Not All Who Wander Are Lost

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

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Scenic Drive

We were invited to visit cousin Mark and his family on Wednesday.  They live in Arvada, Colorado which is about 60 miles from Estes Park. 

I have a book that I bought several years ago that describes 120 most scenic drives in the US.  One of these was from Estes Park to the Denver area, so we decided to take that drive.  The route is called the Peak to Peak Scenic Drive.  It takes you from Long’s Peak in RMNP to Pike’s Peak.  It was a beautiful drive with mountains, canyons and glowing aspens.  It took us 2.5 hours, but it was worth it.

We made a stop at Camping World and Wal-Mart and then we headed to Red Rock Park and Amphitheater.  It’s an area with huge red rock formations.  In the early 1900s several groups of citizens and politicians had an idea to build an amphitheater between some of these large red rocks because of the excellent acoustic sound.  During the depression, the CCC built this amphitheater without any machines.  They hauled thousands of yards of cement and rock up the hill. 

Time and time again I am amazed what the CCC accomplished in the 1930s.  Roosevelt had the right idea when he spent “stimulus money” on forming that group.  No money for Wall Street banks and large corporations.  He put young men to work.  We are still reaping the rewards.

The visitor’s center is perched high on top of the amphitheater.  We climbed 393 steps to the top.  I was sure huffing and puffing.  There was a chart at the visitor center that explained how at that altitude there was 80% less oxygen than at sea level.  Also, because the air is so much drier, it also makes it harder to breathe.  I feel better.  I think of myself as being in pretty decent shape, but I have been running out of breath so easily here.

I forgot my camera and I wasn’t going back down to get it :)  I did have my cell phone and took a few pictures with it.  Unfortunately, I’m having trouble syncing my phone to my laptop so I can’t download the pictures.  I did take a few from the bottom.  This was an incredible place to see.  I’d love to attend a concert here someday.  Acts such as The Beatles, Willie Nelson, The Grateful Dead, Mariah Carey, U2 and many others have performed there.

Red Rock 1

The u-shaped area at the base of the huge rock on the right is the visitor center and amphitheater. The fence in the foreground is at road level.  That’s where the climb begins.

Red Rock 4

We spent the evening with Mark and Dolly and helped their son, Daniel, celebrate his 21st birthday.  It has been really wonderful spending time with them.  Kevin has fond memories of going to Mark’s families house in St. Louis for Easter each year.  Another bonus of this lifestyle is an opportunity to meet up with distant family and friends.  Thanks Mark and Dolly for your incredible hospitality and to Daniel for letting us share in his special birthday.

We are now driving to Canon City, Colorado to the next 4 days to explore the Royal Gorge area.  We’re traveling on I-25 because Kevin feels it is the safest way to get there.  Many of the state and local highways are in the mountains, and we didn’t want to take any chances.  Driving on the interstate makes me nervous.  I hate that people can switch lanes in front of us.  We again had an idiot today that zipped right in front of us.  Kevin had to hit the brakes hard.

I think all vehicles should come equipped with a paintball gun in the front grill.  When a moron zips in front of you and is driving like an idiot, you should be able to zap him with a paintball.  That way everyone would know who the most dangerous drivers are!

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

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Close Encounters of the Elk Kind

The plan for Tuesday was to spend the day in Estes Park.  We started at the Stanley hotel. 

It was while Stephen King and his wife were guests at the Stanley Hotel that he conceived the idea for his novel "The Shining." The hotel was fictionalized as the Overlook Hotel in the novel and subsequent film and television versions of the novel. The room that King stayed in was room 217 which is claimed to be haunted.

Interestingly, the theatrical film directed by Stanley Kubrick was not filmed at the Stanley Hotel. Kubrick didn’t think there was enough snow in Estes Park to make the hotel look secluded enough.  The 1990s television version of "The Shining" included exterior scenes at the Stanley. 

Famous guests have been President Theodore Roosevelt, John Philip Sousa, and the emperor of Japan. While filming "Dumb and Dumber," actor Jim Carey stayed in the infamous room 217. The Titanic survivor known as the Unsinkable Molly Brown was also a guest. The hotel was built by the inventor of the Stanley Steamer automobile.

