Showing posts with label RV life. Show all posts
Showing posts with label RV life. Show all posts

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Meandering blogger

Ally our 2016 American Allegiance
I have not been posting to this blog but happened here after getting a notification about a comment.  So I have updated with a photo on the sidebar of our now new, to us, 2016 American Allegiance Coach, our new vacation home on wheels.  We acquired Ally, her name,  end of February, 2017 at Lazy Days in Seffner Florida where we wintered  some of our 2016-17 snowbird south. Since I did create this blog to record our RV adventures long ago, I thought I should get busy with posting the new addition.

This was not my idea, I was quite satisfied with our Excursion, but Jerry wanted newer, better,  it had under 62,000 miles which is nothing on a diesel, but he  wanted this upgrade, tag axle and a hundred other things, newer.  He began to develop a litany of things that would have to be done to fix the Excursion, and admitted it would cost way less than the new coach, but that he felt it was time to upgrade . 
2008 Excursion which we traded in for Ally

2017 February Florida, moving out of Excursion into Allegiance
what a siege and chore unloading and loading.  We were loaded up
for winter, so it took days to transfer stuff. 
Yes Ally is ultra luxurious but what a siege.  I could write the longest blog post ever about the entire process, but I have already done that on Facebook, so not repeating everything here for non Facebook people.  I fear spending big sums of money in retirement because I have a phobia of ending up a bag lady.  I always have had that, maybe it started  with warnings from my Polish grandma, "always have a way to take care of yourself and earn money so you do not end up old and poor"  something like that she told me in Polish.  Jerry who is not a spendthrift by any means, though, reminds me that we can't take it with us and we just as well enjoy while we can.  We have no one that close to us to leave sums of money too and most of what we leave will be going to various charities and organizations that we support.  While they will likely put our names on a plaque somewhere in gratitude, we should reap the rewards of the working we both did in our careers.  Further, he knows while I shudder,  that no way are we approaching financial destitution in fact, we are part of the better off retirees, we own our home. no bills, some months do not spend all our income and we do not need to save and pinch pennies and debate about purchases.  When we see something we want, we buy it.    

Back to Ally, Jerry spotted this American Coach and had been on the lookout to upgrade, even though we really liked our 2008 Excursion.  I was reluctant to do this, spending really big buck$ and then some, but I should have known that once he starts on looking at a new vehicle, it is going to happen.  Well while we were in Sefner, he couldn't get the right deal on the price of this new coach nor on trade in for ours. I was relieved but his mental wheels kept on churning and turning.  So we went on to Texas, Port Isabel where we intended to spend the rest of February and early March.  That is another story entirely and although the weather was fabulous there along the gulf, that border area is just not a place I care to revisit.  The RV Park was old and very cramped, so that we couldn't look out our windows without seeing the wall of another coach or trailer squeezed right next to us.  That is  jut not the way we like to live, so  we  were waiting out February and wiser for the experience. 

Allegiance hall way, residential refrigerator.
Behind the closed doors to the left are the separate washer and dryer. 
Jerry began making phone calls back to Florida to the sales consultant at Lazy Days and learned the American Coach was still there.  They thought they had sold it but the potential buyers couldn't qualify for financing.  We were paying cash.  For the life of me I cannot understand people financing motor homes, especially as vacation homes.  We have never charge a vacation in our lives, if we couldn't pay for it we  didn't go.  The Allegiance had barely had a first owner who kept it only 4 months and then upgraded to something bigger, a bus. Well that first owner took the depreciation, because just like automobiles, these babies depreciate the minute they leave the lot.  The Allegiance is 42 ft, but what a difference those 2 feet more than the 40 ft. Excursion make.  We gained a half bath which I really appreciate when Jerry is in the shower and the main bathroom is occupied.  We gained a residential refrigerator and a stacked separate washer and dryer, unlike the all in one combo we had in the Excursion.  I really like all these amenities, the beautiful dark cherry high gloss  luxurious cabinets and the new microwave convection oven, the all induction cook top and the dishwasher!  I never thought I would want a dishwasher in the coach, but when we winter for months, I was missing that.  I still prefer my own cooking a lot of the time when we are traveling, so despite eating out when we chose to, I cook most meals in our home.  I have always dislike washing dishes and although it isn't that bad for two people, I am much happier with a dishwasher. We have 3 smart tv's inside, one is going to come out and become cabinet space and we have an external TV for watching outside. 

