Traveling West 2017-Texas Hill Country

Our journey continued on from Colorado, except this time instead of going farther west, we pointed the rig south. Our next destination, after a brief overnight in Oklahoma (by the way, a very scenic state, who knew?), was Texas Hill country.  We parked the rig in Cedar Park, Texas for a couple weeks, and set out to explore the area.

Welcome to Hill Country

Hill country is more or less anchored by Austin, the capital of Texas, and the fastest growing large city in the United States. I neglected to do my homework, and assumed Austin was a mid-sized city similar to Ann Arbor or Lansing. It’s not. It is not only heavily populated within the city limits, with around a million citizens, but the outlying “small” towns amount to another million. Large cities and metropolitan areas are not our favorite place to reside, but we made the best of managing the traffic, found several good hiking areas, and took a trip to the city one day.

A day in Austin

Downtown Austin, at least the area we were in, was a hotbed of activity. Countless bars and restaurants, and like every large city,  many homeless people.  It was Saturday, and the Texas Longhorns were playing. It may as well been the only college game in the nation that particular day. Every TV was tuned into the game, even if there were multiple TV’s in the room. Burnt orange jerseys dotted the landscape. The mood was jolly and raucous although it was early in the day.

We spent a few hours downtown. I had really looked forward to Austin. But I gotta tell you, I was a bit disappointed. I am guessing the real beauty of this city lies within the nightlife, and I am not a nightlife sort of person (anymore that is, I had my day!) Perhaps it was due to the football game, but I expected more music and less people. Although no more than 18 miles from Cedar Park, it took a good hour to get there. Traffic is pretty rough in the area. It was our only journey into Austin. We chose to spend the remainder of our time in the suburbs.

Don’t fall in Bruce

On the other hand, Lake Travis and the surrounding area were quite spectacular. Like many lakes in the west, Lake Travis is actually a reservoir on the Colorado River. It is a large lake spanning over 60 miles, and is used for flood control, water supply, recreation, and electrical power.

The area is called Hill Country for a reason. It’s not what one envisions when thinking of Texas, I think most of us midwestern types think of it as very flat land, and, yes indeed, much of Texas is flat as a pancake. We took several drives through the pretty rolling hills. I even saw a bit of fall color here and there. It would be a great place to ride a motorcycle if you are so inclined.

We found several good hiking areas around the area, and I got to see my very first tarantula in the wild. It wasn’t the least bit scary to me. I rather like the way it looked, all fuzzy and moving slowly. I am not a spider fan, but this guy was in no way creepy.

A sighting!

Should you travel to Hill Country, be sure and check out the Oasis on Lake Travis. Our son spent a summer in Austin training for work, and recommended we check it out. Go around sunset for optimal views. We were there during the afternoon, enjoying a cold brew, and from the view, it seemed we were in Italy somewhere under the Tuscan sun. Yeah, it’s that scenic.

The Oasis

A shot from the Oasis

The city of Cedar Park was a typical ‘burb city with all the malls, stores, chain restaurants, that tend to reside in those type of areas. We found some great city parks with nice paved trails perfect for urban hikes.

Nearby Georgetown TX is very charming with a sweet town square, and the largest police presence I have seen in any town. In fact, the whole area of metro Austin had a very large police presence.

At first, I was feeling well-protected. Then, I wondered why they need so many cops and maybe it wasn’t as safe as it appears, or maybe this is just the way they do things in Texas. It’s not, the rest of Texas, at least the other parts I have been in, have about the same amount of police patrols as we do at home in Michigan.

Pretty wildflowers in bloom

Over 2000 steps on this hike

Quiet pools to reflect upon

Lots of steps!

I certainly enjoyed my time in Texas Hill Country. It probably isn’t fair to compare it to Colorado Springs from which we had just departed. Colorado has a beauty all of it’s own. However, I just can’t help comparing one place to another.

I will say, my life is much richer from having been to this area of the Lone Star State. This is the way I feel anywhere we travel. Which is why we do it. To enrich our lives with many as new places and experiences as possible. To us, that is what life is about.

