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Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Flying Alligator, Shanty Days at Algoma, WI, boondocking and rug vendor booth

Oh what a wonderful weekend to write about as we drive on home again....

It started out kinda crazy... I hit an alligator...  yes...  an alligator!   A FLYING alligator !!!!

I was driving in the motorhome to meet up with Steveio at work to leave from there at 2:30 on Friday.  I was coming down the 4 lane and saw a semi truck up ahead in the other lane have a blow out.  The section of tire (known as a "gator") flew off and into the air... smack dab onto the hood and windshield of a minivan behind him....I slowed down as best as I could as it was happening, but in a big motorhome, you can't swerve, you can't slam on your brakes. There is no place to go but forward.

The minivan hit their brakes on impact and the gator flew off of them right through the air and onto the front of my motorhome in the next lane!  WHAMMMMMM  It hit sooo hard just below the windshield!   I felt it slide to the left and off and looked back in the rearview mirror to see that it was no longer in the road and was flung far into the ditch.   Glad it hadn't gone underneath my tires or hit the underbelly where the tanks are.   I was able to finally pull over at the next exit to check out the damage at a park n ride lot.  I rounded the front of the rig, trepidiciously, thinking I would see smashed fiberglass, ripped out headlights and a horrid mess to clean up.  But noooo noooo nooooo  much to my surprise, the only thing broken was the lens on one foglight!!!

Even the plastic grid over the lens was pretty much intact too!   The blow must have been taken up by the big spare tire Steveio has mounted on the front of the rig--- lucky lucky lucky us....

I made it to Steve's place of work safe and sound, with no more flying gators attacking me!

He hooked up the Tracker to the back of the rig (he had driven it to work that morning) and we were on our way to Algoma.  It was SHANTY DAYS!   A big three day city-wide celebration with a fishing derby, parade, live music, and vendors.   Here is their website: Shanty Days in Algoma, WI

Our good friends, Norma and Jim Burkett were going to put up a vendoring booth of their woven rugs.  They are from Beloit and we have known them for quite a few years.  Their booth is called Pa and Ma Rugs and they have a thriving business selling over 800 rugs a year at shows.  We knew they were booked at a motel for the weekend, so we were driving the rig to a nearby parking lot to boondock.  The gal at their motel told us about it.  It's called Olson Park and it is no longer used for boat launching ramps due to the low water levels of the Great Lakes.  So now the city uses it for overflow parking for semi trucks and residents' boat trailers.

We were unsure what we were going to find, but much to our surprise it was a LOVELY boondocking spot!   It was on the NW end of town and we were all alone beside one semi truck at the other end.  We pulled up near the water and had a picnic table, and a great view!  Not bad for FREE!!!

A lady came walking by with two wonderful gentlemen collie dogs, who were very pleasant and well-mannered. They were both retired show dogs.  Ducky was sooo excited to see doggies of "her clan" and Duke was outnumbered 3 to 1.

We chatted for a while and then Norma and Jim called, as they were getting close to town.  We had supper ready for them, as they had to eat fast and then head over to set up their canopy for the coming Art and Craft show the next morning.   So we had put four frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts on the grill knowing they were coming.  Much to our dismay, they shrunk up to almost 1/3 of the size they started out as!  Not sure what they are doing to chicken nowadays, other than plumping it up with water?  It's the same brand we always buy, but the last two times they have shrunk up horribly.  I was almost too embarrassed to serve them, but we were all hungry and ate them anyhow.  Sigh.

We headed over and got their canopy set up and their tables arranged.  Luckily they have the same 20x10 canopies that my sister and I both have, so we knew exactly what to do to get it up before the splatter of rain started.  Rain was predicted for all Friday and Saturday.  Yuck!

The rain stopped and we were able to get all the gear unloaded too.  They were set up right in front of the police department, so their stock was safe overnight.

Whew.... it was done and we were done!  Jim had been up since 3 am and Steve since 4:30... so it was time for bed.  They wandered back to their motel (after getting an ice cream cone)  and we wandered back to our rig (we had ice cream in the freezer and had cones too!)

Saturday morning looked pretty iffy on the weather and they warned of rain showers on and off all day.  But wonderful weather happened by noon and we had sunshine and nice breezes all day long!

The parade was at noon, and our little grandson Jameson was there with our son-in-law's family to enjoy the day.  They live nearby at Rio Creek.   So we found them at the parade... I was so happy to see Heather and Jesse using their heavy Mexican blanket we brought them back from Mexico last winter for the parade. That is what we meant them to be used for, parades, picnics, fireworks, and family fun!

 Grandma Wade had a good hold on both the grandkids... (Jameson's little cousin Scarlett) 

Jameson is so lucky to have such good grandparents who love him sooo much too! 

The parade was an hour and a half long, and many of the side-show walkers were entertaining our little Jameson.  He got to check out the tall man, and fist-bump with a cycling clown.

Jameson got to pet some sled dogs that were all shelter rescue dogs and now having a wonderful life...  and notice his half full candy bag there in front of him, while watching the HIGHLIGHT (for him) of the parade... Thomas the Tank Engine train!

After some hugs and kisses, Jameson went home with his mommy and daddy, (I wanted to steal him but they wouldn't let me)  then we went over to the motorhome to grab some lunch and let out the dogs.

The rug sales went great, the sun was out, the big storm clouds rolled over into Lake Michigan and not a drop fell on us.  Jim and Norma work very hard as a team to make a wonderful array of rugs.  They specialize in long denim runners, and are known for making wonderful rugs in many sizes.

