Summer 2017, Day 5: Effigy Mounds NM

We had a pleasant Shabbos visiting Tricia’s sister.  No-one is in a rush here, the town is well kept, and with houses here available for well less than one hundred thousand dollars, it seems almost too good to be true:



B said her farewells to the dog:


We stopped at the grocery store on the way out of town and admired the mural on the wall:


We drove west and entered Iowa:



We stopped at Effigy Mounds National Monument:


The Monument preserves burial mounds, some of which are effigy mounds, which are burial mounds that are shaped like animals.  The mounds are estimated to have been constructed between 600CE and 1250CE.  We checked out the visitor center:



We hiked up the trail leading to a group of mounds.  Along the way we looked out over the Mississippi River:



The trail skirted a series of mounds on the left:



This is an animal effigy mound.  It’s hard to tell, but the body is in the background and the legs are coming into the foreground:


The kids think they’re too old to do the Junior Ranger program, so we did it together:


We continued north and west to Minneapolis, where we will be visiting my brother and parents.

See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017, Day 3: Shabbos in Wisconsin

Trish photographed the RV this morning:



We left the Walmart in Van Wert, Ohio, and continued west into Indiana:


And on into Illinois:


And on into Wisconsin:


We’re spending Shabbos parked next door to Tricia’s sister’s house in a neighbor’s yard:


Tricia’s sister has a dog, and B took her for a walk:


Good Shabbos from Brodhead, Wisconsin!  See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017, Day 2: Batter Up

This morning we had some equine neighbors:


Trish caught me chatting with the neighbors on her way back from shopping at “our” Walmart.  The horse trailer was being driven by a woman from Grants Pass, Oregon, and the fifth-wheel hitched to the red truck was a family from Dutchess County, New York, about an hour north of our house:


We continued East and visited baseball bat manufacturer BWP Bats for a factory tour:


Their office featured memorabilia from players who use (or used) their bats:




The first step of the process uses a computerized CNC lathe to convert a cylinder of wood, called a billet, into a bat in about 3 minutes:


We learned that baseball bats have a fixed relationship between length and weight (called bad drop) that is determined by whether the bat is used for professional, college, or little league play.  We also learned about “cupping”, which is drilling out the end of a bat to make it slightly lighter. The handle end of the bat can be terminated in a variety of shapes depending on the player’s preference:

Once the bat is formed, it’s sanded and the ends are cut off:


Next we went downstairs and saw the painting process which involves dipping the bats into paint one or more times depending on the color scheme.  After being hung to dry, the BWP sticker is applied and the bat is dipped multiple times into a clear polyurethane finish before it’s finished:


This machine applies a narrow band of black paint over the seam between two colors added during the dipping process:


We continued east to overnight at the Walmart of Van Wert, Ohio.  Getting gas is always a tricky affair when you’re 62 feet long and 13 feet, 6 inches tall: 


There were plenty of trucks in the parking lot and it was another loud night as the trucks were running their APUs to power their air conditioners to keep the sleeper units in the trucks cool. It was 75 degrees and 99% humidity, so it was pretty uncomfortable. We decided to put out our generator so we could run the air conditioner overnight. It was no problem, since the trucks were making so much noise that generator just Blended right in:


See the alternating light blue line on the trip map for today’s drive.

Summer 2017, Day 1

After spending the last few days getting everything ready, by late afternoon we were ready to go:


We drove South and then East through New Jersey, ultimately arriving at the Walmart of Hazleton, Pennsylvania:


It was a warm night, so we opened all the windows and tried to go to sleep.  Nearby semi trucks ran their APUs to power their air conditioners, and semi trucks would come and go during the night, so it wasn’t a restful night.

See the alternating light blue line on the trip map to see today’s drive.