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April 25, 2008


Deer Run RV Park Elkader Iowa















Water Rising
















Road Under Water
















Water Everywhere















     In the previous blog Kathleen placed us where we are and what we are up to but she failed to mention the weather.

     Like those that could, we hung back in the Southwest because the weather north seemed rather unsettled and cold.  In watching the weather it appeared that it was warming and so off we went.  I admit, I did make the trip North a little faster than would have been necessary but so much of the area we needed to cross is known as tornado alley and I really didn’t want to park under one.

     Our weather problems started with our second night in Des Moines when throughout the night (5 times) our NOAA weather alert radio went off to warn us of approaching severe thunder storms and hail.  It did get nasty but the hail stayed small enough not to do any damage to us.

     We got lucky to have a sunny day to continue on to the Northeast area of Iowa and the small community of Elkader.  The Deer Run RV Park would be our home for a few days while we then drove a few miles to visit my mom who is now in an assisted living facility in Garnavillo, Iowa (the town that Kathleen and I both graduated high school from).

     That was the last sun shine we would see as the last couple of days have been constant rain, thunder, lightening, and anything else you can imagine.  We are camped along the Turkey River here in Elkader and it is at the top of its banks and continuing to rise.  During the night the towns siren went off for about 10 minutes and we were concerned enough to try and find out what was going on.  There were vehicles running around shining lights here and there.  I put my robe on and went out to flag one down to inquire and was told that the local fire fighters had been called out to sand bag just below us as the river had breached the dyke.  He assured us we were on high enough ground that we should be OK for the time being.  This morning the road leading in to the town and this camp ground is closed as the water had been over the road during the night.  Apparently the sand bags did their thing as the water is no longer over the road, but the road remains closed to all but local traffic.

     We were going to move today but will remain put as the pending weather is looking even more ominous.  The temperatures are scheduled to drop some 20 degree’s in the next couple of hours as the rain/snow will intensify when the front passes.  The forecast for all of next week look to be wet and cold.

     Wonder how long it would take this retired truck driver to make it back to at least Yuma, Arizona?



                                                   Slide Show



April 24, 2008

Back in the Mid West

Kathleen here,


We are in good Old Iowa.  Two weeks ago we had just returned from a base ball game between the Dodgers and the Diamond Backs in Phoenix. We were then excited to be going back into Phoenix for NASCAR. What fun that week was. Last week, we explored the sites at Tombstone, AZ. You all have read about that exiting afternoon.


We left Benson, AZ last Friday. I was looking forward to a week of lazy driving as we made our way to the Mid West. No hurry as the weather was still blustery with rain and cold and soggy driveways in Northeast Iowa. A long way to go and many places to stop and photograph. Evenings waiting for us to place another entry in our blog to entertain our fans.


I just don’t know what got into my bus driver. Well, I do know. Once we got onto I- 40 in New Mexico, George’s truck driving days returned and he kicked this old “semi” into high gear and we drove 10 hours that first day. New Mexico is a beautiful state with lots of cool places to stop and explore. We were beyond that state and into Texas before the sun set. A couple of hours and we said good bye to Texas Pan Handle and the Oklahoma Pan Handle. Ah, Kansas. We passed a sign that pointed to Dorothy’s house. “Let’s go and see,” I said. In a moment we were way beyond where Toto and Dorothy whirled into history. Then I pointed with my mouth ready to screech, “Stop,” that’s the way to Dodge City, Kansas. Matt Dillon, Festus, Miss Kitty.” This old bus just kept on. Ten more hours on the road. We boon docked that night behind an ALCO store.


I was disappointed but had to be satisfied that we did do quite a bit back in Arizona. I was anxious to get back to our homeland too. I even drove a couple of hours. The second night we boon docked at a Flying J truck stop.  On Sunday we found ourselves in Des Moines, Iowa. We booked three nights at a Coast to Coast RV Park and made a couple of phone calls. Our nephew and niece, Jonathan and Nikki May live in Ankeny. We spent a delightful evening with them. Toured their beautiful home, met Vito, their pet Guinea Pig, and saw ultra sounds pictures of a baby who is coming later in the summer. What a nice time we had with those two.




Jonathan and Nikki

















When I was a little girl, my best friend was Nancy Hosch. We both lived on the same street in New Albin, Iowa. We have always kept in touch. She and her husband Phil live in the Des Moines area. She came over to see us Monday and we had a great visit. Then we drove over to her beautiful home and we visited some more. Then we went out to dinner and talked and talked some more. We had such a great childhood growing up in very small town America. The things we did and dreamed about all came back to us as we talked. It was so good to see her again.




