Old Diary, Travel

24 hours

flipping calendarAfter nearly a month in the Milwaukee Area we finally leave on Thursday.  Today, our  last day in the area will see us finishing our provisioning shopping trips and finally heading over the Kathryn & Michael’s place for brats on the grill.  Can’t leave Wisconsin with stocking up on Braunschweiger, our favorite bean coffee,  and a few other nice-nice goodies.

Tuesday we spent in the Bong area.  Time for haircuts for the both of us — after getting a crew cut half a year ago it’s finally grown out enough to need a real haircut.

Snowbird 2

Snowbirds? What’s a snowbird?

We think we’re settling on a winter plan; but we don’t want to jinx the plan by talking about it.  A few more phone calls are needed. But we’re thinking about a mix of Autumn movement and some Winter hunkering down sounds like a good thing.  We might have spent last winter in one place while we were in Oregon; but with our regular volunteer job we really didn’t do much “retirement” living. We were too busy working — having fun, but still, we were working at something we wanted to do and we didn’t take a lot of time to read, and get regular exercise, and just enjoy life.  So we’re kind of thinking about a few months in one hopefully warm place and just getting to see what it’s like to be a ‘snowbird.’   (Can that term be used equally of Florida Snowbirds AND Texas Snowbirds?)

No guarantee that we'll be heading to Florida -- in fact Texas is looking a lot more likely.

No guarantee that we’ll be heading to Florida — in fact Texas is looking a lot more likely.

I’m tired of dragging my cameras around and not using them.  I want to spend some time near refuges and something different than we see all the time.

I’ve talked about our temperature comfort zone and it’s time for a little update.  We decided to stay here in Wiconsin through September because the climate chart has kept us in our desired temperature range. WI-Cudahy And from here we travel 300 miles to Shelbyville Illinois, a Corps of Engineers campground known as Coon Creek.IL-Shelbyville We’ll only be here 1 week, and then travel about another 100 miles South — so the average temps stay within our range if you extrapolate a little.   🙂

I don’t think we’re going to get to Quartzite this year — it’s something I want to do — if for no other reason than just for the kick of being part of the zoo.  Maybe next year.

I think we have talked ourselves out of Bosque del Apache in February.  For one thing we are thinking it’s a better visit in Autumn than pre-Spring.  Secondly we are of a mind that we’ll stay put in one place for longer than that.  Perhaps, a full four months.

Four months is a long time, but how will we know what it’s like to be  ‘Snowbirds’ if we cut our experiment short.  And that’s one of the ways that the prototypical Snowbird justifies their lengthy stay:  being in one place for a long time lowers your daily rental — and it does.  But, to me, part of the challenge for Peg and I is what it will be like to stay in a place-not-Milwaukee for an extended time without an active gig. We aren’t sit-on-the-beach-for-weeks-at-a-time people.  It was easy to be in Oregon as volunteers — the daily ritual filled much of the day.  But being in FL or TX as ‘just’ visitors without the ritual, that will be the challenge!

We’ll probably head West again after we leave FL/TX (whichever it ends up being — most likely TX).

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

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Old Diary, Travel

A few updates now that we are moved

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Back to our home site @ Bong Recreation Area… some day I have to learn to pick sites where the table and fire ring are on the correct side of the coach! :-\

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With our large awning out. Does a good job shading that passenger side window!

Our move from Milwaukee to Kansasville was short and uneventful. Just the way we like ’em.  We checked with the desk at the State Fair RV Park about staying just a little behind the checkout deadline,  got an ok, and left about 1 p.m. which got us into Bong an hour before checkin — but our site was already empty, so we just backed in without any excitement — other than our across-the-street neighbor running out to inquire whether we wanted him to move his pickup truck which was parked barely off the road on his side.  Fortunately ours is an easy spot to get into so I backed in while he bit his fingernails. 🙂

We did a little walking around before leaving Milwaukee, taking in the Lake Michigan lakefront where we have spent so many hours pleasantly walking and people watching.

It was nice to be out on such an amazing, warm day at the very end of September.  With temps around 75º there was nothing wrong with THAT day at all!  And seeing the schooner the Denis Sullivan is always a special treat (though with my iPhone I didn’t get a decent shot.)

Autumn is coming, however.  We’ve had temps in the 40’s every once in a while.  At the end of this week (after we are gone) the temps are due to dip into the upper 30’s, but we’ll be out of here by then.  🙂 That said, there are still some colors to be seen.  Maples and Oaks are beginning to do their annual color dance and who can help be amazed at the colors Momma Nature has in store for us this year.

Bu I teased you with hints if information and I must follow through on my promise.

Sleeping

Since switching over to the Sleep Number bed, and then adding the topper (because of my weight and the thinner air chambers in our C-2 bed) we both have been sleeping like babies!  We’re both settling in at a Sleep Number 40 and loving our new bed.

