Category Archives: Starbucks

photo of Wisconsin Capitol and Fountain

Exploring Madison

Teardrop trail Log: June 19, 2016

photo of the Capitol majestic dome

the majestic dome

We departed the Old Fashioned after the wonderful Wisconsin lunch – on to explore the city. Jim’s career in higher education information and instructional technology had taken him to Madison for conferences in the past. He would be my tour guide to this beautiful city.  Our first stop would be to experience the beauty and grandeur of the Wisconsin Capitol, where the corner stone was laid in 1837.

photo of the Classic interior of the Capitol

Classic Capitol Interior

The building was erected on the highest point of the isthmus of Lake Mendota and Monona. The dome was modeled after the dome of the United States Capitol and is topped by Daniel Chester French’s elegant gilded bronze statue, “Wisconsin.” The walls were decorated with colorful murals, stone from around the world, hand-carved furniture and exquisite gold mosaics. From the observation deck, we enjoyed breathtaking views of the city.

photo of Student Union on Lake Mendota

Student Union on Lake Mendota

We then proceeded down “The Drag” (State Street) to the University of Wisconsin – Madison also located on the isthmus. We walked along the landscaped campus that has the familiar feel of academia until we reached the Memorial Student Union, considered one of the most scenic student unions in the country.

photo of Most of Madison enjoying The Terrace

Most of Madison enjoying The Terrace

We entered the building and walked past the Rathskeller, a German pub adjacent to the lake terrace overlooking the shore of Lake Mendota. The Terrace was crowded, filled with both students and members of the public enjoying the picture-perfect sunny day, socializing, gazing at the lake and the sailboats. Picture perfect. Hard to image how this idyllic view would look in January, something Jim and I continued to discuss as we toured the state.

On the way back to the car, we indulged in some window shopping walking up State Street.  From indie book stores to the incredible range of locally-owned specialty stores and boutiques filled with treasures, we were treated to a fun-filled afternoon. Lo and behold, we spotted the familiar green logo – Starbucks and it was Mocha time.

photo of Windsurfing on Lake Mendota

Windsurfing on Lake Mendota

photo of Jim with Mocha relief in Moberly, Missouri

On the Mocha Trail

Teardrop Trail Log: June 14, 2016

I have a problem. It’s not a big problem, but around 3 in the afternoon, I start wishing for a Mocha Latte. I acquired the habit while working at the university, where a Starbuck’s was conveniently located across the street from my office. I would often have meetings there in the low-key, jazz-infused atmosphere. Good times.

The habit persists, and I am usually thinking about Mocha by 3 in the afternoon. In fact, it is afternoon as I write this and there is a Mocha within arm’s reach. Chocolatey goodness. The itch can be hard to scratch on the road though. Starbuck’s, and coffee houses in general are a city thing — much harder to find in rural and small town America. Nevertheless, Marilyn begins the Internet quest for Mocha each day we’re on the road in the hopes of a treat.

photo of Funny Pages Cafe

Funny Pages Cafe

We were approaching Moberly in north-central Missouri, and I was sure I would have to do without. With a population of just under 14,000 and relatively distant from larger cities, it seemed unlikely to have such amenities. Then Marilyn announced a Mocha stop in a few miles. The Funny Pages Cafe advertised a bakery and coffee drinks. We stopped.

photo of Funny Pages Cafe Mocha Latte

Mocha Latte

The interior was fun. Peanuts, Felix the Cat, Bugs Bunny, Betty Boop, Popeye — many of my favorite comic book and cartoon characters were posted on the cafe walls. The smell of fresh baking. An appealing menu of burgers, fried chicken and seafood. Too bad it wasn’t dinnertime. We bought some fresh bread for breakfast and in no time, my travel mug had been filled with a Mocha Latte.

