A few weeks ago I was talking with a friend who had just retired telling her to decide what’s important in her life and figure out how to make it happen.   It was a phone call and I was happily sitting in my camp chair gazing at a blue Kansas lake.

Today we spoke again, this time I was the one lamenting a feeling of emptiness, and she repeated my words back to me.

And so the search begins!  Actually it started before we got back home from the trip, already wondering,  “what’s next?”

Going to Alaska and staying gone for over three months was the biggest accomplishment that I could imagine for this retired part of our lives.  Now it’s done and we have the tee shirts to prove it!  So what else do we want?  How do we want to be living?  What brings joy into our life?

Traveling in the Casita brings us joy.  Spending time outdoors biking, hiking or kayaking brings us joy.  And sharing activities with friends brings us joy. 

And simplicity brings me joy.  I can’t speak for the husband here as he seems content whether the house is organized or in chaos!

Upon returning from these extended trips, I find myself needing to discard possessions.  This time I successfully parted with over half the clothes in two closets!  But it seems to be never enough!

It’s almost an obsession to rid myself of everything I own.  Would love to just pay someone to come get it all….house included!  Lucky that I’m married to someone who would object to giving it all away. 

But I know and crave the freedom that comes with getting rid of everything; I did it 25 years ago!  Everything was sold or given away except the pickup truck and my life changed. 

Real ready for another big change! 

Passages are always happening in our lives.  We returned from our trip in time for David, a 1955 graduate, to say “goodbye” to his high school.  This school, a landmark in our community dating back to 1937, served as a grammar and high school.





Unsure of what will replace the old school.  With the exclusive North Shore encroaching on Red Bank, it will be prime real estate!

Another passage tomorrow as summer will turn to fall….here’s hoping for a long beautiful autumn!


Good-bye Kansas, Hello Chattanooga!

It was not difficult to say good-bye to the Kansas heat but very hard to leave folks who feel like family after 6 days of hobnobbing, telling tall tales and exchanging travel stories.


One of the nights at the rally the sunset is so magnificent I can not stop taking pictures.


Going to work them all in…..as this is the official end of our once- in-a-lifetime Alaska trip.



Deciding that one more day of 101 temperatures would be one day too many, we are hitting the road early before the pancake breakfast send-off.   Picking a couple of destinations ranging from  300 miles to 400 miles down the road works best for us.  Nixing the idea of traveling off the interstate, deciding that we rely on the constant Wal-Marts and McDonalds for sustenance and shelter.  It’s an easy travel day until we try to cross the river in St Louis.  Traffic should be light as it is Sunday PM but the lane that we are in is not moving, taking us an hour or so to go a few miles.

Using the handy All Stays Camp app, we find a Cracker Barrel on exit 16.  Looks like we are not going to make it to Rend Lake….a COE where our friends are staying.  During the meal we ask permission to spend the night.  The manager says we are most welcome and very glad that we are asking permission as they do not like unauthorized visitors behind the store after closing.  He suggests that we might want to enjoy one of their breakfasts before we leave.

The interstate is close and it’s melody of traffic soothes us to sleep.  At 1:30 AM a noisy monster goes through the parking lot, eating the trash from the dumpster….loudest waste disposal truck ever!  Why 1:30?

At 6:10 we are eating breakfast and, after another easy 400 plus miles, we are entering Chattanooga!  Feels so strange to be returning after 102 days.  Our house is swallowed by vegetation!


But we are relieved that everything looks like it should….no one had carried off our TV’s.  Only glitch is the Sienna, parked in the middle of the driveway, will not start. 

Astonished at the weeds everywhere!   But it did rain most of July and we were gone a long time!


Overgrown flower beds.


Obedient plant, a TN native, apparently needs no care for 3 months.


May need to dig the whole bed up, use round-up, and start all over!


The path to the patio has disappeared!


My cleome is 4 feet tall!


Hubby trying to tame the wilderness!


The hardy begonia.


Wild ageratum and morning glory.

We are unpacked, clothes washed, cats retrieved, A/C repaired and settling back in to the boring humdrum of life at home.

No regrets!  And enough memories to last the rest of our lives!

Want to thank everyone for coming along with us.  You helped us get through some difficult times.  Love y’all!


Kansas Eggstravaganza 2013



The Sixth Annual Kansas Eggstravaganza officially started today with a pot luck breakfast.  Tantalizing dishes come out of the little eggs when it’s pot luck time and the socializing begins! 

It’s been a little too hot to do anything but visit.  The temperature dipped into the 80’s for a day or so and now it’s back into the mid 90’s with 99 degrees predicted for the weekend.

The heat has not stopped the fun….maybe just slowed some of us down a bit.

We are camped right across from some of our old friends from east TN who are right on the water. Our site has evening shade but is brutally unprotected during the middle of the day.  The A/C is staying on until the sun sets. 

The campground is laid out in a loop where everyone can easily visit.  At last count 30 trailers have arrived with more expected tomorrow.  Amazing how many come from Texas!

Larry and Debbie Gamble of Little House Customs have been hard at work since last Monday with the early arrivals.  Larry performed a valvectomy on our shower drain…..the Alaskan trip had knocked off the drain pipe.  No longer must I get on my knees to pull the shower drain lever!


Larry and customers!


Debbie minding the store!

A few unusual fiberglass campers……


a 1970 Western Campster!  (can’t remember the entire name!)


This 1983 model is being lovingly restored by new owners.  They patiently explained that it  really is a Casita!

All of the other trailers, so far, are Casitas and Scamps except for the one 19’ Escape owned by a St Louis couple.  The Escape campsite appears to be the favorite hangout place.



We are spending our time talking and eating.  When it gets too hot to do anything else….napping inside the A/C cooled interior.


Beautiful sunsets are gracing the sky every evening.  Wonder how many can I post before humdrum sets in?



Random shots from the rally………DSC_6127

Our TN friends……


Kansas neighbor!


Our partially shaded site.


Lovely host, Joyce.


Pretty blue truck with white bookends.


Patriotic neighbor.


Ms. Pickles, displeased with the camera. 


Larry and Curly…or is it Curly and Larry?  Mother Moe is close by.


Friendly faces.

Not too much more to say…..afraid I’ll start whining about the heat. 

Thinking more and more of home and what will life be like…. not waking up in the Casita?  Feeling sad just thinking about it……