Old Diary

Run-up to the Weekend

With a holiday weekend fast approaching this will be a little bit different sort of week for us.  We have our first-of-the-season extended camper.  We’ve got a neat solo retiree traveling in a Roadtrek who’s here for 8 nights.  He’s quite self-contained — he arrived on Friday and his unit hasn’t left the campground but once since arriving 4 days ago.

I’m sure you all know what a Roadtrek looks like. My dad wanted one of these in the worst way!

I’m sure you all know what a Roadtrek looks like. My dad wanted one of these in the worst way!

Every time I see a Roadtrek I can’t help think about my father.  He wanted one of these sweethearts in the worst way.  He even drove to Ontario to tour their factory — back in the day when you could actually take factory tours that showed you something.

Dad was a Canada-phile.  He thought everything Canadian was wonderful.  Personally I share a lot of his views, but a.) it’s too cold for me and b.) I’m just a little more reserved in my appreciation.  He and I did a couple solo trips to Canada and had a wonderful time.  And Peg and I have done a few trips into/through Canada as well.  It’s always struck me as rather like being in the U.S. but 10 years ago.  I suppose that is not a good impression to take away from a country — specially not the way so many Canadians seem to think that us ‘americans’ ( they’re american’s too but they call themselves Canadians as if to differentiate themselves from us.  🙂 )  I’d hate to wish what we’ve become on them in ten years.

Anyway…We have a couple fellows who sent their wives home after the weekend and decided to stay for an extra night or two.  That’s always nice to see.

Then there are the two retired pastors who just left.  They never camp on a holiday weekend.  Their opinion is it’s just too busy — one of them always hopes that a still-working pastor might call asking whether he can cover for the younger pastor so the younger one can take his family camping.  And he’s always glad to do it.  An attitude I can certainly appreciate with congestion and traffic and all that’s come to be associated with holiday weekends.

Restrictions

I got to thinking about restrictions in the RV lifestyle.  The way we RV I rarely think much about lifestyle restrictions but I noticed something over the weekend that I want to at least mention for those considering RV’ing.

I recently came across a campground with a minimum length restriction.  It’s the first time I’ve seen that as a criteria for admittance to any campground.  Usually length serves as a limit when you are too long, but until now never because you are too short. Coincidentally, I noticed that feature photo on that campground’s rate page features all high-end diesel pushers — so it’s obvious the message they are sending, and their rate structure bears that out.

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There are plenty of these big behemoths out there. But they naturally choose places I tend not to be interested in.

But my reason for mentioning it is simple.  We’ve been doing this for 5 years now and restrictions are one thing we rarely think about.  There are the issues of height and weight that go along with driving down the highway.  We’re 13’ tall, 8 1/2’ wide and we weigh just a tad under 30,000 lbs — so there are roads we aren’t allowed on and places that don’t want us.  Before we sold the house we weren’t actually supposed to drive on the street in front of our house — but no one ever hassled us about that as long as we didn’t park in our own driveway (which was also not allowed — but we periodically did it anyway).

Most of the restrictions you’ll find while RV’ing relate to your length.  Older state parks, or older facilities in general — built before longer RV’s — often have length limits.  At 40 feet we can’t get into many of the Wisconsin state parks at all.  They simply were designed for camping in units under 30 feet long.  We knew that when we bought Journey (she was 32’ long) and we rarely had any problems but even at that length there were still a couple campgrounds we were excluded from.  And the decision to go longer was really a calculated choice — comfort all the time or the ability to get into more campgrounds.  Thus far we have not regretted the decision at all.

Recently I came across a Volunteer.gov gig posting that limited the volunteer to an RV no longer than 27 feet.  There have been some gig posts that specifically tell volunteers that there is not dump station, or is no electric, or whatever — but at least the agencies are honest about that and I’m sure those limitations play into who, and how many, volunteers apply for those gigs.

