Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Looking Toward Home... and Already Making 2023 Plans

 Hello and Happy Fall!

Suddenly it is September!  Tonight the temp here in Rhinelander, WI, will dip down to 46 degrees. 

I am doing some domestic chores preparing for the journey home.

I talked about the trailer's emergency brake cable in my last blog.  Bill D. emailed me and told me how to fix it.  I still didn't get what he was saying until he sent me pictures of the clamps you can buy to clamp onto a cable (to make a loop for example) without having to buy a bulky and an expensive crimping tool.

I bought more cable and the clamps and fixed it myself!  Thanks Bill!  

I felt a little Rosie-the-Riveter pride as I called Schroeders RV Service center and canceled the appointment I had made with them to install a new emergency brake on my trailer.

The cable goes from that little black box to the hitch on my truck.  If the trailer becomes un-attached when I am going down the road, the cable will pull the emergency break on the trailer.

Today it was cool and I didn't have any bike or kayak plans.  No rain was in the forcast.  So I borrowed a putty knife from my sister and cleaned off the old caulk on the roof of the trailer and applied new caulk.  I had a small leak at the top of the back door the last time in poured.  There is a flashing that sheilds the top of the door.  I added caulk to where that is attached.  I will know soon enough if that fixed the problem.

Then, thinking about going to a couple Sisters on the Fly camping events on the way home and a gathering of people who have Weeroll Campers, I decided I needed to spruce up my decorations.

I got some things from Goodwill and Mary had a small can of light-purple paint.  I liked the color of the paint and just kept finding things to paint.  I even painted the red Folgers coffee can where I keep my coffee grounds. 

I had broken my cute green broom that looks so nice hanging on my camper.  All I could find were ugly big brooms.  So I got one and put some purple paint on it.  It is a nice broom, but when I saw a smaller broom, I bought that too and this picture was taken before I added some purple paint to that broom as well.

Now I have to decide if I keep both brooms or just one.  I don't NEED two brooms.

How do you like my decorations so far?

I leave this area, and Wisconsin, on September 9th.  I then head up to Lake Superior where the Midwest Weerollers are meeting for a few days.  I hope to learn a few things as well as unload a few items that I bought but don't use.

Later in September I will be in Ohio at the same time as my friends, Regis and Cindy from Florida!  Yay!

And Amy S. tells me that the Ohio Trikers are having a Rally the weekend of September 25 in Xenia.  I will be there for that!   

Also, Roger and Bernie are from the Cincinnati area and they said they would lead a ride on the trails in that City while I am there.   It is  best to have a guide when the city has lots of trails that intersect and places to see just a  block or two off the trail.   I am excited.

That all means that my five nights near the Little Miami Trail in Ohio will be a whirlwind of biking and socializing every day.

Today I got happy and then not so happy.  

A while back I was told that Jekyll Island in South Carolina is a neat place to bike.  And then I was talking to a woman who said that I REALLY should do it with someone else because when she did it solo she was frustrated because it is a ride to share with others.  

Steve and I were talking and I told him I had made a reservation near Jekyll Island and I asked if he was going to be heading to Florida at that time and we could meet up and do it together.  Today he said he might be able to do that, but then after he checked the distance and the timing, it wouldn't work.  He isn't leaving for Florida until November.  

If you ride bicycle 20+ miles and want to ride with me around October 26th on Jekyll Island, let me know.  I'd love it! 

Speaking of Steve, he had a great time camping and canoing solo in the Adirondacs. He is trying to convince me to do it next year. On one remote lake he had five loons fly closely over his head, calling all the time.  What a neat experience!

After Ohio I am heading to the Smokey Mountains where the campgrounds don't have electric and some I even have to haul in my water.  It is peak season (fall colors) so I found three nights at a time in different campgrounds.  

While there I am meeting up with Susan H., the woman that gave me a ride way back in April to get a rental car when I was stuck in the campground in Florida after my car broke down.  She educates people about the Elk in the Smokey Mountains.  And I am meeting up with Connie M. who was a full-time traveler but now owns a small home in an Audubon neighborhood I want to see.

