We left South Dakota on a Monday morning and pointed our jeep east. This would be our first adventure in….(7 years?) that we did not take a house on wheels with us. Instead we packed the jeep to the ceiling, put the Dakota in the back seat and we were off! The weather forecast showed that we had a tight window each day to avoid more of the nasty white stuff. A few hours ahead of us there was a storm that left dozens, if not hundreds of cars in the ditch through Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. We drove down the interstate looking at all the cars in the ditch commenting on what it would have been like to be in that car or this car. “That one spun a few times”, “Look how far that one went into the ditch”, “That one is on its roof” and so on. Luckily by the time we came through the roads were clear and we just got to witness the aftermath.
Our first day took us from Pringle to Clear Lake Iowa.
Roughly 9 ½ hours and 637 miles. This was not a sightseeing trip, we were on a
mission. That night we stayed in a Super 8 that was anything but super. It was
adequate however and we were on the road by 7:30 the next morning. Another 9
hour 600+ mile day found us just east of Indianapolis. Along the way we went
through many towns that I had visited during my working life. On the occasion I
visited these stores it was usually not for good reasons. Sioux Falls, Cedar
Rapids, Iowa City, Peoria and Bloomington Ill, Indianapolis as well as Dayton
and Columbus. It brought back lots of memories when our company bought, sold and closed stores; you are rarely greeted with open arms.
Day 3 was a shorter day, 8 hours and less than 600 miles. We
arrived at Jessica and Shane’s a little after 4:00. They had just purchased and
moved into this house a few months ago. So after hugs all the way around we got
a tour of their house. Very interesting house dating back to 1860 with several
additions throughout the years. One section has plaster and horsehair walls in
some areas and whole log beams in the basement. Other sections have sheetrock
and more modern construction. It has 3 fireplaces none of which are currently
operational but we might try and change that while we are here. A very
interesting house to say the least.
The days before our arrival Jessica and Shane had been working on getting their camper ready for our arrival. The only problem being that it was in the middle of a snow covered field and they needed to get it in their driveway. It took 2 days and a few swear words but they got it there!
|This is the result of the end of day 1
The snowstorm that was chasing us across the country caught up with us that night dumping several inches of snow on the ground along with some freezing rain. The next two days were snow days for the kids so we lots of grandkid times the next two days. I will be the first one to admit that going from having no grandkid time to a lot of grandkid time is an adjustment; 90% fun, 10% grandpa had to go out to the camper for a timeout. I would go read a couple chapters of a book, reenergize and come back in. Man, those kids have a lot of energy! On top of that they do not have TV working in their house yet so taking this old man who is used to his TV time and replacing it with a 6 year old and an 11 year old is quite a shock to the system!
As far as school goes they have in-person classes on Monday,
Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Virtual on Wednesday. Since we got here last
Wednesday they canceled both Thursday and Friday. It was not too bad as it has
been over a year since I have seen them but by Sunday I was looking forward to
Monday when they were in school plus Jessica took the week off so we would get
to spend some “adult” time with her. We
woke up Monday morning looking forward to a day of hitting breweries and
antique stores only to look out the window and see snow falling from the sky.
Yep, they canceled it again. Since all the kids are set up
with tablets for virtual days they cancel school at even the slightest threat
of snow or ice. Convenient for the teachers, hell of the schedule for parents.
If both parents are working, I really don’t know how they can do it.
Luckily I had a couple of projects to keep me distracted. The first was putting some lights in Kendall’s room. She only had lamps and outlets, not even a switch to control an outlet. Should be pretty easy, just need to crawl up in the attic, find a hot wire, tap off that to a switch then to the lights.
What I did not think about was that this house was built in the late 1800's and not a lot of thought went into lighting and wiring
So up in the attic I went. Not a single wire to be found….anywhere. What I did find was some pretty interesting and old timber frame construction. Their trusses are rough sawn 3x3’s with a wooden pin holding then together.
|Kinda dark up there but there is the wooden spike through the truss
Plan B, try to find a wire in a wall and tap off of that. Shane and I found one and were able to fish it up the wall into the attic. From there I was able to fish it down to the switch location and get to work. 5 hours later we had working lights!
|Kendall played on the ladder while I installed the lights
We did get out on a couple adventures. The first was when I went to Waynesboro to get the Jeep fixed. Jeep fixed you ask? Well, on day two of our journey out here Barb was looking out the mirror and said “Our fender flare is about to fall off”. We stop at the next town and sure enough 7 of the 10 tabs holding on the left rear fender flare were gone and it was about to fall off. It was still below 0 so I basically ripped it off, threw it in the back of the jeep and we carried on. When we got here I looked up Jeep repair shops and came up with on just a few miles away in Waynesboro. I called and they bring it on it and they will see what they can do. Little did I know that the place I was taking it to was Hauk Design, a world famous Jeep fabricator. Apparently they have a TV show and do upgrades and fabrications for jeeps all across the country. I had never heard of them and am curious if anyone else has. They were super nice, had me drive into their heated shop and got to work on fixing it. As they were working on it they gave me a tour of their shop and showed me some of the “projects” they were working on. Our jeep and I were definitely outside our pay grade but they got it fixed and I was back on the road within 30 minutes for less than $100. I could not have been happier!
We have been out antiquing a few times and I picked up an
old wooden ammo crate, a couple of vintage wooden decoys and three cast iron tractor seats for Farmer Bob. Whenever I
would find a seat I would text it to him and I was able to few that he was
interested in. He made me promise not to mention it to his wife DeAnne so I definitely will not do that. I think he might be giving one to her for her birthday or something. I am sure she will be super excited!
With all the snow we have been outside doing as much as we can; playing hide and seek, sledding and building snowmen.
|Jessica about to tip over
|Dylan on his way down
|Little Kendall just flew down the hill!