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Dee Light - Road Trip Log
Fall Trip North - Log A
Fort Myers Florida to the Tundra
Links to Log A
Tuesday September 29th
travel - Fort Myers FL to ??
click on any of the thumbnail photos for additional photos
2009-09-29 - Photo Album
2009-09-29 - Photo Album
Travel - Fort Myers to Adairsville GA .. total miles traveled - 640.0
 ... after finishing the last of our packing and securing the boat (which included putting on the extra hurricane lines just in case a blow heads our way while we are gone) .. we stopped by the post office to take care of the mail and then the three of us rolled out of downtown Fort Myers at the "crack of 10:30"  - yup, Autumn will be accompanying us on our Fall Road Trip also ..  to get her accustomed to car travel she joined us downtown last night while we had dinner at one of French Connection's sidewalk tables ..
... we made great time on I-75 averaging 74.68 mph which included several stops with one stop at the Magnolia Plantation located just over the Florida line at Valdosta, GA where we spent quite a bit of time trying to decide what to buy ... we finally settled on pecan rolls, toasted macaroons, "Pop Crackle" with peanuts and 2 large bags of roasted pecans to tie us over until our return trip ..
.. we arrived in the Atlanta area around 6:30 and ended up going straight thru on I-75 .. traffic was heavy but moved along briskly until we reached the northwest side where it slowed some .. but once past the Marietta exits it picked right back up ..
we finished our first day on the road around 7:30 in Adairsville, GA .. after checking in we opted for some dinner at the Waffle House - black coffee, veggie omelet, cheese 'n eggs, grits and raisin toast .. needed something hearty to keep us warm as it was cool enough tonight to pull out our leather jackets ..
Wednesday September 30th
travel - Adairsville GA to
Effingham IL
2009-09-30 - Photo Album
2009-09-30 - Photo Album
2009-09-30 - Photo Album
2009-09-30 - Photo Album
Travel - Adairsville GA to Effingham IL - total miles today 515
..  we are adjusting to the temperature change .. when we left Florida it was 92 and this morning it was 50 degrees.. when we reached Chattanooga it was a beautiful morning so we took a side trip up to Lookout Mountain .. right before Ruby Falls we almost literally ran into a couple from Ontario .. after we had stopped she told us she was raised in Alberta so was quite familiar with the hair-pin turns common in the mountains! 
walked up to the observation deck at the Incline Railway and took some photos but the weather was a bit hazy so we finally settled for some maple pecan fudge before we headed back down the mountain and continued on our way ..
again we took a slight detour when we missed the turn-off for I-24 at Nashville and "Myrtle" our trusty GPS insisted we should head for Louisville .. got Myrtle straightened out as to our destination and she found us a back road route that led us back to I-24 ..
 we decided to stop for the night at Effingham, IL .. as we approached our exit around 6 pm CST we were greeted by the sight of a massive Cross standing nineteen stories tall (198 feet) located at the intersection of Hwys 57 and 70 .. the Cross at the Crossroads is an engineering wonder and a project of the Cross Foundation, a not-for-profit organization ( www.crossusa.org ) which strives to offer messages and programs to promote values of faith and family in daily living .. surrounding the cross are displays representing the 10 commandments with audio commentary for each .. 
after checking into our motel we took a short walk to Neimerg's Steakhouse where we they have an awesome Soup and Salad Bar along with an extensive menu and at least  50 kinds of homemade pie! ..
Thursday October 01st
travel - Effingham IL to Jefferson WI
2009-10-01 - Photo Album
Travel - Effingham IL to Jefferson WI - 265 total miles today

left Effingham about 9 am and headed up the road thru the mostly flat southern farmland of Illinois .. we had  drizzling rain on and off until we approached the Wisconsin State line around 1:30 pm when it finally let up and the clouds lifted a bit ..  still had overcast skies and with the approaching weather front the temperatures are predicted to stay in the mid-50's with periods of rain for the next seven days ...

.. after navigating the road construction (and millions of semi-trailers) between Rockford, IL and Beloit, WI we finally got off I-39 and arrived in Jefferson at 2 pm ..  after picking up Carol's sister at her home we had dinner at the Riverfront Cafe and then afterward enjoyed the indoor pool and whirlpool at the motel where we are staying in Jefferson ...