One restriction that is increasingly more common is a limit on the AGE of your RV.  We knew this before we bought our 2005 coach, and both RV campground’s and lenders tend to see a ten year old RV as kind of a hard limit.  The campground operators don’t want their campground to look like it’s inhabited by a bunch of low-life’s so they arbitrarily say, if you’re RV is older than 10 years you aren’t welcome.  It’s a kind of discrimination — sure — but frankly being able to see the limitation on their campground tells me that’s not the kind of place I want to patronize anyway. I’ve seen people in brand new coaches I wouldn’t want to live near, and I’ve seen people in older units who are like family.  I don’t think those kinds of ’tests’ are a measure of who my friends should be.

Having noticed minimum length as a restriction I think that’s going to cause me to be even more aware of whether I notice patron limits at all, or whether we notice other limits that we might have ignored in the past.  If it’s something that doesn’t affect me I tend not to pay any attention.  (For example, when we’re going down the Interstate where I know the minimum clearances are going to be greater than 13’6” I never even think about how lot the bridges are — but Peggy, who still isn’t as accustomed to driving in something this tall, still likes to check out every single low bridge warning — even if it’s 16 feet.  It’s all about experience and comfort levels)

To be completely honest,  I tend to consider cost per night over most other considerations when making overnight choices.  That’s one reason we tend to choose public campgrounds over private ones.  A lot of the private campgrounds are, quite simply, out of our price range.  I don’t find value in spending excessive amounts of money for things I may not use.  For example,  we travel with fresh water on board, and room in our wastewater tanks.  If we are stopping for two to four nights along the way I don’t HAVE TO have a full hookup.  Half the time I won’t even bother making the connections if I do have a full hookup.  I don’t like to drain my tanks too soon — it only bollixes up the sensor units — so I don’t want to bother dumping at every opportunity.

If I leave my tank valves open that provides a highway for insects right into our holding tanks

If I leave my tank valves open that provides a highway for insects right into our holding tanks

On a related but side point.  I make it a point to almost never leave my wastewater tank valves OPEN.  That started out because we often have sites without full hookups and we simply had to wait until we got to a dump station to empty our tanks.  But I have also realized that if you leave your valve open you also provide a highway into your tanks for undesirable insects — like roaches — which can and will climb up INSIDE the plumbing and emerge through your sink or shower drains if you don’t have them secured. No One like roaches.  And keeping them OUT of the RV is a primary goal — at least it is for me!

Well, there you have our Monday.  We’ve finally found some warmth.  The holiday is fast approaching and life is good. Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be here again tomorrow to chat. Why not stop by!weather forecast

 

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Old Diary

I must be more prejudiced than I thought I was

I was sitting in our golf cart chatting with a 30-something camper when I had the distinct realization that I’m probably more biased than I’d like to accept.  The thing is, I realized while talking with him how much I liked this guy!  By contrast, I think I realized something I was not all that happy about.

One of the treats to me of staying in public campgrounds is that there seems to me to be a wider diversity of people than we usually find at private parks/RV resorts. That particularly applies to differences in AGE.  Our experience has been that County, State, and Federal properties tend to be visited by people of all ages and incomes, and to some degree of ethnic diversity — though not a lot. RV’ing is still largely the domain of white americans so you don’t see huge examples of ethnic diversity. In the past we have noticed that here at Highland Ridge the extent of ethnic diversity might be a little greater than some other places we’ve camped.  We do have periodic hispanic families and a surprising number of Hmong.  The frequency of Hmong visitors surprised me until I learned that Minneapolis had been an immigration magnet for Hmong — at which point seeing them here made perfect sense:  why wouldn’t they want to go camping!  It’s a lot of fun!

But what I’m talking about today is the intermingling of young along with us older codgers.  I have really been enjoying the presence of so many young families along with their kids.  But then you know I love kids! I am tickled to have a chance to just stand around chatting with them; to hear their point of view; to learn about their goals and their devotion to family. Family has always been important to us and seeing that value carrying forward in tangible ways always makes me feel good.  If there have ever been times when I have wanted to despair of the next generation it has not been when we were here!  Sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time to realize that our future is in better hands than might be feared.

fishing pole mount

definitely a Southern thing!