Living room area sofa, not fully pulled out, there is an extension,
to the sofa which is white leather. That's why a cushion is on the
kitchen  counter, sink area to the right
King size bed
There have been some minor fixes needed, stuff the former owner never found or perhaps didn't have the acuity that Jerry has for all things electronic and mechanical.  We have an appointment in August at the factory in Decatur Indiana for some slide warranty work. That fits with our planned trip to my PA home area for my 55th high school class reunion.  Although he vowed that it would fit into it's own house that we have here at our home in MN, sure enough when we got home in March he called a contractor to have some roof beams elevated.  With each newer, bigger coach, he has enlarged the shop/house for coaches.  It is now fully extended and can go no bigger, but the beams were a bit too low for this coach, so there was an adjustment needed. Did I mention the bed is king size, which I dislike and so does he.  We are accustomed to queen size and this meant buying new linens too.  So although this is more comfortable with ability to raise feet and hear, etc. similar to the  luxury bed we have at home, with massage features, etc, we both would have opted for a queen size.  But the new coaches all have King size, likely that works well for big people, or those who are king sized themselves. We are not. We talk about replacing this King with a queen, making this bed is  hassle because there is barely enough room for hands to fit between the head and the wall. And the pillows, too  many all nicely decorative, but have to be removed for sleeping and then stored across the room.  We took several pillows out and have them in a big  bag stored at home, they will likely visit Goodwill store soon.  

We traveled  to Goshen Indiana in May to a Pushers annual event that Jerry has wanted to attend for some time. Another long story and one chronicled on Facebook.  We have some home projects under way including taking down 3 of our magnificent big ash trees from out back, victims of the emerald ash borer that has devastated this region.  I had new quartz counter tops put into the kitchen and am still waiting on the tile for the backsplash.  After I debated and pondered and made my decision, the contractor later advised that the tile was on backorder and there would be a 8 to 10 week delay.  So although  the counters were done end of April, we are waiting.  Surely this will end, but I decided to wait,  After all it took me 3 years to do this project that I have been thinking about and took me a month to decide on both counters and backsplash.  So waiting and keeping busy at home, gardening, weeding, and life. This is the update for today, last photo of the happy man in our new vacation home. 
Jerry watching one of the 3 inside TV;s from the sofa.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Blog vacation too

Do you know what this is?
Consumed by vacationing I have had no time to blog, however we are now in AL and with only 8 other motor homes in this  new  Magnolia Farms RV park, just opened in December.  We left Bay Hide Away RV,  MS and all the compatible snowbirds and activities and conversation.  Here I feel like a hermit and so Jerry has to get his ears re- tuned to my babblings. 

One of the things I discovered this trip at Bay Hide Away on my walks is the photo at the left.  All along on  what will become lawn space in spring these mounds abound.  Right now the area is swampy from the rains.
Some   of these mounds appear in village like clusters. 

At the Slidell, LA Mardi Gras and Confederate Museum we learned from the tour guide, that early settlers to the area sliced from these mounds, baked them and used the baked clay donuts to make some of the first stove burners. 

Our museum tour guide who is involved in Civil War re-enactments said that he knew there were tunnels connecting these clusters of clay condos and as a boy  would ignite one, close off the top and then see the smoke arise from other mounds that were connected by the tunnels.  Maybe you are familiar with these,  I was not.  They are craw dad homes. Curiosity encouraged me to poke one to investigate but first I asked lest these be some type of wasp nest and I would regret their ire. 

