Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
October, 2017 - Mexico

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Keeping My Fingers Crossed

It's been a month since my last post. We've spent that time enjoying ourselves here in Yuma!

In my last post, I mentioned that we would be playing night golf. It was a lot of fun, but I was surprised how discombobulated it made me feel. The resort did a great job placing glow lights along the course, so there was no problem finding our way around. However, when it came time to hit that ball, my brain had a hard time figuring it out. A few times, I actually felt some vertigo. It was still a great time!

Last week 36 of us headed out into the desert for the first group hike of the season. We did a total of about 5 miles, so got a good workout. If you look closely, you can see the line of hikers snaking all the way back over the ridge in the photo. Kevin is in the middle wearing the gray sweatshirt. (Click on photo to enlarge).


On Thursday afternoons, we play in a Bocce Ball group. Everyone brings an appetizer, we eat together, and then we play 2 or 3 games of Bocce. There are artificial turf courts here, so it's a little different than the Bocce games we played in Wisconsin. It's a lot of fun, and a great way to meet new people. 

Sunsets in Yuma are often spectacular. Here is one we saw at Bocce. 


And here is another one from last week.


Last Thursday was the food drive in the park. A guy named Keith has been organizing this event for the past 26 years at this park. He was hoping with this year's donations to get to 100,000 pounds of food collected in that time. WOW!!! They asked Kevin if he would help this year, and if they could use our truck to pull the trailer around picking up the donations. Kevin was happy to do it. Thursday turned out to be a cold, cloudy day with rain predicted. Luckily, there was only a little drizzle a few times during their collection time.


That night it rained almost an inch. Yuma has certainly gotten more rain than normal this year. The next morning the mountains were shrouded with clouds and fog. Not a site we have seen here before.



The sun doesn't stay away for long though. Soon it was back out, and we were enjoying a nice day again.

I've been busy sewing with the quilting group. I also joined the woodworking class. This is my beginning project after the first class. I might just get it done before the end of the season :)


The windows that were ordered for our remodel are done. Tomorrow the contractor is coming to begin work. That's what I'm keeping my fingers crossed about. We've observed that work around here does not get done at the pace we are used to seeing in Wisconsin. It reminds me of what they referred to as "island time" on some of our vacations. It is definitely a different way of doing things. The plan is they will be doing the messy inside work while we are in Wisconsin this coming week. I sure hope that is what actually happens.

We leave for Wisconsin bright and early Tuesday morning. I am so looking forward to seeing our family again. I do miss those kids of ours!!

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

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Renovation Update

We've been in Yuma for three weeks now. The first week was spent transferring some of our things from the RV to the park model and meeting with contractors. I started with six appointments. Two of them cancelled, so that left me with four estimates. It took about a week of waiting around for them to show and then waiting for the estimates. Two of them were quite a bit higher than I expected, one guy seemed very confused, and one guy had a price in line with what I was anticipating.

So, we've hired Victor's Number One Remodeling to replace all of the windows and patio door, scrape the popcorn ceiling, texture and paint the ceiling and walls, replace all flooring, and paint entire outside. The windows take about three weeks to make, so the plan is they will start work in early December. We are flying back to Wisconsin from Dec. 11 through the 18th, so they plan to do all the inside messy paint work while we're gone. Hopefully, that will all come together.

In the meantime, we've tried not to bring too much stuff from the RV as we have to move it all out to get the painting done. Good thing a golf cart came with our place, as we are running back and forth to the RV getting stuff we forgot or need. We were able to rent a storage space for the RV on the resort property, so its not a big deal having to go get stuff. For now, we've left the slides out so we have access to all storage areas.

We have done a little decorating in our backyard. While visiting Korey, he took us to Costco. I found this pretty whirly to put along our back fence. I love how it looks. Kevin has also hung his Packer and Wisconsin windsocks, so it's looking nice back there.


Last Saturday night the resort sponsored a welcome back party at the clubhouse. Over 500 people attended, and lots of the snowbirds aren't even here yet. With 1200 sites, this place becomes a small city in the winter. We had a quarter chicken, baked potato, corn on the cob, cookie and free beer and wine all night. They really do a nice job of giving back to their customers here at Fortuna de Oro RV Resort.

One of the park model residents has a very unique motorcycle and trailer. He had an interesting passenger for Halloween. Click on the picture to enlarge if you want to see better.


We've been to the pool several times as it was near 90 for the first two weeks we've been back. Last week it cooled down to the low 80s, with 50s at night and low humidity. Perfect weather. We've also golfed a few times. Kevin has joined the men's group, and I've joined the ladies group. We also golf on Friday afternoons in a mixed scramble group. They are all a lot of fun.