Which brings me to my title for the day.  I am coming to terms with being more of a died-in-the-wool Midwesterner than I like to think.  There is something about the ethos of Midwesterners that just rings true to me. I had my fill of Good Ole Boys, Floridians and Rednecks; enough of seeing Confederate Flags and juiced diesel pickups spewing black smoke and making more noise than an 18 wheeler. (I don’t mind the fishing pole racks on the front bumpers!)  There are just some aspects of people and society that I like better ‘up here.’

After this week’s publicity about the four drunkest towns in America all being in Wisconsin I have no illusions that Wisconsinites don’t drink a lot of beer, but I don’t SEE as many open containers in cars up here as I did during the winter in the S.E. That was particularly disconcerting.  I’m sure they are around, I just don’t see them anywhere near as often here. I admit that our exposure to public campgrounds was a little limited this winter, but we put on nearly 3000 miles while down there and I admit to liking the mix of campers better as we have moved further north.

I’m not sure how I’ll feel if we make it to the desert S.W. this winter.  I have been fine with Texas — it’s different than the S.E. — and in the past I have enjoyed my visits to the desert — we’ll see how we feel about living there if we get to spend this winter there.

Playground Inspection

We took on a new job for the duration of our stay here.  We are doing Playground patrol.  I never thought about whether people actually inspect playgrounds for safety, but I just found out that the CORPS does just that.  And they have a form to report the findings, and insure that the necessary repairs are made in a timely manner.  Hot Dog!  I love that.

Stihl Backpack BlowerThe Backpack Blower showed up in our morning delivery. I’m glad.  There are a lot of areas of the campground I want to clean up and sweeping isn’t going to cut the mustard.  Now if we can either stay dry for a few days so I can get this done before the stuff I want to removed blown off before it gets wet and sticks to the ground.

Well, that is our Sunday.  All our campsites are cleaned for the next batch of campers.  We’ll do our first playground inspection on Monday and then begin a new schedule of Tuesday & Wednesday off-days so that we are a little more in sync with our staff boss who’s days off are Wed & Thurs.  We didn’t need to do that but we just thought it was a good thing.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be here again tomorrow to chat.

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Old Diary

Sharing Joy

35' Mirada

35’ Coachman Mirada

Wally & Eileen bought a new RV.  We only met Wally & Eileen last week.  But they were so excited about their new RV that they had to return this weekend to try her out and show her off.  Isn’t that just the way it is with RV’ers!

Last evening we were sitting outside in our holding chairs — accessible to campers who don’t know where their site might be but not a bother for those who know the routine.  When they arrived, Eileen was driving their car, and Wally the new-to-them Mirada.  Eileen — ahead of Wally — slowed down with the window open and shouted out, “Peter & Peggy — it’s us!”  And we looked up and there they were.

One aspect of RV’ing that I never tire of, and that never ceases to amaze me is the warmth and openness of RV’ers.  Before we sold our house we’d lived in numerous places and we never had bad neighbors but we never in our entire previous life had neighbors who were as cheery and happy as most of the people we’ve met whilst RV’ing. We can sit at a camper’s campsite and learn all manner of interesting things about their past lives, their loves, and their passions.

This sort of gig — where we’re hanging out in the same place for an extended time — means that a lot of these campers we’ll see again — several times throughout the summer. Minnesotans (Twin Cities Residents mostly) use this as one of many parks close enough for weekend getaways.  A few people make their reservations as soon as the reservation window opens and return throughout the summer. Some of them return with friends, but mostly they show up as couples or singles to enjoy the forest setting and whomever might turn out to be neighbors.

What amazes me is that people are so open with friends of such short duration.  It’s much easier to see how Winter Snowbirds would get to be friendly with the couple in the RV next to them all winter.  But to see and participate in such rapid friendships in such short time is quite a treat. Back in the day when we were young we did a vacation in Palm Springs at one of the clothing optional hotels there.  We were struck by the way the people who are not wearing indicators of success were open to whomever they came across. That wasn’t entirely true because there were a few baubles and items of jewelry that gave away the financial status of the guests but in general these were nothing more than people meeting people.  It’s not something you often find in society;  we all carry our symbols of affluence on us as we go through life:  the cut of our suit, the brand shoes,  even the manufacturer of our eye glass frames.  We shout to other people how well we’re doing.

