"Life is either a daring adventure or nothing"
- Helen Keller

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Getting ready

It seems like everyday we are doing things to get ready to bring the RV this direction. The weather is suppose to be beautiful this week and today we discussed getting it this weekend. I have Friday off so if the forecast continues to look good John will call the dealer to get it ready. He'd like to spend one night at the dealers to make sure everything is running correctly before we leave. I've emailed the people at Pleasant Creek to make sure that at least the electricity is on and when they think the water will be turned on. Since we will still have the apartment we can shower here and conserve water, but may have to have them fill the fresh water tank at the dealer. This spring weather is making it hard to hold off. Spending Easter in the rig would be a treat.We did go out and hike the campground and trails at Squaw Creek Park on Saturday. Of all the Parks in the area I think it may be our favorite - it has some great pull throughs, pull outs and back ins. The sites are fairly large with good spacing and privacy on the outer part of the loop. They also have a brand new shower house. The stalls are individual rooms for each shower so lots of privacy. Though we have a shower in the 5th wheel if we stay more than a week we will have to do some water conservation as it is easy to fill up the gray water tank. Most of the parks we will be in, either have only have electric or have water and electric but no sewer hook up. Its all doable but we have to change the way we do things. I took a few photos on my phone's camera but they really don't do it justice. This park will probably be our second spot to stay.

Back to getting ready, today we purchased a cool telescoping ladder, from online stores we received our levelers (John chose these instead of just boards because of the weight), wheel chocks and on its way is the repeater for the tire pressure monitoring system. He's still researching a few more items. I ordered some collapsible cookware -we'll see what I think of that when it comes. So much to do. I'm glad we are doing a gradual move in.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Digitizing everything

One of the challenges of getting ready to go on the road is all the paper in our lives and that includes photos. I have spent the last year an a half scanning, scanning and scanning. The difficult part is deciding what to do with the originals. Most we just threw out but many of our family and friends received their share - now they have more paper in their lives -Oops!
Then there are the videos that were taken with a Sony 8mm camera. Found a place to convert them to DVD. They were fun to watch and had a few surprises. One video in particular I am going to share with you because it is comical and timely with Easter coming up. What I discovered is that John use to get the video camera out when I wasn't around. This one and a couple others I just viewed for the first time this year. They are funny but I'm not sure I would have totally thought so at the time, just check out my sofa by the end of the video. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Pleasant Creek

We had snow on the weekend but it quickly disappeared and it has been gorgeous ever since. Spring is definitely in the air and it is making us anxious to get the 5th wheel here and move in. Sunday afternoon we went out to Pleasant Creek state park near Palo IA. I've been checking rates and it looks like the state parks are particularly less until April 30th. So off we went to check out the park. We've been here many times and even tent camped here last summer but now we look with a much more critical eye. We check things like obstructions to the slides, slope and the ease of getting in and out, also whether they are reservable or non-reservable sites. We found several that we like, one pullout (photo below) that the patio side would look out over the lake, and several pull thrus we like. There we 3 RVs already in the park and it looks like the electric is up and running but I doubt that the water is turned on. This park will only have 30 amp electrical at most of the sites we like and no water at the site. Both are doable and it looks like in April it will only be $11 a day. Cool.
I also garnered from the check in board that the state has camping coupons. Went online and found them. You can buy groups of 7 coupons for $91 , which comes out to be $13 a night. This is comparable to the county parks so it gives us lots of options. I think most of the time we will stay a week at each park coming back to our favorites often. Only one of the parks we want to stay in has full hook-ups (Lake McBride State Park) and it is a little more out of the way so may only stay there a week or so.
John finally got online and ordered a few of the items we still need and we found the external water filter we wanted at Wal-Mart. The preparation for this has been overwhelming at times. As we get closer to going I have sensed some disapproval from some friends, who I believe thought that this was all talk. It definitely is a different way of doing things and sometimes I'm surprised we have gone this way - but surprised in a good way. Tonight is the next step as we talk with our financial advisor again and see when we can make the jump to retirement.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Prairie burn

I took a long walk today at Morgan Creek Park. This is one of our favorites in our area and we hope to be there quite a bit this summer. The park besides a great campground has an arboretum with a walking trail through it and then lots of grass trails through a large area of prairie. If you have never experienced true native prairie it is something you should check out. We have a friend who converted part of his farm to native prairie and that is where most of my knowledge comes from. We walked through his prairie at the end of a summer and the grasses are so tall that if there wasn't a path I would have been lost. To think that the settlers had to travel through hundreds of miles of it is amazing. Part of maintaining prairie today is to have controlled burns every so many years (not sure how many). Today I got lucky and was able to watch them burn an area close the walking trail. It was interesting to watch them start the fires on the one side and then after it burned awhile they began back burning from the opposite side and if all goes well (and it did) it burns itself out. Wish I'd had my camera. Oops I do- on my phone -too late fire had burned out. You'll have to trust me it was cool!
Now that I realize I have a camera here are some photos of the campground. Oh summer is just around the corner!

