"I've Been Everywhere, Man" Living the song on two wheels.

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by swedstal, Jun 5, 2017.

  1. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Oddometer:
    894
    We were still dealing with a rainy day, so we decided to see if we could get a tour of the McNeil Stone Mansion (website HERE).

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    Mahaska County was the most coal rich of all the counties in Iowa. Wilbur McNeil was the owner of the majority of mines in the Oskaloosa area. He built this impressive structure in 1909. It is now a very well kept bed and breakfast.

    They don’t normally do tours, but the owner, Virginia, was nice enough to take us on one anyway. It was fascinating.

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    Del and Marilyn made us a wonderful supper and we visited their son, Nathan, and his family who also live in the area. They were really welcoming and asked lots of good questions about my trip. When we returned, it was time for a signing ceremony. Gosh I miss these!

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    With a few strokes of a Sharpie, Del and Marilyn officially recommenced the progress towards my goal. They took such good care of us and it was a great opportunity to get to know them better.
  2. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Oddometer:
    894
    Wednesday, May 22nd

    Up to this point, I’ve focused more on the traditional and historical side of Oskaloosa. Our final hours in town would reveal Oskaloosa’s more innovative side. Del and Marilyn’s son, Nathan, works for the largest employer in town, Musco Lighting. He was kind enough to give us a tour of their office.

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    You might not be familiar with this company’s name, but you’ve most likely been illuminated by one of their products at some point in your life. Founded in 1976, this home grown company is the world leader in sports lighting.

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    They have provided the lighting system for the majority of professional sports stadiums and arenas in North America and have expanded their reach into Europe and Asia. They have also taken care of some sporting stages which are near and dear to my heart, namely Memorial Stadium and Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. They light up Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty and San Francisco’s Bay Bridge.

    …all from humble little Oskaloosa.

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    They have been on the leading edge of LED technology (on the left in the picture above), which are much more efficient and versatile than traditional metal halide lights.

    But beyond all of their technical innovation, my favorite story about this company is how they responded to help out after the 9/11 attacks.

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    (picture credit in following paragraph)

    Musco trucks were on site by September 12th and spent 20,000 hours illuminating the clean up efforts. There is a great article (LINK HERE) which summarizes this story. It’s a great read, one of the most American stories I’ve ever heard.
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  3. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Oddometer:
    894
    Mom and I dropped by the Chamber again so Annie could get Ann’s autograph. She was such a big help to us and gave me a warm invitation to visit Oskaloosa again. From there, it was time to take some pictures. We finally had our first sunshine in Iowa, so we tried to make good use of it.

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    With the Chief Mahaska statue:

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    Another must-visit in Oskaloosa is the Smokey Row coffee shop.

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    This shop is where prospective Presidential candidates come to try to convince Oskaloosans that they know what a harrow is used for.

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    There is no way I can tell everything I learned about Oskaloosa, nor recount each interesting interaction I had with one of its residents. (I’ve left out Clow Valve company, Buxton, Fredrick Knight Logan, Major Cecil William Stoughton and C.L. Barnhouse; just to name a few) Still, there is one more story that begs to be told: The story of George Daily. Mom and I made our way to the auditorium that bears his name to find out more.

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    George Daily was a reclusive, mysterious resident of Oskaloosa. He lived in a run-down house and wore tattered clothing. From the outside it appeared that he had very little, but George was actually a millionaire.

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    George’s estranged father had purchased some land that ended up being oil-rich. After he died, checks began to show up in George’s mail box. He harbored resentment towards his father for abandoning him, so he never cashed any of them.

    When George passed away in 1993, his will left all of the money to the city of Oskaloosa. This money has been used for over 300 different civic projects ranging from historical society funding, to safety equipment for Little League baseball to the 700-seat auditorium which pays him homage.

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    George’s life is not necessarily a happy story, but the community has done a respectable job in honoring him. They even wrote an original musical about his life. One of George’s passions was sitting in the town square and playing checkers. This statue seems to capture him well.

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    What a way to recommence our journey! Oskaloosa was so friendly and so fascinating. I almost forgot how much fun it is to learn about a community like this one. Our story seems to have picked up where it left off, with friends, family and complete strangers caring for us so well. My deepest thanks to everyone who made these days so special for us.

    ….and kudos to Mom for keeping an awesome attitude. :thumb

    Stay illuminated, everybody.

    BA
  4. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Oddometer:
    894
    Realtime update: Boy, this post was a real struggle. I think it took about 11 hours of work to get it published. I must be rusty. Still, it feels good to be back in the swing of things. Mom and I are currently staying in Marion, Iowa. As well as Oskaloosa, we’ve now crossed Davenport off of our list.

    Only Waterloo remains in Iowa. We are planning to hit the motorcycle museum in Anamosa tomorrow, then Waterloo early in the week. Mom has adjusted well to riding and seems to be enjoying herself. As always, thanks for following along!

    27 to go.
  5. TheNetworker

    TheNetworker Been here awhile Super Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Germany, Lower Saxony
    Hello Brett,

    Great start of the next leg.

    Sorry to say but the Musco link is not working for EU readers due to GDPR issues of their website.....
    swedstal likes this.
  6. InspectorJim

    InspectorJim Long time rider

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2017
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Ligonier, Pa
    Brett, and Mom.

    So glad you are back at it. Am excited to see you complete this. But also a little bummed that this will end. I have enjoyed my ride with you very much. Thank you.
    swedstal likes this.
  7. viajero

    viajero Too old to be a nOOb

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2006
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    Location:
    Idaho
    I've got that old song "On the Road Again" doing a loop through my brain.

