RV Log Page # 0033
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Friday - May 7, 2010
220 miles today.
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   We awoke to an overcast morning with rain just starting to lightly fall. It was a good decision to stow the motorcycle and cage last night. Breaking camp was relatively easy with just the satellite dish taking any time to stow. As we were getting ready to leave, Shirlee's Dad John came by to send us off, bringing a bag of goodies for our trip. Wadda Guy!
   We headed out to US 31 North on Lake Michigan Drive and decided to go along the Lake Michigan shoreline, knowing it would add miles to our trip today, but looking for the views we had seen the last time we were here some years ago. Good plan, however it was raining hard all along the way so we added almost 50 miles of travel for nothing.
   We arrived at the cottage and discovered that parking the 5th wheel there wasn't to be the easiest feat to accomplish! After much back and forth we were parked tho'. Getting out will be another hurdle but we'll attend to that when we leave.
   We discovered that the furnace in the cottage wasn't working no matter what we did so we tried calling the management company to have them solve the problem. A man came out about an hour later and got everything working, plus he brought some firewood for us to use in the fireplace or in a firepit outside. In talking with him I found that he was retired from Michigan Bell Telephone Co. and that we had lived similar carrers within the Bell System, except that he had retired in the mid '90's while I remained until 2003.
   The cottage has an enclosed porch area that has a ping-pong table and the equipment to go with it. After some time it was undecided as to who was the champion so we went to bed.


Saturday - May 8, 2010

   Today it is cold and wet with rain/snow in the forecast. Don't they believe in warm weather here in May??? There is 7 inches of snow in the
U.P. this morning! Should start warming after tomorrow!?!
   Looks like we are going to see a movie this afternoon - the new '
Alice In Wonderland' with Johnny Depp. Should be fun. Meanwhile, we'll just relax and stay warm while Shirlee reads and I catch up on this Log, now that I have an unexpected wifi connection . . .
   We just returned from a day of shopping at
Suttons Bay, MI which is northwest of Traverse City on the peninsula. There were quite a few interesting shops to meander through. One of the shops had some interesting stones that they called a Petoskey stone. They are fossils of ancient corals from about 400 million years ago when much of modern Michigan was a shallow warm sea. They are pretty when polished, showing a geometric pattern where the coral animals were. They wanted $40 for one that was smaller than fist size. We then proceeded to Traverse City to a movie theater to watch 'Alice'. We both agree that it is a pretty good movie, with an interesting story line.
   After the movie we went to a restaurant called '
Sleder's Family Tavern', a place Shirlee has frequented in the past. The interior of the place looks like a hunter's trophy room, with mounts of moose, bison, elk, deer and many others adorning the walls of the place. Shirlee had smelt, while I had a burrito. The smelt she had are much smaller than the ones I used to dip-net when I was younger on the Columbia River. I don't fondly remember smelt, as we would have them for every meal     . . . or so it seemed.
   'Home' now to feed the boys (and see if they like left over smelt - they did!) and relax for the remainder of the evening. We are planning a 'wine tasting' trip to some of the local wineries tomorrow on
Mother's Day, so we'll take this time to wish all of you 'mothers' out there a Happy Mother's Day!


Sunday - May 9, 2010

   Again, Happy Mother's Day to all concerned! It is a beautiful sun shiney day here, the sky being almost cloudless, although a little warming would be nice!
   While waiting for the wineries to open at around noon, I've been recalculating our mileages and I've noted those at the top of this page. We are on the downhill side of our odyssey, but plenty to see and do before we arrive back in Camas. One thing I must do is to get the truck serviced, which I'll try to do tomorrow or the next day. I'll also be keeping an eye on the weather, specifically the winds at
Mackinac Bridge, as they will restrict traffic due to high winds. So far it looks good.

   We've just returned from a beautiful day, driving through the wine country here, and stopping at a few. One thing we found was that the tastings were free for all of the mothers today. Don't they know how dangerous that can be ???
   We purchased a few bottles at different wineries, Shirlee more than me - hey, it's Mother's Day! Our first stop was at Shady Lane Winery where Shirlee tried and liked the semi-dry Reisling. I tried the available Pinots (Noir), but didn't like them. The ones I liked were a  Gewurztraminer 2007 from
Ciccone Vineyard and Winery, the winery established by the father of Madonna, and a Merlot from the Leelanau Cellars Tasting Room adjacent from Knot just a Bar in Omena, MI. The Merlot was delicious and I thought it was more like a real good Pinot Noir than a Merlot! After a thorough 'tasting' we asked if we could sit out on their deck and have a glass of wine. "No can do", as they didn't have permits for that. However, they gave us a couple of disposable wine glasses and loaned us a corkscrew, then directed us down to a table and chairs down by the water where we could enjoy the view and sunshine with our wine. Doesn't get much better than that!
   Following that we went next door (literally through a door!) to a highly recommended meal of fish and chips with Michigan Perch fillets. Wow, what great fish! For dessert, Shirlee wanted a cherry pie, (for Mother's Day) but lacking that on the menu we settled for a cherry crisp they had. We believe that
Paula Deen, the Butter Queen, (as we like to call her) must have been in the kitchen. It had an oatmeal topping that MUST have had a stick of butter in it all by itself! But . . . boy was it good!
   Waddling back to the truck we then drove back to the 'house' the long way to enjoy the scenery.
   After returning home we again left to find a spot where we could get cell phone coverage. Finally finding a good area we attempted a couple of calls, but no answers. Oh well.
   Back home now we are just enjoying the evening, with a gorgeous sunset forecast!



