Not All Who Wander Are Lost

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

Friday, April 29, 2011

Here Comes The Sun

It was so wonderful to see the sun this morning.  I woke up at 4:30 am and couldn’t fall back asleep, so I was able to witness this beautiful sunrise.


Kevin will say I couldn’t sleep because of “the” wedding that was being broadcast this morning.  But, that’s not it.  Although, I have been watching the whole thing.  Just saw “the kiss”.

I’ve been a bit grumpy the last few days because of problems we’re having again with electronics/technology.  We still don’t have our DirecTV working.  We’re waiting for the receivers they’re supposed to be sending us.

On Tuesday we purchased a new Mi-Fi from Verizon.  We’ve been using an aircard since last summer, but we couldn’t both be online at the same time.  We had tried a program called Connectify that is supposed to turn Windows 7 into a hotspot.  We had some success with it, but the program kept shutting down, and it just wasn’t working well for us.

Also, we were not satisfied with the company we’ve been using for internet service.  Last August I contacted the for help in setting up our internet service.  They were offering Verizon aircard service for $10 less than Verizon was charging.  I was under the assumption that this plan would be through the 3Gstore.  There would be a one-time charge of $99 to lease the aircard.

I didn’t realize the service was through a third party company called Group Access.  We were limited to 5GB of data per month and were able to check our usage online.  Unfortunately, Group Access sold our account to Coast to Coast Cellular a few months after we signed up.  It took weeks to get a new aircard from them and many phone calls to actually get it working.  Also, we were no longer able to check our usage online. 

When I asked Coast to Coast about that, they said they were “working on it”.  We were never given any information on how to view our account online or find out what our usage was. In January we ended up going over our 5GB limit by about 1/2 of a GB.  That cost us an extra $125. 

When I called to complain, I was given a user ID and login to view our account online and was told I could email them anytime for usage info.  That was the first we were ever told any of that. Due to the fact that we were never informed of how to check our usage, I asked for a one-time credit for the overage charges. Of course, they said no.  I have filed a dispute with our credit card company, and we’ll see what happens.

The lesson learned is don’t sign up with a third party internet provider.  Their overage charges are ridiculous.  I must also say that the 3Gstore has not provided any help with this, and basically told me “tough luck”.

So, back to Tuesday and the purchase of a Verizon Mi-Fi.  It worked for a few hours and then stopped working.  I called and found out their 4G network was down nationwide.  As of this morning, their network is back up, but our Mi-Fi is still not working.  So, I’ll have to call them again.  Luckily, I hadn’t cancelled the aircard yet so I still have internet. 

The Mi-Fi is $50 per month with a 5GB limit.  Overage charges are $10 per each GB over the 5GB limit.  That’s a much more reasonable price for the overage fees.  We did have to buy the MI-Fi for $99 and a two year contract commitment.

Also, yesterday we had to spend another $800 on truck repairs.  One of the wheel hubs had to be replaced; something to do with the anti-lock brakes. 

So, with gloomy weather and all of these problems, I’ve been in a bit of a funk, and couldn’t fall back asleep this morning. Hopefully, the sun will cheer me up.

Now, I know full well that these are little problems, and I should not be complaining.  When I see what devastation the tornados in the south have done, I know I am a very lucky person.

Unfortunately, I’m a worrier.  I truly believe I’ve learned to let things bother me less in this last year, but I still have a ways to go.  I’m working on it, but it’s hard to change who you are :)

Kevin just got up to go chase ducks off the roof.  Apparently, two ducks were walking around on the roof above the bed and quacking.  Too funny!  I needed a laugh :)

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Great Visits

It has been so wonderful to see my family again.  Korey has been here for almost a week.  He has to leave today, but we’ve so enjoyed spending this time with him.

On Sunday, we went to my mom’s for dinner.  We haven’t seen her since September, and Korey hasn’t seen her since August.  She was so excited!  We had a great dinner and so enjoyed catching up with my brother and his wife.  Both my boys were there.  I cherish every moment with them. We had a great Easter. I hope all of you did, too.

We attended church in Beaver Dam on Easter morning.  Something the pastor said in his sermon really hit home for me.  He was talking about the rock being rolled away from the tomb, and how God sometimes will roll away the rock of our sorrows or pain.

