September 08, 2013

The Train To Texas

The Train





Kathleen here,

I know, I know, it’s been a while. Sorry about that. Our RVing life has still been busy and we are still doing awesome stuff: like buying this pontoon boat the day before we are scheduled to leave for Texas. Isn’t it beautiful? It is a Mini Paddle King with a 10 horse motor, plus an electric motor and a trailer. All for the price of about a month’s worth of gate guarding. We are expected to report at a site on September 15.

We were in Lake Ozark, MO. for two days, leaving for Branson this a.m. We had dinner at my Aunt Betsy’s and enjoyed a nice visit with her and her good friend Jerry. Betsy is recovering from a wicked bite from a brown recluse spider, late last year. She looks pretty good but is still doctoring, with some extensive procedures to lick this thing. It was so good seeing the two of them.

We towed our jeep behind the motor home, and the pontoon boat behind the jeep. Quite a parade of units (as they call them) all the way from Northeast Iowa. Holding our breath all the way. We aren’t sure it’s legal to pull a car and a pontoon boat behind a 40 foot motor home. No one bothered us. When we pulled into Riverview RV Park in Lake Ozark, the owner came out, shook his head in disbelief then took some pictures. We hooked it all up again this morning and now we are in Branson for the night.

The temperatures are creeping higher and higher each day of our travels and it seems the further South we get the louder the cicadas. We have the A/C on, otherwise we would hear them all night long. Maybe later.

Tomorrow night we hope to be at a Thousand Trail Park east of Dallas. The following day we will be in Zapata. We are looking forward to spending a few days at our new site before we report to work in the oil fields. Don’t know where we’ll be sent but that is the great part of this kind of work. Always a surprise. For now, we are hoping that Falcon Lake has some water in it. It has been really low the last couple of years.

Nice talking to you. I hope that we still have some followers.


My Aunt Betsy and Jerry 





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January 07, 2013

The Fence

Good Bye Falcon Lake






















Preparing for Departure






















We have bid farewell to Falcon Lake and Zapata-George says the fishing leaves a lot to be desired and so does the weather. We headed south and are now parked in a Coast to Coast RV Park along a sharp bend in the Rio Grande River. Mexico is stone's throw away from the park. As we approached the park, we drove along part of the "fence" that keeps us from sneaking into Mexico. We found it interesting that just beyond the border, the farmers were burning off the sugar cane fields. Billowing black smoke blackened the sky. Thankfully, the wind was blowing south and away from Rivers Bend RV Park. Following are a couple of photographs.

After a few days visiting the area, we'll probably head north. More news and more photos coming soon.


























The Fence












































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July 15, 2012

Salmon Bake Juneau Alaska

Salmon Bake in The Rain


















     Our first excursion off the ship was in Juneau Alaska and we chose to go to a "Salmon Bake In The Wood", rain or shine.  Need I say it was raining.  As I mentioned in a previous post this probably was the highlight of all the excursions in spite of the rain.  The setting was beautiful.  We arrived in the ole' standard yellow school buses and were treated to quite a laid back event, far removed from the uppity hoop-la of the huge cruise ship.  Maybe that is why I felt so much comfort.

     I have included a short video of the outing and hope you enjoy.  The setting, food, and everything associated with it were awesome.  Click below to see.      


                                                               Short Video

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July 03, 2012

Alaska Cruise






































     Our cruise began by us leaving early in the morning of June 22nd for a drive to Vancouver Canada from the Seattle area so we could stay in a hotel overnight and be prepared to board our ship, Ms Zuiderdam about mid day June 23rd.

     The boarding of the ship was confusing as we were herded here and there to complete various processes prior to boarding.  We had spent a lot of time on the computer during scheduling and completed numerous pre-boarding forms but alas that seemed all for naught.  Once we complied with all, we were again herded in to a large room with chairs so tight together that only half of my bu_ _ fit (yes I know I have a big bu _ _),  We were told the ship was not ready to board and we would be called by rows in about 45 minutes.  The lady beside me decided she wanted the half of the seat that I already didn't have and we had quite a bu _ _ fight.  No it wasn't Kathleen, and no I didn't enjoy it.

     Once released from there we headed for the "gang plank" to the ship itself.  I had studied the deck floor plans and knew right where to go to find our stateroom.  This was a pleasant surprise as the room was very nice and our checked luggage was already there.  Opening two large deck doors and one could go out on the Veranda to sit and enjoy the scenery that was soon to be as we passed by.

     I should add here that we drove in rain to Vancouver, slept with rain falling all night, boarded the ship with rain falling, spent the next seven days with it raining most of the time, and loaded back in the car for the trip back to the "tininthewind" in the rain.  The drive back to the Seattle area was probably in the heaviest of rain we had seen all week.

     In spite of the weather the scenery was spectacular at every turn.  We did three shore excursions.  The first in Juneau was a salmon bake out in the rain forest at picnic tables.  Now you would think I would be complaining about that-----not-----it was probably the highlight of the trip.  I hope to put up some pictures and just blog about that in a future posting.  Our second excursion was a 40 mile or so narrow Gage train ride up a mountain out of Skagway that basically followed the route that the 'gold stampeder's' took in search of that Klondike Gold.  The ride was in rail cars with huge windows and again the scenery was awesome.  Our third excursion was a cultural tour of some of the highlights of Ketchecan.  This was enjoyable but for the most part a bus ride with the driver pointing out where so and so was shot and buried, etc.

     Food on the ship itself was to die for as there was literally anything and everything your little ole' heart desired.  No doubt the 'heart' took a big hit on this trip.

     I must confess that I am one who suffers from motion sickness at the drop of a hat.  This big boat was no exception.  I spent four out of the seven days on the ship just on the edge, and one night way over the edge.

     This was a once in a life time experience, with the emphasis on 'once'.  I am glad we did it bu _ , _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _.

Scenes between rain drops:


























































































































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April 30, 2011

Movin' On

Saying Goodbye is Difficult















     The Jeep is hooked to the back of the 'Tininthewind' , everything is stowed, GPS is programed, and goodbye's have been passed along.  Our Spring visit to our old home area has drawn to a close as tomorrow morning we will be pulling out of La Crosse and heading West.  The hardest part for me is to have to tell my mom (shown above) that we have to leave, but will be back in September.  Somehow for both of us, that seems like a long way off!

     It has been a very busy visit to this area.  Other than visiting family and friends our focus is always our medical appointments.  Kathleen reached the milestone of 5 yrs. post treatment and has graduated to annual check-ups rather than the bi-annual, as all is well. 

     We traded our Jeep tow car for a newer model and had to deal with getting a new tow base plate and all the wiring installed so we can tow it.  We visited with all friends and family that we could catch up with, got to see all three of Jim and Alyce's boys and family's, spent many hours just visiting with Jim and Alyce and fell in love with a couple of kittens that live at 'Sunshine Acres'.

     In spite of the Mississippi being at or above flood stage and most of the river RV Parks closed we managed to get a spot on top of 'the hill' at Goose Island Park and managed to enjoy a few hours between rain showers photographing the surrounding area.

     We will not use our favorite northern route to get to the Seattle area as we have to stay a bit south to get our 'newer Jeep' registered at our domicile and new home base of South Dakota.  This means we will not get to stop and visit our friends, Alan, Jean, Kenny, and Debbie who once again will be workamping on Kabatogama Lake in Northern Minnesota.

     We leave in the morning with some sadness as we see the river valley disappear in the mirror but in front of us and at the end of this journey will be our boys and their family's.  I can almost feel those hugs already.




Kathleen with one of two  














Mallards at Goose Island












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March 26, 2011


     I know two 'Snow Birds' who headed north way too early.  There will be changes made to the migration pattern next season for sure.

     We are in Branson, Missouri at 'Treasure Lake RV Resort' which is right in the center of town and very close to all the activities that Branson has to offer but in spite of its location one feels as though you are in the deepest part of a Forrest.  There are several sections to this park and our favorite area is about as far back on the property that one can get.  Our favorite site was available and so we grabbed it on our arrival.  We always unhook the car from the 'tininthewind' and drive through a park to pick our site.  We wanted this site so bad that I had Kathleen sit and guard it while I returned for the coach.  Shoot----we have been here for 3 days now and haven't seen another camper in this part of the park.  That definitely says we headed north way too soon!

     This morning about 4 a.m. it started raining quite heavily but now as I look out I am seeing a little white mixed in and sticking on the ground.  Bummer

     We are planning on leaving here in about three days so guess we will just take what comes as we continue heading north.

     The following are pictures taken on our walk yesterday.  Note how crowded it is!  Way off in the distance you can see the 'tininthewind'.




Lonely in these parts















Way off in the Distance






















































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March 23, 2011

Migrating North

Stopped for Lunch















Ozark Mountain Setting in Arkansas















Lunch Time















     Like all 'Snow Birds' we are traveling north with the changing season but I must admit we are not literally 'flying along'.  The weather reports from the 'old home area' are still a little iffy.

     We thoroughly enjoyed our travels today through the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas and decided to stop mid day for a snack at a nice little roadside pull off.

     Our destination was Branson, Missouri for a short stay as we evaluate the weather further on 'up' the road.  We are at Treasure Lake RV Resort in Branson and have a beautiful site right in the middle of town but about as secluded in the forest as one can get.

     We had dinner at one of our favorite restaurants here.  A waiter comes out from the kitchen area and begins throwing fresh hot rolls to anyone who wants one.  It was fun to watch Kathleen standing and egging the waiter to throw to her.  She caught two, one for each of us.  I was wishing I would have had the camera.

     Even though it was a beautiful warm spring day on our arrival here today, the low by morning is to be about 34 degree's.  I think this is far enough north for now----don't you?

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October 29, 2010

Love These Texas RV Parks

Wide Open Space Between Rigs















Conroe Texas Thousand Trails Park















     Yup, Texas sure is Big and the one thing Kathleen and I like about spending time here is usually the sites have a lot of room between neighbors.  It seems like we have our own little 'ranch' around our coach.

     We have been at this Thousand Trails RV Park for about a week now and will be leaving Sunday for an overnight stop in Houston so we can pay a visit at the 'Camping World' there to pick up a few needed supplies.

     Monday morning we will head down to Rockport, Texas and find our spot for a Month (November) stay at 'Lagoons RV Park'.  We have been wanting to get acquainted with this park as we really like the Rockport area and may decide to spend the entire winter there in 2011/2012.  We are of course still going to 'Fun-n-Sun RV Park in San Benito, Texas for December thru February.

     The weather for our stay here in Conroe has been spectacular and we have spent as much of it outside that we could.  It has afforded me a chance to get a little work done on some more diamond willow hiking sticks.  I know it is close to Halloween but don't let the little fellow below 'spook' you, as he is just my latest 'wood spirit' carving on a stick I was working on.

Happy Halloween -- be sure to put your cursor over the picture!















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October 21, 2010

Russellville Arkansas

Corp of Engineers Park on Arkansas River, Russellville














     This is our second visit to the Russellville Corp of Engineers park along the Arkansas river.  We visited here on our way North two years ago.  It is a beautiful park and getting here through the beautiful hill country of Northern Arkansas from Branson, Missouri is always a treat.  The leaves have not reached there peak yet but we will be leaving tomorrow for Hot Springs, Arkansas and hopefully while there we will be able to catch some brilliant color.

     A couple of other pictures follow.  I assume you can guess which one is out of character.



Great area for a walk














In my deams













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October 14, 2010


Flock of geese over Hannibal















Kathleen here


“One can sit on the pilot-house for a few hours and watch the low shores, the ungainly trees and the democratic buzzards, and then one might as well go to bed. One has seen everything there is to see.”

                                                                                                                   Mark Twain


What a lovely couple of days we have spent, and right along my favorite water way.

Hannibal, Missouri rests on the banks of the Mississippi River about an hour south of the Iowa border. Had it not been for a “favorite son,” it would have been a forgotten quiet little river town with memories of long ago showboats, and watchful eyes for today’s long tow boats.

I spent the day gazing at beautiful old buildings and century old homes proudly inviting visitors to take a walk along streets shaded in ancient oak trees. Wherever one goes in Hannibal, a reminder of a famous little boy and his side kick can be seen on store fronts, or street corners. Museums and theaters proudly display artifacts from their childhood in the mid-1800s.

I browsed through museums imagining Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn with Becky Thatcher trailing behind. I saw the famous white coat that Samuel Clemons always wore. Pictures of life on the Mississippi River made me lonesome for my own childhood along the same river back in Northeast Iowa. I toured Mr. Clemons’ childhood home and bought a couple of books. Do you know where Samuel Clemons got his pen name: “Mark Twain?”

He worked many years on Mississippi Riverboats. A riverboatman cried “mark twain” when the depth of the water was safe for the boat to float over. A fathom is a maritime unit of depth equivalent of two yards; “twain” is an archaic term for two. The cry “mark twain” meant “there are 12 feet of water under the boat and it is safe to pass.”

A name fitting for a writer who loved the river and whose stories entertained us throughout our own childhood. Our day spent in Hannibal was pleasant, with autumn sites and smells in the air. A tow boat pushed a line of barges south and a mighty goose gathered his flock overhead. Leaves whirled in the breeze while we awaited night fall.

Hannibal, a small town whose beloved fans of its famous “son” refused to let it be forgotten.




RV Site at Wakonda State Park



























Lover's Leap overlooking river












Tow Boat













Mark Twain's boy hood home










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September 25, 2010

Goldie, Goldie, Goldie

Dressed for Decorah Centennial














Kathleen here,


One little birthday party. How about one hundred little birthday parties? Or maybe one big party for all. My Aunt Goldie Lucille Rocksvold celebrated 100 years of healthy living on September 15, 2010 in Waukon, IA. Sister Beryl Pokorny traveled from Lake Ozark, MO. Brother Roy Tom Sires came from Waverly, IA. Grandchildren, nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends came to share hugs and tears, stories and laughs, cake and ice cream, and lots of love. Always the gracious host, Goldie saw to it that everyone was offered a piece of cake and ice cream.


Goldie is healthy and active. The second oldest child of nine, she was born to Roy and Lena Sires who lived in Dorchester, IA a long time ago. She has had a full and active life. One may call to chat a bit with her, but she might be out playing cards or helping in the kitchen. My darling aunt’s beautiful smile brightens the room when she sees company approaching. She will invite her guest to sit and visit, asking about family and friends.


I remember as a little girl, Aunt Goldie welcomed me into her home ready to serve lunch, ready to visit, ready to be what an aunt should be, and I love her.


September 23, 2010




Sister Beryl (Betsy) and Goldie













Brother Roy Tom, June-Goldie's Niece, and Sister-in-law Marce
















Kathleen and Goldie















Kathleen, Goldie, Jim















Goldie Lucille Sires Rocksvold















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September 12, 2010

We Never Tire of The View

The Beloved Mississippi River and Valley















     As we rounded the corner on our descent in to the Mississippi River Valley just a few miles from our old homestead area I saw Kathleen reaching for the camera.  The above picture is just like ones we have taken a zillion times but no matter how many times we catch our first look at the flowing water after months of being away, we are still excited to see it.

     We arrived in the La Crosse area yesterday after an uneventful trek from the NW (Washington State), and a super summer with our boys and their families.  If you have followed our blog you know that we did truly enjoy our summer with all that we did and the contact we had with family and friends.

     Once again we chose to drive HWY 2 from Monroe, Washington to Bemidji, Minnesota before cutting a bit further north to visit four of our special RV friends. (Pictured Below).  Debbie, Ken, Alan and Jean have been Workamping at a Resort on Kabetogama Lake in the far north of Minnesota just to the west of International Falls, Minnesota.  We first met these four when we all were part of the group that wintered in Mexico for two winters, 2007 & 2008.  The years are being kind to our four friends as they all look fabulous.  It was a treat to get to visit with them for awhile.

     Now back in the Midwest we will spend several weeks visiting family, and getting our medical appointments taken care of.  We hope to have enough spare time to also visit all of the many friends we left behind when we took off on our "Tininthewind" journey back in 2006.

     Sometime in mid October we will begin our journey south and once again our destination is Fun-n-Sun RV Park and Resort in San Benito, Texas.




Debbie, Ken, Alan & Jean













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September 06, 2010

Tough to Leave

Mason, Maddie, Ellie, & Zak















     The above picture should be self explanatory to the Title of this Blog "Tough to Leave".  We have had the most fun any Grandparents could possibly have with our four Grandkids this summer of 2010.  The above was one last picture with Grandpa challenging them not to smile as we were in the process of saying our good-by for the summer.

     We departed the following day, Sept. 6th for the Midwest and our medical checkups before heading south again to San Benito, Texas and our winter of 2010/2011 stay.

     With heavy hearts we pointed the "Tininthewind" east as we ascended Stevens Pass just east out of Monroe, WA. for a new adventure.  See below.




Approach to Stevens Pass

















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July 30, 2010

We Say Good-by to Andersen Lake State Park

Andersen Lake State Park---Volunteer Hosts















     It is somewhat sad to be leaving our duties at Andersen Lake State Park.  We are confident that we leave it more pristine than we found it on our arrival, and look forward to returning again in the future.  Boss and now Friend, Ranger Mike Zimmerman has invited us back and who knows-----"Good Lord willin' and creek/Lake don't rise", maybe!

     I include the following picture not because I think you need more of us but rather to show off my first attempt at carving a "wood spirit" in my newly completed diamond willow walking stick.  Thanks to a chance meeting with a new RV Full-time friend and master carver, Roger Post, who encouraged me to give carving a try and presented me with my first carving knife from his personal collection----I have a new hobby----and love it!!!!!!  Thanks Roger----I am now leaving wood chip trails near every camping site we visit.




My first carved woodspirit















Spirit Dude














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July 08, 2010

Fun Three Days

Proud Peacock















Kathleen here,


The end of June and it was time to travel over to the Washington Peninsula. This time we had the pleasure of two of our grandchildren’s company. Scott and Angela had an appointment on June 29 to pick up a brand new puppy. They needed to fly to Billings Montana, fetch the pup, and catch the returning flight on the same plane back to Seattle. We picked up Zak and Ellie on June 27.

The Tin in the Wind was parked at the Tulalip Indian Casino in Marysville, about 45 minutes north of where Ghost, Scott’s sailboat is docked in Seattle. We had left Lake Sawyer that morning to begin our trek west. As we were settling in that night, we heard loud fire crackers in the distance. As the western sky darkened, we began to see fireworks. Zak and Ellie wanted to watch the display of lights so I let them climb onto the hood of the Jeep. I wrapped them in a big blanket and they oohed and ahhed at the fireworks for over an hour before finally giving up and coming in to retire. The light show continued far into the night but we all fell asleep long before the end.

On the morning of the 28th we traveled north, over Deception Pass to Whidbey Island. Deception Pass is an absolutely gorgeous area. A high bridge connects the island and the mainland. As we approached the pass, we looked out over the strait and the deep blue waters of Puget Sound. The pass was named by George Vancouver. The first explorers of this area thought it to be an inlet until after following the narrow waters, it was discovered to be in fact a strait, thus: Deception Pass. Riding in the coach enabled all of us to get a grand view. The kids loved it.

On the northwestern point of Whidbey Island there is an abandoned military fort called Fort Casey. Built in the late 1890s, along with two other prominent forts: Fort Flagler and Fort Wordon, they sat at the entrance of Puget Sound. These three strongholds were called the Triangle of Fire designed to protect the Puget Sound area from any influx of enemy invasions by sea. Today the many abandoned forts in the area are beautiful state parks. Fort Casey has a small RV Park resting right on the beach. We spent one afternoon and night there. The kids built forts out of driftwood. They became best friends with some kids camped close by. We built a camp fire and roasted marsh mellows and we had a grand time. After settling in, tucked deep inside sleeping bags, it began. Not a mile away, there is a Naval Air Station. After dark the planes practice touch and goes. Zak could not believe his fortune. From our front window, he sat and watched the planes zoom back and forth, their loud engines echoing throughout the night. Zak has become an expert at mimicking the sounds of most aircraft as they fly the skies of the Seattle area. He recognized what kinds of aircraft were practicing that night. I was impressed.

Early on the 29th, we caught the ferry that carried us over to Port Townsend. Again, sitting in the front seat of the coach and in the front row on the ferry, Zak and Ellie didn’t miss a thing, as we cruised along over the waters of the Sound. Our next stop was an Escapee RV park just outside of the city. There isn’t much to do for kids in this park so we went for a ride.

Grandpa had a surprise for the kids. We drove west in our Jeep. Sequim is about 45 minutes away and is the home of an animal farm that was extensively visited by Hollywood and Walt Disney. This farm became a retirement home for all animals used in Disney and other Hollywood films. We toured a museum that houses sets from movies and television programs. Many very unusual items are on display. We then jumped back in the Jeep and drove the route that led us to the animals. We let the kids slide up through the sun-roof and sit on top with their legs dangling down close to me so I could grab on to them if needed. We bought a loaf of bread for each of them, at the ticket office, so they could feed the animals. They had the best time either throwing pieces of bread to lions and tigers and bears or letting antelope, bison, exotic deer, and elk come right to them, grabbing bread from anxious fingers. They squealed with glee as elk slobbered all over them, while stretching their necks to reach the kid’s hands and the top of our Jeep. The kids were delighted with the trip and kept saying, “ You are the best grandpa and grandma ever.” When the bread was gone, we waved good bye to all of the animals. The park is also home to monkeys, zebras, cougar, wolves, coyotes, brown bear, black bear, lions and tigers, a big rhinoceros and all kinds of rabbits, and a flock of beautiful very proud peacocks.

Remember Grizzly Adams? The set of his show and his cabin are on the farm. His faithful companion, Gentle Ben, the big grizzly bear, lived out his life after the series on the animal farm. He was ultimately buried there.

There also is an aquarium with many different species of marine life exhibited. We had a great time, ending the trip with a stop at Dairy Queen for a treat.

The next morning, June 30th, we packed up the kids’ bags and off we went to Kingston and the ferry that took them home to Mom and Dad and a new puppy named Fathom Bay Brosius. Scott brought the ferry over, picked up Zak and Ellie, and back on the ferry they went. Bye kids. We loved having you with us.




Zak and Ellie at Fort Casey















Petting Goats at Animal Farm















Rabbits Liked the Bread Too





























What is it?















