Monday, June 30, 2008

Japanese, Colorado style

Tonight we went to a Japanese hibatchi-style restaurant for dinner. Lizzie is starting the celebration for her 10th birthday a bit early and this was her request. Her actual birth-day is July 1 but 10 is a milestone and one can never have too many parties.
We began with a first course of edamame. For the uninitiated, these are soy bean pods, very warm with salt. You just eat the beans out and leave the shells. Very tasty and very healthy......well, maybe not the salt part. Jenna says you can buy these at Costco in a pouch and just pop them in the microwave to heat. They are really good and sort of like eating potato chips in that you can't eat just one. Next up for the brave souls was sushi. These are left to right, tuna roll, yellow tail, and a spicy tuna with avocado. I think I could eat the vegetable ones but I don't like cucumber or avocado and I'm not partial to raw fish. But most everyone else tried it. (It's certainly not cheap)Then the main attraction started with the flames to get our attention. Between the knife tricks, the egg twirling (for the fried rice) and tossing broccoli at us to catch in our mouths, it was quite a show. The food was spectacular. I had the filet mignon with lobster tail....cooked to perfection. Paul had the salmon and the kids tried chicken, shrimp and beef dishes.
After dinner , Lizzie received her ice cream with a candle and a hug from Kelsey, Nicholas' girlfriend. To change the subject quite a bit. Mike and Jenna have started on an immense project, a salt water fish tank. This is the tank, and it is huge.....210 gallons. They have another smaller tank that they have set up in order to learn the ins and outs of this major hobby. So far, they have kept an original anemone and he has even split in two but have lost a few fish. They are pretty close to putting fish in the large one. The entire thing is so complex and requires extensive plumbing , analysis and monitoring. Once it is established and stable, it will have stunning corals and colorful fish and creatures that just don't look real.
Monday and Tuesday will be moving day with a lot to be accomplished and on Wed, we fly to Orlando and home. This trip has been beyond our expectations and we are reluctant to end it. Funny how that is......I was not anxious to leave a couple weeks ago and not I'm not anxious to return. Well, I am anxious to get home but I will miss all that we have seen and done and all the good times we have had. Guess we'll just have to do it again. See you in Florida in a couple of days. Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Down time....

We are currently camped at Chatfield Reservoir State Park, SW of Denver. It is about 15 minutes from Mike and Jenna's. It is a beautiful campground with spotless facilities and full service, except no TV. But the antenna picks up anything we want. The weather is on the hot side with afternoon storms but the dry heat is a nice change.
We are playing lazy today and just cleaning and running errands and paperwork. The weather right now has potential for a summer storm so we are inside. Josh, in the middle, is my great niece's son. He is spending 2 weeks in Colorado. He is learning to adjust from being an only child to a house of 4 kids. And 3 dogs and 3 birds and assorted fish. There used to be cats but Casey lived over 21 years and there are no more.
The drive down from Wyoming, on the right road this time, was busy with RV'ers. We have noticed from Minnesota on that they are out in full force. The KOA in Wyoming was almost full and the State Park is full for the weekend. People do make comments at gas stations but mostly its just curiosity and not derogatory. We have decided to leave it in storage here in Denver and hopefully, come out before fall to do some more traveling and then maybe drive it to Florida.
On Monday, we are packing up Aunt Romayne for her move to Florida. At almost 97, she is spry and sharp and excited about the move. She has outlived all her friends and her husband. She has lived most of her life in Colorado Springs and she and Pat are well known for their service in the community. She drove a 1968 standard shift black VW Beetle and just gave it up 3 years ago. She was the principal of the elementary school at the Air Force Academy and after her retirement, she volunteered in local schools until her late 80's. We have admired them for many years for their energy , vitality and generosity. We will enjoy having her near.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Today, we opted to try a different route than originally planned and headed to western South Dakota. Much of the middle of the state is flat prairie and signs tout that Dancing With Wolves was filmed nearby. It looks much like the broad expanses in the movie. The area is home to the Sioux Indians.We drove off the main road (not literally.....I'm really a pretty good driver of the Roadblock altho P does all the hard parts) and ended up in the Badlands. I think that the North Dakota Badlands are more impressive but its been a long time so the memory cells from that era might be a bit weak. Before long, we had our first view of Mt Rushmore. We are unsure if we ever saw this as a couple or just as children with our parents. In any case, it is always a thrill to see it looming in the distance. It has a quite beautiful entrance and walk way to the best viewing area. There is an excellent museum detailing why and how the sculptures were built. The memorial took 14 years to construct with 400 men doing very dangerous work and there were no fatalities.

