Old Diary

UPS – grrrrrrrrrr….

Wednesday didn’t go as expected at all.  We scrapped our plans over breakfast and ended up taking a road trip to Spring Valley, and the Highland Ridge Campground.  We spent a good part of the summer there last year and we just wanted to see the old place again.  an unexpected 300 mile round trip.  But one we enjoyed a lot.

Returning home I received a 2nd failed delivery attempt from UPS and after realizing that the problem was my fault, not UPS (though they don’t make it easy to fix the problem) it looks like today we get to do an unexpected 400 mile round trip to pick up at the distribution center what I was trying to get delivered to our kid’s new house.

So, there you have it… the best laid plans of mice and men…  I’ve learned a good lesson from this.

But no… we are not going to stop to look at the kids new house — We’ll save the joy of sharing it with us for our daughter.  That’s only fair.  🙂

Old Diary

In’s and Out’s

Sundays are always fun in a campground. The weekend warriors head home and there’s a flurry of activity around the campground. You can hear trailer owners using their electric drills to crank up stabilizing jacks; there are children crying because they don’t want to go home, there are pets that escape — or don’t want to get into their carriers, there are those who are skilled at driving their rigs and others who aren’t (SCREEEEEEEECH & CRUNCH). Sunday mornings are great people-watching!

In two and a half years this is only the second time we’ve had a pull through site. Life is so much easier when you don’t have to back in! And it’s safer. We picked this site (with limited options available) because it kept our large front windows out of the West, and we knew that there was good sight lines to the South for our satellite.

CROC drying stand

I like to wear my Crocs to the shower house and flush toilets — when I took my shower I arrived back at the coach and decided to leave them outside on the rug to dry off. What I didn’t count on was the downpour later in the day – at which point those Crocs got filled up with water. My new Croc Drying stand!

Here’s the Man of The House, just kickin’ back in my easy chair. To be truthful with the temps up in the 90’s I didn’t stay out there all that long. It felt great  to just sit back and read. I’m still on my Lawrence Sanders kick, but I have other things in the library.  When I finish this I think I’ll try one of them.

As is typical with campgrounds, there’s a lot of beer consumed. I found it interesting that when it came time to throw out their trash this camper had a small bag of trash and a LARGE bag of aluminum beer cans. This wasn’t the worst/best example — it just happened to be the one walking in front of me.

I like my alcohol — don’t get me wrong, I’m not against drinking while camping. I am, however, amazed at how much people can drink. I’m one of those guys who can be drunk under the table by a 90 lb woman. I just don’t have much tolerance for alcohol! But for those who do and can… as long as you are safe and don’t disturb other campers: it’s your choice.

this 9 barge tow was headed down stream

here’s a 12 barge tow headed upstream! there’s a 15 barge tow behind this guy along the bank waiting for this faster, same company, barge to pass them.

Being close to the Mississippi, we get a chance to see the tugs and barges. For Peggy and I that’s a big part of the attraction of this place — to watch the commerce of the world go … floating by… at what appears to be a snail’s pace. Of course, if you realized how huge the volume of freight each of these barges carries the concept of haste changes dramatically. Today we saw three, small photos of two of them are enclosed.

This last photo I include to illustrate the amount of water involved in this year’s flooding. From the current level of water to where that moss has come to rest on the low tree branch is a good 10 feet!  Half of the campground was closed for several weeks; it’s an annual thing here and they just work around it.

Well, that’s about it for me for today. thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Old Diary

And then there was… (silence)

Friday afternoon was the first opportunity on this trip to

  • turn the engine off,
  • have a few minutes of free time when we weren’t exhausted,

And it was eery.  There were:

  • No OHV’s.
  • No ocean sounds.
  • Just the still of the forest.


  • There was Wisconsin Mucky Summer Humidity,  also known as summer haze…
    .Summer Haze

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not complaining.  It’s just interesting how quickly what I spent a lifetime becoming accustomed to can suddenly (in comparison) become foreign!  I don’t remember this much humidity.  I love the silence of the forest, but I miss the sound of the ocean.  The OHV’s — well, they’re just what they are: a joy to some and a nuisance to others  — but they were ubiquitous where we just came from and the sudden absence is a bit mind blowing.

