Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
October, 2017 - Mexico

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Hot Memorial Day Weekend

Last weekend was not a very pleasant Memorial Day weekend. The campground was fully booked. That always makes for a busy and interesting weekend. Combine that with record high temperatures and a power outage, and it wasn't a very nice weekend at all.

Late Friday afternoon, our power went out. Kevin traced it to a blown breaker in one of the main fuse boxes. It was a 200 amp breaker for 15 of our campsites. He reset it, and things were fine for the rest of the day. Friday's high was 92 degrees, so that was a good thing.

Around noon on Saturday the same breaker blew again. The high on Saturday was 95 degrees. Kevin reset it, and it lasted for a whole 15 minutes. We asked all campers on that circuit to put their refrigerators and water heaters on gas, and use electric for air only. That worked for about an hour, and it blew again. We called our boss who called the electrician the county uses. The breaker blew about 4 more times that afternoon. It started that it could be reset immediately to taking over an hour because it was getting so hot.

At dinner time, our boss called back and said the electrician would be there Sunday morning. I went around and spoke to all the campers on that circuit and asked that they not use their air until the electrician could come. We were hoping that we could keep the circuit going without air being run, and that way at least fans could be used. People were very cooperative, and almost everyone complied with the request. The power stayed on all night, and we were able to use our fans. It was very humid, so not a very pleasant night for sleeping.

The next morning the electrician came, but said he was having trouble getting in touch with anyone from the parts house. We told him we had looked online, and we thought the breaker was available at Menards or Home Depot. He went to Menards, and was able to get the part. He was surprised they had it, and thanked us for letting him know. Alliant Energy had to come turn off the power before the part could be replaced. While they were here, they noticed that the voltage was low.

They ended up tracing the low voltage all the way back into town. It took them until 8 pm until they had the problem resolved. They turned off the power several more times throughout the rest of Saturday, but it was only for a few minutes at a time. By the time the power was fully restored, it was 95 degrees in our RV. It took all day for it to get comfortable inside again, but we were just so very grateful to have power back.

We actually ended up having record high temperatures three days in a row. What a crazy way to start the camping season. The good news is that the breaker worked like a champ the rest of the weekend, and that the campers that were here were very cooperative and didn't give us a hard time.

Our friends Wendy and Jim and Terry and Tom camped here for the weekend. We had a good time, but really didn't do much because of the heat and humidity. No one felt like doing much of anything. We did manage to have plenty to eat and drink as usual.

On Monday our friends Tim and Pam invited all of us to go on a pontoon boat ride on the lake. That was a nice break from the heat. We really enjoyed ourselves.

Activity at the bird feeder has been slowing down. Many of the migrating birds have come through on their way north. I did see a new bird for me, a beautiful Indigo Bunting.

Tomorrow the heat and humidity are finally supposed to abate. It looks like the next week will be beautiful. Maybe we'll be able to go golfing on Monday. We're definitely hoping the heat on Memorial Day Weekend is not a sign of things to come for the rest of the summer.

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

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day

I want to wish all the mothers out there a very Happy Mother's Day. We will be meeting up with my mother, brother and his wife, and our son Eric for dinner. It's always nice to be able to spend time with family.

We've been back in Wisconsin for about three weeks. We arrived with snow on the ground, and the weather hasn't improved too much since. It has been very rainy and darn cold. We have had a few nice days in between, but lots of lousy days, too. Especially on the weekends. Even so, these hearty Wisconsin campers come anyways. The campground has been about half full each weekend, even with some really lousy weather.

Despite the cold and rain, the spring tulips are blooming. The lilacs are way behind schedule. These beautiful flowers are along my walking route.

We have managed to golf twice since we've been back. Monday afternoons we are both off, and the last two Mondays have been decent enough to play. A bit windy the first week, and quite wet the second week, but we still managed to have a good time. Tomorrow looks like we'll be able to go again, probably still pretty wet.

It was so cold and rainy on Friday (high of 42 degrees), that the lake was actually warmer than the air causing steam to come off of the lake. Brrr!

