Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Mt. Dora Area

Mt. Dora Area

Christmas is over and most of our decorations are now packed under the bed because we’ve moved again and it was easier to just put them away! Our little tree looked nice again this year while it sat on our table and the little blue stockings that were pinned to the curtains over the couch were cute. Saturday after Christmas Sharon and I went shopping and then we all went out for a bite to eat before H and I went back to the “mobile motel” and prepared to move on Sunday.

Trimble Park is just outside Mt Dora and is nestled between two pretty little lakes. There are at least 6 lakes that are all connected in this area! Mt Dora is situated in the midst of rolling hills, which is pretty unusual for being in Florida! The town is old but the downtown is nicely restored and well decorated for Christmas. The local marina has been decorated to the hilt and rivals some subdivisions for the amount of colorful lights. In the evenings, folks are out enjoying the weather and the fabulous display.

Trimble Park campground is small with only 15 spots but 10 of them are waterfront and very spacious and well shaded with big trees and green palmetto bushes. There is a hiking trail that has a brand new boardwalk that follows the outline of the shore, thru the green “jungle” and tall, moss draped cypress trees. This morning we saw a Pileated Woodpecker and this afternoon an eagle! By far this is one of the prettiest parks that we’ve been lucky enough to park the “motel” in – so says my resident travel guide who has camped in Florida for the last 40 some years!! And I agree.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas One and All !

My, how the time has flown by! Ross Prairie Campground in the Florida Greenway has been our home for the last week. We are parked in an equestrian campground where folks trailer their horses in and ride the many lengthy trails thru the forest and then pack them up and take them back home or they camp in the campground and put up a little coral for them. Two beautiful black horses are camping across the way from us!

Our source of wifi is the brand new library in Dunnellon. Even when they are closed, H can sit in one of the comfy rocking chairs, plug in and tend to his computer stuff! The railings across the full front porch are lined with flower boxes that are stuffed with Poinsettias, coleus, geraniums, and all kinds of tropical plants!

We have been visiting with dear friends Ruth and Jerry from Marblehead Ohio who have a winter home in Dunnellon and with my sister Sharon and her husband Dick. D&S have been introducing us to their fun circle of friends via dinner out at a fun restaurant called Logan’s and then followed up with decadent desserts at their beautiful home in Ocala. Christmas Eve we attended church service with D&S and then followed that up with finger foods and more robust conversation with another batch of friends! Christmas Day we were back to their house by 9am (!) so we could all travel to Dick’s daughter’s home for Christmas Cheer and dinner. Terri is a Judge in Marion County and her nickname is Judge Nasty Pants! She and her husband John welcomed us into their home and made us feel like old friends! Must be - - they gave me a lump of coal as a gift! Next year, I’ll get even!! Dick’s son Rick also joined the group and it was wonderful to finally get to know them all! H and I were exhausted when we finally crawled back to the camper and called it quits for the holiday.

When we’ve not been partying or eating out, we’ve been checking out boat ramps and the neighborhoods near them with houses that are for sale. The one that H had his hopes up for needs lots of TLC and most of the others are not worth the price they are attempting to receive. We’ve driven all the way to Crystal River State Park to check things out in those neighborhoods also. We even met some folks from Point Place where I grew up!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Spring in winter

Spring in winter

Another Spring! And Winter isn’t here for another day or so! Fished, canoe’d and snorkeled at Silver Glen Springs; camped, fished and biked at Salt Springs. Time to move on to Juniper Springs for a couple of nights where there is NO electricity - - just a gorgeous old spring and wide trails and boardwalks that take you to another but secluded Hemlock Spring. Our pretty little Christmas tree sat out on the picnic table instead of being cooped up in the trailer all day!

All the brochures say that the spring is a constant 72 degrees but we know that it is only 70 degrees! But floating over the deep “V” of the spring and seeing the water rushing up out of it made it all worth the goosebumps that worked their way thru our wetsuits! We sure warmed up fast when we got out because the temps above the water line said 80!

Sunday- Now, winter is here! And we’ve moved to the Florida Greenway, just south west of Ocala and will be at the Ross Prairie Campground for a week. A cold front went thru this evening, complete with a rainstorm that quit just in time to attend Dunnellon’s version of Lights Before Christmas with Santa Over the Rainbow at Rainbow Springs State Park where Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived aboard a lighted pontoon boat.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Silver Glen Springs


Daytona and Silver Glen springs

Monday morning’s weather report said foggy in the morning and then clearing and sunny by afternoon. The day was to be good so we headed for Daytona Beach - - - but were detained by several back roads thru the forest. Almost had to call Ron to get us out of the sand again! The one road started out wide and packed sand but ended up a two track that zigzagged around utility poles and was all soft, DEEP, rutted sand. A few moves down on the shift knob, a foot on the gas and the 4wheel drive finally got us moving.

