Friday, December 28, 2012

We are so DONE With Winter

Peculiar MO (Low 16 Mostly Cloudy and Cold High 33)

Once we moved the sensor for the heated water hose outside of the heated compartment the hose did not freeze. But we made a huge mistake, both Jo and I commented to people how good it was working on the same day. Well you know what happened, of course it froze that very night. We took showers in the morning and it was fine. We ran some errands and got home and washed our hands, did dishes, etc., and it was fine. About 9:30 p.m. it was froze.

Luckily we still had enough water in the freshwater tank so Bob could take a shower early the next morning before his second surgery. Why do these things always happen at the most inopportune time? After Jo got Bob home our good friend Jimmy came over and helped Jo troubleshoot the problem, pull up our gigantic trash can over the water faucet and disconnect the frozen hose. They then put heat tape around one of our water hoses and then pipe insulation around that and then the trash can back over the faucet. It was 16 overnight so we dripped the faucet and we had running water this morning, it felt so good.

Bob called Camping World and they are sending us a return label and once we can unthaw the hose and get it in a box we will send it back and get our money back. They must have heard this before because there was no questioning the return. While they were working on the hose yesterday our neighbor stopped by and told us his hose of the same brand also froze so he did the same thing a couple days ago. This makes it the third or fourth hose of the same brand in this park alone that has had this problem. 

We are so DONE but we still have a long way to go!

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Yet Another Lesson Learned

Peculiar MO (Sunny Low 33 High 55)

Another winterizing lesson learned - this time on a frozen sewer hose. In addition to the tall water faucet at this park the sewer location is just barely downhill from our drain. Another complicating factor is that we are a greater distance from drain to sewer that would serve us best in the winter. We had to use two 10' sections of sewer hose. By taking off the clear adapter and the twist on waste valve blade assembly we got the drain as high as we could. Then by propping up the sewer hose support system with cement blocks and wood we were able to get the best drainage we could for this setup.

Turns out it was not good enough, there was still more than usual water left in the sewer hose. With those cold nights around 20 it froze. Luckily we did not have to dump at that time and could wait for it to thaw out. Bob researched what to do in this situation and found a great article on rv-forum on winter camping. The solution was to buy heat tape and wrap the sewer hose and then wrap with a water heater blanket cut to fit. The water heater blanket was selected since it had a vinyl backing which should prevent moisture problems. We just got some rain and the job held up real well.

Here is the entire length of the finished assembly (click on the link above for a better description and an in-progress version):

Here is a smaller view to show the finished assembly with lots of duct tape.

Our new winter checklist:
- sensor for heated water hose out in the elements; CHECK
- water faucet wrapped with heat tape and covered with pipe insulation and then an inverted trash can sprayed with foam insulation; CHECK
- sewer hose wrapped with heat tape and then wrapped with insulation; CHECK

We are hoping to NEVER need this checklist again! We are also hoping that this concludes all of our winterizing lessons learned. If it gets this cold after this winter wherever we are we are heading SOUTH!!

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, December 15, 2012

More Winterization - Overkill on a Big Trash Can

Peculiar MO (Mostly Cloudy Low 45 High 54)

After wrapping the water faucet with heat tape and then covering with pipe insulation and gorilla tape we took another step to make sure our water supply did not freeze. After consultation with the park owner and checking the internet we decided on an inverted trash can with the inside sprayed with foam insulation that would sit over the faucet.

This park has tall water faucets so we needed a big trash can. Wanting to go all the way to the ground we ended up with a huge trash can with wheels that took an awful lot of spray foam cans.

Here is what it looks like, it is almost as tall as the power box :-)

Told you it was overkill!!

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, December 14, 2012

When All Else Fails

Peculiar  MO (Sunny with increasing clouds High 52 Low 33)

You have heard the old saying, "when all else fails - read the directions", well for the most part that is how Bob lives his life. Recently we got a heated water hose for our winter stay in the Kansas City area. He connected it to both ends and plugged it in. Seeing the black tape by the end that hooked up to the water supply he thought the temperature sensor was there. Once the outside temperature got to 45 the heating begins until the water is 50. Bob also wrapped the water faucet with heat tape and pipe insulation. Here is what it looks like.

It was not below freezing for awhile but when it got into the low 20s the water hose froze. With help from the Carriage Yahoo Group members Bob came to know that the sensor was right next to the end of the hose that connects to the Cameo. We have a four season unit with heat for our tanks and water lines. With the outside temperature at 20 the compartment where the hose connects was a balmy 50 degrees which means the hose heating was never turned on. 

The solution was to cut off a 4' section of a water hose and cover it with pipe insulation which put the temperature sensor out in the elements. Since then it has gotten down to 18 (the night the furnace died) and so far the heated hose is working.

Just another lesson learned on this incredible journey that we are on!

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

What an Adventure

Peculiar MO (Sunshine High 48 Low 30)

What an adventure, or words to that effect :-), were spoken by Jo at 3:30 a.m. a couple of nights ago when it was 18 degrees outside and our furnace quit working in the middle of the night, it was 55 degrees inside which woke Bob up. We have had some intermittent problems with the furnace ever since we bought the Cameo in 2009. But it never failed while the service man was here, until now. We got out our electric heaters and survived the night.