The bird feeders have been busy. I love seeing the Baltimore Orioles as they migrate through in the spring.

I put oriole food in the hummingbird feeder, but it must not have been big enough for them to sit on. This guy found a way to get at it though.

A female cardinal and rose breasted grosbeak were munching away together.

On May 1st we celebrated 8 years of full time RVing. We've thoroughly enjoyed those years, and look forward to many years of future traveling. The places we've been to and things we've seen have been amazing.

However, since we bought the park model in Arizona and plan to spend every winter there, I'm thinking we won't actually be full time RVers anymore. That's okay though. I really like the place we bought and the friends we've made in Yuma.

We have some exciting dreams and plans for the upcoming years. There will be some changes in our routine. I'm waiting to make any announcement until later in the summer, but stay tuned. Changes are ahead!

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

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Great Horned Owl Nest

We returned to Wisconsin on April 20th after having left Yuma on the 4th. We are so grateful to have had a very uneventful trip back other than having to wait a few extra days because of two late snowfalls in Wisconsin.

In the week before we returned, Beaver Dam had a total of 14 inches of snow. We were so thankful that our coworker Mike brought over the tractor with a bucket on it and pushed the snow and ice off of our site. It made it so much easier for Kevin to back in. The four wheel drive came in very useful on the snow across the road as he made the swing to get in.

Someone left an abandoned ice fishing shack in the boat launch parking lot across the road. Not sure what the county is going to do with that. Even with the snow, there were people fishing when we arrived.

The campground had six reservations for the weekend we arrived. With the six inches of snow on Wednesday, they all ended up cancelling, so we had the place all to ourselves the first weekend we were back. All of the snow had melted by the middle of the next week.

 This weekend we have seven sites occupied. Six of them were a group from the Wisconsin Camping Association Club. It was still quite cold with a brisk north wind and highs in the low 50s and lows near freezing.

Five years ago some red-tailed hawks built a large nest in one of our tallest trees. They occupied the nest for three years. Last year they did not return, and the nest was empty. We were quite surprised to see a large white bird sitting in the nest when we arrived. At first we thought it was maybe an eagle, but when we pulled out the binoculars, we could see that it was some type of white owl.

The next day we saw a brown owl sitting in the nest.

I did some online research, and discovered they were great horned owls. The white one is the baby which is born with the white downy feathers. These owls take over abandoned nests and lay their eggs earlier than other birds, usually in January. So, the baby is already quite large. I've only seen the adult a few times. The baby sits on the edge of the nest almost every morning.

This cardinal was chirping up a storm one morning on the highest branch of one of the tallest trees in the park. I love the zoom on my camera. He was quite a ways up there. He looks like he still has some of his winter plumage.

Last summer a large tree came down in the park during a thunderstorm. The county cut it up and filled our woodshed last fall. There were still quite a few large logs left, so they put them behind the wood shed for future use. Yesterday Woody Woodpecker was working away at one of the logs. I think it is a pileated woodpecker.

Temperatures are finally supposed to get warmer this coming week. We may even go golfing on Monday. It looks like April 2018 may go into the record books as the coldest on record in southeastern Wisconsin. The next two days are expected to be above average, so they might not break the record, but it will be close. Either way, it has been too cold. Hoping May will be much warmer.

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

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

April Snow Delays

We left Arizona on April 6th and spent the weekend at Enchanted Trails RV Park in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It's a Passport America park, which gives us a half price stay. We stayed two nights to wait out some strong winds on Sunday.

There wasn't much to do in the wind, but we did take a drive to the eastern side of town to experience a drive on the musical highway on part of old Route 66. If you drive at 45 mph on a stretch of the road, you can clearly hear America the Beautiful.

You have to drive your right tire over the rumble strips at the correct speed to hear the song. The strips were installed in 2014 by National Geographic for a show called "Crowd Control". We turned around and did it a second time to get the full impact. Kevin wasn't too impressed, but I thought it was a fun roadside attraction.