Plus I am popping up to Tennessee to meet up with Terry.  We have been emailing and texting and talking on the phone but I have not met him in person yet.   I didn't think he had a good time on his whirlwind trip to Sturgis, SD and then up to Glacier National Park and down to Texas.  But I guess he did, because he is already working on making some changes to his truck-bed camper and planning his next trip.

The last time I wrote about hiking with my nephew Tom and his wife Sarah.  As I was walking I thought how no picture could capture the trees towering around us.  Later Tom shared this picture he took.  We look mighty small.

2023 Plans

I am already thinking about next year's travels.  We have to because many of the campgrounds fill up early on the weekends and folks will need to make reservations.

Last I wrote, my plan was to get a seasonal job.  I know some of you were thinking, "I will believe that when I see it."  Because I always say I am going to work but then I get too busy living and change my mind.  It is weird, I can be so sure of a thing and then I am not.  Who knows, maybe something will fall into my lap like last year when my friend Jean needed some clerical help.

I am thinking that my years of travel will be few and I gotta do it while I am able to hike and bike and get in and out of a kayak.  While I can still plan and make reservations and navigate...

Today, for now, at this moment, my plan is to spend the first half of the 2023 summer over by PA, NY (Finger Lakes and the Adirondacs), and VT.  Then in late summer I will come on over here to Wisconsin again see family before heading home to Florida for the winter.  

We will see.  As my sister would say, "It's all good."

Thank You Friends!

Thanks to all of you in Florida and fellow travelers too that continue to reach out to me and let me know I am still welcome.

It is so good to be remembered.  Thanks. 

For now I am still enjoying this area. I have connected with some other women that like to hike and kayak.

The mushrooms have continued to provide interest.  The one in my screen tent continued to get bigger and now has turned from creamy white to rusty brown.  The big rotting mushrooms are now a black smelly puddle.  

We'll be in touch.

Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Memory Lane

The other day I woke up to a note beside my cot.  "Mail Poop!" it said.   

Oh ya, I had done one of those tests to check for colon cancer and I was supposed to mail in the "sample" within 24 hours.  But I had not found a mailbox and then I had forgotten.  In the middle of the night I remembered  I needed to take care of this first thing in the morning.  

Note to self, "Mail Poop!"


One of the reasons I travel is to escape the Florida summer heat.  

Today, it will be in the 90's and humid in SE Minnesota.  

Fortunately for me, I have many other reasons to pull my house behind my truck all over tarnation.

In Frankfort, Illinois I was in a part of the country I was raised in.  I don't much care for the flat farmland.  I always preferred the trees and hills of Wisconsin.  Of course, when I am riding a recumbent, the flat land isn't so flat.

I rode my two-wheel crank-forward on the Folks On Spokes Club fundraising ride.  We started out with some of Joan's friends, but they quickly discovered I was too slow.  

I kept telling Joan to go on, that I had the cue sheet and my cell and I would find my way.  But she insisted on sticking with me.  Joan has electric assist.  She pedals five times and then coasts, and coasts, and coasts, and coasts and coasts.   All the while I am pedaling hard and panting and working hard to keep up.  

To say I was frustrated is putting it mildly.  I don't peg myself as a fast rider, I don't have a fast road bike for a reason.  I enjoy comfort and the scenery.  I enjoy being able to stop and soak in a scene.

And toward the end of our 37-mile route, Joan was giving me encouragement and pointers.  She was being nice as she would with any slow and tired rider.

But hey, I have been riding since 1990, I ride long rides, I have bike toured carrying all my gear just as recently as last year.  I haven't ridden a lot of hills in Florida, but it isn't like I never rode hills before or gone 37-plus miles on my bicycle.  Pedal pedal pedal, coast coast coast coast coast, goes Joan.  Pedal pedal pedal pedal pedal, sweat and pant goes Sue.

We saw that someone put up a covered bridge over their driveway.

