Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tuesday, 31 July

Wow! We actually took the motorhome off the blocks and drove it today. This is the day we scheduled to visit my cousin Bill in a little village called Rock Springs. We had arranged to put YumYum into doggy day care tomorrow, and since Bill would not be available until after lunch, we set out to find the place today so we could go straight there tomorrow. That turned into an expedition. The address we were given was on Mine Street, so Gene found Mine St. on a Baraboo map and off we went. Mine St. turned out to be in a warehouse wilderness with no pet boarding in sight.

Jean called but got an answer machine, so we went to McDonalds to get Cokes. Another call made connection and we got directions to find the place. Following directions got us back into town, but nowhere near the pet place. A visit to a convenient veterinarian gave us another set of directions that were just as confusing. We did find a turn which we had missed the first time through, and we finally found the spot. It turns out there is another Mine St. that is in the county and thus not on the Baraboo map. That all put us about and hour later than we planned, but we will be able to drive right there tomorrow.

 Next we drove to Rock Springs but Bill wasn't there yet. So Gene drove out into the countryside to look for a couple of farms from his youth. The first place he found was the farm, run by his aunt and uncle, where he spent a couple of weeks every summer. It is in other hands now, so we didn't stop.

Pressing on, we drove around until Gene spotted a familiar driveway. Proceeding up a long, gravel track, we wound around behind a hill until we came to the remains of a deserted farm.

This was the location of the farm his grandfather worked until he retired, and then was operated by another aunt and her children (one of which is Juanita, where we are staying). Gene lived with them for several months after his parents separated. He walked that almost a mile-long driveway to get to the main road where the one-room school was located.

The farm has long since been abandoned and the only building remaining that he remembers is the barn. One of the outbuildings has been modernized and is occasionally used as a hunting cabin. The grounds, though, are well-maintained and the grass is mowed.

After leaving "the old homestead," we drove back to Rock Springs and found a shady place to make and eat a little lunch before proceeding to Bill's again. This time he and Joyce were home and we spent the afternoon in pleasant conversation. At the end, he took us on an extended tour of Rock Springs and vicinity. Even though the village is losing population (especially after a flood 4 years ago), I found there was more there than I had remembered.

He also pointed out which which of the houses in town had been the one our grandfather built and lived in after he retired from farming.

Even though Gene had visited them many times as a child, he could not remember where it was. Then it had a unique pebbledash finish (that's stucco with lots of little pebbles pressed into the surface) that would have made it easy to spot; but the house had subsequently been covered with vinyl siding which made it look very like the other houses on the street.

On the way back to Baraboo, our noses told us it was time to dump the tanks. Gene had found a public dump station on a previous trip so that was our next destination. The dump went smoothly until Gene was bringing the last bucket of water into the motorhome when he bumped it on the bathroom door and the handle came off. At least two gallons of water spilled and ran over the entire floor. After much cussing and squeegying and moving the van so the water would drain toward the door, we got it mostly cleaned up. Some of the water ran under the cabinets and dripped out under the Roadtrek all the way back.

A delicious sandwich and chocolate malt helped our spirits, and we got back to Juanita's house in time to back in and hook up before it got dark. Another pleasant conversation with Juanita and we were ready for bed.

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