This one  was abandoned, closed over

The Slidell Museum was a fascinating small place and  three of us enjoyed a historic personally  guided tour where I held a musket for the first time.  Whew those are heavy so the early soldiers and settlers who were not so big as folks today had amazing strength to use those arms and while riding a horse besides.  The old two cell jail is inside and from the likes of the stone walls and heavy  metal doors no prisoner was going anywhere, there was never an escape.  Although the guide told us that the sheriff was puzzled how one prisoner would be found  drunk every morning.  It seems friends of the incarcerated smuggled moonshine to him late at night and shared it through the cell window bars.  He would drink his fill and pass the container back. through the bars.  Many amusing stories like that.  Unlike bigger museums, the artifacts are all our where visitors can touch them, even the dresses, uniforms and all fabrics.  I asked if they were not concerned about wear and better preservation but so far no, although the guide noticed some of the clay balls missing from the fire pit over which there was a grate.  It is all to easy for unescorted visitors to help themselves.  It was a couple hours very well spent. 
Slidell Museum 

Have had some fun antiquing and flea market browsing and picked up a few trinkets here and there, which I will share later after we  return home and I have time.  Hah! 
This is  Magnolia Iron  antiques in Menge , LA where one cannot move comfortably sideways let alone forward inside amidst all the stuff.  Apparently the owner is more interested in collections than having accessible pathways for potential buyers.  Although we  talked and she  was concerned  about the lack of sales.  As we were leaving a young family was entering,  I do not think this is a good place for curious active children. 
We are now in AL between Foley and Fairhope at a new Magnolia Farms RV park, opened in December next door to one of those so called RV resorts which sells lots to snowbirds and which is in bankruptcy currently.  Only 8  RV'ers it does not have the conversations as we had in Bay St. Louis, Bay Hide Away RV.  By staying there a month, we have only driven the coach 1323 miles and spent $725 for 189 gallons of diesel since leaving home.  We have been using the HHR of course for local driving  and so far although watching regular prices of gas escalate $.60 cents per gallon over the last month, we have spent only $ 160 for 60 gallons.  Jerry would like to go over to Daytona, FL where our new WI friends will be for the Daytona 500.  But not for me, not this trip, another time. 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Spring pools reflecting

In 1923 Robert Frost published "Spring Pools" which is the last poem I memorized for our Poetry group in CA.   

Last week we had rain here along the Gulf and when I was walking the next day I took  some photos that immediately recalled lines from that poem.....

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods---
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.
Of course the reference to snow does not fit here in MS but the reflections do.  We have had a successful Snowbird experience despite some rain that is promised again this evening  oh and that  nasty TN ice storm on the way that forced us to wait it out in Southhaven, MS. 
This is the first time on our RV travels that we have remained in one place for a month, a testament to the comfort and cordiality of Bay Hideaway RV, Bay St Louis, MS.  While we intended to find a Snowbird haven in TX, MS is fitting just fine.  I find myself droppin' my g's and will soon be drawlin' with the rest of the folks.
A fun Superbowl party, last night in the club house  with other snowbirders and especially the guys from Baltimore, Sam and John who drove the motor coach overnight from Baltimore to deliver their bosses here for Superbowl attendance.  Sam & John are  in their words "repo & tow drivers"  and their bosses at the Dome, "are millionaires who own businesses and restaurants."  So while the other two were in N'awlins Sam and John joined us.  We joined them in cheering on the black bird Ravens; I'd been ambivalent about the Superbowl because my Steelers were not there.    Sam said that they especially dislike  venturing to  da 'burgh to repo, because the Stillers do not like Baltimore.  They also say the traffic cops are all over them, what can I say, Stillers land is stillers land and football is serious business.  Anyway they were interesting and left this morning about 5, but we heard not a sound from their coach. 
Saturday we drove to two flea markets and did lots of looking and antiquing.  More about that later along with our finds, not many but a  good full day of looking and talking to locals.  Blogger is tiresome today and I have no more time to fiddle with it. More photos later...  