When we got back to the park where we had started the ride, Joan went to put her bike in her car.  I headed straight for the refreshments and Frankie who was volunteering at this stop.  I said loudly to Joan that I was going straight to the pavilion because I didn't want to miss the entertainment.  But I should have made sure she heard me.  My voice is in a tone that even with her hearing aides she has trouble hearing.

Usually when I go on these organized fundraising rides the entertainment is done by the time I get back.  When I had checked in I mentioned that to the volunteers who checked me in and they assured me that the music would still be going when I got back.

I parked my bike and walked up the hill to the pavilion.  I saw the musicians packing up their Ukes.  Yep, missed it again.  Being slower than the road riders is my choice and the story of my life.  I shouldn't get frustrated with it, but I was tired and disappointed anyway.  I mentioned it a few times as I grabbed a slice of the last of the pizza and a cookie or two or three.

While I was chatting with Frankie and chowing down, Joan was in the parking lot wondering where I had gone.  She even tried calling my cell.  But I had left it on my bike at the bottom of the hill.  She finally found me.  Sorry, Joan!  

She was a wonderful hostess, my room was so comfy, and I really enjoyed her back deck overlooking the pond where we watched a great blue heron fish and a busy muskrat swim.  

Joan arranged to meet up and ride again in August when I am in Northern Minnesota on the Paul Bunyon Trail.  Cool!  

The next morning I packed up and headed toward Wisconsin.  

I was going to be able to see George's daughter!  I had not seen her for four years and I was so anxious to visit and learn about her life since we last were together.  I also wanted to clear some space in my truck.  I had a few boxes of her dad's things packed in the back seat I meant to give to her.

I texted her when I was about two hours from her home.  When I was about an hour from her home, she texted back.  She was in the hospital!  She had a heart-attack.  She was going to be released later that day, but I knew she wouldn't have the energy for company.

I was in shock.  She is too young for a heart-attack!

I stopped and bought some big garbage bags at a Dollar General.  I wrapped the items in the bags to keep them dry and left them near her front door.

Back on the road I headed toward "home".

Wisconsin Feels Like Home

I was able to stop for a brief visit with my son and his wife in Janesville, WI.  It was good to see them.  

I didn't stay long because I wanted to get set at Lunney Lake Farm Campground near Madison, WI before the rains came and before dark.

It felt great to be back in Wisconsin and near Madison.  I was close to family and friends here, and the scenery was beautiful and familiar.

My first day in Madison I had errands to run.  There are trails all over Madison and many of the streets have bike lanes.  The Capital City Trail goes right by the campground.  What memories!  

George semi-retired on July 31, 2008.  On August 1st he and I got on our trikes each of us pulling burleys with our tent-cots, computers and clothes.  We biked from Waukesha to Lunney Lake Farm Campground.  72 miles, mostly on crushed limestone.  The last leg of our ride that day was on the Capital City Trail.  This was the first day of our 40-day ride around Wisconsin.  No regrets there.  We did it!

Now a solo rider, and unloaded, I rode over to an Anytime Fitness first.  The riding to Anytime and the workout took all morning practically.  Then I rode into downtown to check for mail.  I had just a couple items of mail sent to the General Delivery in Madison.  Plus I had ordered a couple things from Amazon.

The items from Amazon were too big for my trike, so I rushed back to camp and got the truck.

Madison is fun to ride around because there is art everywhere and lots of the residents have planted flowers or wild flowers throughout their yards.

And I was happy to not be assaulted by "Trump 2020" and "F... Biden" signs.  It is hard to relax into la-la land when the political divide was showing its ugly face to me every day of my travels so far.


I passed an area where the cottonwood seeds were floating down like big snow flakes and accumulating on the edges of the grass just as if it were the beginning of a big snow fall.

I looked up at the blue sky with fluff floating there, and I remembered those big fluffy snowflakes and how my granddaughter and I would tilt our heads back and stick out our tongues.

I had to stop writing here.  Along with the 93-degree afternoon, there is a mighty wind. I closed the doors and windows and turned on the air conditioner.