After about 6 weeks spent on the road, living in a half-packed up house (I don’t put everything away in it’s “just so” spot until we land somewhere for a few months), and putting a whole lot of miles on the Silverado, I think we were both becoming a bit road weary, and were once again yearning to be settled and find a sense of community once again to enjoy the winter months.

Next stop, Portland Texas. Our home for the season. See you there!

Traveling West-2017 Colorado Springs 

Have you ever built up a destination so big in your mind, planning, dreaming, traveling, only to find when you arrive, you are completely disappointed?

Colorado Springs is not one of those places. It was simply love at first sight for me.

Located around 60 miles south of Denver, at the eastern foot of the Rockies, it ranks as the 2nd post populated area in Colorado with around 500,000 people. It is home to several military facilities which account for about 40% of the economy. I found the people very warm and friendly. And as seems to be the case around the United States, most do not hail from the area, but have chosen to make it their home.

We arrived in Colorado Springs on a cool, sunny Sunday afternoon. Our new home, because home is where you park it, was Goldfield RV Park. The park was basically a city gravel parking lot outfitted with electric and sewer hook-ups located directly behind Highway 24, a heavily traveled local road. The place was a nice mix of America’s mobile workforce, young people on a grand adventure, and nomads such as ourselves. What this place lacked in amenities, it made up for in location. We quickly set up our city RV site and set out to explore the area.

Old Colorado City

We were just 2 blocks away from Old Colorado City, a section of Colorado Springs. As seen in many revived American towns, Old Colorado City has a very vibrant and artsy feel to it. We found many fine eating establishments, eclectic shops, and fun drinkatoriums.

When you first arrive in a new location, you really have no idea what you are looking for. Our usual plan is to drive in, park (free parking in Old Colorado City!), wander around, and see what’s going on. We always talk to the locals to see what’s really happening beyond all the usual touristy stuff, and discover what they do in their free time. We did just that and started formulating our plan for the visit.

Garden of the Gods

The next morning we awoke to a bright blue sky just demanding some adventure. We set off to explore one of the area’s biggest attractions, Garden of the Gods.

Garden of the Gods is a 480 acre plot of land that holds within it’s confines  huge 300 foot sandstone formations of all sort of shapes, the most famous being Balancing Rock. The land was donated by the children of Charles Elliot Perkins in 1909 with the stipulation that it always remain free to the public.

Balancing Rock

What a gift to the area and it’s people and visitors. We packed a lunch and spent a good portion of the day wandering around in awe. So much to look at my eyes could barely take it all in.

It is a very congested area, lots of visitors everyday, so if you go, bring your patience, and your walking shoes. You can drive the area, but really, this is one of those places you want to get up close and personal.

Some days you just feel like escaping from the crowds and hiking a bit more remotely. The next day was one of those days for me. We decided to visit the Red Rock Canyon Open Space. Red Rocks is another free recreation area, a 789 acre city park. The park contains a number of reclaimed industrial sites, old quarries, gravel pits, a gold refining mine, and small landfill. Other than the quarries, none of this was visible to the eye. Just more glorious views.

I call this peek-a-boo rock

I thought this one resembled a dinosaur

Lakes are a rarity here

Red Rocks was just a few blocks from our site well within walking distance, and soon became our favorite place to catch a hike. There are numerous trails some easy, some tough, to choose from. I think by the time we left we had done nearly all of them. If I were a local, I would be there all the time!

Pulpit Rock

Another nice area to hike on the other side of town is a place called Pulpit Rock Park. There is a series of small trails with the highlight being a climb to Pulpit Rock Ridge.

When they say small trails, they mean it. Trails going every which way. No signage, it’s a guessing game. We worked our way up a trail which seemed to be a main one. Winding higher and higher, the rocks became more loose and unstable. Sometimes heights get to me. They did on this day, and I had to call Uncle and turn around before I reached the summit. I later discovered we were on the most difficult trail up. Now I have another reason to return and reach that ridge!

Found the easy trail!

Heck yeah!

