2011 July

While reflecting about our first year on the road Dave came up with a list of “tips” for any of you who are contemplating following in our footsteps.  Here they are –

Lessons of the First Year on THE ROAD

First things first.
We are all for doing "The Family Thing". Take care of
your family obligations before you ditch your jobs. Pay
the bills, make mortgages, pay for family trips and holiday
traditions, maintain medical coverage, buy clothes, fund
school projects, field trips, sports and buy more clothes.
And, LOVE EVERY MINUTE OF IT! Even the hard, painful and
scary moments because you will survive them as well and
your children will turn out pretty DAMN FANTASTIC. 
Don't miss this part of life. Your family provides you
with most of your greatest memories.
Now here are the lessons we learned during the First Year
on the Road.

1. Travel with your BEST FRIEND. You will spend a lot if
time together so, you need to LIKE each other and "play by
the rules".

2.  Don't wait until you can AFFORD to live the life you
dream of.
Find a level of poverty that you are willing to accept and
start living it NOW!

3. Retire THE SECOND you can. You get ONE shot at this
life, are you going to be HAPPIER at work or at play?

4. People who collect stuff will NEVER be able to collect
enough stuff.

5. The only things you "can take with you" are the things
you learn, the relationships you have, your traditions
and your memories. (Thanks Dad for saying this a zillion
times while I was growing up.)

6. Learn more. Visit as many Museums, Libraries, National
Monuments and historic sites as you can.

7. Love your family and keep in contact with them.

8. Make as many friends as you can.

9. Think of EVERYONE as a potential friend.

10. Have NO enemies.

11. Celebrate important days.

12. Make everyday a reason to celebrate.

13. If you want to collect memories and have great stories
to share in your old age and pass down to your great-great
grandkids, you need to hit the road and make your own and
write YOUR story. Have as many BIG adventures as possible!

14. Be SELFISH! You were Selfless during the previous
period of your life. This time is ALL ABOUT YOU!

15. This country is FULL of beautiful places and REALLY
nice people.  Go out and FIND them.

16. It (our RV home) is not too small. It has a kitchen,
bedroom, bathroom, TV room and a 3,794,083 square mile
yard.

17. Wal-Mart, Cracker Barrel, Flying J, and Interstate
Rest Stops are a few of the BEST RV resorts in the land.

18. Friend's and Family's driveways ARE the best RV resorts
in the land.

19. Money is ALWAYS an issue in relationships. Making more
just makes it a bigger issue.

20. Live within your budget and start every month with a
zero balance on your credit card. (Thanks Roberta)

21. Only use your credit card to earn airplane tickets so
you can visit grandkids without driving all the way across
country a couple time a year.

22. Know where you’re going to sleep by 3 o'clock in the
afternoon.  You'll sleep better.

23. Going 55mph REALLY does increase MPG but, you don't
make very many friends with truck drivers.

24. Be Spontaneous.  Wake up every morning and decide
which direction and how far you’re going to go that day.

25. At crossroads, flip a coin.

26. RV's have what's called "Wal-Mart Waggle" which
translates to,"HOLY CRAP! That pot hole was freakin HUGE!"
or "Why the hell are driveways all of a sudden engineered
at 45* degree angles?" In order to avoid having EVERYTHING
you own and all your food from ending up on the floor,
BE PREPARED!

27. Have a checklist to remind you to shut and lock
cupboards and fridges, to lower antennas, retract level-
ing jacks, and to stow electric cables and water hoses.

28. Upgrade the Rear Suspension! Best $250.00 we have
spent so far!

29. It is NOT possible to use too much "museum glue",
double sided tape, "anti-slide cupboard material" and
as many "craft glue dots" and "sticky dashboard mats" as
possible. In other words if you don't want "it" on the
floor.... GLUE "IT" DOWN!

30. Exercise at least every other day. Hike, ride a bike,
work out at Anytime Fitness (Yes, that's a plug. They are
open 24 hours a day and EVERY ONE has a shower.)

31. Shower at least every other day in order to keep your
partner from fleeing. (Flying J, Anytime Fitness, family
and friends have the best showers. RV parks are iffy
proposals at best; some great, some not so good.)

32. LAUGH, HAVE FUN, PLAY GAMES and LAUGH SOME MORE!

33. Sirius/ XM Radio are required. You have to have your
mix of Grateful Dead, Acoustic Coffee House, Classic Vinyl,
Blue Collar Comedy, NPR (Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me and
Prairie Home Companion), and MSNBC (Keeps you up to date
on the "need to know" events of the day.)

34. Wi-Fi. Still a lesson being learned. McDonald's,
Borders, Barnes and Noble are reliable.

35. Starbucks... Duh! Great atmosphere. Best Coffee,
Free Wi-Fi, and they let you sit there ALL day, just
cause they're really nice. 

36. Plan your wardrobe VERY carefully. Most of your
clothes have to be 3 season with a couple heavy winter
coats. Almost no storage for EXTRAS. Limited space for
dirty clothes means doing laundry in 3 loads or less and
laundry-mats are not always the nicest places in town.

37. Boondock as many nights as possible. Why "pay to
sleep"?  It's more fun to "pay to play".

38. Install Solar Panels on your roof and an inverter
inside the coach.  Upgrade the batteries and rewire them
in series.  Before...1 night before the batteries went
dead. After... 4 or 5 days before we need to "plug in".

