Day 51: Bookworm Gardens in Sheboygan and an old barn.
You wouldn’t think Sheboygan is a place that you would find great, authentic mexican food but you would be wrong. We stayed last night at the side of our hosts Steve and Jenny’s house and it was nice and quiet. We asked them for some advice about local food and El Camino Mexican Restaurant was highly recommended.
Mexican food isn’t really hard to make but it is hard to make it taste this good. The magic is in the beans and rice. Of course you can really screw up the other ingredients too but if the beans and rice are good, you are in pretty good shape.
I got their massive chile verde burrito.
Marlene splurged, as usual, and got her self the camarones al mojo de majo.
The girls split an order of the tamales and all of our dishes came with a dollop of guacamole. I knew that avocados are harder to come by outside of California but apparently in Wisconsin, it is priced like lobster: By market price.
After our meal, we met Steve and 3 of his boys down at a place call Bookworm Gardens. It is a really cool place for kids as the garden exhibits are all based on children’s books and there are over 60 of them. The most amazing part is that it is all free.
Right at the entrance there is a school bus that has been converted to represent the magic school bus.
All of the exhibits are sponsored by local residents of businesses. Many of them are also dedicated to specific people like the Hansel and Gretel Learning Cottage.
Ava and Mila have always enjoyed the book about Harry the Dirty Dog. If you are not familiar with the story, it is about a dog that ran away from home because he didn’t want to take a bath. He turned from a white dog with black spots to a black dog with white spots. When he finally returned home, the family didn’t recognize him until Harry volunteered to be washed.
They had a bucket of water and brushes at the Harry exhibit and the girls had fun pretending to wash him.
These of course are the Three Little Pigs houses.
The girls also liked the Winnie the Pooh tree house. We asked Mila to go in there and close the bottom of the dutch door but she was scared to go in there by herself.
There is also an exhibit for the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, ‘Little House in the Big Woods‘. This is the book that talks about the time she spent in Pepin, Wisconsin with her family.
In the Little House exhibit, there is a complete homestead with a log cabin, a stove on a tripod over a fire pit and a covered wagon. The covered wagon was the original RV and Ma and Pa were the original road trippers.
Many of the staff here are volunteers including this old man who was sitting in a rocker in the corner of the garden reading books to little kids. Ava handed him a book to read but I think she was a little unsure of him.
We got back to the Mish and the girls ran off to play with Steve’s boys while Marlene decided to do some trespassing at the awesome barn behind us. She has been really hoping to find a nice, old, rundown barn like this since we started seeing them in Utah. This one is perfect as it is no longer used as the primary barn for the farm so the owners don’t care as much about people walking up to check it out. Also the crop of the season has already been harvested so it was pretty easy to get to it.
Steve mentioned that this barn has been falling steadily over the last few years into this state of disrepair and it will probably soon be demolished.
The field was a little soggy from the on-and-off rain for the last couple of days but it wasn’t too bad to trudge through the dirt getting to it.
As Marlene got closer, the weathered exterior became much more apparent with some of its windows, sidings and doors missing.
As the wind was blowing, you could hear pieces of wood banging against the side of the barn making loud clanking sounds that added to a little bit of spookiness, even in the middle of the day.
This is the view of our courtesy parking spot from the barn. Here’s looking at you, kid.
The girls are having a blast playing with Steve’s 3 older boys, Matthew, Derek and Daniel. Matthew is 8 years old and a very nicely behaved. Ava always loves having slightly older kids to play with. Derek and Daniel are 3 and 5, respectively and they are great little boys, too.
We were initially going to drive towards Milwaukee tonight but decided to spend one more night with Steve and his family and leave tomorrow morning. It would be a lot easier to drive during the day since it is only a short 50 mile jaunt down the coast. Steve invited us to have dinner with his family and we had another great night here.
The weather forecast is calling for warmer temperatures in the next few days and we are looking forward to maybe a little bit of an indian summer before we start heading south. That means we might be able to start ditching pants for shorts again. Yeah, it includes the ‘pants carrot’ we found from our Saint Paul farmer’s market loot.
over and out,
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