Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
June, 2019 - Mount Denali, Alaska

Monday, August 17, 2020

Enjoying Summer in Wisconsin

It's been a while since I posted, so here's what's been happening with us in our neck of the woods. Literally, we are camped in the woods in north central Wisconsin where there are lots of trees and lakes.

We really haven't been doing too much, just enjoying the weather. Yuma has consistently had temperatures over 110 degrees, so we are happy to be here. We've had some rain and humidity, but also many beautiful days. Most of the time, we don't even have to run the AC.

Today I celebrate my 63rd birthday. No real plans. Kevin will be grilling us a nice steak dinner, and we will play bocce ball this evening. A nice relaxing day!

We are enjoying our new Grand Design Reflection fifth wheel. So far, we are quite happy with it. There are a few minor things we will have taken care of under warranty when we get back to Yuma; but overall, it's a great unit. On one of the nice sunny days, I took this photo of clouds reflected in the back windows of our Reflection. Artsy, don't you think :)

In July we spent a weekend at our son Eric's house. We met his girlfriend Erin and her son Tyler for the first time. We had a great time, and are so happy Eric has this great lady in his life. We also visited with my mom at her home. Here are some pictures we took in my mom's backyard.

Eric, Erin and Tyler came to the campground a week later, and we had another fun weekend together. This coming weekend we are going back to Eric's for another visit. It's great being able to spend time with family.

Due to Covid, we haven't been doing much. We did enjoy a round of golf last week. These cranes were enjoying the day at the course as well.

We play bocce ball here at the campground with a group of friends on Monday evenings. On Tuesday evenings, Kevin plays cards with a small group of guys. They play a game called Sheepshead, which I believe is pretty much only played in Wisconsin. There are five guys here that play. On Thursday evenings we play pegs and jokers with a few couples. So, plenty to keep us entertained. I've also been working on a north woods themed bedspread quilt for the bed in our new fifth wheel. We take a walk most every morning, and do plenty of reading. Love our Kindles and free ebooks from the library.

So, as you can see; we are enjoying the summer here. Not really much to blog about, though. Just a relaxing, quiet place to hang out during this trying time in our country and the world. Sure hope next summer will be more normal.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Happy 4th of July

Well, this Independence Day is like no other. When my parents immigrated to the United States in 1958, they came to a country where they had high hopes of freedom and opportunity. I still believe this is at the heart of our values, but improvement is definitely needed.

We wish everyone a happy and healthy 4th of July!

We left Yuma on June 26th. We stayed at campgrounds in Winslow, Arizona; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Big Springs, Nebraska along the way. Arizona and New Mexico had strict mask laws in effect. Colorado and Nebraska were more relaxed; but everywhere we went, coronavirus was obviously a major concern.

While at our stop in Big Springs, Nebraska, I noticed an attraction on the Roadside America website. If you're not familiar, the site lists all kinds of quirky or unusual roadside attractions throughout the country. When I think of it, I check to see what's around areas we visit. The Flying J Truck Stop in Big Springs  has a caterpillar made out of tires at the back of the building. A cute find in a small town in Nebraska.

The campground we stay at in Big Springs is called McGreer Camp. It is on a working farm, where they've added about 30 sites at the edge of their property with full hookups and a bathhouse, conveniently located right off of I-80. We've stayed there every year as we travel to and from Arizona. Usually we are coming through in spring and fall, and it is never busy. They have an honor system box, and we pay without seeing any owners.

This year we are much later than ever before. I didn't call ahead figuring it would not be busy. When we got there, the owner told us it is the beginning of wheat harvest time, and they are often full during July with wheat harvest workers. As the harvest was just beginning, they had room for us. This unit pulled in next to us. It looked like a group of several young guys who move around harvesting wheat. We sure haven't had a neighbor like this in any of the campgrounds we've stayed in. Always something new and interesting to see when you're on the road.

This was the truck they used to tow their home on wheels.

