Borrego Springs, CA

Friday, July 31, 2009

A possible change in plans

Not much has been going on the last two days, but I was preparing to take a trip on Monday to meet my sister and brother-in-law in Hannibal for a few days. I couldn't read my email last night due to the amplifier problem, so I gave Pam a call. It turns out that Stanley is having some medical problems and they may not be able to make the trip as planned. Depending on the outcome of a doctor's appointment today, the trip will be either delayed for a week, or go as scheduled, or be cancelled. I am waiting for a call this evening to determine which option it will be.

Yesterday, I made an appointment at an auto shop in Sumner to get the oil changed on the motorhome. I planned to stop there first thing in the morning on Monday to have that done on my way out to Hannibal. I will need to buy the needed oil and filter and bring them with me when I go. After the news last night, I may have to cancel that appointment. If the trip is delayed, I'll just reschedule for the following Monday. If the trip with my sister is cancelled, I'll probably just go myself the following week and do the oil change then. I really don't want to pack everything up and unhook just to do the oil thing. The biggest pain, of course, is taking down the sun visors on the front of the rig and getting them put back up. I've explained my challenges with them in the past. I don't mind doing it if I'm actually going to go somewhere for a few days, but it's a hassle for just an hour's trip.

A couple of weeks ago, the YCC kids blocked in the area of my hookups and filled the area with stones. It was sure an improvement over the mud and grass. Well, yesterday, they removed all the stones and rebuilt the border so cement could be poured today. I thought it odd that they went to the trouble of the stones, and then tore it all out. Come to find out, the refuge needed some cement in other areas and the minimum that could be ordered was three yards worth. I'm not sure how you measure a yard of cement, but in order to get what they needed, the two volunteer sites received paving of the hookup areas. I hope they don't ever have to get at the water pipe, or electrical connection, or sewer connection in the future. That would mean busting up all the cement. Oh well, it was interesting to watch the process this morning. My utilities were only cut off for about two hours, and the weather cooperated by keeping the temps down until they were done.

It's back to ten hours in the visitor's center tomorrow. I sure hope someone stops in. I do have two movies from Netflix just in case, though. :)

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Slow progress

After working with one of the staff here to check out my 12v converter for the Wilson amplifier, he came to the same conclusion that I had. ;) So, I had a brief interval of semi-good connection and went back to a Wilson Electronics site. I decided to order 120 to 6 volt converter from them. That means I can plug into a regular outlet and have power to the amplifier. I really don't need the 12volt converter since I most always have an electrical hook up, and when I don't I'd have the generator on to use the computer anyway. I don't have an inverter which changes battery power to 120 volt, so I'm hoping this fixes the problem. I'd like to hope the hook up arrives before I leave for Hannibal next Monday, but since it's coming from California I'm not optimistic.

Today is July 29, and in 1917, my mother was born. I would like to wish her a very happy 92nd birthday! Think of everything that has happened in the world in the last 92 years...WWI, WWII, the Korean War, television, the Vietnam War, electric refrigerators, the internet, man on the moon, Iran, Iraq, etc, etc, etc....it's mind boggling, and my mother has lived through it all. I wish her the best..........

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

No help yet from Wilson

I tried to get in contact with the Wilson antenna folks but wasn't very successful today. I'll try again tomorrow. The amplifier not only gives me pretty good internet reception, but without it, I barely have cell phone coverage at all.

So, Emma and I went on a day trip this morning to check out the Corps of Engineer campgrounds on Mark Twain Lake. It's about 115 miles or so from here and it's where I'll meet my sister and brother-in-law next week. I had heard good things about one of the campgrounds, but it turns out I really liked the Indian Creek Campground. It has over a hundred nice, long, wooded sites next to the lake and many of them are first come/first served. Since we'll be camping during the week, there should be no problem finding two good sites together. Of course, most importantly, I'll be able to use my new America the Beautiful Senior Pass for the first time and only pay $8/night for a site with electricity. :)

The drive back to Swan Lake took me through some very heavy rain, and I was sure glad I was driving the car instead of the motorhome. It rained most of the afternoon off and on, so I didn't sit outside this evening. I guess I'll watch a netflix movie tonight.......

