Aug 1st

        Had to get up early and take a shower before we got on the road. I usually don’t shower on days that we drive but since this was the second day in a row it was time. We hit the road about 9:00. To make the fuel work out for the last part of the trip we decided to wait a few miles before filling up. Much like yesterday the early part of the trip was filled with bikes, trucks and campers pulling trailers loaded with bikes, campers pulling pickup trucks carrying bikes, you name it. Everyone seemed to be going west toward Sturgis while we continued our trip east and home. The cross winds kicked up as we traveled on and driving got to be more of a chore. About 200 miles out we stopped for fuel. Twice times $65 before I declared it full by opting not to run the credit card a third time. The 360 long miles finally came to an end as we pulled into the campground about 6 hours from our start. We had been to this campground before so the place was familiar but the faces in the office were new. After checking in we drove on down to our ‘pull through’ site. Unfortunately there were some problems. The path for the pull through was narrow as a result of the next campers slide outs lining up with a tree and filled with low hanging branches from that same tree. We could have gone around and backed into the site except for the other problem - the previous guy was still in it. His dogs had done well at the local dog show and he had been delayed. He was packing as fast as he could and would be gone shortly. We were hoping to use our satellite at this location and after looking around decided that the site would not work for us anyway. I told the guy not to hurry and went to the office to tell them the alternate site we had picked. We had to back in but there were no trees in the way and the satellite was able to find a signal. Even though we had done it several times during the trip, hooking up to the 30amps gave us some unexpected problems. We managed to get everything working after about and hour and a half. Some times the simplest things take the longest to find. By this time we were ready for supper and headed off to find Buzzard Billy’s – our favorite La Crosse restaurant. The Jambalaya was excellent and we both ate more than we should have. We returned to our camper in time to catch some Sunday night TV – Six Feet Under, Dead Like Me and Dead Zone. Am I sensing a theme here? A few beers gave up their lives as well to complete the evening. Tomorrow we rest and do a little town touring.
 

Aug 2nd

        No reason to get up early today. We only have a couple of thing to do on the list so why hurry. We managed to get to Taco Bell on the south side of La Crosse by about 1:00. After a quick lunch we continued on to Wal-Mart to exchange a fan I had purchased the day before. Little did I know how loud the thing would be! A smaller fan was selected and it seems like it will make much less noise. The next stop is at the local HD store. Using the GPS and a state map we ploted the route and headed north through town. We got to the right area but couldn’t find the actual store. I stopped at a nearby Taco Bell and got directions. The HD store was just down the road and over the bridge so off we went. It was closed on Mondays. Just one more example of our excellent luck. We drove on back to the campground to use the johns and decide what to do next. The brewery tour downtown was selected as our next destination. The people in the campground office were happy to provide a pamphlet about the tour. They have daily tours at noon, 1:00, 2:00, and 3:00PM. Since it was currently 3:12 we decided we would just give up and go back to the camper. The remainder of the day was spent around the camper watching TV, chatting and having a couple of beers. Tomorrow we make the long 54 mile journey to our last stop before returning home. Showers in the morning before we leave.
 

Aug 3rd

        Just a short trip today. We got up about 9:00 and managed to leave the campground just 1 minute before the required checkout time of 11:00. The cats settled in for what they assumed was a usual long trip. The 54 miles to Tomah passed quickly and it seemed we had no more than left the first campground when we were pulling into the next- or should I say LAST – campground. The check in process was quite efficient and we were put in a very long pull through site without trees after I mentioned we wanted to get the satellite working. Cable TV with 78 channels, 50amps, water and sewer – a nice site. The cats looked confused and were slow to come out once we got parked. We felt they thought this was much too soon to be the end of the days trip. Once the A/C came on they settled right down. It had rained recently so the grounds were covered with puddles and the air was muggy. Add temperatures in the upper 80s and we were happy to have the A/C running. After getting completely set up we quickly unhooked the Jeep and headed to the little restaurant that had caused this whole stop. We had been in this area about 2 years earlier and eaten at a place that featured Long Horn Steer burgers. The owner was pleasant to chat with and we were determined to visit again. We made the short 15 mile trip to Warrens where the restaurant was located in good spirits. That all ended when we discovered that the place was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. This being a Tuesday made this typical for our luck during the last few days. We headed back to Tomah and managed to stumble on a Chinese Buffet that was located on the edge of town. A quiet little place but the food was good. From there we returned to the camper. There was nothing to do now except wait for the next day. Rita and I both worked on notes before catching a Robin Williams movie on TV. The rain had resumed about mid afternoon and continued into the evening. We had originally hoped to sit outside a bit for one final time but that didn’t work out. We had supper at the camper and drank up our few remaining beers while watching a DVD. After catching the local news and a little David Letterman we turned to bed for the last time on this trip. Tomorrow is a big day. We need to restart the Barn in a hurry as there is the very real possibility we will have company by nightfall.
 

Aug 4th

        We got up and showered early. After taking advantage of the opportunity to give the black tank one final flush we hit the road for home. As we traveled down I-90/94 we remarked that we had seen more police officers since we had been back in Wisconsin that we did during our entire trip to Alaska. I am not sure if that is good or bad – it just is. We exited the freeway at Lodi and followed the winding path of Hwy 60 for most of the rest of the way home. We pulled into the garage driveway about 12:30 and began the process of unhooking the Jeep and parking the motor home. We left the cats in the camper and drove to the Barn to get things ready for their return. While attempting to turn off the Barn’s alarm system without my glasses on I managed to set the damn thing off. Let me tell you the alarm bell is LOUD. On the third attempt I managed to disarm the unit in time to prevent the arrival of the police. The only thing that seemed to have changed since we left was the addition of dead flys everywhere. I vacuumed these up for fear that cats would eat them. Returning to the camper we found the cats were in no hurry to be captured and taken to parts unknown to them. We gathered them all in one load in the back of the Denali and headed back to the Barn. Once they figured out where they were they seemed as happy as Rita was to be home. The remainder of the afternoon was spent retrieving lunch, transporting cloths and doing general unpacking. I picked up three quarter barrels from Jeff the beer guy and helped the guy from Charter get our cable hooked back up. Things came together pretty much as planned and we were ready to go across the street to JoJo’s for supper about 6:30. The burgers were great and our friends showed up as planned. After supper and a pitcher of beer we invited our friends back to the Barn for few drinks. The gathering broke up about 1:00. Our first night back in the Barn after three months on the road and we already had company over. Such is life in the Barn.

Pictures