Saturday, June 29, 2013

Escapade in Gillette, WY

This is the third Escapade, the annual rally of the Escapees RV Club, to be held in Gillette at the huge Cam-Plex facility, and Don and I have attended all of them. The first was just after we got married in June 2008. It’s memorable for many reasons, but especially because of the surprise reception the SOLOs gave for us. What a nice party!

The second was in late August 2011, and we hurried back from our 3-month trip to Alaska in order to serve for the first time on the Escapade Staff, chairing the Volunteer Bureau.

Now at our third one, we’re again managing the Volunteer Bureau and are blessed to have W.C. and Leslie Ernst as our assistants again. They assisted us in 2011, and also trained us as they had done the job previously, but didn’t want to be the leaders. We’re also blessed this year to have Frank & Gloria King join our team, and we’ve taken on the added responsibility for the Information/Lost & Found booth.

Somehow, I couldn’t catch Frank long enough to get him into the picture, and apologies for getting Leslie’s smiling face behind the centerpiece.


Today was the early arrival day, so our hours were a little shorter than they will be starting tomorrow. But we managed to fill in more than half of the volunteer time slots with people willing to get involved and spend a few hours helping out.

Don and I have been keeping pretty busy, which is a good thing as our personal life has recently gone through a change. And we’re getting so many hugs and sweet messages from friends that make the transition a little easier.

We helped out a bit with Escapees’ Boot Camp by participating in a session last evening about full-time RVing.


We had several meetings during the day yesterday getting prepared for our volunteer staff responsibilities. And we’ve been enjoying the happy hours and dinners with friends new and former (not ‘old’). Tonight we enjoyed a Chinese buffet dinner with about 40-some members of our Escapees Boomers group. Here are some pictures from the last several days, starting with tonight’s group.

Boomers at China King Buffet Gillette WY


Cathie & Bud are rightfully proud of their first grandson!


Mary and one of her helpers, Jerry, at the Donut booth.


Staff helping stuff bags for registrants. A small RVer entertains us. Recognize him from above?


Free ice cream for bag stuffers. With a twist! Travis is teaching his dad Bud to put the artistic bit on top.


Happy to be the first recipient of our Lost & Found efforts – Sandy thanks Don with a hug for finding her handbag!


Suddenly Blond Molly and Wanda!


Marilyn and Tommie Sue sharing a good joke.


W.C. hiding behind the centerpiece…and what’s in that cooler?


The staff buffet line, with food from local Chophouse Restaurant definitely worth waiting for.


Another young RVer with grandparents Paula and Carlin.


Finally a good pic of Leslie and W.C.


And Frank and Gloria.


And our whole team.


Our neighbors in the RV park, Jeanne and Bill.


Last week we enjoyed dinner with George and Valerie Mayleben. I got caught up in dealing with, then blogging about Shadow and didn’t get this published.


And we had a small group of Boomers get together for dinner during the FMCA Convention.


We’re lucky to have clear weather now, although a bit warm. But nobody misses the tornado warnings, heavy rain, wind and hail of last week.

Finally, my friend Cool Judy said I could use her pictures of signs in my blog. They lend a flavor of the local culture. Thanks, Judy!

No hockey

No horses

Remove mud

Remove mud 2Whoa

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Life Goes On

After a loss, we all have our own way of dealing with our lives. Some of us may retreat, at least for awhile, to lick our wounds and reassess our positions. Don and I have known losses in our lives, big time. We both lost our spouses, coincidentally 5 days apart in June 2002. We found each other a few years later and began a new life together. But we still remember those lonely days after the loss of our spouses, and how it changed our lives.

Shadow was a part of our new joint life. He was a special part of our daily routine. Now that he’s gone, how will our routine change?

When we go shopping or out to dinner or to visit friends, when we return to our home on wheels, we will no longer be greeted at the door by an insistent puppy wanting to go outside to piddle. We won’t be pestered at the breakfast/lunch/dinner table for goodies from people-food. We won’t have to remember to give his treats after dinner, Milk Bones and Dingos.

