Mother Nature Enters Reboot Mode

Front porch view 11042017

Our view from the porch until April.

So.  Here we are.  It’s early November and this is what our world looks like.  We’re anticipating that the view won’t change hardly at all until April. 

Mother Nature has entered reboot mode.

It gets so cold here that Mother Nature literally reboots herself.  It’s like the slate is wiped clean with the subzero cold and snow, ready to start over again with the arrival of Spring.   I dig that idea. 

This is one of the many reasons we decided to return to northern Minnesota.  No, we don’t ski or snowmobile.  We don’t ice skate or ice fish.  Dave doesn’t put knobby tires on the bikes and continue cycling. I may  take a shot at snowshoeing at some point, but that remains to be seen.  That doesn’t mean we’ll be housebound for months.  Dave has a short walk to work.  I can still walk when feasible, i.e., not blowing a gale (literally) and conditions outdoors are tolerable.  One still gets out and about with errands or whatever, but I do try to schedule my outings to days when it’s not actively storming.  The main reason for that is it’s just less messy with bringing in groceries and the like when it’s not actively snowing.

Not only does one still need to run these types of errands, but you really do need to get out  during Winter.  It would be too easy to sit indoors and become a total hermit.  Even if it’s just a stroll around the parking lot a few times, get out and acclimate, embrace the environment.

I’ve been known to fire up the outdoor grill during snowfall when we lived in Hibbing years ago.  Almost surreal, that.

Towns up here are equipped for harsh (yes, I used the term “harsh”  ) Winters.  Snowplows are of the “we ain’t kiddin’ around” variety, with plows on both the front and side.  

Betty in snow 02132014

When we were on-site security in New Jersey – February 2014.  That’s me clearing a path. What amazing times those were.  What adventures.  What memories!  We’ve done stuff, ya know?

A year ago, we were in Texas probably sweltering in the 80-degree November weather, occasionally commenting that we wondered if we’d ever see snow again.  Perhaps that’s when our idea of returning to Minnesota at some point began to emerge.

So here we are.  Momma Nature is in reboot mode.  We have it easy compared to the photo above.  Living in a 55+ community, management clears sidewalks and parking lot.  We don’t have to buy propane to fuel the furnace in our townhome.  Dave doesn’t have to get on the roof to clear snow.  Makes a difference!

Experienced my first Face Time chat a couple of days ago, connecting with a dear girlfriend from college days.  We visit via phone now then, but the addition of video to our “yap session” was such a joy!  We carried on like a couple of … college gals … and it was such fun!  Of course, visiting with her always does my soul good, but this was just about over the top fun.  We’ll be doing that more frequently in the future.

Life percolates along smoothly, and I am very grateful for that.  Seems like I have a lot to be grateful for these days. 

Better water the plants, then get geared up for another work day.  Yes, working from home is another thing I’m grateful for every  day.

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First Winter Snowfall …

… and it was a doozy! 

Folks are referring to it as a blizzard.  Snow accumulation wasn’t spectacular, but let me tell you – it was pretty darn wild Thursday afternoon and overnight into Friday.  I haven’t seen horizontal snowfall since our time in New Jersey a few years ago when we were still full-time RVers.  Winds here were absolutely howling; think snow hurricane!  A local used the term “blizzarding” to describe what was happening.  Didn’t know that was a verb … ha!

Blizzard 10262017

View from my home office Thursday afternoon before the winds really picked up.

Baby and Maggie

Maggie on the left.  Baby on the right.  They’re waiting for us at the Rainbow Bridge.

October 25 marked the first anniversary of the passing of our beloved Maggie.  You can read the post – Our Maggie – from last year about our Wee Widget.  I miss her every single day.  She and Baby both loved snow; Baby was with us when we lived in Hibbing.  I know they’d be having great frolics outside these days!

Although it was 28F out this afternoon, it wasn’t snowing and the winds had abated, so I ventured out for a walk. Layered clothing is “the thing” up here, so I was quite snug.

Thirsty Moose hoodie 10282017

  Thirsty Moose cozy hoodie

We lived in Hibbing, MN (about 100 miles east of here) from 2005 to 2007, and enjoyed burgers and pizza at the Thirsty Moose.  During one of our visits, I picked up the hoodie in the photo.  It’s really, really warm.  I wore it a few times around campfires we’d have in NJ, but the only other place it’s been cold enough for it is … you guessed it … northern Minnesota!  Wore it during my walk today and I certainly was cozy.  My comfy hoodie has come full circle, being back in northern MN again.

