|always a nice few parked at the Wards|
Over the winter we’d received news that Jennie had a new person in her life and we were anxious to meet him. Also, Caitlin and Graham had announced that they would be moving to the St, Louis area by mid-June.
|happy to be reunited with Todd and Cindy|
|Betty, Tom, Dave, Carol taken 2009 at Tom's retirement party|
While our social calendar was quickly filling, our first day back was spent scouring High Cliff State Park for vestiges of the Spring migration. Alas, as we had anticipated, birding were slow.
High on the top of our list besides family was to say hello to dear friend Betty Dunsmore (who has been just like family). You will recall, her husband (and Tom’s best birding pal) Dave, had passed away in February 2016. This was our first opportunity to see her in person and pass on our condolences. Over the next few months we were able to get together frequently, often times simply going out to get a bite to eat, as well helping out with a few things around the yard she wanted to tackle; things that Dave generally had taken care of when he was alive.
|Jennie and Bob (at SAP)|
|eggs B. at the White Gull Inn - none finer!|
|Toft Point, Door County|
|Melissa at the Madison Farmers Market|
|Warren, Carol, Sharon; Tom, Marge - where everyone was "Bob"|
|chance meeting with Nancy and Gary|
Before leaving for Dale, Marge, Carol and Tom of us walked and birded Baxter’s Hollow. As with High Cliff, the birding was dead slow - but still, it was a beautiful place to walk on a late Spring day.
|Caitlin, Graham, Carol|
|Jennie, Bob, Jennie's mom Carol, Carol's husband Rollie, Carol, Caitlin, Graham|
|Graham explaining the finer points of a dive mask|
|happy at The Happy Garden - and SAP cupcakes to celebrate|
We also caught up with them at their apartment in Oshkosh when they were smack in the middle of packing. We offered to help but they had everything under control. We retrieved a table they had borrowed (said table is now stored at Marge’s along with other of our belongings). Moving is such an exciting time - but exhausting! This would be the last time we had a chance to see them before they departed. Happy for them - but sad to see them leave the area. But then WE leave the area so who are we to be sad!?
A few more social gatherings followed in quick succession. We met Larry Darling and Alvina Tan at Vinny’s Pizza and Pasta in Medina just up the road from Dale. Larry is the recording engineer at Lawrence University and Alvina is his assistant. And, if you recall from earlier blog entries, Alvina is the one who took in Hamish our cat when Hamish needed to be ‘rescued’. The next day we lunched with Greg Madson at Mi Casa Mexican Grill. And then the next day, it was back to Vinny's to meet with Matthew King, a fellow member of the bird club and who had been on one of our Costa Rica birding trips in 2015. Matt wanted to pick our brain about what it was like to live in Costa Rica and Ecuador with the intent of perhaps moving to either country to work (something more and more of our friends are thinking of doing).
By mid June, Caitlin and Graham had picked up and packed up a U-haul truck and completed their move to St. Louis. So now, we have kids in WI, CO, and MO making it a bit more challenging to stay in touch. But then we do still have wheels, don’t we!
|It's only been 50 years? Is that all?|
Returning to Antojitos for another meal, we were joined by friends Jess Miller and her long time beau, Jim. Part of the talk revolved around their desire to ‘hit the road’ and do something similar to what we’re doing (more and more, this has become a recurring theme with our friends). The next day, another visit to another favorite breakfast stop, SAP Brunch, Brown Bag and Bakery, where we chatted with former Lawrence colleagues, Antoinette and Keith Powell. It’s so much fun to meet people over meals…but it’s not doing a whole lot for our waistlines!
Apparently, everyone else had the same idea so waiting for a table turned into a much longer ordeal (although while waiting we did enjoy a Wally’s famous Bloody Mary). The wait proved too long so we walked back to the RV where Carol and Jennie threw together breakfast - which in Tom’s opinion, turned out to be better than what Wally’s was offering!
|Carol, Linda, Marge - and 'the pan'|
|Nick and Paul|
|at the APD with Lt. Steve Elliott|
|a boy and water...|
|he really did have a good time and couldn't stop talking about it afterward|
|Teddy, Jen, carol, Greg, Dick|
|Carol, Tom, John, Marti|
Another locale we’d wanted to try for lunch was the Green Gecko Grover and Deli. Our chance came up when we agreed to meet birding friends Jack and Marci Fry who wanted to know about birding opportunities in the southwestern U.S. We’re always happy to share what we know (as many others have shared with us).
|Ava, Bob, Jennie, Alrick|
One more stroll around the Saturday Appleton Farmers Market where we never know who we’ll bump into (mainly lots of Lawrence University staff and faculty). Breakfast at the Queen Bee where Marti and John happened to wander in and join us.
|one last get together at SAP|
Work on the RV was going to take approximately 3 days and require us to move the RV a few times. First to Kings Camper, then in a day's time over to a body repair shop, Then back to Kings Camper where we would spend our last night in Wisconsin. While the work was being done we stayed in a motel in Stevens Point (insurance paid for this, thank you!) that allowed us to do some area birding (mainly the Buena Vista Wildlife Area) and have time to visit with Tom’s sister, Betsy, and her husband Bill who live in Plover. We even squeezed in a stop at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum.
|raised walk and gazebo at Monk Botanical Gardens|
|body work in progress|