Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Our Time in Wisconsin

June 28 - August 26, 2015

What can I say ... One of the most awesome places to park the Bus, lots & lots of time with family ... and great weather the entire time we were there.
After a rather wet spring in Colorado, which I mite add, limited our activities to some degree, it was nice to have lots of sunshine .... after all, we are Sun Chasers !!!  And with this nice weather, there was much to do ... we certainly stayed very busy.  During the week, there was always things to do & see and we looked forward to almost every evening sitting around the camp fire.

Jackie of course continues to do cakes for all occasions, including tons for birthdays.  And no sooner we arrive, she is building one for Zac's Birthday.... and of course a party that followed.  Always a great time with the kids.

Spending time with family is always fun .... especially when our nephew decides to do a full fledged seafood boil.  We're talkin shrimp, crab legs and lots of veggies .... this cooked up in a tub set in a 55 gal drum, loaded with wood and cooked to perfection.  Ya gotta love these kinds of feasts!

Local rodeos, horse shows and much more ... not a lot of time to be bored .....

Even got to see Izzy (Her Grandma calls her Bella) run the barrels on her pony.  She is just 4 years old.

Now how cute is that .... right ???

Scott & I even got away one Saturday to attend an annual car show, not to far from Shawano.  Of the more than 2000 cars, the majority were survivor cars and trucks, most probably bought new or nearly new and stored in their barn .... or something.  I've never seen so many survivors.  Fun show

And while the boys were away.... the girls did play ..... yes, they took the boat out and had fun swimming out on a sandbar!

We were also able to head to Appleton on the weekends to meet up with son JJ and Kim & their beautiful girls, attend church with them on Sunday and even a couple of trips for special occasions.
The best of all was for Jamie's ( JJ & Kim's oldest) graduation party.  We "shoe horned" the Bus out of the trees and set up on a beautiful site right on a lake for this party.  What a blast ......

And where there's a special occasion, there must be a cake.  Jackie had the opportunity to help granddaughter Emily do a very special cake for Jamie.  Oh what fun they had!  The result was absolutely beautiful!

Can't ever spend too much time with these beautiful girls .......

Not too long after this party, we "shoe horned" the Bus out of the trees yet again for a trip down to Sparta, WI to get together with some of Jackie's family, some she hadn't seen in many years.  The park was pretty awesome and a great time was had by all.

Such beautiful country .....


Before getting wedged back in the trees, we scheduled to have the Bus serviced.  The good news is that the service center that had taken care of this coach before we got it, was just a short hop away in Oshkosh WI.  The timing was perfect as we would be heading to California in just a couple of weeks.  We would certainly recommend this shop to anyone who might be in the area .... they did a great job.  We were in and out within a couple of hours.  This year's service included oil & filter changes to both the engine & the generator, full lube front to back and over-all inspection.
Hats off to a good team !!!

So after a few more turkey marches ......

... we sadly have to say good bye to our wonderful families in Wisconsin .... time to hit the road for CA!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Welcome to Wisconsin

Travel dates;  June  27 & 28, 2015

All we can say at this point, the trip from Rapid City east on I90 was absolutely wonderful.  We've never seen some much green, nor is it at all what we expected ... It was beautiful.  I90 for the most part was very good ... a few places where road work was being done ... and lest we forget, some of the road to bridge transitions had a lot to be desired .... especially through Iowa .... Its interesting to me how well some folks do this ... while others ... not so much.
As you can imagine, we were very excited to see the Wisconsin state line and immediately coming into La Crosse.

 We were both pretty much done for the day, so while I got us through a huge section of bridge construction coming into La Crosse, Jackie was busy doing her search thing for a campground to spend what was left of the afternoon and evening.  And as usual, she totally nailed it, with a campground in West Salem, Neshonoc Lakeside Camping Resort, and just off the highway.  We thought it kinda funny, as the last place we stayed was in Salem SD.
This park was huge.  And because of the weekend, a lot of folks were already parked.  They had a wonderful pull through site for us .... large enough for us not to have to disconnect the trailer.  And up on a hill so we had some views of a beautiful lake below.

