Thursday, July 30, 2009

Picking Up Where We Left Off

As we were leaving home in June, to travel through the midwest, our stamped concrete walkways were being completed. Rain had caused the work to be delayed and the last step of applying a sealer had not been done by the contractor until after we had left. When we returned home the walkways were completed but the areas around the walks needed some work. So for the past several days we have been putting mulch along the walkways and around the shrubbery. The area between the front of the house and the walkway had some ornamental grasses that were well past their prime so we removed them. We spent one day going to a garden center to get some ideas. In the end we decided to mulch around the shrubbery and not plant anything else in that area at this time. After distributing 60-plus bags of mulch we are finished that project. It was back-breaking work but we are pleased with the results.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Events of the Past Week

Well so much time has passed since the last post. We made it safely to Bowling Green, Ohio on Sunday morning leaving Bremen, Indiana about 7:30am and arriving about 10:30am. The Newmar group was parked on the campus of Bowling Green State University. There were over 2700 motorhomes of most every description at the rally, some parked on the campus and others at the county fairgrounds nearby. Seminars, vendor areas and entertainment were all held on the university campus. On Sunday evening Tom and I went to Findlay, Ohio to have dinner at Max and Erma's, a restaurant, with some high school classmates of Tom's. Through email communication it had been arranged to get together since Tom would be in the area. It was a nice evening. Monday morning we went to Fayette, Ohio to Tom's sister, Julie, and her family's home. Tom had left a hat at Julie's when we were there at the family reunion in June so we needed to pick that up and we thought we should visit again with them before going home. In the afternoon the motorhome display area was opened for viewing so we went over and walked through several units. We still like our 10 year old motorhome best! Tuesday was the opening day of the vendor area. We had some items we were interested in obtaining or learning more about. Our 10 year old tow bar was a number 1 concern so we were able to get that replaced. The vendor area always has trinkets, candies and information handouts so we end up with bags of "stuff". We had a coupon for pancakes, plain and blueberry, that we could get at a booth. I thought it was going to be pancake mix but it was actually frozen pancakes that were packaged 24 to a pack. A package of plain and a pack of blueberry were given to everyone turning in a coupon. (We did try eating pancakes for breakfast one morning and they were good, just warmed up in the microwave and eat.) The evenings entertainment was 4:2:Five, a group of 5 young men that sing acappella even making sounds of musical instruments. During the course of their entertainment the generator supplying power to their sound system failed but these guys just came out into the audience and continued the show until power was restored. Wednesday, Tom's brother, Roger, stopped by, visited and had lunch with us. Roger lives just north of the Bowling Green area. Lorrie Morgan was to be the entertainment for the evening but it had rained much of the day so the show which was to be held at the stadium was cancelled. Actually at the time of the show rained had stopped so there were some unhappy campers! Thursday we were up early to attend 8am seminars. Tom went to a seminar on Google Earth and I attended a seminar on quilts. FMCA members make small, children's quilts throughout the year and then donate these quilts to a hospital or shelter that is local to the rally. There were more than 50 quilts of all kinds patterns and designs donated. We attended other seminars later in the morning, Tom went to Picasa 3 and I went to recycling gray water. We went out to dinner with Ed and Barb Perry,Maryland friends we have known for sometime that recently bought a motorhome and were attending their first FMCA International Rally. The entertainment for the evening was a group called Phil Dirt and the Dozers, an oldies group. Friday morning we departed Bowling Green and headed east toward home. It is amazing how quickly a large group of motorhomes becomes dispersed throughout the country in a short time. Everyone leaves on their own time, some leave before the rally ends and then on the day of departure people start leaving at 6am and others will hang around until late morning. We got away about 8:30am. Not taking the turnpike, we traveled over route 70 and stopped at a KOA in Washington, Pa. for the night. Today we continued our travels over route 68 through western Maryland to Hancock then on to Taneytown. That is a very scenic drive but the hills are long and plentiful. The abundance of rain while we were away sure had the weeds in the flower beds growing. We commented on our way home about the green countryside compared to what has been for numerous summers brown dried up environments.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Final Days at Bremen, Indiana