We spent Monday night at the South Pueblo KOA in Colorado. There aren't many good choices of RV parks for us on this stretch of the trip where we feel we will fit without too much hassle for one night. The KOA is very nice, but at $51 a night, it's quite a ridiculous price to pay for an overnight. We use Passport America and Good Sam discounts at a lot of our stops, so at least the nightly price we pay averages out.

Here was the view when we arrived. The Rocky Mountains looked a bit ominous, but there was no rain or snow. At least we have a fantastic view for our nightly fee.

The next morning as we were hooking up, the mountains again gave us an amazing view.

And this little Mountain Bluebird was hopping around on the gravel. How beautiful!!!

We spent one night in Big Springs, Nebraska and then arrived in Lincoln for a five night stay to visit with our son Korey and daughter-in-law Cathryn. We hadn't seen them since our family trip to Mexico in October, so I was very excited to see them.

Temperatures on Thursday and Friday were quite warm with a high on Friday of 82 degrees. On Saturday afternoon things were quite different with a temperature of 28 degrees, snow and howling winds. That's a 24 hour temperature change of 54 degrees. I-80 in western Nebraska was closed for a few days with blizzard warnings. We had just come through there a few days before. Crazy!!!

Cathryn had a class on Saturday, so we spent the afternoon with Korey. They had purchased a Costco membership, so we took a little field trip to check it out. I managed to spend $120. Then we visited the Zipline Microbrewery where Korey and Kevin enjoyed a flight of beers. I had a delicious hard cider.

Sunday's weather was still terrible, but not as bad as Beaver Dam, Wisconsin where our summer campground is located. They had 8 inches of snow. We were supposed to be back today, but had to extend our stay an extra night in Lincoln to avoid the snow in Wisconsin. Here was the view out of our window on Sunday morning.

Today we're headed to Amana, Iowa for at least 2 nights. We were hoping the snow would melt and to be in Wisconsin on Thursday, but they are now expecting 3 to 5 inches of snow on Wednesday, so we may be delayed a day or two longer. This is the craziest April weather. Tomorrow our friends, John and Janie, are going to visit us in Amana, and we'll have to visit the Millstream Brewing Company. It's supposed to snow 1 to 3 inches in Amana tomorrow.

If we had known mid April weather was going to be this lousy, we could have spent an extra week in Yuma where it's nice and warm. This will be the latest we get back for our job in Wisconsin in eight years, but we're not risking arriving with a bunch of snow on the ground.

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

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Gamble's Quail Wants a Ride

We left Yuma Wednesday morning for a three hour drive to Leaf Verde RV Resort in Buckeye, a western suburb of Phoenix. We're here for two nights as we slowly make our way north to Wisconsin. It snowed there yesterday, and they are expecting more snow tomorrow. Don't want to move north too quickly!!

This morning I was watching the news when I saw movement out of the window. There was a Gamble's Quail on the hood of the truck. I grabbed my phone and took a picture through the window. Sorry for the poor quality, but it's through the window and screen.

As I sat back down I saw one on the ground which I thought was the one that had been on the car. Then I caught another glimpse of one on the truck. My eyes must be playing tricks on me because it looks like he's inside the windshield. Oops, Kevin left the driver's window open last night. Sure enough, the quail was walking back and forth along the dash. Too funny. Again, not the best picture; it's through the RV window and the truck window.

Kevin was still sleeping, and I was in my pajamas. I was debating if I should go outside to get him out when he decided he'd explored inside enough. He sat on the edge of the window for a little while, and then flew down to the ground to meet up with his buddy. Unfortunately, he didn't face me when we was on the edge of the window.

Here's the culprit making a getaway with his partner. He was nice enough not to leave us any presents inside the truck. I had a good laugh early in the day.

Before we left Yuma, we wanted to stock up at Walmart on a couple of 1.75 litre bottles of Southern Comfort. It's about $6 less per bottle than it is in Wisconsin. The closest Walmart was out of them. Oh well. A few days later we were running errands on the other side of Yuma, so we stopped at the other Walmart to stock up. They were completely out too. What's up with that??