But RV’ing is a bit of a odd-duck situation.  Oh, there are the folks who shout out their success in their RV — you’ll always have people who want others to envy them.  But last week’s visit by the Tear Drop trailers was another reminder that RV’ing can be about all sorts of things.  For many of last weekend’s teardroppers — their RV experience was about demonstrating their skill and expertise in making their own trailer.  There were a couple teardrops that were visually economy models but I have to say that there were also several that spared no expense in putting those teardrops together and they were all about sharing ideas and creativity.

I often say that there’s “No right way to RV”.  And you know by now that I mean that we RV’ers with different talents, likes, and bankrolls  bring that same diversity to our RV’ing.  Whatever works for you, works for you and there’s no one to say that you’re doing it wrong.  I almost wonder, however, if there is one common trait, which is the willingness to be open to new experience and ideas.  From my blog you’ll know that you can never count on what’s going to happen — RV’s do breakdown and things do go awry.  But beyond the negative surprises there are also a lot of positive surprises that deserve similar attention.  For ever delay in getting to a reserved campground I bet there are half a dozen new friends that we’ve met (maybe a lot more).  For every malfunction there are new experiences that thrill us.  I wonder if along the way I have scared a few folks off from RV’ing because they read about the mishaps and think they could never handle them.  But the reality is that unless a person pays not attention to their equipment the mishaps don’t happen that often and the joys are pretty regular occurrences.

Later today I’m sure Eileen & Wally will want to show us their new RV.  And we’ll be happy to take a look.  There’s an old saying about Joys shared are multiplied and sorrows shared are divided.  People LIKE to share with others.  And being willing to enter into their joy not only makes US feel better, it makes them feel better too.

Thanks for stopping by.  Let’s talk again tomorrow!

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Old Diary

I know what day it is!

There is one particular redeeming factor associated with volunteering.  You get to know what day of the week it is!  I’ve managed three weeks in a row of pretty much knowing exactly what day it is — after months of having nothing upon which to hang dates.  I’m not in a hurry to work harder than we are, but even this guy — who has always had a very loose relationship with time — kind of likes knowing what day it might be!  (Though I’ve never seen all that much reason to live my life by a calendar).

Its’ another Friday and the campers will be streaming in the door in another couple hours.  I’m looking forward to this week’s new variety of visitors.  From a sociological point of view every weekend is completely different.  You get the families in multiple sites (parents, grandparent, uncle & aunties),  families with large broods of kids, families with no kids, long stays, short stays, talkative/friendly campers and loners — It’s always interesting (to me) to see this wonderful assortment of folks who mostly get along with each other without interference from outside.

This should be a warm and dry weekend — but we have rain in the forecast for next weekend’s holiday and we’ve seen a couple cancellations already in the tent sites.  Who wants to go camping and stay wet all weekend long.  Next weekend is also when Katy is supposed to arrive for a short visit — but she found that a good friend is moving from Milwaukee to N.O. LA that weekend so seeing as she can see us a lot more often than she can see her friend who’s moving out of the area we may only have an abbreviated visit.  Which is fine.  She has friends her own age and that’s a good thing.

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Last evening whilst taking our evening walk I noticed a wobbly sign.  I’m sure it’s a change — the sign wasn’t tipping over and wasn’t loose in it’s hole before — someone backed into it.  The only reason I comment is that it’s amazing to me that even when there aren’t all that many people in the campground it’s still possible for things to happen — for damage to be done — and not have us be aware of it at the time.  Sure — we notice it after the fact and we can insure that the sign gets re-seated and fixed, but how/why would something like that happen — and we are only 100’ from the sign (although not in a sight-line).  And the park hasn’t been all that busy either.  It’s not something that would cause much noise; a good whack with a bumper is all it would take,  But why someone would be back up there is beyond me.  It’s a large Y turn.  OH well, not my circus and not my monkeys.