It made me think of how much Kevin and I had disliked our jobs and wanted desperately to get out and start our new fulltime RVing dream.  It felt at times like it would never happen.  But, now almost a year later, I feel as if God moved that rock for us.  We are so much happier in this simpler life!  We now have the freedom to do what makes us happy.

P1010900Yesterday the sun finally came out.  It was 64 degrees, and we spent some time outside.  The three of us took a walk and then played some bean bag toss.  Last night the rains came back.  It’s been raining hard all night.  The sun isn’t supposed to return until Friday. Yuck!  All this rain certainly has turned the grass green. 




Korey and I sampled the wine I bought in New Mexico.  Good stuff!


After Korey leaves this morning, it’s time for some errands. We hope to be able to get haircut appointments, go to the bank and get a Mi-Fi air card from Verizon.  Right now, we have a regular air card so only one of us can be online at a time.  We’ve been very dissatisfied with our internet provider, Coast 2 Coast Cellular.  But, that’s a story for another day.

Also, we still do not have  satellite TV.  The local service guy couldn’t figure out what was wrong with it.  He said he thought both of our receivers had gone bad at the same time.  The odds of that are so slim. We don’t think that could be the problem.

But, DirecTV is now sending us two new receivers. They should be here in a few days.  We’ll see if that solves the problem, but we doubt it.  So frustrating!!!!  At least we’re in an area where we can receive local channels through our antenna.  So, we are now having to watch commercials, and Kevin is missing ESPN.  Such a rough life we lead :)

One more event that has happened since we’ve been back in Wisconsin, is that we’ve been hired by Amazon to work at their Coffeyville, Kansas distribution center this fall.  We understand that it will be hard work, but the income we will earn will allow us to take the winter months off and enjoy.  I’ll write more about the hiring process in another post.

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

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Visit With Old Friends

Last night we went out for a fish fry with some very good friends.  Sue and I became friends in 7th grade.  We remained the best of friends all the way through high school.  In fact, Sue and her husband, Jim, were responsible for setting up my first date with Kevin. 

The two of them were our maid of honor and best man and godparents to our oldest son.  They had two boys close in age to our two boys.  Every summer we would take our boys to Great America and the boys attended church camp together for a number of years.

As is often the case in life, interests change and sometimes you don’t spend as much time with good friends as you would like.  So, over the years we saw less and less of them.

It was so good to see them again! Their son David, his wife, Liz, and their one year old son, Harper, joined us along with our two boys.  What a cute family David has.  Little Harper is just adorable. 

Wedding Party (8)We had a wonderful evening catching up.  We have made plans to golf together this summer, and I’m hoping they will come out and visit us at our campground.  Since I forgot my camera and don’t have a current picture, I’ll share a picture of the four of us at our wedding in 1977.  What children we were.



The weather sure has been crummy since we returned to Wisconsin.  We’ve had rain and clouds on seven out of nine days since we’ve been back.  I’m thinking I got spoiled by all the sunshine we enjoyed this winter in the southwest.

What I have been enjoying is being with my family again.  Korey has been staying with us since Wednesday, and it has been so wonderful to have him with us again for a few days.   We saw Eric at dinner last night and will be with the boys, my mom and my brother and his wife tomorrow.  Seeing all of them is worth a few rainy and cloudy days.  But, I wouldn’t mind some sun and warm weather sooner than later :)

We have taken a few walks in-between the raindrops.  There are a number of white pelicans on the lake.  When they are swimming on the water, they appear to be completely white.


Yet, when they’re flying, their wings are black.  I’m not sure what kind of pelicans they are, but they sure are pretty. 


There are also many robins and some red-winged blackbirds in the park.  Certainly, all of these birds mean spring is just around the corner.

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

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Isn’t it Supposed to Be Spring?

We left Springfield, Illinois on Monday morning.  As we entered Wisconsin, we saw a bit of snow on the grass.  I was sure hoping to avoid snow this year :)

We arrived at Burlington RV Monday afternoon.  Our appointment for repairs was first thing Tuesday morning.  They were kind enough to let us stay overnight on their lot Monday night.  They even turned on the outside water for us since one of the reasons we were there was to have our water pump replaced.

On Tuesday they replaced our water pump and repaired the damage that was done by one of our tires losing it’s tread back in February.  Repairs were completed at 5:30 p.m.  Since it was snowing to the north, we decided to spend another night in their parking lot.

