Literally Blew a Fuse

We brought along a new powered cooler for the car,

so that we could keep slightly more interesting food than bread and peanut butter for picnic lunches. Prior to coming through Canada, we hadn’t used it, as we didn’t want to deal with any customs issues. But yesterday, we used it for water bottles, then after grocery shopping we filled it with a few items. At a certain point, I noticed that its fan wasn’t going, and it’s simple enough to have no thermostat, so I was suspicious. When we got to the hotel, we brought it with us, as we also have an A/C adapter for it. I looked for a switch or a fuse, and finding none obvious on the unit, I took apart the cigar lighter plug where fuses often are, but this proved more difficult than it should have, due to either a junky CLP or it being melted due to a current overload? Anyway, while the wire in the fuse wasn’t visibly broken, the fuse showed signs of being blown.

After dinner, we drove over to Home Depot which was right behind the restaurant, and while they didn’t have the exact same fuse (8A), they did have slow blow 8A and normal 10A fuses. I bought both. So far, the slow blow 8A is holding up.

A Plague of Mosquitoes

This morning we are in Madison, WI, at another Comfort Inn. After Whitewater, we drove for a little over an hour and ended up here. When we got out of the car to go into the hotel, we were greeted by a cloud of hungry mosquitoes. Some followed us into the hotel, and a few were still following us when we went into the room. For dinner, we drove basically across the highway to the Texas Roadhouse, but coming back we ended up having to follow the highway for about a mile, then I took the next exit to find a place to turn around, but that was a divided highway as well, so I made an illegal U turn at the next light, drove about 3/4 of a mile back, made a legal U turn, then was able to get onto the entrance ramp to the highway, going in the right direction, go get to our hotel.


From about age two to four, my family lived in a town called Whitewater, Wisconsin, where my dad taught at the University of Wisconsin there. My mom couldn’t remember our address, but as we had decided to head north from Illinois, I thought it would be fun to take a brief detour into the town. We found Frosty’s there, and had some frozen custard.

Here is the sign at the main entrance to the campus there:

My Heritage

Today, we made a visit to Heritage Manor,

the nursing home where my grandmother (Nonna — Italian for grandmother) lives. Seven years ago, when we were last out this way, Tyler was an infant and Nonna was (at age 91) still living in the home that her husband built for them.

Nonna looks pretty good for 98,

and certainly seems to be in better health than most of the people in the home. It’s not always easy to understand her, but that was true for me 30 years ago as well, as her English is tinged with an Italian accent, that being her native tongue. She is somewhat hard of hearing as well.

We had a nice visit with Nonna. I was able to show her pictures from our trip so far, although I hadn’t thought to bring any pictures of her daughter, my mom, along. We stayed for about half an hour, and then it was time for her lunch. Thanks to one of the staff, we found a nice park nearby to have a picnic lunch with the groceries we had bought in town earlier.

After lunch, we headed back for another visit, and stayed for about an hour. We brought Nonna down to the solarium, to give her roommate a bit of peace. Susan played the guitar a little, and we sang a few songs while the kids drew pictures for Nonna. She was looking a little tired, and after a couple of pictures our visit came to an end.

World’s Most Finicky Town

This morning finds us awakening in Morris, IL at the Comfort Inn. Morris is home to the Dresden Nuclear Generating Plant, and I did a little research to see how far away from us it is, but it would take about half an hour to get there. Would love to drive by and at least take pictures for Susan’s dad, but it is in exactly the wrong direction. Susan wanted to go get a few groceries last night and asked where there was a supermarket, and was given directions to the local WalMart. But we have sworn off WalMarts and fast food for the whole trip. Groceries will have to wait.

And by the way, the title is just a reference to the famed Morris the Cat; no disrespect meant to the town.

Ann Arbor to Morris

Today, we drove from Ann Arbor, MI to Morrtis, IL, en route to Peru to visit with my 98 year old grandmother. We flew out to IL about five years ago to visit, and she was still in her own home in Oglesby back then, but the morning before we arrived to visit, she had taken a fall and was all alone for a time until my uncle arrived before us. That was what finally convinced everyone that she needed to be in a nursing home. So today we will be visiting her there.

Along the way from Ann Arbor, we had a lovely stop in St. Joseph, MI at the Curious Kids museum, after lunch at a local sandwich shop.

This is one of those hands-on museums that are a lot of fun. Exhibits ranged from a Japanese area with stamps, information on fighting outfits, Origami and a sitting room, to a TV studio outfitted by the local TV station.

Before we left town, we let the kids take a dip in chilly Lake Michigan.

On The Road Again

We had planned to hit the famous Kellogg’s Cereal City factory tour today, as it is one of the most celebrated on our route. But as Susan was reading the description to the kids at breakfast, she came to the end of the article which stated (paraphrasing) “This attraction is closed, but we’ve left the article here for your enjoyment.” Argh!

We’re now headed to the Curious Kids’ Museum in St. Joseph, MI. As an added bonus, we’ve already had our daily dose of rain, so we are sure to have a dry remainder of the day!