And of course, it didn't take us long to get set up with chairs under the awning, drinks in our hand and preparing dinner.  One of Jackie's favorite things to do when arriving at a new park is go for a walk and check things out.  But this place ... was a good workout after dinner.  But very fun as always.  And as with every other park we had been to, a variety of campers ... from MHs like ours to tent trailers .... and everything in between.  This park had a huge play ground for the kids, so there were lots of kids.  And of course lots of boaters.  The first people we met, camped directly across from us, were part of a motorcycle group who used the park as a home base.  Not long after we parked they all headed out for an evening ride.  Probably 25-30 bikes ... mostly big Harleys. And most were staying in 5th wheel toy hauler/campers.  Some really cool rigs.  And it wasn't till after dark did we discover they had their rigs lit up like Christmas trees ....  lights everywhere .... It was very cool.  It was a great place to stay and we had a wonderful evening.
Because we were so excited, it didn't take us long the get the slides pulled in and get on the road the next morning .... We knew we were only a few hours away from seeing all the work that our sister & brother-in-law had put into preparing a place for us deep in the woods of northeast Wisconsin.  Of course our original plan was to go through Appleton to say hello to our son JJ and his family on the way, but discovered the nite before, they were camping at an outdoor concert venue and would not likely be back till later in the day, so we took the most direct route from LaCrosse to Shawno.  And like the days before on the road, it was a beautiful drive.

Well I have to say, Scott & Cheryl (brother-in-law & sister) did an incredible job of preparing for us.  It included cutting down a few trees, most of which were dead, and pulling out the stumps.  That in itself was a lot of work.  Their goal was to have us in the woods, but close enough to the house for us to have full hook ups, water, sewer & electric.  Though we still had a bit of work to do upon arrival, we were able to get the Bus exactly where they wanted it to be.  I named the process shoe horning .... it was up & back a few times to get us set on what turned out to be a very level site.  Some additional trimming was required but it was a most awesome location.

The old swing bench was relocated for us to use ... and Scott dug out and built a most awesome fire pit .... which turned out to be our favorite spot to just hang out.

And what a way to end a day .... many days in fact ....

Stay tuned for Our Adventures in Wisconsin ... coming up next.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Our Journey Continues ....

Now I know I promised to get this blog caught up ... and that will happen.  And though we're now in California, the adventures over the last couple of months have been wonderful, so better late than never .... here goes.

Our time in Colorado was awesome, even though we had some not so good weather, which in turn kept us from doing all we wanted to do, there was a lot of family time and even a gathering at the campground where we had lots of visitors, including my mom.

A great event to close our time here .... But holding to our schedule, we prepare for travel.
The good news is we'll be back next spring .... same time ... same place.

My brother assisted with some minor work on both the car & the trailer.  Adding some lifts to the ramp door of the trailer help resolve the loading and unloading of the car.  And the routine maintenance checks on the Bus, not to mention a trip to Walmart, to stock up on supplies .... and bug spray.  In talking with our sister & brother-in-law in Wisconsin, they tell us the shelves up there are pretty much void of bug spray.  So we stock up good .... several cans of yard fog, and a bunch of every kind of body spray you can imagine ...we're ready to travel.

Our next destination is Appleton/Shawano WI, but first we need to stop in at Americas Mailbox near Rapid City SD to take care of some errors on our new SD vehicle titles, and the SD DMV to get our new driver's licenses.
So during the last week in June, we make our way north, up I25.  It's great being back in the driver's seat. It's a pretty easy run to Rapid City and quite uneventful.  We'll be staying 2 nites at the campground provided by Americas Mail Box.  This will allow enough time to get what we need done and maybe take in some sights as well.  Neither Jackie or I have been in this part of the country.

The camp ground here is pretty nice and they provided a place to set the trailer after unloading the car.
After a relaxing evening, we stopped by the office to see what we needed to do to get things done.  And the folks at Americas Mailbox are quite helpful.  When we walked into their building, we were greeted immediately with "Welcome Home"! Talk about surreal!!  We would soon call our home South Dakota! They provided the paperwork needed to get our drivers license and took the information necessary to get our title issues resolved.  They would be handling all the paper work.  So after a short stop at the SD DMV (about 30 minutes), we were off to see the sights with our SD drivers licenses in hand.  Almost too easy.
We had an awesome day seeing things like Mt. Rushmore, the site where the movie Dances With Wolves was filmed and Bear Park USA.  Course it rained on us during our tour of the bear park, but was still a lot of fun.