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Monday, July 27, 2009

Internet woes....again

The Wilson antennae and amplifier that I have do a good job of giving me reception. However, I have had an intermittent problem with the 12 volt hook-up, and today it appears to have died. I don't know if and when I'll be able to post again until this problem is resolved. I've got an 800 number to call tomorrow, and hopefully I'll have enough reception to do that. What a pain!!

Today was laundry day and grocery day and time to excersize the generator. Temps were close to 90, and this has been one of the ten coolest July's in Missouri history. I'm sure glad for that! I'm not crazy about extreme temps in either direction. :)

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Sunday Blast from the Past

After I finished my stint as campground host at Lewis and Clark State Park in October of 2006, I headed 100 miles northwest to the Washington coast. I spent an enjoyable week at Ocean City State Park.
It was foggy and rainy much of the time I was there, but that's to be expected. One benefit of all the moisture was the abundance of mushrooms that could be seen.

While I enjoyed taking pictures of the shrooms...

another creature found a more practical use for the fungi.
These slugs appeared to be adorned in camoflauge. They were about five or six inches long. I've never seen such huge slugs!
I took many walks along the beach and collected several nice sand dollars.
I encountered this crab on one of my walks.
It was a restful week in between assignments, and the last night even produced a beautiful sunset.

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Plans shaping up for the fall/winter

Yesterday was pretty much a catch up day...recuperate from the busy week and all the driving, and prepare for today at the visitor's center. Being at the visitors' center today was a real bust. I was in there for ten hours, and not one person came in. That makes for a long day. Once again, I put a movie into the projector, watched "Radio" without any interruptions, and played a lot of solitaire and Flip Words.

I have been working on where I'll be going in the fall, and many possibilities have passed through my mind. I have committed to return to Balcones Canyonlands NWR in the middle of February (can't beat mainly doing bird stuff), and campground hosting at Rice Lake from Sept. 1-19, but had the time in between open. I've been talking to Cibola NWR in AZ, but they're not sure there is an opening available. So, when I was visiting Robyn, I made reservations at Indiana Dunes State Park for the week of Sept. 21-27. I'll be meeting my new fourth grandchild that week. Then I thought I might go to the Gypsy Journal Rally in Celine, OH. I haven't signed up for that yet, but I probably will. Then I got a Workamper News email, and there was a volunteer position at a Corps of Engineer Park in Louisiana that sounded interesting. I talked to them today, and have committed to be there from Oct. 15 until the end of the year.

I also got a call, yesterday, from Stephanie Martinez, the volunteer coordinator at Anahuac NWR in Texas. Anahuac, and it's buildings and equipment, was pretty much destroyed by hurricane Ike. Stephanie is trying to rebuild the education program and was looking for a little input from me. I volunteered there in the spring of '06 and '07. There's the possibility that I could help her out for about six weeks after I finish in Louisiana. We'll see what happens.

Lot's of possibilities and new experiences ahead..........

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A long drive, new friends, and coming home.

Well, I got on the road just a bit after seven this morning to begin the long trek back to Swan Lake. I stopped to pick up Emma at the boarding house, and she obviously had a good time there. There was a fenced yard for her to run around in, and she was treated like a queen. As I got her into the car and prepared to leave, Karen, the owner, gave me a hug and thanked me for all I do volunteering at our nation's National Wildlife Refuges. Wow, that was a pleasant surprise!

About a hundred miles down the road, I pulled off at Rantoul to find a campground where the authors of the Myrddin blog I follow were camped. I met Jim and Linda (and Myrddin) and we had a pleasant hour chatting about our respective lives on the road. I couldn't stay long, since I had another 300+ miles to go. It was nice to meet a couple of my cyber-friends. :)

It was around 4:30 when we finally pulled in at Swan Lake, and it was great to get home. I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Robyn and Dennis', but it's always good to come home. I refilled the bird feeders and Emma and I spent the evening outside relaxing, playing a game of ball, and just being pleased to be back. She is now passed out on the dashboard, and I'll soon be heading to bed also.

