Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Strong Women....May We Be Them

I was a child of the 50‘s. During that time, our clearly defined roles that seemed assigned at birth, included roles as wife and mother, and careers, as teachers or nurses, or librarians.  These choices seemed laid before young girls of the 50‘s and early 60‘s only dreamed of careers outside those limited choices.

In 1996, I had the opportunity to join The Women's March for Women's Lives in Washington DC on the National Mall.   It was a powerful moment in my life to join with hundreds of thousands of other women along with  Notable celebrities who appeared at the march included Whoopie Goldberg, Gloria Steinem, Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Kate Michelman, and many other celebrities claiming  and celebrating the rights that we have today. 

While driving through Southern New York our path drew us to Seneca Falls, we saw signs indicating a National Women’s Historical Park, and a Women’s Hall of Fame.

Of course we must stop.


Little did I realize, our journey would take us across the path of great women who would change the landscape of women’s lives.  In 1848, in Seneca Falls a gathering of women formed the Women's Rights Convention and the Declaration of Intentions calling for women and all peoples to exercise the opportunity to be free and participate fully in voting.

We set out to learn more about the unique history of the area that played a role in women's history for our country.

 Later, in a chance meeting in May of 1851 in Seneca Falls, NY changed the future of women's history, for generations of women to come.

                                                                  Declaration of Sentiments


The street side meeting when Amelia Jenks Bloomer introduced Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Susan B. Anthony forged a friendship and gave the impetus to further the women's rights movement eventually leading to the passage of the 19 th Amendment giving women the right to vote/


In 1872, Anthony was arrested for voting in her hometown of Rochester, New Youk, and convicted in a widely publicized trial. Although she refused to pay the fine, the authorities declined to take further action. In 1878, Anthony and Stanton arranged for Congress to be presented with an amendment giving women the right to vote. Popularly known as the Anthony Amendment, it became the  The Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution in 1920.
As it was late in the day, we elected to have dinner in the day use area of a state Park. 

We visited a near by state park and fixed our dinner along the Seneca Lake and enjoyed the area until sunset.  Road Trek’s are perfect for these last minute diversions, as they allow complete flexibility to enjoy a dinner on the go.

After sunset we found a near by Walmart and enjoyed a peaceful setting next to a pond at the Walmart. Our slumber however, was not as peaceful as the night was punctuated by the unseen critters honking and croaking in the night.

The next day we sought out more information about the Women's Historical Park, only to discover that since it was Monday and a National would be closed.  Many of the sights around the area however were marked with historical markers and we were able to do a walking tour of the area and continue our learning about this significant time in Women's history.

                                Women's Hall of Fame                               
 In the Women's Hall of Fame were individual plaques dedicated to the Women who have been elected to the Hall of Fame. Some of the women who have been instrumental in my lifetime (Oprah Winfrey, Maya Angelou, Elenore Roosevelt, Eunice Shiver Kennedy, Gloria Steinem) well as in Women's History were honored (Harriet Tubman, Annie Oakley, Louisa May Alcott, Helen Keller, Margaret Mead)  I spent a great deal of time reading the individual plaques and remembering women who have helped solidify the options available to me as well as all American women today.  There were so many more, too many to list, but to all I am grateful and appreciate all that was done before me.

 Future Home of the Women's Hall of Fame in Seneca New York 

                                                       Future Member of the Hall of Fame?


Sunday, July 19, 2015

Eastward Ho

After leaving Chicago, we headed East again with a destination of Indiana before us.  On my bucket list is a small museum in the RV capital of the nation, Elkhart Indiana.  It isn't far from Chicago and my heart has been ablaze for vintage trailers for a long, long time.  The RV Hall of Fame Museum created a whole new appreciation for the history of motorhomes for me.