Neighbors

While at Wisconsin State Fair RV Park we had neighbors who were clearly transient workers.  The basic 35 foot 5’er was home to about 6 laborers who left each morning (quietly) about 3:30 and returned to their trailer about 5 each evening.

Finally, just before leaving, we got to discover why they were in town.  It turns out that they are an installation crew for radiation treatment rooms in medical facilities: hospitals, clinics, etc.  The radiation treatment rooms are contained within shielded brick walls & ceiling and they make their living doing the masonry work with 35lb and 45lb special bricks.  HARD, hard, hard work, to be sure.  They have worked all around the country from Florida to Seattle , working several months in each location to finish a new room or two.

Interesting.  I have always been fascinated by the different things that people find to make a living!

Shred-less

Tonight I get to build a fire.  One of these months I need to get another shredder — a little one.  But for now I have about 1 year worth of records and a bunch of checks with the wrong address on them that need to be disposed of.  So, 🙂 time for a barbecue.   Or at least a bonfire!

Freedom

It’s an odd thing that’s happened.  Leaving the city behind we actually feel freer and more relaxed.  It’s not quite like starting retirement all over again but close.  I think that the tension about whether I really had something wrong with me that needed attention or not had been on my mind and now that we have a good prognosis it seems like we are starting out fresh.

Wintering

With relief comes new plans.  With our daughter and SIL waffling on when they want to meet up for a visit we are looking at the reality of needing some plan for Winter.  If, as we have been thinking, we intend to be in S. Texas during the Winter it would be advisable to make some arrangements so we can avoid paying the nightly rate wherever we stop — and take advantage of some monthly rates if possible.  I sent out an email to an RV park where we know people,  their answer will help us make plans.  After last winter I’d like some WARMTH.  We avoided the snow in Oregon; but warmth we didn’t find much of (until July in Eugene and then it was HOT).

We have campsite reservations through Oct 12 at this and two Corps parks.  After that we are open.  How quickly we’ll move South, or how slowly will depend (now that we are rethinking our winter)  on whether we find a place to spend several months at, or whether perhaps we decide to bop around between several Corps or other locations over the coldest months.

I do have two short-term destinations in mind.

  • I want to spend some time at Bayou Segnette State Park — across the river from New Orleans.
  • And to spend some time at Grand Isle State Park — right on the Gulf Coast about  100 miles down the road.


From there we can mosey over towards Houston, Galveston, and places beyond.   How long we stay there (up to two weeks each) may depend on what we find out in the next few days about long-term wintering options.  So, I’ll keep you posted.

In the meantime I need a haircut!

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

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Old Diary, RV Living

Settling In Gradually Just Before Moving Day

You know that I have been grousing about how unorganized we have been in the Ambassador, well, the last few days have seen quantum leaps forward — just before we make another move.

Sunday is moving day. It’s not much of a move — just back to the state park that we left 1 1/2 weeks ago.  But it gives us a cheaper place {at 1/2 the daily rate} to wait for one more shipment to arrive.  I suppose we could have scheduled a shorter stay there but the weather has been nice and we aren’t in any hurry to leave.

But in advance of our departure I have been a madman getting around to chores I have been putting off literally for months.

I talked about a first go at reorganizing the basement storage bays — I’m happy with that.  Saturday I finally got around to organizing my office!

My office, liberated from clutter.

My office, liberated from clutter.

I can finally have my graphics tablet out on the desk and use it.  I found a better solution for wiring my cell phone signal booster that has the inside antenna where it should be instead of where I could manage not to get feedback from the outside antenna.  {Two antennas too close to each other is like having your microphone and your speaker to close to each other.} The ‘window seat’ at the back of the coach is no longer cluttered with papers, my library is at least partially organized, and a lot of electronic clutter has — POOF — disappeared!

2014092713521503Along with organizing the office came finding shorter cords so that I could put the Silverleaf components in place for travel.  I’m really excited to see how this works.  I did discover one downer.  I had ordered adhesive disks so that I could move my GPS a little further to one side, only to discover that the disks are advertised to be one size and in fact they are slightly undersized — enough that the suction cup on the bracket will not seal against the surface.  So — back to the drawing board on that one.

2014092713514601And … as an added bonus… while we were out looking for other things we came across a clearance sale at Bed, Bath and Beyond.  They had computer tables {yup — remember all that work to get a table that would fit over my driver’s seat!} that were the right size to fit over my seat and marked down to 30% of retail.  I bought one and while I may not use it as much as the one I paid to have re-designed I will use it considerably.  So, I’m happy with that too.

We’ll have to kill a little bit of time on our relocation today.  We have to be out of the Fair RV park by noon, but we can’t pull into Bong until 3 p.m. — maybe  a little grocery shopping to stock up on braunschweiger and  and a few other things before we leave town.

