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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Friday Flew By and Grandkid Saturday

Yes, Friday flew by just like I thought it would. Someone came and gladly picked up the six storm / screen combination windows that we were selling on the local Facebook buy sell trade page. They are going to use them to close in their porch at their cottage up north. I love it when people can repurpose and recycle, so glad they were able to use them.

It was such a nice day, and since Steve didn't need to go to work, he washed the entire motorhome. He uses the pressure washer set on gentle flow and uses only car wash soap on our motorhome. It never needs wax and we never use stainless steel cleaner on the lower portion either. Once you remove the protective finish, then you have to polish it all of the time. For 22 years it has held up with just gentle car wash soap.

I could hear the pressure washer out there going faster and was wondering what he was up to. It turns out he was power washing his Weber Baby Q grill in the driveway. He took off a summer's worth of grime and grease.

I was working out in the garage on restoring a Union Loom. Soon it will be ready to post for sale. My friend Tina mailed me some extra heddles that arrived today. Now I can get the harnesses put together.  Maybe on Sunday we will finish assembling it and getting it ready to sell it.

Before we knew it, Friday was over and Saturday had begun. We got up early and grabbed some coffee and headed out the door. We had to meet a fellow Sheltie Rescue Adopter at the Outagamie Dog Club. It turns out her sassy Sheltie Liam chewed a hole in the middle of a hand-woven rug that I had made for her. He is very embarrassed and deeply regretful of his actions.

I am going to see if I can repair it by needle weaving in new warp threads and restoring it back to its original condition.  It will take a bit of concentration, but I have repaired a few before, and it looks like I can do this one.

From there, we zoomed up to Oconto to spend some time with some of our grandchildren. We weren't going to see our son Dan and his wife Heather's kids this time because they were in Manitowoc with Heather's family celebrating homecoming.

First we went to our daughter Heather and Jesse's house so Steve could help with some wheel bearing and hub repairs on their minivan.  Jesse had started it, but he got stuck somewhere in the process. He needed torches and a bigger chisel to get the hub free. Steve went to see if he could help further the repair along. While he was working outside with Heather, I spent some time inside with little Whitney who is 2 and Jameson who is 9.

My Little Hippie Mini Me was busy playing with some heart shaped beads that I had brought along to play with. She really enjoyed them last time I babysat, so I brought them again. Do you know that she wears crazy tie-dyed shirts like her Grandma!?

Jameson and Whitney both enjoyed reading our favorite story books of all time. Jameson has the one with Grover from Sesame Street, about "The Monster at the End of This Book". Whitney has our all-time favorite "Brown Bear Brown Bear". We read it with all of the grandchildren and they all know it by heart, from cover to cover.

Silly little Whitney was playing her game of "tada" which means she has to dash in and out and in and out, each time announcing her presence and delight when Grandma exclaims "tada"!

We even made a little movie clip of it
So she could watch it over and over
 while we made lunch:

Meanwhile, outside, Steve was working on the minivan. Silly Heather is trying to assist with a hammer, and I don't think she's really helping too much. But she was doing the research and finding out the information and ordering the parts that could be picked up in town.

Once they finally got it all put back together, she was so excited to take it for a test drive! Yep, they are back to being a two-car family, not having to rely just on the Jeep for transportation.

While the grown-ups were busy
out in the garage working on the van,
Jameson was indoors working on lunch!

He rolled out little refrigerator biscuits with a mini rolling pin,

Then covered them with pizza sauce, and then pepperonis and cheese and seasoning.

Our budding MasterChef made little mini pizzas for everybody! 
What a great job Jameson!

And believe me, they tasted as good as they looked!

I really enjoyed baking and cooking with Jameson. He watches that cooking show on TV with the children, and cooks often in the kitchen with his mother. I believe tomorrow morning they are going to make some kind of special chocolate chip pancakes with cream cheese pudding filling!!?!