It is so nice to have our home behind our truck as we travel. At every rest stop, we used our own bathroom with no fear of contamination. We made all of our own meals, and slept in our own bed. We felt very safe in our little home on wheels.  The new fifth wheel has performed beautifully. Other than a few very minor items, we are very pleased with the quality and workmanship.

Our final stop on this first leg of the trip was the Carol Joy Holling campground in Ashland, Nebraska. This is the camp our son works at. The campground is not open to the general public, but is open to camp supporters and associates. We have a 50 amp site with water. There is sewer at the site next to us, but we didn't have a long enough hose to reach the water if we took that site. So, we'll hook up on Monday and pull forward to use the sewer in the site next to us. The campground is more rustic than most private campgrounds, more like a state park. We don't have anyone near us, it's so nice and quiet, and we've seen wildlife.  The best part is it is close to Korey and Cathryn.

 During our previous visits, we've stayed at a private campground because Kevin was concerned that our larger fifth wheel would be too heavy for the grassy sites here. When we arrived, the ground was a bit soft due to rainfall the night before. With the truck in 4 wheel drive, we had no problems pulling into the site and getting set up.

The first morning, I saw these two turkeys walking behind our site. They've been back a few more times since then.

About ten minutes later, this doe and her two fawns walked along the edge of the woods. By the time I grabbed my camera, they were in the tall grass, and it was too high to see the fawns, but you can see the ears of one of them in front of the doe. So cute!!!

Last night there was a beautiful full moon rising behind us. I really like it here, and hope we can stay every time we visit.

Yesterday Korey had the day off of work. We went to his house, and brewed beer. This year we are making a peanut butter porter. Korey and Kevin did most of the brewing, but I helped. Cathryn had to work, so she missed out on the fun. We sat out in the garage for the 3 plus hours it took to get the beer ready for the fermentation process. Temperatures were in the low 90s with very high humidity. The sacrifices we make for a home brewed beer!

Here are Korey and Kevin removing the bag of grains after the first step. The beer is now called wort. The next step was adding malt, and then hops after that. After each step, more cooking is required.

Korey and Cathryn have the sweetest golden-doodle dog named Remy. He is about 1-1/2 years old now, and seemed to remember us from our visit last fall. He loves to be petted. If you stop, he gives you his paw. Here he has his paw on my leg. I love Remy!!

Today we are going back to their house to play some board games. Tomorrow they are coming to camp, and we plan to pick raspberries in the woods. Hopefully, there are still some there. I'll take some more pictures of us together.

I am so grateful to be able to spend this time with our kids again!!! 

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Happy Father's Day

We'd like to wish all you dad's out there a Happy Father's Day.

I haven't posted in a while because like everyone else, we've been staying put. We have gone golfing, done a lot of reading, I've been quilting, we've worked on some puzzles, and are waiting for things to get better. Arizona and Yuma have had a huge spike in the virus in the last few weeks. I think we are hitting the peak.

On June 10th we celebrated our 43rd wedding anniversary. Our friends Brad and Martha invited us to join them for lunch at the Moose Lodge. It was taco salad Thursday. There weren't many people there, which was nice for social distancing. The meal was delicious, and we had a great time celebrating with friends.

We have also gone tubing on the Colorado River with Brad and Martha and a few other people. We bought some tubes at Walmart. The small group meets at Gateway Park parking lot in downtown Yuma. The guys shuttle cars to Wetlands Park, several miles away and come back. We walk down to the river, plop ourselves into the water on our tubes and float for about an hour. It's a lot of fun and very relaxing.

There is a company that does some longer tubing trips. We see them loading up at the park when we get out. Lots of people crammed into vans with no distancing, and most are not wearing masks. No thanks. We like our way much better.

The weather continues to be hot, mostly between 100 and 110. We do our activities early in the day or later in the evening. During the day we stay in the air conditioning. The other morning we played 9 holes at the course here at the resort. We started about 8 am. On the 9th hole, we saw a coyote come trotting out onto the course from down in the wash. He ran behind us, and wandered down the 8th fairway. He was rather skinny and young looking. He didn't seem bothered by us. We sure weren't expecting to see that.