We have been so impressed with Jayco.  Our warranty expired last fall, but they covered the tire damage repairs under warranty and replaced the water pump,as well.  Jayco’s customer service is excellent.  We had filed a claim with Goodyear for the tire and the damage it caused.  We got an email this morning saying they were covering all of the repair costs and the new tire.  So, Jayco will get their money back, and we will be reimbursed for the tire.  More good customer service!

It rained all day yesterday and most of the night.  There were even a few thunderstorms in the evening hours.  Three inches of snow were predicted to the north overnight.  Yuck!

We left Burlington around 11:00 a.m. this morning and arrived in Beaver Dam about two hours later.  We are at Derge County Park where we will be the camp hosts this summer.  The roads were fine getting here.  Just a bit wet in a few spots. 

Here’s the current view out of our back window.


I’m not happy about the snow view.  However, this view is to the south so I’m sure we will see some awesome sunsets out of our back window this summer.  I don’t know what crop will be growing, but it will be nice to have our back shades open with no one behind us.

Here’s the view out of our side window.


That’s Beaver Dam Lake across the road from us.  It’s to the east so there should be some beautiful sunrises over the lake.

We’re fighting with DirecTV again.  When Kevin set up our satellite today, it wouldn’t work.  When he called DirecTV, they told him our protection plan doesn’t cover us because our dish is on a tripod and not attached to a residence.  They sold us this plan last September when we had a problem with the dish on the tripod so someone screwed up. Again!!!

They wouldn’t help me find a service person in our area.  I finally found the name of a service person online, and he is supposed to call me back tomorrow to set up a time to come out and take a look. I’ll definitely be cancelling that protection plan that doesn’t cover our equipment. 

I hope this finally convinces Kevin to cancel DirecTV.  Their customer service is the worst I have ever encountered!!! Dish Network has got to be better. It certainly can’t be any worse!

Our youngest son, Korey, should be here in about an hour.  He’s driving down from Minnesota to spend the next five days with us.  I’m so excited to see him.  And, we’ll see our oldest son, Eric, on Friday.  The whole family will be together for Easter. I have missed my boys :)

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

Sunday, April 17, 2011

A Little Lincoln History

Today we visited the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.  It is a four block area in downtown Springfield that has been restored to the mid 1800s time period. The movie at the visitor center covered the time Lincoln lived in Springfield, and it was very well done.

The main feature of the site is the home Abraham and Mary Lincoln owned while they lived in Springfield.  It is the only home they ever owned.


Lincoln came to Springfield at the age of 28 to be a junior partner in a law firm.  He lived here for 25 years and during that time got married, fathered four children, and was elected President.


This room is the Back Parlor.  The couch is the original horse hair couch the Lincolns owned.  It is believed Lincoln was informed that he had won the presidency in 1860 in this room.


This is the Sitting Room.  The mirror was brought by Mary Todd when she moved to Illinois.  Under the mirror is her original sewing table.

The Park Service offers free tours of the house.  There are also two other houses on the block that have been restored and are open for self-guided tours.

We walked about six blocks to the Lincoln Presidential Library.  There is currently a Civil War exhibit which we looked at.  Across the street is the Lincoln Museum.  We didn’t have time to go through it today.  Maybe next time we’re in the area.


P1010886Our last Lincoln stop for the day was his grave site.  Lincoln is buried at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield along with his wife and three of their four sons.  Those three children all died before they were eighteen years old.  Their only child to survive to become an adult was their oldest son, Robert Todd Lincoln, who is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. 


P1010884Spring has arrived in Illinois.  This apple tree was in full bloom.








And, I couldn’t resist sharing this beautiful tulip picture with you.


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

Saturday, April 16, 2011


Two days ago we had the air conditioner running because it was 86 degrees in Oklahoma.  Since leaving there, highs have only been in the 40s and the skies have been heavily overcast for two days.

I have a feeling we won’t be seeing 80 degrees for quite some time.  I guess there is always a trade-off for everything.  As we’ve been driving through Missouri and Illinois, I’ve been enjoying the views of green grass and the blooming Redbuds.  There are also some trees with white blossoms that are so pretty.  Even with the clouds, it’s been beautiful.

Here are some of the white trees zipping by.  You can see the bright green of the fresh leaves, as well.


P1010876And, of course, no trip through St. Louis is complete without a picture of the arch.  We drove through St. Louis around noon today, and traffic was fairly light.  I’m sure glad we weren’t  heading south on I-55 into the city.  They were backed up for miles.