It was such a beautiful day, we went outside with all of the dogs. Our two shelties and their two corgis.  Heather paid me back for our help by trimming the ends of my hair for me. She could snip away and let the hairs fly off in the breeze. She didn't cut much, just trimmed off the bottom edge and neatened it up for me

Grandpa sure was having fun playing with Whitney. Now that she's 2 years old she is so engaging and silly and has quite a sense of humor. This is her little ball pit that she got on her birthday. What a fun toy!

After we said our goodbyes, it was time to buzz into town to our other daughter's house, and see three more grandkids! Our daughter Erin, sadly, was at work on such a beautiful day. But our son-in-law Waylen was home and had just gotten back from taking the children to the Harvest Fest celebration in town. Chelsea and Clayton proudly displayed their face tattoos and painted pumpkins.

And baby Claire had been trying to eat a gourd!

They hauled out some blow bubbles and a bubble machine to play in the yard. Their silly dad took out the leaf blower and was blowing the bubbles around into the air. Just a little bit of turbulence assistance!

Now here is where I get choked up:

Granddaughter Chelsea had made this special book in school and gave it to me. The wonderful teachers at Oconto Elementary School have been making these books for a number of years with the children as authors. I have two of them that Jameson had made as well. I treasure them. This one Chelsea had titled "My Grandma Rocks"...

I guess I do?

We gave hugs all around, said goodbye, and stopped at the local Thompson's grocery store for my favorite Italian bread. Now we headed 70 miles back home. It's days like this I wish we just lived 5 miles down the river like we used to. We could be so much closer to all of the grandkids than down in Chilton. Oh well, I guess it just makes our visits all the more special when they come to sleepover, or if we go up there to visit.

We will be back up there in 2 weeks to visit with all of the grandchildren and everyone for little baby Claire's first birthday!!! It will be so good to see them all again.  Allegra and Mason too!

And then the weekend after that is the big Halloween celebration at High Cliff State Park where we will see everybody once again! October seems to be the really special month for seeing all of these grandchildren. Now that the rush and hubbub of school shopping and school starting and getting settled into schedules is done, there is more time to spend visiting and enjoying the grandchildren.

Friday, September 29, 2017

It's Friday Already?

This week is all goofed up in my head.

Coming home on Monday, and not getting things into normal mode has made my head all goofy. Unpacking and putting away things from vacation took up a lot of Tuesday.  Going though the mail and paying bills. Yuck! Wednesday I got some orders done and Thursday packaged up stuff for shipping and started some new projects. Steve decided to go back to work. With the Packer game on Thursday night (we won!) and we didn't get the rain or lightening that Green Bay got during the game 35 miles away. Now, I look and suddenly it's Friday!

As I write this, I popped some blueberry muffins in the oven and got the coffee maker started. Steve wandered down as I was letting the dogs out and he said he is not sure if  they need him at work today or not. His boss was out driving buses at the same time as Steve was, so he didn't get a schedule from him for Friday, if needed at all. He could have slept in and he was up with the sunrise.  So I might have him home with me for the day?

I took pics and put the 6 old storm/screen window combinations on the local Facebook Buy Sell Trade pages and Craigslist.  They will be good for a shed, chicken coop, hunting or ice fishing shack etc.  Got someone coming at 4 pm today to take them all.  I like the new ones we put on the house before we left for vacation.

Steve got in a few minor repairs on the motorhome the last few days.  Not enough for me to take pics of though. He is too quick!

  • A rivet had come loose on some of the stainless steel portion of our lower exterior on the motorhome. He replaced it and looks good as new.
  • The accessory wires to make our new inverter run on timer had been setting on the bench at home, and now he got them wired in to make it operate with our timer inside above the control panel. So it doesn't have to run all night if we go to bed watching tv. Set the time for an hour and then the inverter and all 120V AC items shut off and are not draining batteries all night.
  • He topped off the distilled water in the 4 batteries and checked the posts for any built up crud.
  • Strengthened and reattached a piece of fender support on the driver's side that was loose and rattling.
  • He reinforced and changed two screws for stronger ones on the big MCD power windshield shade that was kinda loose and wiggly.
  • He examined the pressure solenoid  for the Pac Brake and found it full of moisture and slowly leaking. Ordered a new one to replace it, should be in today or tomorrow. 