Thanks for stopping by and I’ll be here tomorrow to chat.

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In Search Of…

Wednesday wasn’t a day off but we spent a little while taking care of personal business in between CORPS chores.  After talking with our boss, we found a dentist nearby whom we’ll contact about working on my cracked molar.  And, Phil had told us about a local grocery that was having a “Truckload Meat Sale” — seeing as it was only 8 miles away we bopped over there for a quick check and found a couple not-exactly-bargains, but worth spending a little money on.  I say not exactly a bargain because the meat for sale wasn’t prime, or choice — it was one step above utility grade.  You get what you pay for in this world and there really aren’t bargains anymore….. Those TV’s you see on Black Friday promotions are usually special low-cost productions that lack the niceties of normal stock and that old addage “If it’s too good to be true, it usually is,” still applies.

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On the other hand I finally got my air filter sorted.  That fastener that came out has been replaced, a new filter is installed, and the air restriction guage is reset.

As long as the replaement fasteners came with both parts of the fastener — the bolt and the nut — I had not investigated whether the nut had disappeared before ordering the bolts.  As long as the filter was tight in the canister I didn’t want to pull it out prematurely and risk getting anything into the engine by having the filter out of the canister for longer than necessary.  With forest critters and such it’s possible we could have gotten something up in there.  So, when I took the canister out to install the replacement I was happy to see that the retainer nut was still in place.  That means that it was just a case of the fastener working loose.  So, with everything put back into place I’m happy as a clam;  but why people say ‘happy as a clam’ I have no idea.

We are seeing a little more activity in the campground mid-week now.  The rangers are showing up more often — not a lot, but a little.  They are updating their signs, finally. And we have been having  about 2 walk-ins per night in addition to our reservations.  The walk-ins all need to be told about the change in reservation window — so we have reason to chat them all up and lately it’s been true that our walk-in’s have been a bunch of Chatty-Kathy’s !!!!!  But — we’re having a good time. And meeting some really intersting folks.

Thanks for stopping by,  it was a quiet day, so I’ll stop here.  But I’ll be back tomorrow to chat.

 

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Needed a Fix

After talking about confined spaces yesterday I guess I needed a wide open spaces fix!

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Our Packed Earth Dam

 

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Across to the beach

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Opposite the dam

It was grocery day — a day off — so we got out for a little drive through the country side and while we were at the other side of the lake I decided to give you a little idea of the lake.

 

I’m told there are Bass, crappies and a variety of other pan fish in the lake.  There are a  lot of fishermen that come to fish in NON-motorized boats.  The lake is posted for no motors.  Also, on the Rush River (nearby) I’m told there’s pretty decent trout fishing.  You won’t find as many boats here as a some of the CORPS campgrounds but fishing is still a big thing.

Moderation

I wanted to talk a little about moderation as a function of volunteering.  Please bear in mind that I’m a guy who was self-employeed for much of my life — so I look at things like “work” differently than someone who worked-for-wages their entire life.

Whenever we volunteer it’s a real balancing act for us to find that happy balance between working and not working.  For one thing I think the lack of balance was one reason I was so quick to accept this gig.  Wandering around the country without purpose wasn’t entirely fulfilling even though we were having fun.

But the more important aspect of finding balance relates to what you do when you’re in place, on your volunteer gig.  And we have witnessed this from both sides of the coin — having been volunteers, and having been volunteer coordinators who hired other volunteers.

While at The Dunes, we had volunteers who had been on the job for years — and it was easy to see how they had become overly posssessive.  The property was no longer the Forest Service’s — in their mind it was THEIRs. They treated everything as if they owned it and could become no little bit miffed at campers and staff when something was done that they didn’t like.  That’s no way to be a volunteer.  You have to remember that no matter how long you’re on the job, you’re still just a volunteer.  I witnessed a couple folks who got so possessive that the staff ended up removing them from their post — abruptly.

