August 21, 2015

I had a bit of a dilemma this morning when I woke up.  I have an uncle and his family in Nebraska that I haven’t seen in forever and I had planned to head down that way. I had called them when I had an idea of when I’d be passing through but no reply.  I pondered my options over oatmeal I prepared with the coffee maker.  Sometimes you just have to work with what you have.

Coffee machine oatmeal for breakfast. Necessity is the mother of invention. Or breakfast any way.

While I was planning my route I started out generally westbound but around the time that my route options split, I still had not heard from anyone.  There had been a little town in Wisconsin I had visited eons ago and I decided to head there instead. Problem was, I had no idea what the town was called.  All I could remember was that it had painted cows, much like the moose that had been in Toronto. I had tried all kinds of searches for painted cows but gave up.  For some reason, I thought it was near the House in the Rock which is worth seeing for sure…if one does not have a small pack of dogs with them. So I Googled House in the Rock and started heading to Spring Green Wisconsin.  

Almost as soon as I got there I realized it’s not the same town and I was in a cell dead zone. We still stopped for a walk through the town before we climbed back into the car.  Eventually I found a visitor centre and learned that I’m in the wrong bloody end of the state!  Painted cows will have to wait for another time.

So back on the interstate we go. One thing that I noticed is there is next to no warning when you’re leaving the state. It would have been nice to get some Wisconsin cheese but construction had everything all buggered up. Next thing I know I’m in Minnesota!

Snoozing the miles away.

As we drove along, I was amazed at the sheer number of wind farms. I don’t know what it was but they were totally tripping me out. It’s not like we don’t have one at the CNE Grounds in downtown Toronto or anything. Maybe it’s just that there’s so many of them and they are all over the place.  It was strange to see them lazily turning all around us with no end in sight as the fields rushed by.

We stopped at a rest stop somewhere in Minnesota and I sat back and watched as the dogs had a rambunctious game of tug.  Normally it’s just Leo and Jack but this time Piper decided to get in on the fun.  I was getting stares from the few other people there but watching the three of them, it was impossible not to laugh.  It made me so happy to see them having that much fun.

A quick game of tug at a rest stop in Minnesota.

So the next mission was to find a place to sleep. After what seemed forever we kind of stumbled onto Blue Mound State Park. The lady in the office asked me if I want a car site or a cart in site. A what? She explained to me with a cart in site you literally haul your stuff to your site with a cart and that the sites are a bit more private. Sold. So pick my site and off we go.

I parked the car and see that there are tipis nearby. I guess it’s the same as the yurts we have up north. Nifty. It would have been cool to stay in one but I figured dogs aren’t allowed and they are much bigger than what I need.  Had it been raining and we were planning on being there for a few days it might have been different. We set up camp and have just enough time for a quick hike.

And almost immediately find a bison viewing platform. Bison?! We hop up the platform but no bison to be seen. However we did start to hear them way off in the distance. Jack stopped and the stance he had made me think of Billy from The Predator: “there’s something out there. And it ain’t no man.” Thankfully without the “we’re all going to die here” but they have a sign that says “Don’t anger the bison because even a strong fence won’t hold them”. Made me laugh because the fence was two strands of barbed wire and some cow fence. I think we could have pulled it down.

With night falling I finished off the pizza and had some bison vodka listening to the bison lowing in the far off distance.  And for the first time, the entire pack slept in the tent.  I had no idea if Leo had ever gone camping before.  I had nothing to worry about.  With Piper and Jack showing him the way, he took to the tent with no problems.  All Jack wanted was to snuggle up with his favourite blanket and soon his snoring drowned out the sound of the bison.

Oh blankie…how I have missed you.