It's all these little things that he keeps on top of, that make our motorhome run so well when we go on trips.  It was nice to go 1,500 miles and not have any troubles.  One time we did end up on a corner in Winslow AZ (yes, literally on a corner!) waiting for a part for five days.  Turns out later, we found out that it wasn't a huge, expensive part that was needed, but just the $22 connector to that part.  (wire for an injector) argghhh!

I got a good vacuuming done in the motorhome for all of the beach sand that came in on the doggie feet --- and our bare feet. We have a small Dirt Devil vac cleaner that is pretty good, but we like to take out the big household vac when we are home and get a good deep cleaning on the carpeting. The carpet in our rig (as well as the hardwood flooring) is original, 22 years old.

I like the carpeting underfoot and try to keep it in good condition. I shampoo it every spring, and we always take our shoes off at the door. Especially if Steve is walking on diesel and oil drips while fueling up at a station, He removes his shoes and puts on his moccasins while indoors to drive. If the doggie paws are wet or muddy, they get routed into the bathroom right away and I either wipe them down or pop them in the tub and hose their feet off with the shower attachment.

Speaking of baths, yesterday both dogs needed a good bath to get rid of their traveling grime, and I popped them in the laundry sink together to get in a sudsy soak.  They sit good and don't shake, but they really don't enjoy the process, that is to be sure.





Once done, after they soak the excess water into towels for a bit, then it is time to let them loose out in the Big Backyard for sunshine and exercise.  What fun doggies!

It's nice being home on our unlimited internet signal.  We just have a basic service from Frontier for $35 a month, but it does the job and we get signal all over the house and most of the yard from the modem router they supply for free. I only use my data plan on the cell phone when we are away from the house or camping.

This weekend we are heading up to Oconto to help out the kids with a repair project and see some of those grandkids!  In 2 weeks we are going to see all of them at the littlest granddaughter's FIRST birthday party! Little Claire turns ONE year old already.  Oh my.....

The week after that is the big Halloween celebration at High Cliff State Park.  We make reservations at midnight 11 months in advance to hope to snap up two campsites next to each other for our son Dan's camper and ours.  Then all of the family can come and enjoy the weekend.  Our grandkids and grandnephews:

All of the campsites are decorated up to the hilt with elaborate displays and well over 1,000 kids walk through the campground collecting trick or treats.  We go through $100 worth of candy and that is normally one piece per kid.  Unless they are cute, then they get two.  LOL  We even put out a bowl of doggie treats for the four legged visitors.  Here is a pic from last year of our campsite:

It is also my birthday the following weekend on Halloween, so that makes it extra special to spend time with family on that big event weekend that we can get together. It is a fun thing to look forward to.

Steve checked with his boss, and nope, he isn't needed today after all!  Now I get him here to myself.  Wonder what kind of trouble we can get into?

Thursday, September 28, 2017

It Feels Good To Be Home!

It felt really good to roll into the yard after being on the road for 15 days. Steve drove the rig straight in nose first with the Tracker still attached. Usually we take the time to stop on a side street and unhook the Tracker. We normally back the motorhome in our driveway while I stop the traffic on the 4-lane street out front. But I think we were just too tired.

The temps were in the 90's, so we plugged the motorhome in to shore power right away and started up the air conditioners. That way we could unload the leftover foods in the fridge, clear the cabinets of anything that is perishable, and take all of our dirty clothes and bedding to be washed. By the time we brought in our computers, crafty items, my sock knitting machine, and such, we were totally pooped. Now to put it all away!