Daytona Beach was still hazed in but we did drive the beach from one end to the other. Too bad the surf took up most of the beach!

Tuesday was our “stay at home day”. H got some sun and read some book. I dug out my new sewing machine and tackled sewing on more patches to my new jacket and worked on the first stages of putting together my heart shaped potholders.

Wednesday we drove to Silver Glen Springs and the canoe went in the water first until it was warm enough to go snorkeling. We put the lures in the water and drug them along! Guess who caught the first, the biggest and the most? My “brim” or what we know as bluegill was huge! The fat part of his body was as long as my hand! So, all total it had to have been 10 or 12 inches long from nose to tail! Way clear water, a bunch of fish, lots of gigantic turtles, noisy squawking herons, egrets, manta ray and possibly even a ‘gator! The spring itself was deep and blue and was swarming with foot long silver mullet. Some of them were jumping and leaping out of the water. It felt like we were watching America’s Funniest Videos, especially when we were out on the river and the fish would jump across the wake of a passing boat!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Mich. in summer or Fla. in winter?

Mich. in summer or Fla. in winter?

The weather is warming up! In the 60’s today (Saturday) so we went cross-country, looking for the centennial party celebrating the first 100 years for The Ocala National Forest. Since H’s brother Ron was not with us, he pretty much stayed on the roads. But check out the pictures – are we really in Florida or are we in Michigan? Did not see any The weather is warming up! In the 60’s today (Saturday) so we went cross-country, deer or bear, but we did see a flock of really long legged turkeys and some sandhill cranes.

The Ocala National Forest is the first national forest east of the Mississippi River and it was President Theodore Roosevelt who signed the proclamation.

The party was at the Kiwanis Camp at Mill Dam and had local vendors, musicians, demonstrators, hit and miss engines, information booths and food! Free birthday cake but we were there too early to partake.

Sunday was H’s day to get a lot of little stuff done. Washing of vehicles and trailers are not allowed in this park, so each day or so, he discreetly washes another part of the trailer. We had blueberry pancakes for breakfast and enjoyed them outside at the picnic table. We got our walking and biking in, met some folks from Grayling, H read and I worked on cutting our my heart-shaped potholders, and we finally put the canoe in the water and tried to catch some of the fish out in the cove. H and a lot of other campers are pretty upset because the spring area itself has been closed for repairs since last summer and no one is even working on them. No one knows when they are going to work on it! From the water, you cannot see what the problem would be and everything is fenced, gated and posted with warning signs.

The fella across the way has been catching black crappie and said to use hotdogs. We saw lots of good-sized fish and drug both the plastic lures and the hotdogs right in front of them with no luck. As we were drifting back across the cove to the boat launch we drifted right over 3 manatees that were almost as big as the canoe. What a thrill!! The water was so clear and it was shallow enough that you could just about reach out and pet them! At one time, one of them rolled over on it’s back as we glided right next to it.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

From Islands to the Forest

Wednesday morning was cold and foggy. Took time to ride around the island and then hooked up the “mobile motel” and headed south again. Florida before noon! Our next island was Amelia and we passed both of the Talbot Island State Parks where we had stayed before. There were not too many campers parked at Hugenot County Park, which is sandwiched between the ocean and the St Johns River on the north side of Jacksonville Florida. WINDY and GREY! The naval helicopters stationed across the river did not stop swooping low and loud over our camper till after 10pm that night.

The weather forecast for Thursday was thunderstorms, high winds and possible tornados so we were up and gone early. The storm hit as we were exiting St Augustine and heading southwest to the Ocala National Forest. We watched a twirling gust of wind that whipped leaves and road dust on the far side of the road but other than some wind and rain, we traveled thru the cold front with no other problems. The “forest” was sunny and the roads were soon dry. And our camp spot in Salt Springs was ready for us!! Unfortunately we found out that the spring area is closed for repairs.

Friday was sunny and cool so we went exploring other campgrounds between the forest and Ocala. Stopped in to see Dick and Sharon to set up plans for our move next week and then headed back home. We now have our fishing licenses and hopefully we can put them to good use soon! H was taken aback because the cost has gone from $30 to $47!

