North Bend, Ohio

We’re staying several days at the Indian Springs Campground in North Bend, Ohio. The campground is located in the southwest corner of Ohio on State Line Road, the border between Ohio and Indiana and about two miles north of the Ohio River dividing Ohio from Kentucky. Folks here can chose to shop in any of three states based on where the best tax advantage is. One thing I’ve noticed is that gasoline is the least expensive in Indiana and by far the most expensive in Kentucky.

This is a nice jewel of a campground. It’s somewhat expensive (base rate for full hookups is $49/night). Several discounts are available with being a veteran worth a 10% discount. The sites are fairly close together, but do have a plot of green grass, a fire ring, and a picnic table between the sites. The sites are also not nose to tail so the motorhome door doesn’t open out to someone else’s door. There are a limited number of pull-throughs. Most sites are back-in and most of them line two sides of a medium-sized lake. Paddle boats and canoes are available to rent. The lake is well populated with fish, ducks, and geese. The kids also can enjoy a nice little playground.

The wifi is available and very limited. If anyone in the campground is streaming a movie or something from YouTube, the wifi crawls to a stop.

The office / store has limited hours. It doesn’t open until about 10am and closes around 6pm. The campground is very popular and generally full. Reservations ahead of time would have been helpful as we needed to move to a different site a couple of days after we arrived. There is a father-son-operated barber shop on site (haircuts $14). I had my hair cut there to a delightful conversation. The barber shop is very busy and the barbers are also the campground owners / operators.

Access to the campground is Very Easy … unless one uses TomTom GPS! Our TomTom put us on a narrow, no-outlet road about 15 miles from where we really should have been after leading us over hill and dale for about 20 minutes after exiting I-74 some twenty miles before the real exit. Fortunately there was a large farm complex at the end of the road with room for us to turn around and let Google Maps get us to the right place a half-hour later.

Five out of five stars.



What: July – September 2017 Road Trip
When: 27 July – 1 August 2017
Where: North Bend, OH
Campground: Indian Springs Campground
3306 State Line Rd
North Bend, OH 45052
Phone: 513-353-9244 or 888-550-9244
Email: Unknown
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


Waukee, Iowa

We left the campground in Ogallala, Nebraska around 9:30am. The weather was cool, humid, with heavy overcast. About noon the rain started. It was very heavy through Lincoln and Omaha and in some parts of western Iowa. We had lunch at a Wendy’s restaurant in Grand Island. We got off at the 2nd Grand Island exit and the drive into town was Very Long! Very few choices for gasoline. We arrived in Waukee (Exit 117 on I-80 Eastbound) at about 5:15pm, stopped at a HyVee store to pick up dinner and a few items. Checked into the campground at 6:30pm.

The campground is in a wooded, rural area on the west side of a small lake. The trees in the campground are lovely, old, and very tall. Some sites are not very level. Several of the pull-through sites are water / electricity only, no sewer. The dump station is close and convenient on the way out.

Wifi is just OK. 0.5mb up and down. Strong signal at our campsite.

We camped in site 29, a pull-through with water and electric. Hookups were convenient and in good shape. Marta, the check-in clerk, is a delight.

What is needed to get to 5 stars: More level sites, better wifi, more pull-through sites with sewer.



What: July – September 2017 Road Trip
When: 26 July 2017
Where: Waukee, Iowa
Campground: Timerline RV Campground
31635 Ashworth Rd
Waukee, IA 50263
Phone: 515-987-1714
Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars


Ogallala, Nebraska

We drove away from Heather’s house in North Salt Lake at 7:30 am. We stopped for gas in Green River and Laramie, Wyoming. Lunch was was out of the fridge in the RV at a pull-over area west of Laramie. We arrived in Ogallala about 7:30pm, but for some reason the cell system had already put us in the Central Time Zone. Nina was very tired.

The campground is just south of the freeway. It’s a nice, well maintained campground. All sites are level. The center area of the campground is all gravel. Pull-throughs are side-by-side opposing. That is, head to tail. The sites are very close together. New picnic tables are at each site.

The three stars are due to the closeness of the sites to each other. We didn’t use the wifi, so no report on that.

The price was excellent and they gave us a 10% veteran’s discount.



What: July – September 2017 Road Trip Night 2
When: 25 July 2017
Where: Ogallala, Nebraska
Campground: Sleepy Sunflower RV Park
221 Road East 85
Ogallala, NE 69153
Phone: 55-987-1714
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

A Year Older … Not Necessarily Wiser!

The Valley Below Page, Arizona
The Valley Below Page, Arizona
For one day out of the year, Nina and I are the same age. That was yesterday. Today she’s a day older and I’m a year older. I’ve made it all the way to 72 years of age. And we’re in the process of going full circle. I was born in Tooele, Utah. Tomorrow I’ll make the downpayment on a house to be built for us in Tooele, Utah. After looking all up and down the area, that turned out to be the best option for us.

