The road less travelled

The road less travelled

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Our New Hometown?


DeBary Florida.

We pronounce it like this; "Duuuuuh Berry". It sits in Volusia County in the east central part of the state. North of Orlando and about 30 minutes from Daytona Beach and the Atlantic ocean. This city has only been incorporated since 1993. Not sure what that means down here because up north you are either a town or you are not. Not sure of why LaRay picked this area, but is a nice area. The only thing that we don't like so much is all of the random violence, and I do mean random. There are a lot of sirens all around. I told Lisa not to worry about those unless you hear a helicopter overhead. That's when you know that it is close.

We are familiar with this area since we have made many trips down here to visit LaRay. He was always a good tour guide, always showing us around and the many things to do and see here. Plus the "Mouse House" is only an hour away.

We have been in our new house for over a month now. I say "Our new house" because it is new to us but it is actually Lisa's and her sister Heidi's (I am just the freeloader). This house actually belonged to Lisa's father who passed away in September and now we have moved in to take care of his wishes as the Florida legal system grinds along painfully slow. With homeownership comes lots of upkeep. So every day we pick one or two chores a day to get done. We have been doing so much cleaning out and throwing away of stuff. Our garbage men I think hate us. One thing nice about this city is that there is no limit on what and how much you can throw away. So we are really taking advantage of that.

We have always told him how much we like his house. It has a nice floor plan and the back pool area is awesome.
Kitchen with a breakfast nook off to the side.

Living room looking into Lisa's office and a dining area to the left.

Screened in pool area with the "Roach Motel" on the left.

Street view. Yes, we have our own palm trees.
"Big Red" in the cleaned out garage.

Side of the house with our broken fence.
Another view of the pool area which I love.

Pool area. Heidi really went to town on the plants that went crazy.
We still have two more large projects to get done. The roof and the fence. Someday.

On a personal note. We have been going thru Lisa's fathers's belongings that he had in his closets, garage and in the attic. Going through old photos and papers and realizing that he was someone who didn't share a lot with his family. It is like finding out that we really didn't know him at all. We found all of his pictures from when he was in Vietnam. We knew he was there but have never seen his pictures of it. He loved to golf with his buddies. Roman and I have golfed with him many times when we visited. I found certificates of him getting "Holes-in-one" from different courses. I can just imagine the celebration after getting those. He also loved going to the Daytona 500 races. It looks like he would go with his buddies every year for about 10 years in a row. And I don't mean going and sitting in the cheap seats. VIP passes in the infield. What an experience that would have been.
Pipka Santas. Apparently he loved those also because we found about 25 in his attic. The photos stuffed in boxes of his family and of him growing up along with high school yearbooks. We are just learning more about him now which we would have loved to talk about it when he was still alive.

That's it for now. We would like to wish everyone a "Happy Thanksgiving"!


Friday, November 3, 2017

The Joys of Home Ownership*

*Today's guest editor is being played by Beverly.

We arrived in Florida to check out Lisa's father's house and it faired pretty well after the hurricane. Lisa's sister met us there and stayed a week with us to help us go through the house and to start cleaning after it being vacant for 4 months. Some things were hard to do, like going through his clothes. In fact it was so hard to do, that we left it to do some time in the future.

We attacked other areas that needed cleaning out. Such as the garage and the shed (which we call the  roach motel). Every time I moved something in the shed, a roach would scurry to other hidden places. It really freaked me out. I guess they are really not roaches. They are called Palmetto bugs.
Palmetto bug.

They are about 1 1/2 inches big. Don't get them confused with the American cockroach.


American Cockroach.
Can you see a difference? We can't. As my wise old father would say" You can put make-up on a pig, but it's still a pig". Not quite sure I know the whole meaning but I think that you can call a roach a Palmetto Bug but it is still a roach. All I know for sure is that Raid works on both.

So I got the shed cleaned out completely and sprayed everything with bug killer. I know it is working because every time I open the shed doors there are dead "Palmetto bugs", aka roaches.

