12.31.13 Reflecting on God’s Blessings in 2013

new yers 2014Happy New Years to everyone!  My New Year’s resolution is to travel more – I think this is one we’ll keep!

What a year of blessings 2013 has been.  It hasn’t all been blessings but I am choosing to write off the bad things. I’ve forgiven those who have hurt me, prayed for them and now it’s time to put them in the past. The blessings below are just some of what God has provided for us this year but I do want to share these.

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-Living in Northern Minnesota for the summer with its magnificent beauty, perfect weather and a new culture for us to learn about.  Living with the loons, chipmunks, lots of wild blueberries and raspberries all near the beautiful lake that is Lake Kabetogama.

-Making friends with Russ and Annie Johnson in Minnesota.  We worked together, shared fun times and we plan to visit them in Florida very soon!

-Making friends with Nichole and  Ron Aschliman’s family in Indiana.  They blessed us so much by inviting us to their home and farm for dinner and fellowship.

-Seeing so many of God’s creations around the USA this year.

IMG_20131009_132931_274 fod7 (2) IMG_20130904_135204 fishing roy rosalyn minn roy rose twins  rickspic4Being able to take a nap on occasion when others in my pre-RV life were at work.

-Being able for the first time in my life to read and read and read whenever I wanted to

-Being able to spend countless happy moments with my husband Roy in our adventures.

-Being able to come back to Louisiana for Thanksgiving and Christmas and re-connect with those who matter most to us.

-Seeing my son in a wonderful relationship with his girlfriend Kimberly. We are looking forward to seeing what their future holds knowing they are both dedicated to following God’s will in their lives.

-Meeting and getting to know Kimberly’s twin sons, Braxton and Bentley and cuddle and kiss on them.

-Reconnecting with our precious granddaughter Madisyn. Spending time getting to enjoy the growing young lady she is puts a smile in both our hearts.

-Being able to attend different churches throughout the United States and learn about their beliefs, experiencing different worship styles and fellowshiping with other Christians from those different churches.

-Establishing a new hometown in Madison, SD which oddly enough is similar to our real hometown of Hammond, LA

-Receiving personally autographed pictures of Drew Brees!

-Being able to help at Kabetogama Methodist Church’s Vacation Bible School

-Finding our wonderful real estate agent Jamie and her getting a contract to sell our rental house before it ever went on the market – full price and a cash sale too!

-Our son Chip taking care of emptying the rental house, doing repairs inside and outside, going to the Act of Sale for us and much more!

-Jamie also finding a renter for our own sticks and bricks house and finding them to be wonderful renters since then.

-Living in an area for several weeks where the Amish live and getting to see them up close, even doing laundry with them.  Learning about their lives and developing a respect for them.

-Worshiping God again in our home church.  Hearing our choir sing for Christmas was a highlight of our return to Louisiana.

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Each of the places below were blessings as we discovered parts of our beautiful country.

Vince Schute Bear Sanctuary in Minnesota where we watched bears in their natural habit quite up close

Soudan Ore mine a mile below the surface in Minnesota

The headwaters of the Mississippi in Itasca State Park in Minnesota

The Corvette assembly plant and national museum in Kentucky

Eating Chicago deep dish style pizza for the first time in Chicago

Seeing pro MLB Louisville Slugger baseball bats being made in Kentucky

Learning about cheesecake making at Eli’s Cheesecake Company and winning our own whole cheesecake in Chicago

Saw a Minnesota Twins game in Minneapolis

Visiting Soldier Field in Chicago

Visiting Wrigley Field in Chicago

Visiting a bank that Jesse James robbed decades ago in Indiana

Attending our first ever Callithumpian parade in Decatur, Indiana and a 4th of July parade in International Falls, MN

Seeing hundreds of miles of corn fields along all of the highways and in any available planting space throughout 3 states

Floating down an underground river in Lost River Cave in Kentucky

Touring both the Winnebago RV and Fleetwood RV manufacturing plants learning more about how these huge moving homes are put together.

