Saturday, September 30, 2006


Wal-Mart parking lot, LaCrosse, Wisconsin: Good evening. I'm sitting about 10 feet away from the highway in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Do you think I'll get any sleep? We thought we'd go see a movie this evening, but the theater that had 8 movies showing didn't have a single one that I thought was worth my money, so we forgot that idea and came back to the RV. We connected to an unsecured wireless site that has only so-so signal strength. I will really be angry if I type a whole page and then it decides it's not strong enough to send it.

We have made a total change of plans. The original plan was to go to Indiana to the factory, get our repairs done, and then head west. However, on Thursday we found out that we can't get into the factory until November 13. Why we were lead to believe that we would get right in is beyond me. So, we decided to follow the Mississippi for awhile and visit Iowa, Illinois and Missouri. We'll head to the Ozarks and spend the next month just seeing things we've not seen before. I am excited to go to the Ozarks as I've always wanted to visit there. After we head back up to northern Indiana to the factory we will maybe head southwest. That decision hasn't been made for sure yet, but we will keep you posted. In any case we will be back home for Christmas.

The drive from Stillwater to LaCrosse was very beautiful today. The skies were a bright blue with big cotton puff clouds and the temperature was in the upper 60's. Lake Pepin was full of sailboats out for their last sail before winter forces them out of the water. There were many huge boats already encased in their shrinkwrap for protection from the elements. The trees were starting to show some color. I think we are about 10 days ahead of the peak leaf season, so we won't see the brilliant reds and oranges. Maybe if we drive slow the colors will catch up to us!

We did find a church about a mile and a half from here, so we'll be attending worship services at 8:15 and then we'll head down the road towards Dubuque, Iowa.

Monday, September 25, 2006


Dunn Bros: It's not like we can call a repairman and have him come to our house and fix the problem. It's a little more complicated than that. I have to first remove anything that may be sitting on the counters, desk, or dresser tops and place those items in the two baskets I have designated as the spot for them to travel safely in. I turn the two recliners sideways and push them right up against the rear wall. The dining room chairs must be hooked into the table legs so they won't fly around the room, and the table needs to be secured so it won't crash into the cupboard. The TV gets strapped into it's spot in the entertainment center. We use a trunk as a coffee table/storage space and that has to be moved to one side of the room and placed in such a way that it will fit in the small space created when we put in the two sides of the room. When all looks ready, I push the top button on our control panel and in comes the little alcove where the headboard of the bed is attached, and the bedroom is now a room the exact size of the small queen sized bed!

Next I push the second button which brings in the desk and entertainment center with the TV and other assorted electronic equipment, and with the coffee table/trunk balanced on the edge of the carpet in front of it. Then the final slide comes in which holds the small couch and the table and 4 chairs. My home is now only 8 feet wide 34 feet long. With the two 3 foot slides in the living area that room is 14 feet wide, but only when we are parked! The front steps are folded into their storage space, and the railing is folded over the front door. Now we unplug the electricity.

While I am doing this, hubby is doing the outside duties: He puts up the rear jacks, backs up the truck and connects it to the RV, and gets all the proper connections plugged in. Last to come up are the front jacks and the RV settles into the bed of the truck for it's ride to the shop.

Our home is getting a new spring attached (the one that the repairman fixed along the Alaska Highway was not strong enough and needed to be redone) and the aliegnment is being corrected. The plan is to leave our spot in the state park on Wednesday and travel two hours northeast of here to our oldest son's home. We get to attend grandparents day with the two grandsons on Friday, an activity which we are very much looking forward to. Then it's on to the West Coast by way of the RV factory in Indiana. Not exactly a shortcut, I know, but our house needs to have another checkup there for some other problems. When it gets a clean bill of health we will head off to Wyoming to visit dear friends, then, depending on the mountain passes, we'll head either northwest, straight west, or southwest. We will then be back to searching out wireless computer connections, hopefully finding them more abundant then we found along the Alaska Highway in the Yukon!

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Tomorrow is the 41st anniversary of me becoming a mother for the first time, the most important job I have ever held. We were living in Maine where DH was stationed with the Air Force. Having been there for only a few months, we knew very few people, just those that worked in the same area as DH did. So when we brought Kari home from the hospital and DH went back to work, it was just me and a brand new baby in the house! Our parents and other relatives were all half way across the country. I was scared to death.

Somehow we made it. Fortunately Kari was a very good baby which made me look like a good mother. She was all girl. When she was old enough to voice her opinion she picked out her clothes every day, and it was always a dress. As she grew older, she took great pride in her hair and makeup, rising before anyone else in the family so she could have the shower first and then have plenty of time to dry and curl her long hair. She was a beautiful young woman, inside and out and when she charmed Mike and brought him home to meet the family, we knew this was it. She wanted to get married and have babies.

