Who We Are

We sold our home in June, 2007, and spent the next 7 1/2 years traveling full time in a Cross Roads Fifth Wheel. (We had been traveling during our summers for several years before going full time.) We loved the full-time lifestyle! Each summer we spent a month or two volunteering in State Parks, first in Indiana at McCormick's Creek State Park, near our family, then in later years as the grandchildren got older, at the Bluewater Lake State Park in New Mexico. We spent 6 months each winter at Cactus Gardens RV Resort in Yuma, AZ, where I worked mornings in the park office. The remaining months were spent on the road, seeing this great country of ours. Our favorite places are our National Parks. Anita loved photography and the freedom of digital photography, taking sometimes hundreds of photos in a day. We hiked as much as our legs will allow. We also really enjoyed square and round dancing as we travel across country, and meeting all the wonderful people who dance and/or travel.

But as in all things, there comes a time for change, and we decided it was time to create roots once more. In the fall of 2014, we purchased a home in Cactus Gardens, and in the spring of 2015, sold the 5th wheel. Anita also retired in the spring. We will continue to travel each summer, but for a shorter period of time. We hope to continue blogging about those trips, but it will obviously be on a more limited basis than in the past.

Please explore our past posts if you are interested in traveling this great country. You'll find an index in the left column. We hope you enjoy our blog, and appreciate all comments

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A Tour of the University of Notre Dame

2011-07-13 - IN, South Bend - Notre Dame University Tour (1)

While visiting Tom, we also had opportunity to tour the campus of Notre Dame.  Founded in 1842, the campus is very impressive.  Highlights of the tour included the main buildings gold dome topped by a golden statue of St. Mary, a famous replica (1/7th the size) of the Lourdes grotto, a 134 foot tall mosaic of Christ on the side of the library and the ornate Basilica of the Sacred Heart.  Regretfully, there was not time to enter any of the buildings.


To take a look at our tour, click on the photo below:z slideshow copy  If you have occasion to be in South Bend, IN and appreciate exquisite architecture, be sure to visit the University of Notre Dame!


Indiana Dunes State Park and National Lakeshore


We were staying only about 40 miles from Lake Michigan, so we took one day to drive to the Lake.  Having visited Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore in Michigan, we were somewhat disappointed with the Indiana Dunes area.  That may have been partially due to the weather as it was very hot and humid.  2011-07-11 - IN, Indiana Dunes State Park (5)Had the weather been better we would have explored the area far more than we did, but it was easy to see that Indiana’s dunes are far less impressive than those of Michigan.

We entered the State Park first, and drove to the beach.   Indiana’s beaches and dunes are formed by winds coming off Lake Michigan that drop sand when the wind hits existing plants and dunes.  All of the trails in the park involve dune climbing to some degree.  Due to the heat, we decided against hiking.

Instead, we chose to walk along the beach.2011-07-11 - IN, Indiana Dunes State Park (13)

2011-07-11 - IN, Indiana Dunes State Park (14)

2011-07-11 - IN, Indiana Dunes State Park (4)   

2011-07-11 - IN, Indiana Dunes State Park (18)There is a huge stone beach house that has been let deteriorate.  Pictures at the Nature Center attested to it’s former affluence when it contained a dining facility overlooking the waters of the lake.  Now, it is but a shell containing only a tiny snack bar and restrooms facility on the bottom level.

We then drove to the National Lakeshore, which is not simply or quickly done.  The national property seems to wind in and out of privately owned land, and much of the roads were under construction.



Our first stop was at the Visitor Center, hoping to find a video or slideshow to better acquaint us with the park.  Unfortunately, an earlier storm in the day had knocked out power.  Running on minimum power from a generator, the park attendants were unable to show us the video.

As the day was still heating up, we again decided to walk in a shaded area, rather than on the sand and dunes.  We drove to the preserved Chellberg farm, dating back to a Swedish community of the 1850’s.  A short hike through the woods took us to the clearing containing a “sugar shack”, barn, house, etc.  The trail then completed a circular trek through the woods back to the parking lot.  For a short slideshow of our hike, click on the photo below:  2011-07-11 - IN, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore Hike (3)

We did not take the time to drive the additional 13 miles to the National Lakeshore beach area.  Later we wished we had, when we were told it was much nicer than the beach at the state park.  Perhaps on a future visit ….

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Potato Creek State Park

2011-07-10 - IN, Potato Creek State Park (1)  During a recent visit with son, Tom, we spent some time in nearby Potato Creek State Park.  An unusual name for a state park, isn’t it?  Native Americans once collected plants with potato-type roots on this area’s creek banks.  The early settler’s English translation for the native name for the plant was “wild potato”, leading to the name Potato Creek.



2011-07-10 - IN, Potato Creek State Park (3)Later, a man made reservoir was built on the creek, due primarily to the dreams of a man name Worster.  Darcy Worster kept the dream of a park alive in the minds of state officials by sending them his hand-crafted insects periodically to Bugs“bug” them about creating a park.  Finally, in 1969, they agreed, and the 6 square miles finally officially became an Indiana state park in 1977.



