Old Diary, Travel

Today’s a Travel Day

Our stay at Blackhawk Park is over.  We have about 210 miles to travel today (Thursday) to Bong Recreation Area.  The drive is easy. However, with winds over 20 mph, it wasn’t an optimum driving day. On the plus side, once again the Ambassador came through like a champ.  In the Journey we would have been all over the driving lane;  the Ambassador held it’s own in the wind!

We never got the pleats in that last panel of windshield curtain ripped out;  maybe sometime in the next week or so.  After having moved the curtain hooks lower there is a little interference with the pull down sun-shades in the windshield.  I need to think a little longer on the best way to resolve the ease-of-use issue on these.  We have a lot to do while we’re here but we’ll see whether curtains get to the top of the list.

The next few days will be pretty full.  Friday we have visits to the lab for tests, visits to the optometrist for eye exams.  Over the weekend we’re kewl.  Monday we have doctor’s visits and sometime next week we need new licenses, have a appointment with a lawyer, and a few other projects to take care  of. The following weekend we have guests coming in to stay Friday night and visit our grand-kid in chicago to see her new apartment and bring her to Milwaukee for a birthday party – housewarming combination.   We’re planning to be in the Milwaukee area for 2 weeks.

During Kathryn’s visit we talked about plans for our next meet-up.  Plans are starting to firm up so that wintering in Texas is looking like the right idea.  We’ll be poking along Southward — sort of matching our pace with the change in temperatures.  It may take us until the 1st week of December to hit New Orleans. That’s kind of the plan for now.

By that time we’ll know how the Sandhill Crane migration is going.  The last couple years the number of birds at Bosque del Apache have been noticeably down and we are wanting to stop there — hopefully in the early Spring.  Allowing for the fact that birds are birds and don’t pay attention to human calendars that could mean being in Central NM in February and we only want to take the cold weather chances if there’s still a significant population on the refuge.

That means our time in Texas may be relatively short.  If we don’t arrive until the first or second week of December and we are already  in San Antonio NM sometime in February that will mean a short stay in Texas.

So, we’ll see how things progress.

I’ll try to share a bit about the park we’re parked in over the next few days.

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

Ambassador PLQ, Old Diary

Our Eagle-est Stay Yet!

I have been having so much fun I lost a day;  or rather the days passed by so fast that I thought I had one more.  Kathryn leaves today. 😦  Being away from family is the hardest part of RV’ing.

That said, it’s a part of the cycle of life and all things change.  She has a job and hubby to get back to — and a newly moved into house that has yet to be made into a home.  So, for her it’s time.

On a more positive note — this has been our Eagle-est stay at Blackhawk park.  We pretty much saw Bald Eagles every day we were here!  That’s the biggest reason we love this park:  Eagles & the river traffic.

We have Wednesday to get ready to move to Bong Recreation Area:

When we ‘lived’ in Wisconsin we never camped here; heck, we hardly ever even visited here.  But since buying an RV Bong has become a convenient and comfortable near-Milwaukee staging location and we quite like it for what it provides RV’ers who need easy access to Milwaukee.

There are other choices around — notably the RV park at the Wisconsin State Fair — where we anticipated staying one time and ended up changing our plans in favor of Bong.  That’s right off the Interstate in the middle of Milwaukee and, yeah, it’s convenient.  But it’s also noisy, and urban, and a lot more expensive.

So, Thursday morning we’ll be packing up and heading SouthEast.

I’m not sure what I’ll try to get done today.  I promised myself that in light of the proximity to a nearby water hydrant that I’d fill the coach fresh water tank today.  This new coach seems to take longer to fill.  Other than that It’ll be a kick back, get ready day for us.

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

Old Diary


Tuesday September 2nd.  We have two days remaining here at Blackhawk Park and another day with our daughter before she heads home.  It’s been a nice visit, but as always too short.

2014090210290518 2014090210291120Today we’re going to look for APPLES!  It’s still early for this year’s harvest, but there are several orchards near Gays Mills Wisconsin.  They were open for business when we made the quick trip into Milwaukee, so we’re hoping they will  be open today.

We stopped at Mt Sterling Cheese Factory and bought some Goats Milk cheese to which Peg is particularly partial. The staff there is almost all women and when we arrived about 9:30 we interrupted a real ‘hen session.’  We could hear the laughter and joking before we even entered the building.  Nice to hear people having fun where they work!