Now, over twenty years later, this beautiful baby girl is the mother of six children and is the most amazing woman I know. Kari is intelligent, passionate about her family and her work, and is the most beautiful Christian woman that I know, always putting others before herself. She and Mike have shared their home and their love with over 75 foster children through the years, strongly believing the Bible verse that admonishes us to take of the widows, the fatherless and the orphans. She hates injustice and when she sees a wrong she tries to right it and she is not afraid to speak the truth even if it is an uncomfortable subject.

Kari, you can't begin to know how proud I am of you! It it a privilege and an honor to call you daughter and I thank God for for you. I wish you a happy birthday and pray God's richest blessings on you.

Thursday, September 21, 2006


Saturday will be my mom's 84th birthday. I am taking this opportunity to publically thank her for the 62 years that I have been her child! As a little girl growing up in rural 1950's Iowa, I thought she was the most beautiful mom ever. She had lovely long black hair; mine was merely brown. She had beautiful brown eyes; mine were a greenish brownish hazelish color. She wore a "housedress" every day. In fact I never saw her in slacks until after I was married!

My mom was a hard working woman. She raised five kids, often having to do more than her share because my father was the busy pastor of two small rural churches. She also had to wash, hang out, starch and iron six white long sleeved shirts a week for my dad, plus keep up with the mounds of laundry that five active kids can create. Mom always had a tasty meal on the table, even when she had to invent it out of sparse ingredients. I marvel at her feeding our family of seven, plus the teacher of our local Christian Day School who lived with us, on one package of hamburger or one small chicken. She made a wonderful chocolate pudding cake that baked with the cake part on top and the sweet chocolate syrup on the bottom that we often begged for.

Mom was an excellent role model for her four daughters and one son. My father was the head of the house, and my mom never questioned that. She loved, honored, and obeyed, and did it happily. She loved her children and never failed to provide open arms to cuddle us when we were little, or to offer a hug and a listening ear to us as we grew. It was from our mom that we learned to pray, and at bedtime she never failed to tuck us in, hear our prayers, and say good night.

Life has thrown my mom a few curves, but she has kept her sense of humor and good attitude through it all. When I became a mother for the first time I wanted to be just like my mom, an ambition that I have failed miserably at, but one that I am still working on. I pray that God will permit my mom to have many more birthdays, because I still need her.

Thank you, mom, for your years of caring, for your example, and most of all for your love. You can't begin to know how much I love and appreciate you.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


This picture doesn't begin to show the beautiful colors we are now seeing from our front door. There are yellows and golds in several shades, deep reds, bright reds, orange reds, rich browns, and of course the different greens, all combining to make a gorgous view for us to enjoy, even if the skies are gray and cloudy. After our hike the other night, DH said "it's good to live in a state park!" Yes, it is. We don't have to mow the grass, pull the weeks or tend the flower gardens. We don't have to pick up the sticks after a wind storm, or see that the bumps and holes in the road are filled in or smoothed out. We just walk the trails and roads, enjoying the ever changing colors of the prairie. Last night we walked for an hour and only met one man and his dog on the road. The evening before we met one couple hiking the same trail we were, only in the opposite direction. Most of the time, however, we don't see a soul. We are also the only people in the campground most of the time. It's quiet, peaceful, and very beautiful. Yes, it's good to live in a state park!

Friday, September 15, 2006


Yesterday my daughter shared with me this quote she had read and told me she wanted it printed on her tombstone: She comforted the afflicted and afflicted the comfortable.

Last night my daughter, Kari, was out doing what she does best, afflicting the comfortable. She had a presentation to a group of mentors in a town about an hour southwest of here, and she invited me to ride along. I did, and once again she made me so proud of her! Her passion is to educate everyone about the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. She loves to give these educational presentations about FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) and she gets right into the faces of those who are comfortable remaining in their little world of denial and ignorance. By the time she has finished her talk, she has the audience a whole lot less comfortable and quite a bit more educated. They ask questions and absorb the answers. They wonder aloud why this message isn't being loudly shouted for everyone to hear, and they vow to tell everyone about the dangers of drinking during pregnancy.

Her message is being heard. And if each one who hears it tells just one person, imagine how many babies will be spared the experience of being drunk in the womb! Just think of the kids who won't suffer from the problems associated with FASD and the families who won't be torn apart because of FASD! FASD is 100% preventable by not drinking during pregnancy, and with Kari, and those who share her passion, out there shouting out the dangers, they will make a difference for these kids.

Meanwhile, she is out there, comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable. You go girl! Your dad and I are so proud of you!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Just a quick update this afternoon before we head back to the state park to cook dinner. We stopped at the Farmers Market and have lots of lovely vegetables to fix tonight.

We are still in limbo regarding the RV, as we haven't heard whether the spring was ordered or not. We will assume it was. And we hope it will arrive shortly and we can get the RV in to the alignment place on Monday. If that happens we will be on the road next week. If the spring doesn't come in or if we can't get the RV in on Monday, we are here at least until the next week Monday. When we do leave we are headed west by way of Indiana where the manufacturer of the RV is located. Hopefully we'll get to Washington and Oregon before the snow flies!

