Sunday, August 30, 2015

ORIGINAL FIELD OF DREAMS - Dyersville, Iowa

Dyersville, Iowa 
You need Google Maps to find this diamond!

A surprise to me was that a visit to the Field Of Dreams is on a lot of bucket lists.  This is the original, intact movie set for Field Of Dreams, in Dyersville, Iowa.  The movie, released in 1989, was based on a book called "Shoeless Joe", written by W. P. Kinsella.  To say it is in the middle of nowhere is an accurate statement.  You could embellish and say it is also in the middle of a corn field in the middle of nowhere.

This is the road - keep driving!

Definitely in the middle of a corn field!
The Kinsella's Home on site.

The actual Field Of Dreams Ball Field
This is where people come to relive their childhood innocence and fantasies of playing major league baseball and see that dreams can come true.
Live The Magic
Have Faith In Simplicity
and Always Dare To Dream!
In the movie, Kevin Costner plays a novice Iowa corn farmer, Ray Kinsella.  He heard a mysterious voice one night tell him, "If you build it, he will come."  So he built a baseball diamond on his land and afterwards the ghost of great baseball players began emerging from the crops, i.e., Shoeless Joe Jackson (Ray Liotta) leading the pack.
Beautiful and Bountiful Iowa Corn Fields
Field Of Dreams - Dyersville, Iowa

RV In the Cornfields at Field Of Dreams Movie Site
Dyersville, Iowa

Amy Madigan portrays the wife of  Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner),  James Earl Jones was a radical author, Terrance Mann, and Burt Lancaster, who was Dr. Archibald  "Moonlight" Graham, played his final movie role of his stellar career.

In 1989 the Field Of Dreams film was nominated for 3 Academy Awards; Best Original Score, Best Adapted Screen Play and Best Picture. 
Field Of Dreams Movie Site
Dyersville, Iowa

It is estimated more than 65,000 people from all over the world visit this original movie set in Dyersville, Iowa every year.  We would have to agree this is worth the journey to the middle of a cornfield in Iowa.  Did I fail to mention all this fun was FREE?!

Monday, August 24, 2015

HEROES, SEXY TRACTORS, & "WRASSLIN'"

Usually we stay at a campground within close proximity to several cities such as we did when we arrived in Iowa.  Iowa is a beautiful and historical state.  We stayed in Center Point which is centrally located to Waterloo, Cedar Rapids, Dyersville, Anamosa, and The Amana Colonies before moving further south..
"Fields Of Opportunities" - Iowa
Beautiful Iowa!

Waterloo, Iowa, located alongside the Cedar River, is such an interesting city. We visited the  John Deere Factory and Engine Museum, and, believe it or not, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame/Dan Gable Museum and the Sullivan Brothers Veterans Museum. Each museum visit could have taken much longer, but you have to choose what you think is most interesting and historical.
The John Deere Tractor and Engine Museum
Waterloo, Iowa

John Deere Tractor
Waterloo, Iowa
Before you think we were nuts to go to the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, just know we have fond memories of wrestling in Jacksonville at the Beaver Street Arena and the  Coliseum since we were very young.  Names like Lou Thesz, Haystacks Calhoun, Andre The Giant, Eddie Graham, Mike Curtis, Argentine Rocca, The Von Brauner Brothers and Gentleman Saul, their manager, Primo Carnera, Gorgeous George, Buddy Rodgers, etc,, The National Wrestling Hall of Fame is as importantly a museum to honor an Iowan, a great Olympic wrestling champion, Dan Gable. The museum had so many wrestling items on display, as well as a wrestling arena.  RV enjoyed the entire experience and recognized so many of the former champions and superstars.


National Wrestling Hall of Fame
Dan Gable Museum
Waterloo, Iowa
Andre The Giant ....Do you know the others?

