Old Diary

Four on the coast

Well, it’s been couple days since I posted and the whirlwind has left town.  (Much to our sorrow)  We enjoyed 4 days with the girls and four days aren’t enough — they are what we had and we’re thankful — but they aren’t enough.  With Melanie in her final semester at University of Wisconsin we know she’ll be leaving the family nest after graduation and life will never be the same again.  But… life is sweet.  And we’re thankful for what what we get. (a couple of these pics I just shared but I wanted them all here together)

We picked the girls up in Portland, spend the afternoon snooping around Portland — which is family-speak for showing Melanie around (specially the things she had on HER list)  We did a few food carts for lunch, hit Powell’s City of Books, Buffalo Exchange for some shopping and a stop at Hair of the Dog brewery for a little sampling and some terrific braised spicy duck wings (simmered in beer and habanero).  After a break at the hotel (Springhill Suites near the airport)  we stopped for dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory.  [We have been visiting OSF locations for about as long as they have existed — so there’s some family history here, and a lot of memories too]

Friday we headed back to Florence and we spent Friday evening at the Waterfront Depot (the same place Peg and I had our 45th Anniversary dinner) and ate up a storm.  It’s fun exposing the Grand Kid to different dining experiences and she’s turning into her own foodie — though she has yet to learn to actually READ a menu.  Little things like skipping over the $4.00 price for artisanal focaccia and seeing only the $1.00 price tag for the parmesan sprinkling or pesto to enjoy with the bread and then telling her mom that mom hadn’t read the menu carefully.  But — hey — when I was 21 I was probably worse!!! and she’s so much fun to be with I wouldn’t dream of mentioning it at the time.  I love seeing which traits she has gained from her parents, which have skipped a generation from both sets of grand parents.  It’s kind of like observing ‘wildlife’ — observing but not wanting to alter the behavior of the one being observed. 🙂  And, she’ll learn as she gets old.  And there’s no better way of learning than having someone call you on your little character idiosyncrasies — specially someone OUTSIDE your family.  Like any 21 year old she has lessons to learn — we all did, and we all still do.

Saturday we had Forest and Dunes to show the girls and we did.

And when we returned to Portland on Sunday we didn’t have a lot on our agenda — make a safe trip up through the I-5 valley, try to get some nice pics for Katy and  Mel of Mt Hood and get a little swimming in at the really nice pool in that Springhill Suites where we stayed Thursday night and returned to on Sunday.

This morning we had plenty of time to get them to the airport by 11:00, so it was quiet conversation and departure anticipation.

A good trip all in all.

Peg and I stopped at Camping World on the way home; nothing wrong just checking out the store.  We also noticed that there is a NEW camping world under construction in Eugene.  We’ll have to stop by after it opens this spring.

Tomorrow it’s back to the grindstone.  Peg’s gonna take a day off, I have a big meeting at the office with the Regional Forest Supervisor. I’m kind of surprised that I was invited — as a volunteer — but I was so what the heck — I’ll see what goes on at a management meeting and learn a little more about the Forest Service.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll see if I can find something to talk with you about tomorrow.

Old Diary

Gone Fishin’ Without a Rod

FISHING-ROD-AND-FISHWe spent all day yesterday looking for a grocery with a good seafood department!  Well, not really ALL day.  Actually, it was only a small PART of the day.  But when Kathryn comes to visit we like to feed her what she doesn’t get much at home (with a husband who has seafood allergies) — but this time I think she’s gonna get meat or vegetarian fare.  Sorry Katy.   Actually, she eats everything, and it’s just parents being parents who like to give their ‘little girl’ (now a lovely grown woman) what she likes.  But to be 100% honest we had a lot more on our plate yesterday than wandering around in groceries!

We had 5 days before we start our Camp Hosting position and yesterday was the perfect day to get out of the campgrounds and do a few errands that would take longer than we might want to spend away from the campgrounds after we start hosting.  For one, there were a couple things we wanted to get from Camping World — which is the opposite side of the Twin Cities from here — fully 80 miles each way.  But it was a beautiful day, the sun was shining, the temps were down to the 80’s and I was mostly looking for an excuse to get in the car and DRIVE.  So we did.

Camping World isn’t the best store in the world.  Some of their prices are a tad high.  But, they cater to RV’ers, and they have a lot of things that are hard to find elsewhere.  I’ve been to this same branch three times now — twice last year and yesterday.  There are other branches that have better stock but the store in Rogers is a decent place to go for RV supplies.


Our ‘gift’ from Camping World!!!!!