There are also those who are laggards,  the ones who don’t want to do whatever the gig requires — all they want is aplace to hang out.  They are quickly discovered.  If the ogranization can find a replacement they don’t last long, and if replacements cannot be found they are… tolerated…. but no one has a good time because of their presence.

In between is a wide range of styles — flavored by our individual personalities.

  • Organizations may want more of less from a volunteer.
  • Volunteers may want more or less from the organization.

For Peg and I, we have seen volunteers at campgrounds who are being asked to do a ridiculous amount in exchange for their free camping site.  And there have been a couple who did virtually nothing — but the organization was actually happy with the little being done.  And there are others like us who are asked less than we are willing to do, and sometimes go looking for extra projects that we can do to help out.

cart-before-the-horse

You’ve heard the expression, putting the cart before the horse… think about how that migh apply to volunteering.

But the key to volunteering — I think — is that the volunteer always need to be in harmony with the organization’s goals.  I don’t think a lot of volunteers think about that.  I know I’ve heard other volunteers who bring along with them  their experience from a very different gig in a very different place and try to enforce a new way of doing things on a system that’s been in place for years — and has worked quite well.  They can’t understand why everyone doesn’t fall in love with their way of doing things.  Or they get upset when their way of doing things is rejected and they are forced to use the system in place.

 

The reality of this situation isn’t only true of RV volunteers.  It’s true of people wanting to bring their life’s experience to other situations — volunteer or otherwise.  You can see it in hospital volunteers and humane society volunteers;  in museum docents and in reading tutors — people want to be valued for who they are, but they don’t always consider that others don’t do things their way for very good reasons.

I don’t know about you, but I find that the older I get the more challenging it can be to appreciate different ways of being. This is part of the reason that I travel, and part of the reason I love traveling.  Being around people of other backgrounds, people with other objectives,  people with other circumstances reminds me there are many ways to do the same thing.  There are many ways of being.  There are many cultures.  We have one, but others are equally functional — just different from ours.

Goodness knows this nation is having a crisis.  Too many people don’t want to accept that alternative ways of doing things can be just as good as their way.  We see it in politics, we see it in the societal issues of gender and race and income equality.  It’s hard to look anywhere but that we won’t see people arguing about why their way is better than someone else’s way — of anything!

Personally, I’m happy with the gig we have right here.  We’re appreciated. (I don’t say that as if it’s unusual — everywhere we’ve been, even when we aren’t volunteers, I have always heard paid staff speak highly of the help they get from volunteers even when the volunteers don’t think they are appreciated)  The duties we’re asked to perform are doable within the time expected.  We’re off by ourselves and not bothered about things that are responsibliity.  And, we don’t have to live in a volunteer village — we just aren’t  that  sociable!  For us, this is a good fit.  It might not be for others, but it works for us.

I hope we never get to the place where we think just because we have been here we know everything. It’s like what happened last evening.  Acouple of campers asked us about the Bald Eagle nest. We knew there was one here, but we hadn’t had time to hike the trail and find it.  Because the other couple commented on not being able to find it, that was a good excuse for us to stop what we were doing, take the time, and scout it out. Now we can tell 0thers how to find it when they ask.  We learned something — and we try to learn something every day.

I want to remember this saying:

“You aren’t required to set yourself on fire
in order to make people warm.”

It’s a good reminder to me as someone that likes to do things for others.  There are limits and it’s good to remember them.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here to chat again in the morning.  Cheers!

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Faraway thoughts…

Sunday we had a visit from Melanie (our grand-one) and Drew (her fiancé).  I guess the visit put me into a wistful mood.  They are such great young people.  “Kid’s”, I’d say, except that’s not in fashion in 2016… sigh.  But, by comparison they are; and seeing them whilst they are in the wedding-planning-mode brought back a lot of memories and a lot of happy thoughts.

