We left our new “Lighthouse friends” on Sunday and headed down U.S. 23 a couple hours to Tawas Point State Park where we camped for the next two nights alongside our long-time friends Norm and Alice.
We became good friends back in the mid 70’s when Norm and I began working for Xerox fixing copiers in downtown Detroit. We married our (now still) sweethearts the same year, bought our first homes the same year, and each helped to bring two beautiful babies (a boy and girl each) into this world.
During our time together at Tawas, we ate, we drank, we rode our bikes to the lighthouse and we drove into town for ice cream 🍨 of course!
We could’ve easily spent a couple more days with Norm and Alice at Tawas, but we had to continue toward home as we needed to get our house in Ohio ready for the traveling nurse who would be renting from us starting September 1st.
A few months ago when I had written about our upcoming volunteer gig at the lighthouse in Rogers City, I got a message from one of my grade school friends. Kevin told me that they now live on a lake at Oscoda, Michigan. We made plans to meet up for lunch as we would be passing through on our way home.
Although our visit was brief, it was great to meet up and renew our friendship. We committed to being up in their neck of the woods again and making a point of looking them up for a longer visit next time. Thanks for reaching out to us guys!
We tried to meet up with a couple other schoolmates from the Class of ’72, Tom who was actually camping at Tawas Point the week before we got there and Diane who is now living at Hubbard Lake. Unfortunately, although we messaged each other trying to make it work, it just didn’t work out. Thanks for reaching out to us guys … hope we can try again sometime.
Although we could’ve driven straight through from Oscoda Michigan to Mt Gilead Ohio in one stretch, we decided to boondock at one of our preferred dry camping locations.
Cabela’s at Dundee Michigan has HUGE parking lots and the one in the back of the store by the loading docks allows us to park alongside a very large retention pond that makes for a quiet and beautiful rest spot. Although there were a few trucks parked a few hundred feet away, they never kept us from a restful night.
Since we only had about ten days to get the house ready for Tara (the traveling health professional) and we needed to pack the coach for our upcoming trip to Arizona, we were going to park it at David and Lisa’s house. Turned out however they were having a big garage sale this weekend. So instead we were lucky enough to snag a site at Mt Gilead State Park, for the weekend. It’s a great little heavily shaded campground with both paved full hook-up sites and gravel electric only sites.
The next few days kept us busy between me going back to work M-W-Fridays, moving our personal items out of the house and into storage in preparation for our renter, and moving other “stuff” from the house to the coach in preparation for our 6 month stay at Rovers Roost in Arizona. The final day Kathy kept busy dusting, vacuuming, and mopping while I got a badly needed haircut, took a bunch of broken-down cardboard boxes to the recycling center, and dropped off a few things at the local Goodwill store.
After the garage sale we moved our home on wheels up to David and Lisa’s just outside of town (Mt Gilead) where up on the hill it’s always breezy and there’s a nice oak tree right outside our windshield that shades the morning sun from heating the coach too early in the day.
There’s always a little anxiety about change and moving down the road. But we make a plan and start working through it. So far things are working out nicely.
Thanks to David and Lisa’s hospitality, we’ll be here for a few weeks before heading to Arizona for the winter. We’re looking forward to a relaxing, enjoyable (and uneventful) trip west. Stayed tuned for more.
For those of you who know me at all, you know that I’m not one to sit still any too long. Although I don’t consider myself as one who’s “physical” (sports/walking etc.), I do have a need to do something – I can’t just sit around watching TV all day.
So when my hip surgery was finally scheduled and I made the decision to take the whole month of December off work, one of the first thoughts was “what am I going to do with myself all that time?”
I knew I’d have 2-3 days doing a lot of nothing immediately after surgery. I’d be using a walker most of the time those days making trips back and forth from the bed, to the bathroom, to the recliner, and back to bed.
