Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
October, 2017 - Mexico

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Mexican Vacation, Part 3

One afternoon we rented two wave runners for a half hour each. Cathryn and I had never been on one, and we were excited to try it.

Kevin had no desire to ride, so Eric was kind enough to give me a ride without scaring me.

After he drove me around for a bit, I tried being the driver. I didn't like driving. Each wave made me feel like I was turning without wanting to. I was probably going too slow, and the waves were pushing me. I rode with Eric for about ten minutes, and then I told him go out there and have a blast. He did.

Cathryn had an opportunity to drive, too. She enjoyed her first time on a wave runner.

Kevin and I really enjoy vacationing with our grown children. We have many wonderful memories of trips with them as children. Adult trips are just as fun. I know they appreciate these experiences we are giving them. As Eric said, "I'd rather spend time with you now than when you're dead." Makes a lot of sense. Ha,  ha!! They are such awesome people.

Korey and Cathryn were blessed to find each other. They have been married for four years, and I so enjoy watching them together. They have such a wonderful relationship.

The resort has a show every night at 9:30 pm. They frequently had live music before and after the show, as well. The first night we saw fire dancers. Amazing.

We also saw an acrobatic show, singers, Caribbean music, an Elvis impersonator and this Michael Jackson impersonator. All of the shows were enjoyable. The Michael Jackson performer sounded very much like him, and had the moves down perfectly. It was hard to get a picture because he was dancing the whole time.

We saw some unusual wildlife at the resort. These guys are called Coati. They look like a raccoon, only their noses are long like an anteater. They were not at all shy, and several unsuspecting people had food stolen right off their plate at the pool and the beach.

We also saw a raccoon, deer, lots of birds and several iguana. This was the granddaddy of them all. Eric was nice enough to pose with him for size perspective.

I know there are bigger iguana, but this was the largest ones we've ever seen.

That pretty much wraps up our all-inclusive vacation to Mexico. We enjoyed the all-inclusive format, but all agreed that next time we'll probably cruise again. We think cruising has more choices of things to do for everyone, and costs about the same or maybe even a little less. We did some dreaming of future trips we would like to take. Time will tell as to what family vacation we come up with next.

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

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Mexican Vacation, Part 2

The Ocean Maya Royale all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen had so much to offer that we never left the resort in the four full days that we were there.

There were plenty of choices of places to eat and drink. There were two pools, one activities pool (party place) and another more quiet pool. They also had one person kayaks and sailboats to use for free. Other water activities were available for a fee.

We spent a lot of time lounging at the beach in the provided recliners. This was the shoulder season, so not that busy. We were able to find chairs at the beach each day for the five of us, but just barely. Most of them had towels on them, but the people were hardly ever there. This is a problem at nearly every resort and even on cruise ships. I understand people want a place to hang out, but it is just rude to hog them all day and not be there.

Cathryn had some fun in the sand. Here is her artwork.

The activity pool had lots going on every day. Twice a week they have a foam party. They have a large cannon that shoots foam into the pool. Cathryn and Eric had a great time. I joined them for a while. It was great seeing so many people letting lose and enjoying themselves.

Drinks were included in our stay. There were lots of tropical drinks to try. Waiters circulated around the beach area taking orders, so we didn't even have to get up to enjoy them. What a life.

Another family photo at a sculpture on the grounds.

As you can see, we had a great time. More to come tomorrow.

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

Friday, November 3, 2017

Ocean Maya Resort Mexico

Kevin and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary on June 11, 2017. We decided we would like to celebrate by taking our family on a vacation. We all agreed we would like to try an all-inclusive resort. October was the best time for all of us to get away, so we booked the trip with our travel agent at Fox World Travel for October 26-31. I'll be writing three posts about the trip to break it up into shorter parts.

The trip started off a little rough for Kevin and myself. Our plane from Phoenix to Cancun had mechanical problems, so they moved us to a different plane at a different gate. We were told we would still be leaving close to on time. There were many announcements saying another 15 minutes. It ended up we left over two hours late. We were not happy with how American Airlines handled this. Just tell us the truth right off the bat. Here was the view of Cancun from the plane.

The kids ended up waiting for us for about an hour at the airport in Cancun. Our representative from Apple Vacations was there waiting, and we were on a van to the resort pretty quickly.