I haven't blogged about the TV problem because it was really making me angry. First of all, I didn't even want this satellite dish but DH claims he needs to see football games, so he ordered it. The guy was supposed to install it at 1:00 on June 1. He finally showed up at 4:30 and quickly threw the system into the RV and called it done. No explaining, no demonstrating, no training. Over $200 for nothing. While we were parked in Grand Forks, ND, visiting our son and family, DH called an installer there to come out and set it up. The guy did nothing. That was another $50 for nothing. We had so many outside things to do in Alaska that we didn't miss TV, so we just let it go for the time being at $30 a month for June, July, August and September. Now that we're back in the locality where it was installed to begin with, DH has been calling for help. None available. He read the book and tried about 379 different combinations of things to set it up, but nothing worked. He called another installer from another town who told him a few things to try. Nothing. He called the company headquarters. THREE TIMES. THREE DIFFERENT PEOPLE. No help. He called back to the place that installed it and was brushed off. Finally this afternoon he found the correct alignment and all the right combinations by himself, and we have the channels we've been paying for since June 1!

About ten minutes after his success the local place called and offered to sell him an $89 something or another that would help! I don't think so! DH politely explained how disgusted he was with their lack of help and service, and the gal reminded him that he would be charged for the advice they gave him when he stopped by for help one day last week! DH's response? "I am not paying for anything!"

As far as I'm concerned, he should get his almost $400 back and they can have the dish.

Saturday, September 09, 2006


We made some noise this morning on this day that is designated as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders Awareness Day. At the 9th minute of the 9th hour of the 9th month people around the world were ringing bells to bring awareness to the fact that a woman must not drink alcohol during her 9 months of pregnancy. Fetal alcohol disorders are the leading cause of mental retardation in this country, cannot be curred, and are 100% preventable! How can we get this word out to everyone in this country? We need to make a lot of noise!

As my daughter, Kari, who works for MOFAS (Minnesota Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome) stated in her speech this morning at the bell ringing event: "We don't need to wait for a vaccine or for an identifiable genetic marker to stop FASD in it's tracks. We don't need stem cell research to find the answers we seek. We just need to make a little noise."

Please join me in making some noise. Learn all you can about FASD. Find out what you can do to help educate everyone about the dangers of drinking alcohol during pregnancy. And, please, contact your Congressmen and Representatives and urge them to support bills S1722 in Congress and HR4212 in the house. Tell them that they MUST support these programs that will provide education, prevention, treatment and support services. Please make a little noise. NO, instead, make a lot of noise!

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Dunn Bros Coffee Shop: I have started a blog entry 4 times this morning and I have been dumped 4 times. The title was going to be Changes, and now I'm wondering if I have to change my blog spot or my coffee. HELP! Seems I always get dumped when I'm here, but I don't have that problem elsewhere. Is my computer allergic to the beans or something? Would switching to decaf instead of a 4 shot Americano help? I guess we'll move to a different location to see if that works before resorting to anything as drastic as giving up my coffee habit.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


In the past two days, the RV and I have both had checkups. I believe one of us came out much better than the other, although the jury is still out on a small portion of both. I am only waiting for a blood test to confirm what I already knew...I am healthy! Maybe the diet of fish, fish, and more fish this summer has something to do with that.

On the other hand, the RV seems to have suffered a few scrapes and bruises; maybe even frame damage. They have ordered a new axel, and after that is repaired in about two weeks, we will probably need to head to Indiana to the factory where our RV was manufactured to see about a couple of other problems. It seems the frost heaves along the Alaska Highway have claimed another victim. Stay tuned for the final results of both checkups.

Friday, September 01, 2006


We have lived in many different places in the three months that we have been on the road. At first we had a change of scenery daily as we traveled through Canada on the Alaska Highway. Sometimes our home was in the flat farms or rolling hills of southern Canada. Later our view was the beautiful mountains of the Yukon. After ariving at our destination in Seldovia, Alaska, we lived on a cliff at the edge of the forest, overlooking the ocean, with beautiful mountains in the background. We also called an Air Force base home a couple of times as we parked at the military base campgrounds in Anchorage, Alaska and Great Falls, Montana. When we arrived back in the States, we parked in a beautiful valley surrounded by lovely mountains at Many Glacier campground in Glacier National Park. Here in our hometown we have enjoyed the hardwood trees and prairie of our local state park. However, our RV is in for it's post-Alaska Highway check up and repairs at the dealership where we purchased it. Last night our home was the parking lot of the RV dealership, railroad tracks on one side, and a four lane highway on the other side. Not the most scenic place we've called home, but it was probably the loudest! Do you think the traffic will decrease over the holiday weekend? I can dream, can't I?

(The photo was taken one hour into our trip on the first day.)