We had a great lunch at a cool little restaurant on the way back from Mt Rushmore. The food was good and the people there very nice.  It was nice not having a lot of traffic either way.

Our adventure at Bear Park USA was all that for certain .... if you've not done this at least once, you need to .... never saw so many bears .... along with other wild life.  You do the tour in the car ... and of course Jackie was quite concerned with us in our "rag top" Vette .......

They did get up close and personal ........ even sticking their nose in the window at times .....
Quite frankly I was surprised to see so many of them out with how hard it was raining .... but what do I know .......  Lesson learned...bears are Not intimidated by rain whatsoever!  They were everywhere!

We even had a gray wolf come by to say hello ....  it was very tuff getting a good pix ....

One of my most favorite movies is Dances With Wolves .... and getting to see some of the areas & sets where the movie was shot was very cool ..........

And the area around this set is so beautiful .... Jackie & I could not get over how green and beautiful it is ............

But now it's time to get packed up for the 3 day journey to Wisconsin ....

Great short stay in the Rapid City area .... and we know there is a whole lot more to see ... but we're anxious to get up to Wisconsin, so we're back on the road .........  and a most beautiful ride .....

Our plan is to either see if there are parks along the way to stay at, calling in the last couple of hours of our driving ... or just hitting a rest stop or something to grab a nap.  Well ... my lil navagator finds the most interesting possibilities .... 
The first nite out, she finds a little campground out in the middle of farm country, near the town of Salem SD, called Camp America Campground.  It sits about 1 1/2 miles off of I90.  And what a find it was ..... 

(Web Site Photo)

Two very nice ladies greeted us when we arrived and were happy to chat with us for a bit and direct us into our site.  Guys .... these were the biggest sites we had seen so far .... we were able to pull into our site .... with trailer in tow ... with room to spare .... and the surroundings .... second to none.  Trees, where they should be in a park .... satellite worked perfectly .... and every part of the park very well taken care of .... our "yard" was almost as big as our yard at our old home in Mesa AZ, with grass, picnic table and fire pit .... with flowers everywhere.  It was soooooooooooo nice.  The sky was so blue, white fluffy clouds everywhere!  It was as perfect as a movie set!

 We were early enough, we set up, prepared to do a nice dinner outdoors and even enjoy a glass .... cheers to a most awesome navigator .....

Did someone say fire pit ????  We're always down for a little fire .... and maybe even some s'mores ...

 And can the girl cook em .....  

Come on .... these are the kind of evenings we all dream about out here on the road.  
Now we did talk to the nice ladies about staying another nite, but unfortunately, our site was rented for the next few nites ..... and they did tell us they were working on selling their park.  I certainly hope the new owners take as much pride in the park as these ladies did ..... what an awesome stay.

Next .... Welcome to Wisconsin

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Getting to Know Our Neighbors

Getting to know our neighbors is always a treat.  What surprised me was the number of young families living in the park, most of the guys working on the pipe lines/oil rigs in the area.  They make their homes in 5th wheel units (5ers) and larger travel trailers (TTs).  The couple next door sharing our little yard were from Texas.  They had traveled to Colorado only because this is where they were able to find work.  Even from our first meeting, it was pretty clear they would have much rather have been home in Texas.  They were both in their late 20's or early 30's, had brought their young daughter and a rather cute lil pup, bought a new 5er and set up house.  Even with what I would assume a payment on their new home and their space rent would be, their living expense was still more suitable then renting a house or apartment, as these costs are quite high in this area.  We didn't get to know them too well as within a couple of weeks, this young man quit his job here, found something else back in Texas, packed everything up and happily off they went.  You could sure see their excitement to be heading back home.

