Saturday, August 22, 2020

You Can Be A Wellness Tripper

It has been at least 12 days since I last wrote to you.

There have been many moments when I am just thrilled to be where I am and doing what I am doing.  This is new for me.  Outside of taking care of George, I have always wondered if I should be doing something else.   

It may be a side-effect of COVID distancing that I don't feel rushed to be or do something more than I am at the moment.  That is a wonderful feeling.

While I wasn't writing to you I was doing other fun stuff!   

I went for a walk with my sister Mary through Rhinelander, WI and took a picture of this beautiful rock.

One day when she needed a hug I was so glad I was nearby to do just that.

My friends, John and Sandy from Sussex, WI came to visit!  They stayed at a different campground because this campground office/tavern proudly doesn't follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.

I had thought about going to that campground next year, but they are strict about having an RV-Certified sticker on your trailer.   Since my Weeroll is  registered as a utility trailer, it probably would not qualify.  They aren't even allowing tents during COVID, even their Port-a-potty is locked.

We had dinners together outside around the camp fires, we kayaked, swam and biked.  It was a good visit.  She shared with me this bug spray that seemed to work and was natural.  She says it is made in Rhinelander.
 I hitched up Lilac (Life is Living Adventurously after all!) and headed to the Root River Trail in SE Minnesota to meet up with my Florida bike friends, Ann and Fred, Ruth and Bill.  
I managed to fit the two wheel bike and the trike in the back of the van.  On the trip the tables that are budgied to the wall in the picture below fell over anyway.  So Now I travel with them laying on the floor.  It works!
 Everything moves to the floor.  And the battery operated lights are wrapped and placed in a drawer.

We stayed at the Eagle Cliff Campground which is across the river from the trail in Whalen, MN.  If you have been to the trail you will know that Whalen is where you will find the World Famous Pies place.  The name has changed, but the pies are still a hit.
I am glad I had tacked an extra day onto the start of our stay so I got to ride the trail by myself the first day.

Arriving in Houston, I stopped for coffee at the coffee shop.  I was so glad they were open and had out-door seating!  So many restaurants and shops are only open Thursday through Sunday.
I had put a book on my bike in the hope of donating it to the Houston Library

The library was also closed and not accepting donations.  On my way back out of town I passed a Little Free Library!  Perfect, since I had already signed the book "To the Residents of Houston".


Ann and Fred had been spending some time near family up by the Paul Bunyon Trail in northern MN.  Before they left to meet me she posted this picture she took from her campsite.  I felt the need to share it with you.

It was so good to see these friends and hang out again.  We all were able to speak freely about our opinions of the responses to the COVID pandemic and all that is going on in our country.  We also spent a good amount of time sharing information about the books we are reading.  I took notes: 

The Speckled Monster

The Jew Store

Queen Bee

The Dutch House

KizzyAnn Stamps



I had many moments when I felt I was right where I should be, doing what I should be doing.  That is a wonderful feeling.  I hope you have some of those too.

On the way home I decided to pull into Prentice, Wisconsin.  This is the town that I moved to on my own after high school.  I worked in the only motel/restaurant in town and rented an upstairs studio apartment.  

My mother had spent part of her childhood in Prentice and had fond memories of the friends and fun she had there.

As I walked the streets I tried to recognize places.  I tried to locate the drug store where my mom and dad had their first "date" when he walked her down to get an ice cream cone.  The drug store building may be gone, or this may be it.

Prentice is too small a town for a library.  But I found a Little Free Library full of good books.

Dementia Education Inc. in Citrus County announced they were doing a Wellness Challenge, it just felt right that I should gather a team of folks to check our wellness practices and at the same time raise some funds for educating caregivers and friends and family members of those with dementia symptoms.

Join Susan Straley's Wellness Trippers!

Folks are joining our team, don't be left out of this fun adventure.

The friendly folks at Dementia Education, Inc. sent in a press release about our team.  It is the FIRST team to form.  Join Susan Straley's Wellness Trippers today! 

Here are the rules.

"Upon becoming registered Participants, individuals may download from the official Citrus County Virtual Wellness Challenge web site a form for scoring their participation.  At the end of each week, Participants may report their scores to a Challenge Database via e-mail.  Top performance scores in both Individual and Team Categories will be reported on the Coping with Demetia and Citrus County Aware for Alzheimer’s FaceBook pages, then totaled for a period of four weeks for the purpose of recognizing Participants and bestowing final Award. Awards will be given in both Individual and Team Categories with the largest team receiving the prestigious Mary Blair Darling Award."