We’ve just returned from a week-long visit to our daughter and her four children in Chandler, Arizona. We had a delightful visit and enjoyed getting to know our three grandsons down there again and to really get to know our new granddaughter. She was just a year old when we left on the mission, so she has no memory of us. Our granddaughter did a great job of teaching her about us so the visit with her went extremely well. Our daughter rode back with us from Chandler and will fly back home later this afternoon.

Since we now live in North Salt Lake rather than in Hawaii, I needed to get enrolled with a new doctor at the VA Medical Center in Salt Lake. Dr. Lebedoff has taken over those duties from Dr. Uchida. She was excellent and I received outstanding medical care while I was over there. She apparently finished at about the same time as well as she no longer works for the VA…. My move here was definitely timely as I would have been seeing a new doctor anyway! In preparing for my first meeting with Dr. Lebedoff I put together a list of all the significant medical issues I have. The list was not only impressive but somewhat depressive. It’s a long list and in many ways I’m pleased to see the 72nd birthday and feel as well as I do!

So, Happy Birthday Nina (yesterday) and Happy Birthday Me (today). we’re on our way to another year of adventures! Ta ta for now!

And Suddenly, I’m a Great-Grandfather!

Welcome to the world, Crew Strader! Somewhere about 5:30pm MST on February 19th Crew made his entrance. Details are sketchy, however the most important detail is that he is well, healthy, and strong.

We’re now a five-generation family! We’ll soon have to make a family trip to Soda Springs to get this relatively rare event recorded as a picture for the future. I started to write “… event recorded on film …” but we don’t do that anymore. We need a new cliché.

Many, many years ago we were living in an off-base housing complex near what was then called Johnson AFB, Japan and gathered with a few other couples playing pinochle. One of the fellows was a doctor on call at the small medical center on base. The hospital itself was then at Tachikawa AFB (also now non-existant), about 45 minutes away. He was called into the clinic for an imminent delivery of a baby without time to transport to the hospital (side note: our two oldest daughters were born at that hospital). About an hour later he came back. One of the ladies asked, “What was it? A boy or a girl?” He thought for a minute and replied, “I don’t remember. I just know it was a keeper!”

Crew Strader is a definitely a keeper. Congratulations Stephanie and Randy!

Please Stop Trying to Sell Me What I Just Bought!

Vegetable Steamer from Amazon
Nina has been looking for a few days for a particular vegetable steamer. We didn’t find it anywhere. We were at one of the Walmart Super Centers I called up the image on and asked some Walmart employees if they had it in the store. They didn’t, so I placed the Amazon One-Click order.

By the time We got home, the same thing showed up in my Facebook feed. It’s on my Instagram feed as well. Why do they do that? I’ve already purchased the item. I don’t need another one, but Nina might be interested in similar cooking stuff. I just put the image from the item on the left … I didn’t include the link because you probably don’t want to click on it and suddenly have your Facebook feed filled with advertisements for it!

Amazon isn’t the only one who does that! In fact, they’re not even the worst offenders. Banggood, the purveyor of everything Chinese, fills my computer with advertisements for everything I looked at with preference for the couple of items I actually purchased. Over and over again. I like Banggood, I just wish they weren’t so aggressive about trying to sell me what I’ve already purchased.

North Salt Lake … Temporary Home!

The View From the Bedroom Window
The View From the Bedroom Window

We arrived at the Salt Lake Airport on January 28th which seems like just yesterday. Time to get back into posting a bit more often! Much has happened and it’s easy to forget. We’re staying at our daughter’s home in North Salt Lake, Utah, which is high up on the hillside overlooking Bountiful and the Great Salt Lake. It’s a beautiful home with breath-taking views. It is delightful being here with out daughter’s family … one of whom will be delivering our first great-grandchild any day now (the due date is February 17th).

So, what have we been up to? As little as possible in some ways. It’s been good not to have a heavy, tight schedule. So, here’s a brief recap:

Final Mission Activities

Our daughter Heather drove us up to Pocatello on January 31st to retrieve our cars and so we could meet with President Kim Smith, the Pocatello Stake President, to be released. The release process takes about twenty seconds … “You’re released!” he says, we take off our badges, and we’re officially no longer missionaries. We visited with him for more than an hour and had a very nice conversation about the mission.

On Sunday, February 12th, Nina and I reported on our mission to the Pocatello Stake High Council at 7:50am and then spoke in the Juniper Hills sacrament meeting, our old home ward. With that, all of our mission obligations were completed. We’ll have our membership records moved to Heather’s ward for the time being.