On our return to the RV, P went on ahead . I opted to stop for some ice cream cones. Little did I know that they would tower the scoops (there was only one size) and I had to move very quickly to get back before they melted. I was only partially successful keeping up with the rivers of melting praline cream.

We had intended to spend a leisurely afternoon in a campground in Hot Springs SD, south of Mt Rushmore but due to our lack of attention (one of us was dozing.....) we took the wrong road and ended up in WYOMING!! So we slogged on with less enthusiasm and finally arrived at this nice KOA with free WiFi.

Haven't decided our itinerary for tomorrow but we are closing in on Denver. We're a bit ahead of schedule so may have to find the scenic route.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Summertime and the living is easy....

We arrived in Detroit Lakes , Minnesota on Friday afternoon. For the few who are not aware, DL is the center of the summer people in the midwest. For generations, families have come to this area rich in lakes and tidy cottages. Over the years, the cottages have enlarged and the numbers increased but I doubt that much else has changed. The popular beaches, bars and social season are in full swing and the golf tourneys are frequent. It reminds me of one of those good beach novels.

Guy and Judy Hatlie, of Manhattan Beach, Ca and Lake Sallie welcomed us to their delightful cottage. You can see the lake and the sun setting as a reflection in the windows. It was a splendid gathering of old and new friends.

Here are Judy, Guy , yours truly, and Lynn Marr. All of us attended Jamestown High School, (North Dakota) too many years ago....and don't we look FABULOUS???Here are Ginny Marr and Bob (the Marr's lake neighbors) .And Jean, Bob's wife, and also the resident History expert, and the briefly unsmiling Paul. It was a spectacular evening of great wines, food and lively conversation.Followed by an sunset ride in the Hatlie's luxurious pontoon boat. This picture was taken about 9 and it stayed light until almost 10 pm.
The next morning, we ventured out for a tour of the lakes. Some ingenious person invented this contraption to get boats from one lake to the other. The boat is eased up in front of this structure and the attendant on the land raises a raft that is under the boat and guides it over by cable and lowers it on the other side. Guy deftly positioned it perfectly for the carry-over. Here are the cables and tracks to guide the raft over. A crowd gathered to watch the operation.

A look at us suspended half way across. The charge is $5 round trip plus a generous tip for the guide.

After traversing the first obstacle, we had to cross under a highway. This tunnel was very low and Guy learned last year the hard way when he tried to go thru with the canopy up.... But this time , we ducked low as we went thru and came out on the large Detroit Lake.That evening we tagged along to a cocktail party. Altho we grew up in ND, we did not stay long so it has been years and years and years since we have listened to that midwestern twang. And heard the names of towns and places once so familiar. We welcomed the simple surnames of Johnson, Peterson, Olson and appreciated the beauty of the Scandanavian blondes. We ended the evening with a dinner of walleyed pike and skipped the popular whitefish livers.

And then today, we had another pleasant surprise. We learned of another classmate living on the lake and stopped by to say Hi. Judy ( Schultz )Anderson and her husband Gary who grew up in Hillsboro the same time that Paul and his family lived there......And they just bought a home in The Villages.!!! just too many coincidences for one weekend.
It was a perfect few days and we thank Judy and Guy for their generosity and wish them a wonderful European holiday this wee

And's been too long since we've had the gratuitous grandchild least 3 days. Jon and Marybeth had a moving sale and among other things, sold this Little Tykes large plastic play set. Here is Mason watching it go away...I hope he understood.

We head for Denver today and a couple long days of driving.

Picture speaks 1000 words....

And since I'm a bit talked out this weekend , I'll just let this picture express our pleasure at being among good friends in good places. I promise to publish the full story later today.........

