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

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Austin's graduation

Well, it is a day with some downtime. Just sitting here outside under the awning on a beautiful day in Decorah. We really do love this campground and this town. Walked downtown to T-Bocks for breakfast, they have the best pancakes we've come across. Walked home the long way to check out where the laundromat was since that is a task we need to take care of today. But I digress, so back to the main discussion.
Austin is my youngest brother's youngest son (of 3-Aaron and Alex are older). He still has one more HS graduation to go with his daughter Audra who is only 8 right now. I love visiting with this group and we have such fun together. Friday and Saturday we helped get ready for the party and took turns going to Audra's softball games - she had 3 on Saturday. If you havent been to a little girls softball game you should check it out when they are not out on the field they are doubling as cheerleaders, chanting cheers from the bench. It is truly a delight.
Now my nephews enjoy it when I come because teasing me is a sport with them. You see I am only 5 ft 1in and when I am with them it is like being in the land of giants. Aaron is about 6-3, Alex is the shortest at 6-2 and then there is Austin at 6-6. Can I really be related to these guys?? I don't think I even reach Austin's arm pit -sheesh.
Austin is a pretty amazing guy. He graduated at the top of his class with so many awards it was incredible. We are so proud of him. He also is an accomplished athlete. His chosen sport for college is football. He kicks, and with his long legs he kicks a very long ways. Place kicking is his specialty and he was at the top of the heap in kicking in Nebraska highs school the last 2 years. This year he will be kicking in the Nebraska Shrine Game, quite an honor. He will be kicking next year for Missouri State University in Springfield MO. We are hoping we can get to see him play on our way south next fall.
Austin also gave the graduate address at the commencement ceremony. He did a great job and just is an overall confident and talented young man. Now not to leave my other two nephews out. They to are scholarly athletes. Alex is currently attending Briar Cliff college and playing soccer for them. We have had the chance to see him play, he was the one with all the fouls - he has a very aggressive style of play. Aaron graduated from Briar Cliff and played soccer for them as well. He now works for the college as a recruiter. Last but by no means least is the one that has her brothers wrapped around her little finger the very charming Audra. It is a little early to know all her talents but I can say for sure she plays a mean game of Go Fish and Uno.
I will leave you with one last photo. Austin decided I was so short he could zip me into his graduation robe and no one would no I was there. Here is his attempt at that.

Hope this finds you well and following your dreams.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

First Trip

We are out on our first real trip with the 5th Wheel. We started last Friday, heading to Grand Island NE for my nephews graduation. It was about 350 miles of driving - not the way we like to travel but the weather held us back a day and we had commitments so off on the long drive. We had reservations at Mormon Island State Recreation Area just off I80 at the exit for GI. We tent camped here and that area is great except for the noise however the RV area is another story. The sites are really packed in. The pull throughs are like pull overs that make the road so tight they give you orage cones to put at the back of your rig so it won't get hit. It took us forever to get backed in to our site. It was long enough for the 5th wheel but we had to park the truck elsewhere. The only sites that would be ok are the ones along the lake, they are still small but manoeuvring is easier and the parking lot for the truck would be right in front of it. I don't think we will ever stay here again if we can help it. We checked out a county park, Hall Park in the area and I think we will try it next time. The road in is narrow but the RV park looks nice. I lost the photos of this on a card that the computer is not reading
I plan on writing about our time in GI later when am back home as I think it will be better as a stand alone topic. Next we moved to Omaha and NP Dodge Park. It is a park maintained by the city of Omaha. The campground is old and in need of some TLC but the park is very nice. There is a bike trail there so we took a nice 45 min ride, our behinds need some breaking in for the biking season. We stopped here to visit a HS and college friend of mine, Terri,- we did some growing up together. She married a fellow HS classmate of mine, Alan, so it is always fun to see them. They currently live in a loft in the Old Market area of Omaha. Went to a great brew pub, Upstream, had dinner and tried a couple of their brews. It was such a fun dinner I hope we can do it again soon.
We decided on Tuesday to head to Decorah, IA another 300 mile drive. We will be hear until Sunday. It will be our home base for biking, hiking and most importantly going to get my youngest DS from his semester abroad in Norway. We will drive up to Minneapolis and pick him up and then bring him back here. This is where his college is (Luther College) and where his friends and girlfriend are. We are anxious to get him back. Like any Mom I have missed him. Since we are taking off this fall I really want to spend some time with him this summer.
I am adding photos of two of our three stops, this one at the Pulpit Rock campground is our favorite and I think you will see why. It will be the last photo. As Howard at RV Dreams says it has the "It" factor for us. Today we went up to Preston MN and got on the Root River State Bike Trail, that also is another entry for later.
Hope this finds you well and following your dreams.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Tourists vs Travelers

Tourists vs Travlers

A lot has been going on and I had planned on blogging about our trip so far but there are photos I want to put with it and I can’t get the computer to read the card from the card reader or directly from the camera. I can see them from the cameras viewer but nothing I’ve tried will read and send them to the computer. I just get a “no valid files found” message. Not sure if it is a computer or card issue – man I hate to loose photos.

