Well I am back to finish off this years report on our activities. It is after Christmas and almost New Years as I peck away at this while it is snowing outdoors and near zero to boot. Tomorrow Jan and I will be traveling to Wadena to the funeral of our brother-in-law Steve Johnson, assuming the roads are not too bad. Jan plans on staying with her sister Paula for a few days while I return home for a check up in Rochester next week. Winter in this part of the country is always filled with uncertainties when plans are made in advance. Actually this is more of an audit of our lives during the year as opposed to an actual Christmas letter.
I believe that I left off before in June so July would be next. We were still in Lanesboro with the trailer. I had brought along our new Bonneville and managed to get some riding in over in Wisconsin and the local area. Did I mention the goats before? Jan is out at Eli and Lindsey's farm looking after them most days, her younger goats as opposed to the older one at home. We did get to a soccer game, a check up at Mayo, and me to a PGR mission. Jan was called over to the home to sit with her Mom who was now on hospice care. Jan spent the day and night with her as she made the transition from this life of joy and pain to the next one that promises to be much better. Bernice Emma Thielhorn joins her husband Fred Leroy who passed away in 2000. She was 92 years old and had been in failing health for the last few years. She left behind her daughters, my wife Jan and Paula Johnson. A man could not have asked for better in laws than Fritz and Bernice. I don't think that I will ever forget church in Alpha and "dinner" at her place afterwards with fried chicken, sweet corn, milk gravy and boiled potatoes, you get the picture? Anyhow, pretty much a life well lived for a farm girl from rural Minnesota that married her sweetheart when he returned from The War, raised two daughters, accepted two sons-in-law welcomed five grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Our daughter Rachel flew home for her funeral and later in the month we picked up her daughter Annika, who came for a week long stay. On a subject that everybody our age starts to get accustomed to are doctor visits for our selves and our parents assuming they are still with us. Thank goodness that does it for July. The first part of August found us driving to the Cities to meet the rest of Annika's family, home from Washington, D.C.. I did spend some time putzing with assorted bikes during this time too. My brother Phil and I took our Mom to the doctor one morning for a check up, she has been falling a lot lately, and by noon she was a resident at the rest home here in town. She is there to this day. In the interim I sold her car, and Jan and I cleaned out her house and got it on the market. It would be nice if it sold soon so that problem would be out of our hair, so to speak. On the 21st Jan and I drove down to the former Fairmont Army Air Field outside Fairmont, Nebraska along with half the drivers in the upper Midwest I think. From Omaha west it was bumper to bumper creeping down I-80. I was afraid that we would not get to the site I wanted to set up in and have to get off and head south trying to get into the path of totality. We did make it to the Air Field in time and parked next to some serious watchers with lots of gear. This is an experience that never fails to awe anyone that sees it. The two that I have seen before, we were the only people visible in any direction but not this time! Anything else that month was anti-climactic. So on to September. After Labor Day I rode west again with the GS out across Wyoming into northern Utah with idea of going as far as eastern Nevada, but the smoke from forest fires was so bad the visibility was under a mile in places and it was getting warm. From Logan south to Salt Lake City you couldn't even see the lake, so I detoured into northern Colorado and made my way home. The grandkids are keeping us running to soccer and volleyball games, and Jan and I are cleaning up Mom's house and taking care of her goats too. Football has started so we hosted a game at our place on a warm and sunny Sunday. Jan and I drove up to Wadena to spend a night with Paula and Steve and stopped at Leah's soccer game in Gibbon on the way home. My two brothers Phil and Paul and I took our Mom out for lunch for her birthday on the 29th, she's 97. October started with a lot of rain and cooling temperatures. I was helping Eli with some power trouble for the shop and he scored a 351 and transmission for the 64 Falcon he got from a friend, it's a work in progress. About that time Jan and I headed east for the DeFors house in Burke, Virginia. It's always about a two and a half day trip going out due to the fact I don't want to end a long day on the road in that kind of traffic on a two day trip, coming home showing up here tired is not such a big deal. Rachel, Jan and I did get down to the Vietnam Wall one day. I have been there several times but it never fails to impress, as I know a couple of names on the Wall. We stayed about a week and went home to more cleaning at Mom's house and a birthday party for Sam at his house in Rochester. We had some of our cedar siding replaced on the east and west ends of the house as it was looking tough in a few spots. I guess that is not bad life for the product which is 5/8 inch rough sawn cedar plywood that was first put up in 1975. I did get my Mom's car sold about as soon as I put it out in the driveway with a for sale sign, one less thing to think about. Jan and I were back and forth to