Friday October 02nd
location - Jefferson WI
2009-10-02 - Photo Album
2009-10-02 - Photo Album
2009-10-02 - Photo Album
Location - Jefferson WI -
... woke up to a Wisconsin sunny day ( ie mostly cloudy ) and with a cold blustery wind out of the north !! .. after we bundled up in several layers we stopped in at Alternative Industries where Maggie works to say hello to her bosses Bob and Mary (along with her co-workers) and took a look at some of the projects they are presently working on .. right now they are finishing up with the assembly and packaging of "Carolina Clacker" fishing lures for Uncle Joshes ..  Carol thought they might look good as a necklace too!
...our next stop was the new super Wal-Mart they opened last year in Jefferson to pick up a few items for Maggie and we browsed the aisles to add some more munchies to our travel supply ..  Carol also found a great pair of "dock slippers"  to keep her feet toasty this winter!  (at a fraction of the cost of UGHS, too!)
...  before dinner we stopped by Maggie's house to drop off her items and then left to attend the Mass held at St. John the Baptist Church presided by Father Tom Coyle .. the 4 pm Mass is the traditional start of the activities for the St. Coletta Fall Family Conference Weekend .. after Mass we drove the short distance to Johnson Creek for the Annual Fish Fry Dinner at the Comfort Suites Conference Center .. there we met up with the Schell family and Linnea's parents, Tom and Andrea Lenberg, and got caught up with all the news since we saw each other last year ..
Saturday October 03rd
location - Jefferson WI
2009-10-03 - Photo Album
2009-10-03 - Photo Album
2009-10-03 - Photo Album
Location - Jefferson WI -
enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at the motel and then took a drive up US 26 to Watertown .. when we got to downtown Watertown we found a parking spot because Main Street was closed for a Fall Festival .. although the weather is unseasonably cool occasionally the sun would peak out of the clouds and it turned out to be a nice day to walk downtown while looking at all the interesting and unique homemade craft items for sale .. we found a couple of treasures to take home with us and some home-baked doggie treats for Autumn ..
.. after we were pretty chilled we headed for Berres Brothers Coffee Roasters Cafe ( www.berresbrothers.com ) for a cup of their fresh roasted gourmet coffee to warm us up .. along with the cheddar broccoli soup! .. after lunch with made a visit to The Market on the River in Watertown to look at all their wonderful Fall and Halloween decorations and displays and watched as the kids had a great time building and stuffing their own scarecrows to take home ..  as we headed back to Jefferson we made a quick detour into Culver's where we enjoyed some of their authentic Wisconsin dairy frozen custard ice cream ..
we met for dinner at Highway Harry's in Johnson Creek (on the north side of the I-94 interchange) ... where we had a private dining room for our group which included Maggie's housemate Janet, her mother, 2 brothers and sister-in-law along with Kathy Reiser and her fiance John ...
back at the motel - U of W's Bucky Badgers beat the Golden Gophers in Minnesota 31 to 28 and took home Paul Bunyan's axe for the 6th straight year ...
Sunday October 04th
travel - Jefferson to Barron WI
2009-10-04 - Photo Album
Travel - Jefferson WI to Barron WI -

on Sunday morning we said goodbye to Maggie at her home in Jefferson about 10:30 and then pointed the car West on I-94 for our trip to Barron, WI  to visit Jewel, Bob, Marcus and Fran - and Frieda too! (a 60 lb. yellow lab)  .. as we drove thru the countryside north of Eau Claire on Hwy 53 we could see the red and orange colors of the changing leaves on the trees covering the rolling hillsides .. if it had been sunny instead of the cloudy dreary day the fall scenery would have been spectacular for our drive north ... oh well, maybe later this week we will get some sun ...

we arrived at Bob and Jewel's place and after a relaxing afternoon visiting with Marv's family we had dinner at home in front of their fireplace .. 

Monday October 05th
location- Barron WI
2009-10-05 - Photo Album
Location - Barron WI -

the next morning we accompanied Marcus and Fran to school and visited their playground and classrooms ... later we picked up Fran after her kindergarten class let out and saw Marcus at lunch where he showed us the tooth he had lost in class that morning .. his teacher had carefully sealed it in an envelope for the tooth fairy!

we spent a quiet afternoon and then watched as Marcus and Fran enjoyed some time at the playground with their friends before heading back home for dinner and the Packers vs Vikings game on Monday Night Football ... unfortunately the Pack lost but we all thought it was a good game!