Estes Park Stanley Hotel 3 Our next stop was back at the store where I bought my hiking shoes.  Many people on the hiking trails have hiking poles.  I decided to buy one and give it a try.

We then went to Estes Lake in the heart of the city.  There is a 3.75 mile hiking/biking trail that goes around the lake.  We walked all the way around.  There is a golf course that runs along part of the trail.  Many elk were hanging out on the course.

Estes Park Elk 1

We were about three quarters of the way around the lake when we saw a group of people ahead of us looking at something.  Then we saw the group of elk walking along the trail.  There were 13 female cows and one very large bull.  I took a few pictures and some video.  The elk were walking towards us. 

This path has a highway on one side and the lake on the other.  We were next to a large electric tower.  They kept coming so I got up on the side of the path behind the electric tower.  I took a bit more video as they came by. 

Now the bull was coming a little behind them.  Instead of going on the path like the cows did, he came up on the side of the trail where we were.  We were on one side of the tower and he was right on the other side of it.  Kevin was in front of me and could have easily touched him.  He stopped right next to us and kind of looked at us and then continued on.  He was definitely letting us know who was in charge.  I was pretty scared.  I actually contemplated jumping into the lake. 

You’re always told to not get too close to wild animals, but this time we were there first and they got too close to us.  I was wishing we could have been closer to the elk we saw yesterday at RMNP.  I guess I need to be careful what I wish for, because that elk encounter was too close for comfort!!!

Estes Park Elk 4

Estes Park Elk 6

If I knew how to insert video, I would show you the video clip I took right after he went past.  You can see the tower we were next to.  As we were getting back to the beginning of the trail, we heard some bull elk bugling.  I got some video of one of them bugling.  We spent a while sitting on a bench and it sounded like the elk were having a bugling contest.  It was an amazing experience!!

Estes Park Colorado Red Tail Hawk


This Colorado Red Tailed Hawk was sitting on top of a pine tree next to the trail.  We sure had a wildlife kind of day :)






We finished our walk and spent about an hour wandering around the shops downtown.  My big purchase was 3 postcards.  Kevin found a t-shirt and a coffee mug.

Cousin Mark sent me the pictures he took on Sunday.

Rocky Mountain National Park Kevin & Evelyn at Alberta Falls

Here we are at Alberta Falls in RMNP.




Rocky Mountain National Park Kevin & Evelyn at The Loch

And here we are at Emerald Lake in RMNP.




Rocky Mountain National Park Mark, Dolly & Daniel Jelinske at The Loch

And here are Mark, Dolly, and Daniel at Emerald Lake.



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

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park-Day 3

We did some more hiking today.  We chose a trail that took us past 3 lakes.  It was a 3.6 mile round trip with an elevation change of 605 feet.  It was another great workout.  The lakes were all beautiful.

Rocky Mountain National Park Nymph Lake This was Nymph Lake.

Rocky Mountain National Park Dream Lake 

This one is Dream Lake.

Rocky Mountain National Park Emerald Lake

And this one is Emerald Lake.  This was another hike with a great payoff.  Honestly, the pictures only give you a glimpse of the spectacular beauty we have seen.  I highly recommend Rocky Mountain National Park as a must-see destination.



The aspen colors are spectacular.  I took a lot of pictures.  I’ll share a few with you.

Rocky Mountain National Park Aspen 2

Rocky Mountain National Park Aspen 4








We also saw wildlife today.

Rocky Mountain National Park Stellar Jay

This guy is a Stellar Jay.  It has an electric blue body with a black head. 




And, here are a few elk pictures.  There are a few herds in some meadows.  You can always tell where they are.  Just look for a bunch of cars pulled over at the side of the road :)

Rocky Mountain National Park Elk 2 

So ends another fantastic day.

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

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rocky Mountain National Park-Day 1



The morning started with a beautiful sunrise.




We headed over to Rocky Mountain National Park (RMNP) around 9 am.  Today was National Park Day so entry to all parks was free.  There were quite a few people, but we didn’t have any major traffic problems.  The plan was to drive the 50 miles from one side of the park to the other on Trail Ridge Road.  First we stopped at the Moraine Park Visitor Center to watch the movie and to stamp my National Parks Passport.

