The road less travelled

The road less travelled

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.







Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Florida Wrap Up or It's All About the Butts.

We arrived in Florida in mid January and overstayed our welcome until the end of May. It was a nice visit. We enjoyed a couple of different areas and really got to know them very well. Lots of exploring was done and good times where abundant. Wait for it. But.............

"Lessons Learned", is what I should have titled this blog. We really learned a lot about wintering in Florida. We were under the impression that you had to get there early and book a spot in one camp ground the entire winter because they are full and have waiting lists. I am sure in some areas like Key West that is true, but .......(there's that word again) in central Florida it is not.

Our first month we stayed at Wekiva Falls. It was a huge campground near Sanford Florida. It never filled up. They had lots of empty spaces. It was also the nicest campground we stayed at except for Ft. Wilderness. The next 2 months we stayed near Tampa at Southern Aire RV Resort. It was maybe 50% full the entire time we were there. The rest of our time was spent between 2 campgrounds because we joined Thousand Trails. So we stayed at Thousand Trails and Lake Magic. Both were far from full but....... (word again) it was late in the season now. We stayed a week in Ft. Wilderness and they were very empty. I wish their rates would have reflected that but........ ().() no.

Lessons learned now. We joined Thousand Trails (a campground membership) because financially it was cheaper than staying a month and 1 or 2 weeks at a campground. The problem we had with this is that you have to move every 14 days. That is why we bounced around between Thousand Trails and Lake Magic. Also the amount of rules imposed on us. Like at Thousand Trails you could not wash your RV even though they ran sprinklers all day. Also you could not do any maintenance at all. We had tire issues and I was going to pull them off and get new ones. They said "no", but...... ().() they gave us a card of someone who will come to your sight and do it for you. I had to hook up and drive to the tire shop and back again. They had mobile RV techs going in and out of the campground all day long. I think they must get a piece of the action.

Lesson learned: We got to Wekiva Falls in January and the nights were a little cool. So we used our propane fire pit. We emptied our propane tank , so I took it in to exchange it. Emptied it again in 1 week. So I took it in again to exchange. Then I noticed the sign at Publix which said. Propane exchange. 15 lbs. in small print. They were putting 15lbs. instead of 20lbs. Then I noticed it at all of the propane exchanges I saw.

Lesson learned: We were enjoying the warm winter weather in sunny Florida, flocking with the rest of the Snowbirds. We were told of the great migration that starts April 1st. We really didn't believe it but..... we witnessed it first hand. April 1st arrived and all of a sudden the RV parks looked a lot emptier. Amazing to behold. I can understand because after April 1st it got extremely hot quickly.

Our son and his new fiancee came for a visit. They were going to visit for 12 days and wanted to take in the attractions that make Orlando famous. Disney and Universal along with some beach time thrown in. We moved the RV over to FT. Wilderness. Disney's campground. That is what the perfect campground looks like in our eyes. Immaculately clean. The bath house is nicer than most peoples houses. That is the only camp ground that I will pay over one hundred dollars a night for. But....... not for too many nights though.

It was a very hectic 12 days. We always feel that we need a vacation from Disney after we had just been to Disney. Long days of sun and fun and of course battling the crowds. To say the least, we really enjoy it there. They opened the new Avatar land while we were there. Animal Kingdom on opening day was a mad house. Just the line to get into that section snaked around to the front of the park and was actually growing to the exit of the park. The wait times for the rides where ranging from 180 minutes to 250 minutes. Needless to say we didn't even get in.

I think Heather really enjoyed herself. She had never been there before. It was fun to listen to her scream and gasp. There is too much to list of everything we did so I will just end with some pictures of the our fun times.
At-At at Hollywood Studios.

Mt. Everest at Animal Kingdom.

Roman and Heather on Main street USA.

Opening ceremony at the Magic Kingdom

The new light and fireworks show at Magic Kingdom.


Universal Studios.
Roman and Heather getting soaked.

Fire Breathing Dragon at Gringotts.

Roman and Heather and their new portrait.


Till the next adventure.












Sunday, April 30, 2017

It's not all Wine and Roses

There I was, cruising comfortably over the Korean Peninsula in my F-86 Sabre jet.

From out of nowhere "KA-BOOOOOOOM!!!!!" 
"This is Drifter 1, I have been hit and going down! I repeat, Drifter 1 is going down! Mayday! Mayday! Mayday!"

It really didn't happen like that but in the heat of the moment it felt like it. That moment I am talking about is our recent little trip down Interstate 4 in Central Florida. Traffic was heavy but then it is I-4 and there is always heavy traffic on it. Traveling from Tampa to Orlando when I hear a horrendous noise behind me. I look in the side mirror just in time to see a bunch of rubber go flying off our fifth wheel along with some other parts that used to be attached.

We have a tire pressure monitoring system and I didn't get an alarm or anything. But I know it was from our rig because all I see is bent metal and broken plastic. I turn on my turn signal to get over to the shoulder and quickly make an emergency landing. I get out to take a look and Lisa pulls up behind me. She thought I ran over something and then realized that it all came from us. She likes to follow pretty close in traffic so she had the joy of running over everything I just discarded. Luckily no flat for the Jeep.
Separation anxiety.

Looking at it I can hear the tire hissing at us. For some reason I think of Star Trek and the Wrath of Kahn. "From hell's heart I stab at thee" the tire says  in it's dying breath. That is why the tire pressure monitor didn't go off. The tire was still inflated but all of the tread around the tire separated. 

A bald tire.

We find a place a little farther down the road that is wider so that we can get farther off the road. Florida drivers don't move over at all. They are passing us at 70 mph and each time a car or truck goes by, the rig rocks. One bad design about this fifth wheel is that they put the spare tire inside the lower compartment. There is a door on the other side but the tire doesn't fit through it. So we have to empty everything to get the tire out. We get the tire out and wouldn't you know, it is flat. My bad. I throw it in the back of the Jeep and head down the road to the next exit. I find a Marathon station and it has a working air compressor. Whoohoo! It would have been nice if I brought the tire pressure gauge. My bad again. Oh well I will just go in and buy one. I should have brought my wallet or some money. I am so bad. The air compressor takes quarters and there were some in the cup holder. Whoohoo! I should call Lisa and tell her I am on my way back. I maybe should have brought my cell phone. I am oh-so-bad now. 

I get back to Lisa with the tire aired up. Whoohoo!

"Don't you have roadside assistance?"

"Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and we do have roadside assistance". We used it once to change a flat a couple of years ago when we were here in Florida.(Hey, I am seeing a trend here. Florida=flat tires) It took hours for them to arrive. 15- 20 minutes later we are back on the road. So many people recommend the Goodyear G614 tires. Very heavy duty and very expensive. So sick of our tire problems, we bit the bullet and purchased 5. Ouch! So if we have a problem with these, I will hunt down everybody that recommended them.

On a fun note we went to Sea World one day. That is always a fun park to visit. The rollercoaster that we like was not working that day but they have some new ones that were beyond our capabilities. So we took in some shows. The dolphins and the Shamu show which they will be ending in a couple years. Watch them now because they will be gone for ever.
This Dolphin just kept swimming upside down.

Manatee


Dolphin show.

Shamu

View from the sky tower.
Till next time.