We always have time to honor our vets, particularly since RV is a vet, so it was appropriate our first stop would be to the Sullivan Brothers and Veterans Museum, built to honor the five Sullivan Brothers, all serving together on the USS Juneau (CL-52), who were killed in action on November 13, 1942. The brothers had an only sister, Genevieve, who was in the WAVES.  She was the girlfriend of Bill Ball, whose death in Pearl Harbor, prompted her five brothers to join the Navy to avenge him.  After the deaths of the Sullivan Brothers on the same ship, the U.S. War Department began enforcing "The Sole Survivor Policy," so this would never occur again.
Sullivan Brothers
Iowa Veterans Museum
Waterloo, Iowa
 
Five Sullivan Brothers
Waterloo, Iowa
Statue of the Five Sullivan Brothers
Veterans Museum - Waterloo, Iowa

USS Juneau - CL- 52

Another interesting exhibit at the Museum was a special travelling Viet Nam exhibit in a special wing of the museum.   Emphasis was given to honor each branch of the service and recognize how they gave the ultimate sacrifice to their country.  To put it into perspective, this is what was listed:

Navy -            1.8 million served  throughout the conflict in Viet  Nam             1,631 killed in action
Army -            more than 4 million served during the Viet Nam conflict          38,224 killed in action
Coast Guard - 8,000 served throughout the Viet Nam conflict                           7 killed in action
Air Force -      1.7 million served throughout the Viet Nam conflict                   2,586 killed in action
Marines -        800,000 served throughout the Viet Nam conflict                      13,095 killed in action

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

UPPER WISCONSIN DELLS

Our visit to Wisconsin extended to Wisconsin Dells after we kept hearing this was the place everyone went to get away from the cities.   This is a city of  waterparks, fudge shops and the Ho Chunk Indian Casino (nee Branson, Pigeon Forge), and LOTS of tourists, up until the end of October.

Downtown Wisconsin Dells, WI
 
Upside Down White House - Wisconsin Dells, WI

Wooden Roller Coaster at Troy - Wisconsin Dells, WI
 We enjoyed our stay but we especially enjoyed a 2 hour excursion through the most scenic and beautiful stretch of the Wisconsin River - The Upper Dells.  The excursion, ten miles round trip, winds through narrow canyons and past the towering sandstone cliffs that have stood as sentinels of time.

Black Hawk's Profile - Upper Wisconsin Dells, WI

Sand Cliff and High Rock - Upper Wisconsin Dells, WI

The Palisades Area
Upper Wisconsin Dells, WI


Upper Wisconsin Dells, WI

Pancake Rock - Upper Wisconsin Dells, WI
Our knowledgeable tour guides gave factual  accounts of early adventurers to this region, from fur traders and lumber raftsmen to Native Americans and young entrepreneurs who lived off the land, on its riverbanks and through its beauty.  At several points along the trip we were able to disembark and explore.
Witches Gulch - Upper Wisconsin Dells, WI

Spooky Lane - Upper Wisconsin Dells, WI

Caves near Stand Rock - Upper Wisconsin Dells, WI

Our Docked Tour Boat at Stand Rock Trail -
Upper Wisconsin Dells, WI
One formation, Stand Rock, cannot be seen by the water and is a short walk within the woods.  Stand Rock is an outcropping 47 feet high topped off by a 12 x 20 foot slab or rock support by a pillar of sandstone.  Throughout the day, tour boat passengers are treated to specially trained german shepherd dogs that leap between the two rocks.



While the water may look dirty it is actually a very clean waterway.  The brown color is from a natural substance called tannic acid, primarily from the bark and roots of the tamarack and oak trees in northern Wisconsin.


After our most enjoyable one week stay at Country Roads Campground in Lake Delton , this was our reminder as we left the campground on our way to Minnesota.


Check, check, check and check Wisconsin Dells off the bucket list.



