Day 31

Hello! It’s me.

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Yes, that’s me, leading Ranger Programs for the Federal Government. No benefits, it’s a volunteer position, but whatevs, I’m not in it for the money.

We started our day in Western Kansas. Uphill. Lacking contour. Oil being drilled.

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We ended the day in the Rockies west of Colorado Springs. Rugged. Abundant contour. No oil being drilled. Get in the zone!

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Oh, I got in the zone, given that we traveled just shy of 465 miles today.

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From time to time, storms threatened, but they didn’t interfere with our day.

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Earlier today, Mom visited Nicodemus.

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This was a place where African-Americans were promised a Kansas community after being freed from slavery. Of course, they were “overpromised” resources, resulting in great hardship and frustration. The town swelled in the 1870s, then began a slow decline thereafter. Fewer than three dozen hardy souls are left – though the community gave us former Green Bay Packer player Veryl Switzer.

The visit was followed by more than 350 miles of virtually unimpeded travel across desolate terrain that would have shocked even the residents of Nicodemus.

Finally, we approached something interesting.

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I was so excited to get out of the RV … I finally had my chance to soak in the local environment.

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We approached the front door … it was at this point in the story where my efforts to enter the establishment were rebuffed … with extreme prejudice.

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I was forced to sit in the RV while Mom and Dad toured fossilized redwood trees.

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Apparently the fossils had been previously ravaged by tourists and other “unscrupables” … go figure that people might behave unethically. Fortunately, unethical behavior has been largely eradicated from modern society. You won’t see me behave unethically.

We’re just 13 hours from home now, and the siren call of our own homestead grows louder. We still have a couple of National Parks we plan on visiting. After that, we’ll be within six hours of home, and the close distance will be very hard to resist. We just completed Day 31 of our trip. That’s a full month for those of you keeping score in the studio audience. I can count the remaining days of our trip on one paw. Soon I’ll firmly resent 110 degree heat. Until then, I’m soaking in every moment I can, like the moment earlier today when I rolled my back over deer poo. That’s the magic of “Day 31”! That, and Ranger Programs.

Sunflower State of Mind

Hello! It’s me.

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We’re in Western Kansas. A place where virtually nobody is … except us … and the RVers … and the truck drivers. All of us were treated to some “whoppers” today.

A line of storms (spanning Central Texas to Toronto in length) pummeled our route down US-81.

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Not surprisingly, the storms cleaned up the windshield quite nicely.

But I’m speaking out of chronological order. And I shouldn’t do that, because this isn’t an episode of “Lost”, now is it?

Our day started in Eastern Nebraska.

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Those eight flags represented the eight teams who descended upon Omaha for the College World Series. Their campers populated area campgrounds, limiting reservation space in ways Western Kansas could only dream of.

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An hour later, we landed west of Beatrice, home of this …

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Of course, pups weren’t allowed inside … I had to stand outside in sweltering 90 degree heat and 72 degree dew points while Mom and Dad alternated visits inside. Still, it’s better than being separated from both parents, #amirite?

At one point, Mom showed me what one of the homestead homes might have looked like. Pretty comfy quarters.

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The Homestead Act opened up the West to millions of aspiring pioneers. Somewhere around 40% succeeded in establishing a homestead. Those are better odds than the Phoenix Suns winning a basketball game.

Of course, folks were kicked out … gains for some result in losses for others.

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I’ll tell you this much … if somebody decided to take my RV and claim it as their own homestead, they would be a lot of growling, especially if the interloper took my crunchables!

Mom finished off the tour with a quilt exhibition (of all things) at the National Monument.

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Next, we headed to Kansas.

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Kansas might be known as the sunflower state … but it could also be known as New Orleans North.

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Oh, did I tell you that Dad tried to fix his tire problem? He visited a handful of Ford Dealerships looking for lug nuts, only to drive a few hours out-of-the-way to Salina where he was promised that Ford had lug nuts … only to learn that all his lug nuts were intact and a faux lug on the outside of the decorative wheel cover was missing. Three years were shaved off of his life … for nothing. Nothing but a lot of grumpy energy expended over three days. Thanks, Dad.

From Salina, we drove west and found our campground. I wasn’t prepared for the quiz offered by the campground.

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I couldn’t find the “Exurban Dog” sign that aptly describes my lot in life. Oh well.

After meeting fellow campers …

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… and touring the facilities …

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… Mom and Dad ditched me for dinner … they visited this outstanding establishment a few blocks away.