I think the two things I missed most about my house was my big bathtub and our memory foam mattress.Even though we have a nice household quality mattress in the motorhome, it doesn't compare with the thick soft memory foam one that we have been sleeping on in the house for the past six months. I think a memory foam mattress is next on our agenda of motor home improvements!

Our house sitter did a great job and all of our plants inside and out looked healthy. I have been worried about frost while we were gone. My coveted coleus plants that I have been growing for almost 30 years we're in great shape. Before we left I did snip off a lot of little cuttings and had them rooting in water in the house. That was just in case all the plants outside we're going to die from an unexpected frost. Little did I know that we were going to have a heat wave instead of an early Autumn freeze.

I picked a big basket of tomatoes from the plants out in the back and Steve's raspberry bushes are still sprouting fresh red berries.  The lawn needs a cutting, but not till things cool off.

The dogs were so excited to be home in their familiar territory again. They examined all of their toys and made sure everything was right in their little world. Their doggie dishes were in place, their beds were up in place at the foot of our bed on the floor, and they were able to jump up and look out the windows to bark at anyone passing by.

They were totally excited to see the maillady's Jeep pull up across the road and stop at the corner as usual. But sadly, she wasn't coming to our house. Our mail was still being held at the post office. They quivered in anticipation of her coming up to our door and putting our mail in the slot, They were sadly disappointed when she just walked past our house and went on down the street. That is the highlight of their day!

We got a surprise visit from my good friend, Connie. She had been in town for an eventful day in her life and things are changing in a wonderful new direction. She came to share her news with us before she had to head home to Oshkosh.  I am so glad that things are looking up for her, and she was so happy she could just burst!   Life brings things in so many different twists and turns. She is such a kind loving soul, and deserves all the goodness and love that life has to offer.  We wanted her to stay for dinner, but she had to get heading out.  It was so good to see her and hug her and share in her joy.

After everything was unloaded, and Steve went to the post office to get the mail, we settled in for an evening in our home. It was nice to get back into the routine. And of course, I had to fill my big bathtub up with warm bubbly water to relax for an evening soak.

We carried in our two "souvenirs" from our trip.  We had stopped at a thrift shop in Thunder Bay, Ontario on a rainy icky day and wandered around.  I found this gorgeous shawl (not handmade but very pretty nonetheless) I can imagine it with dark slacks and turtle neck, a pretty neckalce, all decked out for a holiday gathering?

Steve found a cut glass cover for our lonely uncovered butter dish at home!   We had the bottom base portion for years, and never had a top for it. We were always on the lookout for the matching one, not wanting to buy a whole new duo.  Silly us, but we just kept using it uncovered until we could find one.  What are the chances that Steve would find a matching cover (and only the cover, not a base too) at a thrift shop in Canada?

We sure buy strange souvenirs, eh?

In the morning, we baked up the Danish Kringle that we bought at Dobbers Pasties in Escanaba on Sunday.  It smelled SOOOOO good!  This one was caramel and nut.  They had different flavors in the freezer case.  So cute, it comes with a tiny squeeze packet of butter cream frosting too.

We settled in our front porch to watch the morning sunrise, enjoy our coffee and danish kringle and talking about plans for the day.  Little did we know, but Pops was driving by after an early morning business meeting in nearby Kiel, WI.  He stopped in, with his dog Millie, just in time for danish kringle and coffee on the front porch!

(somehow he attracted three little beggars for his danish kringle)

It has cooled off nicely in Wisconsin 
and temps are back to normal! 

As our day went on, it was time for Steveio to get outside and cut the lawn.  

Even though Steve is on vacation yet until Oct. 1, I was not, and had to get back to my work.  I had to get into my Loom Room and finish up a couple rugs that needed to get shipped out.  I had "help" if you can see by the window?  They kept an eye on Steve and let me know each time he drove the lawnmower around the house. 

