Sunday, January 29, 2017

IS 70 JUST A NUMBER?

I keep telling people that I will be turning 70 in a couple of days, February 3, maybe in hopes that they will buy me a celebratory beverage for reaching one of those milestone numbers. Many keep telling me that age is only a number, but it’s my number. However there is a finality in a number used when describing ones age. We all know that life, as we know it, in human form, will eventually end and at 70 I am closer to that end than I was at 30 or 40. That is not a bad thing, just life.
As a VFW member and part of the Military Funeral Honor Guard I have the opportunity to offer a respectful last thank you to fallen vets anywhere from 50 to 75 times each year. Many of the vets are my age or younger and it reminds me that we are all here on this earth for just a short amount of time. Some of us longer than others. It makes me very aware of my own mortality and reminds me that I really should be taking advantage of each day that I get to spend here.
A friend of 45 years passed away this past Thursday at only 79 years old. At 40 I would have said that she had lived a long and full life, which she did, but now that is only nine years older than me and I’m thinking, “79 is just too young”. A friend’s wife is in hospice and a 10 year old relative of one my children is in Children’s Hospital of Milwaukee battling terminal cancer. Yes at times it does seem depressing and then I look at my wife cross stitching bibs for two of my cousin’s daughters who are having babies. Life goes on and that is good.
I was watching “Outdoor Wisconsin” last night featuring a segment about kayaking around the Apostle Islands and commented that I felt bad that I could no longer do some of the physical things I used to do and that there are so many places I haven’t seen.  Then a family member reminded me of all of the places that I’ve been and all the things I’ve done that others have not. I was fortunate to visit countries with the Navy that I probably would not have picked to visit and experience cultures that I had only read about.
I have met so many people, known some forever, some for just a short time and some just in passing, but all have touched my life and in many cases caused me to look at things differently for which I will be forever grateful. Some have no idea how much that short contact meant to me or affected me. I wish I would have told them but I may not have even realized it at the time.
I will be asking for just one candle on my birthday pie because it will be the first day of my 70’s. Still looking forward to visiting new places, learning and experiencing new things and meeting new and interesting people. I will ask to have the same single candle on my 80th and 90th birthdays.
I will only look back to the past for the great memories that it offers. I will enjoy and be grateful for today because it truly is a gift and I will use it wisely. I will keep looking forward to the blessings that I expect tomorrow to bring.

LIFE CONTINUES TO BE GOOD!

Saturday, January 28, 2017

THE WORST AMERICAN NOVEL




It was a dark and stormy night. I was safely, I thought, securely wrapped in the cocoon of my warm blankets, ready for a long and comforting night’s sleep. Next thing I knew I was somewhere between being fast asleep and waking. Or was I just simply dreaming? You’ve been there, haven’t you?

Suddenly there was a blinding flash of light reminding me of our ships six inch guns firing during the war. I’m waiting for the retort of those huge guns. Waiting to hear that explosive sound that would shake the ship and resonate all the way into my chest. Still quiet. It’s probably just lightening, but where is the loud thunderclap that always follows. No frightening explosive noise. No rumbling. Had someone fired a gun at me? No pain as I would expect there to be and once again no deafening noise. Maybe it’s the light at the end of the tunnel. No it can’t because I don’t hear the roar of the train. Could be those awful bright car lights that thoughtless people leave on even when they see me coming towards them on that pitch black back road? Or was this the end, I mean the real end and I’m seeing the light that everyone talks about that has died and come back to life?

I hear my head saying it’s only a dream. Go back to sleep. But the light keeps getting brighter and brighter. It’s as intense as a welder’s torch and I can’t turn it off.

I finally see the light! It’s the cartoon light bulb. It’s getting brighter and brighter! I’m going to put the band back together. No, I can’t put something back together that I never had. It must be, it must be, the on- going idea of writing the Great American Novel. Wait, I tried that and have been editing my books for literally years with no satisfactory outcome, meaning no published books. Oh that’s right. Books don’t get published unless they are actually submitted for publication. I see the problem here.

Writing groups keep telling me that I use clichés and my plots and characters are the ones people have used for centuries. I guess their feedback means even my plots and characters must be clichés. Then they tell me to write what I know. Well what I know comes from my life experiences and books I read. So my whole life must be a cliché. So what was the caption in the Light Bulb?