We have a bougainvillea bush in our backyard. The hummingbirds like to visit it.

I've been working on some quilts I started during the winter. This one was the mystery quilt activity in January. We are told how many yards of different fabric we'll need, and given an idea of the color variations needed. I chose southwest themed fabric. Here's the finished product. I really like it, and will keep it over the back of the couch.

This one was a panel I saw at the local quilt shop. I liked it, and added the borders around the panel. It will go on the back of the love seat.

The great news is that we are leaving Friday to visit our families in Nebraska and Wisconsin. The campground in Wisconsin we had reservations for in July and August is open, and we are welcome to come. They are restricting activities, but that's not a problem. We're there to visit our families. We're also excited to be taking our new fifth wheel on a trip. The poor thing has just been sitting in storage waiting for us.

Our first stop will be in Nebraska to visit our son Korey and his wife Cathryn. The camp Korey is program director for cancelled summer camp. That's so sad for the kids and employees. Korey is still working, and they are trying some scaled down and virtual activities.

The main camp he works at has a campground. It is open, so we will be staying there this year for the first time. Previously, Kevin did not feel comfortable going there because our fifth wheel was so large, and the sites are grass. They do have full hook-up, 30 amp, though. We'll only be there for five nights, so we're going to give it a try.

Kevin and Korey have plans to brew some more beer while we're there. From there we're off to Wisconsin to see our oldest son Eric and his friend Erin. We'll also be visiting with my mom, brother and his wife, and Kevin's sister.

This has been the longest we've been in one place in the last ten years. I definitely am feeling hitch itch, ready to hook up and hit the road!!!

Stay safe!!!

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Happy Mother's Day

This will certainly be an unusual Mother's Day for many families, having to celebrate from afar. We had not planned on leaving Yuma prior to June, so were not planning to have a face to face day. My heart goes out to those families with little ones who are not able to get those special hugs from their grandparents. And, to the many seniors who are alone and afraid to go out.

May 1st was a special anniversary day for us. It was the 10 year anniversary of our full time RV adventure. Looking back, we had many more pluses than minuses. We're so glad we made the decision to retire early, and make it work for us. Although, we bought our park model in Arizona after 8.5 years of full time living in the fifth wheel; I still feel we can be considered somewhat full timers. After all, the park model is licensed as an RV through the DMV in Arizona. This was our campsite that day. We've been in many, many campsites since then, but this one will always be special to us.

We are still hoping to leave sometime in June, but that all depends on how the virus situation is at that time. No sense in driving north if we can't visit with our families. I sure do miss them!

It has been hotter than average the last 2 weeks. We had highs from 101 to 107 degrees. It's not bad in the early morning hours, but after that it's just darn hot. We try to ride our bikes for an hour each morning. There were some very beautiful cactus blooming in the park.

This is an unusual flower. I don't know what type of cactus it is.

We've been golfing about once a week with our friends Brad and Martha at Coyote Wash Golf Course. It's on the other side of the foothills in the town of Wellton. Their off season price is $25 for 18 holes with a cart. The courses in Yuma are still charging between $40 and $45 dollars. Pretty much a no brainer as to where we're playing.  We also play at our course for $10 for 9 holes. It's only open to residents of the resort at this time, though. Again, with the heat we're out there at 7 am. That's early for those of you that know Kevin.

Brad and Martha brought us some grapefruit and a tangelo from the trees in their yard. The small orange is a mandarin for comparison. The grapefruit were huge and delicious.

The pool has been closed since mid March due to the virus. Some people have resorted to buying a blow up pool. Whatever it takes. There are only 16 RVs left in the RV section of the park. Quite a few of the park models are still occupied, although each week a few more leave. I believe there are about 75 people who live here year round.