Grizzly Bear






























Grizzly Adam's Cabin















Walking the Beach at Fort Casey

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April 28, 2010

Missing-----but, Catching Up

     It has been some time since we posted to the blog and we have been catching some heck for it too.  Thats OK cause it lets us know that there are actually some who care.

     We spent the winter of 09/10 in the Rio Grand Valley in the area of San Benito at a nice 5 star RV park called 'Fun n Sun'.  We truely enjoyed our stay there and will perhaps return this next winter if we can get the same deal.

     We slowly made our way from the RGV to Wisconsin for our Physicals and of course to visit significant others.  We both got a clean bill of health and that set the stage for our being able to head for the North West and a much needed visit with our Son's and their families.  It has been about 11 months since we were last in their area.




Mom and Me with Fish Lake in Background
















     We decided to invite my mom (Betty), pictured above, who will soon be 87 to travel west with us as it has been several years since she has seen her grandson's, Bill and Scott.  The four little great grandkids have grown so much she will probably not know anymore who is who. 

     We have made this trip west a slow lazy adventure to give her time to enjoy the scenery and also not to make it too taxing on her.  Quite frankly she is wearing the two of us out. 

     We are currently at one of our favorite Thousand Trails Parks just outside of Leavenworth, Washington.  This little Cascade Mountain Town is all about a Bavarian Theme.  It's setting is in a spectacular location with snow capped mountains all around and a beautiful river running through it.

     I have used this four day stop to clean some of the road grime off the 'Tininthewind', and catch up with my little pine squirrel buddies.  It took all of 10 minutes to have one little fellow climbing up to my shirt pocket and stealing peanuts from within.





My little Buddy
















Leavenworth, Washington
















Fish Lake outside Leavenworth















     We promise to do a better job of posting to this site so don't give up on us.  With the lousy weather down South it was a long winter and not a lot to write about.  Lets hope that changes for the coming summer and following winter.

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March 21, 2010

Rock Port, TX

Old Oak Tree

















Kathleen here


Rock Port


We left the Rio Grande Valley a couple of weeks ago. Reluctant to begin our trek north into the unknown, we drove a few hours up the coast and settled in at a Coast to Coast RV park in Rock Port, TX. The Internet service and cell phone coverage was lousy but we stuck it out for a week. The park itself is quite nice. It is in the process of remodeling and needs improvement in some areas. We would like to stay there more often but we have decided that we cannot live with out our Internet.


The town of Rock Port has a lot to offer. It lies right on the Gulf Coast and is beautiful. There are a few nice hotels overlooking the crashing waves that roll onto the white beaches. A city park has picnic and play areas, with a mile long beach, perfect for frolicking children or lazy folks who wish to lounge on their beach chairs.


Along this stretch there are lots of shops for tourists to browse through. Museums and historical attractions also lure folks in. An aquarium overlooks the park at the south end. One can find an assortment of restaurants, as well. We stopped at a small Italian Bistro and enjoyed a fabulous meal. A bit expensive but very good. A Dairy Queen and a Mc Donald’s can also be found not too far from the beach front. All Texas towns have Chinese restaurants around every corner and Rock Port is no exception. We visited one overlooking the Gulf. We liked the food and will certainly dine there again.


We spent two days visiting RV parks hoping to find the perfect one for next winter. We liked the Rio Grande Valley. I really enjoyed the Writers’ Group folks. We all wrote great stories and I learned a lot from them. I made great friends and if we decide not to return, I will miss them. But, we have fallen in love with the Rock Port area.


The town takes great pride in the old knarled oak trees that surround most of the homes. The wind, constantly blowing in from the Gulf, forces the trees to submit to its strength, and they lean to the West, but not without a fight. They have grown old trying hard to stand straight, but alas, their limbs are now knarled and tangled. They stand protecting the little town. The morning sun, as well as the setting sun illuminates the trees producing shadows and beams of light within. They are beautiful.


We have found a couple of worthy parks. In order to secure a good site, we will need to make a decision before the end of summer. I am sure we will. We took a few photographs.




























































































































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November 28, 2009

Texans for Awhile

     We did manage to escape Wisconsin/Iowa and start heading South.  Driving with a patch over one eye was a challenge at first but with my handy dandy back seat driver helping with looking to various directions we first made our way to a Casino in Southern Iowa near Osceola.  Staying only one night we then headed for Branson, Missouri and stayed right in the heart of the city at one of our membership parks (Coast to Coast).  We didn't attend any of the shows but rather chose to just relax and let my eye's rest.  We stayed four days and when we left I was actually able to drive without the patch, now using both eye's (major improvement).  We spent one night in a non member campground, paying the price, near Little Rock Arkansas before departing for "Secret Cove Resort" along the Cheney Creek Arm of Lake Fork.

     "Secret Cove Resort" is just the kind of spot that Kathleen and I always look for if we are going to want to stay for an extended period of time.  Remote, quiet, along water, full hook-ups, friendly owners, INTERNET for at least e-mail, good weather, and this little resort did not disappoint.  After getting the 'tininthewind' set up I went right to work getting my boat ready.  The owner Paul, came over and offered the use of an empty slip inside his private boat house right on the water.  There I would have my boat sheltered from any weather and an electrical plug in to recharge my trolling motor.  The lake as I had read, held large numbers of trophy bass, so I was feeling like I had found a real gem.  I fished every day for a week, catching a few bass but not that big one that is known to be there.  Near the end of the first week (we were planning to stay at least three), we experienced a refrigerator failure and had to quickly convert to living out of a couple of cheap coolers. 

     Calls were made, and we now have an appointment at a Newmar dealer just outside Houston, Texas for Tuesday December 1st to get it fixed or replaced.  We are currently at a nice Thousand Trails park about 68 miles North of Houston and will head on in to the city area just before our appointment.

     Thousand Trails had a special offer going through the web-site to experience some of the Encore Parks (top shelf) in the Rio Grand Valley (our ultimate destination) and so we have booked a two month stay at "Fun n Sun" RV Resort in San Benito Texas (suburb community of Brownsville) and following that, a one month stay at "Tropic Winds" RV Resort in Harlingen, Texas.  From both resorts we will be no more than 40 miles from "South Padre Island".  Friends, Bill and Margaret McNew are staying on Padre and we look forward to seeing them.

     There is a lot to tell about the two Resorts we have chosen to spend the winter and it will keep me busy blogging about our experiences while there.  Kathleen and I both look forward to setting up housekeeping in one spot for an extended period of time.  The nic-nac's will come out and we can make things look like Christmas inside and out.

     As a side note:  my double vision problem continues to improve and I now have about a 90% return to normal.  The 10% still affected is to my far left peripheral and that is where and how it all started.  I am hoping that it too will clear in another month or so.  I am "thankfull"!

     Check back to the blog soon as I am going to do a piece about our oldest son, the pilot, Scott who left a few days ago for Ethiopia.  He has been hired as a consultant to Ethiopia's National Airline to teach their pilots to fly 8 new Dash 8 400 aircraft, which is the air craft Scott teaches and flyes here in the states.

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August 28, 2009

Moving On

Wild Flower Boque















     Time has come to bid the North Woods of NW Minnesota good-bye.  We have been here a couple of weeks and it is time to move on.  As is usually the case we enjoyed our stay and the exploration of all the back roads we could find.  The fishing wasn't all we had hoped for but just being able to get out on the lake in my little pee-wee pontoon and wet a line is worth a lot.

     The boat is now back in its berth in the basement of the 'tininthewind' and ready for its next adventure when we find it.

     We will do the slow "casino hop" thing on our way back to the La Crosse, WI. area.  No, we are not big gamblers but like to take advantage of some really good food that can usually be found there and of course some have in-expensive RV parks which make the stay nice as well.  Our casino book shows two right in line with our travels.

     In addition to one more picture here I am going to attempt to attach a brief video clip.  If you click on 'movie' and it works you will know that I have been successful.  If it doesn't you will know I have more work to do to learn how to do it.



Time to Pack the Boat Away
























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August 15, 2009

New Plans

     How quickly things can change when you add a little exploration to your day.  Yesterday we finished the day with concrete plans to move to a pristine little spot along Vermillion Lake at Spring Bay Resort.  We would have a tight spot down in a bit of a hole but this truck driver felt I could get the 'tininthewind' wiggled around there and set up right next to the water.  There would be 15 to 20 amp electric, no water or sewer hook-up but with it being such a close to the water spot we felt it would be worth it.  Checking the weather for the next 7 days showed 6 days with potential rain, some heavy.  I definitely went to bed with second thoughts about the location due to that much rain and it being a relatively soft grass area to begin with.

     We did have a secondary plan to spend some time at a new RV Park, with all three hook ups including 50 amp but were going to use it for a few days after spending our time with little services at the Spring Bay Resort spot.  More on this later.

     As I was checking out of the Casino RV Park the Host informed me that their marina on the water was just around the corner and I was entitled to a slip for my little boat free of charge.  I quickly got in the car, drove around the corner to the marina and discovered a very private little marina exclusive to the Casino tucked away in a little bay and absolutely ideal for my little boat.  Problem is the bay is shallow and basically one could only plan to catch pan fish, (crappies and sunfish) there.  No bass, darn!  We were all prepared to leave but would consider a return to the Casino RV Park if something else didn't develop.

     We hooked the Jeep to the 'tininthewind' and headed down the road, deciding to stop at the new RV Park mentioned above and would explore another day or two our options.  On signing in for a couple day stay I had a great conversation with one of the owners and he informed me that they too had a marina on the water where I also could get a slip for my giant pee-wee pontoon bass boat and the small islands, bay and narrows that were part of this cove were loaded with big small mouth bass-----"hogs" he said.  Well, did he have my attention?  The only down side is this cove and marina are 11 miles from the RV Park.

     Tomorrow we are off to have a look-see and I promise to let you know what we end up doing.  Right now it is pouring down rain.  We are one of four RV units in this new park.  Our neighbor, John down about 5 sites has been here all summer, with his boat at this marina, and he speaks highly of the fishing.  He has no interest in the bass but rather has been fishing walleye with pretty good catches every day.  I do believe already I can see promise in about a two week stay.


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August 14, 2009

North East Minnesota

     As I mentioned in previous posts when the weather got too warm we were going to head North, especially up along the North Shore of Lake Superior so on Thursday the 13th we headed out from the La Crosse area with a planned destination of about 30 miles North of Duluth Minnesota and an RV park right along Lake Superior.  We rarely ever make advance reservations, preferring to just wing it, but this is one time we should have reserved as everything for many miles along Lake Superior were full.  We checked Park after Park until finally we decided to head inland (West) toward Ely, Minnesota.  The outside air temp went from the low 80's along Lake Superior to the low 90's after just a few miles inland.  So much for finding cooler temps.  We found all camp areas full including one we were familiar with in Ely and finally after a very exhausting day and more miles than I care to do in one day we got out the 'Indian Casino Book' and headed for one 22 miles to the South of Ely. 

     We booked in here for two days at the Casino RV Park and have enjoyed their restaurants.  Today we had the time to go explore the area and with a little pre exploration research we found and visited several resorts that also had RV Spaces listed.  We found one that looks like it is going to be perfect for the 'tininthewind', our relaxation, and perhaps some fishing.  We will be moving their tomorrow and plan to stay for a week or perhaps longer if we can.  In my next blog I will get some pictures of where we are and how we are situated along Lake Vermillion.

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July 08, 2009

People who make things Happen

     I know I told you in the previous blog that I would not be commenting about our trials and tribulations of getting older and all what comes with that territory but I did say if there was any news about Kathleen's hip issue I would comment, and boy is there news! 

     I should mention here that our hopes were to rule out anything nasty that might be going on with the hip, seeing an orthopedic surgeon if that was needed and proceeding immediately with any correction needed including a total hip replacement were foremost on our mind.  Getting all this accomplished through the summer and then allow us to enjoy and meet our winter commitments in the Rio Grand Valley of Texas are important.  Are we dreamers or what?  Are our expectations unrealistic?  Perhaps, but we had to try. 

     With the hip discomfort progressively getting worse and our desire to be ready for our winter stay in the Rio Grand Valley of Texas we decided to make a hasty retreat from Washington State to our HMO health care provider in the Mid West.  Upon arrival last week we had a prescheduled appointment with the Main Gundersen/Lutheran Orthopedic PA who had seen and cared for her hip last spring.  With much disappointment we left that appointment, not even being examined, but rather told that we should just go to the front desk and schedule an appointment with a particular orthopedic surgeon.  He accompanied us and pleaded our case for ASAP but we were told that the earliest she could be seen was 25 days out.  A plea was made to put us on a list for any cancellation slot and a further plea to have the Dr. contact us if he could in any way see fit to slip us in earlier.

     Waiting a few days and hearing nothing Kathleen called to check on her status and was told that her appointment would be July 28th and that was as good as they could do, but we would be kept on a cancellation list.

     I know I digress a little here but:  I am a strong believer in that there are basically two types of people in any crowd, those who wait for things to happen, and those who make things happen.  Even though quite often I am a pain in the butt to some that I encounter, I am proud to say, I am one who makes things happen and today I just met several in a row just like me.  What can happen when like personalities and minds come together is amazing.  Listen up!

     After visiting last evening with a close personal friend of Kathleen and I, we learned that Brian age 47 had both a knee and a hip replacement by one Dr. Jeffrey Lawrence an orthopedic surgeon practicing at the Vernon Memorial Healthcare center in Viroqua, Wisconsin.  Just 33 miles from the main Gundersen/Lutheran clinic in La Crosse.  Not only would our insurance cover us there but Dr. Lawrence is suggested to be one of the best at his trade in all of the U.S.  Problem is, he is so popular that people come from all over and he is very busy.  Brian (a maintenance man at Gundersen/Lutheran in La Crosse) when asked by someone from the main orthopedic department why he was going to travel 33 miles to an outlying clinic/hospital to have his hip replaced stated:  "Dr. Lawrence is reportedly ranked number 2 in the world for hip replacement and if I am going to be cut, I want the best."

     This morning, less than 12 hours after visiting with Brian we traveled to Viroqua and at 11:00 a.m. were standing in front of receptionist Julie in the orthopedic department.  A brief explanation to her about our needs and she was on her feet headed to the depths of the department to consult with Dr. Lawrences PA, Collin.  She returned to tell us that it is always a pre-requisite to seeing Dr. Lawrence to be seen by the PA and Collin could examine Kathleen at 1:30.  We should report back at 1:00 for x-rays and he would have those in hand when he examined her. Remember what I said, "there are people who make things happen".  We saw Collin at 1:30 and after a thorough examination and reviewing the x-rays with us he said it appeared that a total hip replacement was probably in order. He did inform us that Dr. Lawrence was scheduled out to November for the actual replacement surgery.  Oh, Oh, that would not be good.  To cold in Wisconsin then.  We briefly described our lifestyle, our home on wheels, our desire to spend the winter in warm and sunny Texas and he immediately began exploring the options.  Prescribing better pain controlling medication therapy for her to get her to a date in April for the surgery would be a possibility.  Remember what I said, "there are people who make things happen".  Collin escorted us in to see Connie, the gal who schedules all appointments.  Understanding that we needed to do this when weather was conducive to our needs and all, including pre surgery preparation, surgery, and the recovery process it was determined that we could go through the pre surgery stuff in April and then the surgery in May and recovery in June and July.  Kathleen agreed that it would work for her as long as there was good pain management to get her to those dates.  A date has been scheduled to meet and be examined by Dr. Lawrence in October before we depart for Texas and that will work as we will be in the area in Sept anyway getting other medical appointments completed.  On the same day in October Kathleen will have an appointment with a general practitioner to determine that she is physically fit to withstand the surgery.  Following those two appointments the April and May appointments previously mentioned will be carved in stone and scheduled.  Remember what I said, "there are people who make things happen".

     It is important to note that here we are 20 days before an appointment for which we would have been waiting, we have a plan, and schedules made, and reassurances that it indeed is an arthritic hip problem and not something nastier, and by 3:00 we were on our way home.

     In defense of the main Gundersen/Lutheran clinic we have always had good care there but sometimes it is better to deal with a smaller entity than with the mother house and I believe this time it is the case. 

     I can't tell you how pleased I am that we met in succession with several "people who make things happen".


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July 06, 2009

Sudden Change of Plans

      Not a change we wanted to make for sure!

     When we came out of Mexico last spring Kathleen's right hip and left knee were both bothering her.  In 2006 she did have a right hip problem that was diagnosed as bursitis and after an injection in the joint discomfort was at a minimum and greatly improved.  On our arrival for our medical check ups this spring Kathleen had an injection of a new substance apparently taken from the comb of chickens in her knee and that has really improved any discomfort there, however, the right hip has been progressively getting worse day to day.  X-rays of that hip were taken this spring and diagnosed as "mild arthritis".  It was decided then to inject cortisone in the hip joint.  With that done and all our other medical checks complete we departed for the North West and of course our focus was our Sons, daughter in laws, and grandkids.  What we did have with them this spring and summer was great.

     Upon our arrival in the North West we set up camp at the Toutle River RV Resort.  A RV Resort that was under development and in need of people to water tree's, grass, and other light duties in exchange for the site.  Throughout May and June I blogged about our experiences there.  You can catch up on those blogs by clicking on the Months mentioned to the right of this page.

     Our stay at the Toutle Resort was a touch of a "Workamping" experience and of course meeting and becoming friends with the other workampers was part of the package.  One of the benefits to this lifestyle of ours is making many new friends.  One of the drawbacks to this lifestyle of ours is having to say good-bye, especially earlier than planned.

     We are now back in the Mid-West awaiting appointments with those who will hold the key to getting Kathleen back in tip top shape.  We are not ones who like to blog about or dwell on the trials and tribulations of getting older, especially the medical hurdles that sometimes get in the way, so suffice it to say, there won't be a lot of news in future blogs, but if there is something significant that needs to be mentioned I will.

     We will miss the Toutle River RV Resort.  It was a unique experience.   

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April 25, 2009

Our Path's Crossed

     We met up with Alan and Jean, (our Canadian Friends) just outside Easton, Washington on I 90 and decided we had enough time in the day to continue on to the Thousand Trails RV Park just outside of Monroe, Washington.  It was good to see these two as we had left them behind in Lo De Marcos, Mexico when we departed, about a month before they did.  In that month, we took care of our medical check-ups in the Mid-West and visited with family, while Alan and Jean played their way along, visiting with friends in Mesa Arizona and attending a Rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

     We got to spend two days with Alan and Jean, enjoying eating out, and visiting a railway museum not too far from the camp ground.  Alan recounted his days of youth when his dad, an engineer, on the railway would allow him to shovel some coal in to the boiler, blow the whistle at the on coming crossing, and man the throttle from time to time.  It was fun to have Alan recalling those fun times from quite a few years back.

     Alan and Jean departed for their home in Campbell River, BC and we took an auto trip south of Seattle to attend to some business, (more on this later) and on our return from there, popped in on Bill, Heidi, Mason and Maddie to join them for supper.  It was a bitter sweet day to say so long for now to our friends, but great to hear those little voices saying "grandpa", "grandpa"!



Alan standing by an old engine on display















Shovel that Coal



























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April 21, 2009

The Beauty of Montana

Sitting along side the Yellowstone River















     We are making good time.  After leaving a nice Walmart parking lot spot from our overnight in Bozeman, Montana we are currently in Silverton, Montana sitting along side the Yellowstone River which is flowing rapidly by about 50 feet from our front door.  We spent a couple of hours in Missoula, Montana making a stop at Bretts RV, where we purchased the "Tininthewind" 3 years ago on April 26th in fact.  We were able to visit for a few minutes with our Sales guy who sold us the coach, Wade Whitmire.  We also took the time to visit the local Verizon Office to upgrade Kathleen's phone which has been long overdue.  We then went to a large car wash that also had a bay that allowed the washing of an RV.  I did the RV and Kathleen washed the car.  It was a full day.

     We will be connecting with our Canadian Friends Alan and Jean tomorrow at our next stop.  We will meet at a Coast to Coast park at Easton, Washington and then hopefully get to spend a couple days together before they continue on to their home in Canada.

     I hope when we turn the lights out for the night we can hear the water from this great Yellowstone River as it rushes along, but the interstate is also near by and I am afraid we will have the traffic noise to contend with.  Oh well, can't have everything..

 Yellowstone River















Yellowstone River

















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April 19, 2009

'Crap' More Band Aids

Trying to Find the Trouble















     We overnighted in Chamberlain, South Dakota and got a good nights sleep after watching the Nascar Race at Phoenix.  An early start to the day was to my liking and off we went.  We didn't get 5 miles up the road and the temperature of the engine began to climb rapidly.  I had just commented about it to Kathleen when all the bells, whistles, and warning lights began to flash on the dash telling us to shut her down and pull off the road.  I was pretty sure when I got the bicycle removed from its rack and the engine compartment open I would find a broken serpentine belt.  It wasn't broken but it sure was loose.  I could put my fingers between the belt and a couple of the pulleys.  Tools in hand, I went looking for the place that tension was put on the belts.  It didn't take long to discover that the internal spring had broken in the belt tension devise thus allowing the belt to just flop on the pulleys.  A couple of rubber snubber strategically located with plenty of tension allowed us to limp some 200 miles to Rapid City, South Dakota and what we hope will be a quick repair when the local Cummins Engine Diesel Shop opens in the morning.  This being Sunday we are pretty well relegated to just wait it out.

     Breakdowns are never good but at least this one with a little "jury rigging" allowed us to limp in rather than use an expensive tow.  I will have to hold my breath now and hope that the repair facility has the part and we won't have to be delayed while one is ordered.

     At least we are safe and off the road.

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April 18, 2009

Band aids Applied and Heading West

     Band aids all over the place.  We both had our physicals and Kathleen went through a zillion appointments with her follow-up check-ups and we were told "good to go---see you in a year".

     We are presently en route to the Seattle area and a 2009 USA summer with our boys and their families.  We always enjoy the North West as long as we can avoid the city as much as possible.  The parts of the city as we travel between the boys places isn't too bad for getting around and we are getting used to it.  Our membership in the Thousand Trails RV Preserves is great for our lifestyle and types of parks that we like to hang out in, and there are a bunch of them all around the NW.  We will most likely spend a great deal of time at those we like from the Coast and then to the Mountains when the temperature warms later in the summer.