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After an onion ring tour and a pork schnitzel sammie, Dad returned to the rig where I terrorized Dad and Mom for an hour, behaving poorly. That’s when Dad laid down the law … he brought the thunder down with him, in the only way that is known to subdue me.

He used this hand motion.

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When he point his hand in that specific motion directly at me and stares at me and doesn’t break the stare until I break it first, the game is over, the jig is up. I submit.

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And to be honest, it’s better to submit, to put yourself in a Sunflower State of Mind. Being grumpy is hard work, just ask Dad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Anderson

Hello! It’s me.

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That’s me, hanging out along what Mom calls “The Big Muddy” … the Mississippi River in St. Cloud, MN. That’s where Mom took home a third place prize in the BIG SHOW!

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Obviously, we had to cross over into Minnesota to attend.

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Then today we spent time in three additional states.

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We’re just outside of Lincoln, NE tonight … look who we ended up parked next to?

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By the way, zoom in on the right front tire … tell me if you see anything unusual? Methinks we’re stopping at a Ford Dealership tomorrow, #amirite?

But that wasn’t the featured event of the day, not by a long shot.

Do you remember the movie trilogy called “The Matrix”? Neo, better known by some as “Mr. Anderson”, is involved in one of those classic “good guy must save the world from something battles“. Kinda like me with rusted metals.

At times in the series, Mr. Anderson speaks with THE ORACLE, a mysterious character who is occasionally able to predict the future.

Well, Mom told me this morning that we were going on a quest … we were going to go seek wisdom from THE ORACLE.

I said, I’m in … I think.

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So we began our quest here.

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This was a neutral place where all Native American Tribes could come to quarry stone for ceremonial pipes. After the site was ravaged by folks (#america), the location was protected as a National Monument.

Of course, I’m thinkin’ that we’re gonna quarry ourselves a pipe. But then we start getting clues that tell us what our mission is.

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I’m thinking to myself, “is this one of those faith leaps that you take at a corporate event with nine of your co-workers?” I look down.

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No, no, it’s a lot more dangerous than what I was thinking about.

We continue.

I’m faced with an uphill climb.

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I go halfway up … and then … I turn back.

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I seek a path to THE ORACLE, but doors and the opportunities that lie behind them are blocked.

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Regardless, I persist in my quest to find THE ORACLE.

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“Seek and ye shall find” I’ve been told. But I kept running into dead ends.

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I look for a sign … any sign.

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But the sign simply leads to cascading waters … refreshing of course, but not quite what I was looking for.

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I needed to rest … refresh … regroup.

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I prayed for a sign.

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My prayers were answered … I got two signs!

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I said … “COME ON, ENOUGH WITH THE REDUNDANCY, GIVE ME A REAL SIGN”.

And then … my prayers were really, honestly answered.

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Now THAT’S a sign!!

I asked Dad to hold me up … and with paws trembling … I looked through the hole. Here is what I saw.

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#OMFG (Oh My Furry God) … THE ORACLE was predicting a severe thunderstorm with something that might be a tornado but was much more likely to be scud (aka a “Pannus Cloud”).

We fled for the car, with thunder booming in the distance.

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Seconds later, the prophesy of THE ORACLE came true (visit the website to see the video … https://dashthedachshund.com).

THE ORACLE was right!

In much the same way that “Mr. Anderson” was potentially given assistance by THE ORACLE, I was given a vision of the future. The threat wasn’t rusted metals. The threat was severe weather, and we got back into our rig just in the nick of time.

Naturally, I was stunned by what had just happened.

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But that’s what happens when you have a little bit of faith … I was blocked at all turns on my quest, but in the end I learned just what I needed to learn.

I learned that, in many ways, I’m a lot like “Mr. Anderson” in The Matrix. Cuter, sure. But a lot like him. Able to see the future. Ready to fight evil. Hungry for knowledge (or treats).

Happy travels, mere mortals. And take the red pill, wait, I mean red dog treat.

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Peaceful, Easy Feeling

Hello. It’s me!

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So Dad tells me we’re not going anywhere today … we’re gonna relax and Mom’s gonna do some laundry and that’s that.

Ok by me!

Dad sets me up for the afternoon.

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From here, I can see EVERYTHING.

If somebody with an existing reservation pulls up, I can bark at ’em.

If somebody is walking their dog, I can bark at ’em.

If somebody is cookin’ up SPAM acquired in Southern Minnesota several weeks ago??

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Well then count me IN!!!

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It’s this “peaceful, easy feeling” that I enjoy when we take a day off.