Here was our first view of the resort. Korey and Cathryn posing at the sign.

We were very happy with the resort. The buildings are smaller bungalow style with only two stories. Our rooms were spacious, modern, comfortable and very nice. We had a patio door to a small patio with a table, two chairs and a hanging chair. I really enjoyed swinging in the hanging chair every morning before the rest of the family was up. It was such a peaceful and beautiful atmosphere.

The resort has five restaurants on site. We ate at the Mexican one our first and last night. It was definitely our favorite.

We also ate at the Italian, Romantic, Japanese and buffet restaurants. The food was very good at all of them. One thing I did notice was that Mexican bakery seems to be rather dry. I wonder if anyone else has had this experience.

Kevin, Eric and I had never eaten at a Japanese restaurant. The guys weren't sure they would like the food, but were willing to give it a try. We all were very pleased with the experience. We tried the sushi, and were not that impressed; but at least we tried it. The chef was hilarious and put on quite a show for us. The main meal he cooked was fried rice and a mixture of vegetables with beef, chicken, shrimp and salmon. It was quite good.  Here he is fooling around with fire. He was quite funny. I love the look on his face.

Here he is cooking some of our food.

His antics were as much fun as eating the food.

The resort was beautifully landscaped. We asked someone to take a family picture of us by the Mexico sculpture.

More to come tomorrow!

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

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Enjoyable Family Time

We left Wisconsin on October 9th, heading to Waterloo, Iowa for a few nights. We like staying at George Wyth State Park. Their fall rate of $11 per night for a 50 amp site can't be beat. No water or sewer at the site, but great for a few nights. We visited with Kevin's brother and his family, and really enjoyed seeing everyone and catching up on each other's lives.

While at the park, we had some visitors. There were probably about 20 turkeys wandering through the campground. They're lucky it wasn't too close to Thanksgiving time, or they might be in someone's cooking pot.

We spent one afternoon in Cedar Rapids catching up with our friends John and Janie. They started full time RVing the same year we did. We started reading each other's blogs, met up in person, and became friends, meeting up several times in different parts of the country. This past summer brought some changes for them. They have rented a really nice apartment near downtown Cedar Rapids to spend more time near their granddaughter. Life is always bringing changes for everyone. They showed us some of their favorite places, and some microbrews were enjoyed! It was another fun day.

Our next stop was in Lincoln, Nebraska for the weekend to spend time with our son and daughter-in-law, Korey and Cathryn. On Friday while they were at work, we went over to their house and painted the foyer ceiling for them. After they got home, we enjoyed endless shrimp at Red Lobster. We were stuffed.

Their counter top microwave died, and they wanted an over the stove replacement. We all decided it would be a great birthday present for the two of them, so we went shopping for the microwave on Saturday, and Korey and Kevin spent part of the afternoon installing it. Looks and works great.

Korey plays in the worship band at their church. On Sunday morning, we picked up Cathryn and headed to church to see Korey play and worship with them.

Then it was back home to watch the Green Bay Packers play the Minnesota Vikings. Cathryn is from Minnesota, so there was a bit of a friendly rivalry going on. The Packers quarterback was injured early in the game (he's out for the season), and the Vikings beat the Packers 23-10. Oh well. They made quesadillas for us for supper, and it was time to say goodbye. We'll be seeing them again next week in Mexico, along with our son Eric, for a family vacation.

I was having so much fun visiting with all of our family and friends at these stops, that I was very negligent in taking pictures. I'm sure they didn't mind.

The people parked next to us one night at the RV park near Lincoln had an interesting trailer on their 5th wheel. I've never seen a trailer that attaches to the trailer hitch and only has one wheel. They made good use of their hitch and ladder, storing lots of stuff.

We left Lincoln on Monday morning, and are slowly making our way to Yuma. Today we drove past Denver. I love looking at the mountains in Colorado. This time of year is especially beautiful with some frosting on the mountains and trees in full color. We'll be making five stops between Lincoln and Yuma. We like to keep it to five hours or less of traveling each day. I'll be reviewing the places we stay at on the Campgrounds page, which has a link at the top of this page, in case anyone is interested.

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

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Our Green Car Died...Or Did It?