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Bayfield, Part II

If you studied the previous links that I sent in yesterday's blog......(and I just assume that if your are interested enough to read this blog, you also follow my directions), you know a little about Bayfield , Wisconsin, on the shores of Lake Superior. A picturesque and pristine community of 611 (or so the sign says) sits on a hill overlooking the unending views of this massive lake. This is fairly typical of the architectural style and attention to detail. Paul and I spent 3 hours on a cruise around the 22 islands off shore....the Apostle Islands, newly crowned a National Park about 30 years ago. Most are in their natural state but a few have light houses and one is large and home to many who cross the water by ferry in summers and sled boat in winters when the channel freezes.
Because of its location on the hills leading to the shore, there is a water view from everywhere. This does NOT do it justice. As I mentioned in the previous post and you have now read , the Big Top, Chataqua is a big attraction to this community in the summer. Lew and Marlyce started as volunteers and are now actually paid to keep this truly wonderful tradition going. We attended shows both evenings,a mix of background historical slides, folk music, skits and downright toe-tapping, hand-clapping fun. We met wonderfully friendly people (after all, isn't that what the midwest is all about) and wish we could drop in for each and every performance scheduled (5 per week in season). Willie Nelson returns each summer to perform in this intimate setting (900 seats) and Garrison Keiler of course is a favorite.

Being so far north, the spring blossoms are just now at their peak. Lilacs were everywhere as well as gorgeous oriental poppies, peonies, azaleas and an occasional tulip. But my favorite was the lupine which grows wild everywhere in shades of purple, lavendar , pink and white. They are massed besides the road and along the hills. Perfect. Lew and Marlyce originally lived near Minneapolis and started coming to Bayfield about 10 years ago. Lew and the entire family lovingly restored this schooner and sailed these waters for many years. Then they found land and with the entire family , built their home.

They also built this guest house with two suites, perfect for spending a week or two exploring this area. They used to offer B&B services but now its just the B....altho we had a taste of the breakfast and those people are missing a good thing.

Now,sometimes I can multi-task, after all, isn't that woman's strong know, like kids, husbands, jobs, and bake a perfect pie all at the same time. So , it should be a natural to be able to drive a large house on wheels, cook fabulous meals from a box, tour the country while eating M&M's and knit colorful sox, all at the same time......and yes, there's the keeping the husband happy part also...........and then I just need to add in being blog photographer. Well, sometimes, it just doesn't all get done and on this trip, I seem to be forgetting the photographer hat at times. I have no pictures of Lew and Marlyce's beautiful home in the woods, every inch hand made by them. I guess that's a good enough reason to invite ourselves back ......real soon.
We are currently ensconced in Detroit Lakes Minnesota . After recovering from a late night of indulging in drink, great food, fabulous company , we are off to do it all again. The class of 61 never looked so good......(and the class of 59) . Stay tuned......and I'm determined to wear the paparazzi hat at all times and report accordingly.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

We ( heart) Bayfield

We don't have wifi and are borrowing it from Lew and Marlyce so this is just a quick note to let you know we haven't driven off the road or anything.

We have been in Bayfield Wisconsin, on the shore of Lake Superior, way up there, since yesterday. And we hate to leave. One of the BIGGEST and BEST events we have ever gone to is and while you glance at that, also check out and we'll be back soon with details and pictures. We're off to Detroit Lakes Minnesota in the a.m.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Catching up .....

Ok, so I was wrong........!!!Here's our send off crowd on Friday morning. Becca, Andy and Mason.And here is the welcoming committee in Cincinnati. We had a great visit with Betty and Joan. We stayed in a beautiful city campground, surrounded by water and many activities. It almost reminded us of a National Park campground. It only lacked internet. Hopefully, our next visit with B and J will be sooner than later......maybe a trip to Fl is in their plans???On Sunday , after about 300 miles we arrived at Annette and Mark Holtan's beautiful lakeside cottage in Michigan. By the way, do I detect a theme here? Pictures in front of the Roadblock??? ( I have no idea why this is in blue and underlined)
Here is a gorgeous morning sunrise over Lake Kelsey. I think they have the most perfect site. Their home is so relaxing and comfortable and we were treated royally. We look forward to seeing them this winter when they are down in their winter place in Naples.