Temps today were in the low 60’s and should make it to 70 on Saturday after a very cool night tonight.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

From the Swamp to the Island

From the Swamp to the Island

Down 441 and then east on 82, our next parking spot for the day was at Laura L Walker State Park, just inside of the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge Swamp. Our “mobile motel” faced the lovely little lake where the campsites were more than ample. H had been thru this area on one of his previous trips to Florida and decided it was time to stop and explore. We went to the Okefenokee Swamp Park, which was further down the road in the swamp. The park’s name should have been HOKIEfenokee Swamp Park instead. We were the only passengers on the ½ hour, ¾ scale train ride thru a small area of swamp. We did see one alligator, a turpentine mill and a small-restored farm on a tiny little island. There were a few pens with animals and of course the standup of Pogo! In the reptile building was the restored studio of Pogo’s creator, Walt Kelly. IF you are not at least 60 yrs old- you have no idea who Pogo is/was!!

Tuesday we moved from the swamp to the ocean and drove from sunny to cloudy and rain and back to sun again. The temps warmed up enough for short sleeves and H even ventured to wear shorts. The bikes came down off the rack and we rode from the Jekyll Island Campground on the north end of the island to the historic district 3 miles away. The magnificent “cottages” were all decorated for Christmas and visitors were allowed in a few of them that are now museums. We walked thru the Jekyll Island Club Hotel and felt like we were at the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island Michigan! The Macys, the Goodyears, the Rockefellers, the DuPonts and the Morgans all had huge mansions (cottages) right on Riverview Rd and all were surrounded by live oaks dripping with Spanish moss. The bike path from the campground to “town” was a delightful 6ft wide swath of cement that wound in and out of swamp and oak groves. On our way back to the park we met a 3 ft long corn snake that let us get up close and personal! Isn’t he cute?!

Later, when it was dark we drove back thru town to see how it was lit up for Christmas. The main boulevard onto the island was lit up from one end to the other! Tree trunks were wrapped, limbs were draped w/double strands of blue and white which made it look really frosty (in 66 degree weather?). On our way back we drove thru several neighborhoods and saw at least a dozen deer munching away in several different front yards or ambling down the dark back streets. It’s now 8:30pm and is 66 degrees still!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thru The Smokies

Knoxville area

Fox Inn Campground was a few dollars more than staying at Norris Lake State Park but it was right by the expressway, close to Clinton which saved on time and gas, and was right down the way from Golden Girls Restaurant-my favorite place for breakfast when visiting with Steve. There are really nice friendly folks who run it and it’s right next to a big, clean, stuffed full of stuff antique store! Breakfast was good as usual and the girls seemed to like their gifts. From there we followed Steve to where he works at AISIN Automotive Casting, a plant where they make pistons and parts for Nissan, Honda and Ford. It is a huge new plant, just built in 2004. I was impressed with its size and cleanliness. When we finished with our tour, the girls found out that Grandpa Harry and I were going to the American Museum of Science and Energy and they begged to go along. Grandpa H was patient and I was lovin’ getting to spend more time with my 2 granddaughters!! Energy was the main force of the museum with hands on things for all of us to do. We attended a program in the auditorium and Jessie was selected from the audience to help demonstrate static electricity, involving a huge generator. Her foot long blonde hair stood on end and she looked like a big blonde puff of fluff! When the program was over, Kayla got to take her turn! When she shook her hair it looked like Aretha Franklin’s locks on steroids!! I would have LOVED to shown them to you on this blog but H felt it was not a good idea to put their faces online. Steve and Missie came to retrieve their tired young ladies and we two tired old folks traveled just a bit farther to find “the Secret City” of Oak Ridge. This city and its 3 facilities to make atomic weapons was built in 3 years from 1942 and 1945. They called it “secret” because even those people who worked there did not know what they were building. These atomic weapons plants took up 59,000 acres and were called by code names of
Y-12, K-25 and X-10. We found K-25 but it was too late in the day to take any tour. Today K-25 is called the East Tennessee Technology Park and is undergoing an accelerated schedule for site clean-up and environmental restoration.

Sunday, December 7th was clear and cold as we headed south for Knoxville and then east to Sevierville and the north entrance of the Smoky Mountains National Park. From Rt 40 south, the road has turned into one long stretch of tourist shops and restaurants but once inside the park we remembered the beautiful sights of the smoky blue mist that lays gently on top of the distant mountains. On the way up the north side of the mountain we were constantly in and out of the bright sun and then deep shadows as we followed the zig zaggy road and its hairpin turns. The higher we rose, the colder it got. 19 degrees as we crossed from Tennessee to North Carolina – and snow! Thankfully the top of the mountain was the only place that had all the frozen waterfalls and snow.

