Saturday, September 28, 2013


Overland Park KS (Low 70 Storms around High 70)

Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary, 508 acres in Keweenaw County, Upper Peninsula, Michigan

In the early 1970s the call went out: "Save the pines! Save the pines!" Why all the fuss over a patch of woods? These enormous trees are as many as 600 years old and have been called a living museum. They are among the very last old-growth white pines in Michigan.

We are so very glad that they saved these woods. Although it was a fairly challenging hike since it had just rained and there were trees down across the trail it was worth it. Bob hiked the woods with his friends Jim and Sharon, it was just too muddy for Jo and for the most part she was right, as usual.

There is the option to take a couple different trails, the Cathedral Loop or the Memorial Loop. There is a very cool sounding offshot called the "Fallen Giant" trail. The sign for this trail says: "This unmaintained trail crosses a swamp and a river. Recommended only for experienced hikers with proper gear." We'll leave that one for the Weavers :-)

At the entrance is a cross section of a tree cut in the 1970s.

The trail doesn't look too bad at the start.

This isn't so bad.

But wait, here's the mud.

The a fallen tree blocking the trail. This one we could slide under, later in the trail was one we had to crawl over but we didn't get a good picture of.

But it was worth it to see the pines.

This walk was similar to the walk through Muir Woods that we took a few years ago. The pines are not nearly as large but you get that same wonderment here as we did then,

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, September 27, 2013


Overland Park KS (Low 59 Warmer High 86)

Catching up on our great stay on the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan. Whenever we can we like viewing waterfalls. With all the snow and rain there are a number of waterfalls close to Houghton where our park was.

Here is Haven Falls

Manganese Falls

Eagle River Falls

Jacob Falls

Although not the most impressive falls we have seen in our travels they were easily accessible on a short easy trail. The noise made by a waterfalls is one of the most calming sounds we have ever heard. We tried to find Hungarian Falls but must have missed a turn or two because it is still elusive. Oh well, something for next time :-)

BTW The "BWE" in full force as we are 12-14 degrees above normal.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, September 25, 2013


Overland Park KS (Low 57 Sunny to Partly Cloudy High 80)

We are getting a new residential refrigerator as part of the repairs and upgrades we are going through. We got lucky when we put our Norcold 1210 refrigerator on Craigslist, someone was needing that very refrigerator right away. With a great deal on the brand new Samsung and a the money from the used Norcold we are money ahead. 

Here is a picture of the original Norcold that we got the off the web, realized we didn't have a good picture before we sold it.

The empty slot where the Norcold was

Making the slot bigger for the 20 cu. ft. Samsung

Here it is all completed with wood trim to match our existing woodwork. You can see the new vinyl flooring and new carpet in this photo also.

Since we have boondocked only 1 night in 4 years we decided against getting an inverter. We travel 4 hours or less each day so the Samsung should still be cold when we plug back in. Plus this one has an icemaker!!

They are making great progress and we "may" be back in our home, our upgraded condo on wheels, in a few short days.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Overland Park KS (Low 53 Mostly Sunny High 75)

Catching up on another great day that we had in the Upper Peninsula this summer. We went to Laurium and toured the Laurium Manor, originally the Thomas H. Hoatson House which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The year was 1908 and all over the Keweenaw Peninsula mansions were being built by the wealthy copper mine owners. But in Laurium the largest and most opulent of them all was just being completed. Built for Thomas H. and Cornelia Hoatson, owner of Calumet and Arizona Mining Co., no expense was spared building this 45 room, 13,000 sq. ft. mansion on four floors. At a time when miners were making 25 cents per hour, this house was built at a cost of $50,000 and $35,000 of furnishings were added. The Hoatson's owned this home until 1949. The Hoatson House is now a Bed and Breakfast called Laurium Manor.

The first room we toured was the library with an impressive fireplace.

The dining room had an interesting elephant hide wall covering.

Along with a curved radiator to match the exterior wall.

Lots of stained glass in the Upper Peninsula, this is part of the one on the main staircase that measures 14'x9'.

The Hoatson's did a lot of entertaining so they put in a 1300 sq. ft. ballroom on the upper level.

The most fascinating thing about this house though had to be the garage.

Inside the garage was a 15' turntable that an early automobile was driven on and then rotated to facing out since there was no reverse on that vehicle at the time the garage was built.

Another great day on the UP this summer.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, September 23, 2013


Overland Park KS (Low 50 Partly Sunny and Breezy High 82)

Catching up on our recent stay in Houghton Michigan. While there Bob toured the Quincy Mine with his friend also named Bob. Here is #2 Shaft building which sits prominently on a hill in Hancock. #2 Shaft reached 9,260 feet on the incline into the earth. We toured the 7th level of #2 Shaft.

The Quincy Mine was opened in 1846 as part of the first mining boom for the United States and was in operation for 99 years. Prospectors and speculators rushed to the Keweenaw Peninsula for the vast deposits of copper. The Quincy Mine is a National Historic Landmark.

