We have the Fix!

I’m deep in thought as I slowly move the paint roller across the wall. I do some of my best thinking while painting. As I tackle this little remodel project, I listen to music from Tom Petty and am put in a reflective mood.

Along with the wheels in my head turning, my body is being physically challenged. Doing anything in an RV tests one’s contortionist skills and I’m certainly testing mine in this 3 foot 4 inch by 2 foot water closet (toilet room). As I bend over the toilet (with the lid down, of course) to paint behind and around the toilet, I brush up against a freshly painted wall with my bare shoulder. Ah, time for a quick break!

I step over to the medicine cabinet mirror to wipe the paint off my shoulder and notice the round faded scar on my upper right arm … a scar from a smallpox vaccination that I received as a child. Hmm, smallpox? Another nasty virus!

A reflective mood!

A change in travel plans

A virus, a pandemic, a health concern, makes one think and reaccess priorities. Back in January while sitting in Arizona, I was thick in the research phase of our summer excursions. I had all these grandiose RV travel ideas that would begin from our summer home base in northern Wisconsin. These out and back trips would take us into Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Minnesota’s Northshore. I love Lake Superior and never get enough time exploring her shoreline. So, I couldn’t wait for summer to roll around and dive back into this beautiful part of the country with camera in hand.

By the time May rolled around, it became obvious that this new Covid-19 virus wasn’t just a normal flu bug, and therefore, it definitely wouldn’t be travel as usual. We had already pushed back our Phoenix departure date a couple of times and eventually started rerouting our journey and timeline to Wisconsin with consideration for restrictions due to the pandemic.

It was time for us to simplify our RV travel plans for the summer. A problem with the RV grey tank while en route to Wisconsin made simplifying those plans easy as well as necessary. Long story short, we fixed our RV ourselves and avoided the need for hunting down an RV repair facility that could get us into the shop in a timely manner … a real problem these days, plus we saved ourselves some serious moola in the process.

Under the belly of the RV – “I think I can fix this.”

The new RV travel plan

Our plan for the summer is not to travel, but to stay put on lakefront private property. Oh darn! Guess that means we’ll need to paddle the canoe more or give the pontoon boat a frequent workout. I believe Al and I are of an age where we don’t feel the necessity to be on the go exploring all the time, and we actually relish the quiet solitude found here in northern Wisconsin.

We’ve lived a blessed life filled with extensive travel and careers we loved. If we don’t make it back to the UP or Northshore this summer, we’re okay with that, and hopefully next summer, things will be back to travel as usual.

Ah, but we haven’t totally hibernated. We’ve taken little jaunts up to Duluth for shopping and hiking, but mostly shopping (Home Depot). Since we’re hanging with family this summer and not moving around, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to freshen up the RV with a little remodeling … hence the painting of the bathroom. I originally wanted to do a major remodel which would include replacing the flooring but nixed that idea once the Midwest summer heat and humidity set-in in full force. I think it might be wise doing most of the projects when we’re back in arid Phoenix. Too much humidity could play havoc on those projects.

Problem Solving

In addition to the RV projects, I managed to repair some damage to the pontoon boat bimini. I brought my sewing machine with me to Wisconsin thinking I might crank out some new face masks, which I still might do, but the machine came in quite handy to accomplish repairing a few rips and replacing zippers on the pontoon canvas bimini. Once repaired, it was lake time. Thank goodness for my sewing skills … thanks mom.

Although all the repairs and projects have kept us pretty busy, we’ve still managed to get in plenty of fun-time with Al’s sister and her husband. After all, it’s their property that we’re camped on for the summer.

So what do four baby boomers do when they hang out together in the hinterland? Of course, there’s the boating and splashing in the lake like twelve-year-olds. Then there’s the eating and drinking accompanied by problem-solving conversations and more drinking. Have I told you how my culinary and bartending skills have improved significantly with all the practice I’m getting lately?

When the weather is bad, we’ll watch a movie or sit on the screened-in deck and watch the storm clouds pass … more drinking and world problem-solving ensue. Along with light-hearted jovial tales, we’ll discuss more serious topics which brings me full circle to the beginning of this post about that smallpox vaccine scar on my arm.

Sitting on the deck watching the storm!

While the four of us discuss current affairs, we can’t help but feel a sense of déjà vu. History seems to be repeating itself in little ways. We come up with a list of events from our past that impacted our lives.

