Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Colombia, South America

We are in South America, visiting Ellen's son Matt and his fiance, Nohora Garcia. We are staying at their finca (farm), about 9 acres on a mountainside near Medellin Colombia. They have dubbed it "La Bella Fonte", 'beautiful fountain. Above are some of the many waterfalls on the finca. There are tons of brick walkways around up and down the steep slopes...Very tropical looking trees and plants and full of flowers. A beautiful environment!

View of the main house at the finca. Sunken lliving room w/fireplace, master bedroom up, second bedroom and small apartment on main floor. Beautful open dining room leading out to tiled patio.

View of the alley and lake from the patio.

Tim Ellen and Nohora in Cartagena posing in front of a Fernando Botero sculpture. This city is the oldest in Colombia, and the old city is actually inside a walled fort to protect it from pirates.

Matt and Nohora at the beach near Cartagena

Matt Ellen and Tim at Las Cascado near the finca

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not so fair weather

We are still in Livingston, at the Escapees Park (the original). The weather has not been bad (like the cold and snow in Iowa), but it hasn't been that good either. After quite a while with below freezing temps at night, we are now having overcast skies, and light rain, with more to come this week. I shouldn't complain I guess.

We went to the Livingston Christmas Parade last weekend and enjoyed that. It was a quite long parade, with vehicles of all types bedecked with holiday lights. We were amazed at the crowds that watched, considering Livingston is about 5300 people. I guess a lot were there for the fair as well, as there about 75 vendors set up the next street over from the parade route. We did sample some fudge and some salsa, but it amazing how much stuff that was for sale we don't need. Living in an RV makes shopping unnecessary.

We skyped with two daughters these past couple of days too. Erin and Jenn got their Skype working and that was fun. We have been doing this with Matt in Colombia for a good long time.

My Packers keep rolling, annihilating Oakland on Sunday....still undefeated!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Livingston TX

Howdy Pardners...

We're not exactly deep in the heart of Texas, but about an hour north of Houston. We are staying at an Escapees Park, their original, 'Rainbow's End'. Escapees is a national RV group of which we are members.
We are here via the invite of Larry and Rose Miller, who we met in Minnesota this last summer. It has been nice visiting with the Miller's. They have shown us around and we've dined out with them a couple of times.

We have looked at several homes here, and saw a couple of nice ones. The houses here all have RV parking shelters with full hook ups, which is nice, then you have a guest house for visitors, plus you never have to winterize your RV. But alas, the prices feel too high for what you were getting. Plus Livingston is okay, but not a town we want to be 'close to'...only 5500 shopping and facilities.

We are staying here through our trip to Colombia though, as we can leave the RV hooked up to electricity for $5 a night while we are gone.

Time to wrap Christmas presents so we can get them in the mail in time for delivery to Iowa and Minnesota.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

James Knox Polk Home, Columbia, TN

We took an overcast day to visit another Presidential Home, this time the James Knox Polk home, which was actually built by his father. This is the front view from the visitor's center. The home is right downtown, two blocks from the Count Courthouse. Nice Federal Style Architecture.

Polk was the 11th President of the US, and he is regarded as one of the 'top ten best' . Polk said he was only going to serve one term, and he was one leader who did everything he said he going to, and he left office after one term.

The home had Polk's beautiful furnishings. His wife had expensive tastes, that's for sure.

Polk died just a few months after leaving office. Three states were admitted during his term, Texas, Iowa and Wisconsin. The U.S. also added the Oregon territory (54 40 or fight!) and the whole Southwest following a victory in the Mexican War. Ah yes, Manifest Destiny.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Crossville, Tellico Village

We continued our search for a place to 'settle down'. After Nashville area (Del Webb--very nice!), we toured Crossville, a town of less than 20,000, but just south of Fairfield Glade, a really nice retirement community.

FFG had lots of nice single family homes, wooded common areas, and lots of golf. The last item means nothing to us, but there are many many activities and groups to become part of. Pools, fitness center and lakes. Especially appealing is the low cost of living...especially low property taxes.

Fairfield Glade is close to a lot of good shopping, and less than 10 minutes from I 40. It is cooler here in the summer and colder in the winter than say in Nashville...and that means more snow. But overall, we were very favorably impressed!

We were really won over at Tellico Village, a planned community about a half hour SW of Knoxville. They have golf here too, and just about as many activities. The homes we saw seemed much better built than in FFG. And the scenery is breathtaking!!! Driving around we had views of the Smokies (35 miles away). It is hilly here, and tons of trees are on all the hills.

Every house we looked at was great. Each one had so much good about it, none were perfect, but certainly would be a nice home for us. Everyone we met was friendly, and our realtor was awesome. We were very impressed with the fitness center.
We had our truck worked on and checked over here, and we were given a clean bill of health. It just happened that a Ford diesel mechanic 'lives' at the park we are at, and we were able to get some good one on one attention.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Nashville, the Hermitage

Above is the front view of Andrew Jackson's mansion, The Hermitage, just east of Nashville. This historic place is one of the best tours we have been on. They have terrific audio tour sets, free!!! There is a museum, informational video, and acres of beautiful grounds. The garden is awesome, as is the graveyard where the family is buried.
If in the area, this is a must see.

Here is Ellen at the side entrance to the Hermitage.

We spent a few days looking at properties around Nashville...Mount Juliet (just east of Nville) has a beautiful Del Webb, and there were developments in Gallatin and Murfreesboro. Any of these places would be great to move into, although all are a little bit pricey.

Ellen has finally kicked her intestinal bug! She has been having trouble since we got back from Mexico Sep 24. It has been a long haul, lots of discomfort and limited activity. It is great to have her back to normal.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Murray Kentucky

Spent Wednesday racing around Murray KY (pop. 15,500) with a realtor to check out this community near Kentucky Lake. The racing was due to Rebecca's lead foot. Murray is a nice town, lots of good restaurants, a very nice college town, home of Murray St. University. Saw about 5 houses, 4 of which were brick. LOTS of brick homes. The neighborhoods were nice and quiet and well kept up, but we are pretty sure Murray is not for us.

It is a pretty 'young' town in terms of population, very conservative--with Tea Party meetings frequently, "dry" (not weather, alcohol), and we felt the house prices were kind of high. It seems to be a pretty vibrant community, and the recession has not hammered the town. The county has the lowest unemployment rate in the state.

So, step one in our search for our future home town is over.

Ellen is still having repercussions on her abdominal difficulties. We may need to see a specialist soon.