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Sunday, October 24, 2010

What a life this is.

Some of you may think we are nuts but Sarah and I did some horse-trading Friday; we got a good deal on trading the camper for these:

Doesn't she look good on this?

What a life this is.

Besides our new rides, we got a new Lexus so when the weather is bad we will not get wet. Anyway, a good trade, more on this later.

We have been in Wisconsin this past week.

Friday we drove to Milwaukee to visit the Harley Davidson Museum, a service buddy Jim Aubuchon is a tour guide there. He retired from J C Penny’s and since he is a Harley enthusiast he went to work there as a guide. I took a bunch of pictures and will put a link into this so you can look at them if you want.

Jim is a great tour guide, his knowledge and enthusiasm is very apparent, we had a great time and the museum is worth every penny of the cost. It is a remarkable collection of motorcycles and much more. The amount of other memorabilia pertaining to the history of motorcycles and Harley Davidson in particular is amazing. We spent two and a half hours looking at everything but we did not do justice to what you can see and learn. The Café is also a good stop, the food is very good and the servings are large so you should not go away hungry. Of course, there is the gift shop where you really get a good idea of the devotion of the Harley enthusiasts; the amount of clothing and other items you can buy is quite extensive. I bought a t-shirt; I need to lose some weight before it will look good on me, surprise, surprise.

The pictures you see above were taken at the museum, we have not traded for anything, we are having too much fun in the fifth wheel and do not plan on giving that up anytime soon.

Friday night was Mason’s birthday dinner, he chose Olive Garden, it was fun and even better because Robert bought. Sarah Ann’s parents and sister were there, Dick & Terri and Catherine; it is always good to see them. After dinner we went back to the house so Mason could open his gifts, he did ok in that department.

Saturday morning we were to go to Mason’s last soccer game of the season, but it was raining and they canceled the game, yea. I love watching him play but not in the rain. Next year we will spend more time here and get a chance to see him play more then.

In the afternoon we went to Mason’s birthday party at Kids Spot in Roscoe, IL, this is a gymnastics and dance studio, they had a room filled with gymnastics equipment. The kids had a blast and I will bet all of them slept well last night.

Today Sarah isn’t feeling well, she had a sore throat last night before going to bed so we are staying away from the kids for a bit this morning, we will see them in a little while. We are leaving WI today and traveling to North Liberty to spend the night at Carl & Merilee’s then on home tomorrow.

We have been blessed with good weather but it looks like next week it begins to get cold, oh well it had to happen.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Busy couple of Days.

Yesterday we met with Betty, Jane, Linda, Mary, Ginny and Betty’s husband Glenn at the 1855 Salon & Grill in Cottage Grove, WI, http://www.1855saloongrill.com. This was a very good choice it is a new building, very nicely decorated. We had a table in the back so the ladies could visit; Glenn and I were able to enjoy ourselves also. I even remember a couple of the ladies and I did remember Glenn, I was afraid I would not remember anyone.

We went back to the hotel and rested up for dinner with Jack and Belle. Jack and Belle lived across the street from us in Marshall, WI. Jack and Belle have three daughters they were in school with our boys. We met them at the Olive Garden in Madison, we had not seen them for quite some time and it was a great visit with good food and conversation. Jack is looking very fit and Belle the same as she did ten years ago. Jack has gotten into wood burning, he said he is burning designs on birdhouses and doing other such projects. He said he went to the library to get a book on wood burning and the librarian said she had a wood burning book for him; it turned out to be a book on burning wood, not quite the same.

Today we drove into Madison and went to Costco; I wanted to see if they had any portable hard drives, specifically Western Digital, they did so I bought one. I gave Robert an external hard drive and forgot to get all my files off it, so I wanted the WD to collect the files.

A great surprise for us was Joyce Knapton contacting us and we were able to meet her for lunch today at Pasian’s, http://www.paisansrestaurant.biz/, I called her house last night about 10 and Wayne, Joyce’s husband answered, he said Joyce was in bed, so he and I talked for about a half an hour. So it was great when Joyce called. If you are ever in Madison and in need of a meal this is a very nice place to eat. Seeing Joyce was great, she looks the same as we remember her, I do not believe she has aged at all. It was a great meal and we enjoyed seeing Joyce very much. She even bought our lunch, thank you Joyce.

After lunch, we picked up some hair supplies for Robert and Sarah Ann at Marshall Supply House and Sarah Jane bought a couple of items for herself.

We drove up to DeForest to Camping World it is amazing we drive 400 miles to see the kids and we went to Camping World and spend money. I guess that is the hazard of full timing you visit all camper sales facilities and Camping World’s.

Since we had busy day so far we went back to the hotel, well we did stop at Wal Mart on the way, I had to buy a sweat shirt for the soccer game on Saturday because if it is as cold as then as it was today I will need it.

We went to Mason’s soccer game tonight and I about froze so I needed the sweatshirt. It is fun watching the kids play soccer; the kids are young and still learning to play soccer. It brought back memories of coaching the boys when they were first learning to play a sport. I enjoyed the game but would have liked it better if I had not been so cold.