A few weeks ago before it got super hot, Kevin (with some help from Brad) built new doors for our shed. The old ones had some rotten sections, and were in rough shape. I primed the new ones. The board above the doors still needs to be replaced. Next year, the whole shed will get a paint job. The first picture is the old doors, the second is the new doors.

Many of our northern friends and family understand cabin fever during the winter. That's how we've felt with the heat. We're getting pretty bored. The resort has puzzles to borrow, so here's the first completed one. Take a look at the thermometer above it. That's right, 100 degrees before noon. We're doing a lot of reading, too. Thank goodness for ebooks.

I've also been working on some quilts I started during the winter. This is a wall hanging I made for our Arizona room (family room).

I love this poppy panel. I saw this pattern online, and needed to make it. It's on the back of my recliner now.

I have a few more finished quilt tops that need to be quilted. That's next on the agenda. I'm also working on a Christmas one, and a few baby ones for Cathryn to give to friends that are expecting.

For Cinco de Mayo, the resort had a drive through margarita party. We pulled up to the curb in our golf cart, they handed us each a margarita and a bag of chips. Everyone lined the side of the road, and greeted each other. Strange, but it was nice to see some people again. On Monday morning, they are having drive through mimosas with pastry for Mother's Day. They are also offering virtual bingo each week. My luck with that has been the same as regular bingo!! None!!!

Our daughter-in-law Cathryn is an occupational therapist at Bryan Health in Lincoln, Nebraska. An artist painted a wings mural for the staff to take pictures in front of at two of their campuses. Here's Cathryn with her wings. Cathryn's sister Samantha is a physical therapist at a different facility in Lincoln. I'm so grateful to Cathryn, Samantha and all the healthcare workers on the front line at this difficult time. They truly are angels!!!

We really are doing quite well. We're healthy and safe. A little boredom is a small price to pay for that. I feel so bad for those out there that are suffering either through illness or financial hardship. I pray this ends sooner than later!!!

Monday, April 13, 2020

Happy Easter From a Distance

We want to wish everyone a Happy Easter. We hope you had a great day, however you were able to celebrate during this crisis.

We went golfing with our friends Brad and Martha at Coyote Wash Golf Course in Wellton, Arizona. Wellton is just east of us about 25 miles on the other side of the foothills. Kevin had played there before, but I hadn't. It's a nice 18 hole course. The bonus was that 18 holes with a cart is only $25 on weekends this time of year. We had such a good time, we made plans to go again next Sunday.

After golf, we stopped over at Brad and Martha's house for a little happy hour. Of course, we are keeping our distance from everyone. At the course, we don't touch the flag pin or the rake in the sand traps. We did hear people are coming from California to play the courses in Arizona. That's a bit scary! The course at our resort is only open for residents, so we will do most of our golfing right here at home.

We have been staying at home most of the time. Only going out for limited shopping when needed, and a golf game here and there. Yuma has 20 cases of the virus at this time. We feel pretty safe here, but are being careful.

Staying home has been rather productive for us. I finished painting the porch ceilings and railings. I must say, it turned out quite well. The first picture is in progress, the second is the finished result.

Next fall we will be replacing the porch flooring with Trex boards. It had outdoor carpeting which was so dirty, and it had to go. For now, we have our camping mat over the plywood underlay.

Speaking of camping, we picked up our new fifth wheel on Friday. When it was delivered in late December, the refrigerator was damaged. We went in January to do the walk through, and found a few other minor problems. They replaced the refrigerator and fixed the other items.  We brought it home so we could load our stuff back into it. It sure is nice having our Arizona Room back to normal without all the camper stuff piled in it.

Today we will be finished with loading and organizing, and it will be parked in the storage space we rent here at the resort. Hopefully, we will be able to use it at some point this summer to visit our family in Wisconsin and Nebraska.

I've finished two of the woodcarving projects I was working on this winter. I finished this Santa ornament by painting and staining parts of it, and then coating with a clear finish. It's about 4 inches tall, and will hang on our tree in December.