It has been a couple of weeks now and things on the legal front are moving painfully slow, but they are moving. Things on the inside of the house are progressing along also. Lisa has been changing the decor a little. We are finding many things that can be donated or just thrown out. He had so many products that where past their expiration date. Not just by a month or two. I mean we are talking about years past the expiration date. We filled a whole garbage can just with that stuff. We have donated what we can to a Hospice thrift store so even after death he is still doing good.

When we got to his house we knew that there were 3 major projects that needed to get done. 1) We needed to remove a tree that partly fell done during the last hurricane. 2) Replace many sections of fence that blew down during the hurricane. 3) Re-shingle the roof that was damaged during the hurricane. Can you sense a theme here?

So we talked to his insurance agent and we find out that he does have hurricane insurance. Whew! What a relief. That was some great news. Wait for it........Wait........Wait...... BUT.......Florida hurricane insurance doesn't cover 1) Trees that fall down unless they hit the structure. Really?! 2)Fences that blow down. Double really?! Apparently insurance companies would go broke if they replaced every fence that blew down every time the wind blew. 3) During a hurricane your deductible doubles. So now we have to determine if the damage is above the doubled deductible, and then is it even worth putting a claim in. Well bend us over and slap our ass's.

So with little help from the insurance company we will take on these projects ourselves. The first one being the tree. We need to get that removed so that we then can start replacing the fence. I am up in Minnesota as I write this so Lisa is taking care of the homestead. The tree came down and she sent me pictures. Yay! It was good to get that down because it was starting to rot and we thought that maybe it would come down during the next hurricane onto our house or the neighbors.

Timber!


What am I doing in wintery Minnesota and not in warm, sunny Florida? Good question. I had my doctors appointment in September and I have been having terrible knee pain. So I went to a knee specialist and he thought I might have a torn Meniscus in my knee which the x-rays kind of saw that. Then Lisa's father passed away and we headed to Florida before anything else could be done. The pain got worse and nothing was really going on in Florida so Lisa scheduled an MRI for me in Fargo. So I jumped on a plane and headed north. Having an MRI is truly amazing. The pictures that thing takes are incredible. My knee doctor looked at the MRI and confirmed that I do have a torn Meniscus with some bone damage and of all things, Arthritis. Hopefully they can schedule surgery in December when we get back north for Christmas.

So I have been living in Lisa's mom's basement, (every mans dream I know). Turning it into an old school man cave. I mean who needs modern technology when you can bring history back to life. I set up an entertainment area with an old TV And VCR I found in the basement. For the young readers a VCR stands for "Video Cassette Recorder". Movies used to come on what they called "Video Cassettes".
A 27 inch TV and VCR. That was a giant in its day.
That wooden measuring device is called a "Yard Stick".
Thrift stores and pawn shops have a ton of tapes. How ever the shelf life of VCR tapes is only about 20 years. So you are lucky if you get a good one and the selection is nothing modern.

If I want to listen to some music, I found a stereo Hi-Fi system with and 8 track tape player and a phonograph. Life is good in the basement. Why would I ever want to leave? Maybe someday I will get a Nintendo 64 or something.

The stereo works very well and it has decent sound quality. I had the phonograph working for a little bit before it froze up. I googled how to fix it and am in the process of doing that. 
8 Track tape.

LP record. See how much that cost back in the day.
They stopped making 8 tracks in 1982 so our selection here at Beverly's is limited to polkas and waltzes. LP records died out in the mid nineties and are making a comeback. LP stands for "Long Play" for the younger readers and the records were made of "vinyl". That's totally the "Bees Knees".

Until the next installment of the un-travelling travelers. I head back to Florida in a couple of days.


                                       

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Our New Dilemma

We have been on the road for over 3 years now, after selling our house and most all of our possessions. "Living the Dream" so to speak, traveling and exploring. People would ask us if we ever planned to get off the road and settle down again and we have always said that we don't see that happening in the near future. Little did we know how fast things can change in a blink of an eye.

Which brings us to our new dilemma. With the passing of Lisa's father, we have found ourselves homeowners again. He had a very nice house in Florida which he left to Lisa and her sister Heidi. We were in Minnesota when he passed away and the house has been sitting vacant since June. He summers up in Minnesota because of the Florida heat. So we scrapped our plans for this winter and cancelled all of our commitments and headed south to take care of his estate. There was a hurricane and we wanted to check for damage and to just occupy the house.