We have snow of some degree and intensity the next couple of days, with a break on Tuesday, and then it kicks in again.  I also learned this past week that we are apparently living in Blizzard Alley.  You’ve heard of Tornado Alley?  Well … same thing, only blizzards instead of tornadoes.  I’m okay with that.  Lived in Tornado Alley for a while, and I’m content here, thank you!

“Pssst … Momma Nature … it’s October, not January!”  Another local mentioned that we’ve gone from October straight to January.  Hmmm … what happened to November and December?!  Well, I’ll still take the occasional snowstorm over December 90-degree days in Texas any day.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) is looking pretty good right now, with sunny skies and a high around 31F.  Did major grocery shopping yesterday, so just have a couple of errands to run.  Today (Monday), we’re back to sideways-blowing snow!  I have to say, the management here did a fine job of clearing the parking lot and sidewalks.  Sweet.

Tuesday is also Halloween, and we’ll be off.  That hasn’t happened in a few years, and we’re looking forward to ordering pizza and watching some appropriate movies.

So it’s now our Friday – a couple of days have passed since I started this post – and we’re looking forward to our usual Tuesday/Wednesday weekend! 

Thanks for stopping by!  Stay safe out there, okay?

 









Another Month Flew By!

Office view 10142017

Evening view from my office

October is just about on its way out the door and the number of daylight hours are dwindling.  Before you know it, Christmas will be rolling in!  So will the snow!

With that in mind, I took our car in for a coolant flush and replacement with “the good stuff” for subzero temperatures.  In visiting with them about prep and maintenance of our Edge during the really cold weather, one of the techs at the dealership told me about a solar-powered trickle charger for the battery.  Newer cars don’t come equipped with block heaters, and the general thought is that the newer models don’t really need them.  Since it looks like we won’t have a garage any time soon, I’ll pick up one of the solar chargers.  Turns out my uncle in Hibbing used one, so that convinced me!

Dave has been taking advantage of the surprisingly mild weather lately to rack up the bike miles.  He doesn’t have to be at work until 2 PM, which allows time for shorter rides during the work week.  Days off see him getting in 40+ miles lately.  I’m tickled he’s enjoying the cycling up here.

A bit after 2 PM now, and it’s so gloomy out that the parking lot lights next door are on.  It’s in the mid 60’s, which is probably the last of the mild days we’ve been having lately.  Not that it’s going to plummet drastically starting tomorrow, but we’ll be getting more seasonable weather.  Cooler weather.

Lake 1 10182017

Went out to the lake last Wednesday while out running errands.  Looks gloomy that day, too, doesn’t it?

LAke 2 10182017

Looking back towards Bemidji State University.

Lake 3 10182017

Geese and gulls hanging out.  That building on the left is the old Carnegie Library.  It is on the National Register of Historic Places, and there’s a project in the works to restore it.

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Inside the visitors center down at the lake.

Downtown arch 10182017

Entrance to downtown Bemidji from the lake park.  That arch is a new addition this summer.

We have a new addition to our home …

Fireplace dark

Electric fireplace heater!

Our RV had a built-in fireplace/electric heater.  We used it a lot, especially those years in New Jersey.  It helped keep the rig warm, reduced the use of the propane furnace and, well, it just looked nice.  We enjoyed the ambiance of the simulated flames.  Although we have gas in-floor central heat here, the living room is a larger area with no carpeting.  This will help keep that area a bit cozier, reduce the use of the furnace (right, who am I kidding when it’s –30 F out?) or at least help us keep the furnace thermostat turned down a bit.  And, again, it gives a cozy feeling to the space.  Tested it on some chilly days.  It has a thermostat and timer, so running it for an hour 2 or 3 times during the day kept the living room cozy, indeed!

Halloween falls on our days off this year, so we may just have a scary movie marathon!  We haven’t been off on that holiday in years.

Speaking of being off from work, we will have 4 days off at Christmas this year!  Woot!  Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and the 2 days following.  That hasn’t happened since 2013, while in Jersey.  I’m really, really looking forward to Christmas and decorating our new home.  We have some decorations we used in the RV, but this year we are talking about getting a slightly larger tree – going from 1 foot to about 4 feet.  Ha!  Although I’ve never gone overboard decorating my homes, we’ll probably add a few things here and there to supplement what decorations we already have from our full-timing days.  There’s a good chance we’ll have a white Christmas, too!  Yay!  We both love Christmas.  It’s such a magical time.  It’ll be nice to have a few days to relax and enjoy it.

