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Corn Husks, Popsicles and a Pumpkin called Luigi!

The last you heard of us we were driving out of Colorado, Denver, Littleton. We were about to hit a New State: Nebraska: The Corn Husk State. And believe me, it was the corn husk state. All over the road, stray corn husks floated and flittered in front of our RV, nearly getting sucked into the engine.

After about 3 hours of driving, we stopped in North Platte, Nebraska: The one-time home of the Famous Cowboy: Buffalo Bill. We parked at an RV Park stationed right next to the highway called: The Holiday Park. Maybe it was the Holiday Park in Summer, but because it was Autumn everything was closed! The Pool, The game room, The Park. Everything was CLOSED! But we didn’t mind as there was a free museum on Buffalo Bill and we all wanted to have some fresh air, so we put on our speedy runners and walked to the Museum through piles and piles of corn husks. It was fun to pick them up and then let them go in the wind flying freely away. The Museum wasn’t far at all and before we knew it, we were walking past the golden statue of Buffalo Bill and his horse and into another world of Cowboys and Indians.

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 It was amazing! Old Gear and mannequins of Indians and Cowboys stood everywhere. Lalika and I had a blast trying on old hats and capes and of course playing and beating an American Indian mannequin at checkers! 😀  The Museum was also a Store and they sold practically everything from the Wild West: Fake Guns, Real Guns, Books, Bags, Funny looking Jewellery, Pretty Jewellery, funny Western Style Bouncing Balls, Old Vests, Toy Figures of Deer, Horses, Cowboys, Indians and many other things.

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 It was huge! A whole new eyesight into the Wild West! First we looked at all of the old gear and books, then a lady who wore an authentic cowboy costume announced that there would be a puppet show happening, so we all went over to where she was standing and then she lifted a curtain. Everyone was very surprised! They were not hand puppets but figurines of action figures, each hand-carved out of wood, depicting Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show! There was over 3000 and all of them had been hand-carved and hand-painted by two people in the 1950s. It took them over three years to finish it and it was a true to life replica of how the show looked in the old days. The man who carved it, as a very little boy had actually seen the show and carved it from his memory of the spectacle. It used to be in his home, but when he and his wife were too old, they left it to the museum.

It was amazing, with Indians, Cowboys, Bulls and Horses everywhere! It was a very good figurine show completely moving with its grand parade, bucking bulls, and all the things that went on in the show at the time, including the sideshow stands. When the Action Figure show finished we went outside to the back of the Museum. There they had cool Indian Teepees and the Cutest Family of Kittens living in a replica of an old Western Home. They were so CUTE!! I wish I could have taken one with me, but that would be impossible with us traveling.

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 We had a great learning experience and as we were leaving we saw some old Gypsy Caravans outside the Museum and we thought how different these “RVs” were to the modern day ones. 

The next day we pushed on with driving into the Next New State: Iowa. We stopped at an RV park called Cutty’s RV Park in the town of Des Moines. We arrived a little before dusk and Lalika and I just had enough time to explore before dark. They had a great pool and a really cool mini golf set and a really really cool cubby house and playground once again styled like the good old western houses.

The next morning the sun shone brightly through the RV’s windows, waking Lalika and I up early. We got dressed and went outside. What a lovely day it was: Not too cold and not too hot, just RIGHT. The first thing we did was ask for two golf putters and two golf balls. We spent the next few hours playing mini golf and enjoying the sun, playing at the playground and cubby house. Later in the day we got changed into our swimming gear and walked down to the pool. It was perfect as the day had really warmed up by now. The water was refreshing but not too cold. We spent the next two and a half hours swimming happily enjoying the water until closing time.

By the time we were finished in the showers, the sun was just beginning to set, so we walked back to the RV and had dinner. Later, we went outside just to get some fresh air and look at the stars just before bed. As I located “The Big Dipper” I felt a rush of cold air and a change in the wind. I went inside quickly, not wanting to get cold and I got a feeling that something was about to change. I didn’t know what it would be, but all I knew was that something was changing. Before falling asleep, I gave it one last thought and then fell asleep. If there would be a change happening I would probably find out tomorrow and with that I drifted into a deep sleep.

The next morning I woke up to find condensation on the window!! I got dressed in a t-shirt and shorts and went outside and then it hit me! As I opened the door a BLAST OF COLD WIND HIT ME!! I stepped outside and whoosh the whole world was different! COLDNESS BRRRRR……. It must have been 11C / 52F !! Whereas the day before It had been 28C / 82F. What a contrast!! That was the change that happened!!

Before we left the RV Park, Lalika wanted to play another round of Mini Golf!! In this weather I didn’t want to, but I remembered how much fun it had been the day before, so once again we asked for the putters and golf balls and spent the next half an hour playing Golf. It was SO COLD!! We nearly Froze. Our bodies had been used to Warmth and the Sun, but that had all disappeared! By the time we were finished, Mum and Dad had packed up everything for take-off. We climbed into the RV shivering! I was happy to leave the cold weather, but I didn’t realize that more cold days lay ahead. We drove on and the sun shone out for a little while.