I had to finish this second rug to make a "pair"

(for my fibery readers:  rag rug woven with alternating shuttles of thick blue weft and thin mulitcolored weft.  Threading is twill 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4 and woven with 1 and 2 in one shed and 3 and 4 in the other, creating a basket weave effect on the plain weave rug. Alternate shuttle placement on each side of the rug, Narrow shuttle closer to the fell line on left and Wider shuttle closer to the fell line on the right to lock in the wefts on the edges. Sett is 12 epi and warp then appears as side by side pairs on each shed. Woven on a 4 harness loom, but could be threaded up on a 2 harness to get the same result 11,22,11,22)

Once I finished the second rug, I had four of them to get hemmed up and get 2 ready to ship out.  I hauled out my trusty old 1941 Singer sewing machine.  My Grandma Groop on my dad's side gave me this machine 20+ years when she stopped sewing quilts.  I cherish it and take good care of it. It is the ONLY machine I have had that can sew through the triple folded hems on my handwoven rugs. 

20 some odd years ago, I was attending my nephew's graduation. Grandma Groop asked me to come up to her house the next day, she had something to give me. Knowing I am the "crafty one" in the family, she decided to pass on her 1941 Singer sewing machine with the coveted wooden dome top case.  It was like the passing of a baton from one generation to the next... well ... two generations down the line. I was honored. It has put on a lot of miles when stowed in our motorhome as well.

It has sewed a LOT of quilts for her over the years. 
One even hangs in a museum down in Lansing, MI.  
A BiCentennial Signature Quilt of all her co-workers from 1976.




Back to my work day:

I finished hemming up these two rugs as well. They are going to be listed in my Etsy shop. I have to "reactivate" all of my inventory after putting them on pause during vacation.  Right now my Etsy store only has three items, the two DVDs I produce and my sockknitting weights. I took that inventory along on our trip and shipped out purchases along the way to my customers.

I call these my Birch Tree Rugs, because the texture resembles the bark of a birch tree! They are made of recycled sock loops from factory waste. I chain them together and make long strips to weave into really thick solid rugs.

Every rug also gets my own tag, sewn onto the hem. 

My neighbor across the road stopped by.  She needs to order a pair of nice wool socks for her husband for Xmas. How nice is that to have orders walk up to your door? She happened to have this big box of colorful cotton quilting fabric scraps that she wanted to give me as well.   It was a lot of fun to sort them by color groups and types.  I can see a few fun quilts or potholders coming out of this endeavour.

Once the rugs are done, I am going to get some towels woven on my 8 harness Tools of the Trade table loom.  This loom is clamped down to a rolling bench when in use, and both of the front and back beams fold inwards for easy portability. I sometimes take it along in the motorhome too.  It can even fit in the back seat of a car when folded up.  It is a very generous 32 inches wide so I can do a multitude of items on it, from skinny scarves to table runners to towels, yardage and even overshot blankets in panels to be joined after weaving. 

I wheeled it out onto the front porch now that weather is cooler... I will thread it up later today and start some towels perhaps tomorrow. Nothing can be more relaxing than weaving along a nice pattern, looking out at sunshine and trees and birds and enjoying the day.


Now it's 9:30 am.  Remember when I mentioned that I had to work but Steve was still on vacation? (although he is retired, he drives part-time for a county handicapped accessible bus for the elderly/disabled and delivers them from various nursing homes to doctors, hospitals, dialysis etc) I call it his Old Fart Party Bus!

Wellllll Yesterday, he saw one of the county secretaries at the local hardware store. So they know he is "back in town"... hahahaha!  He called in this morning to find out if he was needed, and yes, they are backed up and short of drivers. Even the boss was out driving medical patients to their appointments.  He asked if Steve could come back today, 2 days early, to help out.

 Of course, you know my Steveio.  
He goes in at 10 am.   

What a guy!  