P1000318 We drove to the Sheep Lakes area to see if we could spot any elk.  We saw a ton of cars pulled over so we knew we were in luck :)



P1000326 As we drove further into the park, the mountain views grew more and more beautiful.  Out of nowhere a wave of emotion swept over me.  The splendor of the scenery really got to me.  I started thinking about how lucky we are to be living this life; and before I knew it, tears were running down my face.  Kevin just goes with the flow.  He knows I get a little wacky sometimes :)

P1000328 I saw this bird at one of the lookout areas.  He was sitting on this sign right next to all kinds of people, and it didn’t seem to phase him one bit.  I believe he is a Clark’s Nutcracker.


P1000335 On the western side of the park is Grand Lake.  The mountains on this side of the park are called the Never Summer Mountains.  You can see some of the aspen.  The park didn’t have as many aspen as I imagined, but they are in full color and gorgeous!

P1000337 On our way back to the east side of the park, we stopped and hiked a few short trails.  We plan on doing some more hiking this week.  Today was a get acquainted with the park day.  One of the hikes was along this small stream.  It’s actually the Colorado River.  The headwaters start in the mountains in the park.  Can you believe this is the same river that roars through the Grand Canyon.

P1000340 Our final hike for today was at an area called Rock Cut.  This was a mile hike climbing 260 feet.  The trailhead started at 12,110 feet elevation.  It felt like we were on top of the world.


I took lots of pictures, but pretty soon they all start to look the same so I won’t show you anymore today :)

Back in town we stopped at Estes Park Mountain Shop where I bought a pair of Merrell hiking shoes.  I’ve heard from several other fulltimers that these are great shoes for hiking.  They were on sale for $64.99.  I know they regularly run around $100 so I broke down and bought a pair.  My tennis shoes really weren’t cutting it today.

I’m tired tonight, but it’s a good tired :)

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

Rocky Mountain National Park-Day 2

Yesterday Kevin’s cousin Mark, his wife, Dolly and their 20 year old son, Daniel came for a visit.  They live in a suburb of Denver and were kind enough to drive 1-1/2 hours to come see us. 

Mark and his boys are avid hikers and outdoorsmen.  We decided to take a hike in the Bear Lake area of RMNP.  Mark told us he’d choose a trail that wouldn’t be too strenuous.  We took the trail to The Loch.  This trail is 6.2 miles roundtrip with an increase in elevation of 990 feet.  If you figure one story of an office building is 10 feet, that would be the equivalent of walking up 99 stories.  The Loch at the end of the trail was worth it.  What an amazing view.  It’s a crystal clear lake surrounded by mountains with Andrews Glacier visible on the side of one of the mountains.  It was so nice to rest for a while and enjoy the spiritual essence of the place.  There isn’t a cathedral in the world that could compare for a Sunday visit.   We could have continued on the trail to a lake at the base of the glacier.  It would have been only an extra 2 miles with another 700 foot increase in elevation.  Instead we decided to go back.  We appreciated the fact that Mark chose a trail where we could push ourselves a little, but we’re not crazy :)

Unfortunately, I forgot my camera.  Luckily, Mark and Dolly brought theirs and will be emailing me a few pictures they took for us.  I’ll post them as soon as I get them.  I’m really glad we did the hike.  It was a bit strenuous, but the exercise felt great and the payoff was an awesome reward.  Both Kevin and I believe our knees are actually feeling better after a few days of hiking.

I’m loving my new Merrell hiking shoes.  The trail yesterday was quite rocky, and I’m sure the bottoms of my feet would have been quite miserable in tennis shoes.  I highly recommend the Merrell’s for anyone planning on doing any hiking.

The weather has been phenomenal.  Highs have been in the 80s and nighttime lows in the 40s.  We have noticed a definite difference in the weather due to the altitude.  The sun feels more intense and seems brighter.  Once the sun goes down, the temperatures drop like a rock.  It’s been sunny every day, and we just couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather. And the star viewing at night is incredible!!  An added bonus is no mosquitoes and no flies :)

Rocky Mountain Trees Killed by Beetles Something that is very noticeable in RMNP are the amount of dead pine trees.  The park is suffering from a pine beetle epidemic.  I would guess 50% of the pine trees in certain areas are dead.  It’s due to the average temperatures being higher than average for the past 10 years and prolonged periods of low precipitation.  It’s considered a natural phenomenon, but it’s sad to see so many dead trees.  I’m guessing there will come a time when a fire will destroy much of the dead wood.  You can see all of the brown dead trees in the picture.