     We are going to get a chance to hook up with our Canadian friends, Alan and Jean at Thunderbird Thousand Trails campground near Monroe, Washington as they will be passing through the area on their way home from Mexico.  It was Allan who last waved too us as we pulled out of Lo De Marcos, Mexico.  We have missed them.

     Our visit back in the Mid-West wasn't all for medical as we got to visit with my mom for a couple of weeks and all of our stay but one night was spent at our all time favorite RV park "Sunshine Acres".  Thanks, Jim and Alyce for a great stay.  

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March 24, 2009

Lake Ozark Visit

Kathleen and her Aunt Berl (Betsy)















     We spent a delightful day and a half in the Lake Ozark area specifically to have a visit with Kathleen's Aunt Beryl (Betsy) and her friend Jerry.  Both Betsy and Jerry lost their life long partners a number of years ago and now have the comfort of each others company as life marches on.  I was so impressed as they both talked freely about their earlier life experiences and partners, but yet care deeply for each other and seem extremely content with life at the moment.  How wonderful it is that they have each other.

     Earlier today they came to see us at the Riverview RV Park and we had a chance to show them our "tininthewind" home and after visiting for awhile they suggested a great spot for lunch and more conversation.  This evening we were treated to a fabulous home cooked meal as both Jerry and Berl are excellent cooks. 




Betsy and Jerry 














Jerry and Betsy at home















     We will be heading further North tomorrow trying to dodge the stormy weather and especially the cold but from the long range forecast it appears we will loose the battle with the cold.  It could well snow on us Friday or Saturday when we arrive at the "Sunshine Acres".

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March 23, 2009

Bass Pro Shop Stop----then Lake Ozark, MO

My favorite Store Stop
















 I don't need it, but will look anyway














something bigger than me















     It was only a 40 minute drive from Branson to Springfield, Missouri and our stop at the 'mother ship' Bass Pro Shop.   It seemed that some remodeling and updating had taken place since our last visit in 1992 and it was again fun to wander throughout the complex.  Being retired and having little extra space in our current house our purchases are kept to a minimum but looking and dreaming are allowed.

     We spent a good two hours wandering the store before having lunch on the 4th floor at their exclusive restaurant, Hemingway's.

     By mid afternoon we were set up at the Riverview RV Park along the Osage River at Lake Ozark, Missouri.  It didn't take me long after getting the 'tininthewind' set up to grab a couple of fishing poles and dropping over the bank behind the coach to try my hand at catching one of those huge white bass that roam the waters below the dam.  This area has a one month window of a snagging season for Spoon Bill's and there were a number of boats with fishermen dragging snagging gear on the bottom.  They didn't seem to be doing very well and I didn't either, but just getting to cast a lure made my day complete.

     We will hang out here in this nice park for a couple of days as we visit with Kathleen's Aunt who lives in the area.  It is far to cold and the weather remains questionable in the Iowa/Wisconsin area which is our ultimate destination. 




pleasant afternoon















we find water when we can

















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March 22, 2009

Arkansas to Branson Missouri

In Route Rest Stop















     We really enjoyed our stay and the trip down Memory Lane but it was time to move on and our destination was a 5 star Coast to Coast RV Resort in Branson Missouri.  When researching the route we could take there was a through the back woods route on secondary roads that was pretty close to the way the 'crow fly's' at about 144 miles or the way our GPS (Charlotte) wanted us to go on Primary Highways and about 210 miles.  We opted to head off over 'hill and dale' and were we ever glad we did.  The scenery was spectacular as most of it was through the Ouachita Mountain Range and the Ozark National Forrest.  The road was slow going because of the curves and hills but the surface was smooth as a 'baby's bottom'.  We took our time and stopped from time to time to check the 'tow car' and enjoy the overlooks.




5 star Resort in Branson, MO















     We are at Treasure Lake RV Resort (click on link to see), right in the heart of Branson.  Our second night here we went to see the Micky Gilley show at the Micky Gilley Theater and thoroughly enjoyed a fast moving two hour show.  No doubt many of our readers will not even know who Micky Gilley is but through our life time we enjoyed all of his 17 number one hits and many of his other songs that never quite made it to the top of the charts.  Micky had a great deal to do with the movie Urban Cowboy that John Travolta stared in a few years back.  As an interesting side note, Micky had a couple famous cousins too, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Jimmy Swaggart.  Last night we went to see the group Pace Arrow at their theater and enjoyed another two hours of music and comedy.  We are in to the Nascar Race today so probably will not take in a show tonight, and then tomorrow we are headed up the road to Lake Ozark and a couple day stay as we pay a visit to one of Kathleen's Aunts who lives in the area.  We will of course have a short stop at the Bass Pro Store in Springfield, MO. on our way North.




Micky Gilley













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March 18, 2009

Arkansas River--and Memories

Ah, the memories.  We are currently parked along the Arkansas River at a Corp of Engineer Park between Dardanelle and Russellville Arkansas and I have pictures and want to talk about the park, but first, the memories.



What Memories















It was in the Spring of 1992 that I last saw and spent time on the Arkansas River.  I had qualified fishing Bass Tournaments throughout the year of 1991 to finish and be ranked as one of the top 43 Bass Fisherman in the U.S.A., who would then meet and compete In the "All American Bass Tournament" to be held on the Arkansas River  out of Muskogee Oklahoma in June of 1992.  Throughout 1991 as a competitor I was on fire, loosing the regional to a Southern Fellow by only 2.7 lbs fishing in horrendous weather on the Mississippi River out of St. Louis, Missouri.  There were 189 competitors, in that year end final regional tournament, and I lost what would have been my 5th fish and final keeper while swinging it in the boat only moments before I had to make the run back to the weigh-in.  Would it have been large enough to have won?  We will never know.  My check for $5,000.00 for finishing second, paled in comparison, to the first place prize of a Chevy truck pulling a fully rigged bass boat worth over $35,000.00.  It was this tournament and my second place finish that sealed the qualification for me to go on and compete in the aforementioned "All American"

To make a long story short and not loose my readers, I did not win the $100,000.00 first place prize in Muskogee, Oklahoma but I did place 17th overall and win a fully equipped Ranger Bass Boat and trailer all with an overall value of around $25,000.  You can go to the following Link to read the details and press releases that lead up too, and detailed what I have talked about above.  When you get to the site, simply put your pointer over the article and when a magnifying glass appears, click it to magnify for your reading comfort.  Here is the link:


                                                "1992 All American Tournament"


Now camped in the "tininthewind" along this mighty Arkansas River it is easy to let the memories flow and I believe I will place my easy chair in a position that I can just look out over the water and enjoy a ride back in time.  It was for sure another 'time gone by' chapter in my life that was mega exciting but I won't dwell on it too long as what Kathleen and I have going now with our life style, and travels in the "tininthewind", well, its exciting too.

Here are some pictures of our site and setting along the river.  Enjoy!



Corp of Engineers Park Russellville AR















Arkansas River Behind Us















Smelling a pine wood campfire at the moment















I'm on Memorie Lane















We will depart here after a few days, heading for Branson, Missouri which is a short days drive up the road and along that route we will pass within a stones throw of "Flippin Arkansas" a town I visited on ocassion as I was sponsored throughout my career by "Ranger Bass Boats", built in Flippin.  The one you see in the picture above is the one they build specifically for me to match my black and gold Chevy Suburban.

Ah, the Memories!








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March 17, 2009

Leaving Texas and Arkansas is Next

     We thoroughly enjoyed our stay at the Colorado River Thousand Trails park outside of Columbus Texas and it was really a very short drive to the Escapee Rainbow's End (Corporate Headquarter) Park in Livingston, Texas.  We stayed two nights and left on the third day for points further North.

     We are now at a Coast to Coast Park on the shores of Millwood Lake, located just North of Texarkana, Arkansas.  We are still far enough South to be in bayou country like the heart of Louisiana with Cyprus tree's in the shallow areas of swamp and water.  On a drive along the lake this morning we stopped to photograph things of interest and will include a few photo's below.  Remember to place your pointer over the picture so as to read the caption.  We will be leaving here tomorrow and continue our trek North with our next stop planned for a Corp of Engineer's Park along another large lake near Russellville, Arkansas.  We are really looking forward to this drive as it will wind us through some really back woods, Ozark mountain type terrain, before reaching our destination.



Geese are feeling frisky















Hows the Fishing ? 














sign says it all















camping season in full swing here
















Cyprus Tree's standing in the water















Surveying the Dam area















                                                   Slide Show



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March 12, 2009

Bay view and Beyond

Bayview Coast to Coast RV Park, Fulton, TX
















Gulf of Mexico at Rockport, TX















Texas Cattle Baron's Mansion, Fulton Texas















Coastal Oak Tree's, all shaped by the wind













     Always, on our site, pause your pointer over the picture for a description!




     The Trip up the Coastal Hi way from Brownsville to our next destination at the Bay view Coast to Coast RV Park between Rockport and Fulton Texas was uneventful and wouldn't you know it, we missed the oyster festival at Fulton Texas by one day.  They were tearing down the tents as we arrived.  Apparently it is a huge affair with various entrants all trying to outdo each other with their preparation of the oysters which are very plentiful in and around the gulf.  We did have dinner at Charlotte Plummers water side restaurant, which overlooks a huge harbor full of oyster and shrimp boats, and I did try a plate of their deep fried oysters----yummy.

     We continue to be impressed with the Texas Rio Grand Valley and now the Gulf Coast areas of Texas.  We had three great weather days as we toured around the area of Corpus Christi, Aransas, Rockport, and Fulton Texas.  We did a great deal of touring the area by car and were in awe of how prosperous and active the whole area seems to be.  The boats were constantly coming and going from the harbors and we rarely were seated without waiting in a line at the restaurants in the area.  There also was a lot of fishing activity both from the banks but also by many pleasure boats seen in the backwater areas off the Gulf itself.  My kind of area.

     So much for the good warm weather.  We broke camp this a.m. to turn North and head inland from the Gulf with our destination being a Thousand Trails Park, called the Colorado River Preserve just outside of Columbus, Texas.  No, this is not the Colorado River, but rather Texas's Colorado River.  It was jacket weather, with temps in the low 50's and a slight drizzle as we prepared to leave and the further inland we got the cooler it became and the drizzle turned to a steady rain.  The rain is much needed in this area of Texas as they have been having a rather severe drought.

     We are set up in the TT park here in Columbus, Texas and it reminds us so much of Goose Island just south of La Crosse near our old "home town" that it would be easy to get home sick, but the cool temperatures will have us putting the skids on our Northern Trek as we will watch the weather and let things moderate a bit before heading too far North.  This is a beautiful park with lots of room between sites and deer feeding on the lush green grass all over the place.

     When we do leave here we plan to make our next stop in Livingston, Texas at the Rainbow Plantation Escapee Park which is the home corporate center for the Escapee RV Club.  This is an RV Club that we have belonged too since day one of our "Adventure in the Tininthewind" and it will be a fun park to spend a few days at.  You can check out their web-site at: (just click the link I just created for you.)



The Tininthewind















Colorado River Thousand Trails Park, Columbus Texas















Deer Everywhere













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March 08, 2009


River Bend Brownsville Texas















     Shown in the above picture is our site for three days at River Bend RV Park just southwest of Brownsville, Texas.  We crossed back in to the States at the Los Indios Free Bridge crossing less than 20 miles from here.  We chose to stay at this park for a few days because it is one of our Coast to Coast membership parks and that allows us to stay for $10.00 a day and take advantage of all the amenities that go with the park.  This park like so many we have seen and stayed at so far in Texas is huge and besides its pools and attractive surroundings the golf course and banks of the Rio Grand River (boarder between Mexico and Texas) just adds to the overall beauty.  There are literally hundreds of Winter Texans here, most owning their individual lot and having either a Motor Home, 5th wheel, or Park Model.  A drive through the Park shows license plates from far and wide with a very large contingent of Canadians.

     While enjoying our stay here we have further explored the area with the highlight being driving out to South Padre Island.  The beaches seem endless and there is the right mix of services such as restaurants, hotels, tourist attractions, etc.  The Island at the end of this week will be taken over by the spring break bunch so I am grateful we had the opportunity to visit before all that activity takes place.

     In the pictures below you will see a shot of the Rio Grand River that I took just 150 feet behind the "tininthewind".  There is a huge field just beyond the river on the Mexican side and the farmer was working the soil with his tractor getting ready to plant.  I tried to give him a wave but he had little interest in looking my way as he seemed intent on his task at hand.  The news media of late would have you think that I should probably stand behind a tree and hide or something as he would probably shoot me.  The second picture just shows the wide open spaces all around our site.



Rio Grand River
















room to breath















     We will be leaving this area of Texas tomorrow for Corpus Christi/Rockport as we have a date with another Coast to Coast park, Bay View RV Park.

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March 05, 2009

Texas Sure is Big

Lazy Palms Ranch RV Park















     We have been hanging out in the Rio Grand Valley for one week now having exited Mexico last Friday.  Neither of us has ever spent any time in Texas to speak of although in my trucking days we did haul a few loads to and from Texas but during those days one hardly had any time for anything except productivity and making a buck. 

     Explaining to our friends in Mexico over this last winter that we would not be returning but would plan to look at Texas for hanging out in future winters brought mixed responses, such as, hang on to your hats, its windy in TexasYou won't be able to put out your awning cause the wind will destroy it.  It gets cold there and the weather can be miserable for extended periods over the winter.  We listened to all, and filed away all advise and comments but still felt it was worth a look.

     One week is hardly enough to cement our feelings about Texas but so far, we have had to hang on to our hats, we haven't been able to put out our awning and leave it down because while gone it could be destroyed.  We experienced 100 degree's on the day we arrived in Texas and two days later it didn't make it out of the 60's, but that only lasted one day and since it has been a respectable temp in the low 80's with nights getting down to the low 60's.  That extra blanket on the bed feels good. 

     All of the advise and comments from our friends has been accurate as mentioned above but, hold on to your hats!  We are lovin' it

     Take today as an example.  We are now staying out in the country at a very nice Coast to Coast park, Lazy Palms Ranch.  It is so quiet hear you could hear a pin drop.  Well, that is if the wind quit blowing!  We tested out the pool and hot tub early this afternoon and there was only one other couple there.  We visited with them and were told they are "winter snow birds" from Illinois and have been wintering in this park since 1990.  I worked many hours outside cleaning the road grime off the 'tininthewind' and the brisk breeze was welcomed keeping the 80 plus degree's tolerable.  It was brisk enough to blow my hat off so I just went without.  A bad hair day can be cured with a good hair cut.  Kathleen rode her bike throughout the park as all the roads were easy going, and yes when going from South to North, the wind pushed her right along!

     We love the wide open spaces, the friendly people, the great restaurants, and so far we are ok with the strong winds.  We are going to spend the next couple of weeks exploring Texas before beginning to head North and will continue to blog about what we find.  For now, we are "happy campers."



Wide open Spaces













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February 28, 2009

It's the little things----Stupid!

     In reading the title of this blog, know that I am speaking to and referring to myself.  I used to pride myself on paying particular attention to the little things, not making a lot of foolish errors, and generally, being ahead of the game.  Since reaching the well seasoned age over about 60, little errors would gradually begin to occur more often than I liked. When happening, I was likely to lash out verbally to whom ever was in hearing distance, (Kathleen) with the usual tirade of "It's the _ _ _ _ _ to get old", and other colorful complaints.  Usually falling on deaf ears but at least I felt better for getting it off my chest.  Within minutes I was usually back to thinking I was infallible and impervious to imperfection.

     Today was the height of Stupid.  On preparation for leaving Lo De Marcos I filled our on board water tank with that "not so pure and questionable" Mexican water, but added enough bleach to sanitize the system as we traveled to the States.  We could use it for showering and flushing the toilet but would drink bottled water as needed.  By having that concentration of bleach in the system and lines I could drain the tank on arrival and fill with fresh water at our Texas destination.

     It was the perfect day for it.  I discretely opened the valve and slowly began draining the tank early in the day.  It was windy enough that hardly a puddle showed below the coach and after several hours the huge tank was empty.  I closed the valve, shifting it to allow for the fresh water to now refill the tank and went inside to do other chores.  It should take about 30 minutes maximum to fill the tank.  Sitting at this computer, some four hours later my aged brain cells kick in and I realize I forgot to turn the water off.  Yes, there is an overflow tube, so no damage to the "tininthewind", but on exiting in a hurry, I missed the step to the ground and went "_ _ _ over tea kettle", rolling several times through a rather large puddle.  I am none the worse for wear except for a possible cracked rib and a bruised arm.

     This whole section of the park now knows from my verbal loud exclamation that "It's the _ _ _ _ _ to get old".  I guess I am not telling them anything they don't already know as from an age standpoint we are all in the same boat.  No pun intended.

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The Exodus

Adiós Mexico


     On Wednesday afternoon and evening 02/25/09 we said good-by to our neighbors, new friends, friends from the previous year and prepared for a good nights sleep. 

     This retired and RV life-style of ours is pleasantly different from the work-a-day and fixed bricks and sticks life-style in many ways, with the one most pleasant element being that of having the time and circumstances of meeting so many different people from different cultures and establishing friendships that will last long in to the future.  We had such warm friendly neighbors in Gilles, Diane, Bob, and Judy that it was difficult to say good-by, but with hope, our paths may cross again in the future. 

     Our stay in Lo De Marcos, Mexico for the winter of 2008/2009 was just shy of 4 months.  It was a beautiful RV park with very elegant surrounding, numerous restaurants near by with a very good one as part of the complex.  The Pacific Ocean beach, two swimming pools, and weather that at times was boring (85 to 90 and sunny every day).  What not to like, Well, to be fair there were a couple of negatives.  The on again, off again WiFi INTERNET left a lot to be desired, the extremely high humidity, and refried beans for every meal took its toll and thus we left a couple weeks earlier than planned.

     We left at 6:30 a.m. Thursday morning with our very good friend Allan opening the gate and wishing us safe travels.  Alan and Jean will especially be missed.  We have been fortunate to have established a close relationship with two very special Canadians.  The 'truck driver' in me took over, with good roads, and my trusty map reading partner we were within striking distance of the Mexico/Texas border after our first day.  Friday morning it was an easy drive and with no hassles crossing the border at Los Indios, just north of Brownsville Texas we were parked in our new stop of Victoria Palms RV Park in Donna, Texas by 2:00 p.m.  This is one of those infamous 'Snow Bird' parks of the Rio Grand Valley with 1200 RV sites and on our arrival this early the park has very few open sites.  It will take us several days to get re-acclimated to U.S. soil and facilities but already we have found a meal or two without re-fried beans.

     We are looking forward to about 3 weeks to explore the Rio Grand Valley and the entire gulf coast of Texas before turning our heading North for our favorite RV stop of 'Sunshine Acres' near Waukon, Iowa.

     To all of our friends left behind:  May your travels home be safe and to your liking.  We will miss you all.



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November 16, 2008

We are home Lo De Marcos MX

Site B3 Lo De Marcos Our Home


















Love our site


















Neat huh ?




















































     We made great time coming down to Lo De Marcos, some 1,000 miles from the U.S. border, and are now in the process of cleaning the dust from the 'tininthewind' and getting our pad set up to our liking as we will be spending a lot of time outside over the nest 4 months.

     Within 1 hour of arrival and dropping the jacks on the coach we were hooked up to 'Star Choice' TV and we had our computers linked to the WiFi and ready to down load our e-mail.  At this very moment I am watching the final "Race to the Chase" from Homestead Florida and preparing this blog.

     The weather is a little warm with the temp in the 90's and the humidity a little high here in the jungle at 68% but the A/C is keeping us comfortable inside.

     The flowers are beginning to bloom and there is a lot of green.  It is nice to have quite a bit of grass associated with our site.  We are going to be very happy this winter working on that sun tan and knowing we won't need a snow shovel.

     Evenings come quickly and we enjoy sitting out on our pad watching the moon appear and the stars begin to shine.......



beautiful evenings















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November 12, 2008

In Mexico

     We are in Mexico for our second night after traveling south toward our ultimate destination, Lo De Marcos.  Our first day of travel found us leaving Yuma at around 9:30 and completing our paperwork at the border and continuing on our way around noon.  We then drove on from Lukeville heading southeast on highway 2 toward Santa Anna and our eventual hook-up with MEX 15 which would take us almost all the way to our destination.  We didn't press making Santa Anna and called it a day at Caborca, staying in a very nice Pemex (truck/fuel stop).

     This morning it was a relatively early start at the crack of 7:30 and our arrival at our days destination of San Carlos was mid afternoon.  As we entered the park we were greeted by two other couples who had arrived 45 minutes prior.  A little happy hour by all in the shade of a big tree was welcomed.

     Our group of eight (Margarett and Gerry connected with us last evening), went out to an excellent dinner in San Carlos this evening.  The eight of us will be leaving at 8:00 in the morning.  We really don't have a destination in mind for tomorrow night and will just call it a day when the spirit moves us.  Staying in Pemex's when in a group saves a lot of hassle with finding a suitable RV park.

     Our next blog will most likely be from our Pad in the RV park which will be our home for the next 4 months.  Both Kathleen and I are anxious to get set up and then have a lot of quality R&R time.

     Stay Tuned.

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October 30, 2008

update UPDATE update

     Looking back I see it is almost a month since I have updated our blog.  It was not my intention and I am not going to offer an excuse for dropping out of the blogging spirit but my heart was just not in to writing.

     We spent a great summer with our boys and their families, especially the little people.  It seemed as though every day we were on the go.  Couple that with mega problems with our air conditioning system in the coach and I was one busy dude trying to cope with it all.  Having A/C problems when in the northwest isn't critical as temps are cool enough most days and nights but now that we are in the southwest not having a functioning A/C makes for a sour attitude and sour attitudes don't make for good blogging.

     We made a hurried trip home by flying to Minneapolis, renting a car, and meeting Kathleen's appointments for her six month check-ups and I'm happy to report all is well.  We got to see my mom for several hours on two of the days we were home and we stayed with Jim and Alyce (Kathleen's brother) and then drove to La Crosse each day for the appointments.  It was such a hurried trip home and fully scheduled that we didn't even have time to stop and visit our close friends in the Wisconsin area.