39. Never, EVER overfill the grey water and black water
tanks. YUCK!  Dump the tanks at 90%.

40. Don't overstay your welcome. You want, no YOU NEED,
to maintain healthy relationships in order to have a place
to park the next time "you’re in town".

And finally, it's important enough to repeat...

Travel with your BEST FRIEND.

July 2

We returned to Wisconsin for the 4th of July weekend because our friend had invited us to see the 4th of July fireworks from his pontoon boat on the river.  It was an offer we couldn’t refuse!

Wisconsin River Fireworks 7-2-11 001The “gang” assembling at Harold’s house & getting ready to head for the river.

Wisconsin River Fireworks 7-2-11 011Putting the boat in the water

Wisconsin River Fireworks 7-2-11 014This little guy apparently had been living on the boat while it was stored in Harold’s garage and when we got the boat into the river he decided to come out rather than go for a swim!  We convinced him to run off into the nearby woods to start a new life – we were NOT planning to bring him back to Harold’s house after the trip!!

Wisconsin River Fireworks 7-2-11 016Harold – our fearless captain

Wisconsin River Fireworks 7-2-11 024Here we are on the river – (left to right) Mark, Larry, Denise, Jeff, Krystal,  Jodi and Roberta.  Harold & Peggy are in the back left steering the boat and Dave, of course, is taking the pic!

Wisconsin River Fireworks 7-2-11 029

Wisconsin River Fireworks 7-2-11 038Even though it was a bit green, the water was sooo inviting on such a hot day.  We all went into the water at some point!

Wisconsin River Fireworks 7-2-11 041Even Roberta!

Wisconsin River Fireworks 7-2-11 061

Wisconsin River Fireworks 7-2-11 067Sunset on the river

Wisconsin River Fireworks 7-2-11 071We were far from being the only ones out there!!

Wisconsin River Fireworks 7-2-11 075Sauk City dam where the fireworks display happens

Wisconsin River Fireworks 7-2-11 030

Wisconsin River Fireworks 7-2-11 024

Wisconsin River Fireworks 7-2-11 018KABOOM!!

July 4

It was just the four of us relaxing on the actual 4th when suddenly the kid in each of us took over  and we got out the sparklers and other stuff in Harold’s back yard.
WI - Lodi July 4, 2011 001

Dave lights a sparkler…

WI - Lodi July 4, 2011 002then one in each hand…

WI - Lodi July 4, 2011 028Even a home display is pretty & exciting

July 5
One place we missed on our first visit to Wisconsin was Devil’s Lake State Park, so we made sure to get there this time.  It was just a short drive from Harold’s house and we spent more than 4 hours hiking there.

Established in 1911, the park contains 9500 acres of forest, marshes, meadows, effigy mounds, quartzite bluffs and a 360-acre lake that is located between 2 glacial “plugs” in an abandoned valley of an ancient river.

WI - Devil's Lake 003As soon as we entered the park we knew we were in for a beautiful day.

WI - Devil's Lake 007Hiking toward our first stop…

WI - Devil's Lake 012 - Balanced Rock closerBalanced Rock.

WI - Devil's Lake 018The views of the lake from the top were spectacular.

You can see the lake, as well as the mountain,  is enjoyed by lots of people too.

WI - Devil's Lake 020

WI - Devil's Lake 021

WI - Devil's Lake 022 - Elephant RockElephant Rock  (Can you see the image of the elephant?)

WI - Devil's Lake 024Dave taking photos

WI - Devil's Lake 027 - Devil's DoorwayDevil’s Doorway

WI - Devil's Lake 038 - Potholes TrailPotholes Trail

(We took this trail back down because we were told that the

alternative trail was very steep!)

WI - Devil's Lake 039 - Potholes TrailCheck out these “natural” steps

WI - Devil's Lake 052 - Merrimac FerryAnd on our way “home” we got to ride the Merrimac Ferry again.

July 9-17

We camped with our new friends at a lovely place in Minnesota for the week.  The weather was too hot when we arrived, cooled off too much for a few days, and then gradually warmed up again until the heat and humidity were unbearable the last 2 days.  But we had a great time and made even more “new” friends at the campground – which means even more driveways to park in in the Midwest and Canada in the future!

July 2011 001 - Two Creeks, MNOur campsite in Minnesota with our friends

July 2011 007 - MNMinnesota scenery

July 18-21

 From there we headed to the Minneapolis area to wait for our trip to California.  We boon docked a few nights, but the heat and humidity were intense!!  We spent the days rotating between Starbuck’s, Barnes & Noble, and the local movie theater just to stay out of the heat.  Saw a few good movies – Harry Potter (a nice ending to the series), Super 8 (well done & entertaining), Cars2 (cute but too long), & Larry Crowne (a lovely romantic comedy with a great cast).   When the nighttime heat got to be too much for us we looked for a campground to spend the last 2 nights before our flight.  We found “Peaceful Valley” in Le Sueur, MN – once the home of the Jolly Green Giant!

 July 2011 008 - Jolly Green Giant, Le Sueur, MNHo! Ho! Ho!

July 2011 010 - Jolly Green Giant, Le Sueur, MN…Green Giant!

July 2011 012 - Peaceful Valley, MNPeaceful Valley

We will be in California July 22-29, without a computer, so look for our next entry in early August.

About meanderingmomma

A retired school teacher hits the road
This entry was posted in 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

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