Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
October, 2017 - Mexico

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!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Haboob Hits Yuma

You may have seen on the national news last week that a massive haboob wreaked havoc from the Phoenix area all the way to Yuma in Arizona. What is a haboob, you may be asking?? Webster's defines it as "a violent and oppressive wind blowing in summer bringing sand from the desert".

Here's a picture from the web as it crossed Interstate 8 in Yuma. Our park model is in a resort that is next to that highway.

I saw that there had been some roof damage in the Foothills of Yuma, which is where we are located. I contacted a friend, and she told me that there definitely was damage in the park. It seems the units on the east side of the park in the initial path of the storm took the biggest hit. There were roofs, carports and decks torn off of homes. Part of one carport roof landed in the swimming pool at the resort.

My friend said the office emailed people with damage. I didn't get such an email, but I thought it wouldn't hurt to double check. Within a few hours of emailing the office, they sent me these pictures. Only a few trim pieces torn off. One on the roof , and two on the skirting. Whew!! Nothing that can't wait until we return. Lucky for us, our unit is on the very western edge of the resort.

From what I understand storms of this magnitude are very rare in Yuma. Hopefully, there won't be another one for a very long time!! I can't even imagine actually being caught up in it.

Last weekend we had absolutely gorgeous weather. One of those summer weekends, I've been waiting for. Highs in the low 80s and low humidity. We spent much of the time outside. This weekend the heat and humidity have returned. Thank goodness for air conditioning. It is just nasty outside!

This poor bird was sitting in the shade of the bird feeder yesterday to escape the heat. He wasn't eating, just resting in the shade.

We did have something new happen at the dump station last Sunday. We got a knock on the door from the guy who was parked in the dump. Seems he left the truck running while dumping, and the dog locked the truck with his phone and keys inside. He was blocking the only access to the dump and the park was full of people leaving that day. We needed him out of there. I called the sheriff's non-emergency number and a very helpful dispatcher had a deputy there within 30 minutes. He had a tool to get the truck unlocked, and all was right again. Thanks to the Dodge County Sheriff's Department for a job well done.

With much of my time spent inside this season due to the weather, I've been doing a lot of quilting. Last Tuesday my machine had a breakdown. She is in the repair shop right now. I sure hope I get her back soon. I'm thinking of an upgrade, and keeping the one I have as a back up. I'm lost without my machine. The local quilt shop has one on sale that I've got my eye on. It's an extra 10% discount the week of your birthday. My birthday is a month away, so I have a feeling I know what Kevin is buying me for my birthday this year, whether he knows it or not :)

My daughter-in-law Cathryn had given one of the quilts I made to her friend Allison when she had her first baby. A few months ago Allison contacted me and asked if she could purchase two baby quilts from me. One for her nephew and one for her expected second child. I agreed and got busy. She sent me pictures of the two babies on their quilts. So precious!!

I'm currently working on more baby quilts to give Cathryn to use as gifts, and another one that will be a gift for a friend in Yuma. Now I just need my machine back.

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

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Special July Anniversary

Today is the 60th anniversary of my parents and I arriving as immigrants from Germany to the USA. I was 10-1/2 months old at the time. I actually took my first steps on the ship coming over. Here's my first passport picture.

My mom tells the story of seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time and holding me up to see it. They had such dreams about starting a new life in the land of opportunity. In order to come, they had to apply for legal entrance and have a sponsor to help them. My dad's parents and brother also came. My grandpa's cousin was our sponsor, agreeing to help them find a place to live and get jobs.

It was much harder getting started than they ever imagined. They did not speak English. Eventually, everyone got jobs. With much hard work they made a wonderful life for themselves and me. They take great pride in the fact that everything they accomplished was done with hard work, never needing to take any kind of government assistance. So, the 4th of July holiday has always been extra special for my family, as it marked our arrival in a new country, fulfilling the dream so many others have had before and since!

Kevin and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary on June 11th. We had a nice day playing a round of golf and going out for dinner at Benvenutos Italian Restaurant in Beaver Dam. The food was really good!

The weather continues to be lousy this season. Either rainy and cool or super hot and humid. Last weekend we had a heat advisory with a heat index over 100 degrees. The next two days are going to be near that hot and humid again. I'm wishing for some nice crisp Wisconsin summer days!

Last Sunday Kevin and I went to Madison and checked out two microbreweries. The first was Ale Asylum where we took the tour. A great deal at $5 per person which included a pint of beer and a sample during the tour. They began their company in 2006 and have grown to be the third largest microbrewery in Wisconsin. They are very proud of their commitment to making great tasting beers while doing what is best for the environment. Quite an accomplishment. Kevin tried four of the beers and really liked them.

Our second stop was at Next Door Brewery. Kevin tried four of the beers, and I had a hard cider. He said the beers were okay, but he liked the ones at Ale Asylum better. I don't like beer, but still enjoy the tours and sharing Kevin's interest in microbrews.

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