Tonight we're participating in the night golf outing. For $25 each you get 9 holes of golf in the afternoon, a chili dinner, prizes, and then 9 holes of golf after dark. They shorten the holes at night, give you a glow in the dark ball and put solar lights along the fairways so you can see enough to play. We've never done it before, but heard it's lots of fun. We'll see how it goes.

Yesterday was the softball opener. Fortuna's team played the team from our neighboring resort. There was free beer, wine, soda, water, hot dogs, chips, peanuts and cracker jacks. We had a good time watching some softball and enjoyed a free lunch to boot.


We've been dealing with the absolute complete incompetency of DirecTV since we got here. It's a VERY long story, but I'll give you the short version. We called them to let them know we moved and to get another box for the new TV Kevin bought for the Arizona room. The first technician couldn't help us because they had the work order incorrect. The second technician installed the correct box, but it was defective. They were supposed to ship a replacement box, but shipped the wrong box. They are now coming next Saturday with the correct box. In the meantime, we've wasted literally hours of our time on the phone trying to get them to do what we asked for. We have another TV to watch, but since AT&T took over, they have hands down the worst customer service we have ever experienced. The good news is that we've gotten $140 in credit because of their incompetency. I am totally ready to switch providers, but Kevin likes his DirecTV package.

The park model came fully furnished. Much of what was here is not to my taste. Since we have to remove most everything to have it painted, I've been trying to get rid of as much as I can. We'll buy some new furniture once the remodel is complete. I've been able to sell quite a few items of Facebook Marketplace. More waiting around for people to show up.

The second Tuesday of the month, the park allows everyone to have a yard sale. People come from all over Yuma, so this coming Tuesday I'm going to put out some of the bigger stuff and see if I can get rid of it.

So, you can see we've been quite busy since we got here. Once the works starts, we'll have a few weeks of construction mess, but it will be so worth it once its done!!

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

Monday, October 15, 2018

Snow On The Way to Arizona

We left Wisconsin on October 8th. We were actually lucky there was a break in the rain for us to hook up, as it had rained for days before we left.

We spent three nights at Big Woods Lake Campground in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Normally, we stay at George Wyth State Park in Waterloo, but they were closed due to the river flooding. Big Woods was a very nice county campground with full hook up, pull through sites and free wi-fi for $25 per night. We might just make this our place to stay in the future. We had a great time visiting with Kevin's brother and family. The weather continued to be lousy with rain most of the time we were there.

When you do a lot of traveling, you tend to see some unusual sites along the highways. These semis were at a rest area we stopped at. They were hauling the blades for those windmills you see. It's amazing how huge each blade is up close. You can see the size compared to the cars parked behind them.



We arrived in Lincoln, Nebraska on Thursday to spend time with our son Korey and his wife Cathryn. They came for dinner on Thursday at the RV. We hadn't seen them since April, so it was wonderful to see and hug them again.

Friday evening we ordered pizza and watched the Milwaukee Brewers beat the Dodgers at their house. Saturday was a beautiful day with plenty of sunshine and temps in the mid 60s. Cathryn had to work, but we went to Costco with Korey and then visited the White Elm Brewing Company. They have been in business for two years. The guys said the beers were good. We watched the Brewer game in the afternoon; unfortunately, they gave up a lead and lost the game. When Cathryn got home we went out to dinner at Lazlo's.

Sunday brought a cold front through Lincoln. It started snowing around 9 am. We went to church where Korey was playing in the worship band. He wasn't happy I was taking his picture. Cathryn had to work again.


After church we went back to Korey's house. It was snowing hard. Luckily, we kept a snow brush in the truck. Total snow was about 3.5 inches. We played some games and watched some football on a cold and snowy day in mid October. Crazy weather again.


Cathryn got home early, so we went to Home Depot to buy them a chest freezer. They asked for one as part of their Christmas gift, and since we had the truck, we could pick it up with them. Then back to their house for dinner. It was so much fun spending time with our kids. We'll see them again in two months when we fly back to Wisconsin in December. They're coming too for Christmas celebrations with family.

Tonight we are in Big Springs, Nebraska for the night at McGreer Camper Park. It's a Passport America campground, so we only pay $18.50 plus tax. Nothing fancy, but full hook up, 50 amp, pull through, so perfect for one night. Still below freezing tonight, but it looks like the next few days will be sunny and warming up. Great driving weather.

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

Monday, October 8, 2018

We're Out of Here

We are very happy to be able to say we are hitting the road again this morning. Out of the nine seasons we have worked in Wisconsin, this season was the most frustrating and challenging. Nothing major happened, but lots of little things that make us very ready to retire and move on.

