The road less travelled

The road less travelled

Monday, May 21, 2018

Out of the Blue

*Edited version

We were enjoying our vacation at St. Croix when out of the blue our super secret undisclosed bat phone rings. I look at Lisa and say "It's Jim and Barb, RV rock gods with over 500,000 (you read that right) 500,000 hits on their blog calling".

"We need to see you" they said.

"Sure, meet us at these coordinates in 3 days".

3 days came and went until all of a sudden a cloud of dust shows up in the west.

Jim and Barb! Lisa ran out waving her bra at them to flag them down. "Over here! Over here!"
"You can park "Izzy" right next to us!" she exclaimed. Hugs and handshakes all around. I literally fell into Barb's arms and she caught me because Daisy wrapped her leash around me and tripped me. I couldn't have planned it better myself. So we gave them time to set up before beverages were served and to find out what brings them to our area. 

The planting was finished and they were headed to the cities to see his brother and then on to their land in South Dakota. So it was going to be a quick trip. In RV-Dreams fashion we cooked them dinner since it was their travel day. I grilled steaks (the meal of success) and Lisa made some delish potatoes from something she found on pintrest. Lisa's mom came for dinner because she wanted to meet them also.

After dinner I started a fire and we sat out and shared stories and laughs. Like always the night ends too quickly and we said our good nights.

The next morning, Barb treated us to her famous waffles. They did not disappoint. Daisy and Dakota loved theirs also. Just like that a Sasquatch was spotted and they were gone. But we made plans to catch up with them later on in the summer.

So we are back in our super secret undisclosed location for a little longer and then who knows where we will pop up.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Sasquatch Hunting

With high hopes, we left our super secret undisclosed location and headed east into the Minnesota wilderness to try and find the ever elusive Sasquatch. We heard about a place that has been terrorized by the foul beast and we thought we better get over there to check out the situation. We set up our base camp at St. Croix state park in eastern Minnesota.
St. Croix River
Very wooded country and we can see why Sasquatch would want to live in that remote area.
As we set up it was very apparent that what we heard was true. This campground has over 200 sites and there where maybe 3 campers in all there. People obviously were very afraid of running into one of those oversized bipedal monstrosities. 
Not one soul in this part of the campground. With camp set up, we made battle plans for the next day to attack this beast. We decided to go to the local swimming hole. Sasquatch needs to drink right?

We made the drive to the swimming beach, only to find it deserted. No sign of life. Sasquatch or human. We had the idea that maybe if we searched from the fire tower, that there would be a very good chance to see something. So back to the pickup to find that and find it we did.

100 feet up. Above the canopy for a majestic view of the surrounding area.
Lisa was a trooper. She made it up 3 flights of stairs and decided that going to the top was not in the cards today. The thing is just bolted together like a childs cheap erector set. So she decided to take her chances with the Sasquatch and that I could take all the glory if I saw one. I got to the top and it was rather windy above the trees. That tower was not as solid as one might think. So with a death grip of me hanging on to the railing, I fished out my phone and took some pictures to study later when I was on solid ground.

After a quick review of the pictures, it was discovered that there was no Sasquatch there. I think we will have to try a different technique tomorrow. Back to the camp for revelry and tom foolery!

Moose working as the campground host for the day.

The next day we went to Banning State Park, not far from where we were. We heard of reports there. We checked out the campground first and it is not big rig friendly at all. Off to the woods.


At Banning State Park there is the remains of an old Quarry from the turn of the century.
You can see the drill marks in the rock. They used to mine Hinckley Sandstone from this Quarry and ship down to the Twin Cities for buildings. Not much left of it now except for a lot of rock piles and a couple of buildings.
This was the power house containing the air compressors, generators and steam engines.Well, with no discoveries, we started making our way back. Our path took us along the banks of the Kettle River. What a beautiful river with rapids and everything. We thought that this river should be in Colorado and not in Minnesota, it was so wild.


There was even a kayaker shooting the rapids. 
Lisa contemplating her existence.
At the end of the day I went through my photos and I may have gotten a Sasquatch photo. You will have to decide for yourself.
It was a much needed little vacay. We are headed back to our super secret undisclosed location unless something out of the blue comes up. I would like to leave you with one final photo and thought. Rather a question. Do Sasquatches poop in the woods?
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
^
Yes they do because it's a hell of a lot better than pooping in one of these things.

Until the next adventure.



Sunday, May 13, 2018

Hodge Podge of Many Things

Lisa justs hates it when I am proven right and she is proven wrong. Her face gets all red, she starts to drool and stutter and then she blames me anyway. Case in point. If you recall the episode of my knee. Doing non-stop death marches eventually left me with a torn meniscus that required surgery. Having had the surgery and on the road to recovery, the death marches continued. Until recently. I developed a terrible pain in my foot. Do you know why? Death marches. Proving once again how unhealthy being healthy is.