There are three steps to join the team.  1) Download the form and fill it out.  Be sure to put "Susan Straley's Wellness Trippers" as the name of the team you are joining.  2) Send $10 to Dementia Education (follow the instruction at the bottom of the sign up form).  3) Let me know by emailing me, posting what you have done on Facebook and tag me, or text me at two six two 844 84 six nine.

Then on September 13, 2020 start scoring.  There is a form you can download.  Look in your download folder after you click on it.  It is a PDF.  This will help us see what areas of our life we need to reach into and do more -- Enlightening, Fun, and well Team Building, I hope.   

Do I Stay or Do I Go Now

When you are faced with being a caregiver for a parent or a spouse, you either do it or you don't.  

If it is your parent, you are their child no matter how good or bad your relationship has been up to the point of their needing your oversight or direct care.  But you do have a choice... don't you?  You may feel trapped, but once you make the final decision to stay or go, either way, it can be freeing.

As a spouse you are bound not by blood but by a contract.  

 I just saw a book introduced by AlzAuthors of a woman who married a man and then within the first year or two he was diagnosed with early-onset dementia.  Bam, just like that, newly wed to caregiver.

Even I, after 39 years of marriage wondered if I would stick around for the duration.  I wondered if I could just walk out, end our contract. I look back at that time of indecision as the most agonizing and difficult part of the whole process outside George's death.

Divorce is pretty common in marriage, and by the time a spouse gets the dementia diagnosis there have been some major arguments, some personality changes, that can make a wife or a husband wonder if they should seek a lawyer and end the contract.

Maybe you are one that never even considered leaving, it never entered your mind.  But don't hate yourself or doubt your original love if you do have those thoughts.  It's ok.  Let's not judge ourselves or others.  We are all made of different stuff. 

I have a hard time not trying to solve other people's problems.  All we can do as outsiders is listen, offer help, be there, and try very hard not to offer solutions that can seem like criticism.  My parents were good at biting their tongue as we children grew into our own lives.  I try to emulate them.  Sometimes I even succeed! 

There... that is my sermon for today.

Speaking of Going...

I have got most of my reservations made for my trip home.  There are a few people I will visit along the way.  John and Sandy let me know they would like to meet up with me on the Sparta Trail.

I leave here September 16th.  It seems too soon.  I am loving this little home, being close to my sister, having a simpler life.

I joined the Northern Paddle and Trail group and posted a bike ride for tomorrow.  I have at least two people joining me!  We will be riding the Three Eagles Trail starting in Three Lakes.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Wee Are Rolling in Rhinelander, WI in Crazy 2020

Hello and Good news!
The book sales for Alzheimer's Trippin' with George were real!  It wasn't a toad after all. (See the previous post to understand what I mean by that.)  As a reminder, I can look at how my advertisements are doing on Amazon.  I can see a report that tells me how many shoppers have viewed my ad, how many clicked, and how much was sold. 

One day I checked and I had only one or two clicks on an ad but over $274 in sales.  Since the paperback book is around $24 each, I thought there was an error.  
But it isn't an error.  It appears that one person bought many books!  Thank you, whoever you are, on behalf of the many caregivers who will receive comfort and education and entertainment from the books.  
And on behalf of the caregivers that benefit from the education and support provided by Alzheimer's Family Organization where a portion of the proceeds will be donated.  
FYI, the book is reduced to $23.25 for August.  August is George and my wedding anniversary month.  A long running supportive relationship full of love and long bike rides is a good reason to celebrate.

And now that we are on the topic of Alzheimer's and caregiving, I have two items of interest on the topic.
Teepa Snow did a helpful and informative video about swallowing and dementia via Facebook. I looked for it on YouTube for those who are not on Facebook and want to see it.  What I found isn't that particular video, but she has one on feeding in late stage dementia.

Join My Team!

We will call the team... 
Wellness Trippin' 
Wellness Trippers 
Susan Straley's Wellness Tripper's

What do you think?  Ed Youngblood fo the Dementia Education will be sending me more information today.  But here is what he and Debbie Selsavage from Coping with Dementia told me.

