Adventures of Steve, Patti, Sami and Ozzie


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Florida – FINALLY!

People ask us all the time, “where are you going next?” and we have been answering Florida for what seems like the last few years.  So when we finally crossed the state line and arrived here,  it was a great feeling.  It’s here we plan to spend the winter, exactly where we weren’t sure of, but it didn’t matter really, as long as we have the ocean and warm weather, we would be happy!!

We arrived at our first stop in Florida, St. Augustine – the Nations oldest city.    We pulled into a little park that was right off the highway and set up to stay for a few days.  This sign was posted right across the road, only 6 ft away.  NICE!

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We are in Florida now, better get used to all sorts of new bugs and creatures. Right next to our park was a huge flea market and when we weren’t exploring the Historic District of St. Augustine, we strolled around and looked at all the stuff folks were selling.  Kinda made my stomach sink as it brought back all the memories of the never-ending rummage sales we had selling off all our belongings before we set off on this journey.

The Historic District was beautiful, the buildings were colorful and architecture was amazing.


Below is Flagler College.


It is



The ocean front homes….no words.


This little guy was for sale and was only one house away from the beach…looks affordable….


Only if you have a half a million dollars!



After touring downtown, we decided to check out the beach.


The sand on the beach was mostly crushed shell.





Definitely one the prettiest beaches we’ve been to!

Next stop…Daytona Beach!




To Mrytle Beach, SC

We’ve traveled to a lot of different places these past few years, the mountains, the deserts and everything in between.  However, there is just something about the ocean.  It doesn’t matter if it’s the Pacific, the Gulf of Mexico or where we are now, the Atlantic.  There is just something about the soft sand, salt air and soft winds that keeps drawing us in.  Wish we never had to leave.  Maybe this time we won’t!?

Before getting here we spent a good amount of time this summer in Wisconsin.  We stayed at some familiar places and some we’ve never been to before.  La Crosse, WI is very scenic and there is a lot to see and do.  Although the sun wasn’t cooperating, we took a drive up to Grandad’s Bluff, 590 ft about the surrounding land and 1183 above sea level.  The views were amazing, I can only imagine how beautiful it would be in the fall.

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The La Crosse Queen padlewheeler on the Mississippi River.

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Mississippi River Bridge connecting La Crosse, WI and La Cresent, MN.


From there we headed north and spent sometime at a little county park in Warrens, WI.  It was called McMullen Memorial Park.  Our site was the largest site we have ever had.  We took a picture from the front and the back of our pull through site from the road.  Easily could have fit another 3 motor homes on our site.

McMullen Memorial Park

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From there of course, we spent some time in Green Bay.  Steve got to check out the Packers training camp and oh yeah, we got a new windshield!  What started out as a tiny crack from a stone, didn’t take to long to grow into a nice size crack across the glass.  Green Bay has to have the most roundabouts we have ever seen in one city, but they could use to invest a bit on the regular roads. Who would have thought glass could be so expensive!!


We were able to spend a few nights in Fond du Lac and spend time with family before heading down to Indiana for some repairs.  Seems we always are heading somewhere for repairs, but when you travel as many miles as we do and live in your RV, things come loose, wear down or need replacing often.  But finally we were all set now and ready to hit the road again.

We traveled south through Kentucky into Tennessee.  The drive was beautiful but that shiny new windshield filled up fast with bugs and many of our pictures looked more like a crime scene than scenery!


Smoky Mountains up ahead.

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Driving through the mountains.



We drove through North Carolina briefly and then South Carolina.  On the side of the highway were all these dilapidated shacks.  Some open for business, others empty. Not sure where one could pull over even if they wanted to purchase what they were selling, which was mostly sweet grass baskets. Honestly, I have never heard of them but after doing some research, I wish we would have stopped to buy one.


Once we hit Columbia, SC we did what I loved the most.  We changed our mind on a dime and headed east.  Myrtle Beach, here we come!

We stayed at a state park that was covered with huge Oaks and moss.  The walk was a few hundred yards to the beach, but the weather was beautiful, hot and humid, but beautiful.