Touring the South Bend Chocolate company in Indiana and sampling some of their goodies

Walking the 500 stairs in Mammoth Cave in Kentucky and surviving!

Experiencing a great deal of awe at the Field of Dreams in Iowa

Met Dr. Schnell who treated Roy’s hurting knee in Minnesota

Getting to experience the glorious changing of leaf colors while the new cold weather traveled south with us!

Toured Lake Superior from the water on the Vista Cruise Fleet in Duluth, Minnesota

Toured Duluth, Minnesota by land on the North Scenic Railroad

Toured the Great Lakes Aquarium in Duluth, Minnesota

Took an amazing pontoon boat adventure in the freezing cold in Voyageurs National Park to the Kettle Falls Hotel and Restaurant and the Ellsworth Rock Garden

Ate at the amazing Lambert’s Restaurant in Branson

Saw the production of  Joseph (from the Bible) at Sights and Sounds Theatre in Branson

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I am exhausted just listing all that and yet we did that all since May of 2013.  This change of lifestyle has been a huge leap of faith for both of us but looking back on all we’ve seen, done and experienced this year makes me certain it’s the right thing for us to be doing. We’ve learned and done so much and experienced so many adventures that I love writing my blog about and hope to continue to do so!

We’ve stayed in town for the holidays long enough to be here during Mardi Gras king cake season and are enjoying one right now.  We hope to leave Louisiana next week sometime and are starting to make plans for seeing and doing more adventurous things as we continue our travels in 2014.

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Links to our Reflections on God’s Blessings for 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, and 2012 are below.

2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2012

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

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10.08.13 Field of Dreams, Dyersville, Iowa

We made it to Lake Shore Resort in Oelwein, Iowa after feeling like we were going around in circles because of all the detours we had to take.  Our GPS didn’t know about the detours so I had to get out twice and flag down a truck to get directions.  Sure glad that Iowans are nice folks.  We got up early this morning (9 am is early for me to  be leaving) and headed our for today’s adventure.

Both of our sons played baseball and softball growing up,  we had a baseball field in our side yard on Hinson Road, and we loved the movie Field of Dreams. Betcha can’t guess where we went today!!!! That’s right, to the site of the Field of Dreams movie in Dyersville, Iowa. Roy played some ball with others including an older man dressed in an old timey baseball uniform like they wore in the movie. We went into the cornfields and out ad in and out. I’m sure we looked like silly children and maybe we were today! It’s all still exactly like it was in the movie with the exception of a souvenir stand they added. The family who has owned the property for years just sold it and we understand the new owners plan to add more ball fields so I’m glad we got to see it in its original form. The weather was perfect and there was a nice breeze. Anyone who loves baseball or the movie should try to make it here to see it. The admission is free!

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We’re on our way to Chicago now. We really loved the beauty and farmland of Iowa. The Mississippi River is the dividing line between Iowa and Illinois. After as much flat land as we saw on the Iowa side, it immediately became hilly and even mountainous on the Illinois side of the river. The Mississippi River here was way bigger than it was at the headwaters up in Itasca, MN but not nearly like it is in New Orleans. There was a pretty beach with a boat launch on the Illinois side of the river. At first we saw no cornfields but now that we’re further into the state they are everywhere here too. We hope to pull into Chicago before dark. We couldn’t find an RV park that we could afford within 2 hours of Chicago so we’re heading to our old tried but true Wal-Mart.We’ve pulled off the road at a rest stop for Roy to take a little nap since we’re going pretty far today and he did play baseball earlier!  We have some tentative plans for what we’ll do in Chicago so stay tuned for the next installment of our travels!

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

10.07.13 Winnebago Factory Tour – Forest City, Iowa

On Sunday we attended Worship Services at First Baptist Church in Forest City, Iowa.  Very friendly people  and what a blessing to be back in a Baptist church. Their Senior Pastor Eric Weaver preached a phenomenal sermon from Malachi.  He taught while he preached and it made everything much easer to understand.  I don’t know how long he preached but  I’d have loved to heard more.