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me!

Normally, I wouldn't post anything about it being my birthday, but today was a special one. Early in the morning, Robyn, Avery, and I headed out to the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore about 40 miles from Robyn's house. I was on a mission. I turned 62 today, so I wanted to purchase my America the Beautiful Senior Pass (formerly known as the Golden Eagle Pass). For the princely sum of $10.00, I now am the proud owner of the Senior Pass that will allow me free entrance to all National Parks, Monuments, Nat'l Wildlife Refuges, and all other national sites for the rest of my life. In addition, I will get half off on all camping fees at these facilities and Corps of Engineer Parks. Yee Haa!! I plan to make good use of this pass starting in two weeks when I meet my sister and brother-in-law at a Corps of Engineer Campground near Hannibal, MO.

While in the area, I also checked into the possibilities of camping at the Indiana Dunes State Park campground this September when I return here to visit my newest grandchild. I won't be able to stay with the motorhome in Robyn's driveway since they will be having quite a bit of construction going on at the time and their driveway will not be available. When we got back to the house, I made reservations at the park for Sept. 21-27.

For dinner, we all went to Red Lobster, and, yes, I had lobster. I do like that crustacean! Afterwards, Dennis, Avery, and I went to Best Buy (after dropping Robyn at the house to work on a recommendation she had to write for a fellow Army Reservist). Can't understand why she thought it might be easier to do with the rest of us out of her hair. :) I'm thinking about a GPS unit and a hard drive to back up my computer, and Dennis was very helpful giving me input on these devices while we "window shopped" and gave Robyn some calm time.

After watching the latest episode of Deadliest Catch, the young folks headed off to bed, and I retired to my room to do this blog and some computer time. I've got to pick up Emma in the morning, visit Myrddin, and drive 419 miles back to Swan Lake. It will be another long day tomorrow, so I'd better pack it in for today.

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I can't believe I did this.

When I arrived, yesterday, at my daughter's house in Dyer, IN, the first thing I did was run to the bathroom. I'm used to traveling in my RV and if the need arises, I pull over and use the on board facilities. Well, let me tell you that on the drive from Missouri, there was a stretch of 200 miles where there were no rest areas. From a mature bladder point of view, that can be a challenge! Anyway, as I stood up and turned to flush, up came my right leg to find the flush pedal! (for those of you that don't RV, you have to flush the toilet with your foot on a pedal) All I could do was awkwardly stand there like a crane and chuckle. I never thought I'd forget how to flush a toilet in a house. I guess full timing has become second nature for me now!

Today, was a very busy day. It started out with me babysitting my granddaughter, Avery, while her mother went to have her semi-weekly check-up at the doctor. Her next baby is due in a little over a month. What a great time I had keeping up with all the activities of a 17 month old! Once her mom returned, we were all off to drop her at daycare so Robyn could go to a hospital in Napersville to pick up some equipment for her work, and then on to visit my mother in the nursing home in Schaumburg, IL. That took several hours just to get there. The visit went very well. My mother was happy to see all of us arrive. My two brothers and one sister-in-law were also there, so it was quite a gathering. I dropped off the walking stick I had made to my older brother, and Robyn cut my mother's hair. She looked so much better after the new "do."

After my brothers left, Robyn and I continued our visit and my mother related a story about having seven baby teeth removed at once when she was young, and how her grandfather sat and entertained her that entire day to keep her mind off of her pain. Apparently, my great grandfather was normally not quite so understanding and solicitous. My guess is that probably happened about 1923 or so. I had never heard that family story before, and I was touched to watch her reliving it in her mind. Watching one's parent grow old can be heart wrenching at times.