Speaking of heights, Have you ever heard of a mountain named Pikes Peak? It’s so popular it is nicknamed America’s Mountain. And what a hill it is. It is the 2nd most visited peak in the world, coming in right behind Japan’s Mt. Fuji.

Standing tall at 14,115 feet, Pikes Peak is the 31st tallest peak in Colorado. The summit can be reached in one of three ways. You could hike it from the Barr Trail at the base, a climb of about 13 or so miles, drive the Pikes Peak Highway,a 19 mile twisty road, or take the Cog Railway with an average grade of 45%.

Piles Peak in the distance

I am a decent hiker, but would in no way attempt this climb without the proper training. Driving is out since my encounter with Forest Road #69 in the Great Smokey Mountains (never again!)

Train at the summit

We opted to spend the money, $40 per person, to ride the rail. I am so happy we did. It is about a 3:40 round trip from base to summit. The guide was wonderful in giving us bits of information and history. Seating is tight, and you are faced toward another set of seats, so you get to know your seatmates in a quick hurry. We faced a lovely older couple who had taken the trip previously, and filled us in with some more tidbits of information.

A shot from the train

Almost past the tree line

Upon reaching the summit, if you’ve never felt the effects of a high altitude, you certainly will here. The minute the door opens and you step out, your breath is literally taken away. By the thin air and scenery. Woozy, is what I would call it. I rather liked the feeling, I felt euphoric. On top of the world.

Throwing snowballs at 14,000+ feet


What a view

I could see many people were not enjoying it, or the cold, it was about 25 degrees with the wind chill. I am a Michigander. I look at weather regularly and dress accordingly. I am guessing the folks in their shorts and flip-flops did not. It was around 80 degrees in Manitou Springs.

Euphoria and me

I had such fun floating around that summit. I could see others were as well. A young lady twirling a hula hoop, a guy meditating into the open space, people like me giggly with lack of air, and literally stoned from the views. I am sure this is where the term “high” originated.

However all good things must end. After about 30 minutes at the top, the train’s bell rang and we had to prepare for departure. Some people feel the effects more than others, and altitude sickness may set in after 30-40 minutes at the summit.

We had a young couple join us on the return trip who had just completed the hike, and opted to take the train back to base. They started their trek at 4:30 AM and finished 11 hours later. They were exhausted, oxygen deprived, elated, and looking forward to a steak dinner and a cold brew to celebrate their success. Maybe I should attempt that hike someday.

Cliff dwelling

Another place of note on our tour of the area were the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. The dwellings are are a group of relocated Anasazi ruined cliff dwellings that were moved to Manitou Springs, reassembled, and has been open to the public since 1907. There is a bit of controversy to the place. Is it real or a kitchy tourist trap? A bit of both it seems, due to the fact they were not the original dwellings, but rather a reconstruction. In any case, I always find ancient civilizations fascinating, and there is an attached museum which holds many artifacts.

Plants were used for food and medicine by the ancients

I see you Bruce!

One of the highlights of our journey was a trip to Aurora, a suburb of Denver to meet up with my BFF’s son, Tyler, who had recently moved there himself, embarking upon an adventure of his own. He and his roommates had relocated to the area in search of a different way of life and a taste of something new. The 4 roomies from Michigan share a house and are all gainfully employed and completely engaged with life. And, hey Janet, Tyler’s room was very clean! We hung out at their house for a bit, went to dinner, and once again had to say some goodbyes. It’s always so nice to see familiar faces. And to see young people pursuing their dreams, well that’s just a bonus!img_8861

We spent the majority of our time outside, doing what we enjoy best. Hiking in new areas, enjoying the company of the locals, trying out a few new restaurants (Rudy’s and their luscious brisket, sadly I have no picture, I ate it way too fast), a couple brew pubs, and, of course, basking in the joy that travel and adventure bring to us.

Until we meet again…

I have to say, Colorado Springs currently tops the list of places in the continental U.S. that I have had the pleasure of traveling to. And yes, I will be back…

…Meanwhile, I’ll see you in Austin, TX. The next stop on our journey.

Thoughts from the Road-America’s Mobile Workforce. 

