We Leave Summer with a (Amazon) Glow

Summer 2022 has flown by us already, we are back on the road and now looking back at a recap of the summer. We look forward to staying connected with the Amazon Glow over the winter.

Once again summer in Wisconsin comes to a close and we have pushed off to meet up with friends in the Eastern part of the United States. We arrived in Wisconsin on April 16th, 2022, and departed on September 16th having had a full summer. Jason reported in at work as required for the fall semester, we made a trip up to the Hayward area for a birthday celebration, we made multiple visits to the zoo and Oma made millions of priceless memories spending time with the granddaughter and family. Now as we depart we hope that an Amazon Glow will help to keep us connected.

April 2022

As we noted in our previous blog, travel from Northern Missouri, up through Iowa, and into Wisconsin came with some unexpected severe weather in the form of high winds. We did finally make it to our summer home on Saturday, April 16, 2022. Fortunately, we were able to meet up with the family for a quick Easter egg hunt before the weather hit Wisconsin. Jason was itching to get back on site at work because of an ongoing fiber optics project at the university.


The weather may have been icky outside but the Easter bunny was still able to hide some eggs inside the house for finding!


A&W Rootbeer at Baldwin, Wisconsin, is one of our favorite stops when getting “back home” in Wisconsin. Sloppy Joe’s are made with rootbeer. This is also one of the last A&W restaurants to still make their rootbeer fresh daily and serve it in an cold frosty mug. Between the 50’s atmosphere, sit-down table service, and those great flavors there is nothing to beat it.


Sometimes you simply just cannot take another day and have to hide. Some days even that doesn’t seem to work as planned! Wheezy loves to “hide” in the tunnel but sure fails miserably at hide and seek.


We decided to drop our expensive Unlimitedville Verizon service when we left Florida, and in April we added Starlink satellite Internet to our arsenal of connectivity Internet options. This leaves us now with a grand-fathered unlimited AT&T Internet plan and the Starlink for service. When in Florida we also get a Spectrum cable modem for the duration of our time there. We also tried a Google Fi SIM, but in our area of Wisconsin, that was not worth the cost.


We have mounted the Starlink dish on the back of the motorhome. The flagpolebuddy.com system has been excellent.

May 2022

We made a big investment in safety for the motorhome by proactively replacing the aging drive tires on the motorhome. We used the Escapees tire discounts to take off about $500 in cost from the total.

May was beautiful in Wisconsin, giving us several opportunities to get out and enjoy why Minnesota and Wisconsin are great places in the summer.  It started with a wonderful visit to the zoo with the family and wrapped up with family camping over Memorial Day weekend at Highland Ridge Army Corp campground outside of Spring Valley, Wisconsin.


May 2022 – The Como Park Zoo turtle seems to be a right of passage for kids to climb on and pose for their annual portrait. The zoo is one of Ceci’s favorite places to visit, so this will probably become our annual picture with her.


GG (Great Grandma) Lurene loves when we come to mooch dock in her driveway because this gives her a chance to Internet mooch back and get caught up on all her social networks!


One of our favorite places, before we sold the house, was to weekend at the Highland Ridge Campground part of the Army Corp of Engineer’s dam complex at Eau Galle Recreation site. All wooded sites are at least 10 degrees cooler in summer because of the canopy.


Bubbles everywhere! A power bubble is a great way to make fanciful things for a three-year-old. You have to improvise with a fly swatter, but to her, it is her magic wand!


Great-grandpa Bruce playing bubbles with Ceci at Highland Ridge campground over Memorial Weekend.


Sometimes the cats do spend some time outside. Ricco loved to be out on this beautiful day in the woods, but Wheezy wanted nothing to do with it. Usually, the two consume way too much grass we eventually are cleaning up as urp on the carpet.


2022 was a plentiful year for wild geraniums in Wisconsin.


Often beautiful daily, but not seen by many. A beautiful sunrise over St. Croix County, Wisconsin.


June 2022

Throughout the summer Barb is alternating between Wisconsin and Minnesota to spend some days with the daughter, granddaughter, and their family in Minnesota.

That leaves Jason and the cats back in Wisconsin while Jason continues to work on-site at the university throughout the summer on their projects. Jason also flies for the first time since the pandemic by going to Cisco Live in Las Vegas for work, getting multiple COVID exposure phone notifications when he returns but doesn’t get it himself.