I don't want to point any fingers, but there are a lot of Canadians that winter in Yuma. Their liquor prices are extremely high at home, so I know they stock up with as much as they can legally bring across the border. Those Canadians must really like SoCo. Other brands were readily available at both Walmarts.

Today we needed to shop for a few groceries at the Fry's store in Buckeye. By the way, Fry's is a Kroger owned grocery store, and is one of our favorite grocery stores anywhere in the country Fry's had the SoCo, but their prices aren't any better than in Wisconsin. There is a Walmart across the street, so we popped in. You won't believe it, but they were completely out of the 1.75 litre bottles of SoCo as well. Is there a national shortage we haven't heard about?

Now we're on a mission. Tomorrow we head to Homolovi State Park in Winslow, AZ for one night. There is a Walmart nearby. You bet we will be checking to see if they have any. That's our last stop in Arizona, so if they don't; we're out of luck.

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

Monday, April 2, 2018

Beautiful Day for Golf On Easter Sunday

We hope everyone had a very Happy Easter. We spent the afternoon playing 18 holes of golf with friends Brad and Martha. We played at Las Barrancas Golf Course in Yuma. It's a beautiful course with nice views of the Yuma Foothills. We also played the same course last Thursday.

Both days were beautiful. On Thursday highs were near 90 degrees and I was sure glad we were playing cart golf. Yesterday the high was 89 degrees, but there were wispy clouds and a slight breeze, so it was just perfect. We have gotten very spoiled here in Yuma with wonderful weather and low humidity.

On Thursday I had my best score on the front nine of the course, a 47. I know that's not as good as lots of other golfers, but I was very happy with it. The back nine is another story, It just eats me up. Yesterday I had a 49 on the front nine, another good score. The back nine was a challenge again. But, we had a great time!!

We took possession of our new to us home last Monday. We've been busy making it our own. It was left to us fully furnished with full kitchen cabinets. I've already sold a couch and recliner, and put together several boxes and bins for a yard sale next year. The RV park allows residents to have a yard sale the second Tuesday of each month, so I'm going to give it a go in January and February when the park is busiest.  There have also been several trips to the dumpster.

On Thursday the termite company came and did a full treatment as there were two small termite infestations found during the inspection. They come back twice a year to spray for bugs and re-check for termites.

On Friday our new king mattress was delivered. The old mattress was a queen, so Kevin built a bigger platform for the king mattress. It's like in an RV where the platform lifts up for extra storage. Great job Kevin.

Here's another view of the bedroom. Although the mattress takes up most of the room, the king fits nicely. We've been spoiled with a king bed in the RV for the last eight years, and it would be hard downsizing to a smaller mattress. We have a huge closet where Kevin plans to build some shelving. There are also lots of drawers and cabinets for storage. I'll be painting the cabinets white next year.

The bathroom doesn't need much work. Just paint. We plan to hire someone to get rid of the popcorn ceilings, texturize all the walls and paint the entire place next fall.

The Arizona room has a closet at the back. We plan to hire someone to take out the closet and put a large window in the back wall so we can enjoy the beautiful view of the golf course out there.

There's lots of stuff and clutter in all of these pictures as we're trying to organize the stuff that was there and get it ready for summer shut down. The milk jugs are for leaving full of water throughout to keep some humidity in the air.

The kitchen is going to be completely redone. Our friend Brad was a cabinet maker before he retired. He still has his workshop in his garage here in their home in Yuma. He has offered to build me new kitchen cabinets at cost in exchange for making him a quilt. What an amazing gesture!!  Brad and Martha came over after golf for happy hour. I picked his professional mind for the new cabinets. They are going to look awesome!

I already have a new light fixture for over the table. We bought a smaller kitchen table from someone here in the park, so the larger table underneath will be sold or donated next year. The soffet is coming out at well as the fluorescent lighting.

