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10/22/00 - Heading North

Sunday morning, I loaded up the RV and the Berts, hugged Lisa goodbye, and headed up State Road 37 out of Bloomington. I wasn't sure how far I'd get, and Lisa and Rob had expressed concern about stopping anywhere near the South side of Chicago, so my goal was Joliet, IL.

Left Indiana, passing a few campgrounds I had mapped out as possible stopping points, and kept going. Made it to Joliet around 3:30pm, earlier than I had anticipated, but decided to stop at the campground I had marked - Martin's Campground. After this private campground, the rest of the ones still open this time of year through Illinois and into Wisconsin along my route seemed to be State Parks which I still haven't stayed at as of yet.

Martin's was on the lower rung of the RV campgrounds I've experienced, with overflowing sewer lines and a run-down feeling to everything, but I do fine with just an electric hookup, running water out of my holding tank with the water pump, so we settled in for the night.

10/23/00 - Wisconsin, B'Gosh

Back on the road bright and early. Entered Wisconsin and after Madiscon, took smaller state roads which, although not always paved evenly, were a lot easier to drive than aggressive interstates. I had already decided that driving music would have to be different from my regular listening music - no Sarah McLachlan and Enya for this trip. I played a lot of Black Crowes so I could sing along and also flipped radio stations to catch each local classic rock station.

Since I wasn't supposed to arrive in Oshkosh until Tuesday to teach three workshops at a conference of innkeepers, and my hosts would not pay an extra night at the hotel for me, and since I was on a tight budget after all those engine expenses, I opted to stay at a campground right outside of Oshkosh. circle r

The Circle R campground was a small compound in the middle of long fields of dried corn stalks and cows grazing by farms. Lately, I've found that even though I pay for a water/electric site (versus full hookup of water/electric/sewer), I always seem to end up without water. It has happened a few times too many to be just an occasional occurance. I'm given a site and there just isn't a water spigot to be found. Someone is playing a continuous joke on me, I think.

But since I still had water in my tank, I didn't complain or bother to move. I noted that they had a sign for filling fresh water, so if I ran out, I could always try out the new hose adapter I bought to help speed up water filling from a trickle (so the package on the adapter says).

Such an RVer. I'm fascinated by little discoveries. Like did you know that even numbered interstates go east and west and odd numbered interstates go north and south? I had no idea, but now that I know that nifty fact, it holds true wherever I am. I love that! sidney

10/24/00 - Time in Oshkosh

Woke up to a strange, bellowing sound, sort of like a foghorn, in the early morning. A donkey? Sure enough, once I ventured outside, I walked around some buildings and found Sidney the Burro and some goats. I liked this campground! goat

I pulled into the Park Plaza International hotel in Oshkosh the next morning, noting how small Oshkosh seemed to be. I later found out that it is very spread out and that downtown is pretty small, so I wasn't imagining things.

I taught three Internet workshops for the Wisconsin Innkeepers Association, a group that invites me back each year, this year being the third. The innkeepers are really super nice people, and I enjoy meeting and spending time with them.

Tuesday night, I had tickets and passes to see Joan Baez at the Opera House in Oshkosh through an old music business friend. I spontaneously invited the daughter of a fantastic, colorful couple who own a resort and golf course in Northern Wisconsin. I instantly liked Victoria with her easy-going yet worldly manner and her stories of driving solo to Nova Scotia and turning a long weekend into over a month-long stay.

We both calculated that, with an opening act, Joan Baez wouldn't hit the stage until around 9:00pm or 9:30pm. Well, we sure were surprised when we arrived and she had been playing for way over an hour. We banged on the doors and the ushers let them in. "We're on Joan Baez's guest list." I blurted out, but the box office was closed.

Without a moment's pause, the usher led us onto the balcony, passed us off to another usher letting him know we were guests of Joan Baez, and he led us to literally the last two seats in the house (which were probably the ones reserved for us). We sat quickly and instantly were swept up in the magical concert, screaming after each song for more and more.

After about six songs, the concert ended. We were thrilled and disappointed at the same time, especially once we realized that her opening act did not show up which is why she started the show early, and why we missed virtually the entire thing.

Since I had the name of her tour manager, I decided to try to say hello so at least he knew we were there (nothing worse than having someone leave you tickets and passes and not show up - believe me, I was in the music business and it was considered very rude.)

I was allowed to walk down to the stage to say hello to the tour manager - something that never happens that easily at big city shows. The tour manager was incredibly nice and invited us immediately to go backstage to meet Joan. So Victoria and I followed him backstage and out the back door to the tourbus where he checked to make sure she'd see us.

Victoria was very impressed with the tourbus surroundings, and I looked around as if it were a bigger RV, noting how roomy and polished it was. I was impressed to find out that the tour manager's wife was the bus driver!

Joan was very gracious, taking time to sign photos and set lists, particularly for Victoria's dad. We chatted briefly and then she retired to the back of the bus. All in all, an exciting evening. Of course, upon our return, I was informed I had to move rooms because the Berts were barking too much.

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