Have to give props to A-Z Mobile RV Service, called them at 8a and by 11a they were knocking on our door. We have used them before while the Kansas City area and highly recommend them. Within a few minutes they diagnosed the problem as a bad control board and put on a new one. The control board was probably the cause of all our intermittent problems before but it would always start working once the service guy got here.

We are sure we will laugh about this sometime in the future, but for now :-(

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Low Sodium Diet

Peculiar MO (High 62 Mostly Clear Low 40)

Since we normally regale about food in our blog we thought we would share our experiences with a low sodium diet and eating out.

Bob was given instructions after his open heart surgery for his aortic valve replacement to go on a low sodium diet of less than 1500mg per day, with no more than 2000mg occasionally. Let's just say that has not been easy. The amount of sodium that is in prepared foods and served at restaurants is incredible, sometimes many times over your daily allotment. This is a brief summary of our low sodium diet adventures.

We first begin by recommending an android app that we have on Jo's Kindle Fire, Fast Food Nutrition, available on the Google Play Store here. We usually don't recommend apps that you have to pay for but for $2.99 you get detailed nutrition info for over 350 restaurants, not all of whom are fast food. It is easy to use and we could not have survived the low sodium diet without it.

As much as we like to eat out we at first had some trouble finding places that would accommodate a low sodium diet. With the help of the app we did find some surprising winners. First of all is the steakburger places like Freddy's, Steak and Shake and Winsteads, for those in the know you realize that a steakburger is much thinner than a regular hamburger. It is made from USDA Choice Steak a cut or two above your average hamburger. You can eat a double California steakburger with no cheese and sauce and split a small order of fries at Freddy's for just a little over 600mg of sodium. The key is to ask for no seasoning while the burger is made and no salt on the fries. This kind of advice is good at any restaurant to be honest.

Other winners include the lunch portion of the linguine marinara at Olive Garden, salmon or the small sirloin at Longhorns Steakhouse. You have to be careful with your side dishes as they can contain a lot of sodium too. Some winners at Longhorns include sweet potato at 0mg of sodium, loaded baked potato at 150mg. Bob had a meal with salmon and baked potato and sweet potato and it was 450mg of sodium. The mushroom and swiss single at Culvers and small fries was also surprising at just under 600mg of sodium. A build you own omelet at IHOP with egg substitute and just veggies and swiss cheese is also a good low sodium choice as is the Tri-Athlete egg white omelet at First Watch.

If you are wondering why the list includes only chain restaurants it is because it is easier to find sodium content than at your local mom and pop restaurant.

We also found a wide variety of sodium content on cheese, american cheese is one of the worst you can have for sodium content, cheddar is better but swiss is best, at least for the places we frequented.

Condiments are also high in sodium but we found a 0mg mustard (Westbrae Natural Stoneground No Salt Added) that is very good and a 0mg ketchup (Heinz No Salt Added) that is ok in sandwiches but leaves a little to be desired if by itself. We plan on using the mustard for a long time but will probably try to find a better ketchup alternative.

While cooking at home we have used a lot of Mrs. Dash, the table blend is a good variety, so good in fact that we carry one in Jo's purse to use in restaurants.

When we first started on the low sodium diet we were a little depressed. But once we had a lunch at Culvers and a breakfast at First Watch we really felt like we were eating a full meal and still watching Bob's sodium. We started eating more fish at home using Mrs. Dash and we found some Heart Healthy Pasta Sauce and Mixed Nuts.

Bob just got cleared by the Cardiologist to not go so crazy on sodium, but to still watch it, if that makes any sense. His blood pressure problems were not due to sodium. What that means is that KC barbeque is now an option, but not every day. We hope to take what we learned while cutting back on sodium to help us live a little healthier.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Leased a Propane Tank

Peculiar MO (Brilliant sunshine and milder, High 52 Low 24)

Due to Bob's surgery he will not be able to lift our 30 gallon propane tanks and with Jo's back she would not be able either so we leased a 100 gallon propane tank.

It is full now and hooked up, all we have to do is monitor the gauge and when it gets close to 20% full the propane company will come and fill it back up. We are glad we got it done before Bob's surgery which was on Wednesday, October 17th.

While recovering we have had some interesting visitors to our backyard bird feeders. We think this is a downey woodpecker (waiting on Judy to confirm :-)

On a side note somewhat medically related, we got our insurance rates for next year and we thought rates would be going down but instead it went up 39%.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, November 12, 2012

Bob is Home From Surgery

After a successful aortic valve replacement Bob is now back living in the Carriage Cameo for his recuperation. He had a congenital heart defect of a two flap  (bi-cuspid) Aorta valve instead of three (tri-cuspid). Eventually people with this condition require heart valve replacement surgery. Bob chose a tissue valve instead of an artificial one. He describes the surgery and recovery as being hit by a Ford F-350 and then the Carriage Cameo its towing and then being backed over :-)

With all this going on we are way behind in our email and blogging, both reading and publishing. We especially want to live vicariously through the lives of the snowbirds and Winter Texans since we will be spending the winter in the Kansas City area.