We slept Ok last night.  It was hot like the previous nights — but seemed hotter.  We have not yet twigged the best way to keep the coach at a comfortable night-time temperature/humidity level.

That wasn’t a problem on the Coast — it was cool EVERY night.  And even though we might have kept the dehumidifier (freestanding – that we bought while we still had Journey to help control mold and mildew) running all night we never felt this kind of humidity.

You other RV’ers know that finding a comfortable temperature can sometimes be a sticky wicket.  If you set the A/C warm enough to be comfortable with it blowing on you it’s not cool enough to sleep without waking.  If you set it cold enough to sleep with you need blankets to keep you out of the breeze.  You can turn off the A/C and just use the house fans, but we go to bed early and often the heat of the day hasn’t dissipated — so it’s still to hot when we go to bed, and just right when we wake up.

We’ll suss it out in time.  And our technique will inevitably change as we move to other parts of the country.  This would all be much simpler if we could just learn to stay awake later and get up later — but a lifetime of early to bed and early to rise has not been an easy habit to kill; and 10 months on the forest didn’t do anything to help when we sort of had a time to go to work.

And so it is that retirement is a period of adjustment; and RV’ing is a period of continual adjustment. If you want calm stability in your life, never buy an RV.  But they can be SO MUCH FUN!

The Grand Scene

My mother was one to sit in her easy chair and watch the neighbors. She knew them all by name, knew their comings and goings, and commented on any deviation.  That doesn’t sound complimentary but I mean no ill will — it’s just one of the things she did.  Dad wanted to travel; Peg and I are living my FATHER’S DREAM to be sure.  Mom’s priorities were different:  there were local people she cared about and for and she needed to be near them.  They traveled a good deal, but she never wanted to be away from home more than a couple weeks at a time; and when dad talked her into the rare 1 month long trip she was ready to be home after 2 weeks.  And hope to heaven that no one had a heart attack or died while they were gone, that would have ruined everything.


Peg and I were driving down the road — someplace East of Worthington — and all around us were green, verdant fields and rolling hills and trees.  I looked at her and said, “Now isn’t this better than sitting on your sofa in the living room and staring out at all the neighbors?”

Indeed.  It is. At 55 mph on the Interstate life is quite luxurious in an RV.  You are way up there — over the top of all those short cars.

The view near Chamberlain S.D.

The view near Chamberlain S.D.

At that speed you are moving slow enough that almost all the traffic is pulling away from you (so you aren’t having to hit the brakes or change lanes to pass).  You aren’t going fast enough to really need to be super-vigilant — normal vigilance is OK.  🙂  In other words you can just enjoy being there.

The world stretches out in front of you...

The world stretches out in front of you…

We don’t need to travel a lot — but good gosh golly — it’s hard to get tired of this sensation — the world laid out in front of you like a … giant oyster … had to get in a little Coast humor seeing as this scene is so DRY!

This is getting back to the retirement we visualized.  And the one we bought the bigger RV to enjoy.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for stopping by, and God willing and if the creek don’t rise (after all, we are along the Mississippi where there was flooding earlier this season) I’ll talk with you tomorrow.  🙂

Old Diary

Genoa National Fish Hatchery

Ok — so I started this blog entry about 2 months ago and I never finished it.  What with travel and the visit with Kathryn I just never had time to get back to it.  But I was very struck by our little visit to the Genoa National Fish Hatchery and I wanted to share what we saw.

“Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.”
Henry David Thoreau


a broad view of some of the hatchery pools

Those words come out of the Genoa National Fish Hatchery’s brochure and it speaks to the heart of their mandate.  The hatchery is part of the Upper Mississippi River Wildlife and Fish Act of 1931 — it’s been around a long time — but located where it is (like most fish hatcheries) not many people even know it’s here.  I’d like to do a little something to help change that.


a hatchery sturgeon

This particular hatchery raises 15 species of fish and 15 species of mussels — they are actively producing more species than most other hatcheries in the country.  They produce primarily cold water breeding species, and I was surprised to learn that the also breed mussels!  With ten breeding ponds and enough out-buildings to handle fertilizing eggs and getting the little critters started in life it’s quite an interesting operation.  They welcome visitors and you’re free to make your way around the facility using their self-guided tour map.