One of the orchards likes to be hospitable.  As you can see they are happy to welcome four-footed visitors as well as humans.  I got such a kick out of the K-9 relief station.2014090210371822

While we were wandering around we stopped in Gays Mills proper where there is a small municipal campground.  I’m not sure that we would want to stay there.  While it’s a beautiful location– right on the Kickapoo River at a mill-race there is no gravel or concrete for RV pads.  There were some fairly deep ruts in the lawn and I’m not sure I want to take a chance with our coach if there has been recent rain in the area.  2014090210550126e01

While we didn’t find apples, all the orchards had their mandatory gift shops and I found an addition to the world of bacon that seems to be taking over the world.2014090211190633 Baconnaise!  What could be better than Bacon flavored Mayonnaise?  We didn’t buy any.  We tried the Bacon flavored salt made by the same company and that product was just so-so. But it’s an interesting new product.

All in all it’s a great time for a visit.  A little rain in the mornings that has lead to beautiful sunny days thereafter. The sun shines on happy families.

We’ve taken that route – WI 171  – several times and there’s a place that makes pies — I’m hoping more than just apple (I’m not a fan of apple pie) but we’ll see.  It’ll be a nice jaunt with Katy on the last full day she’s with us.  And maybe a sweet treat along with the jaunt!

I have not yet gotten to re-adjusting my side mirrors on the coach — it’s one frustrating job I need to get at.  They are currently set a little too close to the body of the coach to suit me, but they (evidently) have been in that same setting since the coach was built and the bolts are seized in the threads.  0769004a_LI need a small container of GUNK and a good wrench (which I have).  I don’t want to move the mirrors very much — probably only 1″ outbound each side — but I should be able to see a little bit of the body of the coach on each side.

With Kathryn here we’ve been having a little rain each day —  most of the time the rains have come at harmless moments. They really haven’t inhibited our activities.  🙂  And when some of us have been stressed for a long time, a little bit of down time is a good thing.  All in all it’s been a pretty fantastic visit; with a little bit of future planning included.

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




Old Diary

The World Stops When Our Daughter is Around

We have but the one daughter, and one son-in-law, and one grand-kid.  We love them all, but the grand-kid, having just graduated college is out in the world making a life for herself and the son-in-law is still working on the house remodel.  He has given his wife, our daughter his blessing to spend 4 1/2 days with us and so it is that the rest of the world pales into insignificance when she’s with us.

We aren’t doing much; when she’s around we don’t need to be doing things.

I’m sure I’ll be writing more after she leaves — so I’ll be my usual rambling-on, interminable self by Wednesday or Thursday.

As for yesterday, we took a little ride, ate a little food, laughed a whole lot and just enjoyed each other’s company.

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

Old Diary

A Still Holiday Sunday

WoW!  All three of us slept until 7:30.  Might be a family record!

no-powerThe power outage yesterday lasted until Kathryn arrived (safe and sound), and we had sat and chatted for a while and then taken a nice leisurely walk to stretch her 4 hour automobile legs.  By the time we returned home the power was back on.  Peace returned to the neighborhood as campers all around realized they could turn off their gensets.  Ahhhhh…. peace and quiet.  Well, sort of… with with all the giggling, laughing children around.

cartoon-children-playingNot too much to SAY about her visit.  We have about 8 months of catching up to do, a new RV, stories about the home renovation to listen to, and hugs to be had.  We enjoy each other’s sense of humor — something Kathryn and Michael sometimes clash over.  Mike hasn’t quite figured out our corporate sense of humor.

No big plans for Sunday.  Katy’s been so much under the gun both at work and at home during the renovation so she’s happy to just hang out with her parents.  We’ll spend the day quietly (I hope) and people watch.

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

Old Diary

Family Saturday

cant sleepIt’s early Saturday morning and I can’t sleep.  Kathryn’s coming to visit for a few days and I’m all excited.  Even Dad’s can get that way you know.  When you only have one child, and you haven’t seen them in a goodly long while it’s only right to be excited.

Friday was get ready day.  Laundry (so she had clean sheets and we didn’t have dirty clothes jamming the laundry basket).  Groceries (we haven’t bought that many provisions since the last time she visited). Mom was cleaning house.  I was making a mess (like usual).