Down the mountain, thru Cherokee and the rest of North Carolina, and on into Georgia with sunshine and temps up to 50. We have parked for the night at Little Ocmulgee State Park on RT 441 near McRae Georgia.

Friday, December 5, 2008


It's December and Harry is VERY anxious to be on the road - heading south to warm weather.

Out of the door in Michigan at 9am, Thursday, December 4th with our 1st stop at Bennett's Orchard to pick up a gallon of fresh apple cider to take south with us! We had few problems on our 1st day of our journey other than getting used to driving the little green burro (the Jeep!)which was loaded to the hilt with books, gifts,a generator and a 2 hrspwr outboard that smelled of gasoline. We stopped for the night just south of Lexington Kentucky at the Ft Boonesbourgh State Park. Daniel Boone's name seems to be on every plaque in the park. Harry says in the state!

We remembered what we forgot! The garment bag in Harry's closet which has our good dress clothes! Thanks be to Dave and UPS - they will be shipped to Dick and Sharon's home in Ocala - just in time for the Christmas events!

Friday was crisp- 19 degrees crisp but no snow and no fog. Norris Lake State Park, just north east of Clinton Tennessee where son Steve lives, was open but no facilities. We did see 4 deer sauntering thru the campground tho! Final resting place for tonight is Fox Hill Campground in Clinton and will be seeing Steve and family tomorrow. We get to unload those 7 1/2 bags of encyclopedias that he asked us to bring down! Saturday we plan on visiting the WWII Manhattan Project Museum in Oakridge, Tn Its called the Secret City where 80,000 people worked on the atomic bomb. There has also been talk of touring the plant where Steve works. Sunday morning we'll be pulling out and heading farther south.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Halloween week end trip

Halloween week end trip

We’ve done it again. Thursday, October 30th the Jeep headed north, up 23 and across the top of Detroit to Rt 29, to Algonac State Park on the St Clair River. We camped along side Ron and Nancy, Dirk and his wife Lori, and on Saturday, Deke and his son Aiden. State parks do not have wifi and when there are 3 or 4 couples together – nothing very constructive gets done in a timely manor, but a lot of fun and laughs abound! We did have prime viewing seats for watching the lake freighters and ocean going vessels rumbling up and down the river, pushing huge waves in front of their bows. At night, in the cool quiet air, you could feel their rumbling engines, straining to push their heavy loads up river and see the large dark hulks outlined in bright lights moving along like huge ghosts.

Friday was another pretty day and the 3 couples climbed into Dirk’s crew cab Ford truck and went out exploring the river and its towns. We ended up in Port Huron and crossed over to Sarnia Ontario on the Blue Water Bridge and found an old English style, “Up and Down Pub” to enjoy lunch and the guys their brew, served by a waitress with an English accent! From there we did a little shopping, and found a picturesque park where a cross-country competition was being held. The park was right on the St Clair River where it joins Lake Huron and even had a children’s petting “farm” with exotic goats, which had horns curling up and around and another pair down and around their heads. We drove back down the Canadian side of the river to Wapole Island and the ferry back to the USA – just in time for yet another freighter to go by!

Several campers were decorated for Halloween, including ours and there were a half dozen children out “trick or treating” from one blazing campfire to another. Thankfully, Nancy had brought candy!

Saturday was the first of November and although Dirks 40th birthday wasn’t until the 3rd, we celebrated with a yummy cake and a few fun gifts and another roaring campfire. During the afternoon the “boys” shot up some clay pigeons at the shooting range right there in the park while 2 of the “girls” hiked the 2 mile path and took turns playing with 4 yr old Aiden.

Sunday November 2nd we all packed up and headed out separate ways – Deke & Dirk back to their homes and the old folks headed farther north to Frankenmuth for 2 more nights out! We camped at the Jellystone Park campground – within walking distance from Bronner’s. When in Frankenmuth, one MUST shop at Bronner’s and at the River Place Mall – and we did!