This morning, Monday, we toured the Winnebago factory.  They do not allow pictures to be taken inside the plant which is a real shame because it was fascinating to see all the aspects of assembling their beautiful RVs.  I did find some pictures on the web and am posting them below. I took several outside pictures if I thought it was interesting. The first pictures below are of old RVs that are on display inside the Visitor’s Center.  Before the tour we watched a 15 minute video telling about everything we were going to see which helped us understand it when we went into the plants to see it.

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The facility is huge and employs thousands of folks. We saw ceramic tile being installed on sheets of wood which will be  lifted in the air onto the RV.   I the RV gets vinyl they lower a sheet of wood on to the frame; and then install the vinyl.  We also went to the fabric shop where all of the window curtains, bedspreads, sofa coverings and driver/passenger seat covers were made.  We watched fabric being cut using a stream of water and a demonstration of how the foam filling is put into the cloth covering for a sofa.  They shrink the foam (which is extremely cool to see) in this soft  saran wrap like stuff to make it easier to get the foam in and out to clean the fabric.   This was a great, great tour and I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to buy an RV if you happen to be up in Iowa.

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We’re ging to tour the Fleetwood plant when we get to Indiana.  It will be very interesting to us to see how our own RV was made.

It’s about noon now and we just pulled out, taken Dora to the potty and filled up our fresh water tank.  We’re on I-35 headed to Lake Shore Resort in Oelwein, Iowa about 2-1/2 hours away.  It usually takes us twice as long to get somewhere than it should because e like to stop along the way and see things There is beautiful farm land and the sky is clear today so it should b a nice ride

‘We’re planning to go to Dyersville, Iowa tomorrow to see the Field of Dreams.  I’ll let ya’ll know how that goes

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

10.05.13 Forest City and Mason City, Iowa

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Forest City, Iowa

Our first Saturday off in months!  I can love Saturdays again!!!

We’re giving our son power-of-attorney to represent us at the act of sale for our rental property on Brenda Drive.  We needed to get the power of attorney notarized so I did a google search and found the nearest notary was a few miles way in Mason City, Iowa at a PostNet store.

We drove over there, seeing many thousand acres of corn fields along the way.  Just what I’ve always thought back roads Iowa would look like.  I promise I won’t post a picture of every wind turbine we see but in one of the corn pictures there are about 30 turbines in the distance.  If you click on the second corn field picture and enlarge it you can see them. It’s amazing how many of these we see here.

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Iowa cornfields on the back roads
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Corn fields with several turbines in the distance

The young manager, Jennifer, at PostNet was very nice and helpful.  However, as we were going over the paper we realized that we needed two witnesses (which couldn’t include the notary) but there was no one else in the store.  Not to be stopped I said “I’ll go recruit some people from the store next door.”  The store was a Rue 21 which had many customers in the store.  One of the two sales ladies asked if she could help me so I told her what we needed and I felt like I was in one of those reality shows that put people on the spot. While she was discussing this with the only other sales lady I see Roy outside talking to a young lady and figured he was recruiting her.  Into the store they walked and sure enough she said she would be a witness.  I turned around to the sales ladies and told them we only need one witness now so one of them came with us and the young lady from outside over to the PostNet store.  They witnessed us signing the form and we thanked them and the manager for their services. If you’ve had anything notarized in Louisiana you know that it normally costs $15 to $25.  Here in Iowa at the PostNet it was only $8.  I like that and I really like the nice ladies, Dana and Andrea, who were our witnesses today.  Thanks for being our Good Samaritans today!

We road around Mason City and Forest City today and came across a bunch of cars parked along both sides of the road in front of the Forest City Cow Palace with a crowd of people standing around outside the cow palace.  We parked and walked over to the crowd. It soon became apparent that they were having a farm equipment auction.  We watched an old tractor being auctioned and head the auctioneer doing his thing which was fascinating.  After that was sold they went over to some farm gates and started bidding. It was an interesting event to see but we weren’t going to buy anything so we didn’t stay too long.