Phil and Nancy
















Kathleen and Nancy















So that takes us to Elkader, Iowa. We settled in late this afternoon (Wednesday). Then drove over to Garnavillo, Iowa to see George’s mom, Betty. She lives in a wonderful assisted living apartment. She was so happy to see us. She is a great lady and we are looking forward to spending a lot of time with her this summer.

George and his mom Betty

























April 16, 2008

Tombstone and how our youngest got his name

Fremont Street
















Here they are buried
















George talking to "Stinky"

















Kathleen, Here:


and they met in a side yard behind a certain corral.


Where were we today? Can you guess? You history buffs of the old Southwest.


We have been parked at an RV park in Benson, AZ the last couple of nights. There is a lot of history in this area so we took a drive this morning to a neighboring town.


Tombstone. We have seen the movies (lots of them) depicting a famous incident on an October day in 1881. The famous Earp brothers: Wyatt, Virgil, and Morgan walking abreast with Doc Holliday into infamy. Waiting for them at the end of Fremont Street, at the entrance of the O. K. Corral, are a handful of outlaws. Their names also have become infamous and the incident has become the most famous fight in the Old West.


Frank and Tom McLaury, and Ike and Billy Clanton were cattle rustlers and thieves, or as some say, “were just cowboys, trying to make a livin.” Now the leader of this bunch was not present that fateful day. He has also become one of the Wild West’s wildest scoundrels of all time. His name was “Curly Bill” Brocius. I know!  More about him later.


On October 26, 1881, what was to be a peaceful confrontation between the lawmen, the Doc., and the Clantons and McLaurys, erupted into a thirty second gun fight. Being nervous about facing Wyatt Earp, Frank McLaury reaches to pull his gun out of its holster and give it up. Witnesses say that Doc Holliday makes a sudden move, pointing his shotgun Tom McLaury. Wyatt Earp jerkes his pistol from beneath his coat and Billy Clanton starts shooting. The rest is history. The Earp brothers walk away unscathed, as does Doc Holliday.


Today the town of Tombstone beckons one into the past to experience and maybe even witness this gun battle. As one strolls down the streets, folks dressed in 1881 costumes greet and invite all to enter museums and shops. One of the most frequented establishments of Old Tombstone was the Bird Nest Theater. Pretty much the way it was back then, there are bullet holes in several places on the walls and ceiling. A painting of  “Little Egypt” who was a real “entertainer” covers most of one wall. Steps lead up to the “bird cages,” where the female entertainers performed and enticed their clients.


Curly Bill Brocius















George Here:


     We are currently in Benson Arizona and again staying at a very nice SKP (Escapee) Park.  This Park having the nicest layout and look of all the SKP Parks we have stayed in.


     One couldn’t be this close to Tombstone Arizona and not visit the OK Corral and all the history that goes with the shootout on October 26th 1881.  Even though Curly Bill Brocius was not killed by Wyatt Earp at the Corral that day, he was the leader of the pack of scoundrels that included those killed by Earp on October 26th.  It was later that Earp tracked Curly Bill to Gaileville Arizona about 60 miles east of Tombstone and supposedly shot him dead.  However legend has it that when they (not sure who they were) went to retrieve the body it was not found and some believe he may have not been dead and escaped to Mexico to live out his life there.  With this little bit of knowledge let me explain our day in Tombstone and comment on the naming of our youngest son William (Bill) Brosius.


     When Kathleen and I on May 19th had our second son we were searching like all young parents do for a name.  We were aware of a gloss over of the history behind the shootout at the OK Corral and knew that there was a Curly Bill Brocius tied to that day.  With that little bit of knowledge we went ahead and named our new son William Brosius.

Now you have noticed that the spelling of the last name differs as the outlaw spelled the last name with a “c” and ours is with an “s” but that through history was very common to make a change.  We had always been led to believe that Curly Bill Brocius was such a wicked murderous outlaw that shortly after 1881 and all the notoriety our ancestors wanting to distance themselves a bit changed the last name to Brosius.