     We are now in Yuma Arizona waiting for two more Canadian couples to join us and we will make a small caravan of four units as we plan to cross the border and head south to Lo De Marcos Mexico for our winter stay.  Glen and Brenda Tooke from Campbell River, BC are already here.

     This SKP park here in Yuma has a beautiful pool and both Kathleen and I have been spending a great deal of time there.  You would think we would both turn in to prunes pretty soon, but so far, no visible signs.  There are a number of sno-birds arriving here almost daily and it is fun to talk with them while at the pool. 

     We crossed the border in to Algodones Mexico for a few hours each day for the last three as Kathleen got a new pair of trifocal glasses and a beautiful pair of frames for $80.00.  Then she had a root canal in one tooth and a porcelain cap placed on it.  We were quoted $1,200.00 for the root canal in Washington State and in Algodones it was $250.00.  The cap was $180.00. The Mexican dentists were excellent and came highly recommended by fellow RV'ers who have been going to them for years.  It was a husband and wife, both dentists that worked on Kathleen.  We are very pleased with there work and will return again and again if needed.  They had no problem accepting our personal check for payment.  As an aside:  Crossing in to Algodones Mexico is a piece of cake.  One parks in a beautiful black top parking lot, walk to an entry gate and just simply walk in to Mexico to shop the stores, seek out a dentist of which there are hundreds, visit the pharmacy of which there are hundreds, and check out the optical shops of which there are hundreds.  I wouldn't even begin to count the street vendors.  We had several mid day lunches there and always while sitting in an outdoor courtyard being entertained by live music.  Mexico--ya gotta love it.  Crossing the border back to the states is not a piece of cake.  I can understand the need for security and I don't have a problem with that at all but the attitude of the U.S. customs personnel leave a lot to be desired.  On our last trip back across, the line outside leading to the actual crossing was several blocks long and seemed to move very slowly.  We discovered why.  Only one agent of four was on duty as the other three had gone to lunch.  The long stand in the hot sun was not appreciated. 

     My little scooter is in the Honda Shop getting a new fuel pump as I have been unable to get it to run.  Once I get it back and if "my" fix of the A/C continues to hold, I will be back to a "happy camper".  It's amazing how when things are looking up, ones attitude changes.  It's good to be back!!



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October 01, 2008

Spada Lake

1st look at Spada Lake















     Those of you who follow our blog know that we "go out on a limb" from time to time, we like to see "what is around the corner", and tend to be a bit adventurous.  We probably make some of our friends and for sure our boys a little concerned that perhaps we explore a little beyond what we should but heck, that is what we started this life style for.  We were not destined to sit in Stoddard and watch the water just flow by on its way to the gulf.

     Maybe when we are in our 80's we will be a little more cautious but for now we prefer to see what is over the next hill.

     Having completed our chores around our wheel estate we decided to pull out the gazetteer and find a road not to far from us that would lead us off in to the mountains.  If we could find one that looked like one might have to use four wheel drive and it dead ended at a lake, all the better.

     Kathleen did just that.  Not far from us was just such a road that left the main highway and for 25 miles or so would wind its way up and into the mountains and according to the map ended when it reached  Spader Lake.

     The beginning of the drive was uneventful with a pretty good black top road but it wasn't long and things began to change.  The road turned to gravel and although seemed well maintained it had its moments with us weaving in and out of pot holes.  A plus was that we were following a cascading creek that at times pretended to be a river.  We made numerous crossings of that creek called "Ollyn" and always the bridges seemed in good repair.  A sign ahead as we climbed ever higher in altitude said we were approaching Ollyn Pass and so we did only to drop down the other side into another mountain gorge.

     We had reached a point where we felt that the lake should be close when we came upon an unmanned registration station of sorts and the sign indicated that to travel beyond required one to fill out a paper stating your purpose for being there and a copy of which was to be deposited in the box provided.  Probably a good idea as we did not know what we would encounter as we proceeded further.  There was an old map pasted to the side of the building which showed three roads.  The one to the left appeared to head for the north end of the lake and the dam.  The middle road skirted around the south end of the lake and appeared to show boat landings or perhaps camping areas etc.  The third road appeared to lead to some sort of a mine.

     We decided to take the road to the dam first as the setting sun would allow us to get better pictures from that end of the lake.  In a short distance we met a truck coming toward us and the driver signaled that we should stop.  He warned us that there would be many trucks coming at us soon as they were all a work crew doing maintenance on the dam and it was quiting time.  It was a great opportunity to ask him if going to the dam would provide us with good picture taking or what would he suggest.  He indicated that we should go back and take the road around the south end of the lake and at "station" #5 there would be a lookout and we would get good pictures from there.  That put the sun at the wrong angle but off we went.

     As we started on this south loop around the lake, the scenery was spectacular even though we had not seen the lake yet we could tell there was going to be water somewhere as there we little water falls everywhere, sometimes spilling across the road as they all seemed to be going toward the same direction.  The further we went at times we would catch a glimpse through the thick forested area of a lake. 

     Just as we rounded a corner there was a man made cement pillar with the number one on it and the beginnings of a blacktop road that appeared to head for the lake.  The sign at the entrance said "boat ramp closed" but it would be worth a look.



 boat ramp ends















checking it out















     The area was reminiscent of what it must have been like when the government first put dams on the Mississippi and before they held the water back all the tree's were cut off several feet above the ground and then the bottoms were flooded as the water was held back.  With the water drawn down so as to repair the dam on this lake the stumps from what must have been huge tree's were everywhere.  The lake was a mear shell of what it would probably look like when full.

     We continued on passing pillar #2, 3, and 4 only to peer down a nice black topped road leading to either picnic areas with blacktopped parking lots or more boat ramps.  It was interesting to note that there was moss growing all over the black top as these areas had not seen use for a long, long time.

     We did continue on to pillar #5 and hiked to the lookout for pictures.  Someone had been there just previous to us as there was an empty can of beans on the ground with a paper plate still holding most of the beans along with the plastic spoon.  Someone had got out of "Dodge" in a hurry, or so it seemed.

     We still had not come to the end of the road and our map indicated it would end so we continued on, climbing even higher up the mountain.  We came upon our first indication of someone else ahead as there was a car parked just off the road.  A little further on we did come to the end of the road and there were 4 vehicles parked there.  There were signs indicating trail heads leading off to a couple more lakes that were not shown on the map and most likely these were hikers who had parked here for the day.  It was nice to know that if we had trouble on the way out someone would be coming along.

     When they get the repairs completed on the dam and they allow the lake to refill this will again become a very pristine area for people to come fish and enjoy a day at the lake but for now it looks like something out of Lord of the Rings, "middle earth".

     The slide show that follows is worth a look.  Just click on the "slide show".  Enjoy.


                                                       Slide Show



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September 28, 2008

Fall in the air

     Where has this summer gone?  It has been an eventful summer for us as we spent as much time as we possibly could with our boys and their families.  We especially got to know our grand kids a lot better and had fun seeing them mature.

     We got to visit some of our Canadian friends and enjoyed our short time in their country.  We visited many of the RV campgrounds that we got to know in our first year of this adventure and found several new ones to add to our list of favorites.  We even put money down to get ourselves on "the list" to be able to secure a site in the Chimacum Washington Escapee Park but do not expect to be notified that a lot is available for approximately 7 years.  We are 250th on the list.  Perhaps in 7 years we will be ready to just park the RV.  Time will tell.

     As I write this two of our closest Canadian friends, Alan and Jean, have crossed the border with their beautiful Discover MH and are slowly making their way down the U.S. coast to get themselves in position to cross into Mexico and head for their site in Lo De Marcos.  We have been in e-mail contact with all of our Canadian friends and they are leaving at different times to pass through Yuma, AZ. and then on in to Mexico.  We all are staying in the same park just north of Puerto Vallarta. 

                                             Tlaquepaque    pronounced Ta Lac a pack ee.  Click on RV Park.

     We too will begin to make our way to Yuma around the middle of October and then on in to Mexico around the 10th of November.  We have not decided yet if we will go south down the coast or move inland a bit to pass through Vegas.  One thing for sure we will do everything to avoid following the interstate. We had fun blogging about our Mexico winter experiences last year and expect this year will be as interesting.  It is our hope to travel a bit more throughout Mexico by car and report on our finds.  We will be carrying with us bags, and bags, of children's clothing all outgrown by our 4 grandchildren and they will be donated to the needy in our winter community of Lo De Marcos.  Kathleen has them all organized for the Nino and Nina based on age.  I notice also that she has spent a great deal of time shopping and purchasing in the dollar store, pencils, pencil sharpeners, paper, etc. etc. etc. to be given on our behalf to the schools in need.

     We hope to blog more as we begin our travels south.  Stay tuned for more frequent up-dates on our progress. 



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September 07, 2008

Maiden Flight

Bill and Finished P-38
















I get to hold the Finished P-38















     Bear With Me!  Years ago when my boys Scott and Bill were very young I got interested in building and flying RC (remote control) aircraft.  Through their growing years they both shared my interest and together we built and flew many.  As life circumstances changed I stepped away from continuing with the hobby but both boys continued on as they went off to establish their own lives and homes.  Due to Scott and family choosing to call home a 52' sailboat he was forced to put his talents in the hobby on hold, but Bill had the space and desire to continue with his talents and he began building and flying as much as he could fit in to his busy life.

    The P-38 was the plane that my father served his country flying combat in the Pacific Theater and ultimately lost his life through mechanical difficulties while ferrying a new plane to the combat front----you see---he had completed his required combat missions and was assigned to the lighter non combat duty of ferrying aircraft.  The long and short of it is---I was but 3 months old when he lost his life, just four months before the surrender of Japan on September 2nd 1945.

     Now step back 20 years from today, both boys had left home and I was left to build planes on my own.  I ordered a "Royal" balsa kit of the P-38 and meticulously began building.  This kit was the ultimate for its time and I started on it with great enthusiasm.  It was to be my ultimate project.  It being a twin engine I ordered both engines.  I bought and experimented with a retractable gear configuration for all three wheels.  The project began to take shape as it was for the most part completed except for the covering and final details.  It was then that building alone in that "airplane hanger shed" out behind the house without the boys for company and some changes in life circumstances, that I totally walked away from the hobby and my dream to complete this aircraft.

     Fast forward to when Kathleen and I were in the formative stages of preparing for our full-time adventure in a motor home that it was decided that all of my remaining planes, radio gear, tools, parts, and yes the unfinished P-38 would be given to Bill and he could do whatever he chose with them.

     I had been aware that in the last couple of years Bill was off and on working on the P-38 in between other plane projects and it was with great excitement that about a month ago he said that on September 6th 2008 it would be completed and he was going to fly it.  He invited us of course, along with his brother Scott.  He also invited his boss and a co-worker, both of whom got interested in RC through Bill.

     It is not easy to finish building a kit that someone else has started.  It is not easy to convert what started out as a gas engine model and convert it to an all electric, but electric flight is now Bill's passion.  You can see by the above two pictures that the finished all electric P-38 with two very powerful electric engines, retractable landing gears, and modern digital radio gear was a beautiful tribute to many years of an on again, off again, on again build.

     A builder always questions himself when he completes a project.  Should I hang it on the wall for all to see?  Should I attempt to fly it?  I know that these questions were heavy on Bill's mind but in discussion we both felt that it was meant to fly and whatever the outcome we could both accept its fate.

     September 6th 2008 came and the following is a pictorial tribute to many years in the making:


                                                            Slide Show


     Bill taxied the plane to the center of the runway and as we always did on any maiden flight of a new built plane he stood directly behind it so as he advanced the throttles he would be able to best respond to any unusual movements that the plane would take.  He invited me to stand by his side and I felt privileged to be able to do so.

     The kit was designed to be built and flown at a max weight of about 10 lbs.  Due to the weight of the electric engines and batteries needed to power them it weighed in at 14 lbs.  Bill and I knew that it probably would fly but the flight speed would have to be kept fast in order to prevent it dropping like a rock from the sky.  It also would be susceptible to stalling in turns due to its weight to wing ratio.

     Bill advanced the throttles to full power and at the very end of the runway with the stick pulled completely back and the elevator at its maximum up position the plane lifted off and began a slow climb to altitude.  The trims were pretty good however it was a bit nose heavy and I could tell that Bill was having to stay with the control at all times.  Not knowing how much air time he would get from the electric engines before battery power became dangerously low he called for only a three minute flight and in that time he made several passes overhead and some practice attempts at landing approaches.  When his brother Scott called out the three minute warning bill selected the landing gears to come down and made his approach to land.  We both could see just before touch down that the nose gear had not come down and locked into position.  He advanced the throttles and made several passes over the field to better asses the gear problem.  Being unsuccessful at getting the gear down he decided to land with just the main wheels down and let the nose settle to the grass. We now were about 5 minutes in to the flight.  The following picture will show you the end result:



Successful with minor nose damage















     Any flight, especially a "Maiden Flight" that ends with a plane that once again after some repair can return again and again to fly is considered a total success.  Will this P-38 fly again?  Will it be hung on the wall for all to admire?  Only Bill knows.  I for one hope it flies again and again as it sure was a beauty to behold as it made those maneuvers over the field.  I am one proud dad!

     In an aside to the above, a very unusual event occurred.  A hawk appeared and landed on one of the RC pilot stations to observe the whole show.  He stayed throughout and only moved a few feet to another piece of fence.  Kathleen walked up to within a few feet to take its photo and it just stayed put as it watched us load the plane for its trip home.  As we were leaving the hawk took to the sky and claimed it for his own.



Hawk observing the P-38 flight
















very close to the hawk














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Ragged Mountain Birthday Celebration

      Remember to place your cursor over a picture for description.




Ragged Mountain Range















     An invite from my Uncle Willard Brosius to come help him celebrate his 80th birthday at a mountain retreat ranch in Colorado had us thinking about it for about 2 seconds before we fired off an e-mail to say that we would indeed be there.  It meant two round trip tickets to Grand Junction, Colorado and a rental car to then drive the 90 or so miles to the ranch but the chance to not only see Willard and his wife Glenda whom we had not seen in 14 years but also the chance to get reacquainted with my cousins, Steve, Diana, Jimmy, Rose Lee, Sheila and their families.  The cousins I had not seen since my early teens.



Climbing the mountain
















Where you think your going?















     After leaving the paved road it was an interesting climb up Ragged Mountain to the ranch as the road meandered back and forth for about 7 miles on gravel that at times had some ruts from water runoff.  The scenery was spectacular.



Glenda, Willard, and Kathleen
















Our Cabin Hideaway
















View from front window of our Cabin














     When we reached the lodge at the ranch we were greeted by Willard and Glenda and after hugs and some initial conversation we were shown to our cabin hideaway to freshen up and get ready for supper.  One couldn't help but just stand and look around in awe as the scenery was beautiful and so was the weather.




Cousin Shiela, Linda, Willard, Cousins Rose Lee and Steve















     Getting reacquainted with my Cousins Sheila, Rose Lee, Steve and Diana and their family members who were present was a real treat and it was agreed by all that we should not let so much time pass before getting together again.  We had a camera failure and lost some of our pictures thus I do not have a picture of Diana and her husband Steve.  Cousin Jimmy and his family did not make the celebration but sent a nice write up with pictures of his family. 

     We had a fantastic time visiting and sure wish that we could re-wind the years so as to have stayed in better contact.

                                                      Slide Show



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September 05, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

    There is no doubt that those who follow our blog have been disappointed that their have been few entries of late, but family is important to us and our focus has been spending as much time with our boys and their families as possible.  We have attended a “pirates” gathering with Scott, Angela, Zak, and Ellie.  We have had a full week with just Mason and Maddie, before being joined by Bill and Heidi for a long weekend, all spent on the coast. 

     The kids are back in school now so our getting together with them will be reserved for what weekends are left before we depart for Mexico beginning on October 13th.

     This past week we made a quick trip to Grand Junction, Colorado to help my Uncle Willard on the Brosius side celebrate his 80th birthday.  We will be doing a blog just about that trip as soon as we catch up on a little R&R.  We spent three nights at about the 8,500 foot level in a small cabin tucked along a lake at the foot of a mountain range called “Ragged Mountain”.  What a place for a birthday celebration.

     We are currently back in one of our favorite spots, Thunderbird Preserve, a Leisure Time Thousand Trails RV Resort just east of Monroe, Washington for the next fourteen days.


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August 17, 2008

Running Deer and Little White Tail

Kathleen here, just a little story.


I am calling it:                               Running Deer and Little White Tail.


I know, I know, it’s silly but guess what song I thought of?


We spent two weeks at an RV park just outside Port Townsend, WA. On the peninsula. We took lots of drives and discovered many interesting areas: hidden inlets with small harbors, ancient forts from World War I era, lonely beaches full of drift wood. What a beautiful part of Washington State. We loved our stay there.

One interesting area is the home of an Anti Submarine training school. This huge compound is surrounded by a 10 foot chain link fence topped with 3 feet of barbed wire. An intimidating gate keeps strangers out. As we drove along the compound on our way to one of the many state parks in the area, dusk was setting in. The road seemed isolated, as we met no cars on our journey.


George saw something up ahead, close to the high fence. I saw it then. As we drew nearer, we could see that a yearling deer was standing alone facing the fence. The setting sun reflected off the metal and we saw that his nose was against one of the links. That’s peculiar, we thought, and kept our eyes on the scene. Then we both saw why this deer was positioned as he was. On the other side of the fence (within the compound) was another yearling facing the fence with its nose on the same link as the outside deer.


My heart sank as we realized that the two were communicating, wanting to be together but were separated by that man made barrier. What could have we done, I still think. When we returned on the same road, they both were gone. How did the imprisoned deer get inside the fence I wonder and how long has he been there? Do they meet on a regular basis or was this a chance meeting never to happen again? I am sad that they cannot be together. The photo below is not of the two but of a couple of the many deer that inhabit the heavily wooded area.





























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August 15, 2008

Ocean Shores Washington

Beautiful Site















     Thousand Trails Oceana Park is one of the gems in the Thousand Trails stable and after our visit here last year we knew that we would come back whenever we could.  We are here now and loving it.

     The pictures are of our site and we probably lucked out to get the nicest site in the park.  We are the closest RV to the path that leads from the park to the ocean shore, a short 5 minute walk.  150 feet out the front of our coach is the kids play ground.  There is a huge mowed open field area just to our right.  This is the perfect park and site for us to host the grandkids and that is what we are about to do.  Mason and Maddie are going to be with us for a week beginning this week-end.  Bill and Heidi will return at the end of the week and then will stay about 4 days in one of the rentals here at the park.  We are looking forward to it all.




































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August 13, 2008

Detour to Cape Flattery

Stop for Lunch















     We left Evergreen SKP CO-OP Park outside Chimacum, Washington after a fourteen day stay this morning with full intentions of jumping on Highway 101, driving the North by West route around the Peninsula through the rain forest to the far west coast and then down the coast to Ocean Shores and our next destination, Oceana.

     After a brief stop at Cosco in Port Angeles, Washington to pick up some supplies we continued on our journey, knowing that tonight we would be "boondocking" somewhere along our route as we didn't need to check in to Oceana until Thursday.

     In looking at the map we had seen that Cape Flattery was only 45 miles out of our planned route, so with both in agreement, when we hit the road that would take us there it was easy to turn the wheel hard right.  Cape Flattery is the Northwestern most point of land sticking out in the Pacific Ocean on the Lower 48.

     If I haven't said it before I will say it here:  The Peninsula of the State of Washington is one of the most beautiful places on our Continent, and perhaps the greenest all 12 months of the year.



Road to Cape Flattery 















Trail Leading to the Point on Cape Flattery















     The drive on that detour of 45 miles as it wound along leading toward the Cape was spectacular, but the trail one had to walk for over a mile to be able to actually stand on the point and photograph fog so thick you couldn't see left something to be desired.  We may have to return on a non foggy day if we want to look out and see Japan.

     We had seen a pull-off along side a little mountain lake and decided on our way back to Highway 101 we would use it for our "boondock" overnight if it was still available. The following three pictures are of that setting.

































Tucked in for the Night















     We will continue on what should be a beautiful drive West and then South down along the Coast to Oceana tomorrow.  Check out the following show for more pictures of today's travels.


                                                           Slide Show





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August 10, 2008

Pirates Invade Port Townsend















     Bob Bitchin the founder of Latitudes and Attitudes magazine and the sponsor of the boating party in Port Townsend says,"It's not all about boating, It's a whole state of mind." The magazines motto is 'the difference between an ordeal and an adventure is attitude.'



Visitors come calling





























     Here we were in Port Townsend and at the invite of Scott, Angela, Zak and Ellie we were about to participate in a different sort of "RV Rally", as this one floated on water.  We were popular from the 'git go' as Scott and family are well known among this crowd.  Scott has written numerous articles that have been published in the magazine, and Angela, known as Sailormamma, participates in some of the "sailing boards" offering advice for those sailing couples who live aboard their vessels and want to start a family.  She has been contacted by world wide knowledge seekers.  Scott, Angela, and kids were featured in a TV documentary on the water channel that dealt primarily with raising kids onboard.  As you can see above there was a steady stream of visitors to the "ghost" from some of the estimated 1500 participants, especially those with children.  Check them out,




The Pearls Arrival














     As boats continued to arrive throughout the day, cannons were fired to welcome them and it wasn't long every slip was full in the harbor and where they could some rafted with others as they tied sometimes 3 deep.  In the above picture Scott has gone to assist the "Pearl" as she is backed in to her slip.  On board the Pearl is another pilot and his liveaboard family (two children), that will be joining Scott, Angela, Zak, and Ellie on their dream trip of sailing around the world in 2012.



Ellie with Treasure
















Captain John















     In the above top picture Ellie is exiting the cabin of Captain Johns boat as both Ellie and Zak say Captain John always has treasures for them when ever their paths cross and he is one of their favorites.  In the second picture is Captain John himself, a salty ol' dog to be sure but one who genuinely loves the attention that Zak and Ellie give him.  There is a side to Captain John that even a land lubber like me can appreciate.  It so happened that during the year that passed between the last party and this one, Captain Jim Ray, another ol' salty dog like himself passed away.   Captain Jim never missed a party and had left word with his family that he wanted his ashes fired from the cannons at the next one.  Captain John had prepared the packets of ashes and distributed them to the various boats throughout the harbor with cannons and at precisely noon, on Saturday August 9th, 2008 his wish was carried out.  There was not a dry eye anywhere in the entire harbor as he was a beloved 'salty dog' of them all.  We were touched as well.