As I've mentioned before, we've been using our 2000 Pontiac Grand Am in the summers when we're in Wisconsin. It has 218,000 miles on it, and has been an awesome car with virtually no problems ever. Kevin is very good at maintaining our vehicles, and I'm sure that's part of the reason it lasted so long. We've been storing it in the winters for the past seven years, but it has sure been nice having a second car in the summers. Our plan is to work one more year at the park in Beaver Dam, so were really hoping it would last through next summer.

A few weeks ago, it wouldn't start. It turned over, but just wouldn't fire up. We have Good Sam towing, so we had it towed to the GM dealer in town. As a side note, this was the first time we've ever had to use Good Sam. The entire experience was excellent. Of course, we weren't stranded on the side of the road anywhere, and we weren't towing; so it was an easy call. But, I'm still glad to know it was a good experience, because we've seen some bad comments about them.

The dealer checked things out, and said it was the fuel pump. The cost to fix it would be almost $600. Nope, the car is not worth it. Too bad, it finally died. Kevin called his friend Josh who participates in Demo Derbies and asked if he wanted it. Josh said yes, and they met at the dealer where Josh took it away on his car carrier. Good bye to a great vehicle!!

Of course, it did have a big dent on the other side where the deer hit me earlier this summer. It wasn't such a good year for this car after so many great years with us.

You may remember that when the deer hit me, Josh was one of the guys that came out to the park and pulled out some of the dent so it could still be driven without the fender rubbing on the tire. We talked to Josh last week, and he asked if we would still want to drive it next summer if he could fix the fuel pump. Well, yes we really would like that. So, this winter he is going to see if he can find a pump and fix it. Then, we could drive it next year, and we would give it back to him after that. Don't count this car out yet. It may have another life or two. Maybe it's part cat!!

The weather this fall has been fantastic. Much warmer than normal, and quite dry. Because of that, the trees are barely turning colors yet. That's rare for this time of year. The weather guys are saying there may not be much color at all. I'll take the nice weather, if I have to choose. There is one tree near us that is looking quite pretty.

The sun isn't coming up until almost 7 am these days. I've enjoyed seeing some gorgeous sunrises the last few weeks. It was much prettier than the picture shows.

Tomorrow we're leaving and slowly making our way to Arizona. We're starting out by spending three nights in Iowa to visit Kevin's brother's family and our friends John and Janie. Then four nights in Lincoln, Nebraska to visit our son and daughter-in-law, Korey and Cathryn. Then five more nights on the road until we get to Yuma. We don't want to be driving too much in one day, as we have lots of time.

We'll only be in Yuma five days, and then it's off to Mexico for a family vacation. Lots of fun times ahead!

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

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Successful Paint Job

In my last post, I mentioned that we were taking our fifth wheel to Budget Truck and Auto in Janesville, Wisconsin to get the front and end caps painted. Both are dark brown and began oxidizing by the second year we owned it. It is a 2014 Jayco Pinnacle with a two year warranty, so Jayco agreed to pay for us to get it painted. It took quite some time to find someplace that would do a quality job in a time frame we could accept.

We were told they could do it in seven business days, but it actually took two weeks. Our dear friends allowed us to stay at their summer home across the road from the park we work at, so that worked out great. I don't know what we would have done without their generous offer. It was actually kind of nice walking over to the park to work our part-time hours and not be here all the time. A nice break for us.

We picked the fifth wheel up on Monday, and are very satisfied with the result. It looks 100% better. While I was coordinating this project with Jayco, they were being difficult about shipping the proper decals the the repair facility. I finally asked if we had to have the Jayco decals in order to have it paid for under warranty. They said no, so we decided we didn't need the Pinnacle decals on the front and back. The repair facility created a decal similar to the one that was on the front, only a little bigger as there wasn't going to be anything else on there. We think it turned out very nice.

Here are the before and afters. The first two pictures are before. You can really see the oxidation on the close up.

Here's the front after.

The decal is similar with the mountains, and we're fine not having the brand name up there.

Here's the before of the back. You can see there was oxidation on the top, along the ledge under the windows and on the flat surface under the windows. It actually looked worse than the pictures show.

Here's the back now. Again, we don't care that it doesn't say Pinnacle on it.

It's so shiny, everything is reflecting off of it. Can you tell we have a corn field behind us. Budget Truck and Auto were excellent to work with. They told us the reason so many brown trailers are having the oxidation problems has to do with the Gel Coat manufacturers are using. It is now coated with Clear Coat which is used on cars. Now we have to wax the sides so it is shiny all over.