The airport was really close and the planes would fly really low over the beach area.



White sands and warm water! Lots of dogs on the beach!


We definitely need to invest in a good beach umbrella and beach chairs.  Check out the little guy in the shade.  He had a blast in the water.


We have never seen a dog worn as a wrap before!


To much fun, he was all pooped out!



We would have loved to stay longer but…..

Welcome to Fl

Next stop, the oldest settlement in the United States, St. Augustine, FL.  Ozzie’s getting rested up!


“Who can sleep, i’m too excited!”





Mother nature tried to tell us something..GET OUT OF TEXAS…glad we listened!

After leaving South Padre, we moved north along the Gulf.  We didn’t go very far, we were starting to experience the beginning of the months of rain that Texas experienced this spring.

Along the way we stopped to check out North Beach in Corpus Christi.  The USS Lexington and Texas Aquarium are here.  The day after we came through local news announced that most of the fish in three of their exhibits died.  They were trying to treat a parasite that they had detected in the tank and when they added the medicine, it had an adverse effect and all but 2 died.  Very sad!

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We stopped off at one of the nicest little parks in Aransas Pass, TX.  Not much to the town but we were just a short ferry ride away from Port Aransas.  The ferry ride is the only way to get to the island and is free.  That weekend they had 4 running non stop, back and forth from the island.  You would think it would be worth it to just build a bridge, but the waterway between there and the mainland is used by the shipping industry and it would have to be a very tall bridge for the short distance between the two.


We decided to check out Sand Fest one afternoon. This was right on the beach in Port Aransas. The sculptures were amazing, the weather…not so much!  Sorry for so many photos, but we couldn’t decide on which to post.

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They had an amateur sand sculpture competition too, however vandals got ahold of those the night before.  I just don’t understand some people.  There were food stands, live bands and vendors of all kinds.


Most of the homes were rentals and the main means of transportation were golf carts.

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There were even pirates walking around.


I think he was looking for his ship.


The weather was rainy and dreary our first week there, however the second week was beautiful with low humidity.  The mosquitos were horrible, you couldn’t even step outside without getting them in your mouth or eyes.  But finally the town sprayed a few days and they went away.  We found ourselves staying longer than we anticipated because of the weather.  North was the tornado outbreak and here, the constant threat of storms.  When living in an RV it’s a little scary to be in storms or potential threatening weather.  At one point we were under a tornado warning  There are no shelters in the park since they are only a foot above the water table.  We saw some suspicious looking clouds and it turned out there was a F1 tornado touch down a few miles away.  ap2

The rain came down hard and flash flooding was an issue everywhere.  Even in our park we started to see the signs that Mother Nature was telling us to get out of Texas.  This is the road into our RV park.  The only way in our out and more rain was on the way.

ap1So we finally decided we couldn’t put it off any longer, the forecast was for rain, rain and more rain, but we needed to keep heading north.

We drove north to the Houston area to Brazos Bend State Park and stayed there for 2 days.  Texas has some of the nicest state parks.  This one was lush wetlands with huge trees with Spanish moss hanging down.  Deer roamed everywhere and one of the first signs we saw was DO NOT FEED THE ALLIGATORS!  WHAT?  Yes, alligators live in this park, but luckily for us we didn’t have any come and visit us.  There were lakes in the park where you could go to observe them, but again, it rained most of the time and mosquitos were as big as dragonflies!  A few days after we left they closed the park until the threat of flooding was over.

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It was hot and the humidity was near 100%.  This poor guy was exhausted.


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It was becoming a reoccurring theme, more rain was coming.  We thought for sure we would beat the approaching storm that was heading through Houston, no luck, it met us right smack in the middle of downtown.  Houston highways are not designed to drain water off the roads.  In fact, in no time rain water was pooling everywhere and some areas were starting to flood.  How Steve kept his cool and drove through that storm is beyond me, traffic was thick and everyone was in a hurry.


Minute Maid Park – home of the Astros.


We would have liked to have gotten better pictures but the rain wouldn’t cooperate.  Much of what we drove through was under water 2 days later.