America is Safe  















Kids continue to entertain















     With such a large gathering of "Pirates" it was only fitting that the U.S. Coast Guard should come to check things out.  We felt pretty safe but with their ever presents we felt even better.  The kids continued to entertain with their fishing as almost everyone stopped to see what they were catching.

     We were honored to have been included in all the festivities and found this "rally" to be just that.  There is very little difference, one travels by boat towing a dingy, while one travels with motor home pulling a "toad".  One travels with hopefully a big wind to push them along, and one travels hoping that the wind is directly on the tail to help with the fuel economy.  Space in both modes of transportation is precious.  One pays harbor slip fees (generally around $80.00 per night), one pays RV site fee's (hoping not to exceed $10.00 per night).  To avoid the fee's altogether, one simply sets anchor in a shallow wind protected bay, while the other camps out at a Walmart or a Casino parking lot.  The freedom of the open seas and the freedom of the open roads seem extremely similar.  The similarity may end there however as the bottle of "two buck chuck" (wine) that we carry is a little less costly and for sure less potent than the bottle of "grog" (rum) that these sea fairing pirates carry with them.

     Revelers will begin to sail out tonight.  Some will return to Seattle, or Portland, or Alaska.  Others will drive or fly home, since not all who came to party have a boat.  We will return to our "land yacht" and tomorrow hook up our "toad", head on down the highway to our next destination and hope that the winds will be fair and the temperature in the perfect range.  Until next time----Yo, Ho, Ho, and a bottle of "two buck chuck".


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1st Sighting of Our Pirates

Scott, Angela,Zak and Ellie on Ghost















     The above was our first sighting of Ghost as she approached from the North and her month long sailing venture up the inside passage toward Alaska.  We were standing on Wilson Point just outside Port Townsend, Washington hoping to get a glimpse of her coming out of the fog.  The "Ghost" and crew were sailing into the Harbor of Port Townsend to attend a giant party (more on this later) hosted by "Latitudes and Attitudes, a world wide sailing organization that Scott and family have been active in the entire time they have been living aboard their boat.  Scott has the front sail down and continues to work on the other two as Angela and Crew continue to pilot toward the harbor. 



being greeted and helped in to the slip















     We were emotional enough seeing the Ghost and Crew appear out of the fog but as you can see from the above we were also proud to see them greeted by Cannon fire from the ships already in the harbor and being welcomed and helped in to their slip as Scott, pictured above, maneuvers Ghost gently to the dock.  Even though Grandma and Grandpa were present we were not seen yet by the kids as we witnessed them calling out the many ships by name that were already in the harbor.  They were excited as they knew that they soon would be wearing their official pirate gear and participating in all the festivities planned for the week-end.



Zak getting ready to fish
















Ellie, and playmate Annie netting shrimp for bait















     As Scott and Angela were busy greeting and being greeted by so many friends, Grandpa took over supervising the kids as they set about doing what they love to do:  catching and examining the aquatic life that lives around the docks.  They had a blast as the girls caught little shrimps for Zak to use as bait.  He then proceeded with their help to catch, according to him, "at least a million" dock perch and salt water bullheads.  Grandpa got in a little trouble for encouraging the kids to try and sell the perch to those passing by:  The kids would try and hawk 4 three inch perch (just enough for a sandwich) for a buck.  The Parents were not too pleased with me but hey, This is payback time, right?


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August 06, 2008

Vancouver Island--Campbell River

Victoria BC Harbor















     The trip we have been waiting for finally arrived!  After leaving our coach in the Evergreen SKP CO-OP Park in Chimacum, Washington we headed early in the morning to catch the ferry from Port Angeles to Vancouver Island and the beautiful harbor of Victoria.  The beautiful architecture and history of Victoria is worth visiting at least once in everyone's life.  I have been twice, and Kathleen has visited three times, once even having high tea at the Empress Hotel with our daughter-in-law Heidi.

     I have written in a previous blog about catching up with Scott and family in Nanaimo a short distance north of Victoria and then left off there with our staying the night in Parksville BC.  We began our journey early on Saturday morning north heading for Campbell River and our planned get together with our Canadian friends from our winter visit past in Mexico.


















     Pictured above beginning from Kathleen's left are Brian, Olga, Jean, Alan, Glenn, and Brenda.  Jean and Alan hosted us at their house for the two days that we were in Campbell River and on this day Glenn and Brenda hosted at their campsite by the lake all of us for a reunion of sorts.  Brian and Olga were camped near by as they were in the area to Salmon fish out of Browns Bay.  The cook-out was fabulous with Patty, Glen and Brenda's daughter helping with all the preparation.  Grandchildren, Owen and Sophie saw to making us comfortable as well.  It was an afternoon and evening to remember as we revisited our Mexican Winter experiences and touched on our plans to all get together again this coming Winter in Mexico or on our way there.  Unable to attend due to a previous commitment were Margaret and Gerry Perron.  We missed you.

     Campbell River is a stunningly beautiful community with the white capped mountains of the BC mainland visible in the distance and of course the water of the passage flowing between Quadra Island and Vancouver Island.  Alan and Jean treated us to a fantastic boat ride and lunch at a Resort on Quadra Island.  They took us on a couple car tours of the area as well.  One of our stops was to see some of the Chain Saw carvings that were part of a recent competition held in one of the city parks.  Artisans from around the world come to compete.  Our last stop on our car tour was at an RV park near the south end of the City.  While standing on the shore watching an eagle soar and trying to photograph him he suddenly landed just above my head as if to say---ok, get a picture now!



1st Place
















2nd Place
















Quadr Island
















Campbell River Deer are Plentiful































    We can not thank our Canadian friends enough for a fabulous week-end.  They went out of their way to show two Americans that they have a lot of pride in their Country and corner of the World.  We had an experience while in the Victoria Harbor waiting for our return ferry ride back to the States, and would like to think our new found friends had a hand in the send off.  In a way they did.

     This Monday that we were returning just happened to be BC day, a special holiday for our Canadian friends.  We had noticed that the harbor was bustling with people and hundreds more sitting on all the grassy spots around the area.  I made the assumption that Boat Races were probably going to take place when I noticed even the Canadian Custom Agents were all standing dock side looking out over the harbor to the north.  One of them said, "here they come."  We looked up and saw nine sleek jets from the Royal Canadian Snow Bird precision team in formation with their red and white colors prominent as they put on one heck of a show much as do our Blue Angels in the States.  You could feel the pride swell in all the Canadians watching.  Kathleen and I are always brought to tears when we witness such a spectacle, and this was no exception.  Thank you Canada for the send off. 

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Nanaimo BC

     Ghost waiting our Arrival













     After a beautiful foggy morning ferry ride from Port Angeles to Victoria on Vancouver Island, and a short drive North on the Island to Nanaimo we headed for the Marina to look for the Ghost and then to find Scott, Ang and the kids. 



With Ellie
















Zak and Grandpa














     We enjoyed a great day either on the boat or watching the kids play on the docks and then an evening meal with the Brosius Clan before heading out to spend the first night at a Travelodge in Parksville, BC where we would depart in the morning for that long awaited visit with our Campbell River, BC friends.



Kids identifying sea life and then setting free














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2008 Fort Casey Visit

Fort Casey Tiny RV Park














     When we left Thousand Trails Thunderbird Preserve heading for the Peninsula of Washington State we like to take the ferry with our coach and car from the Keystone landing to the Peninsula and within a stones throw of that ferry terminal is a little spit of land with a few primitive RV sites (no services), that are part of the larger Fort Casey State Park.  These sites are first come first serve and because of their location and beauty when one arrives its hand clappin' time if there is a spot available.  The weather on this stop, (yes, we got a site), was a bit cool so we only stayed two days before boarding the small ferry for Port Townsend.  Our plan was to leave our coach in the Chicamum SKP CO-OP Park near Port Townsend for a few days as we then would board a ferry out of Port Angeles with just our car to Vancouver Island and a long awaited rendezvous with our sailing son Scott and his family .  Scott, Angela, Zak, and Ellie have been on a long sailing venture up the inside passage toward Alaska and we were going to have a chance to meet briefly with them in Nanaimo BC as we ultimately made our way to visit BC Friends that we had met in Mexico during our trip there in the winter of 2007/2008.



Fort Casey RV Site
















Ferry to Port Townsend














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August 05, 2008

Visit at Thunderbird

Skyhomish River














     The picture above is taken while standing along side the Skyhomish River about 100 yrds from our camp site at Thousand Trails Thunderbird Preserve near Monroe Washington.  We have mentioned before that this Thousand Trails Preserve is one of our favorites and it is close enough for our Sons and Families to come for a visit and stay over if they desire.  A couple of weeks ago Bill, Heidi, Mason and Maddie came to stay the week-end.  The Kids had a blast in the pool, at the playground, and camping out with Grandma and Grandpa.  The Park has a lot of activities for all but especially the kids as the activities director held a pet outing where the kids made their own pets and then paraded them around the park for all to see.   Pictures that follow:



Mason and Pets
















Maddie and Pets















     As is sometimes the case neighbors joined in for a bring a dish to pass supper and what was nice is that Bill and Family were present to also enjoy the company of our neighbors.  Steven and MaryHelen Lester, their son Brian and his son Riley came over as did another neighbor, Norman Berg Sr. and his dog Max.  Norman supplied a huge half Salmon caught in a neighboring river to the Skyhomish and with Kathleens new marinade and it cooked on the grill all said it was very good.  There sure wasn't much left.  We did have enough to make up a plate for an elderly gentleman who lived by himself in his RV a short distance away.



Neighbors and Family having Supper















     Bill, Kathleen, and the kids went hiking on the trails around the Preserve and got a good workout in the rain forest.














































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July 25, 2008

We are in the Northwest

Mason and Maddie















 Fun on the Water















Hey thats my Ball















Kathleen here


     We have been so busy. It’s so much fun being out here on the road living in a big ol’ 40’ motor home.  I hope it’s a long time before the boys take the keys away.  Our boys live in the Seattle area and that is where we have been these past couple of weeks.


     The photos are of Sawyer Lake RV Park about 20 minutes from Billy. Billy, Heidi, Mason and Maddie came and visited pretty much every day. The kids stayed all night one night and we had so much fun. The lake is just the right size. Ducks and geese are living on the grounds. There is a great play area and little boats to rent.


     We have moved now a little further away. Northeast of Seattle closer to the Cascades. We are in a park in the foot hills of the snow covered peaks. A great place among big conniver trees along the Skykomish River. The kids are coming this evening and are staying all weekend. I am making a cherry pie and brownies. We’ll have hot dogs and squirrelly bread. Ya, that is what it is. Big in British Columbia, Canada. (Thanks Jean), I found some at COSTCO. It is bread made without flour. Full of good stuff: sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, raisin juice, and some other healthy ingredients. I like it. No body else will try it.


      Scott, Angela, Zak, and Ellie are sailing up the Inside Passage. We haven’t seen them yet. They are having a great time. We will see them when we go to Vancouver Island next week.  They have a great web-site that they use to tell of their adventures sailing on their “Ghost” ship, much as we do to blog about our adventures in the “tininthewind.”

     We’ll take a ferry across and drive up to Nanaimo. Get a map and look up Washington State, way to the northwest of the state you’ll find Vancouver Island, part of Canada. I’ve been to its capital, Victoria but no further. We are looking forward to that trip. We are going to look up some friends in Cambell River BC that we met while in Mexico last winter.

     More coming soon.


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July 14, 2008

Pine Squirrel Buddy

Pine Squirrels Everywhere














      There are little Pine Squirrels everywhere we go in the Northwest and it doesn't take to long to get ones attention.  Just throw him a peanut.

      Then try getting him to take a peanut from your hand.



Not quite sure about me














     How about getting the peanut out of my pocket?  Not through the Shirt dummy!



Chewing through the shirt















     I think we should chat and I will explain to you what you need to do.



getting instructions















     See, there in there.




Yup, I see 'em















     Now you got it figured out!




Hope we don't run out















     Buddies at last!!




Were Friends














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July 13, 2008

What a Life

The Bandit














     We sure spent a relaxing day, but then most days now are just like that.  We slept in or I should say that I did, as when I got up Kathleen had a hot bowl of cream of wheat and some fruit set on the table.  After breakfast, Kathleen went up to the family lodge to attend Sunday morning services and heard a nice sermon from a retired minister and enjoyed his wife playing the piano.  There was a pretty good crowd on hand. 

     I went for a long scooter ride and then came back and started to wax the car.  Kathleen sat outside in the sun and read.  At one point while I was sitting and resting two little bandits showed up.  One was a little larger and dominate so he chased the little one around trying to run him off.  I had been munching on Washington bing cherries and they sure liked them as well.  I got a little lax at getting one to the bigger bandit so he decided to climb my leg and get up and in the bowl himself.  Had us both laughing.

     Sometime during the afternoon I took a little power nap and then continued with waxing the car.  Kathleen went for a bike ride.

     Following supper Kathleen wanted to ride her bike on some of the trails through the forest that I had been exploring with the scooter.  We took off on one that would skirt around the outside perimeter of the Thousand Trails Park and all in all it would be about a mile ride.  It follows a man made aqueduct for a ways and is really beautiful as it meanders along.  Kathleen got a great work out with the bike and I kept a vigilant look out for bear and cougar with the scooter and its horn. 

     I did manage to get half of the car waxed today, but tomorrow is another day.  If we don't get distracted I may get the other side finished.  What a life.
















































































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July 12, 2008

Leavenworth Bears

Leavenworth Bear














     The Leavenworth Washington Thousand Trails park is one of our favorite in the state as it is in the Cascade Mountains with a little altitude and when it is the warm part of the summer you head for the hills so to speak.  Its cooler.

     When we checked in to the park a few days ago the ranger signing us in told us that there had been numerous sightings of bears in the park and we should be cautious about leaving any food stuff lying around.  He wasn't kidding.  We have been here several days now and we along have been seeing bears on a regular basis

     Just today I have seen and photographed two different bear encounters.  I am not sure if it is the same bear but they both look similar.  I was coming back from the family lodge and pool area on my scooter when I met up with the first big black fellow about to dumpster dive so I stopped in my tracks, got the camera out of my pocket and took about 9 quick pictures.  Later in the day, about 3 sites down from us I saw the bear in the picture above walk in to the empty camp site that you see pictured above.  Kathleen and I walked down only to round the corner and catch him dumpster diving.  These two dumpsters are a fair distance apart but it could be the same bear I suppose.  According to the rangers there have been 5 different bears documented in and around the park and most disturbing has been the reports of a cougar sighting.  That one has me a bit concerned.  I'm not just sure what I look like going along on my scooter but I can just hope that the cougar especially, does not have a vision problem.

     Following is a slide show of just what I saw today.


                                                 Slide Show



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July 06, 2008

This Grand Land

Kathleen here




We certainly have had the opportunity to see some of this vast country of ours. First a flight out to visit our kids after they left home. Scott on the West Coast, then Billy on the West Coast, as well.


When George began driving his big old semi across this land, I went with every chance I got. What an eye opener to experience the vastness and diversity of this country. Magnificent mountains and rivers, soft green hills and valleys, long winding roads leading to far places. The giant cities, overwhelming, swallowing us as we drove within, but the road carried us through.


I remember that weekend in August. As we drove through Ohio, late at night, the anchor man on the radio announced the death of a princess. Boston was our destination and the city was in mourning, as were the rest of the world.


That morning when we woke up on September 11, George was on his way west. I called; no answer. He was in a restaurant having breakfast, mesmerized, as he and other truckers watched the news. I called Scott, he was flying that morning. Later he spoke of the fear that his airport experienced as it closed its terminal and runways. I called Billy, he was about to leave for work. We talked a minute. I drove to work. I looked out over the peaceful Mississippi River and cried to myself. How could this happen.


I love our country. How could we think that we would never be attacked here on this great land. We were naive to think such a thing. We will never forget.


Today I feel safe. We are looking after our land and our neighbors across world. I pray for the safety of all who want freedom and peace.


Now we live in a covered wagon. Our horse power is a lot more than horses that would have pulled us along 150 years ago. We camp in circles with electricity and water. We have an on board kitchen, bathroom, bedroom and living room. We even have a basement. We see lots of country and take lots of photographs. We meet lots of people.


We were on the road when Dale Jr. finally won a NASCAR race after two years of almost winning. We even attended a real life race in April, in Phoenix. We watched the Dodgers play the Arizona Diamond Backs this spring, as well.


We watched the news and heard from loved ones back home of the devastating floods. We have driven through storms and sunshine; camped close to where bear, mountain lion, wolves, deer and antelope roam. We will spend a good part of the summer by our kids in Seattle, all winter, way south, in Mexico, and then spring time in the Midwest.




I will watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean in Washington State. I will watch the same sun set over this same ocean while deep into Mexico.


The world has treasures for all to enjoy. Mexico, Canada, the great seas. I have yet to experience other continents. I hope to one day. What have we seen so far in our new life as full time RVers? Wonderful things. Magnificent mountains. Silver slivers of water rushing downward, finding their way to the sea. I am in awe at the formation and movement of the mountains and hills; the scars on the rocks that tell a story. I wonder at them as we pass by. I will ask my Creator one day.


Northern Minnesota is beautiful with its lakes and islands and loons. Washington State has its Emerald western coast, its white capped mountains. The East and South, the Plains, and the Coasts all take my breath away.


Nothing that I have seen or experienced so far exceeds what I feel when I look at the flowing waters of the Upper Mississippi River. The high bluffs overlooking the river. The coulees that began forming millennia ago when the waters from the glacier melt off sought the deep valley that would become the Father of Waters. There is no other, that has the beauty, the strength or the diversity of this valley. It is home.


 This July 4th, our celebration of Independence Day, I wish all good health, peace and freedom and especially God’s blessings.


Following are a few photographs of home.













































































































































































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July 02, 2008

Nesting Osprey

Preening Osprey



































     Driving through the country side here we see a lot of Osprey nests but rarely do we see the nest occupied.  Today was an exception as we were entertained by both male and female as they fed some little ones in the next.  We did not get any pictures of the little ones but it was obvious they were getting fed.  What a thrill to have been so close.



















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July 01, 2008

Traveling West

McDonald Lake Glacier National Park















Since leaving Ken and Debbie at Kabetogama Lake in Northern Minnesota we have been slowly making our way West,  literally driving US Highway 2 which runs almost straight West just below the US Canadian border.  If you can stay off of the Interstate and want a very relaxing drive I highly recommend Highway 2.

     The drive through Minnesota is fascinating because of all the lakes one encounters.  North Dakota has enough lakes to keep it interesting.  Montana for the first 400 miles or so is relatively flat with the fields of grain beginning to take life, but when one starts to draw close to Glacier National Park the scenery definitely changes.

     We stayed at the West Entrance to the Park and wanted to drive the “road to the Sun” loop but the pass had not been completely cleared of snow yet so our drive was cut short.  The RV Park we stayed at had experienced a pretty good snow fall just the week before our arrival.  We stayed several days and our exploratory drives each day were fun and full of photo opportunities.

     I had looked at the map before leaving Glacier and thought that going off route of Highway 2 by way of 93 North to Eureka Montana (8 miles south of Canadian Border) and then taking Highway 37 down along the Kootenai River and the Kootenai National Forest before hooking back up with Highway 2 at Libby Montana might be interesting, and we were not disappointed.  The scenery in my opinion is as spectacular as anything anywhere in the US, Glacier and Yellowstone included.  We stayed at Rexford Bench National Park camp site and made a couple of exploratory drives in the jeep.  We left Rexford at about 10:00 a.m. to drive Highway 37 as it meandered for 48 miles along the river to Libby.  Even though the highway is excellent I never drove over 40 mph as we wanted to enjoy the beauty.  In that entire drive not one vehicle came up behind me and we probably only met about two other vehicles and I think they were bicycles.  What a pristine piece of the USA this area is and it was as if it hadn’t been discovered yet.  We will return to this area as there is so much we could have explored but just didn’t take the time, perhaps next year.

     We blew through so much area that looked interesting from Libby Montana, past Bonners Ferry Idaho and on to where we are at present, Riley Creek Recreation Area managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  This site #13 is as nice as anywhere we have ever stayed.  We have 50 amp electric and water at the site and a dump station for our use when we leave.  The river that runs along this Park is loaded with fish.  The water is a little clear and as I walk along the bank I am never seeing less than a dozen or so large mouth bass.  Getting them to bite is another thing.  I can get them to chase my offering but have only caught one.  We are going to be here a couple more days and I have a hunch I will figure it out.

     I hope to load a couple of slide shows.  The first will be of Glacier National Park area and the second will be from Glacier to the Riley Creek area of Idaho.  Enjoy.

                        Slide Show 1                                   Slide Show 2

Bass are everywhere here















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June 30, 2008

Kathleen Here

Guess this Spot















     Guess where I am?

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June 26, 2008

Lake Kabetogama Visit

Kabetogama Lake
















Ken, George and Buck
















Rock Garden















Kathleen here,


It’s close to midnight and we are almost asleep. George just nudged me saying, “Hon, can you hear them?” I knew immediately what he was talking about. We quietly got up and walked into the living room, listening.


We are parked along Fox Lake, ten miles north of Bemidji, MN. A perfect little RV park and we are facing the water. Loons. That is what we are listening to. If you have never heard them, you are missing one of Nature’s most beautiful sounds.


Now that I am fully awake and the loons are singing their midnight song, I will write a bit on what we have been up to this past week. A busy one for sure. Last winter, while in Mexico, we met Ken and Debbie Mandt. They are full time RVers from Minnesota and this summer they are work camping at Lake Kabetogama and loving it.


A stop to visit Ken and Debbie was in our plans, as we began our journey westward to Seattle. This beautiful lake is almost at the Canadian border just a few miles southeast of International Falls, MN. We arrived at the lake during the Mandt’s work day. Debbie was busy working with kids at making turtles out of stones. Ken was working with a young lad helping him make a fishing lure. He was also overseeing the dock activities.  We were all delighted at seeing one another. Their big ol’ dog Buck greeted us with vigor as well.


