facing my first week in minnesota…

As I sit here sipping a cup of coffee, comfortably ensconced on my “new” bed, I’m also debating whether I need another filter for my water. Somehow it still tastes chlorinated. Do they have Brita pitchers up here? I will have to check, when I go looking for the skirt hangers that I forgot to buy, earlier.

While I gather my thoughts together, considering my recent trip north, I would also like to take the time to welcome my new followers. I seem to have picked up another handful over the last two weeks. Welcome to my blog, and thank you for taking the time to read about my continuing journey as a nanny and a girl that just likes to write about what she does. Whether I’m reading, listening to music, watching movies, or wandering around my new hometown, I hope that I can share my experiences in an interesting way. I don’t consider myself unusual, but since every person is unique, and they have completely unique experiences in their lives, you may find my comings and goings unusual. In that case, hold on for the ride, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

On Friday morning, I got up and hit the road, right on time, with plans to stop just outside of Gary, Indiana, for the night. I’ll just let you get that song well-stuck in your brain (but who could ever not love listening to Robert Preston sing?) before I continue.  : )   My route sent me north, through Asheville, NC, where I had a moment of wistfulness over not being able to visit the Biltmore Estate while I was at home. But it’s on the to-do list for the year, so hopefully we will get there over either Thanksgiving or Christmas. Someday, I’m going to see it during spring or summer, too, when the flowers are in bloom!

The drive to Kentucky was free of any problems, as was the entire trip, for that matter. But up until that point, my brain had been a bit foggy, and I was fighting to stay alert. Not quite sleepy, but capable of becoming so. I finally decided that my contacts were giving my eyes the symptoms that I was sleepy, even though I wasn’t. Time for a new pair, but I went ahead and switched to glasses, and then I was golden.

One of my first stops in Kentucky took me to a Burger King that was full of beautiful photos of horses and races. It finally occurred to me that I was in horse racing country, and checking the atlas confirmed this, as there were all sorts of famous race tracks, horse farms, and museums listed on the closeup of… was in Lexington? But the pictures on the wall also jogged my memories… had I ever been in this particular Burger King before? By the time my route veered towards Louisville, I realized that if I’d kept going in the same direction, I’d have ended up in Cincinnati. Bingo. In past years, my trips to Michigan went over that route, and the pictures in that BK must’ve stuck in my mind from nigh on eight years ago. It’s funny, the things you’ll remember.

I came through Louisville, which I can never think of without remembering the movie Elizabethtown, and how the girl tells Orlando Bloom how to say it. “Lou-uh-vuhl”, she said, if I recall correctly. It sounds a bit odd to me, trying out that pronunciation, but if I ever stop in Louisville, I will do my best to pronounce it right. My first trafficky spot took me over some interesting bridges, and I found myself taking pics of several bridges on the whole trip. The landscape doesn’t always photograph well, when you’re driving at high speeds.

When I stopped for the night, I felt like I had windmills in my brain, because of the miles and miles of them that I’d come through in Indiana. Something about them really messed with my mind, because though you can eventually see that they’re lined up in rows, when you’re looking across the entire landscape, you feel like there’s an optical illusion playing tricks on you. They all appear to be moving, and you can’t always see the pole that holds them up. So, these windmills always seem to be about to tip off their “tower” and tumble into the road, like tumbleweeds, but they never do. And because each row has a considerable distance between it and the next, your mind is looking for a logical arrangement of them, but it can’t find anything logical to settle on. Good thing the road was mostly straight, I found those windmills way too distracting.

Arriving at the Country Inn & Suites, I was highly amused over my good fortune to stay in a room by myself, when it had two queen-sized beds in it. As I may have mentioned, I resisted the urge to jump on them, as I was really tired. The website said they have rooms with one king-sized bed for the price I paid, but none were available when I signed up for that room. So, I had myself an inward chuckle over it, and then used one of the beds to put all my stuff on. As a former housekeeper, I also made sure I didn’t mess up anything that I wasn’t really using. So, no, I didn’t try out both beds to see which was more comfortable, and I didn’t move any towels that I didn’t need.

I was further amused when I found that right next to my hotel was a restaurant called The Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery. I couldn’t quite decide whether to be awestruck, shocked, or go eat there for dinner. But as I’m eating on a particular diet plan right now, that wasn’t really in the game plan. So, upon leaving town, I attempted to get a picture, when I was across the highway at the gas station called Luke. Sorry, couldn’t pull off and get a picture of the eatery when I was closer to it, so you’ll have to settle for the cropped picture, taken at some distance.

After more bridges and toll booths than I can keep track of, the landscape began to change again. After the rolling hills of Kentucky and Tennessee, I reached the fields of Indiana, which had enough trees on the edges to block my view to beyond the horizon. Or at least, it seemed like I could see to the edge of the world, if I climbed onto a roof or something. But then the land of Wisconsin began to remind me of my years of traveling through Michigan. Every summer, I either hopped on the bus in Detroit, or drove myself to the U.P., and Michigan is mostly flat, until you reach the top of the “mitten”. Wisconsin, likewise, was starting to think that flatness was boring, and began to develop some rolls.

More and more pine trees appeared, and the uniformly green swathes of forest were sometimes broken up by farms, but nothing you could call a mountain. And then, suddenly, these rocky formations leaped up out of nowhere. I didn’t get my camera out in time to take pictures of the cooler looking ones. The area was called something Bluffs, as I recall, and if I was touring the country for the sake of having a good time, I’d have stopped to explore them.

I saw signs for the Wisconsin Dells, and my memories took me back to a favorite book, by Lori Wick, called Sophie’s Heart. A wonderful book, by the way, and one of Lori Wick’s best. It was funny, as it suddenly occurred to me that the story of Sophie involved her becoming the housekeeper for a family in Wisconsin, but she could’ve been their nanny, too, because the children looked to her for companionship and advice. That is, having lost their mom, they had no woman of the house, except Sophie, and their dad was still recovering from his loss, too. But rather than tell you what happened, I’ll get around to the point. The only time I’ve ever heard of the Dells is when the kids in the book try and trick their dad into taking them there for Sophie’s birthday, and it wasn’t until I read that, that I found that the area was full of water parks. I’d like to go there someday and try out some of them.

My arrival at my destination was only slightly marred by Google not having the exact spot, because the area is newly developed, so I was in the wrong spot. But I wasn’t far off. I drove around trying to figure out where Google had gone wrong, until the family called me back, and directed me the last mile to their house. And now, I’m in the process of settling in, unpacking my suitcases, arranging my books, and getting cozy. It looks like my bed may end up being my “blogging zone”, as it’s pretty comfortable, and my computer can work as a heater, if I get chilly. Not that the weather’s chilly here, right now, but with the AC on, it can get a little cool downstairs.

And just to show that I’m settling in, bit by bit, here’s a picture of my bulletin board! It’s been a long time since I had a bulletin board in my room, I’ve missed it. Picked up some colorful push pins at Target, and I was good to go. Now, I’ll have to get a few more pictures to fill up the bulletin board that’s over my bed!

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