Thursday, September 17, 2015

Our Minnesota Connection

It has been quite the summer for us; therefore, a lot of catching up to do since our last Blog update of May 30.

We ask ourselves, where have these three months gone?  We will be kind and not bore you with too many details as these summer months did keep us busy.

First things first . . .  

Good News, Sold House in Wisconsin ~ It’s hard to believe that we finally sold the house after having it on the market for four days.  We were going on the 4th summer season this time around, so to get an offer in that short of time was a little bit of a shock.   Needless to say we were pretty ecstatic!  There was still a lot to do even though we have had the house pretty much sale-ready.  Still, getting everything finalized for the new buyers from Colorado who wanted a good quality home and some acreage, did keep us hopping.  We are so grateful to St. Joseph for finally getting his feet pointed in the right direction as he was buried in our flower garden – feet up toward Heaven – for all these years.  He will however have to remain in that position for such time that the cone flowers keep multiplying, as we couldn’t find him on our first dig and we really didn’t want to disturb the beautiful flowers too much.  He'll be happy amongst the beautiful flower garden.

Moving day for items to the storage unit
Our dependable "moving team"

Where did all the furniture go?

We didn't know the hearth was dual purpose
Since there is no more stick house for us we are now able to live our dream of being full-time in our RV.  Yeah!  We moved into our motor home on closing day, July 8 and took up a short, temporary residence parked in our driveway down by the pole shed.

The buyers said we could stay the week if we wanted to since they were taking off for Colorado to get their personal belongings.  We do believe they were also bringing back miniature Angus for the pasture.  This worked out just perfectly for everyone and when it was finally time to make our final exit down the driveway it did go well.  Both of us will miss our beautiful home on 40 acres that we put our heart and soul into, but there comes a time in your lives when you move on to other things.  We did have a good life there. 

Minnesota here we come ~ After crossing the border into Wisconsin for the last 17 years it was now time for us to return to our roots in Minnesota.  Jeff’s Mom was now our top priority.  We set up home at Wapiti Park Campground in Elk River, Minnesota.  A very beautiful area that is called home by at least 30+ peacocks that reside here.  Others included in this menagerie were mules, horses and Guinea hens.  What was most fun was when they would flock in front of our camp site because they knew that we would provide the bread for them to eat.    
Elk River runs through the park

Julia found a friend about her size

Feeding time at the Down's

The word, Wapiti, means Elk.  The campground has been very convenient for us to be here in many ways – about 14 miles from where his Mom was going to live.  Going from her condo in a senior building to an assisted living facility near where his brother, Brian and Kay’s sister, Jan live was quite a move for Mom.  Little did we know at that time that things were going to rapidly change.  This day was July 6.
And from here we will fast forward our summer that included Mom’s health not doing too well at almost 96.  Add to that ER visits, ambulance rides, finally surgery, rehab center to get strong, back to the hospital because of pain med complications, then back to the rehab center to continue getting stronger and then finally getting discharged back to her apartment.  Hallelujah.  Discharge day was September 2.  A pretty long 2 months for everyone.  Oh, we almost forgot, mix into that getting her condo ready for sale.  The wallpaper removal was the worst and we had the kitchen and bathrooms to attend to.

Good News, A Bigger “Coach” to call Home ~ We have always said that when we sell the house in Wisconsin we would like to upgrade the motor home a wee bit bigger.  How does going from 38 ft. to 43 ft. with a total of four slides sound?  Jeff has always been diligent about keeping up on what’s out there and what we would like to have (and not have) in our next motor home.  He did well and found our new home - not too far from where we currently are - at Steinbring Motorcoach in Garfield, Minnesota (about 110 miles NW from the campground that we are currently at).  They are one of the top Newmar dealers in the nation, actually 2nd and have quite a selection of coaches for you to walk through and drool over.  We pretty much had made our decision on which one was our favorite - a 2008 Dutch Star - so making the purchase wasn't hard at all.  In fact, looking at it online didn't do it justice at all.    

Move in day for our new home was quite an experience for both of us as we kept asking ourselves if everything from the old was going to fit in the new.
Paperwork, packing and unpacking kept us busy

Just need to do a little more downsizing again and work on getting it boondock-ready (solar panels, LED lights throughout and bathroom shower head adjustments) to accommodate our off-the-grid lifestyle.  

Family Fun ~ Kay’s daughter traveled to Iceland for 10 days at the end of June.  Joe (almost 13 yrs) and Julia (almost 3 yrs) came to Wisconsin to help us empty the house and have some fun with Grandpa and Grandma.  What a time we all had living in the motor home down by the barn.  Julia was a little pensive about the available space back in the bedroom – not at all like her bedroom back at her house.  (We had to keep telling her that there were no monsters hiding anywhere.)

On August 19th, Julia returned to spend four nights with us in the new Coach while her Mom and big brother did a mini trip to Washington DC.  She was definitely more relaxed in the Coach with the added amount of room that we now have.  No mention of any of those “m’s” in the bedroom and that was a good thing.   Little Julia, Grandma and Grandpa had a wonderful time together. 

Classic Cars ~ Jeff and his brother, Brian had their share of cool cars during their early driving years and both continue to have a love and appreciation for the classics.   A trip Back to the 50's  at the classic car show at the Minnesota Fair Grounds was a hoot.  The summer months bring out many smaller displays of classic cars that you can actually begin to recognize cars that you see driving around town.  

Jeff with his brother, Brian and his classic '64 Nova  

More classic cars at a show at Lake Orono

Brian and Jan

New Baby News ~ Congratulations to our Niece, Lindsey and her husband, Kyle on the news that they are going to be 1st time parents.  Baby shower is October 17th with baby’s arrival set for January.  First time Grandparent credentials will be bestowed upon Jeff’s brother, Brian and Kay’s sister, Jan at this time.  Fun times are coming for them!

A Friend Comes to Visit ~ We had a great visit from our dear friend, Richard who is originally from Big Falls, Minnesota.  We met Richard and his wife Connie in Texas in 2012.  They are our fishing buddies when we travel to Texas to shore fish in the Gulf of Mexico.  Connie passed last year and we had good intentions of going to her memorial in July up in Big Lake, MN.  Unfortunately, that's pretty much when everything was starting to heat up with Jeff's Mom, so we weren't able to travel at that time.  Richard made it a point to hook up with us at the campground where we were staying so Kay could spoil him with some home cooking.  Good conversation was had by all with some quality guy time while Kay was cooking.  The next morning Richard would be pulling out and continuing his travels toward Texas. 

Richard's new home on wheels.

Our Travel Plans ~ Once we turn the calendar over to October, it’s time to make decisions on when we will leave and where are we going to go.   We do believe that we have a starting point which would be Texas!  We have decided to travel south to Los Fresnos (near South Padre) to spend maybe a good month where we will cast out the big fishing poles into the Gulf of Mexico for some awesome shore fishing.  Richard will be included!!!  We did this back in 2012 when we spent our first year of retirement in the Rio Grande Valley.  We are looking forward to renewing friendships with people who still winter in south Texas.  From there we head west to SE California and Arizona to spend the remaining winter months of 2015/16 camping off-the-grid.  We haven’t decided exact destinations and times as of yet but you can be sure the Coach is pointed toward new adventures this winter.

Be grateful for each day.
Hugs 🌵

Jeff & Kay