The cactus relief carving was the first project I ever started two years ago. They kept teaching us new techniques, so the cactus never was finished. I'm quite happy with the result, as it was my first attempt at woodcarving. I did more coats of stain in some areas to give it some interest. The skull and sky are lighter, the mountains medium, and the wheel and cactus darker. Then the entire piece was sprayed with satin finish coating.

When we bought this place, there were a few cactus plants along the back fence. One of them is blooming for the first time since we've been here. Many other cactus in the park are starting to bloom. It's nice to see when we go on our walks.

So, as is the case with all of you; we are staying put. We have some other projects we will work on and enjoy the beautiful weather we are blessed with in Yuma. I'm sure our northern friends are very much anticipating warmer weather in the weeks ahead. 

Our prayers for all of you is to stay safe and healthy!!

Thursday, March 26, 2020

What a Difference a Month Can Make

It's been about a month since my last post, and things have certainly changed. Not just here, but all over the world. It's crazy how fast life can take a drastic turn.  We're doing just fine, and hope that is the case for all of you.

Yuma had its first reported case of the virus this week. There are now four cases. Our resort was very proactive, and shut down all buildings and activities on March 16th. The golf course is open with an honor box to pay. We've been playing some golf, doing chores on our place, quilting and lots of reading. The library closed down about a week ago. Thank goodness for eBooks and our Kindles.

I will share a few events that happened before the shutdown. On March 1st, we had a block party for our street. We think about 50 people attended. It was such a success, we are already planning next year's event.

Our neighbors Nancy and Everett introduced a critter racing game. It's a take on horse racing with betting using cards. Each card cost a quarter, and if your critter won, you got a $1.50 payout. Dice were rolled to advance the critters. Everyone really seemed to enjoy the game.

Kevin and neighbor Brent were in charge of moving the critters.

Several of the ladies sold the cards and handed out winnings.

Kevin and some lovely neighbors look happy with their winning cards and critter number four, the teddy bear.

On March 7th the golf course hosted a drive, chip and putt contest. I was a volunteer. In the driving contest, there was a 3 foot metal rooster in the fairway. If you hit it, your name was put in a hat for a drawing to win it. Out of 90 entrants each hitting 3 balls, only one lady actually hit the rooster, so she won it.  It was a lot of fun. Next year we are going to enter the contest.

In January, 2019 I planted an orange tree in our backyard. This year it was loaded with blossoms. They sure did smell wonderful. It is advised to pick off most of the fruit in the first few years so the tree can develop a stronger root and trunk system. I'll be leaving some of them on the tree though. I can't wait to have fresh oranges.

A few weeks ago we had quite a bit of rain. Yuma only averages about 3 inches a year. We had almost that much in 2 days. It doesn't take long for flooding to occur, and the washes to fill with water. As it stopped raining, this beautiful rainbow appeared over the foothills.

This season our park opened a stained glass studio. I took a starter class and made this feather. The $5 fee was a bargain.

The weather has been cooler than normal for March. That's actually a good thing as we've had most days in the 70s. Perfect daytime and sleeping weather. We have frequent pretty sunsets.

I continued to attend the woodcarving lessons. This season we made a wood spirit out of cottonwood bark. Here's my finished product. Next year we are supposed to be making little fairy houses out of the bark. I also made a Santa ornament which is not quite finished.

Since things came to a screeching halt, I've been painting our metal porch ceilings. We have a front and back porch. They had yellowed over the years, so I'm refreshing them with white paint. It's not much fun, but it looks so much brighter and nicer as you can see in the picture. I'm almost done.

Kevin's working on rebuilding the doors of our shed. They had some rotted pieces on them. We also tore up the outdoor carpet on our front porch. It was just plain nasty. We're using our RV mat over the plywood that was under the carpet for now. In fall we plan to replace the plywood with TREX boards. That will be so much nicer looking and cleaner.