Here's the two old (yes, it's true, they are old) high school buds and man's bestest friend, 12 year old Duke. I didn't think I'd ever meet another shelty named Duke. It's a long sad, funny story of another dog who lived only one year with Mike and Jenna and met his demise with his head inside a large Costco cheese bag. Suffocation by gluttony.

A view of the front of the house facing the lake. In a few weeks, this area will be awash with color from all the plantings. We just missed the rhodies and peonies but there were a few mango colored azaleas....unusual color.

Currently, we are in the Upper Peninsula (U/P) of Michigan. We left a beautiful weekend and warm days and drove thru rain and dropping temperatures. It is currently 51 but was only 48. The rain has stopped. The campground host said they have had 11 days of rain and currently have only 5 campers. More rain is predicted for the week. The terrain up here looks like an ad for moose country. It is level with scrubby pines and smaller trees of some sort. The area is very wet with many ponds and river like areas surrounded by reeds and grasses. I could just visualize a moose wandering about. There are many bill boards featuring elk and moose and bear so assume they are prevalent. It looks like it could be pretty bleak up here in the long winter. The Lower Peninsula was more populated and lush looking with many golf courses.

Tomorrow we have about 250 miles to reach Bayfield Wisconsin. We are excited to explore the area a bit in our abbreviated stay. Have a look at this area on . And stop back to meet the rest of the family.
The Roadblock is just humming along, now smelling nice and fresh with new coach batteries. I never knew a battery that is over-charged or dying could smell so bad.
Currently, I am washing clothes, sitting by the fireplace and watching TV. We do enjoy this rustic camping experience.
Hope you'll be back, same time, same station.........

Monday, June 16, 2008

Quick update

We are using a dial up connection and can't do pictures at the moment so just to let you all know how much fun we are having, you'll just have to believe me....
We spent Saturday night at a city campground in was beautiful but no internet. Had great visit with P's cousin, Betty and Joan. It's been too many years since our last get together but none of us has aged and we reminised .......on what we could remember , that is.
Then a 300 mi drive across the Indiana border into Michigan for our 2 night stay with Mark and Annette Holtan. We are at their perfect lakeside cottage. They have had it for many many years and it is so peaceful and beautiful. The ruby throated hummingbirds are everywhere and we have sighted cardinals,orioles, grosbeak, titmouse etc. Mark is the expert, I'm just repeating. They have captured a very special locale here and the views are spectacular. Pictures will be on a later blog.
We discovered the source of the foul odor as coming from the coach batteries, which will now be replaced. I don't understand why they had to smell so bad as they failed but glad its not some decomposing animal.
Tomorrow, we leave bright and early for a 2 day drive to P's brother. Hopefully, we'll post pictures tomorrow night. Stay tuned

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bon Voyage, Tally Ho, Blast off, On our way....

The good news is that we have WiFi at this campground tonight, the bad news is that it won't let me post pictures on blogger. May this semi- descriptive narrative bring colorful images to your mind's eye.

We departed eastern Pa around 9:30 this morning. We had a great send off with Andy, Mason and Becca wanting to come along. ( Becca is spending the summer with Jon and Marybeth as a helper during the move and unknown work schedules. )

Our drive of almost 300 miles was pretty uneventful. Pennsylvania, along I 80 is mostly rolling hills and quite scenic. Weather was picture perfect for most of the day with a shower later. We found a very lovely KOA on the Pa/Ohio border. Spacious sites, many amenities and not too busy. We definitely noticed a diminishing of fellow RV'ers on the road today. There were none at the rest stops and just an occasional sighting along the interstate. We called ahead to see if we needed a reservation here and she said no....unusual for a Friday night near Pittsburg I think. I noticed in our journal of past trips, that on our first outing in Nov. '06, we paid $2.15 /gal and today it was $3.99.

Tomorrow we head for Cincinnati, about the same distance , to meet with Paul's cousin.