Write the Worst American Novel and millions will buy it just to see how bad it really is. Can I do this with enough skill that the reader won’t realize it was all tongue in cheek and how many clichés can I actually get into one novel? Sometimes it just feels good to be silly! What’s the worst cliché, character or plot you have ever experienced? Let me know and I’ll try to include it in my “Worst American Novel”.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Just Connecting Words: Just Connecting Words: ON THE ROAD AGAIN - LAC DU ...

Just Connecting Words: Just Connecting Words: ON THE ROAD AGAIN - LAC DU ...: Just Connecting Words: ON THE ROAD AGAIN - LAC DU FLAMBEAU 2ND VISIT : It was 1972 or 1973 when we extended our camping season into Septembe...

ON THE ROAD AGAIN - DOOR CCOUNTY PENINSULA, WI



We are on the road again and this will be our last trip this calendar year. It was a wonderful spring, summer and fall with our new trailer, but like all good things it must end, at least for now. It was starting to mist as we pulled out of the drive for Hy-Land Court campground located between Ellison Bay and Sister Bay on the Door Peninsula. It continued to mist on and off for almost the entire drive.  We took highway 151 out of Madison and it would take us all the way to Green Bay where we would connect with highway 57/42 until we get to the campground. It took us about an hour and a half to get to Fond du Lac where we would normally travel up the west side of Lake Winnebago to Green Bay, but decided for a change of pace and because we have no real schedule to drive up on the east side. We stayed on highway 151 and went through towns I hadn’t been to in probably 30 years or more. When we got to Green Bay we ran into a detour which, because of a wrong turn, put us in the parking lot of Serrogi’s Candy Store where we always stop when we visit Green Bay. Got back on the detour route and ended up on highway 172 that passes within blocks of Bellevue where we lived for 6 years. Decided not to drive past the house on this trip.

We could see the water of the Bay of Green Bay on our left about 10 minutes north of Green Bay. I knew we were headed in the right direction.  At 4 pm we arrived at one of the nicest campgrounds that we have been at this year. Very large sites with many mature trees, lots of room between sites, so level we didn't have to use any leveling blocks and full hook ups that were all within five feet of our trailer. Even cable TV for free, but probably hidden (included) in the nightly cost. Can only pick up two PBS stations up here with our Wynguard antenna and didn’t want to miss the Packers on Thursday so I do appreciate the cable TV. Finally saw about 30 minutes of sun at 5 pm so we are hoping it gets nicer as the week goes on.

Woke up to cool temperatures and fog on Wednesday so we took time for a nice leisurely breakfast and first got on the road to Cassville about 10 am. It’s the furthest town south of where we are camped that we planned to visit. We visited a winery, did the free wine tasting and found three that we had to have. Don’t think all six bottles will make it home. We also did the tourist shopping thing and Lor found some Christmas gifts that I can’t tell anyone about. We had a wonderful late lunch/early dinner at a restaurant called “The Shipwreck”. Great food, cheery pulled pork, great service and their own brew pub beer that I probably wouldn’t order again.

Rained all night but it should clear up later so we will journey to “Sweetie Pies” bakery, just south of Fish Creek, that specializes in what else but homemade pies. It was 11 am and we had to try a piece of Door County cheery/peach pie, another healthy lunch, told my doctor I would eat more fruit. Definitely made the old fashioned way with hand rolled crusts and just fruit without any type of filling. Over 30 different pie selections and more that can be special ordered. It was good as good as advertised so we took a small apple and small cherry “Cutie Pie” back with us to have as desert at half time. Nice having cable TV and being able to watch the Packers and Vikings. Lor also visited a jewelry shop next door and found some very unique earrings that were calling her name. Our next stop was Fish Creek, the largest shopping village on the peninsula. Walked around all of the stores until we were shopped out at about 2:30pm. I dropped Lor off at our trailer and drove to the northern most point on the peninsula, Gills Rock, only about seven miles from our campground, to see if there was some place to fish from shore. The trout and salmon are coming into shore now and hopefully I can get a couple and have them smoked. The fish store in Gills Rock will smoke them in 24 hours so you can take the fish with you. Found a pier to fish from, but I wanted to get back to the trailer to watch the Packers pre-game show.

