Friday, December 14, 2018

Michigan ~ Belleville


We left family in Ohio on September 10, 2018 and headed to family and friends in Michigan for a wonderful 8 week stay. We stayed at the Wayne County Fairgrounds Campground, in Belleville. This is our second time staying here and we booked our site for next summer before we left. We had two different sites during this stay.
Site 73
Site 73 was a pull through with only water and electric hook-ups, which means we had to move the RV every 3-4 days to empty the tanks. It is an all grass site and a little on the narrow side. Luckily it wasn't long before they had a full hook up site open up and we moved there for the reminder of our stay.
Site 63

Site 63 is a back-in with full hook ups. Also a grass site but this one was a little wider. The park is well maintained and pretty quite.

Being on the fairgrounds there was something going on just about every weekend, horse shows, dog shows, an antique show and a gem and mineral show to name a few.
This tree was a cheerful greeter outside Site 63.

Our first week here, Les and Mielikki stayed at the campground while Nancy stayed at Katrina and Steve's house.
They were on vacation in Utah so Nancy hung out with their dog Heidi. She is older and pretty set in her ways (sound like anyone you know) so it is a little stressful for her to have Mielikki around 24/7. Nancy vegged out on the couch catching up on all her favorite TV shows she hasn't seen in a few years. She also got to release the butterfly that Katrina and Steve were raising.

After 3-years of constant moving it was nice to be in one place for so long. We did a little bit of sightseeing, but mostly spent time with family and friends and doing some home repairs and projects.

Nancy did get some pictures of our limited sightseeing but totally dropped the ball when we were with friends and family!
There are a few stores we like to visit at the Howell Outlets and while out there we stopped at the Howell Nature Center with plans to hike. We arrived just after three school groups and it was slightly chaotic so we decided to come back a different day, which of course never happened! This adorable tree stands guard in their entrance courtyard. If you haven't been there, do yourself a favor and go, they have so many things to do and see.
Of course we had to Go To Hell.  There really isn't much in Hell, but you can pick up a souvenir at Screams, play in their backyard and grab a bite to eat next door.

Being in Hell left us a little thirsty so a stop at the Dexter Cider Mill was a must. Cider and donuts are one of the best things about being in Michigan in the fall. We also enjoyed cider from Erwins Orchards, Plymouth Orchards and our favorite Parmenters Cider Mill.

Roadsides are everywhere but we only got a few pictures - told you Nancy dropped the ball!
L - The Ford Plant ~~~ R - UAW Local
One roadside can actually be found in two places. The statues of three men stands in front of the Ford Plant in Rawsonville and its twin is just down the road at the UAW Local. Stephen Yokich, President of UAW 1994-2002, William Clay Ford JR, and Peter Pestillo, CEO of Visteon 2000-2004. Listed as seen in the left hand picture.

On the corner of Woodward and 9-Mile in Ferndale is a "Crows Nest", a tribute to the Street Semaphores that dotted Detroit roads in the 1920's. A traffic cop would direct traffic from the nest using red and green signs. The link takes you to an interesting article about the development of traffic control along with pictures from back in the day.
The Metal Bike is parked in Howell. The Sculpted Pig sits outside Michael's Crafts in Canton, It's for sale for $3,500 if you're interested. The Giant Cow stands on top of a party store in Ypsilanti. A couple of days before we left town we drove past it and was surprised to see it was painted black and white! It was pouring rain and the parking lot was closed due to resurfacing so no new picture. It you happen to drive by, snap a picture for us.

Being in Michigan is all about spending lots of time with family and friends. Again, really lacking on pictures but the memories made are great. Nancy enjoyed a ton of laughs when Mary Ellen and LeeAnne came to dinner while she was staying at Kat and Steves. Les had his annual lunch with the gang from Teamsters Local 214, he always enjoys catching up with them. Nancy and Terry caught up over coffee.
It is always fun hanging out with Kitt and Dianne . Plus, we were honored to participate in a fundraiser dinner for their daughter-in-law Becky, who is battling cancer. The link will take you to their Go Fund me page, if you would like to support her medical expenses.
Nancy and Katrina put together a Pure Michigan gift basket, filled with local craft beer and snacks. It helped to raise $125.