     So here we are.  Having visited Boot Hill Cemetery and taken photos of some of the famous grave sites we proceeded to tour the town.  We had already learned that the only photo know to exist of Curly Bill was located at the Bird Cage Theater (an original 1800 brothel) on the main street of Tombstone.  We entered just as the host (dressed in period costume) was giving a short talk about the theater and then invited those listening to take a self guided tour of the entire facility for the sum of $10.00 each adult.  Everyone left except us, not taking her up on the offer.  We however asked if we could ask her a question.  We asked about the picture we had heard about and introduced ourselves.  As soon as she learned we could very well be living, breathing relatives, of the one and only Curly Bill Brosius who so often frequented the place we were invited in and invited to photo anything we wished, for free.  I made a comment to her about our naming our youngest son after this outlaw and for many years now we felt somewhat guilty for hanging such reference on our Billy’s head since Curly Bill was such a despicable person.  She begged to differ with us, and proceeded to give us her take on the real history.  She feels strongly that the real villains were the Earp’s and not those killed and or hunted down by them.  She claims that the Earp’s were ruthless, killers, hiding behind their badges and too quick to gun down anyone who might possibly challenge them in any way. 


     It is a fact that Curly Bill Brocius did kill Sheriff Fred White, but after a short trial in Tucson he was acquitted because evidence showed that the Sheriff was trying to disarm a drunk Curly Bill in one of the saloons and the gun discharged killing him.  It was said that Curly Bill wept over the death as he respected Sheriff White. 


    We came away from this visit a little relieved that perhaps Curly Bill wasn’t such a ruthless outlaw after all and even though rustling a few cattle was pretty serious in its day, perhaps the cloud we hung over our son Williams head wasn’t so bad!
























Bird Cages
















Poker Table
















Boot Hill Cemetery
































Curly Bill Killed Sheriff White by Accident












April 14, 2008

Thunder in the Valley

     NASCAR is in Phoenix?  It's wet and cold back in the Midwest.  There can be only one logical choice.  See if we can get tickets to the NASCAR Races at Phoenix International Speedway!
















Phoenix International Race Tower















Standing center of Front Straightaway














      We did just that.  After a frustrating attempt to secure tickets through ticket master for the Friday night Bashar 200 and the Saturday night Subway 500 we called the ticket office direct at the Speedway and within minutes secured our tickets.  Quite frankly at such a late date at getting tickets we would have been happy with any seat just for being able to have our "first" experience at actually attending a race.  We have been huge NASCAR fans and fans of Dale Earnhardt Jr. in particular and have cheered and screamed at the television on Sunday afternoons for a long time now, and to finally get the chance to sit in the stands, hear the roar of those engines, and maybe get a chance to see Dale Jr. up close and personal, was going to be a dream come true.




Dale Earnhardt Jr.  













     While still having our RV parked in Casa Grande, Arizona we programmed the GPS for the address of the Phoenix International Raceway and early in the day on Friday we headed in the car for the "will call" window to pick up our tickets for Saturday nights Sprint Cup Race.  This was Friday and we had also purchased Pit Passes which would allow us in to the pits for both Friday and Saturday.  Our plan was to maybe buy tickets for the Nationwide Bashar 200 to be held Friday night.  After parking the car we were approached by a fellow in the parking lot asking if we needed tickets for any of the races.  Since we maybe only needed Friday night tickets, we inquired.  We were assured what he had was a bargain, and the best seats available right behind the flag man, in the 29th row.  I knew from my phone call to the track ticket office that what they had available were in the bleachers, down the track a ways, and I had been told what the cost was.  This dapper fellow had "best seats available", right behind the flag man, row 29, and they were only $5.00 more than I had been quoted for the bleachers.  I know what you are thinking------.  Just in case, I had Kathleen take his picture as I told him if these seats were not as advertised I wanted to be able to pick him out in the crowd!  He gave a big smile and Kathleen clicked away.




Our Parking Lot Ticket Purchase
















As Advertised
















What a view















     As you will see by some of the pictures, the seats were as he said, excellent and right behind the flag stand.  We could not have done better if we had purchased them months ago.  Not only were we going to see Friday nights race in style, we were also going to be able to witness the last Sprint Cup practice before tomorrows race and that would mean Jr. and others would be making some hot laps.




Go Jr.
















Mark Martin
















Checking Tires After Hot Laps
















Tony Stewart
















Matt and Jeff
















     The walk through the pits, and Friday nights Nationwide Series race were exciting and like a couple of kids just off the farm, we tried to take it all in, including the jumbo hot dogs, pop, and fries.  This was great, but our real excitement and the chance to see Jr. would have to wait for the big event Saturday night.




Pit Garages
















Kathleen and more pit garages
















Victory Lane
















What Ticket ?















