Not All Who Wander Are Lost

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

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Getting Ready

We’re getting ready to hit the road on October 8th. We’ve definitely been busier than normal. I remember how busy I always used to be between working full time and having two children.

Our life has definitely slowed down since we’ve been fulltime RVers. I like it that way. Now when we have things to do for several days in a row, I feel rushed. Strange how we get used to different lifestyles.

Last weekend the camping club we belong to had their monthly outing at our park. There were ten families in attendance. We went bike riding on Thursday with Mary and Gordie on the Wild Goose State Bike Trail that Kevin and I like to ride on. It was pretty windy, but we managed to ride over thirteen miles. I was sore by the time we were done.

Unfortunately, the weather over the weekend was not nice at all. We had rain and highs in the upper 50s and lows were freezing. My garden is finished. We played some games inside and had some campfires in the evening. It was so nice to see everyone again.

Sunday our friends Sue and Jim came for a visit. I’ve known Sue since we were in 7th grade. They were our best man and maid of honor, so we have lots of history with them. It was great seeing them again.

On Monday we hitched up the fifth wheel to our new truck for a test run towing with the new truck, and to take in the RV to get our awning fixed.


We drove about 30 miles to Custom RV in DeForest. Carefree had sent them the repair parts. We were still under warranty for the awning. They replaced the motor and an end cap with a new design. Hopefully, this one will last longer than four years.

It only took about 20 minutes and we had a working awning again. Although the service was fine, the people we dealt with at Custom RV were not very friendly. As this was our first encounter with them, we didn’t come away with a very good feeling about the place. It’s amazing that businesses don’t get it when it comes to having friendly customer service people.

The good news is that the truck towed beautifully. Kevin is very happy with it. He had a little stress with our new hitch. It’s a Reese R16 hitch and works differently than our old one did. It worked fine, but Kevin was a little worried he wasn’t doing things right. When starting and stopping, it made clunking noises. After doing some online research, it seems the noises are normal.

Yesterday we had appointments to have our teeth cleaned. No cavities for both of us. Yippee!

Today is my last shift volunteering at Beaver Dam Community Hospital for this year. Then I have some errands to run. Kevin has been even busier, since he has his job here at the park.

Tomorrow I will finally have a day with nothing going on. The weather this week has been beautiful. Highs in the mid 70s. Perfect fall weather. The leaves are starting to turn colors. I love this time of year!

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

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Busy, Busy Week

On Monday we went to a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game with our son Eric. It was a good game, the Brewers won. They are in the Wild Card race, just a few games out. It should be an exciting end to the season. Hopefully, they’ll be able to earn a spot in the playoffs.

2012-09-10 18.29.47The Brewers recently honored announcer Bob Uecker with a bronze statue at Miller Park. Uecker has been the radio announcer for the Brewers since 1971. As long as I have been going to games, he’s been the announcer. He was dubbed Mr. Baseball by Johnny Carson and starred in the show Mr. Belvedere in the 1980s. He is a treasure in Milwaukee and still going strong at age 77. This was the first game we’ve been to since the statue was dedicated. He is only the 4th person to have a statue outside of Miller Park. The others are Hank Aaron, Robin Yount and Bud Selig.

There is a separate area with a bronze statue depicting three iron workers. It is a memorial to the three workers who were killed during the construction of Miller Park when a giant crane collapsed. If you’ve never been to Miller Park, I would highly recommend it. It’s a fantastic stadium.

golfOn Thursday our son Korey arrived from Minnesota for a visit. Friday Kevin and I went golfing with him. It was a beautiful day. Korey doesn’t get a chance to play much, but he had a great game. Kevin was trying out his new driver. It’s going to take him a few rounds to get it all worked out. On Saturday Korey attended a bachelor party for one of his high school friends. He had a good time hanging out with a bunch of guys he went to school with.