We were camped a few miles away at Pokorny’s Resort; our coach just a few feet from the water’s edge. George loved it, and within the hour had his boat put together and in the water. He and Ken spent a couple of days fishing. Debbie and I went to town for lunch and enjoyed a good visit.


So much to see and do up here in the wilderness. There were two highlights that we most enjoyed. One was a pontoon ride on the lake, with Ken at the helm. I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed that. The smell of the clean, clear lake and the pungent aroma of the pine trees that grow tall and proud on the islands, reminded us of our many trips to the area a long time ago.


We made our way over to a peninsula that has quite an interesting attraction. This little point is where the Ellsworth Rock Gardens are found. In 1944 Jack and Elsie Ellsworth began transforming the rock outcrop into an enchanting rock garden. Every summer their imagination transformed stone slabs and chunks into fascinating works of art. Small tables and chairs to mythical creatures, ponds and bridges, balancing rocks and so much more keeps one following the path throughout the garden. Today, the National Park Service is restoring the garden to its original state. One day visitors will see the same types of flowers that Jack and Elsie planted in their garden. We took several photographs and are pleased to share them, but the real enjoyment is to actually visit this garden. It is enchanting.


Our second highlight? Well that would have to be the encounter with the black bear that live throughout the area.  George’s essay on the Black Bear of the North Woods follows.


Ken and Debbie, thanks for the fun week, the exciting tours and your great cooking. See you in November.

Ken, Debbie, and Buck Mandt













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Walking with Bears

Sleeping Cub
















     Here's the scoop on the bears.  We were camped on the shores of Kabetogama Lake a short distance from Ken and Debbie Mandt and our purpose for being their was to visit with them.  While out to dinner on the first night we were there Ken asked if we would like to visit a bear "sanctuary" near Orr Minnesota. 

     The American Bear Wildlife Sanctuary was the brain child of Mr. Vince Shute who operated a logging operation near Orr Minnesota.  He and his employee's were having so much trouble with bears breaking in to cabins, destroying food stuff, breaking windows, destroying equipment that they began shooting and killing any bear that they saw in hopes of reducing the numbers and thus solving their problems with the bears.  After killing hundreds the problem was not getting any better so a new approach was tried.  They began feeding the bears on the back side of their logging property in hopes that the bears would hang out there and not interfere with their day to day operations.  It worked.  The bear were content and did no further damage.

     Years later when his logging operation was discontinued Vince continued to feed the bears and he began to bond with them rather than despise them.  After his death the American Bear Association decided to continue the feeding and establish a sanctuary where the public could come and observe the bear close up.  Above ground walkways were built some 10 to 12 feet in the air and they ambled throughout the grounds.  The bears are fed twice daily, once in the morning and again in the evening.  There are no fences.  The bears are free to come and go and that they do. 

     The bear activity on our visit was minimal but there was enough to hold our interest for a couple of hours.  We had a great time and got some great pictures.  Don't you agree?


                                                           Slide Show

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June 23, 2008

Who Really Ended Up A Tree?

     After being spooked by us,



Oh, Oh















     Mom runs all three kids up a tree to protect them.  Question is, where is mom now?  Did the two of us and the camera, end up in the tree?




three cubs up a tree
















lookin down















     Still cleaning out my shorts?  More about this later!

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Ely MN 1969 and 2008

Kathleen Here



Let’s see, it must have been 43 years ago that George and I took off for a long weekend of camping in the Boundry Waters Canoe Area, Ely, MN. We rented a canoe, loaded it high with our gear and began paddling north. At sunset we made camp on an island, lit a fire, ate hot dogs and beans and listened to Minnesota’s state bird, the Loon. Their lonely cry, at sunset, lulls you to a sound and restful sleep. We fell in love with the north woods and the lakes of this beautiful region. We traveled back to this area several times those first years of our life together. One of those trips took us over portages and down rapids until entering Knife Lake, close to the Canadian Border. We had heard of an elderly lady who lived all by herself on Pine Island in the middle of this lake.


On this particular day, we decided to find the island and stop and say hello to this intriguing woman. Dorothy Molter fell in love with the Boundry Waters as a young woman fresh out of nursing school. In the 1930s she moved to the Isle of Pines to help an aging friend with his resort business, thus allowing herself to enjoy the wilderness of Northern Minnesota. After the death of her friend, Dorothy took over the little business, renting the few cabins and canoes. Within a few years, she became well known, and hardy canoers found their way to her three small islands.


During this time, the government passed the Wilderness Act. Dorothy was offered $1.00 a shore line foot for the Isle of Pines. She said no. The government was consistent in their attempts to buy her out to the point of condemning her islands. She was heartbroken in fear of having to leave her beloved home. A friend of hers, who happened to be a reporter from Chicago, after discovering her plight, wrote an article about her misfortune.


Soon her fans from around the country began writing letters protesting the government’s intentions. After a battle between the “friends of Dorothy,” and Uncle Sam, a compromise was agreed upon. In 1975 Dorothy sold the islands, but was given the title of Overseer and Wilderness Nurse of Knife Lake. She was granted her wish to live on Pine Island for as long as she wished.


Dorothy, long ago, began brewing home made root beer. Her recipe was simple: pure lake water, root beer flavoring, sugar, and yeast. She bottled the brew herself, sold it to her visitors and they loved it. However, after the government took over, she was not allowed to sell anything. She began accepting donations and made more money and thus did not have to pay income tax.


She dutifully called in every evening to give a report on the lake’s visitors. She lived happily on her islands, greeting her visitors and offering root beer to all. People came from all over the United States and Canada to visit Dorothy. Signatures of thousands of visitors, such as George and Kathleen Brosius, June 11, 1969 to a 16 year old Julia Roberts in1984 were recorded in her books.






In December, 1986 Dorothy didn’t call in. She was found lying on her cabin floor clutching an arm full of firewood. She died in her home of 56 years, of a massive heart attack on the island that she loved at the age of 79.  Her beloved friends lovingly disassembled her cabins and reassembled them in a wooded area on the edge of Ely, MN. Tours and her famous root beer are offered to visitors daily. She has not been forgotten.


George and I visited Ely and the Dorothy Molter Museum this past week. Fond memories of our visit with her on that day in June on our fourth wedding anniversary in1969 brought tears to our eyes. We are so very happy to have met such a remarkable woman. Visit and read more of Dorothy.

George, Dorothy, and Kathleen 1969













George, Dorothy, and Kathleen 1969




Dorothys Island












Dorothys Island photoed by us in 1969




Kathleen at our camp near Dorothy in 1969














Kathleen at our camp on Knife lake a few miles from Dorothys Island June 11th 1969, our 4th wedding anniversary.


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June 13, 2008

Relentless Storms

     We do not plan any pictures with this blog and I think you will understand.  We could show pictures of clouds about to open up in the sky to the rumble of thunder and lightening flashes and then the torrents of rain that just will not stop, but that would only remind us all of the damage that then comes from that severe weather.

     We had lived in the mid-west area for virtually our entire life and have never experienced what our friends and family members are dealing with now.  Because of our current life style we have been on the move and not in just one fixed spot and thus we seem to just be dodging the worst. 

     We continue to call those closest to us to be sure they are alright and feel terrible when we hear what they are having to deal with. 

     Yesterday, we with friends David and Patsy Kessler left to have dinner at Applebee's and it was raining lightly.  By the time we finished dinner and needed to return to our coaches it was raining so hard that 30 mph was much to fast.  We had 7 miles to go and a great deal of that was with water up to the floor boards of the jeep as we navigated the streets.  Our coaches at the rally we are attending were parked on blacktop and fortunately there was enough of a slope to keep the water moving  away from us but there were some parked in grass and areas where water puddled and formed lakes that would take a long time to disappear. 

     To reach this rally David and Patsy were given the option by the highway patrol to drive a short distance through 7" of water flowing over the road they were traveling or to detour around.  Semi trucks were taking the option and proceeding but I think wisely David and Patsy chose to detour with the cars.  On one road that we were traveling we too had to drive through standing water as a creek had come out of its banks and was covering the road.  No one was there to give us any options, only a small yellow sign that said, "water over the road".

     Our mail may not catch up with us here.  We won't leave the coach with out the umbrella tucked under our arm or leave our windows open but believe me when I say that our little petty problems are minuscule in comparison to what many are having to deal with.

     Our hearts especially go out to Jim and Sarah, cousins of Kathleen who have lost there home to the floods in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and to Jamie and Leslie, Kathleen's nephew and his wife who have for multiple times this month dealt with high water and sewage back-up in the lower level of their beautiful home in Waterloo, Iowa.

     To our friends who have been wondering about us, we are fine.  We will be leaving this rally in a few days and one of our first stops will be to visit with Ken and Debbie Mandt, friends we made while in Mexico this past winter who are now work camping on Lake Kabetogama in Northern Minnesota.


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June 03, 2008

A visit to the Old Home Area

     Time is running short and soon we will be headed again for our visits with four very special grandkids and of course their parents too.  There will be some 1400 to 1600 miles to travel before that visit and we will make the most of the sights as we travel west.

     We have diligently tried to make the most of our visit in the Mid-West by at least trying to contact as many of our friends, former colleagues, and family members that we could.  There just never seems to be enough time to spend with those near and dear to us.




Close to our Mississippi River

















Brian & Jossie

















Brian and Jan Lee













     We have experienced storms with rain and wind rumbling through our camp sites on nearly a daily basis.  At times with the rain we have felt like we are already in Seattle.

Storm Coming

















Storm Here













    The primary focus for us was to see that my mom is happily settled in her new apartment at the assisted care facility in Garnavillo Iowa.  My sister, brother, nieces, nephew, and brother-in-law did a stellar job of relocating our mom and grandmother when it was recognized that she needed to give up her independent living.  Mom has assured us on numerous occasions during our visit that she is happy with her new arrangement and enjoys the friendships she is establishing with fellow residents.  It certainly makes leaving on our next travels easier to know that Mom is happy, healthy, and well cared for.

Mom Fishing

















Mom 85 today 5 31 2008














  We have spent a great deal of our time camped out at Kathleen’s brother Jims country acre near Waukon Iowa.  Of all our travels and camp sites this is high on our list of favorites.  Not only do we get to share meals, visit, and relax but we can do so in a very pristine setting.

Jim and Alyce









Being close to Waukon allowed us to pay a couple of visits to two of the classiest senior Waukon residents, Kathleen’s aunts, Goldie and Emerald.  Their hugs and genuine concern for our well being are always important to us.  Emerald’s two daughters, June and Janice keep them posted on our travels.

With Goldie and Emerald  
















 We have had the opportunity to attend some functions for Jim and Alyce’s boys.  What fun it has been to watch the growth of those three strappin’ boys and their families.  Jaylin, Jake, and “Ziggy” are and will be fun to watch as they explore life growing up.







Jake Jaylin and Ziggy is hiding

















  Having had successful medical visits for the both of us gives piece of mind as we travel on down the road.

     Trust me when I say, “there is no comparison to Sunshine Acres RV Park, Goose Island Camp Ground, Blackhawk Park, Paint Creek Campground, Pikes Peak, and Boondocking at Buck Creek” while we are in our old home area.  We wish all of our friends from all across this country, Mexico, and Canada could experience the Mississippi River Valley and all its treasures….  We have been truly blessed to have lived here for so many years.  We will return!






Happy Cows  Eat your heart out California













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March 26, 2008

Casa Grande Arizona

RoVers Roost Escapee's Casa Grande Arizona
















Home for a Couple Weeks
















all over the place















     We are now at the Escapee RV Park just west of Casa Grande Arizona.  We have had our membership to Escapee’s for over a year and for the first time used one of their Co-op parks in Yuma Arizona and had a great stay for three weeks.  We attended several Park functions at the club house and enjoyed the pool and hot tub.

     This Casa Grande Escapee Park is very similar in lay-out but does not have a pool or hot tub.  The organized functions and scheduled activities that one can participate in here are numerous and varied but we rarely find time for most of them.  The snow birds are leaving in droves and there are many sites available in the rental pool.

     It is always a treat to get to know our way around a new area.  As was Yuma, Casa Grande seems easy to navigate.  There are a lot of good restaurants and all of the major stores for shopping, as the population is about 25,000.

     We plan on leaving the coach on site here for a few days as we fly up to Seattle to get our spring grand kid fix.  When we return from there we will begin to look toward our making it a little further North.  It is very comfortable here in the South West and heading in to the cold does not rank high on my list of favorite things to do.

Our Pad
















Our Pad














































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March 03, 2008

Home Sweet Home--USA

     We are now in Yuma, Arizona.  Our trip from the La Penita RV Park in Mexico was a little over 1,000 miles to Yuma and for the most part it was uneventful.  We traveled with Alan and Jean MacHardy our good friends from Cambell River, BC Canada.  The hi-ways leading north for the most part were pretty good but there were times when we had to dodge a few pot holes and navigate some detours as hi-way construction was under way.

     We passed through two military check points and were simply waved on through.  We also were subject to a couple of agricultural checks as not unlike some of the checks in the states, as you passed between states in Mexico they too wanted to be sure you were not carrying fruit or vegetables that would be unapproved.  The inspector who checked out our refrigerator made note that we had his favorite type of coke (diet) and of course we offered one and he accepted.  He also noted that we had some of his favorite cookies on the counter, and again we offered and he accepted.  With a smile and a wave we were on our way.

     Three couples who are also close friends of ours left a few days before we did and are also here in Yuma.  We have gone out to dinner together and will continue to enjoy each others company from time to time before each departs for their respective homes.  There is a lot of foot dragging going on by all as for sure it is still a little cool the further North you go.

     We are enjoying Yuma and getting reacquainted with good ole’ American food, driving on hi-way lanes that could have more than one car, a donkey, and perhaps a bicycle side by side, and side streets that are as smooth as a baby’s bottom (no cobblestone).  Not that there is anything wrong with that”.

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March 02, 2008

Leaving La Penita RV Park

     It hardly seems like four months have come and gone.  It seems only yesterday we were researching the possibility of taking our new RV to Mexico and through that research discovered an offer on a web-site run by Dorothy and Bill Bell.  The offer was to lead a small caravan of travelers, (30 rigs total) to the La Penita RV Park, managed by Carole Thacker from British Columbia Canada.  There were two caveats to the offer.  First you were required to attend a presentation by Dorothy and Bill Bell about the trip and traveling in Mexico. The Second was that you were required to book in to the La Penita RV Park for one month.

     I have written/blogged for four months now about our experiences here in the RV Park and the surrounding area and I know that many of you have shared in those experiences through our writings and pictures.  What you have not been able to share in or experience are the life changing friendships that we have been privileged to make, or the endless beauty surrounding us on a daily basis.  You also have not been able to hear the sounds of strange birds, or the sound of crashing waves as they come ashore, or sense the friendliness of the Mexican people and even more so the workers hired to tend to the Park.  You also unfortunately were unable to taste the true Mexican dishes that we so often sampled while kicking off our shoes and digging our toes in the sand. 

     Kathleen and I are so grateful that we acted on Dorothy and Bills offer.  We thank Carole Thacker, manager of La Penita RV Park for not only accepting us for the one month that we initially committed too, but also then allowing us to stay the season.  This has been an amazing experience to have been part of what is probably the friendliest most active RV Park in all of Mexico.

     No matter where we travel in Mexico or park our rig in the future we will fondly remember this winter of 2007/2008.  


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February 07, 2008

Road Trip Final Day

As seen from the Road















     In spite of a good nights sleep, my miserable cold is hanging on, and we decided to forgo the Mangrove Swamp boat trip, and just point the car toward our Motor Coach and lie low for a few days.

     Following a so-so breakfast at the beach side restaurant we ate at last night we headed for “home”. 

     The drive North along the coast toward Puerto Vallarta was very light of traffic and the scenery was beautiful.  We continue to be impressed with the quality of the roads in this area.  Following a by-pass of sorts around the down town area of Puerto Vallarta proved to again be a piece of cake and before we knew it we were in the familiar territory of Wal-mart and the airport.  We stopped at Wal-mart to replenish some supplies and check out the cough remedies that were available.

     We felt bad cutting this trip short as there certainly were plenty of little side trips we could have done from the area we were in and we will plan to redo some of this Road Trip and add to it when we get back down here for our next Winter stay.

     If this little road trip did nothing more, it was a success in showing us that we can take off and literally go anywhere on lateral exploratory trips.  The road signs were fairly easy to follow and when we did get a little lost all we had to do was point to the place on the map that we wanted to go and let our Mexican contact pantomime with large sweeping gestures as to where we needed to go to get back on track.

     In the following slide shows, (I broke them in to two shows) are some pictures that represent what we were seeing as we traveled along.


                     Slide Show 1                                   Slide Show 2

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Road Trip 2nd Day

A typical Beach Stretch















     We did hit the hay early following day one so getting up early to start day two was fairly easy.  It would have been nice to just lie in bed and listen to the waves crashing on shore but we had miles to cover.

     As far as we could decipher no one in this town including this fine hotel served breakfast so we decided to hit the road and just stop when it looked right.  As we entered the first town on our way down the road I noticed a lot of trucks parked along the road in front of a little restaurant and decided from my earlier days that truckers usually know a good spot.  We were not disappointed.  Our breakfast was served piping hot and a true trucker’s portion.  What more could I ask for.

     We headed off following the hiway signs for Manzanillo and could not believe the quality of the road.  From Cuastecomates this beautiful road both climbed mountains, followed the coast, and meandered through fertile valleys with fields of various vegetables.  There were a zillion places we would have liked to stop and visit but we were on a mission to get to La Placita and check out an RV Park that we had been reading about.

     There was a four lane expressway that by passed the outside of Manzanillo and it sure saved us some time as we went south.  When it finally reached the southern edge of Manzanillo it followed the edge of sand dunes fronting the ocean and was a spectacular drive.  In the next 50 miles we encountered at least four military check points and were waved through without having to stop at any of them.

     The road surface narrowed but continued to be smooth and without too many pot holes.  Kathleen drove the rest of the way to La Placita and I got to enjoy more of the scenery than I normally can when driving.  Interestingly the organized appearance of the scenery changed when we left the State of Jalisco, and turned to a tight against the road jungle when we crossed in to the State of Michoacan.  Without much trouble we found the RV Park we were looking for just south of La Placita.  The road that entered the park was our first clue, in addition to it being a very remote location, that this park would probably not suit our tastes.  We drove in to the park and observed several rigs parked at their pads that were in the 38 to 40 foot class.  There were several people milling about but we were so unimpressed with the location and park we turned around and drove on out.  Maybe some day when it has been further developed we will have to check it out again, but for now we will stay with our current plans for the future.

     It was still early in the day and it called for some discussion and decision making.  We could deviate on our way back and go inland a bit to check out the city of Colima, an interesting Colonial Style city that I had read about, or just head back to our RV park and the tininthewind at La Penita.  Since I have been under the weather with a cold since leaving on this drive we decided it might be best to just head back.

     The drive back and especially around the Manzanillo bypass was again interesting as we were looking at the landscape from a different direction.  Interestingly all of the Military check points were now unmanned as we assumed it was siesta time.  I guess any smugglers or drug runners should know when to travel, huh?

     We decided to bypass the little beach village that we had stayed in on our first night and head instead for Tenacatita, a small beachfront settlement on the Costalegre (coast of Jalisco) located about 27 miles northwest of Barra de Navidad.  Previous research had indicated that when visiting Tenacatita one should bring insect repellant as it is surrounded by mangrove swamps and a river.  This would be new to us as we have not encountered any insect problem since entering Mexico last November.

     We drove through the little town of Tenacatita as we checked out what was available for lodging and restaurants and settled on the beachside hotel, Paraiso de Tenacatita.  $40.00 U.S. for a very nice room overlooking the bay with easy access to the beach and we were set for a good nights sleep, but first we wanted to find a good restaurant and experience a meal that is a specialty of only Tenacatita.  As the story goes, it was a chef, Silvestre “el gato” who had worked on a cruise ship who taught Maria del Rosario of Restaurante Sirenita how to prepare the dish.  As it became popular all the beach side restaurants began to prepare it as well.  It is a fish filet stuffed with chopped shrimp and octopus in an almond sauce, wrapped completely in bacon and covered with more almond cream sauce.  It is a rich and flavorful dish and was just wonderful.  Our young Spanish speaking only waitress Jaillee offered to take our picture and we in turn took one of her.  The smile on her face is representative of what we have encountered everywhere we have been this past four months in Mexico.

     We are tempted to take a one hour guided boat trip through the mangrove swamp and up the river as apparently there are many camen (crocks) and other interesting wildlife to view.  We will see how I feel in the morning and go from there.

                                                                  Slide Show

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February 06, 2008

Cuastecomates Mexico Road Trip

From our Hotel Window















     After sitting still in the La Penita RV Park since November 2007 it was time to lock up the tininthewind  motor coach,  jump in the car and head south on Mexico Hiway 200 along the west coast toward Manzanillo, and who knows if all went well maybe even as far south as Zihuatanejo.

     We had told our friends we would be leaving and approximately the day we would be back, and of course we told them if we got in trouble along the way we would e-mail them and they could decide what to do about us.

     We got a relatively early start on Monday morning and the first leg of our trip would be to Puerto Vallarta.  We had made this trip on numerous occasions both to pick loved ones up at the airport and to go to Wal-Mart.  Once we got to Wal-Mart and continued south on Mex 200 we were in uncharted territory.  Unlike me, I had done very little pre-planning as we both decided it would just be fun to “wing it.”  Getting around and through Puerto Vallarta was quite easy and navigating the tunnels that I had read so much about was a piece of cake. 

     The hiway south from Puerto Vallarta was two lanes but in excellent condition as it wound its way along the coast.  At times my mind would go back to my trucking days as this hiway and the scenery reminded me a lot of hiway one going north out of Los Angeles.  The ocean scenery was spectacular.  We left the coast only for about 50 miles as we climbed some pretty high mountains and then dropped in to a very fertile valley with many fields of various crops but especially banana plantations.

