Tom Flanders World

Writer of Fiction
 

Tom Week – Iowa

An Iowa bunny

7/5/19 – Altoona Iowa

Altoona Iowa is not Des Moines, but since nobody outside Iowa knows where Altoona is, I have to tell people we’re in Des Moines.

7/6/19 – Good Guys

Went to the Goodguys car show at the Iowa Fairgrounds with my nephew-in-law Tony. Who, by the way, is married to Toni. There were many gems and some clunkers among the thousands of old cars. Much fun, but it was hot and I’m not used to walking that much.

This morning was my first real bike ride since the accident. I did 6.8 miles without any issues. Though Google Maps let me down once again elevation-wise. Instead of the reported 80 feet of climbing, I climbed over 200 feet. Not difficult, just unexpected.

7/7/19 – The Greenway

Longer bike ride today. Twelve miles along a very nice series of trails. Lots of friendly cyclists waved at me and I at them.

Dinner with the in-laws at the casino buffet next door to the RV park. Much nostalgia.

7/8/19 – Quad Cities

Wonderful shopping at the Davenport Iowa WalMart. There was a thirty-something women and her teenage daughter wearing matching bikinis and gold-lame sneakers. Mom was telling anyone who would listen that people often mistake her and her daughter for sisters. Nobody believed her.

7/9/19 – Hot Rain

Too hot and humid to ride today. No good roads around here anyway. Then it rained hard. Got lots of schooling done.

7/10/19 – Across Illinois

Pat woke up at 2:30 to find that the air conditioner had ceased to function. This happened once before. I think the compressor motor has a dead spot. Fortunately when we stopped for lunch I fired up the generator and the air conditioner worked again.

The heat index today was over 100. The next two days are going to be cooler. Yahoo!

7/11/19 – The “I” States

Started in Illinois. Drove straight across Indiana. Now we’re in southern Ohio. Searching for some cooler weather.

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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: July 12, 2019

Tom Week – In Casino Land

casino

6/28/19 – Casino Land

The surprising lack of fancy parks here in Minnesota has landed us at a casino parking lot for the weekend. Full hookups and cable TV, but no shade from the 90 degree weather.

I had to run in and join the reward club before checking in so I could save ten dollars. It comes with ten dollars free play and my father’s spirit is begging me to go waste it on the slot machines.

The funniest part of the park is that the map lists a structure in the corner of the park as the bath house. No, it’s a porta-potty.

6/29/19 – HOT

The real-feel for casino land today is 103. Over 90 degrees with 90% humidity. The rain storm coming tomorrow will bring cooler weather. Sat inside all day doing nothing. Though I did get to watch the Indoor Football League semifinals with the Iowa Barnstormers. For some reason we have a sports channel out of Des Moines.

6/30/19 – Mankota

This is one of the few cities in the world whose name is a typo. We are in a funky little town on the edge of a cornfield. No, the corn isn’t knee-high and won’t be by the Fourth of July.

The owner of the park is a typical gruff Nordic type. Some reviews of the park called him angry, but he’s a nice guy. He just doesn’t have a bubbly personality.

7/1/19 – The Blue Earth

Lots of rain and sitting inside today. I caught up with my keeping up with learning new computer geek stuff.

Also, we got to watch three people move a derelict riding mower from a trailer to the back of a pickup truck. It was either more interesting than it sounds or we need to get out more.

Happy Canada Day!

7/2/19 – Almost Iowa

Seriously, it looks like Iowa. The Minnesota accent has faded to almost nothing. Except for that wrong side of the border thing, this is Iowa.

We are in a weird park at the end of a crappy rutted dirt road. When we arrived they had the John Deere tractors, made in Iowa, trying to smooth out the flood damage.

We tried taking showers but there was no cold water. Yes, that’s correct. They only had hot water, which by itself was way too hot to shower. Never seen that one before.

Also, I’m going crazy. Tomorrow I ride the bike no matter what.