Kevin and I went to a wedding on Saturday night. Jessie, the daughter of our friends Jim and Wendy, got married. It was an outdoor wedding at Hubbard Park in Milwaukee. A very pretty setting overlooking the river. She was blessed with a beautiful fall day for an outdoor wedding.

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2012-09-15 20.59.36We’ve known Jessie since she was about six years old. Her family belongs to the same camping club we are in. Our families went on several vacations when the kids were all younger. I have lots of great memories of watching the kids hanging out together and exploring at the National Parks and other historic places we visited. It was so nice seeing her so happy. Jim and Wendy have three daughters. Jessie is the youngest and last one to get married. I’m sure Jim was feeling some strong emotions during this dance.

Today we celebrated my mom’s 75th birthday. Her actual birthday is on October 14th, but we’ll already be on the road. So, today we had brunch at the Copper Dock restaurant on Friess Lake in Richfield, Wisconsin. The food was very good.

Our family, as well as my brother and his wife, and my mom’s friend Richard were all together. My mom is doing very well for her age. She’s healthy and going strong. She tells us she plans to live long enough to take care of us when we get old. That’s a good attitude to keep her young :)


Tomorrow Korey and I are going to Kohl's to see if we can do some damage with the 30% off coupon I have. He’s leaving on Tuesday morning to head back home. Our camping club is coming next weekend to camp at our park.

On Saturday Kevin repaired our water pump with the repair kit they sent us. So far, so good. I sure hope this is the end of these constant water pump problems!

On Sept. 24th we have an appointment to take the 5th wheel to Custom RV near Madison to have the awning fixed.

We leave three weeks from tomorrow. We have a lot going on between now and then, so I’m sure the time will fly by quickly.

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

Monday, September 10, 2012

Finally A Bike Ride

A couple of times last year we enjoyed riding our bikes on the Wild Goose State Trail. We were looking forward to more rides this year.

Because of the extreme hot weather this summer, we didn’t get out there. Yesterday the temperatures were perfect for a ride. Low humidity and highs in the low 70s.


We drove the truck to the intersection of Hwys. 33 and 26. There is a nice parking lot there. The bike rack we use on the back of the 5th wheel can also be used on the truck. That way we can take our bikes to the trails.

We rode our bikes from Hwy. 33 to Hwy. 60 along the gravel path. It was a total of 14.5 miles round trip. I used an app on my phone called Jog Tracker to measure our distance.

The trail is fairly level as it is along an old rail way. We had a head wind on the return trip. It also seemed there were more uphill inclines on the way back. My legs were quite sore by the time we were done. I don’t think I could have done much more. I was sure glad to see that parking lot!

I was expecting to see the beginnings of fall color along the trail. With the mild winter and hot and dry summer, we really thought the leaves would start turning early this year.

We didn’t see any fall color along the trail. That’s okay, fall will be here soon enough. There were lots of pretty yellow flowers and cattails along the way.


On one of our water break stops Kevin spotted this little guy on the path. I don’t know what kind of turtle it is. Or maybe it’s a tortoise that lives on land.


Kevin spent the afternoon watching football. I watched some Brothers and Sisters DVDs I got from the library. I’m not one to sit and watch sports. I like to be doing something else, too.

Our Wisconsin football teams did not have a good start to the season. Both the Wisconsin Badgers and Green Bay Packers lost. Neither team looked very good. I sure hope this is not a sign of a frustrating season to come.

Tonight we’re going to a Milwaukee Brewers game with our son Eric. They still have a slim chance of making it to the playoffs. You never know, miracles do happen :)

I’m reading the Hunger Games trilogy. I’m on book two right now. We watched the movie on Saturday night. I thought it was pretty good. Kevin has not read the book, and he thought the movie was just okay. He said there were parts of it that weren’t explained real well. Luckily, I could fill in the blanks because I had read the book. On Friday night we watched the Three Stooges movie. We both grew up watching them on TV in black and white. The movie had a few funny parts, but was mostly pretty dumb.