  • In the ’60s/’70s, the U.S. was involved in the Vietnam War. Today, it’s the Middle East and soldiers are thanked for their service. Back then, those serving in the military were spat on, had raw eggs thrown at them, and were verbally assaulted. Hanoi Jane and folks that protested the war or dodged the draft were forgiven, but Vietnam Vets have never forgotten.
  • Viruses; I personally had the chickenpox, mumps, and German measles (rubella). In the sixties, polio still existed in the U.S., although rare. I remember a young classmate who wore braces on her legs from having had polio. In the ’80s, we were introduced to HIV and Aids. This was a scary time as there were no meds or treatments for this perplexing virus. The diagnosis was a death sentence and many of us lost at least one friend due to Aids.
  • In the late ’70s, my high school was evacuated a couple of times due to racial riots. In 1991/92, riots broke out over the treatment of Rodney King.
  • During my high school years, the war on drugs was in full force. Random school locker searches by teams of law enforcement officers accompanied by drug-sniffing German Shepards took place monthly. And here we are in 2020 and the war on drugs continues.
  • In the ’70s and ’80s, the airline industry was in turmoil and furloughs were a part of their business model. I predict the airline industry is in for another rough patch and history is on the verge of repeating itself, unfortunately.

How much has really changed over the past sixty years? People are people and you can’t legislate morality or respect. During our happy hour conversations, we share our opinions and potential solutions for the problem … whatever the flavor problem of the evening might be… one of us can usually come up with a fix cause we’re a group of edumacated mature individuals.😆

Now implementing our fix may not be perceived in a favorable light, but hey, it’s only a thought and we’re usually under the influence of spirits while coming up with these ideas.

Since the four of us grew up just west of Chicago, one evening we came up with a solution for the soaring crime and violence in the city … all the southside Grandma’s need to embrace their inner Paul Kersey character and take their communities back from the gangs. Can we get the Hill Street Blues to go along with that plan? Okay, kidding … or am I? Did I mention, we may have watched a couple of Charles Bronson movies during last week’s tornado warning?

Okay maybe some of our solutions are questionable, but perhaps someone like Sigurd Olson was onto something with his profound and thought-provoking words.

Joys come from simple and natural things; mist over meadows, sunlight on leaves, the path of the moon over water. Even rain and wind and stormy clouds bring joy. We humans need wilderness. It is a spiritual necessity, an antidote to the high pressure of modern life, a means of regaining serenity and equilibrium … only when one comes to listen, only when one is aware and still, can things be seen and heard – Sigurd F. Olson, Listening Point

So now ya know what life is like around my neck of the woods. How’s life treating you?

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75 thoughts on “We have the Fix!

    1. We are fortunate to have family with such a beautiful property with room for us to park our RV. And oh yeah, the conversations that ensue after a few cocktails can be entertaining. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A little peace and serenity does much for the soul. It sounds like you have a wonderful and safe place to spend summer. Oh and keep trying to solve the problems, we need all the help we can get. 😊

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    1. Haha! Not sure our problem-solving methods are the best, but we can’t do much worse than our politicians 😏 We’re very fortunate to have a beautiful place to stay for the summer.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You’ve picked an awesome place to lay low for the summer. We are on the hunt for a pontoon boat, nothing yet in our price range but I’m hoping after Labor Day we can find one. It’ll certainly make the time pass a little quicker. We’re thankful we have a relatively safe place to hang out for the summer and doubt we’ll go to CO in September but instead hang out here until late October. No surprise Al was able to fix the grey tank, good job Al. It’s a crazy time but yes we’ve lived through them before. Dave’s brother has had Aids since before I’ve been part of the family. The race riots of the 60’s/70’s were prevalent where I grew up in TX, and unfortunately, there’s still a long way to go. We know a vaccine can be developed, just a matter of time. Enjoy the rest of your summer on the lake.

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    1. You’ll love having a pontoon boat. We’ve had fun using it for fishing as well as just tooling around the lake. Yeah, we’ve been through lots in the past and we’ll get through this. It just maybe a bit challenging. I’m so glad we aren’t starting off our full-time RV journey these days and feel badly for those that are. Hope your place in TX wasn’t impacted by the storm.

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    1. Thanks Debbie. We’re enjoying another summer in the Northland and will probably return again next summer. I’m hoping to hang the peel and stick wallpaper sometime this week depending on the humidity. I’ll definitely share pics when the water closet project is done.

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  3. So glad you were able to go north for the summer. There is peace and serenity along a shoreline, but it comes with a canyon or mountain, too. History is funny, people read about but often we don’t learn from the experience of others, or even ourselves. Sometimes it takes more than one time at it to get it right. Keep enjoying the north, stay well and healthy. Peace.