Among other species they raise Bass, Rainbow Trout and Sturgeon.  I happen to have more images of sturgeon — they were what were in the culture tanks during our visit, but they operate all year working one species after another.

300 species of Mussels!

I was surprised to find that there are 300 species of mussels in the freshwater rivers of North America. Nor did I have any idea that most mussels need a host upon which to grow their larvae!  Without the right fish, no mussels.  The eggs settle into the gills of host fish and there the mussels grow until ready to drop of; without hurting the host fish.

Mussels have been on the decline in the U.S.  Species numbers are declining about 1.2%  per decade and they are expected to decline faster — in the range of 6.5% per decade in the future.  Genoa has released about 10 million juvenile mussels back into the rivers since 2000!  That’s a lot of mussel!

I hope some of you will put the hatchery on your To Visit List.  It may be small but they do a lot of good work!

Thanks for stopping by!

Quotations, Travel

Instances where I dont have my camera

I am working hard at mastering this.  Stay IN the moment, and quit thinking about what’s around the corner.

This is becoming increasingly difficult as we sit here waiting for the day to arrive when we move towards Oregon.

I can be way too one-track-minded. Yes dad, you were right.  I’ve never really denied it, but then I’ve rarely ever embraced it either.

I have no patience.

Dear Instances…

Old Diary

How Much Snow, He Asked…

Comparison ClimateWhat to look forward to?  We have no idea?

I was talking with the Park Maintenance Volunteer last evening and we were sharing volunteering stories.  Well, he was sharing volunteering stories… I only had one to share. They’re from Colorado, they RV for about 10 months a year and return to AZ every year for Spring Training where they have a house.  And they have a boat in Asia.  (There are times I listen a little skeptically to some of the stories I hear.)

After sharing some of the places they have volunteered and upon hearing our crazy plans to head for Oregon in the Winter he asked me:  “How much snow do they get.”  I knew it wasn’t much. I’ve been out there in the winter.  Bu I had no quantitative idea of the answer.  It turns out it really isn’t  much…. less than 1″.   I can put up with less than 1″ of snow.  I’ll see if I can put up with 30″ of rain in three months — that’s the big question.  

Statistics don’t translate into experience very easily.  It’s easy to look at a chart and think — I can do that.  But when you are outside in the rain –  looking and feeling rather like a drowned rat the chart may look very different to you.

It seems our family has similar feelings about snow however.  We are looking for a place to plant ourselves without it.  The new property that Kathryn and Michael are going to turn into a home has… ZERO yard and about 30′ of sidewalk to shovel, with no more driveway than the apron between the curb and the sidewalk.  It would seem that Michael is tired of shoveling too.

Can you tell I’m eager to get moving and get out there?  Duh….

Current Conditions:

Our Location: De Soto, WI / Blackhawk Park
High Temp: 82
No Rain
No Fog

Old Diary

No its not foggy!

when I look out the hallway window from the bed, all I see is the side of the dinette slider

when I look out the hallway window from the bed, all I see is the side of the dinette slider

When I lay in bed and try to look out the window to see what the weather’s like I usually get weirded out.  No, it’s not foggy out there — even if it looks like it.  Because when look out that tiny window (with the shades drawn it’s tiny) all I can see is the white side of the dinette slider.  So, all I see is a white blob.

I guess you could say it’s reassuring to get out of bed and realize that once more you’ve been faked out by white paint!

There are a couple other little glitches about RV living that I’ve noticed.  One of them presents a question.  Why do you put a rear view mirror on the dashboard of a vehicle that has no rear window?  Is it a federal rule that you have to   have a rear view mirror in the middle of your windshield?