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Crab painting and chocolates

Bay Hideaway RV  Our Winter stop
Bay St Louis, MS
Surprised with some heavy rains today,but we are all safe and sound here while we watch the tornado devastating Georgia, bad KY storms and the nasty ice farther north.  Yesterday evening  9 of us gals went to Picayune, MS to April's gallery for a session of painting.  April is an old high school pal of Michele's, the owner of Hideaway.  It was a fun time and something I so enjoy but never make time to do at home.  Several told me that Joanie,  another MN snowbird who is undergoing  her continuing chemo while here,  is an artist.  She and I shared a table and not to brag but I did not think she was any better at this task than myself; I would have preferred doing a seascape, shells, or???  but April, our host and instructor for the evening had determined that we would be crab painting and so it was.  She is quite patient and was a delightful instructor.  While doing this I learned a  bit about the crab and it's 5 appendages, what resembles our hand with the knuckles, and how it crawls and withdraws. 
My Crabby masterpiece
 I will use this as a conversation piece,  what do you think that is hosts in the bottom right corner?  In my opinion it is not what April said it is, the technique to construct that was not what I'd have done if I'd know she wanted that painted.  On neither hers nor anyone's completed paintings did that stuff in the lower right look like what it was supposed to be.  So there's my question for you, what's it? 

Well as if the painting class was not enough, the gallery includes chocolates by April for sale.  You can imagine that 9 women are not leaving without buying some chocolates.  I indulged in  several turtles, as the following photos show, the largest I have ever found anywhere.  The ruler is to give you an idea, this is not photo shopped.  Her dark chocolate turtles, she calls gators, and used that theme a top.They are over two inches wide and nearly one inch deep.  Jerry and I split one when I got back home to the coach, and even at that we only ate half of it between us.  Ummmmm.  Such a tough life we enjoy on this trip.
Aprils turtles and gators

Turtle, we shared half last night and have half for tonight
Rain has stopped and we must go get a local newspaper and see what's happening.  Due to  the downpour I did not get my laps in this AM, but later the sun is coming out and I will catch up. Tonight another Wednesday bingo for RV'ers occurs; my food prize donations were a hit last week so off to WallyWorld for  the same contributions--nuts, cookies and candy. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oyster Festival and Car show at Pass Christian

Pass Christian, MS  harbor
The Pass Chistian harbor is ashore from the largest oyster reef in the continental US, so they know oysters.  This is only the 3rd year they have hosted the festival which had a gathering for all foods, locally made by  numerous vendors, a very loud band from New Orleans on a huge center stage and a massive carnival for children.  I found nothing at the vendor booths to purchase, although I did consider the 18 inch  trees made from cleansed and shined oyster shells.  The only reason we did not eat, the jambalaya would have been our choice, was it was midday and we were not hungry.  We have  been adhering to our one main meal a day mantra lately, all of those are too filling wherever we eat, true to the south, too generous portions of delicious foods.  Parking was free and plentiful although it appeared they had a big turnout.  We enjoyed it for a couple hours before departing. Talked to a local shrimper who said that while the heyday prior to the BP oil spill was gone, the industry and tourists are returning and life will resume with the strong surviving. 

The two men seated in their boat are overlooking the festival
The name of their boat is "Still Crazy after all these years"
Besides all the boats, there was an old car show which attracted Jerry, especially the Avanti (sp?) which he says are extremely rare and that he'd not seen one in many years.  He hung around it for a long time trying to find the owner to talk to to determine if it was original as it appeared or a custom knock off.  He had no luck, which was likely just as good, lest he get more idea$$$$$$$. Here he goes....amidst the engines which he particularly enjoys viewing. 

Jerry between two open hoods

The rare Avanti
As we were walking to the harbor all the old cars were driving in, so we watched the full parade.  Then they parked and hung around, some  owners like the Avanti's were not nearby but others set up chairs alongside their baby.  All the cars were immaculate and shined to perfection.  Lots of time and energy are poured into this hobby, no matter where in the country the owners live.

I have had little time amidst our snowbirding activities  here along the balmy gulf to post on the blog, but have had Facebook comments.  Easy to place photos direct from phone to FB  but not  able to do so from phone to the blog.  However, trust me, this is a great locale to outwait winter which appears to be in unusual icey uproar.  We may head over to the Florida tip or Alabama next,  having observed weather and  that  there are storms and other bad weather fronts descending across Texas. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Past time in the south is food and dirinks...