     Like two kids waiting for the county fair to arrive we were so full of adrenalin that sleep did not come easy; we popped out of bed early Saturday morning and headed for the track.  We were veterans now, having surveyed the layout on Friday.  We headed immediately for the pits full of anticipation.  Seeing the cup cars, the pit boxes, the stacks of tires, the spotless and beautifully painted semi trucks, watching the pit crews finalize preparation and getting photos of some of the drivers and team owners, including Mike Helton, the president of NASCAR talking to Jack Rousch a team owner, we still had not caught up with Dale Jr.




Race Veterans
















Jeff Burton
















Mike Helton and Jack Rousch
















Kathleen at Jr's Pit Box
















Jamie McMurray















     We wandered the pits taking it all in, me with a back pack chocked full of essentials, that we thought we might need throughout the day.  The sun was relentless, and as it crossed the 90 degree mark we headed for the shade under the stands.  It was still hours before the actual race would start, but people watching and perhaps hot dogs and a coke would not be all bad.




The Stage
















Out of the Sun















     Our seats for the "big race" were in the Petty bleachers, section OO, row 27 (near the top), right across from the pit entrance, as the cars come out of turn four.  Excellent seats and we could not be happier.  One hour prior to driver introductions we took our seats as did thousands, and thousands, and thousands------of others.




Climb to the Top
















The Crowd















     The festivities leading up to the start of the race are as you see them every week on TV, except they take on a different perspective if you are front and center to witness them as they unfold.  There is the introduction of dignitaries, the pre race entertainment (army precision skydive team), driver introductions and their ride around the track as they wave to the crowd from the back of a pick up truck, the invocation, the singing of the National Anthem, the fly over by five jets in formation, and finally "Gentlemen, start your engines."




Army Sky Dive Team
















Go Jr.















     Once those engines come to life and the thunder in the valley intensifies, the pace car leads the field out of turn four and peels off in to the pit lane, and you watch the flag man throw the green flag, you realize what this sport is all about.  It's thousands, and thousands, and thousands of "good ole' boys and gals", the true heart of America, coming together to wear the colors of your favorite team and driver and cheer like crazy when their car makes progress no matter what position they are running in, because, its all about the points.




Ready to go Green
















Jr. Leading
















What its all About















     We did not get a close up photo of Dale Jr., we did not get his autograph, but we did each buy an official #88 hat, and each an official #88 seat cushion.  We may one day get that picture and his autograph as for sure this "tininthewind" has wheels.  It was an awesome experience.  See you at the Races!





















April 09, 2008

Where have You Been

The Plane Scott Fly's
















Our Four Little Honey's















     We are still in Casa Grande Arizona going on our third week.  We continue to watch the weather north of here and will begin our trek in that direction when it looks like we can dodge all the snow flakes, floods, tornadoes, and what ever else will appear in our path.  It’s pretty hard to find fault with 80’s, and sun shine every day, here in the southwest.


     We left our “tininthewind” motor coach here at the Rovers Roost Escapee’s RV Park and flew from Phoenix to Seattle and a much needed visit with our Son’s and their families.  The grandkids at this young age are still excited to see grandma and grandpa.  The hugs, kisses, and snuggles are worth their weight in gold.


     Visiting and vacationing in the Phoenix area are our former neighbors and good friends, Norm and Jean Krause, and Melvin and Lorraine Miller.  We all met for an afternoon baseball game between the Arizona Diamond Backs playing the LA Dodgers.  The Diamond Backs won 5 to 4.  Throwing out the first pitch was JJ Yelie the driver of the #96 Nascar Racecar.  He entered the stadium with one of the cars to the applause of the baseball crowd.  Kathleen is and always has been a huge Dodgers fan so going to the game was a real treat.


     Most of you know that we both are die hard Nascar fans and Dale Earnhardt Jr. who now drives the #88 is our favorite driver.  Since Nascar is running at the Phoenix International Raceway this week-end it is only fitting that we attend.  We are going to both of the major races.  Friday night will be the running of the Nation Wide Series and will be televised on ESPN.  Saturday night will be the running of the Sprint Cup Series and will be televised on Fox.  We will be in the Pettie Grandstand, turn 4, right across from the entrance to the pits, row 27, seats 7 & 8.  We also have pit passes and will be taking in everything we can in and around the teams as they prepare for the races.  We are extremely excited.  Can you tell!




Norm, Jean, Mel, Lorraine, Kathleen
















Yellie Throws Out the First Pitch
















#96 back to the Race Track














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