EPISODE 4

The next morning we woke up to a severe lack of water. Again. I checked our hose and found that the problem was at the camp's water connection. They had a freeze plug on the end that I thought had malfunctioned. We had planned on using the camp facilities to clean up anyway. As we pulled up to the dump station to try emptying the tanks for the first time, we came across the owner. He told us that they had a plumbing problem in the middle of the night and had to shut off the main water valve. It wasn't my fault this time! Dumping the gray and black water tanks was pretty straight forward, and we were on the road by 9:00.

Driving south on route 35 we passed a sign near Austin, MN that advertised "The Spam Museum". This was the Holy Grail for me, having eaten it many times while growing up in NJ. I looked at Maggie; she looked back at me and smiled. We knew this was an opportunity not to be missed.

Spam museum
me and pigs
Hormel, the parent company that produces Spam and many other products had a processing plant in Austin. A few blocks away they built a museum tracing the history of this delicious food staple.

Maggie inside

There were exhibits where you could hear the 50's singing group the Hormel Girls and see a video about the Spam celebration in Austin with songs by the Spamettes (Donna, I think they need another singer!).

me packin' Spam
counter
I decided to try my hand at packaging 6 tins of Spam so you could compare it to the plant's output during the same period. Good thing I wasn't applying for a job!

Monty Python
One of my favorite displays was a section dedicated to Monty Python’s famous Spam, Spam, eggs and Spam skit. You'd press a button and the video would play on a television.
Spam quilt
pig doors

The tour ends in a souvenir shop filled with products bearing the Spam logo. I couldn't resist a new T-shirt. You can always shop online by going to www.spam.com and selecting the museum icon.

The only thing missing on the tour was Spam samples, so we left the museum and drove to an A&W Root Beer stand for lunch. We spent about 3 hours on this diversion, and needed to get back on the road. Heading west at Des Moines, the Omaha, Nebraska KOA was the next stop, We passed signs for other tourist spots we'd like to visit next time, like a Danish windmill/museum, and the Strategic Air Command museum. The van was bucking a 30mph headwind most of the way, so we were pretty tired when we stopped. This was another nice campground with newly refurbished bathrooms that reminded us of the camp up in Vermont that we stayed at during past summer vacations. The next leg of our trip would stop at Denver, Colorado.

foto ace