June 8, 2007

Day 3

We left after a line of thunderstorms went through early in the morning. We headed up Hwy. 3, the Great River Road. It was a very interesting and scenic drive. One of the towns we went through was the town of Chester, Illinois. Chester is known as the home of the creator of Popeye. They say that many of the characters in the Popeye stories were created from people in the town. It was a very quaint town with many old buildings.
After passing through town, I spied a strange mailbox at the side of the road. It was on a pulley. The owner of the mailbox evidently didn’t want to have to walk down the hill from the house to get his mail, so he put his mailbox on a pulley and a wire. All he had to do to get his mail was pull the mailbox up the hill, retrieve his mail and send it back down the hill again to be ready for the next day’s delivery. Very ingenious.

Most of this day was spent on the interstate making our way to southern Wisconsin. We decided that tomorrow morning we would make a tour of Frank Lloyd Wright’s home Taliesin near Spring Green, Wisconsin. As a result we had a long drive to make it through the whole state of Illinois. We ended up at Bob’s Riverside Resort on the Wisconsin River. The Wisconsin River is a beautiful smooth flowing river. Sam and I both wished we would have had the time to paddle a section of it. I guess we’ll have to make it back here at some point.

Day 2

We were up early and on the road. After stopping at Cracker Barrel in Batesville, MS for breakfast, we drove up through Memphis and into Arkansas. We had another scare when another 18 wheeler passed us and sent us fish tailing again. That, the high winds and a sign for Hampson Archeological Site, helped us decide that getting off the interstate and seeing the real U.S. was what our adventure was all about so we left I-55 for the back highways.

The museum ended up being closed for lunch. We didn’t feel like waiting around so we admired the huge cypress trees in the park. Who would have ever thought Arkansas would have bigger and prettier cypress trees than Louisiana? A quick peak in the trailer led to the discovery of a major mess. Everything had fallen out of the cabinets in the last fishtailing episode.

We left the interstate again at Cairo, Ill and headed north of Hwy. 3 to follow part of the Great River Road. Not long afterwards we saw a sign for Horseshoe Lake State Conservation Area. After pulling in and talking to the camp hosts, Jack and Peggy, we found a nice, quiet spot on the shore of the lake. This is a place that made Sam and I feel at home. Who would have thought there would be a place in Illinois that would look just like a Louisiana swamp?

The species of birds in this place are numerous. We saw in just a few hours of sitting and talking, bald eagles, white breasted nuthatches, northern flickers, robins, Baltimore orioles, blackbirds, mourning doves, bluebirds, and cuckoos.

The day ended with a beautiful sunset right over the lake.

Day 1 - Before the Departure

I felt like I would never finish. After going through closets, extra rooms and used rooms; after having a garage sale; posting items for sale on the internet and just plain giving stuff away - continually; after at least 2 weeks of intensive going through things and cleaning up – I finally finished emptying my house!

I wish I had a picture of before, during and after but in all the stress and busyness, no pictures were taken. There wasn’t time to think of picture. Many loads of furniture, knick knacks and just plain junk were hauled away! My daughter, Kristin took what she wanted and what she was forced to take by me. There just isn’t much room in a small apartment for all of her mother’s things.

Sam of course, had gotten the job of taking care of his house after its sale months before. Despite him wanting to “help” me, I insisted on doing it myself.

On top of trying to empty the house, I was busy either finding homes for my dogs or getting them to their yearly vet appointments. By the grace of God, fantastic homes were found for all of my dogs. I am very thankful for my friends for giving them a better home than the one I had given them. I am missing them all!

Some of you already know that Bo, my quarter horse gelding died several months back. That left CW, my quarter horse mare, by herself. I had already found a home for the both of them near Mobile, AL. Since CW was lonely by herself, I brought her to her new home in March. Her home was another made in heaven.

We finally left at 2:30 after working all morning trying to get the house finished – emptied and cleaned. Thanks Lisa for helping make this happen. Towards the end, anything left was shoved in bags and crammed where they needed to go.

We discovered after only a few minutes on the road that the trailer handled differently fully loaded than it did when we had taken shorter trips in the past 6 months. This meant that we couldn’t go any faster than 60 mph without fear of fish tailing down the road. We had a scare when the trailer felt like it was going out of control after an 18 wheeler had sped by us. Of course, this knocked things out of all the upper cabinets.

We only made it as far as Durant, MS. where we spent the night at Holmes County State Park. It was a nice quiet spot with the exception of a yappy dog a few campsites away.

Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesen East

As we worked our way up through the beautiful area of Spring Green, Wisconsin there was little doubt as to why Mr Wright returned to this family property to build his summer home. Of all the areas we passed through on the drive up to Duluth, Kim & I agreed that this spot was stunningly beautiful, as seen in this short taken fron the top balcony of the house.

There have been many books written about Mr Wright, and tons of info on the internet. We found it very difficult to try to capture his work in photographs, you really need to visit this key site. It's awesome in today's world of architecture, and unimaginable as to the impact it had on fellow architects and folks back in the forties!

Our introduction to the site began in the Visitor's Center, which is housed in a resturant building that Mr Wright started, but never opened. Thank goodness this work of art was preserved and not torn down, since it never was functional!

As, most of Wright's works, every detail was addressed, from visual delight when approaching, to the vertical drops at th rear of the building...
and of course, the fabulous open interior!

As we gazed out on the scenic panoramic views along the Wisconsin River, we made a pledge to come back and paddle this on a future trip. What an introduction!

The setting also includes many other buildings and houses that Wright design & built for the family. Our tour included the school and his home. The home originally served as the school, but as student numbers grew, Wright created an entire facility for this purpose. Amoung the many features that impressed us were the main meeting center, and the site landmark - the Romeo & Juliet windmill.

Moving to his home, one could not help but feel you were in a fabulous resort! Set within a large hill, it's sprawling low-set multiple roof lines seemed to blend harmoniously into nature.

No photos were allowed within the house, but no amount of pictures can covey the uniqueness of design and striking beauty of Wright's work here. Our tourguide (who actually grew up on the "farm") recomended this book at of the hundred's written on the man and his work. Be careful, it's hard to put down once started!

We also plan to visit his most famous creation, Fallingwater, when in PA. http://www.paconserve.org/fw-building.asp