As we finally returned to Dyer, it was time to pack up once again and head a short distance over to my son-in law's, Dennis', parent's home for a cook out. We had burgers on the grill, fresh corn on the cob, a salad, and Dennis' mother's special party pudding. Good eats, good company, and a good time.

I look forward to another busy day tomorrow. Oh, yes, it looks like I'll be stopping to meet Myrddin (check out my favorite blogs) on my way home to Missouri on Thursday.

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dyer, Indiana

This will be a short post! After 419 miles, including a stop along the way to ensconce Emma in a boarding kennel near Chicago Heights, IL., I finally made it to Robyn's house. All together, it took me about 8 1/2 hours to complete the journey.

It's been about a year and a half since I've been to Dyer, and time marches on. I noticed a new skate board park on the way in that seems to be very popular with the young skate boarders. I'd like to stop while I'm here and watch them strut their stuff. Hope I have time for that.

It was great to see Robyn, Dennis, and Avery. Avery is as cute as a button. Robyn and I put her in the stroller and walked to the nearest park so she could slide and swing and just play after dinner. I'm pooped from the drive, so it will be an early night for me.

Tomorrow, I'm meeting my two brothers at the nursing home that my mother is residing at. She will be 92 next week, and sorry to say, I think she is beginning to fade mentally. That is a sad thing for me.

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Have you ever seen algae bloom?

When I got to the visitor's center for work yesterday, I noticed a new color on the pond.

The green algae had suddenly turned a rose color. I'm thinking this is called an algae bloom. I asked Annmarie, the biologist, but she wasn't certain, but thought it probably was.

It certainly was colorful. What a contrast from the greens of the woods.


I had 26 folks come into the visitor's center today. That has to be a record number! I even sold several items in the gift shop this weekend. Having people stop sure does help with the boredom. When I compare this to the 200 visitors a day and $1000 in sales I did on Tuesdays at Pea Island NWR, it's sad, but hopefully visitation is on the rise.


I'm pretty well organized to head for Chicago tomorrow. I'm hoping to be on the road shortly after seven.


Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

The Sunday Blast from the Past

While I was camp hosting at Lewis and Clark State Park in Washington during the early fall of 2006, the other hosts and I took a day trip to visit Mt. Rainier National Park. The Putz's are a fulltiming RV couple originally from Washington, so they took it upon themselves to show me a few fabulous places in their home state. I really appreciated that, since my transportation at that time was a moped. A one hundred mile trip was not something I was going to do on the moped. :)

There was still plenty of snow up on the mountain, even in September.
While we were taking in the sights, the Putz's struck up a conversation with another visiting couple. It turns out, they were from Kasson, Minnesota. How's that for a small world? You see, I lived in Kasson for the ten years previous to my taking to the road!

When we headed out from Lewis and Clark SP, I was wearing shorts because of the nice warm weather. I didn't take the altitude at Mt. Rainier into consideration. That was a mistake. I was getting goose bumps, and it wasn't just from the magnificent scenery!

It's hard not to take a million pictures when you are in the grandeur of the mountains.


Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Friday, July 17, 2009

Best weather since I've been here!

I woke up to sunny skies and temps in the 50's this morning with low humidity! What a marvelous, beautiful day it has been. Sunny skies, a nice breeze, and no need for air conditioning. In the six weeks I've been at Swan Lake, this has been the tops in the weather department.

Emma and I took a long hike this morning and I wasn't wilted by the time we returned. I took a quick trip to Brookfield this morning to get some more nijer seed for the finches, and found an outdoor tent selling produce. I bought some new potatoes, one ear of corn, and a couple of tomatoes. I sure hope the tomatoes aren't hothouse. I didn't want to get too carried away since I will be leaving on Monday for a four day trip to visit at my daughter's house in Dyer, Indiana. (I guess I'm not really visiting her house, but it will be nice to take a shower and not worry about conserving water!) I've calculated it to be about 420 miles to her house. A long drive, but much easier since I'll be taking the car rather than the motorhome.

Time to get back outside and enjoy this unseasonable weather.

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The word is out!!