We do not have a stay at home order yet in Yuma. Bars and restaurants are closed except for take out and delivery. Most stores are still open. We are pretty much sheltering in place other than playing the occasional round of golf with friends. The good thing about golf is you aren't really close to anyone, and we get lots of fresh air and sunshine!

The only other adventure we've had is grocery shopping. What a zoo. Luckily, we were pretty well supplied with paper products and cleaning supplies. I don't understand this hoarding business. Several of our Canadian friends and neighbors left earlier than planned, so we were the recipients of food they didn't want to throw away. We're set for quite some time.

We wish you all the best, and hope the virus passes quickly. I feel so bad for families who are losing income. I'm also so grateful for all the workers in the medical field including our daughter-in-law Cathryn.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Golf Tournament and Other Happenings

We continue to stay quite busy here at the RV resort as we enjoy some really beautiful weather. At the end of January, we participated in the annual 5K run/walk inside the park. Believe it or not, a few people actually run. We walk with most of the rest of the participants. It's fun, and afterwards the park provides cookies, fresh fruit, and beverages.

We've also attended a few concerts. This was a CCR (Credence Clearwater Revival) tribute band. They did a great job, and it was fun to hear the tunes from our younger days.

Last week was a Styx tribute band. The guitar player on the right actually toured with the original band for eight years. They were also good. Unfortunately, the ticket sales were not that good. Styx was popular during the late 70s and early 80s. Maybe just a little too recent for most people here to know their music. I only knew about half of the songs, but it was still a good show.

Every Wednesday afternoon I attend woodcarving. We are currently working on a wood spirit carved out of cottonwood bark. The group is growing, and we are filling up our room every week.

We continue to enjoy plenty of golf. In early February we played in the night golf event. It was so much fun. They do a great job setting up the course with solar lights and glow sticks at night. The glow in the dark balls are fun to watch as they sail through the night sky. Random teams are assigned, and then we play 9 holes in the afternoon, have a chili supper, and then play another 9 holes after dark.

Here's Kevin with Janet, one of his partners.

It was a full moon that night, Here it is rising over the foothills on hole number six as we played the afternoon round. It sure helped us see later in the dark.

Last Wednesday we played in the mixed couples event with friends Rick and Cynthia. We had a great round and lots of fun. We even won some cash!

Yesterday was the annual Fortuna de Oro Golf Tournament. Teams are again picked randomly. It's a great way to meet new people, and have a great time. Here's my team. We lucked out with an afternoon tee time. The morning group got soaked with some rare rain showers. It usually only rains about once a month during the winter.

Each year there are more men signed up than women. The organizer of the event chooses some of the men to be "special ladies" to even out the teams. It's quite a big deal with many of the men wondering if they'll get picked. This year our good friend Syd was chosen. He makes quite a striking tall woman. He's on the right in his pink afternoon golf outfit. There is a dinner after all the golf has been played where these "special ladies" dress up in their evening attire. Since this has been going on for several years, there is quite a selection of wigs and outfits for these guys to choose from throughout the park.

Here is the group all dressed up for dinner. The laughter and fun we have is amazing.

Although we play a lot of golf, it's not all we do. For example, last week the Three Amigos tequila company had free taste testing. I like it better mixed in a margarita.

I also try to get to the quilting room as least once a week. We had a group lesson on the paper piecing technique. Here's the hummingbird I made. I think I may make it into a pillow.

In the last few years several of the park models on our street have been sold. A group of us get together Friday nights after the golf scramble and have dinner, trading off on the hosting duties. Our group is called The New Kids on the Block. Ha, ha.  This past Friday we had a Mardi Gras themed dinner with hurricanes to drink, beads to wear, and a King Cake for desert. The sunset was spectacular.

Cynthia does a great job of getting Kevin to smile for photos!!

So, as you can see another month of fun times is coming to a close. In March people start leaving. By May it is pretty much a ghost town.

Don’t wish upon a star – Reach for one!