Exceeding Expectations

Hello … it’s me!!

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We awake, waiting for a 10:00am call to stage our vehicle for a new air conditioner. The call comes in at 8:45am!

Mom and Dad and I anchored our traditional spot in the Winnebago Customer Service waiting room. I had conversations with a handful of pups. I title this one “Are you installing a partial sine wave inverter or modified sine wave inverter?”

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I title this one “Don’t worry, your transmission problem is covered under your extended warranty.”

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My expectations of the day were thoroughly exceeded. Want an example? One of those outstanding Winnebago Customer Service employees was caught randomly handing out dog treats!

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I know, I know, you’ll say “You don’t need a treat, just look at you!”

Trust me, it would have been rude to turn down such a delicacy, #amirite?

Four hours after turning over our RV, all requisite repairs were completed and we were on the road again at no charge! As Dad said … “this may well be the happiest day of my life, seeing that I’ve never had my expectations exceeded like this before“.

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Mom and Dad were desperate for food that didn’t come out of a vending machine, so they supped at the highest rated Mexican Restaurant in all of Forest City.

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After lunch, Mom wandered around town, checking out the sights.

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I looked for threats … like rusted metals.

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Ok … look at this “concept photo” where you see my reflected magnificence smelling out nearby rusted metals in the city square. Anytime you get two of me in a single image you are exceeding expectations!!

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But the featured event of the day was yet to come. Here’s a hint!

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Yes, Mom and Dad toured the SPAM Museum … the cultural Mecca of Austin, Minnesota, and I got was a lousy SPAM doll that I ripped the stuffing out of.

Soak it in, pups. Soak it in.

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Did you know that SPAM is made, in part, with Potato Starch? #themoreyouknow

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Did you also know that 90% of all SPAM consumed during World War II was consumed by US and Allied Soldiers? Now THAT’S the taste of freedom!

Dad purchased about sixty dollars worth of accessories and a $2.50 mini-canniser of SPAM. We can only dream about the morning he tries to fry that up in the rig.

Later Mom and Dad drove to La Crosse, WI. We progressed down the “Mississippi Mountains” …

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… and largely missed our opportunity to clearly articulate our arrival in Wisconsin.

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Mom and Dad decided to sup at a Supper Club called “Digger’s Sting”. Again, soak it in, pups.

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And that’s the kind of lighting you can enjoy at high noon or closing time.

Remember, the traditional Wisconsin Supper Club Experience (WSCE) requires a drink at the bar before dinner …

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… followed by a meal that costs around $8 and fills three or four plates. By the way, the butter toast was soaked with … wait for it … wait for it … BUTTER! And just in case that wasn’t enough, the establishment offered … wait for it … wait for it … MORE BUTTER!

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After toast and a salad (#frenchdressing), dinner arrived.

Dad:

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Mom:

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#healthyoptionsexceptforthetartarsaucewhichclogsarteriesandcausesstrokes

#portionsizesexceedexpectations

There are +/- 300 Supper Clubs in Wisconsin. We have ten or fifteen days to explore all of them. If we can pull this off, we’ll be exceeding expectations.

P.S.: Posts will be lean over the next few days as our schedule is thoroughly consumed with visits in Southern Wisconsin.

P.P.P.S.:¬† A quiz question for you … if you’ve listened to 8 hours of an 11 hour audio book, are you obligated to listen to the final three hours, or can you abandon the book?

Room Service

Hello. It’s me!

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We woke up this morning, boiling hot. The air conditioner is most certainly NOT working, #amirite?

So I told Mom and Dad to DO SOMETHING about the problem. No more open windows and fans. It’s 95 degrees and the dew point is around 70 and that’s way worse than 105 in Phoenix and we have air conditioning at home.

Dad spent the morning trying to get an appointment at a local Winnebago dealership near Minneapolis. He was rebuffed … with extreme prejudice. In fact, Dad was told that there were no appointments available until August.

August!

Again, I told Dad to DO SOMETHING.

So we drove south … crossing the Iowa border again.

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This time, Dad took my request to DO SOMETHING seriously. He drove us straight to Winnebago Corporate Headquarters in Forest City … to their Customer Service center (aka repair center).

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I took off running to the front door … except Dad told me I was going the wrong way. Oops.

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Inside, many RV veterans awaited service.

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They have a strict “no pups” policy when your rig is being worked on, so I got to sit inside the office building … mingling with fellow owners.

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We arrived at 1:45pm. By 2:15pm, a technician was looking at our air conditioner. By 2:30pm, the rig was in the shop. And at 3:30pm as the shop closed, the problem was diagnosed … coolant leakage.