Madyson was prepared for the game with her new sunglasses, to bad the sun was almost down by the time the game began. Isn't she cute?

As Sarah stated today we are doing everything we had planned on doing in 30 days we are doing it in 5 days. I am beat but loving every minute of it. Dreams Do Come True.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Recap of week

I have not written anything for a few days, of course some folks may say that is good, but I feel bad about it so here goes. This is a summary of the last week or so.

Last Monday the 11th, we had lunch with my aunt and uncle, Shirley and Ernie, also their sons Mike and Dan and Dan’s wife Heidi. We met at the Olive Garden in Omaha, great food, great company and great conversation.

Tuesday 12th, laundry day, it is nice having the washer and dryer in the camper. We needed to get a bike rack for the camper so we can take our bikes with us when we leave Omaha, Daniel told us about the Bike Masters so we went for a look see, we bought a Thule bike rack from them. Since it was a floor model it was assembled all I had to do was put it on the camper, mission accomplished.

That night we ate dinner at Daniel and Marie’s, then went to see Jewell, Marie’s grandmother. She is at the Brookstone Meadows, Elkhorn, NE; this is a very nice place. My favorite part of the building is the room with the ice cream machine, chocolate or vanilla.

Wednesday 13th, another day of laundry, not much to do but did get it done, well Sarah did anyway. Then it was time to find the post office, we had a letter to mail. You would think it would be easy to find the post office in a town as small as Gretna but find it we did.

Thursday 14th, for a long time I have heard about Mahoney State Park and it was time to see it. Sarah and I drove out to the park, paid our daily entry fee, $4 for the day, $20 for a year – good at any state park. Mahoney is a very nice park, I was very impressed, they have two campgrounds, many trees. I though the campsites pads were rather short looking but I saw a 35-37 foot Mobile Suite parked in one of them but there is not much room to park the tow vehicle. All but 4 or 5 sites are 30 amp, no water or sewer, the 4 or 5 have 50 amp and full hook ups. The rates range from approximately $18 to $25 dollars a night. I talked to the camp host and he said the sites are reserved a year in advance.

The Buick was overdue for an oil change and with an upcoming trip to Wisconsin; it was time to get the oil changed. We found Plaza Buick in Omaha, very nice people and very reasonable price $29 and it included a car wash. I spent the time walking around their showroom looking at new and used cars, all in doors. Then it was off to Daniel’s where I fixed spaghetti for dinner, it was delicious.

Friday 15th did not have a whole lot going on. I took Sarah’s computer to Daniel’s, the fan was making noise so I ordered one online, it turned out to be the wrong one. We had to take the entire computer a part, there were 113 screws to be taken out and the number of pieces is unbelievable anyway, we got it a part I just hope we, Daniel, can get it back together.

Saturday 16th, we spent the morning with Daniel and the girls while Marie was at a baby shower. Sarah and I went home after this to get things ready for a cook out with Daniel and family. Daniel, Marie, Emily, Isabel, Eli, Elia and Eddie, Marie’s parents. Daniel made the hamburgers and a sauce to go over them, delicious.
Sunday we went to church and then drove over to Ashland, NE, it is suppose to have a historic district, not much there but I did get the paper. After lunch, we went to visit Daniel Ertz; he ended up in the hospital with blood clots. Ernie and Shirley came in also followed later by Heidi and kids. Later in the afternoon Ernie, Shirley, Heidi and the kids came out to the camper and visited.

Monday 18th, we went with Marie and the kids to buy fleece blankets for the girls, then it we met Daniel for lunch at the mall. We went home about one. I took the truck out for exercise and to get it fueled, at $2.99 per gallon. Since we are in Wisconsin this week I got the propane tanks filled, $29 to fill both tanks. We took off about five to try to find Toys R Us but did not get that done so we went to see Jewell her birthday is Tuesday and we would not be there.

Today we left the camper at six this morning; we made a couple of stops, Cynthia’s for some mail and Marsh to pick up a package, other than those two stops we stopped for lunch and breaks. We arrived about three thirty, called Robert to find out what was going on tonight. We met Robert, Mason and Madyson at the house, took Mason to Doodles for his art class and then to Jimmy John's for dinner.

It has been a great day; we are in Wisconsin for the week and look forward to spending time with the kids and seeing friends we have here.

A few pictures of West Omaha KOA and the grandkids.

This is the entrance to the campground.

Another picture of the campground.

Grandkids and others on a jumping bag in the play area.

Sarah with Isabel and Emily.

Eli is looking good.

That's it for now, sorry about the length but Dreams Do Come True.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Long Post, but Great News.

Saturday, 10/2 we went to see my mom in Centerville, IA, we got there by ten so Sarah could cut mom’s hair. We won’t be back until April 2010 so mom will have to her hair cut in the facility salon. Brother Larry and Kathy, his wife, arrived a little after noon. We were all there to see mom but also to partake in the picnic style lunch being served, hamburgers, hotdogs etc. After lunch, the ladies played bingo and Larry and I went out to the Honey Creek Resort, this is a development built by the DNR of the state of Iowa, in my opinion it is a very nice resort with golf course, campground and cabins ranging from 1-4 bedrooms. Here is a link; http://www.honeycreekresort.com.