Well, it is a work day, so I’d best wrap this up and earn some money!  Still enjoying my telecommuting job as an administrative assistant, and grateful for that opportunity. 

Until next time …

Thanks for stopping by!  Stay safe out there, okay?

 

Blogland Seems Quieter …

When I started blogging about our adventures as full-time RVers, there were so many others out there.  Some were veterans and some were new to the life like us.  I was a pretty active contributor to “Blogland” for years, not only writing my own posts but following along with the lives of others doing the same.  One gets to feel you “know” others through reading their posts and mutual comments back and forth on each others’ sites. We even had the pleasure of meeting Phyllis and Leonard (My Own Highways in My Mind) while in New Jersey.  It does become a community of sorts, albeit mostly virtual.

The number of blogs I followed regularly has thinned out a bit, their voices becoming less frequent or altogether silent.  I know some have put down roots, either selling their RV as we did or using it for shorter journeys.  I have no idea what has happened to others; they simply stopped blogging.  I rarely posted from about 2014 until now; there really wasn’t anything to contribute with our being stationary in a park and with our life schedules.  

Anyhoo, my thoughts turn now and then to those who have drifted off into the mist of “Blogland.”

Sherry (In the Direction of Our Dreams), you asked about the garages here.

Detached garages

Some of the detached garages in our cul-de-sac

It’s not that we’re waiting for them to be built; we’re waiting for one to become vacant.  Most of the townhomes do not have a garage, but you can get one of these detached ones when they are available.  I mentioned in my last post, there was one when we put down our deposit (while still in Texas), but I didn’t anticipate downsizing our truck 2 days after our arrival.  Ha!  Silly me.  There are a few townhomes that have an attached garage, but the rent is quite a bit more and those naturally face into the parking lot.  We like our privacy, being on the back side of our 4-plex and overlooking the fields, etc.  Check back with me on that in January!

While we’re talking Minnesota, Winter, and living in both those …

Minnesota fire hydrant

 That stick is so the fire hydrant can be found in the snow.

Funny … we have relocated literally across this great nation of ours, leaving my native Texas where we had friends.  You might think I’d be “homesick” or feeling displaced a bit.  Not so at all.  This just feels like … home.  Home is not wood, mortar and bricks.  It’s … well … it’s wherever we choose to make our home.

A friend once remarked when visiting my hotel room during the solo trip I made years ago back to Texas from, interestingly, Minnesota – that I could be in a hotel room for 5 minutes and it looked like my home.  Yeah, I had a photo of me and Dave, etc.  Did the same thing during a hospital stay in New Jersey during 2012.  It was a scheduled stay, so I took my laptop, a fave blanket from a friend, and a couple of other things that give me comfort and strength.  The nurses said it looked like an apartment and not a hospital room.

It’s about having those wee things … that blanket from a friend, a special photo, or whatever … that bring a sense of grounding, peace, strength and comfort.

Well, I finished working a while ago and Dave is working late, so I’ve had this chance to visit with you a bit.  He’ll be heading home soon, so I’ll say ciao for now!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be safe out there!

“Together the two paths form a north-south road, the good Red Road.  This is your spiritual path, the one where you will be happiest.” – Medicine Hawk, Council Chief of the Shadowlight Medicine Clan

 

You Know You’re Back Up North …

Snowfall 04232017

  • You know you’re back up North when you’re wearing thermals in late April.
  • You know you’re back up North when you hear the North wind howling outside in late April.
  • You know you’re back up North when your weather forecast for the next few days has the chance of snow – accumulation of such – in late April.
  • You know you’re back up North when you’re posting photos of snow on your blog!

No complaints about any of those things.  I’m sleeping very well.  My body is physically much happier here.  My soul is much happier here.  “Content” is the word that applies, I think. 

We’re on our “Saturday night” this evening, and we’re winding down a nice day.  Ran a few errands together this morning, including a trip to Home Depot.  I think it may well have been 2 years since we’ve done that together.  Nice. Then it was back home, where Dave put together his computer space and I spent time in the kitchen with the slow cooker going as part of our meal for tomorrow and the work week, and then made quesadillas for our dinner.  Again, nice.