The Clam screen tent served me well. I used as a garage to protect my bikes from the rain.  It was also my outside kitchen.  I chopped and cooked away from the bugs and rain.  And it works as a bit of privacy when I want to wash my armpits, wash my hair, or brush my teeth.

But today the gusts have been big.  I looked up the weather and it said 16 mph, but I think it is gusting much more than that.  Several times today I have stepped outside to add tie-downs and pins and, open vents on the tent.  Still it wanted to fly away.

You would think with screens the wind would move right through, but the screens keep out the tiny bugs and much of the wind.  

After watching it struggle I had to stop writing and take the thing down.  As I did it flew away and I had to catch it.   A bit damaged, I put it in the trash.  Now my bikes will stay out in the weather until the topper for the truck bed comes in, sometime in July or August.  When the wind dies down, I will cover the bikes with a tarp or two.

I will think about buying a new Clam.  But I want to contemplate this because I don't want to jump into doing something I will regret later.  FOR EXAMPLE, and it seems I always have examples of poor purchasing decisions, I have seen for quite some time that other Weeroll owners buy 1/2 umbrellas to place over their doorway and attach to the side of their Weeroll.   It looks real cute.
The other day I bought myself one... and then I bought another one.  Might as well put one on both sides of the trailer so I can keep the windows open during a rain.  And have shade over the windows.

But, now I started to think of mounting them. I thought, why not just buy a shelter without screens and have that over the front door.  I don't want an awning because if it gets damaged it is a major deal to get it fixed or replaced.  When I talk with other trailer owners, awning damage is a common experience.

Now I have TWO umbrellas that I don't want!  One isn't even out of the box, but the  box is soggy because it rained and rained on it.  The one that is out of the box may be already growing mold on its surfaces. Arg!

As I sit writing this, Lilac is wiggling in the wind.  Yesterday there were a few derechos that went through parts of Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.  One of them was recorded at 98 mph.

While I was taking the break dealing with the Clam, I remembered that this is the week when I don't have contacts to meet up with and therefore the week I was going to get the fourth COVID shot.  Without firm plans, I can take a day to lay around if I don't feel well.   I walked over to Sterling Pharmacy in Rushford and got a booster for COVID 19.


Back to my experiences while in Madison, WI.

After getting the boxes from the post office I made a veggie dish with black soy noodles.  Then went for a walk down to some wetlands next to the campground. They were actually sewer waste management ponds now turned over to wildlife and recreation.

Tuesday, June 7th was a rainy day.  I drove to my son's in Janesville to hang out with them.  It was lovely, while it rained we watched a breakdancing contest on the TV and then when it stopped raining we went out and pulled weeds.  I still have an open spot on my index finger where I earned a blister.

Then we played Skipbo which reminded me a lot of Spite and Malace, a card game I enjoy with my sister Mary.

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while might remember that just two years ago Jeremy was very over-weight and ill.  He is looking and moving around much better now.  It was a joy to see. 

Back at camp I had enough time to walk to the wetlands again.  There I saw wood duck, Great Blue Herons, families of geese, a deer,  and the place where the White Pelicans and the Sandhill Cranes go to roost at night.

Walking back to camp I got a text from Terry of Tennessee.  As we texted back and forth  I paused walking.  In a bit I realized that an osprey was making a lot of racket.  I had stopped too close to her nest and she was flying around and swooping down at me to scare me away.

As I courtesy I moved on.

Wednesday I got to hang out too.  I went to the Anytime Fitness on the University Mall in Madison.  It was very well equipped and not busy at all at 8:30 in the morning.

Right around the corner was a Fresh Market.  I bought some groceries, and stuffed them into my side back.  It was very full.

On Friday I drove to Waukesha to ride with Mark and Jane on the Glacial Drumlin Trail.  When we got to Wales, Mark discovered that he had put on two different bike shoes.  Jane had told him, "Turn off the light, you don't need the light to put your shoes on."   Ha ha.

We went to Art Deco Cafe in Waukesha.  They bought my lunch!  Thank you Mark and Jane. 

They invited me to kill some time at their house.  I was to meet up with another friend for supper and music in Downtown Waukesha later.