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

VACATION - Recap, Costs, Links for Looping Around Lake Superior 2017

Now that we are home, I went over our financials about our trip around Lake Superior.


  • We spent $1,001.61 for 14 days, averaging $71.54 a day, went 1,513 miles.
  • All money has been converted to US dollars in each catagory
  • We started with 1/2 tank $132 reflected in fuel column on 1st night
  • We had 4 nights of boondocking without any fees
  • We had 10 nights of campgrounds with fees. 
  • We didn't eat out at any restaurants, and cooked all of our own foods. 
  • We used most of our own groceries from home, only picking up items later in Canada that are banned at the border. (potatoes, produce, citrus and dairy). I didn't put in a figure for the groceries from home, because we would have used the same if at home or away on vacation. The dozen pasties I picked up on the last day were not included because they were for future meals at home later.  

As far as reviews for all of the campgrounds we stayed at, each and every one was GREAT!  Easy availability of sites in Sept in the Provincial Parks of Ontario, and no reservations were required at any of them.  Most had 2 pm checkout times.  I would say 80-90% of the sites were fairly level, and easily accommodated a 40ft rig.  Only one in the US had a grumpy host, but she might have been experiencing burnout at the end of the season. LOL

Firewood was available at most parks, but we took along bags of pellet wood to use in our Flame Genie pellet campfire unit. Pellet hardwood is safe to transport and does not carry infestations of bugs over forbidden borders. Stays clean and dry in 40lb bags in our storage compartments.

We spent a little more on campground fees than usual, preferring to boondock more often to save on the budget. But then things changed due to the hurricanes down south, and things got very humid, hot and hazy.  We really needed electrical hookups on those days to run the rooftop AC units for my health, and for the comfort of the dogs.

Since we decided against our plan of going down to the Lower Peninsula of Michigan or using the $400 fee for the ferry from Ludington to Manitowoc, we splurged a bit more on campground fees.

1- MONDAY 11- Brunet Island Wisconsin State Park
2- TUESDAY 12- Duluth Aunt Nancy's yard
3- WEDNESDAY 13-  Two Harbors MN Super One grocery boondock
4- THURSDAY 14- Thunder Bay Walmart boondock
5- FRIDAY 15- Kakabeka Falls Prov Park
6- SATURDAY 16- Sleeping Giant Prov Park
7- SUNDAY 17- Lake Helen Boondock
8- MONDAY 18- Rainbow Falls Rossport Prov Park
9- TUESDAY 19- Penn Lake Marathon City Park
10- WEDNESDAY 20- Agawa Bay, Lake Superior Prov Park
11- THURSDAY 21- Pancake Bay Prov Park
12- FRIDAY 22-  USA - Soldier Lake Hiawatha National Forest park
13- SATURDAY 23- Little Bay de Noc Hiawatha National Forest park
14- SUNDAY 24 - Kleinke Menominee Michigan county park

We found dump stations in the provincial parks to be easy to maneuver. We only needed to dump three times as we have 50 gal holding tanks for both black and grey water.  We found good potable water at each park, which was just fine for showering and doing dishes and washing up.  Once our good water from home in our 100 gal fresh water tank was depleted, we drank bottled water purchased in 1 gal jugs from Walmart for 88 cents each. We used it for cooking, coffee and the dogs.  Especially for the dogs, so they don't get sick from ingesting different water types.  We have learned over the years that long haired doggy butts and diarrhea do not mix well.

Steve says for the most part, the Canadian roads are in very good condition. There really is only one single road around Lake Superior, Trans Canada Highway 17/11 and the roughest part was between Marathon and Wawa.  Some road construction from Pancake Bay to Sault Ste Marie. The stretch in Michigan on US2, between Rapid River and Gladstone leaves a lot to be desired.  We only saw one or two police cars the entire trip.