Home of some of the mobile workforce

Not all fulltime RVer’s are the carefree retired types or pre-retirement adventurers like myself.

Many of our mobile community are gainfully employed and travel the country following their jobs. Lots of oil workers, road construction crews, mobile health-care professionals, and IT techs have rigs and will travel. Some stay put for a month, some for years. And when the job is finished, they pull up stakes and move on down the road to the next assignment. 

In warm climates like Texas, you may find many covered RV sites to keep the heat at bay, and give the AC units a break. Some in cold climates, such as Minnesota, live in big pole barn-types buildings to keep the furnace happy. I have never actually seen one of those in person, having no desire to travel in the cold, but I witnessed these covered sites pictured above while taking a stroll last night through the park we stopped to overnight in.

I have done the math. Even when figuring a monthly rig payment+lot rent+electricity bill, it still works out to less money than you could rent an apartment for, and when following the work, a house with a mortgage is out of the question. Mobile life is the perfect solution for housing.

Many have families, and some rigs have 2 separate sleeping spaces, a bath and a half or sometimes 2, dishwasher, washer and dryer, all the amenities one might find in a sticks and bricks home.

Bruce and I do NOT live in this type of rig, although many of our retiree/adventurer friends do. We do just fine with our simple Flying Dutchman.

The Flying Dutchman

Some enroll their kids in the local school system and some choose to homeschool their kids. I find this lifestyle extremely fascinating, and wish it had been an option when I was working and raising a family.

So to all of you folks yearning for the mobile lifestyle, but think you are limited to RV living on the weekends because of your job constraints, this may be something to consider.

See you on the road!

Traveling West 2017 Part 2-Nebraska 

The rig and it’s occupants departed Iowa on a bright sunny morning; destination North Platte, Nebraska. 

The city is located in the southwest corner of Nebraska, situated along the I-80 corridor, where the North and South Platte Rivers converge. The population is around 25,000, and it appeared to me to be the only decent sized town for miles. There were the typical Walmart, Target, Applebees, etc that one expects to find in any mid-sized town.

North Platte has two claims to fame. First it was the home of Buffalo Bill Cody. Second it has the largest rail yard in the world.

Scout’s Rest Ranch

We toured both and rapidly ran out of things to do. Not being shoppers, cruising the stores was not an option.

Buffalo Bill

The rail yard

Referred by a local gal, we attempted a hike. The area near the North Platte river was little more than a horse path, and was quite over grown, and could be in no means be termed a hiking trail. Hiking denied!

This is about as much Nature as I could muster up

One evening we decided to try the only brewery in the area, Pals Brewery. The brews were good and the nachos were delicious. I was surprised they were not busy, it was Friday night prime time and business was sluggish despite the good food and drink and decent prices. I guess the brew pub craze has not yet reached the area.


Great nachos!


As I reflect upon my stay a few things come to mind. I did not find the residents to be overly friendly or  upbeat. This town seems to me to be kind of stuck in the 1990’s or something. There is a vibe of boredom or dullness that permeates the area.

If you are a person who pines for the past, don’t need much entertainment, and are not outdoorsy, this may be just the place for you.

I, for one, and I am sure Bruce will agree, find no need to return. I have been there, done that, and am ready to travel west to Colorado.

Catch me if you can!

Fall 2017 Traveling West- Part 1 Iowa

Did you know a young fellow named Grinnell, was once told  “Go west young man?”

He did, found Iowa, settled, and named a town and a liberal arts college after himself.

I can see why he stayed and made it his home.

Iowa is one of those quiet and unpretentious states.

You know, the kind that don’t get a lot of attention despite being quite charming.  I believe the Iowans like it that way, and prefer it stays just as it is.

Corn forever

Iowa has a population of around 3,100,000. It is neither a red or a blue state in their political leanings, but rather a purple one. I got the feeling the inhabitants have a kind of “you do your thing, I’ll do mine, and we will all be happy.” Meet in the middle and all that good stuff. Solid, friendly people in small town settings were what I found.

