Friday, May 25, 2007

A-Cute Situation (or two)

Fast-melting spring snow!

Looking south from the campground - Pikes Peak in background.

We finally got back to the Denver area, a few days earlier than planned. My wrist was not getting better, and it was time to see a doctor. After settling in at our home park in Monument, I headed off to the doctor. "Hmmm", doctor #1 says, "looks like 'acute tendonitis'. Check with the ortho to make sure." So off we go, and after 3 x-rays, the preliminary diagnosis is confirmed. No broken bones, just some nasty little tears in a tube containing a tendon. So a cortisone shot and a wrist brace later, I'm feeling better about getting better. Of course, it will still take some time, but at least I know what's up.

Colorado is great, but, besides doctors, dentists, eye doctors, and vets, we're here for work. No, I'm staying retired - we're cleaning out our storage units. Prior to us moving out of our home, it snowed every weekend for over 9 weeks. Consequently, we did not pack our original unit very tightly. We ran out of space, and had to rent an additional unit. So we are here to repack, consolidate, eliminate, and vacate. We fought the snow all winter, and now, as we attempt to rework the storage, we are fighting the rain. Seems we no sooner get boxes and furniture out for sorting, and it starts raining. As Donna says, "three steps forward, two steps back." It's frustrating, but we'll get there.

Colorado still hasn't changed! Last night, well actually beginning yesterday afternoon, it started snowing! I had to put the awning it, as we didn't want it to collapse or tear from the weight of the snow. When we woke up this morning, there was about 4" of accumulation. Mind you, it only snowed up here at the top of Monument Hill where we are staying.

The park is filling up, as this weekend is the Memorial Day holiday. We'll see some familiar faces and reacquaint ourselves with friends. We've stopped in at my old workplace twice to say hi. It's still real busy, and there have been lots of changes since I left. It's nice to see everyone there, but I'm now out of the loop. Time marches on, and we're on a different path now.

We will be heading for California next, to see our daughter, son-in-law, and two grand-daughters, Beatrice and Olivia. We're planning on staying there a month, so we should really slow down the pace, and recover from all of this work!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Snapping Good Time

City of Winterset Campground

Hogback Covered Bridge

Yesterday and today we explored the famous "Bridges of Madison County". Out of the original 19 constructed, only 6 remain. Of these, several have been relocated from their original locations. All were originally build in the late 1800's, and have been restored. We also stopped by the home where John Wayne was born.

Iowa can fool you. We had always thought of Iowa as a state not to be vacationed in...well, because it couldn't be anything but flat farmlands. Not true - flat in some places, farms, in some places, but lots of hills and woodlands. Very beautiful.

As we meandered through dusty backroads in search of covered bridges, we happened upon a turtle slowly crossing a road. Donna thought that we should "save" it, by moving it out of harms way. So we stopped to a relocation. I immediately had my suspicions: nasty looking beak, long, sharp claws, and a jagged pointy tail. Plus the shell was moss and scum covered. As I reached to grab the sides of the shell, the little bugger hissed and jumped at me. Yep, my suspicions were confirmed, I was in a confrontation with a snapping turtle. Sorry, Donna, that amphibian will get to where it's going on its own, with no help from me.

We got back in the truck, and turned to look back...the turtle had turned around and was moving quite quickly back to where it came from. So I guess our stopping did get it moving.

Friday we are heading to Nebraska...where I know there are cornfields! We will be back in Denver earlier than originally planned. When we were in Hill Country in Texas, I injured my wrist, and it's not getting better. After a rainstorm, branches from the oak tree we were under had sagged and were on our roof. This provided a path for I was up there doing some trimming. As I squeezed the cutters and twisted the branch to break it, something popped. I've done that a thousand times, with no repercussions, but this time: OUCH!!