I went to the walk in clinic because the pain in my foot was getting unbearable. X-rays were taken and again I was proven right. Plantar Fasciatus in my left foot with bone spurs and some calcification. Cure. Rest and stay off of your feet. AH HA! I knew it! One step closer to getting a scooter.

We have been busy clearing the brush off of our property. Busy until "Little Burro" aka, our ATV died of heat stroke. So I loaded it up and brought it back to town and started an autopsy to find out the cause. Upon further inspection it was discovered that "Little Burro" was killed by a mouse. It was a mouse-acide. Apparently a mouse built a nest in the air vent of the clutch housing causing it to over heat and melt the housing.
Come to think of it, I do recall the guy I bought it from saying that it was sitting in a barn for a couple of years.  So I ordered a new housing because the clutch was now rubbing against it. Thank you Amazon.
New one on top and old melted one on bottom.

Next topic of conversation. Zombies. We know they are coming. It is just a matter of time. With that in mind I went to the woods to get some much needed practice in.

It is quite amazing I can hit anything at all with the way I shake but I did hit it. I was using my Hungarian PA-63 in 9X18 Makarov caliber.  I definitely need more practice.

I got a notice for Jury duty for May 8th. It said to call on the 7th to see if I needed to report. So I called and they said the case settled and was not needed and that I should wait for another notice. Now I just sit and wait.

That is about it for now. Exciting as ever I know.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Land Barons in the Minnesota Wilderness

The babies birth is over. The funeral is over.

It's time to start carving out our little piece of paradise in the Minnesota wilderness. After the passing of Lisa's father, he left his daughters a nice chunk of land that we have always loved and used since Lisa and I have met. We cleared out a camping area many years ago and affectionately called it "Camp Longfellow" because of how poetically peaceful it was. But we haven't used it in awhile and things around here get over grown very rapidly with Sumac and Prickly Ash. Our son and his wife started clearing an area last year and we did help them with that.

Our plan that we have been thinking about is this. If we can clear an area and run electric, water and sewer to it, we don't have to pay for a campground while we visit up north. BRILLIANT!

We were also thinking that eventually we could build a cabin or A-frame house on it overlooking the river. That would be many years in the future for that though because we still want to travel more.

First order of business is to find a beast of burden. Something to carry the load.
My heart skips a beat when Lisa okays a purchase like that. 2018 Polaris Sportsman. Over $6,000 dollars worth of happiness. I think I will even sleep on it, it so beautiful. "POP" goes my bubble and back to reality. Damn, I was so close. Let's find something cheaper because it is going to get abused badly. So to Craigslist I went. I found an immaculate 1996 Polaris Explorer that would do the job nicely at a fraction of the cost. Welcome "Little Burro".
It even came with a snow plow which my son has called "Dibbs" on already. A "snow plow" is a blade which attaches to the front of the ATV to push that nasty white shit that falls in the winter here out of the way. I thought I would explain that to our Florida friends that think we live in a snow globe. 

Next order of business. Getting a mower tough enough to mow down Sumac and Prickly Ash. Prickly Ash has thorns all over it and when you walk through it, it stabs you and cuts you. Very painful and we really hate it.
After much research we settled upon this bad boy from Fleet Farm. It is a rough cut brush mower that can be pulled behind the ATV and will cut trees up to about 3" inches in diameter. BWAH HA HA! (evil laugh). Get ready to be slaughtered you f***ing Prickly Ash.

Some assembly required I guess. All loaded up we took it to the woods. This is where the "Dorks on Parade" begins. In my mind I thought that I could just put a strap around it and slide it off of the pickup and onto the ground. Great idea in theory. So I get the strap and the ATV and start pulling. Well it does an immediate nose dive and finally ends up on its top. Oops. My bad. Lisa was not all that impressed by my knowledge of gravity. We then try to push it over. The dang thing weighs 600 pounds. Not going to happen. I then have another brilliant idea. Light bulb. I get the strap around it and use the ATV to get it on its side. Awesome sauce! We just have to tip it one more time. So I then get the ATV and strap and have Lisa keep tension on it as I push it over. Bazinga! It's back the way it is supposed to be.