Ok — that’s if for today.  Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll talk with you tomorrow.

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Old Diary

Moving Day

Somehow I don’t think our sub-consciences are as comfortable with moving days as our brains.  It seems as if Peg and I both sleep poorly on the night before a move.  It’s not like we’ve ever had problems making the move; but there’s something in that maelstrom of one’s mind that is stronger than the thoughts we have control over. And so morning came early and we were ready for a mid afternoon nap.

With our change of plans we’re hoping our Son in Law will make it out to see the new coach.  It’s not like he needs to see it, but it would be nice to share with him.   However,  he has his hands so full with getting the house ready for their occupancy inspection, so I’m not holding out much hope.  I’m sure we’ll have time with Kathryn over the weekend, but we kind of miss having Michael with us;  it’s just a missing part of the family. The plan for Thursday evening had been to have dinner with them at one of our favorite restaurants; that never happened.  Instead it was pork chops and cavatelli.  And of course a glass of wine.  Scrumptious.

When we pulled into the RV park here at the Wisconsin State Fair we hadn’t leveled our coach or extended our slides before another Holiday Rambler owner came over to talk.  An hour and a half later they left and we finished settling in!  Campers ARE friendly! (But sometimes it’s not so easy to break away from friendly folks!)  Gotta love it!  It’s much nicer than grumpy neighbors in the next driveway in suburbia.  People are definitely part of the wonder of RV’ing.

If you are interested in fall colors, the state of Wisconsin publishes a weekly Fall Color Report.  If you want to see what the colors are like as the season progresses this is a great resource:  Fall Color Report.

RV Mods

imageI’ve been looking at our one-side-sat-out sofa.  I’m not an upholsterer.  I have upholstered in the past but there’s a lot I don’t know.  I’m bewildered by this thing.  I have opened it up in positions where I can examine it from top and bottom and everywhere the tensions are almost identical;  there’s no obvious reason why one side should feel as if it’s sat out!

We found (among the stuff we stored with the kids) a large enough piece of upholstery foam that we might cut to size for a little boost until we work out a repair or replace solution.  That is if we can remember to stick it in the car when we are there.  Our goodbyes have been long enough lately that we’ve made 4 trips to the house and each time we forget to put that foam in the car!

2014090709415501With no place that we have to be for the next few days I might get my butt in gear to continue work on the Windshield Curtains.  That is unless the Cruise Director (our daughter) comes up with too many things for us to do. I can see why so many people have gone to the MCD shades, but I’m not sure I’m ready for that.

🙂

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You can see how they get all jumbled up.

What we have now doesn’t seem to bother Peg. Which is good because that way there’s no pressure on me! But I’m just not happy with they way the look from the inside or the outside.  I’ll figure out something eventually.

Part of the annoyance is the way the curtains travel around the  roll-down shades on driver and passenger side.  If you pull just right they pull along the track easily.  If you pull wrong they get jammed against the pulldown shade.   We have tried raising and lowering the curtain hooks but that hasn’t helped.  I was tempted to rip the pleating seams in an attempt to make the  cloth less bulky as it goes around the shades.  But if that doesnt’ work  then I will have ripped out the pleats and made the problem worse (I suspect).  And I’m really not in a hurry to buy new curtains.  I supposed in the end we’ll end up with new MCD shades — or not.

Decisions, decisions, decisions.    None of which have to be made now, and considering that we are sitting around waiting on doctors and tests I’m not sure my decisions would be the best right now anyway.   No matter how comfortable one is with their healthcare providers I don’t know anyone who is blasé about their own wellbeing and uncertainty about your own body doesn’t help.

I’ve never been one to process uncertainty well.  But when there’s nothing you can do about a thing I always find it best to channel my energy elsewhere.  So, we’re puttering and working on little projects.

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

P.S.:  On a side note, I see that Peyton Manning recently bought 21 pizza stores and now he’s inferring that the legalization of marijuana has bee good for the pizza business.  I wonder who his financial advisor is?

P.P.S.: The Scots awoke today to discover that they  are staying in the U.K.  I’m a little surprised at the outcome of the vote.  But at least the count of nations in the world stays the same and I don’t have a new statistic to memorize.  For some reason (I’m sure it has to do with several trips over there) I find myself fascinated with English life and culture.  So much alike, yet so vastly different.

