Happy Birthday To Me….lol

Yesterday was my FRA Birthday.  I finally reached it….lol…What’s that you say?.  Well I just learned that from my good friend Randy, I went to school with.  His birthday was several days ago.   “FULL RETIREMENT AGE.   66   YEA”  Now you youngsters will have to wait later to reach your FRA.  I want to   “THANK EVERYONE”   who wished me Birthday Wishes the last several days.  It sure is nice to read and see all your messages come across FB.  It was just 2 years ago that I decided to start this blog.  It was my birthday, and I was in the final stages of working.  Wow.  So much has changed since then.  We have done so much.  It seems years since I walked out of Advantage Logistics for the last time.  Was It the Right Decision,  some of you may ask?   It sure was.  We have NO REGRETS.  It is the best thing we ever did.  We have seen so much and experienced so much in 2 years.  Their is such a big huge world out their.  So many wonderful places to see, and so many wonderful people to meet.  As I started the blog, the reasoning for it was so the kids would know what we were doing.  Since then, we have quite a following.  I’ll give you some statistics.   We have 424 followers, which isn’t a lot for some blogs, but I think its impressive.  In 2 years we’ve had 19,685 people read the blog.  So far I’ve written 108 posts including this one.  Most are about what we do.  A lot of history about the areas, and a lot about family happenings.  Also some thoughts on different subjects as to how I feel.  I always try to be fair and look at both sides of the issue.   After awhile, as I was writing these blogs, I was thinking that some day when we were gone, they would all be lost.  I felt their would be a lot of value in all of these to the kids, so I found a place to print them.  Its called Blog2Print.  It was a challenge figuring all this out but I did.  I now have received my 4th book of blogs.  I print them every 6 months.  This last one I printed in hardback.   So nice.  I sure don’t know why I didn’t before.  I think they are rather impressive.  Now I am happy that everything will be preserved for the kids and grandkids to hand down some day.

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So if any of you every wonder about life after retirement.  Remember their is a whole world out here to see.  Financially their are many ways to make it work.  You don’t have to be rich.  Workamping is a great way to make it happen.  You would be amazed at all the jobs and how many people are doing this.  It is also good for you to keep that schedule.  You need to have to do something everyday, or you could run into the danger of being a couch potato.  This is really a great life.  You can choose what you want to do.  Their are jobs to be found all over the USA, even Alaska.  Your retirement is what you make it.

So yesterday, on my birthday, we got up and didn’t really plan on doing anything, but then we decided to head north to Ankeny.  It isn’t far, maybe 10 miles.  They have an RV Sales their.  Our neighbor Dick and Mary Lou recommended it.  They have a little plastic thing that they use for hanging out socks and underwear.   It is sort of an umbrella looking thing with clothespins on the ends.  She loads them on from the washer and just hangs it out.  Perfect.  Many of us have washer dryers, but many of us hang out to dry. The weather has been so  warm it, theirs no need to run your dryer.  The convenience is huge.  I would hate to have to go to the laundromat with our schedules we had all summer.

So, we headed north to Ankeny.  Found the RV dealer.   We shopped in the store and found the clothes hanger thingy, lol, and also the rods you put in the refrigerator for traveling.  For those of you who don’t know, they make rods like suspension curtain rods to put in your frig. you put them across the shelves to secure your items on the shelves.  That prevents all your food from falling out when you open the door after you’ve been on the road.  We decided to look at all the new trailers and 5th wheels but they were all locked.  So much for that.  On up the road we drove and seen the sign for Saylorville Lake.   I had seen it on the map and it looked rather large.  So left turn and away we went.

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It turned out to be huge.  It was beautiful, the water was so calm and serine.  We drove in first to a deserted beach area, and then went on down to the Marina.   It was situated in a very large inlet off the lake.  The dock itself looked so steep and scary.  But all those house boats moored in the harbor area were so beautiful.

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We drove over by the side to an access road down to the harbor itself.

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Amazing large.  This was just a small part of the Marina.  Their was at least 3 covered areas of slips filled with boats.  Also a floating bar and restaurant.