With walking, rehab, napping, etc it may take us time to catch up.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Full-timing With 3 Cats - Laundry Day

Peculiar MO (Partly Sunny and Colder High 52 Low 32)

Time to time we like to blog on our full-timing with 3 cats in 359 sq. ft. Today we deal with laundry day.

Believe it or not we put our cats to work. Recently Sandra was helping us with the laundry.

Here she is inspecting the washer dryer and making sure it was ready.

Here she is telling us everything is OK.

Cats are so inquisitive that whenever we open a cabinet or closet or the washer dryer they act like they have never been in there before, which in the case of the washer dryer was probably true. At least this is the first time we have documented it :-)

Full-timing with 3 cats is always an adventure!

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Not Going to be Snowbirds This Winter

Peculiar MO (Conditions HIGH 66 Thunderstorms late LOW 52)

We are going to be birds in the snow :-(

It is both a good thing and a bad thing to see Doctors. The bad thing is that they may find something wrong; the good thing is that this time it can be fixed. Bob saw a couple of Doctors while we are in the Kansas City area and will now have two surgeries. With the recovery times we will be spending the entire winter in the Kansas City area.

With the first surgery in mid-October we are now concentrating on getting our fresh water hose winterized, looking to rent a large propane tank since Bob will be unable to lift the 30 pound tanks into place, and other things so Jo will only have to worry about being Bob's caregiver.

So we probably will not be blogging much for a while although we do plan on trying to read the many blogs we follow. We will appreciate all your prayers while Bob is recuperating..

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, September 21, 2012

Not a Success Story on New Cat Litter

Peculiar MO (Partly Sunny High 79 Low 53)

Since we are in the Kansas City area which we lived in for so many years we have a lot to do while in the area like Doctor's appointments and meeting family and friends. This is one of the very few times where we have to break out our calendars so we don't schedule things on top of each other. So our blogging will be light for the next few weeks.

We generally like to give tips on gadgets that make our full-timing lifestyle more fun like the Oxygenics Body Spa showerhead that we did recently. Now we want to tell about a product testing that did not go well, Cat's Pride Fresh and Light Cat Litter.

We are always on the look for a better cat litter and we thought we had a winner. We saw it featured on "Must Love Cats" on Animal Planet and decided to give it a try. Fresh and Light is dust free which is a big plus when living in a small fifth wheel. It is also lighter than other cat litters. The same size box of other cat litters is about 28 pounds and it is 20 pound for Fresh and Light, which is also a big plus.

So far so good but here is where our results did not match tightly controlled testing. On the show they show how it clumped better and had better odor control. Without the dust when the urine is right up against the box the litter does not clump as good as other litters. This might contribute to the biggest downfall of the litter, odor control. Because it was so light and dust free we tried real hard to like this litter but finally gave up and switched back to our old standby, Scoop Away Multi-Cat. We read the labels and it is supposed to be 99.9% dust free while the others said 99.3% or 99.6% dust free, not 100% dust free but pretty darn good and the odor control is MUCH better. We already have noticed a difference and are glad we switched back.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, September 14, 2012

On the Move Again - to Peculiar MO

Peculiar MO (Partly Sunny and Warmer High 72 Low 49)

Yes, that is really the name of the town :-)

We drove through rain on part of our drive from Viking Lake State Park to Peculiar MO. The main difference we did notice though was that it was a lot cooler than we expected, it was 55 degrees when we were setting up. It was warmer than that earlier in the day when we were leaving Viking Lake State Park. It was about 190 miles and this is the route we took.

View Larger Map
Our usual back-in site was not available, with the rain the folks there decided to stay a day longer, so we are in a pull through. We have family and friends and Doctors to see while we are in the area so we will be here about a month. There are old standby food places to eat at along with a few new places we have to try.

We did enjoy Viking Lake State Park. The RV sites are on a cove off of the main lake and are nice. There are a limited number of full hookup sites and only a few of those are reservable but coming mid week after Labor Day and having Jo's cousin pay for the first night helped us get a good site. There are trails around the lake and it is a nice quiet park.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On the Move Again - to Viking Lake State Park, Stanton, Iowa

Viking Lake State Park, Stanton IA (Rain in the Area High 83 Low 50)

After a jam packed few days visiting Bob's family and friends we left yesterday, September 11th, and headed to Viking Lake State Park near Stanton IA to visit Jo's Aunt and cousins. We got off to a bit of a bumpy spot as our TPMS system notified us that one of the truck tires was at its lower warning level. So Bob got out our CO2 tank and filled up the tire. Of course the tire gauge had settled down to the bottom of the storage container so he had to pull everything out and then put it all back together. With the tire now in the safe range for travel we headed out. Jo's cousin Denny and his wife Peg were camping at the park so it was nice to see them as we pulled into the State Park. It was about 125 miles, here is the route we took.