Tomorrow we will get a new air conditioner (sealed units are replaced in their entirety). By tomorrow night, we should be back in business.

Now THAT’S ROOM SERVICE!

As I always tell Dad, don’t waste your time, go straight to the top.

We’re spending the night on the grounds. Many RV owners (maybe a dozen of us) are doing the same thing.

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I was talking to a couple of corgis in the waiting area earlier today, and it turns out that their Mom recorded a country song with Dolly Parton and they are staying the night as well.

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Turns out even the big stars need their rigs worked-on when on the road.

To me, this is the best example of room service out there. You bring your room right to corporate headquarters, and you get immediate service. Sort of like ordering garlic fries and having them sent to room 606 … except we had to drive our room there. No worries, it’s still the same outcome.

Dad says that (at this time) the experience is so opposite of the typical dealer repair experience that he’s considering driving the rig to Iowa for all subsequent repairs.

The very thought gives me peace. He finally “did something”.

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P.S.: If you want to purchase a Winnebago RV, please review the following flyer … I recommend purchasing a unit with a Man-Sized Shower Room.

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P.P.S.: My friend Ken continues to observe a groundswell of pups in Scotland. Look at this friendly pal.

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P.P.P.S.: West Coast states could go a long way toward improving culinary activities by importing a classic brand. Did you know that this snack is gluten-free? #qualityliveshere

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Blistering

Hello. It’s me!

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It’s the second consecutive day of warm Midwest May weather. Warmer than back home in Arizona … now that’s bonkers crazy, #amirite?

And there’s a hint of humidity in the air.

Our new RV doesn’t seem to like the heat. Painted black, it absorbs heat, lots of it. In fact, the air conditioner was rendered feckless the last two days … as in it isn’t doing anything other than blowing air. Now that might mean there is a problem with the air conditioner (and when isn’t there a problem with an RV), or it might mean that the RV is so poorly insulated that it’s hopeless to cool it. We asked others at our campground today, and they’re feeling comfy with air conditioning, so something is amiss.

We were driving today and we observed this.

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That’s boiling hot!

Same story yesterday, so we had to adjust plans just a bit. Our friends said that we could stay at their lake home and spend some time outside. I decided to mobilize my shapely figure and check the place out.

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Seconds after arriving, Mom and Dad ditched me with two dogs (Gus and Remmie) and they left to go sup at a famous establishment in Mason City, IA.

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This place is nearly 100 years old. They specialize in steaks that are broiled in olive oil and greek seasoning and can be cut with a fork.

Dad enjoyed his first course, complete with FRENCH DRESSING, a pickle, and a hard-boiled egg slice … now you know you’re living the High Life!

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Mom ordered the Filet – notice the oil and greek seasonings that soak the tempting steak …

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For Dad, it was a standard ribeye … again, notice the oil and seasonings … that’s the secret to the whole shootin’ match.

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Two hours later, Mom and Dad rescued me from my internment with Gus and Remmie. Gus and Remmie headed to the water.

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I tried to get down to the water, but the steps were too steep.

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I think I missed out on some of the fun.

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And, they caught a fish or two!

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After a hot night in an 80 degree rig (remember, air conditioning issues), it was north to Minneapolis. We traversed I-35, soaking in the Northern Iowa landscape.

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We crossed the border … Minnesota!

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While Minnesota may welcome you, they tether their war planes to the ground … safety first.

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We decided to spend a night at a KOA outside of Minneapolis. We decided to perform a test, trying to get the RV air conditioner to cool. At 4:15pm, it was 100 degrees outside and 92 degrees inside … the test wasn’t really working, and Dad was “corked off”. He threatened to take us to a hotel for the evening.

That’s when the storm blew in.

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That’s a rain-soaked picture of a big branch that crashed in the site next to us.

Now, I promise you, this is worth your time … visit my website (https://dashthedachshund.com/) and watch this ten second video as the storm blew through (and saturated Dad’s bed because he was pig-headed and refused to close the window because he was enjoying the storm so much).

That’s some good stuff!

The temperature dropped from 100 to 80 and inside the rig the temperature dropped from 92 to 73. And the air conditioner feels cool. We’re staying the night!!

P.S.: Kudos to long-time reader Ken for sending us this image of a likely cousin of mine from Scotland.

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P.P.S.:¬† I’m guessing this pup never once experienced the kind of blistering heat I’ve experienced!!!

 

Where It Began

Hello! It’s me!

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Mom and Dad showed me where it all began today. Thirty years ago, they were married. A day later, they formally moved to Iowa. Today we entered Iowa.

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They showed me a lake where there was a park, and at that park Dad enjoyed a can or two of Milwaukee’s Best beer.