Louisiana wasn’t looking much better, any more rain and these roads would be covered in water…pretty sure within a day or two, they were.

h3 h4Stopped for the night at a casino in Shreveport, it was right on the Red River which was expected to crest in a day or two, by watching the news I think that it crested and then some.  I don’t know if the RV park we were in flooded, it was pretty high up the bank, but a lot of the area has.  There was a really nice Prevost Marathon bus parked next to us.  Someday maybe….we can dream…..


At this point, the news was going crazy about what had been going on in Texas.  We could only imagine what life would be like if we were still working in the oilfields.  Not only the rain and mud, but some folks were stuck on their gates with no way out and no one could get in to fuel them or bring fresh water. One couple even had to get airlifted out from their RV, leaving all they owned behind.  Many people ask, why didn’t they just leave, didn’t they know was coming?  It’s not that simple, you have no idea which way the water will go when roads wash away or dry creeks fill up and crest.  Our prayers go out to all who were affected by this horrible flooding.

After reaching Missouri the weather was beautiful.


Drove by the Arches – St. Louis

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Illinois – great on gas mileage, nice and flat!  Stayed in Peoria, nice city with great Riverfront district.


Next stop, Wisconsin where we managed to pull a few surprise visits off (which is the reason for the delay in blogging) and get some work done on the RV.  Not sure where we head next….until then here’s a Sami Selfie!




South Padre Island, TX

If we would have fallen asleep and magically awoke here, we would have sworn we were on a beach somewhere in the Caribbean. South Padre Island in the Gulf of Mexico is nothing like we expected and everything we love, sandy beaches, blue ocean waters and warm weather!


As with each time we have left a gate in the oilfields, it takes us a good couple days to get back into a normal routine. More so with Steve because he works the night shift. Sami and Ozzie take some time adjusting too. But here, with all this sand they are loving it! Sami seems like she’s a puppy again once her toes hit the sand. Ozzie plows right into the ocean and loves the waves. Now getting all the sand out of their coats is a whole other story.


The Island is only 30 miles long and 1/2 mile at it’s widest point. To get to the Island you first cross through the town of Port Isabel and then cross the Queen Isabella Causeway bridge. This is the only way on or off the Island other than by boat and is 2.37 miles long and 84 feet above the channel.



Once Holy week was over, there wasn’t much activity other than the kite surfers and paddle boarders, the beach was pretty quite.  We drove the the north end of the island as far as we could. Here all you could see is sand and the crystal clear blue waters. There were no buildings and it almost felt as if you were on some deserted island, except for the half dozen or so other people that had the same idea as you did and came to check it out.





And just like that….there was no where else to go…


Beautiful buildings and resorts line the island as well as more traditional “beachy” type homes.






The weather here is very nice, although 80-100 percent humidity was a little hard to get used to. The temps range from 75-80 degrees and it’s usually pretty windy.  There is always a fog rolling in somewhere, but the sun is still shining above?

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It’s a very touristy area, so there are lots of shops and restraurants around. We just missed spring break, well more like we planned to miss it. There are still some MTV signage left around town and a few straglers that you can tell found a party somewhere but otherwise it’s very tame.




This morning on the beach this poor guy had washed up on the shore.  They really are beautiful creatures and it was very sad.  We helped move him up the beach so that he wouldn’t wash away until someone from the research facility could come and get him.

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Ships and fishing boats of sizes pass through the port, each of them greeted by this massive statue.


DSCN8487We are really enjoying our time here..so much more to see!

Happy Birthday to Steve’s Dad – Mark!  Hope you had a great day yesterday!


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Where does the time go?

It’s been six months since we returned to Texas and back to the exciting life of gate guarding. Figuring that the summers here are around 120 degrees, we thought it would be a great place to spend our winter and stay warm. But I honestly can say I don’t know why snowbirds come down here for the winter. Florida, California or Arizona, that’s the place to be. Southern Texas….it just gets darn right cold down here!!  Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating some….there were some nice days in there.

We’ve been on 5 different gates since we returned and celebrated most major holidays working – Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and even Valentines day.