Return visit to Shaggy's in Biloxi MS
Today we drove to Biloxi, which is becoming the bane of our trips south.  Last year we spent many hours waiting out the Mardi Gras parade in which we found ourselves amidst, this year it was MLK celebrations as well as local citizens celebrating the inauguration of Obama.  Besides we are seeing many changes here, everything is expanding, the small Isle of whatever Casino we liked last year has been bought out and is expanding to the Golden Nugget mega.  We liked it before, smaller, a quainter  luncheon restaurant, etc but today we saw lots of construction, and a vague bleak emptiness, not the same and we promptly left. A brief detour through old downtown Biloxi proved scary to us white yankees and we decided not to look for more trouble; the locals were celebrating their President and evidently awaiting more free things from Obumma, but that is another story.  One kind woman who proved that all is not as it appears, cussed a man in his  truck parked  sideways in the street, to "get da  F out da way, some folks be tryin' to drive down  da damn street,  move yo sef"  well perhaps you get the picture.  This was worse than what I knew as Oak Park on a bad day in Sacramento, CA.  Enough.  We waved a thank you to her while the truck driver responded with the one finger salute to us, nevertheless he moved and we returned  to the boulevard along the beach.  Biloxi was not for us today and perhaps not again.   We decided we needed lunch (I did) and so Shaggy's was fun last year; it is a chain in the south but along the beach.  It proved that somethings do not change.
Shrimp po'bou and Magnolia brew

Seated amidst the birds that fly in through the open beachfront windows, we ordered and had cold brews.  I am partial to Pecan by Magnolia Brew of MS but Jerry is just as happy with his Bud.  Shrimp po'boy for me and he opted for something  not heard of before, a turf burger.  When he asked our waitress "what's that" she replied a 1/2 lb burger, topped with fried shrimp and cheese.  Jerry does not like cheese, so he asked that it be held, but bring on the rest.  Well  the gulf shores here have the  very best shrimp in the country.  And look at that po boy!  No way could I do justice other than eating the shrimp solitary  sans the wonderful bread, and the garlic french fires at Shaggy's are to die for, some things have not changed, hooray!  Well it was now 2:30PM and as we looked at each other and our food we knew we would not want to eat tonight, this would be our meal of the day.  Which brings me to the title of this post, eating is the past time of the south.

Shaggy's bar  all open along the right side
I thought my Louisiana gal pals were untoppable for foods (Marilyn and Mary Ann) but here in MS, they all add onto it.  In Sunday's paper I read that Mississippi is the most unhealthy state in the country the state where folks are most likely to die from coronary disease, diabetes, etc.; I can see why, everything is fried and delicious.  Who can eat like this and survive?  I feel a 5 mile walk coming up to work this off.  Actually I should probably walk the  18 miles or so back to the coach, but lets not get carried away.

Jeaux, our RV host,  behind the Mardi Gras dframe
However once back home, here at Bay Hide Away RV in Bay St. Louis MS ors d'oevres awaited from neighbors....OMG  another delicacy, Biloxi butter.  Who knew butter could be  improved upon?  Tast slices with this delicious spread are to die for.  Lest I forget what and how to mix it up,  there are many variations our host tells me. I convinced Jeaux, our RV grounds host to pose behind the Mardi Gras frame at the club here he is.  And here is a variation of Biloxi Butter, lest I forget the ingredients.  He warns that he cooks like I do, seldom measures, so do your best.   This will be something very new to MN and  even PA when I journey back there. Shrimp are plentiful here , shrimp and crawdads, so hardly a meal passes without them but this spread was new to me.

Biloxi Butter     Butter must be at  room temperature, not melted but soft,  mix all ingredients well and serve. May be made ahead of time and refrigerated, but bring to room temperature to spread.