The pictures really don't do justice to the amazing difference in how it looks. Although it was a pain, we're really glad we had it done. Especially since Jayco paid the nearly $4,000 bill.

While it was there, we had all four tires replaced from China bombs to the new Goodyear Endurance tires. We've heard good things about these tires, and hope we don't end up with more blow outs.

We have twelve days left here at the park in Wisconsin, and then we're out of here. Not like I'm counting down or anything. The weather the last week was insanely hot and humid for late September. We had temps in the 90s for several days, with many records being broken. As is typical for Wisconsin, we had a 30 degree temperature swing today with a current temperature of only 62. I'm not complaining. I like cool fall days. But, we went from air conditioner running all day the last few days to fireplace running today.

We're taking two weeks to get from Wisconsin to Yuma, Arizona; visiting friends and family along the way in Iowa and Nebraska. On October 26th, we're flying out of Phoenix to the Riviera Maya in Mexico for an all-inclusive five night vacation with our kids. That's our 40th anniversary trip, and I'm really looking forward to it.

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

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Winding Down

It's been about three weeks since I posted a message. Since we spend six months in one location in the summer, I don't post as often because I don't want to bore all of you. We've been at this same park for seven years, and not that much excitement happens. That's probably a good thing.

I've been asking for new wood chips in our playground for the past few years. We were down to just dirt in there. It's shaded, so often damp. I'm sure kids were getting pretty dirty. Part of the reason it took so long to get them is because the mound system is next to the playground, and it was pretty much impossible to get a big truck in there to dump the wood chips.

This year the powers that be decided the huge truck would dump the chips on one of our least used sites. They brought over a tractor with a bucket on the front. They filled the box on the back of our Gator at the park, and brought buckets over with the tractor. There were five of us from the county working on this project, and we got it done in about five hours. It was forty yards of wood chips. That's a lot!! Thank goodness they brought over the tractor and extra help. If Kevin and I had to move all of them with a wheelbarrow, we would still be at it next year. Just look at that huge pile.

The campground has been very busy again this summer. We were full or nearly full all weekends between mid May and Labor Day. This weekend we only have eight sites in use. It was a beautiful weekend, so I'm a bit surprised by the low turnout. Next weekend is also supposed to be fantastic weather. We'll see how many campers show up.

I must say I'm happy for the slow down. We really have very few problems, but it's so nice and peaceful in the park when there is not much business. Of course, we wouldn't have a job if it was always empty. Darn!

A few weeks ago there was a group here that we recognized. We belonged to a Jayco camping club for over thirty years before becoming full timers. There are a few other Jayco clubs in the state, and the Central Rolling Jaybirds had their August outing at our park. We had met some of them in past years at state rallies. It was fun catching up.

We are going to be homeless for the next two weeks. Our Pinnacle fifth wheel began showing signs of oxidation on the front and back caps last fall. I contacted Jayco, and they said they would pay to have it repainted. The problem was finding someplace to do it in a timely manner. Most of the Jayco dealers I called either wouldn't do it at all or wanted us to bring it in winter and leave it for at least a month. That just wasn't going to work for us at all.

After much research, I found Budget Truck and Auto Repair in Janesville, about 1-1/2 hours from here. They specialize in truck, auto and camper accident repair and painting. We knew two people who had work done there and were very satisfied. It took some doing to get Jayco to allow us to get the work done at a non Jayco dealer, but I convinced them that the dealers just wouldn't work with us.
So, today we are packing it up and dropping it off at the repair facility.

While it's there, we are having all four tires replaced as well. We've had our current China bombs for two years, and don't trust them for another trip to Arizona. We are getting the new Goodyear Endurance tires. They are supposed to be much better for fifth wheels. We'll see how they do.

We have become friends over the past few years with a couple that own a lake home across the road from the park. They have very generously offered to let us stay at their home while our fifth wheel is getting repainted. They are going to be on vacation, so weren't planning to come to the lake during this time. Thanks so much Tim and Pam. They certainly are making it easier for us to be homeless. We will be able to walk across the road to the park to do our jobs.

I'll post pictures of our newly painted front and back caps when we get our fifth wheel back in a few weeks. Hopefully, it will look much better.

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