So instead, you get to read about a quote I found on a fellow blogger’s site (Bayfield Bunch – though he doesn’t know its origin either because I wanted to make sure and give him credit). The quote is.

“Tourists see the world, travelers experience the world.”

I really like that because I think it explains why we have chosen this vagabond retirement plan. When time is short it feels as if all we do is run around trying to see as much as we can before we leave. This lifestyle will allow us to stay until we have explored and experienced as much as we wish to before moving on. We can take the time to hike the trails, bike the rails, visit the museums, check out the wineries and the brew pubs as well as visit friends new and old without feeling rushed. I don’t think full time RVing is the only way to accomplish that but I think it is the way for us. So I hope you will follow along on our mission to become travelers instead of simply tourists. Take the time to check out the Bayfield Bunch blog too. He is an amazing photographer and a bit of a philosopher. We have learned so much from our fellow bloggers so if you have the time follow a few of the links here to enjoy our fellow travelers.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Almost done!

This last week had been an incredible amount of work. Moving furniture to Gabe's(our oldest son) house. Cleaning everything in the apartment and finding places for all the things that need to go into the trailer, and making multiple trips to Good Will with all the things we don't know what to do with. Gabe has been great and he and his new roommate Frankie have taken in most of the furniture, they have a great looking house for two young guys.
Our other son has been studying in Norway this semester and will return in just another week. I am really ready to have him back and spend some time with him before we take off this fall. We talked with him on Skype yesterday - what a great invention!! He just came back from a fishing trip to Northern Norway and caught a cod that was about 2.5 feet long. So Kevin, if your reading this Mitch has found a new fishing spot for you. He said he has photos so maybe once he is back he will let me share that with everyone.
Yesterday was a moving day. The park we were in was having construction done on the road at the entrance to the park. It is down to one lane that is not very wide. We ended up having to go further into the park and turning around in the golf course parking lot to get a straight shot at it as making a turn onto that one lane was not an option. That all went well and we headed to Palisades State Park just a few minutes away. I have been wanting to stay here as it is one of my favorite to hike in and is where John and I were married. Well we tried but the sites are so unlevel side to side, even the pull thrus, changed our minds and came back to Morgan Creek which has become our favorite. We will only be here 4 nights then we are off on our first trip. We are headed to Grand Island NE for my nephews graduation and then will work our way back to Decorah IA. Mitch comes home the 21st and we will just drive up to the Minneapolis Airport to pick him up.
Actually I had to wait to finish this and Mitch has a fun photo on his FB profile of him and his fish so I will end sharing this photo his friend Andrew took.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The last rent check

We’re weeks away from being full timers. Our last rent check has been paid. We have one month to vacate the apartment, but it shouldn’t take that long. We have already moved almost everything we’ll take with us into our new home, so this is the last chance to rescue anything that’s left, but not much will make the cut now. Some of what’s left will find a home with our sons, but I imagine a lot of it will go to Goodwill or the land fill. Our poor shredder was busy shredding years of files with paper so important that at one point we felt we needed to save it. Like every social security summary, even though it would be duplicated the next year. And this was the stuff that wasn’t shredded when we moved from the house to the apartment last year. It was too important, I guess.
Why is it so hard to throw away stuff you haven’t worn or touched or even remembered you owned until it’s time to get rid of it? I finally had Janie come in to throw my clothes in the Goodwill pile. My only Missouri S&T shirt (it was the University of Missouri at Rolla when I went there). Some hockey stuff. Some winter stuff. But it was all good. Most of it even still fit. Janie was doing better for herself until she found her wedding dress and veil. I put it into the pile for her. She did rescue her fishing hat which I didn’t even know she owned, but I suppose that could change. I even bought a fishing license this year. Last time I remember buying a license, I think they were less than $10. Now they’re about twice that. Now, if I just had a fishing pole. I used to have a fishing pole, but I must’ve got rid of it when we moved from the house.
We’ve decided to stay residents of Iowa for now, so our new address is actually a UPS private mail box. We’ll get our drivers licenses updated with our new address this month. Once that is done we will email everyone the new mailing address, as for our actual address you’ll have to stay tuned here for that .Now we’re relaxing in our new location in one of the local county parks. It was an exhausting day. In another week we’ll go on our first trip out of Iowa. All the way to Nebraska.