How many of you say, “oh, I’m going to do that someday” and you never do it and you’re bucket list just keeps growing and how many of you actually do it? What’s stopping you? I know what’s stopping you, it’s you and your attitude!
You only live once, you know (YOLO) is the old saying well, what if you thought about it like this – you only die once! Let’s call it YoDo! Don’t you think that would inspire you to live more of your life? Just the mere thought that if I die tomorrow inspires me enough to go out and do the things I want to do with my life.
5 months before my dad died, he told me that he had done everything in his life he wanted to do, that he was happy, and he had no regrets. He was 64 years old! As luck would have it, dad died of the widow maker. I was grateful it was an instant death, and he didn’t suffer BUT he was 64 years young, and you know the worst part? What he died from his hereditary, so guess what? I got scanned! YES, my carotid artery is blocked 65% with the same silent killer! Now I’m 57 years young and encroaching on that ever so fearful age of 64.
What did my dad do before that fateful day on July 5, 2007?
At the age of 55, my dad started living life and scaling back his “work” life. I like to think that dad somehow knew he was going to die young, so he prepared early to start enjoying his life. He made countless trips to Alaska, AR and FL. Mom didn’t much care for Alaska so he’d go there by himself, but he and mom would go to AR to see Melissa and Florida to see me. He restored several 1961 Impala’s and one BelAir and did numerous other things.
I also spent a lot of time with my dad in Alaska. I’ve been to the Iditarod 4 times and volunteered at the start in Anchorage and the finish in Nome. Dad and I went on a 7 day/night adventure down the Grand Canyon white water rafting. We’ve driven our motorcycles on the Pig Trail in AR where we met a guy that gave us each a penny that he had carved out a cross in it. We hung them on our bike key chains. We’ve ridden our motorcycles in Daytona and we’ve been to several Daytona 500’s! Our next adventure was to drive a professional Nascar but that would never happen. To say the least my dad was an adventurist and never turned down an opportunity to do something fun. My dad had figured out how to retire without retiring, he just kind of slid out of working and right into enjoying life.
The point is this, You Only Die Once – so get out there and LIVE like it’s your last day! I believe we can all slide right into enjoying life before we have to call it “retirement” at age 67. After all, I’m NOT counting on the money being in my retirement account when and if I turn 67 – I’m going to enjoy my life NOW!
Two years ago, I had planned on driving dad’s Freightliner and my RV to Iowa and stay for about a month to go see my mom, who’s in a nursing home now and then go to AR to see my sister, Melissa. Well, that damn VIRUS shut me down. So fast forward to 2021, I put the plan in place to make it happen this year. I put my real estate on autopilot – which means I was earning income while I took off for my home state of Iowa. In other words, my real estate was working – BUT I wasn’t!
To say I didn’t work while I was in Iowa would be false – I absolutely did work while I was in Iowa. I can do real estate anywhere, so I set up my office in the back of my toy hauler and setoff to learn everything I could about the real estate market in Des Moines and Ames. I attended local real estate and financial independence meetings and I even have one deal in the works today. I’ve met amazing people in the area and have setup a network of people that when needed I can count on to either help put deals together or help other investors find what they are looking for.
But what I want to share with you are the amazing people and adventures I had while in Iowa for 3 months. Keep in mind, I’ve been away from Iowa for almost 40 years, but I would frequently come home yearly to see my mom and dad.
First and foremost, I got to spend as much time as I wanted to see my mom. Unfortunately, my mom has dementia and is in a nursing home. The blessing here is that she is healthy, she knows who I am, and we laughed a lot! I was extremely fortunate that during my 3 month stay the nursing home was not shut down with the virus. My heart goes out to all the nursing staff and administration for all their hard work and time they put in! I know the nursing staff is tired but for that, I’m very thankful for everything they do!
Let’s start with the amazing Timberline Campground in Waukee Iowa! Only that fasted growing city in our nation! You all know that I want to own an RV park, right? Well, Marta was a blessing, and I don’t even think she knows it. She and her staff were so attentive, friendly, and helpful. I can’t tell you how many questions I pelted at Marta about owning an RV park but boy was she knowledgeable and always pointed me in the right direction. The WIFI rocked at her place! I vote her place as the Best Place to Work Place! She truly felt like family at the end, and I was very sad to leave her place. Marta, I will be back, is all can say! By the way, I loved all the gun fire next door!
While in Iowa we made the best of our time. Yes, I said we. I’m no longer an I. While I was in Iowa I was joined with my boyfriend Kurt.
Here are several things we did in the amazing state of Iowa! The websites to all places can be found in my notes.
Did you know that Iowa has a Whiskey Distillery?
Templeton Distillery – Templeton Rye & Templeton Distillery – Whiskey for the Strong Spirited
We did a tour of the Templeton Distillery and learned how they crafted Templeton Rye during prohibition and now you can find it in stores across the US.
Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad – History of the Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad – Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad & James H. Andrew Railroad Museum (bsvrr.com)
Kurt and I took an evening dinner train ride and learned about the history of the train and took a scenic ride and talked with the conductor and ate dinner in our private quarters.
The Freedom Rocks – Artist: Ray “Bubba” Sorensen II – The Freedom Rock®
I bet you haven’t heard of this one! There was a huge bolder sitting along highway 25 near my home in Iowa that sat on private property but in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s succumbed to graffiti, in 1999 Bubba Sorensen painted a “Thank you” to veterans on the boulder and each year right before Memorial Day he would paint a new scene. It is now an annual tourist attraction to honor our service men and women. However, there are now 99 Freedom Rocks in Iowa – one in each county. While I was in Iowa and with the help of my boyfriend Kurt, my cousins Steve and Kelly and a friend Bryan we have now visited 61 of the 99 rocks! We rode over 3000 miles on our bikes to see these rocks! 750 miles and 15 rocks in one weekend! I have pictures of every rock on my personal FB page, but I’ll be sure to post some on my public page. At this point, I no longer have a favorite rock – they were all amazing in their own way. We even met a veteran who lived in Nebraska and was on his 60th wedding anniversary and had seen 50 rocks!
Largest Popcorn Ball World’s Largest Popcorn Ball – Sac Economic & Tourism Development (saccountyiowa.com)
Who knew that the largest popcorn ball was in Iowa – it tips the scale at 9,370 pounds and is a Guinness World Record!
American Legion Steak Fry in Dexter– Off the chart Steak fry and who knew I’d run into family members I never knew. They invited me to the Kopaska family reunion. I didn’t know a soul, but I’m thankful I went! I now know Colleen, Carolyn, Jacque, Cherie and several others!
Rusty Duck in Dexter- who knew such a small town would have a killer black salmon recipe.
Iowa State Fair – we attended the Styx Concert and OH the food!
Car shows – Good Guys car show and Stuarts’s Scoop the Loop. Kurt won a trophy!
Field of Dreams – now, I can say I’ve been there and stood in the corn field!
Kayaking with Kurt’s sister Julia and husband Travis.
Iowa Cubs game with Kurt’s sister Colleen and her husband Dave – That knows every restaurant inside and outside of Iowa – I swear! Call Dave if you’re looking for fantastic food!
Melissa came up from AR for a week and we got to spend more quality time together and visiting with our mom.
Kurt’s extended family – wow, he’s got a big family and was blessed to meet a lot of them!
What will I miss most?
The sweet corn – nothing like sweet corn right out of the field!
The Waukee Ice Cream Shop – we went every night because we knew they would soon close for the season!
Not the portion sizes – I think I’ve gained 10 pounds! OMG the food was amazing!
I’ve saved the best two for last and not in any order.
Dad I’m sorry, I didn’t get the chance to do this with you, but I can now say that I’ve driven Greg Biffle’s number 16 car at the Iowa Speedway at the Rusty Wallace Driving Experience. It was everything I had hoped it would be and I even said a prayer for you on one of my laps and dedicated it to you. I hope you heard that, and I hope you’re proud that I completed the run without wrecking and I went as fast as I could without fear!
Finally – Kurt and I attended a 38 Special Concert in Omaha. This concert was beyond special. To make a very long story short, it was during the Caught Up in You, song (My favorite song of all time) – where they sing, “you’ve got me down on my knees” that Kurt got down on his knee and proposed to me and of course, I accepted his proposal. So now, I’m engaged! God works in mysterious ways and this story is much longer and deserves its own podcast episode.
I’m thankful for the Kopaska get togethers and reuniting with all the Kopaska’s. It was refreshing to renew the sense of community. I think I miss that! Not much of that in the land of Florida.
I’m thankful to all the friends I got to see, even if it was brief!
I’m thankful to my uncle Steve for fixing my dads carburetor for the 61 BelAir – car shows here I come!
I’m thankful for my cousin Stevie who fixed one of the 3 AC’s units on my RV and to all those RV Repair facilities that said it couldn’t be done – you’re just a rip off!
I ask myself, if this is retirement, why would I want to stop? I think my dad was on to something when he quit working around 55. I’ve now done it and I think you can too! You Only Die Once – YoDo!
My 3-month adventure has ended, and the real estate market is starting to turn. I’ve found some cash flowing opportunities, when I seal the deal, I’ll be looking for partners to share in the rewards. If you want to know more, reach out to me at www.fearlessinnovator.com or you can now listen to me on the Fearless Innovator Podcast. I can be found on Apple Podcast, Spotify and YouTube!
Thank you for listening, I hope you were inspired, entertained or you learned something new!
Catch me later…