The fee is $20 for the team (I will pay that.)
Everyone on the team pays $10.
So watch for future posts to find out how to sign up!

Now here is the REAL interesting part.  Wellness isn't just walking, running, biking or playing pickle ball.  It is meditating, praise prayer, dancing, singing, reading, doing yoga, eating vegetables and fruits probably.  We will find out more when the information arrives.  So even if you are in a wheelchair you can participate.  Because Wellness is holistic, and involves all the parts of you.

If you want to be on my team, send your name and email to me.  I don't want to put my email out there for spammers to find so here is the trick:  susan underscore trikes at  yahoo dot com.  Let's support Dementia Education.  

Maybe we can be the biggest and best team!

Weeroll Encounters

I am staying a while at this campground near Rhinelander, WI. 
But this week I got an email from my Florida biking friend, Ann A.  She is meeting another mutual friend at the Root River Trail in South Eastern Minnesota.  I had planned on going that route when I leave here in September, but wouldn't it be so much more fun to do it with friends???
It is 300 miles away.  I booked it.  I am leaving here on the 17th to camp for a few days by Lansborro, MN.  Then I will be trucking it all the way back here to spend more time at my seasonal campsite before heading home.  
I love meeting up with folks places!  And the Root River Trail is definitely a great rail trail among hills and following a river it goes through several small towns that have be rejuvenated by the trail tourists.
Then I had a conversation with Debra.  She had just returned home from visiting her daughter and was itching to go traveling in her Weeroll, Itsy.  So we arranged for Lilac and Itsy to meet up at Ft. Pickens in the Panhandle of Florida on my way home!  Whoo hoo!  This park is on an island on the Gulf of Mexico near Pensacola. We will get sand, beach, and some riding in.  It will be great!
My friend Joan will come spend a day or two biking or hanging out with us there.  
I am loving it!  Being in one place I get to think about how to fix things, change things to make them more accessible or comfortable.

On of the Facebook groups of newby campers and RV women they have questions about lighting and the best items I have gotten for the trip.

So much could be listed.  Like the rough rug at the bottom of the stairs and the absorbent rug just inside the door.  Even with those, it isn't enough and I am still sweeping up sand, especially after a rain when the sand is wet and clings to my shoes and feet.
I love my portable outdoor sink.  I use it so much!  I wash me, wash the veggies, wash the dishes, refill jugs, wash my clothes.   And use the table part of cooking and chopping.

I said I added light with these battery operated lights that attach with sticky velcro.  I can detach them when I travel so they don't fall and break.

My indoor sink is helpful.  I can take a sponge bath, brush my teeth, all in the privacy of my trailer. I use command hooks to hang jackets and my towel.  Of course the counter top that Dave H. made me is wonderful.

I have a little Probreeze space heater that is great for cool mornings/days.

There is a pocket shoe holder next to the door to hold keys, rags, flashlights, masks.  It helps me not lose stuff.  Everything has a place.

My fridge and microwave make it easy for me to eat (as demonstrated by my expanding waistline.  The portable pot that my sister gave me is working out great and is much more comfortable than the bucket.  I try to squat slowly to exercise my squat muscles.

Just behind the portable potty is a tiny waste basked with a lid.  Just the right size and the lid keeps the odors from the food scraps and pee paper from smelling up the trailer.

Speaking of smells.  I thought my trailer was smelling bad when I first walked in because of my shoes, but it turns out I had a rotting sweet potato in my food storage bin just inside the door.  Yay, it's not my feet!

I love my Verizon Jetpack that allows me access to the internet to blog, check email, post on Facebook, even watch YouTube videos when my energy is low.  It is secure so I can do banking and reserve future campground sites.  I love it, love it, love it!  When it starts to rain, no problem, I can spend lots of time indoors in the comfort of Lilac and work or surf.

Adventures in Rhinelander

Mary took me with her to visit her friend, Betina.  Betina is over 100 years old.  This past winter she fell down a flight of stairs and was in rehab a while, but now she is back at home.   As you can see she is quite the gardener, her back yard is full of flowers and bird feeders.

When we arrived she showed us an old doll chair she is re-finishing.  She is making a dress for an old doll she has found and she will put the doll on the chair.  Mary says Betina always has a project or several going.  She is very creative.