We enjoyed watching a masked bandit loot the birdfeeder at the Nature Center.2011-07-10 - IN, Potato Creek State Park (21)

2011-07-10 - IN, Potato Creek State Park (30) 

The Quaking Aspen trail gave us a chance to cool off in the shade of the  woods.






.2011-07-10 - IN, Potato Creek State Park (32)

2011-07-10 - IN, Potato Creek State Park (36)

  2011-07-10 - IN, Potato Creek State Park (35)

2011-07-10 - IN, Potato Creek State Park (39)


Spencer to South Bend

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Visit from Friends

Bunny & Wess Bunny and Wes Riley are  friends from Oregon (and also spend the winter with us in Cactus Gardens in Yuma).  In fact, we were in the same beginning square dance class several years ago in Yuma.

On a cross country trip this summer, they stopped by to spend a couple of days with us.  We met at McCormick’s Creek State Park.  We’re used to being there as camphosts, but this time we returned as campers.

2011 Vincennes - (118)We went on a day trip together to Vincennes, Indiana.  Vincennes, lying on the border of Indiana and Illinois,  is the oldest city in Indiana, dating back to its beginning as a French trading post in 1732.  In 1779,  George Rogers Clark (brother to William Clark of Lewis and Clark fame) led a battle against the British at Vincennes.  Despite tremendous odds and a bitterly cold winter, Clark and his soldiers took the largest land conquest of the Revolutionary War from the British.

A majestic memorial marks the site.

2011 Vincennes - (104) 

Inside, impressive mural surrounding the rotunda tell the story of the battle.

2011 Vincennes - (112)                                     2011 Vincennes - (109)

This photo gives you an idea of the scale of the building and the statue of Clark.

2011 Vincennes - (115)

The Indiana Territory, as the area became known, was much larger than the present day state of Indiana.

2011 Vincennes - (126)

Vincennes served as it’s capitol until 1812, when a new building was built in Corydon.

There is a small area preserved in Vincennes containing that first territory capitol.  Built as a tailor’s shop, it is a modest building.

2011 Vincennes - (131)         2011 Vincennes - (134)

Standing next to the capitol is Jefferson Academy, founded in 1801.

2011 Vincennes - (142)        2011 Vincennes - (124)

2011 Vincennes - (125)                 2011 Vincennes - (127)

Now Vincennes University, it is the oldest public institution of higher learning in Indiana.

Just down from the capitol building is a little white house containing the Elihu Stout Print Shop.  As the new territorial legislatures soon realized, the public had to be informed of their government’s activities, and the first state newspaper was born.

2011 Vincennes - (135) 2011 Vincennes - (136) 2011 Vincennes - (137)

Other notable “firsts” of Vincennes include:

Site of the First Catholic church in Indiana. (1749)
Site of the First Presbyterian church in Indiana. (1806)
Site of the First Masonic Lodge in Indiana. (1809)
Home of the First bank in Indiana. (1814)
Host to the First medical society in Indiana. (1817)
First county hospital in Indiana. (Good Samaritan Hospital 1908)
First Post Office in Indiana.
First sheriff's department in Indiana.

If you happen to be in Western Indiana, and enjoy historical sites, be sure to visit Vincennes, Indiana.  For more information, visit this site:

Vincennes Tourism

2011 Vincennes - (142)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

June at McCormick’s Creek State Park

We spent the month of June camp hosting at our favorite Indiana State Park, McCormick’s Creek.


Usually when camp hosting at the park (this is our 5th summer), we are on A Loop, but this year were parked on  B Loop, which is a little more wooded and shady. 

Although we had more rain than we would have liked, there were days when we could hike the park trails.

P1180135        P1180137 

This spur leads to White River         P1180182 a boardwalk protects the surrounding area         I love the view here

The site had an area that traditionally stays muddy, but with the help of park employees, we mulched the area and added a little color.

In years past, this has been a muddy area, and too many people cut through it to get to our door. 

We had several hummingbirds feeding daily.


The month became like a retreat for us.  I enjoyed catching up on reading, and Ron began carving another wooden chain.

The start of another chain 

This is the 6th chain he has carved.  One hangs in the Nature Center of the Park. 

2010-06-26 - IN,McCormick's Creek State Park - Camphosting, Ron donates chain to park0003 It’s amazing how many visitors this year stopped to tell him they had seen the one in the Center and wanted to see how it was fashioned.  He especially enjoyed showing his work to the youngsters.

In addition to several visits from family members, we enjoyed visiting often with fellow camp hosts, Bennie and Mabel Smith.  Some evenings were actually cool enough to enjoy sitting near a fire.


We took a weekend off from the month to celebrate Christmas In the Summer with our family, traveling to brother Gary’s cabin in eastern Kentucky.


The location is beautiful, with the cabin overlooking the Daniel Boone National Forest.

    P1180307b                                 P1180416b 

Seventeen family members spent the night in the small cabin, making for a lot of fun.  (We even had a Charlie Brown Christmas tree!)


June was a good month for us.  We left the park at the end of the month to spend a couple of weeks with family, but will return to camp host for another month starting July 15.