Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 4: House on the Rock continued

Tuesday, Aug 17, 2010

By Tuesday evening I was getting pretty frustrated with the Blog/wifi situation--I didn't even write about the day. But I did manage to write a very fast synopsis, which is the 2nd (I think) entry for this trip. But we had another good day in Spring Green. We spent a quiet night at Governor Dodge State Park in a very beautiful woodsy campsite, and started our morning with a walk to the park's waterfall. All three of us enjoyed the walk, and Roxy also enjoyed getting her feet wet and tasting the stream at the base of the falls. If we'd had more time and inclination, this park actually boasts a "dog beach", where we could have taken her swimming in the lake! But we had other things on our agenda rather than living with a wet dog for the day.

We also used the park dumpsite, which gave us the chance to wash off the remnants of the liquid manure we'd driven through the day before. The stuff had dried but the smell lingered, and we were glad to wash it off our mudflaps and be rid it!

We drove from the park to Dodgeville and spent an hour at the Culver's, trying to make use of their wifi. But I was still unable to transfer my written blogs into Blogger. BTW, isn't my husband da bomb??? Not only did he come up with a solution to that problem today, but I forgot to mention, he did fix our fussy refrigerator too. Once again, I have to say that I'd be afraid to take a trip like this without him along :)

We left Culver's in frustration, and drove back to the House on the Rock. The day before we'd bought a book which told about Alex Jordan and how he built the house, and it had given us the background info we'd wanted. So we had a little more insight into some of the things we were seeing that second day. Tour 2 was the longest tour, and it took us about 4 hours from beginning to end. By far our favorite part was the "music room", which contained all kinds of calliopes, music boxes, and automated instruments (like player pianos) and more elaborate orchestras. When you pay for these tours, they give you 4 tokens, and all along the way there are places where you can put your tokens in and the musical displays will play. They are so delightful, we bought extra tokens and listened to most of them.

When I say "music box", btw, it is not what most people would picture. A great example is a full size old-fashioned horse-drawn hearse, with a huge (several feet long) music-box cylinder built into it. We listened to it play some slow funereal introduction, followed by "When the Saints Go Marching In". It was a self-contained New Orleans jazz funeral! Here is a photo:
There were other kinds of music machines. The most fabulous is called The Mikado. It is installed in a room which is completely done in red and gold, as is the machine itself, which takes up the entire wall of the room. We listened to it play 4 times (almost everyone who comes in puts their tokens in) and it was amazing. The drummer in the center plays several percussion instruments, but he is surrounded by other "attendants" playing triangles, other drums, etc. as well as ladies fluttering their fans as the music plays. It is an incredible room, one of Alex Jordan's most elaborate creations.

As I try to remember what else we saw, I would not be able to recall everything without the help of my photos. We saw collections of everything from carved ivory to masks to butterflies to miniature toy cars to old fashioned brass cash registers to teddy bears to Burma Shave signs! Most of it was delightful. Our least favorite thing was the "Wonders of the Sea" room; it contained display cases of all kinds of ship models and memorabilia, but was dominated by an absolutely immense sculpture (3 stories tall) of a whale battling with a giant squid. Below are a couple of more photos:

We finally left the House on the Rock in the late afternoon, and drove a few miles up the road to a scenic overlook. This gave us an opportunity to see the Infinity Room from the outside:

We went from there to the Visitor Center of the Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin tours to see about those for the next day. However we walked in at 5:28, and they closed at 5:30. I was getting very cranky by that time, and we took a brochure and decided to think about what to do next. Then we looked for a campground nearby which would have wifi, and we found one right in Spring Green. So back we went into the center of town, and then down to the river. And as my earlier post makes clear, I was able to do some quick blogging and even upload photos from the previous couple of days. And then I went to bed, to "sleep on" the decision of where to go next.

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