early to be doing that in front of a motel!

Here we our, Our very own Self Portrait Buttercup and Daisy. Daisy, you will notice IS dressed for the heat!

We wanted to get a photo of every state we entered but we went whizzing by KY or it was dark, not sure which.

Illinois was very beautiful, what we saw of it but we were not there but I think about 2 hours. This is where we started seeing ROADKILL! Now Roadkill has never been humorous but after 16 days or so of it and trying to spot the most unusual and bizarre things it became hysterical. So we started keeping track of them(or Buttercup did in her blog) We also counted other things besides license plates but we won't go in to that :)

But what we started to see in Kentucky, Illinois and Missouri was TURTLES~! yes you read that right. Remember this was the end of May the first of June and they were just in the recovery stages of the Mississippi River flooding and all the waterways surrounding it. So I'm guessing that the turtles got washed up or perhaps they were running for higher ground! Whichever, they didn't make it :( I think we saw one live one there and a big snapping turtle somewhere else.

And then we approached St. Louis.... ahhhh St. Louis, with the Arch ya know.

I think this is the first picture of the Arch a long with the string of construction that incorporates EVERY town, city, villa, hamlet, etc in the USA!

For some reason Dick(our GPS) could not seem to get the streets right and kept trying to send us back to Illinois~ Now we really liked Illinois but that was not our designation. But no matter HOW many times we punched in Vinton Iowa it would send us back to Illinois! And that was the "Bridge of Contruction!" Finally I looked at a real live map and we escaped!

St. Louis has some cool old cobblestone streets, in parts if the city I'd never visited before!

Ahhhhhhhh yes I think this was one of the final views of the historic Archway to the West that we saw! Somewhere in the bowels of St. Louis :)

The rest of the day was filled with beautiful scenery and roadkill turtles! But we found the most lovely little town that some day I'd like to go back to visit! Hannibal Missouri! Home of Samuel Clemons as a boy and where his "Mark Twain" stories were set.

We had a terrible time finding a motel in that town but we did finally and all was well. Buttercup didn't want to stay near the noise of the interstate so we toured Hannibal several times before we decided on............. you guessed it a motel near the interstate! I am not a Bed and Breakfast person and Buttercup didn't get a say in this so,,,,,,,,,, Good Dinner and off to bed!