We won’t have to constantly try to quiet him whenever he starts barking at whatever is happening outside, whether it’s people talking, dogs walking, or anything else that tweaks his super-human hearing or otherwise annoys him.

We also won’t have to worry about him when we’re on a bus tour that starts at 7:45 am and ends at 8:30 pm. We won’t have to wonder what we will do when we have to leave the motorhome on a ferry overnight and sleep in a berth topside, and we can’t take him with us, and we can only visit him during specified hours. And we won’t have to be concerned about going to a hotel for a night or two on a tour that requires it.

We won’t have to worry that he will become prey for wild animals as we tour Alaska or other frontiers of civilization.

But we won’t have his adoring looks, his hugs and snuggles, his joy at sharing a walk, a roll in the grass, an acceptance of a treat. We won’t be able to walk the neighborhood with him and meet other dogs, seeing how they communicate with each other. We won’t share his joy of running off leash on the beach or in a field.

We definitely miss our Shadow, but we will adapt our lives and outlook to take advantage of being pet-free, at least for now. We will talk about adopting a rescue animal in the future. But that’s still a long way off. In the meantime, we’ll get our puppy fixes from other people’s dogs, and maybe pet a cat or two as well.

We’re definitely healing from this loss, and appreciate so much the outpouring of love and sympathy from so many friends and family members. Thank you, one and all, for your messages. Love and hugs to everyone. We will be okay.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Adios Mi Amigo

When Don and I started traveling together in September 2007, he made it clear that he and Shadow came together as a package. Although I had just become pet-free, having found my two Siamese cats a new home because they weren’t handling the travel life well (they were my late husband’s and my cats and were used to a big house), I warmed up to Shadow’s winning personality and he took to me immediately. In fact, our first day on the road, traveling in 2 RVs, was a day to remember.

We departed from Goshen, Indiana, after the Escapade ended and headed south to visit friends. It was a warm autumn day. At lunchtime, we stopped and I fixed us a bite to eat. Don and Shadow came to my motorhome where it was cool, as I had the a/c running on the generator. When it was time to hit the road again, Don said “Come on, Shadow.” Shadow just looked at him, and sat beside my right leg when I got in the driver’s seat. Don tried to pick him up, and Shadow growled and tried to bite him. I said it was okay for him to stay with me.

As we rolled down the road, Don picked up his CB mike and said, “Not only did you steal my heart, you stole my dog!” Shadow’s first human Mom had passed away when he was just over a year old, and he had been traveling with Dad for about 5 years. I guess he knew that he’d found his next Mom! He never again rode with Don in his pickup truck, whether he was pulling his 5th wheel or just going to the store. Shadow had adopted me.


But he never forgot who his Dad was, and always followed him around.


Don Shadow Lake Superior


He made lots of friends.


Marilyn was one of his faves.


And Craig was his very Special Buddy.



He tolerated another Shadow, a girl, whom he met in Alaska.


“Shadowess,” as we called her, seemed to show up a lot, and was always happier to see Shadow than he was to see her.


He liked Shadow’s Mom a lot though, and got in her lap when Shadowess got in Shadow’s Dad’s lap!


I’ll show you!


He hated groomers, especially when they messed with his ears then put ribbons on him.


He loved rolling in grass, especially the patch that traveled with us.


He gladly shared it with special people.


But he hated it when someone else used it without his permission.


However, he didn’t hesitate to use someone else’s bed when the opportunity arose. His excuse was trying to recover from the infection that almost took him from us last summer.


It was really tough when he had to wear a “lampshade” on his head after so many vet visits and finally surgery in August 2012.



But he recovered and gave us another 10 months of happy companionship.

We loved you well, Shadow, and we’ll always remember the good times with you. Rest in peace.