7/3/19 – Rainy Day

OK, so I didn’t ride my bike today. Before I got the chance the rains came. So lots of sitting around doing nothing. But, tomorrow, bike ride, for sure, or else.

7/4/19 – The Fourth

Good fourth of July. The neighbors have been drinking all afternoon. The sun is setting. The explosions should start any minute now.

Got some laundry done and yes, I did ride my bike. For nearly 200 yards. It’s a start. I’ll do more when we get back to the land of paved roads.

PIX

porta-showers

On the RV camp map this is listed as the bath house.

muddy road

The tractor was called in to reroad the mud pits.

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Tags: ,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: July 4, 2019

Tom Week – To Minnesota

Minnesota gopher

6/20/19 – Bismark

The capitol of North Dakota and the state’s second largest city. Very nice park with lots of shade. The grocery stores in ND do not sell alcohol. I don’t know why I am telling you that because I rarely buy alcohol in grocery stores anyway.

6/21/19 – Time Change

I was up very late last night. Mostly because the last remnants of the sunset didn’t disappear till after 10:30PM. Abigail let us sleep late this morning. It was dark and rainy and I had a long nap this afternoon. I am lump man.

6/22/19 – No bike ride

The weather turned very nice today. I so wanted to hop on the bike and take a ride. Unfortunately my ribs and knee are too sore.

6/23/19 – Minnesota

Some days there just aren’t any good RV parks. We wound up driving 250 miles before landing in Barnesville Minnesota. No, it wasn’t named for Barnes and Barnes. This is our first time staying in a city park. We had to go online to reserve and pay for the spot.

There are many gophers here. They are much larger than the California gophers. There are also bugs here of every description. Tiny bugs that fit through the screen door. Mosquitoes and hornets that somehow got in. Caterpillars on the tires. Moths on the awning. Creepy.

6/24/19 – St. Cloud

OK, most RV parks have back-in spots or pull-thru spots. For the last two parks we’ve had pull-in spots. Perhaps it’s a Minnesota thing.

Had much trouble with the internet. Turns out it wasn’t us. Google and more were all broken for a while today.

6/25/19 – Worms

The worms here are quite stupid. We had heavy rain last night so early this morning all the night crawlers were out. I could here my mother’s voice telling to grab some so she could go fishing. A couple hours later though, I found that the worms had not returned to their underground safety and the weather had turned hot and dry. The dirt road is covered in dehydrated dead worms.

6/26/19 – Not Minneapolis

We are in Jordan Minnesota. A nice park with a heated indoor pool which Tonya happily floated in for quite a while.

6/27/19 – Big Rain

It was dark and rainy this morning so Abigail let us sleep late. Did laundry this afternoon. We live life on the edge.

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Tags: , | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: June 28, 2019

Tom Week – Boot Hill to Bismark

rock cliff not near boot hill

6/15/19 – Boot Hill

I took the rental pickup back to rent-a-wreck. I told the guy that every time it hits a big bump all the warning lights turn on. He laughed and said, “Yeah, it does that.”

I went for a bike ride and climbed the hill to the airport, which sits on a 500 foot cliff. My Strava time for climb is 81 out of 81. Yes, I am the slowest!

Then going down the other side I came across the Boot Hill Cemetery. Yes, the actual Boot Hill. It was overgrown with weeds. Sad. (Well, it was one of the boot hills. Turns out there’s a lot of them.)

6/16/19 – Miles City

We are in Miles City which has some very low bridges. Fortunately the first one we encountered has a warning light telling us we were too tall. Then the talking lady GPS tried to send us down a dirt road. We ignored her and took the long paved road around. Turns out the dirt road goes under a 9 foot bridge. We made the right choice.

Miles City was named as a taunt for the local fort commander who kicked out the booze sellers. So they formed their own town two miles away. We are just over the dike from the Yellowstone River. According to the guide book I will be hunting agate tomorrow.

6/17/19 – Bike Fall

After riding three miles of riding on hard-packed dirt roads I came down and steep hill and into a patch of wet, loose gravel. I hit the brakes. The bike went left. I went down. All scraped up and bruised ribs bout serious damage. The bike is fine.