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

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Quilt Expo 2012

This is the third year in a row I’ve attended this event at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin. It’s hosted by Wisconsin Public Television and Nancy’s Notions. Nancy has been hosting a sewing/quilting show on public television for thirty years.

Once again, I volunteered to work at the show. This gave me free admission and parking. My volunteer shift was from 2:30 to 6:00 pm. I got there right at 9:00 am and quickly worked my way up and down the rows of vendors. I was done by 10:30. Next, I went back to a few of them that caught my eye and made some purchases. My goal was not to buy anything this year as I have several kits and patterns that I bought at previous shows and haven’t finished.

Time After Time Photo - I Have PatternFor the most part, I did pretty good. I bought a few items to use for patterns or projects I already have. I did end up buying one pattern from a vendor in California called A Quilter’s Dream. I bought one of her patterns last year and really like it. She had a new design this year that really caught my eye. I just couldn’t resist. I’m currently working on the pattern I bought from her last year. I’ve almost finished piecing the top. It’s for a gift for my son Eric. He never reads the blog so I’m not giving away any secrets :) I’ll post a picture when it’s done.

At 11:30 I attended a lecture I had signed up for in advance. It was about machine applique. The cost was $10. I don’t think it was worth it. I got a free pattern which I saw later was being sold on clearance at Nancy’s Notions for $1.49. The hour long lecture was mostly pointing out products to buy for applique quilting and showing some examples of quilts the presenter had made. I have a few projects I want to make that involve applique, and I thought this lecture would help me get started. I didn’t really learn anything I didn’t already know. So, the next project I will start will be applique. I’m just going to jump in and do it!

My volunteer assignment was as docent in the quilt display area. There were over 320 quilts on display for judging. I am just blown away by the talent of some of the quilters. Here’s an example of the artwork on display.

This one won the Best in Show award.

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The picture just doesn’t do this next one justice. This lady from Germany had two quilts in the show. Each had over 40,000 crystals on it. Her quilting was very tiny and just amazing. Her backing fabric was dark and she used various color bobbin threads for the back to make the design pop. I was just blown away by her work.

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I really like the colors on this one.

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This Christmas one was beautiful. It also had some crystals to make it sparkle. I saw a lot more crystals this year on the quilts. I don’t know how the judges could choose winners. There were so many fantastic entries.

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There were a few areas of quilts on display that were not being judged. One group was of quilts made using the selvedge on the ends of fabric. So many creative ways to use these scraps. This is the same quilt. The close-up shows how the selvedge was used.

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One quilter had about 20 or 30 quilts on display. Her work was incredible. All done on a regular sized sewing machine. Unbelievable. She’s the lady in the white top.

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Here are a few quilt patterns/kits I wanted to buy, but I restrained myself.

I really like the leaves and colors on this one.

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This table topper was made from wool. Wool seems to be more and more popular each year. I knew it was more expensive than cotton fabric. When I saw the price tag of $52 for the kit, I walked away. More than I want to spend!

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I did buy one other pattern. My brother and his wife have a cabin Up North and love to ride their ATVs. I just couldn’t resist this pattern. I don’t know when I’ll make it, but someday they may have this quilt in their home.

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So, that’s just a small sample of this year’s Quilt Expo. I think I’ll take a break from attending next year. I didn’t see that much new stuff this year, and I really want to finish what I’ve already purchased. Of course, that’s what I said last year :)

On the home front, we’ve made progress on getting our broken parts repaired or replaced. Shurflo is sending us an upper housing repair kit for the pump. I sure hope this will take care of our pump problems for a long time to come. This will be the fourth pump in four years.

Carefree has shipped the replacement parts for our awning to a repair facility in Madison. Once they get the parts, we’ll make an appointment to take it in and get that taken care of.

One month from today we leave Wisconsin. We are both getting anxious to be on the road again. We’ll have about a week or two to make our way to Kansas for our jobs at Amazon. We don’t have an exact start date yet. We’ll know more on that in a week or two.

