This journal got its start back in 2005 when we started full-timing in a motorhome and traveling around the country, visiting with family and friends and seeing the sights of America. The focus has changed through the years as we became more stationary and no longer travel by motorhome. Since October of 2018, it is the story of the journey of Tom and I and me flying solo again. To view entries before June of 2013, go to http://archive.bridgeccs.com
Thursday, December 30, 2021
Wednesday, December 29, 2021, MN
Monday, December 27, 2021
Monday, December 27, 2021, MN
Sunday, December 19, 2021
Sunday, December 19, 2021,MN
Last week we got dumped on with about 20” of snow and then early in the week, the temps rose and we had mid-50s by Wednesday and all of the snow disappeared except for the huge piles that are left behind from the snowplows. Thursday turned bitter cold with temps in the 20s but high winds. In fact, there were warning about possible power outages and tree damage. I believe we also made history (first December tornadoes ever recorded) when several tornadoes touched down and did some damage - not to my immediate area, but within 50 miles or so.
Since it was so nice and warm on Wednesday, I thought I would take my car through the car wash and get the salt off of it. That turned out to be not a great idea because any residual water in the locks, hinges, etc. froze the next night. Yesterday, I opened the rear hatch (it crunched and resisted, but opened) to get the brush to clean off new fallen snow, and it wouldn’t latch because it was frozen. I ended up going to Ben’s today, putting it in his garage, warming the locking mechanism with a hair dryer and that freed up the hinge so it would latch once again. I’m going to be more careful about car washes in the future - lesson learned.
Family news this week was that Jill’s dad wasn’t feeling good last Saturday, had shortness of breath, Lois took him to the ER last Saturday and found out that he has Covid, they ended up keeping him there until Thursday because there were no hospital beds available anywhere. Finally, they moved him to a hospital on Wednesday and released him on Friday. He is on the mend and starting to feel better.
I’ve been working on finishing up with Christmas gifts and getting everything wrapped. It’s a good thing because the girls will be having sleepovers this week as there is no school and mom and dad are both working.
We had a Christmas dinner here at Penelope this afternoon. It was nicely attended by about 20 people and we had turkey and all of the trimmings and some nice, friendly conversation.
Saturday, December 11, 2021
Saturday, December 11, 2021, MN
My week was good. I got together with Mavis on Wednesday and we went to the Como Zoo and Conservatory, as there was a holiday floral exhibit going on. It was very pretty, but just seeing all of the tropical plants in the Conservatory was worth the trip. The smell was delightful, then I have always love the earthy smells that came along with gardening.
Monday, December 6, 2021
Monday, December 6, 2021, MN
Monday, November 29, 2021
Monday, November 29, 2021, MN
Friday, November 26, 2021
Friday, November 26, 2021, MN
Saturday, November 20, 2021
Saturday, November 20, 2021, MN
Tuesday, November 16, 2021
Tuesday, November 16, 2021, MN
Charlotte did well at her swim meet and got a first place in 50 lap breast stroke and 50 lap freestyle. She also came really close in one other match.
I spent a bit of time yesterday making phone calls to auto repair shops about the brakes on my car. I have two appointments today for inspections. I’m crossing my fingers that it isn’t too expensive. My first appointment was at Eric’s Repair Shop, just a mile from home, and I was pretty impressed the minute I walked in the door. Their customer service was great, the shops was clean and they got me in right on time. Eric himself did the inspection and called me into the garage to show me what was going on. My front brakes are fine and have another 2 years of life to them, but the rear brake pads and rotors are shot. He also sent me photos of of each wheel that showed exactly what was going on. His price to fix was competitive with other information I had gotten from the dealers and one other shop and he could fix it today, so I gave him the okay and took one of his rental cars home. $540 later, it was all done and I got my car back. Considering that the last time I had brake work done was about 70,000 miles ago in 2015 and the fact that the car hasn’t needed any other work, I am good with that price. I love my Toyota!
Friday, November 12, 2021
Friday, November 12, 2021, MN
Monday, November 8, 2021
Monday, November 8, 2021, MN
We took Frisco for a nice walk and stopped at the Pet store to get him some dog food. They were both mesmerized by the Guinea Pig activity until Frisco started to bark and I had to turn him away. After lunch, we went for ice cream, then shopping at Joanne Fabric and to the Bakken Museum after that, and then I dropped her off and went back home - tired and ready for some ‘me’ time again.
Sunday, October 31, 2021
Sunday, October 31, 2021, MN
Mavis, Mary and I went out to dinner Thursday night to DiGideo’s Restaurant for some delicious Italian food. The place has been around since the 1930s and was was founded by Joe “Kid Bullets” DeGidio, a successful bootlegger during the late 1920’s and early 1930’s. At one point he operated 12 stills in the St. Paul area. “Kid Bullets” parlayed his bootlegging profits and opened DeGidio’s Royal Bar at this same location when prohibition ended in 1933. It was a favorite watering hole for many of the most notorious mob figures during Saint Paul’s famous gangster era. Today, it remains owned and operated by “Kid Bullets” grandchildren as a family restaurant serving fine Italian food at reasonable prices. We had a very enjoyable dinner and great conversation.
Monday, October 25, 2021
Monday, October 25, 2021
Monday, October 18, 2021
Monday, October 18, 2021, MN
Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Monday, October 11, 2021, MN
Monday, October 11, 2021
Sunday, October 11, 2021, MN
We hung around, opened gifts and managed to get some good family photos. It was a very enjoyable afternoon.