Monday, would you believe- - the temps got up to just about 70 degrees!! We shared a fresh pecan roll and coffee at the Bavarian Inn and then walked and shopped all the neat shops on Main Street. The pumpkins and fall decorations were aglow in the warm sun but the workers were already putting up the Christmas decorations. Ron and Nancy enjoyed the indoor swimming pool and hot tub at the campground but one of us in our camper failed to remember to bring her swimsuit so we worked on our blog instead.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pittsburgh Part 2

Pittsburgh Part 2

Sunday, October 12th - We still needed some rest for our tired legs so we climbed in the Jeep and went exploring the countryside. H thought we should go find a restored old village in Hookstown, Pa. We did but it was only 3 little buildings and they were not open yet. We ended up north, across the Ohio River but we were still in Pennsylvania! Could not get that to register in my brain- crossed the Ohio River and were still in Pennsylvania. The Ohio River starts in Pittsburgh at the junction of the Allegheny and the Monongahela Rivers and flows north and then west BEFORE it becomes the outline of the state of Ohio!

Monday, October 13th was a shopping day! We found Harbor Freight, IKEA, and the biggest Joann Fabric store that I have ever been in! Our legs were worn out again when we finally got back to the trailer but we did manage to walk the campground loops one more time! The resident deer were out on their nightly tour of the campground also! There were 2 doe and 2 half grown fawn that nibbled their way thru the grounds each morning and evening!

Tuesday, October 14th- senior day at the Carnegie Science Center! A giant COSI! We even worked some of the experiments! The Miniature Railroad exhibit was closed for updating but we were taken on a private tour of the extremely detailed model of the Pittsburgh area as it might have been, years ago. The museum also included a tour of the Cold War Submarine, the USS Requin. Just about a mile away from the Science Center was the National Aviary. 600+ birds of 200 different species and obviously, plenty of “hands on” experiences. I had a bird eating mealworms out of my hand and H had a tern grabbing a fish out of his upheld fingers! The worms didn’t smell half as bad as that fish! There was also an educational visit with an African Penguin named Simon! Back at the State Park we finally had the strength to hike to the historic Frankfort Mineral Springs that we had wanted to locate ever since our arrival. On our evening walk thru the campground we met a fulltime couple in a 5th wheel that had solar panels on the top! Solar panels!

Wednesday, October 15th – cloudy this morning but it was 60 degrees when we got up. When we arrived at the state park last Friday, there were no leaves on the ground and this morning the ground is covered with them. We did pick the best week to be here! The rain is to arrive today so we are heading for Ohio. The color will be gone, so - - - so will we. IF we find a spot to park for the night – we will. If not – then we’ll sleep in the waterbed at home tonight. A stop at an Amish Country store for ice cream and then we headed home. We pulled into the driveway - and it started to rain.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Sunday, October 12, 2008


OH NO! We’ve done it again! The trailer was loaded and the new equalizer hitch was hooked up so we left home again on Thursday, October 9th. This time we’re headed east to the Pittsburgh area with a stop in Amish Country Ohio at the Holmes County Flea Market and a night camping at Tappan Lake Park. The fall colors are out, the temps are rising into the 70’s and we think this might just be the peak color weekend!

Friday, October 10th we crossed the Ohio River at Steubenville and whizzed thru West Virginia to Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, and parked the trailer before lunchtime. The afternoon was enjoyed by walking and exploring the park’s many winding roads, the scenic reservoir and the wooded camping areas. There were signs all over to not feed the deer and bears but we only saw one deer and no bears.

On Saturday, October 11th, our objective was to find the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium. Lily the GPS was set for the address given in the tour book and off we went. HOWEVER- - the route we dutifully followed thru endless neighborhoods and up hill and down, led us to a dead end street in a quiet neighborhood! The police officers that we located parked in a small shopping center said we were not the first to have ended up in their area and gave us new directions to find the zoo - - - which took us 18 miles across town to the north. This time the gps address the officers sent us to was another small neighborhood. H’s frustration level was at its peak and we finally dug out the cell phone and called the wayward zoo!! We had left the campground before 9am and it was now noon!

The day was warm and sunny – the parking lot was full and the zoo was crowded! But what a wonderful zoo! Wondrously arranged on the top of one of Pittsburgh many mountains, the walkways led from area to area, up and down and around, from the lions to the African elephants, to the awesome aquarium and underwater walkway. We walked UNDER the polar bear, frolicking in his pool, watched the sea otters antics and had a shark swim over our heads! As we left the zoo and headed, hopefully, downtown we stopped in a neighborhood they call “the strip”. We parked and walked several blocks while enjoying an expensive Greek pastry. The old buildings and sidewalk booths reminded us of both Toronto Ontario and Progresso Mexico!

