Sunday, July 15, 2012

Food, Folks, and Fun

I have saved the best photos for last when it comes to showing you my recent week long vacation to MN and WI and the Iola Swap Meet. And as you must know by now, my brother in law Lawrence and I have had a great time on this trip. We look forward to it every year and good food, good friends, and good times are all a big part of it as well as buying antique car and truck parts at this big event in a small WI village.
When we arrived in Iola we did some shopping at the town wide garage sales and then headed to the Crystal Cafe downtown which is our favorite place to eat there. The family of women that run it do a great job and are fun and happy while "slinging the hash." We had a good lunch of roast beef for me and meatloaf for "L." Their meals come with soft homemade bread too that is very fresh.

And then we hit some more garage sales and went to a local tavern to kill time by drinking some frosty mugs of beer and popcorn made by the bartender himself and sat with alot of other car guys in this place. 
And later in the day they opened the gates to let all the vendors in to set up their spaces which is what we did. We sat in line for a couple of hours waiting our turn.
The next day was Thursday and the meet was open for the throngs of people who came from nationwide. My own space is mostly a hospitality tent for me and my friends to rest in the shade and drink cold drinks to keep hydrated. It was hotter this year than some others. We always take extra chairs and coolers.
It didn't take long after walking the miles of row after row of swap meet heaven to see some old friends like Tom and Kathy from Fort Atkinson, WI who own the Kent's Big Bar ice cream company. Kathy was wearing an old work shirt Tom wore as teenager and they both looked great. They brought their green Chrysler to sell and it did indeed sell later that day.

 And after walking around and shooting photos I returned to my camp to rest for a bit. It didn't take long to get company. My friend Dennis aka Aboner (2nd from left) and his buddy Wes were among the first to come and visit. Also shown on the far right talking to "L" is Bobwop from Jefferson, WI.
Pretty soon my idol Bob K showed up on one of those rental handicap scooters. I know he is not physically handicapped so maybe he has a mental condition that is bothering him. In any event we arranged to meet for lunch and four of us headed to the food building on the grounds where the Lion's Club was serving hamburgers and hot dogs with fries. Bob was kind enough to buy our lunch and we even had very chocolate milk shakes made on the spot by some nice ladies....and they were good.

I guess you could say that BobK like some fries with his ketchup....yikes !!!

Then we did more shopping and I soon found my friend Jeanne Long who lives nearby and she sold me a chrome and formica table that I was glad to get. She is a real sweetheart and always a pleasure to see.
Her husband Kelly was modeling a straw hat "ala" Minnie Pearl and I took this photo of him. I had fun talking to them and then moved on with my new purchase.

My favorite brother in law "L" posed for this photo by an old Dino the dinosaur formerly used by Sinclair Oil Co.
And then I soon ran into my pal Mark Moriarity from MN was with our buddy Guffey from IN and always hides from the camera. Maybe he is on the FBI Most Wanted poster.....not sure.
Meanwhile back at Camp Poverty Flats, my friends Kathy and Barry from MN came by to visit and this time they stayed awhile. I was glad to talk to them again and they looked great in their western straw hats...
And then late in the day on Thursday my friend Destin from Michigan came by and we walked around the meet some more. He is shown here in this photo with legendary world traveler BobK.

Destin was smart enough to hang around until supper time....(he must read my blog once in awhile) and we took the hungry young man downtown to the Crystal Cafe for a good hearty supper so as to help "keep our strength up" after a hard day at the swap. All three of us (including "L") had the roast pork and kraut special with yet more homemade bread and it was VERY good. The waitress was the cute and happy kind you could not say no too ( that would be rude) so when she offered us pie ala mode of course we all said yes. L and I had apple crisp, and Destin had raspberry rhubarb and we all left happy.

After that we walked around the huge car corral area and looked at cars for sale before heading to the motel in another town 30 miles away and we sadly told Destin goodbye. 
The next morning bright and early I was pleasantly surprised to find my pal Scott from Port Washington, WI had arrived and brought breakfast which was a Danish pecan ring pastry called a Kringle. I shared it with the large group of buddies who seemingly appeared from thin air....and it was good.

After that Scott and I walked the meet for a long time and he bought some treasures so I could help him carry them back to my camp. He really got some good deals too. And we also ran into good friends from Illinois Gene (Dad) and Scott (Stickshift) who were vending as always at this event and we sat and rested and helped them drink their cold water. 

And meanwhile back at the other buddies Dick and Eric also from Port Washington showed up for a visit and it was great to see them again. I am always glad to talk to them....
 After resting and getting our second wind...the 5 of us went to the food building where the Lion's had been busy roasting chicken dinners which is a tradition with this event. In fact the whole thing started as a small car show with chicken dinners.
I always look forward to this....

Then we mostly rested before packing up on this Friday afternoon so L and I could head for a trip home that was to take two days since we took the long way home...The meet was to last both Saturday and Sunday but we left and stopped the Crystal Cafe one more time for a Friday Night Fish Fry and it was good. 
Beer battered haddock that was awesome and more fresh bread but this time it was Swedish rye. The potato salad and creamy coleslaw were also homemade.
L and I both had the Cherry pie ala mode and left the friendly village of Iola Friday night feeling "satisfied."
On Saturday late in the afternoon in a small Nebraska town along the interstate we had the good fortune to run into an old friend Nick (Malcolm) who like us was just passing thru. It was not even his hometown and had to be sheer coincidence and it was fun to talk to him.
At the very end of our trip home we did stop Saturday night in Lincoln, NE to see our good friend (and my personal bodyguard at some events) Gasserlouie (Larry) and his wife Lynn at a Cracker Barrel in their town where we had a light snack to help get us the rest of the way home to Kansas. GL took our photos sitting in these rocking chairs on the front porch...

and after eating GL and I played a friendly game of checkers...
Sadly we had to tell our Cornhusker friends good bye and I took one more photo of them before driving away...
We were glad to get home after nearly a week on the road but we both agreed it was one of our better vacation trips ever. Good food, good folks, and good fun. 
Thank you for traveling with PF where we keep our nose to the air trying to sniff out the next good meal around the corner....

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