Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Ditching Dairyland

Alrick trying out bikes with Pa
Charles, Alrick and Pa loading the new bike
We departed Dale on Sunday June 13 after being parked at Todd and Cindy Ward’s during our WI sojourn. The Wards graciously hosted our stay again as they did last year. Water and electric on their RV pad, and hey – this year they even added wireless WI-FI!
From Dale we moved on to Grantsburg to spend a couple of days to recoup and bird Crex Meadows NWR. At 8:25 on the June 15 we crossed over into Minnesota, officially leaving the mother ship behind once more.
Reuniting with family and friends, colleagues from Lawrence, multiple doctor and dentist appointments, banking resolutions, and RV related work kept us hopping.  Time passed by all too quickly.
Every morning, afternoon or evening there was an event going on in the Fox Cities. In fact, we managed to log over 3,000 miles in the month we were in Dale. Pretty remarkable considering that our travel to and from TX the prior ten months had added up just a little over 5,000 RV miles!
Graham's friend Rachel, Uncle Graham, Alrick, Alrick's Uma (Sig), and Charles
snuffing the candles
Highlights included Alrick’s 6th birthday and helping him pick out his first new bike. We missed the all-kid party but managed an evening dinner with family. We caught up with friends in Black Earth and visits with our former neighbors on E. South River Street. The yard, by the way, looked pretty much the same. There were Friday nights with the ‘usual suspects’, several friends who we have shared trips with to Costa Rica (and who will be going back with us again to CR in 2011). The Monday Night Martini reunion hosted by the Orr’s was just like old times.
Lunch in Black Earth
Sharon Gaskill, David Hamel, Ken Wood, Warren Gaskill, Shelly Hamel, Carol
While we accomplished a lot we were sadly unable to make some important personal connections, mainly due to tight schedules and distance. Finding time to try and visit with Mike and Raven in the U.P. and with more friends in Madison simply melted away.
Suffice to say we were absolutely delighted to make so many reconnections. And truth be told, we felt a bit saddened to leave family and friends behind. In retrospect trying to squeeze so much into so little time while thrilling, was also exhausting.
Our plans for this winter remain fluid but have taken an interesting twist. Originally we had planned to return to our site at Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort by December 1. In early June, Iain Campbell, owner of Tropical Birding, the tour company that owns Tandayapa Lodge in northern Ecuador, offered us host positions for the months of December, January and February. We had spent three days at Tandayapa in 2008 during our northern Ecuador tour so we are familiar with the facility. Reworking our winter site at Bentsen, we accepted. We will pay our air to and from Ecuador and Tropical Birding will provide our room and board.
Our job description is to serve as liaisons between the non-English speaking staff and lodge guests (this should provide us with that Spanish immersion we’ve always talked about!). When the lodge is overly busy we will pitch in with serving food, leading short hikes on the property and helping guests (mainly guests not part of an organized tour) to ID hummingbirds. We are in no way being billed as professional bird guides! During slow times we’ll be free to explore the many local trails and bird nearby birding hot spots we visited in 2008.
Presently we’re headed further west having now traversed Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana. We'll shortly land in Idaho. Details of our recent travails and travels will be the subject of further blog posts (now having fallen so far behind!).

No comments:

Post a Comment