But after those first few days I’d have physical therapy scheduled 2 or 3 days a week to help keep me occupied. I’m going to get PT at the local hospital. I prefer that to having the therapist coming to our home because I feel the professionals at the hospital have all the equipment at their disposal, they have to record everything on their laptop, and since there are other patients and therapists in the room (including their boss) I just think I get a better all around therapy session. Besides, the way I look at it, it’s my Social Event for the week!
But aside from the PT, since I’m a licensed Amateur Radio “Ham” Operator, I knew that I could take advantage of this time to allow me to play a little radio and work on some of my DX (distance) contact awards. It’s always fun to get a new QSL (acknowledgment) card from another country confirming our contact and conversation. Here’s one I just got from the Netherlands.
I realized pretty quickly that my Man Cave or “shack” as we hams call it gets cold during Ohio winters. It’s a small workshop which is just off the 2 car attached garage. It’s a great place to have a shack (or workshop) because it’s on the main floor (no stairs to climb) and I can make all the noise I want and not disturb the XYL (wife) but the disadvantage is that it’s not heated so the inside temp is typically only 3-5 degrees warmer than the outside temps.
Now logic says “insulate it” but my surgery is next week and I just knew I wouldn’t have time to remove all the shelving, workbench, cabinets, and drywall to install the insulation and then put everything back together again in time.
So I felt the answer to my problem was NOT to install an electric heater (high utility bills) but instead install hardware and software so that I could operate the radio from my recliner in the living room. So now I have my laptop computer with me in my recliner and I can operate using a small boom mike/headset. SWEET!
As the month of December goes on and I feel like doing more and more, I do have some projects that could wait until spring but that I just might get started early. We’ll see …
Kathy helped out a little at a Christmas Sale this past weekend at one of the local fire halls where she came home with a few goodies. Since we’ve been on the road for the last six years, we didn’t have any Christmas decorations. She’s had fun setting up and decorating the tiny tree and she got her nativity set back out of storage at our son’s home so she got that all arranged today.
We’re looking forward to a comfortable and cozy Christmas season. We wish you the same.
So it’s time again for hip replacement surgery. I’ve been putting up with this discomfort/inconvenience turned to pain for far too long.
My October appt with the orthopedic surgeon set the date for December 5th. It’s now November 28th and I’m sitting in the waiting room of a cardiologist because anesthesiologist wants a “Cardiac Clearance” before I undergo surgery.
I’ve prepared and brought with me a printed history of my cardiac issues starting with my heart attack back in 2003. I hope this doc today will see clear to give my surgery next week the green light.
I’m still working as a driver for the county transportation service taking folks to and from medical appointments and I have enough sick time banked that I can take the entire month of December off with pay while I recuperate and attend physical rehab. I hope this hip (same doc/same robot) surgery and recovery goes as well as the last one.
Our handman Bob is coming this week to install a new walk-in shower. It’ll be a great improvement to the house.
Our hope is to be able to get back to doing some camping this summer and then get back out to see our “other” family at Rovers Roost in Arizona next winter.
In the meantime, we’ll shiver a little while we stay in the little house in Mt Gilead.
That’s it for now … Take Care of yourself (and your loved ones)
Ooops .. almost forgot. The doc gave me a clean bill of heart health and all systems are GO for the surgery next .. WOOHOO !!!
Wow .. it’s been a year. How time flies. After having been on the road as RV Nomads for 4+ years, we finally came back to Ohio last March (2020) because of the Covid 19 virus.
And now a year later, were ready to move on – well, almost.
When we decided to go rv’ing full time in 2016 we sold our home in Ohio to our daughter Sara and son-in-law Stu.
When covid hit us all February of 2020 we were on our way to North Carolina to work in a campground for 3 months. At that point we didn’t know what was going to happen as many of the roadside truck stops and even highway rest areas were closing.
Restaurants were closing and some governors were even talking about closing the state lines. We were concerned that we were less and less safe with every passing day and every passing mile. Would we be able to move on if we felt unsafe in any particular location? We decided to head home to Ohio while we still could and where we knew what to expect.