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We certainly did jam a lot of activity into our short stop in central Iowa. We of course ate at some great places; pumpkin pancakes at the Drake Diner, burgers at the Zombie Burger (recommended by Bob's niece), great pasta and smoked pork chop at Irina's Restaurant, Salvadoran food at El Buen Gusto in Perry IA, and a great buffet at a nearby Pizza Ranch. We tried to go to Saraj for Bosnian food but it is closed on Mondays. On the sports front Bob was able to get the two games we were interested in. We were glad that we got the Iowa State win over Iowa but could have missed the Chiefs debacle against the Falcons. The next time we visit the area we are going to stay longer so we don't have to jam everything into a few days.

We will be just as busy the next few days as we have a short time here also but that will be fine as we are looking forward to seeing everyone here. We were able to position the Cameo on our campsite here so that the roof mounted satellite dish would work. The SatFinder app on Bob's phone really helped in our pulling forward and backing up the Cameo to get just the right spot.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, September 8, 2012

On The Move Again - to Des Moines IA area

Altoona IA (Pleasant and Warmer High 78 Low 46)

We left yesterday, Friday September 7th, and drove to Adventureland Campground at the Adventureland Park in the Des Moines area. It was about 230 miles but it was mostly interstate which helps on what is becoming one of our longer trips. We like to keep them under 200 miles but we have family and friends to see in the area so we went a little further.

Here is the route we took

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Our old friend our roof mounted satellite dish played a part in selecting our park, actually changing it at the last minute. Our two other options in the metro area, Walnut Woods State Park and Cuttys Resort (where we stayed at last year), both have significant trees making satellite reception difficult. Bob has a football game Saturday (Iowa State) and we both have Sunday (Kansas City Chiefs) that were not going to be on local stations. We were assured that they had spots that the dish would work and when we arrived the dish setup with no problem so we are happy campers, so to speak. It was raining and windy with temps in the high 50s when we setup so we setup in record time.

The DVR programs are set and we are ready to enjoy a few days in the Des Moines area, now if our teams can win it will be even better.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, September 7, 2012

Added More Maps

Prior Lake MN (Rain, Clouds Breaking, Not as Warm High 67 Low 42)

We realized that we still had some Maps to add to our blog gadget on the left side of our blog. Somehow we had created these Maps but failed to list them. So today we added Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, New Mexico and South Dakota. Here is the map for Iowa since that is where we are heading next.

Map Channels

The "Enter a Location" search in the upper right will let you zoom to a particular area. There is a scroll bar next to the list so you can scroll down and see the entire list for the state. Bob did these maps to get around the 200 marker limit for Google Maps. Check out for more information.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Too Hot For Anything But Movies

Prior Lake MN (Partly Sunny and Pleasant High 79 Low 52)

With temps in the high 80s and humid we decided the last couple of days to go to a movie. The first one we saw was "The Bourne Legacy".

Carrying on the Jason Bourne story but without Jason Bourne. The mad scientists are at it again and this time it is Aaron Cross played by Jeremy Renner that is the guinea pig. The good about this movie is that there are some characters from the Jason Bourne trilogy that are mentioned so you have some familiarity with the storyline. Plus this is an action movie so there is a lot of chases and fights. The stunt sliding down between two walls close together was pretty neat. We really like Rachel Weisz and Jeremy Renner so that helped too.

The bad is that it took a while to get going at the beginning and it lagged a little in the middle, probably about 15 minutes too long of a movie. In our 5 star Netflix-type ranking we give it 3 stars - Liked It. Not as good as any of the Jason Bourne trilogy but still a good movie and it was air conditioned and the popcorn was good.

Next we saw "Hope Springs" with Tommy Lee Jones and Meryl Streep. 

A heartfelt story of an old married couple seeking therapy from a counselor played by Steve Carrell. We laughed, we cried and we smiled throughout the movie so it touched us. There were a couple scenes that made us uncomfortable but all in all a good movie. In our Netflix-type ranking we give it 4 stars - Really Liked It.

Looks like the heat wave has broke here which must mean it is time to move to where it is hotter :-(

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, September 3, 2012

Kounty Quart House in South Range WI

Prior Lake MN (Partly Sunny and Humid High 87 Low 65)

Subtitled: Another Foodie Paradise

It has been too hot here in Prior Lake MN to do much of anything at all except go to the movies, which we will blog about later. This gives us the chance to blog about our stay in South Range WI, this time a single location is a foodie paradise.

We mentioned Kounty Quart House before and we went back a couple more times and it just kept getting better and better. Everything was a highlight from all of our visits that is how good this place is. From the Ultimate BLT with fried yellow tomatoes, to the Chicken Pot Pie, to the Reconstructed Reuben which used potato pancakes for the bread, to the Greek Burger which had a thick creamy spinach topping on a greatly flavored burger, to the Cheesesteak which used thinly sliced ribeye as the meat, to the Bail Bond which was fried yellow tomatoes on top of an arugula salad with bail pesto sauce, to the Bacon Mac-N-Cheese (pictured), everything was a culinary adventure.

Here is the Reconstructed Reuben.