Mostly, this season it was the weather that was the challenge. It started out very cold with snow in late April, then very hot and humid, then flooding rains, then hot and humid again, then the worst mosquito influx we have ever experienced, then more flooding. You get the picture. We are tired of rain and long for the sun in Arizona!

A few weeks ago after yet another rain shower, we had a beautiful rainbow.


We have many blue jays and cardinals at the park throughout the summer. This guy decided he liked the mirror on our truck as a perch.


The field behind us was planted with corn this year. Both the blue jays and cardinals have been pecking at the ears of corn. I've never noticed this before. I didn't know birds ate corn. Look closely and you can see the piece of corn in this cardinal's beak.


Our first stop will be in the Waterloo, Iowa area to visit Kevin's brother and family. Two of the campgrounds we have stayed at in the past are closed due to flooding. We're hoping to get a site at a third county park campground. We're not the only area that has had flooding rains this summer.

After Iowa, we'll spend five nights in Nebraska visiting our son Korey and wife Cathryn. I can't wait to see them again!!! The forecast for these two stops is, you guessed it, more rain. I miss the sun!!

Oh well, we'll try to ignore that pesky rain and enjoy our visit with family. Then on to Yuma and starting our remodel of the new to us park model. Can't wait to see our Yuma friends and enjoy all the activities at the resort.

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

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Madison Quilt Expo and Doctor Visits

At the end of August Kevin and I had our annual checkups. Kevin also saw his urologist. All of his test results were great. Yahoo!!!

My most recent colonoscopy was in 2005, so for the last few years my doctor has been telling me it was time for another one. I was putting it off for a few reasons. I really didn't want to go through the prep and the procedure again. I had also heard from several people that even though the Affordable Care Act requires it to be a covered test, many insurance companies deny paying if anything is found during the procedure, including benign polyps.

The doctor told me about a test called Cologuard which is a kit sent to you at home. You provide a stool sample, which a lab tests. It is covered by insurance, but if they find a positive cancer result, then you have to pay for any further procedures. It sounded a lot better than the standard colonoscopy, so I agreed.

The kit came quickly, had easy to follow instructions, and was quite simple to do. I can't imagine being the person who works in the lab checking all those samples. I got the results back several days after sending off the package, all negative. So good for another ten years. This new way of screening for colon cancer seems like a win/win. Hopefully, more people will do the test as it is much less complicated.

On September 6th, I attended the Quilt Expo in Madison, Wisconsin. I had been to this a few times in the past. There is always much to see, but this year didn't seem to have anything very new and exciting. I spent under $20, just stocked up on a few supplies.

What I enjoy most is seeing the quilts people have submitted for judging. This year there were over 300 quilts on display. So many creative ideas and talented quilters. This won the best in show award.


Here are a few more that I found particularly stunning.




There was a special exhibit featuring landscape art quilts made by Nancy Zieman and her good friend Natalie Sewell. Both of these ladies died at relatively young ages in the past year. How sad. There were about 25 quilts they had made on display. Beautiful work. Nancy Zieman owned a business called Nancy's Notions, but she also had a sewing television show on PBS that I believe has been in production for over 30 years. She was very well known in the quilting and sewing world.





Last week we had some spectacular weather. Warm, but not humid. Beautiful sunny days, and cool nights for sleeping. Summer hasn't given up though. This weekend we've been back in the high 80s with dew points in the high 60s. And the mosquitoes are the worst we've ever experienced. This is just so unusual for September in Wisconsin. At least it hasn't rained for the last 9 days. More rain expected next week, but also cooler temperatures.

Three weeks from tomorrow we're out of here. Can't wait!!!!

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

Monday, September 3, 2018

Our Next Chapter in Life

Earlier in the summer I hinted that we would have an announcement later in the season. Well, we're ready to let you know that we are planning on retiring completely with no part-time seasonal jobs for the foreseeable future. That's not to say we may never work again, but not for a while. We are ready for a break!!

After nine years of working seasonal jobs to supplement our income, we are ready to move on. In the early years, we did three peak seasons as CamperForce at Amazon in Coffeyville, Kansas. They have since closed that facility. Kevin has been the park caretaker for eight summer seasons at Derge Park in Beaver Dam. I have been the park attendant for four seasons at Derge. We have also been the camp hosts for all eight seasons at Derge and one season at a different Dodge County Park our first summer as full time RVers.

We have really enjoyed our time at Derge. We really feel lucky that this opportunity basically fell into our laps as we made our full time RV transition. It is a beautiful location with views of the lake. The campground only has 25 sites, so not too busy. However, after dealing with people for nine seasons, we have had enough. Most people are great. There is a small percentage that selfishly believe rules don't apply to them. Those types of people wear on your nerves year after year, and it's time for some peace.