The down side of living so long is that none of her siblings or friends have survived.  The friends she has now are fairly new.  She said the friend she has known the longest she has only known for 45 years.  

Yes, that seems like a long time, but when you think of it, Betina was probably retired or close to it, by the time she met this woman who is now her friend of 45 years.

Twice I have driven over to Three Lakes to ride the Three Eagles trail toward Eagle River.  It is only 10 miles long, but a lovely trail.

One day I rode it with my two-wheel bike.  The next time I rode it with my trike.

In Eagle River there is a DQ right by the trail.  The lobby is totally closed due to rising numbers of COVID cases in Wisconsin.  So I used the busy drive-through.

******* Interlude ********
Which reminds me.  Mary and I were out for a bike ride around Rhinelander and we decided to get a coffee at McDonalds.  We rode up to the drive through to order.  
"I am sorry, the drive through is reserved for automobiles.  You have to come to the lobby." came a voice over the intercom.
"We don't want to go in the lobby, it is safer out here," I responded.
"We are especially busy this time of day," she responded.
"There are no other cars behind us," I said.  And thought, "What difference does it make what kind of transportation we are using????"  We will be ordering the same thing on our bikes or on foot!
"We would prefer you come in," she said.
"We are the customers and we prefer to order here," I said.
"I will get someone to take your order," she said.  And there was silence.  and silence, and silence.
So we went in and ordered.  Hey McDonalds and other fast food places.  What does it matter if we arrive on two wheels, three wheels or four wheels?  Take our order, take our money, give us our food.
End of rant. 

***** End of Interlude ********
Last time I rode the Three Eagles Trail I decided to do more riding so I drove my trike over to the Big Lake Loop road that I had passed on my drive up to the trail.  It was a lovely rid and I was glad it didn't have a lot of hills.

At one point I came around a corner and encountered a fawn grazing on the other side of the road.  I talked to it as I rode on by.   It's legs stiffened and it kept a watchful eye, but didn't take off. 
Then I thought, hey, I should go back and see if I can get a picture.  So I did a u-turn and rode past it again taking pictures.  Again it's legs stiffened, ready to run.  
Well, now I am going the wrong way, so I had to turn around and ride past it a third time.  This time the fawn just looked up and then kept grazing.  No stiff legs, no watchful eye, "Oh ya, it is just that purple clicking object."  No big deal.
The yoga instructor had to cancel class two weeks in a row as she was feeling ill.  She and her daughter got tested for COVID and the test came back negative.
I rode to our out-door yoga spot and did some on my own.  It was lovely weather and no biting bugs bothered me.  A big plus!

I like riding to town to run errands. 
Mary and I drove over to kayak a big lake then portage over to smaller lake north of Woodruff somewhere.  There were not houses on either lake and on the smaller lake there were individual rustic camp sites.  The water was tinted but clear.  It is a pretty cool place!
When we portaged over we found the smaller lake's water level was up.  We had to walk through soggy mud and leaf littered water to get in our boats.  There were lots of frogs jumping out of our way.  No gators in Wisconsin and I didn't see any leeches either.

COVID 19 News

Are we getting tired of this physical distancing and face-masking stuff?  
Are we tired of being afraid?  
A trip into a store can be scarey.  Or simply passing someone too closely on the sidewalk or bike trail can have me holding my breath and wondering.  
Are we tired of not getting together with our friends indoors, to play cards or eat together?

Well tough!  Because this ain't going away soon.  Some vacation tour organizations are not booking any sooner than spring of 2022.  Arg!  

I think ahead to Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.  Tradition is to have 15-25 friends over and we squeeze around tables and we laugh and eat each other's food buffet style.   Sigh.  Not this year.  Some how I hope to do stuff outside with a fewer number of folks.  How do I do that?  maybe every day for a week, small outside gatherings... Everyone byod (bring your own dinner).  Not the same, different for sure.

We will figure it out.  
We will have fun anyway.  
We will be grateful to be in Florida where we can gather at a physical distance outside.  My heart hurts, my eyes water.