Rained all night again and Lor decided this would be a good day to stay in and work on some of her projects, check emails, read and play games. I’m not a very good sitter and always have to be going and doing so I drove to Gills Rock to fish for some trout but the winds were 20 mph with gusts to 30 and the waves were 3 to 4 feet breaking over the pier I had planned to fish from. If the Green Bay side is windy the Lake Michigan side is usually calmer. I drove to Newport State Park about 7 miles east. It’s a rustic camp ground for tents only, nice beach, water was quite calm, but there was no place to fish from. My next stop would be Rowley Bay on Lake Michigan just south of the park, but I had to drive back to Ellison Bay to get there. It was one of those, “you can’t get there from here” and of course the DNR warden meant directly from here to there. She then sent me to an inland lake only two miles from the park, but they were already taking out the fishing pier there for the winter. Nowhere is very far from anyplace else up here and it only took me about 15 minutes to back track and arrive at Rowley’s Bay. Talked to a couple of fishermen in a 20 foot boat who tried to fish the Green Bay side yesterday and got chased off by the wind and waves and were about to venture out on a much calmer Lake Michigan today. The water is very shallow here and piers don’t go out far enough into the lake to make fishing worthwhile.

No fishing today, just cold and damp that seems to go right thru the old bones at times. Nothing that a nice hot shower didn’t take care of. One of the advantages of having a full hook up for the camper.  It’s almost hard to call what we do camping with all these luxuries. Went up to Gills Rock for a delicious dinner of pan fried Lake Michigan perch at the Shoreline restaurant right on the shore overlooking whitecaps. They start serving at 5 and we got there at 5:15 and had over an hour wait, time to sit at the bar drink an old fashion and enjoy the view even if it was cloudy with fog rolling in. The wait was more than worth it and I would recommend this restaurant to anyone who makes it to this area. We had so much to eat that we couldn’t even look at desert and brought enough food home for dinner tonight. They do close for the season the end of October along with many of the business establishments up on the Door County Peninsula. Listened to the weather report at 10 pm and they predicted more of the same, wet, cold and rainy for the next couple of days.

Saturday morning and we woke up to more of the same. Same weather at home so we really aren’t missing anything by being here. It started raining about 6 am. I really don’t mind the sound of the rain on the roof waking me up, but it usually means we probably won’t get to do much today. Lucky for us we get ESPN 2 on the TV and will be able to watch the Badger game at 2:30 pm. Plenty of time to read, write and maybe even play a game or two. Lazy days are OK too. Can’t believe the Badgers lost to Northwestern and can’t believe how bad both our quarter backs played. I  remember when Northwestern went for years without even winning one game. I believe they have the honor of the longest losing streak for a FBS college at 34 games between 79 and 82. I hope one of our quarter backs gets it together before the season is over.

We woke to a very gray and windy Sunday morning but no rain so we decided to do a little exploring north of the campground in Ellison Bay and Gills Rock. Stopped just outside of Gills Rock at Uncle Tom’s candy store and got some different types of brittle, even one with bacon in it which is sweet and salty at the same time. Also stopped at Seaquest Orchards Farm Market for apple cider, chocolate covered cherries and fudge with cherries in it. I would recommend stops at both places if you are up this way. The theme up here food wise is cherries and apples if you haven’t guessed by now. The picture below is a brief period of clear skies and the scenery is why we come up here.
 

So windy I didn’t even stop to throw anything that might attract those salmon that are supposed to be here. We decided to treat ourselves to dinner at Al Johnson’s Swedish restaurant with the grass and goats on the roof. It’s been in Sister Bay since 1949 and they are known for their Swedish pancakes, Swedish meatballs and strawberry schaum torte. We had some of the best steaks that we have had this summer and ate too much to have desert. Can’t visit Door County without a stop for something to eat at Al Johnson’s.

Monday morning we woke to this strange bright light coming through our windows. I remember now. It’s sunshine. Decided to visit Sister Bay the city just south of the campground and see what the shops had to offer. Nothing that we had to have and it was still early in the day so we decided to drive the 14 miles east to Bailey’s Harbor on the Lake Michigan side of the peninsula. Very pretty scenery, colors are finally getting nicer and should be perfect right after we go home tomorrow and through this weekend. Forecast is also for sun for the remainder of this week right through the weekend. Sometimes you pick the right week to see the fall colors and sometimes you don’t, but it’s still fun being here. Stopped back at Al Johnson's at 1 pm for a piece of that strawberry schaum torte that looked so good last night but we didn't have room for. Fun to be at the age where we can have just a special desert for lunch and not feel guilty about it.
 