We’re off to do some more hiking today, and I won’t be forgetting my camera!

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

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Estes Park, Colorado

Last night we stayed at McGreer Camper Park in Big Springs, Nebraska.  It’s a Passport America park about a mile off of I-80.  The cost was $12.50 for a full hook-up site with 30 amp service.  That’s it.  The office is on the right and we’re parked just to the left of it.

P1000305 It appeared to be the outer boundaries of a farm field with some sites put in.  Very rustic :)  There was a small office building, but we never saw a soul.  You put your money in an envelope and slid it through a mail slot.  The building was open and they had some coin operated washer and dryers.  The bathrooms had free showers and were clean.  It was an OK place to spend a night, but other than that, it had no “it” factor at all.  We were the only ones there for a while.  Towards evening, two more RVs pulled in.

P1000308 We left about 9:00 this morning.  The landscape quickly turned from fields of crops to range land; lots of cattle.  I kept searching the horizon for mountains.  It seemed like they just appeared out of nowhere.  One second there was nothing, and the next second you could see mountains.  Very cool!  We’ve been to the Rockies before, but it’s been a while.  I love mountain views.

P1000309 It was a steady uphill climb all day.  Once we got past Loveland, Colorado, there was a 22 mile stretch of switchbacks right in the mountains.  Kevin did a great job driving.  Here’s where my knuckles started turning a bit white :)  This was the first time our truck pulled our new camper in mountains.  It’s heavier than our last camper was, so we weren’t sure how the truck would do.  It performed like a champ :)

We’re staying at Mary’s Lake Campground in Estes Park about two miles from the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park.  It’s a county park so we have to pay $7 a day for an entrance pass plus $30 a day for the camping.  It was still less expensive than any other private campgrounds so close to the national park.   Everything is very brown here.  They have had a very dry spell and the fire danger it high. 

Site at Mary's Lake Campground 2Here’s the view at the front of the camper.






Site at Mary's Lake Campground 1And here’s the view looking towards the back.





The mountain views are beautiful.  The campground has full hook-ups with 50 amp electric.  The pull-through sites are pretty level and have a concrete pad.  There is free Wi-Fi which is good because our air card has no bars.  We can barely get a signal on the cell phones.  The satellite dish is set up with a great signal.  I called DirecTV to change our location, and believe it or not, it went very smoothly.  We now have Denver local channels so we can record our favorite shows while we explore.

The ground here is rock covered with some scrawny pines.  I’m really surprised how desert-like the landscape is.  I was envisioning more green space.  There is a Mary’s Lake, but it’s across the road from the campground so no lake views.  All in all, it’s not a bad campground, but doesn’t have a real “it” factor for me.  On this leg of the trip, it’s all about location.

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

Thursday, September 23, 2010

“The Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plain”

Part of the lyrics of the title song of the musical Oklahoma is “where the wind comes sweeping down the plain”.  Today I think that song must have been written about Nebraska.  We battled wind all day, really sending our gas mileage into a tailspin.

We had un uneventful night sleeping at the Love’s Travel Plaza in West Des Moines, Iowa.  They actually had a little side drive they let us park in so there were no other vehicles next to us.  It was relatively quiet, and we got enough rest to continue our journey.


The scenery yesterday and today has consisted of fields; corn and wheat for miles and miles.  It’s very clear why this is called our country’s bread basket.  We did witness a beautiful sunset last night. 

P1000304  Yesterday was the autumnal equinox and there was a full moon.  I heard this hasn’t happened in almost a hundred years.  Also, Jupiter is the closest it will be to earth all year; only 400 million miles away.  In case you missed it, here’s a picture of the full moon above the truck stop.  If you look closely, you can see a star under the moon.  I don’t know if it was Jupiter, it might be Venus or some other star.  All I know is that is was a beautiful sight.  I’m looking forward to looking at the sky in the clear dark mountain air!

We’ve been driving about 8 hours again today.  We’re almost at our stop for the night.  Tonight’s the season premiere of Bones and Grey’s Anatomy.  What more can a person ask for :)

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

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We’re Finally On Our Way!