Monday - May 10, 2010
  
   Today were are planning on a trip to the Lake Michigan shore to do a little hiking and sightseeing.
   We have also been dicussing the remainder of our odyssey and we have decided to return to the U.S. after our stay in Thunder Bay, ON due mostly to high diesel prices in Canada, and to eliminate some long day trips ( 400 miles +). So, that shortens our trip to approx. 9310 miles total. We have traveled 5526 miles thus far leaving a remainder of 3874 miles before reaching home in Camas. We are eliminating almost 400 miles which, if nothing else, equates to about $135 dollars in diesel alone at our present useage of 9 mpg average. So, we'll be going through Duluth, MN, and then on to Fargo, ND, proceeding to Medora, ND and back on track. We think that we will just HAVE to stay in a Walmart parking lot in Fargo. Ya think??? We'll have to find the right hats and get pictures! You betcha!
   Well, off on our expedition to the lake shore. First stop was at
Empire, MI to check out the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore visitors center. And guess what? I (Bob) forgot the National Park annual pass we paid $80 for last year that has been worth it's weight in gold for us. Guess what again? Now that I'm 62 I get one that's a Seniors Lifetime Pass for $10!!! Boy . . . did I luck out on that one.
   Leaving the visitor's center we drove north to
Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and wound around the park road until we came to a huge sand bluff that was 450 feet down to the bottom at the Lake Michigan shore. There were warning signs about the steepness of the bluff, the tricky and slippery footing going down, and the tortuous, killer, and long climb back up. Even Shirlee avoided that one and you who know me can guess what I was thinking! What a vista though. Lake Michigan on a cloudless, beautiful day like today is beyond gorgeous. The water near shore is such an aquamarine blue, getting darker the farther you look out to 'sea'.
   Farther along the roadway we stopped at the
Dune Climb which is a big sand dune about 100 feet high. Shirlee wanted to climb the thing and then race back down. So I stayed back at the bottom at a real comfy picnic table and took pictures of her plodding ascent and also of her 1000 mph, hell bent for election race down. She had quite a smile on her face when she came bounding up to where I was. It sure looked like she had alot of fun. So . . . guess what? I decided that she can't have all of the fun, so I trudged on up the dune - pant-pant - and had my little thrill ride down too! Cool place!
   After all of that exercise we figured that a cool, refreshing beer was in order and we stopped at the
Boondocker in Glen Arbor, MI. We ordered beer (24ounces for me), with a bowl of chili each and a dish of french fries with melted cheese on top. Ummm . . . ummm! We told the waitress that they had the makings of the best chili-cheese fries ever. She said that they'll have to try that.
   After all of that we REALLY needed some kind of exercise so we found a real nice beach up on
Good Harbor Beach. Shirlee was going to walk on a road that ran along side of the shore, while I would just meander along the beach like I love to do. When I got down to the water's edge I noticed that the beach had big patches of pebbles all up and down the beach. I tried to remember what the guy at the rock shop had said about the Petoskey stones, that they were found all along the Northern Michigan beaches, if you were lucky. I started working my way up the beach and I soon saw Shirlee coming my way. She had crossed from the road I had let her off on to the beach. She was also looking for the elusive 'rocks', but her luck had been as poor as mine. That is until we were looking together and she bought me this almost (my) fist-sized grey stone and asked if this might be what we were searching for. Sure enough it had the geometric designs showing faintly, but when we wetted the rock, the patterns showed up well. It wasn't 5 minutes later that I found my first one. All together we found three stones each, plus other 'pretty' rocks that were also strewn along the beach. Be sure to check out the photo page.
   It was starting to get late in the afternoon so we drove back to the cottage to feed the boys and relax. Shirlee just finished making a Chef's Salad and it smells wonderful in here. This has been, we've agreed, one of the best days on this trip. Tomorrow it is supposed to be wet and windy. A good day for utilitarian projects.


Tuesday - May 10, 2010

   Well, the rain hasn't started yet and the wind isn't blowing, but we're still going to do our 'chores' this morning.
   I dropped Shirlee off at a laundramat in Traverse City and then I drove on up to the local Ford shop to service the truck - lube, oil, filter, general check up, etc. They gave the truck a clean bill of health and I proceeded to a fuel station to fuel up. $3.14.9 a gallon here. It's just gonna get worse for the time we're in Canada though.
   Shirlee called to say she was done just as I was topping off with diesel. I picked her up, then we drove back 'home' for a bite to eat. After that Shirlee wanted to go back rock hunting for more Petoskey Stones and I was all for that. We headed up north to the
Northport Lighthouse on the tip of Leelanau Peninsula where we were told that we could find many of the Stones. When we arrived we found that all of the rocks on the rocky beach were covered in some crusty substance and it was impossible to tell what they were, so we decided to go down the Lake Michigan side of the Peninsula to where there was enough surf and sand activity to clean and polish the rocks making them much easier to identify. Eventually we wound up back at the same beach area in Good Harbor where we had found rocks yesterday. All told we found over a dozen today, including one that I found that was just the right size for a pendant, and it was beautiful. I can see now that I'm going to have to build a rock tumbler to finish these. When polished, they are stunning.
   In spite of the wind and a little rain we had a great time today. Shirlee stated that she could really get into rock hunting. Sound great to me!
   We stopped to eat in
Leland, MI at a place called the Bluebird Restaurant & Bar. Great food to be had there!
   Back 'home' again we are preparing things for loading back into the 5th wheel for our departure tomorrow morning. We'll kick back a little this evening and get a good night's sleep, then off to Canada!
  
Approx. 3874 miles to go.
Approx. 5526 miles thus far.