Tuesday morning greeted us with bright sunshine again and a little sadness that our camping adventure is over for this year. We are already thinking about where we will be off to next spring, summer and fall.  My blog, “Just Connecting Words” will continue as the spirit moves me to write about “this, that and the other thing”. 

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Just Connecting Words: ON THE ROAD AGAIN - LAC DU FLAMBEAU 2ND VISIT

Just Connecting Words: ON THE ROAD AGAIN - LAC DU FLAMBEAU 2ND VISIT: It was 1972 or 1973 when we extended our camping season into September. We didn’t have children in school yet, the weather was usually v...

ON THE ROAD AGAIN - LAC DU FLAMBEAU 2ND VISIT


It was 1972 or 1973 when we extended our camping season into September. We didn’t have children in school yet, the weather was usually very nice and the campgrounds were very peaceful.  Summer vacationers with children had to leave to get their kids back for school. I remember one September, at Clear Lake State, just outside of Woodruff, WI., when we were one of three campers in a 75 campsite campground. So quiet and peaceful we could hear the waves lapping at the shore and the wind rustling through those beautiful brightly colored leaves. Nothing like fall in “Up North” Wisconsin.

Now that we are camping again and can go whenever the spirit moves us we decided to return to fall camping with a trip to Lac Du Flambeau where we spent a week earlier this summer. If you have been following my blog, “just connecting words”, you know how much we enjoyed that week. We made a reservation and got the same campsite that we had then. We left home about 11 am on Wednesday, September 17th and arrived about 4pm with two short stops. We spied a few trees turning colors already just north of Wausau. It was so windy when we arrived that we decided not to roll out the awning and knew we wouldn’t need the screen tent because no bug that I knew of could fly in 20 mile per hour winds. Listened to the weather report, “freeze warning for this evening”, and decided to turn on the furnace for the first time this year. Only had it set for about 70 and it kept kicking in all throughout the night and I was glad it did. They actually set a record here for the lowest temperature this early in the year. Lor’s sister was up in this area last week and reminded us to bring warm clothes and I’m glad we took her advice. As I said earlier most Septembers up here can just be a continuation of summer. I had the feeling this would not be one of those Septembers.

We woke up on Thursday to windows covered with enough condensation that we knew it was quite a bit cooler outside than inside our very comfortably warm trailer. Turned on the TV to listen to the news and weather and they predicted that it would only reach 50 and we might see an hour of sun about 5pm.  Unfortunately that was the good news. It was supposed to warm up but rain was predicted for Saturday and Sunday when we had planned to attend a couple of Fall Festivals in the area. We headed into Minocqua to Triggs grocery store to pick up food and drink for the week and to pick up a Lakeland Times, the “Up North” newspaper. Had to have essentials like oranges and cherries for my Old Fashions. Hope my Doctor reads this one so he knows I’m following his advice to eat more fruit. Please revisit my blog, On The Road Again – Chippewa Falls, to see why I explained to him that drinking more beer was good for my health. Hint. Beer is 80% water and he told me to drink more water.

 

Being the optimist that I think I am I really expected the weather to improve. Not happy to look out the window and see white caps on the lake.  Just in case the weather prediction was correct we bought things we could make for dinner inside the trailer.  In hindsight that turned out to be a good idea. Thursday evening as I was about to get the grill out it started to rain, but they said it should be over by Friday morning so we might have one nice day to do something. We didn’t come up here to sit in the trailer for a week so we put on some warm clothes and went into Minocqua to play tourist at a group of shops called the “Boardwalk” mainly to get some fudge at Bosacki’s which has moved from their original lake side soda shop and restaurant to just a small soda shop and candy store. For those that are familiar with Bosacki’s they still make their famous fudge, hot fudge for sundaes and wonderful malts. It’s just not the same when you can’t sit at one of those old tables looking out over the lake. Way too cool to have ice cream today. Settled for six ¼ pound pieces of fudge. Some might even make it home for the rest of the family. There was a slight break in the rain on Friday evening so I did get to grill some nice steaks outside. The good news was that the ice cubes in my drink didn’t melt while I was outside cooking.

