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10/25/00 - Still in Oshkosh

Wednesday, I taught two more workshops back to back, then packed up the noisy, barking, ornery Berts and headed out of Oshkosh.

Realizing how exhausted I was from speaking and the hassle of trying to negotiate some reimbursement of my gas expenses (long, painful, annoying story), I decided to return to the Circle R campground.

Spent the afternoon organizing the RV, cooking, writing, reading and then mapping out a special trip through Southern Wisconsin. I turned in early to get ready for the pilgrimage I had planned to Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in Spring Green and the surrounding area. circle r

10/26/00 - Spring Green, Wisconsin

After doing laundry, filling up my water tank (the adapter worked a little bit, but not as much as I had hoped), and taking photos of the campground and animals, we hit the road, heading back toward Madison.

After about an hour, I suddenly realized how free I was feeling. I didn't have anywhere to be until the following week when I was scheduled to be in Minneapolis for a Webgrrls event. I had already arranged to see an auto mechanic there, I had reserved a hotel that accepted dogs, and I was finding a dogsitter (possibly Victoria) to take care of the Berts for two days while I was flown to Orlando for a speaking engagement. I was organized, and I was free.

Once I got onto 60 West, or at least the long, long detour through farmland and rolling hills that took me back to 60 West, I felt even freer. I had all the time in the world - or at least five days to wander at my own pace. And Wisconsin was lovely. I went through several very small towns (from population of around 600 to others as big as 1300), and a fellow RVer actually waved to me. I had heard that RVers do wave, but this was the first time I got a wave. me cleaning

I pulled into Spring Green in the late afternoon and went to the Visitor's Center for Frank Lloyd Wright's summer home called Taliesin. I could have taken a tour at that moment but decided to camp out and start early in the morning, planning to take three tours which totaled about five hours of touring the next day.

Went to the RV Valley sign I had seen right before entering Spring Green, and went into the liquor store on site to register for two nights. I had all the time in the world so I figured I would take my time doing tours and learning more about Frank Lloyd Wright.

When I pulled back to choose my site - the woman behind the counter said pick any available one - I suddenly realized that the entire campground was actually a small parking lot with 15 sites around its perimeter right off the main road. I had to laugh. It was the smallest campground I had seen to date.

Fixed up a good dinner, had a beer, and did email. Leaves fell onto the RV all night, sounding just like rain. taliesin

10/27/00 - The Beautiful Taliesin (tally-ESSEN)

I don't think any amount of words or my amateur photographs will do justice to the absolute awe-inspiring presence of Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wrights ongoing living, breathing, livable experiment of architecture and summer home.

No matter where we stood outside of the 37,000 square feet of building, the structure seemed to grow organically out of the hill, never jutting forth intrusively or cutting across aggressively. At every vantage point, it appeared as if we were seeing a modest structure blending beautifully with the surroundings, and the closer you got, the more it just seemed to grow. taliesin 3

Views from the site were spectacular, of lush green hills, even this late in autumn, of trees, winding paths, a large water pond. The views from inside the house brought tears to my eyes - I wanted to burst out sobbing at the incredible power of the simple experience of looking out one of his windows. Every moment was extraordinary. The care, the genius it took to create beauty and intense experience at every nook and cranny - it took my breath away.

Even inside, depending on where you stood or sat in a room, the entire experience shifted, rich, marvelous, jarring, striking, almost like a sophisticated, complicated funhouse. And yet everything was so simple.

I can sum up the entire experience, believe it or not, in one word. GO. view

Although I had planned a full day of touring, I had a drastic change of plans and had to start driving south, to Florida (due to personal reasons). I was glad I could see Taliesin and still have plans to see Taliesin West in Arizona during the winter, when all of the architects and apprentices are there.

In the meantime, I called AAA to get the most direct route to Florida, pulled out the campground books, made notes of campgrounds en route, and mapped out my trip for the next six days. view

I returned to Mr. and Mrs. T's Campground and the woman gave me a refund on the second night without hesitation. It was only $15 but every little bit counts an I was very much relieved. Then I loaded up the Berts in the RV and we were off to the Southland.

We got through a lot of Illinois in the afternoon, settling in for the night at Hickory Hill Campgrounds in El Paso, Illinois (not Texas). Well, I've always said I love to drive, and I have 1200 more miles to go.

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