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

Family time

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

Still Wheels

Monday we drove into La Crosse to look for sewing ideas.  What?  Since when did Peter start sewing?  But don’t get sidetracked on answers that don’t matter.


They are also too long over the entry door

The curtains are too long over the dashboard

The curtains are too long over the dashboard

The windshield curtains in our coach are worn; they are also way too long for the windows they are installed in; they probably don’t belong in this coach but what can we do about them short of replacing them at this point?

They need to be cut and hemmed.  We don’t travel with a sewing machine.  We thought about using hot seaming tape — but we don’t travel with an iron.  So, what could we do?

We found some fabric glue to try out. So over the next few days or weeks we’re going to take the three curtain pieces down (one at at time), re-do them, and see if they will survive another couple years.

We thought about asking our daughter to bring her iron along — but I want to find a solution we can use both now and in the future for our sewing needs in the  coach.  We’ll keep you posted on how all this works out.

But, I teased you with “Still Wheels” and haven’t said anything about wheels, have I?

On the way into La Crosse it dawned on me.  We hadn’t been in the car, or in a vehicle with the engine running for 67 hours.  Almost three days and no movement, no ignition, no blast off, nothing!  We got to thinking about our recent history and realized that we haven’t enjoyed that time in one place without interruption since BEFORE we arrived in Oregon!  The entire time in Oregon we were on the move every day, or at the most on an alternate day.  I’m liking this.

Buzzard Billy’s Flying Carp Cafe

While we were with family in Tahoe the husband of Peg’s niece got to talking about his hometown (Viroqua) and the neighboring town of La Crosse!  One of their restaurant suggestions was Buzzard Billy’s — so as long as we were in town, and the temperature was going to be in the 90’s again we decided to eat out and save the cooking heat in the coach.

We had a fun time in this Cajun joint in Wisconsin, featuring seafood, creole cooking and even alligator!

It was a fun meal!  And the music was great!  We almost didn’t want to leave.

A review of today’s coming week forecast shows that we’re cooling off as of tomorrow.  Rain is a bit iffy — but if we can have some dry time and some cool then I’ll have a chance to get into the basement and pull stuff out, think about it, and see what I can do to rearrange it in a more usable fashion.

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


Old Diary

Did I mention, the other day, that I think La Crosse’ians are prejudiced against the French?

This came realization came about when I was looking for spices and I had a hard time finding the herb blend known as Herbes de Provence.  After striking out at a few groceries in the area I put the subject to bed for a while and went on about my life.

Then a few days later I realized that our bottle of Pastis is getting down to the ‘replenish’ level. And after visiting liquor store after liquor store [visiting only, not buying in each 🙂 ] I realized that the French apperitif that is so commonly sipped in cafe’s by old men across the South of France is exceedingly hard to find — actually IMPOSSIBLE — in La Crosse.  With it’s fennel licorice-y taste there’s hardly anything nicer on a baking patio under an umbrella.  Afternoons pass in slow motion after one of those!

Friday on our way North  found a grocery that had — what they called Herbes de Provence — but alas whoever thought up that mixture has their nose in a toilet and hasn’t got the mix right at all.  Instead of Savory they seem to have substituted sage which doesn’t belong in the mix at all.

So, this morning I’m back online looking for a couple more recipes for HdP so I can make my own.

The hooch problem I’ll see about ‘fixing’ if we get inspired enough by something to make a nerve shattering trip to the Twin Cities.  Too far to go JUST for Pastis.  So unless we find some other reason to go I’ll have to be satisfied with something else.

p.s.:  I was interested to note that in all the liquor stores that didn’t have pastis that they all had Campari!  Being an Italian drink, evidently the La Crosse-ians like Italians!  (Just kidding)

Prejudice In Wisconsin

Old Diary


sweltering heat

We are sort of learning one of the primary differences between RV living and Brick & Mortar living.  It has nothing to do with mobility. It has everything to do with personal exposure.  While we are sitting here in La Crosse having some maintenance work done on Journey I thought I’d touch on this difference and how it’s affecting us.

I have lived in Wisconsin most of my life; so I’m plenty familiar with changes in season, changes in temperature, even momentary changes in weather.  Wisconsin is full of them.

But living in brick & mortar you are somewhat isolated from the variations.  The inside of your house doesn’t heat up as fast as it does outside nor does it cool off as fast as it does outside.  During summers Peg and I weren’t outside all that much of the time;  she worked in an A/C’d office, I was in and out of a/c all day long, but more time inside than out.  During the warm months we often kept the windows open from May until October except for the days when we turned on the air — which weren’t all that often while we lived in Cudahy — being so close to Lake Michigan.