Tuesday October 06th
Travel- Barron WI to Eau Claire
2009-10-06 - Photo Album
2009-10-06 - Photo Album
Travel- Barron WI to Eau Claire
Bob arrived home from work in the morning after a busy night in the ER at the hospital ... he unfortunately missed most of the football game but we had a chance to visit with him over breakfast before we left for Eau Claire ... it started raining last night and is still raining this morning ..
after the kids got off to school we packed up the rest of our stuff and headed for Eau Claire (Autumn was very happy to see us getting back in the car with all our stuff as she was getting tired of Frieda eating all her food)
when we arrived in Eau Claire we picked up Marv's mother Peg at her home and met her 3 sisters at Northwoods Restaurant for lunch and dessert (lingonberry apple pie ala mode) ... we asked the hostess if the fireplace was going to be lit - she said probably next week when it's colder -  Brrrrrrr!  - told her it was cold enough for us right now!  ... it  is still raining and about 50 degrees as we check into our motel in Eau Claire ...  Autumn is pleased - no big dog in sight ...
last March Bud and Sue who live in the area spent a few days with us on Dee Light in Fort Myers ... while we are here we arranged to get together for dinner and met them at Manny's tonight ... had a great time catching up until they finally started to turn out the lights at the restaurant and called it an evening   ...
Wednesday and Thursday October 07th and 08th
location- Eau Claire WI
2009-10-07 - Photo Album
2009-10-08 - Photo Album
2009-10-08 - Photo Album
 Location- Eau Claire WI ..
for the past 2 days we have been enjoying our time in Eau Claire visiting with family ..  the trees are really beginning to show their colors and every day we see more and more brilliant colors while driving around the area ...
joined Ann and Howie and their grandson Nixon for lunch at Northwoods Bew Pub and noticed the large number of ducks and Canadian geese gathered on the pond behind the restaurant on their annual trek south ...
on Thursday evening Jewel drove in from Barron with the kids and we all enjoyed a casual chili supper at Dan and Debbie's lovely home on the lakeshore ... Heather, Patrick and their son Findley also joined us for dinner  with the proud parents showing off Findley's brand new walking skills ...
Friday October 09th
location- Eau Claire WI
2009-10-09 - Photo Album
2009-10-09 - Photo Album
Location- Eau Claire WI ..

we were able to find some time to take a drive into the countryside around Eau Claire to visit a few of the apple orchards ... they were very busy packing up apples for the local grocers and trying to get the last of the apple crop off trees before the cold weather arrives this weekend ... although the apples can handle temperatures s in the 30's the latest forecasts are for lows around 24 degrees .... Brrrrrrr!  ... we picked up a bag of juicy sweet Honey Crisp and Golden Harvest apples ... we also found some Hedge Balls AKA Osage Oranges ... these odd looking green knobby fruits are not edible but are great for repelling crawling insects - especially Spiders ...



Saturday October 10th
location- Eau Claire WI
 2009-10-10 - Photo Album
 2009-10-10 - Photo Album
Location- Eau Claire WI ..    BRRRRRR .... SNOW! - earliest snowfall of the year in many, many moons and we are lucky?! to be here for it!   we have plans to drive to Barron and visit the Pumpkin Patch with Marcus and Fran ... we got up there around 1 pm and even though the sun was shining it was not enough to melt the snow on the rooftops or the tops of the pumpkins in Jewel and Bob's front yard ...

after spending a few minutes in the pumpkin patch and at the petting farm Gramps and Carol headed for the barn where we each ordered for 2 cups hot apple cider while the kids caught the 2:30 hayride ... just about the time we thought our feet would fall off from the cold we spied the wood burning pot-bellied stove in the corner where we spent the rest of our time unthawing until the kids returned - they decided they had enough of the cold weather also so we all piled into the warm truck and headed home ...

Dan and Debbie drove up from Eau Claire with Mom (Peg) and Bob fired up the grill for a great dinner of Wisconsin bratwurst and his famous marinated grilled chicken ... after dinner we said so long to Fran, Marcus, Bob and Jewel and drove back to Eau Claire (along with an occasional snow flurry in the headlight beams!)

Sunday October 11th
travel- Eau Claire WI to St Louis MO
 2009-10-11 - Photo Album
Travel - Eau Claire WI to St Louis - 560 miles ..

After scrapping the frost from the windshield (while Autumn enjoyed half an English muffin in the front seat) we left Eau Claire at 7:30 am and headed SOUTH ... enjoyed the sunny but cool drive and arrived in downtown St. Louis before 4 pm ... met Tom (Carol's stepson) at the new restaurant he manages and which just opened this summer at the recently completed Citygarden ...