P1000302 We spent another night in Burlington RV’s parking lot last night.  Here’s our lovely spot.  We did have water and electric and didn’t have to find a place to stay, so we were happy with that.

Yesterday they repaired our bedroom slide so it is working properly and no longer sitting too low.  We had a few other minor things we noticed so we had them do those, too.  They still weren’t sure if the leak was fixed.  They wanted to water test it again today.  After rain last night and running water on it for 1.5 hours this morning, everything was dry so we were out of there!

Jayco has given me written confirmation that they will honor our warranty beyond its expiration date regarding any leaks.  Hopefully, we won’t have to take them up on it.  I must say they have been very good about honoring the warranty and fixing anything we found lacking.

We are, however, somewhat disappointed with the quality of this Jayco.  It’s the fifth Jayco we’ve owned, and we’ve never had any serious problems before.  This time there were some major problems caused by shoddy workmanship.

Some of our windows weren’t sealed properly when they were installed.  One wall in the bedroom slide wasn’t attached to the floor which caused a leak.  The big slide had numerous gaps in the caulking which caused a leak.  The siding under the part that hangs over the truck was not attached to the plywood underneath and eventually began pulling loose.  I don’t know if we’ll buy Jayco again.  We’ll have to see.  Maybe we just got a lemon :( 

Now on to the adventure.  We had to change our plans and skip visiting Galena, Illinois and Kevin’s brother in Iowa.  We have reservations in Estes Park, Colorado Friday night.  We were told to make reservations because this time of year the aspen are in full fall color and the elk are rutting so the campgrounds tend to fill up. Since we planned to arrive on a Friday, I made a reservation.

Now we have to hustle to get there on time.  We’ll be driving about 8 hours today and spending the night at a Love’s Truck Stop in West Des Moines, Iowa.  Tomorrow night we’ll stop at a Passport America campground near North Platte, Nebraska and then onto Estes Park on Friday.  Hopefully, this will be the last time we have to do this much driving in such a short time.

I’m writing this in the truck.  I sure do appreciate our Verizon air card.  We’re in Cedar Falls, Iowa.  At least we are finally out of Wisconsin :)

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

Monday, September 20, 2010

Fall is Here, Or Is It?

We spent the weekend camping with our camping club at Green Lake Campground in Green Lake, Wisconsin.  We had a great time.  The weather was cool and gloomy.  Highs were in the low 60s and it was overcast all weekend with a few showers thrown in.

Green Lake Campground has a 9 hole, par 3 golf course.  Golfing on the course if free for campers.  It’s not very well tended, but it’s fine for a little fun for all levels of golfers.  We had a scramble tournament with members of our club.  In the evening we had a mini golf tournament.  Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves regardless of their golfing abilities. 

The camping fees are $45 a night for water and electric sites.  We got a club discount and paid $35 a night.  I think that’s just too much even if they do have a golf course and 2 pools. 

Some of my friends were teasing me by saying all I talk about in this blog is the weather.  Since we were camphosting in the same place all summer, sometimes I didn’t have anything new to tell you.  This summer the weather was so strange so I had lots to say about that :)

Fall is definitely in the air.  Tree leaves are turning colors and many leaves are already falling.  The other morning when I was walking through some leaves, it smelled so much like fall.  It’s funny how each season has smells associated with it.

P1000299Last night we camped at Cliffside County Park in Racine which is close to Burlington RV.  We had an appointment this morning for more warranty work.  These beautiful leaves were on the ground when we got there.

I’m sure you’re dying to know how our repairs went today :)  Since I am writing this blog from Burlington RV’s parking lot tonight, I guess it wasn’t exactly great.  They fixed some loose moldings and adjusted the awning arm which was not closing properly since they replaced the awning fabric last time.  They also tried to fix our leak.  The technician thought he had found the leak and fixed it.  After water testing it, water was still leaking in.  They’ll work on the leak again tomorrow.  They also didn’t get to fixing our bedroom slide today.  We sure are hoping they can get it done tomorrow so we can get on our way to Colorado. 

They did allow us to park in their parking lot tonight with electric and water hookups.  So, I’m enjoying the season premiere of Dancing With the Stars and hoping we can be done with these repairs once and for all tomorrow.

