We left Grant River in Potosi, Wisconsin and headed for Cedar Falls, Iowa on Thursday, September 12th. We stayed at the Ace Fogdall section of Blackhawk County Park in Cedar Falls, until Monday morning. During the time we stayed there, two of Joan’s brothers and their wives came to the campground and spent times with us; as they left we made our goodbyes, promising to see them again in the spring. It was hard to say goodbye to them; we were beginning to realize how much we will miss our family until we return to this area, which will be many months from now. We were accustomed to seeing family often, for various celebrations (weddings, graduations, baptisms, etc.) and at many family campouts each year. Occasionally, Joan would travel to meet her sisters for coffee; sometimes her sisters would come to Dubuque. It was difficult to think of not being able to see them for long periods of time.
David’s sister and only sibling, who is older than him, lives with her husband in Dubuque. We had said our goodbyes to them earlier in September. We also made final visits with many of our friends, and several other family members during August and early September. Our son, David, who also lives in Dubuque had a final lunch with us September 10th; he understands why we have decided to live and travel in our motorhome, is supportive of our decision, and we will contact him frequently so he can follow along with us on our journey.
After we left Cedar Falls on Monday morning we headed north to spend time with two of Joan’s uncles and their wives (both uncles are brother’s of Joan’s mother Irma who passed away three years ago). One uncle and his wife live in northern Iowa on a farm with plenty of room for our motorhome so we headed there first and spent most of Monday with them. We then drove to the KOA campground near northwest Minneapolis for the night, renting a spot for two days. Monday night we relaxed and had a good night’s sleep. We had traveled over 200 miles that day ( a new record for our cat), and Smoke was a little stressed out from this trip; by Tuesday morning he was much calmer and his usual playful self. We visited another uncle and aunt in the Minneapolis area Tuesday, spent all day with them and didn’t get back home until evening. Smoke was very glad to see us, as he had been left in the motorhome alone all day, in a strange park. We were impressed by this KOA park; we have a pull through site close to the bath-house and main office; the park is in good condition and appears to be well maintained. Although the nightly fee is higher than what we are used to paying ($37.50 with tax for water/electric), we realize that rates will be higher this close to a metropolitan area. We plan on staying in as many Corp of Engineer, State, and County or City parks as we can find during our travels, as they are usually the most reasonably priced.
Meantime, we are adjusting to the idea of being separated from our family and friends. At the same time, we are looking forward to making new friends as we travel the United States. We have already met several other “full-timers”, some retired and some who still work, some who are in their 60’s, 70’s or 80’s; a couple who are much younger, and have noticed that they all have one thing in common-they love the freedom of this lifestyle and none of them are sorry they made the decision to live in a home on wheels.