We found the Duquesne Incline which dates back to 1877 and took some great pictures of downtown Pittsburgh and the 3 rivers that divide it- the Allegheny to the north, the Monongahela to the south and the Ohio to the west. The water in the large fountain at the point of the 3 rivers is flowing pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

After a long day on the road and walking thru the zoo and exploring downtown, we finally found our way home, after dark.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Grousehaven Lake at Rifle River Recreation Area

The Last Post is Always Late!

The last post to this blog is always late! When you return home from a trip the first thing that has to be done is empty the trailer of all the dirty clothes and then fill it back up with clean stuff so you are ready when the road calls the next time! We’ve been home several days now. The laundry is done, the pantry and linens are restocked and the Aerolite is covered and parked in the backyard. The yard is mowed and weeds are pulled. Now, I can download pictures and finish up our tale! I’d better hurry because Harry says in 15 days – that’s the limit – we’ll be on the road again - - - going somewhere!!

Sunday September 14th, we left the rain soaked Upper Peninsula of Michigan and headed south across the mighty Mac Bridge – looking for cheaper gas. The tank was on empty and the dash light was glaring! Gas in St Ignace had gone from $3.98 on Friday morning to $4.09 and then to $4.29! Once the tank was full we parked and walked the town to see if there were any end of season bargains. None that we needed so we turned the windshield wipers on again and moved on down the wet pavement to Carp Lake and to spend a wonderful day visiting with Mel and Donna! The guys grilled pork loins to perfection on the charcoal grill while we ladies tried to catch up on our girl talk that was way over due! The downpour of rain continued as the evening crept closer and we hugged them for one more time and we continued down Rt 31 to Burt Lake State Park. We needed a good nights sleep and thankfully got one.

Monday was an early escape and run for the southbound I75 to the Roscommon exit for breakfast at another “favorite” breakfast spot where we ALWAYS have potato pancakes. They did not disappoint! Another favorite camp spot is #25 at Grousehaven Campground in the Rifle River Recreation Area. Once set up the Jeep headed west and north of Rose City and “Lily” the gps guided us up and down and around some great 2-track roads and some rocky, steep ORV trails! The skid plates earned their keep again and Ron’s towrope was not needed. Back at the campground, the canoe went in the water and the lures went back on the poles. It was windy and had no bites, but it was still good just to be experiencing the sunny warm day. As the afternoon settled down and the winds decreased, the reflections on the peaceful, pristine little lake grew and grew, showing duplicates of downed trees in the water and towering pines reaching for the sky-the one in the water and the one above it! The white birch trees showed up starkly against the golden flowers and deep green foliage on the bank. With a sigh, we called it quits for the evening and closed the door behind us on our mobile motel.

Tuesday, September 16th was our travel day home but thankfully – not straight home! We HAD to stop at Frank’s Sporting Goods store on Rt 13 just north of Bay City. And we can NEVER go thru Standish without shopping at Norman’s or the Dollar Store. And an extra treat was Birch Run Outlet Mall near Frankenmuth. Harry goes to the Coleman Store and this time I was looking for windbreaker jackets to replace my very warn blue patch jacket so I shopped at several places. Home in time to see if Fall had beat us there! She hadn’t but she is close!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Tuesday Sept. 9th

Tuesday Sept. 9th

Tuesday morning we pulled out again and headed east on Rt 28 to Newberry- The Moose Capitol of Michigan. Our whole trip was to “Hunt Moose” and we’d only seen the big fiberglass ones in St Ignace and the tiny little ones in the gift shops! Now we should see some! Our first item to accomplish was to locate moose! We traveled up Rt 123 to Tahquamenon Falls State Park looking for them and saw none. But the Falls were still magnificent! The walkways to the falls have been greatly improved since our last visit and the sun shining on the tea colored water rushing over the rock steps of the lower falls still took my breath away. Searched the marshes that we passed on the way back and scanned the fields as we trekked across the back roads, but still no moose!

The answer to our dilemma should have been solved when we stopped at the Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday morning to pick up our “moose map” that was to show us where the best places for sighting moose were. The woman at the Chamber was of no help and didn’t have a clue as to finding real moose. She had never seen one! Oh well, off we went via more back roads to Seney Wildlife Refuge where perhaps the elusive moose were hiding. No luck but we sure did enjoy the wandering trails that wound in and out of marshes and ponds that held swans, ducks, an osprey AND an eagles nest. Closer to the campground we stopped to gather firewood for our pie iron supper of pizzas and blueberry pies!