Our niece Jennifer and hubby Jim had us to their house for a delicious lunch, and we shared dinner and beer with them and Katrina and Steve at Rappourt Brew and Chew in Ann Arbor one night. Nancy and Anne enjoyed lunch and it was just the two of them, something that rarely happens!
 Nancy, Katrina, Tina and Anne had so much fun at the Vineyard Church Paint and Sip Night. Not one of us did the painting they were demonstrating - no surprise there!

Mike and Anne hosted lunch for all of us, we celebrated Tina's birthday and family from Ohio brought her some salamanders. Tavi, Cora and Sydel loved them.

Katrina and Steve joined us when we met Amy at the Farmington Brewing Company, this also meant we finally got to meet her friend Kevin. Nancy and Gail solved all of the worlds problems over lunch, when you have been friends for over 50 years that's what you do! It was so much fun shopping the Vintage Market with Connie.

A trip to Frankenmuth for lunch with Tina and Jim was a fun day. No pictures of them but did get the welcome sign and our chicken pot pie!

It had been way to long since Nancy and Dana spent time together. So glad we got to meet for lunch.
Thank you Maggi for remembering to get a picture when we met you and Denny at Bobcat Bonnies.

 Unfortunately we only met up with our nephew Mike and his wife Jennifer once, but we take any time we can with them. Mary Ellen and Paul served up yummy steaks when they had us over for dinner.

Halloween was spent at Nigel and Tina's, it was so fun watching the girls enjoy the day, and we got to celebrate Anne's birthday as well. Cora and Sydel made the perfect butterflies. Cora counted all her candy, over 200 pieces! Steve seems a little frightened of cousin Marion.

Of course we save the majority of time for Katrina and Steve. We enjoyed art museums, street fairs, live music and lots of yummy food and beer.

Our day at Cranbrook Institute of Science turned into a day at the Art Museum. When we arrived we found out the Science Center was closed for a private party! Despite that and the rain we had a great time.

We had dinner or lunch with them at least once a week, if not more. Lots of craft beer and games were shared with them.

A favorite place for the four of us is the Northville Winery and Brewery. It is right next door to our favorite cider mill - Parmenters.
Every Thursday night they have "Dead at The Winery." The house band, Social Bones, plays a Grateful Dead concert. They really are very good, so if you get a chance to go - they play other times and other music - do it!

Nancy and Katrina even got a few days for just the two of them. A little hiking at Island Lake and a whole afternoon enjoying the scarecrows, coffee and shopping in downtown Plymouth.

When we lived in Michigan we belonged to two Folk Music groups, we were so happy that we could go to both of them while here and we found a third one to enjoy as well. Baseline Folk Society meets in Plymouth, the East River Folk Society meets in Wyandotte and the Wayne's Soul & Sole meets in Livonia. All three groups have FaceBook pages.
L: Baseline ~~~ C: East River ~~~ Wayne's Soul & Sole 
Next up is Asheville, NC for a short stay then Foley, AL.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Hung out to dry.
No one likes a damp smelly towel, or we can't imagine that anyone does. The towel bars in our bathroom are on the back of the door, which is a great place because it keeps them out of the way. But, not so good for drying as the bars are very narrow.
Our solution was to hang Command Hooks in the skylight of the shower stall. We can drape the towels across two of them or hang them straight down on one. The hooks also come in handy for hanging up damp clothes out of the washer, and the dogs towels as well.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Ohio - Warren


On August 31, 2018 we headed to Warren, OH and ten days with family. This time we did not stay in our RV so no campground information. We stayed with Linda, Nancy's sister and our RV got a rest on the Lyda Farm. Kathy Lyda, our nieces mother-in-law let us park our RV there.

Becky ~ Linda ~ Frankie ~ Nancy
It was so nice to have a relaxing time together. Usually when we are with family it is for a few days and during some event where we are all busy. We got to just relax and enjoy each others company. Hanging out with Becky, Jeff and their boys Luke and Grant is always fun. Plus, our great-niece Frankie came to visit with her two boys Preston and Keegan. Fun was had by all.
Becky ~ Frankie

Preston ~ Luke ~ Grant ~ Keegan 

We did do a little sight-seeing while here.
Linda joined us on a couple of our trips. We found the Pennsylvania, Peter "Wolf" Toth Indian carving at a rest stop on I-80 just across the state line. This one does not have a name, the plaque dedicates it to the Seneca Indians. He was carved from an Elm tree in 1973, the 6th carving on the "Trail of Whispering Giants". He stands 7-feet tall.
On this same outing we found Big Foot outside a garden center in Hermitage, PA.