"Citygarden, a project of the City of St. Louis funded by the Gateway Foundation, has carved out three acres in the heart of downtown St. Louis and transformed them into an exhilarating urban oasis featuring modern and contemporary sculptures, lush landscape, reflecting pools, a cafe, and a playful spray plaza. You won't find walls or fences, admission fees or do not touch signs, because at Citygarden you are always free.  Free to explore, free to play, free to feel inspired."  www.Citygardenstl.org

The Terrace View cafe matches locally grown, organic Midwestern ingredients with Mediterranean flavors. The floor to ceiling windows and sliding doors that open to the patio dining area enable cafe patrons to enjoy the panoramic view of the park while dining. The centerpiece of the restaurant is the brightly colored, oversized polyester and fiberglass sculpture titled Adam and Eve by Niki de Saint PhalleThey are open for lunch, cocktails and dinner and serve a light organic breakfast (for menus and additional info, visit Citygardenstl.org

after meeting up with Molly, who drove over from Kansas City, we ended the evening at Chef Hubert Keller's Burger Bar in the the Lumiere Place Casino and Hotel ... we enjoyed a variety of burgers and finished off with sharing a "sweet burger" filled with vanilla mousse and raspberry ganache in between a warm donut "bun" ...

Monday October 12th
location - St Louis MO
 2009-10-12 - Photo Album
 2009-10-12 - Photo Album
2009-10-12 - Photo Album
location - St Louis MO
... after getting a great night's rest comfortably ensconced in a beautiful suite overlooking the "muddy Mississippi" on the10th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel (courtesy of Tom, of course) Molly and Tom picked us up in front of the hotel and we drove a short distance to the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial or AKA "the St. Louis Arch" ...  it had been many, many years since any of us had the time or opportunity to visit this beautiful National Park and we all climbed in a tram for the ride all the way up to the top ... at 630 feet above the river bank is a magnificent view of the city and river ...  we looked upriver to see if we might see Marv's son Jon as he is in the process of delivering the motor yacht TOMMY GIRL from Minnesota to Florida, but alas, no luck!
... after leaving the Arch Tom took us to the Triumph Grill (www.triumphgrill.com) located in the developing Grand Center - part of St. Louis' Arts and Entertainment District ... after lunch we toured the adjoining space which houses The Moto Museum (www.MOTOmusuem.com) ... a collection of over 200 vintage motorcycles from all over the world!
... after freshening up at the hotel we took a drive across the river and up to the Alton Marina at Alton, IL to catch up with Jon on the M/V TOMMY GIRL ... we asked if he wanted to join us for dinner but he decided to stay with the boat in order to get an early start the next morning ... presently he has single-handedly covered 768 miles and 17 locks on his voyage down the river ... we say "it's a good thing he is still young!" ... he is having a friend join him in Paducah, KY for the remainder of the trip ...
... we ended our visit to St. Louis with dinner at The Terrace View Restaurant where we sampled WAY TOO MANY of the fabulous items from the menu and enjoyed lots of great conversation before we left the restaurant for a last leisurely walk and tour of the sculptures in Citygarden surrounded by the lights of downtown St. Louis!
Tuesday October 13th
travel - St Louis MO to Murfreesboro Tennessee
2009-10-13 - Photo Album
Travel - St Louis MO to Murfreesboro Tennessee .. about 400 miles
...  before we continued our travel SOUTH we made a stop with Molly at the Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery to visit Lee's grave and observed at least 3 funeral processions while there ... as it was a raw, windy day we did not linger very long before we got back in our cars ... Molly headed back to Kansas City and us on our way back to Fort Myers ...
... back in the car around 11:30 ... we had planned to stop at Pattie's 1800 Settlement in the Kentucky Dam area but it had began to rain shortly after we left St Louis so we continued on ... the rain stayed with us all the way to Murfreesboro, TN , just south of Nashville, where we decided to stay the night and grab a Cracker Barrel breakfast/dinner in the rain ... 
Wednesday October 14th
travel - Murfreesboro Tennessee to Valdosta Georgia
click on image for our
BIG trip news
Travel - Murfreesboro Tennessee to Valdosta Georgia

... rain again this morning ... hopefully it will end by the time we reach the FL/GA line ... about 20 miles north of Chattanooga the traffic came to an abrupt halt on I-24 ... turns out a semi-trailer truck jack-knifed on the freeway ... one hour later after the clean-up we were back on our way ...

... after a couple of stops - again at the Magnolia Plantation for more pecans (to replace the ones we ate or gave away) we decided to call it a day at Valdosta, GA ... overheard at the rest stop by a driver from Indiana "it may be wet but it's a whole lot warmer" ...

Thursday October 15th
Travel - Valdosta Georgia to Fort Myers Florida
Travel - Valdosta Georgia to Fort Myers Florida

... overcast but not as rainy this morning ... just a couple of brief cloud bursts around Gainesville and Tampa ... pulled off I-75 onto Tucker's Grade about 1 pm ... after quick stop at the post office to pick up the mail we were all glad to see Dee Light at the dock at Legacy Marina ... after 3995 miles!

Thursday October 15th
location - Fort Myers Florida
2009-10-15 - Photo Album