We had a great visit outside.  Mark pointed out Sven.  Awwwe.  

Winter 2021, my friend Jean Hawks knitted Sven a hat, remember?  Here he is in the snow with his hat off.

Jeri Jackson and I had a great visit over supper.  She bought my dinner!  Thank you, Jeri.   I was looking forward to dancing in the streets, but the Friday night live music didn't happen because it started to rain.  I had 90 miles to drive to get back to Madison.  So at 6:30 I said G'bye to Jeri and headed "home".

I want to tell you that once I got to Wisconsin,, I felt happier.  I felt I was home.  I was close to family and friends, the roads and pathways and vegetation was familiar.

I had a wedding to attend on Saturday. The youngest daughter of a friend of mine from Waukesha was getting married.  I was honored to be included in the invitations.  I was also excited to re-connect with some of the folks from our "Newcomer's Club".  We started out as Newcomers but after many many years we changed our name to Grub Club because once a month we would have a pot-luck dinner.

Before driving to Waukesha for the afternoon wedding I rode my bike to downtown Madison to the farmer's market.  It is awesome!  It goes all the way around the State Capital building. 


The wedding was in the afternoon.  I didn't see anyone I knew except for the mother and father of the bride, Diane and Rick.  I found a seat at the back.  Which was fine until we stood up.


The people in front of me must have been six foot tall or taller.

When the service was over, I sat still watching people leave. I didn't see any of my old friends.

Then as I was walking to the car someone yelled my name.  It was Lisa.  She said the gang was going to her place to have a beverage before going to the reception.  "Would you like to come?" she asked.

"You bet!" I said.

It was a lovely time sitting around and catching up on lives.  There were only six of us there, which allowed for more sharing.  I liked it!  Thanks Lisa and Bruce!

The reception was at a very big, fancy, golf club.  Each place setting had a free sample of coffee in front of it.  The bride's father, Rick, has taken on helping with this Fair Trade project in his retirement.  

Click here if you wanna learn more or support the project by ordering some coffee.

My friends and I were all assigned to Table 15.  Lisa pointed out that she was Mrs. Bruce Hopper and Bruce was Mr. Lisa Hopper on their cards.  The other husbands didn't have that designation of the wife's given name.  We got a chuckle out of that, but really it is the way it should be.

If I had my way every woman would be Ms. just like every man is Mr.  What business is it of the world whether I am married or not?

My place card had a carrot on it for vegetarian.  I got mushroom ravioli.  It was yummy.

Thanks for including me in your celebration, Diane and Rick!

I had to leave before the music and dancing started because I didn't want to drive the 90 miles back to Madison while tired.  I drove much of the way in the dark.  

I keep missing the music!!!  That is the one thing great about my area of Florida.  Everyone is old so they start the music early so we can get home early.  I wanna dance and listen to good music!

The next day I took my time packing up.  I now had two big umbrellas to fit in the bed of the truck.  But the good news was I had given Jodie and Jeremy their boxes of stuff, so the back seat had more room for my stuff.

I was happy to be in Wisconsin, so my next stop on my travel itinerary doesn't make much sense.  But the Root River Trail in SE Minnesota is a place we would travel to with our friends for a weekend of riding every summer.  It is a favorite destination trail.

This time I booked a spot in a campground in Rushford, WI.  This is a different location than what I have done in the past.

This place is packed with memories!  One year we started our ride in Rushford.  It rained on us so we pushed hard to get back ahead of the worst of the rain.  When we got close there are several places were the trail dips up and back down going over a driveway or small road.  We laughed as we struggled to get over those humps at the end of our ride.

Now Rushford has free bikes to use on the trail.   They are kept at the library in Rushford.

This campground has full-hookup but no toilets or showers.  It is good practice for me.

I had studied the weather app and it said only a 30% chance of rain and zero inches of accumulation.  Great!  I didn't pack a jacket.  The raincoat that I always keep on my trike will be good enough.

The railbed runs along a river, and in the distance on both sides are tall bluffs.