The living room will be repainted and we plan to redo the flooring in the entire home after all the other work is done. We also think we will have the windows replaced as they are quite old and are only single pane.  New blinds are also in the plans. The blue recliner will be sold or donated. Not sure about the love seat yet. The shelves over the windows are coming down.

Here's the front with the golf cart parked in our drive. We have some plans for repainting and refreshing the outside, but that may be a few years in the future. It was just repainted three years ago, so this is not as an immediate priority as the inside. Mainly I just want to change the color to more neutral tones. The big post in the front has already been removed. Brad was kind enough to bring over his Sawzall and cut it off for us.

Here's the back side with our large shed. Lots of storage in there, plus the washer and dryer. The new window in the Arizona room will be on that back wall next to the back stairs.

Here's our patio. The yard was the main reason we fell in love with this place. It has a very nice covered patio and is quite roomy. Many of the homes here have much smaller yards. We plan to take out the wood wall on the left to open up the view even more. Kevin is thinking of putting in an outside refrigerator at the back counter. The screens roll up and down for wind and sun protection. There is also an outdoor heater included for cool days or nights.

We have a beautiful view out the back over the golf course. Lots of birds, lizards and roadrunners out there. It's so nice and peaceful sitting on our patio.

We are planning more renovation than we originally anticipated. As this will be our home base for six to eight months every year, and we hope to own it for a long time; we've decided to renovate it and make it exactly as we want it right off the bat. We were able to negotiate a decent sales price, so can use some of those savings for the upgrades. I'm really excited to see what it will look like when its done. Although, next year will require living in a construction zone for a while. Oh well, it will be so worth it!

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

Monday, March 26, 2018

Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Games

In previous years we have spent the month of March at an RV park in the Phoenix area so we could attend some spring training baseball games. Now that we have purchased a home in Yuma, we will no longer be spending the entire month in Phoenix.

However, we are still baseball fans; so we drove up to Phoenix last Wednesday to attend a game on Wednesday. We spent the night at a hotel and attended the last home game of the spring training season for the Brewers on Thursday.

These beautiful roses were blooming outside the main gate.

The Brewers have been playing their spring training games at Maryvale Park in Phoenix for many years. It is one of the oldest ball parks in the Cactus League. In recent years, many teams have opened new state of the art facilities. The Brewers have committed to spending nearly $60 million dollars during this next off season to do a complete overhaul of the Maryvale Park. The city of Phoenix is contributing $10 million. The work is promised to be complete by the end of next February when spring training 2019 starts.

We'll be very interested to see what the improved facility will look like. We really enjoy games at the Brewers stadium. There is a very family friendly feel to the place. Some of the newer parks have a bigger feel to them, not nearly as fan friendly. We hope the Brewers can put together a more modern facility, but keep the fan and family friendly aspects of the current park.

On Wednesday evening we were invited to dinner at friends Jim and Jane's place in Cave Creek, north of Phoenix. Kevin, Jim and Jane all grew up in the same neighborhood. Kevin and Jim attended the local Catholic grade school together and then both went on to attend Boy's Tech High School in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

They lost touch after high school, but through the magic of the internet and Facebook, we reconnected with them in the last few years. Jim and Jane moved to Arizona several years ago. They have a beautiful home on the outskirts of the Phoenix area. We arrived just in time to see some wild javelinas behind the back fence of their property. They look kind of like pigs, but are actually members of the peccary family, a group of hoofed mammals originating from South America. We've seen them in captivity and at a distance, but this was the first time we saw them up close.

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner that Jim and Jane prepared for us and a great visit. Thanks so much for inviting us. We're hoping they can visit us this summer in Beaver Dam when they return to Wisconsin to visit friends and family. Thanks to Jane for taking the picture.

This afternoon we will finally take possession of our new home. We've owned it for about two months, but had agreed to let the previous owners stay until the end of the season. We're leaving on April 4th, so will not have much time to really do anything with it. A new mattress is being delivered and the termite people are coming to spray this week. We'll check everything out, close it up for the summer, and start fresh next fall. I'll post some pictures in my next entry.

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