Mom did laundry. I frolicked in the park.

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Heck, I even got to pose for a picture!

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And as usual, I assessed threats.

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Methinks they painted over the rusted metals, #amirite?

Mom and Dad strolled up to the Campground Cantina for Pizza Nite, $2 off if you “dine in”, which they happily did. By the way, that’s “Wisconsin Style” crispy thin crust pizza. In fact, almost nobody makes a crispy thin crust pie like this one (out West you just can’t find ’em).

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We topped the evening off with a campfire … until the gnats invaded from the river and we were driven inside. Maybe gnats should be classified as a threat? They sure put a damper on the peaceful, easy feeling we were having tonight.

 

Summer Shandy

Hello! It’s me.

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It was an intoxicating day, pups!

We drove to Chippewa Falls, home of Leinenkugels! And moments later, we stopped at the Leinie Lodge.

Mom asked me to take a seat. I was utterly confused.

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I mean, what am I waiting for? I’m at a brewery and I’m 2.65 years old. I can’t drink another 18+ years. But she says “WAIT”.

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Dash:  Can I get down?

Mom:  No.

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Dash: Can I get down now?

Mom: No.

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Then I threw a fit …. MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM LET ME DOWN AND LET ME SEE WHAT I NEED TO SEE!

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There’s a strategy that is guaranteed to work, pups … and that strategy is PERSISTENCE. Just keep yapping, keep asking, and you’ll get your way, #amirite?

Mom walked me to the front door of the facility.

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Then she showed me what we were waiting for …

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Dog Treats and Dog Water!!

Lemme tell you, I satiated every desire I’ve ever had.

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From that moment forward, my singular purpose for being on the planet was to belly-up to the doggie bar.

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Mom and Dad hijacked the remainder of the day by going to yet another Supper Club.

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That last image is one heck of a cheese-infused spud, if I may be so bold.

My thoughts went back to the greatest stop I’ve ever experienced in an RV.

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Yes, even Rusted Metals couldn’t deter my interest in getting back.

When we arrived at the campground, I tried hard to get back to the brewery.

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I even side-stepped obvious opportunities to fill my belly.

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Alas, I was unable to get back to the doggie bar. I submitted to the needs of my body.

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We leave Wisconsin shortly … we leave with many fond memories … of family … of friends … and of the doggie bar at Leinie’s Lodge.

 

It’s Hard To Find A New Threat, But Leave It To Me To Potentially Identify A New One!

Hello. It’s me!

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There’s been a lot of sittin’ in the rig the past few days. At least today I got my paws on the ground a few times, and lemme tell ya, I may have stumbled across a NEW THREAT. Now, we’re going to have to give this some rigorous thought, because you don’t just add a threat to the four pillars of threats you already know and love …

  1. Real.
  2. Perceived.
  3. Rusted Metals.
  4. Chupacabra.

Remember, a threat could be REAL, and if it is, then it isn’t necessarily a new threat. A threat could be PERCEIVED, and if it is, then it isn’t a threat at all, now is it? And don’t even get me started on CHUPACABRA.

We launch our trip today amid cloudy, foggy skies. Dad set the tone early, with a musical accompaniment courtesy of the Bee Gees.

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We stopped for gas … and of course I spied a threat … RUSTED METAL.

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So let’s just say I was on edge, assessing threats all day.

Cloudy skies turned to rainy skies. It’s June 12, but it is still cool in the Northlands. Fortunately, Wisconsin welcomed us back with open arms.

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Halfway to our destination, we stopped so Mom could earn a well-deserved stamp courtesy of our Federal Government. I held down the fort … again … threats, #amirite?

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Then things got interesting.

We decided to visit a friend from Seattle. He bought a resort and is refurbishing everything … just in time for guests this weekend.

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I’m thinking to myself “I’d stay here!”.

But then, we took a walk. And during this walk, I started to sense that things were strange. I decided to sink my teeth into the topic.

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We investigated a boat landing.

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And while investigating said boat landing, I walked out on to the pier … that’s where I noticed what may well be a newly classified threat.

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Yup … that mustard-like mixture floating in a fresh lake is POLLEN.

I know, I know, you can make a solid case that POLLEN is a REAL threat. And you can make a pretty solid case that POLLEN is a PERCEIVED threat. I guess I’m asking you to weigh in on the subject … leave a comment … should POLLEN be …

  1. A Real Threat, and therefore is not classified.
  2. A Perceived Threat, and therefore is not classified.
  3. A New Threat, not altogether different from a Chupacabra or Rusted Metals.

