Friday, April 29, 2022

Counting the Days

188 days

That is the number of days since we returned from our last great adventure. That does not count our few weeks to Oregon to help Forrest and Somer with their house. Plus, this is our first adventure with the new truck! We've been pretty much all packed up for almost two weeks waiting for the fields to be ready, but today is the day (4/26), we are finally hitting the road and starting our Great Summer Adventure (GSA)! 

Barb has organized things, so Dakota has pretty much the whole back seat to herself! Well, most of the time. Dakota even has a brand-new comfy dog bed and a mat to cover the front and back to minimize dog hair!

108 Days

On our last night home, Dan, Bonnie, Kevin and Cheryl came over to say goodbye and have one last beer. Well, one turned into two, which turned into 3, which turned into multiple shots of fireball, which turned into us playing Cards Against Humanity which turned into us moaning and groaning as we tried to open our eyes the next morning. Ugh! We are going to miss those guys! It will be 108 days until we see them again!

As much as we love it here, we are ready for a change of scenery.  We are not at all apprehensive about leaving the house. Between the alarm, cameras, locked gates, people we have staying at the house and our neighbors, the house will be in good hands. Our closest neighbor works from home and her office window faces our house, well within rifle range, so she calls or texts when someone comes down our driveway asking if she should fire a warning shot or not! 

7,169 days

Our first day was a rather short one. We stopped by to see our niece Alana in Spearfish. Alana and her husband Ryan recently moved to Spearfish from Denver. Barb and I have not seen her in 15-20 years. We talked about it and we could not exactly figure it out. She was probably 18 or 19 and now, well, she is older than that. We determined it was closer to 20 than 15 so we are going to will say 7,169 days. I certainly would not have recognized her if I saw her on the street. She said she would have probably recognized me as I look like "Grandpa". I am not quite sure how I feel about that. 

They recently got a French Bull Dog so now Zoey has a cousin! It was payback time for Zoey as Sophie bit, pulled and tugged on Zoey's jowls, does not feel so good on the receiving end does it?!?!?

After an hour or so of visiting, we were on the road to our first destination for our GSA; Faith, South Dakota, located right on the 45th parallel!
We spent the night at their city park. At $10/night with electric it was a bargain. There is one water spigot available for 6 sites but a huge Class A parked near us was hooked up to it so we did not take on any water. We have not de-winterized yet anyway as it is still below freezing at night. Speaking of freezing, it was so nice out when we arrived we did not turn on the heat when we went to bed. We woke up to our inside thermostat display 42 degrees. We rock, paper, scissored who was going to take the dogs out and turn on the heater. Damn, Scissors cuts paper and I was the big loser!
In the morning we found these two cool statues in town. 
Our destination the next day was just a couple hours down the road, Mobridge South Dakota. This is the oasis of warm weather that I found while doing my research. Plus, bonus, it was on a huge body of water which mean possible fishing! This is also where I had my first Perception versus Reality moment of the trip. In my mind I pictured us arriving in Mobridge, a quaint lakeside town where the locals are friendly and people lined the banks of the lake pulling in walleye after walleye, saying "The fish are right here!". The reality of it was much different. Although the town is nice enough, it was not quaint and the water levels were so low that you had to walk 1/2 mile to get to the edge of the lake and I did not see a single fisherperson in sight! Combine that with the 20-30mph winds and ....well, lets just say my perception blew away with the wind. 

All cannot be lost here though right? There must be something fun to do in Mobridge. So I got on The Google to see what there is to do in Mobridge South Dakota. Up popped this result from 10 Best Things to do in Mobridge. Perfect, exactly what I was looking for. So I clicked on the link and up popped not 10 things but 6 things. Two of which were The Badlands and Bear Country U.S.A. both back near Rapid.  3 of the 4 remaining items were restaurants, one of which was Burger King! 10 things to do in Mobridge, well 6, and one of them Burger King? Well, at least we had the #1 thing to do in Mobridge; The Klein Museum, so off we went! Pulled into the parking lot "Closed for the Season". Mobridge was a bust. 

Wait, we did find one thing to see. A Cowboy Riding a Walleye Sculpture!
So down the road we went. Found a nice little overnight spot at the Fort Rice Recreation Area at the boat ramp. Barb found it on We got all settled in and set up behind a berm which protected us from the wind and were set for the night. You never really know if can really stay at some of these areas so when the Sheriff drove by and just waved, we figured we were good to go. Nice free spot if you are ever in this area. 
The next day we drove to Mandan to check out some antique stores. We spent a few hours perusing the stores but did not find any treasures. Then we checked into a nice little campground called Hillcrest Acres RV Park so Barb could get some work done on her computer. She still does some work for her old work (which we appreciate very much!) so we wanted a place with good internet. While she was doing the I flushed the lines and de-winterized the rig. Hillcrest offered full hookups and great wifi for $40 a night. Another perfect overnight stop!