The landscape is much hillier than I thought. Beautiful rolling fields of corn and soy beans dominate the view. I cannot possibly see how anyone could think it was less than magnificent with the John Deere green tractors pulling in the harvest.

John Deere rules here

We spent about 3 days in the state. I could have easily stayed longer.

Upon arrival at a small RV park in Kellogg IA, directly off from I 80, we quickly set up camp in order to get to the local sports pub to catch the Lions game. All TV’s were occupied when we got there, but one kind Iowan relinquished his game so we could watch ours with another Michigan couple who were also traveling through the area. The Lions lost, but it was a good game with a couple cold beers and a pizza to accompany it.

Post game antics

Beautiful location for a sunrise right in front of the rig

The next morning we enjoyed a great sunrise and set out to explore the area. We drove a few miles to Rock Creek State Park to get our hike on.

Mother Nature had other plans.

After 20 minutes out we determined it was too buggy, hot, and sticky to continue, dang!

We sat by the lake and enjoyed the drama the geese we creating instead. Afterward we left for nearby the nearby town of Newton for a less buggy urban hike on one of the towns greenways, lunch, and a trip to Walmart for supplies.

Come back Bruce!


The following day we opted for a 30 minute drive to Des Moines, the state capital, to see what it had to offer. With a population of around 100,000 it reminded me of my hometown, Kalamazoo MI, with it’s expanding downtown and funky vibe in the East Village area. 

The capitol building was stunning. I made a mental note to check out all capitol buildings when I am in their towns to see if any could possibly compare to this one.

Can you find all 5 domes?

The library

The only 5 domed capitol building in the US, it is filled with stained glass ceilings, marbles stairs and columns, shiny polished staircases, and artwork. There was so much to look at my eyes could barely take it all in. We saw the Senate chambers, however the senators were not working for whatever reason that day.  We were permitted to see the House chambers also, some folks were working, but it appeared to be lunch time and not many were present.

After exploring all 3 floors and receiving a personal tour of the Secretary of State office, we were becoming quite hungry and thirsty. Sightseeing can be tough work!

After a great tip from one of the workers in the office, we walked out of the capitol and straight onto Locust Street and the East Village. Travel tip, always check with the locals to find out where they enjoy eating, drinking, and recreating.

Go west!

East Village and downtown

Like most mid-sized American cities Des Moines had an area that is undergoing a revival of sorts. Old buildings full of history were scheduled to be demolished, but a group of  civic-minded citizens set about saving them, and luckily for all of us were successful in their venture.

Many eateries, drinkatoriums, and shops were available to choose from, and with a bit of help from google we found the Iowa Taproom which features only Iowa brews and also some tasty lunch specials.

Yummy food and drink

After lunch we decided on a riverwalk stroll, but to our disappointment, it was also under renovation, so we opted for a walk to another establishment for a cold beer before we left town for the day.

Sheryle is bullish on Iowa

The next morning dawned bright and clear.

Beautiful weather for another spectacular sunrise compliments of Mother Nature. We readied the rig for travel, and set about leaving the fine state of Iowa to continue our journey west. Next stop Nebraska!

Goodbye Iowa, you will always hold a special place in our thoughts and memories.

Until we meet again…


A Week in the Life

Friday-Game Day

It’s game day, St Paddy’s Day, and Grandma D’s birthday all rolled into one. Oh glory, it’s gonna be a good day.

We have been anticipating this game for a couple months now, but first things first. Time to get up, drink some coffee, watch some news, and as we like to call it, get around for the day. I woke up late, a reoccuring theme this week, darn time change. So I am feeling somewhat rushed this morning.

By the time I get up, Bruce is already up, full of coffee, and preparing our snacks for tailgaiting. We like to take a cooler of snacks and water, so we don’t have to purchase overpriced ones, another plan of ours to enjoy life with minimal expense. It can be done, one just has to work at it.