I guess the location of my bird feeders has been spread around the raccoon population. Now they're not even waiting for the cover of darkness.

The first stop is under the feeders that are hanging on long pieces of rope or string so the squirrels can't get to them.
The coons sift the seed hulls through their front paws looking for missed morsels.

Time out for a scratch!
Then, it's up the tree trunk to the feeder that they can get their hot little hands on. This is one of the young from this year. It's sibling was too shy (so far) to venture in this close.
Since I didn't put any seed in that feeder today, the young one headed back for the safety of the woods.
I guess I can report that there is an abundant, healthy raccoon population on this refuge. I'm thinking I may not fill that feeder any more that is within their reach. We'll see.
Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Lettermen Evening

No, that's not David Letterman. Since my outside CD player decided to work, I put on the "Best of the Lettermen" CD tonight and chilled out. That CD brought back many memories from the 60's...not all good, but not all bad, either.

This was a kind of chill out day. Rain and thunderstorms all morning, and occasional storms this evening. Temps did rise into the high 80's this afternoon, and similar weather is predicted for tomorrow. Not much else to report for today...one of those ho-hum days.

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Monday, July 13, 2009

A late evening visitor

After Emma and I came back into the RV last night, we had a visitor to the campsite.
Apparently, the bird feeders are attracting more than birds.

What a hoot is was to watch this fellow sift through the oil seed hulls looking for some missed goodies.
Since I came back from Minnesota, I've noticed two things. When I take Emma for her last outs, I, and Emma, have been hearing some critter scrambling up the tree with the bird feeders. Then, when I take her on her first outs each morning, the feeder closest to the tree trunk is always empty and the top is strewn on the ground.
I guess that mystery is solved! I think this raccoon is a male, because he travels alone. We have also had a female with three young travel through our site several times in the last week.
Today, I did the laundry and went to town on a grocery run. While in Chilicothe, I checked in at the local vets to see if there was a dog kennel in the area. They gave me a number to call of a kennel that they highly recommended. I've been thinking of kenneling Emma while I take a trip to visit Robyn, Dennis, and Avery next week. Dennis is not crazy about dogs, and it would sure make the four day trip easier for me. Well, it turns out that there is no room at the inn for Emma. Apparently, people call two months in advance to have their dogs at this kennel, and travel from as far away as St. Louis (that's about 150 miles away) to board them there. So, ditch that plan. :(
I think I'll ask Robyn to see if there is a kennel in Dyer, Indiana.
Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The Sunday Blast from the Past

On August 31, 2006, I arrived at Lewis and Clark State Park in Washington state to begin a seven week stint as a campground host.

I had been told this would be a more physical than social job, and that description was correct. Besides selling fire wood and answering camper's questions, I had plenty of physical chores to do which include scraping, priming, and painting the Environmental Learning Center building.

I also had to dig up all the boulders surrounding three flower and plant areas. Over the years, the boulders had sunk in the ground and it was my mission to unearth them all, put in new soil, and reposition them. Manual labor, to be sure...

This park is located in the old growth Douglas fir forest with huge fir trees that are around 600 years old. And underneath those fir trees are numerous kinds of mushrooms.

Most of the stuctures in Lewis and Clark State Park were constructed in the 1930's by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). They are beautiful stuctures and must be maintained as they were constructed because they are now on the historic building registry. That includes the cedar shake roofs. Those roofs require a great deal of upkeep. There are two picnic shelters like this one, and while I was there, the larger shelter was rented out twice; once for a wedding, and once for a native American Pow-wow.

I was provided with a full hookup site in amongst the Douglas fir trees. It was a beautiful site. I spent one memorable evening sitting at my campfire while listening to the eerie sounds of the drums floating through the forest from the pow-wow. I'll never forget that. It brought all kinds of images to my mind of what it must have been like a couple of hundred years ago. That was truly a blast from the distant past!
Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Friday, July 10, 2009

Backyard Birds

Things are kind of slow around here, so I thought I'd take a few pics of the birds at my feeder. Those of you that know me, know that I really enjoy birdwatching and I haven't posted many bird pictures at this location. :) Some of the pics are not of the best quality, but you'll get the idea...
The most populous birds at my feeders are American goldfinches.
Both males and females frequent the feeders.