Kevin will be 63 in December, and he has decided to start collecting his social security in January. I have a pension from my school district career, so those two incomes will be enough to cover our expenses with a little left over. That's all we need. In our over nine years of full time RVing, we have been able to earn enough income so we haven't had to use our retirement savings. The only time we have tapped into some of it was when we bought the park model in Yuma last winter. With the market being strong, we've already recouped almost that entire amount!

I'm really looking forward to some summer traveling in the future. We did quite a bit of exploring during the past nine winters, but now we're ready to have the freedom to explore in summer. We will be starting that adventure next summer with a trip to Alaska in June. I booked our two week tour with one week on land and another week cruise. We decided not to take the fifth wheel to Alaska. We'll be leaving it in the Seattle area while we're on the trip, and then exploring Washington, Idaho, Montana and other areas as we head east to Wisconsin and Nebraska for the end of the summer and fall. Here's the ship we'll be cruising on, Holland America Noordam.


After Kevin's health scare last summer, we have decided to fulfill some of our bucket list dreams sooner than later. God willing, over the next few years we hope to visit Alaska, Australia/New Zealand, cruise the Panama Canal, and explore more of the US in the summer months. We're excited to start this next chapter. Five weeks from today we're out of here!!

The summer weather this year in Wisconsin has not been at all pleasant. Record humidity levels, heat and rainfalls have made for many uncomfortable days. The ground in the park has been very saturated for weeks. Last Tuesday we had a strong storm come through with heavy rains. The ground just couldn't take anymore. We had flooding like we've never seen. Here are some pictures I took right after it stopped raining.

Our site and the road in front of our site.



The entrance road. The ditch on both sides of this road is between 4 and 5 feet deep. There was actually a waterfall running from one side to the other.


We have seen the ditches overflow just one other time since we've been here. Never to this extent. The area below has never been flooded. It was a lake.


We had to close some sites for the holiday weekend. Luckily, we still had a few sites not reserved, so we moved people to those sites. Reservations have been down this summer. I think the weather played a big part in that. The forecast for the weekend was much more rain. Wisconsin's governor has declared a state of emergency for the entire state, as there has been major flooding all over. Luckily, most of that rain went south of us, but we still had several rain events. More rain coming later today and tonight. Kevin has had a hard time getting the grass mowed this season. Almost every week there were areas too wet to mow. That makes for a lot of hay when he can finally get to it.

This wet pattern is predicted to continue for at least the next ten days. The dry heat of Yuma is sounding so appealing at this point!!!

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

Saturday, August 18, 2018

A Happy Birthday To Me

Yesterday was my 61st birthday. Friday's are one of my eight hour work days as the Park Attendant. In the morning, I  had the usual privilege of cleaning the bathroom. Part of the job. We have a nearly full campground this weekend, so it was a busy day of people arriving. Kevin surprised me by doing dishes. The best present he could have given me! One of my least favorite things to do. We're going to celebrate by going to Red Lobster on Monday for lunch.

We normally don't do presents, as we have everything we need or want. And, if we don't, we go get it. I did buy myself a present this year. I started quilting about 15 years ago, and really enjoy it. In that time I've been using a small sewing machine. I prefer to do my own quilting, so it's a struggle when the quilt is larger than baby sized.

I bought myself a Baby Lock Presto II. It is twice as wide as my old machine with lots of decorative stitches and some bells and whistles I'll probably never use. But, it has the wide throat I was wanting. It's amazing how much a sewing machine can cost. Five thousand dollars is not unusual for a Cadillac machine. I didn't get one of those, but I'm very happy with what I got. My old machine will be kept as a back up and for travelling. I think the new one will stay in Yuma.


A bonus with buying the new machine was a free four hour class on how to use it. It was just me and Lois, the instructor at Nancy's Notions in Beaver Dam. I learned so much about my machine, and sewing in general. I even learned some things about my old machine.

I have six baby quilts made and ready to be quilted. That will keep me busy for a while. This new machine just hums along while quilting. One of those quilts will be given to Korey for next year's quilt auction at his camp. The others are going to Cathryn to use as gifts for her friends and family members having babies.

It's been just over a month since I last posted. There just wasn't much to share. We've been working and enjoying life. We spent some time with family and friends. The usual stuff. The weather has been very strange this summer; super humid almost every day. Even when it's not that hot, it's SO sticky. I'm looking forward to fall. Seven weeks from this coming Monday, we're back on the road!

The weather has been strange in Yuma as well. In my previous post, I shared about the haboob they had in July. Last week they had heavy rain, and the washes were full of rushing waters. Here's a picture my friend Pat posted on Facebook of the wash behind some of the park models at the resort. This is not by our place, as we have the golf course behind us. Luckily, it didn't overflow!



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