Rescuing Our Cars

When we left on the mission, we put both of our cars (a 2006 Toyota Avalon and a 2013 Toyota Rav4) in storage in the old navy gun plant in Pocatello along with our 2003 twenty-four foot motor home. On the 31st we got both cars running, drove them over to a nearby Walmart, and had the batteries replaced and the tires filled up with air. Amazingly, both cars started right up with a battery booster and ran just fine. The tires weren’t flat, either, as I had expected them to be … they were down to around 15 pounds of pressure, enough to drive them over to Walmart.

The Avalon, however, wasn’t driving very well. Nina took it into the shop where we found that the CV joints needed replacing along with the rack and pinion steering. The Rav4 seems to have survived with no other issues.

The motorhome is still in storage, but I’ll need to retrieve it before the end of February (or else pay another month’s storage fees). I’m thinking that I’ll locate a place here in North Salt Lake and move it down here so I can get it ready for a trip out east later this spring.

RootsTech 2017

I’ve wanted to go to this genealogy conference for several years. It has grown to be quite massive; more than 30,000 registered attendees this year. Many were there for only the Saturday sessions, but every day was crowded at the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City. Both Nina and I registered and attended sessions all four days. I learned a lot and had a great time. My cousin Ted Larsen (I knew him as Barry growing up) from New Mexico came up for the conference and we were able to spend some time together.

Genealogical DNA was the BIG TOPIC for the conference. We both picked up testing kits from Ancestry and are looking forward to seeing what comes back from the test. We also picked up a gravestone marker kit from a new startup Living Tags. This is a aluminum marker to put on a gravestone (I think it could be used to mark just about anything, not just gravestones). The marker has a QR code which goes to a website which can be custom built for the dead person. Sometime later this week we’ll start building up the information so we can put the marker on Trevor’s gravestone. If it works out and looks OK, I think I’ll order one to put on mother and dad’s grave.

Salt Lake Veterans Medical Center

Now that I’m no longer in Hawaii, I needed to transfer my medical care from the Honolulu VA Center to Salt Lake. I was able to quickly get an appointment to do the intake processing. I now have several upcoming appointments to continue the care I was getting in Hawaii. I had an excellent primary care physician at the VAMC in Honolulu and felt like I ended my mission in better physical condition than when I started. I’m hopeful we can continue that here in Salt Lake City.

So, that’s what I’ve been up to the past two weeks. It’s nice to be back on the mainland and in North Salt Lake. We’re acclimating to the altitude and the cold weather. Fortunately, spring isn’t very far away!

‘Til next time … ta ta for now!

Mission Coming To An End

Saying Goodbye to the Laie Tram Tour at the Polynesian Cultural Center
Saying Goodbye to the Laie Tram Tour at the Polynesian Cultural Center
I’m writing this after having slept twelve and a half hours! After a very hectic three weeks, we got on an Alaskan Airlines flight that left Honolulu at 9am on January 28th. Five and a half hours later we were in Seattle where we found a food court and a much needed Wendy’s sandwich. We arrived at the Salt Lake Airport at 8:45pm Salt Lake time. As we got off the airplane it was immediately clear that we were no longer in Hawaii! It was cold, very cold. Fortunately not a lot of wind. But it did just suck my breath away! We got inside the terminal to a very warm welcome from our daughter Heather and her family.

We’ll be staying with our daughter Heather and her husband Ty for the next while to give us some time to unwind from the missionary life and decide what to do next. We sold our house in Pocatello. Do we buy another house? If so, where? We want to serve another mission. When should that be? Should we rent something and then put everything back in storage again? And those are just the major questions we’ll be considering and discussing.

I picked up a heavy chest cold last Tuesday. I was able to get in to see my doctor in Honolulu on Wednesday morning who prescribed the necessary medications to control the cough. I was pretty much in a daze the last few days we were there.

Our replacements arrived, fresh and naive, Wednesday evening. They spent some time with us on shift on Thursday morning, worked the tram tour buses in the afternoon, spent Friday afternoon with us on shift, and that was it. They got a much more thorough turnover than we did! We arrived on a Wednesday afternoon and twenty minutes later, Elder and Sister Rose drove away to the airport.

We got up at 3am Honolulu time on Saturday morning and finished packing. We drove away from our apartment at 4:45am. Stopped at McDonalds for breakfast on the way, turned in the car, and then waited a half-hour for the agricultural inspection station to open. All checked bags have to go through this inspection machine (hint: if you’re taking something illegal, put it in your carryon. That isn’t checked). By 7am we were through security and waiting at the gate. That was about the time it started feeling real for me. Our missionary service was ending.

On Tuesday we’ll go to Pocatello and hopefully resurrect two automobiles that have been in covered storage for the past 23 months. I’m really hoping that jumper cables and a good air pump to inflate the tires is all that we’ll need to get them running again. At 7pm we’ll meet with our Stake President Kim Smith and be released. That’ll be the formal completion date. Wonder if I can sleep another twelve hours tonight??