Think about this ... "be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle"

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

As Cheryl Wheeler says ...

"When fall comes to New England" .... but hmmmmm this isn't New England - it's Michigan ... equally as beautiful isn't it? These photos were taken as Rick, Sir and I walked the looooong walk around this lovely, quiet and peaceful campground (Leisure Lake Campground in Sumner, MI). It was so wonderful for the three of us to walk - I love to walk but I really love to walk if Rick is with me ... I guess perhaps that is one of my many excuses for lack of exercise, but I really do like it when we walk together - especially around campgrounds we may be staying at!

so, am I imagining it or is something a bit "off" in the photo below? I swear this is the way I took it - I didn't (nor do I have the knowledge or ability) to play with a photo - I take 'em, I download 'em and I upload what I want to the blog - that's the extent of my abilities, such as they are ~ well more on that in a minute.

See why I love this campground? I guess Sir is wishing the spent sunflowers (photo below) a fond farewell???

We will be leaving here in the morning. This has been one of the very very few campgrounds we've come across that I really think I could spend a few months (work camping perhaps?). The sites are spacious, the owners are gracious, the staff is oh so pleasant .... but alas, this campground's season ends tonight ;-(

We are headed to a Moose Lodge 30 miles down the road. We also are headed to the "Upper Peninsula" with Larry, Sheila and Donni Friday afternoon for a few days. While we are there we are hoping to see Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, which will complete our tour of the Great Lakes.

Now for my photographic expertise (yeah right) .... while we were walking this evening I stumbled and fell (resulting in hurt pride and beautifully swollen ankle) and now the camera has "issues" (my bad, my pissed off actually) - "lense error" is the error I'm getting - as in the lense won't go in or out - sort of stuck somewhere in between and I can't take photos .......... DAMN DAMN DAMN ... the camera is what, four months old if that? Thankfully, at least we still have the old camera, but damn it I don't want to regress .... On top of just buying a new monitor then a new laptop I sure as hell don't want to buy a new camera .... UGH .... how to put a damper on what was a wonderful day!

Monday, September 28, 2009

waiting for Dorothy

Or Toto or a witch on a bicycle or a cow to go flying by! It is so so so windy here in Michigan (smack dab in the center of the mitten) last night, today and now ... wish I had a wind speed measuring thing .... called a ???????

Cold rainy and windy ... we never even left the coach today other than brief (read very brief out of necessity) outings with Sir Arlo. I was at .... ready ... hold on for the shock ............ at my sewing machine from 10:30 this morning until about 30 minutes ago - with only brief breaks for meals/snacks and Judge Judy .... notice I didn't mention breaks for adult beverages?!?!?! So, rain, cold and wind make for productivity .... (no cell service, no long walks, no Arlo play time .... but productivity!!)

Yup, another sunset photo .... taken from here at Leisure Lakes in Sumner, MI - one of the nicest campgrounds we've been at lately - pretty much deserted (they close for the season in two days), large grassy sites, wonderful owner and staff, peace and quiet and a nice (man made) lake .... paradise for me! We arrived here last Thursday (I think).
Saturday we spent the day with Larry, Sheila and Donni. We started at Uncle John's Cider Mill - the joke of the trip was that, unbeknownst to any of us, it was "kid's weekend" there! We survived it - perhaps thanks to the wine tasting, who knows. Even Arlo was on best behavior in spite of all the activity around him!

After that we toured the local sights, visited with Larry's Mom (our Trisha's Grandmother), had lunch and headed out to their home on Clifford Lake ... oh my word what a property ~ my dream property ~ a place on a lake ... especially this time of year, so quiet and peaceful. We went out in (on??) their pontoon boat for a terrific relaxing trip around the lake until we figured out that Sir Arlo wasn't pacing pacing pacing pacing pacing and pacing some more because he was afraid ~ rather because he had consumed half the lake and was now in distress!! Poor poor Sir .... There are some photos of him on the boat, but they are on Rick's phone .... hmmmmmm gotta load them onto iphoto I guess huh!