It was windy again today.  Unfortunately, it was now coming from the northwest instead of the southwest.  So, Kevin was fighting a head wind all day.  No more being pushed along from behind.  Our gas mileage sure wasn’t good. In fact, it was so windy that it pushed our step down while we were driving.  Kevin had to bungee it to keep the wind from blowing it down. 

We are spending two nights at the Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield.  The rate for 55 and older is $20 a night for a FHU site with 50 amp electric.  They also have free Wi-Fi which works great.  Some sites are on asphalt parking lot and some are on grass.  It’s quite muddy so we chose the asphalt.  We will definitely keep this place in mind for future trips back to Wisconsin.

There were some tornados and heavy storms in central Illinois last night.  It feels like we’ve been tip-toeing between storms.  All we had was rain all night in Missouri.  Nothing serious.  It appears the severe weather will not be a factor for us between now and Monday when we reach Wisconsin.

We did see on that it is expected to be in the 40s all next week with clouds and rain.  Why are we going back there?? I guess seeing family and camp hosting are good reasons to return.  Hopefully, the weather will improve sooner than later :)

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

Friday, April 15, 2011

We’re Fine!

I was so sad to hear this morning that several people were killed by tornadoes yesterday in Oklahoma and Arkansas.  We were very lucky to have missed the worst of the bad weather.

There was a line of storms that came through our area yesterday afternoon.  We experienced some high winds, heavy rain and a brief period of small hail.  Nothing that did any damage.

There was a tornado spotted about ten miles from us.  That was a little too close for comfort!  The worst of the tornadoes were in southeastern Oklahoma. We were in the central part of the state.

We left this morning and Kevin put in a long day of driving, about seven hours.  We had planned on staying at a Passport America place east of Springfield, Missouri. It’s a motel with several campsites in the back.  When I called this morning, they said they had one site left. 

When we arrived, they had only back-in sites left, and they were too small for us.  The lady on the phone never asked me what size we were.  Oh well, it looked pretty dumpy and swampy anyway, so we left.

We kept on going, figuring we’d find something.  About thirty miles further along, we found an RV park right along the interstate.  It was $20 with our Good Sam discount, they had room and it didn’t look swampy.  Sounds good.  We’re here for one night.  Tomorrow we head to Springfield, Illinois for two nights.

Thanks for all the comments regarding our safety.  I guess I shouldn’t be writing posts during a tornado watch :)  I certainly didn’t mean to alarm anyone.

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

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Tornado Watch–Yikes!

Our plan had been to leave Oklahoma this morning and drive to Springfield, Missouri for the night.  Yesterday the weather people were predicting severe storms and possible tornados for Missouri tonight.  That’s not good.

So, we decided to stay in Oklahoma for another day.  We paid for another night and enjoyed a nice day today.  Originally, the weather reports were for severe weather in eastern Oklahoma and east into Missouri.  We’re in central Oklahoma.

Well, the weather changed it’s mind and decided to become severe closer to us.  We are currently under a tornado watch.  There have been a few funnel clouds that have popped up in our surrounding area, but so far we’ve had rain and just a little bit of small hail.  Hopefully, that’s the worst of it.

The storm shelter is just across the road from us so at least we have a safe place to go, if needed.  Keep your fingers crossed for us that we won’t need it!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Oklahoma City

Today we drove to downtown Oklahoma City.  Our first stop was the Oklahoma City National Memorial site. I’m sure most of you remember the morning of April 19, 1995 when Timothy McVeigh parked a Ryder truck full of explosives outside of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. At 9:03 a.m. the truck exploded and caused the death of 168 innocent people.

The memorial is a peaceful place to remember and honor the people who died, the survivors, the rescuers and everyone affected by this senseless act.


The reflecting pool is in the location of 5th Street which was the street in front of the building.  The truck was parked about half way down in front on the building which was on the right.  You can see the field of 168 chairs representing each of the people who died.  They are in 9 rows representing the 9 floors of the building.  Nineteen of the chairs are smaller than the rest representing the children that were killed.  All of the children were under the age of 6.

At the back right hand side next to the gate is part of the original wall of the building.  It has a plaque on it with the names of the 680 people who were injured, but survived.


The names are on those plaques behind the trees. The plaques are made of granite rescued from the lobby floor of the building.

A total of 324 buildings were damaged in a 16 block area.  Eventually, 16 of those buildings were demolished due to the damage sustained. 