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Their wasn’t much going on beings it was a Thur.  All people work on Thursday…..right….Except for us retirees…..We sat around for awhile, and watched 2 different boats unloading and loading their boats.  That’s always fun.  Things never go right and sometimes you can detect heated body language or overhear not so happy voices……lol…..Ive been their myself.  It’s so much more fun to watch.

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We followed the road over the dam and stopped on the pull off area.

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Their were a few fishing boats and a jet skier.  Onward down the dam and on the other side down by the spillway was a beautiful valley with a campground.  We drove in and parked down by the spillway.

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There were guys fishing on both sides.

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The guys on our side already had a pile of small fish.

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They used this net to catch the little minnow fish.

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They would throw it in the water and pull the draw string.  It would be full of the little baby minnow fish and then they would empty it into a bucket.  The minnows would then be used for live bait…….Free Bait…..Free Fish…..We watched them for almost an hour.  It was so peaceful, while the water from the spillway kept rushing and splashing down the river.  This river is the Des Moines River The Saylorville Lake is a reservoir on the Des Moines River.  It is 54 miles long, has a surface area of 9.27 miles.  It is 11 miles north of Des Moines.  The river then proceeds 214 miles to the mouth of the Mississippi River.  It was constructed by the Army Corp of Engineers for flood control.  We finally left and drove into Des Moines, visited a second hand thrift store…..Didn’t find anything…..Finally time for supper.   We ended up back near home at Prairie Meadows Casino. 

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They have a great buffet.  It was Barbeque nite.  We feasted on steak, ribs and all the extra, of course dessert…..Cherry Cheese cake for one…..ice cream….Mmmmm mmm good.  Last time we came, I put $20 in a penny machine and made $10….I cashed out and ran….So lets go do this again.   Their are 2 identical machines side by side.  They are Progressive slot machines.   I told Rich if there were people sitting in my machine I would leave.  We went up the escalator….turned the corner….It was empty…..We walked towards it and guess what…..just before we got their a man comes out of nowhere and sits in “MY MACHINE”……the other was empty……..I almost turned around, but decided…..Why Not….I put a $10 bill in…..started playing…..Wow guess what….with in 5 minutes I racked up $51.75.   hahaha…..The guy next to me kept loosing…..We cashed out and ran….again….

……….So Happy Birthday To Me………

 

4th of July….Adventureland

The 4th was a beautiful weekend.  The temps had cooled down to mid 80’s.  We even brought our sweatshirts several days as the evenings were so cool.  The park was open till 10pm on Fri. Sat. and Sun.  Of course we have Fridays off together now.  We went across the street to Prairie Meadows Casino and Race Track for lunch.

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They had a great buffet with everything one could ever want.  Salad and Dessert bars were to die for.  lol.   Yes all for only $21 for both of us.  You could almost spent that at McDonalds.  After we went up just one floor and checked out the casino.

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Pretty typical of a casino.  All the same machines and tables.  It was decorated very colorful and all the bells were ringing of course.  The one thing I don’t remember was the smell of Cigarettes.  Must be smoke free.  But I still seen the people gambling with their Oxygen tubes hooked up.  Sad isn’t it, that’s all they have to do.  SSI check comes in and off they go to gamble.  We walked to the back and that’s where the big windows were that looked out over the Horse Race Track.

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The water trucks were preparing the track for the weekend races.  Their were lots of outside tables to the right and left of the picture and inside their were all the box seats.  Seems like a lot for just a few minutes of racing.   I guess I just have never appreciated horse racing.

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We left deciding to come back again for the buffet……Excellent….and maybe spending $20 next time gambling.  lol  .  Saturday and Sunday, we of course worked.  Rich is working the Himalaya this week as the Operator this time.  This gives him an enclosed area that has AC.  How nice.  I was up in the Alpine Arcade area.

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These pictures are taken with my old camera, as we cannot take our phones in to work…..Bummer…..The quality of colors inside is ok, but outside in the evening, they are horrible.  This is called Water Gun Fun.  Its a squirt gun game.  I worked this game all day.