Norma makes these wonderful quits and pillow shams too! 

When the sales wound down about 6pm we closed up shop and headed out to dinner.  Jim and Norma insisted on treating us out to a nice meal at a local steak house.  Yummmmm we ate ourselves silly and watched the first half of the Packer/Browns pre-season game.  It feels so good to have football back on tv again after the long wait since the Super Bowl last winter.  Time to gear up to win again, GOOOO PACK!

We watched the second half of the game from the comfy cozy motorhome in our quiet peaceful boondocking spot.  Ahhhhh  and a nice evening it was.

The morning was bright sunshine, turquoise blue skies and not a cloud in sight!  What a pleasant day to wake up and enjoy the morning.  This is the view of our boondocking spot.  Ahhhhhhhh

I cooked up some pancakes and sausage, and we watched a young family arrive to go fishing.  Two boys grabbed their poles and the mom grabbed hers too.  The dad spread out the picnic gear and chairs, and later grabbed his pole too.  All four along the water's edge, how cute.  The family that plays (fishes) together == stays together... right?

We headed over to Norma and Jim's booth, and they were already there opening up shop!   The sales were good and the sun was shining.  These three little imps were causing disruption to their father who was trying to buy a rug... so I asked them to pose for me so I could put them on my blog.  So hereeeee they are!

We enjoyed our time with Norma and Jim.... and did some people watching ...Suddenly Norma shrieked when a lady took a bad tumble in the street and banged her head really hard on the cement!  We rushed to her aid, someone called an ambulance, and we kept her as comfy as we could till help arrived.  She was so shaken up and upset, and someone soon found her husband who was sitting down the block on a bench. She was also diabetic on her way to get food when she fell.  So the ambulance crews came and took over and we were relieved of our nursing duties.  She later was able to get up and walk, so they handled the rest of it.  We did our Good Deed for the day....

Later Norma and I strolled the grounds and the other vendors.  I just HAD to get a tie dyed shirt, and add it to my "collection"  heh heh such a hippee throw-back, eh?

The time to close up shop loomed ahead for 4pm (weaving pun intended) .... so Jim was able to get the truck and trailer in a good position to start loading up.  We took down whatever we could, leaving the rugs for very last.  End of the day shoppers were still coming in to buy rugs, some even having gone home to measure up and come back for their final selection.  The rugs flew out of the booth, and there weren't that many to pack up to take home! 

Jim and Steve finished up the loading of Jim's very neat and organized trailer.   Almost all of those boxes Steve is stacking up are EMPTY now...  they had been full of rugs to begin with.  Whew! 

After hugs and good wishes, they were on the road, headed back to Beloit, 200 miles away.  We hopped back in our Tracker, and hooked it up behind the motorhome and headed back home to our house.  We only had about 65 miles to go, but whew, we were tired too.  

What a great weekend full of fun, rugs, parades and food and Flying Alligators!


  1. Wow you had on busy busy weekend...no wonder your tired!!! But looked like a fantastic weekend with great friends~~glad to hear the lady who fell is ok...have a super week

  2. Looks like you guys had a perfect weekend... LOVE the photos of the kids and the dogs. Wow 4 beautiful dogs all so well behaved!!!
    Have fun & Travel safe

  3. Glad that gator didn't sink its teeth into your beautiful motorhome.

    Now I bet Stevio is already designing an anti-gator device to put on your motorhome! ;c)

  4. You deserve to be tired after your week-end. Glad your motorhome wasn't hurt too bad by the flying gator.

  5. Looks like another camping weekend bites the dust, won't be long and it will be getting cold up your way. Enjoy it while you can, we will be swimming at the Lake until the end of Sept. Be safe out there. Sam & Donna.....

  6. OK, I usually sort of "pass on through" and don't say much, but I have to pipe up. First of all, in the ten years that we had our (dearly departed) motorhome, my wife never once had any desire what so ever to get behind the wheel. She didn't even want to drive an old van I once had. (too big) And I'm sure she'd just let me drive each and every day if it came down to it. I don't mind. The only reason we're living in Vienna, is due to the nature of her job. So, if she's not overly keen on driving, I think I can "let that go"?

    Anyway...I was already pretty danged impressed within the first 20 words or so. Then of course you didn't freak out with the shredded tire incident, and THEN you salvage a couple chairs by weaving new seats. Man oh man!
    Nice going!

  7. Heh Heh Bob... what you don't know is that when Steveio met me, I already owned a motorhome myself. (it was older and too much wrenching involved, so he made me sell it when he bought me a new one)

    So you could risk telling your wife that if you can't MAKE her into a motorhome driver, you might have to MARRY into one! LOL

    Seriously though, perhaps you could ask your wife what would she do if you were injured, broke your leg, or had a heart attack out in the boonies? How would she learn to drive a motorhome in a panic like that?

    There are various RV driving schools around the country too where a woman could learn without the pressure of her man being worried about scratching the *baby* ... errr motorhome. LOL

    And there are many many female school bus drivers who manage rigs that are a LOT longer than our RVs.....

    Just giving ya some ammo... tee heee

  8. What a fun day. Hearing about the craft show really brought back memories. When my kids were young I was a basket weaver and traveled to many craft shows selling my wares. My youngest on was my biggest helper. He loved to help me set up and sell my baskets. The rugs your friends make are beautiful and who can resist a great tie-dye shirt!


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