photo of Ritters in Moberly

Ritters in Moberly

Ritter’s, nursery and farmers market was right next door. With a metal building, greenhouse and tables of colorful flowers, it was an inviting way to stretch our legs. Inside, there was a wide variety of produce — beautifully displayed. Also, there were plastic tubs containing bulk seeds; Peas, beans, corn, onion sets and smaller tubs containing dozens of other vegetable seeds. I hadn’t seen anything like it since I was a kid in Nebraska visiting the small town near my grandparents farm.

photo of the solar panel. It was still there in Perry

There Be Dragons …

Teardrop Trail Log: June 13, 2016

I guess I should be grateful we didn’t have more problems. If you think about it, trailering is an unlikely pastime, wherein one drags a small metal box on wheels at high speed over sometimes nasty, bumpy roads and expects everything to arrive at the same time. Then there’s the summer heat, rain, and wind — all of which can be extreme. Top it off by camping in the woods with open campfires, animal encounters and rutted trails masquerading as roads, and it’s a wonder things go as smoothly as they do. It’s a testament to the essential hopefulness and naïveté of the average camper. Certainly it describes our view of staying in the woods.

photo of Jim Repairing the antenna tube

Repairing the antenna tube

Looking back, I understand our first several trips were usually trouble-free. Perhaps it was payback time. After a day of construction, rain, and detours, I thought we might have taken our lumps. As it turned out, we were just getting started. Day 2 dawned cool and overcast, and wonder of wonders, there was a Starbucks nearby. We went in and ordered, and within minutes I was in possession of the magic elixir. A Mocha. On the way back to the rig, I noticed that the antenna storage tube was askew. One of the supports had broken. Better fix it.

I decided to run our solar beer cooler while we were on the road. The day promised to be sunny, and I would have cold beer while setting up camp. Off we went through Paris, Texas, on our way to Joplin. Easy travel.

photo of Galley outlets

Dropping voltage

Since I was curious how much power we were generating and using with the beer cooler, I checked the voltage monitor every time we stopped. The battery voltage was falling slowly, suggesting the solar panel wasn’t keeping up, but nothing to worry about. Then during one of our stops, I noticed that the battery voltage had dropped by two volts. Not normal behavior. Considering the problem while we drove the next leg of the trip, I realized that one cell in the battery had catastrophically failed. This battery was toast.

We would have to find another. Marilyn got to work with the maps. As she plotted routes and queried the web, I mused on the rotten luck. What were the odds? Batteries don’t normally fail like this. On the other hand, it was over a year old. Maybe the battery maintainer wasn’t very good. Then, she announced her result. There was a Costco in southeast Kansas City, and going there would only take us a few miles out of our way. The camping gods had smiled.

We stopped at Costco, bought a replacement battery, and installed it in the parking lot to recover the core charge. Even so, we arrived at the Jacomo Campground by 7. Plenty of light to set up while Marilyn cooked a delicious dinner. Maybe we had finally paid our karma debt and could sail unconcerned into the adventure!

photo of A New Battery

A New Battery

No Starbucks, No Mocha.

Perfect Mocha Prohibition Sign
No Mocha, no Joy.

Jim, June 23:

Following directions from the Starbuck’s app, we got off the Interstate and wound our way through rush-hour traffic following each voice command in search of the magic elixir. We were led to a truck stop, but didn’t see the familiar green Starbuck’s sign. After circling the building, we decided to go in — maybe it was one of those internal Starbuck’s stores. There was no joy. No Starbuck’s, No mocha today.

Heading North with The Girl on Google

Marilyn, June 23:

Starbucks Lubbock Map

The Promise of Starbucks —

As we left Eldorado and headed north, Jim was looking forward to stopping in San Angelo for a Starbucks Mocha. It was his custom every afternoon to find happiness with a decaf, no whip, non fat Mocha. After checking with The Girl on Google,
we realized that our destination was at least four hours away. We by-passed San Angelo heading north postponing the Mocha stop until we reached Lubbock. As we approached the exit, I clicked the Starbucks app and passed along the directions to Jim. We exited and followed the Starbucks app.