                                   1/2 pound fresh shrimp, cooked, drained dry, cooled & chopped
                                  3 Tablespoons lemon juice (fresh lemons)
                                   1/2 cup butter   (real stuff, no oleos)
                                  2 Tablespoons pure ground horseradish
                                  1/2 teaspoon salt
                                  1/2 teaspoon black pepper
                                  1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
                                  drops of tabasco, to your taste

Mix and serve on crackers,  crusty french bread with great glasses of wine or gin and tonics or beer or???  Well that's the gist of food here in the south, plentiful and y'all have some now, h'yeah!.  No we did not eat this evening other than a few slices of this spread on delicious bread.  They tell me the wine rinses it down well and dilutes an ill effect.  Ok sounds good to me!  So ends another balmy sunny beach day along the MS gulf shores.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Food and sunshine

After a week  on the road, several days at Southaven MS waiting out the icey weather, we are in Bay St. Louis along the gulf shores at the Bay Hideaway RV.  We've logged 1186 RV miles from home,  20 hours and 40 minutes total drive time and put 162 gallons of diesel in the coach for $615. I learned from visiting others that they all track these things too; we RV coachers are a tracking bunch, apparently liking to detail how we spend our $$. 

At last, we are in the balmy 60 degree weather with sunshine, and crisp evenings,  hooray!  While I have been posting onto Facebook, there are different blog readers to catch up.  I have not yet mastered downloading the photos from my tablet or phone to this blog.  Besides Blogger seems to be determined to unfriendly use of Internet Explorere to insert photos, so I will have to use Google Chrome to share photos. 

We are staying at least a week in Bay St Louis, which is a laid back area,  out of the way for busyness which we favor,  but close enough to drive to New Orleans, Slidell, Biloxi and Gulfport. Next week we will visit the Stennis Space center up the road where they tested the operations for the space vehicles before shipping them to Houston and Orlando back when we had a space program.  And we have been invited to a Krewe float making, that will be interesting.

I have met more folks here in a couple days while  walking than I do at home all year, but then I know most of the people at home, and RV'ers, I admit, are a social friendly  group.  Joe seems to be the favored name amongst the men, there are 5 Joes here including the owner, a Cajun type whose name is spelled Jeaux, the others are from MN, SD, and WI.  To a "hey Joe" several men answer; there are also 2 women whose name is Joan, and they might look to answer as well.  How odd is this? 

This area is still recovering from the effects of Katrina and more slowly than the Biloxi area down along the shore. We are set here for at least a week and may stay longer because it is convenient, quiet and peaceful besides there is plenty to see within 30 minutes driving.  We landed here because the RV site in Biloxi was full, but several folks have assured us that we can do no better than right here, urging us to stay.  Today we are off to Gulfport for some minor shopping a few light bulbs for the RV.  Jerry learned from MN Joe to order RV plastic drawer latch hinges from eBay where a box full sells for $6;  those things break so frequently, and cost $3 or so at an RV supply store.  A good tip. 

So wander over to my Facebook page for photos.  We are off soon to pick up something for today's chili cookoff, where Jeaux has designated us as "tasters" being the newest snow birds in the park amidst the snowbirds who return here annually.  One thing I know is the pool is not heated and that is too cool for me,  but then noplace is perfect. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

On the road avoiding Gandolfo

It has become foggy along the interstate 90/94 , splotchy in parts, but we are onward, southward avoiding the more wintry blasts of Gandolf  set to arrive over the weekend, the mixture of letters  from that winter's storm name rearranged becomes fog land which has arrived  across Minnesotta. 

Our weather channel shows it is to be 60 degrees in Springfield, and that sounds perfectly wonderful.  I am nervous about traveling in fog, so as we approach Madison it clears.  Still it cannot  match that terrible tule fog in which we lived in California, the grey dim dankness that hung around for weeks, chilling the mind and bones.  I am partial to sunshine, the brightness, the balmy warmth.  We have enjoyed a nice winter so far with temps upwards near 50 degrees, sunny and no need for heavy parkas. 

Blog postings for the next month will be very periodic as we journey.  Exploring possible purchase of real estate for winter, a place or pad to dock the motor coach in late fall, fly home and then fly back for the winter is under consideration.  This goes against our primary inclination which is to not remain in one place whilst on the road.  We  like motor home traveling, after one area loses its allure, we can move on to the next.  There is so much to be seen in the country, why stay put until one has to do so confined by illness, age, or host of other debilitations such as financials.