Rick was a facebook friend who loved vintage trailers and was always ready to give some advise to other trailer owners with a big dose of humor and fun.  This memorial tree was planted in his honor.
RV Hall of Fame Museum and Rick Millet Memorial Tree

According to Tin Can Tourists forum, a motor home is considered vintage at 20 years old.  My RoadTrek officially becomes vintage in 2016.  I shall embrace it's vintageness.

There were some marvelous specimens of early motorhomes.  Since I had never seen any of these guys on the road or at a road rally it was great to actually see some of the early versions that have been preserved. 

A 1916 Automotive Telescoping Apartment which was made in San Fransisco. With it's slide in bed in the back and side panels utilized for kitchen items, it became the predecessor to the pick up and camper.


1937 Hunt Housecar

May West's Town Car

This 1931 Chevrolet based custom town car was built and given to May West as an enticement to come to Paramount studios and make movies.  She never camped in it but rather, she was chauffeured from home to studio lot in luxury.

This Eldorado (one of only two)was built in 1988 by Paul Jones in Florida to fit into a standard height garage using a 1976 Cadillac Eldorado chassis.

There were lots of travel trailers of different styles and makes...but I was thoroughly enthralled with the motor homes and their history.  There is a library upstairs in the museum dedicated to many types of RV's and trailers. 

Overnight parking is available in the parking lot for a night when you attend the museum.
Although near the interstate the building blocked much of the noise and it was a peaceful place to spend the night.

There was a scenic drive through the Amish farm lands south of Elkhart which should have taken a couple of hours....but for us it was much longer.  We stopped many times for pictures....snacks and shopping.  We ended up enjoying another day along a beautiful country drive. 

Mill that still grinds flours and corn for visitors.

There is one standout in every crowd

There are lots of quilts in for sale in Amish Country

They are also found on barns and other buildings



We are used to sharing the road with runners and bikes out west.  Here we shared the road with horses and buggies along with Amish Families going about there daily lives.

While many families will ride in cars they prefer to keep their lives simple and at a slower pace.

There large white homes and farms were easy to identify as a buggy was often parked in the driveway instead of a car. 

 Court house in Goshen, Indiana where my Great Grandparents received their wedding license.
 They were married in Elkhart, Indiana.

This was my favorite quilt. It was found at the  Wakarusa Dime Store (a old time candy store)

We of course indulged in sweet treats!! 

~ Sweet and Happy Trails ~




Saturday, July 11, 2015

The Mid West Mosey

With the wild west in the rear view mirror, we moved on through the Mid West into territory I have never explored before.  Now I should explain something about myself.  I am NOT a planner.  Now, this works pretty well in areas that you have traveled before but it is entirely different in a brand new area.

               I don't consult the internet about all the sights one should see.
               I don't make campground reservations ahead to require arrival dates and times to be met.
               I don't set a timetable to keep myself tied to.

Instead I make a vague - we'll go this general route and timetable and set off.  If I want to spend a few more days along the way and see some additional sights I can.  This is a bit more challenging in areas I have never been to before since I'll be flying blind  I'll use the travels trough the midwest to illustrate how we mosey...

We spent three days in the Black Hills Area with the last being in the Badlands.  What a land of stark contrasts.  The USA has many areas of desert and others of erosion but rarely do you encounter both extreme erosion and contrasted with the green of the grasslands and wildflowers.    

  What a land of  stark contrasts.  The USA has many areas of desert and others of erosion but rarely do you encounter both extreme erosion and contrasted with the green of the grasslands and wildflowers.    


 The contrasts do not end with the landscape.  The animals are also diverse.  Signs indicate a herd of approximately 130 Big horned sheep call the Badlands home.  We were fortunate to see nearly 30 of the elusive creatures.

The sheep, at home on the sparsely vegetated rock formations are among the few animals who inhabit the steep slopes.

When first entering the park we were greeted by the entertaining prairie dogs near what is fondly call Prairie Dog Town.

As you stop along the roadside, you can hear them chirping across the fields to one another.  Their heads poking up and down out of the holes as they stand up to chat with one another.  Then to disappear into the hole again.