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    1. Hi Clay, yes there is definitely a sense of peace along the shoreline. Hope you are enjoying some lake time yourself. As a high schooler, I hated history class, but as an adult, I understand the need to learn about history so history doesn’t repeat itself. I also now enjoy learning about it. Guess it just took me a few years to embrace 😏

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  4. We took what will probably be our vacation this year. We went to Newburyport, MA for lunch and to walk around the harbor. Fried clams and a lobster roll!
    I also picked up a shirt and medal for a virtual 10K I ran earlier this month.
    When we get to the end of this summer I know I will feel disappointed that we didn’t go more than 50 miles from home.
    But it could be worse.

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  5. LOL, I have a few girlfriends who get together once a week, and have a happy hour. The happy hour turned into many hours, starting at 4 and ending at 9! A month ago I quite drinking, because it seemed I couldn’t control myself during our happy hours! Georges first response to my announcement was, are you quitting forever, my response was heck NO! I m just taking a break! Glad to hear you are safely tucked away with family.
    SKP Hugs,
    Diana Ruelens

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    1. Nice to hear from you Diana. I’m with ya on the break from drinking. So far, I’m on a one week hiatus, but I assure you, the problem solving is better (or at least more entertaining) while under the influence 🤣 Hope you and George are doing well and still get in some crabbing.

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  6. Good to hear how you and Al are fairing well this summer. It sounds like you are enjoying your relaxation while working on maintenance and renovations. It must be tough living in such a picturesque setting with so many photo ops outside your door. Looks like your camera is getting a workout.

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    1. Haha! It’s a tough job but I’m up for the challenge 😆 I’m actually leaving the camera behind when canoeing and have enjoyed just being in the moment. (but I’ll admit, I always regret not taking the camera). We’ve decided to leave the renovations for another time and just enjoy the summer.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds like a good idea. I do the same with my camera. Whenever I leave it behind, I usually pull out my cell phone and regret not having the Sony. Stay safe.

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  7. I have never been to Duluth – is it a cool town?? My bartending skills are off the charts too. I have been getting recipes from the barefoot contessa. If you try it, be forewarned, they are a little strong. things could get ugly. LOL. Glad you are enjoying a peaceful summer. 🙂

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    1. Duluth is a cute town with some lovely parks, but my favorite part is along the Northshore stretching from Duluth to Grand Marais … extremely picturesque. Yeah, this quarantine stuff can be dangerous regarding bartending skills.😋

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ingrid and Al,

    Gotta say: “Good Rant”! Wish we could have thrown in our two cents, but you pretty well covered the bases…. 🙂

    We are over half way through our Sumer work/camping (way different than Glamping)….

    Stay well, and hope to see you in Phoenix, or at our place if you want to come that way.

    Hugs,

    dc&S

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    1. When we see ya back in Phoenix, we’d love to hear your two cents. Time is flying … can’t believe you’re halfway through the work camping gig. Hope you’re still enjoying yourselves. Take care and safe travels. Keep us posted on your planned arrival to Pioneer.

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  9. Ingrid, it sounds like you and Al have arrived in the Land of Contentment, and that’s such a lovely and restorative place to be. The Sigurd Olson quote is perfectly appropriate and, oh, so true. Even your photos seem peaceful and contemplative. Well, except for that storm photo – that’s just downright scary! Enjoy the rest of your summer!

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    1. Yeah, those storms can get scary and Al and I can’t believe we used to tent camp in this weather. Actually, we’d paddle and portage and need to seek some sort of shelter when these storms would hit. The RV is much more comfortable and we are definitely feeling a sense of contentment and gratefulness for the comforts of an RV.

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  10. I can’t tell you how many problems we’ve solved while inebriated. Actually, I’m not sure how anyone solves any problem while sober… Indeed, I think times like these call for plenty of booze and plenty of nature. So, camping, basically. 😂

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    1. It is indeed! We’re staying just east of Hayward which I think is about a 30-60 minute drive west of Minocqua. Beautiful country up here. I used to vacation near here every summer as a child. So, it has been a joy to return.

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  11. Being able to fix your own RV is key! It was handy before (to save time and money), but it is almost a necessity right now, in these pandemic times. I’m fortunate with a husband like Mark. We’ve always fixed as much as we can in our RVs and sailboats. That way, you learn even more about the rig, you can trust what you’re doing and that you’re doing your best, and you know who’s to blame when something goes wrong. And it’s much cheaper, of course. 🙂

    I love your photos, Ingrid. Yes, simplicity is very rewarding, especially in nature. I think we are all taking it easy this summer. It’s hard to plan anything as a nomad!