Even the sides were incredible, especially the side salad and the homemade dressings. The bread and rolls were homemade, the sweet potato fries were very good. This is an amazing place. We sent an email to Guy Fieri of "Diners, Drive-Inns and Dives" telling him about this place. Added to 'Our Favorite Things! Food' is the Chicken Pot Pie and the Ultimate BLT.

We like this place so much that we will plan our travel around this area so we can eat here again.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, September 1, 2012

On The Road Again - to Prior Lake MN

Prior Lake MN (Mostly Sunny High 84 Low 60)

After a great week in South Range WI we drove yesterday, Friday August 31st, to Prior Lake MN, a suburb of the Twin Cities. We arrived at the Dakotah Meadows RV Park after about 190 miles. Here is the route we took

View Larger Map

We will be in the Twin Cities for a week and we plan to visit Jensen's Cafe as part of our foodie tour. They have lemon ricotta pancakes that are amazing and the best syrup we have ever had. For sightseeing we plan to visit the Hill House and then play it by ear. The weather looks like it is going to be hotter than we like which may curtail some of our activities.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, August 31, 2012

Wisconsin Point

South Range WI (Sunny and Less Humid High 82 Low 52)

Subtitled: Why we love full-timing

One of the reasons we love full-timing is the unexpected just around the corner. We decided to drive along Wisconsin Point and see the Superior Entry Lighthouse just a few miles from our RV park. We like lighthouses so it was a given we would try to see this one. What we did not expect was the uniqueness of the area. Here is a google map of the Wisconsin Point and the Superior Entry (across the gap that is Superior Entry is Minnesota Point).

View Larger Map
The Superior Entry is the only natural opening through the longest freshwater sand bar in the world, we did not expect that. Sand deposits from Lake Superior and the rivers created the bar forming the harbor about 3000 years ago. The natural entry was originally 1500 feet wide but only 4-16 feet deep and the first ore shipped from the mighty Mesabi Iron Range was in 1893. In 1909 the entry was revised to 500 feet wide and 32 feet deep with concrete piers to accommodate the big freighters. The current through the channel sometimes reaches 3 mph. Today the entry serves one of the busiest ports in the United States. It is the western terminus of the St. Lawrence Seaway and handles cargoes of iron ore, coal, petroleum and grain destined for ports throughout the world.

The Superior Entry Lighthouse went into operation in 1912 after the concrete pier was completed. It replaced a couple of lighthouses that had been in the area on Minnesota Point and on Wisconsin Point. 

Getting to the lighthouse area at the end of Wisconsin Point we had another unexpected occurrence, OK maybe not so unexpected, we got lost. We drove past the road which was not that well marked and luckily ran into a lady out running with her dog. She got us on the right path after turning around in this great beach area.

Yet another unexpected was the fact that Wisconsin Point is a sacred burial ground for the Chippewa Indians. There were 22 spots to pull over and park along the point and the burial ground was one of them. Here is our photo of the lighthouse from marker 22.

At marker 21 we could have walked out to the lighthouse which is closed but since we were heading out the next day we decided to go back to the park. Here is a photo from of the lighthouse.

Here is another photo of the lighthouse we got from the web.

We really have enjoyed the area and plan to be back because there is more to see and more places to eat.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Jo Gets a Haircut

South Range WI (Partly Sunny and Warmer High 88 Low 48)

Subtitled: Part 2 of Bob's Whole Lotta Eating Going On

Jo got her hair cut at a salon in Canal Park in Duluth yesterday. While she was doing that Bob walked around Canal Park and enjoyed the scenery and the great weather (mid 60s with a good breeze). Although a big ship was not scheduled for the entire day which would cause the Aerial Lift Bridge to raise all the way to the top there was a tour boat that caused to bridge to partially raise. Here it is arriving.

Here is the Aerial Lift Bridge raising.

Here is the tour boat passing under the bridge.

Jo's haircut took about 2 hours and it was amazing just how fast the time went for Bob. He puttered with his smartphone for awhile, walked around the canal and then began reading his book. Before he knew it it was time to check menus in the area for lunch. From the "it doesn't hurt to ask file" Bob asked Famous Dave's if his expired Pig Club free birthday meal would still be honored since when it expired a couple of days ago we were not near a Famous Dave's and the manager said no problem, that there was some benefit to belonging to the Pig Club. So after Jo's haircut was over we walked to Famous Dave's. We were also able to use a survey coupon for a free dessert and got our favorite bread pudding for dessert.

After lunch we walked along Canal Park enjoying the great weather and scenery. So on a scale of a perfect day this was pretty high on the list with great food, sightseeing and weather.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

An Almost Perfect Day

South Range WI (Pleasant with Sunshine High 77 Low 50)

We have one measure of a perfect day; food, sightseeing, weather. By these measures we had an almost perfect day recently.

Food - we have hit upon an incredible place to eat in South Range; Kounty Quart House which has an interesting story. A lady who used to cook for the Elks but then they decided they are not serving food anymore. She then starts a catering business and it explodes so she decided to start a restaurant. She buys a bar and the Kounty Quart House is born. The food is incredible and all of it homemade, they make everything from scratch including the salad dressings. So far we have had an Ultimate BLT, Greek hamburger, cheesesteak, fried yellow tomatoes on top of an arugula ssalad. This is a MUST stop for any foodie. We are going to send Guy Fieri from DDD an e-mail about this place. It is a little spot literally in the middle of nowhere that serves amazing food.

