A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam born on the 4th of July, sorry I have that song stuck in my head.
The Loudamericans plus Nikki loaded into the Pilot and headed east towards Clintonville, WI, to join several of our ex-pat friends, their dogs and Paul's family for a real down home small town 4th of July. The drive was rather uneventful until around hour 4 when the kids started to have the need to eat, and while for the most part they are adventurous eaters, it is hard to stop when you are surrounded by cornfields and yard gnomes. However we lucked out as Tracy spotted the Pigeon River Brewing Company, a solution for all. We ordered a flight of beers and some food and settled back and relaxed. The flight came with an extra surprise, root beer, which was the best of all. The food cam and was awesome and we indulged our selves and got a growler of IPA and one of Root beer to go.
The hotel was a nice little small town affair complete with a little convenience store and a bar. The group all arrived around the same time checked in and then headed out to the farm to hang out and catch up. The Balthazar's are a super laid back, friendly and awesome family. They no longer run a dairy farm however they still plant cash crops and Paul's mom and dad still farm the land. Paul decided one day that he needed to update the barn so he put in a half court, NBA regulation basketball court along with a weight room in the loft. Jimmy was in heaven playing basketball with Paul's nephew Daniel and the two became fast friends, playing B-ball, volleyball and Frisbee.
Kay took advantage of the space to practice gymnastics and to do pull-up's, while Billy tended to the 6 dogs and 5 cats, which were newly born and needed to have their eyes cleaned and basically needed love which Billy has in spades!
Friday night dinner was a good old fashioned Shrimp Boil with all the fixings and several cold beers!
The group had a ball and we finished the night with a bonfire and relating stories and sharing what we all have been up to, it's a great bunch and we all had a blast. The group headed back to the hotel for a night cap and to make plans for Saturday, which was the 4th!
Saturday morning found the Loudamericans moving a bit slow, so the rest of the group had breakfast and headed out tot he farm to get organized for the day, the Loudamericans had other plans. This was farm country and to us that means two things, Rodeo's and Rummage Sales, yep a little R&R was in order, and the kids were hysterical. We map quested rummage sales and made a map and headed out, it was super fun. We acquired several treasures along the way including but not limited to, a curling iron, miniature foosball table, a couple of dozen multi colored shot glass, a square cast iron pan, treasures all!
Welcome to the Midwest Region Rodeo, please stand for the pledge of Allegiance! The thundering hoofs, flags whipping in the wind the Star Bangle banner proved to much for Nikki as she tried to jump the fence and heard the horses!!! We had to laugh when the started the biggest redneck competition, and people were drinking beer two at a time when this one redneck want to be jumped into the ring and did the worm in the dirt, horse poop, ect for a lousy t-shirt, which of course brought the house down, augh, the rodeo. We should have bought the t-shirt that said, wait for it...This is our first Rodeo...
Saturday afternoon we meet up with everyone back at the farm. The afternoon was full of typical 4th if July fun, water fights, volleyball, Frisbee and a BBQ, complete with several types of salad, brats, hotdogs, burgers, cold beer and potato salad, a virtual feast of summer fun. The dogs got to run and play with abandon while the Dad's beat the boys in Volleyball, best of one, no rematch!
The night brought out the pyrotechiqnes and about $1000 worth of fireworks. The show went on for about an hour then was followed with light several Chinese lanterns, which were in every color and awesome. The grand finale was the bonfire, but this was not you typical bonfire. The base was a few dozen dried and burning pine logs onto which was tossed an oak pallet filled with 20 or so Christmas wreaths, just to get things going. Onto that was the tossed about a dozen or so Christmas tress, yes it was beyond hot and the fact we all still have our eyebrows is a testament to well our good upbringing I guess.
We all headed out around mid-night sweaty, covered in bug spay and hot pine tar full of great food and great friends. It was a great small town 4th of July and the Loudamericans are grateful to all who came and for all the goodness these folks bring into our lives.
The Loudamericans like to travel in a non-stop kind of mode, meaning fill the car, eat and don't stop till we get home. So in order to accomplish that we need a quick lunch stop and the Rocks for Fun Café fit the bill. This place is a cross between a sci-fi/ twilight zone nightmare and the kitchen on the Brady Bunch, scary on both accounts. The owner Don McClellan will entertain you for the entire 3 minutes it takes for them to make you food which is one thing severed 30+ ways, however none with ketchup, the Pasty. The he will regale you with jokes and stories about rocks, how his marriage has been on the rocks for over 30 years, a rock that is off the moon, careful here not a moon rock just a rock that is not on the moon, you get the drift, on and then for a mere $ 2.99 a Pasty if you buy 100 or www.rocksforfun.com more you can take them home, he even has those Styrofoam coolers that sit in back of the car and squeak all the way home driving you nuts! You can view this collection of rocks valued at $2,884,732.66 at his shop or here at
Happy 4th to everyone!!