Saturday, October 9, 2021
Saturday, October 9, 2021, MN
Wednesday, October 6, 2021
Wednesday, October 6, 2021, MN, WI
From there, we headed south on MN95 that ran along the St Croix River. It is along that stretch that we saw the most color. I spotted a sculpture garden alongside the road and had to do a U-turn and go back to check it out. It is a place that I might want to stop at another time, as we just didn’t feel like doing that much walking.
It was just a short driver farther south to the sweet town of Stillwater. We found a place to park and checked out a few shops before heading back home. It was a very nice day in good company.
Thursday, September 30, 2021
Thursday, September 30, 2021, MN
Sunday, September 26, 2021
Sunday, September 26, 2021, MN
When I got back home, Frisco and I went for a nice walk on this beautiful fall day. Temps are in the upper 60s and will warm up to a perfect 80 degrees today. I fixed myself a healthy egg scramble with onion, spinach and cheddar cheese when I got back home.
Saturday, September 25, 2021
Saturday, September 25, 2021, IA, MN
Wednesday, September 22, 2021
Wednesday, September 22, 2021, IA
On Sunday, we left Cedar Falls and headed southwest to Griff’s RV Park near Altoona, IA, not much more than 100 miles and a 2-hour drive. The park is very large, with 150+ sites and we are in the older part of the park where the sites are much smaller, gravel with a concrete pad, and among the worker bees. The newer parts have beautiful lawns, a fountain in a small pond, and much bigger sites - I guess that is where the longer term guests get to stay. We do have a nice grassy area, a horse pasture, and a couple of very nice evergreen trees behind us, so we are good for another week. The nicely paved Chichaqua Valley Trailhead (20+miles long) is adjacent to the RV park and we have walked it several times.
The Bridges of Madison County was our destination on Tuesday, after breakfast and a walk. It was after 11:00 when we left the RV park and we had a 50 mile drive south to get to St. Charles where the visitor center and the first of the six covered bridges were located. The Imes Bridge was the first that we saw. We chatted with a sweet little old lady at the visitor center who shared some great tips about what to see in the area.
From there, we headed west to Winterset and saw the Holliwell and Cutler-Donohoe Bridges, then farther west to the Roseman Bridge (the one that was featured in the 1995 movie, “Bridges of Madison County” with Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep. A side road led us to the Pammel Park Campground (we were not impressed) and the Harmon Tunnel (we were impressed) that was built by a man and his 4 sons in 1925.
Back in town, we walked around the 1876 Courthouse that was under major construction and centered the town square. The friendly lady that we had spoken with in St Charles suggested that we visit the Montrose Pharmacy that had an old fashioned soda fountain that has been run by Cathy for the last 32 years. I opted for a cup of Cheddar Potato Soup and a piece of apple pie. Tom and I shared an old-time Cherry Coke. We then drove north on US 169 to the Hogback Bridge before heading back to our home at the campground.
The bridges were all painted red and the inside walls were covered in graffiti, mostly initials and dates. Surprisingly, we didn’t see many dates earlier than 1995 - I guess people had more respect for property back then and were not interested in defacing the bridges. Several of them were built by the same man out of massive boards and different structural arrangements, designed to withstand the severe winters and be able to carry people and goods across the rivers. The water levels in the Middle and North Rivers were all pretty low, I don’t believe a canoe or kayak could float down them right now. We saw all but one of the six bridges.
It was an all afternoon excursion that took us through some beautiful parts of Iowa and was a good way to spend an afternoon. For years, whenever I passed through the area, I would see the signs and say “some day I will come back and see the bridges” - now I can add them to the list of places that I have been to see.
While walking on the Chichauqua Trail that runs along the RV Park, we noticed a huge construction site with 3 large cranes and after doing some research, I learned that it is an expansion of Facebook’s Data Storage Center. There are already several large Facebook buildings nearby.
Tom spotted this guy on the concrete trail - haven’t seen a Praying Mantis in a while.
The last few days of my stay were spent taking long walks, doing some shopping, taking naps, and hanging around the campsite.
Saturday, September 18, 2021
Saturday, September 18, 2021, IA
Tuesday, September 14, 2021
Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - MN, IA
Yesterday, after our walk, we drove to George Wyth State Park and Blackhawk County Park to check them out, then stopped at a little bar for a beer on our way home. Today, we went to the Cedar Valley Arboretum and walked the paths, strolled through the gardens, and had the park to ourselves until we were ready to leave. The park is beautiful and the plants were identified well. The topiary was great!
We stopped for a Papa Murphy’s pizza on the way home and had a late lunch/early dinner, then picked up some firewood and sat around the campfire for a while. Neither of us could remember the last time we had a campfire.
Saturday, September 11, 2021
Saturday, September 11, 2021, MN
On Thursday morning, they came over here and saw my apartment and then we walked the 9 Mile Creek trail. After that, I met them at their hotel and we went to the Farmer’s Kitchen Restaurant for some lunch and then walked the trail to the Stone Arch Bridge. We parted and later that evening they came back to my place and we walked to Willy McCoy’s for dinner. It seems like all we do is eat.
Friday night we met at Ben and Jill’s, ordered dinner from Broder’s, and had some wine and lots of good conversation. It’s been about seven years since they have seen Ben and his family. We had a great visit!
Monday, September 6, 2021
Monday, September 6, 2021, MN
Jo left late in the morning yesterday and Frisco and I went for a nice walk around the neighborhood. I took a nap in the afternoon and finally got around the hanging my glass balls in the living room window.
Thursday, September 2, 2021
Wednesday, September 1, 2021, MN
I sold my dining room table tonight - to a gal that sure seemed to have an appreciation for the age, quality, and beautiful wood. I’m posting a picture of it, so I will never forget that it came from my good friend Marty and belonged to her Grandmother. It has had a special place in my home for years, there is no longer enough room for it in my small apartment.