Across the street is a church.  The rectory of the church was destroyed by the blast.  In it’s place, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City has erected this statue of Jesus.


The words on the statue are a quote from the Bible, “And Jesus Wept".  The statue is facing away from the site.  This was a really moving visual for me.  I can certainly imagine that Jesus wept at the evil that happened at this place on that day. 

Across the street behind the statue, you can see part of the original fencing that was placed around the site after the explosion.  Next year marks 16 years since the explosion, and people are still leaving memorials at the fence.

In addition to the outdoor memorial, there is also a museum on the site.  We didn’t go in the museum.  I really didn’t want to hear the audio and see the images of the tragedy.  Visiting the site and honoring those killed was enough for us. Prior to 9/11, this was the the most destructive act of terrorism on American soil.

On the way back, we drove past a church called LifeChurch TV. It has a massive cross outside of it.  They must be having a carnival or something.  There is this inflatable ape next to the cross.  It looks like King Kong is going to try to climb the cross.  We’ve noticed a great many crosses and churches in this area.  I’m wondering if it’s part of the Bible Belt.


The weather today was gorgeous.  It was sunny with a high of 80 degrees and calm winds for a change.  Perfect.

When we got back to the camper, there were two new rigs next to us.  They’re from Wisconsin, too.  We spent a while sitting outside and visiting with them.  One of the couples ordered a new Jayco Pinnacle and is picking it up next week when they get back to Wisconsin.  Cool!

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

Monday, April 11, 2011


We’ve been on the road for much of the past two days, about 5 to 6 hours each day.  Yesterday we left New Mexico and spent the night at AOK Camper Park outside of Amarillo, Texas. It was one of those Passport America parks that is nothing more than some hook-ups in a field.  It was $11 and just fine for the night.

It was really windy all day yesterday, but luckily the wind was coming from behind us.  We actually got very good gas mileage.  The last hour or so before we stopped was quite dusty.  There were a couple of times where it was getting difficult to see because of all the dirt blowing around.  I sure wouldn’t want to see what a full-blown dust storm is like.

There is a landowner near Amarillo who has “planted” ten Cadillacs in his field.  I pictured it a little different.  I didn’t realize how out in the middle of nowhere it was.  I was able to get a picture as we drove by.  As you can see, the air is full of dust. 


We left Texas this morning. As we got closer to Oklahoma, I began to notice green; green grass, green trees, green bushes, green fields.  It was fantastic.  I’ve missed green!  I thoroughly enjoyed the weather in the desert southwest, but I’m ready to be out of the desert for a while!

We’re spending the next three nights outside of Oklahoma City at Oak Glen RV Park.  It’s another Passport America for $12.00 a night plus $1.00 per day extra for wi-fi.  It’s an adequate park.  Our site is FHU with 50 amp service.  When we got here, all of the sites were open so Kevin picked this nice site with a concrete pad.  Do you see the green trees and grass? 


The campground has a pool which is not open yet.  I’m thinking even if they put water in it, I wouldn’t want to swim in there.


The good news is no more sand or gravel for a while.  Now it’s time to give our home a super-duper spring cleaning and get all of that sand and gravel out of every crevice and corner :)

The key to success is having dreams. The mark of success is living them. ~ Unknown

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Old Town Albuquerque

Yesterday was the annual Founder’s Day celebration at Old Town.  The afternoon was filled with all kinds of entertainers.

We got there a bit early to look around and check out some of the shops.  We did find some t-shirts we liked, so they have been added to the wardrobe. 

These guys were playing in one of the courtyards.  I’ve always loved the sound of the wooden flute/pipe organ so we spent some time listening to them.  I really enjoyed their music and ended up buying a CD.


P1010856The church in Old Town originated in the early 1700s and is the oldest church in Albuquerque. Services are still being held. 







P1010861The Founder’s Day entertainment line-up included many different types of acts.  There were clowns, a variety of musicians, dancers, cowboys on horses and many more.

This group of Native American dancers were representing the Dakota Tribe from Minnesota.




This guy was with a group of circus style entertainers.  They reminded me of movies I’ve seen where a troupe of performers  traveled in a wagon from city to city entertaining as they went.  