I end up turning the rearview mirror on end so the curtains fit behind it.

I end up turning the rearview mirror on end so the curtains fit behind it.

When we’re on the road all I can see in my rearview mirror is some portion of the interior of Journey. It’s slightly convex — the mirror that is, not Journey, so it’s kind of a panoramic view, but it’s still more of a distraction than an aid to navigation.

And if we hear something ‘clatter’ or ‘thunk’ I would be lying if I said I didn’t do a quick turnaround peek rather than look in the mirror.  This has meant that we have sworn in a new ‘Sheriff’ in town.  Or maybe just a new Lieutenant.  So now Peg has become our Lieutenant of Unexplained Noises .

Peg is our Lieutenant Columbo... You remember him, don't you?

Peg is our Lieutenant Columbo… You remember him, don’t you?

At any rate most of the time the driver’s side window curtain is drawn across the window.  We get enough light to suit us and yet people don’t look directly into the whole interior of Journey.

I guess that’s a hold over from out days in a brick & stick home.  Most of our life we spent most of our inside-the-house living time on the second floor.  It seems that almost every place we lived there was one or more rooms on the second floor where we spent much of our time.  Consequently, we aren’t all that accustomed to sidewalk people being at eye level.  Yet, we like to look OUT.  A curtain across the driver’s side and an open passenger’s side window does the job.

I’m about ready to take the mirror down and store it away until the day comes that we sell Journey.  NO, that does NOT mean we have any plans to replace Journey. That mirror may stay stored away for a good long time.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Old Diary

When the heat gets to you


Yesterday I mentioned our neighbor who decided that they needed more cooling… this is how they decided to get it.

Today was sort of an adrenalin let down day for us.  We are both emotionally exhausted — I guess being ‘on call’ is more strenuous than we thought it might be.  While we were poking around the campground we found one of our Highland Ridge campers who seem to have followed us down here.  Small world.

I snapped a few shots around the campground to give some sense of how much the water levels have receded.  It’s amazing to me not only the power and fluctuations of nature but also the degree to which man has learned to control them.  It’s truly amazing to me.


Great River Roadhouse Interior

We made it back to Great River Roadhouse tonight — IN july we had seen their marvelous pizzas and we had to come back to try one.  it was worth waiting 2 months for.  The joint gets a lot of local traffic, a lot of biker traffic, and tonight it was host to the Driftless Paddlers, a Kayaking group.  They had clearly had a fun day and they all seemed to still be dry — a miracle I rarely seem to be able to achieve when I get into a Kayak.

They also have some 40 different bees.  Not all craft or IPAs but a nice selection nonetheless.

I finally got around to our DISH TV again.  It’s the dumbest thing.  I had it hooked up in the driveway at Cudahy and then switched over to antenna TV.  When we left Cudahy it was a while before we could get a satellite signal (based on where our campsite was located) — and by then I couldn’t remember what software switches to set — and then we didn’t have a signal again.  It’s nice to see what I’ve been paying for.  🙂

And, it will be nice to have a little more control over what we watch!  Relying strictly on the Air stations is good enough most of the time but it will be nice to have some variety.  Not sure what we’ll have in Florence.

I’ve been doing a little research on Florence — one of the topics lead me to find a reference to Oregon Farmers Markets.  I’ll post that in a day or so.


a medium pepperoni, black olive, mushroom ‘Za

We have a huge number of sparrows here.  I’m not sure why but we didn’t see a single sparrow up at Highland Ridge.  Yesterday afternoon on the prairie terrain alongside our site there were 30 at one time.

Immature Easter Brown Headed Cowbird

Immature Easter Brown Headed Cowbird

On that same subject, the last few days in Highland Ridge we had a little friend hanging out near our campsite.  This little guy was so friendly he would come within 1 foot of our feet with no sense of fear at all.  He’s a happy little bug eater so we weren’t in any hurry to send him on his way.  We were only happy that he didn’t get in the way as we pulled out from our site yesterday.

It’s funny how some critters have so much fear of humans, and others seem quite content to have people near and show no evidence of human-phobia.