I admit to being totally confused however. We got up to the register to check out our couple minor purchases and we were given a Christmas ornament!  Ok — so I’m sure a lot of their customers are arm-chair campers and maybe some of them never even get their camping gear out of the driveway but what am I supposed to do with a glass Christmas Tree Ornament that says:  Good Sam Club?  Little, breakable things that clutter up the place just don’t seem to be the smartest “gift”.  I remember stepping on a broken ornament once at home — in bare feet.  OUCHY!  I’m sad to say but if I’d seen it in the bag when we were at the store I’d have handed it back to the clerk – I’m afraid now it just goes into the trash.


We DID drive right through the middle of the Twin Cities (on I-94) instead of taking the bypass around town.  It seems that the bypass has been under reconstruction forever and the trip was quite easy without excessive traffic — whereas the bypass was backed way the heck up!  I have to get Peggy to think about taking some through the window pictures but here’s a bad picture of the State Capitol from the highway just to prove we were really THERE!


Our ‘steering wheel table’

The biggest reason for the trip was to get a step for outside the door and a ‘steering wheel table’ — we got the table, and we passed on the step.  I’ll order the step from Amazon instead, maybe next week or so.  The table we bought and it’s now set up on top of our steering wheel just like it’s supposed to be.  I know ‘steering wheel table’ isn’t a everyday item for those who live in brick and mortar homes but when you have 230 sq ft to live in that space above the steering wheel can be considered ‘wasted’ unless you can find a good way of salvaging it — and putting a table there is a great way of doing just that.

When we start hosting we’ll be using our printer for a page or two every day.  The steering wheel table will be just the place to put the printer — and leave it — for all the time we’re here.  No dragging it out from under the sofa every day.  The rest of the time I think it will be home to our lamp! (picture of lamp and table to come — once I find an extension cord!)

Ok — enough ramblin’ for one day.

Y’all have a great day and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

Minimalism, Old Diary

Chasing Down Bits and Bobs

refrigerator fan

A second refrigerator fan for the freezer

Today was the day to make those little purchases that we kept putting off and putting off until after the closing. Usually we just figure out what we need, and go out and buy it. Full Stop. But with all the waiting on the house and not knowing what would happen, or when, we just added item after item after item to our shopping list and marked it: “After the Sale.” Today was after the sale day.

tire covers

Tyre covers to protect our expensive Coach tyres.

None of the purchases amounted to any significant amount of money. They were all just things we should have and didn’t, or we felt would make our life easier in Journey. Things like tyre covers to prevent UV damage and keep our life safer were no brainers. Others like the refrigerator fan are sort of work-arounds for life in an RV. Our Dometic fridge-freezer has no circulating fan so it tends to be colder at the bottom and warmer at the top. Last summer we bought one for the lower fridge section and it did wonders. I have read about other RV’ers using on in the freezer section as well and wanted to try it — not a huge investment compared to the cost of food — so why not?

drawer dividers

Additional Drawer Dividers

Then again there were other items like drawer dividers. Last summer we never thought about using two more of them for the drawers under the dinette banquettes. We bought two for the kitchen utensil drawer and they have been lifesavers but those drawers under the dinette are chockablock with heavy cookware and finding a way to control movement while in motion is just a good idea. And it will help with access when they are kept in place.


in need of organizing

None of this amounts to a hill of beans on the Grand Scale of Things but for the moment getting organized in our new home is relatively high on our priority list.


Where’s all the the storage space?

In an attempt to put things into context for you, we went from a kitchen with about 70 sq ft of counter & stove top space to a kitchen with about 12 sq ft of counter & stove top combined. It might have been easier downsizing from 6500 sq ft to 230 sq ft than getting accustomed to this kitchen. Quite literally, our 22 x 11 kitchen had about as many square feet as our entire coach does. I don’t usually like showing a messy living space but with our induction burner on top of the stove and a few items on the counter there’s not much space left. EFFICIENCY is the name of our new game in Journey.

I won’t bore you with all our little purchases. But we have made an improvement on the way things were last summer and we are happy with a day of well thought out purchases pretty much all found and scratched off our list. And as Good Sam members we saved about $60.00 on our $200.00 in purchases. That doesn’t hurt at all.

The Pizza Man Cometh

20130610112301Just one more comment to make. Our wandering took us past the outlet mall at Pleasant Prairie, and a stop at Kitchen Collection. I like this store because we’ve found some really reasonably priced solutions to our new kitchen needs.