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The Winnebago factory is a big thing here and there is even a Winnebago River.  We saw that there is a swinging bridge across the river and stopped to check it out.  We don’t know the story behind this but every board on the bridge was engraved with someone’s name or In Memory Of someone.   I hope you can make out some of the names in the pictures.  The bridge lead to a beautiful golf course.  I’m normally a real scaredy cat about swinging bridges but I sucked it up and was a big girl today and Roy was very proud of how brave I was!!

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Roy enjoying the view from the Winnebago River swinging bridge
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Rosalyn along the shore of the Winnebago River
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The golf course side of the bridge

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Even though we didn’t plan to be in Forest City but a couple of hours I’m glad we are. staying the weekend

We drove around town  and saw these neat house representative of local houses here and neat painting on the side of one of the businesses.

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fc side of bldg.Tomorrow we’ll go to church at First Baptist Church of Forest City and hope we get to see the Saints on TV and maybe look around the area more.

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

10.04.13 Bye, bye Minnesota – Iowa here we come!

1239871_424507554319814_426618956_nToday we said goodbye to Minnesota.  Since we’ve spent so much time there this summer we probably won’t return anytime soon.  It is such a beautiful state and we are very thankful to have been able to spend time there.  Here’s pictures of our comfy little home spot in the Camping World’s parking lot.  It’s interesting how, after you get use to all this, it doesn’t feel odd to live in a parking lot. 

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One of the things that we purchased from Camping World while we were there is cord that allows us to plug into 2-30 amp outlets to get the 50 amps we need to have full power.  Since all parks don’t have 50 amp sites this is a great way around that. 

We stopped at Northfield, MN where we strolled down the  streets of the little town until we came to First National Bank where Jessie James and his brother and 6 other men tried to rob the bank in 1876.  The bank is still set up like it was back then and we got to walk through it, go in the vault, see the paper ledgers they kept back then of people’s accounts.  We watched a video of an annual reenactment they do of the robbery.  The robbers hopes were to get $300,000 but they only came away with $26.  Jessie James and his brother were the only ones that lived through the shoot out surrounding the robbery and the search for them afterwards.   The city is very quaint and historic looking. I loved the sign made out of pieces of license plates outside a shop called MAKESHIFT ACCESSORIES.  We stopped at a garden center on the way and took some pictures since it looked so harvesty.  We also stopped at the Quality Bakery for donuts but they wouldn’t let me take pictures of the inside of their shop.  It was really cool looking on the inside but all we could take pictures of was outside so of course I did. 

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Welcome to Northfield, MN
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This was on the sidewalk and I don’ have any idea why or what it mea!
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Garden Center in downtown Northfield
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Garden center in downtown Norhfield, MN
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Unique store sign in downtown Northfield, MN
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The bank in Northfield that the James brothers robbed
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Jesse James and his brother – they don’t look anything like I imagined!

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Traveling down the backroads in Northfield we came across a wind turbine which I took a picture of.  Later we came across about 20 in one place and couldn’t get my camera out in time.  We also saw a neat Christmas tree farm with hundreds of baby Christmas trees growing.

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Our Garmin GPS is turning out to be very handy and helpful.  It alerts us to traffic problems, weather problems and when we’re coming up to a state line.  It also knows when an overpass is too low for us to go under and changes our path accordingly.  Knowing when the state lines are coming up can better prepare me to take pictures of the states welcoming signs.  The picture of our entry into Iowa wasn’t too clear but we’re here now and that’s what matters..