Living in an RV changes that immensely.  You are never all that far from outside!  And RV heating and cooling systems — while they work really well — aren’t necessarily turned on all the time.  When we leave the RV for a drive we routinely turn the system off not wanting to have it running when we aren’t present.  Getting caught up to the heating or cooling need of the moment might take a while then.  Or the interior can get heated enough that it never quite gets the interior temps back to where you might want them.

Oh, it's not really this bad -- I'm mostly just teasing!

Oh, it’s not really this bad — I’m mostly just teasing!

On our evening walk the other night we were discussing how this difference is affecting us.  You see, when we closed on the house there was this initial spurt of desire to spend every moment outside.  We’d been stuck in the house for long enough.  We wanted to be OUTSIDE!  What we were forgetting is that being outside is not going to be a rare opportunity to be experienced as it’s rationed out to us by the seasons.  Instead, it will be part of our normal life.  And acclimating to various temperatures doesn’t happen instantly.  Our bodies take some time (how long we haven’t discovered yet) to adjust to warmer and then cooler climates.

Last summer and this summer we’ve been out in 90 degree temps more than we probably ever have.  I’ve sweated more in the last two summers than I have in a long while — and I’m happy about it.  The COLD of Wisconsin had reached my bones and I’m ready and eager for a good long spate of warmth.  However, one’s body takes longer to get happy about changes s than one’s brain.

I’ve met people who have taken several years to get accustomed to living in warmer climes; I’ve met a couple (make that a few) who never seemed able to make the adjustment and chose to return to where they’d come from rather than wait out the acclimatization period.    I think Peg and I are managing quite well.  We’ve had ups and downs in temps — a week or two of high heat this year, and then a respite.  After a good week of 90-ish temps we are looking at a week or so of lower 80’s during the days and 60’s at night — delightful temps to be sure. When we head South beginning in September we’ll see where we end up for the winter.  And we’ll also see how we adapt to something closer to continual summer.

We have our screen room, and our large awning along the curbside of the coach to keep the sun off our pate. We have chairs to make sitting outside comfortable.  And we have the time to enjoy the transition from city dwellers to retirees of leisure.  We’re doing just that.

My reason for commenting relates to those who look with envy at full timers.  In the same way that there is no “right” way to RV, so also there are some things about RV’ing that go with the territory  and you have to accept them as part of the lifestyle.  One of them is living with exposure:  it can be temperatures, it can be wind, it can be hail or tornados — but there is no getting around the fact that RV’ers are much more exposed than Brick & Mortar dwellers.

We are enjoying the change — but then we also enjoyed camping in tents!

Would you enjoy exposure?

Old Diary

Tragedy on the Mississippi

Dresbach Dam Boat

I haven’t had time to write about it, but this has been a sad week along the Mississippi River.  Last year there was too little water, this year there has been too much.  One of the local Barge companies, Brennan Marine recently added a new ship to their fleet, and that brand new tugboat went over a roller gate at the Dresbach Dam, capsizing and drowning one of the crew members, a young 22 year old  deckhand.  The dam is about 25 miles (by road) up the river from us; and the down where the deceased crewman was from is only 6 miles North on Hwy 35 from our campground.

The man had a life jacket on when his body was recovered inside the three-level towboat.  The current was so swift the rescue team had to use a robot to locate the man’s body before they could send a team to make the recovery.  Two other Wisconsin men who were aboard the Megan McB towboat survived with minor injuries.

The Megan Mcb

The Megan Mcb

Winona County authorities say the boat lost power right before it capsized and went through the roller gates at Lock and Dam No. 7 early Wednesday.  The boat was still lodged on its side against the first roller gate Wednesday afternoon.

The Coast Guard will launch a formal investigation, and has closed a six-mile stretch of the river to commercial traffic.  The dam is the same place where 11 people were rescued after a rented houseboat was swept over the roller gates and capsized May 27. In 2007, four drowned at the dam when their boat was sucked back into it.

Since then I’ve not heard much about the situation but it points out that jobs with romantic appeal can be dangerous, and once again it highlights the reality that life is a gift; some of us get to enjoy it longer than others, and it’s not a guarantee that you’ll live a full life and retire to dangle your grandkids on your knee.

Our prayers go out to the family and friends of the young man.