We have definitely left the Forest.  I’m coming to realize just how much of our recent volunteering time was lived by relying on adrenalin!  Now that we are getting back to the pace of our last couple years I’m realizing how hard it is to sustain the pace of the last few days.  I’m liking being retired again.


VMS package

VMS package

Acer laptop

Acer Laptop

Kathryn is bringing with her the last components for our Silverleaf monitoring system.  I doubt I’ll get everything hooked up before we make the trip to Bong Recreation in another 6 days.  With Katy around I doubt I’ll be spending much time tinkering with electronics; but I’m one step closer to knowing more about what’s going on in the engine compartment when we’re driving.

There are good things and bad things about driving a diesel pusher class A.  One of the good things is that traveling is much quieter than with a front engine vehicle; one of the bad things is that traveling is much quieter than with a front engine vehicle.  We don’t have the roar of the engine between us up front, but neither do we hear if anything is amiss way back there in the engine compartment.  The recent experience with the temperature gauge convinced me that a little more information would be a good thing.  I’ll keep you posted once we get everything connected.


I haven’t made any progress on the curtains since Wednesday evening.  I will — for sure.  But when things quiet down a little. After adjusting the height of the curtain hooks, now Peg is concerned that they may not slide correctly in the track.  I haven’t even looked at them since Wednesday.

Which brings me to a completely different topic:

Bubble Wrap Insulation

We are coming to realize more reasons we’re happy we traded RV’s!

Have you used reflective insulation in YOUR RV?

Have you used reflective insulation in YOUR RV?

Our Journey was a nice coach but one major weakness in that 2002 Winnebago design was the heating/cooling system. Last summer in the Midwest we spent most of the time with that bubble wrap insulation covering our windows — the single heat pump simply wasn’t up to the job of cooling the entire coach in 90º to 100º heat.  foil wrap insulationWe bought a couple rolls of 4′ wide insulation and trimmed it to size and covered up most of the coach windows so we could stay cool.  It didn’t look cool, but we were comfortable.  And last winter in Oregon, even though it wasn’t super cold there, we put the same insulation into the windows once more to help the furnace maintain an even temperature during the winter.

Enter the Ambassador… No problems with heating or cooling so far.  Windows are open to the world;  we can see what’s going on around us.  We likey likey.  The world is much nicer when you can see what’s going on in it! 🙂

The New House

When we roared through Milwaukee we had a quick chance to see the kid’s new house.  WoW!  Even though we understood the idea they were going for they have done a wonderful job and the reality exceeds our imagination.  I can’t wait until they have things neatened  up enough to take pictures to share with you.  We are really impressed with the almost-finished project.

Road Destruction Season

It’s summer in Wisconsin; that means it’s road destruction season.end road work  On our way to Milwaukee we were coming to the end of one construction zone and literally 200 feet down the road was another sign saying:  yup…. begin work zone. begin road work It is really humorous how little coordination there can be on some large projects.  We actually drove through quite a few work zones on the trip from the coast — that’s what you expect during the summer.  But the Milwaukee area in particular is part way through a major Interstate Highway rehabilitation and I’m glad to be gone from the big city during most of it.   The quick return was also a good reminder of just why we have spent almost all our time outside major population centers — too much … of everything.

We’ll be back in town for parts of two weeks while we take care of annual business (that’s our plan anyway — always subject to revision).  Doctors visits.  Banking visits.  New driver’s licenses because of our new home address.  New glasses (it’s been three years).  And a few other items I can’t even remember at the moment.

Powerless Campers

About 9 a.m. all of a sudden we heard generators starting up.  It seems that the entire campground is temporarily powerless.  We had quite a few T-storms overnight and while it poured down rain the power seemed unaffected.  And then with no rain coming down everyone lost power.  They say they’ve contacted the local power company to find out the problem but this isn’t Milwaukee and who knows how long it will take for the power to return.  But… we have solar. 🙂

So, while we await our daughter’s arrival today, that’s about it for me.  Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.  🙂

P.S.:  Have any of you had problems with my WordPress feed?  One regular reader has commented that three times now WordPress has dropped my blog from her Reader.  Before I go troubleshooting I’m wondering if this is something unique to a single reader or whether any others of you have had this blog disappear from their blog feed.  Thanks in advance.