     Our destination for the day was to be Cuastecomates, a small community tucked into a small, secluded bay located about a mile west of Melaque.  It features a 300 yard long beach with gentle waves.  There are a number of palapa restaurants along the beach and supposedly one hotel at the south end.  This little out of the way community has been overshadowed by Melaque and Barra de Navedad which are a stones throw away and we were hoping that its remoteness just might suit us and we were not disappointed.

     We arrived in Cuastecomates about 2:00 in the afternoon and although we could see the hotel, decided to walk the beach a little and check out one of the palapa restaurants.  We both had a good meal and then meandered over to see if we could get a room for the night.

     The hotel was certainly not a five star but it looked very elegant perched on the hillside overlooking the beach.  The desk clerk, a young man, spoke no English but was able to communicate to us that it would be $650 pesos for the night.  That is about $65.00 U.S.  Since there were many parking spaces available I assumed they were not busy so thought I would try to negotiate a better rate.  Sometimes we gringo’s do look like an easy mark.  We got the room for $45.00.  It was a huge room, very clean, with a spectacular balcony view of the ocean and bay.  The gentle rolling waves will lull us to sleep as we will simply leave the sliding glass doors open and enjoy the sounds.


                                                            Slide Show


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October 31, 2007

San Carlos to Mazatlan Mexico

San Carlos RV Park
















San Carlos Site




Oct. 29th, 2007  We left San Carlos, Mexico in groups of five or six this morning and although the park we were in had adequate power and we ran the A/C through the night we were anxious to get on down the road.  Our destination for the day was to be Los Mochis, Mexico some 400 kilometers down the road.  We were forewarned by our group leaders that the park we were headed for was probably one of the poorest ones in Mexico but in the Los Mochis area there just wasn’t much to choose from.  They said we would have a hard time getting the larger coaches (that’s us) into the park as the turns were tight and the spaces narrow, and oh, yes, the power was probably going to be deplorable.
     We arrived at about 3:00 and entered the park one at a time.  What we did not know in advance of arriving was that there was a large caravan already in the park as they were headed for the copper canyon and had arrived yesterday.  They were parked in such a manner as to make it even more difficult for our group to get to any of the sites.  Cool heads prevailed and with lots of help and guidance we all got in a site.  At first there was no electric and it took a while for that to get fixed.  Actually as I look at the voltage situation now it is very good steady power, holding right on 120 volts.  That to me is amazing as the park is nearly full and some do have their A/C running.  Both guys on either side of me have a dangerous situation with the polarity reversed on their outlets, mine is correct.  My old neighbor, Paul, in Stoddard would have a heart attack if he were to check out this situation.
     When were first arrived here, there was so much confusion and running around trying to get electricity, that Kathleen and I started our generator, turned on both roof A/C units, drew the shades, and fell fast asleep.  Two hours later when all was calm and sorted out I went out to find the electric working and the polarity correct.
     It is currently 7:30 p.m. and has been dark for a couple hours.  When we arrived the sun was hot and it was 103 degree’s outside.  With the night air cooling we are showing 89 at the moment outside and 82 in the coach.  Remember now, this is dry desert air, and to one who does not like the heat, I can tell you that it is quite comfortable.  We will no doubt need a blanket tonight.

     Our team leader stopped by to inform us that we were going to start pulling out at 6:30 in the a.m.  He said we should pull out individually when we felt we could navigate the space to do so.  We would then regroup at the Pemex gas station at the edge of town.  Regardless, I think I will be able to navigate my way out at about 9:00 a.m.  Our destination will be Mazatlan and a very nice park for two nights.  6:30 seems just a bit early to this retiree!

Mazatlan Site



 Oct. 31st, 2007  We made Mazatlan about 2:00 p.m. yesterday and are now well in to our second day.  We will have tonight yet and then will leave for La Penita out destination for at least the month of November.  Our drive from San Carlos to Mazatlan was interesting from a picturesque sense.  Started out as desert, reminded me a lot of what it used to look like when I trucked from Las Vegas to L.A.  Then as we got closer to Mazatlan and crossed the Tropic of Cancer it became much more like a jungle atmosphere.
     The park that we are in has electrical power that comes and goes.  When it is on it is quite good and steady.  The WiFi for computing is about the same.  One has to walk to the office area, sit out under a palapa for shade and hope that the dude in the office has his computer on so you can jump the signal.
     Our site is rather nice as we are under some palms and do get a little shade.  We are also positioned so that in the heat of the day our coach provides the shade and it is quite nice sitting out under the awning.
     We went out in a group of 12 last evening for dinner and rode the open air cabs in to the down town district of Mazatlan.  We had a great meal with our new friends, lots of laughter, stories flowed freely, and the margaritas were good!  Our open air cab ride back was a little noisy as our cab driver cranked up the rock and roll music and we made a complete circle through the entire RV park before bidding our cabbie adios.  We figure the twelve of us will have to stick together as we are not likely to have many friends come morning.
     We made a run to Walmart in the open air cabs this afternoon and found it very much like shopping at home except they do many things quite differently.  What one needs to do is just stand back and see how or what the locals are doing and then just copy them.  For example in the large bakery area everything is out in the open for display but there are no bags or boxes to put the rolls or bread or whatever in.  We soon learned that you picked up a large silver tray and a pair of tongs and then picked out what you wanted.  Then take the tray to the counter and it was individually packaged and priced for you.  We are learning.
     This afternoon at 5:00 we are meeting under the palms in the center of the RV park as our Team leaders are supplying the hamburger patties and condiments and we all are bringing a dish to pass for a good ole’ barbeque.  Should be fun.  We will hit the hay early as the drive tomorrow will be interesting and long.







Mazatlan Beauty
















Mazatlan Beach
















Mazatlan RV Park

















Mazatlan Sailing
















La Penita here we come!



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October 28, 2007

In Mexico

Beaudry RV Park Tucson Arizona 

     Above is the Beaudry RV Park in Tucson Arizona where we hung out for about a week preparing for our South of the Border trip and where we hooked up with the other group of coaches that we would be traveling with.  A few came early to prepare as we were doing and some came at the last minute, totally unprepared, and scrambling.  Arriving early allowed us to make some early acquaintances and fast friends.

     We departed Beaudry early in the a.m. of the 24th of October in groups of five or six and proceeded to the border crossing.  It took approximately three to four hours for us all to clear the border process and we were on our way.  A very tedious process to say the least but we survived it.  We were waved through about 3 inspection points so we still have our freezer full of meat, chicken, bacon, cheese, etc. in tact.  We should have no more of those kinds of inspections for the rest of our stay in Mexico.

     It was late in the evening when we arrived at the Totonacan RV Park here in San Carlos Mexico.  When I plugged in to power our surge protector would not let any voltage through to the Coach.  I got out my meter and using a near by outlet determined that the voltage coming across was about 137 to 140 volts.  Our surge protector won't allow anything over 134 volts.  I put a draw on the line in the form of a fan and then got the voltage to drop below 135 volts and we powered up the coach.  Once that was accomplished we could turn on all the fans, a/c, etc and with all systems humming along we are showing 121 volts at the moment, (perfect).  Everyone around us was oblivious to the high voltage and don't have the kind of on board protection that we have.  I will bet there will be some devices that will be fried and if not they can consider themselves very lucky.

     We went out to dinner last night with a couple from Minnesota who like us are making their first trip south of the border in their RV.  They are also full timers and we have hit it off from the start.  They will be great fun to hang with.

     We went out to lunch today with the five couples that are traveling with our group.  A great bunch to be with.

     We are already getting accustomed to dealing with pesos rather than dollars but in a future blog I will have to tell you how I embarrassed myself big time when we stopped to top off our diesel at the local Mexican Pemex station.  Or then again maybe I won't tell you!

     The following are a group of pictures from our stop here at the Totonacan RV Park in San Carlos Mexico.  The one water shot you see is taken from along the sea wall some 50 yrds from our coach, and shows the town of Guaymas Mexico in the background.

     We are here for two days to recover from our border crossing and then will continue our trek south.  We are on our way to a pool party where everyone will bring a little snack and all will share.



Entry to Park San Carlos MX
















Our Site
















Park Office
















Looking out from Park
















San Carlos Totonaca RV Park















     We depart in the morning and our next stop will be somewhere around Los Mochis Mexico, again along the ocean.

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August 27, 2007

The Coast

     August 19th-22nd 2007  We left the familiar confines of the Salem Oregon RV Park leisurely on the 19th with Jim and Pat Mellon in the lead.  Our destination was the Oregon Coast and the small town of Tillamook, a scant 75 mile trip.  After getting set up in a small but pleasant RV park just north of Tillamook we decided to tour the famous Oregon Cheese Factory located there and being from Wisconsin we for sure had to see if their cheese curds stacked up to what we were used to.  They did not.  Their ice cream however was as good as any we have ever had and we do consider ourselves experts in the ice cream field.  We also had time to tour some sites along the coast and having let the ice cream settle it was time to find the best sea food restaurant in the area.

     Early the next morning Jim and Pat headed for Portland Oregon to get some work done on an air conditioner that had been giving them trouble.  There plans included joining us later as we headed on up the coast.  Our drive was beautiful on 101 as we headed the rest of the way up the Oregon Coast and settled on a great "boondocking spot" in a field next to the harbour in Ilwaco, Washington.  The harbour is famous for all the charter boats available for those who want to take an ocean fishing trip and we learned that they were experiencing their best year for catching silver salmon and king salmon that they have had in a long time.  The charters would leave about 5:30 a.m. and most would return by 8:30 with all aboard having limited out.  Some having up to 13 or so on board.  I was tempted but decided it could wait for another day.  Camped in the field with us, overlooking the bay and all the boats was Chris and Jan Hanks.  Chris a retired North West Airlines Pilot has been coming to "boondock" in this field for several years and he welcomed us to his "funky" find.  We enjoyed his company as well as several other RV'ers who had come with their boats to stock their freezers with Salmon. 

     Jim and Pat joined us to "boondock" and again we toured the area and found some great seafood spots for dinner.  Our daughter in law Angela and grand kids, Zak and Ellie drove over to go with us to the international kite festival which was being held at Long Beach Washington.  Billed as the longest beach in the world it was a great place to experience such a festival.

     Long Beach and the kite festival were interesting but Kathleen and I managed to find some other beaches and had easy access to them as is evident by the pictures.  The weather was a bit blustery and we encountered a little drizzle but the mighty Pacific Ocean is beautiful no matter what its mood and we sure enjoyed our time along it.

     Ang and the kids left on the 23rd.  Kathleen and I bid Jim and Pat a fond farewell and we headed on up the coast to cut our distance to Olympia Washington in half as that would be our weeks end destination to hook up with our youngest son and his family for a few days.  Our destination for the night would be a "Coast to Coast" membership park and we would have a spectacular site right on the ocean for $8.00 a night, at Ocean City Washington.  This would be a place we will return.

     A few pictures follow.  Place pointer on picture for a description.



Angela and Kathleen
















Jim,Pat, Mellon and Kathleen
















beach drive
















days end
















Kathleen's walk on Beach
















kite festival
















flying kites Zak, Ellie, and Ang
















Zak and Ellie shell hunting
















     On to Lost Lake RV Resort at Olympia Washington and a scheduled seven day stay.  Bill, Heidi, Mason and Maddie would come over and camp out with us for the week-end.  Then Mason and Maddie would stay with Grandma and Grandpa for a few extra days while mom and dad returned to work. 

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Rally #2

     The huge FMCA (family motor coach association) rally, with close to 4,000 motor homes being parked around the grounds would have made for a spectacular picture but the only way to photo it would have been from the air.  My pilot son Scott, actually had a stop in Redmond during the rally, and could have taken a photo for me from the air on his approach, but was quick to remind me that all of the roofs are white so it would have made for a very boring picture.

     It was interesting jump on the "tram" and ride to anywhere on the grounds that you wished to go.  On occasion on had to transfer to a different "tram" to visit certain areas but all in all it was very efficient and worked quite well.  It got a little hectic taking the tram to the evening entertainment and then some 8,000 or so people all getting out of the auditorium at one time, but it worked.  The first night of entertainment we saw the Nelson twin brothers, both now about 35 yrs old, doing a tribute to their dad "Ricky Nelson".  It was an excellent program.  The second night we sat through "Debbie Boone" who got a little long in the tooth but still was enjoyable.  The last night we were treated to a spectacular show put on by "Tony Orlando".

     We both sat through several seminars and hopefully learned a few things, but the highlight was spending time looking at all the wares that the vendors were hawking.  We bought a few things that we wished we hadn't, and passed on a few things that we wish we had purchased and I guess that is par for those who attend one of these things for the first time.  No doubt we will attend again as this annual FMCA Rally is going to be in St. Paul Minnesota next August and we will no doubt be in the neighborhood.

     Friends we had made earlier in our travels were in attendance but it was difficult connecting with them as the event was huge.  We did manage to see Hap and Wendy Happnee once and exchange hugs.  Thanks Wendy for the great book, we are getting a lot of good use out of it.  We were fortunate to have spent 5 days or so with Jim and Pat Mellon from the Chicago area at the Pre-rally in Salem Oregon and managed to sit with them at all the nightly entertainment at the main rally in Redmond Oregon.  It was at the Pre-rally that we decided we would travel together some after the rallies and explore the Oregon and Washington Coast.  In fact we left the Rally grounds in Redmond and returned to the familiar deluxe RV park in Salem Oregon for a couple days of R & R before heading for the coast.  The R & R was needed but we did find some time the second day to do a wine tasting tour as the area outside Salem has many vineyards. 

     On to the Coast! 

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August 11, 2007

Rally # 1

     August 7-10, 2007  The FMCA (Family Motor Coach of America) Newmar International Chapter Rally held in Salem, Oregon at the beautiful Premier RV Resort has ended.  We met and have made friends with some wonderful folks who over the years we may well run in to again from time to time.  The Rally was hosted and organized by Richard and Suzanne Michaels and also present and active was Dave and Patsy Kessler.  Dave is the Chapter President.  Dave's wife Patsy sought us out on our arrival to let us know that she had read about us on Norm and Linda Payne's web-site.  We know that Norm and Linda have good choices when it comes to friends and Dave and Patsy were no exception.

     I mentioned a lot about the Rally itself in my last blog posting so won't revisit that but one of the highlights for us was we signed up to attend a guided tour of the Air Museum North of Salem that houses many vintage aircraft, but its real draw is it is now the home to Howard Hughe's "Sprucegoose."  We enjoyed the tour and especially getting to go inside it.

















      Our last afternoon and evening at the Rally were a lot of fun.  Richard, a fun and outgoing guy apparently has a collection of hats and delights in wearing many different ones each day.  Now these are not ordinary hats but rather "goofy" styles.  Richard had sent e-mails and announcements on several occasions over the last months announcing that there would be a "crazy hat contest" at 4:00 on the last day.  Now I don't need to tell you that there were some very elaborate hats with the "Minnie Pearl" grand ol opry style being very prominent.  Kathleen and I did not put much effort in to getting ready for this contest but thought we should probably try and participate.  Many years ago, Kathleen's dad, Pondo, taught her how to make paper hats and on occasion she has made them for our grand kids.  Since we had been delivered the local Newspaper to our coach each day we had an abundance of paper.  Kathleen put no more than a few minutes in to folding and creating our hats and at 4:00 we headed off.  Their was quite an elaborate judging process as all participants were paraded in front of all in attendance at the ice cream social.  Would you believe it!!!  We took second place.  Our prize was a "cover catcher" for the end of our bed.  A very neat prize.

     We departed Salem, all 50 or so Newmar Coaches, at 5:30 a.m. for Redmond, Oregon and the main FMCA Rally where we would be in the company of some 3 to 4 thousand Coaches of various manufacturer for another 5 days or so of Rally activities.  Our caravan arrived at the outskirts of Redmond and was escorted by the local police department and Sheriff's deputies through Redmond to the Deshutes County Fairgrounds and the Rally site.  We are now parked in the "back forty" in lot #8 street 13.  This is to be our home site for the next 5 to 6 days as we plan to attend as many seminars and evening entertainments that we can handle.  The "trams" will leave our street corner approx. every 15 minutes and return on about the same schedule.  There will be many drop off points and pick-up points throughout the grounds.  Think State Fair and multiply by 10 and you will get the picture.



Kathleen's Hat
















George's Hat













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August 07, 2007

Saltwater State Park, Washington

Saltwater State Park, Washington


     Saltwater State Park in Washington State had been our home for about 6 days which covered a week end and our Washington Brosius clan came to camp out with us.  The setting you see in the picture above was ideal for the little people to have plenty of space to play.  Grandpa and Grandma were in constant demand to participate in one thing or another.  It was a blast and we look forward to more week ends of the same in various parks before school starts and or the weather gets a little too cool for tent camping.

     We readied the coach to travel late Sunday afternoon August 5th, 2007 as we were planning to head for our first Rally, the Newmar pre Rally for the FMCA, to be held in Salem, Oregon.  We pulled out of Saltwater Park early Monday morning the 6th and our leisurely 208 mile drive to Salem has us arriving at about 2:00 p.m.  We registered with the "Premier RV Park" of Salem and were guided to our parking slot.  Our Friends Pat and Jim Mellon had arrived a day earlier and were just a few slots over from us.

     As I was setting up the coach and connecting the essentials I noticed that our "Access Door" for our water heater area had come loose and apparently been lost on the drive down.  No one to blame but myself as I had done some work on a faulty ignitor coil for the gas water heater and forgot to latch the cover when I had completed the work.  Bummer.

     We enjoyed an evening out with Jim and Pat and ate at a very nice but pricey seafood restaurant.  This was to be our only free evening for awhile so we retired early.  Our agenda for Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday starts with Breakfast by the pool from 7:00 to 9:30 and something or other scheduled every hour on the hour right through the supper hour.  Oh, did I mention every evening supper is provided and catered by one vendor or another.

     There are 50 Newmar Coaches here participating in this Rally so the Newmar Factory in Indiana send 5 of their top service technicians with a couple trailers full of parts and supplies to address any needs/repairs that any of us had previously submitted in our pre-registration documents.  I had about three minor things I wanted them to take a look at.  We were one of the first coaches that they started on this morning and within about an hour they had corrected or addressed my concerns.  Oh, did I mention that they ordered me a new "Access Door" for our water heater area.  They are having it painted at the factory and it will be brought to our coach and attached before this rally ends.  All at no Charge.  Now that is what Newmar is all about. 

     In addition to attending many seminars and instructional talks we are scheduled tomorrow to go on a tour to the Evergreen Aviation Museum here in Salem.  This Museum is the home of Howard Hughes "Spruce goose" and we are looking forward to getting to see it up close.

     We are "Newbies" to this Rally thing but already I am liking what I see, feel, and hear.  There is not a grumpy, grumbly person to be found.  Everyone is so upbeat and happy just to be here.  Maybe it is because we are all in that twilight time of life.  I must admit I took pause for thought when the first line of the agenda we received on arrival says, "In case of an emergency call 911, sound horn and turn on your emergency flashers", hmmm!



Social Hour















Premier RV Park, Salem Oregon













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July 30, 2007

Garnet Ghost Town


July 25, 2007 – Picture this:

     Dusk, the moon has just appeared above the eastern peaks of the Bear Claw Mountains. The sun is about to disappear, as it sinks into the shadows of the western horizon. George and Kathleen have completed a long day of travel. Their RV is parked beside the Clark Fork River in western Montana.

     After treating themselves to an excellent Mexican supper at the Bear Claw Restaurant next to the RV Camp Ground, they have decided to take a little drive. Kathleen spots a small sign. Garnet Ghost Town with an arrow pointing the way. The two decide to find the town and explore a bit before dark. The road winds along the meandering river. Interstate 90 winds west through the deep canyon pass. Semi-trucks speed along as the setting sun illuminates their reds and blues. The two adventurers enjoy the drive. Soon a sign directs the way to the little ghost town.

     Turning away from the river, the jeep follows the paved road into another canyon. Kathleen remembers that a couple days earlier she and George notice that the jeep is in need of refueling. She mentions this to George. The gauge indeed is very close to the E mark. They continue their journey thinking their destination was just up ahead. Soon another sign appears: Road turns to gravel soon, one lane only, no motor homes allowed, slippery when wet, watch for wild animals. They continue. Another sign: Garnet Ghost Town – 10 miles. “Oh we can make it, I think,” George says.

     “OK,” is Kathleen’s reply. “Do you really think so?”

     “Here’s the deal,” George says, “ When the jeep signals us that she’s close to empty, we’ll turn back.”

     Kathleen is happy at that and is eager to keep going. The road soon narrows and turns to gravel. The canyon grows darker, as the small trail begins to wind deeper into the mountain. Occasionally a dwelling is spotted among the thick foliage. No life is evident and dust covered pick-up trucks sit abandoned nearby.

     George says, "If we hear banjo music, we're outta here."

     They drive on. The road narrows yet again. All of a sudden a Mule Deer appears in front of them. George hits the breaks and the doe freezes. Kathleen grabs the camera, as something catches her eye beyond the brush, at the edge of the forest. There two fawns peek out at the strange object on the road. Their big ears straight, listening for danger. Kathleen aims her camera and shoots a few photos before they leap into protective cover. The last sighting of their mother is of her hopping back into the thick foliage to join her twins.

     The jeep chugs along. Further and higher they travel. Small signs stating 8 miles to go, 5, 3 are noticed along the trail. The canyon is deep, full of tall conifers and deciduous trees and brush. High jagged, protruding rocks, are ready to break and tumble down onto the winding path. Kathleen imagines what could happen if things did not go in their favor. Could they walk out? Would anyone be at the lonely cabins they had passed? Would the owners of these reclusive homes welcome strangers? Were there wild animals? Bear, Cougar? Big Foot?

     George, obviously thinking the same thoughts, quietly says, “I am losing my nerve. I think it would be best if we turned around.”

     Kathleen agrees. The jeep does not complain when the brakes call for a halt. At this point, the jeep’s computer dongs. A signal that tells the occupants that fuel is very low. They had made the decision in the nick of time. Only one mile to go to experience one of their most intriguing adventures: A ghost town, at twilight, with real ghosts, and haunting shadows, and lost stories of those who once lived there.