Today’s feature photo has nothing to do with grandkids, nor does it have anything to do with RV’ing.  These glass wine containers were sitting in a little alcove, out of the way, off the beaten path, in a small town in France.  One of those, “oh I like that” moments.   And it seems that lately I’ve been changing mental lenses and thinking different thoughts.  Being here every day — that’s a good thing — means we notice little changes; the kind of changes that aren’t apparent if you aren’t intimate with a locale.  Daily there are new delights, and quiet surprises.

I’ve been thinking about this Ansel Adams quotation;  about the giving and taking of beauty; about layers of life and layers of reality; about inter-relationships and habit.

Sunday evening as we did our evening rounds we saw our first owl of the season.  We can hear them in the forest but those little buggers are hard to find and observe.  This one I saw in flight — otherwise I’d never have realized he was there. 

Art is both the taking and giving of beauty;
the turning out to the light the inner
folds of the awareness of the spirit.
It is the recreation on another plane
of the realities of the world; the
tragic and wonderful realities
of earth and men, and of all
the inter-relations of these.
–Ansel Adams

Recently there was a Public Television broadcast about Owls.  (might have been NOVA) Part of the presentation concerned itself with prowess in hunting and we saw footage of scientific testing of how quietly an owl flies. They tested owls against pigeons (noisy flyers) and falcons (not so noisy).  The owls were absolutely silent.  Their wings are shaped for stealth, their flapping pattern reduces noise even further: they are silent flying hunting machines.  And was we watched that one Sunday evening I swear we couldn’t hear a thing. Amazing.  As creatures we are all equipped for the lives we lead.  Not, perhaps, for the lives we want, but for the lives we are designed to live.  But design isn’t everything.  For humans, “Will” is a larger part of life and we choose — we will — the earth to change at our command.

As humans we all like to think we’re unique.  We are.  Yet… OVER TIME our experiences are quite common to many other humans in like conditions.  I was reminded of this while listening to our Grand-One talking about wedding plans.  Surely every marrying couple shares many of the same ideas, concerns, problems no matter their location or their place in time.  We go through life thinking we’re solving problems — but those problems have been solved millions of times before.  We think we are making unique decisions and yet those decisions have been made countless times ago.  It’s important for those individuals making the decisions to go through the process; it’s important for those who have made them in days gone by to be still and allow them that process of growth and maturation that comes of making your own way in the world.  It’s a great mystery;  it’s a wonderful reality;  and we are a very self-absorbed species. 😀

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As for myself, I have been spending a lot of my off time paying attention to what I can see and hear.  For me, every visit to Highland Ridge is an exercise in changing my perspective.  The nature of the campground is it’s closed in.  There aren’t many expansive views.  But by nature I’m a big picture guy.  A lot of my landscape images are about panoramas — every time we come here I am forced to think about what I’m seeing. I rarely shoot extreme closeups, I don’t think in terms of closeups.  I see lines, patterns and contours.  But when we’re here I have to force myself to look at the micro world and see differently. 2016051609180383

To me, that image of the glass wine containers is about thinking differently.  I would not be putting wine in large glass jars.  Seems a risky place to store wine.  But if glass was more available than other storage containers and you can tint the glass to minimize the effect of light on the product then why not?  For me it’s about looking at what’s here and how I would shoot it.  It’s a ‘problem.’  Not a real problem, just something to exercise my mind about.  Even when I’m not shooting images my brain is still thinking about shooting.  So, as we take our walks, in our quiet off-duty times I’m doing the work of shooting even when there’s no camera in my hands.  And in doing so I notice things I don’t usually see at all.  When you get down to the bottom line… I’ve been doing more taking from art lately, than giving.  But that’s part of the ebb and flow of life.

We’ve been here two weeks.  We’ve hardly been in the car during that entire time.  Compared to most of our campground stops I’m happy just being here.  We’re getting in our regular walks.  Not a lot of miles but I was in pretty sad cardio shape when we arrived and each day I can feel a little improvement. So far, just doing that is mostly all the moving around I feel I need to do. I’m not compelled to sight see.  That’s not a very common occurrence for a restless soul like me.

Thanks for stopping by,  I’ll be here tomorrow.