We have been blessed in that the kids (Sara and Stu) have an apartment up above the garage so Kathy and I have been able to live there the last year.
I haven’t written much the last year as it’s been pretty uneventful … trips to the grocery store were sometimes the highlight of the week!
I eventually took a part-time job working for the county transportation agency. This kept me busy about 30 hours a week while Kathy had taken on the responsibility of dog-sitting Stu & Sara’s 3 dogs, helping out with their laundry and keeping us all fed each evening.
Occasionally we’ve been meeting our small “group of eight” dear friends that we’ve known for years. We are “Brothers (and sisters) from another mother). We’d meet at one of our homes for a wonderful home cooked meal or, once we’ve felt more adventurous, met at a restaurant (mid-day when it’s less crowded)
We actually all went camping together last fall where we could enjoy our extended family while still being safe.
I got my Covid test last week in preparation for my shoulder surgery Tuesday. Ohio Health has an easy drive-up testing site.
Now that I’m well on my way to a complete recovery, we decided to pull the coach out of storage, test all the systems to make sure all is well, and head on out to our camp hosting job in Kentucky.
After that, we’ll come back up to Ohio for a week or so to visit our doctors and get new prescriptions for the next year along with picking up anything we might have forgot to load into the motorhome this week.
Mid-July will find us heading up to Michigan where we will visit friends and relatives for a few days before moving on up into the Upper Peninsula then on into Wisconsin and continuing to the west coast and on down into Arizona for the winter.
Thanks for following along and I’ll start posting more often now that we’re satisfying our “hitch-itch” and moving along.
Until next time, only our best wishes to you and yours for a warm and wonderful summer.
Well, it’s November 2020 and we continue to lay low in Ohio during this Covid 19 pandemic.
You might remember that we sold the house in Ohio and hit the road full-time in September of 2016 and up until a few months ago, we had no thoughts of stopping our travel and volunteering lifestyle anytime soon.
In early 2020 we had just finished our 2 week February trip to Mexico with the Escapees RV Club Chapter 8 and then made it back to our RV lot in Casa Grande, Arizona. We stayed there at the park for just a few days before rolling out and heading east through New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and on into central Florida for a couple weeks where we enjoyed hooking up with our good friends from our school days along with a stop to visit my sister in Jacksonville.
Our intention was to head north out of Florida by the end of March to fulfill our commitment to serve as campground hosts at a beautiful little campground nestled in the forest near Waynesville, North Carolina. We were scheduled to be there for April, May, and June through the July 4th weekend. Then we would come back to Ohio for July and August to spend time with family and in September we would head up into Michigan (including the U.P.) and take all of late September and all of October to travel down through Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, and on to our RV lot in Arizona by November 1st. We would be visiting friends along the way. It was a good plan. But it was just a plan ….
And then the Covid pandemic seemed to really “hit” and become a reality to us while we were in Florida. Frankly, we got a little nervous about what the future was to bring. There was talk of closures to include restaurants, gas stations, campgrounds, state borders, and even highway rest areas! Little was really KNOWN about what was to come and it seemed that every state was making up its own rules as the days passed. It seemed we couldn’t count on anything anymore.
Would we be able to make it to North Carolina? SHOULD we proceed to fulfill our commitment to serve as hosts at all? What about the dangers of coming in contact with so many strangers traveling from all over the country? How safe would Kathy be working in the office? How safe would I be cleaning the bathrooms? Or should we just hunker down and stay in Florida until this all “blows over”? But how long might that be? And would we even be able to find a spot to rent given that there were so many state parks and campgrounds that were closing?
There was so much unknown … we decided the best thing to do was cancel out on our 3 month working stint in North Carolina and just head right on up to Ohio while keeping our heads down. Along the way we spent evenings either in highway rest areas, local village Elks Lodge parking lots, or anywhere we might find a parking lot where we could park and spend the night without having to be in a situation where we would have to interact with others. We are fully self-contained with plenty of onboard water and ample solar-powered electricity so a night or even a couple weeks without hookups was not a problem for us.