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Our next stop was The Big City of Chicago!! Lalika and I had been really excited to go there, so it was a little detour on our way to Detroit (we still hadn’t found our long lost relatives (see Salt lake City, Utah for the full story). We arrived at night and the following day we planned to go and explore Downtown Chicago by the “Elevated Railway”, which is called “The EL” by Chicagoans. So we went to bed excited about the coming day.

The next morning we were all up bright and early. Once again it was a FREEZING Day so we all had to bundle up. It couldn’t have been more than 6C / 43F. Then we walked the two blocks to ‘The EL. We must have looked rather confused at the ticket machine and the attendant at the 35th Street Station came to assist us. While she was talking to us a man also watching came over to offer us two tickets he had, which already had 15c on them. He also explained that we would have to purchase a ticket for mum and dad at a Western Union Office and offered to walk us to the office. He was really nice and his offer to help us, started the day off with a really wonderful experience of the helpful people of Chicago. His name was Michael and he told us that while he was in the Navy he got to Australia twice and had really loved our country.  After purchasing day passes and tickets, we said our goodbyes to Michael with hugs and we boarded the Train.

It was sooo cool. We were up in the sky looking down to all the people on the ground. After three stops we landed in the middle of Chicago! Our first stop was a two kilometre walk down to Navy Pier. The famous VERY LONG PIER that goes out onto one of the Great Lakes. It took us quite a while to get to the end of it. The pier was also a Fun Park full of arcades, rides and restaurants. We had a great time, taking photos, watching a clown show and of course, staring out into the wide emptiness and beauty of Lake Michigan.

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It was still FREEZING though, very close to zero with a chill radiating off the lake. There was only one thing that could save us now from turning into eternal popsicles! Warm Soup! 😀 We walked like penguins trying to keep warm, all the way to the Whole-foods Cafe. It was warm inside and they had yummy food. So we sat down and ordered our lunch. I had a Grilled Cheese Sandwich with a Tomato and Basil Soup. On the side we had French Fries and Potato Chips YUM YUM. We were saved from freezing forever! 😀

After our meal, we were on to our next stop in the city. Millennium Park. We walked the eight blocks there along ‘The Loop’ community area of the city, passing old buildings, the canals coming in from Lake Michigan and a big fountain, among other regular city scenes. We had a cool time, literally and figuratively, wandering around the gardens, and looking at ourselves in the reflection of what is a very shiny and reflective metal sculpture, officially called Cloud Gate and unofficially ‘The Bean’. Dad thought it looked like a big metal doughnut, Mum thought it to be more like a kidney bean, Lalika described it as a “metal thing” and I thought of it more as a reflective gazing ball.

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We were really just enjoying the day. By this time it was nearly 5 o’clock and Mum and Dad said they needed to check their emails and do some work, so we found a Starbucks Coffee House and while Mum and Dad did their work, Lalika and I took pleasure in enjoying two big Hot Chocolates. There was an Elevated Railway (EL) Stop just nearby, so about 2 hours later we boarded that and rode back home to the RV.

We were all so tired that we decided to just go fifty or so kilometres out of Chicago, but nevertheless into a new State, The State of Indiana or as the citizens of the USA like to call it, The Cross Roads of America. The traffic coming out of Chicago was crazy. People were driving really fast and really dangerously. On the other side of the road, trucks were just streaming into Chicago. Quite literally there was one time, where we didn’t even see a private car coming on the road opposite us and for at least two kilometres, there was a convoy of trucks heading into Chicago. We drove into a small sleepy town in the dead of the cold night, called Chesterton. We parked in the Library’s secluded car park and quickly got into our PJs, brushed teeth and fell asleep.

What a surprise it was in the morning to see such a beautiful sleepy hollow of a town and to top it off, that very day they had a town festival filled with local farmer’s markets and a variety of stalls, with a Truck Parade and all.We spent half the day in-between the farmer’s market and the library. It was here that we bought a pumpkin which was going to be carved out for Halloween. We named the pumpkin Mr Luigi 😀 Though I don’t know how that relates to Halloween! 😀 

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We drove on to the next rest-stop, another RV park off Highway 94 near the Waterloo State Park. It was so beautiful!! It was Autumn (Fall) and the colours on the trees were MAGNIFICENT!! We took some photos before leaving and on the way out we saw a Family of Deer!! They were so CUTE!! 

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As we left, Lalika and I thought about the significance our next destination. The Commerce Township of Detroit!! We wondered what we would find there…

TO BE CONTINUED!! Stay tuned for my next blog! Enjoy the Photos and leave comments below on what you think! 😀 BYE!

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