Old Diary

Thursday Blur

Thursday turned into a blur.

ups_truckWe did our 420 mile round trip to Milwaukee.

I learned a good lesson here.  We have been having shipments made to our kids new home.  I ordered one item that needed a customer signature (something I never thought about at the time of order)  and what resulted was a comedy of errors.  UPS attempted two deliveries — but their new place looks so industrial that the UPS guy doesn’t always stop.  I know our SIL was in the building during the first two attempts — with the garage door open so he could have seen/heard them when they stopped — but they didn’t.  I could have our daughter pick up the material — she has the same (new) address as we do, but her last name is different; and she hasn’t gotten a new driver’s license yet — so if she went to the UPS distribution center she would have needed proof of her name (birth certificate/passport  etc. and proof of address — but then the new utilities aren’t in HER name and … well, you get the idea.  Long story short it was a sure thing if we made the trip; an iffy thing if she tried to pick up the material — and if she failed that would have left us on the day before the Labor Day weekend….   Solution:  Change our Amazon ship to address so that everything gets sent to her and her husband jointly — and just memo the shipment so that we get it.

silverleaf-electronics-large-6We picked up the laptop for our Silverleaf monitoring system. The software & interface were delivered today (after we left) but Kathryn will bring them with her when she comes to visit this weekend.  I hope to have time enough to put everything together enough to run the unit from here to Bong Recreation Area when we leave Blackhawk Park a week from today.


The folks at Great River Roadhouse make a super pie — and this is a MEDIUM — larger than some LARGE or GIANT size pies we’ve had in other restos. GREAT CRUST

We stopped off at the Great River Roadhouse for dinner on the way back home.  After the drive I wasn’t in a mood to cook dinner.

We left about 6:30 this morning (just after sunrise) and we were back home after dinner a little before 6:00 p.m.   A full day, but a nice day.  Mostly sunny,  we accomplished what we wanted, and we stopped off to see Michael (our SIL) and take a quick tour of the new house/shop.  We hesitated to view the place without our daughter but we haven’t seen him in almost a year, and he did most of the work on the house — so he deserves some special bragging rights.

I did not take photos on this visit.  I’m sure the kids would rather get a few more things settled before anyone ‘public’ sees the insides.  I respect that and within 3 weeks we’ll have some shots to put up in our blog — if nothing else, from the family open house being held just before we leave.

Now — I still have the curtains to finish… and we have groceries to buy tomorrow as well as laundry to do before Kathryn arrives on Saturday.  Best to stay flexible. 🙂

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

Old Diary


this was supposed to publish on Thursday but I screwed up…24664816_SAIs that a word?  Graduality?  Well, it is now!  It’s a good way to describe how we’ve been feeling since Friday.  We are gradually getting back into our own bodies with our own energy and feeling like our own selves.  We simply don’t recover the way we used to.  Ahhh… I guess the days of our youth are long past (even though I don’t always like to behave as if they were).


I have never been one to function well without  rest.  I’ve done crazy things to get a little sleep.  One time in the truck I read my dispatch papers wrong and stayed home with my load 24 hours longer than I should have and was so pressed for time that I calculated it out and I had time to stop for exactly 11 minutes if I was to make my delivery schedule.  So I stopped, set my alarm for 10 minutes and fell asleep in seconds, got a little rest, and felt better afterwards, if not fully rested.  But our bodies do neeSleep_Benefitsd time to recover from the strains of being awake!

I came across this graphic about inspiration being for amateurs “the rest of us just show up and got to work.  Ya know, there’s some  merit to that but I’ve never met a tired person who is very creative, or very productive for that matter.  When I was still working I saved image processing for the first thing in the morning.  I knew that when I was fresh I could see what wanted doing to individual images and accomplish the retouching or Photoshopping  in a fraction of the time than if I put that off till the end of the day and did the work when I was tired.  Now that I’m retired {again 🙂 }  I still do something of the sort.  Peg has learned that I need a couple hours in the morning to write: letters, blogs, emails, journals — I’m always writing something, and it’s become the way I get my day started.  I may not write about earth shattering things; I write for my own satisfaction.  But it gets my brain going and I seem never to lack something to put down on paper (or to busy my fingers typing).

Inspiration is for amateurs

I don’t buy being able to be creative while you’re tired.