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    1. Thank you Liesbet. Surprisingly, I haven’t taken many photos this summer. Just cranking out projects and watching the scenery… relaxation.

      My dad told us when we bought our RV to get good at fixing things ourselves. The day we can’t is the day we should sell and I agree with him. We’ve heard and experienced ourselves the half a** repairs that occur at dealerships and the expenses for a less than optimal fix. I’m sure Mark became very good at fixing the boat. So, this RV stuff is probably a lot easier.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think there’d be less violence if folks in cities could get out into nature and unwind. My two cents! We prefer doing the fixes ourselves providing we have the tools. Sometimes, we do wonder if we’re getting in over our heads, but we always find a way to get it done.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Drove by Breach Academy in Overland Park. Tried to taking a photo from the truck. Was thinking you guys would have appreciated a photo. A financial company is using it today.

    Our daughter is in her 30’s and mentioned there is so much going on in her lifetime. I remind her we are experiencing it also as we are still alive. Stuff happens and the years just click away.

    Karen and I are finally heading to cooler weather up north.

    Stay safe,

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    1. Glad to hear you’re on your way north and enjoying the journey. Gosh, Flight Attendant training at TWA in Overland Park seems like a lifetime ago. I wouldn’t even recognize the building.
      Yeah, there seems to be a lot going on in the world right now, but we’ve already seen these challenging times in years past, and thank goodness, we’re still alive to live through these, huh! 😃

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah, after what you’ve been through, I wouldn’t want to fly either. We’re not doing much exploring this summer and playing it safe. Hopefully, we can get together for coffee when I get back to town in the fall … we’ll see!

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  13. Ingrid,
    As usual your photos are wonderful. I am glad your are loving the beautiful place you are able to spend the summer. There is something about being in a RV that causes you to be more in tune with your surroundings: the outdoors, the weather, the wind, and just nature in general.
    Enjoy!

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  14. What a gorgeous spot you have to park your RV and family to chat to must be the cherry on the top. It sounds idyllic. Yes, we’ve been through difficult times before and survived. We’re missing being able to travel overseas to see family this year, but remaining positive that things will improve before 2021. Sounds like you’ve been very busy. Hopefully by the time you get around to sewing those masks, they’ll not be needed. 😃

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    1. I’m sure it’s difficult not to be able to travel to see family. We’re lucky in that respect and are definitely enjoying our environment. Fingers crossed, 2021 will be back to normal. Can’t come soon enough!

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  15. Ingrid,
    You’re back! Your public has missed you and your awesome pictures. it appears you are overcoming the travel restrictions quite well. We’re still on the move, but always have masks at the ready (and seem to be the only ones doing so in Montana). I enjoyed your reflections. In college, we could not wear our ROTC uniforms my senior year due to the negative impact of Vietnam Nam and how fellow students reacted to us. Sad. Now, I wear a “Retired Army” cap everywhere and am thanked by all. Enjoy Wisconsin…looks lovely. Joe

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    1. Ah, Joe, you are too kind, thank you, and I’m so glad you and Helen are enjoying your travels. Yes, the Vietnam era was not a proud moment in American history. Protests and riots never change anything.

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  16. Glad you’re able to soak in the beauty of our northwoods. Your post reminds me of the meme circulating that says we are all in the same storm but traveling in different boats …. while some view the restrictions with COVID as an opportunity to slow down and enjoy time with family and friends, others are trying to figure out how to keep their home due to virus-related job loss, or trying to juggle jobs while also expected to facilitate distance learning for young students, or worried about the health of loved ones in jurisdictions that have decided to approach the virus with a cavalier attitude. It’s a roller coaster for sure, and I am grateful that our opportunities for exploring the outdoors are still there, as it really does refuel the spirit.

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    1. I always enjoy returning to this part of the country. There’s something about the Northwoods that I think everyone should experience … ‘refuel the spirit’, indeed. There’s nothing like paddling a canoe in the hinterland and being responsible for oneself to truly understand what’s important. No cell phones, no handouts, no help when there’s no one else around … builds a level of convenience and self reliability … love it and more people need to experience it!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Sorry to hear you are not able to travel. We have decided to go ahead with plans we made last winter. We are just being careful, staying away from peak times at places, wearing our masks, washing our hands and keeping out distance. Campgrounds seem about normal for summer, but with more “first timers”. Stay tuned.

    But sounds like you all are putting the down time to good and fun use. Keep posting.