Thursday morning came too quickly because Ron and Nancy had to head back downstate and their home. We packed up and also headed down state but just to the Little Brevort State Forest Campground and set up home and finally put the canoe in the water to fish. The lake was pretty but was full of weeds and no motors allowed. The sign in area posted no “senior” rates so Harry called and was told that thanks to our governor- there were no longer senior rates in the Michigan State Forests. We hooked back up and left. Just a few miles east we came across the Brevort Lake National Forest Campground - - with senior rates and parked in a good spot – wooded but yet right on the water. No electricity but the generator worked just fine and the temps dropped only down into the 50’s that night.

Friday September 12th. We would have liked to have stayed longer and fished that lake with canoe and motor but it rained again so on we went. Breakfast in Naubinway and we parked in the Straits State Park in St Ignace. It was just a short walk to the beach and a great sight of the Mackinac Bridge. We had heard of a car show that was to be in town but NO ONE up in the U P had heard anything about it. Well – it was an Antique Tractor/Big Rig Truck / Car / Flea Market Show! There was even a parade across the Mighty Mac Bridge and right thru town of 563 antique tractors and we were there to see them enter the Guinness Book of World Records! The longest parade of antique tractors!

Saturday morning we checked out town again as it had filled up overnight with huge fancy semi tractors and their matching trailers. At the flea market Harry even picked up an LED light for the motorcycle at a very good price. The rains came again during the afternoon so we caught up on our blogging and reading! Now off we go to post this and to find ketchup for our supper of hotdogs! Tonight there is to be a Lighted Parade of the trucks! But it’s raining.

Sunday Sept. 7th

Sunday Sept. 7th

Sunday, September 7th - Munising Michigan! The little motel that we stayed in years ago on a previous bike trip was still there but the bar where we got the absolute best pasties was gone. We were advised to eat at Muldune’s and ate every savory bite of Pastie before we continued up the road to park the trailers at the very nice city park, this time right on the south shore of Lake Superior. We had just enough time to explore the town and be at the dock for the 4pm tour boat ride to Pictured Rocks National Seashore. Stunning views, even after the downpour started! The rains quit and the late afternoon sun came out again to show off the rainbow of colors in the jagged cliffs of this national treasure! But the rains would not be held off forever and as we returned to Munising Bay we were held captive inside the boat. As we neared the docks, the rains let up and the sun shone once more and we were all blessed with 2 brilliant rainbows that stayed visible till we left the docks and headed back up the coast to our campsite. Later that evening we even dared to venture farther west (about 1 mile) to the town of Christmas and Harry and I each “donated” a dollar to those machines that eat your money.

Monday morning was the adventure day and off we went to explore the backcountry. Everything was going well- the autumn scenery was starting to show its colors and the sandy logging roads were adequate. Lunch was at an empty picnic table in an empty campground on a deserted lake off of a deserted backroad! And then- Harry tried to get adventuresome with his new Jeep and climb over a large barricade of sand to enter a “closed” road area. Yep! Got stuck- he high centered his Liberty and his little brother Ron had to pull him off backwards. Now, if that’s not enough – we were trying to catch up them again and this time Harry decided to take a shortcut. Too bad he didn’t notice that drop off under all those weeds! One more time, he had too many wheels in the air and not enough on the ground! Ron had to pull him back onto the path- - - again. Our off road journey ended at the shoreline of Lake Superior just east of the Au Sable Point Lighthouse at the mouth of the Hurricane River as it splashed over rocks and logs on its way to join the cold waters of the lake.

Friday Sept. 5th

Friday Sept. 5th

We are up in the land of ten months of winter and two months of bad sledding! A nice trip-we’re seeing some things that we haven’t seen before in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. This time Harry is driving his New Jeep Liberty. He had sold his Zuki and went thru withdrawal so he traded in the Dodge Shadow Convertible and bought the Liberty to tow the trailer and to go off road with it.

Friday, September 5th, our first night out we stopped at a really beautiful campsite on the north shore of lake Michigan, right off of Rt 2. This time of year the campground was empty except for us and Harry’s brother Ron and wife Nancy so we had a nice campfire going and cooked supper

The next morning we moved on to Manistique and set up camp on the south shore of Indian lake. From this base camp we traveled down the Garden Peninsula to the old restored ghost town of Fayette, which sat in a deep bay, rimmed with sandstone cliffs. This was an active iron foundry town in the 1870s and was quite interesting to tour. We hurried back to the campground when we learned we had company waiting for us! Our friends Joel and Carol whom we met while camped on S Padre Island Texas were on their way home near Wisconsin and stopped to visit with us! We shared a lovely meal with them and sang Happy Birthday to Nancy before we all said Goodnight and Joel and Carol headed on home.