I have always baked pizza from scratch. Journey is equipped with a convection oven for baking but with a turntable not much over 12″ I thought I might have to give up baking decent pizza. We found — but did not purchase — a product from Hamilton Beach that may just fit our bill. I measured the interior of our Microwave/Convection oven and find that it is 13 1/4″ deep (more than that wide). this PIZZA STONE is supposed to be 13″. Next time we pass a Kitchen Collection I think we’ll buy one and then we are good as gold! Keep you posted on this one. Perhaps when we are at Blackhawk Park we’ll bop up to La Crosse to get one! Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance.

Old Diary

Over Tired

The Lonely Drive Away

The Lonely Drive Away

We’re on our own. Kathryn left us Sunday and, as always, it was with mixed feelings.  We so enjoyed having her with us and we will miss her terribly, but it’s also good to be starting our second life and have a chance to unwind a little.

Neither of us could have guessed just how tired we would feel after the stress finally ended.  There were a million reasons why we were ready to be out of the school; only a few  of which had anything to do with our RV adventures.  I’ll never begin to get around to ‘splaining all those things — and none of them mean anything to anyone but us; but the lifted weight is huge and the corresponding adrenalin let down is also huge. Saturday — even with Kathryn around I did virtually nothing.  Yesterday was, I guess, pretty much the same.  Today I am feeling a little less drained and we might actually get in the car and go somewhere/do something — but even that might wait until Tuesday.

little daisies

little daisies

This next shot isn’t great, but I’m amazed at how well those little iPhone cameras do.  The fields are rife with little daisies.  They look so much like giant (as in TALL) dandelions but in fact they aren’t.  The prairie here is littered with colorful flowers.  Yellows and blues and pinky-purples — it’s quite delightful.

At the top you can see the "empty lake"

At the top you can see the “empty lake

I wanted to share a view of the lake: Wolf Lake.  The adjacent dam failed earlier in the year and the lake has become a temporary puddle.  All the wildlife have relocated themselves and are thriving, but the fishermen aren’t too happy. That brown band across the upper 1/3 of the image is where there’s supposed to be water, and now there is mud, and cattails, and various water plants.  Not nearly enough water for most boats — a few kayakers have ventured out but nothing much larger than that.

I have lots of things on my hit list — none of which I’m attending to.  We might take a short drive to Camping World – we wont be near one for a couple months and I need to get a couple tubes of sealant for my routine maintenance inspection of seams.  While we’re there we might consider awning de-flappers (pictures to come if we buy some) and drawer dividers for the under-the-dinette drawers.  I’ll look at tire covers too, and see what else we may want/need before we reach the Twin Cities in … well… I dunno… a month and a half?  If I have a hard time keeping track of where we are going, I wouldn’t blame YOU if you did the same.

To that end, I have posted (and will attempt to keep updated) our plans on the tab:  TRAVEL PLANS

You will usually be able to find our current location on the tab: Here We Are!  I’m sure that once this new life of ours becomes habit I’ll keep both those resources updated.

And with that, I’ll say Ta Ta for Today!  Talk to you tomorrow.

Old Diary

Camping WorldI checked in with Camping World and Journey‘s ready for pickup.  We’ll probably head down there to pick her up on Monday or Tuesday.   I want to get our DISH receiver into the coach, get her de-winterized, and more or less ready to hit the road except for reloading all our living “stuff” out of the school and back into Journey.   CW had a whole list of things to work on, but I’m most eager to see the new satellite antenna mounted in place.


I’m eager to see our new satellite antenna!

After bringing her back from Island Lake, we’ll have three weeks until we take her to Elkhart for the new flooring and sofa. We’ve been busy this last two plus weeks so the time has been going bye quickly.


Today I’m all aches and pains.  Yesterday I tackled a much bigger project than I should have.  How’z that saying go, “Your mind’s writing checks your body can’t cash” — or something like that….  Three thousand pounds of material to move from one place to another and I was never very good about doing a little and then stopping, and doing a little and then stopping.  — at the moment even blinking my eyes hurts. I could clearly itemize all the muscles I didn’t know I had yesterday.

Our plan to hang out here until after Memorial Day is still holding.  When we drop Journey off at Bradd & Hall we might take some or all of that two week period while they are working on her to visit Callaway Gardens or The Great Smoky Mountains.  I mentioned that before but we’re still kind of leaning in that direction.  Once Bradd & Hall are done we can take her back to Cudahy and load all our belongings inside and think about heading out for the season or forever.

🙂 🙂 🙂

Talk to you tomorrow.