Friday was an open day to do whatever. In preparation for our move on Sunday morning to the FMCA International Rally in Bowling Green, Ohio, bed linens and other laundry was done. We then traveled about the area. We stopped at a couple of the quilt gardens (there are 16 throughout Elkhart County) in our travels. We ate lunch at American Countryside Farmer's Market, a big, new market near Elkhart. Friday evening we had a catered dinner and then we played card bingo.
Today, Saturday, we started with a catered haystack breakfast. A haystack consists of potatoes, sausage and ham, scrambled eggs, a cheesy sauce and toasted bread cubes on top. It was very good. In the afternoon we went to Amish Acres to see a play, "Good and Plenty", about the Amish life. After the play we had dinner at Amish Acres, family style dinner of fried chicken and beef with the trimmings and pie for dessert. Very good and plenty to eat.
Tomorrow we go for Bowling Green about 135 miles to the east as a group. There are 39 units going in together so we need to leave Bremen between 7 and 7:30am to get there by 11:00am.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Rally Continues

Wednesday morning Tom and I were up early as we had volunteered to help with breakfast. We were scheduled to have a continental style breakfast but someone stepped forward to prepare sausage and pancakes for 100 plus participants of the rally.
After our breakfast duties were completed and Travis was walked, we drove around the Nappanee area. This area is well known for the presence of the Amish. Following a map we traveled on some backroads through the Amish communities. Shingle stores, private homes with a shingle (sign) citing some product as fabrics or quilts, are quite common. Throughout this Amish Country there are quilt gardens, each garden recreates a traditional or contemporary quilt pattern. We viewed the one in Nappanee that was composed of pink alysum, white and purple salvia and blue ageratium. We stopped at a country diner for a late lunch.
In the evening Tom had his second round of beanbag baseball but his team got beat so they are finished.
Today, Thursday, we attended a seminar by Precision Paint, a local company that paints motorhomes. After their talk, we were treated to a lunch of hamburgers and hot dogs by Precision Paint. And then we were invited to their facility a short distance from the campground for a tour which we found to be very interesting.
From Bremen Indiana

From Bremen Indiana

While there Tom asked about the replacement of headlights- our motorhome headlight lenses have become yellowed and cloudy with age. We had set up an appointment for someone to come to the campground on Friday to replace ours. After returning to the campground we had a business meeting that we had to attend. During the meeting Tom got a call that Precision Paint employees were here today to replace the headlights so he went back to the motorhome and I stayed at the meeting. The new headlights improve the appearence of the motorhome and will provide much improved lights for nighttime driving.
From Bremen Indiana

From Bremen Indiana

From Bremen Indiana

From Bremen Indiana

A pizza dinner was provided- salad, pizzas, and cinnamon sticks.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Rally Begins

The Newmar International Chapter of FMCA rally started this morning with a period for registration. Tote bags with literature about the surrounding area and RV products along with some small gifts were distributed.
We rode into Nappanee, Indiana to the Newmar factory to get a cover for the vent at the bottom of our shower. The present cover had the paint chipping away. Although they no longer carry the exact same cover as we presently have they had one that may work if not we could return it. Tom immediately checked it out when we got home and was able to drill some new holes and make the fit.
Late this afternoon we had a welcoming meeting followed by the executives from Newmar offering some remarks and answering questions. Our dinner of hot dogs and hamburgers was cooked by the Newmar Executives, that included the company president.
After dinner a bean bag baseball tournament was started and will be on-going through out the week. Tom was a participant, I took Travis for a walk and then became a spectator.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Monday in Bremen, Indiana

Another beautiful day- bright sunshine and comfortable temperatures. After doing some chores around the motorhome and giving Travis a much needed bath, Tom and I drove into Bremen. We ate lunch at a small Mexican restaurant that proved to be a good choice. I felt a need for a haircut and spied a salon across the street from the restaurant. Luckily, I was able to get haircut before the next client showed up for her appointment. Beauticians are usually full of information and so we learned of an Amish store out in the country- Rentown's- which we went to. It was a store that carried bulk foods but they also had cheese at some unbelievable prices- $1.49 a pound for Colby-Jack cheese. This is indeed Amish country as we saw numerous horse-pulled wagons with Amish families traveling over the roads today.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Muskegon and Bremen, Indiana

