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Friday, June 11, 2010

Refueling Stop

About 6:30 last evening we completed the 3500-mile circle from home to Sioux Lookout and back. It was a worthwhile and enjoyable trip. The men got siding on three sides of Merle's shed and we women finished the colorful quilt Edith had in the frame for Elaine.

On Sunday we went to the Believer's Fellowship church in Sioux Lookout which Merles attend and helped to sing at the nursing home in the afternoon. The men had been out in the canoe with Merle when they were fishing but Betty Ann and I had not been on the lake. So after supper, Merle and Edith took us canoeing on the lake.

It was a beautiful evening and everything was so lovely. We saw a couple beavers and were privileged to see some moose up close. We got close enough to two females to hear them chewing as they fed along the edge of the lake. Then we heard a little calf whimpering for its mama and spied it through the bushes. After awhile we circled around to another spot where Edith heard a bull moose. He was more nervous and took off before we could get very close. So we circled back to where we had seen the first ones. They were out of sight and we thought they had gone but as we reached the point of land where the calf had been the mother came crashing out of the woods and ran away. The calf, which was only a week or two old, followed her into the water and then stopped. He had probably never seen people or a canoe before. He just stood there and watched us with big wondering eyes until we rounded the bend and were out of sight. That was a rare experience! I desperately wished I had taken my camera with me and not been so afraid of having it fall in the lake.
We left Merle's place about 7 a.m. Monday (June 7) and drove to Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Before we left Canada we saw a bear along the road which cooperated nicely and crossed the road so we could get a good look at him. The bear rounded out the northern wildlife we were hoping to see--moose, loon, beaver, bear.

On Tuesday we drove about an hour to Pepin, Wisconsin, which was the birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder. She was born in a log cabin seven miles north of the village of Pepin. We drove out to see the recreation of the log cabin on their home site. Unfortunately, it rained all day and was not the best day to be sightseeing.

We also went to the shore of Lake Pepin and saw the oldest part of town. Remember how Laura went to town and, for the first time, saw houses standing next to each other? She knew then how Yankee Doodle felt when he said he couldn't see the town because there were so many houses. She went down to the lake and picked up so many pretty pebbles the pocket of her dress tore out from the weight of them. I remembered the lesson she learned and allowed myself only two pebbles. There were many shapes, sizes, and colors to choose from. The rest of Tuesday we drove through (sometimes heavy) rain to Racine, Wisconsin, and got a motel just a few minutes from the Case IH plant. We had made arrangements to tour the plant at 8 a.m. Wednesday and we didn't want to have to hunt the place in the morning.

Chuck, our very friendly and knowledgeable tour guide, met us at the door on Wednesday morning and conducted a tour just for the four of us. He grew up on a farm and worked in the Case plant for 50 years. He has been doing tours since he retired in 1992. We were told the tour would take two hours but he was in no hurry and it took four hours. This tour was Marvin's delight and Leroy was interested but would have been more enthused if the tractors had been green. We women just sort of trailed along not comprehending most of what we were seeing. Betty Ann and I agreed a German tombstone makes more sense to us than machining gears and clutches. The most interesting part was seeing the tractors come together on the assembly line. The red Case and blue New Holland (Ford) tractors are made on the same line and most parts are interchangeable. Cameras were not allowed in the plant so I have no pictures.
The Case plant was our last stop. From there we made a bee-line for home. The rest of Thursday and Friday was simply driving south and east. We will be home less than 24 hours until we leave again this evening for our family weekend at the cabin. I hope next week the dust will begin to settle and I can find my place again around here. I'm glad we could go and everything went smoothly. But now I am ready to get back in the saddle. The summer is zipping by and I have a lot to try to accomplish before it fades into history.

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