Kathy won most of the prizes playing bingo; I don’t think she kept anything other than some gum. They had a good time. The day went by fast and before we knew it, we were heading back home. It was good to see Larry and Kathy; we will see them in Sarasota in January. We bade goodbye to mom and assured her we would see her in April.

Sunday, 10/3, the Hawkeyes played football Saturday night, the game was on TV so I watched it until we had to leave to pick up Cynthia at the airport, she was returning from her Greek Island Cruise. This morning when we got home from church and the grocery store I turned on the TV, now remember I watched the Hawkeyes Saturday night; the TV would not give me a picture or sound. I tried resetting the satellite receiver, I tried the TV antennae, and I even tried to make sure all there were no loose wires. Still no TV picture, the Bears were playing but I didn’t get to see the game.

I sat down and wrote a letter to the president of Excel, explaining to him about my dilemma and assuring him we have no complaints about the construction of the camper but I do have a problem with the electronics we have in it. I was very nice I wasn’t too upset and tried not to sound like a whiner. I emailed the letter to him and set about to wait for an answer in a day or two.

Having gotten all of my frustration off my chest it was time for marguerites and visiting with the neighbors. Dick and Judy, next door, John and Kathy, Larry and Loretta, four others who I don’t remember their names joined us. I believe we went through two bottles with the tequila all mixed in and Dick made some marguerites with tequila he bought in Mexico, all I know the drinks were very good and I slept well that night.

I always check my emails before going to bed and when I did, low and behold, I had an answer from Excel. Now, in this day and age, you can make the best product in the world but if you don’t have good customer service it will be all for nothing. Brian Tilled, president of Excel, said they would take care of everything and I should Jack at the service center the next day. I called Jack and we have arranged to get all the problems taken care of. I will always recommend Excel to anyone interested in buying a very good RV.

Monday another day in the land of retirement. We met Russ and Candi for dinner and Russ handed me a gift, I told him he didn’t have to buy me anything, he said he didn’t the gift is for Eli our new grandson. Therefore, I put the gift in the car and we had a great meal, we were at Jesse’s Embers on Ingersoll in Des Moines.

I forgot to mention Monday morning when I got up, I turned on the TV and it worked, maybe we have a haunted TV.

Tuesday was a busy day. We met a cyber friend Janie and husband John, http://flamingoonastick.blogspot.com/. Janie is a good writer and photographer, check out her website. We had a great time visiting with them, they have the same camper we do only a bit shorter. It is always interesting when visiting with other full timers; it seems whatever problems, situations, and challenges you have had with your camper or new lifestyle. Others have had them and when you talk about them, you realize they are just part of the process of the lifestyle you have chosen to live. Sarah and I hope to see Janie and John again somewhere down the long highway of life we are traveling.

Sarah had two doctor appointments pertaining to her foot both went very well. She can shed the boot and begin walking with her tennis shoe instead of the boot. She still wears the boot once in a while but most of the time she is in tennis shoes. Tuesday we met Mike and Sheri for pizza. We got to see their photos from their trip to Italy. Mike and I worked together at Marsh and we wanted to see them one more time before we left.

Wednesday we didn’t do anything today but get ourselves geared up to move out on Friday.

Thursday we began our day with a trip in to see Cynthia and to get whatever mail she had for us. We also got to see her pictures of her cruise. She had a good time and that is what counts.

The rest of Thursday was given over to getting the camper ready to move. I fueled both vehicles for the trip. I tried something I haven’t done before we hooked the truck up to the camper Thursday so we wouldn’t have to be doing that so early in the morning.

Friday morning I was up before six, showered and outside unhooking water, sewer etc so we could meet our start time of 7:30, we needed to be at Bob & Jo’s at nine. We did it and were on the road a couple of minutes early.

The reason for stopping at Bob & Jo’s was to have them check our furnace it wouldn’t work. When we got there, I turn the truck and camper over to Jason so he can back the rig into the shop etc. He took the outside plate off the furnace and tried to get it to run, it wouldn’t work, so he tapped the side of the blower housing sometimes the fail-safe switch will stick, no luck. Next, he checked the propane tank and it was empty. Now this tank was not empty when I was trying to get the furnace to work because I was cooking with gas on the stovetop in the camper. I switched the tank over and the furnace worked, so we should have heat now. However, I80 through Omaha is one of the roughest roads I have been on in a long time so I am hoping we will have heat.

We arrived at the West Omaha KOA around noon, checked in and then it was time for me to back this rig into our site. Now I have never backed this rig into a site, this was my first time. I don’t believe I did too bad, it took me four times of pulling forward etc. to get it the way Sarah wanted it situated in the site. I put up the satellite dish and it found the satellites it needed but we had no TV, the bedroom TV worked just fine. .

We went to the kid’s house for dinner, we had pizza, and the girls cornered Sarah and me to read to them. Emily told me the story of 101 Dalmations and then I read four or five books to her. It was a very enjoyable time.

This is the beginning of our full timer travels and we are so looking to them. Dreams Do Come True.