We spent Friday and Saturday in Muskegon, Michigan in Fishermans' Landing, a city owned park on Lake Muskegon. After a stormy night on Friday we awoke to a bright sunshiny day on Saturday. A short distance from the campground there was a farmer's market. A market is held 3 times a week on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and it puts most other markets to shame. Two long open air buildings had stalls in which the vendors had their produce and plants for sale.
From Muskegon Michigan
I always seem to get carried away when I'm in a market as this. I bought cherries (sweet and tart),blueberries, fresh beets, squash and radishes.
From Muskegon Michigan
We made a stop at a grocery store and then returned to the motorhome. After baking a cherry pie, I prepared dinner cooking the beets along with some broccoli and cherry bratwurst(a special brat that is made during the time of the cherry festival). We really enjoyed eating those beets and pieces of cherry pie.
From Muskegon Michigan
(Note from Tom, "The pie was GREAT!")
After a nice walk we watched the sunset over the lake.
From Muskegon Michigan
From Muskegon Michigan

Today, Sunday, we moved on further south to Bremen, Indiana, about 160 miles. We are attending a rally here, FMCA Newmar group, that goes from Tuesday until Sunday. As with most rallies arriving early is very common and there are about 10 units here. The weather is really pleasant- at 9:30pm it is 65 degrees outside. The high temperature was probably 80 degrees. No need for AC.

Tuesday through Friday Catching Up

Somehow I've got a little behind with the blog and now I'm attempting to get it up to date.  Tuesday through Thursday we remained in Traverse City.  We were just biding our time enjoying the campground and tending to some maintenance and housekeeping chores as well as getting prescriptions renewed.  I had a prescription that needed authorization and had overlooked that fact prior to leaving home but it wasn't too much of a problem.  The pharmacist called my doctor and was able to renew the script.

On Wednesday evening we returned to the Cherry Festival for the evenings entertainment which was a Beatles cover band called "1964 The Tribute".  They were very good entertainers and we really enjoyed the concert.  People attending reacted to this group as if they were truly THE BEATLES, standing up most of the time, singing along with the songs and dancing.  And, yet, I would dare say that 75% of the audience were younger than folks our age that call the Beatles music of our era. 

Thursday we went to downtown Traverse City and walked about the shopping area.  There were lots of interesting shops and ,of course, many were selling cherry products- dried cherries, cherry jams and salsas and even cherry ice cream.  Oh, my!

Today, Friday, we packed up and left Traverse City heading south toward Indiana.   Traveling about 150 miles to Muskegon, Michigan we are going to stay here until Sunday.  The campground we are staying is Fisherman's Landing and Campground.  It is located on Muskegon Lake, a pretty area.  As the name implies there are lots of fishermen here with their RV's and their boats.

Monday, July 06, 2009

Cherry Festival and Peninsula Drive

This morning we went into Traverse City to the Cherry Festival.
From Cherry Festival
Today they were honoring hometown heros. Emergency personnel-firemen and EMS- with equipment were on display along with other medical facilities.
From Cherry Festival
Vendors selling all kinds of cherry products had their tents set up.
From Cherry Festival
From Cherry Festival
From Cherry Festival
The location of the festival is right along the lake. It is quite a pretty area. We walked to the downtown area, about a block, to find a restaurant for lunch. We thought we had a better choice of somewhat healthier food in a restaurant over the festival food.
After lunch we drove up the peninsula that goes from Traverse City to Old Mission a distance of about 20 miles. It was an absolutely beautiful drive with great views of the lake, cherry orchards and vineyards.
From Travis Birthday and Travis City Area
We stopped at the lighthouse at the end of the peninsula.
From Travis Birthday and Travis City Area
In Old Mission, a small town on the northern end of the peninsula, we visited an old mission church. A stop at a vineyard for wine tasting followed by a stop for some fresh cherries at a roadside stand rounded out the tour.
From Travis Birthday and Travis City Area

The weather was sunny but cool today. This evening the clouds have moved in and it is getting chillier.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Happy Birthday, Travis!!