the farm, Jan with goat trouble and me helping out with things. We are into November now and the weather cooled off naturally. We are still following our grandkiddos around to assorted activities, luckily gas is staying down somewhat. I did have a couple bikes out when there was a small window of nice weather. Jan has been seeing doctors at New Ulm for assorted pains, and we were to Rochester for Thanksgiving at the Theobalds. It did stay nice enough to be able to vacuum up leaves yet. December saw us moving Mom's stuff into a storage unit that I lined up the end of November. The house is essentially empty now and ready to put on the market. which I did a week later. I did make it to a couple of PGR missions after that. One in Fairmont for a USAF pilot who had flown B-52s, B-57s in VN among several types during his career. Jan and I were back to Rochester for Sam and Gus' Christmas program and I caught a PGR mission in Byron the next day. I spent some time in Eli's shop trying to get that old Falcon apart, with some success. On the 22nd we received word that our brother in law Steve Johnson had passed away. Christmas eve found us at St. Pauls' for Leah and Aaron's program. We had Christmas on Christmas day at the farm with both of my brothers and their wives, two of our children and their families. Just missing the DeFors this year as they stayed in the D.C. area. I don't blame them the weather has really turned brutally cold and some snow now too. Jan and I drove up to Wadena for Steve's funeral on Saturday in below zero temperatures. The entire funeral was indoors at their church and he was cremated so no burial is planned. They are going to spread his ashes at his golf course from an "urn" that looks like a red and white fishing bobber. We all got together at their house with the bobber in the middle of the table and it is very cool how not uncomfortable it was to have him right there. Anyhow, the next morning I did manage to get the truck started at -27, dropped Jan off at her sister's house and headed home. So that pretty much ties things up on this end. I know that I have probably skipped over a lot of details in this edition but there is a limit on how much detail I want on the web. I know that you all will just be dying to see the next chapter sometime in the new year. Have a happy New Year.
Tuesday, December 12, 2017
I have spent the last several months trying to get up the ambition to do some blogs since my last one in June. I think that I put another 5000 miles on the GS since that note but who's counting. So this will start my usual rambling narrative of the past year, although I am going to cut back on the rambling some. January, what can I say but the weather was on and off nasty, freezing rain, snow and cold, and bad roads. Jan and I were following Sam around for his basketball games in the Rochester area and also Leah and Aaron for their basketball games. Jan has been out at the farm helping out as I have at times also. I also started on a model of a Ducati Panigale 1199. I spent a lot of time on this one and if you look back in my blogs you can see the end result. I may include a photo. Jan also runs over to Windom to visit her Mom at the home on a regular basis. A trip to the dentist made another trip to Rochester required, he found a suspicious spot, so I had another biopsy done at Rochester. It must have been ok because I don't see any other notes. February started out with Jan and I on the road east bound again headed for Burke, Virginia. Hans' work has been taking him to Hawaii and this time he was taking Rachel along, so we were watching their gang for the coming week. We did some touring in that area, which is rich with Civil war sites among other things. We did manage to see Josiah play some basketball too, thank God for gps, I don't know how you navigate in that part of the world without it. Actually, the only place that I do use gps is in cities that I am unfamiliar with. About the time we returned home we had a spell of 60 degree weather followed by 4or 5 inches of snow one day. Mother Nature is such a teaser. Almost the whole gang met at a goat farm in Lakeville to look at goats, naturally Jan bought one and Lindsey got one too, so begins another story line. We spent some time out at the farm getting the goat shed ready for occupancy, with some lights that Eli scored from an acquaintance of his, also working on getting some wiring done in his shop. The last day of the month I was back in a doctor's office getting ready for some heart imaging and a stress test. March was more time out at the farm doing some more wiring and fixing some of the wiring and working on the Panigale model in the evenings. We were back to Rochester for basketball over the weekend and work at the farm getting ready for the goats arrival. The weather was teasing again so I did get a bike or two out of the garage for some exercise. The 6th saw 70 degree start with a finish of rain, hail, a couple tornados and snow, for crying in the soup! It must have been the year for it but I replaced batteries in Jan's car and 4 motorcycles in March. We spent the next weekend in Buffalo watching Sam's 4th grade team take the state title, they were undefeated for the season. And Jan and I drove home in snow that got worse the closer we got to St. James. I had an echocardiogram later in the month to finish up the latest round of tests, and finally got the all clear results, PTL. Brother Phil and I made the run to Rush City to Dennis Kirk for parts and a stop at Cambridge for burgers again. We think we have been making the trip up there for maybe 