I’ve been having fun finding more “treasures” that have been packed away for much too long while living in our RV.

Bear candle 04232017

Rock stash 04232017

Tomorrow we may just watch it snow and begin hanging things on the walls.  I’m digging having my “weird” stuff out in the Light again.  Not sure yet where my hoop drums will hang, but I’m looking forward to having them on display and truly in my presence again.  Who knows?  One of these days I might even find a drum circle around here.  There’s plenty of time for that.

It was our first full work week for both of us.  We seem to be settling in rather seamlessly, which is a relief.  Not that I had any concerns, really, but one never knows when one relocates to a new area.   You know what?  Today was our first “Saturday” that felt like what I think a “normal” weekend day should feel.  Wee shopping errands together, home projects, cooking, actually eating together, chilling out watching a Netflix program.  Relaxing.  Yeah, it had been a tough couple of years …

What do you think of the new format here?  I found myself struggling a bit to read this the other evening in the old theme colors.  I prefer a darker background color for photographs, but I’m finding this easier on the eyes to read.  We’ll see …

A cross-country relocation is a massive undertaking, and I’m not just talking about the trip.  There are so many things to see about like address changes, new driver’s licenses, finding out where things are in your new hometown, etc.  We located the recycle station last week and I picked up driver’s manuals so we can study for our tests. 

Oh!  Friends in Texas are selling their 2006 Nuwa Hitchhiker 5th wheel.  If you’re in the market for a nice, well-maintained RV, take a stroll over to their listing on RVTrader and check it out.   They are preparing to move back onto their sailboat, “Raven,” and take up life on the seas once again after a few years of living on land.  Sound interesting?  Follow their adventures at Raven’s Cruise Log.  I do!  Gosh, I’ve known Hilde and David for … forever.  Hilde and I not long ago were trying to recall how and when we met back in Texas.  Seems like each of us  was just “always there” for one another.   Good friends, good times, good memories.  Those, too, are treasures that belong in the Light.

Hard to believe it’s already 10:30.  Geez, where does the time go when one is blogging with groovy tunes in one’s ears? 

Hope you have many treasures basking in the Light …

Thanks for stopping by!    Be safe out there, okay?

Settling In

We departed the RV park in College Station, TX the afternoon of Tuesday, April 4, and arrived at our new digs in Bemidji, MN that Saturday afternoon.  Our departure was a bit later in the day, by the time we loaded the truck with our belongings from the rental travel trailer.  Besides that, we weren’t in a hurry.  We drove each day until we decided we’d best look for a hotel for the night.  We ended up staying in Ardmore, OK; Emporia, KS; Sloan, IA; and Fargo, ND. 

We were fortunate to have no issues on the road, although the wind was incredible every day. One day it was headwind, the next tailwind, and so on each day.  We were sure glad it wasn’t a crosswind!  We were able to find lodging every night with parking to accommodate our truck and U-Haul trailer within walking distance to restaurants.

The AmericInn in Fargo was our fave of the trip.  They boast of being “Rated the Best Hotel in North Dakota.” I have no arguments with that!  Flipping through the cable channels, we found the move Fargo.  Even though we’d seen it before, you know we just had to watch it being where we were!

AmericInn Fargo 04072017               Lobby of the AmericInn in Fargo. We enjoyed the lodge theme, which was found throughout the hotel.  Sitting by the fireplace for a while felt good!

After unloading and dropping off the U-Haul trailer Saturday afternoon, the process of unpacking and setting up our new home began.  All the boxes are gone now, and we’re awaiting delivery of some furniture tomorrow. 

Our home 04122017

We’re in a 55+ community, each building being a 4-plex of townhomes. Ours is a 2-bedroom unit.

The Monday after our arrival found us at the Ford dealership.  One of the truck batteries had gone bad and, while that was being addressed, we decided to look at cars while waiting.  We had plans to downsize in the near future, as we no longer needed our Beast – a Ford F-350 1-ton diesel – since we no longer had to tow an RV.  Well …

2014 Edge Sport new ride

Our “new to us” ride, a 2014 Ford Edge Sport with low miles

After about 5 hours at the dealership, we had negotiated an excellent trade-in value on our truck (everybody wanted the Beast) and a whopping deal on this Edge.  I had been doing research for a while on the Edge and a Honda CRV, with the Edge having … pardon the pun … an “edge” over the CRV.  The Beastie here has all sorts of electronic gizmos and systems, and I still need to get the owner’s manual out and spend time with it.  For now, I’ve got down the basics – syncs my phone, plays my Pandora, I know about the basic computer screens and systems, and can get us around.  It has heated seats and a sunroof.  I’ve never had a sunroof (and that feature wasn’t a factor in our decision), but it might be nice in the climate here.  Personally, a sunroof in Texas just doesn’t make sense.  Anyhoo, it’s fun to drive and handles well.  We certainly didn’t anticipate making a car deal on our 2nd full day here, but there it was, and we won’t have to do it in the future.  Cross off one item on the “to do” list!