Sightseeing - We visited Pattison State Park for Big Manitou Falls, which at 165' is Wisconsin's tallest falls. The park also includes Little Manitou Falls. Both falls were view-able after a short walk from their respective parking lots. Here is Big Manitou Falls.

Here is Little Manitou Falls.

Weather - at a little over 80 and sunny with very little breeze it was a little too warm for our tastes, hence the title.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, August 25, 2012

On The Road Again - to South Range WI

South Range WI (Rain Possible High 78 Low 54)

After three great weeks at the City of Houghton RV Park we left yesterday, Friday August 24th, and headed to Northland Camping and RV Park in South Range WI near Duluth MN. Here is the route we took.

View Larger Map

It sure is great to be back on Central Time, although it might take us a little time to adjust but we did like it getting darker earlier than in Houghton. We plan to stay a week here and then head to the Twin Cities area. While here we plan to visit some of the sightseeing places in Duluth that are on our list and maybe eat Sara's Table.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Just Enough

Houghton MI (Sunny Chance of Rain High 79 Low 60)

Subtitled: Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

While plugging in a charger for yet another new electronic device we got to talking about how we have just enough outlets to live. We certainly had more in our old sticks and bricks so maybe we did not need that many. As Henry David Thoreau said "Simplify, Simplify, Simplify". One thing about this living full-time in an RV is that it is not easy to be cluttered by details as you just don't have the room and that is a very good thing. That got us thinking about other things that we have 'Just Enough' of.

Pantry - we have 'just enough' pantry to survive a few days and it is a lot less than we had in our sticks and bricks but we certainly don't have many items that are a few years past expiration date anymore either. We do have to make a run to the grocery store or Wal-Mart every few days but that is OK.

Refrigerator - sometimes we wish we had a bigger refrigerator but we have learned to live with 12 cu. ft. Planning your meals and then buying only what you need for the next couple of meals help keep the refrigerator size manageable.

Counter space - we have been able to fix big meals for two with our available counter space and the island's counter space. Sometimes it is like a chess game moving things around so that there is enough space to work but after almost three years of full-timing we have gotten quite good at that.

Drawer space - surprisingly we also have just enough drawer space for our stuff.

Storage - with a cargo tray in the basement and a floorplan with a rear basement we have stuff with us we have not used for three years. Bob plans to go through all of the storage this fall and get rid of the stuff we have not used yet.

Closet - Jo may not totally agree with this but we both still have clothes we have not worn in a long time so we guess we have 'just enough' closet space. At least Jo has not taken over Bob's closet, we have a floorplan with a smaller wardrobe in the slideout near the bed for Bob and a larger closet across the front of the fifth wheel for Jo, so maybe we do have 'just enough'.

We worried about having enough of all these things when we were thinking about full-timing. Now we just marvel about how we are getting by with much less than we thought we ever could, and having the time of our lives doing it.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Full-timing with 3 cats - JJ's Den

Houghton MI (Pleasant and Warmer High 77 Low 49)

Time to time we like to regale on our life on the road full-timing in 359 sq. ft. with three cats.

Our mantra on the road is "a place for everything and everything in its place". Cats believe that every place is for them and that once a spot frees up they have never, ever been in there before and they must get in there right away. 

Bob keeps his beard trimming stuff in the cabinet below the TV. After a recent beard trimming he went to put the box back into its assigned area and here is what he saw.

A close up of JJ enjoying his "Den"

After a few minutes he moved on and with everything back in its place the doors were closed.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bob's Edition of "Whole Lotta Eating Going On"

Houghton (Partly Sunny High 68 Low 45)

Subtitled: Free Birthday Meals

Since Bob's birthday is in the summer and we are generally in remote areas he usually does not get free birthday meals. The Houghton area has 6 restaurants that offer a free birthday meal but only on the day of your birthday. So yesterday we had a rare three meal eating out day so we could maximize the benefits.

First was the Kaleva Cafe in Hancock across the river. Bob got the big breakfast of eggs, ham, hash browns, toast and 2 pancakes. The pancakes weren't even touched and were taken home. Jo had their version of Pannu Kakku and bacon. We then walked to a farmer's market and bought some blueberries.

The second meal of the day was at the Loading Zone II in Lake Linden. They serve a rack and a half of ribs so Bob ordered that and a side of spaghetti with a very good chicken and noodle soup. The ribs were excellent and the spaghetti was hardly touched and was taken home along with some ribs. Jo had a veggie sandwich.

After Mass we had our third meal of the day at Gino's Restaurant in Hancock where Bob got the Filet Mignon with soup and salad bar and a side of spaghetti. Jo got an order of spaghetti and ravioli. Bob's spaghetti and part of Jo's was taken home.