Since we had previously scheduled all of our doctor's appointments for this timeframe, I moved one up a week. So soon I will know what really happened, and what it will take to get it fixed.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

I-80 Westbound

We left Michigan and that cool weather behind yesterday (Monday). We traveled southwest around Lake Michigan and made it to Interstate 80. We continued west until we got to Utica, IN. We opted for an overnighter at Hickory Hollow Campground. Not much happening here, but the campground is appropriately named - there were hickory trees everywhere! The property next to the campground was being developed, so there were several downed trees. Of course, I snagged a limb for future use!

This morning we headed out at about 8:10am, a new record. Try as we may, 8:30am seems to be our earliest departure. We had targeted a campground west of Des Moines, IA, to spend a few nights while we took in the local sights. Upon arriving, the grounds looked nice, but the office was closed. We decided to find a site, and then register, but the owner appeared as we were starting up. Immediate bad vibes...and when she told us the rates, we opted to move on.

We ended up in Winterset, the birthplace of John Wayne. It's also home to a quilt shop that Donna really wants to see. The City runs an RV park, very reasonable, and very nice. We'll hang out here for three nights, and will take in the famous "Bridges of Madison County". So far, we've missed the bad weather that has moved through the Midwest. A City worker drove through the park this evening, and told us that they had gotten 6" of rain over the past 3 days. And we were complaining about being cold in Michigan!

Saturday, May 5, 2007


Yesterday we drove up to Holland, MI, to see the tulips. There is a week-long festival that actually began Saturday...but to avoid the crowds, we went early, on Friday. Holland is an old town started by Dutch immigrants, and the town's culture reflects that fact. Besides tulips everywhere, there are wooden shoe stores, Delftware, and strange pastries with stranger names! What is Delfware, you ask? It's that dishware that is white, with blue designs or pictures of windmills, etc. glazed on it. Very cute, very pricey. We left with none of it, as we don't have the room or the decor for it.

We also took a drive 5 miles north from there to Veldheers Tulip Farm, just to make sure we saw enough! It's lucky we went Friday, as Saturday was cold and very windy. Locals told us tqat the weather for the festival is the best in several years. It was sunny while we were up there. The wind stayed with us on Sunday, and we packed up bright and early to start our trek back to Colorado.

One interesting observation (at least to us) about campers and RV'ers in Michigan: their idea of a good time is to sit around a campfire...all day, and late into the night. Marathon sessions...arms folded, alone or with others. They seemed to be obsessed with it. And the campfire wood magically never runs out! Maybe Donna and I have different ideas about this life. We are more into seeing what's out there, rather than watching the embers glow, and choke in the smoke! To us, full-timing doesn't mean sitting by the fire the majority of the time!

I did find a nice branch of maple, and turned a pen on Sunday...the first since we hit the road. The wind stayed with us on Sunday, so Monday bright and early we packed up to begin our trek back to Colorado. We're planning on one overnight stay in Illinois, followed by several days in Iowa - Donna has some mega-quilt stores in mind, as well as the famous bridges of Madison County.

Thursday, May 3, 2007


The rig was returned to us Monday at the usual time: 2:15pm. Everything was finally complete, and we made the decision to head north. Our next campground was only 65 miles north, and free camping or not, we needed a change of scenery. The weather on Monday was iffy, with scattered T-storms and weather advisories. We decided to take our chances, so, by 2:30pm, we were on the road. It was a straight shot, IN Hwy 13 changed to MI Hwy 131, and, by 4:00pm, we were parked outside of Kalamazoo, MI. We went through some rain showers, but didn't see any movement in the clouds - there had been a tornado warning posted. That is one thing we don't want to tangle with!

We are now at the American Campground, northwest of Kalamazoo. Beautiful park, with two small lakes, and several pairs of geese with goslings. I scrounged some wood (maple I think) yesterday, and will attempt to turn a pen either tomorrow afternoon or Saturday. Lots of maple trees around here. We have found that it is noticeably cooler here than Indiana, even though we didn't travel that far. Seventy degrees feels more like sixty.

We're heading to the Tulip Festival tomorrow, so stay tuned for some flower pictures!