We did experience a lot of rainy days, and some cooler nighttime temps in the 40's and 30's F. We used a Lasko electric heater on the hookup nights in campgrounds. It runs quiet, is thermostatic, it can oscillate if we want, has a tip over safety switch and looks pretty.

We used our propane Wave 8 catalytic heater on the cold boondocking nights. This heater can cook us out on HI, so we only put it on LO and turned it off in the morning after kicking off our covers overnight.

I didn't figure any propane costs into our budget as it's kinda hard to figure. We used propane for cooking, water heating, refrigeration and some nights of heat.  The needle barely moved on the gauge as we have a huge 50 gallon onboard tank. It has only been filled up once this entire year in spring. Our generator also runs on propane, but we didn't need to use it at all.  We could kinda guess $10 or $20 worth of propane used?

Although I could have enacted the TravelPass option on my Verizon phone (costs $5 a day and uses my US data plan and minutes) I chose not to.  Even along the one and only main highway, Trans Canada 17, there is a lack of data signals.  So even if I did enact my Verizon plan, there wasn't anything to connect to.

People suggested things like free WIFI at McDonalds, or Tim Hortons, libraries, etc.  Well, there aren't ANY of those kind of places around Lake Superior once we got past Thunder Bay.  The aren't any towns of any size to generate any chain stores or restaurants.  The most you find is maybe a gas station or a gift shop.  And none of them had WIFI.

We relied on WIFI hotspots in two tiny towns (Rossport and Kakabeka Falls at a tiny B&B and a motel) and at one tourist trap near Agawa Bay.  Even the single Flying J in the middle of our loop around didn't have WIFI, not even some you could pay for by the hour.

Only ONE campground had its own WIFI and that was the municipal campground at Marathon, Ontario called Penn Lake.  It was spotty, but it worked better late at night or early morning before anyone else logged on.

Once we got back into the United States in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, my own Verizon data plan worked great.  Even on the country roads of M28 and US2, we had signal all of the while and could use our phone for GPS and calls and data.

I love using my Microsoft Streets and Trips 2011 on my laptop with GPS dongle. It is no longer supported by Microsoft but is still usable. My laptop has an optional 12 volt cord that plugs into a cigarette lighter outlet. Not all 12v plugs work with laptops. It is a special cord I had to order from Acer with a block on it that converts the needed 19v from a 12v plug in.

The best reason I like the Microsoft Streets and Trips is that it leaves a "GPS Trail" of every road and spot we travel on, as well as lets me put on "pushpins" with information embedded in each one. I can notate campgrounds, fuel stops, good boondocking places etc.   I import POI files of campgrounds and Walmarts and Cracker Barrels and Flying J across the entire country.  I keep a map of each and every trip we have gone on.

I love having a large screen to zoom in and out to see the route at any time while in transit. It allows me to snap calculate distance to the next place on our list, or change the list at any time. I can add stops, delete stops, rearrange things, search for nearby things of any set distance I choose.  Places like grocery stores, gas stations, campgrounds etc. It figures out the best route and does a good job. We always follow up with a paper map and do not blindly follow a GPS.

This is the GPS dongle unit that connects in my USB port. 

During the last couple of trips, my screen has been flickering when in use with the program. It's irritating but still works. I tried a bunch of suggested online fixes, but it still flickers --- unless I wiggle my wireless mouse on the screen... then the flicker goes away?? I am going to try to install it on Steve's smaller NextBook, but I didn't have the installation disk along with me.  I will try it now that we are home.

My Motorola droid phone is not much use as a GPS. It can only use the GPS for planning when I have a data connection.  Without data connection, it will show me where I am on a route that I pre-planned while having a connection, but it does not let me plan any routes or search for anything until I find another data connection again.

I didn't have internet access of a sufficient speed to upload all of my video clips.  So I did now once we got back home. I am going to back into each blog to insert them. Here is a playlist of all our little video clips, if you are so inclined:

Yup, $1001.61 for 2 weeks... 
 and the memories are