Journey’s Ready for Pickup

Journey DL, Minimalism

Camping-World-logo-300x263Camping World still has our Journey. We spoke on the phone this morning. The satellite antenna is on the roof.  The problem with the Heart Panel has been diagnosed and it’s a simple, though not quick (in labor terms) fix.  Disconnect all the wires (batteries, inverter, charging system), allow the capacitors to completely discharge so that the panel, in effect, gets a re-boot, and put it all back together again. There are still a few small items on our hit list, plus, they are waiting for some parts from Winnebago. We might not get her back until late this week. For our convenience we might wait till next week.  At that rate we’ll have her back for about 3 weeks before we take the trip to Elkhart for the flooring and sofa install.  Small steps forward… but we are moving.


We’re hopefully waiting to hear about Friday’s showing.  Hopeful is a nice state of mind to be in, but we’ve been down this road before.  Being guardedly optimistic is good, but no showing is a sale until you have an offer to purchase.  So, tick, tick, tick…. we watch the second hand go ’round the clock face.  It seems a week is often the “buyer deliberation time” — so we could expect at least another 4 days of waiting.

prescription pad

Waiting not being our strong suite, we had to get out of the house; less to buy anything than to relieve tension.  We hopped in the CR-V and ran out to Johnson Creek.  We found some sunshine, the temps hit 60 out there (maybe here too for all I know) and we got back home before rush hour.

And I had my first experience with the new insurance company.  My pharmacist had to jump through some hoops (while I stood there feeling silly) but once she got done with the insurance people everything seems copiscetic and my net cost will be about the same as it had been with my COBRA. I swear:  Insurance is magic.  I don’t understand it; I don’t need to understand it; I’m just glad I have it.

It’s all good…….

Impatient Monday

Old Diary

The New World of Lighting

LED wholesaler 1

LED Strip lighting — 16 feet of light for 24 Watts of power

Old dogs can learn new tricks!  And we can light up the world while we are at it!  More importantly, I’m learning that in the world of lighting, it’s a whole new world.

No more bulbs.  No more outlets as I know them. Flexibility as I never dreamt. I don’t like all the options but that’s about personal preference and not about the fantastic possibilities.


Flexible LEDs allow cutting to size — every couple inches

When I began researching this topic I was having a hard time getting over the absence of bulbous shapes connected with lighting but these new LED things are pretty amazing.  Flat lighting.  Flexible lighting.  Lighting you can cut with a wire cutter, attach a pigtail for wiring, detach a paper ribbon and glue the lighting strip to cabinets, walls, or what have you.


Journey as she was when we bought her

These flexible strips will be my solution for those nagging fluorescents that I have been pondering.   We have three of fixtures. Two you can see in this image, and one lies beyond the top of the image.  It’s the kind of lighting I’m comfortable with — more about this in just a moment.

I’ll be able to cut two or three strips of LEDs and place them in each of the three fixtures and we’ll have as much light as we have now at a small fraction of the power consumption.

Lighting Preferences

Since we began looking at RV’s I have come to realize that my “taste” must be old fashioned.  We saw a lot of RV’s during our search for Journey — I’d venture to say we stepped into nearly 100 RV’s before we found what we wanted:  Class A’s, B’s and C’s.

Many were newer coaches than the one we ended up with and in retrospect I have come to realize that I’m really schizo about my lighting tastes.  I LOVE the LED look.  But I HATE the new TASK LIGHTING ideal.

This look utilizing spot lighting is fine.  I can see why people are moving in this direction.  But don’t you ever have things that may be perfectly nice that you choose not to like?  It’s that way with me and spot lighting.  I have no rational reason for it.  But I simply don’t find it calming, soothing or homey — to me.  It’s all about personal choice. Maybe part of me is stuck in the 50’s… 🙂

Our multi directional bulbs should arrive in Milwaukee on Monday — right after we take Journey to Camping World for service.  I’ll install those when she comes home.

I’ll likely order strip lighting early this week. That will leave adequate time to install the material between Journey coming back from Camping World and taking her to Elkhart.

We never got her home yesterday — the city was working on a water leak right near our driveway and I could not get her onto the property with their vehicles blocking my access. No one’s working on Saturday so we should get that handled and get her plugged in for a good 48 hours.

Old Diary, RV Living

Changes Underfoot (Literally)

Our trip to Elkhart Indiana proved to be more valuable than we expected.  It was short — we left Milwaukee about noon on Monday and returned home about 4 p.m. on Wednesday.  That gave us enough time to visit multiple outlets from surplus parts houses to custom installers. Continue reading