383 days

We arrived at the farm on day 4 of our GSA and are all tucked into the shop where it is warmer and out of the wind. They had been without power for over 6 days. It turned back on about an hour after we got there. I guess we brought some good luck!

On our journey we averaged 10mpg and saw diesel prices that ranged from $4.71(Bismarck)-5.89 (Minot). Both were about what we were expecting but we hope to see those fuel prices drop in the coming weeks. 

It has been 383 days since we started planting last year. Last year I arrived at the farm on April 11th and we started planting somewhere around the 15th. This year, it is more than 2 weeks later. Depending on weather and the soil, it will take 3-4 weeks to get everything in the ground. Sadly, we can only stay 12 days, not nearly long enough to get everything in the ground but hopefully we can put a good dent in it! 

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Creatures in the Mist.....

Over the past few months, I have received hundreds of cards and letters (okay maybe one or two, or maybe none at all) asking me to continue the saga of Onid and Asil who debuted in this blog last year in this post. So, back by popular demand, here is the story of how Onid and Asil met oh so many years ago. 

It was the fall of 1988 in Fergus Falls Minnesota and Asil was once again walking the walk of shame after another night of hard drinking. The County Fair was in town and being a carnie she was used to waking up in strange places and was familiar with this walk. As she walked the lonely tree covered street next to the swamp she wondered why she does this to herself. Why, night after night does she drink to excess and wake up in another strange house? The sun was just hitting the eastern horizon casting an eerie light on the morning fog.

It was then she noticed a shadowy figure on the road through the mist. Her head was pounding and her vision still a little blurry but indeed saw a figure was walking in the opposite direction of her, each step bringing them closer and closer together. In the mist she could not tell if it was man or beast, although it walked upright, it was slumped over like something that was other than human.
“Did one of the freak show creatures escape?” she thought. When the figure stopped 10 yards in front of her, it noticed her for the first time. The naked creature before her was Cro-Magnon like with a large mis-shapened head, hairy back and grotesquely arched feet. It had huge hands, huge arthritic hands that looked like they could crush your skull with ease. Sadly, not all his body parts matched the size of his massive hands. When Asil looked over the creature she noticed that he had a very, very tiny ...... nose. The creature stared back with curious eyes. “Are you okay?” Asil asked. The creature just grunted in return. “What’s your name?” The creature grunted something in response that sounded like “Onid”.

Definitely must have escaped from the freak show she thought.  Asil always had an affection for the strange and unusual so she looked in her purse for something to feed him. No food, but at the bottom of her purse she found a can of Bud Light leftover from the 12 pack she drank the night before. “How did that get in there?” she thought. She rarely leaves a beer undrunk. Tentatively she removed the beer from her purse, opened it and offered it to the creature. Onid drank the beer, crushed the can on his forehead and grunted “Onid Ba!”. “I have no more” Asil said. “Onid Ba!” he said again. Asil did not know what he was saying or what to do, so she continued on down the road. A few minutes later she looked behind her and noticed the creature was now following her holding his hand out calling “Onid Ba!”

She finally got back to her run down trailer in the carnie section of the fairgrounds with the creature trailing her all the way. As she sat in the kitchen holding her pounding head all she could hear was “Onid Ba” outside her door.  Opening the refrigerator, which was empty except for a couple of blue cans of beer. Out of desperation, she pulled out a few cans of beer and set them outside. “Ba!” the creature exclaimed as he grabbed one beer after another and drank them. The creature content Asil climbed into bed to sleep off yet another hangover.

Hours later she woke up and peered out her kitchen window to see the creature asleep on her stoop, empty beer cans scattered everywhere. 
The aftermath
It was painfully apparent that this poor creature could not function on its own so she took it in. She eventually learned his name was indeed Onid and as she suspected “Ba” meant beer. She also taught the creature how to dress (some of the time), use indoor bathroom facilities (most of the time), feed himself (not a sight for anyone with a weak stomach, especially if he is trying to use chopsticks!) and even taught him how to drive a her truck with a 5th wheel, her truck with a camper, a 4 wheeler and even a tram (God help us all). Spectators come from miles around to see the tram driving creature that mumbles into the microphone. Taking advantage of the liberal laws in Minnesota, they eventually married and are now living happily ever after for almost 30 years traveling the country going from fair to fair.

So, that is the story of how these two lovebirds met. In case you are new to our blog and are curious what these two creatures look like, here are a couple of pictures from some of our past encounters. If you want to read how we met them back in '14 you can read it by clicking here
Although he cannot read, he does enjoy looking at the pictures!
I don’t know what reminded me of this story. I actually wrote it some time ago, sent it to a few friends who know this infamous couple, but never had the guts to post it. As we all know, paybacks can be hell! But as we get ready to  hit the road there is a chance that we might, just might, if we are lucky, have a Onid and Asil sighting! We are all packed up and are waiting for word from up north that they are ready to plant.