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We saw Dad’s first place of employment.

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We saw where Dad ate when he was first employed … can you all say GIANT TENDERLOIN???

 

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Mom and Dad even showed me the first condo they lived in.

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We spent hours driving around Iowa State University – looking at the renovated football stadium among other things.

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Some things on campus changed (most). Some didn’t.

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All of this activity made Mom & Dad experience¬†hunger … so they supped at a Midwestern Favorite.

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I sensed Mom & Dad had mixed feelings about coming back here … loving the place where it all started and stunned by the fact that the trees were all huge and the businesses they enjoyed were mostly closed. Progress never relents. Except for HyVee groceries. They’re a constant.

Late in the day, we were blessed by a thunderstorm that yielded a rainbow … the rainbow connected their beginning to their pot of gold (me).

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P.S.: Postings will be lean over the next few days as we enjoy time with friends!

P.P.S.: We’re doing laundry tonight. Not everything is as glamorous as it could be.

P.P.P.S.: What has your favorite part of our trip been so far?

 

George Washington Carver … A Man Seemingly Dissimilar To My Own Dad

Hello. It’s me!!

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We finished the night less than twenty miles from the Iowa / Missouri border. Only in America can you begin a day in the south (Oklahoma) and essentially end up just south of Des Moines …. and not be stir crazy from driving all day.

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset at our campsite.

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In the hour prior to our arrival, Mom projected sounds not unlike an enthusiastic school boy/girl when we passed this sign:

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Mom says that “Hamilton” (not the Broadway Musical) is important in her world, and that some readers will understand the meaning of Hamilton, Missouri. She told me, and this is breaking news pups, that we can expect an extended visit to Hamilton next month. I have no idea what she’s talking about, but she sure sounded fired up about it, so we’ve got that to look forward to.

Missouri is a pretty state … rolling hills and leafy greens and bug-splattered windshields.

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At one point, terror crawled up and down my spine as we passed a semi-trailer-full-of rusted metals.

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Our plan today was a simple plan – get close to Iowa and visit the George Washington Carver National Monument.

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Mr. Carver was a renowned Botanist, crafty Inventor, and all-around Christian Gentleman … all difficult as he was born a slave in 1864 and was raised by his slave owners after he and his Mom were essentially kidnapped and Mom died and there was no Dad to speak of.

I couldn’t help but compare/contrast Mr. Carver to my own Dad. There are similarities, and there sure are differences.

Dad eats peanut butter. Mr. Carver creates peanut butter.

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Dad sits idly while Mom assembles greeting cards. Mr. Carver invented his own greeting cards.

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Dad once saw a cardinal. Mr. Carver had Eight Cardinal Virtues.

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Dad prays that the RV won’t break down. Mr. Carver had a holistic approach to prayer.

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Dad feels persecuted when the freshwater hose on the RV doesn’t connect properly. Mr. Carver was actually persecuted (and his white father was once hung from his thumbs).

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Dad likes getting paid for business achievement. Mr. Carver was a role model for achievement.

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Dad likes to measure things analytically. Mr. Carver measures success.

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I think you get the picture now.

Mom and Dad took me for a nature walk and only had to carry me part of the way. At one point, I enjoyed a moment of quiet contemplation until a six-year-old informed me that there was a bullfrog in the lake.

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It was a stunning two-hour display of how one might live through adversity with grace, inventiveness, and inquisitiveness.

Mr. Carver earned a degree from Iowa State University … home of the Cyclones … the first African-American Man to do so. That’s where Mom earned a degree as well. Tomorrow we’ll arrive in Ames, home of Iowa State University. Dad enjoyed his first job out of college … just south of Ames. It should be a fun and special day, as Mom and Dad get to revisit the place where their marriage started, decades and decades ago. And I will bear witness to it all.

P.S.: Since both of us (Mr. Carver and I) were purchased for the same amount (or at least Mr. Carver’s Mom was purchased for that amount), I feel a bit of kinship toward the individual.

Opposite Ends of the Spectrum

Hello … it’s me!

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Some days are fun … some days you sit in the RV.

Today, I generally sat in the RV.

Not acceptable.

But I understood what Mom & Dad were trying to accomplish.

We wheeled into OKC, full of anticipation.

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But the mood changed – quickly, as Mom & Dad exited the RV, turned the generator on, and then visited a solemn site.

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This is the place that was bombed in April of 1995 (I was born two decades later). For the next two hours, Mom and Dad learned about the lives of those who lost their lives that day.

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Yes, even little tots were in the building, at daycare. Barbaric, #amirite?

Wanna know something?

Pups played a critical role in the rescue operation.

