Showing posts from May, 2010

Big Holiday Weekend

Memorial Day is the un-official start of summer here in the upper Midwest. It more or less delineates the end of the school year for most kids, big and little alike. Summer vacation is a vestige of earlier days when a mostly agrarian society needed the extra hands around the farm in order to get the most out of the three or four month growing season for the benefit of family survival. Those days are way behind us. Just try to get a teenager to do some real work these days. Dar went along with Mom and my Aunt Nancy to decorate family graves in the area. I stayed near the bus-house -- mostly nursing a slightly sore shoulder. Must have pulled something while moving paving brick or sprucing up the car with an oil change and a scrub-job yesterday. Not many plans for the holiday weekend though. We may run up to Dar's Uncle & Aunt's place near the Wisconsin Dells tomorrow. They have a big holiday weekend get-together with family and friends on each of the big summer 3 -- Memor

Good Warm Weather

It's been over a week since I posted an entry to the Journal... time for a quick update. Being in Wisconsin and close to family and friends means we're almost always busy with something. In the past week we've worked on a couple plumbing projects at Mom & Dad's house, continued the trimming and clean-up of some back areas out at the farm, attended my niece's wedding, had a family portrait taken, enjoyed the weekly "Thursday night on the deck" (TNOD) get-together with Jan & Dave (and whoever else we can get to show up), and other things that just aren't jumping to mind right now. A few days ago I awoke before sunrise and found the nearby marsh blanketed with ground fog. I grabbed the camera and hustled out for a little photo-shoot. Some of those images are included in this post. During the last week we've had some warm -- almost hot -- summer-like weather. Temps made it into the low 90f's a couple days and the dew point wa

Work Work Work

Yes, we're still around -- but have been busy as bees in Spring the past few days. Doctor and dentist appointments, working on the RV pad here at the farm, running the bus-house into town for a fluid exchange, completely washing the exterior of the bus-house (she's lookin' good now!), cutting down a few trees and continuing our "sprucin' up" of the farm yard... and more that isn't jumping to mind right now. If I worked out like this on a regular basis I'd be one fine physical specimen. We're making a run into Madison today. My Dad has a doctors appointment so Mom, Dar, and I will hunt down lunch someplace and work in a little shopping. We love Trader Joes and make it a point to stop whenever we're close to one... which isn't all that often. When we return, I've got to get up on the roof with a tube of sealant and finish repairing a few small joints where the factory applied silicone has cracked -- noticed them while scrubbing the c

Woodpecker Alarm

I've been occupying my time trying to chip away at "the list", but progress has been slow. We've got the RV pad at the farm ready to use and moving day will probably be Tuesday. We'll run into town for a quick fluid exchange and wash the exterior of the bus-house prior to backing onto the pad -- all of which will make for a long day. Yesterday Dar and I went to work on the basement -- those storage "bays" under the floor of the bus-house.  From the very beginning of our journey they were a mystery to me. When they're empty they appear enormous. But when you load 'em up they seem to shrink -- quickly. And the old addage that your stuff expands to fill the available space is also true. At least once each year, hopefully on a warm calm sunny day, we pull everything out, clean the space, inspect under the floor for signs of problems (stowaways, mechanical and structural things, etc.), critically go through all the stuff and cull those things not us

Huddled Around the Heater

Special events brought us to Wisconsin early this year. In addition to this past weekends 60th wedding anniversary celebration we have a formal family picture planned and another wedding later this month. Oh, and then Dar's high school class reunion next month, a couple of doctor's appointments, dentist visits, jury duty, and I don't know what all else. As I've mentioned before, we'll be busy. The early visit to Wisconsin is reminding us just how changeable the weather can be this time of year in these northern latitudes. As I write this Tuesday morning, the wind is howling out of the east and rain is pelting the bus-house. My outdoor thermometer says 43 degrees but it sounds and feels even colder than that. At any rate I'm not planning to move from my warm lair until thing improve. Mom & Dad's 60th celebration was Sunday and we all had a great time. Dar and I enjoyed seeing and talking to family we hadn't seen in almost a year. The honorees, who

Early May in Wisconsin

After enjoying a bunch of warm and almost summer-like weather during the past few weeks, this windy, wet, and chilly spell that descended on the Upper Midwest the past few days is beginning to wear on me. I try to keep in mind that this is early May in Wisconsin and, having lived here for much of my life, I know that May, like April, can be nice or it can be wintery... be ready for anything and you won't be surprised. Keep reminding myself -- unless you experience the extremes you can't really appreciate the mean. So com'on, enjoy it! The past couple days we've been busy visiting family and working on some of the tasks on "the list". My brother, the professor, is jetting into town for a few weeks and I'm going along to retrieve him from the airport tonight. Watching for snow... T

60 Years

60 Years ago today, May 6, 1950, two young people, hand in hand, started on a life journey that extended far beyond that walk down the church aisle. Full of hope, and with a touch of fear, they faced the future together, eventually producing a fine family of children, grand-children, and now great grand-children. The next few days we're celebrating with them. Here's a reprint of the announcement in the local newspaper: Harold Hoch and Carol Mae Neis were married on May 6, 1950, at St. Peter Catholic Church (now St. Katharine Drexel). They will be celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary with their family on Mother’s Day. Their children are Thom and Darlene (Soldner), Jerry and Debra (Krezinski), Jan and David Bilgri, and Bill. They have eight grandchildren and three great-grandsons. Their attendants were Sharon (Neis) Kant, deceased; Floyd Hoch, June (Malak) Beers, deceased; Ed (Butch) Beers; Betty (Andercheck) Willihnganz and Cletus Willihnga