So now the uncrating and assembly start. No problem.
So I go through the parts and start noticing something. Not all of the bolts are there. How can I attach the wheels? Plus a wire got cut in shipping.
Well the wire was minor and now there is no way of getting it back into the truck to return it. "Lisa, can you go into town to see if there was something they didn't give us. We are missing hardware, owners manual and the keys." Off she goes. I assemble what I could and then wait patiently for her return. She then calls me and says that everything is on the mower. What? Where?
There was a tube next to the engine with everything in it and that symbol on the side of it must be the international sign for "everything is inside dumbass". Well then. I will admit that most things don't go as easily planned as they should. Assembly complete. That was it for one day.
Day 2 involved fixing the wires and getting this thing killing some Prickly Ash.
This is me actually fixing the wires a second time. Because the first time I went about 50 feet through the brush and a tree hooked the wire and sucked it right underneath the mower to get cut again. Sheesh. So once fixed again and tied out of the way it was tree killing time again.


In a matter of hours we had an area cleared out. It worked like a hot knife going through butter. There is about 80 acres of property and I would like to clear all of the Prickly Ash and Sumac as I can. Even driving the ATV the Prickly Ash cuts like crazy.
Even through jeans. Also the wood ticks are out already. I had one biting me in the ass. Sorry, no pictures of that. Maybe next time.

Stay tuned for the next episode of "Dorks on Parade."

Friday, April 20, 2018

Archie J. Miller 1917-2018

As I sit down here to write this, I am filled with mixed feelings. It has been a couple of days now and the dust is settling so here I go.

Archie J. Miller is Lisa's grandfather. He lived to be 101. A milestone in it's own right. Raised during the great depression he knew the value of money and how much hard work it was to get it. Born in the small town of Brocket ND., he grew up there and started his first business. He then moved to the Fergus Falls MN. area in the late 1950's where he built a house by the lake, and started several other businesses. Never able to sit still, always on the move.
This was the building that carried his name in Dilworth MN. It was called "Archie's Place" and then later re-named Bargains. I think he used the two tone metal siding to make it look like a circus tent. Just my opinion because of all the clowns working inside. Just a thought. You knew he was there when you would see his big Eldorado parked outside.
The store was fairly large and packed with anything and everything he could find. It had clothing, housewares, hardware, lumber, furniture, carpet and the list could go on and on.


Archie came into my life in 1988 when I met the beautiful miss Lisa Marie. I picked up the FM Guide magazine and inside it was an article about the Miller's and their success. I showed Lisa the article when we were in beauty school together and asked her if that was her. They had a family picture in it.
Lisa and I got married the next year. With his blessings no doubt.
Christmas's have never been the same.

Being in the business he was in, he would get samples from so many different companies trying to sell him their wares. He would show up at Christmas with his Cadillac stuffed full of presents. Our first Christmas is one that I will never forget. Opening of the gifts took hours and there were only the 6 of us, because of the sheer volume of gifts to open and opening them one at a time.

Lisa has worked for Archie for many years. Eventually running his clothing department.
What a task that was. Whatever amount of clothing was in the store, there were 2 to 3 times out in the warehouses. He never purchased anything in small quantities. It was usually truckload buys. When it was time to inventory everything yearly, it was all done manually. He didn't believe in computers.

I eventually worked for Archie myself. Starting in the hardware department and then moving up to being a department head of furniture and carpet. Archie would take us with him to Las Vegas every year for the giant buying show. He taught us the ins and outs of buying for his store. He said always ask for terms. "What's that?" He said "Have them write the bill out to be paid in full in 30 days and then give us a 15% discount". That was the way he worked. Always pay cash. Never finance anything. That was how he was able to compete with the big guys across the street. He was very shrewed. He would invite us out after the shows and we would always find him at the slots waiting for us. He loved the slot machines.

Archie loved western art. He loved it so much that he had a art gallery built next door so that he could share it with everyone. It was called "Archie's West Art Gallery and Gift Shop" run by his daughter Beverly.
He would have his art collection displayed and he never charged anyone admission to view it.

He was very proud of his grandkids and great grandkids.






Also his wife, Virginia.




We have seen two deaths up close and personal now in the last 7 months. Lisa's father who passed away after an accident last fall. That was 19 days in the hospital and we thought that was long. We have been watching Archie slowly going down hill for many, many years now. We would leave after our visits thinking that that was our last goodbyes. Only to come home again and there he was stubborn and determined to carry on. I never thought he would make it to be 100, but he did. Then I thought he won't make it till Christmas, but he did. Then to 101. 

The last few months were the hardest. We saw him go from walking to the wheelchair. From the wheelchair to being bedridden. Eventually solid food was out of the question and it quickly started to go downhill then. What helped him live for so long was the wonderful care he was receiving at home from a couple of angels named Elizabeth and Beverly. They gave up so much of their lives to him and it takes such a special person to do that.
They were there till the very end. Archie passed away April 16th, 2018, at 1 o'clock in the afternoon. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day.