Not All Who Wander Are Lost

Not All Who Wander Are Lost
January 17, 2017 - Florida Keys

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!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Celebration Picnic

Last Sunday we attended a celebration picnic with members of my family. In the year 2017, we are celebrating several special birthdays. My mom will be 80 in October, I turned 60 yesterday, my brother turned 50 in March, and our daughter-in-law will be 30 in November. Kevin and I also celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in June. That's a lot of special days in one year.

My brother Ron rented a picnic shelter at a park in Hartford, and ordered lunch from a caterer he was familiar with. The weather was beautiful, the food excellent and the company enjoyable. My mom had invited her friend Bob's family as well. They've been dating for a few years, and we hadn't met his extended family. I think everyone had a great time.

Our family is pretty small, but with Korey and Cathryn living in Nebraska, we don't get together that often. It was great to have us all in the same place again. I know my mom and I really enjoyed everyone being together. In addition to my mom, there is my brother Ron and his wife Laura and their new puppy Snoops. Kevin and I were joined by our sons Eric and Korey, and his wife Cathryn.


 Here are all the special birthday family members for 2017.


 Its always very special for me to have our little family together. I love these people so much!!!


Korey and Cathryn were only able to stay for a few days. They stayed at the RV with us, so we had Monday together for a relaxing visit. We played some bean bag toss, sat around chatting and enjoyed a campfire together.

Yesterday was my 60th birthday. Every year we've been working in Beaver Dam, I've wanted to attend the Dodge County Fair. For some reason or other, we've never gone. Yesterday was the day we finally went. I really enjoyed the pig, duck and goat races. In fact, it was so much fun, we went twice. Other than that, we wandered through some tents selling the standard stuff and visited the animal barns. It's so amazing how hard the kids work on raising and caring for their animals. A whole world we know nothing about. I know the sale of their animals helps some of the young people earn enough money to attend college.


We planned to stay for the Oak Ridge Boys concert in the evening, but there were some pesky rain showers throughout the day, and they came back while we were waiting. By 8 pm when the show was supposed to start, it was still raining and we were soaked. The show was obviously going to be delayed, so we gave up and went home. Good thing the show was included in the admission price, so we weren't too concerned about missing it.

A few weeks ago, I saw this cool cloud formation. I see a troll laying down. You can see his chin, nose, eye, forehead, ear and tall hair. His arm is down near the tree. Does anyone else see it??


The campground will be near full again this weekend. Only two more weeks until Labor Day. The summer is almost over. Time sure flies. We plan to leave on October 9th, so not that many more weeks to go. I have to admit, I'm looking forward to heading south again. Especially, since we have a family trip to Mexico planned for the end of October!

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

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Big Brother is Watching

When we began our full time RV adventure seven years ago, we decided to remain Wisconsin residents for a number of reasons including inexpensive vehicle registration costs. We have used our son's address for our mailing address since that time.

Several counties in southeastern Wisconsin require bi-annual emission testing including the county our son lives in. However, we spend the summer working at a park/campground that is in a county without the requirement. Diesel trucks are exempt, so it would just be for our 2000 Pontiac Grand Am that we only drive in the summer.

When I sent in our registration one of those first years, I noticed that you could report the vehicle is kept in a different county than your mailing address/residence. Since this fit our situation, I registered that car in Dodge County and never heard another word about. It saved us the hassle of having to get it tested when it wasn't necessary.

Two weeks ago we received a letter at our son's house stating that our car had been observed at our residence and we needed to get it tested. Reporting false information was a crime, and could result in a fine for us. There was a number to call if you wanted to talk to someone about it.

Well, I was pretty upset. I visit Eric about twice a month, so how was my car observed at his house?? Are the police in his town running the plates of vehicles parked in front of residences? Are we on some kind of watch list? I think I probably overreacted, but it was a strange feeling.

I called Paul at the DMV and had my whole story ready for him. He was probably the nicest public employee I've ever encountered. All I had to do to resolve the issue was send him a text with a picture of our pay stub from the county we're working in, and all was well. He closed the case.

I asked him how our name came to his attention. It turns out that repair facilities that do the testing for the state are randomly inspected by the DMV. There is a list of people who report keeping their vehicles in a different county than their address on their driver's license. When the inspectors are out and about, they cross reference the list to see if any of those addresses are near them. It just so happened that my car was at Eric's  house on a day the inspector was in that neighborhood.

I found out that people falsely report a different county to avoid testing a car that will fail the emission test, or to avoid a wheel tax in some counties or for cheaper car insurance prices than in the county they live in. Well, we weren't cheating, but I can understand why they check up on people.

It's amazing how much we are being watched without even being aware of it. Cameras are everywhere, and I think big brother is definitely out there :)

In other news, we've been very busy at the park. Weekends are completely full, and we've even had quite a few sites occupied during the week. In our free time, we've gone golfing a few times and visited Eric.

Last weekend was the annual quilt auction at the camp our son Korey works at. Each year nearly 500 quilts are donated and the camp raises nearly $100,000. I've been donating some quilts for the last few years. The winning bid for my quilt this year was $325. That's the most any of my quilts have earned. Yippee! I did donate another small infant sized quilt that went for $50. I enjoy quilting, and this is a great cause for me to donate to.


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

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Puppy Paloosa

We had three families visit us last weekend at the campground. These are friends that Kevin used to work with. They brought their campers and families, and we had a great time. All three of them have added puppies to their families in the last several months. What a riot they were.

Biscuit was the youngest of the puppies at about 3 months old. He is a golden retriever and the most mellow, best behaved puppy I have ever seen. Here he is with his owner Andrew in the outside pen. Art and Dawn have two six month old puppies who were trying to get into the pen. Watching them was a hoot!


Josh brought a slide hammer to remove some of the dents the deer created in my car. The guys were able to pull the fender back from the tire and pull out the dent near the door so it can open again. It's not pretty, but at least its usable again. I told them not to bother too much, as its old and not worth much anyways. At least we can use it for the rest of the summer before we put it back in storage for the winter.


We really enjoyed the company of good friends. My work hours are Friday and Saturday from 10:30 am to 7 pm. It gets a bit lonely sometimes since we're stuck here every weekend. We enjoy when friends visit us.

The campground has been very busy again this summer. People are constantly coming and going, keeping us on our toes. We're pretty sure next summer will be our last year working here. We are ready to really retire and do some summer travelling.

The weather this summer has not been that great. Lots of heat, humidity and storms. We're over seven inches above average on precipitation so far this year. Makes for a soggy campground.

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