It rained very hard all Friday night and tapered off as we woke to a very cloudy windy Saturday, but it looked like it might clear up so we had a leisurely breakfast and headed for St Jermain and their fall festival. It was a nice ride, but we were done looking at everything in an hour. It was only 11 am and the sun was out so we decided to drive to Lake Tomahawk to check out their fall festival and car show. It’s always fun to see if they have any 1955 Chevy Belair hardtops like I had in high school. I’m sure my wife is tired of my comment that I bought mine used for $250 in 1964 and that today they are worth up to $65,000. One of many cars I wish I would have kept.   It only took us about an hour to see everything there so we headed back to the campground to just hang out and relax. Our main objective for this week was just to enjoy the peace and quiet of “Up North”, read, write and play board games. Turns out there is plenty of time to do all of those things, inside the trailer! Winds are still constant at 20 mph with gusts to 30. Awning has not been deployed, no flag up, no fires made, very little sitting outside, but we are enjoying the view of the lake with its white caps from our trailer windows when they are not fogged up from having the heater on. 

It rained from 2am Sunday morning until about 7 am but the wind has not diminished and the lake still has white caps. Temperature was up to 40 degrees when I went into Flambeau about 9:30 to get a Wisconsin State Journal. High today is supposed to get to 50 but that will probably be a stretch with so many clouds and this constant wind. Finally some sunshine at noon, but the wind just won’t let up. Only 6 TV stations up here in the woods and not one with the Packers on. Had to listen to Green Bay lose on the radio. I hate when I miss which direction they are running when they start and I have to guess. Doesn’t appear that I missed much by not watching the game. Maybe they’ll do better next week.

Monday morning and still windy but I decided to fish for a while anyway. Hard to fish from their piers when the white caps are blowing into you. Came back to find Lor sitting outside with hooded sweatshirt on, in the sunshine and out of the wind next to the trailer. We decided to pay a visit to the Lake of the Torches Casino and donate to the cause and then go into Minocqua for dinner. Tried a new Mexican restaurant called the El Mez and the food, service and drinks were great. I would definitely recommend this restaurant to anyone who visits the area. About 10:15 as we were watching the news to find out what kind of weather we would have driving home the next day the heater kicked in. It’s been cold this week and that is always a reassuring sound. I commented to Lor that I felt cold air coming out of the furnace. Not a good thing that late at night when the forecast is for low 40”s overnight. I had checked out the gauge on the 20 pound tank when I got up in the morning and it was still green so I figured we would have plenty of propane for our last night of camping. Went outside with my flashlight and sure enough the tank gauge was completely red telling me that we would be snuggling in bed with sweat suits on and covers pulled up. Our last trailer had two tanks so we could always switch tanks when this happened. This new trailer only came with one. I will have an additional tank when we go next time. We survived the chilly night, but I sure enjoyed holding that first cup of coffee of hot coffee in my hands the next morning. Looking back on the week we really did accomplish our goal of having a very relaxing week “Up North” enjoying the peace and quiet.

Speaking of next time, we will be home for five days and then leaving for a week in Door County, WI. at Hy-Land Park between Ellison Bay and Sister Bay. The colors should reach their peak when we are up there. The Door County activity calendar tells us that we we’ll be there for Door County’s “Delicious Season”.  The restaurants and bakeries all try to utilize the Door County cherries and apples that they are so well known for.  Now all we have to do is wish for some beautiful fall weather. I’m thinking positive, Indian Summer!

Thanks again to all of you who are following along with us while we spend time “On The Road Again”.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

On The Road Again - Hudson WI


On The Road Again – Hudson, WI

Willow River State Park
 


Thursday August 7th 10:30 am and we’re on our way to Hudson, WI., about 250 miles and five hours away. Hope it’s worth the ride. If you haven’t been following our travels we are visiting places in WI that we always wanted to see and maybe even finding a new spot that we may want to revisit. Stopped at a wayside and then an hour or so later for gas and lunch and arrived at 3:30 pm. We are in the newest of three campgrounds and it is quite open, but there is plenty of room between campsites and we could put the screen tent up where we get shade all afternoon from the one big tree on our site. 82 degrees, but a very nice breeze blowing through to keep it comfortable. A Leinies, nice dinner on the gas grill and then a walk around part of the camp ground before calling it a night. Both too tired to light up a camp fire tonight and we want to get an early start to visit Still Water, MN.

Woke up to a very nice bright sunny day on Friday with just a slight breeze. Decided to have a cup of coffee outside in the screen tent and enjoyed it so much I had cereal and toast out there too. Enjoyed the sounds of the birds chirping and the breeze blowing through the aspen leaves. Doesn’t get much more peaceful than that.  We left for Still Water about 9:30 am and we were there about 10 am.

