Sunday, December 30, 2018

North Carolina ~ Asheville and the two stops on the way.

Fletcher, Ohio

Oh how we hate to leave Michigan. Only cried a few tears this time. We did a one night stop in Fletcher, OH. on November 2, 2018. Our stop at Poor Farmers RV Sales and Campground was interesting. There had been rain for days on end and the campground was a little soggy. We had planned to stay in a pull through site so we didn't have to remove the car and dolly for just a one night stop.
All of the pull through sites were under water. So, the owner led us to a back in site that had empty sites next to it so we could drive through one of those and pull into the site from the back. Great idea, until we hit a muddy spot and our tires sunk! Luckily it is a working farm and they have a large tractor that was able to pull us out.
Our site had full hook ups, we only used the electric seeing it was a one night stop. The campground is well maintained, quiet and the staff was very friendly and helpful. We paid $28.00 a night with no discount.

Mt Vernon, Kentucky
On November 3, 2018 we headed farther south, our drive through Cinnci was the same as always - backed up traffic! What isn't the same is Jesus - sure do miss "Touchdown" Jesus!
Taken from across the creek
Our stop at the Creekside RV Park on the grounds of the Renfro Valley Entertainment Center in Mt. Vernon, KY was for two nights. It is a large complex with music entertainment and shops. The campground is well maintained with mostly pull through sites.
We had full hook ups and the site was plenty long enough for our RV and tow dolly. The park offered lots of places for dog walking and picture taking. We paid $31.12 a night with our Passport America discount, they also honor Good Sam.
A bonus of this stop is that our niece Sherrie from Louisville came and spent the night with us. Eric and Lilly both had to work. Whenever Sherrie and Nancy are together you know the Upwords Game is out and ready to play.

Asheville, NC

On November 5, 2018 we headed home! Our drive through the mountains offered some fall color and a little bit of fog.

Unfortunately, this wasn't a very long stay, but anytime in Asheville is good. This trip was planned all around doctor appointments. Les needed to come back for his one year check up with his cardiologist at the VA. Thankfully he got the all clear, hard to believe it's been a year since he had his heart attack and stint put in. Nancy caught up on some of her appointments as well that she couldn't get done during our spring visit. We are all set on health issues and ready to hit the road again. Okay, Nancy would never leave Asheville, but the road is calling.
We stayed at the Lakewood RV Resort in Flat Rock, NC, about 45 minutes south of downtown Asheville. It was still "leaf" season so finding a campground with an opening was tough.
It is a very well maintained park, about half of it is permanent residents, many of them in tiny houses. There is a dog park, clubhouse and lots of planned activities. We were in Site 316, a gravel pull through with full hook-ups. Just long enough for our RV, tow-dolly and parking the car. We paid $44.00 a night with our Good Sam discount.

Once again Nancy dropped the ball on taking pictures!
While we didn't get to see everybody we did see a few friends. Dinner with Sally at Les's favorite Mexican restaurant. Coffee with Donna at Fractals Coffee Shop.
Of course we hung out with Janet, but surprisingly never at a brewery! But we did enjoy some meals and coffee and the only person we got a picture of!

We also toured the Carl Sandburg Home in Flat Rock with her.
The house was built around 1838 by Christopher Memminger, who was Secretary of the Confederate Treasury from 1861-1864. The second owner was textile tycoon Ellison Smyth who named it Connemara to honor his Irish ancestry.
Janet admiring some of
the book collection

The Sandburg's moved here in 1945. Carl was looking for a secluded place to write and wife Lillian and their daughter Helga were looking for a place to raise their goats. They moved here from Michigan with their 3 daughters, two grandchildren, a library of over 14,000 volumes and a herd of goats.

The house is currently being renovated in places so a number of books and other personal items were boxed up. The process for this was quite extensive, with pictures taken of each shelf and extremely detailed notes so that everything will be put back exactly like it was.

The upper left picture is the kitchen where many items were made from goats milk. The volume of magazines from when they lived here was impressive. The wooden desk was made from beams that were in the White House when Lincoln was President. Sandburg wrote a biography of Lincoln and when renovations were made to the White House, the contractor had the desk made for Sandburg. The bay window is in Lillian's bedroom.

Lillian's office - the black file cabinet held
information on all of the goats they raised. 
Lillian was internationally renowned as a goat breeder. Her and Helga raised and breed champion dairy goats. During the years of 1946-1952 their herd numbered over 200 animals.

The left hand picture is the Tenant House built in 1910 for farm assistants. During Sandburg's time is was occasionally used for farm employees or as a painting studio for Helga. Center is the Swedish House. Carl called it the "Swedish House" because of the scalloped accents and used it as an overflow library for magazines and books. Right hand picture is the Wash House/Chicken House. Built in the 1840's, Memminger used it as slave quarters during his summer visits here. In 1924 Smyth installed large tubs and it was used as the Wash House. Lillian used it first for chickens and then for young goats.

Carl Sandburg was born January 6, 1878 in Galesburg, IL. He passed away here in Flat Rock at the age of 89 on July 22, 1967. He spent his lifetime championing social justice through his writings and singing.  His wife Lillian was born in Hancock, MI on May 1, 1883. She passed away on February 18, 1977 at the age of 93 in Asheville, NC where she lived after the property was sold and the house and it's contents were donated to the National Park Service. In 1968 the home became the first National Historic Site honoring a poet.

While the goat farm is not nearly as active as it was in its heyday there are still a number of goats on site and you can go into their pen as they are very gentle.
Nancy and Janet had great fun making friends with them and playing in the barn.

Up next is Foley, Al, where we stayed for a month.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Mold
We have talked about mold issues before, it is a common occurrence in RV's. The weather has been damp and rainy since we were in Michigan so we should have been a little more diligent in watching for it. But, of course we weren't so it wasn't really a big surprise to find it in our cupboards and on some of the windows. So, once again we have a really clean RV top to bottom.
Here's what we did:
1 - We removed everything from the cupboards and drawers, and pulled the drawers out.
2 - The insides of the cupboards and the drawers inside and out were cleaned with a mold retardant cleaner. We use Tilex Root Penetrator and Remover. There are other brands. It is strong so make sure the area is well ventilated. We cleaned the walls behind all of the drawers as well.
3.- We left the drawers out to dry completely and then we sealed them inside and out with varnish. This way if we get mold again it will not be able to get into the wood.
4. We placed a small fan in each cupboard to dry it completely and for a couple of days we removed the items from the cupboard so it could continue to air out.
5. It is best to not have the cupboards filled tightly, you want some air to be able to circulate. We store most everything in zippered plastic bags, this not only keeps things from getting moldy it helps with dust too.

The most important thing to remember is to check often. If it has been really damp, we suggest checking at least once a week. Better to catch it right away then to let it get bad. Hopefully we can remember to do this!

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.