The weather here has been just as crazy. The week started off with some beautiful weather in the 60's. I was able to work outside 5 days this week. I spent two days working on steel trim corners on the house. Not really picture-worthy. We also spent two days cutting and splitting wood. I think we are pretty close to being all set for next winter already!
A pile to be split, a pile already split and another pile waiting in the tractor wagon!
The wind has been relentless. According to the local news, it has been the windiest year in over 20 years. But on one evening the wind relented and we were able to sit outside for happy hour and enjoy the evening. 

Zoey wanted to see what was going on up there!
I was even able to sneak over to the neighbors to help them put snow block up on their garage. At the time we thought we were putting it up for the snow to come next winter. We were sadly mistaken. 
The end of the week end downhill quick. Barb got sick with a miserable cold that just does not seem to get better. The winds picked back up with sustained winds in the 30-40mph range and gusts much higher. Friday night also brought 2" of rain, hail and thunderstorms. That in itself would not have been so bad but then the rain turned to snow. The combination of the wind and snow pretty much shut down the entire west side of the state all day Saturday, into Sunday.  Not complaining, we need the moisture and I am glad that the 2" of rain did not come down as snow. We did not leave the house all weekend other than to walk the dogs and get firewood. 
So here we sit, waiting for "The Call" from North Dakota that the snow has melted up there and they are ready to plant. But that is not likely to come anytime soon as they too got pounded again, on top of the 30" they got last week. Except this time they got freezing rain along with the snow and winds. This combination wreaked serious havoc on the power lines. There are 60 poles down within a couple miles of the farm, a total of 250 down in the area.  They have been without power for almost 24 hours and are not expecting it to get it back on for at least 24-48 hours more. 
Thanks for the pictures DeAnne!
I started writing this post earlier in the week, and since then Barb and I have decided not to wait for "The Call". The hitch itch is pretty bad and we are leaving. Headed north of all places. Not far enough to have an Onid and Asil sighting, but we have found a pocket of the state that has not received any of this winter weather and is forecasted to be in the mid 60's all week. So, wish us luck, here we go! 

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Strange Happenings

There are some strange things going on around here. I was walking by the bathroom the other day, I hear Barb having a full-on conversation behind the closed door. What?!?! Who the hell talks on their phone in the bathroom? Then I walk into the kitchen and see her phone on the counter. A minute later the bathroom door opens up and out walks Zoey followed by Barb. Actually, that is a pretty regular occurrence as Zoey just follows Barb pretty much everywhere. If Barb is able to sneak into the bathroom without her, this usually occurs. 
Momma, let me in!
Strange thing #2. According to our "plan" we are supposed to be up in North Dakota right now helping plant the spring crop. Last year at this time we were a couple of days into planting. But 30+ inches of snow up there changed that in a hurry. Here are a couple of pictures Dylan took from up there. 

So needless to say we are in a holding pattern down here waiting for word that the fields are ready. In the meantime, we are getting a few things done around the house. The odd thing about it is that we have to think of things to do rather than look around and see an over abundance of things that need to get done. Barb and I both focused on the dresser this week and got it done! After making the drawer fronts last week, Barb put several coats of varnish on them while I worked on the top. 

The top consists of 3 pieces of 2" blue pine slabs, the front one has a live edge on it. I cut them to length, notched them to fit and put them in place and glued them together. Once the glue was dry, Barb sanded and varnished them. 
Dresser top ready to be finished!
The last step was to put on the drawer fronts and we were done! 

I can now see why custom furniture is so expensive. We have $400 into wood and another $200 into drawer slides. It was an interesting project and I learned a lot about what to do and not do next time. 

I was also able to sneak away for a day and help Kevin install Dan and Bonnie's countertop so now they have a functional kitchen!

                Starting on the island                                                Getting ready to cut in the cooktop  

All Done!
Kevin and Dan ready for a beer

One day we had a group of 15 mule deer stop by for a visit. We have not seen that many in quite a while. Two of the bucks still had their antlers. Well, I should say 1 1/2 of the bucks still had their antlers as the bigger one was missing one side. 

Zoey got jealous when Barb was taking pictures of the deer so she insisted that we get her picture with one. 
Barb and I have been out several more times looking for shed antlers but have yet to find any. We have been going several miles away from home where we have seen the elk in the past. You would think with the thousands of elk and tens of thousands of deer we would trip over one eventually but so far nothing. It is good to get out and walk the hills though!