We got to Florida and walked into the house, which was a little weird. The last time we where there was in May and we had spent many good times with her dad all winter. Just walking into it the way he had left it 4 months ago was like I said, weird.

We really don't want to give up our lifestyle of traveling, and we don't want to get rid of his house. So that leaves us holding the bag to figure this out. For the time being we are turning in our membership for "full-timing" and getting a "part-timing" membership. The wheels of the legal system move very slowly here in Florida. So we have to take a "hurry up and wait" attitude to see how everything gets resolved.

So that is the dilemma we find ourselves in now.


Sunday, October 1, 2017

A September to not Remember.

September has quickly come to an end. We are still in Minnesota which means the nights are getting cooler and the leaves are starting to turn some magnificent colors. Harvests are in full swing. Fall has always been one of my favorite seasons. All of the summer boat traffic is off of the lakes making them glass calm, except for the occasional duck or loon that floats by. In the sky you can hear a couple of geese fly by, honking some encouragement to each other.

However this fall is different. August 26th we got a call from Lisa's father. He was calling from the Intensive Care Unit in Fargo. Apparently he had fallen and his momentum carried him head first into a tree. It sounds like a funny joke, I know, but when Lisa got to the hospital and was told how extensive his injuries were, the laughing stopped. Possibly blood on the brain, 2 cracked cervical vertebrae in his neck, a cracked vertebrae in his upper back and a punctured lung. We couldn't believe it. All from a fall. He was in a neck brace and would need surgery.

The surgery was put on hold for a week because of the blood thinners he takes. They had to wait for them to get out of his system. So he spent a week flat on his back. He couldn't even see the TV. They say that being on your back for that long can do funny things to your mind. LaRay was no different. He was seeing things on the ceiling that weren't there. Trying to touch things in the air that weren't there. One day they asked him if he knew Lisa and he said that he thinks that he met her before but wasn't sure.

We would call the hospital every morning and then stop by for and hour or two each day before work. Each day he slowly digressed. We eventually quit our temporary jobs to devote as much time with him as we could.

To make a long heart-wrenching story short. LaRay was in the ICU for 19 days, battling to survive. But going into this, he had many strikes against him. Such as his age, his diabetes, his life long addiction to cigarettes and alcohol and his poor circulation. The hospital called a "Care Meeting" one day to discuss his treatment options. It hit us like a sledgehammer to find out that LaRay would never go home. That is not what we were expecting. That is not what he would want either.

So taking his wishes to heart we had to make the horrible decision to remove him from life support and to let his body do what it would naturally do. We never thought we would be put in a position to make a decision like that. Never would we have thought that this is how he would go. When they took him off of the ventilator, it was just a matter of minutes before he succumbed to the inevitable. I was there with Lisa and Heidi till the very end. It was very sad to see the life leave his body. Something that we won't forget for a very long time.

Now we are left to pick up the pieces and to to take care of what he left behind. Our lives have literally changed for us for the time being. We will have to see how this plays out.


Sunday, August 27, 2017

Potato Worshipping



In other news. This past weekend was Potato Days here in Barnesville. They have all kinds of activities centered around the potato. Potato peeling contests. Mashed potato wrestling which sounded interesting. Although the weather was cool and rainy. I was going to enter Lisa in the Miss Tater Tot contest, but they said it was only for 10 year olds. I bet she would have won. There was a fashion show. The clothes that were on display had to be made out of potato sacks. Lots of food vendors selling potato items. Lefse, dumplings, potato soup and of course french fries.


I thought it kind of funny that they had to have signs advertising the potato item.

The leaves are starting to change. It has been a very wet and cool August. Making us itchy to get going south. Someday.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I'm Not The Man I Think I Am.

Before I go any further, I want to set the record straight. I am not following the path of Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. I know what kind of equipment I have and I am not afraid to use it.