I found out a friend from my old neighborhood (they moved out but revisit the hood regularly) has tested positive for the COVID.  I worry about her.  She showed up for the book signing when I launched the first book in 2019, Alzheimer's Trippin' with George.  I was thrilled and we shared a big hug and lots of smiles.  
She already has health and breathing issues.  All the neighbors are in a tizzy, how did she get it?  Who was she in contact with? She said she wore a mask at the clubhouse card parties. (Yes, they were still playing cards at the clubhouse.  When I acted surprised, my sister reminded me that for some that is their life.  They don't bike or hike.  They connect with others through games and gatherings.  This isolation is hard for them.  Whoops, I was caught being judgemental.  Yikes, sorry folks!)  
My friend with COVID never used the restroom at the clubhouse and disinfected her hands.  Did she get it at the clubhouse?  I don't know.  I don't know if she was the only one wearing a mask there.  Remember, the mask doesn't protect her.  
Which reminds me of a video of how to make your paper mask a better fit.
My friend might have got COVID at a store or ????  Hopefully they will be able to trace its origin.  Then I hope she tells the rest of us, because I wanna know if the stuff I am doing is ok.
I have been entering my sister's house without us masking up.  We have been sharing a car without masking up.  I figure since we are both being careful... is that enough?  Mary and I even played cards one day.   It is wonderful and comforting to have some folks I can be around.  I just don't want to be stupid or a danger to her and her husband.

The seasonal camper that got it here at Lake George is in the hospital and on a respirator.  They say he has improved, spending more time off the respirator. 

In the meantime, 250,000 people are converging on Sturgis, South Dakota for the annual motorcycle gathering.  In the pictures I have seen, maybe 1 in 20 is wearing a mask.  It looks like they are distanced on the street, but the streets are full.
So many people are angry about being required to wear masks.  Store clerks and store guards have been injured, a couple killed, when someone was told they needed to wear a mask and instead they pulled out a gun or a fist.  Nothing new, humans acted the same way in 1918.  Or should I say, those in the USA.  I don't know that this happened in other countries.  I should research that, because I am thinking something went wrong in our educational system to teach science, critical thinking, and non-violent resolutions to differences.
On April 6, 2020 I wrote down the COVID-19 numbers in a post entitled Watching the Curve, What Are You Doing?   Today while making some changes to how robots can find my blog, I came across the numbers again.

Citrus County had 43 cases and two deaths.  Florida was still just over 10,000.

April 6, 2020

Each night I sit in my bed and write down the numbers in my diary.

Last night it was:
World Cases  1,272,860
World Deaths   69,424
US Cases  336,673
US Deaths  9,616
Florida Cases  12,350
Florida Deaths  221
Citrus County Cases  43
Citrus County Deaths 2

Growth of this magnitude is hard for my little brain to comprehend.  That is why I write it down and why I watch it.  I am trying to get my mind around it.

Of course now we know to watch those numbers reported each day, since the number of tests are increasing, the number of cases found will increase.  The real telling number is the numbers currently hospitalized and the number of people that die each day or week.

Here are the numbers for today from the dashboard.

World Cases 19.900,000
World Deaths  732,000
US Cases  4,974,959  -- 54,590 New Cases
US Deaths  161,284 -- 1,064 New Deaths
Florida Cases  536,931
Florida Deaths 8,277
Citrus County Cases 1,544
Citrus County Deaths  36

And I will add here the Citrus County Current Hospitalizations: 148
Citrus county is at about 1000 cases per 100,000 population according to the Florida Health Covid 19 surveillance dashboard.

Flowers and My Space

I hate to leave you with COVID stuff.  

A green house in town had some containers they were giving away for free.  So I got a few.

And this is where I wrote to you today.  Or I could say... this is how I roll in my Weeroll.

Monday, August 3, 2020

Independent Author Illusions - Mouse to Toad

It is a cool grey Monday - 8/3/2020

I am loving it! I am feeling free and healthy and satisfied in spite of some disappointments.

This is a picture of the one fire I built this whole trip.  I sat and watched it for 10 minutes.  Then it was done, I was done.  All done.

There is a hole in the dirt outside the screen-tent where I have my portable sink.

The hole is nicely round. 

One afternoon I was washing dishes.  There inside the entrance to the hole was a cute grey mouse.  I smiled inwardly, "I now have a low-maintenance pet!"  I tried to move closer without scaring it away.  I took a picture through the screen with my phone.  It didn't turn out real clear.  I was excited to share with you the discovery of my little companion.