There is no time off in the oilfields! The guys out here are very nice and bring us treats every now and then.



We have had some nice breaks in between gates, most recently at Lake Casa Blanca International State Park. This was a  pleasant surprise to find in the Laredo area. Most RV parks cater to the oilfield workers and aren’t much more than a dirt lot.




This park actually had grass and a nice lake. It was George Washington’s birthday celebration in Laredo while we were there. It’s a big deal here, they have their carnival, parade and a huge fireworks show. We could see the fireworks show right from our site!  Bigger show than a lot of the 4th of July fireworks we’ve seen.

As I said before, winters here can be on the cool side.  Highs during the day can linger in the lower 40’s and dip below freezing in the very early morning hours. It also foggy most mornings and it rains/drizzles a lot! The rain makes things worse as most of the oil lease roads are made of caliche, which is made of lime stone. It’s a nice hard surface when it’s dry, but turns almost to a clay type mud when wet. We worked on one gate where we had to wait a week for the road to dry out and be re-graded before we could even leave. Poor dogs – we had to carry them into the shower every time we took them out to clean up their paws.



Even with all the rain and mud, it dries up really quickly and the amazing sunrises and sunsets make up for it all.


Now the weather is warming up nicely. But along with that, so is the illegal immigrant traffic. We see Border Patrol often, have even called them a few times ourselves. The last gate we were at, 4 young men came up to the gate most likely looking for food and water. It’s a difficult situation to be in when you’re in the middle of no where and you would love nothing more than to help someone in need, but you also do not know what their intentions are. We’ve been advised that if any illegals approach us, to not engage them if they are carrying backpacks or are in large groups, as they more likely part of drug or human trafficking.



I don’t know how the Border Patrol Agents know when illegals are in the area, but out of the blue the helicopters and horses arrive. They track them by their foot prints in the dirt. We’ve heard some of the illegals actually wear carpet on the bottom of their shoes to throw Border Patrol agents off their trail. These agents are really brave though, they will go off searching on their own, not knowing what they could run into.  But I guess if I was armed like they are, I’d feel pretty safe too.

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Seen some new birds as the weather is getting nicer – Pyrrhuloxia, Mocking birds, Green Jays and Vermilion Flycatchers.

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At the last ranch we were at had these friendly guys come around to say hello.


At this gate we have Jack Rabbits everywhere! Coyotes, javalinas, deer and even a wolf hang out down the road. A year ago that would have totally freaked us out, not so much anymore. But soon we will be back into tarantula and snake season…that we’ll never get used to. There is a Road Runner that has been hanging out here so that’s good. He eats both of those!

This gate will probably be coming to an end soon and we find our selves wondering what’s next. The oil industry is not doing as well as it was last year, a lot of companies are laying off and shutting down gates. So if we don’t get another gate right away, we’ll probably hit the road again.


Until next time…here’s Ozzie and his buddy sending you a big hug!


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Wisconsin to Texas…back again!

After spending for the most part, the last two years in desert country and this past spring in southern Texas, it felt strange to see so much green all around us. We don’t recall Wisconsin ever looking so lush. In fact not much had really changed in Fond du Lac, but all the trees looked greener, bigger and fuller. There wasn’t an August drought this year and can imagine that they are having a beautiful fall right about now. Just glad we no longer have to worry about raking up all those leaves after they fall!!

It was in an odd way, strange to be back in our old home town. It’s hard to explain, but we are so used to traveling to new places and not knowing where things are, that to be in a place we were familiar with, was oddly unfamiliar to us.

However, being somewhere familiar did have it’s advantages, and for those of you who know us well, you know the first thing we did when we got here (well after we let our family know we were here, of course). Yes, we ordered Pizza! We had been craving pizza, GOOD pizza from not just one place but 3 places here in town, and they didn’t disappoint. Joe’s Fox Hut, Bob’s Pizza and Eatons….we won’t tell you exactly how many times we ordered them during our stay, but lets just say, we helped out the local economy plenty!