You might remember that when we started our new lifestyle that we had sold our Ohio home to our daughter and son-in-law. But years before we had finished off what had been a 2nd floor workshop above the garage. Our intent was to provide a private apartment for a guest visit, to add value to the property, or possibly provide for rental income. We never had any idea that WE would be the guests!
But we’re blessed that Sara and Stu welcomed us back to the area and it’s great that although we are “close” physically, we’re not TOO close. As it’s turned out, we prepare and share dinner over here in the bunkhouse for the four of us and then we have the rest of the evening to ourselves!
Well, here it is November. We’ve been here seven months now. The beauty of fall in Ohio is pretty much gone. The red and gold leaves that drenched the roadsides with glorious bright color have fallen and winter is starting to settle in. Since the Covid situation hasn’t improved any (we’re now in the 3rd wave), our earlier logic used to get us to stay low still commands that we not travel and come in contact with a lot of other people.
I’ve taken a part-time job (about 30 hours/week) driving a small bus for the local Morrow County Transit Service. We transport folks to local shopping and medical appointments. All drivers and riders are required to wear masks and the vehicles are disinfected daily to protect us all.
Kathy’s been keeping busy preparing dinners for the four of us along with helping out Sara by keeping her home as well as ours clean and all the laundry done.
I have to admit, we have had some level of “hitch-itch” while here and we’ve taken just a handful of short camping trips with only our closest friends that we feel comfortable being around. And even at that we’ve avoided any hand shakes, hugging, or even sitting in close proximity to each other in an effort to do our part in keeping the spread of Covid at bay.
We’ve also had the opportunity to visit my sister Betsy and Brother-In-Law Bob at their new home in Owosso Michigan.
Another real pleasant surprise was the opportunity to meet up with one of my old bosses. Ken and his wife Jan were traveling through Ohio from Michigan and stopped to spend a couple days in our area! I worked for Ken from about 1980 to 1990 (I think). We by chance connected on Facebook and Kathy and I ran over to the KOA just a few minutes from our home and spent the afternoon with them and their Great Dane “Magnum”. It was great to see them again after so many years.
We’ve decided that we’ll stay the winter. Although we miss all our friends at Rover’s Roost RV Park in Casa Grande, Arizona this year, we will look forward to seeing them next winter – when hopefully things will be much better. Just today on the news Pfizer has announced that one of their vaccine products is showing a 90% success rate in 45,000 study participants.
Along with Eli Lilly and other manufacturers working on a vaccine, and new leadership in Washington making the fight against Covid a priority, maybe we will be able to resume in spring of ’21 our life of RV travel and volunteering. We certainly hope so.
Speaking of 2021, here’s our tentative plan and more details will follow in future posts as the date gets closer.
Then we’ll head on up to Baldwin, Michigan to spend a couple days at Pere Marquette Oaks Resort so we can spend some time visiting with great friends we made when we worked there as host couple during the summers of 2017 and 2018.
By mid-July we will hook up with Matt and Sherry who are fellow full-time RV’ers that we first met in Livingston Texas. We’ve since worked with them in South Dakota and met up with them in other areas of the country. This time we are planning our own little caravan (of two rigs) to motor across the Mackinac Bridge and over into Canada via Sault St. Marie.
Assuming the Canadian border is open by then, we’ll all head SLOWLY west through the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and on into British Columbia with arrival in Vancouver BC by September 1st. Matt and Sherry will “peel off” at Creston BC (just north of Idaho) so they can zip on down to visit their son at Missoula, Montana.
Kathy and I hope to take a couple ferries across from Vancouver area to Port Angeles Washington where we’ll get on Route 101 down the Pacific coast on through Oregon and into northern California.
At some point, we’ll work our way over toward Reno, Nevada and then on down (and around) Las Vegas and back to Rover’s Roost by November 1st, 2021.
