Saturday, May 16, 2015

Salt and Shark Free

Lake Michigan beach
The garden is rototilled and the peas have already sprouted!  Our enclosed front porch looks more like a greenhouse with all the tomato seedlings and the Red Wartything Pumpkins that are now starting to vine!   In the gardens that surround the house and dot the side yard, tulips, hyacinths and daffodils are blooming in all their beautiful colors. The Spicebush has perfumed the entire yard with its soft yellow fragrant blossoms. The Gnomes are back in their places in the “Village” under the tall Blue Spruce behind our home!

It’s been a full month since we’ve returned from Florida and H is restless!  It’s time to get on the road again!   This trip will do double duty, as the “tan train” will be dropped off in Goshen Indiana at the factory for all the repairs to be covered under its warranty.

Holland Michigan in May means Tulip Time Festival!  This delightful town
dresses in authentic Dutch costumes and is decorated with masses of bright colors each spring when the tulips bloom!  The boulevards and parks are ablaze with reds, yellows, pinks, oranges and purples!  From Sunday to Saturday there are parades, displays, gardens and shows each day!  And it ALWAYS rains sometime during the week – usually during a parade!  This year was no exception. 

During our stay, we visited Grand Haven, the picturesque town to the north where the dancing fountains entertain tourists each night during the summer.
To the south we found the Felt Mansion in Saugatuck.  The Chicago businessman, Dorr Felt invented the comptometer - the first machine to do complex calculations.  In 1919 he bought 750 acres and then built the home for his wife Agnes.  Since their deaths, the home and gardens have been occupied by a Catholic school and even a Police Training Center.  It has now been restored to its original splendor and is open for tours.  

The Felt Mansion

In Holland we strolled the grounds of Centennial Park that was temporarily taken over by a hundred white canopies of crafters selling their varied art items.  After the tents were finally gone, all the tulips were clearly visible once again.  We stopped at the “Window on the River” Park that we found on our way to Windmill Island - the 1700’s De Swan Windmill from the Netherlands.   Like the commercial tulip farms north of town, this park was row upon row of numbered and named tulips, all blooming in their vibrant glorious colors.

In Holland we parked in the Holland State Park, right on the river that leads to “Big Red” the Holland light house that sits on the end of a lengthy pier which juts out into the wide blue expanse of Lake Michigan.  The camp hosts were neat folks who also spend their winters in Florida near Lake Okeechobee! Go figure!  It would be fun to meet up with them again!

When we packed up and moved farther south, our destination was the Warren Dunes State Park, just south of picturesque St Joseph.  St Joe is a sweet little town nestled on top of the cliff overlooking the lake. Down on the shoreline we visited the piers and parks and up on the top of the hill we strolled thru the quaint old stores that lined the one-way streets.

 While each of these great state parks is listed as being right on Lake Michigan, they are each separated from the lake by mammoth mountains called Sand “Dunes”!  There was no way these two old folks were even going to think about climbing any of them!!   On our first day, the weather was wet and cool.  The vast ocean of crystal blue water called Lake Michigan was shrouded in a dense fog sent over the lake from Chicago and Wisconsin!  The next day tho, the weather had cleared and the lake was once again spectacular!   Florida beaches are beautiful but there is just something about the pure majesty of the Lake Michigan shoreline and beaches!! 

Our stay in Warren Dunes was made brighter by meeting 2 really cool couples from the Seattle Washington area!   David & Julieanne, Dennis and Cheryl were on their way to Nova Scotia - on their first ever-camping trip!  WOW!  What fun and what memories – both for them and for us!   H had invited them over for coffee/tea and we passed on some travel tips and places they “must see” on their way!

But our short fast trip was going to end in Goshen where H spoke with the techs at the RV Repair facility for Forest River Trailers and we unhooked and left our “tan train” behind.   We added one more stop to our trip home when H found a restored old factory complex in Goshen that has been restored to a trendy shopping center called “The Old Bag Factory”.  Our lunch was enjoyed in the Trolley Station!    We finished up our journey by heading east thru the always pretty Amish Country in NE Indiana and then home again to Michigan.

Now it’s back to work – the lawn needs mowing and the chickweed is growing!  The tomatoes and pumpkins had better get moved to the garden!