What I am talking about is this. I awake every morning and look in the mirror. Several questions pop into my mind. The biggest is "Damn, how did I get to be so good looking?" Second question is "Who am I?" You look at me and you can tell that I look Native American. I mean, throw me in a loin cloth, stick a can of cigars in my hand, put me in front of a dime store and I could sell cigars for a living.
Dino, is that you?
I always knew that I was part Indian (sick of being PC. Sorry if you are offended) and I wanted to find out just how much. So with that in mind, I got on the Ancestry.com website and ordered a DNA kit. The kit came and I spit in it and sent it back. Waited patiently for the results and now the results are in. Drum roll please.........

Before I get into that, some of you may not know that I was adopted when I was a "wee little lass"(hint). Adopted by a great father and mother who I love extremely. They made me into the person that I am today. My sense of humor comes from my mother and my work ethic comes from my dad. My Italian name has thrown people off for years. I have found my birth mother but have no information about a father.

Now back to the results. Biggest percentage is Native American-35%. I thought it would have been more like 50% at least with my character traits. But when I think about it, 100's of years of America being a melting pot and what not, is 35% these days considered to be quite a lot? I don't know. 

Next highest percentage is Irish. 17%. I have a new enthusiasm for celebrating St. Patrick's day and I just might buy a kilt. I dare you to look up it. I double dog dare you.

Next, Scandinavian- 15%. That explains why I was always good at the game of Husker Du. 

Then the lesser percentages are as follows.

Asia central-9%
Great Britain-7%. Bloody hell you say!
Iberian Peninsula- 5% Where is that?
Finland and Europe west-each 4%
Asia east-3%

It also breaks it down further in those areas to specific regions. It is very interesting. Ancestry.com will also send you a list of people with DNA matches. According to Ancestry.com there are over 800 people that are somehow related to me as 2nd cousins and further related out to 6th cousins. I can not afford that family reunion.

Armed with all this new knowledge I don't know what to do with, I think I will go kilt shopping. I wonder if Amazon sells them? I bet they do. I also know why I have a calling to wear loin clothes. I was also dabbling in some name changes. The scandinavian in me likes Sven Swensen or Ole' Olivieri. My Irish self likes Patty O' Furnichur.

Maybe someday I will find out that my father was Fabio. That would explain the first question I asked at the beginning.
Dad?
I can see the resemblance.

And I thought that I wouldn't have anything to blog about this summer.

Our work gig is going well. We are on the downward slope before we pull up anchor and head down the Amazon. We are learning that it is hard to get stuff done that we need to do when you work 5 days a week. Our 2 days off we end up just running errands, visiting people, helping our son and mother-in-law. It is keeping us busy and we are looking forward to a vacation. At least I am. Yes, Lisa, I said the "v" word. Or at least another pink margarita day. Until the sun gets over the missen mast.


Sunday, August 6, 2017

Emergency Conferance of the MNdrifters Society

That's right folks. There was an emergency assembly of the MNdrifters society because of allegations of transgressions of one of it's members. With such an important gathering, I am surprised that the "Mainstream Media" has not reported on it. But then again they don't report on anything that isn't on Facebook first. So after this post they may pick up on it.

I can't go over the grimy details of the ordeal but I will give you a brief wrap up of the proceedings. The allegations were read to the board. Allegations serious enough to bring a "vote of no confidence" to the floor. But before that, arguments for and against the accused ensued. Good times were brought up to try and sway the board for a positive outcome.
Beach time in Florida

Jeeping in Utah

Arizona
Nevada
But the allegations were just too serious to ignore.
The major month long breakdown in Moab

Leaving us stranded in Cody, WY.

So the vote went forth.

Moose-Abstained from voting. He was quite silent on the whole matter.

Journey-Also silent.

Lisa-Yay vote for "No Confidence"

Dino-Yay vote for "No Confidence"

So with the votes in and tallied, the accused was given the verdict. Thus ending the proceedings.