Sunday morning we revisited Palm Book State Park on the NW side of Indian Lake. Ron and Harry shared the duties of pulling the large sturdy raft across the 45 ft deep dark blue spring while Nancy and I snapped pictures and kept track of the huge trout swimming below the open center portion of the raft. From here we headed farther north to Munising!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Home Again

It always seems like the last blog entrée takes a few days after we return home for the last pictures to be downloaded and I find enough time to sit and type. It is now a week after our trip to Pennsylvania.

Our last day at the Allegheny National Recreation Campground was a pleasant one, just kicking back and relaxing! We finally got to visit with the folks in the Aerolite fifth wheel and found out that the old gentleman has retired from NCR! A long time before Harry was! And he was a pilot! No wonder he had trouble backing in that camper - - - pilots don’t back up!!

Our last day was marred only by the jerk who pulled in at 10 30 at night in a huge diesel truck with a huge 3 axle fifth wheel. They woke up the whole campground, I think. Oh well, we were up early on Monday and got on our way home. But our last view as we left the Allegheny forest was the sighting of a bear sitting in a dense field of wildflowers, eating her breakfast!

The boat was repaired by Wednesday and is ready to go back in the water! Harry has now also sold his beloved Suzuki Samurai (see our last trip) and is soothing his loss by shopping for a new Jeep with a skid plates for off roading and a tow package to pull the trailer!

Be sure to check this page in September for our next venture! See you then!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Sunday, August 3rd – and we’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Let’s get started! Let’s go back to Friday August 1st!

I have some good news and I have some bad news. The Good News - - - today is the anniversary of my retirement from State Farm Insurance! Thank You, Dana! I told everyone when I left that I planned to: 1. Fight with my husband, 2. Travel, and 3. Clean the closets. I have had one teeny fight with Harry; I have cleaned 2 closets and we have traveled thru 18 states in the last 12 months!

Friday was another pretty day for a boat ride-this time north into New York. The boat was loaded and we pushed off from the dock. Part way out of the bay, H remembered that he forgot the map so we returned to the dock. On our second attempt to head north, we again were almost out of the bay when the forward momentum of the boat slacked and the engine/outdrive began to whine.-high pitched and complaining. We flagged another boater who was heading for the dock and put the boat back on its trailer. It didn’t take him long to assess the problem but it cannot be fixed till we return home. The rest of that fine day was spent on shore – hiking, reading and I got lots of knitting done! Oh, yeah and he took me out for an ice cream cone for my birthday!

Saturday the 2nd we started off in the truck with the intent of attending the I Love Lucy Birthday Celebration in Jamestown NY. We were sidetracked just a few miles up the road by the Allegheny State Park, which is the New York connection to the Allegheny National Forest that is the Pennsylvania end of it all. There was a Tri-Athelon going on so the gates were open to all! And we went in!! The park is HUGE - - 65,000 acres – the size of Buffalo NY! Very wild, Very beautiful! We checked out several areas with the thought of coming back and staying there instead. The lodge at Red House Campground is rustic and neat but the “facilities” are better in the forest of Pa. Quaker Lake is kept full by an interesting round dam that let’s the excess water trickle down to the reservoir.

The birthday festival for Lucy was not such a much and what was there, you had to pay to go into. We think the “festivities” were more on Friday than Saturday. On up the road to Chautauqua Lake to find Midway State Park. Midway is the 16th oldest amusement park in the US. We found it by accident on a bike trip a lonnnnnnggg time ago! It still hasn’t changed much. Neat OLD rides that are perfect for little ones to ride. And there were plenty of Moms, Dads and Grandfolks showing the little ones a good time. Bumper cars, roller coasters, spin-arounds, toddler sized boats and even the little hand cranked cars that run on a tiny railroad track. Some of the little ones had to be helped those last few up hill feet! Oh yes – and the antique merry go round! Sadly tho, the roller rink/dance hall was no longer open to the public.

Rain? Yes, we’ve had rain! Saturday morning about 3am the fireworks started! The storm was like the grand finale that lasted about an hour. Saturday evening there was another shower that didn’t last long. We stayed high and mostly dry throughout both.