To get to the mine you ride a cogwheel train, one of only 4 in the United States. The other three are Mount Washington in New Hampshire, Pikes Peak in Colorado, and Grant Park in Illinois which has been abandoned. Here we are on the cogwheel train going down a 34 degree descent. The Portage Lift Bridge is in the distance.

We then boarded a tram and entered the mine.

Our photos did not turn out too good in the mine, here is a car filled with rock that has been hammered and blasted away.

Everything in the mine adheres to the 54 degree incline of the volcanic rock layer that contains the copper. Not a very good picture but if you squint you can see the angle.

To get to the mine they miners used a man car which went down that 54 degree slant. Believe it or not 30 men rode this man car.

A hoist was needed to take the men down and the rocks and water up so the worlds largest steam hoist ever built was ordered and installed in the Hoist Building. 

Working much like a fishing reel the hoist used a 2 ton cable to run the cars up and down. Here is the hoist.

Here is a map showing the 54 degree incline for #2 Shaft.

This was an incredible tour, one that Bob may take again if we ever visit the area.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, September 16, 2013


Overland Park KS (Low 59 Cloudy and Cooler High 70)

The roof work has been completed.

The flooring is now getting some attention. Here is the old laminate floor.

During the flood water got between the seams and caused some problems with the laminate flooring so we are getting vinyl. Here is the new kitchen floor, a little lighter than the laminate so hopefully it will brighten up the place.

We will have more vinyl than laminate so that we won't be stepping on carpet just after walking in the door.

They are making steady progress but there is a lot to do so we are probably still 2 more weeks in the extended stay.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Overland Park KS (Low 68 Partly Sunny High 94)

This is supposed to be the last day of the humid 90s for awhile, and maybe even for the rest of our stay but never, ever, discount the BWE effect.

From time to time we like to give tips on things that make our full-timing lifestyle a little easier. We use our Dyson vacuums a lot, yes I said vacuums. We first bought a handheld (DC34) and it has worked great.

We liked it so well we bought one with a beater head also cordless (DC35).

Dyson DC35 Multi Floor Vacuum Cleaner

This vacuum can be used as shown or as a handheld with just the beater bar or the attachments. The batteries and attachments are interchangeable. The only regret we have is that we wish we had bought the animal version that has a stronger motor for pet hair but this one works pretty well.

What got us thinking about the Dysons is that we brought the DC35 with us to the extended stay place. With 3 cats and two litter boxes we are vacuuming the carpet at least once a day.

Our next dream Dyson purchase will probably be the Dyson Heat+Cool that in addition to the fan can both heat and cool.

We plan on blogging about the repairs and upgrades to our Cameo as well as catching up on some of the great things we did while in Houghton Michigan so stay tuned.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Overland Park KS (Low 72 Sunny and Humid High 94)

It is shocking to us that it has been 4 years since we moved into the Cameo with our 3 cats and spent our very first night full-timing. Although we don't like living in an extended stay hotel while our home is being worked on it means we have come full circle. When we moved in 4 years ago it was from an extended stay place.

We have had our ups and downs this past 4 years, from a difficult adjustment to medical issues causing us to stay longer in an area than planned and also at the most inopportune time. We had to spend a summer with the heat and humidity in Kansas City and a winter in Kansas City, not certainly what we planned, But if we can survive those we can survive most anything.

The good times have been equally good though. We have knocked off a lot from our bucket lists; Mount Rushmore, Utah National Parks, National Museum of the Pacific War where both our dads fought, the scale model of the USS New Mexico where Jo's dad served on, visiting an aircraft carrier the same class as the one Bob's dad served on, the USS Wasp, Pella, Iowa, Surf Ballroom, the list goes on and on of the great places we've been (certainly too many to list here).

We have also met great people both in person and virtually. It is amazing how many folks you see more than once in different parts of the country. We have yet to attend a rally because each time something comes up that interferes so we are not sure if we should plan on those ever again :-)

Each time there is a crisis we talk it out and so far agree that we are just not ready to quit full-timing, there are just too many more places we want to see in this great country of ours, way too many to list here. We plan to full-time until we physically can no longer handle the travel.

We will end with a few favorite shots from our 4 years, it was real tough to pick just a few.

We have camped at least one night in a lot of states, but a lot more to go.


Here is the obligatory shot of our rig parked next to the big boys with Bob posing proudly.

We got used to Christmas in Arizona pretty quickly, nothing says Christmas quite like palm trees

We enjoyed hiking the desert.

Spring Training is fun

We really enjoyed our stay at Rifle Gap State Park

The cats enjoyed our stay at Guadalupe River RV Park

We enjoyed seeing the Mackinac Bridge and Mackinac Island.

Utah was amazing.

As was Mount Rushmore.

Jo got to see a detailed scale model of the USS New Mexico.

Till next time, or better an homage to our blogging friends, the Singing Dogs in the Tautphas Park Zoo.


Bob and Jo