We spent all day today running errands and doing some shopping.  We went to an outlet mall and found some Christmas gifts for some wonderful young men in our lives.  They read this blog, so I can’t tell you what we got them :)

I’m not sure what we’ll do tomorrow.  No more shopping; we don’t need to spend any more money.  It’s supposed to be a nice warm day tomorrow so maybe we’ll try to find a nice park.  It’s supposed to be 83 degrees tomorrow with higher humidity.  Summer seems to be making a comeback!

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

Friday, September 17, 2010

Invasion of the Flies

We had the strangest thing happen a few nights ago.  Kevin was grilling supper outside, and there were a bunch of flies around.  We didn’t think much of it since we’ve had flies bothering us since July.  Well, the flies just kept coming and coming.  The whole side of our camper was covered with them.

Kevin brought the supper in along with dozens of flies.  After that, we didn’t dare open the door.  They were everywhere including all over the outside of the window screens.  Take a look.P1000296



I took the pictures from inside.  I wasn’t going out there.  We figured the food must have attracted them, and they’d go away once it got dark.  But, they didn’t.  They were still there in the morning.  Kevin had to take a broom and brush them all off.  Many were dead; some were still alive.

We don’t know what to make of it.  Maybe it was their last hurrah since there haven’t been many flies since that night.  Maybe it is some sort of dying ritual.  All I know is it was really strange!

We’re leaving our camphosting position today.  We’re camping with our camping club this weekend, taking the camper in for repairs on Monday and then heading towards Colorado.  I’m excited for the next part of the adventure to begin!!!

I’ll keep you posted :)

I wish everyone a terrific weekend.

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

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Quilt Expo


On this anniversary of the terrorist attack on the towers in New York, I’d like to reflect on how lucky I feel to live in this country.  As I’ve said before, my parents immigrated to the US from Germany when I was a baby.  I have always felt so appreciative to be a citizen of a country where I have had the freedom to pursue my dreams; now more than ever!

NY Skyline 1

This picture of Korey and myself was taken in 1998 during a trip to New York. Both boys were in band, and I chaperoned the band trip to New York for the Macy’s Parade.  The picture is taken from a look-out platform on the Statue of Liberty. 

On that tragic day 9 years ago, I felt such a connection to what was happening because I had been there a few years earlier.  We stayed at the Marriott Hotel in front of the towers (the building was crushed when the towers fell).  I kept thinking about what we would have done if it had happened while we were staying there.  My heart goes out to the families who lost loved ones in the brutal attack!

We’d like to thank all of you who sent your best wishes for a speedy recovery for Kevin’s knee injury.  He’s doing better.  He’s able to limp around, but still taking it easy to make sure he’s ready to leave next Friday. 

Our site here at the park only has electric hook-ups.  We don’t have water or sewer.  There is a water spigot for campers to fill their tanks up the hill from us which we can reach with two hoses.   Kevin has always been the one to take care of tank filling and emptying.  So, this week I learned how to do those chores.  On Wednesday, he came out and sat on a stool and walked me through filling the water tanks.  We put off emptying the black water tank, but yesterday it had to be done.  He was able to come out and hobble around.  Between the two of us, we got the job done.  I didn’t like that job one bit :)

On Thursday I went to the Madison Quilt Expo.  In 2002 I decided I wanted to learn how to quilt so I could make a t-shirt quilt for Korey, our youngest son, as a high school graduation gift.  He was very active in many organizations, and had all kinds of shirts as mementos of his activities.  I took a beginning quilting class and was very pleased with how his quilt turned out.  I never took a picture of it; I need to do that.  He really likes his quilt.

After that, I was hooked on quilting.  I took a few more classes at a local quilt shop.  Mostly, I’ve been making baby quilts with fabrics I had in my stash after years of crafting.  I used a few for gifts and donated a few to Project Linus.  I’ve also been making the “Snap Happy” bags I posted about on August 1st

I’d never been to a quilt show before.  Wow, was I impressed.  The Madison show was huge.  There were many classes offered and hundreds of vendors.  There was a very large display of quilts for judging.  There were so many beautiful quilts; my head was swimming by the time I got to the end of the display.  I don’t know how the judges can pick a winner.