6/18/19 – North Dakota

We are the gateway to the Teddy Roosevelt National Park. There is a statue of him downtown. It’s the middle of nowhere but the park is full on a Tuesday. The closest McDonalds is 150 miles away.

6/19/19 – Medora

A lazy day by the river. Well, lazy for me. Pat cleaned a bunch of bugs off the front of the RV. We found evidence of mouse activity in one of our food drawers. It may have just come in to get out of the cold. Hopefully gone in the heat of the day.

6/20/19 – Bismark

The capitol of North Dakota and the state’s second largest city. Very nice park with lots of shade. The grocery stores in ND do not sell alcohol. I don’t know why I am telling you that because I rarely buy alcohol in grocery stores anyway.

PIX

pony cow

I thought it was a cow, but it’s actually a pony

low bridge

Our talking lady GPS tried told us to take the RV under this bridge. We turned around.

gross knee injury

Loose wet rocks in the road are not your friend

circus truck

The circus isn’t in town, just the advance man

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Tags: | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: June 20, 2019

Tom Week – Montana Hail

Montana hail

6/8/19 – Bozeman Hail

Cold day. Mix of rain, hail and snow this morning. Yes, snow, in June. Abigail was pretty sure she didn’t want to be stepping on that white stuff. I don’t think she’s ever seen snow before.

According to Pat’s records this is our 99th park on this trip.

6/9/19 – Billings

It’s much warmer today. We’re 2000 feet down from yesterday. Something’s going on. I took trying five places before I could find an available rental car.

Looking through local Yelp reviews I came across a couple doozies. For a place called Daisy Dukes Saloon and Dance Hall a one-star review complained about the lack of hip-hop music. Another one-star reviewer for the Rainbow Bar complained that she was kicked in the head by a man dancing on the bar. People, if someone is dancing on the bar, you step back! Be aware of your surroundings.

6/10/19 – Rental Car

There are no rental cars available in Billings. Or, nearly none. I went through all the normal outlets and got nothing but rejection. Finally I got lucky at Rent-A-Wreck. They had a pickup truck. It was described on-line as a Nissan Frontier or similar. The Frontier is a mid-size pickup that I like very much.

However, what I actually got was a Chevy Silverado 2500 Z71 4×4 with a diesel engine. It takes a ladder to get into it. Also, being a Rent-A-Wreck, it has issues. Perhaps personality is a better word. Does anyone need a stump pulled?

6/11/19 – Bike Ride

I knew my luck had to run out. The last several stops having been biking Nirvana. Billings snapped the streak. What Google maps lists as bicycle-friendly are two lane highways with no bike lane, shoulder or even sidewalk. The drivers try to be nice, but with 45mph speed limits it’s just not a safe place for bikes.

Then there were the bike paths along the river, which are all currently torn up due to construction. Not a nice surprise. There some streets with nice bike lanes though. They’re just no connected to each other.

Then we got the great news that the Vice President and his wife are coming to town. That will mess up traffic for two days.

6/12/19 – The Veep

I found much better bike paths today. There were even some hills. My climb was cut short though as I stumbled upon Mike Pence’s motorcade. He’s in town to chat with some other pasty-faced old fellows. I didn’t get my camera out fast enough. I’ve got to work on that.

We ate dinner at the Texas Roadhouse. Tonya likes it there because it’s very loud.

6/13/19 – Sitting

Spent much of the day working on the website and computer. Details, details, details.

PIX

country dolls

A couple of Gabby Hayes wannabes at a Montana restaurant/casino/bar/liquor store

snow-covered picnic table

Bozeman’s weather proved disappointing. It’s JUNE people!

spider

The spider on the spigot helped me with my unhooking duties

path closed sign

Not all bike paths are created equal. Turns out I should have turned left.

police road block

The veep needs his space

big red truck

The rent-a-wreck giant pickup truck

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Tags: ,,, | Comments (0) | Author: Tom | Published: June 13, 2019

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