Betty Paul and Babe 04102017

Requisite “touristy” photo with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox

We both started back to work on Saturday, and are settling into a bit of a routine once again.  I don’t think either of us would trade the years we spent full-timing in our RV, but this is a welcome change. Everything here is nearby – a nice walk or short drive.

I step out on the porch in early mornings and smell pine trees. Eagle makes morning rounds, and gulls (yes, gulls because of Lake Bemidji), ravens, and Canada geese are seen and heard throughout the day. I saw a fox and a deer in the field nearby last night.

It’s such a relief to be in a small town and closer once again to Mother Nature.  My stress level has diminished greatly over the past week.

Evening view from office 04182017

Evening view from my home office

More later as we explore and settle into our new hometown!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be careful out there, okay?

Dream Becoming a Reality–Lifestyle Change Ahead!

In my last post 4 months ago, I talked about how we were dreaming of and planning a lifestyle change and moving back to Minnesota.  Well …

Packing for MN move 03162017

No furniture to move, but there are boxes, bikes, and misc. items.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of putting our RV up for sale, packing, and finalizing other arrangements. 

With our Montana 03212017

Last photo with our Montana, which served us well for 7 years.

On Tuesday, we sold our RV – our home for the past 7 years.  I confess my eyes seemed to leak a wee bit a couple of times on the day of the sale.  We had so many adventures and shared awesome moments during our time as full-time RVers.  Memories were made that we will cherish always. 

While we enjoyed those years as full-timers, there is a feeling of relief and excitement as we begin a new chapter in our life together.  Relief in the form of selling our RV while it was still in good shape; of being out from under the responsibility, expense, and physical effort of maintenance and upkeep; and, honestly, the full-time lifestyle.  The excitement is in beginning a new journey and returning to the North and Minnesota. 

It’s just time.  Time to move on.  Time for a change.  Time to simplify our life.

Due to Dave’s work schedule, we will be here for just under 2 weeks.  After researching available accommodations here, it made the most sense – cost, safety, convenience, comfort – for our needs to rent a travel trailer from a local dealer we have patronized during our time here. 

Rental RV interim housing 03212017

Our “hotel room” in the same site where we have been.

While it serves our purpose of interim housing quite nicely, it certainly makes us appreciate even more the quality RVs we owned over the years – popup, travel trailer, and then the 5th wheel we called home.  We have items with us for interim living (cooking, etc.) and for what we’ll need during our trip to Minnesota (both warm and cold weather clothes).  The rest of our possessions are in a climate-controlled storage unit at a nearby facility.

With the “hard” items ticked off our “to do” list, we have this time to rest up in our comfortable routine of work and living until we get the U-Haul trailer, load it up, and hit the road.  We’ll downsize our truck to a “normal” vehicle once we are settled up there, so The Beast gets one more road trip!

To say that the past few weeks have been busy would be a gross understatement.  It.  Has.  Been.  Freakin’.  Crazy.

I wrapped up the last details of the sale today by cancelling our full-timers insurance and the extended service policy on the 5th wheel.

We’ll be going to a 55+ “cottage” in Minnesota, opting to rent vs. purchase.  Neither of us want to own property again, at least not at the present.  If something breaks … call maintenance.  Snow shoveling?  Nope.  It’s done by property management.  Sweet.  Simplification.

We’re not there yet, but well on the path.  At times we wondered if this was indeed just a dream, if it was even attainable.  At the beginning of this process, the logistics seemed totally mind-melting.  At one point, I just gave it all up to Spirit and The Universe – if it is meant to be, then it will be.

We are so grateful that aspects of this lifestyle change have been aligning, and that it does truly seem to be a plan that is unfolding very nicely for us.

I’ll repeat that.  We are grateful.  Very much so.

Thanks for stopping by!  Be careful out there, okay?