On the ground are plenty of common grackles. Many folks don't like grackles, but I do like their iridescent colors.
This is a female brown-headed cowbird, another bird that many people don't like because of their habit of laying eggs in smaller bird's nests.
A female cardinal stopped by the feeder this evening. She is obviously going through her summer molt of feathers, otherwise, she'd have a crest on her head. The young of the year look similar to the female, but wouldn't have a red beak at this point in the season.
Another frequent visitor is the chipping sparrow. There is no way to tell if this bird is a male or female unless you can examine the bird in your hand to look for a female brood patch or a cloacal protuberance (balls) on the male.
Dang, it's hard to get a good picture of a tufted titmouse. They don't just sit on the feeder and eat. They fly in, grab one seed, and then fly to a tree branch where they can peck open the seed with their beak while they hold it with their feet. Goldfinches, on the other hand, just sit at the feeder and eat because they are able to shuck the seeds while holding it in their beaks.
Last, but not least, is the ubiquitous house sparrow. These sparrows are not native to the United States, and were brought over from England many, many years ago. Their population over the years has ballooned to such numbers that they have a very detrimental effect on some native species such as bluebirds and tree swallows. They are a common bird at feeders.
Well, it's back to work tomorrow. Someone is supposed to come to fix the air conditioning in the museum area so maybe the folks that come for the movie on Sunday won't be uncomfortable. Temps in there have reached the upper eighties during the movie, and that's not conducive to happy visitors!
Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Battle of the Bugs

By 8:00 this morning, I was out washing down the rig. The front of the RV was covered with bugs from my trip to Minnesota and back. The rest of the RV was covered with dust. There is a two mile drive down a gravel road to get to the volunteer sites, and the motorhome and car become coated in white road dust. I hooked two hoses together so I could reach all around the rig, and began scrubbing with an extended brush and a hand held sponge with a scrubbing surface on one size. Those bugs require quite a bit of elbow grease to get off. Eventually, I was satisfied with the front of the rig, and rinsed off the dust from the rest of the rig. Then it was time to wash the car. By the time I finished, the sweat (perspiration) was dripping off of me.

I hopped on my bicycle and headed for the office. I wanted to put up the sun shades on the front windows of the rig, and was hoping I could get one of the YCC boys to help me.

As you can see, a six foot young man can easily snap the sun shades into place. Do you see that ladder? I have to prop a footstool on top of it to reach the snaps, and it isn't exactly a safe undertaking for me. In two shakes of a lambs tail, the shades were up, and I really appreciated the help.


After lunch, all five of the YCC (Youth Conservation Corps) students descended on my site and mowed and weed-whacked all around my site. It's so nice to have the site maintenance taken care of for me! They also worked on constructing a border around my hookups. Soon, gravel will be placed inside the frame so there won't be knee high weeds surrounding my hookups. I'll post a picture when all is finished.


I talked to the folks at Quail Run RV Resort, in Arizona, about the winter workamping position, but it turns out they want someone from Oct.10 - April 7, and I have committed to return to Balcones Canyonlands NWR begining Feb. 15, so that didn't work out. If the volunteer position at Cibola NWR doesn't work out, I guess I'll just take the fall/early winter off and really spend the time truly retired. :)


Tonight, I think I'll try some of that blue kernel popcorn I got at the Amish visitor's center last week. I haven't mentioned that each night, hundreds of lightning bugs begin their display outside the rig. I haven't seen that many lightning bugs in a long time!


Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

An ordinary day

I certainly slept soundly last night after the tiring driving day yesterday and the setting up last night. Being gone for a week meant all my bird feeders were empty and my two tomato plants and one hanging basket were really crying for a drink! I quenched their thirst, and the birds are all thrilled to have their free lunch return.

