Thursday, April 29, 2010
We have the motorhome all packed up and ready to roll for the weekend.... actually it is for a longer four day weekend! We are going down to a cute little weaving studio in a tiny village called Shopiere, WI. It's owned by my friend Juanita Hofstrom and the name of the studio is called Vavning. (about 200 miles from here)
She bought this vacant church and made it into the most comfortable studio, complete with lecture hall, studio space, kitchen area and offices. It is in a tiny town about 4 blocks long, nestled in a vally along a bubbling brook and a tiny park. I have been coming here for close to 10 years now. I help Juanita hostess the event, and she contracts with Jason Collingwood to come and teach for the 3 day session. He is a famous weaver from Great Britain, son of the late Peter Collingwood, an innovator of a special technique for rug weaving called Shaft Switching.
We come early and help Juanita and Norm with some projects around the studio, and in return we can park for the four days in their parking lot. Sure saves on the hotel fees and transportation from nearby Beloit. Usually about 20 people attend and it's a very intense hands-on workshop with evening classes of interesting field trips, swap meet of weaving supplies, show n tell, and eating out with groups for social times.
Being on site, I can unlock the studio early for weavers who want to come and get in some loom time before the classes start, or stay late into the evening after classes are done. Also I am known as the Aide De Comp, or the Kitchen Wench... we prepare various snack foods and lunches in the kitchen, and on the last day I prepare a full meal for all the weavers and their significant others to join in and wind up the conference.
Steveio finds many things to do while I am busy in classes. He later joins us for socializing, eating out down the road at the restaurant, and just hanging out with many of the workshoppers spouses who are also looking for things to do. Norm knows lots of cool things to do and see in the area, so Steveio hangs with Norm too.
In 1996 we were here in April in our Coachmen gasser motorhome... and Steveio took a ride on the scooter to get a replacement part for our Onan generator. Lo and behold, he just HAD to drive past an RV dealer in Rockford, Illinois. There he wandered among the rigs, and saw "THE MOTORHOME of his DREAMS!" He came back all bubbly and excited and wanted me to go see it too! But I didn't want any more payments and for sure didn't want another bigger motorhome. But he was persistent. Each week he would check the website and see if it was still there. Each week it was. Finally... finally.... (after some life-changing events) I gave in to go and just "look" at the rig. Three days later, it was ours! So THAT is how we got our diesel pusher.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
(fluorescent lighting is hard on the focus of the camera)
Sunday, April 25, 2010
We do have Emergency Roadside Assistance on our insurance. We also decided we are going to carry a spare tire on a rack on the front of the motorhome. This will free up a lot of room in the basement storage area. With an added bit of ingenuity, Steveio figured out a good way to lift or lower the tire from the rack... you have to read down to the end to see!
Now he slid in the support bar for the tire. It is securely bolted into the receiver portion, just like a hitch. He put the rim on to see how it would look.
and securely put into place.
Friday, April 23, 2010
Well, no camping this weekend. Instead, we are heading up to Mom and Lowell’s house tonight to bunk out there this weekend. We are spending the weekend up north in Iron River, Michigan for a cancer benefit for my bro-in-law Fuzz (Michael Andersen) this weekend.
He has stage four bone cancer and just underwent a complicated surgery where they removed his jaw bone, and took a bone from his leg to reconstruct it. Some nodes and tissues were also removed and he is on the road to recovery from that. Next comes the chemo and radiation for 6 weeks, which is going to be a long tuff haul. No insurance, so we are helping with a benefit to raise funds to help them out. I am bringing a big handwoven rug, some good woolen socks, and I found a whole bunch of good things to add to the silent auction and raffle yesterday after a visit to our local Pamida store. Steveio is donating the extra gas grill he got for his birthday yesterday (I bought him one, and he went and unknowingly bought one for himself too!) The kids are coming along, and they are adding more goodies to the pot. Will post pics afterwards… its a spaghetti dinner being catered by a local restaurant and there will be a band for music… Linda’s friends at the library are helping to pull this all together.
Schmoo and Fuzz -- (Linda and Michael Andersen)
We sure have been hit with a lot of family illness lately.
My mother-in-law, the sweetest lady in the world, MaryAnn Pfundtner is undergoing chemo and radiation for stage 3 breast cancer. She is very brave in her battle. Even with all her troubles, she still managed to get a package in the mail for Steveio’s birthday yesterday! We are praying for a good result from all the chemo, and hoping that things will get better for her.
Then, our grandson’s other grandpaw, Kevin Wade (our son-in-law Jesse’s dad) is battling pancreatitis and has been severely ill for 4 weeks in the hospital, hovering in and out of a paralytic coma and on ventilator machines. It’s been really touch and go, and Kevin is battling hard to beat this. His wife Lisa has been on a never-ending vigil at his bedside. It’s been a very rough time for the family. Our daughter Heather and sweetie Jesse are doing all they can to help. Jameson has been coloring pictures for his Grandpaw, The Big Dude… as Jameson is his Little Dude.