Now that we’ve been stationary for a few days life is returning to normal — gradually.  Projects become apparent.  When we were still on the Forest I’d sit down at the end of the day and I couldn’t even think of what I might want to do in the Coach to make it more homey.  There were things that needed doing but I couldn’t think of them.  Now that we getting back into our own stride our thinking is clear enough that the projects are appearing, the travel plans come together & meals get planned instead of simply woofing down calories.

Yesterday I finished up the passenger windshield curtain.  It’s not a huge thing, but to us it looks infinitely better than it did before.  Today, I’ll get the driver’s side done.  With a little luck we’ll find a place to have the curtains dry-cleaned and some of the dirty spots will come out and we’ll be happy to be done with curtains for a while.

2014082707073102I’m not in a hurry to do anything different to our window valances — but I did think about the fact that any chair we have for the dinette is going to have problems with the height of our rear lounge slide valance.  Let me clarify.  The original chairs we had were taller than the ones we have now.  But there’s only so low you can go with a chair-back and still have it be comfortable.  We have smallish windows on all three slides of our roadside lounge extend-a-room slide.  They all have window valances.  And the one at the rear of the slide is next to one of the dinette chairs — too low on the wall for the chair top to fit smoothly under the valance.  Thusly…. raising that valance just a tad would make that chair a lot more comfortable to sit in.

Remember that storage tub that I said had liquid in it?

I found the problem.  Never underestimate the process of going up and down.  As you may remember we crossed 4 mountain passes.  That means going up on an incline, going down on an incline and passing through a lot of vertical transition.  We had a spray bottle of Windex in the basement that was only loosely closed & we had a 1 gallon bottle of Windex with a weak lid.  The spray bottle over flowed.  The 1 gallon bottle built up so much pressure that the lid broke – separating the flat top from the cylindrical threads and… yup… allowing outward flowage of the  cleaning fluid.  Ta Da!  Mystery solved!  (Don’t ask me why we are carrying around a 1 gallon bottle of Windex…  we must be genetically related to the Pappa in that movie My Great Big Greek Wedding who liked Windex for every purpose under the sun.)

What I didn’t get around to doing was organizing the basement.  ARGH!  I really want to make some space down there.  If I’m serious about that, it’s not only a project requiring better organization, it will also require discarding un-used treasures that we are hauling around for no good reason.  Some of them I won’t ever throw away:  they are there for emergencies.  To wit:  a collapsible shovel and a 5 ton and a 10 ton hydraulic jack.  Some of them we carry around for crafting purposes — these may not be so lucky and may find themselves in the discard pile.  There is one tub that we have dragged around for 2 1/2 years into which we have never delved and the hidden can’t-do-without-these-treasures contained therein we have clearly done without.   Whether I get to it today, or during our stay here at Blackhawk, or maybe wait until we arrive at Bong Recreation Area in September — I suspect that fewer items will travel South with us this fall.

Balance and Utility

I need to get the coach correctly weighed.  On some occasion we want to get a real four corner weight.  I know we are loaded a little bit cockeyed.  We have made that a little worse by adding the solar — the new batteries at additional weight on the curbside rear.

coach getting weighed

coach getting weighed

We also have two storage bays that aren’t being well utilized.  There’s one bay underneath the driver’s cockpit that is empty.  There’s another small bay at the curbside rear that is nearly empty but into which we don’t want to put much weight — I need to find some light items that could be stored there.

The idea of getting the coach close to evenly loaded right to left on each axle and within the allowable weights front and back is more than something ‘good to do.’  Loading is a safety factor and not to be overlooked.  When we don’t move very often and not far when we do move it’s not such a critical issue, but that 2000 miles brought back the trucker in me and it’s something I want to find an opportunity to address.

That might mean attending a RV convention or rally — something I’m dreading.  TOO MANY PEOPLE.  But we might just have to do it.  If we manage to think about where we need to be at the right time of the month.  Sometimes there are just too many things to think about in this ‘rough’ life of RV’ing. 🙂

Seeing as I started off today’s blog talking about sleep, I thought I’d throw in this last graphic just for fun.  I’m not an avowed Democrat or Republican, nor am I a flaming liberal or a died in the wool conservative.  My politics tend to take a variety of factors into consideration but I have to admit that I laughed at this one and present it not as a political statement but as a matter of electioneering humor.