Not only did we have three good meals with the ribs and the filet as stand outs but we brought enough food home for a few meals. Just another benefit of being in Houghton for the summer.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, August 17, 2012

Portage Lake Lift Bridge

Houghton (Sunshine and breezy High 69 Low 54)

Subtitled: Officially the Houghton-Hancock Bridge

Thought we would share a little of why we have done so little sightseeing while in Houghton. Our site backs up to the Portage River. Here is the view of the lift bridge from our site.

As we mentioned before we just like to sit outside and read and watch the boats and ships go by. Here is tug boat hard at work.

Here is "The Ranger" approaching the lift bridge taken for our chairs outside our Cameo. "The Ranger" provides passenger service from Houghton to Isle Royale National Park and other places.

The Ranger getting closer.

Getting even closer the bridge is starting to raise.

The lift bridge raising.

The lift bridge at the top.

As it two names suggests this is a lift bridge that connects the towns of Houghton and Hancock across the Portage River. The middle section at its lowest is four feet of clearance and at its peak has 100 feet of clearance allowing Great Lakes freighters to pass underneath saving 100 miles if the Keweenaw Peninsula was circumnavigated. This bridge is the world's heaviest and widest double decked lift bridge.

Here is a picture we took when we walked the Houghton Waterfront Trail from our park to downtown Houghton.

Here is another one with the decks raised also from the Waterfront Trail.

As you can tell we really like Lift Bridges and to have one this close to us is amazing.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Texas added

Houghton MI (Times of Clouds and Sun High 78 Low 53)

We are doing a good job of recharging our batteries here in Houghton. It is great to just sit outside and watch the fishing boats, sailboats, etc. on the water and read our books. We do plan to do some sightseeing before our stay is over but we just cannot get enough of the easy life.

We have recently added the great state of Texas to 'Our Google Maps - Places to See and Eat' gadget on the left side of our blog.

We are now working on adding California which will be next to help us plan next summers adventure along the CA-OR-WA coasts.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, August 13, 2012

Catching Up - Float Plane Obsession while in Grand Marais

Houghton MI (Clouds and Sun High 75 Low 55)

Now that the Olympics are over we plan on doing some sightseeing in the Houghton area but staying up so late (ends at midnight here) gets us up late and the day is gone before we know it. This does allow us though to catch up on some blog entries of our recent stay in Grand Marais MN.

As we mentioned before Bob got obsessed with capturing a good picture of the float plane that was offering tours of the area from the air. The plane took off in Grand Marais Bay right next to where our RV was parked. He missed a lot of Kodak moments when we did not have a camera or he couldn't get the zoom at the right setting.

After 5 weeks there he did manage to get a shot or two worth reporting here and a couple of hundred in the recycle bin never to seen again. Here is the plane coming in for a landing in front of us while we were at the Dragonboat Festival.

Here is the float plane airborne with the lighthouse and sailboat.

Here is the float plane with the other lighthouse and a boat.

There are a "few" more in our photos from our visit to Grand Marais that have been uploaded to in the Grand Marais set.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, August 10, 2012

Catching Up - Grand Marais Food Scene, Part 3

Houghton MI (Mostly Sunny High 70 Low 53)

Subtitled: A Foodies Paradise, Part 3

It rained yesterday pretty much all day in Houghton so that allows us to catch up on some blog entries from our recent stay in Grand Marais Minnesota.

On top of all the great dining places that we described in Grand Marais Food Scene Part 1 and Part 2 we forgot to mention Hughie's Tacos which serves up the best puffy taco that we have had. A puffy taco is a flour taco shell that is fried so it puffs out and then filled with ingredients. They serve a pork and kraut taco that sounds weird but is amazing and their fish taco is great too.

In addition to the great eating places there are other places that provide great food experiences.

Sydney's Frozen Custard - some of the best custard we have had, so rich and creamy. Plus they serve a wood fired pizza that is real good. These are more of the artisan style pizzas than the regular menu pizzas but still good.

Gunflint Mercantile - they make up the best rice combination packets. The best one is cranberry creation which has wild rice, jasmine rice, brown rice, wild pecan rice, slivered almonds, and dried cranberries. We have a cream of wild rice soup mix we haven't tried yet that we bought there.

Beth's Fudge and Gifts - Amazing fudge here. The best fudge we have ever had; the dark chocolate, caramel and sea salt mixture, is available here. Gift shop is neat to walk through also.

White Pine North - next door to Crooked Spoon. We got syrup there that is very unique and wonderful, a blueberry and maple syrup combination. They also have a no sugar added wild blueberry syrup that is great. Also a neat gift shop to walk through. 

World's Best Donuts - having been there and tried a couple of different donuts we feel we have to make a comment about World's Best Donuts, a famous donut shop in Grand Marais. We feel that the donuts are OK but would not call them world's best.

With so many places to eat and shop for food we really overdid it the 5 weeks that we were there. Next time we are there we want to stay a 2-3 months and spread out our eating out a little more as the places can get expensive. 

With the exception of Naniboujou and My Sister's Place we could walk easily to any of these locations which makes this location our favorite 'Foodies Paradise' so far.

