Thursday, October 1, 2009

Day Three of our Caravan / Rally

We started the day in a way that is frankly disgusting. All went well rising and getting ready to depart the campground in Soldiers Grove. The problem developed when we ignored all of the signs and left town, heading north (we thought). It was 8 miles later when we came to a T intersection that we realized that we had a big problem. To our utter amazement, none of the roads were highway 131 and the road signs were for places we hadn't heard of or didn't want to go to.

We made a start, decided we were wrong and went through the process of unhitching the Saturn so that we could backup and go the other way. We then spotted two fellows talking nearby, so we went over to explain to them that we took the wrong turn. When I mentioned where we were headed, he politely informed us that we were still heading in the wrong direction. We needed to unhitch a second time and go back the way we came from Soldiers Grove.

We were finally turned around and headed back to Soldiers Grove and both of us were left wondering "How did we do this foolish thing?" Eventually we realized that we had been on the road leaving Soldier's Grove when we were touring the area in the Saturn. We headed north out of Soldiers Grove and met up with our fellow caravaners who stopped at the visitor's Center for the Kickapoo Valley Reserve to learn more about its history. Needless to say, we felt pretty foolish, leaving 10 minutes before everyone else and arriving 10 minutes after everyone else had arrived.

The rest of the day went much better (all according to plan). We're parked as a group in the county park, then we toured the Cranberry Museum and enjoyed a piece of wonderful Cranberry Pie Alamode. As the rest headed back to the county park, Sandy and I went looking for the Sphagnum Moss place who has refused to return our phone calls. We found the rural location, with no one around. So back to Warrens. In Warrens, we went looking for a semi trailer that appeared to be loaded with loose hay and we suspected that it was really Sphagnum moss. We found our way to the front door of the building and as we were headed in, a young man came out. He took us in to meet his dad, Mr. Hancock. We had an interesting conversation but never broached the subject of why they didn't return our phone calls.

They were in the building, working on an old Oliver crawler tractor that had to be as old as myself. The steel track pads had been replaced with oak two by sixes, 3 feet long. He told us that it can walk on the marsh muck even when a man dare not to walk on it. A couple of times they were unfortunate and buried the tractor up to the exhaust pipe. They were fortunate enough to have a cable on it and using 3 similar crawlers, they retrieved the stuck machine, hauled it back to the shop, cleaned it off, replaced all of the oil and it still runs well. He would like to buy another one, but collectors always out bid him at an auction when they do become available.

In the end, he suggested that we visit a competitor in a neighboring town who has a layout where it is easy to see everything about Sphagnum moss production from the road. So tomorrow, after we visit a log cabin maker, we shall visit the competitor. and hopefully learn more about Sphagnum moss.

When we left his shop, it was well past 4:30 and time to call it a day. So back to the campground where it is cold and with a light rain. Fall is definitely here.


1 comment:

  1. Gene:

    Don't you have a GPS? That's what it is for. To help you find your way without getting lost and having to unhook the toad.