Here Kitty Kitty…

For the majority of our adventure, I haven’t bothered to blog about our lodging. With the exception of the nights we spent in our awesome teepee, we were mostly in serviceable hotels and motels not in need of mention. We also mostly had an easy time of finding places to stay. This night (9/14/14 – the halfway mark of our trip) it was a little trickier.

We checked out some of the B&B’s in Abilene, but unfortunately they were all sold out for the night. There were a few other places nearby, but looking for something more interesting, Sriram decided to check Airbnb and see if we could find anything. He found a place in Chapman, KS – about a 35 minute drive away – the Windmill Inn B&B.

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Stepping up onto the porch we rang the bell and waited. While we waited to be greeted by a human, a cute kitten wandered up onto the porch. It cozied up to my leg (as cats always seem wont to do) and I took a picture, while silently cursing the fact that we didn’t think to ask about cats (I also never remember to request no tomatoes on my salads, but I digress).

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As we rang the bell again another kitten joined the first. And then another, and another. Suddenly I was surrounded by kittens, or balls of death as I like to think of them (due to my severe allergies). As they circled around me, I began to feel a bit like the little girl on the island at the beginning of Jurassic Park: The Lost World. You know, the one who stumbles across the little dinosaur and is suddenly overrun as they try to get her snack?

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I stood on the porch hoping the owners would understand when I had to cancel our reservation; except after four or five rings, they still hadn’t answered the door. Sriram finally gave them a call to see what was up. Turned out they were in Oklahoma on vacation and due to a glitch, the dates weren’t blocked out on their website. It might have been annoying if I hadn’t been so relieved. We observed a few minutes of kitty hijinks (because despite my allergies, they sure were cute!) before we drove back to Abilene and found a room at the Holiday Inn Express. A shame, we were too late for the family style chicken fry at the nearby Brookville Hotel that a friend recommended. Maybe next time.

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From August 12 – October 15, 2014 my husband and I traveled the northern United States in my Honda Civic. Cross Country Civic was started (and will eventually be completed) to document our cross country adventure. All comments and questions welcome and appreciated.


Two Harbors Light

Connecting our journey between National Parks (Apostle Islands and the upcoming Voyageurs) was a quick stop-over at the Two Harbors Lighthouse B&B in Minnesota.

The Two Harbors Light Station is the oldest operating lighthouse in the state of Minnesota, dating back to 1892. The B&B opened in 1999 to help fund the maintenance and upkeep of the buildings and grounds. They also run a small gift shop on the grounds to help funding as well.

In addition to the light tower, which has exhibits chronicling the history of the lighthouse, there are also exhibits in the Assistant Lightkeeper’s house, which has been restored to look as it would have in the late 1800’s, and in the Steamship Frontenac’s pilot house, which sits on the lawn, overlooking the lake. The Frontenac ran aground in 1979 on Pellet Island after encountering a sudden snow squall in Lake Superior, ending its career after 56 years in operation.

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We arrived shortly before 5pm and were greeted by our hostess, Rose. We were given a tour of the house, including our cozy room.

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Rose then gave us all the information we needed for our stay, and was on her way until morning. We explored the house a bit more on our own. In the main parlor New Kids on the Block crooned “Please Don’t Go Girl,” out of an old fashioned radio playing the American Top 40 from the late 1980’s. A mystery.

After settling in, we walked around the grounds for a bit, checking out the information in the lighthouse itself as well as the pilot house. The gift shop was closed, and it was getting late, so we headed down the road for dinner. By the end of our meal a lightning storm was starting in the distance. No rain or thunder yet, but large bolts of lightning. We decided it was time to head back.

Upon our return to the property 7 deer greeted us. They observed us as we passed, but otherwise paid us no mind. With the storm still raging on the horizon, we slipped down to the pilot house overlooking the lake. Though it never did rain, and we never heard a single boom of thunder, the storm put on quite the light show. We came back in and sat in the main parlor where we enjoyed cheese (from Benoit Cheese Company) and wine (from Trius Winery) before retiring for the evening.

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Breakfast the next morning was wonderful. It consisted of wild rice quiche (wild rice is apparently a local specialty), a frosted raspberry muffin, sausage, sugared grapes, and fruit salad (plus juice and coffee).

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Two other couples joined us. A couple we’d spoken to briefly the night before and another couple we were just meeting for the first time. The second couple (Stephanie and Ron, I think) were such fans of the B&B that they usually came each year on each of their birthdays, and sometimes on Valentine’s Day as well. High praise.

We all chatted over breakfast about our travels and Rose told some ghost tales about the B&B (there’s a journal in the living room where people have apparently written about various “incidents” – I opted not to read it).

At the end of the meal there were plenty of leftovers. Rose said we were welcome to take anything we wanted, and as we were heading to 3 days on a traveling houseboat, we opted to take her up on it. Loaded up with a bunch of muffins and some quiche, we checked out of the B&B to make our way to Voyageurs National Park. What a fun place to stay.