Disappointed that most of the stores don’t open until 11 am. It reminded us a lot of Galena, IL. for shopping, but the stores were not as nice and it seemed like every other one was a restaurant. We only stayed for about an hour and headed back to Hudson where we stopped at a park along the river to look at all the material we got at the visitor’s bureau before heading to Still Water. We decided on lunch at Dicks Bar and Grill, recommended to us by the young ladies at the Hudson Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau. Walking into the bar it looked like a small town dark bar, but we went into a very nice dining room with linen table clothes and then out to their screened in deck with a wonder breeze blowing through. One of those places where you take your time and linger over a very pleasant lunch for two. Food and service was great.

 Getting hotter so we decided to go back to our campground and check out the beach and boat landing in hopes finding a place to fish from shore, but didn’t find a good spot to wet a line.  Spent the rest of the afternoon writing up my VFW minutes from last Wednesdays meeting. I’m getting old and if don’t do it right away I seem to miss things that should be recorded or maybe I just take poor notes. Enjoyed another wonderful meal on the grill and burned through a bundle of firewood. Camping just wouldn’t be the same without that campfire. Amazing what your imagination can conjure up while being hypnotized by the red and blue flames of a popping sizzling fire. Thinking about road tripping to Interstate State Park which is located both in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Can’t wait to see Taylor Falls that our daughter in law has been telling us about which is very close to the park.

 A beautiful Saturday came peeking through our shades so we decided on the road trip to Interstate State Park.  We went up the MN. side and we were only on the road about 15 minutes when we got delayed in traffic for a run from Still Water to Hudson. We idled in a long line of traffic for almost 30 to 45 minutes watching exhausted runners, mostly walkers, none of which were smiling, most looking like they were not going to make it to Hudson. The rescue squad went screaming down the road the other direction and we hoped it wasn’t for some overheated runner. The temperature was 85 and humidity was very high. I actually had to turn off the air and open the windows because the temperature gauge started going up. Finally we were the next car to go and there was a break in the runners. Note to self to check prestone level.

The Interstate campground was a right turn before we even got to the town of Still Water. We waited in line to get into the office even though the campground posted a sign that said campground full. When I got in the office I was told there was no viewing area of the river in the park, but that we should take a right at the first stop and go light when we got into town. It would take us to the Pot Hole area of the park with scenic overlooks and hiking trails along the river. I handed over $5. for a daily MN park sticker and we were on our way. One of the craziest intersections I have ever gone through. Five roads and a campground entrance with lights on four corners and a stop sign on another. Right before we went into the park there was a parking lot for River Cruises so we decided to check that out first. It was about 11 am and the next cruise was leaving at 11:30 so we decided to go on a 45 minute paddle wheel cruise. It was well narrated, full of beautiful rock formations, had to use a very vivid imagination to see what the captain said was there. Thankfully we didn’t collide with any of the 100 or so kayaks and canoes on the river. Some just stay around the beach area and some journey from that beach either 3 hours or 5 hours down river where a van picks them up and brings them back. A little too adventurous for us.
 


We were in downtown Taylor Falls by 12:15 and decided to look for lunch and decided on a small town bakery with delicious everything. Once again sounding like our typical, no good for you, lunch on the road. The town is only a couple of blocks long and we were sorry we didn’t drive down to the end because they had a 1950’s drive in with car hops that we would have had lunch at if we had not stopped at the bakery. It was very crowded with hardly a place to park so it must have been good. Maybe next time. Although I really was not impressed enough with anything at the parks or in Taylor Falls to bring me back.

It was only 1:30 so we started our journey back to the campground on the WI side of the St Croix River. We made a planned stop at Bass Lake Cheese Factory and restaurant. It was about 2:30 and a doughnut was not enough to get me through to a late dinner so we bought cheese, crackers and hard salami, all made right there and enjoyed it out on their deck. They even bought out a knife so we could get our cheese open. Everything tasted especially good because we were outside enjoying a wonderful breeze and a wonderful view of a field of corn blowing in the wind. Sometimes these little stores out in the middle of nowhere are real treasures.  