30 years. April began with a dead battery on the GS, it turned out an accessory I mounted over the winter had a very low current flow that sucked the battery down over several days. I found a lead that is only hot when the engine is running and fixed that one. Eli, Lindsey, Leah, Jan and I drove up to Lakeville to pick up the girls two goats. While we were gone the little goat Lindsey had gotten from the neighbors died somehow, very, very sad. Rachel, Joe and Annie drove here from Burke to spend a couple days. Jan's goat got sick and needed to go to the vets sitting on her lap wrapped in a blanket. Several injections later she recovered. I drove my Mom to an eye doctor appointment in Mankato, she is getting injections in one eye to help with macular degeneration. I traded our R1200RT of on a new Triumph Bonneville at Belle Plain just before taking off on another bucket list trip. This time I am trying to complete a trip south that I have attempted twice before. Eventually I did make it to Louisiana, jump the Mississippi into Mississippi and head north through Memphis, Kentucky and Illinois before the bad weather caught up with me, but then if you scroll back through my blogs you can read about that trip in detail. May started with a long bus trip to the Cities with my granddaughter Leah. It was pretty fun with stops around the capitol and a Twins game, that they won with 7 home runs. I brought our new Bonneville home and got busy breaking it in. We got the trailer out and loaded up for a weekend at Jackson of all places with a group of Jan's ex job friends. I managed to repair my 25 year old Honda mower that fell apart while mowing. Thank God for You tube videos on repair procedures. Also, Jan and I are following grandkids various activities in the area. In the meantime Jan is spending quite some time with her young goats as opposed to me, her old goat. Around my birthday I headed out on another bucket list ride, heading for Arizona ultimately. Down through Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado, New Mexico and to Kayenta, Arizona, which is south of Monument Valley. For the most part the weather co operated this time with fair skies and moderate temperatures. The return trip was up through Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota. So now I have ridden in every state west of the Mississippi and a few east of it too. June began with more doctor appointments, for Jan this time, one of her knees is giving her trouble. The main drawback to getting older, that body that you have been taking for granted is now looking for some payback and repair work. And now that grandkids are into soccer too. So more road trips in the area, and this includes some Patriot Guard missions too. Jan and I have doing some paneling in the basement to finish another area that has been hanging fire for an extended length of time. We have been spending more time out at the farm our family of children and grand children, and prior to the mosquito invasion we had some good times there. Jan's goat who was born with some identity issues had some surgery and is now officially Olivia. It seems as if the summer just keeps getting more busy all of the time, luckily the price of gas is staying down so it is not such a drag on our enthusiasm to run here and there. By the end of June I was getting our trailer out for our run to Lanesboro for the 4th of July campout. So I will take a break here and finish up with the last half of 2017 later on, as who knows what the rest of this year might bring? What with two finger typing and having to run upstairs and ask Jan how to spell some words,
Sunday, June 11, 2017
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Monday, April 3, 2017
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Jan and I spent a weekend in Buffalo, Minnesota attending our Grandson Sam's fourth grade basketball teams domination of their division. They ended the season undefeated and took the championship with determination and hard intelligent play. Their team shows the benefit of good players, good coaching, and a close group of kids who want to work hard at their craft. To have seen them last year and this, the improvement and co-ordination of the players was absolutely amazing. My brother Phil and his wife Laura had not seen them this year before last Saturday and were wowed by the level of play. One thing that I can't quite get over, is watching them play to the level that they do, running plays, passing the ball and fast breaks, to, when they are off the court being a bunch of not so regular 10 and 11 year olds. Jan and I were sitting with Gen and some parents and fans between games, and what were the members up to? Lying on the floor working math problems! Anyhow we spent Saturday night at Phil and Laura's house, which is a ten minute drive from the games' site at the Buffalo Senior High School. I think that the school had 8 basketball courts, and it looks as if more are under construction. Sam plays for the Lourdes team out of Rochester and probably will continue right on up through High school. I don't know if it is karma or what but it was Lourdes that beat Gen's St, James team for the State Championship in 1994 and now her sons will probably play for them. Our other Theobald grandson, Gus and I were watching one of the games and I pointed out Sam and his teammates on the floor and said "that's you next year", he wasn't so sure, but we'll see. One thing that helps is that their main coach, Scuba and Tom Week also coach, is the Lourdes high school coach too, so they could play together right through high school.