In Niles, OH is a 20-foot tall sculpted Steelworker at the entrance to the Niles Iron and Metal Company.

The artist, Sydney Rackoff created the piece when he was 74-years old. 

It's a good thing Sharon, PA is so close to Warren, OH because we had to go there twice to get a picture of the Giant Chocolate Turtle and other chocolate creations at Daffin's Candies.

The 400-pound turtle is just one of the items in the Chocolate Kingdom.  Our first trip there was on Labor Day and the store was closed. So, we went back the next day and wandered the town, finding other roadsides.

It was surprising how much art there is in this little town. That is due in part to the Random Acts of Artists Inc (RAA). It is a non-profit group of artists in Western Pennsylvania and Eastern Ohio.

A wonderful mural at the end of a shopping center. So much going on in the picture

The Art Walkway from a parking lot to the main road is filled with portraits and funky chairs.

There are also metal and bronze sculptures around town. We found two Knights and their trusty steeds.

There is a Music section in case you want to dance a little.

The Shanango River is lined with fire buckets that are used during the WaterFire Festival, held three times a year.

Outside the library are "Book Poles", each one designed to represent an author or book. More information can be found in the link above for the RAA. The Giant Coffee Cup is a beacon to a new coffee shop opening soon.

Cuyahoga Valley National Park has been on our bucket list for many years and every time we planned to go something always came up that interfered. We finally made it! But, like on other attempts a number of the trails were closed, many washed out from the heavy rains.
The Cuyahoga River twists and turns for 90-miles, if it flowed straight it would cover only 30-miles. The parks 33,000-acres lines 22-miles of the river. Preservation of the valley started in the 1960's and it became a National Recreation Area in 1974 and a National Park in 2000.
Due to the closed trails we decided to take the train so we could at least see some of the park. The trains first arrived in the valley in 1880, changing the landscape and lives of those who lived and traveled here.

We started our journey at the Peninsula Depot, which has a gift shop and snack bar. Heading north we stopped at the Canal Exploration Center. It was a short walk on a paved trail to the museum.

In the mid-1800's, the Gleason family ran a tavern and general store in this building. It was a rest stop at Lock 38 for those traveling the Ohio & Erie Canal. The history of the canal which opened in 1827 is told through many exhibits.
From the building of it, to traveling it and the impact it had on the surrounding area. It helped to develop many towns and businesses as product was shipped south and west from here.

Lock 38 is one of the few restored, working locks left along the canal. State engineers designed 44-locks to deal with the 395-foot rise in elevation from Cleveland to Akron. Heavy wooden gates enclosed the boat sized chamber, with the water being raised and lowered manually as needed.

From that stop we headed back south to the Botzum Station in Akron. We passed many bridges along the way, both walking and auto bridges.

The train travels under both I-271 and the turnpike I-80. You know Nancy loves to get pictures from under bridges, thinking maybe she was an engineer in a past life!

L: Beaver Marsh ~~~~ R: Indigo Lake
Along the way we saw the river, swamps and some rapids. Plus, Indigo Lake and Beaver Marsh. The area where Beaver Marsh is was actually destined to be a parking lot. But, Mother Nature and the Beavers had other plans. The area was cleared and prepped for the lot but the beavers kept damming up the water and it would flood the site, so after a couple of attempts the construction was stopped and the beavers had a new home.

So we got just a little taste of the park which means we will have to go back again at some point. With 125-miles of biking and hiking trails to explore we can't wait.

While it was sad saying good-bye we were pretty excited to head to Michigan next and time with Katrina and Steve along with other family and friends.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Keeping things above board
Or at least off the ground! Our water hoses are usually sprawled out on the ground. This not only looks messy, it can be messy. They can be laying in puddles, mud or long grass. Les found a solution to this. We have two hooks on the side of our RV to hold an exhaust pipe when using the generator. Les twisted one end of a wire coat hanger (we "borrowed" it from Katrina and Steve) through one of the hooks and the other end around the hoses. This keeps them neat and clean up off the ground.