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This was my friend Carolina, (pronounced Catalina, like the dressing) who was my reliever during break.  She is from Brazil, and is really a neat person to talk to with her accent.  More about her later.  The prizes are these cute little dragons.

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Another picture of the Arcade area.

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These girls are the Manager and Assist. Manager of Alpine for the nite.  Very nice girls, both still in High School, but very good at what they do.  Jordyn on the left and Morgan on the right.  We can tell what our positions are by the striping on our shirts under the arms.  Ours are a light blue.  Now Morgan’s is more of a medium blue, which designates an Assistant Manager.  Jordyn’s, if you could see hers, has a black insert.  That is for managers.  All areas have the same shirts so it is easy to tell what their position is.  Then by reading their name tag, you can tell what area they are in, Games, Rides, Retail or Foods.  All Company or important people…..lol…are dressed in Black shirts and Kaki colored slacks.

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This is a picture of the Big Wheel…..So much prettier than this.  In this picture the lights blended together, when their were really many different colors….That’s what the ole camera does.  lol.  But it is just beautiful at night.   All the pretty colors of the rides as they go around and round.   The sounds of the different rides and the laughter and voices of the kids.  And theirs always the sound of the train whistle as they start their ride on the rails.  At 9:30 pm Prairie Meadows had a fireworks display, but we couldn’t see anything because of the trees, but we sure could hear it.  Beautiful sounds.  The next night was the 4th of July.  I worked in County Fair.

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I worked the Goblets Game.  This is a game of chance.  You toss a whiffle ball in the rink.  If it falls on white, you lose.  Yellow gets you a small snake. Red is a medium and the center blue is a large.  You can also trade up.  3 small makes a medium, 3 med. makes a large.  Several guys came up and played and played.  You can also buy a bucket of balls with a small prize in it.

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After lots of laughter and money spent,  these guys won and traded up to several large snakes.   Notice the one kid has the snake head on top his head.  They had won many other prizes.  Now I am pretty sure that they had to have spent way over $100 to win all these stuffed animals.  But they sure had a good time winning.

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As the evening progressed I watched the Storm Chaser.  It is so cool to be near it when it goes up.  They leave their shoes and belongings on the ground as they will lose them.

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This is the Storm Chaser as the sun set and darkness came.  Such a beautiful site.

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This camera doesn’t show of the true colors.

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Once it reaches the top, it goes around faster and the swings swing way out.

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Finally it came time for the Parks fireworks.  They were set off on the other side of the park.  We were allowed to walk up a ways to watch.  We could only see the high ones, over the Monster.  They were pretty.

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The beautiful lights of the rides, the music playing in the different areas, and the laughter of the people made it a magical evening with the park closing at 10 pm.  Now that our golf cart  is here, it is so easy to go home.  Rich parks it right at the Security gate.  We meet each other there when the park closes and head home.  That nite the traffic was horrible.  The cops were directing traffic, which was stopped…….and we just drove off through the parking lot and sidewalks and over to the campground……it just takes minutes…..From now on the Park will be open from 11 am to 9 pm Sunday-Thursday and on Friday and Saturdays were open till 10 pm.  So our nites are late now.  We work all the Pm shifts.  The park stays open until the last week of Aug.  That week they will close on week days and only be open on weekends till the last of Sept.  As long as we stay till then, we will be paid a bonus money per hour we worked.  So it is worth it staying, especially as we still get free camping.   Its really a nice package deal.  More people are leaving every week, but they have their own issues.  Some depts. have their own problems, some of them can’t take the heat.    If you look at the whole deal, it is really a great seasonal job.  Just imagine if you received a pay check and didn’t have to pay rent or electric.  All we do is buy food.  Meals at the Commissary are cheap also.  Today we had Turkey, Dressing, Mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and green bean casserole.  All for $2 with your drink.   What a deal.

Stay tuned for my next blog…..We went and met friends last Friday and visited Rieman Gardens in Ames Iowa…..FABULOUS…..