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Old Diary

Brrrrrrrr

After a couple weeks of overnights in the upper 40’s and 50’s last night’s dip down to 37º came as a bit of a surprise.  On the positive side of the story, we are as far north as Minneapolis and it ought not to be surprising!Spring Valley Climate numbers I felt a little sorry for the Teardrop trailer rally — as their small units and cold temps have to be a challenging combination!  Certainly with a campground full (all the electric sites are occupied) and the cold temps the electric grid is struggling a little.  Our power was going in and out for about an hour as campers woke up, turned on their heaters and the power grid went through a bunch of power surges with voltage dropping below 100 VAC two mornings in a row.

It wasn’t a record breaker though.

Milwaukee May 10 2016

Milwaukee — May 10, 2016 from Sobelman’s Bar & Grill on St. Paul

And we didn’t actually have snow on the ground they way they did in Milwaukee.  Their latest snow numbers look like this:

Latest snowfall in Milwaukee:
Latest Trace was May 30th 1897/1989
Latest Accumulation was May 28th 1947 1.0″


Two days from now the rest of the CORPS staff starts work.  Of course that doesn’t mean they’ll actually be working.  There are always certifications and re-certifications to be done, training, and orientations.  Two weeks after starting the second ranger still isn’t up to his normal work schedule as he’s still doing training.  But, little by little we’ll be seeing more of the CORPS staff than we have.

This year we don’t have to be concerned about Day Use Permits.  In the past it was part of the routine to greet and insure that campers had a day use pass for the period of their stay.  Hall PassLast year they added that to the routine the Rangers were suppose to be following — so we get one chore taken off our list, though we can still issue them if the ranger hasn’t gotten around to them by the time they need the pass (for the other parts of the property about 10 miles away).  Frankly, it makes me think of being in school when you needed a Hall Pass!  But then, no one wants a ticket for not paying the Day Use fee (which is included if you are camping).


Kindle-Fire-HD-7

My new Kindle Fire looks like this

I broke down and bought an eBook reader.  I’ve had it a little short of one week and I’m still very much undecided how I feel about it.  Curiously, the day I received it there was a news article about how eBooks have lost popularity over the past year and the article was spelling the doom of the whole eBook industry.  Of course that was probably written by a publisher who has a vested interest in paper publishing.  After looking up the numbers there are still half a billion dollars being spent on readers every years — the decline is less than 1%.  We’ll see wehther it’s significant or not.

I checked my Milwaukee Public Library card and it turns out for some reason my card doesn’t sync with the online system.  I’ll have to get a new library card when we get to Milwaukee on our way SW.  But…  a trip to the local library and a sob story to the librarian and we ended up with a 5 month library card for the local library and that gets us access to the local eBook system.

I’ve read two books so far using it.  I miss pages.  I miss being able to easily know how many pages to the end of the chapter.  The  “X minutes to end of chapter” doesn’t compute as well as “3 pages”  I’ve downoaded some books from Amazon and some from the Gutenberg Project.

I’m a bit disappointed about battery life.  We had two days of rain so I was reading a lot and the battery estimates are for 2 weeks @ 1/2 hour per day or something like that.  — Which comes up to 7 hours.  It seems as if I was charging it a lot but maybe that’s just perception and not reality — I’ll see how I feel  about it after a few weeks.

I didn’t want to spend a lot on an experiment so I bought the $39.95 Amazon special.  For a 7″ pad it’s OK, and for the price I paid it’s doubly OK.  It’s a new operating system and I’m leraning to do things completely differently, but I doubt I’ll ever use it for much other than reading. The operating system seems really kludgy.

So, That was our Ssturday. Tomorrow Melanie and Drew are suppose to stop by on their way home, that’ll be nice.  And we have a full campground to clean up after a busy weekend. Life is good.  Now, if the temps would just warm up I’d stop complaining. 🙂 🙂
Thanks for stopping, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

P.S.:  No, there aren’t many skeeters around yet — a few, but not many.🤔🤔🤔

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