Just like that Lil Blue was voted off of the MNdrifters adventure from here forth. In the future I would like to get another Jeep. One that is newer and more reliable. Someday.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

3 Years!

Yes, you heard me right. 3 years. That is how long we have been living this crazy lifestyle and we don't see an end in the foreseeable future. Lisa told me that she read somewhere (probably Facebook. So it has to be true) that if you can get past the 3 year mark, you will probably be doing this for awhile. And look, we did it. I can see where that may be true because one couple we know sold the RV and are off the road. Two other couples we have met have purchased their paradise and are off the road. And two other couples we know have purchased land for future paradises to be built. We have not found our paradise yet but there are a couple of places that we like to go back to.

So if you allow me I will do a quick recap of our year.
Yellowstone at night, taken by Stewart.

Last July we were working in Yellowstone National Park. We worked June through August. That was a great experience for us. One that I really enjoyed. We bought our new fifth wheel then. We met so many new people who we still stay in contact to this day. "The Kids" as we liked to call them from Taiwan where so nice. It was very interesting to get to know them and our record of 8 people stuffed in our Jeep still stands.
Yellowstone's Grand Canyon.

September found us heading to Minnesota for family visits. Then we heard the calling from Amazon.

So October we made the trek to Kentucky to work for "The Man". We were hoping to make some quick cash without having to sell our bodies, but the overtime wasn't there this year. For Sale: two old bodies. Cheap. Oh well. We worked October to Christmas.

End of December we made the trip up north to the frozen tundra. We have no ass's because we froze them off last winter. It was brutally cold. Spent the holiday's with family and our son announced his and Heather's engagement. "Bravo!" we said.
Frozen Minnesota style.

January found us heading back to Kentucky to get our fifth wheel and then over to Knoxville Tennessee to get some work done on the RV. Once that was done we bee-lined it to sunny and warm Florida. We stayed in several different parts of Florida. We were in Sanford Florida, north of Orlando for awhile. Then over to the Tampa area for several months, working the dreaded Strawberry Festival of Horrors. It really doesn't seem that bad, NOW. Then back to Orlando to visit the mouse. Our kids each came for visits which was great. That was January to the end of May.
Strawberry Festival of Horrors.

Vicki and Kendra visited.

Lisa enjoying some beach time.

Heather and Roman visited.

It's so magical.

Kelly, Rich, Lisa and I.

We visited with Lisa's uncle Gary and girlfriend Trish.

Lisa's sister Heidi and two boys visited.

Then it was getting too hot in Florida so we headed up north again to Minnesota for VIP's and our son's wedding in July. What a great girl he found and they really compliment each other perfectly.
Jim and Barb tracked us down.

Roman and Heather's wedding.

Milage wise, we did put on a lot of miles last year. It's all part of the experience though. We spent nearly 5 months in Florida getting to know the Orlando and Tampa area very well. We spent a lot of money last year. Probably more than we care to admit. New fifth wheel, tires, 2 hitches and all the Disney tickets. But the smiles are all worth it. Our jobs for last year included Yellowstone NP, Amazon, Strawberry Festival of Horrors and our current job, DDI Healthcare. Working about 7 months out of twelve. Not to bad.

We don't keep track of our financials like we used to. It all goes down as the cost of living, and living ain't cheap no matter how you do it.

So that is our year in a nut shell. We are starting to plan next year and it should be a good one. So stay tuned.


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Allejandro, Butterpump Reunion

We are back in Minnesota for the summer for a number of reasons. Number one is that our son is getting married and we are very happy for him and his new bride. Also we need to visit family and friends. Lisa's grandfather just turned 100 which is a huge milestone. One that I hope that I never see. And the way that I see it, he ain't getting any younger.

We plan on being here till the end of September and then dragging our butts down to Kentucky to give Amazon another whirl. So what do we do for the 4 months that we are here. I think we have seen all 10,000 lakes. We have seen Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. We have even been to the Mall of America a thousand times. We get jobs! Nooooooooo!

We just spent 5 months in Florida. Relaxing, sunning our bums, killing our fair share of brain cells. We learned that relaxing that much can get expensive, not to mention the other costs that we incurred down there. New tires, new hitch, a new tooth for Dino and just plain expenses. Plus we have a wishlist of items to get in the future. New generator, new recliners, new couch, new glasses and Lil' Blue needs a makeover.