The weather has cooled off. This weekend the wind is out of the north and highs are only supposed to be around 70 degrees. Brrr. After the brutally hot summer we’ve had, we’re not used to this. I’m not complaining, though. I’m so done with the heat!

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

Monday, September 3, 2012

Fun With Friends and Repairs

Happy Labor Day to everyone!

We had a good news, bad news kind of weekend.  The good news was that we had five couples that are friends of ours come and camp in our park for the Labor Day weekend. They are all friends from the camping club we belong to.

We’ve only been able to go to one campout on a Saturday this year and visit with everyone for the day. These friends came to us, which we very much appreciate. We had a great time.

The guys golfed a couple of times. The ladies did a little shopping. There was lots of laughter, eating, talking, drinking, game playing, exercise walking and campfire time. I think everyone had a great time. I know we sure did.

Now for the bad news part of the weekend. On Thursday morning Kevin put out our electric awning. It was getting a bit breezy so I pushed the button to bring it back in. It moved a little bit, but wouldn’t retract.

I called Kevin over, and he took a look at it. The motor was definitely working, but for some reason it wouldn’t retract. I got out our owner’s manual stuff and found the Carefree awning booklet. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see that the mechanism had a four year warranty. Our four year owner date will be October 17th.

I called Carefree and finally got a customer service person. She then talked to Kevin, and he explained what was wrong. At first she was telling him to try and roll it up manually and secure it to the 5th wheel with duct tape or rope or zip ties. She said “be creative” when asked how to keep it rolled up. What???? That just sounded like a major accident waiting to happen. There was no way we thought the awning could be secured to the side of the trailer with duct tape!

Kevin kept talking to her and the more he explained it, she said she thought the gears in the end cap might be stripped. She suggested taking off both end caps and switching them around. That should allow the motor to engage with the gears and retract it. This was not a one or even two person job. Luckily, we had five other guys here this weekend.

So, Kevin strapped the awning down to keep it from blowing away until our friends could help him. Of course, it had to be windy on Friday and Saturday so they didn’t feel it was a good idea to try. Finally, on Saturday evening the wind died down enough to give it a go. It took some doing, but they got the end caps switched out. I said a little prayer and pushed the button. Yahoo, it worked. It will not be coming back out until it is properly fixed.

The Carefree customer service lady told Kevin that they would replace the entire motor assembly. They have redesigned it since our awing was installed. It sounded like there were problems with the old design. Here’s a picture of the part that had to be switched out. It’s the round cap with the two screws in it inside of the big plastic end pieces.


Tomorrow I’ll be calling Carefree’s warranty dealers to see when we can get it fixed. The closest ones are in Madison which is 30 miles away. We’ll have to take it in before we leave on October 8th.

On Saturday our friend Joan noticed a puddle under our 5th wheel. Now where could that be coming from? (The hose next to it was not leaking).


Kevin opened the basement door and started investigating. Friend Jim was helping him. It turns out the pump that we had to have replaced in July was leaking. This will be the third water pump in four years. This one has only been in there for two months, and we haven’t even used it.

I fired off an email to Shurflo today so we’ll see what they have to say. I must say we are very frustrated and disappointed with these water pumps. Hopefully, we’ve just had a string of bad luck. I certainly would not find it acceptable to have to be replacing the pump every year or less!

On Sunday the guys went golfing. Kevin came home with his driver looking like this.


He dropped his bag while loading the clubs into the truck, and the shaft snapped in half. At least it was after the round.

That afternoon Anne and Ralph’s truck wouldn’t start. After a jump start from Dave, it started up. Looks like they need new batteries.


I sure hope that’s the end of stuff breaking down. At least our awning is under warranty, and the pump better be. But, its frustrating to say the least. We realize that’s part of this life. We are using our 5th wheel more than is the standard. But, enough for a while.

The weather this weekend was still quite warm, with a few days at or near 90 degrees. That’s par for the course this summer. We started out with 90s on Memorial Day weekend and it hasn’t stopped. Hopefully, some cooler days are ahead.

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