So many memories!  I wasn't even at the first town, Peterson, when it began to pour.  I remembered getting caught in the rain and spending an hour with George at a gazebo in town in Peterson waiting for the rain to stop.

When I got to Whalen I shared a shelter with Barb and Bob from the St. Paul area.  They travel in class C motor home.  They have been a lot of places.  I asked about their favorite trails.  The Hiawatha Trail in Northern Idaho was their first pick.  

I remembered riding up that trail with George and our friends Kathi and Karl.  We could hear wolves in the distance.  When we got to the top we got wet in the stream there to cool off.

Then as Barb and Bob and I watched the rain I couldn't help but smile.  I remembered being caught in the rain in Whalen when we were staying at a lodge in town with our friends.  The rain had just finished and George and I were walking back to the lodge and grinning and stomping in the puddles, getting ourselves even wetter and dirtier.  

The rain seemed to lighten, I said goodbye to Barb and Bob and proceeded toward Lansborro.  

At the bridge I stopped.  I could see in my memory Kathi floating is circles in the eddies created by the merging of the two rivers there.   I remembered another year while kayaking with Mari and Jerry we hit some rapids there and Jerry fell in and lost his glasses.  Was this after George passed?  Was he with us then?

I biked around Lanesborro and let the memories flood over me.  Rolf and Barbara, Mary and Rick, Margaret and Zip, the Fab Four and more.  What fun biking has brought into our lives.  

By this time, my rain coat wasn't keeping me dry.  I was getting cold.  Time to head back to Rushford.  The coolness gave me energy and I felt like I was really zipping along.  So good, so good.

Back home I put the trike in the "garage" and got a rag and wiped it down.  I removed my raincoat and left that dirty wet thing in the "garage" too.

After I was dried off and dressed in dry clothes I warmed up quickly, but I made hot chocolate just because.  And it was good.

After a chat on the phone with Terry and then with Debra, I decided to walk up the road behind the campground that looked like it went up the bluff.

It did.  I found a small graveyard that looked like it was in someone's front yard, overlooking the valley.  There was a 21 year old veteran of the Civil War buried there.

There was a park up on the bluff!  I walked up the road.

From my campground I can see a cell tower on the bluff.  It is a favorite roosting spot for vultures.  It was nice to get a closer look.

There were two over looks.  I went to one and then as I was heading to the second one I saw a doe take off and it looked like she left something behind.   Fawns, brand new fawns.  Twins!

I was cooing as I filmed them but then they came toward me and wouldn't leave!  Click here to see the video.

I didn't know what to do and began to panic when I thought to post on Facebook, I did, and then I thought to run, since they could not keep up on their brand-new wobbly legs.   That did the trick.  They headed back into the grass.  I went to the scenic overlook. 

I could see Lilac and Big Blue from the bluff!   Can you see Big Blue?

When I walked back, the fawns and their Mom were gone.

I took the wet clothes and my other wash to the laundromat.  I saw an advertisement for a job and I thought, "I could do that!"

But maybe not here.  Maybe someplace else.  Maybe opportunities will pop up once I get closer to my sister in Rhinelander.  Or not.

I got a notice from a couple of neighbors back home.  A couple villas like I want may be coming available.  How do you propose I approach someone who is ill or hurt and ask if they want to sell me their home.  Arg!  I can't do that!  And how do I find their family members that may be handling things for them?   Let's think on this awhile. 

And then the question is, do I want to buy in already?  Or do I want to wait a year, until the market settles.  I heard a rumor that Florida may already be showing signs of the Real-estate market changing.

I didn't know what to do with the cash from the sale of my home.  I finally bought a six month and a one year CD.  

Part of me is planning all kinds of travel.  There is Idaho and into Canada in 2023.  The following year there is New York and the North East.  And part of me says, "Nah, just get a place and stay there."   But that is a small part.  The other part of me, as Terry says, has "itchy feet".

Going On 70 and Feeling 30

When I returned from the Everglades I parked my trailer at an angle so that the distance from the electric box to my trailer would be shorte...