I have thrown in a few photos from the games. I shot a lot of frames over the 2 days, but for some reason the sport setting on my camera evidently is not working, as it should have stopped action but did not, so most of the half way good ones that I got were when nobody was moving. Being around this group of young men the last couple of years has somewhat restored my faith in the future. In the top photo, Scouba is in the upper right, and Sam, his son, is right below him. After the games Jan and I headed home in a snow storm that steadily got worse the closer we got to home. The last 35 miles were white knuckles at maybe 30 miles per hour. On Monday I had to get the trusty snow blower out to move 6-8 inches of snow out of the way.
On another note. Rachel e-mailed wondering if I had any photos of Joe playing basketball from when we were out there in Burke. I do, but the photo to e-mail procedure has changed again so I finally gave up trying to attach photos to an e-mail. Let's see if I can get lucky now? I actually got a short video to down load. Here are a couple of photos of grandson number one, Josiah DeFor, he's number 22. In the photos above, Sam Theobald is 23. So that about does it, although I have been working on a model of a Ducati Panigali 1199. This is the most intricate plastic model I have ever tried to assemble bar none. I figure, rather that coughing up huge dough for the real thing I would build the model and park it on the baby grand in the living room. Our 94 900 SSCR spent the first winter in our bedroom in front of the patio door. It was nice to look at the first thing in the morning, you know, bright red in the morning sun. So that about does it for now. Lemme know if you read this OK?
Friday, February 17, 2017
Jan and I just returned from our Navy family in Burke, Virginia. Hans was going back to the Barking Sands test range in Hawaii for a week, and if we could run out there, to Burke, Rachel could go along for a nice vacation. Hans is working on a project for the Navy, so when he was off they could spend some time together. We checked the weather forecasts and checked airline schedules and decided to drive out. With gas prices as low as they are now the fuel costs were not that bad. I did see $1.99 in Ohio, I think. It is a couple of days out and back of pretty hard driving. The truck traffic just seems to get worse all of the time, any more and they will almost be bumper to bumper on some of the interstates. We spent around 10 days at their place. Got to spend some time with the kiddos, watch Josiah play basketball a couple of times, and run to Target, and the grocery store more than once. Hans got home early Sunday morning and Rachel arrived later in the afternoon. They were not on the same flights, obviously, and in a kind of macabre sense, if one of the planes had been lost we wouldn't have lost both of them. I hate to think like that but sometimes thoughts run away with you. Anyhow, Jan and I spent our Anniversary driving down the interstate highway system on Tuesday wishing each other Happy Valentines Day too. Wow, it can't be 46 years already can it? I want the world to slow down a little, for us anyway. It seems as if things are accelerating with the grand kids, and Summer coming on, and getting bikes out for a run. I have a hunch that this coming year will not see me putting another 19,000 miles on like I did last year, but then who knows? Just for St. Jan, the last 46 years have been so good that I am going to wish for another 46. Know that I love you more now than that day in February 1971, OK? And last but not least it was Annika's Birthday on the 15th. She just turned 11. We got to see her at the hospital in Japan just hours after her arrival. So that is about it for now.