We stayed about two hours, and enjoyed our visit to Old Town.  By the time we got home, the winds were howling again.  I don’t think we’ll be spending time in New Mexico again in March or April.  It’s their windy season :)

A reader asked a question about how big our site is.  Here’s a picture of our site in Albuquerque.  This was one actually a pretty good-sized site.  I’ve shared pictures of the sites at a number of places we’ve stayed at in previous posts, just to give you an idea of what each place is like.


We left Albuquerque at 8:30 this morning.  We’re traveling 300 miles today to Amarillo, Texas.  We got an early start to try and avoid as much wind as we can.  Mornings are always calm.  The traffic was great going through the city on a Sunday morning.  We’ll be home in 8 days if all goes well.  I’m excited to see my family at Easter.  Korey will be traveling from Minnesota to spend several days with us.  It will be great to be with my boys again!

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

Friday, April 8, 2011

National Monuments Tour

We spent the last two days touring three National Monuments in the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area.

Our first stop was Bandelier National Monument, which is about an hour west of Santa Fe.  It’s in a mountainous area that reminded me of some of the scenery we saw in Colorado.

This monument contains ruins of a pueblo of the Ancestral Pueblo people.  Part of their pueblo was built on the ground and part of it was in caves dug into the sides of the cliffs.  Here’s what remains of a 400 room section called Tyuonyi.  The hole in the middle is a kiva.


They also had many dwellings in the cliffs.  They dug caves into the cliff and built an adobe entrance in front of it.  Here’s what’s left of those dwellings.


Some of these cave dwellings were 2 or 3 stories high and there were several caves in each dwelling.  It’s believed the caves were used for sleeping and storage, and the daily living was done in the area in front. 

P1010826The Park Service has re-built a replica of one of the entrance rooms. A few of the caves have ladders you can climb to take a look inside.  There’s not much to see.  There are holes in the floor which were believed to have been used to anchor looms for weaving. The people living here were of the same group as the people who built the cave dwellings at Mesa Verde in Colorado.



From Bandelier we drove through Santa Fe to Pecos National Monument.  Here there are more pueblo ruins.  This site was similar to the Salinas Missions we saw.  The Spanish came to this area as well and built a mission in the early 1600s. 


Other than the mission, much of this pueblo has not been excavated.  It’s amazing to walk around and see hills of grass and realize that under all those hills are the ruins of people’s homes. 

A kiva has been restored so we climbed down to take a look.


We have seen many kiva’s all over the southwest.  These rooms were thought to be ceremonial rooms for many of the native cultures.  Here’s a look from the outside.


The people of this pueblo lasted much longer than some of their neighbors.  They actually lived here until the early 1800s.  However, the Spanish, pioneers, drought, famine and disease finally forced them to leave.

Yesterday we went to Petroglyph National Monument.  There are thousands of petroglyphs in a 17 mile area of land here in northern New Mexico.  Most of them have been etched into volcanic rocks.  All the other petroglyphs we have seen have been carved into the sides of cliffs or caves.  These are the first we’ve seen on rocks.

Petroglyphs New Mexico

Kevin has a Kokopelli keychain.  We found his ancestor on one of the rocks.  (Kevin is holding the keychain in the right corner of the picture.)


As we were walking between the trails, we heard a clicking noise.  All of a sudden there were about six roadrunners running across the road.  Here are a few pictures.  Boy, they sure are fast.  It was so cool to see them even if I couldn’t get a close-up.


These two were either playing or fighting with each other.  They’d fly at each other and ruffle their feathers. 


They are much smaller than the one in the cartoon, and we didn’t hear any of them say beep-beep :)

We had a question regarding our RV negotiating the other day.  We were asked if we thought the mark-up was 30%.  In our experience of buying several new Jaycos over the past 30 years, we have always been able to pay around 30 to 33% below list price.  Our last purchase was 37% off in 2008 when the RV industry was in big trouble.  This salesman tried to tell us the mark-up was 10%.  We almost laughed in his face. We offered him 32% below list price with a credit for our trade-in of the NADA blue book price, but they weren’t interested.  Oh well.  It was a want, definitely not a need.

Also, I’d like to update you on the wildfire we witnessed last weekend.  When we left on Sunday we could see smoke still coming from the area.  That fire has burned all week, and is now considered 70% contained.  It has burned over 3,000 acres, but did not destroy any homes.  There has been another fire burning just south of Albuquerque which has destroyed over 10,000 acres and 5 homes.  It is extremely dry here.  We had a little sprinkling of rain last night and today, but they need more.  And the winds just keep on blowing.