I was especially blown away by the hand quilted entries.  It looked like these quilts were done on a sewing machine.  The stitches were so small and evenly spaced.  Wow!!!

I saw so many projects I wanted to buy.  I had to restrain myself, and came away with spending about $100.  I could have gone nuts!


I bought 3 projects.  One is a beautiful poppy quilt.  After I opened it up, I realized it’s pretty hard.  It’s kind of like putting a puzzle together.  I may save this one until I have a little more experience.

P1000292 Another project was using photos to make placemats or other quilting projects.  I’m planning on making some placemats with beautiful nature pictures of places we will visit.  I’m also going to make some placemats for my mom with family pictures.

P1000294 The third project I purchased were gorgeous flower fabric panels to make this quilt.  I love the colors!  I’ll be keeping this one for myself :)



I also purchased a small ironing wand to press open seams and iron small quilt pieces.  I used it yesterday, and it’s great!  No more digging out the portable ironing board and large iron.

These projects should keep me busy until next year’s show!

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

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Unlucky Labor Day

I’m not usually superstitious, but let me just say that next year Kevin and I will be staying in bed the entire Labor Day weekend :)

Last year on the Saturday before Labor Day I fell off my bicycle and tore my ACL. I had surgery in October, and it is still not 100%. I have been assured by the doctor that eventually I won’t even know I had surgery, and it will feel completely normal. He also said it would take at least a year to heal completely. I’m sure hoping he’s right!

This past Monday Kevin was bending down while locking up the canoes. As he was getting up, he somehow twisted his knee the wrong way. This happens to him about once a year. He injured his knee about 30 years ago playing softball, and it’s never been quite right. We know that he just has to follow the RICE plan (rest, ice, compression and elevation) for about a week, and it will get better. However, I’m starting to think Labor Day is not a good weekend for us!

So, we’re pretty much sitting around doing nothing for a few days. The nice thing is with this lifestyle, we can. We had tickets to a Milwaukee Brewers game tonight, but we’re not going. Kevin was supposed to golf on Friday with some friends, but had to cancel. He’s taking it very easy so he’ll be ready to leave Wisconsin in 10 days.

Over the weekend we had company on Sunday and Monday. We had a great time visiting with friends we won’t see again until May. Thanks for coming!

It seems like I’m constantly talking about the weather, but it has just been so strange this year. The last two days we had winds of 20 to 30 MPH with gusts up to 50 MPH. There are branches and leaves down all over the park! I had a hard time sleeping Monday night with all the wind noise.

Night temps have been in the mid 40s. The next few days are predicted to be in the low 70s and sunny; beautiful September weather.

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

Sunday, September 5, 2010


The weather this summer seems to be all about extremes.  We’ve had record heat, rainfall and humidity.  Two days ago reality returned.  We literally went from running the air on Thursday to running the furnace the last two mornings.  Lows were in the 40s and highs in the 60s; yikes!  It was also incredibly windy the last two days.

Today highs are expected in the mid 70s and the winds have calmed down.  Perfect! 

The good news is the mosquitoes seem to have left town.  The flies,  however, did not get the memo.  They’re hanging in there.  I must have killed dozens in the camper this weekend.

We had two groups brave the cool temperatures and winds yesterday by renting canoes.  I’m thinking we may have a few more today.   Firewood sales, however, were very brisk!

The campground is only half full this weekend.  I’m really surprised since we were full Memorial Day and the 4th of July weekends.  Maybe people are winding down by this time of the year.  I’m sure the cool, windy weather didn’t help either.

P1000291 I got a kick out of watching people wrestle with tarps yesterday.  Some were trying some creative techniques to create wind protection.  Not all were successful :)  These people must have been really cold.  They wrapped both ends of their pop-up with tarps.

Today we’re expecting visitors.  Two couples are visiting for a cookout.  Kevin used to work with one of the guys, and we have all become friends.  Tomorrow, two ladies I used to work with several years ago are visiting.  I’m looking forward to the company.  We’re trying to get in visits with friends and family before we leave. 

An update on our camper repairs.  We have an appointment for Sept. 20th at the RV dealer in Wisconsin.  Jayco is working with the technician to make sure our leak and slide are fixed correctly.  I sure hope we can put all of this behind us!!!