It was great being able to see the family again, it had been a long time. We were able to celebrate my Dad’s 75th Birthday with my family and spend time with Steve’s family as well. Steve even managed to catch a Packer’s practice when we stayed up in Green Bay for a few days.  I will take the blame for the lack of pictures from our visit home.  I am usually so good about packing the camera every time we leave the motor home, but for some reason, I really dropped the ball this time!




Sadly, time was flying by quickly and soon it was time to go and say our goodbye’s once again. Never an easy thing to do, but we needed to head out to Indiana. We had some issues that we had been trying to get fixed on the Motorhome since we were in Vegas and no one seemed to want to touch it, so we decided to head to the one place we knew could take care of it, the manufacturer -Fleetwood, in Decatur, IN. The main issue was the overhead cabinet which holds our TV over the dash was coming loose from the ceiling. Every time we hit a bump or traveled a bad road, we prayed it would stay put and not become any looser or for that matter fall on our heads as we were driving!  OK, it wasn’t really that bad, but it needed to be fixed!

After spending, I’m sorry – wasting is a better word, almost 30$ in tolls to travel from WI to IN, we found our way to Decatur and parked ourselves in Fleetwoods waiting lot (electric hookups provided for free -NICE!). Not having an appointment, we had to arrive at the office early Monday morning to get a number for a “walk in” appointment, on Thursday we were finally called in. Service was good and they were able to get us fixed up with all our issues, well almost. But for the most part we were good to go and we hit the road on Friday for Texas, time to try to fill up the piggy bank again and time for another gate guarding gig.

This is just one of the service buildings at the Fleetwood Service Center.  Not sure if it’s a good or a bad thing that they were so busy.  But for the most part everyone who came here that we talked with were happy with the service they received.  Boy were there some nice coaches here!!!!


The trip from Indiana to eastern Texas looked a lot like Wisconsin. Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas…we traveled through these states at a pretty quick pace and there wasn’t much to see from the highway. There was the occasional tree turning colors or river we crossed over, but most of the highways took us around the major cities such as Louisville, Nashville, Memphis and Little Rock. Someday it would be nice to come back and explore more.

Our last stop on the way down, we ended up pulling into a Wal-Mart for the night in Round Rock, TX, just north of Austin. It was a nice area and a pretty swanky Wal-Mart, nothing like we’ve seen before. After getting permission to park for the night and doing some shopping, we were all set to get some sleep and get on the road early. Well, it didn’t go down that way exactly.  The sun had set and all was quiet. We were on the side parking lot with no one was around us.  Then the cars started pouring in and before we knew it, we were surrounded by hundreds of cars and teenagers!!  They all were trying to get into Whataburger (a hamburger place) and those who couldn’t, were just hanging around the parking lot. Then the megaphones started…the cops arrived! We got ourselves caught in the football after party for a local high school!  We’ve never been in a flash mob, but I imagine this is what it would feel like.  It took the cops over 2 hours to clear out that parking lot, but finally it was all quite again and we were able to catch, well a little sleep…did I mention the train whistles around here, they really like to use them A LOT!


Finally, we made it to our destination, Pearsall, TX. Here we would wait until a gate became available for us. The RV park was nice, had a pool, full hook ups and there was grocery store and Wal-Mart in town, so we could get stocked up with what we need and be ready to go.  and SUPRISE, there was also a rail road track across the road….once again…blaring it’s whistle at least 5 times every HALF HOUR it went through!

According to this, Pearsall is home to the worlds largest Peanut!


Getting a gate took a little longer that we thought. They had gates available, however many of them are down long and very rough roads. The first one would have been a 9 mile drive down one of these roads, the second about two miles. Now we aren’t difficult people and we really wanted to get to work, however we just spend all that time and money-getting our cabinets re-secured to the motorhome, going down roads like those would have surely defeated that whole purpose. So we declined those two, waited a few more days and finally…we got our new gate.


This gate is close to the major highway in Encinal and there are two major gas stations, a Pizza place, Mexican restaurant, Post Office and yes it’s also next to…wait for it….A %#$%#%# Rail Road track!  I kid you not! We are pretty used it now though.  This time around they have us hooked up with some serious power, check out the size of our generator!!  It’s very quite compared to the smaller units.