Today Travis had his 12th birthday. Since he was 7 weeks old Travis has been with us and we couldn't ask for a better little buddyAnother beautiful day and comfortable temperatures in the 70's
We took a ride heading north from Traverse City. Cherry orchards were all along the highway. We stopped in Elk Rapids, a picturesque town along Lake Michigan. A city park on the lake had a beach and people were out swimming-brrrr.
From Traverse City and Elk Rapids

A stream flowing into the lake also had people swimming.
From Traverse City and Elk Rapids

We watched boats coming into and going out of the marina.
From Traverse City and Elk Rapids

The water was very clean appearing- we were able to clearly see the bottom- and almost as colorful as the Carribbean.
After getting back to the motorhome we fixed dinner and later had ice cream and cake for Travis' birthday. It was a good day.
From Travis Birthday and Travis City Area

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Air Show

After talking about the rainy weather for the past week I forgot to mention yesterday that we finally had sunny skies. Temperatures are in the low 70's and believe it or not this morning was the coldest morning yet at 47 degrees.
It was a beautiful day today. The Cherry festival had an air show over Lake Michigan. We watched the show with thousands of others that were spread along the shores of the lake.
From Traverse City and Elk Rapids

Afterwards we ate dinner out and returned to the campground for a quiet evening. Travis doesn't handle fireworks too well so we keep the 4th as quiet as possible. Happy 4th of July!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Moving on to Traverse City

We left the Dunes and traveled about 30 miles to the east to Traverse City. The National Cherry festival begins here tomorrow. Unfortunately, the cherries are about 2 weeks late due to a late cool spring so the festival planners have had to resort to bringing cherries in from other states.
We are camped at Timberridge Campground Resort. We had made prior reservations since this is 4th of July weekend. Other than making a run to the grocery store we have stayed in the campground catching up on laundry.

Thursday, July 02, 2009


I cannot believe that we are still in a weather pattern of cold and dampness. Late yesterday afternoon the sun came out for a short period of time then it rained again last night. It was predicted that the sun would shine this afternoon but that didn't happen.
We had notice a farm nearby that had a field with poles and strings. A sign stated it was a hops farm so we assumed that the hops are grown in this field and entwine up the strings.
From Hops and Leland
From Hops and Leland

Enroute to Leland we stopped at Good Harbor Vineyards. They had the bottling equipment in operation. As many times as we have been to wineries, this was the first time we have seen the actual bottling of wine. Tasting cost $4.00 each, but you get to keep the glass and if you bring the glass with you on a return visit, you get a discount on the tasting. After the tasting, we purchased several bottles of wine and continued on our day trip to Leland.
Driving north we saw a sign that stated it marked the halfway point between the equator and North Pole.
From Hops and Leland

We drove to Leland, Michigan. Leland has a harbor on Lake Michigan from which a ferry transports people to the North and South Manitou Islands. These islands have only primitive provisions. We saw a group of teenagers with hiking gear including sleeping bags and tents that had returned on the ferry.
From Hops and Leland

The harbor area of Leland is called Fishtown.
From Hops and Leland

There are numerous old shacks that at this time are used for shops and a shack or 2 that sells fish, fresh or smoked.
From Hops and Leland

It was quite an active and interesting area. We talked with a shop keeper about recommendations for restaurants. He suggested Fischer's Happy Hour Tavern about 6 miles north of Leland which we went to and enjoyed a fried chicken dinner.
After dinner we traveled a little further north to Northport, another small town on Lake Michigan. In our travels we saw a very strange looking building which we believe is a house.
From Hops and Leland

Tomorrow we will move from this area to Traverse City about 25 miles to the east of Empire where we are at this time.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

It rained most of the night and was still raining this morning. Late this morning we struck out for the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Pierce Stocking was a lumberman in this area that had an appreciation for the beautiful views from the high dunes and developed the scenic drive for others to enjoy. The 7-plus miles has panoramic views of Sleeping Bear Dunes, Lake Michigan and Glen Lake.
From Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

At the Michigan Lake overlook a dune descends 450 feet to Lake Michigan. In spite of signs asking people to remain on walkways and to stay off the dunes there were people walking over the dunes including the extremely steep descent down to the Lake.
From Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

Those people going down the steep grade were finding it difficult,even resorting to crawling on their hands and knees, to return up the dune but there was no alternative. Needless to say folks our age were not attempting such a challenge.
From Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive

After leaving the scenic drive we drove into Empire, stopped at a sandwich shop for lunch items and went to the city park on Lake Michigan to eat our lunch. Even though we were in a pavilion, it was a chilly dining experience and really not too enjoyable. Travis has been along with us today. This area is pet friendly for the most part. There are a few places posted that pets are not allowed. This is one of the few National Parks that allow dogs on trails.
At 3pm we were back at the motorhome. The rain has been stopped for a while. The temperature is 59 degrees. According to the weather reports this area is experiencing the coldest temperatures in the lower 48 at this time.