That’s it for now .. we wanted to bring you up to date on what little is going on in our lives and our plans for the future.
We wish you well and happiness – we’re doin’ fine and still enjoying life – even as it is.
What about you? How are you handling the situation we find ourselves in? What are you doing to occupy your time if you’re quarantined? Are you still able to work either from home or at your work location? If you’re working away from home what are you doing to stay safe?
That’s the main thing – stay safe by staying home if you can. Use a mask if you go out in public while maintaining the 6′ distance from others and then wash your hands as soon as you get home. Use hand sanitizer as soon as you get back in the car so you are not transferring anything from your hands to your steering wheel and ultimately back to your face.
It’s another day living with the Covid-19 Corona virus issue and we’re dealing with it although missing our previously taken-for-granted freedoms.
But we’re finding that working to stay as safe as we reasonably can, it’s not as bad as it first sounded a couple months ago.
As of early May Ohio is now starting to “open up” as Governor Mike Dewine has modified his previous “Stay At Home” order to “Stay Safe Ohio” still encouraging all of us to maintain social distancing and to use face coverings whenever we are out in public. Kathy and I plan on continuing to basically shelter in place and only travel out for the necessary and always take the appropriate precautions. Our hope is that we will all be able to get out more freely by the end of summer – but that remains to be seen.
We consider ourselves fortunate that we have a place to stay safe that allows us to still have the freedom to go outside and enjoy our surroundings. There are so many others that live in a small apartment or condo and really have nowhere to go out and stretch a bit. If we had stayed at our RV park in Arizona – or any other park for that matter, we would be confined to our motorhome or our patio area.
As it is, we are “parked” in the Bunkhouse above the garage at the home of our daughter Sara and husband Stu. We sold them our home when we hit the road in 2016. We had finished off the storage room on top of the garage making it into a small apartment a few years ago as a guest room since the main house was an open floor plan with just one bedroom. Little did we know at the time that WE might end up being the guests!
During the time the governors stay at home order was in place, we only made a trip to the grocery about once a week … and I have to admit that I also made a few trips to Menards or Lowes to get supplies for the projects I’ve been working on here at the bunkhouse. I’ve always kept my distance from other shoppers and used the mask during my visit and hand sanitizer when I got back in the car.
The projects around the house here have been my savior – they’ve allowed me to keep from going crazy with boredom.
I’ve done some painting (yellow) of a couple walls in the living area along with the bathroom and spent considerable time (I’m not a carpenter) installing new kitchen cupboards/counter top/sink and shelving for the kitchenette. And of course hung some things on the walls to make it feel a little more “homey”.
And Kathy has been wonderful at keeping busy helping Sara with spring cleaning of the house and they also worked together helping a friend of Sara’s to make masks for others.
Sara just went back to work yesterday. She had taken a layoff from her job driving a mini-bus for the local county transportation service. Once the stay at home order was in place the bus runs to doctors appointments and shopping trips dropped off drastically and so the bus service reduced their driver pool from 18 drivers down to only five. But that’s ok – it gave Sara the long awaited opportunity to spend time outside working on the beds planting and transplanting .. something she really enjoys doing.
In addition to working on the bunkhouse, I had asked Stu to make a list of things I could be doing while he is at work. Stu works in Physical Therapy at a nearby nursing/rehab facility. He came up with a list (on a yellow legal pad) of about 15+ items! Since it’s early spring a lot of what I/we have been up to has been outside as long as the weather is above 40 degrees or so.
Our son David, his wife Lisa and son Garret live just about a mile down the road. David works from home and hasn’t had to do any traveling since this whole thing started. They’ve dealt with the stay-at-home order fine as they live on 8+ acres, have a few animals to take care of and Lisa always keeps a very well stocked pantry and freezer so they’ve not had to go out hardly at all. Garret doing his 6th grade school work at home via computer. He’s also been working on some life skill lessons. Papa worked with him on making some Squirrel Picnic Tables that he’s selling on Facebook and he’ll be working with David and me next week learning how to wire lights and switches in their barn.