     Disappointed, they make the right decision. Go back to civilization, now. The next thing is to get turned around on this narrow path, a jutting, crumbling rock wall on one side and a steep bank, thick with brush on the other. George’s expert skills manage the task and they soon face the way home. George wants to check for damage and exits the jeep. Kathleen follows, curious of their surroundings. All is still but for the soft breeze moving the leaves in the trees. A bubbling brook can be heard. Over the bank a stream is playfully finding its way to the river far below. The jeep is covered with dust, George’s scooter, hanging on for dear life behind the jeep is caked in thick dust. No damage is found and the trip home begins.

     Promising that they will indeed return to finish their adventure, the two adventurers follow the winding dirty road back out of the canyon and onto a smoother, brighter highway. Soon they are turning into the campground. The thin gravel road leading to Garnet Ghost Town seems long and far away now that they are home. They remind each other that this is only the beginning. There will be other roads that will lead them to more adventures, they are sure. Kathleen makes a list of supplies to stock the jeep with.

Lets see:

 10 gauge shot gun.
 Gas can, filled.   


     When the gas tank is filled the next day, ½ a gallon of gas is in it. What would it have been like to spend the night in a ghost town?



no damage












dirty scooter

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July 29, 2007

A Beautiful Drive

     July 26th & 27th, 2007  Having completed our minor service at Bretz RV in Missoula, Montana it was time to move on and there was plenty of time Thursday afternoon to start on our way.  We decided to get off the Interstate and take highway 12 from Missoula to Lewiston, Idaho and then on eventually to reconnect with Interstate 90 at Vantage, Washington.

     It was a great decision as this route was the Lewis and Clark Trail.  What spectacular scenery as we followed the Clearwater River for mile after mile.  I can't ever recall in my life, including my cross country trucking life a more beautiful drive.  We both agree that we were in too much of a hurry to get to our Son's in Seattle to enjoy this area and we vow to return at some time in the future.

     We spent one night in the Lewis and Clark RV Resort and although somewhat rundown, we enjoyed a great meal in the restaurant and a very peaceful sleep.

     Leaving Lewiston, Idaho the landscape changes from that beautiful river canyon drive to one of sage brush, rolling hills, and miles and miles of narrow winding roads as we head on to Vantage, and the reconnect with Interstate 90.

     After joining Interstate 90 it was only a short drive to Easton, Washington where we stayed in another Coast to Coast RV Park.  This would be the last stay at a park before we would arrive at our Son Bill's place the next day.  I spent what free time I had cleaning the exterior of the coach and washing windows as Kathleen cleaned house getting things ready for our daughters-in-law to inspect as they had not ever seen the coach.  All done with much enthusiasm as we were so anxious for our arrival at our kids places.

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July 24, 2007

A moment of "Cool"

     July 24th, 2007  We actually got a pretty early start from Hart Ranch RV Park this morning.  Stopped at the Rapid City Department of Motor Vehicles and both got our new drivers licenses in about 20 minutes.  We now have it all.  SD drivers licenses, plates on the car and scooter, and my Sea Eagle boat SD licensed.  We are also registered to vote.  In spite of the heat our new domicile is pretty nice.

     Pulling out of Rapid City at 8:30 it was already 84 degree's.  Our plan was to drive a fair distance today hoping to find some cooler weather.  At 3:00 p.m. coming through Billings Montana it was 114 degree's.  We decided to jump off the interstate and take some back roads, hoping to find a nice RV park for the night.  We drove till 6:00 p.m. and as we did so the temperature continued to fall, the further west we got.  On arrival at the Conestoga RV Park, here in White Sulfer Springs, Montana the temperature was 64.  Now that's more like it.

     We have an appointment Thursday afternoon to get some minor work done on the coach at Bretz RV in Missoula, Montana (where we bought the coach).  We are fairly close to there so may move from this campground tomorrow only because there is some beautiful country between here and there and we might as well explore it a little.

     We plan to stay overnight in the area of Missoula after our service is completed.  Our Son Scott will be flying and laying over in Missoula Thursday night and has offered to meet us Friday morning and buy breakfast.  Now that's an offer that would be hard to pass up.  If all plans work out we should then arrive some time Saturday at our Son Bill's house.  Cool  Life is good.

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July 23, 2007

Hello, we are from Rapid City

     Monday July 23:  A lot of errands had to be taken care of this morning. When we left the RV park at 8:30 AM, it was in the high 90s by 10:30 AM it was past 100 degrees. A hot day for running around town. Rapid City is big and like all municiple offices, it seems, they are spread out across the metropolitan area. We were sent here and there to file this and pay that. Finally we finished and were heading back to the RV Park. Did I mention that after driving way out of town to find the Division of Motor Vehicle Dept., a sign on the door said closed on Mondays. We were bewildered but will be there by 8:00 AM tomorrow to get our South Dakota drivers licenses.

     The RV park has a beautiful swimming pool. After our busy morning, George wanted to hang out in the motor home where it is nicely air conditioned. I decided to go over and cool off at the pool. the water was refreshing and the sun was hot but I stayed for a couple of hours. On driving back to the coach, I noticed that the gentleman who, "watches over" the park, was following me in his golf cart. Finally he motioned for me to pull over. He gently told me that he had clocked me at going 13 miles an hour. The speed limit is 10 miles an hour. Well, I apologized. He did not ticket me but did write down our license plate number. We shook hands he went on his way. I felt foolish and criminalish. Is that a word? I did wonder to myself, why not give a person a few miles an hour over you know like on the big road. I warned George, as we later left for dinner. He laughed and told me that while I was getting ready to go, he installed the new South Dakota license plates so the license number on the hit list will never be found.     

     We had dinner at the Fire House, a suggestion by an old friend. Thanks Barb. This is Rapid City's first Fire Station, I beleive. The interior is as it was in the 1920s with old ladders and hoses hanging on the walls and ceiling. A very interesting place with great food, as well. Another interesting attraction to the old part of the city is that on several corners are bronze statues of USA Presidents. I recognized a few. The artist is working on placing all of our presidents' statues on corners of this area. So far George Washington to John F. Kennedy are represented. We also visited a wonderful store on the same street as the Fire House. It is called Prairie Edge and is filled with Native American art work, as well as other beautiful treasures. Living in a motor home prevents one from collecting lots of stuff. I did pick up a few trinkets for our kids. Tomorrow we will again attempt to get our drivers licenses, then head out towards Seattle. Hopefully we'll leave the heat and enter the cool moutains of Montana and then the Emerald City by week's end.                                                      

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June 12, 2007

They Didn't Forget

     I believe most everyone reading this blog knows of our circumstances of still being captive to Wisconsin, but if not, you will need to go back and get caught up with the history. 

     It had been a long time since I personally had seen the Seattle clan, and I was especially missing the "little people".  From the first time we had met, Mason, Zak, Ellie, Maddie, and me there was that special bond.  I could feel it, that love that little ones have for their Grandpa.  Now, after not getting to see them for what seemed like an eternity I was a little apprehensive, thinking perhaps that I would have to start over, to establish that connection between us. 

     On May 17th we landed at the Seattle Airport and were met almost immediately by our pilot son Scott as he had just finished up his day but a few gates away from where we had landed.  Angela (Scott's wife) would be at Bill and Heidie's house with Zak and Ellie.  Our arrival to greet Zak and Ellie was next on the agenda.  There was no need to have been apprehensive, as the hugs and kisses for Grandpa were huge.  Next it was on to a little league baseball game that Mason was playing in. 

     Mason was playing short stop when we approached the sidelines, he had not seen us, the batter hit a slow rolling grounder in his direction, he positioned in front of the ball, made a great catch and threw the runner out at first.  Wow, that can light up a grandpa!  What, no clapping or cheering for such a fine play?  I couldn't let that be, and shouted as loud as I could, "way to go Mason".  He turned to see who was praising him and the smile had to suffice for the moment as the game needed to go on.  With out number three, you would have expected Mason to head for the dugout with his team but instead it was a dead run for Grandpa.  The leap into my arms and the hug was huge.

     Heidi, the last to get off work, had picked up Maddie at day care and they too would join us.  Maddie, the youngest of the four, would surely be the one who would take a little time to warm up to this big brute called Grandpa.  Nope, not a chance, the hug was genuine and the questions were non stop!  "Did we drive our house"?  "Would we be staying a long time"?  "Wanna come push me on the swing"?

     Not to be diminished, were the warm greetings and hugs by the "big people", Scott, Bill, Heidi and Angela. 

     It is moments like this that causes one to reflect and to count the blessings!  Two Son's, that made it in life, and are now contributing in a very positive way to society.  Two beautiful, vibrant, young women who are now my daughters through marriage to my Son's, and four full of life "little people", who love their Grandpa, a Grandpa "They Didn't Forget".  I am truly Blessed!

For Pictures click on the word:                     Pictures

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April 20, 2007

Wrist Pin Failure

     Wrist Pin Failure.  Sounds like a heck of a medical problem doesn't it?  Truth is this wrist pin failure was in our new Cummins 400 HP Turbo Charged Diesel Engine which powers the Tininthewind!  In the previous post I have pretty well described what happened and let you know that we were in Fort Wayne, Indiana getting our engine rebuilt.  I can now report on the results of the engine tear down.

     Fred, Eric, and Kevin at Crosspoint Cummins in Fort Wayne had us out of the coach early Thursday morning (7:00) and moved the coach in to the service bay.  We proceeded to the motel that Fred had set up for us.  At around noon Fred called to report to me that it was indeed a wrist pin failure as they had the engine tore down and the failed part laid aside.  He would save it for me to see when ever I wanted to pay them a visit.  Later in the after noon Fred called again to let us know that by evening they would have all new connecting rods, pistons, and wrist pins installed.  Even though only one had failed they would be putting all new in.  Fred further stated that before they left for the night they would have the engine running.  Assuming all went well after engine start they expected to be ready to turn the unit over to us before noon on Friday.  Wow, now thats service.  At 8:00 Friday a.m. Fred called to say that the engine had run out OK and they would be doing the road test shortly.  He advised that we could leisurely check out and make our way over to the shop.  When we got to the shop Eric met us to let us know that he had completed the road test and everything was functioning as it should.  I listened to the engine and I was impressed with how quiet it was.  After chatting for a bit we hooked up the car and proceeded to head back to Nappannee so Newmar could complete a few items that still needed attention on Monday.  We will now camp out at the Newmar Facility over the week-end and be ready for Monday.

     My hat is off to Cross Point Cummins, Fred and his Staff.  The Mechanics, Eric and Kevin were a delight to be around.  As you can tell from reading this far Fred takes great care to keep his customer fully informed with what is going on and updates one constantly with progress reports.  A rare trait in today's service world. 

     Below is a picture of the Connecting Rod, Wrist Pin in place, and the piston.  Note the Burn area where the wrist pin passes through the connecting rod, and also note the scratches on the piston itself.  They were right.  We would not have got many miles down the road and we would have had a catastrophic failure.  Thank you Fred, Eric, Kevin and all of Crosspoint Cummins for a job well done.




Wrist Pin Damage

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April 19, 2007

Spartan & Newmar Visits

     House on Hook

     Later for the "House on Hook", for now the Spartan and Newmar Warranty visit story!

     After that great visit with my sister and family in Cary, Illinois, it was off for our first stop at Spartan in Charlotte Michigan.  Spartan is the manufacturer of the chassis on which our "Tin in the Wind" rides.  Two years of research prior to specking out our Coach, told me that I wanted a Spartan Chassis and now for sure I know that was the correct decision.

     Spartan is a first class facility.  Upon arrival we pulled in to their RV parking area and hooked up to 50 amp service.  Water and Sewer dump are near by but we didn't need either.  They were closed on Sunday afternoon when we arrived so we set about getting ready to report to their Service department for our Monday (April 16th) appointment.  We had been pre advised to report at 7:00 a.m. and that we did.  After discussing with the service writer what our needs were, our coach was hustled off to a service bay.  We proceeded to go find breakfast and decided to do a little shopping around town.  Before we knew it our phone was ringing and they reported to us that our work had been completed and our coach was ready.  Ride Height had been adjusted, a filter had been changed on the transmission, oil and filters changed in the Cummins Coach engine, chassis lubed, onan generator service with oil and filter change, and a complete chassis inspection.

     It was now about 1:00 and plenty of time to head for Newmar and our scheduled appointment on Wednesday.  The Newmar facility is located in Nappannee Indiana approximately 132 miles from Charlotte so we arrived in plenty of time to check-in, get hooked up, take that retiree's nap, schmooze with the neighbors, and get ready to go out for one of those special Amish dinners in the Nappannee area.  Not to be.  On check in we were assigned a site to park in and were asked if we could be ready to meet with the service writer in about an hour. 

     One hour to the minute upon pulling in to our assigned site our service writer, Gene, showed up and we went over with him our previous reported items needing attention and of course we had a few more minor things to add to the list and Gene graciously added them in.  Gene asked if we could be ready for them to come pick up the coach from the site in the morning at 6:00.  Wow, they would move us up a day and we wouldn't have to sit around waiting for our appointment on Wednesday.  At 6:00 a.m. Tuesday Travis, the service tech was at our door ready to drive the coach to its service bay.  Gene was to be our contact man and he would keep us posted on how things were going.

     Being aware that Newmar had a Cummins Engine Specialist on staff, I asked Gene if he would ask him to give our engine a listen and there was a distinct engine knock that troubled this old retired semi driver.  To be honest I felt it was a mis-adjusted injector and would need to be reset.

     It is the policy of the service technicians to return the coach promptly at 2:30 p.m. to the site and go over what has been accomplished and report on what work is yet to be completed.  As a side note it is fun to watch all the coaches being returned to their sites and all the owners standing around like proud parents awaiting their return.

     Travis reported on the days activities and informed us he would be back to get the coach at 6:00 a.m. the next morning.  He informed us of two important things of note: (1) they would finish with the work at about 1:00 and (2) a big wrecker would be here at 2:00 to hook on to the coach to tow it to Fort Wayne, Indiana to a Cummins Authorized repair center as the engine had a serious problem and I would be contacted shortly by Fred Dibert, Cummins Field Service Coordinator. 

     Fred contacted us in a timely fashion and explained that he had sent one of his crackerjack (my term), service techs to listen to the engine and it was Eric's diagnosis that there was a wrist pin failure going on in the engine and it would need to be tore down for repair.  Without hesitation Fred volunteered that a TCB (technical service bulletin), had been issued expressing that 2006 400HP Cummins engines had been experiencing a rash of wrist pin failures, and it appeared I was suffering that fate.  Not to worry Fred said as Cummins would completely rebuild the engine with all new internal parts and we would start out with a brand new warranty.  Fred again, stated that a wrecker would appear at 2:00 to tow us to his facility in Fort Wayne.  Upon arrival we could hook up to electric and spend the night in the coach, but he would like us to be ready to hand the coach over to Eric and his partner at 6:00 in the morning.  (Whats with this 6:00 in the morning sh_ _?  I'm retired)  Fred wanted us handy so we could button the coach up for Eric and they could then get it in a service bay and get an early start.  Following this Fred had taken the liberty to get us booked in to a very nice motel facility for the duration of our stay in Fort Wayne.  Did we want a suite with our own hot tub?  No problem!  Is the Pope Catholic?

     Promptly at 6:00 a.m. Wednesday Travis was ready to take the coach to the service bay to finish the scheduled work.  At 12:00 Gene and Travis sent for Kathleen and I so they could go over everything that had been done.  The next hour was spent showing us each repair/fix that had been part of our list.  Without going in to detail let me just say that there were approximately 20 minor things needing attention.  Many of you know however that we experienced numerous furnace problems throughout our Wisconsin Winter experience.  We now have a new furnace and is it ever quiet and much more efficient than the one that gave us all the trouble.  The zone 2 bedroom A/C and heat pump has been replaced with a new unit.  We had pointed out a few imperfections in the floor tile in both the bathroom and Kitchen and Newmar made the call to replace most of the tiles.

     We will be returning to Newmar at their request when our engine problems are corrected as they would like to replace our bathroom door due to a small defect and also replace the bathroom Fantastic Vent as it is intermittent in its response to commands. 

     House on Hook!



House on Hook




























     To sum up our experience to date, let me just say that all those months of researching what to buy for our future full time life on wheels and picking the brains of those who had "been there done that" has paid off.  We couldn't be happier with our choice of coach, choice of chassis, and choice of engine.  I wouldn't do one single thing different.  Well, that's not entirely true, as I sure would be happier with 9:00 instead of all this 6:00 stuff.

     I had sent an e-mail to several of my full time RV friends describing what was happening with us and I think Rich Emond's response is appropriate to post here:

Wow. Sorry to hear about the engine problem. But you are being well treated and, hopefully, they will get it fixed properly and in short order. It sounds like you are dealing with the situation with the right attitude. It's all in the attitude. Folks with low thresholds for problems are the ones who can't handle situations like this. For us it would just be another part of the adventure.

Thanks for the update. I look forward to the next one. We have always loved going to Spartan and Newmar. Almost makes me want to buy another rig just to go there for warranty work. ;-)

     You are so right Rich, so right!

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     The time arrived! April 13th (yes Friday the 13th), and we are scheduled to depart our comfortable Wisconsin winter site for our scheduled Warranty visits to Spartan and Newmar.  Charlotte, Michigan and Nappannee, Indiana respectively.

     Chris, Rich, and Carlotta were wonderful hosts at the Anderson Mobil Home Park in West Salem Wisconsin and in spite of our overwhelming desire to get on with our lives, it was bittersweet to be leaving.  Rich and Chris were scheduled to show up at 9:00 a.m. to lay planks down as we drove out of our site as the ground was rather soft from the spring thaw.  We don't know what happened, but they were no shows and at 10:00 I made the decision I could wait no longer and simply drove out of the site, hooked the car up and we left.  I did make numerous attempts to locate them to no avail.

     We didn't make it too far as while hooking up the car I noticed that we had a flat inside tire on the rear duel.  It was but a two block distance to Degenhart Tire and two hours later we were finally on our way.  Just before the on ramp to Interstate 90 we stopped at a Cenex to top off our propane tank.  Standing there, listening to the high speed traffic whizzing by, and knowing that finally, it was going to be possible for us to travel, we hugged each other and shared in the moment, knowing that we had successfully weathered a couple of storms, literally.

     With the nose pointed east, and the cruise control set, we were on our way to Michigan but first there was to be a very special visit.  Allow me to get a little emotional here and tell you what I mean by a special visit.

     My sister Barb, and her hubby Lon, live and have their entire married life, in one suburb or another of Chicago.  We have always been invited, encouraged, welcomed, prodded, and etc. to visit them.  In the past 30 plus years I can count on one hand the times that we did come to their home.  A statistic I am not proud of.  I can site a zillion excuses as to why I didn't take the time but in reality they would all be lame excuses.  Fortunately over the years Barb made it a point to keep us close.  Never forgetting my birthday with a special card and always a classy shirt at Christmas.  I know that a great part of my failures at being a better brother had to do with my being selfish about not wanting to give up my leisure time away from work to just go visit.  A fish was always calling! 

      Now, there is a new sheriff in town.  Retirement puts a whole new perspective on the element of time.  I have a renewed desire to spend more time visiting and enjoying the company of Barb and Lon's entire family, all of whom luckily live in close proximity. For sure, in our future travels if and when we are in the neighborhood we will be stopping for a hug and conversation.

     I love you Barb.  Thanks for being there for me!


Pictured next to the coach are Lon and Barb.



Barb & Lon




























     We fit very nicely in the driveway and look forward to our visits in the years to come!

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February 12, 2007

Everyone Needs A Plan---We Have One

     Everyone knows if fate had not intervened this fall/winter we would probably be somewhere on the West Coast of Mexico enjoying one of those glasses with an umbrella in it right about now and for sure soaking up some warm sun.  It's ok that our dreams were put on a bit of a hold as it has given us even more time to work on a plan, and that we have been doing.

     We have a plan!  On October 25th we will meet up with 29 other coaches (RV's), in Nogalas Arizona, and caravan south in to Mexico with our final destination being 920 miles south of the U.S. border to one of Mexico's premier RV resorts, La Penita Resort.  La Penita is located approximately 40 miles north of Puerto Vallarta.  The caravan will be lead by Bill and Dorothy Bell.  Bill and Dorothy have been traveling all through Mexico each winter season in their RV since 1988.  Throughout this time they have been conducting travel reviews of well over 400 RV parks in Mexico.  They also have spent a great deal of time doing extensive documentation on the routes/hwy's that RV'ers should use when going from point A to B.  Their web-site has extensive information for the would be Mexican traveler.  I had bookmarked their site several years ago and continue to visit it whenever my dreams go "South of the Border".

     There are two caveats to being one of these 30 coaches that they will be leading.  First, one must consent to attending a 4 hour seminar given by them to prepare the participant to traveling in Mexico.  Cost of the seminar is reasonable.  Second, one must book in to the La Penita Resort for a minimum of 30 days.  Special caravan participant cost for those 30 days at the La Penita Resort is $450.00.

     We are excited that we are going to be participating in this trip.  We have confidence that we could have and would have set off in to Mexico next fall/winter on our own, but to have the guidance of the Bell's simply adds a measure of comfort to our explorations.  We will get a first class introduction to the driving, and hiway edict required to feel comfortable while traveling in a different country, especially with a rig such as the motor home.  We already know that we will enjoy the culture and the Mexican people but again it will be nice to get reacquainted, surrounded by fellow state side and Canadian travelers.

     The La Penita Resort (link at end of blog), will be a great setting for doing whatever vacationers do at any warm ocean side resort, but a real plus is its location is perfect for making side day long trips to other beautiful Mexican Travel destinations, using the Jeep.  We also assume we will be making friends with fellow travelers and perhaps linking up with some who share like interests, and then continuing our travels in and around Mexico for the balance of the 07/08 winter season.

map 1






     Gives you somewhat of a perspective of where the La Penita Resort is located.  Note the green arrow.  Yes, I know.  I have circled a potential "bass fishing" lake.


      A link to some of the Bass Lakes in Mexico:








     We will be writing more about our plans and preparations for this trip in future postings, but just imagine the adventures we will have between now and October '07, when we will head for Nogalas, Arizona.  Each one of those adventures, yet to be determined, will hold its own excitement.

Here are the links:  The La Penita Resort   

                          The Bell's web-site

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