And now, to top it off, my nephew Mikey, son of my brother, Butch, is having serious trouble with his stomach and undergoing more testing with that.
We have just been hit from all directions with this… and prayers or kind thoughts are appreciated. So many people all at once, none really blood related to each other, but all are in our hearts and our thoughts each day.
A couple of cheezy granmuddah pics here to share of the grandkids:
Allegra Grace (4 months old)
Jameson Michael (21 months old)
and Chelsea Mae (3 months old)
So today I will finish up the last few pairs of socks, and I am babysitting little Chelsea today till Erin or Mark comes later to pick her up. Then when Steveio is done with work, we will head out. About 120 miles up there from here.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
(this is one of series of posts of various campgrounds we have been to over the years... I am going through my files in alphabetical order and posting past camping trips in my blog.... something to do until camping starts again--- sigh)
We used to camp here a lot in the 90's ... Our growing kids enjoyed the playground, swimming beach and campgrounds. The fishing here is very good too. Mostly perch. Even in the winter, my family comes here a lot for ice fishing. There are about 14 or 15 sites in the campground... no hookups but there is a water faucet in the park to fill your tank from before parking in a site. The new shower/bathroom buildings are locked at night to prevent vandalism, so you better go to the bathroom before 10pm or you can't go again till morning! A host and hostess are on the grounds 24/7 and keep close tabs on all comings and goings of the park. For many years now it's Elmo and his wife, not sure if they are planning to be back this year or not.
Here we are on the one site we fit at .. but with the rear tires almost (but not quite) off the ground, it is NOT good because the emergency brake on our motorhome is the kind that clamps the driveshaft. If the rear wheels are off the ground, even slightly, the whole rig can freely roll as the front tires are not utilized by the emergency brake. That means it collapses the hydraulic levelers and those would be ruined in such an event. Even with blocking and chocking, I feel uneasy about it, so we camped somewhat unlevel here.
That type of unlevel camping presents other problems: the fridge can be damaged from setting too long uneven. The ammonia can pool up in parts of the coils and crystalize and burn through the coils in time. By the next day, our fridge stopped working, so we knew we were too unlevel. We added more boards under the back tires to help out a bit more, but it felt precarious and wobbly inside.
And the shower will not drain properly when on such an angle either. At this angle, the kitchen sink will sometimes back up into the shower stall, which is then all greasy icky stuff that needs cleaning from the bottom of the tub, each time you run the kitchen sink.
Everyone gathered at our site and we had the community fire. Once everyone toddles off to beddy bye in the wee hours of the morning, and things are quiet again. We are usually about the only ones camping here besides the host. Sometimes there are folks nearby but we ask them to join us, and they are usually someone who knows someone in our group. So drag over your lawn chair and join us!
It the morning, Steve and I are usually the first ones up. We pick up the empty beer cans, (Michigan has 10 cent deposit, so they all get bagged up for the return to the store) We get the fire going again, simmer up a big pot of coffee, bake some muffins or sticky buns and wait for the others to drag their butts outta bed.
In this pic, it was a hot and humid weekend... resting the the shade was about the only amount of effort expended on the weekend activities. LOL Friends stop by from in town to visit us when we come up camping. This weekend my folks came with their motorhome, and sister and broinlaw, Schmoo and Fuzz camped in their travel trailer too. Then we called Bob Senior to join us with his new trailer. It always becomes a family visit throughout the day. Folks from town like to come out for a ride through the park and *see who is camping this weekend* ... no kidding!
Here is a pic of Bob Senior... I wrote about him in a past blog. That is his older rig, the Class C in the background in that pic. He has since got a new travel trailer for camping . He and his buddy Shadow live like kings now in the new rig. Senior's son, Bob Jr. (of course) comes out every time we camp, and brings his daughter, Autumn, my little camping buddy.
This is my brother, Umpee, (really Eugene, but everyone up north has nick-names) He brought his new cat out to meet us one time. Of course his cat can come and sit around the campfire, why not? The guys like to come out to go fishing and someone always has a boat launched in the water for them to head out to drown a few worms. I think the cat was waiting for a treat from the fresh caught yummies.
The whole crew gathered to deep fry a turkey... sometimes they don't get things started on time for the meal to be finished by supper.... so it took a bit longer and was well after dark before it was time to eat. LOL
What a feast! We never go for lack of food when we go camping... with all the extra folks who stop by, we need to prepare a lot. If there are leftovers, great! If not, oh well, hope everyone got a full meal. This time the guys cooked a ham and deep fried a turkey. The gals do all the salads and taters and other *go-withs*!
And THIS is why it is called Sunset Lake!