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

Friday, September 3, 2010


Ouch, ouch, ouch!  That’s what I’ve got to say about our truck repair bill.

We’ve been debating over the last year or so whether we should get a new truck or pay for the maintenance our current truck was going to need.  We have a 1999 GMC 2500 Heavy Duty pick up truck with only a little over 60,000 miles on it.  We have used it almost exclusively for towing.

When we purchased our new camper in 2008, we knew we were at our weight limit with our current truck.  Kevin is a GM man.  The problem was that even the 3500 trucks didn’t have much more weight capacity than the truck we currently have.  The 2011 GM diesel truck has been revamped and has a much greater towing capacity. 

We were hesitant to purchase a new 2011 for two reasons.  New models sometimes have bugs to be worked out, and GM is not offering any decent rebates or incentives for their larger trucks.

So, we decided to keep the truck we have and do all necessary maintenance before we head west. That included four new tires, brakes and rotors, new spark plugs and filters and all the other tune up type stuff. 

Kevin was a service consultant at a GM dealer in his former life.  Even after a nice discount at his former work place, our bill was still $1,700.  OUCH!

I’ve been keeping very close track of our spending since we began fulltiming to try and figure out what our average monthly expenses will be.  So far, every month has had some large expense.  The first two months we had to buy items for the camper.  Last month was airline tickets for our boys to visit at Christmas, this month a large truck repair bill. 

I guess all those items have to be factored into the budget.  It will be interesting to see how our budget numbers look after a year.

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

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Bad Day at Golf …

A bad day at golf is better than a good day at work.  That’s what Kevin said on Monday after our weekly round of golf.  He had a rough day.  I played my usual round of golf.  Some very good holes; some very bad holes.  Some beautiful shots; some terrible shots.  We still had a good time.  It was a good sign that we could laugh at ourselves at the end of the round.

We had an inch of rain last night.  The first thing I did this morning was check the floor next to the bed in the bedroom slide to see if the floor was wet.  Yippee, it was dry!  Next, I checked the window in the front slide next to the dinette.  The carpet was quite soaked :(   So, one leak seems to be fixed; the other still leaking.  The leak did seem to be better than before.  There was not as much water as we used to have.  But, there should be no water inside when it rains!!!!

Since we hadn’t heard from the dealer or factory regarding our bedroom slide repair, Kevin gave them a call today.  Of course, they blamed each other as to why we hadn’t gotten a call.  We are supposed to be getting a call from Roger at Jayco within the next 2 days to set up our appointment for service at the factory.  I will not be leaving their lot until they prove to me we no longer have a leak, and our bedroom slide is working properly!

Frieda and Richard

Today my mom and her friend Richard came for a last visit before we leave.  Aren’t they a cute couple :)  My dad passed away four years ago.  I’m so happy for my mom that she has found such a great guy to spend time with.  We went to dinner at a diner in town called Apple Tree Family Restaurant.  We chose this place because the parking lot is always packed when we drive by around lunch time.  I figured the locals know a good place.  The prices were very reasonable, but the food was very average.  Oh well; we didn’t leave hungry :)

We received some good news today.  We were told that Dodge County will hire us next summer for a 24 hour a week park attendant position at Derge County Park in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin.  We’re not sure where we’ll be camphosting yet.  If the camphosts at Derge don’t come back, we’ll be there.  That would be the ideal situation.  However, if they come back, we’ll be at Astico again next summer.  It’s about a 10 mile drive to Derge so we would just commute to do the job.  It’s lawn mowing, weed whacking and bathroom cleaning.  At least we know we’ll have a camphosting position and some income.

Today was the first day of school for most Wisconsin schools.  I was a school secretary in my former life, so I did some reflecting today.  No forms to process; no schedules to change; no parents to deal with; no crabby co-workers to tolerate!  I do not miss that life at all.  I’m so very happy we made this decision.  

I don’t miss my old life one bit.  There is only one thing I miss from our house.  It’s the dishwasher.  I’m fine doing laundry at the laundromat, but I sure miss the dishwasher.  I’ve heard some RVs are not being build with them, so that is on my wish list for the next camper :)

Kevin has subscribed to satellite radio.  He wanted to be able to hear all the Packer and Brewer games.  He’s been having fun today playing around with it.  He likes his new toy!

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