The other day I decided to show Sara that I trust her explicitly and allowed her to cut my “hair”.
Although we miss the opportunity to eat out at some of our favorite restaurants, we’re also learning some new recipes and enjoying dinners together with Stu and Sara.
Tomorrow is Mother’s Day – I know it’ll be another great day.
Kathy and I, along with our then adolescent children David and Sara, were blessed with the opportunity to move from the Detroit, MI area (due to a job promotion) back in 1984. I was working for a hospital medical equipment manufacturer and was promoted to run the service operation for the state of Ohio. But where to live?
We looked at the Ohio map and realizing that I would most often be traveling to the larger metro areas of Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati it made sense to live somewhere off of the I-71 interstate freeway.
We looked at communities nearby and found on the map a small town called Mount Gilead. We liked the name (hoping there was a mountain there) so we headed that way.
It’s been a wonderful life. Kathy got a job with the local school system and we joined the local Presbyterian Church. David got involved in scouts and Sara had her cats and rabbits to care for. We had a swimming pool in the back yard that we all enjoyed. We took active roles in the life of our church and we made wonderful new friends.
I stayed with the medical equipment company until 1998 when I got my real estate license and this enabled me to be home every night and to work helping all kinds of people achieve the american dream of home ownership.
I have to say that it’s been a wonderful life. Mount Gilead has been a great place to raise a family with lots of support from caring friends. We’ve always had friendly neighbors willing to help out when the need arises. It’s always been nice to be able to know the guys that work on your car, your plumbing, or your taxes. We know on a first name basis the grocer, the jeweler, the hardware store owner, the florist, the guys behind the counter at the auto parts store, the banker and the funeral director. We all know where the other guy lives and we all trust that the work will be done properly and “I’ll bill ya’ later” is never a problem.
But as they say “All good things must come to an end” and now it’s time for Kathy and I to pull up stakes and move on down the road.
We made the decision to retire, buy a motorhome, sell or give away most of our personal possessions, and hit the road living in the motorhome full time. It’s certainly going to be a lifestyle change and that’s what we’re looking for. This is something I’ve dreamed of doing since I learned to drive and Kathy has become more used to the idea as time goes on.
I had a heart attack back in ’03 and Kathy had cancer in ’13 and we realize that life is short enough and can become even shorter in the blink of an eye. We need to do this while we still can.
We’re excited about the change. We’ll be leaving Ohio just after Labor Day 2016 and heading to Camp Verde, AZ where we’ll be RV park hosts late Sept – March. Kathy will work in the office registering guests and keeping the office and laundry area clean and I’ll work outside cleaning up sites as guests leave, cutting grass, spraying weeds, and cleaning the bath house. We’ll be working 2 days / week in exchange for a full hook-up site for our coach that includes electric, water, sewer, and wifi.
Then in April 0f ’17, we’ll work our way slowly back across the country, sightseeing along the way, stopping in Ohio for a bit to visit family and friends and ultimately work our way up to the Upper Peninsula (UP) of Michigan. We’ll be working in the Hiawatha National Forest as campground hosts for the summer 2017 season.
For those of you Morrow Countians reading this, we want to say THANK YOU for making us feel welcome in your community. Although we weren’t born here, didn’t grow up with any of you, didn’t go to school with you or marry into your family, …. Still, you have always welcomed us with a smile and cared about us and treated us with kindness and respect. Some of you (and you know who you are) have even come to love us like your own. Know that we feel that love for you as well and we will miss you.
For those of you who are from our previous lives in Redford Township or South Lyon (MI), we just might see some of you as we travel through Michigan in 2017!
In any event, regardless of where you reside, you can always stay abreast of our travels and what’s happening in our lives by following this blog. Just click on FOLLOW on the left side of this page and you will be emailed each time there is a new post.
Looking forward to more Wonderful Life ….. and all the best to you,