We are allowed to take a bag, and some unopened bottled water into the stadium, last year you could bring unopened snacks as well, but new security measures do not allow it. Security or money? C’mon I fail to see how my unopened bag of pretzels poses any more of a security threat than my unopened water, but ok, whatever…

We get everything ready to roll, pack up the truck and head inland about 45 minutes to the city of Lakeland FL, and Joker Marchant Stadium, spring training home of the Tigers. After a quick stop to pick up some beer for our tailgaiting, we enjoy the backroad drive.


such a beautiful stadium setting

It is already busy even though we arrive an hour early. Tiger’s baseball is huge here, and the Yankees are no slouch, so it’s packed, a sold out game. We enjoy some snacks, some people -watching  (one of my fave hobbies, people are such fascinating creatures!) and a cold one before we head in.


Plenty for the kids to do

We make it a point to come to spring training at least once a year when in FL. We usually come when there is a split squad and an un-Yankee team. We paid premium dollar for this game, $15. Once cleared through security, we take a wander around the stadium to check it out. They have been doing renovations for the last year, and it looks fantastic.


the berm

The berm, a large grassy hill off the outfield, is where our “seats” are. I say “seats” because there are no seats in the berm. If you are a sitting type, you can bring a blanket to toss on the grass. If you are like us and enjoy standing and wandering, they have installed a ledge around most of it up above the grassy area, where you can catch a lean and have a place to set your drink.


The ledge, this part has seating

We always buy cheap seats. Why? We never stay in them. It’s just way more fun, for us, to walk around and explore. And the seats are mostly in full sun here. And the sun always is blazing here in Florida.

There are a few food vendors on the berm, a full bar, and several beer stands. They have also installed a large roof over the area to provide shade. Which is a blessing every time we attend a game it is hot, hot, hot. We grab a beer, find some shade out beyond centerfield, and the National Anthem begins with the beautiful American Flag waving in the wind. The National Anthem always makes me tear up, I don’t know why. I guess I am more patriotic than I would like to believe.


green uniform day

Game on! We watch the first few lackadaisical innings, me enjoying my beer and people watching, occasionally remembering to watch the game, and Bruce happily chatting with some gentleman about stats and such. This is generally how it goes. Bruce can easily talk to anyone, he has never met a stranger, and it’s ok with me. I talk (listen) to him a lot! It gives me a chance to wander off into my own mind, breathe, and enjoy the sun on my face.

When I am in these moments, I really want to be in the moment, and use all my senses to enhance the experience. Seeing the packed stands, the beautiful stadium, the bright blue sky. Hearing the fans, the kids, the announcers, the cheers, the crack as the bat meets the ball. Smelling the popcorn, the hot dogs, the sweat. Tasting the beer and popcorn. Feeling the warm sun on my skin. Try it sometime. Try it now. You can do it anywhere.


a  new scoreboard

The game remains so-so. Not much happening. We finish our beer and move on to check out the other side of the berm. Seems even the crowd is somewhat subdued. Usually there is general rowdiness going on, but I am seeing none of this today. Security is very tight, and everytime it looks like someone is going to cut loose, they crowd around him or her. Geez, it is St. Paddy’s day. Lighten up little.


me and my sweetie

We did find a friendly officer, I guess we didn’t pose too much of a threat, who saw us struggling to take a selfie. He was kind enough to help us out. Thanks Officer Rose of the Lakeland police force.


Officer Rose

The Yankees score a few runs, the Tigers do not. We drink our water, wander, get another beer, enjoy some chats, and the game is over. It is a multi-pitcher no-hitter. Yankees win. It might be a long season for the Tiger’s if someone doesn’t light a fire under their ass. We will be attending a regular season game with the Tampa Bay Rays in April. I hope to see a better performance. Win or lose…it’s always a good time.



The state of Florida has very bad traffic, and very bad drivers. And it’s St Paddy’s day. We were going to hang around Lakeland, but it just didn’t seem like a great idea today. We headed back to Tampa, to our favorite dive bar, Koozies, for a St Paddy’s day feast of wings and seasoned fries. They offered us corned beef and cabbage, but when I go to Koozies, I simply must have wings. They are the best I have found, and I have had wings in many states and places.

The sun in the heat of the day, combined with a full belly,  and a few beers, left us feeling drowsy. We decided to conclude our day with a movie at home, Grumpy Old Men Part 2. I love that movie. Walter Matthau, oh you are the best. Then it’s nighty, night.