So instead of sitting around, we decided to treat this as a work camping opportunity. We both got jobs at one of my former employers who were quite happy to have us for the summer. That way we are on the same shift and schedule. The pay is good, can't complain about that. Plus it should put us in the black. Win, win.

Don't hold your breath waiting for updates from us. It should be a quiet summer.




Wednesday, June 7, 2017

VIP's

As in the words of Paul Harvey, "And now the rest of the story".

We were laying low in an undisclosed location.
Using our assumed names. Mine is Tango Allejandro and Lisa's is Josephene Butterpump. She will also answer to Booger Lips. We were very aware that there were VIP's in the area. (VIP-Very Incontinent People). We were out enjoying a wonderful Minnesota afternoon with cocktails and revelry when who do you think pulls into the very campground we were in. We couldn't believe it! Daisy and Dakota!
Daisy and Dakota
We have been very good friends with Daisy but it was the first time we met Dakota. What a nice young lady she was. They also brought Jim and Barb. RV rock gods from jimandbarbsrvadventure.blogspot.com. They have nearly 400,000 hits on their blog so we were quite humbled when they wanted to camp near us. "Be still my giddy heart". Jim and Barb asked us, "What is there to do in this area?" To which we said "Nothing, you should probably move on". But they convinced us to give them the grand tour.

Day 1- First stop on the amazing west central Minnesota tour was stopping in Rothsay, Minnesota. You have to say it like a Norwegian. Roth-Saaaay Mini-sooo-dah. Home of the Giant Booming Prairie Chicken.
Lisa, Jim and Barb waiting to get pecked.

These creatures were huge when they had free reign of the prairie. This is actually life size. For the next stop, stop #2 we took them out to a genuine Minnesota woods. We tried to ditch them there but they are just too darn fast for old people.

Stop #3 was a short drive over to Phelp's Mill. A turn of the century flour mill. This mill is in very good condition. It doesn't grind flour any more but a lot of the equipment is still inside.
Phelp's Mill
Stop #4 was the infamous Insane Asylum of Fergus Falls. An amazing building in it's own right. But, alas, we were a couple of years too late to drop off Jim and Barb. It was closed. 
A real Asylum. Insane! Right?
Stop #5 was the giant Otter of Fergus Falls. Jim loved this big guy. I didn't have the heart to tell him it wasn't real.
He was up there for about an hour. He just would not come down. Only when he declared that he had to poop where we able to get him off of it so that other kids could get their turn. That wrapped up day 1.

Day number 2 involved traveling to the metropolis known as Fargo. But first we travelled to Moorhead to show them our house that we lived in. Lisa and I are both from this area. Next stop was to see the most famous star that ever came from this area. Thats right everybody. The woodchipper from the movie "Fargo".
For some odd reason he just wanted to keep trying to stuff Barb into it. Mumbling something that sounded like this "pie ditch, pie!" So we quickly left the wood chipper behind. We decided to look for lunch places but being in Fargo, most breweries didn't open until after noon. How can you do some day drinking if you can't start in the morning? We found one that opened at 11 so we went. Plus the girls found coupon books.
What happy faces. That's what BOGO beers will do for you.
Then we went to JL Beers. One of our favorite watering holes.
Barb, Jim, me and Lisa
We went to the Scheels super store because again the girls found free Ferris Wheel coupons.
As you can see from their faces, it was a very special day for our very special people.

We then showed them all over Fargo. It took about a half hour. Then back to the campground and Happy Hour.

Day #3 involved Lisa and Barb driving into Fargo again because Daisy was having a spa day. Jim and I hung out in Barnesville. We did take Dakota swimming.

Dakota teaching Jim how to throw her toy.

Jim offering encouragement when she couldn't find it.
All of our down time for some reason involved helping them get rid of all of the alcohol that they couldn't bring into Canada. I am glad we were there to take one for the team. Dinners and "Happy Hours" where frequent and there were many. We even played a game of strip ladder golf.
Barb in the zone and Jim already lost his pants.
All kidding aside. We are glad that they could make the time to visit with us. It has been awhile and we just haven't been able to go to where they are at. So we really appreciate the effort that they make for us. Until our paths cross again.