Tomorrow is predicted to be a repeat of today - cold, rainy, windy ...... but I don't think Rick can take two days in a row without social contact (Arlo and I don't count as "social contact") so I suspect we'll be out somewhere ... probably to check out the Moose Lodge down the road a bit ... we are, hopefully, headed up to the Upper Peninsula (with Larry and Sheila as tour guides - you guys rule ~ might want to consider it as a retirement job!!!) this weekend (before we head south) but the campground we are at closes on Wednesday and they've agreed to let us stay until Thursday (!!!!!!) so we need to find a place to be from Thursday until Monday or Tuesday ... Larry and Sheila have a neighbor whose property could work for us, or the Elks in Alma or this Moose we need to check out and make a "plan" .... we shall see.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

leaving the Lake Huron area

As planned we went to Peck, MI yesterday. Rick discovered some "interesting" facts about Peck on the way there .... basically, it is a tiny town (with a lovely name).

After Peck we went to Lexington, which is right on Lake Huron. It was a grey grey day - very foggy and reminiscent of summers in Maine when I was young. We ended up going to a state park right on the harbor. I swore I was going to stop posting so many photos of Sir in the water - I mean really, I've got to think y'all are tired of seeing them - whether he is adorable in the water of Lake Ontario, Lake Erie or Lake Huron .... it probably getting a bit old.
However, there was a gaggle of these guys (below) I thought they are swans, but not sure - swans or geese ~ whatever they are they were NOT at all that Sir was in THEIR water .... Sir continued to swim and have fun, while they were hissing and yelling at him - he seemed totally oblivious to it all.
Maureen, the photo below is for you - you asked if Lake Huron is beautiful - it is gorgeous, but like I said yesterday was grey and foggy so the photo doesn't do it any justice. The water is so blue - similar to the Caribbean .... blue blue blue - unlike Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. So much open land here in Michigan with lots and lots and lots of property (lake side and otherwise) for sale! I am in love with this area, but that white stuff happens here in December - March or so!!!
Chester, the photo below was taken in your honor ....
On our way back to the coach we stopped at the "Stone Lodge" in Port Sanilac ... this photo of Sir was taken out back of the place ....
Last night we had a campfire and THE KIDS came out - they haven't been out for ages - Maureen do you miss the stories of the kids? God I used to get so carried away with them didn't I! I guess the kids took a back seat to Sir Arlo - my bad.
Today we headed 30 miles south to Port Huron. We came through here on our way to the campground we're at but wanted to go back to "explore" as much as time would allow (Sir wasn't with us - he stayed "home" - much to his disappointment) - it was like Rick and I had a date!!!
We stopped at the Elks Lodge there for lunch. WOW what a property (above). This is their golf course. Neither Rick nor I are into golf, nor do we know the first thing about it but it sure was pretty to site there eating looking out at this. There was also, of course, an outside area to sit and enjoy the surroundings. We also found that there was plenty of room at this Lodge for us to park the coach and trailer (aka "the shed"). They have no hook ups but we can be without for a few days!
Then we headed to the Thomas Edison Inn at the recommendation of the Elks bartender. We didn't end up even going in because they had no outside seating. I wanted to be outside overlooking the water! However, this property sits right under the bridge from Port Huron to Canada - separated by the river seen above (the St. Clair River). Hopefully you can enlarge the photo and see the back up of trucks. They are headed to Canada (there was a customs stop on either side of the bridge from what we could see). There didn't seem to be a back up (for whatever reason) coming into the States ... hmmm

We're off to Sumner, MI tomorrow

Monday, September 21, 2009

I saw ~ therefore I ....

therefore I saw .... nothing more, nothing less!

With that clarification ~ today WE passed the "world's largest tire".

on interstate 94 somewhere in the Detroit area.

When we left on this adventure we were certain we'd see all these road side attractions, road side America sights .... not to mention Factory tours .... well we haven't done so well with that have we!!
We left the great campground we'd been at (Totem Pole Park in Petersburg, MI) and headed to the Lake Huron coast on the east side of the state of Michigan. Our plan was to stay at a Moose Lodge "campground" in the Port Huron area. The Moose don't have books that list information about their Lodge facilities so we sort of were on a "wing and a prayer" - we found the place (which wasn't the Lodge, but a space a few miles from the Lodge) but realized it probably wasn't going to work for us - if for no other reason it was a bit funky to get into. I wish I could find a clear source of information on COE facilities. There are a couple state parks and even county parks (which worked so well for us in SC) in the area, but they don't reply to emails (I understand the chapter about lack of personnel and funds)! So many of us travelers miss out on lovely stays and volunteer opportunities because we don't have a good source of specific information as to site specifications etc.... oh well a rant for a different day I guess ....

With that mini rant done, we are at a campground - that we suspect from the size and layout, is a "corporate park" (not a bad thing but in THE season would not be our first choice) in Port Sanilac, MI. We are right across the street from Lake Huron (our third great lake) and loving the peace and quiet here - there appear to be in the vicinity of 300+ sites here but only three or so occupied ~ YEAH quiet .... The weather, however, isn't conducive to bright and sunny photos or campfires .... kind of grey skies for the next few days. We will get out tomorrow to see the area - although it is quite rural, there is THE town of PECK just a bit southwest (it appears on maps) from here ..... (FYI my maiden name was Peck (in spite of how Al Fresco pronounced it, it IS Peck NOT Peek!!) so that certainly qualifies as a photo op or 20 don't you think!

We booked here for two nights, which will likely turn into three then off to Sumner, which is a few (20'ish) miles east of Stanton which is where our friends Larry, Sheila and Donni (Trish's parents and aunt) live. We will spend a a few days - or a week - at a campground there then head over to Lake Michigan on the west coast of the state (our fourth great lake) before heading south ~ either via Choudrant, LA or Gaffney, SC ~ quite a difference in that route choice huh!! Yeah do we head southwest or southeast from Michigan!?!?!? Rick's choice ..........

A funny (well for me anyway) as I close this .... as I sit here "blogging away" Rick is watching a rerun (DAH) of the original episode of Lost in Space (yeah, again we are so far north that we can't get our satellite) .... brings back fond fond fond memories of my younger sister rushing into the house after school to watch "Lost in Space" .... UGH "warning warning Will Robinson ... warning warning danger Will Robinson ....." p.s. Rick just commented "wow was this corney" ..... do you think? Then again, I am dating myself with reference at all to that show aren't I .....

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Halloween ...

Yup, I hate halloween, and I hate theme weekends at campgrounds. I guess maybe I'm getting a bit mellow (one can only hope) in my old age. This weekend at this campground (Totem Pole in Petersburg, MI) was Halloween weekend! Costume parade, kids trick or treating and haunted hayride! Oh yeah, and a competition of best decorated site! Needless to say we weren't in the competition!

We were suppose to leave today, but guess what? Yup, you guessed it ~ we etended again. We decided we "should" go to Cabelas - word has it that it is Michigan's number one tourist attraction - I hope that isn't true because if a store rates first over TWO great lakes in one state something is terribly wrong. Anyway, off we went .... been there done that - cross it off our list. Not a bad place, in fact quite a nice place but there isn't a thing we need and less that we want so, yup been there, done that.

AND, when we (Rick, Sir and I) were out walking tonight and Sir was "table hopping" and chasing sticks he got stung and stung and stung by bees ..... I think he had five or six stings watching for swelling, breathing issues, lethargy ..... PLUS all I read says to pull the stinger out (or scrape it (them) out with a credit card) ....seriously, how the hell do I find stingers on a dog?

Off to Port Huron area tomorrow ........

Thursday, September 17, 2009

so our plans changed

Because of this ....

We were "booked" to leave here on Wednesday morning and had decided to extend (surprising isn't it!) .... so with all this dying/crashing laptop stuff off Rick went yesterday to Ann Arbor to UGH UGH UGH purchase a new one and have the Apple persons transfer the copious amounts of data to the new one ... in the meantime I/we realized this could be a long process ... so I go ahead and extend us here until Sunday morning (with options to extend further!!)

Off we went this morning to pick up our new Mac Book Pro with the old data installed etc.... photo above ~ isn't it a BEAUTY... yeah right ... but it IS our link to the world so I have to look at it that way I guess rather than in terms of $$$ so we will carry around another external monitor for ?? years ... there IS great humor in that chapter ... This new one is, surprisingly, different especially the keyboard ... perhaps an issue for me .. we shall see.

So the other day we headed out to see what was to see in this area ... we ended up in Monroe ~ we were trying to find a place where Sir could have some water time ..
We ended up at what the GPS said was Pirates Cove (or something similar - doesn't matter cause this place hasn't been Pirate's anything for over two years - GPS. in spite of the update we purchased in January. isn't real up to date - do you think!?! Pauly this place reminded me SO much of Whitey's it was unbelievable ...

Anyway, Rick and I both had salads of sorts and Sir had yet another photo op before we took him over yonder from this spot to a boat launch area for some water time ... he proceeded to let his tennis ball float away because I had his soccer ball (aka Wilson) in my hands and he apparently wanted Wilson far more than he wanted a measly tennis ball!!!

Beyond all that, I did discover a nice water play area for him in the next town (Dundee) yesterday, so hopefully he'll get there tomorrow. Meanwhile this weekend at the campground is their annual Halloween celebration so I guess we'd best go get goodies (for 250 - 300 !!) tomorrow and Rick is suggesting a jack-o-lantern so we need to return to the GREAT farm stand I found down the road to purchase a BIG pumpkin ~ I haven't carved (or helped carve) a jack o lantern in how many years - oh probably 20!!. As anyone who knows me well knows I HATE Halloween so this should prove to be real interesting - do you think!!

Stay tuned ...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

as promised ...

A "catch up" post! Below are photos from Lake Ontario (when we were in the Rochester, NY area) as well as Lake Erie photos from when we were in Ashtabula, OH. Additionally, there are some randoms thrown in just because I can! Hope y'all enjoy.

These next few are from the Lake Ontario day. We were at "Irondequoit Small Boat Harbor". I'm still a bit confused about the area. I think it is truly part of Rochester. But these photos were taken at a water way that is separated from Lake Ontario by the jetty you see below. Arlo played in this waterway, as dogs are not allowed on the beach to the left of this jetty we are on. That beach is on the Lake.
The photo below is us on the jetty that is in the distance in the photo above. It was a bit choppy that day, so naturally yours truly had to be nervous about Sir being out there. Rick took him out to the other side of that light house - where I suspect they had about 12' of rock to stand on! Also, for the record ~ Rick pointed out to me that I looked like a bag lady carrying around that plastic bag ` truth be known the bag contains Arlo's tennis ball and one of his "wilsons" for water play. I have since switched to a more "appropriate" (maybe?!?!) canvas bag!
Below, is Sir swimming back to "shore" with his tennis ball. The guy just LOVES the water. Sadly, the campground we're at now has a pond of some sort that is very close to our site and dogs are not allowed anywhere near it. In fact, we haven't even seen it but I swear Sir knows it is there!

Something that struck me as rather odd (and is very clear in the areal photo in the link above it is centered in the lower 1/4 of the photo) ~ this waterway has a town on either side BUT the bridge connecting them is open (or closed, I guess, depending on how you look at it) ~ the bridge is not really a bridge over the late spring, summer and early fall months. The town you see behind Arlo in the photo below is Webster, NY. I've googled Webster some to find out where the other entry point to town is - after all there MUST be one right! Can't find anything - perhaps a different, less tired time! I found the whole thing king of interesting.
Here is a photo showing the bridge open - as it is the "open bridge season"!

This is the gate the closes off the open (closed? confused?) bridge this time of year.

After we left the lake we went into downtown Rochester to a barbecue place Chad had told us about (he was up there the week before we were to check on one of his projects). This is Dinosaur Barbecue ~ great food, interesting service. Thankfully Arlo was allowed to sit outside with us and the waitress brought him a cup (seriously - photo to prove it!) of water! Believe it or not he really did drink from that cup - I guess he was really thirsty but how he got his snout in that cup is beyond me!
The next two shots are of the area around the restaurant. That is the Genesee River that runs through ~ how about those trees in the second photo below ~ they made it over the dam but couldn't get any further.

Now we go on to Ashtabula, Ohio. An old town, but yet another like so many we've visited that have seen better days.
Ashtabula is on Lake Erie. Above and below, are obviously Sir enjoying some water play in this great lake. What a lucky dog he is I think. I don't remember where I was for this water play time - these two photos were taken by Rick with his phone. Sir carried that stick back to the coach - the stick is three feet long. Apparently once Sir finally put it down and Rick was ready to leave he (Rick) picked it up to bring back to the coach - he thought it would make a great "fire stick". There is quite a hike from the beach area up a fairly steep incline to the Lodge where we were staying - Rick carried up to the higher part but Arlo decided HE was going to carry it the rest of the way - even at 92 pounds that was quite a distance for him to carry it, but carry it he did!
As I mentioned, it is quite a steep climb back up to the Lodge. The photo below is where the "path" back up takes a turn and there are a couple tables there - I guess to take a much deserved rest after making it 1/2 way up. The second shot is the same area with a handsome dog posing. Isn't it a spectacular view.

That, by the way is a private beach owned by the Elks Lodge. What an incredible piece of property this is.

Next is a shot from outside the coach looking at the Lodge and the Lake beyond - not sure it shows the perspective I wanted, but that was our water view every day. We are so darned lucky to be doing what we are doing.

Ashtabula has this lovely park high above the downtown area. Man the street we drove up to get to this park to look out at the lake as well as the coal/ore industry that seems to be the major thing in the town. There were several streets going up huge hills on either side of the main street in the downtown area. These streets are BRICK streets - think about all the various vehicles that traveled them over the many many years they've been there - if those streets could talk ... wow I'd love to hear their stories!
Also in Ashtabula we found this pub - The Bum Boat Pub. I thought it was just a silly name the owner gave it. NOT - who knew that there really was such a thing as a bum boat (well Chester, as a Coastie you probably did!). Wikipedia to the rescue again! Speaking if things could talk the stories they'd tell - bet this boat has more than a few that would "curl your hair" ... It was used to take supplies (food, alcohol and various other needs to the men working on the ore boats on the lake!!!). Small tight quarters in the bar section below (there is a deck above with tables and chairs - we however were downstairs), but it was certainly an interesting quick stop for us.
Ashtabula County is the covered bridge capital of Ohio. They claim to have the longest covered bridge in the world. Of course we had to see it and use it as another (UGH) photo opportunity for Sir Arlo. It was nice to see, but we didn't do the tour of the county that includes many many bridges. They even have an annual covered bridge festival in Ashtabula County! It was a gorgeous area with huge huge farms and rolling hills, not to mention the lake.

While we were in the area we happened to stumble upon a motorcycle rally in the next town (Geneva on the Lake). Another interesting little town (reminiscent of Nantasket Beach in Massachusetts in its heyday). Rick headed over there by himself Saturday afternoon while Arlo and I went for a ride in search (in vane) of a small pumpkin. Rick and I returned together later that day on both bikes. A little known fact, that I can't explain - my favorite rally event is a "burn out pit" I love them, and perhaps it is that I am so intrigued by the insanity of anyone who would do that to their motorcycle. Anyway, as any self respecting rally should, this one had a burn out pit .....
I've never seen anyone set the wall on fire tho .... crazy crazy boys and their toys.........

Good night all