    Hope you have a blast.
    swedstal likes this.
  8. dtysdalx2

    dtysdalx2 Knowledge is horsepower

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    Moneyapolis, MN
    Dang, I need to get out more. :lol3

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  9. Tom48

    Tom48 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
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    1,036
    Location:
    Fremont NH
    I have been in 49 states. I refused a trip to Hawaii.
    My main ride has 130681 on it
    It is a 2000 K1200RS.
    I ride alone.
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  10. ScotsFire

    ScotsFire And then a drifter rode into town...

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2016
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    Location:
    Here and there... but more there than here
    It is a long ride to Hawaii.
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  11. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer Supporter

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    Brett, you are dating your posts “June” 21, 22, etc.. I’m getting old. I had to look at my calendar. I’m 99% sure it’s still May, but I could be wrong. Hope your weather improves. Dry, but not too hot! I had a nice ride yesterday. Going to be 90s today.. Not so good.
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  12. WYO George

    WYO George witness protection file #7236

    Joined:
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    left of nowhere, WY
    Brett is a time traveler, don’t be jealous!
  13. MizzouRider

    MizzouRider Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
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    Fly over zone
    Ha! He’s way ahead of me.
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  14. KiwiPewe

    KiwiPewe Coddiwomple Supporter

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    New Zealand
    Maybe he has a Flux capacitor in that frunk?


    I mean what are the odds?


    :D
  15. wetwider

    wetwider Adventurer

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    75
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    northwest
    Good one Kiwi ~ And great to see you back on the road, Swedstal, and with your mom along!! Excellent! I sure felt for ya, as so many did when we read your fine father died, hoping for weeks you'd be back smiling & riding again soon. Your smart & talented goodness is sure a welcomed gift, as is your spotlighting Midwest wholesomness & its great architecture! You provide a treat!

    Thanks!
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  16. codebot

    codebot Long time lurker, n00b poster

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2013
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    Location:
    SLC, UT
    Oh my goodness, that smile on your mom's face as you pulled away from home. That is simply heart warming. (I feel I've followed your thread for a million years. I just had to speak up on that one).
    swedstal likes this.
  17. hankmoody

    hankmoody Ummmmm?? REALLY?!

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    Location:
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    BRET!!! Peggy and I are all gooseflesh over your mother joining you for this leg. I remind you that I've moved to Aliso Viejo CA. In Orange County. We are EXPECTING to host you for dinner!!! With the required stories of the road of course! You have my contact info. Please reach out! Pegs was in tears of joy over your mother joining.

    Larry B!!
  18. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Oddometer:
    894
    Hmmm...sorry about that. Sounds like you guys need some freedom over there. Should I send the US military? :lol3 If you just google "Musco 9/11" there should be something that works. It's a story worth reading.

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    We still have a lot left to do! :-)

    :kumbaya "The life I love is visiting Iowa with my Mom...." :kumbaya

    Teamwork makes the dream work! :thumb

    :lol3

    Yeah...yeah...yeah. I can't believe some of you people actually read the words. Don't you know that's frowned upon in this establishment? Annie is flattered though, that you assume she is capable of reaching 88 mph. :thumb

    Thanks so much! This is such a nice sentiment that I will not give you a hard time for using the word "Midwest." :-) Both Mom and I have reflected that nothing would make Dad happier than to know we were going on a trip together, especially on the motorcycle. His influence and memory are never far from us.

    Isn't that great? I'm a recovering lurker myself, so no worries. You may be able to find a lurker's anonymous meeting in your area. :-)

    :lol3 Gooseflesh.
    I will definitely be in touch when I get closer. Mid-July-ish, maybe? Can't wait to see you guys again. Mom was just planning to join me for Iowa, but she enjoyed it enough that she may think about flying out for another spell.
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  19. DCrider

    DCrider Live from THE Hill

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
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    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Well then if that happens she's gonna need a inmate screen name :thumb
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  20. swedstal

    swedstal Open heart, open mind, open can of beans

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2013
    Oddometer:
    894
    Lean Into the Curves Together


    Hello, this is Mom. Brett has invited me to make comments throughout this post. They will show up in orange.



    Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 (cont.)

    So long, Oskaloosa!

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    A beautiful day on the road was awaiting Mom and me. After our initial day of riding, where we ended up cold and wet, I was glad she was going to get to experience the other end of the spectrum.

    We were both starting to feel more comfortable riding together by this point. Mom was pleasantly surprised that she was not sore and I was getting accustomed to having a passenger behind me. In terms of curb weight, I’m pretty sure we were lighter than when I rolled home from South America.

    Good job, Brett. Never ask a woman or a motorcycle her weight.

    The goal for the day was to reach my aunt and uncle’s place in Marion, IA, while taking time to stop to see the Amana Colonies.

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    What Cheer, Iowa:

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    The Amana Colonies are a collection of seven quaint villages. The inhabitants were a religious sect which emigrated from Germany. They placed a strong emphasis on divine inspiration and communal living. Nowadays they are known more for appliances and antique shopping. Alas, we did not quite have the capacity to bring home a vintage armoire.

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    We had a nice surprise at the visitor’s center when we found a plaque commemorating the service of Mom’s aunt at the center.

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    It really touched my heart to see this plaque, as it brought back memories of my Aunt Karen and Uncle Bob.

    We also enjoyed the historical museum. Some of the information posted seemed to emphasize that this was not an Amish settlement. They did not shun technology here. On the contrary, they may have been the producers of your first “Radar Range.”

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    We had a classic German supper of schnitzel, sauerbraten and an endless supply of seven different sides.

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    In Marion, we would be hosted by Mom’s sister, Norma, and her husband, Marlon.

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    They would end up hosting us for seven nights. Norma and my Mom share many similar interests and attributes. I would say the same about Marlon and me as well. Our time together was effortlessly enjoyable and constantly congenial.

    Wonderful accommodations, tasty food and soothing hot tub!

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