We have discovered an odor about the coach and cannot figure out the source. Initially, I thought it was a gas leak, but turning off the gas did not diminish the foul

odor. It is not from the black or gray tanks. It seems to be near the engine compartment or around the front Rt wheels and slide. I have crawled under and around (no easy task at this age) and searched with a flashlight for signs of something. Paul seems to think it is a dead creature , which is very logical considering there are many places for a mouse to crawl into. I'm hoping it will dissipate easily without further worry over the next couple of days. I don't think Febreze will do the trick.

In order to stay on schedule, we had to forgo Andy's pre-school graduation??? this evening. They are to wear cap and gowns and I can almost 100% guarantee that he won't wear it. He wouldn't wear his Halloween costume to a school party last Oct. and has very definite ideas about what he will and will not do. I'm sure Jon will have many pictures of the occasion to prove me wrong.

It's a sad day with the loss of Tim Russert. His journalistic integrity will be missed, especially this election year.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Preparations are under way

Arriving here, I was inducted into the official "Cars " fanclub, complete with tattooes.
The RV looked in great shape and inviting altho I always am surprised at how BIG it actually is. A major portion of my sensibilities frequently tells me that we should be leaving a smaller footprint as we pass thru this world and by driving this behemoth, we are not being user friendly. It has given us opportunities that we might not have had , given Paul's earlier limitations. I guess anything can be rationalized. But we will thoroughly enjoy these days and wonder if they might be more limited as we go into the great gas price unknown. When P started budgeting for this trip, he figured $3.50/gal and is now calculating for $5/.

Crawling around and under the machine left some of those joints and muscles pretty sore. Is there a masseuse in the house?

Andy spent the night with me in the big bed. He is not the easiest person to sleep with as he tossed and turned and kept to the middle of the bed. And yes, those are RED sheets.... and why not I ask???
Jon and MB will be moving the end of the month and are planning a garage sale .....this just looks too painful to even contemplate.
P S. The comments section on this blog has now been enabled.......I didn't realize it was not available. Opinions welcome providing you are nice.......

Sunday, June 8, 2008

On the road again......

We're getting ready for another foray across the states in the Moving Roadblock. It's been too long since we've loaded it up and headed out. Times have certainly changed since our trip last fall. Who would have thought that we would up and move, buying and selling in record time , and find ourselves living in a RETIREMENT COMMUNITY !!!! Who would have thought? Ain't life an adventure with twists and turns and unknown possibilities.? But , I digress..............

Tomorrow, we fly up to Pa and bail out the Roadblock from storage. We'll tidy it up, gas it up (no small feat these days) and on Friday, we will head West.

First stop will be to visit cousin Betty and Joan in Cincinnati, then on to Kelsey Lake in Michigan to spend time with the Holtans (class of 61), then up to Northern Wisconsin to enjoy a long overdue visit with P's brother Lew and Marlyce (I'm sure the pictures from this region will be spectacular) and then over to Lake Sally in Minnesota to reminisce with the Hatlie's (class of 61) and assorted JHS alumni spending their summers there. Finally, we'll head down to Denver and find a safe place to store the motorhome for the remainder of the summer.

At the end of June, we will help Aunt Romayne move from Colorado Springs down here to Florida. At 96 1/2 she is spry and witty and anxious for new adventures. It will be great having her near.

Altho we look forward to getting on the open road, it is hard to leave here, even for a few weeks. We are getting used to being on the go and having a plethora (don't you just love that word) of choices each day,, pickle ball, swimming, exploring , time with new friends or just plain loafing. We find that we are not alone in feeling this reluctance to leave. One couple went on a cruise and said it was a waste of money as they felt like they "went on a vacation from their vacation".

The new golf clubs have improved my game I"m happy to report.....not that I'd ever admit it if they didn't. We've been playing between 7 and 8 in the morning and it is usually pretty humid and uncomfortable but not hot. And then we go out for more casual play around 7 in the evening when there is a nice breeze and comfortable temperatures. However, there are hazards to trying to play at that time of day as we found out when Freida was ready to tee off.

Stay tuned and join us on our trip. Lots of pictures promised.