Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Trip to Tomah to talk to Texan!*

This is the trip about Tomah to meet Mark. It is not about power tools. It is about an adventure that Beth and I had last weekend. I'm sure you could figure this out from the title but I wanted to make sure there was no confusion. Mark, I hope you appreciate the title. I had to rack my alliteration brain to come up with all T's. Thank God you're from Texas because Mark was just not working!

When I first started blogging a year ago, if you had told me that I was going to actually travel across the world to Portugal to officially meet someone I had “met” through blogging, I probably would have scoffed. If you also mentioned that I would then go to the exotic location of Tomah, Wisconsin to meet another fellow blogger, well, I would certainly told you that you were insane.

Yet Beth and I have visited not only
Johnny in Portugal but Mark in Wisconsin (note – Mark actually lives in Texas but he was visiting his son and, since Wisconsin is not that far from Minnesota (the border is maybe 20 minutes from where I live), we decided to make the road trip). Beth and I are avid scrapbookers and bloggers and will do stuff like this for material.

Johnny, you will be pleased to know that we did not take as many pictures in Tomah as we did in Portugal. Of course, we were only in Tomah for about three hours as opposed to 10 days in Portugal. Plus, I did not remember to bring my camera along which is just silly. Beth remembered hers, thankfully.

I'll be fleshing out the post as time goes by (it would help if I had brought my camera with so I could use the pictures to refresh my memory) but here are some things we came up with on the way (thank God for my handy notebook).

If Beth's mom (or anyone, I suppose) called while we were on our way to Tomah, we were going to say the following "Well, we were in the mood for Chinese food. And everyone knows the best Chinese food is in Tomah."

Beth has a habit of picking up mannerisms and phrases from people (it was extremely funny watching how both she and Johnny would start talking like each other and gesturing the same). Apparently she can do it before she's actually met someone as well. Since, while we were pulling into a parking lot, she got kind of irritated at this guy who cut her off when she didn't have a stop sign. "People!" she yelled at the cars. "Y'all suck!" I can only assume that the y'all was because we were going to meet Mark (who did not fit one single stereotype of a Texan that I was expecting. He was not wearing a cowboy hat, he did not have a gun, he did not refer to George W. Bush as the next best thing since Jesus and he was not a chainsaw carrying human skin wearing massacre causer).

One of the things I love about trips I've taken through Wisconsin on 94E is that in Wisconsin, there are not a lot of billboards on the side of the freeway. Not like it is in the Twin Cities, where there are as many billboards as there are cars, or so it seems. Anyway, there were a few odd billboards that we did see. One of them was this - Norske Nook. I'm not sure why it was so amusing but both Beth and I cracked up when we saw it.

Apparently Tomah is big in the cranberry game. We saw 4 seperate billboards about cranberries on the way to Tomah. There was the Cranberry Discovery Center (as Mark said, this is where you can go to get in touch with your inner cranberry), the upcoming Cranberry Festival, the billboard that told us we were entering Cranberry Country and also the billboard that proclaimed that "Tomah - The Gateway to Cranberry Country." As I said to Beth after the first billboard, "I have discovered cranberries. They're called Craisins (oh, my God, I love those things. The best fruit ever!)."

Meeting Mark was wonderful and we also got to meet his son J and his son's friend A (since Mark doesn't post their full names on his blog, I won't as well). It was great sitting and talking with the three of them and it was with surprise that we realized that the time had come for Mark to go to catch his bus. Mark is as funny as he is on his blog, bright and charming. What was really cool about this was when he met us, he gave both Beth and I copies of his book. We have met two people from the world of blogging. They have both given us books. You realize this is setting a precedent for future meetings. But it makes sense, blogging to me are books I can't lug around in my purse.

After leaving the Humbird Cheese Shop (which is famous, according to its billboard. Mark, we did not see the sex olives. We were looking), Beth notices a Country Kitchen restaurant across the street. There are no longer any Country Kitchens in the twin city area, which is very sad. Beth declares "If we ever get a hankering for cheese, cranberries and Country Kitchens, we know where to go!"

Billboard on the way home - "You are now entering Wisconsin's Indianhead Country." I'm not sure why I found this so amusing...it might have been the fact that I felt like I was going to pass out.

Beth and I stopped at a scenic overlook/rest area. We were going to go to the scenic overlook part but realized that involved walking up a hill. At this time, I was pretty sure I had heatstroke and felt like I was going to faint if I moved another step. We decided not to take the path. On our way back to the parking lot, we saw a couple approaching us. Beth whispers to me "Let's fake them out. Make them think we went to the scenic overlook." We then started a conversation about how glad we went to the top and how it was worth it. Why? No clue.

The building that had the sign "Good (RV) Times." WTF?

Another sign that prompted Beth to say "Hunt pheasants. Not pedestrians." A few minutes later - "Do you think there are pedestrian pheasants?"

After taking pictures of the orange moose (mooses? meeses?) statues, Beth and I have this conversation. "I like orange just as much as the next person but I don't think I want my moose to be orange," I say as we drive past the Arrowhead Motel (with 3 giant arrowheads sticking up at the doors. I so need to find a picture of it). Beth replies "It makes no sense." As we are headed out of the parking lot, I see the sign. "Oh, yeah it does. It's the orange moose bar and grill..." At the same time, we both say "That still doesn't make any sense."

There will be more to come but I am very tired and must go to bed. I do not think I will be going to work again tomorrow. I'm no longer nauseated but it is very odd to stand up and feel like you will pass out. Or sit down and feel like you will pass out. Or move your head and feel...well, you get the point. What is wrong with me? I know it's not heat stroke. Is my back out of alignment? I've had this sort of feeling before when I was younger. My chiropracter referred to it as cervico cranial syndrome and pretty much it meant my brain stem was being pinched by something and it caused me to forget things and actually miss the bus one day because I fainted. Long story. I'll tell it later. Ooh, that article mentioned tinnitus and I did have a ringing in my ears the other day! Ah ha! I'm not insane! Well, much.

*Part One. I couldn't put it in the title because it defeats the whole purpose to the alliteration.