Sunday, March 14, 2010


Went out for a walk today, mid 50's and sunshine! Hard to believe, it has been a long cold winter. As I walked there, were kids playing basketball & riding bikes, people working on their yards, but me I'm just out for a walk. My life has certainly changed. Not long ago I would have been one of those working on their yards. I was thinking about whether or not I missed that. Guess what? the answer is no! I really thought maybe I would but at his time in my life I'm glad I don't have to take care of a house and yard. Now I can understand enjoying that, and remember when I did and I never want you to think that is a bad thing but for this time in my life it is not for me.
We went to Dubuque where the 5th Wheel is in storage and spent the day organizing and checking on things we need. It became very evident that we still have lots of downsizing to do, but I'm ready for the challenge. I am looking forward to the time that I open the door and the yard is a park that someone else mows and my job is to walk out and enjoy the day. I look forward to going for a hike out my front door, or grabbing the camera and finding something special to photograph.
Spring is coming.... and I am ready for the next adventure.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hockey, photos and preparing for the next move

Life is getting busier here and you get to hear from me a little more, once we get in the RV I think you will hear more from John. Last weekend we headed to Minneapolis to watch another of our hockey sons play. Kevin plays for Minnesota Gophers and is in his junior year. His team was out of town the weekend we went up to Duluth and I was hoping to see him play then too but obviously that didn't work. So trying to find another weekend was a challenge. About a week ago I realized we had a weekend free and checking the schedule, the Gophers had home games. Graciously his parents said come on up even though they are in the middle of a major remodel on their house. One of the benefits of housing these fellas is getting to know their families. Tracey,Dan,Kevin's brother Ryan and even their dog Gordy are special to us. We truely enjoy our time with them.
The hockey game was on Sunday at Mariucci arena. If you ever get the chance go see a game there, it is a beautiful rink and not a bad seat in the house. The Gophers were on their game and won easily over Wisconsin, though they had lost to them Friday night. We missed the game Friday and so missed the biggest hit of Kevin's college career but luckily some caught it on video and I wanted to share it with you. Here is link to youtube.

Go Kevin!!!!

I've been pretty busy since January with photography. I did all the team and individual photos for the Youth Hockey program here in Cedar Rapids. I did it two years ago and swore I'd never do it again but this time things went very well and the extra money has been nice as we get ready for our travels. I always hesitate to think of myself as a photographer but I love my opportunities to do that. A couple weeks ago I got to take my first ever baby photos. I went out to a friend's (all my customers come by friends etc.) house to photograph their 6 mo old. It was so much fun. I look at this as practice for my grandkids (when and if I ever have any). Thought I'd share my favorite photo from the shoot.

Spring break has arrive for Kirkwood so I have the next week off. Yeah!!!! So tomorrow John and I are headed to Dubuque to spend a day with our 5th wheel. We talked about taking it to one of the parks but the ground is so soggy from all the snow melt and rain that I think we will just stay on the lot for one night. I want to work on some organizing and we need to reorient ourselves with our new home. The plan is to bring it here to CR in about a month and start the move in process. We are excited and a little nervous for all the changes ahead. Soon there should be news from the road or actually the parks. Until then....

Thursday, March 4, 2010


Well, I was looking at the blog and decided it needed a change so I played with things and this is what I came up with. Not a lot different but a slightly different look with some new things added. We are getting ready for the big transition to the RV. The weather has improved and we think spring may actually arrive in a month or so. The plan is to bring the RV to Cedar Rapids around the middle of April and then slowly move in, deciding what fits and what has to go - John is ready to throw almost everything out and I'm gathering steam to do the same. We have been in the condo for almost a year and it is unbelievable the stuff we have never used since the move and that it after getting rid of over half our stuff!! We need to line up a storage garage for the things that we need to store for Mitch and John is busy getting things we still need for the RV.
This weekend we are taking a little trip to Minneapolis to watch one of our hockey sons, Kevin Wehrs, play hockey for the Minnesota Gophers. We haven't had the chance to watch him play and it was bugging me. We realized we actually had the weekend free and the Gophers have their last regular season home games. Tracey and Dan Wehrs were gracious enough to let us come for a short visit. They play Wisconsin on Friday night and Sunday afternoon. We are headed to the Sunday game.
On the way there I finally get to stop and shop at Cabela's. My brother Gary and his wife gave me gift card to Cabela's for taking Austin's senior photos and I have yet to get a chance to spend it - so shopping trip here I come. Most of my girlfriends will think this is a crazy place to shop but for me it is heaven - just the type of clothes to fit our crazy new lifestyle!