Starlink continues to work but it is clearly getting more popular and is slowing down since we got it in April.

Great-Grandma (GG) Lurene, Ceci, and Heihei enjoyed a ride around the farm on the ATV. Also known by a three-year-old as a “tractor” but who’s keeping track at this point?


July 2022

We take a few days and travel to Northern Wisconsin for Jason’s birthday. We have fun on US Forest Trails around the Chequamegon National Forest in the Hayward (Wisconsin) area. We even met up with Barb’s sister and husband with their baby Jeep (a Jeep Renegade) to enjoy some trails ending the day at the Spooner Rodeo.


Hugs from a three old, Oma’s priceless opportunity while “back home” visiting.


Wild flowers in Northern Wisconsin this summer were very plentiful in the forests around Hayward.


There are very few off-road Jeep opportunities in Northern Wisconsin, and lots of logging or USFS trails to check out around Hayward. Some of those lead to some beautiful secluded lakes with turnouts. Since it is inside the national forest there are not even any homes on this lake. The water was crystal clear and cool.


A young excited new Jeep owner, proud to have a Jeep like Oma and Opa!

August 2022

Oma and Opa got really brave and babysat a 3-year-old, a dog, and the house for Allie over a full weekend! It goes well, no one gets tied to a chair with string. We head over to Jason’s parents for a family reunion, one that has not happened in a long time and was really overdue.  Jason’s parents love Starlink enough that they also have it now at their homestead that cannot get any other broadband Internet services.

To round out the tire replacements for the two rigs we got new tires on the Jeep.  One thing is for sure is that tires in the post-pandemic era are still extremely expensive and hard to find!


Rubi gets some new shoes. Changed from Mickey Thompson to Yokohama Geolander M/T G003 tires and will not be going back! The Geolanders are quiet and have much better handling on the road. Hopefully, they will perform just as well off-road!

September 2022

Oma and Opa are feeling super confident now and take Ceci for a last hurrah to the Como Park Zoo. The university fall semester is now underway and Jason is no longer required on campus. Mid-September we go over to the Interstate Power Systems for our final repairs on the chassis (driving) A/C of the motorhome before we head out from “home” now.


Barb and Ceci closed out the summer with their posing on the Como Zoo turtle. Growing so fast, so much since Jason and she were on the turtle just four months prior!


Three times to the zoo this year and finally there was at least one penguin not sleeping and wanting to play! Real smiles on both Ceci and Oma as the penguin wants to show off.


Ceci loves to watch the sea lions at Como Zoo. Multiple times they have interacted with us. Ceci carrying her sea lion stuffy and Jason sporting his “Going Through Life Like Heihei” shirt that he wears when going to visit.

Amazon Glow

The Amazon Glow was recently released from Amazon and honestly is an amazing technology. The self-contained device is a video “conferencing” device with a physical interactive component. Using projection and motion tracking technology the child sits in front of a device that contains an approximately 7″ tablet on the front of it.

The child sees and can interact with the image projected down on the table in front of them on a provided white mat. While the surface is not touched sensitive the device tracks the child’s hand and it interacts similarly to a touch screen. The adult is remotely using their own smartphone, presented on the tablet in the front on the screen and through a companion app. The adult is able to interact with the child through the device and it does surprisingly well at centering the adult in a close-up shot.

Storytime with Oma is interactive. The actual story images have interactive elements to them that explode both on the touch screen and on the video screen of Oma. The adult sees what the child sees with additional prompts on how what to say to the child to encourage them. There are games, puzzles, and over a hundred other apps to interact with the child.


While there are some significant bugs yet with the technology, it is still very amazing and the potential is enormous. We can interact with Ceci remotely over the Glow and it is more than just a face-to-face conversation that is boring to her. We can interact with her and be part of her “screen” time where she can learn and interact with us through games, or we can tell stories and they come to life with her interacting with them.

This is not an endorsement, advertising, partnership, or any kickback from Amazon. We simply think this is an amazing technology to close the gap for a remote Oma or Opa, distant mother or father, or any time a child is isolated from loved ones.


There are many educational and fun games to play as one or two players. We can remotely give hints by tapping on our screen to highlight the interactive work surface on her side. We are face to face even when thousands of miles away.