Not All Who Wander Are Lost

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

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Madison Quilt Expo and Doctor Visits

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a few more that I found particularly stunning.

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 3, 2018

Our Next Chapter in Life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Our site and the road in front of our site.

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

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

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

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

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