There was a bit of celery that had fallen to the ground, and a corn chip.  I walked around the screen-tent to get a better picture, but the little grey guy was gone. I set the treats outside the hole.

Today I saw him again just inside his hole looking at me.  "Want some more?" I asked.  I walked out of the screen-tent and approached the hole slowly.  The creature didn't retreat!  Something seemed odd.  Why wasn't it moving?  Don't mice wiggle their noses?

I leaned in and then it dawned on me.  It wasn't a cute fuzzy grey mouse!  It was a lumpy old grey toad!

Just like me to get excited about something that isn't really what I think it is. 

The Phantom Profit

As I told you I took an on-line Amazon Advertising Class for authors.  I put up a few ads according to the directions we were given.  At first not much happened.  Just $0 to $50 in sales or so.  Then one day I pulled up the report and I had $355 in sales in one day!

Of course I was thrilled.  People were finding my books!  Maybe they would get some inspiration and help for their own journey.   I had to share the news. I went up on Facebook and shared it with my classmates.  Then I went on Susan Straley Writes which is the Facebook page where I get to talk to readers about my writing and advertising and get their feedback.   The congratulations and adulation were immediate!  I was feeling super blessed.

Then I went back to my Amazon Ad report and started to investigate.  What did I do right to make all those sales for Alzheimer's Trippin' with George?  

I wanted to repeat it with the second book in the Trippin' series, The Journey Continues.

I found the ad. 

Ummm... something isn't right.  Only one click on the ad and $274 in sales?  Amazon's computer made a boo boo!  Oh no!  Sigh.  All the celebration and what I ended up with is a grey lumpy toad.

Still, happiness fills me.

I am so glad to be here.  I was sitting on my sister's deck with her watching the river flow by and bees buzz around her flower gardens.  I said, "I like my schedule.  I get up and do something active like walk, ride, yoga, kayak, or Qi Gong.  Then I go keep up camp.  It is amazing how much time it takes to do camping stuff.  It takes longer to cook, to clean.  The dirt is spread out in my house, but in a tiny 72 foot camper it is right there.  I have to sweep up the floor a couple times a day, more often if it is wet out." 

My sister shuddered and said how she loves the idea of life being taken up with the daily tasks of survival.  It makes life so simple. 

I agree.  It is what I love about bike touring.  You have less stuff to care for, but all your time is taken up getting from point A to point B and then finding food, water, shelter, and planning your next day.  That's it. 

No time to fret over the headlines.  Though I still am managing a bit of fret... I will get to that in a bit.

First, lets talk about what fun things are happening.

We went to Moon Lake again for another session of Ai Gong (Qi Gong in the water).  It was cold again so I stayed on land and did it slow-mo. 

Mary and I walked on the Bear Skin trail that was flooded in places from all the rain.

We returned a couple days later to bike it in the afternoon with some new friends we met through Yoga.

There are a lot of memories on this trail.  George and I would ride it almost every year with our Wisconsin biking buddies.  So many laughs and ice cream stops.

One afternoon we biked with about 10 others on Two Sisters Lake.  I chatted with a woman who summers in Minoqua and rides 30 miles at a pop.  When I packed up I forgot to grab a calling card and give it to her so we could ride a day together.

Though I may spend a day completely alone, amazingly I am not feeling lonely.  My days have their rhythm and I often either have an activity or a happy hour with my sister.  On the weekends the seasonal campers are here, and though I keep my distance from them, I will pull a chair outside their circle and chat over happy hour sometimes.

My friends Sandy and John in the Waukesha, Wisconsin area have a camper and they are coming up for a few days! 

Mary has some kayaks they can borrow so we can go kayaking one day.  I sent them to West Bay Campground which is only two miles away.  Sandy and John are being very careful about COVID and I didn't think they would feel comfortable checking in here.  (I will share more on that in a bit, and for those who are burned out on COVID stuff, you can skip that part.)  West Bay has a nice little sandy beach area so it will be a good place to hang out if it gets hot.

I woke this morning to 44 degrees.  It isn't hot now!  I am glad that I packed my down comforter.  It is folded in half on my little cot.  I was comfy warm last night.  I woke up smiling with the sun this morning.  I stopped spending the time making my cot into a couch and instead I keep it a bed.  No one enters my little space anyway.