I got started on the laundry fairly early, and in between loads decided to go to Chilicothe for a few needed items and a hair cut at Walmart. I stopped by the local farm to pick up some tomatoes and corn, but couldn't find anyone around, or any produce for that matter. It is a pretty ramshackle farm yard, and the iconic old dog was the only living thing that I could roust up. I guess I'll have to try some other time. Too bad, because one of my favorite things in life is a homegrown tomato sandwich. Fresh corn on the cob isn't too shabby either. :(

I thought I'd try to wash all the thousands of accumulated bugs off of the front of the RV, but it was just too hot this afternoon. Even though the rig faces east, I'm figuring I had better do it first thing tomorrow morning before the predicted ninety degree temps arrive. Welcome back to sultry Missouri! I need to get those bugs off before I put up the sun shades, or they start eating away at the paint.

I was indoors most of the afternoon and had the Michael Jackson Memorial on the TV in the background. I'm really tired of all the news coverage that his death has created, but, I must admit that he was some performer.

I also gave a call to Cibola NWR in Arizona about volunteering there this fall. They will get back to me when they figure out which volunteers are returning. After getting the latest update from Workamper News, I called an RV resort in AZ about working there, but I had to leave a message. So far, I don't know what I'll be doing after the first two weeks in September when I'll camphost at Rice Lake while I get my yearly check-up at the Mayo Clinic. I guess I'll just play it by ear.

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Monday, July 6, 2009

Record setting hook-up time...

Oh my goodness, the mosquitoes were horrible this morning! I wanted to be on the road by 8:00 this morning for the 389 mile drive back to Swan Lake NWR. I was doing a good job of keeping on schedule and then had to hook up the car to the motorhome. Sorry to say, I was wearing shorts and a tee shirt. I can't believe the number of mosquitoes that swarmed around me as I began the hook-up! I couldn't use my hands to swat them away because I needed them to do the hooking. If anybody saw me, I'm sure they thought I was doing an Irish jig out there. I got bitten so many times on my arms, legs, and face that I had no problem staying awake behind the wheel for the first two hours! I know that hook-up took under three minutes, which has got to be a record for me. So much for taking time to smell the flowers! It was awful!!!
Yesterday, Andy, Kelly, Joseph, and Seth came out to Rice Lake to share a hot dog cookout with me. What fun it was.

Seth (2 1/2) is on the left and Joseph (3 1/2) is on the right. I really enjoyed getting to know them better this week.

Of course, Grandma had to show them how to roast their first ever marshmallows!

That's the beauty of grand kids. You can enjoy and spoil them while they're with you, and then when they get cranky, you can turn them back over to their parents. ;)

I've promised Joey that he can spend a night with me when I return in September. Kids are always fascinated with my little home on wheels. It should be a fun time.

I'm pretty pooped after today's long drive, but I did notice on the way home that the local fresh vegetable farm has tomatoes and sweet corn available. I'll be sure to stop there tomorrow after I get the laundry done.

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Sunday Blast from the Past

August 24, 2006, found me camped at Hell's Gate State Park on the Idaho - Washington border. My reason for staying there was to take a two hundred mile jet boat ride through Hell's Canyon.

Hell's Canyon is the deepest canyon in the United States...yes, even deeper than the grand canyon.

It was a very enjoyable and scenic trip, and of course, the boat's pilot made sure we all got soaking wet on the return trip while going through some rapids.

Wildlife was abundant along the way. There were also quite a few forest fires that summer in the area.

The boat slowly went past this fire fighting helicopter that was filling with water to transport over the hills to the fire.
Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July!

What a very busy couple of days it has been! On Thursday, I started out by dropping Emma off at the kennel and then met my son, Andy, and his family for lunch. Later, we went to his house in Kasson, where the wedding will take place. I spent the afternoon visiting and getting in some great time with my two grandsons, Joseph and Seth. At two and three years old, they are talkative bundles of energy!