This concludes our review of the Grand Marais Minnesota food scene.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Catching Up - Grand Marais MN Food Scene, Part 2

Houghton MI (Rainy High 70 Low 54)

Subtitled: Foodies Paradise, Part 2

We had another lunch and shopping day here in Houghton which allows us to catch up on some blog entries from our stay in Grand Marais. Sleeping in late has cut down on Bob's blogging activities as the morning is when he gets a lot done. 

As we mentioned in a previous blog entry Grand Marais is a foodies paradise. Here are some more of the great places to eat.

Crooked Spoon - Jo had her new favorite French Onion soup along with a great whitefish BLT, pastrami sandwich and other great offerings.

Angry Trout - right next to the Dockside Fish Market so you know the fish is very fresh. With outside seating with incredible views and great fresh fish sandwiches and a fettuccine and salad lunch entree that is tremendous this place is a must stop while in Grand Marais.

Pie Place Cafe - first of all pie; one of the best pies we have ever had is the raspberry rhubarb streusel pie here. The pies are expensive as are the meals but everything is good. They serve a northwoods Benedict which is maple sausage (which is excellent) instead of ham and a cheese sauce instead of hollandaise making this a very good variation of a Benedict. There is limited outside seating with a view of Grand Marais Bay and the Lighthouse.

Naniboujou - we blogged about the great french toast before, this place is so unique we had to mention it again.

Believe it or not there is still more to cover on the incredible food scene in Grand Marais which will wrap up in a future entry.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

We Don't Like Eastern Time Zone

Houghton MI (Cloudy High 72 Low 57)

We rarely spend time in the Eastern Time Zone and when we do we don't like it. It just feels off with everything an hour later. Add to that the part of the Upper Peninsula where we are is north of Wisconsin which is on Central Time so it doesn't feel like we should be on Eastern Time. But this year is even worse with the Olympics on and the prime time broadcast ending at midnight. The first few nights we watched till the bitter end ending even later than midnight with our DVR delay watching. But last night we decided to quit earlier and just catch up today. So we are DVR delaying the network's tape delaying.

Staying up later means getting up later so we have done very little touristy things except for sitting outside and looking at water, reading, and talking with our neighbors which we have really enjoyed. We have had a couple great meals; a steak and cheddar pizza at the Loading Zone in Linden City and breakfast at Suomi in Houghton where Jo got the Finnish baked custard pancakes, Pannu Kakku. We are here for three weeks so once the Olympics are over we can get into tourist mode but we are really enjoying the relaxation portion so we are not complaining. There are just a couple of places we would like to see while we are here.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Catching up - Review of Grand Marais food scene, Part 1

Houghton MI (Mostly Sunny High 75 Low 55)

Subtitled: A Foodies Paradise, Part 1

We still haven't done much more than enjoy sitting outside and reading or chatting with our neighbors and enjoying the view of the Portage River so we thought we would catch up on some postings from our recent stay in Grand Marais. As promised in an earlier posting here is our review of the food scene there. Grand Marais is a small town of 1351 on the North Shore of Lake Superior about 40 miles from Canada. For such a small town the food scene is amazing due to the number of summer visitors enjoying the cooler temperatures, except when we were there :-(

Bob had three food places to check out on his list before we even hit town so let's deal with those first. The very first place we ate at was brunch at the 'Blue Water Cafe' because we heard the pancakes and french toast were good there and we heard correctly. They make a blueberry wild rice pancake that is very good. The cinnamon french toast is also quite good. 

The next place on his list was the 'Dockside Fish Market' which is the supplier of fish for the town and also serves fish and chips and soups and desserts. The walleye, whitefish, lake trout and herring were all fresh and amazing, much better than the fish we had last year in Wisconsin and Michigan. The soups and chowders were good and they have a tri-chocolate cake that is very good.

'My Sister's Place' was the third one on his list with burgers, gizzards and pizza listed. We first tried the burgers and they were very good and unique. They serve a sliced green olive and cream cheese topping on a burger that was flavorful with the crunch and brine of the olive and creaminess of the cheese. The gizzards were also good but a little chewy as they sometimes can get. The best thing on the menu though is the pizza, specifically the 'My Sister's Special', a italian sausage, pepperoni, onion, mushroom, green pepper, black olive combo that may be the best pizza we have ever had. One time we substituted green olives for onions and it was even better. The sausage is homemade and mild, the crust is thin and it is wood fired in a stone oven. 

Once we get to a place we start asking around where to eat. The office staff recommended 'South of the Border' for breakfast so that was the second place that we ate at. You are probably thinking like we were that this was a mexican place but south of the border up here refers to the Canadian border. This place serves good food, nothing spectacular, but good food at a great price. The Grand Marais food scene can get a little pricey so more reasonable pricing was nice for a change.

The place was crowded when we walked in and a very friendly local named Ann offered to share her table with us. We of course struck up a food and sightseeing conversation with here and got many more tips on places to eat and some of the sightseeing tips we have blogged about. The food scene is incredible in Grand Marais, so much so that we need to break it into multiple parts so stay tuned for our next edition of the Grand Marais Food Scene.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo