Summer Blog 2007
October 18 Update
Prior to leaving Jackson, MI for Greenfield, we spent a Sunday afternoon visiting Walker Tavern in nearby Brooklyn. Walker Tavern is a project of the Michigan Museum of History that Eric's father-in-law told us about. We enjoyed a personal tour of the facility and a visit to a local Farmer's Market on the grounds where we purchased home processed bacon, sausage & brats as well as some delicious corn. We've probably had corn on the cob weekly since we've been in Jackson as it is so good! After Walker Tavern we drove scenic Old US 12 to Ann Arbor & enjoyed searching for Fairy Doors on some of the businesses as well as window shopping & people watching! We had an early dinner at the outdoor cafe of a little pub where several patrons brought their dogs (including a delightful little pug!). We could see similarities between Ann Arbor & Nice, France and thoroughly enjoyed the day.
We spent a day in Frankenmuth, a touristy German town north of Flint. There is an absolutely fabulous Christmas store, Bronner's, where you could easily spend an entire day! We bought personalized Christmas ornaments and Bob was glad Kathy no longer has room for Father Christmas's because there were many to choose from! We enjoyed walking through the town, stopping in at various specialty shops and a delicious German lunch at the Bavarian Inn.
We made some new friends at Greenwood Acres, especially Marilyn and Steve & Linda, who kindly shared their Saturday night campfires with us. One afternoon, Linda took us on a golf cart tour of the park, showing us a couple of areas we hadn't discovered in the nearly 3 months we'd been there. She told us history of the park and where and when to see various wildlife. One evening we saw 9 deer, 11 heron, 3 swans and many peacocks, all on the campgrounds. The week before we left, Steve & Linda took us to The Parlor, an absolutely delicious ice cream parlor where you can get a 6-scoop banana split, which Steve enjoyed, while Linda and Kathy had 3-scoop Pecan Delights that were really yummy! Bob went for the junior size, which was 2 scoops. All were loaded with pecans and whipped cream. We were there late afternoon and didn't bother to eat supper that night we were so full! Steve and Linda also provided a nice tour of Jackson, along with some local history. It was a great summer!
We left Jackson on September 29 and met Eric in Warsaw to see the University of St. Francis men's soccer team defeat Grace College. It was a great day for soccer and to visit with Eric, sharing our campfire for brats and Tonka toaster cherry pies. On Sunday we returned to Greenfield, staying at S&H Campground just west of town. This campground is smaller with trees and a more "campground" feel. We faced the pumpkin patch so we could watch the hayrides and kids choosing their favorite pumpkin. Our sons, daughters-in-law, and grandchildren helped Kathy plan a surprise 60th birthday party for Bob which was a big hit and a great way to see many friends we hadn't seen since we'd "hit the road." Bob was quite surprised which made it more fun! Thanks to the boys & their families for all their help and especially Mike & Amanda for opening their home to everyone. Our 2-week whirlwind visit was otherwise spending time with family: having lunch with Patrick and Shelby and having Abby give us a tour of her kindergarten, having lunch and dinner with Eric & Kat, visiting with our siblings and Kathy spending time with her mom. She also did the annual Riley Festival Friday with sisters Mariann and Ruthie. We were able to work in a preseason Pacer game, a MMS soccer game and volleyball match, and a trip to Boondock's Farms with Mike's family.
October 15 found us heading west to Rapid City, SD, with overnight stops in Amana Colonies, IA and Tea, SD. After a short visit to Wall Drug in Wall, SD we arrived in Rapid City on the 17th and visited Don & Barb at America's Mailbox to pick up our mail and complete our voter registration paperwork. It is so impressive to work with this company where the staff are so friendly and helpful and do so much more than just forward our mail. Bob picked up a tire pressure sensor kit he'd ordered through them as well. We camped at High Plains RV Resort just west of Rapid City, surrounded by beautiful mountains. While in the area, we visited the Crazy Horse Mt Memorial, Deadwood, and Custer State Park where we saw wild turkeys, pronghorn antelope, mule tail deer, prairie dogs, herds of bison & "wild" burros that blocked the road until we stopped the truck & fed them carrots! The scenery is also beautiful in the park. We decided not to visit Mt Rushmore as we'd been there twice and wanted to do some different things this visit. We say several birds of prey along the interstate and assume they were some type of falcon or hawk. We also saw several pheasant hunters on our way east as hunting season had just opened. We also saw fields on our way west that we finally identified as sunflower fields and we wondered how they were harvested. On the way east, we saw that they are apparently combined much the same was as beans. We enjoyed our stay but were ready to leave for warmer climates as it was 37 degrees the morning we left Rapid City and 32 degrees the morning we left Sioux Falls the second time. We stopped at the Corn Palace in Mitchell on our way east, and now we can say we did it, but probably won't bother again!
September 22, 2007 Update
On August 21 we traveled to Turkeyville for the Highland Wheel Estates summer reunion & a delicious turkey lunch. It was great to see so many friends from our winter stay in Florida and catch up with everyone. After the reunion we drove to Kalamazoo to visit the Air Zoo air & space museum. Bob was in seventh heaven to see all the aircraft!
September 1 & 2 were spent at the Henry Ford in Dearborn; what a place! We arrived as the gates opened each day and left at closing time. We spent Thursday touring Greenfield Village which is much more history than just cars. The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed spending the day outdoors seeing sheep herded down the street, the Firestone farm, a railroad roundhouse, various craftworks including glassblowing and pottery, an 1800’s general store and the Thomas Edison Menlo Park complex. We had a delicious lunch at the Eagle Tavern, which was set in 1850 with the staff dressed and working in that period. We enjoyed a Model T tour of the village and afternoon tea in the garden of Cotswold Cottage. After a little shopping in the gift shop, we headed to our hotel and then to dinner at Kiernan’s Steak House. We highly recommend the prime rib. On Friday we toured The Henry Ford Museum where we saw such sites as various presidential limos, autos, trains, planes, campers, the Rosa Parks’s bus and seat she sat in, Abe Lincoln’s chair, the Dymaxion House and the Wienermobile. We had a light snack at the Wienermobile Café then enjoyed the Ford Rouge Factory Tour in the afternoon. After 2 short videos and a presentation on the observation deck, the actual factory tour is self-guided to enjoy at your own pace. Since we drove a Ford F-150 truck, it was especially interesting to see those being assembled in the factory. We would recommend including the factory tour when you visit the Henry Ford.
September 8 found us in Kalamazoo for the IU/Western Michigan football game. We were able to visit with long-time friends Mike & Melia Sears and see their son and IU co-captain Josiah score the first IU touchdown of the game. IU won the game 37/27, making them 2-0 for the season! On Sunday, we drove to South Haven, a small town on Lake Michigan. The weather was beautiful and we enjoyed walking on the beach, touring the Maritime Museum and sailing on the Friends Good Will replica 1812 tall ship. What an experience as we were expected to work during the 2 hour excursion; we helped raise and lower the sails, Bob steered the ship for a while, and we had an interesting conversation with the captain and various crew members. We stumbled upon this opportunity but it was the highlight of our day! We had dinner at The Thirsty Perch where Kathy enjoyed Michigan white fish (yummy) and Bob had his usual burger! We then headed down the coast where we could enjoy the lake at intervals, before turning east on I-94 and heading home.
August 18, 2007 Update
Our son and daughter-in-law, Eric & Kat and our granddogs, Lilly & Kobie came up the last weekend of July. It was great to see them and spend time just relaxing and catching up. We visited Cascade Falls in Jackson, a man-made water falls that is illuminated at night and choreographed to music. It was a beautiful night with a full moon; we hiked to the top of the falls, visited the museum and just enjoyed the atmosphere. As Eric said, it was nice to see people out enjoying the evening.
On August 5 we attended the Michigan 400 IndyCar race which was about 15 miles from our campground. After a nearly 5 hour rain delay, we thoroughly enjoyed the race. The 2 mile track is a great place to watch a race as we could see the entire course making it easier to keep track of the cars. It was disappointing to see the small crowd at what may be the last Michigan IndyCar race.
Thanks to Keith Scudder of KSS Custom Wood Plaques and Small Signs, we now have a beautiful oak plaque hanging on our 5th wheel to show our true Indiana roots. If you need a special wooden gift, contact Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org or (859) 223-0796. We even determined we had a mutual acquaintance! Bob also recently completed our portable flagpole which is wonderful for the many flags we like to display.
Greenwood Acres Campground recently celebrated Halloween, complete with Trick or Treat, a Haunted Forest and activities for the kids. As you can see, some of the costumes were quite creative! Here are also some pictures of our campsite.
We have done a little sight-seeing and golfing in the Jackson area. We’ve found a great used book store and a couple of good produce stands. We visited the Michigan Museum of History in Lansing where Eric’s father-in-law, Phil, is the director. He gave us a “behind the scenes” tour and then we enjoyed the museum and learning about Michigan. That evening we enjoyed a delicious meal at Phil & Sherry’s home, along with a really nice visit. This week we plan to attend the Highland Wheel Estates summer reunion which will be held at Turkeyville, about an hour from here. It will be great to see the many friends we made in Florida last winter. We plan to visit the Ford Museum in Dearborn and have ordered tickets for the IU Western Michigan football game in Kalamazoo in September. Go Hoosiers!
On Thursday June 28 we left Greenfield and headed toward our summer home in Jackson, Michigan. We stopped near Goshen, IN to visit the Cedar Creek factory where we had an informative tour by Doretta. We camped for 3 nights at the Elkhart County Fairgrounds in Goshen, where there was always some activity underway. The staff in the office was very helpful and although the sites were quite close together, we had full hookup and the grounds were kept clean & neat. On Friday we drove into Shipshewana for the day, enjoying the quiet countryside with the many horse-drawn Amish buggies. We visited the Menno-Hof Center, had a delicious lunch at the Blue Gate Inn and shopped in Yoder’s Meat Market. That evening we saw harness racing at the fairgrounds. Saturday we drove into Goshen for the afternoon and had lunch at a nice little café. We went to the Goshen Air Show and stayed until 9:30 PM; there was so much to see and do, the time just flew.
On Sunday July 1, we drove to Greenwood Acres Campground in Jackson. It is a large, family-oriented campground with spacious sites and seasonal rates, located about 8 miles east of Jackson. We are still learning our way around the campground and the Jackson area.
On July 6 Kathy’s sister Ruthie and niece & nephew Emma and Ross came for a visit. We spent a couple of nights at the campground, and then drove to Mackinaw City where we spent 2 nights, touring the town and visiting Mackinac Island. We had a delicious Italian dinner at Nonna Lisa’s and enjoyed playing miniature golf, buying fudge, eating ice cream and playing in Lake Huron. On the island, we walked, shopped, enjoyed a horse-drawn carriage tour and ate lunch at the Pink Pony Café. On Tuesday we drove to Sault St Marie, MI and enjoyed the informative Soo Locks boat tour. We drove to Sault St Marie, Ontario Canada for lunch so everyone is now international travelers. In the afternoon, we drove to Whitefish Point to the Shipwreck Museum and waded in Lake Superior. The shore was more rocky and the water much cooler here. On Wednesday we drove through Traverse City and stopped in Beulah at The Cherry Hut for lunch and sour cherry candy for Ross. This was his main mission of the entire trip! Lunch was delicious and was completed with warm homemade cherry pie! They make 400-600 fresh cherry pies daily! We drove to Hart and took a sand dune scooter tour along Silver Lake & Lake Michigan; afterwards we tested Lake Michigan’s waters. The shore is quite sandy and the water had great waves; Ross & Emma both said this was their favorite of the 3 lakes. We returned to the campground about 9:00 PM on Wednesday, tired but happy. Ruthie & family left early Thursday morning to return to Greenfield. Below are a few pictures of our trip north.