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

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We Tried…

This afternoon we walked over to Camping World which is right next door to our campground.  We were just going to look at a few items in the store and check out prices.

We realized they are a Jayco dealer so we took a walk around the lot looking for 5th wheels.  They happened to have three of the new Pinnacle series which is Jayco’s new top of the line model replacing the Designer.

They were locked so we found a salesman to show us the inside.  We saw two floor plans that we really liked.  One of the units had the premium paint package, the larger refrigerator, the double-pane windows, a generator, two ACs and a number of other options we would like to have.  It was so nice!

Next thing you know, we’re inside talking trade-in value and price.  We gave the guy our bottom line and then went looking around the store while he talked to his boss.  Now, we’ve purchased five brand new Jaycos since 1981 and we know our percentages, and we know about mark-ups.  They were not willing to give us the kind of discount we are accustomed to getting, so we said “No Thanks”. 

Like I said, we tried.  It would have been nice, but not yet.  Ours is still great, and we are very happy with it.  But, it sure was nice :)

They have our number, and we’re here until Sunday.  Maybe they’ll reconsider.  I highly doubt it!  Spring is not the time to buy a new camper and get a good deal.

The campground we’re staying at is on the frontage road of Interstate 40.  That frontage road is part of the original Route 66.  There are a number of vintage RVs here, and some of them are even available to rent.  Aren’t they cute!


Dave and Judy, you guys would love this place.  In the gift shop, they have all kinds of little vintage trailer models for sale as well as vintage trailer birdhouses, wind chimes, etc.

There’s a little courtyard behind the office with this flower bed.  It’s so nice to see tulips again!


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

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Fantastic Day in Taos

About ten years ago, I worked with a really great woman at Kennedy Middle School in Germantown, Wisconsin.  One day she announced that she and her husband were quitting their jobs and moving to Taos, New Mexico to pursue their dream of building a house on property they owned there.  Maria had gotten a job in Santa Fe and her husband, Karl, was going to work on the house.

Maria’s first job didn’t work out as she had hoped, but in the meantime, they were able to purchase a Laundromat in town and have been running the business and building their dream home ever since. 

I emailed Maria and asked her if we could come for a visit.  She agreed and yesterday was the day.  Per Maria’s suggestion, we took the “high road to Taos” to get there.  It took about three hours from Albuquerque, but the views were spectacular.


We met them in town and they spent the afternoon driving us around and giving us a personal tour.  First, we stopped at what is believed to be the oldest hacienda in the area dating back to the 1500s.


These types of ovens are still used by the native people in the area to do their baking.


Next, we toured the Taos Pueblo Community.  There are a number of pueblos in New Mexico that are still in use. 

The admission fee to the pueblo was $10 per person.  They wanted an extra $6 to bring your own camera so I chose not to take pictures inside. 

We were given a tour by a very knowledgeable college student who is a member of the tribe.  All of the historic pueblo sites we’ve toured in our travels have been ruins.  It was so interesting to see a pueblo that was still intact.  Our guide told us some very interesting information about his tribe, the Red Willow Tribe.  It was apparent that he was proud of his culture. People have been living at this pueblo for over 1,300 years.

Next our hosts drove us to their home.  It’s located in the desert at the base of some mountains.  There are quite a few homes located in this area, but the county has not provided these residents a road to their properties.  So, they have to drive on a gravel/dirt road to get to their homes.  It was pretty bumpy, but so worth it.  Carl and Maria have built an absolutely gorgeous home out here.  They have a five acre parcel with the most amazing views. 


Here they are on their back patio.  And below is the view they enjoy while sitting out on that same patio.


I have thought of Maria so often over the last few years.  Eight years ago when she left Germantown, Kevin and I had a glimmer of a dream in the back of our minds, but were nowhere near taking the big step.  I thought Maria was so brave when she made her announcement, and she was an inspiration to me as we pursued our dream. 

We stopped at the Rio Grande Gorge for a picture opportunity.  That’s the Rio Grande River about 600 feet below us.


We ended the day by going to dinner at a cute little Mexican restaurant in Taos called Orlandos.  The food was good, but the company was better. 

We took a more direct route back to Albuquerque, but the scenery was still great.  Part of the drive was in the gorge along the Rio Grande River.  I’ll leave you with this beautiful sunset we enjoyed.



Too many people are thinking of security instead of opportunity. They seem more afraid of life than death. ~ James F. Byrnes