Shopping is just 35 minutes away in Laredo, not to far. It’s different from the other gate we had, this one we have to keep the gate closed in between trucks but the traffic is much slower. The rig moved out last weekend and now there is little to no traffic at all. We still have to man it 24/7, but we switch off leaving each other time to sleep, eat and do whatever.  People here are nice and we’ve only saw one runner (illegal) cross into the property so far.  We are very visible to the main road and there is a lot of traffic around so they most likely won’t be coming to us looking for food or water, plus border patrol is constantly driving by.

There is more dust here than the other gate. Dusting is a daily event, if not twice a day on windy days. Even with everything closed up, it still gets in. There are horses across the way, stray dogs that come around but they don’t bother us. Being dog people, it’s hard for us not to try to care for them, but after  watching them for a while, we can see they are some of the happiest dogs we’ve seen. They run, play and look like they are getting plenty to eat. They just aren’t sociable to people. We have Roadrunners and Vultures too. No snakes (yet) and very few spiders here! The nights are getting cooler so we will have to be extra careful with mice and rats now.




Speaking of weather, it’s been nice. It was humid and hot when we arrived, but the humidity has gone away for now. It’s been in the 90’s during the day but should start averaging in the 80’s here soon. No rain other than a sprinkle yet and the sunrises and sunsets are awesome!


Even got to catch the lunar eclipse last week.


Some one told me at our last gate that so many of the Ranchers here in Texas have gotten so wealthy from the oil industry that they don’t know what to do with all that money so they buy one of these!  Some folks pull 4 wheelers, some horses and some, well..they have their own personal helicopters!


Not sure how long we will be here, in the oil patch, things change all the time. If all goes well, we are hoping to at least be here through the holidays.  Ozzie is good with that, he’s pretty comfy here.


Until next time..



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Heading back to Wisconsin

It was August and it was starting to get pretty hot in Texas.  It was time to head north to cooler temps and a visit back to Wisconsin, our first since we started full timing over 2 years ago.  We would miss the sunrises and critters that hung around our motor home….

Back 2 WI 013Oddly enough, these scorpions look like gummy bears.  They are nocturnal and were hanging out in this chair we had folded under the motor home.  There were about 5 of them, made us really glad we worked day shift, who knows how many of them are wondering around at night.

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As we drove north through Texas, the landscape changed from dry and dusty to green and lush, and eventually civilization…

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We had a pretty ambitious schedule and wanted to make it to WI in 4 days, so there wasn’t a lot of time for sight-seeing.  We came up through Oklahoma to Missouri which is home of the largest gift store and largest candy store, according to the billboards on the side of the road.  But one thing we can guarantee they have beat most states at hands down, are the worst highways ever!!  We did stop over for a night at the Lake of the Ozarks, this is one place we would like to come back and explore more.  This is the view we had at the campground we were at…a far cry from the oil fields of Texas.

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Only one more state to go through before we’d get into WI, Iowa.  I have to admit, I really never thought that there was anything special about Iowa, wasn’t it pretty much like WI?  No, not really.  Yes there are farms and crop fields, but it’s so green and manicured.  There weren’t weeds growing in the cracks of the roads or trash on the side of the highway..it was sort of like a painting with all the green rolling hills and corn as tall as either of us have ever seen.

Just one place we had to stop on the way…

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The movie set for the Field of Dreams is located just north of Dyersville, IA and in the middle of farm country.

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There were a lot of people here with their kids playing ball in the field and taking pictures of walking out of the corn, of course we had to do that touristy thing too!

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See the corn really is BIG!

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We haven’t managed to master this whole “SELFIE” thing.  For some reason every time we hold the camera up, we both think that we have to move our head back in some weird twisted way.  Something to work on but we couldn’t pass up this photo-op!

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So we left the Field of Dreams and crossed the Mississippi…Back 2 WI 123

…and we were back.  Hello Wisconsin!

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Next stop…Fond du Lac, WI.

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