We have found that traveling in our coach is economical, despite the cost of diesel fuel.  We are comfortable in our own bed too.  So off on this wintry journey,  southward.  Time to add miles to the Excursion in 2013.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

More Mackinac con't from yesterday

I did not take this photo of the 5 mile Mackinac Bridge at night, but it is just that spectacular.  The bridge was begun in the spring of 1954 and opened November 1, 1957 and is designated as the number one civil engineering project for Michigan of the 20th century.   It is currently the third longest suspension bridge in the world.  For other data such as shown in the poster yesterday, you can go to this website link

We watched 4th of July  fireworks from the American Legion, on the mainland, Mackinaw City. Being Legion members gave us the advantage of staying right at the bar inside where we could people watch for a break from being out amongst them.  Besides the bartender, a local gave us tips on where to eat, avoiding the  multitude of touristy places.  It is always a benefit to get acquainted with locals.

They  did show off with the best fireworks I have seen live  since Calgary, Canada. We knew we were above the 45h parallel which is exactly half way between the equator and the north pole, up north as the say, but we were oblivious to  how far north that is until we noticed day light lasts until 10 o'clock PM so fireworks could not start until 10:15PM or so making for some mighty cranky tots if their parents had not napped them earlier in the day. Many many years ago, when we spent summers in Prince George, British Columbia and Steve was a boy he refused to go to bed until midnight, because it was still light.  We recalled that.  And also when talking to the locals they mentioned the light is great now but oh those long dark winters. 

Before this trip, I could not get straight whether nac or naw or Lake Huron or Lake Michigan but now that we have been there, I've  got it. The mix up with the nac and naw is traced back through the history of the area way back to the Indians, the French, the British as explained by this clipping which you should be able to enlarge by clicking on in your browser.  Fort Mackinac itself is very interesting and the re-enactments and docents in period dress travel and transport visitors back into history of the fur trades.  The beauty of the area enhances the reality of the experience.
The following page said that the British never did
develop a friendly relationship with the Indians and suffered for that

Another carriage on tour.  Some walked, some rode bikes, some
rode horseback.  To me the carriage was the best way to see
the island.  Our guide, Dave knew all the local history.  He also told us how
his job entails caring for the carriage horse teams too,
washing and feeding and gearing them up and down.
Here we stopped to switch carriage horses mid tour

Douds founded in 1884, on Main Street is the oldestAmerican family
owned  grocery market  Their website is

Although the lilacs were not blooming, beautiful hanging
flower baskets are everywhere.  Reminiscent of Victoria
British Columbia

Atop the island, the Fort lies down the hill.  This is Turkey Hill,
during the carriage ride we did see some wild turkeys.

Hearse and fire carriages at the Island museum.  The carriage
stops here so passengers can use necessary rooms and
grab a bite to eat. 
Arch rock looking down to the Lake is awesome
Seeing the Arch rock made me wonder yet again, why people who have never seen half of what there is to see in this country rave about traveling elsewhere in the world.  The water there is as beautiful as the Carribean anytime.  Of course we are flying adverse refusing to spend good money to be herded into a flying bus crammed with hundreds of others, packed like sardines and not even pickled.  Nope, we prefer driving our 2nd home. I have another spectacular photo of this arch but Blogger will not post it correctly.
A Girl Scout on duty working as a docent; summer jobs for youth abound
for the industrious, willing to work and learn the history
We got well acquainted with Dave, our carriage driver whom you met yesterday.  When he saw me taking the following photo he asked if I knew his dad.  I replied  I did not, but that there was something about this sight that reminded me of some people.  I asked Dave if he ever got tired of the view afront, what's that old saying, unless you are the head dog in the sled the view never changes...look on, recognize anyone?

Dave explained when he told his family he was returning to the island for another year for this summer job, Dad said, "uh huh so you are going to spend the day looking at yourself..."  We learned that the horses are
transported off the island to the upper peninsula where they winter. 