The plan for the evening, was for a rehearsal out on the lawn and then we thought we were all going over to the home of the bride's parents for a dinner. The rehearsal was to begin at 5:00, but the only people to arrive at that time were the groom and groomsmen. As 6:00 neared, I began to wonder where the bride was. Then, her entire family arrived carrying food containers and told Kelly, Andy's wife, to put the lasagna in the oven and cook it! Eventually, Crystal arrived, but not before Kelly and I scrambled around her kitchen rearranging things to accommodate all the cooking she found herself doing. After taking a head count, I cornered Dan and told him to send the groomsmen to the local grocery store to get some plastic eating utensils, cups, and beverages for the twenty some people that had arrived. I knew Andy and Kelly didn't have enough plates, silverware, etc., to accommodate this crowd.


By 7:30, the rehearsal had still not begun, and the food wasn't yet ready. I decided to head back to my rig at Rice Lake, because I really prefer not to drive after dark. I tip my hat to Kelly for gracefully handling this sudden turn in events.

The festivities on Friday began with a photo session (that lasted several hours) at the Mantorville Park. Hundreds of photos were taken by a professional photographer, but I'll only include two, that were taken by not so professional, me.
The happy bride and groom...Crystal and Daniel, and their dog, Buddy. Later, at the ceremony, I would accompany Buddy down the aisle as he was the ring bearer!
I seldom have all three of my "kids" together at the same time, so I had to take this photo. That's my youngest, Andy, on the left; Daniel in the middle; and Robyn on the right. As you can see, grandchild #4 will be here before too long.
After some brief showers just before the time for the wedding, the ceremony went off without a hitch. I'm thrilled to report that now, all three of my children are happily married. The reception was held at a hall a few blocks away, next to the motel where many of the guests stayed the night. I enjoyed the evening visiting with many old :) friends and my older :) sister and brother-in-law. For our dance together, Dan and I did the Beer Barrel Polka! That got the crowd clapping and having a good time. I received quite a few comments about that choice.
Once again, I headed back to Rice Lake just before darkness enveloped. I must also say, that the food served at the reception was the best chicken dinner I've ever had at a wedding.
As much as Emma can be a pain in the neck, I must say that it has been rather odd not having her here the last two days. I've enjoyed sleeping in until 7:00 both mornings, but I do miss her company. I was supposed to pick her up today at noon at the kennel, but the kennel owner called to say that she had to make a fast trip to Iowa today because of a serious illness in her family. She is hoping to return by 8:00 this evening and will give me a call when she gets back. I hope it is before dark...
This afternoon, my friend, Lois and her new husband are coming out to the park for a cook-out. Lois was, and still is, the school social worker for the alternative school programs I ran in Rochester. Lois is such a positive person, that I know we will really enjoy getting together today.
Don't forget to fly your flag proudly today.........and be safe.
Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Yee Hah, New Bras...

Having to pay the high price for new bras has always irked me. I don't know why. That's just the way it is for me. So today I made a trip to the Medford Outlet Stores, here in Minnesota, to purchase new bras and socks. It's been two years since I did so, so how's that for an exciting day? I also went to Cabela's hoping to find replacements for the camp chair/table I purchased there ten years ago, but, alas, they don't have them anymore.

I met Sally, my secretary, in my former life as a principal, and we had a very enjoyable lunch talking about old times and all the changes that have happened in the school district. I'm sure glad I got out when I did!

I've tried stopping by the park office the last two days to pay for my site, but no one has been there and the office has been closed. I'll try again tomorrow. I'm sure everyone has been off in preparation for the big holiday weekend coming up. They haven't removed the camp host sign from my site, so everyone thinks I'm the camphost. That's OK with me. I know just about everything about this park and I enjoy talking to the people.

This afternoon, my daughter Robyn and granddaughter Avery came for a visit and we had hotdogs roasted over the campfire. I really enjoyed their visit. Tomorrow, I will take Emma into Kasson for her kennel stay and will meet my youngest son, Andy, and his family for lunch before the wedding rehearsal at his house. It will be a busy next two days....

Thanks for stopping by....talk to you later, Judy