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After our visit to Northfield, we headed to Forest City, Iowa where the Winnebago Manufacturing Plant is located for a tour to see how that brand of RVs are made.  Being new at this travel planning I forgot (when we decided to stay an extra day at the luxurious Camping World spot) that they only have tours Monday through Friday at 9 am or 1 pm and we’re going to arrive there betweent 3:30 and 4:00 so we called them and they said it is okay for us to stay there hooked up for the weekend and take the 9 am tour.   

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We’re here in Forest City now and settling into our weekend home at the Winnebago factory.  We may decide to skip the Monday tour and leave before then.  We’ll see how we feel as time goes on! 

Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!

05.06.13 Kansas back to Missouri, then Iowa and finally South Dakota! May 5th – 6th

Arrived in Linn Valley, Kansas at 4 pm on Sunday May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) and stayed overnight at Linn Valley Lakes.  This is another Coast to Coast Resort so our stay only cost us $9 for the night to cover their  additional electrical charge.  While it was a far cry from the professionally maintained resort we left in Branson it is nice, quiet and a safe place to stay for the night.  Plus there are no street lights to be seen and the night sky was full of stars!  We slept really good that night in the solid darkness.

south dakota signMonday, May 6th we left Kansas and headed to our new home state of South Dakota.  If you weren’t reading our blog when I wrote about choosing a domicile state I’ll briefly tell you why we’re becoming South Dakota residents.  Since we are traveling from state to state we have the opportunity to choose a state for our residency that has the best benefits for us.  After a lot of research we chose South Dakota.  Louisiana has the first or second ranked (highest) auto insurance rates in the country.  This is a big reason to take advantage of choosing another state to be our home state.  South Dakota has much lower auto insurance rates (for both Boots the truck and Dora the RV).  The most recent information I could find ranked them 47th (third from the lowest).  They also don’t charge you taxes on your vehicle to register in their state if you’ve already paid at least that much in your original state, which we have.  They have very good mail forwarding services and we’re signing up with My Dakota Address in Madison, SD.  There are other ones but since this one is in Madison and our little granddaughters name is the same but spelled Madisyn we chose that one!  This gives us a street mailing address so we can get our driver licenses, vehicle registrations and insurance.  We’ll also register to vote there and they defer the jury duty requirement if you’re called for service when on the road, until a time that you’re back in South Dakota.  South Dakota does not have a huge residential population but their population that includes folks like us is pretty high We originally wanted to be Tennessee residents but the reason we chose to not be Tennessee residents is that they did not have a well known (or basically any) mail forwarding service which would give us a street address to obtain the other things with.  South Dakota does require that you spend one night there so tonight’s stay will take care of that.  We’ll stay Tuesday night as well because of the length of time it will take us to take care of all that’s involved in becoming state residents.

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Rosalyn in front of some sort of teepee at the Rest Area right inside of the South Dakota line

We drove for 7 hours today over a period of 10 hours.  Yes Roy took his mid-day nap and we just took our time today stopping many times since it was a lot of ground to cover.   We’ve traveled over 1,100 miles so far.  The scenery in Kansas was wonderful but Iowa really surprised me by how not pretty it was at least from the Interstate.  The trees looked like something that belonged in The Raven with black birds circling around.  Something I’m finding interesting is that all the trees are just now getting their first blooms of spring like our oak trees were doing over a month ago in Louisiana.  When we left LA our oak trees were in full bloom yet here they are just little buds!

We just pulled into Tower Campground in Sioux Falls, SD and were greeted by Judy.  She and her husband own the campground and were very welcoming and know all about the process for RVers to become South Dakota residents.   We’ll go first thing in the morning to Madison to get our new address and then back here to get a receipt from her with our new address on it.  That’s a requirement to get our drivers license, registrations, etc.  This is a Passport America campground so we paid more than our Coast to Coast campgrounds but it’s half of their regular rate which for a 50 amp site is $40 a night so for two nights we paid $40.

I’m cooking parmesan crusted Tilapia and baked potatoes for dinner and it’s smelling so good after a long day on the road.  Ya’ll have a great evening, I’m off to eat!

Ya’ll come back now ya’ hear!