To be continued with our trip on the mainland along the magnificent tunnel of trees and to the Legs Inn.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Retreat from the heat and wish we were there

Yooper Ruthie famous lady of the Michigan
Upper Peninsula, aka UP

 It is to be 100 degrees today which is not our MN weather, but puleeze nobody tell the global warming alarmists.    I walked early this morning and even then, by 8:00AM on the return I was sweaty; the high school track which I often have to myself for 1/4 mile laps was invaded by our Lancer football team and not wanting to mix it up amongst  the boys twice my size and 1/4 my age, I departed the track for the 'hoods and woods.  So its a good day to catch up and post some of the vacation photos.  We have been home a little more than a week now and downloading, editing and dealing with the photos takes time.  In old days, a simpler time, we just took the film out of the camera and dropped it off taking our chances with printed results a week or so later. 

This 2+ weeks motor home trip to the Fleetwood Rally in Goshen Indiana followed by a swing up north to Michigan's upper peninsula and all the lake lore was a great time.  Trip details, we  added only 1376 total motor home miles,  26.5 hours actual driving time, consumed 163.7 gallons of diesel including the 3/4  tankful we brought back home, and appreciated the declining cost of diesel, spending only $587 on fuel.  Altogether not an overly costly trip, $526 for RV sites including our rally gathering that had been prepaid in February, $93 for tours, $19 for tolls,  $217 restaurants, $45 groceries, and a  whopping $458 shopping for other items including my RV purse at the Indiana quilt shop, more microfiber mops and cloths at the RV rally from my favorite vendor, a new carved wooden sign for the RV which Jerry is now staining and shellacking to protect it (there never is a piece of wood that he can just leave as is) and other miscellany and finally a special rally deal to extend Good Sam coverage for a couple more years at $99.  All total only  $2044 spent.  Further poof to those who doubt the economical side to RV travel and we never have to worry about bed bugs from hotels having our own home on wheels.  

Now  the first series of photos of Mackinac Island and departure to it, here I am at the dock mainland and it is  a windy cool day, I was not ready to have my photo taken but in a rare moment Jerry had control of the camera, so here, do I look a bit like Ruthie?  Do not answer!  Ahhhh wish  I were back in the cool lake with the wind.  There was no need to comb hair because it would tousle around.  Fortunately I have a simple  cut that doesn't demand staying in place.   

Rest stop sign about Bridge
The previous day, on our drive to the area a rest stop along the American Legion Highway displayed a nice sign and photo of the bridge.  We were a bit early for our RV site arrival so we dallied at the rest stop outside of Grayling Michigan. It is one of the few we saw amidst the plentiful forests of hardwoods of the area which reminded us of western Canada and British Columbia, an area Jerry especially loves. 

We took a Ferry to the  Island along with the multitudes of others touring that day.  Although locals said that the numbers of tourists were down, we could not tell. To us if there was a downside to this trip it was too many people,  more people than w see in a year here in our town.  I especially dislike crowds so it was a bit of a stretch to have to be amongst so many of them the entire time both  on the island and mainland.  If we ever return to this area it would be September when the crowds disperse.  Tourism is a key if not the key industry of the area.

Our Cadillac arrives at the dock

Jerry took many magnificent shots of the world famous
Macinac Island  bridge from our ferry 

We learned too late that had we stayed across the bridge at
St Ignace, the ferry would have taken us under the bridge
Lite house and Ft Mackinac left, up the hill

The ferry takes about 25-30 minutes to the island;
Here we approach as does another ferry

No kidding about the people and the bikes
We arrive at the dock as others too come and go

Breakfast dockside
Main street on the island.  Bikes,  walkers, or those riding either
horseback or carriages.  We had a carriage ride and tour.
It was a good choice which took us all around and over the island.  

The Island is famous for fudge and lilacs.  This is one of the oldest lilac trees
on the island at 100 years old.  Bloom was done

Meet Dave, handsome, personable MI guy and
 our carriage driver and tour guide for the day.  This was his
second year working there.  He is a college Senior at Northwestern.
Grand hotel carriages were empty
To be continued later around the island and more....I have been sitting here long enough.