Monday, October 17, 2011

Summer 2011

Summer 2011

Where did the summer of 2011 go??? In June we drug the mobile motel behind the 1994 Ford pickup along Rt 66 to St Louis and followed the Mighty (still flooded and muddy) Mississippi River down to Cairo Illinois where the Ohio River joins it.

In July, Bud and Carol raced ahead of us to visit friends in Wisconsin and we lingered at home for H to go visit one of his growing collection of doctors. We pulled out on Friday and stopped overnight at the Otsego Lake State Park just SW of Gaylord Michigan. We were able to enjoy breakfast and a nice - but not nearly long enough – visit with Glenn and Beth before we pressed on and over the Mackinac Bridge and across the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to meet up with B&C. Munising Michigan has wonderful pasties (yummy hot stew baked in tender flaky pie type crust sandwiches), great views of Lake Superior and IF you’re lucky – weather nice enough to enjoy a boat tour out to the colorful Pictured Rocks! Well, 2 outta 3 ain’t bad. But the day that B&C were to take their boat tour was a day full of thick blanketing fog that kept rolling in and out ALL day long! H and I were out exploring in the Jeep but talked to them via walkie-talkies right before the boat turned around and headed back to the dock. The next day we took them to see Miners Castle, one of the rock formations that they would have seen IF the ride had continued. On this trip, H had no off road competition going so he never got stuck and hence, never needed his brother to rescue him. Bud had to ride co-pilot and did seem a bit nervous whenever H sloshed down, around and thru some of those vehicle devouring, massive mud puddles! Especially when the Jeep was at a sideways tilt entering some of those dark brown, seemingly bottomless “ponds”!!

The month of August was a stay near home month so the grass was kept mowed and the garden was tended. Lots of sewing got done and lots of tomatoes canned Even managed a few leisurely bike rides!

September – school was back in session and the wanderlust hit hard! This time we headed south to Kentucky. B&C drove their motorhome and pulled our big boat, just as they have in the past. H pulled the truck out of storage and chose to put miles on it since he was going to use the Jeep again this winter when we head to Florida. There are hills in Kentucky! Some bigger than others! In the Lexington area, whenever pressure was applied to get the truck and trailer up or down a “hill”, the back of the truck began rattling and clanging and clunking. Do we go on or do we turn around? At each place we stayed, the guys lined up a transmission mechanic – just incase his services would be needed. Each time H backed the truck down the lonnnnnnnnnnng STEEP boat ramp, the question was – will it make it back up? And of course, the boat ramps were steeper than some of those other “hills” the truck had to strain to get up. Lake Cumberland was created back in the early 1950’s by damning up the Cumberland River, which caused it to fill up all the valleys and made a meandering snake of a lake, 100 miles long with over 1200 miles of shoreline, that wandered along sheer cliffs and snuck into a multitude of tree lined nooks and crannies. The weather held out and we enjoyed taking B&C on their first visit to the lake. In the two days on the lake we put on at least 80 miles! The Friday evening that we camped at Cumberland Lake State Park we lucked out and arrived in time to THOUROUGHLY enjoy to our VERY fullest, the seafood laden evening buffet! Oh My!! Crab legs, shrimp, catfish, more shrimp & crab legs, scallops, and yes, even those slimy oysters! And as the sun set over the peaceful lake, Carol and I tried to memorize the entire view from our high perch on the deck of the lodge.

From Jamestown and Somerset, we headed north to Frankfort, the capitol of the state. For H and I it was a case of SPB, but it was great to show our dear friends the views and sights of that neat town. We also decided to take them on a distillery tour because we had raved about our tour of Woodford Reserve several years ago. Our mistake was that we took them to a distillery that was closer to the campground where we were staying. H was hoping to get the truck back home before it quit all together yah know! Buffalo Trace Distillery was only a few miles away and is the oldest continually operating distillery from prohibition days. On the outside of the plant was the coolest painting. If you approach it from the right (see the picture) the angle of the picture faces you. As you pass it to the left – the picture angle follows with you! However - - the inside of the plant itself is loud, smelly and has 3 floors of open grated floors. Carol and I were both glad to get that tour over with. The guys weren’t even impressed with the bourbon that was offered as samples. Going out to dinner with Steve and Rachel made up for the bad taste in our noses and mouths! Now, hook onto this for a common thread - H, B and Mel (H’s buddy up in Michigan) all grew up together out in Swanton. H, Mel and Steve all went to Ohio University together! Anyway, it was wonderful to spend time with and introduce B&C to S&R!!

Between Frankfort KY and Madison Ind, the GPS took us north on some very narrow, up and down, winding 2 lane roads that had a lot of yellow paint down the middle. The scenery that was flashing by was full of red barns and colorful fall foliage but the guys did not get to enjoy much of it. H started going faster down hills so the truck would have a better running start up the next hill and would not rattle so much. Bud’s knuckles got pretty white, having to manhandle that milelong motorhome and boat around those curves. Ask Carol about crossing over the Ohio River on that extremely narrow old rickety bridge! She likes bridges about as much as she and I like open grated, 3 story high floors. NOT!! We all needed a break so we stopped for breakfast and a walking tour of that historic river town!

Once out of the “hills”, the truck quit clanking and just growled whenever pressure was applied. Yes, we did make it home! Three days later the truck was clean again and parked out in the front yard. 15 minutes later it was sold - - - bad differential and all.

H’s new love is a 2011 BRIGHT BLUE Ford F150, 4X4, complete with the new EcoBoost Engine. He traded in his beloved 2008 Jeep Liberty so our stable is down to only 2 vehicles. The new truck has a towing capacity of 9800lbs. Guess what he’s shopping for next! And the next trip will probably be to the sand dunes and/or the off road trails up north!