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Look at this pup … it could have been me had I been born sooner and been a different breed and been highly obedient and responsive to commands and not so interested in eating food or rawhide crunchables.

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We were NEEDED, weren’t we?

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Each of the chairs below represent a life lost, and the rows represent the floor where the person was at the time of the bombing. There’s a lot of chairs there. FYI, the chairs are on the former site of the building that was bombed.

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I’m glad I wasn’t there, but I would have gladly served if I were alive at the time and were asked. I’d have sat next to people who needed support. I’m good at that.

Next, we bolted to Northeast Oklahoma. Oklahoma is a pretty state.

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I’ve learned that Oklahoma and Texas are the land of large crosses.

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Then we wheel up to a small town in Northeast Oklahoma, and for some reason Dad was kind of excited. The town is known as “Pawhuska”. Dad got particularly excited when we passed this …

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Dad said he was going to eat at the Mercantile owned by The Pioneer Woman.

I said, “the whaaaaaa?”

Dad took me to Wikipedia (click here).

I said “whaaaaaaa?”

Dad asked me to walk the grounds near the Mercantile … and I thought to myself, “whaaaaaaaaa”.

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I mean, if I owned 433,000 acres in Oklahoma (676 square miles … 25 miles long by 25 miles wide), I could own a Mercantile as well.

Then Mom showed me her appetizer.

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Dad brought me back some of his grilled cheese … mmmmmmm!

Maybe there is something to this “Pioneer Woman”.

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Later in the evening, I got to lick the cream off of a cream-filled chocolate cupcake purchased at the Mercantile. Ohhhh boy!

We experienced opposite ends of the spectrum today. On the one hand, Mom and Dad saw the worst that people can do to each other (and to pups as well). But here’s the thing … look at this tree.

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This tree survived the bombing … sure, it lost about 10,000 leaves, but it rallied, it persisted. That’s the lesson I take away when bad things happen (like when the door slammed and ejected me out into the yard, crushing my hip in the process … I rallied … I persisted).

On the other hand, on the other end of the spectrum, we entered a rural town this afternoon, one that was being built up and supported by a local family.

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The local family uses love … and butter … lots and lots of butter … to help the community.

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As a result, the downtown core of Pawhuska was thriving, with many tourists looking to spend their time and money on Caesar Salad with Chipotle-infused dressing.

I’d rather use my time to support those I care about … like I’m doing right now as we speak.

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We’re getting dangerously close to our June destination … in a couple of days we’ll be firmly entrenched in the Midwest and ready to meet friends and family.

 

 

 

 

 

Oddities

Hello … it’s me!

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Today was a day of oddities. Maybe that is what is supposed to happen when you cannonball across two states and the Republic of Texas.

Take this, for instance … ONIONS!!

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The day started off on a bad note … Dad popped his groin (again) adding DEF (diesel exhaust fluid), spraying the rig with a white coating of urea and de-ionized water. Seconds later we were leaving our campground and I was shook to my core by this:

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That’s a whole fenced-in area of RUSTED METALS. Zooterkins!

Seconds later, I found refuge, and we launched into our day of oddities.

 

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We drove and drove and drove. And we saw a lot of crazy stuff. I mean, what kind of fopdoodle could be enticed into this?

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Speaking of fopdoodles …

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Now, I don’t want to be some sort of smellfungus (click here), but what kind of kid is going to eat this?

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Especially when they keep advertising this?

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We elected to stop in Tucumcari and sup on a picnic lunch. Tucumcari was a town largely abandoned by modern civilization, the kind of town that flyover folks will never see and too few politicians care to truly help.

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I demanded a seat at the table.

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As mentioned earlier, we next passed through two states and the Republic of Texas.

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I thought we’d get to Oklahoma sooner, #amirite?

The winds sent us east at a blistering pace …

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Speaking of oddities, we saw this ten-story-tall symbol of our salvation … maybe the guy who ate the 72oz steak needs it more than we do.

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After $120 of diesel we landed at our destination … a KOA (Kampgrounds of America) near Elk City. Oh this place had it all … thorns and other assorted nasties in the grass that Mom had to spend a half-hour cutting out of my fur … and the opportunity to violate key rules.

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The sun began to set on our odd day.

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The staff at the KOA were kind enough to bake us a pizza pie for dinner (nominal fee required), so I offered to pose for an ad campaign of theirs for free.

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It was an odd day. I experienced many moods … and I will now demonstrate those moods for you.

Tomorrow we arrive in OKC, about half-way to Wisconsin and more than half-way to our first big stop in the Great State of Iowa. There’s nothing odd about looking forward to our arrival in Iowa, FYI.