Sunday, July 5, 2020

4th of July Weekend

Devils Lake, North Dakota:  It's 8:30 am on the 3rd of July and my daughter and I are sitting at her kitchen table enjoying two beautiful cappuccinos she made with her new birthday espresso machine - thanks mom and dad 😉

Ahhh.. the coffee cup.  Also a gift from mom and dad.

After getting our coffee fix, we take the dogs on a walk around the neighborhood.  It's a nice neighborhood of older houses, very typical of most farming towns I've been to in the upper Midwest.  She lives near the huge community park and ball fields which are just across the train tracks and nice for walking.  Today we see several houses that have been decorated up for the 4th of July holiday.

The temperatures this week continue to stay near the 90's with high humidity, so one of us decided he needed to take a cool-off break in a mud puddle this morning.

The morning of the 4th of July we woke up to deep blue skies and little wind even though thunderstorms were forecast. It should be a good night for fireworks.

My daughter did a fantastic job keeping me and her friends well fed through the holiday weekend.  The afternoon of the 4th she smoked brisket and pulled pork which we ate out in the backyard while the kids set off a few colored smoke bombs for fun.  

The town of Devils Lake was pretty festive this 4th of July.  Not only did the city put on an impressive fireworks display in the evening, but just about everyone in the neighborhood around us had their own show to add.  We were treated to one sparkly display after another during our walk down to the city park in the evening to watch the official show.

After the weekend, I'll make the drive back to Minnesota and back to my summer lakeside retreat.  Thanks to my baby girl for a fun holiday weekend - I'll be back again soon.

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

My RV Life: Mid-Year 2020

551 Days on the Road

Hackensack, Minnesota:  Today is exactly in the middle of 2020.  183 days away from the beginning and 182 days from the end.  While I'm tempted to say we are half-way through the worst year of our lives, I'm sure many of us have experienced worse times personally.  It's not always easy to separate the worldwide situation from the individual one, but each day I'm praying for patience and healing in both areas.  I'm also working hard to appreciate all the little things around me that are good.

Here's what life in the RV looked like this week.

I think we'll just erase half and try again next year


It's been a little humid

She is watching me set up the new bird feeder

These two made a team effort

I think there are babies but I haven't looked yet
I did spot these robins on my walk to the store

He comes to fish every day

Sunday, June 28, 2020

Settling In

Hackensack, MN:  Welcome to small town Northern Minnesota, population 310 + 1.  The dogs and I have been getting settled into our new summer semi-quarantine location for a little over a week now.  Lilly the lab is overjoyed to have her own dock and lake for swimming this summer.  I bought her a brand new throwing dummy last week and as far as she is concerned, life is good.

The little town of Hackensack is pretty quiet, especially now during the pandemic.  It feels like the perfect place to distance through the summer.  I hardly see anyone on my morning walks and I've noticed that the locals are being fairly compliant with mask wearing in the little town grocery store and post office.  It's good to see people caring and looking out for their neighbors in this way.

Mooch-docked for the summer
Other than catching up on projects, my days are settling in to a familiar routine. Coffee and news in the morning, a walk and swim with the dogs, bike riding in the afternoon, lots of critter sightings, and beautiful sunsets over the lake for the evening. I am still missing Jason, but it looks like it will be a quiet summer at the lake.

Saturday, June 13, 2020

My RV Life: Week 75

533 Days on the Road

Devils Lake, North Dakota:  As I write this post, I'm currently mooch-docking in my daughter's driveway in North Dakota.  My drive from Oregon to here has been long and mostly uneventful - 1,391 miles.  I did the drive in two 600+ mile chunks with a 4 day break in the middle.  Not my favorite way to travel.

On Monday, I plan to complete the last 250 miles to Northern Minnesota where I'll be parking on some family land until Jason can return home from Saudi Arabia.  We still don't know how long that will be.  There are hopeful signs that things are slowly opening up around the world, but it's hard to know what will happen with international flights.  For now, we wait.

Here's what life in the RV looked like this past week.
Site #55 at the Billings, Montana KOA

He let me get so close

Afternoon storm brewing

Made a quick detour in Bozeman, Montana

By far the best wash they've had so far in Minot, North Dakota

White Horse Hill National Game Preserve

Prairie Dog Town


Thursday, May 28, 2020

Last Days in Oregon

Portland, Oregon:  It's true.  After 10 weeks of sheltering-in-place, it's finally time to move on.  I wish I could say that I'm off to roam around the country freely again but that's not the case in this current pandemic situation... not yet!  This week I will be making a very long drive to a new (and free!) shelter-in-place location on family land in Northern Minnesota.

I have a bunch of errands to run this week in preparation for my long drive east to the Midwest.  Number 1 on the list - espresso beans!

Having lived in the Midwest for 7 years, I have a pretty good heads-up on the coffee situation over there.  In short, it stinks.  Yes, I know in big cities like Minneapolis and Chicago you can find great coffee, but for the most part the Midwest is a coffee wasteland.  J and I have figured out that the quickest and most accurate way to judge a Midwestern barista is by their quizzical look when we order an espresso shot.  "You just want espresso?  No water or milk in that?"

Yes, we are West Coast coffee snobs 

My second pre-departure errand included a trip to the tire shop to have 3 brand new tires installed on the travel trailer.  Last week while retrieving something from underneath, I discovered that the inner treads of my tires were completely bald.  Good thing I saw this before embarking on a 1600 mile solo road trip!  For anyone who is looking, the Les Schwab in Wilsonville, Oregon has really convenient pull-through lanes for RVs and they were pleasant to deal with.

For the past 10 weeks I have been riding out the pandemic at Pheasant Ridge RV Resort in Wilsonville, Oregon.  I wasn't originally planning to be here, but after having my state park stay cut short with less than 24 hours notice on March 22, and then having the following two months of Oregon coast reservations unceremoniously cancelled on me - well, I feel grateful to have gotten a spot here and thankful that they have remained opened throughout this whole situation.  I know many full-timers were left scrambling for options when the pandemic first hit.

This park is very clean with lovely landscaping and paved level mostly pull-through sites.  They have a very nice laundry room (thankfully open during the pandemic) and a pool which was closed.  

I stayed in the upper level of the park in site #111.  I've had a decent WiFi signal here, and enjoyed having a few trees around me for shade when the temperatures suddenly rocketed into the 80's this week.  My 10 week stay has been mostly quiet.

Friday, May 22, 2020

My RV Life: Week 72

511 Days on the Road

Portland, Oregon:  It's starting to look like the Covid-19 Spring will soon turn into the Covid-19 Summer.  I hope everyone is holding up this week as we take those first cautious steps out into public life again.  I know each of us has to decide for ourselves how much we will isolate as the pandemic wears on.  As for me, I think it will be a long time before things go back to normal.  Certainly it will be as long as it takes for J to return from Saudi Arabia - that looks like it could still be months away.  

Here's what life in the RV looked like this week.

Checking out the new neighbors

Keeping us Oregon-ized

First post-quarantine lunch out - patio seating is my new search filter

Hot pepper love

He likes this spot

... and this spot