After breakfast – I got out all our books and we started in on our first day of homeschooling. We eased into the material. Mena and I got through all her material and Jake enjoyed helping her when she had questions. Franki saved some for the driving part of our day. Quinten got most of his done as well before we left the Wagners.
Then we all took a stroll around the gardens by the house and started to pick all kinds of goodies. Mena loved being in the garden and picking stuff. She collected green peppers, onions, giant radishes, jalepenos, tomatoes, apples, and pumpkin squash. Nick and Jake helped her get everything cleaned up and ready for us to take along on the road.
After gardening, we decided Summer needed a walk. So Jake and the girls and I walked the dog over to the catholic church that is connected to their property. It was a pretty morning and while I had a light coat on the sun felt really good. We walked through the cementary on the church grounds and Jake pointed out all the Wagner relatives buried there. He kept saying, “and another one down here”….it was pretty special to see him point all the grave sites of his relatives out.
Betty and Nick offered to take us all over to the Monastery by their house- so me and the kids, Nick and Jack all loaded up in Betty’s car and she took us to the abby. The grounds of the monastery were spectacular. It was called New Melleray Abby and it was founded in 1849 – we only saw one Monk as the rest of them were hosting a retreat. We also stopped to view the casket manufacuturing that they do as a way to be self sufficient as an organization. They were beatiful caskets all hand made and lots of pride put into them. We then took the back country farm roads the 7 miles back to their farm house. There is a church on the main corner and the property touches the property line of the Wagners- so Nick and Betty take care of the church and the church grounds as a well as the adjoining cemetary. Betty, has a key to the church so she took us into their little catholic church in the country. It was so pretty and the stain glass windows where amazing! The rural church communities are dwendeling so they have mass once a month in their church on the corner.
Kind of sad to have such pretty, amazing structures not be used like they use to be. It was a great morning.
Betty had sloppy joes made up for lunch – they were really good. After lunch we got the RV all ready to hit the road. Pulled in our slides – unhooked from Wagner’s electricity and Nick helped Dawson get the rig turned around and in a flat field area to hook up the van. The wind had picked up in the afternoon and the gust of winds were a bit crazy. So we knew it might post some slower going as we headed East to Madison. It was a bitter sweet good bye as we had just met the Wagner’s – we felt like family and we weren’t really ready to leave. Jake and the kids really had a great time and talking to Nick and Betty was very enjoyable. We loved hearing about the farm and about Scott and his siblings growing up. Jake shared a fun photo book with us – highlighting his surprise 30th birthday last November. Jake is one special guy and someone we will keep in touch with. Believe it or not –I think they enjoyed our company as well and we told them we will be back to visit again!
As we rolled on down the highway, the girls and I looked over all their school work and were able to review and discuss what they had learned earlier in the day. We also looked out the window as we saw down town Dubuque and crossed the Mississippi River into Wisconsin. Q was co-piloting for his dad and they took it easy in the wind.
As we were traveling down the road – our boys in blue back at home were playing a key playoff game in Houston. Initially it wasn’t going so well – then we got a text message from a friend back home and so we decided to turn on the TV and see the comeback. We finally pulled off the road and had our own ROYALS celebration!!! It was a great comeback and a great WIN! We love our Royals – it was a fun and a great memory we made as a family on the road.
We arrived in Madison around 4 pm and made our way to Lake Kegonsa State Park. We arrived at the check in gate to find our reservation taped to the window of the office. We stopped at the desk – but it was closed, I walked Summer and then tried to start the van. We told you we would be brutually honest – sharing the good, the bad and the ugly. We’ll it was a “bad” moment when I tried to turn the key and the van was dead. We freaked out briefly….like oh crap what if the area is too small and we need to unhook the van to get into the parking spot here….and how will we jump it and re-charge the battery? And we were feeling like we are a bit off the beating path back here in the woods by the lake. I took the dog to walk around and looked up to the sky and said a prayer of thanksgiving and help. We then jumped back in the rig and pulled on down the skinny tree covered road of the state park. Dawson accidently made a left turn that was not a road but rather a large parking lot. Not sure how he did it but he actually got the rig turned around in there with the van in tow without having to back up at all. Craziness – total craziness!!!
We then pulled into our spot and the first task at hand was to get the van started. When we pulled down to our spot we saw some other campers and they were all outside talking - so Alana Muller – you would love this….we had to begin to “connect” to other people – you know network – because we were in need of help. So Dawson and I walked down to where they were and he met Mike. Mike just happen to have a portable battery charger. It was awesome – they hook it up to the van and gave it a few minutes and then it started right up. Dawson engaged in some small talk with him and he has been living here for 6 years – in this camp ground with his wife as the camp host. Anyway, he was an older man that seemed a little annoyed with us until he learned that this was day 3 of a voyage that we had just begun with your kids and dog in tow. He softened up and even smiled and stated that he was no expert on the towing a car thing. Dawson had the tow outfitted to be trickle charging the van while it was being flat towed. For some reason yesterday (maybe because we pulled off the road to watch our Royals win the game) it did drained the battery rather than charged it. We are still learning all the in’s and outs of life on the road.
Anyway, we got it charged. Moved it out of the way and decided we liked another spot that was flatter and moved the RV. It was narrow and crazy but Dawson did a great job. We hooked up electric and then that didn’t iniatially work- but as we were deciding if we should move the RV again – the lights finally flicked on. Thank GOD! We got organized as best we could and Dawson opened a beer. He was freaking out a little especially since our satelite was not working – so no TV for you tonight/ no baseball/ no water hook up here – so we just have what is in the tank. We decided that we would have our first family adventure in a “bath house”. The kids had never showered in a bath house. The closest thing to a bath house they have had was the family locker room at Lifetime Fitness.
It was a humerous way to wrap up our evening and to take a deep breath and realize that we were ok. And at least we were clean. Dawson was really missing the comforts of home – mostly the TV and his own area to get away from all of us! LOL. The rest of us were ok….I think. So we made dinner and played spades. Quinten and I won and all in all it was a good night.
Back to my blog title – I think our first day of school was productive. Our evening and campsite location is ok – it’s like being in the country. Decided for now we might be better off doing the KOA’s until we are a little more seasoned. We have added a battery charger to our list of items needed from Walmart and we are all safe and sound here in our home on wheels.
Here’s to adventure – even when they are challenging you in many ways.
Good night –