Our day started out as planned--a lovely breakfast, and then we went to tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, Taliesin, and the Hillside Home School, which currently (still) contains the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture. The lucky students live in the house, dine in the dining hall, and study in the huge drafting room designed by Wright for his own “apprentices” when he was the busiest architect in America. At that time, it was a working farm as well, and the students also baled hay and raised vegetables along with working on the pencil sketches for homes such as Fallingwater and the Robie House. (The year after he died, they voted to stop working the farm
The tour took us through the highlights--the school’s assembly room, drafting hall, and theater, and most of the house farther up the hill, including an enormous living room, bedrooms, and other living spaces. Every room is designed to enhance the view outside, which is wonderful on its own. But it is true that when you frame an amazing view with horizontal windows, it makes everything outside even more spectacular. All in all the buildings are fascinating and beautiful. Wright himself was of course a genius when it came to space and architecture, but he was also quite an unusual thinker in other ways. He could never have done what he did if he lived today--expecting apprentices to “learn by doing”, and the “doing” was building his own home, would undoubtedly not fly today!
Another interesting thing was that Wright seemed (to my way of thinking) to be remarkably un-invested emotionally in his work. What I mean by that is, The Hillside House especially was always a “work in progress”, and he constantly tore things out and rebuilt them in new configurations. Most people, I think, would look at what they did and not want to destroy it to build something new. His home, too, was rebuilt twice. The first version was destroyed by arson (causing the death of 7 people, including Wright’s long-time mistress and her 2 children), and the second house was destroyed by fire again when lightning hit the home. Wright rebuilt it including many stones which had gone through the fire turning pink in the exposure to the heat) and even art objects (statues, mostly) which show signs of having been burnt. In some places, the statues are literally embedded into the walls.
All in all it was a lovely tour and we enjoyed it. We got back to Mo at 12:15 and had sandwiches for lunch. While walking Roxy, however, Joe noted that we had a small problem--sometime in the last two days, the cover had blown off our rooftop air conditioner. We didn’t have internet in the Frank Lloyd Wright visitor center parking lot, so we drove back to the campground where we’d spent the night. We thought they might know a local RV supply place to get a new cover. (We could have backtracked an hour to the Camping World in Madison, but were hoping to avoid that and continue westward.)
After an hour of phone calls, we located what we needed in several places, but decided we’d wait until Sioux Falls, SD, which was right on our route and my original destination point for tonight. No rain is expected tonight, so we figured we could wait until tomorrow and not go backwards. So we got ready to go, and Joe turned Mo on--and Mo’s starter turned ON but would not turn OFF. Even when Joe removed the key, the starter kept cranking. Joe jumped out and disconnected a battery so the starter would stop….. but now we had a bigger issue. Joe’s guess was a “stuck solenoid”. Now we needed not a roof cover, but a “real mechanic”. Back into the RV Park office to ask for a recommendation. The guy we called couldn’t help, but he gave us the name of a good truck service center in Richland Center. The mechanic at the Richland Center shop talked to Joe on the phone, and actually guided him through the process to get the starter to turn off--by hitting the right part with a hammer!! (Joe says the hammer was his idea, to unstick the stuck solenoid, and the mechanic figured it couldn't hurt, LOL!) After the hammer trick worked, the mechanic recommended getting a new solenoid. Since his shop was literally 20 miles down the road on the route we’d planned to take anyway, we opted to come directly to the shop and get the solenoid replaced here.
So it is now 4:30pm--3.5 hours since I expected to leave the Spring Green area (well okay, we ARE 20 miles further along than we were, to be fair.) But the repair is now done, and Joe is paying them in the office, and I am going to stop typing, clean up, and get ready to drive toward Sioux Falls. We’ll stop someplace (as close to there as possible) and stop (I hope BRIEFLY) to purchase and put on a new air conditioner cover. And then continue on toward Montana.
Happy Anniversary, Joe and Deb. The journey of 40 years and thousands of miles may not always be smooth, but somehow, we do manage to come through it together. We are packing up again and heading west. The journey continues, I hope for another 40 years and thousands more SAFE miles. I love you, Joey Cohn!!