Wheres Ray/Wendy yr 2

Saturday, August 29, 2015

More Time with Family

Hi all,
 I guess time to catch up again, seems like we are just on the go so much barely time to sit by the computer.
 To start out we have been camping in the Southern Kettle Moraine State Park by Ottowa Lake. It is a pretty spring fed lake with a beach and non motorized fishing. Sand hill cranes frequent the area as do whitetail deer.
 Colleen(our second daughter) and her boys came and camped with us for a few days. We had a good time swimming and just hanging with the kids. It was also nice as  Alex and Noah stopped by for a pudgy pie dinner one night. Noah is Colleens oldest son is going to be a senior and works two different jobs. Alex is preparing to start his third year of college at Lacrosse Western Tech. As these kids get older we know seeing them whenever we can is special.
Alex and Noah keeping the smoke out of their eyes

 So after a camping there and running back and forth to see dad we headed up north to spend some time with Wendy's folks. They live about three hours north near Nekoosa, WI.
 We arrived on Friday as Wendy's mom(Barb) was to have a surgery to cauterize a nerve to end some arm and leg pain she has been having. It was an outpatient procedure and Wendy's older sister Patsy took her in. It turned out to be quite a day for her as Wendy's dad Ed had been stung by a bee on Thursday and was having a bad reaction to that. He was having light headedness and his ear where he was stung was quite swollen. He ended up down at the emergency care needing an EKG and blood work.
  Wendy's mom arrived home and she has felt better since the procedure. We are having a hard time getting her to sit and relax for any length of time. Wendy has been doing the cooking and cleaning giving her dad a break as he had been doing this as Barb was in to much pain to.

Wendy organized moms pantry
 Turns out we have had to take Ed in to two other appointments trying to end headaches and neck pain that have lingered since the bee sting. The first two doctors he saw never prescribed more than just drink more water and it should go away, the third finally gave him something for the pain and told him it should be gone in 5 days, lets hope.
 Ed (who turned 85) like most of us guys is a bit stubborn and has not had a physical the past two years. He also is one to not slow down, he plants a huge garden, has been raising chickens and selling eggs, and cuts all his firewood for heating the house, He even cuts wood to sell to local campers in the area. But that's not all yet he has also worked the past 6 years during the cranberry harvest, and still finds time to get in his deer hunting, pretty remarkable huh?

 We will stay here through Labor Day and then have a camp outing with our camping club. We then return to the old home area to spend more time with my dad and family before departing to Arizona for our winter gig. We begin our second tour at Roper Lake State Park on Nov. 1st.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Catching Up and Family Time

Hi all,
Time to catch up a bit. Wendy and I left from Custer State Park early to attend to health issues with my dad. We drove halfway to Worthington, Minnesota and after nixing the idea of spending the night at Walmart we asked a local resident and found Olson Park, a city park and campground. It was a pretty park on a decent looking lake.
 So arriving back in WI our plan was getting into Ottowa State Park, fairly close (12 mi) to Waukesha where dad is. We have stayed there many times. We pulled in Sunday night and lucked out getting a non reservable site. We had read an article a while back that Wisconsin was struggling with budget issues and had revamped the fees for park use. We got a bit of shock to learn that two weeks ago they implemented the new fees. Campsite prices have went from $19 to $23 not to shocking but then electric for the site jumped from $5 to $10. So $33 a night plus you need a $35 state park pass. I guess like all things what must be done to keep the parks open.
 One nice part of returning to this park is meeting up with the camp hosts here. They have two host and we have become good friends with them. Richard hails from Florida and though his wife still works there he has returned here for four years as this is a good place near a son who has a family close by. Sharon and Mike the other host are from nearby East Troy, WI and they arrive here in April and stay to November. Boy, we can't say enough good things about these hosts, they work way above and beyond of what they could expect. They really feel the cuts the state has made in manning and have taken on more jobs to keep the park in tip top shape. The park is lucky to have them, oh and they are super nice people to.
 As far as my dads health, he recently had a bout of pneumonia and a bladder infection. Dad also is suffering from dementia and looked like his kidneys were beginning to shut down. Since we have returned he has improved some and been able to return to the nursing home. We did have a very good family meeting discussing his health and how things like this usually progress. His dementia does affect his short term memory greatly but we are always encouraged as he always remembers us and our spouses and kids.
 One great thing is my sister Dar and husband Dennis along with my brother Russ and his wife Mary do a great job looking in on dad. They had even been getting him out which we think is great. We can't thank them enough.
 So now back in WI between visits with dad, we are spending some quality time with our kids and grandkids. We got out on Nate's pontoon boat along with Alex and had a good day.

Can't let a little rain spoil the fun

 We have been camping with Colleen and family the last few days and also got in a trip to WI state fair.
No state fair complete without some famous Crème Puffs

Two fisted milk men

Colleen and Isaiah trying out new kayaks

Colleens new doggie- Marshmallow- named by the boys

 We will also get a chance to spend some time with Wendy's folks this week. Her mom is going in for a surgery to reduce some pain that she has been having in her legs and arms. It will be good to help out there for a week or two while she recovers.
Isaiah all wore out from a day at the beach

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sturgis Rally and a Change of Plans

 Hi all,
 Things have taken a big twist for us, on Friday I got a call from my sister that my dads health has worsened and we may need to make some big decisions shortly. After a bit of deliberation we decided the right thing to do was head back to Wisconsin and be with family.
 Dad had been doing pretty well in the nursing home and had been getting out quite a few Sundays to do some family things. But a small bout with pneumonia and a bladder infection has really put him down.
 Doing this just as Sturgis winds down does not make it easy. We hate not filling our commitment but our supervisors are super understanding and encourage us to do what we feel best.
 So off with the hordes of bikers that are also heading out a here. Traffic will be jammed as are filling stations along the way.
 The 75th anniversary of Sturgis has not let any one down. Seems all venues have enjoyed the over a million bikers. Sadly 13 deaths resulting from accidents related to the rally are the big down note.
 Even though it ran through Sunday we saw a big exodus Thursday and Friday. Many had just had enough and wanted to get home early.
 Wendy and I ventured to Hill City one day to enjoy some rally views. These views and still more than 30 miles from Sturgis, close enough for us.

Just south of Needles Hwy in Custer State Park


Sunday, August 2, 2015

Wild Custer

Hi all,
The bikers are arriving in full force with the actual start date Monday Aug.3. From our campsite we can just see the West entry gate and get a pretty good earful of the rumbling bikes. It doesn't bother us to much knowing that it will only last a couple weeks, although I do feel for the families who made plans to come here and not realize the rally would be going on. We are trying to stay put as much as possible but may venture to town to see some of the bikes one day, we will post pics then.
 Other than that we have recently been entertained by some baby birds that have been hanging around. As we watched them we were surprised to see a smaller bird feeding them. We thought it strange but then was talking with the other camphost and she said they also have them around their camper. She looked them up and found they were cowbirds. The parents seek out a nest already built and use it for their eggs. The birds that originally built the nest (junco's I believe) then take over the parenting.

 A couple other days we had seen some different birds and got out the bird book and found out they were red crossbills. We also have seen a couple eagles and see and hear the osprey that nest along Stockade Lake.
 Wendy and I did a wildlife drive the other day and saw something we had not seen in the three years we have worked here. These were two male bighorn sheep along the road. They usually stay to the high country parts.

We also sat and listened to the buffalo as the rut is on and the males are quite vocal.
 Also along the drive was the usual prairie dogs, deer, and a couple small herds of elk in the higher hills.