COVID Comes Closer

Ok, so here comes the COVID stuff. So you can skip it if you don't want to hear anymore about it.

It was just a matter of time before COVID19 would come within biting distance of my circle.  Still, no one I know personally is currently infected. 

I got a kick out of the grocery clerk's mask.  The Rhinelander Hodag is... well I can't explain it. 

I have one friend I have not seen in several years that got COVID in March and is still struggling to overcome the harm it has done to her body.  She said she caught it waiting in an emergency room for 36 hours.

This campground has had two cases.  I was told by some fellow campers that the hostess/bartender knew about the case and could/should have let the fellow campers know about the first case.  She could have started wearing a mask because she was in contact with the guy that got it.  I don't think she has gotten tested.  

As a small business owner, of course she resents COVID.  So many small businesses struggle and this is just one more big mountain to climb.  The shut-down in March has slowed traffic and hurt here businesses.  Her response has been, like many, to pretend it doesn't exist, I guess.

The night before I arrived, the tavern here at Lake George Campsite was full of people partying.  I remember when I checked in I had to enter the tavern and though I wore a mask, I felt vulnerable.  The hostess was the only other person in the building, but she didn't wear a mask.  I was a bit nervous and then she told me she was up until three with the party goers. 

I arrived on Monday.  One of the seasonal campers told me that on Tuesday one of those party goers was diagnosed or came down with symptoms... I don't know which.  I have been here longer than 14 days, so I got lucky and didn't soak in enough germs that time.

The bartender has continued to bar tend.  Each night a horse-drawn carriage full of drinkers arrives at the tavern.  It is one of their last stops on their loop of bar-hops around the lake.  They sit in the carriage (and probably in the bars) shoulder to shoulder without a care about the pandemic.

Last week the Governor of Wisconsin mandated masks in places where people can not physically distance from each other.  Immediately there was push-back by the "me and my rights" groups.   This is not new.  The same thing happened during the 1918 pandemic. 

This morning on my walk I saw signs on the tavern.

"Masks NOT required here."

One from the State that says masks are required in places where people gather and another from the County Sheriff saying he and his deputies will NOT be enforcing the order because it is "unconstitutional" and besides, they can't ask why you aren't wearing one because that interferes with disability rights.

So here we go.  Different people with different perspectives.  As George would say, "It is what it is."

The second case in the campground was one of the seasonal campers.  He has had two strokes and was feeling down the first weekend I was here.  I went to a gathering after their meal and kept my distance.  Which is hard to sit outside the circle with these new friends.

I hear he was at that outside gathering and that I met him.  He finally got tested the Thursday after the weekend.  By the time I found out, 10 or 11 days had passed.  The health care contract tracers did not call the campground or notify us campers.   I don't know, maybe the contact tracers are over worked or are just spot checking these days.   I was told by the seasonal campers they only go back two days from the time you are tested.  So since he didn't get tested until Thursday he was never here and contagious.   It all makes zero sense.

With the delay of notification, I only had to be super careful with my sister and brother-in-law another three or four days and then I was done with the isolation period.

Lisa, my campground neighbor, is going to be watching her grand-kids for the next couple weeks so she decided to not return to camp for a few weeks and avoid the risks of being close to other people.  

I am glad I figured out how to not use bathroom facilities, and I never have to enter closed in places.

All the seasonal campers here go home during the week and return on the weekends.  It is nice and quiet during the week and fun and boisterous on Friday and Saturday evenings.  People gather around their fires, and the hum of many conversations continues until about 11:30 at night.

High Chipmunk

Today I saw a chipmunk that was being still with its nose in the moss.  (I got close and a good look, so it definitely was a fuzzy brown ground squirrel or chipmunk.)  I got close and tossed a chunk of apple I was eating its way.  The chipmunk raised its head as if interested, but then the nose went to moss and its eye-lids got heavy.  

I was thinking the poor thing was poisoned until I noticed a plump mushroom popping out of the ground nearby with little teeth marks and chunks removed.

Ohhhh.  It's a hallucinating or drugged haze it is living in.

Hours later I checked on him and he was able to dash off a few feet before he put his nose back to the ground.  The chunk of apple was gone.

A Miracle and a Good Laugh

 Greetings from Inverness, Florida. I have sooo many stories to tell.  So much fun to share.  But I will save you from yawns by telling you ...