Two Months, Two Thousand Miles

From the time we left Sandollar RV Park in Rockport TX until we drove into Beaver Dam yesterday, almost two months have passed and we've added another 2,100 miles to the bus-house odometer. We spent time in the Hill Country of Texas, lingered at Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle, found history and adventure in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska, did some family tree research in Iowa, and finally rested for a week on the banks of the Mississippi River in Southwest Wisconsin. Along the way we camped at four Corps of Engineers campgrounds, one State Park, two County Parks, and four RV Parks. We explored four State Capitols and visited a series of museums and historic sites. Of the 11 places we camped, we stayed for 5 days or more at 7 of them. Of the 2,100 miles the bus-house covered, fewer than 200 miles were on Interstate Highways -- and by far most of that was in the Texas Panhandle. This leg of the journey was closer to what we're finding to be our ideal travel mode -- dr

Potosi Brewing Company

One of our little dark secrets is that we both really enjoy brewpubs and wineries as we travel throughout the USA. I can't say we've ever had anything other than a great time while sampling the wide varieties of craft beers and wines that these establishments create. And the good-natured, like-minded folks we meet during these visits just add to the enjoyable experience. I mean, who can be grumpy in a winery or a brewpub? Benjamin Franklin once said "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to have a good time." So, in pursuit of a good time, we came back to this Corp of Engineers Campground, conveniently situated close to Potosi, WI., the home of the historic Potosi Brewery. We were here back in October of 2008 when I documented our visit to the National Brewing Museum [ link to Journal post ], which is housed in the refurbished Potosi Brewery. What I didn't write about at that time was the small micro brewery, brewpub and restaurant known as the Potos

Blog Together Again

Some readers may remember that I switched from Yahoo! to Blogger for my blog-host about a year ago. At that time I was able to, one-by-one, copy the posts from the first few months of 2009 to Blogger so I'd have all of 2009 (and beyond) in one place. I also created a link to the pre-2009 posts that still pointed to the old blog on Yahoo!... a workable but inconvenient situation that left The RV Sabbatical Journal divided. But one of my projects that bubbled to the top of "the list" recently was to unify the Journal in one place -- to migrate all the old posts to the new blog. I probably spent more time finding a "quick" way to do it than if I had just copied and pasted one post at a time. But in the past few days my efforts have succeeded and we now have the Journal re-united again. You you check out the archives of my previous posts over there in the sidebar, you'll see 2007 and 2008 are now available here. With no need any longer to link to the previous

RV'ing with a Dog

Questions for Thom...  I recently received an email from a reader asking (and I paraphrase)... "Thom, why don't you ever write about your dog?" Well, that's an easy one... we don't have a dog. But I dare say the questioner's assumption that we have one is understandable. Most RV'ers, by far the majority, have a dog, often more than one. Some RV'er pet-owners have pets that are not dogs... we've seen cats, exotic birds, ferrets, and we did run across one fellow who thought he had a snake... hadn't seen it for a couple weeks, but thought it was "still in there somewhere". But all the "other" pets combined are just a small sliver of the pet pie. The vast majority are dog owners. We were out for an evening stroll around an RV park late last year, just the two of us, when this woman comes up to us and demands "Where's your dog?" For a moment I feared that maybe this RV park had a rule about it... maybe you

A Growing To-Do List

Whenever we're close to one of our extended camps... Wisconsin or Washington or Texas... we find ourselves making up a to-do list of all the things, big and small, that we want to accomplish while not preoccupied with traveling and exploring. Sometimes I misplace the list and start a replacement -- only to find the first one and then I've got two lists to deal with. This time, as we approach a pause in our travels, "the list" has grown to proportions I've never seen before. I haven't seen anything about "securing world peace" but I do recall something about taking care of the Gulf oil spill problem (I think that was on Dar's side... I hope) So between visiting with Family and "the list", we'll be jumping and staying pretty busy the next few weeks. But that's OK too. Sometimes we delude ourselves that this fulltiming lifestyle is like a big vacation -- in theory... just take it easy, relax, and enjoy. However, there's a dif

Cleaner Email on a Bright May Day

After a series of thunderstorms moved through the area last night, things cleared up, calmed down, and we woke to bright sun this morning. One of my projects yesterday was to clean up our email. And by "clean up" I don't mean simply to trudge through it all, read it, and decide whether to save or dispose of it. No, I mean to make an effort to eliminate much of it at the source. Let me explain. Over the past few years a growing amount of email has been automatically dumped into our inbox each day from various sources. Most of it we've agreed to... a daily email with the recipe of the day... a daily digest of the latest Yahoo forum postings... daily reminders from Prevention Magazine to eat healthy... updates on this or that... you get the idea. Well, the volume of this type of email has grown to maybe 20 or more each day. It's gotten to the point that most of the email we get is simply dumped without even looking at the body of the message. And that's kinda