Happy Birthday Grandma D. I love you….



A Week in the Life

Thursdaybargain shopping

Tomorrow is a Tiger’s spring training game day. Tiger’s vs Yankees, and I haven’t a thing to wear. A day of bargain shopping, my latest hobby, is in order. Bruce and I will venture to Wesley Chapel, an upscale community in the Tampa Bay area.  Rule #1 when bargain shopping is to find the most upscale place around and head to their second hand stores. This is where I have the best luck finding quality items.

After breakfast and a quick walk, we loaded the cooler with some cold waters and out the door we went. Time to get away from the park for a while. Sometimes I pack a lunch when we venture out for the day, but today we are throwing caution to the wind and eating out.


usually I buy dollar store glasses

I was supposed to have an eye appointment, but due to an insurance glitch, I do not have coverage in FL, so we can begin shopping nice and early. I mentioned earlier in the week it is spring break here, and in other parts of the  south, and it’s chilly today. If they can’t go to the beach, they are gonna be out shopping. It will be busy, and I need to swing by the mall.

I need a new pair of running shoes and I can save about $30 a pair if I go to the outlet mall here in Tampa vs the overpriced running store at home. The mall is very close to the upscale resale shops I need to go to. It is also a very lovely mall, as malls go, and is set up in a nice tropical outside atmosphere.



my collection of Asics gel nimbus’s. I still use them all! 

I do not enjoy mall shopping at all. Even in nice tropical locations! I know the exact place I need to go and exactly what I need. We park and head directly to the Asics store, a quick stop by the Crocs store, and we are out of there.

Off to lunch at McDonald’s. What? Did you not think we ate McDonalds? I love McDonalds. It is my junk food palace. We do approach it sensibly. Since one bad experience with a giant big mac meal and a huge chocolate shake which resulted in longish afternoon nap, we have cut back somewhat.

Here’s a frugal tip: At the bottom of your Mcdonald’s receipt is an offer to take a survey. If you take the survey, just a few minutes long, you get a code to get a BOGO quarter pounder or egg mcmuffin. We usually have a survey coupon, but not today, so we ordered sandwiches off the dollar menu, shared a large fry, and had a couple waters. $6 lunch. Refreshed, we head off to the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores.

Both of the resale stores are set up nicely in beautiful buildings. And they are competitive with one another, which keeps things very nice for the consumer. Plenty of staff on hand to help you out (I get better service here than most upscale regular stores). And it smells good. Some resale shops smell less than nice.

We start with the Salvation Army. We should have come on Wednesday, half-price day, but it’s Thursday. I am searching for an orange t-shirt, size medium. The SA store has everything organized by type and color, but not size. The only disadvantage it has over the Goodwill store is you really have to check closely for stains on the clothing here. I go through the t-shirts, grab an armful, none of the orange ones fit, but I find a nice pink one, what the heck. It’s $1.99. Dang, I could have got it for a buck yesterday. I bite the bullet and pay full price.

Off to the Goodwill. This store is huge, they have everything. The shirts are all displayed together, but according to size here. I scan through to find any shade of orange. There are so many clothes crammed onto the rack, it is tough to get to them. I grab a few orangy t-shirts and head back to try them on. I find one that fits great, and feels great. I do not know fashion, I do not know designer names, I do not care about that stuff, but I do know  the feel of a quality made item. and this shirt feels great. It also has one of those locking devices on it so I know it must be a designer tee. I sheepishly tell Bruce I must pay $7.99 for my orange t-shirt. The above pic shows how it all comes together, but the result takes many, many trips to the dressing room. I am shopped out.


dinner is served

We return home and throw together a quick pot of chili. I have not made it on the stove top in many years. Usually make it in the crock-pot. It was really tasty, and took very little time to prepare with my sous chef helping out. A pan of cornbread, and we are good to go.

Following dinner and clean-up, it’s out the door. Our timing is such that our nightly walks coincide with the sunset, so off into the sunset we go…

See you tomorrow. Game day!