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Old Diary

Well, Let’s hang around for a while…

Today is moving day.  But we aren’t moving where we thought we would be moving.

italyEl Doctore wants me to see a specialist and the earliest appointment  I can get is Monday at 7:45 a.m..  My new specialist, it seems, has been in Italy for a week and I’ll be his first appointment after getting back.  I’m just hoping he’s not jet-lagged when he reads my tests. 🙂

So, that means a change in plans.  Thomson Causeway is a little too far away to be making trips back and forth to the doctor; and WI state parks limit a stay to 14 days; after which you have to be gone for at least 7 days.  So, the easiest — literally — is for us to make a minimal move to Milwaukee, and the only RV campground in Milwaukee County is at the Wisconsin State Fair grounds. medical-consultation And that’s where we’re headed for 7 nights.  By that time we’ll know whether we need to hang out here longer (hopefully not) or whether we can continue on our merry way.  That would allow us to spend a few days in Thomson, or alternatively head South immediately.  In either event we won’t make any decisions until after our appointment next Monday morning.WI State Fair RV Park

The day, however was very productive.

  • We saw our new financial guy — we were content with him, his knowledge and the questions he asked.  I think we’ll stick with him long enough to see if he’s as good as he sounds.
  • We picked up packages from our mailing address.
  • We stopped off at our bank and I talked with my regular banker about some issues with our newly replaced credit cards.
  • We dropped off documents at the safe deposit box.
  • We found a new space heater to replace the one that burnt out last May — too early/late in the season to find a space heater in the Florence area.
  • We went over to the State Fair RV park and checked out where we’ll be spending the next week; making a reservation for tomorrow while we were there.
  • We even had time to stop off at one of our old stomping grounds, Amelia’s, for a quick bite and we were instantly recognized and welcomed back.

By the time we got back home we were tuckered.  It felt good to sit down for a piece and just get our feet up off the ground.  Isn’t it amazing how wonderful such a simple thing can feel!!!

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are going to be a chance to kick back with no appointments, and being near to our daughter.  I’m sure we’ll take time for a walk along the lakefront — another of our old stomping grounds.  There is currently construction going on right adjacent to the RV campground — so being IN the city, and being NEXT to the construction zone will be a quantum leap from the peace and contentment of the forest, but that’s what happens when you live an unscripted life.

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

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Old Diary

I thought I had a couple days to myself…

I used to think that I was the kind of guy who didn’t like routine.  I did like routine, I just didn’t like to admit it.  We’ve been trying desperately to get back to our retirement routine and I thought I had it made, but no.  Not to be.Routine

We’ve had Chase Bank as financial advisors and out of the clear blue we find get a notice that our IRA account is being moved:  to a firm we are unfamiliar with and people we don’t know.  It looks like the last two days of being in home territory are going to be spent trying to figure out what this means to us.  And that means I’ll be a bit pre-occupied; probably not writing.

As for Monday, we got a lot of errands run and got the last medical test finished;  as long as we don’t get an unexpected call from the doctor saying something else needs doing we’re good to hit the road.  The last of our shipments look like they’ll arrive before we leave.  Drivers licenses perhaps not.  sigh.

Bear with us… Soon enough we’ll be back to normal.   Thanks for stopping by and I’ll talk with you again soon.

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Old Diary

Birthday Sunday

a new door cannot be opened

Such is coming home for annual physicals… Soon enough you have to close the door and move on…

It’s Mid-September, we’re still in Wisconsin and we had a super day.  For one thing the forecast 36º overnight temps never dropped below 48.  And, picking up our Grand Kid at her new apartment was a kick!  So many memory triggers of our own first apartment as a couple, also in Chicago, only a couple miles away from Melanie’s current place.  Her place is nearly as small as ours was.  She’s sharing with a single roomie and two cats so the space/human ratio is pretty comparable.

Drew, the new beau, was there with Melanie, waiting on us.  He’s a nice ‘kid’ — young adult — in his last semester as an undergrad and I like him.  He’s more conversant than the last longterm beau too.   She has pretty decent taste in fellas!  We took the young folks past our first apartment, seeing we were so close and then headed back to Milwaukee.

She turned 22 a week ago, but there hadn’t been time for a birthday get-together for the family for her and most of Mike’s family have not been as involved in the new house project as Peg and I, so it was a nice chance for siblings and such to get together over food, a libation or two and conversation.  It was a nice day spent with family!  sometimes it takes opening

Mike took a quick look at our cigarette lighter (which has been burning out fuses) and we kind of think it’s the transformer for our Rand McNally GPS.  I’ll get another one on the come from Amazon or Rand McNally as soon as I can but we do have a spare for the RV.  And I can always plug into a USB port to power the GPS if need be.

By the time we returned to the Coach all the weekenders were gone and the park has returned to Autumnal Quiet.

close some doors todayTomorrow is the last of my supplemental medical tests.  I’m not particularly concerned about the test; my bloodwork wasn’t far from normal so I don’t expect much of a result.  However, you never know and it’s good to get things checked out when we have easy access.

Our time in Wisconsin is drawing to a close.  Two more packages should be delivered in the next three days.  With luck we’ll be ready to leave on Thursday as planned.

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