A new couple moved in next door, where the young couple heading back to Texas just vacated.  This couple rolled in with a very large 5er with a cool tow vehicle .... I got to help them get into their spot and thankfully the gentleman at the wheel was quite experienced.  That always seems to help. The priority for them was to position their 5er in such a way they could take advantage of their drop down patio on the back. (Wish our coach had one of those!) Though with the very wet weather we were having during the month of May, I don't recall them having the opportunity to use that.
So now we had new neighbors we would share our "yard" with.  Of course we became friends very quickly.  Ed, being from New York originally, was quick witted and very funny to say the least!  He teased me quite often about my "having" to go to work, even though I was supposed to be retired.  It was actually very funny.  His wife Judy & he had been traveling some and had come to Loveland to spend the spring taking care of property they had that was located not to far from the park and just enjoying this time of year.  They planned on hitting the road again just after we were scheduled to leave at the end of June.  It was a joy getting to know them both, and of course when Jackie finally returned home,(yes, the weather was nice now) she & Judy became friends rather quickly as they had a lot in common ...  with healthy food, growing herbs & spices, etc.  So we had many hours of visiting time with them.  We will definitely be meeting up with these folks again somewhere down the road and we are now keeping in contact with each other through email. If you're reading this blog, Ed and Judy, you two are a hoot!  Looking forward to seeing you again sometime, somewhere!

Next we had the pleasure of meeting  Hal & Karen Schatz.  They rolled in with their MH parking on the other side of us, coming in from the SE part of the country.  These folks were missionaries servicing Viet Nam Vets.  It was time for medical check ups and other business in the area, as they too owned property just to the north of Loveland in Ft Collins.  When they left Colorado on this last tour, they had people move into their home, telling them they would be back in 2 or 3 months.  As it turned out, they had been gone a year and a half.  Quite an amusing story.  They left us after about a week, but would be coming back and forth to the park for the next month or so.  I truly wish we had been able to spend more time with them.

Of course getting to know Jim & Denise, the park managers was a real treat.  Not only did we work together in the park, we also got to spend some off time together as well.  And we got to celebrate with them when they purchased their brand new 45' Dutch Star MH.  Just a great couple and we certainly look forward to seeing them again next spring.
Not to mention the great team of folks we got to work with during our stay .... we so look forward to working with this team again next spring.

One day while taking care of duties in the park, I saw a beautiful 45' Travel Supreme roll into the park.  They were towing an all black trailer.  Understand we haven't been out on the road all that much up to this point, but from what we've seen, you don't really see that many Travel Supremes as the company went out of business I believe around 2007.  Seeing this guy roll in was a real treat.  And as you can imagine, I was going to make sure I was available to escort them to their parking area, as it was obvious we would have a lot to talk about.  As their stay would be fairly short, just a couple of weeks, we would have to unload his car and find a place to park the trailer prior to getting into their parking site. And the site they were supposed to be in wouldn't be open for a couple of days, so we would be moving them again.

Tom & Barb had just picked up their coach about the same time we did, so our conversations were asking each other questions about the Buses.  Jackie & I both knew we would be great friends and would stay in touch even when we were on both sides of the country.  They were both retired nurses, very easy to talk to and with our mutually new adventures have a lot in common.  Their coach was a bit different then ours, a couple of years newer and had the cabinetry that Jackie was hoping to find in our coach.  Their travel was fairly free spirited, going where ever, when ever, meeting up with friends and family along the way.  Their next stop was to be in Montana for some way fun fishing.  What a fun couple .... and yes, we are looking forward to seeing them again hopefully in AZ during the winter months.

Escorting folks into their sites is probably my favorite part of working at the park.  You can sometimes tell how much experience people have in maneuvering their units into the parking spots, and many times, they will let you know up front when they're uncertain.  This was the case when a very nice coach pulled into the park, scheduled to park just down the row of us.  When explaining the route we were taking, I was told that any assistance I could provide would be much appreciated, as the coach had just been purchased.  I could certainly relate, being fairly new to our coach, we still had a lot to learn ourselves.  Thus we met Larry & Kim. 
Larry was very up front with his lack of time in their new coach.  And it was a real pleasure helping get their unit set up.  He & I exchanged lots of different information about our coaches right off the bat.  They had sold their business, bought their coach and hit the road, with the goal to see places they've been wanting to see.   We had the opportunity to spend some off work time with them and found them to be a wonderful couple.  Our time was quite enjoyable.  We both committed to staying in touch and possibly hook up again in AZ come winter.

There were many others we met during the first leg of our tour and is probably the best thing about our travels.  Meeting new people and making new friends .... tuff to beat.

Next up .... Our Journey Continues ......  Stay tuned.