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    1. We’ve chosen not to travel after I attempted to make reservations at a few different places to no avail. We still could probably find something if I really put in some effort, but our spot here is pretty darn nice. Thus, we decided this was the perfect summer to chill and focus our energies on other things beside moving around. The break is really nice … perhaps not nice for our waistline from all the eating and drinking 🤣 but we’ll work it off later!

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Ingrid, I’m a little older than you but I remember all those thing from the past. I have a good friend from high school who had polio as a child. And I have my small pox vaccination scar. One thing is for sure, none of knows what tomorrow will bring.

    I’ve been wanting to paint our small toilet room in the rv. Did you have to do anything special to prepare to paint? Ours has ugly wallpaper that I’m afraid will destroy the wall if I try to take it off. Any tips would be appreciated!

    Enjoy your summer! Don’t work too hard!

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    1. You are so right that none of us knows what tomorrow will bring. Since Al is ten years older than me, he was in the thick of those happenings in the 60s/70s and remembers those times well … not fondly.

      Toilet room – I did a good washing of the walls and a light sanding. I’ll forgo any future sanding and wouldn’t recommend it. I don’t think it was necessary. I used a primer with the word “Gripper” in the name. There are different brands. Any are fine from what I hear, but the ‘gripper’ primer is a must. I let that dry overnight and then I used two coats of Behr ultra paint (purple can) in an eggshell finish. One quart was plenty. Feel free to email me for further info. I’m super happy with the results and need to let the paint cure a month before I hang some peel and stick wallpaper on one wall to finish up the project.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I love your “fix” ideas! Lol Also, I have to say that I thinking my alcohol imbibing has increased during these times. From sometimes on the weekend, to several nights a week! Yikes! How am I going to answer that question when I go for my yearly doctor’s visit?? 🙂
    It’s a lovely spot you have, and would be easier to stay put, I think. With AZ being a hot spot for the virus right now, who knows id we will feel like taking the chance next year? That would be hard.
    I have to add that my Hubby served in Vietnam. His port of entry when he returned was San Francisco. He was called names, and spat on. To this day, he will not visit one of my favorite cities on the West Coast. I go with my girlfriends, as I respect his feelings…
    Best to you and Al.

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    1. We do have a great place to spend the summer and I am very grateful for it especially this year. And I’m with you – we are normally weekend drinkers but have started imbibing during the week as well 😱 I believe our husbands are similar in age, and thus, served in the military during the same years. My husband prefers not talking about those years. Sad times!
      I’ll sure miss your visit to AZ this winter, but it might be wise to remain home. The forecast regarding Covid and the flu is not looking good from what we’ve been hearing. My SIL works for a county health dept. and is at the forefront of all things contagious. 😔

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  20. Well, you certainly covered just about everything in this post, Ingrid. You easily manage to keep busy while enjoying your leisure time. I’m glad you are staying safe and healthy while saving money working on the RV. Here, we are a week from closing on our construction loan AND, in a twist, my mother’s home that went up for sale in San Diego. I will get to see it for the last time next month when we attend her delayed memorial service. 2020 is sure full of changes. Focusing on the positive is the only way to cope. Enjoy your time on the lake with your loved ones ❤

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    1. Yes, we’re keeping busy while staying socially distanced. A win all around. I’m sure it’s bitter sweet having your mom’s house sell, but life moves on, and I know you’ll enjoy your new chapter in Spokane. 2020 is definitely a year of changes. Enjoy your summer travels.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. You’ve got a beautiful place to stay put for this summer! Sometimes, nothing seems new, just recyled from the past. Be safe and well there. 😊

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    1. Yep, we definitely have a great spot to spend the summer and escape the Phoenix heat. I like your view … ‘recycled from the past’. Isn’t that the truth? Hope life in Vegas is going ok. Having lived there for four years, I can’t imagine how businesses are holding up with all the restrictions.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! I like living here sans the traffic, but how the businesses are holding up I’m not sure. Some restaurants are open again for inside dining but with restrictions. I just stay home most of the time now, it’s safe. I’m in the northwest area of the valley. Enjoy that beautiful lake, and hopefully some skiing and swimming! Be safe.

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        1. We are definitely enjoying our lake time. When we lived in Las Vegas, we lived in Peccole Ranch. Summerlin hadn’t been built south of Charleston yet. We used to go out to Red Rock Canyon regularly long before a fee station was installed. I just looked at a map of Vegas and didn’t recognize a lot of those roads. They were just starting to work on those beltways when we moved away. So I can only imagine, with that growth, how traffic must be.

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