Saturday, August 15, 2015

HOG HEAVEN

If you are interested in Harley-Davidson Motorcycles and you happen to be in the Milwaukee area, a trip to the impressive  Harley Davidson Museum should be on your bucket list.  At the time we visited Milwaukee just about every motorcycle enthusiast was over in Sturgis, South Dakota, celebrating the pivotal 75th anniversary of one of the largest motorcycle rallies in history.  It was estimated over 1.8 million people attended this rally!  While we were in the Museum we met a couple from Florida who had driven into Milwaukee to visit the Museum (and were on their way back to Florida) from Sturgis.
Harley Davidson Museum - Milwaukee, WI

Harley Davidson Museum - Milwaukee, WI
Captain America's Bike - Easy Rider

Several years ago we visited the Harley-Davidson Manufacturing Plant in York, PA and just never thought we'd be able to visit the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.  RV loved it, adored it....was in awe of every second of the tour...and we both thought the entire museum was interesting.
100 Anniversary Poster - Harley Davidson - Milwaukee, WI

Original Founders of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles
William A. Davidson, Walter Davidson, Arthur Davidson and
William S. Harley


Customized Harley with 2 gas tanks and 2 separate
rider seats!

Customized Bike with LED Lights and Lots of Chrome

We enjoyed lunch in the beautiful waterfront Harley-Davidson restaurant instead of their cafe, and it didn't disappoint us in any way.  So much memorabilia was featured around the restaurant that it made it difficult to concentrate on our food.

Willie G. Davidson (son of William H. Davidson, grandson of Harley-Davidson co-founder, William A. Davidson), former Senior Vice President and Chief Styling Officer of Harley-Davidson Motor Company had an impressive art exhibit with more than 400 pieces of art and memorabilia.  You might say that "Willie G" is the face and brand ambassador of Harley-Davidson today.  The entire experience was interesting and educational, and we were so fortunate to have been able to visit and check this off RV's bucket list.
Entrance to Building for Willie G. Exhibit
Milwaukee, WI

Willie G. Davidson Exhibit - Harley-Davidson Museum
Milwaukee, WI

Willie G.'s Customized 1936 EL
Harley-Davidson Motorcycle

RV Chillin' on a bike - 2015


Thursday, August 13, 2015

WORLD'S GREATEST SHOW

"World's Greatest Show" was the name given to the original Ringling Bros. Circus which began in 1884, in Baraboo, Wisconsin, about an hour north of Madison.  RV and I spent an afternoon at the original location of the Ringling Bros.Circus, which was their winter quarters for 34 years, and is now the home of the Circus World Museum.
Circus World - On The Banks Of The Baraboo River
Baraboo, Wisconsin
In 1907 the name was changed to "The Greatest Show On Earth" when Ringling Bros. absorbed Barnum and Bailey.  Along the banks of the Baraboo River stand the surviving buildings, remnants of an age when the circus was a major form of entertainment in big and small towns and cities across America.  In 1927 John and Charles Ringling moved the winter headquarters to Sarasota, Florida from Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Original Warehouses at Ringling Bros
Baraboo, Wisconsin

Not only are the huge original buildings still standing that were built to house this huge undertaking, but the 220 historic circus wagons are being meticulously maintained and restored inside these buildings.
Circus World - Baraboo, WI
 
Circus World - Baraboo, WI

Circus World - Baraboo, WI

Circus World - Baraboo, WI

Circus World - Baraboo, WI

Circus World - Baraboo, WI

Circus World - Baraboo, WI

Circus World - Baraboo, WI

Circus World - Baraboo, WI

Circus World - Baraboo, WI
The history is being preserved in a grand manner and we were most impressed by the activities and displays of carefully crafted rare collections of circus memorabilia.  As we are originally from Florida I was only familiar with Charles and John Ringling and their contributions to Florida history.  When you are in Baraboo you are aware of all five brothers, Al, A.T., John, Otto, and Charles, (in 1886 Henry Ringling joined and in 1889 Gus Ringling joined) and that all of them were involved in the circus business.  They were all partners in the business and were known to be honest and hardworking.
The Ringling Brothers
Wisconsin has a proud circus heritage.  Approximately 100 circus shows were supported by 32 different communities.  Some cities such as Baraboo, Appleton, and Sheboygan were home to multiple shows.  Delavan, Wisconsin, beat them all by hosting 25 circuses at one time or another!




In 1967, The Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Circus was purchased by Irvin Feld (who died in 1984), and is now owned and operated by his son, Kenneth.