Little Chippy looking for nuts

I think all the cattle are done having their calves, so there are lots of babies on the property. Which brings me to strange thing #3. These cows seem to congregate around certain manmade items. In our case it has been the windmill, old water tank and the front gate by the cattle guard. It is like they have a meeting in the morning and say "Okay, after breakfast, we all split up. 10 go to the front gate, 1/3rd to the water tank and the rest to the windmill." They are such odd animals. 

Easter morning I woke up, stumbled out of the bedroom and Barb greeted me with a big smile and said "Happy Easter, time to find your basket!" Really? I have been up for like 30 seconds and you want to play games with me?!?!? Actually, I love that she does this and before I knew it I found it and was high on a sugar rush!
Strange thing #4 is that my phone died last week and I lost all my contacts. I was able to recover some from Barb's phone but I am still missing many of my friends and even family members.  So, here is my PSA for the week. If you have not received a call or text from me lately and you have my phone number starting with (385) 335-xxxx can you please send me a text with your name and phone number so I can get you back in my contacts? Please include your name in your text!

Lastly, I got a personal note from my good friend Harry saying how much he missed the dog videos so I included 40 seconds of pure love for your viewing pleasure! 

It is amazing how Zoey can go from 90 to 0 in a matter of seconds. When I stopped recording, she walked over to the dog bed and she was down!

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The Plan

 Regardless of what you are doing, having a plan is imperative. Whether it be for project planning at work, managing your personal finances or you are an RV'er setting out on a big adventure, rarely are you able to achieve your goal unless you have some kind of a plan. 

Luckily for me, Barb is the ultimate planner. Since Day 1, she has maintained a spreadsheet of our adventures. For light trips, she will just list our daily travel details such as Point A to Point B details; miles, hours and how long we are going to stay there. It helps us to develop a picture of what to expect each day on our travels. 

For bigger trips like our Alaska trip in '16 or our Maritimes trip this year she gets much more detailed. She has used a variety of spreadsheets over the years, our latest iteration came from a fellow RV'er who sent us their Alaska itinerary back in '15. We have tweaked it here and there to fit our needs and it has served us really well. It includes Arrival and Departure Dates, Locations, Milage, Travel Times and other details pertinent to the trip. 

She starts out by inputting hard dates such as the start of spring planting at The Farm, walleye opener, ferry reservation; things out of our control that cannot be changed with any ease. Then she starts filling in the blanks. Then comes the real work. Research. We start reading blogs of others who have been to the area before us. In the case of this trip, we read John and Pam's blog from when they were there in '11, Steve and Dianne's blog from '18, Chapter 3 Travels who were there in '17, Take To The Highway who was also there in '17 and Rolling in a RV - Wheelchair Traveling who were there in '14. There were more, but I cannot remember then right now. None of them have travel tastes exactly like ours but the blend of all the these blogs gave us a lot of ideas for the areas we are going to be traveling.  

Over the past few months Barb slowly started to fill in the blanks and before we knew it, our summer was planned! We only have 3-4 hard dates so there is some wiggle room here and there to stay longer, move earlier, add a stop, but we have a plan! As anyone who RV's knows you need to be flexible and adapt on the fly. As a matter of fact we are adapting as I write this as we are supposed to be on the road right now. 

Spring planting at the farm was supposed to start this week but instead of planting there is this.....

20" of snow that is not going to go anywhere anytime soon. So here we sit, waiting to see what the next few days bring and hope to hit the road. 

In the meantime, we are ready. We put the camper on the truck for the first time this week! I don't know the specific measurements of each of our trucks but this truck seems a lot tighter than our old one. There is only about 1" of clearance on either side of the truck bed. It took us about 30 minutes to get it on and only one minor meltdown but we did get it on. We will not be taking it off anytime soon!
The downside of the delay is that it will shorten our time at the farm as we have to leave by a certain date to remain on schedule and hit our other hard dates.  The upside is that it gave us time to get some more done around the house. We had several goals that I had pretty much given up on. One was getting all the base trim done inside the house. It is now done!

The next thing was to install the hip caps on the porch roof. Done!

I got two closet doors installed, one in each bedroom. 

Bring on the dresser drawer fronts that went from a 1"x12"x12' slab of rough cut kiln dried lumber to dresser drawer fronts in a matter of  hours. 
The fronts just need to be sanded and varnished then they will be ready to be installed!

The weather has been a roller coaster. We had 3 days of 30-40mph sustained winds with gusts up to 70mph. Brutal, but everything held together nicely.  Then it got warm with highs in the mid 60's. Spring is finally here and the flowers are starting to poke their heads out of the ground. Paradise! 

We paid for it the next day when it dipped down into the 30's with 3" of snow. A different kind of paradise! 

We did make one major purchase this week when Barb found this beauty of a canoe for sale on Marketplace.
We have not had it out yet and likely won't until this fall but we a looking forward to exploring some of the area lakes and see what kind of fish lurk in their depths. Well, at least that's the plan!