Dad should have taken a video of me as I engaged with the pollen … I kinda looked like I was doing the Cha-Cha while assessing the threat.

From there the day devolved into an orgy of caloric consumption that might only be eclipsed by Joey Chestnut. Mom and Dad (who both skipped lunch in order to enjoy the meal) visited McGregor’s Blink Bonnie (for your homework assignment, please visit my entry from late May 2016 and you’ll see we’ve been here before).

A sampling of the gluttony …

Praise be to #Jesus for enabling Dad to curb his consumption at 4,194 calories … allowing me to sup on five tiny pieces of Ribeye!

We set up camp for the evening in Woodruff … tomorrow we move on toward Eau Claire.

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Did you notice the pup hiding under “Montana”? I think the pup was afraid of POLLEN.

Again, weigh in via the comments section … how should POLLEN be viewed (and no Jive Talkin’ here, be honest)?

  1. A Real Threat.
  2. A Perceived Threat.
  3. A New Threat.

More Food, Less Time With Me

Hello, it’s me!

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The day started out so full of promise:

  1. An asphalt plant was just a quarter-mile from our rig and the smell of tar permeated the rig, complementing our morning.

Then we drive north, toward the tip of Door County. Somebody appears to have built the road to accommodate a mailbox. #hownice

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We drive past Gills Rock and on to Northport, the far north tip of Door County. Mom considered taking the ferry up to Washington Island. I played with a new friend and surveyed the area – assessing threats.

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I tell Mom “ALL CLEAR” … but Mom says the trip would eat up the day and we’re running out of days so we turn around and head back down the island.

And that’s where the fun ended.

Mom and Dad decide to eat lunch, which is great except just how many calories are they planning on ingesting on this trip while I’m stuck in the rig?

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#butik

Apparently this place in Sister Bay served classic Swedish food with a Door County twist. Mom enjoyed an elaborate grilled cheese sandwich off of the meny (aka menu).

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Dad inhaled a Swedish Meatball sandwich.

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Both Mom and Dad enjoyed the ambiance.

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Mom and Dad eventually returned to the rig – a place where I had been stranded in 70 degree comfort for two hours. I looked for schnibbles but all I found were books Mom bought in the adjacent gift store.

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And then Mom and Dad elected to partake in unsettling activities.

  1. Paying a bill.
  2. Touring a gift shop or two.

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Grandma Tommy?

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When they finally got serious about enjoying the day they decided to drive for three hours on lousy Wisconsin roads.

#boring

#amirite?

We drove around the north side of Green Bay and pointed our compass toward Iron Mountain.

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We crossed the Menominee River and entered Michigan, our 9th state on this trip.

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Careful not to pass, we drove to … wait for it … wait for it … a supper club.

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I looked on in horror as Dad waddled inside for more food.

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Mom and Dad enjoyed the surroundings … including Packers Super Bowl Trophies. I didn’t realize that’s where they were stored, who knew?

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They sat at the bar, ordered drinks, and placed their order.

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After ordering dinner, they were assigned to Table #9 where salads were offered as a pre-cursor to the featured meal.

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Yes – there was a dimmer at the table … allowing a user-configured lighting experience., something marketers call #personalization.

And then the featured meal arrived, or so I am told because I was sitting in the RV.

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I know, I know, you are baffled by what you are seeing.

  1. Mom = Steak Oscar with Twice-Baked Spuds.
  2. Dad = Broasted 1/2 Chicken and Gnocchi with White Sauce.

There are only a handful of broasters left in the world … 72% of them are in Wisconsin (go fact check it, I dare you), and the broaster leaves the chicken boiling hot on the inside and bursting with juice. I can’t speak for the Gnocchi. Dad believes it is the best way to cook a bird, and I for one am not going to die on this hill arguing the fact.

For once in his life, Dad thought of somebody other than himself. He brought me schnibbles of broasted chicken, sans skin. #hearthealthy

I supped like a King.

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For a brief moment, I felt like I was part of the team … part of a club … The Supper Club if you will.

Here’s the 411 … I’m a bit cranky. We parked the rig and set up for the night, where I threw a fit before passing out from consuming a tiny fraction of a broasted bird. I think tomorrow needs to be all about me. You can’t blame me, either. We’re 3,600 miles into this trip and all I do is sit in the rig and hold down the fort. Hopefully Mom and Dad have an adventure planned for tomorrow, or somebody might be on the receiving end of a knuckle sandwich … and not a sandwich served at a Supper Club.

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