Typical of the our last camping adventure it started to rain about 6 pm just as I was putting baked potatoes on the grill. Sure didn’t want to cook two rib eye steaks in a frying pan on the stove. It was only a brief shower and we managed to have a very scrumptious steak dinner for two, candle light and all, at 7 pm. Enjoyed an after dinner drink while Lauralyn burned up two bundles of fire wood creating one of the best camp fires so far this year. Tomorrow, Sunday is supposed to be cloudy with rain predicted for late afternoon and continuing through the night and Monday morning. Only thing planned is to go to a Falcon presentation in the campsite at 11 am. We’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Sunday we woke up to cloudy skies and high humidity. Supposed to reach 85. There were about 50 0f us at the beach and finally a park ranger showed up and told everyone there had been a miscommunication and the falconer would not be there until 2 pm. Many were disappointed because they had planned on attending this demonstration and then leaving for home. Poor folks probably have to work tomorrow. Did I mention retirement is great! We did drive a little further into the park and found the falls and some fishing piers, so I might wet a line tomorrow depending upon what we decide to do.

We went back at 2 pm and about 25 people showed up to listen to a man, about 35, discuss hunting with falcons which he has done for the last 15 years. I didn’t realize that they have the birds for a year and teach them to hunt for themselves before releasing them to the wild. They do this because 80% don’t make it to adulthood. He had three birds with him. The first falcon was a cross between a peregrine and grieves, the 2nd was a falcon from the southwest which was a little bigger than the first and then brought out a very big red tailed hawk that we see frequently circling above looking for a meal. No flight demonstration. Really wanted to see that falcon flying at 230 MPH. He usually only trains them during the fall and winter.  

Got up to 85 already and very humid so I think the rain is coming as predicted. Just enjoying the rest of the day in our campsite. Lauralyn always has knitting along, books to read and puzzle books to work on. I’ve been writing reading a book of poems, “Poems That Touch The Heart” by A.L. Alexander which I had given to my Mom years ago and found on my bookshelf. Bet you didn’t take me for a sensitive guy. Can’t judge a book by its cover. You all know I can’t write without using a couple of clichés. Still trying to finish those VFW minutes too. Maybe I’ll do those next unless I get distracted which happens very easily when I’m out here.     

Monday morning wakeup call came about 4:30 am with rain on the roof.  Amazing how loud it can be on the roof and awning. Just rain so drifted back to sleep. Still misting when we finally got up for the day and we were having a leisurely breakfast when another storm went through  with enough wind and rain to make the trailer rock and the awning flap more than it usually does. We were deciding if I should go out in the rain to try to lower the awning when half of the screen tent collapsed on itself. Just as I’m fearing the worst for our brand new screen tent a gust of wind came through and popped it right back up. Went out later and there was no damage at all to the tent. I would definitely recommend the Gander Mountain Vista Dome Screen tent.

Drove into Hudson after lunch to check out the local stores but once again we were not impressed. Guess we are just spoiled with those in Minocqua and Galena, IL. They set a pretty high bar. Continued to mist and even showered once again which also put a damper on our playing tourist. We walked out on Old Toll Road which goes out across the St. Croix River almost to the MN. Side. They have an opening that is just large enough to let boats through. Some really big boats moored here and they actually have smaller boats locked up on shore to get out to their larger boats. Would have made some really nice pictures if the weather would have cooperated. All in all I don’t think Hudson would be one of the places we would return to. Nice campground, just not enough to do without going into the cities which we didn’t want to do.

We are contemplating going up to Door County for a few days from August 22nd  to the 28th , but there is no definite plan at the moment. Our next reservation is a return to Lac Du Flambeau and the Tribal Campground that we really liked. We will be there from September 17th to the 23rd.  Still looking for somewhere go in October since we canceled our trip for my ship’s reunion in Rhode Island. Just don’t want to even think about putting the trailer to sleep for the winter, but we are already looking forward to our trip to Florida the end of April/beginning of May. We plan on going to St. Augustine for a couple of days and then drive down to Key West. Friends, that introduced us to Key West a couple of years ago, will fly down and meet us so we can enjoy a couple of days together. A few drinks, great shrimp called “Reds” and of course Key Lime Pie. The plan is to drive back by way of Baton Rouge, LA. To visit an old Navy buddy that Lauralyn and I knew from Japan.  Jesse, I’m giving you fair warning.    

Enjoy what’s left of this summer. For us it’s going way to fast, but it’s been one of the best in a long time.