 Signs warn to stay clear of the cute little critters as they carry disease.

The grassland blooming and blowing in the wind were a thing of beauty.

Bison are seen often roaming the grassland.

 Along the roads of South Dakota are many small towns each beckoning tourists passing through to stop in their little town and stay awhile.
Signs dot the landscape, calling drivers stop here and spend their time and money.  

The two  successful campaigns to garner our attention were Wall Drug Store in Wall, South Dakota and the Corn Palace in Mitchell South Dakota.   

For miles and miles and many signs called for us to stop at Wall Drug Store....not knowing what to expect, we stopped for a peek.  It was a full two hours before we were on our way again.  That is how it goes with us....You never know what to expect.

After reading sign after sign.....we of course were required to stop in each little shop.  The town converted several blocks of the downtown area to a covered little western style town.  You are able to wonder from room to room remaining inside the mall as you are tempted by every tourist souvenir known to man.

The Corn Palace in Mitchell, South Dakota is truly a reflection of a main crop of the area.  It is within the corn belt.  Each year murals are designed telling the history and culture of the area using only natural corn products.  Due to weather constraints the colors that are available will dictate the products used.

On the side of the building was a work crew finishing up more of the corn murals.  It was interesting watching how they bound it together.

Quite the labor intensive process.

Inside the smell of popcorn grabbed our attention.  Lots of corny products to check out.

And before long we were on our way...again.  We would hang out in the day at rest areas, or county or regional parks.  Find a scenic pull off to cook dinner and enjoy a rest.  It is amazing how much you can see while putzing along at a leisurely pace. The only worry's seem to be the van is heating up and having a hard time cooling off in stop and go traffic.  I will have it looked at as soon as we can find a radiator shop.  Not urgent, but I would rather be cautious.

This trip is the first time that we have used a Walmart to sleep over at night.  It has been a pretty easy way to travel.  We do our sightseeing and enjoying the local recreation areas then check on the internet list for Walmart's that allow RV overnight parking.   We check with the managers who are quiet friendly to find the area they prefer the parking to be located.  We always do a bit of shopping as a thank-you and are on our way in the morning.  We pulled into a couple of parking areas along the way that just didn't feel comfortable and just kept on going.  We also have stayed in a Crackle Barrel that welcomes over nighter's and one night in a truck stop which was my least favorite due to noise.   All areas have had video surveillance or employees on site so we have felt safe in the locations.

   It has been more difficult to find propane and RV sanitation dumps than a location to sleep.  In the West propane is sold at many gas stations or RV service departments.  They are not as visible in the midwest but we have found the propane at farm supply outlets.

I have a FaceBook friend that I have been in touch with for nearly five years.  Since we were going through the area we deceived to make our friendship official and meet in person.  I drove through Chicago with the name of her town and ended up calling her from a Walmart just blocks from her house.   Diane lives in a beautiful townhouse in a secluded suburb of Chicago so we spent a couple of nights her tree lined slice of paradise.

We drove into China town for dinner and shared a breakfast at a local dinner.  Best of all was connecting with a friend and seeing our friendship grow in  real time.

While we were here we got hooked up with a radiator shop and had a fan replaced that helps with cooling and it has improved the cooling immensely.

While the Roadtrek was being tended to, we rode the train into the downtown and walked along the water front and enjoyed the day in the
Windy City.

We attended a free concert of the Chicago Youth Symphony with Blue Man Group.  It was a lot of fun and the price and venue was certainly right!


Before long we received word that the van was ready.... and we left Chicago in the middle of rush hour.... Not what I would choose, but we made it out of the heavy traffic with only a little worse for wear.

At one point we felt like a semi-sandwich!!

Headed for Indiana where we 
Made Nachos for dinner along side a beautiful lake for dinner and enjoyed the beach until sunset
 and then we headed to our nighttime destination, 
a quiet little Walmart along side a sweet little pond.