Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Wayne County Fairgrounds--Home Base for Exploring Henry Ford Museums

After leaving Cicero, Indiana, Bob and I headed back to Elkhart to find out if we needed a new base for my passenger captain's chair. We want to replace it as the material is wearing unnaturally. We found out we wouldn't need a new base since Winnebago used the flexsteel base when installing the chair! Now, when we get home, we can order a new chair!

From Elkhart we drove to Coldwater Welcome Center and stopped for the night. It started to rain and we didn't want to end up with wet basement compartments. The leaky compartments are a known flaw in Forzas and Soleis.

The following morning, it was on to Wayne County Fairground in Van Buren Township, Michigan. It would be our base for exploring The Henry Ford.
Our first day, we explored Greenfield Village. The buildings are historic or replicas of historic buildings. It was an interesting place, but the weather was not so good. It rained off and on the whole day! 
Our favorite stop was Thomas Edison's workshop from Menlo Park, New Jersey. It was an amazing area. The docent even recorded his voice on Edison's voice recorder/player. And yes, he played it back! It was the first sound recording device to play the sound. Many others recorded sound, but this was the first to play the recorded sound.

 We found this clock displaying Romulus and Remus as we were nearing the end of our visit. No, we didn't stick around to hear was raining!
The next day, we took the day off and ran some errands, did know stuff that has to be done whether you are traveling or at home.

The following day we drove back to The Henry Ford to use our remaining tickets. We started out in the main museum looking at Presidential vehicles.
 There were old cars of most makes and models.
This was one of my favorite displays. The board clamped to the kitchen sink has Henry Ford's first working gasoline engine. His wife poured gas into the intake valve while Henry cranked it. No, it is not much to look at, but look at where this invention has us today!

We took time off  after lunch to tour the Rouge Manufacturing Plant. Photography is not allowed in the factory. We able to take pictures from the roof viewing area. Yes, that is grass growing on the roof of the factory.
 After the Rouge Tour, it was back to The Henry Ford to finish our visit. The afternoon took us through the aircraft section and the steam engines. We missed the Liberty section and only spent a few minutes in Mathematica. The museum and factory left us awestruck by the inventors.

When we arrived at our campsite, there was a woman picking veggies in the fairground garden. She said to take all I wanted as the gardener was going to pull everything up in the next couple of days. Here is my bounty!
We enjoyed our trip to The Henry Ford and our stay at Wayne County Fairground. Time to move on down the road.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Elkhart, RVs, and on to Indianapolis

Connie and Larry left the casino about 2 minutes before us. We were all headed to Goshen, Indiana, for a stay at Elkhart County 4H Fairground. After we registered and found 2 spots close to each other, it was time to explore.
 We found out there was an  apple festival in Nappanee, about 15 miles south, so we headed out to investigate. We thought there would be everything apple, but no, it was more like a street fair with vendors selling jewelry, cosmetics, handmade towels, and other stuff.The cosmetic vendor made some of her wares with camels' milk and she had the camels to prove it. They were very photogenic. Connie said when they saw the camels, a train went by and they weren't so calm and photogenic then.
Only one tent was selling apple baked goods. Bob and I chose one apple dumpling with caramel sauce to split back at Sol. I have to say it was delicious.

While in the Elkhart area Bob and I wanted to find a few things for Sol. We spent a lot of time driving from one place to another looking for parts.

Another day we went to the RV Hall of Fame. There were a lot of interesting RVs in the museum.
After touring the museum, we wanted to have lunch and see  Downton Abbey. It was the first time we had been to a movie since we were with Connie and Larry in Las Vegas last fall! We a.ll enjoyed the movie and I can see the unfinished storylines as the next Downton Abbey movie!

Another excursion we went on with Connie and Larry was to Shipshewana, Indiana. It is an Amish town with lots of neat shops in which to browse. Not long after we arrived, Connie and I set out on our own, Bob and Larry went a different way. About 5 minutes later we got a call to meet them, they wanted lunch at Blue Gate Restaurant. The food was excellent! I had the best Reuben I have had in a very long time.  We continued shopping, finishing up at Yoder's Meat Shop. There were many different meats and cheeses to sample. We bought some bratwursts and cheese. It was a productive outing and I would not hesitate to return to Shipshewana.

On our last day in Goshen, we went to Bradd and Hall to check out captain's chairs. The one I ride in while we travel down the road is shredding where it shouldn't shred. We found one we liked, but it would take 4-6 weeks for it to get to Elkhart. We didn't know if we would need a new pedestal so we couldn't order it (plus we wouldn't be in the area when it arrived). Hmmmm, on to plan B.

After our stay in Goshen, it was time to say goodbye to Connie and Larry. We were heading to Indianapolis to visit a friend and they were headed to Camp Perry near Toledo.

The morning after we arrived at White River Campground near Cicero, Indiana, we met Pete and Susie for breakfast. Bob and I hadn't seen Pete since we lived in Schwabach, Germany, 34 years ago!
It was quite the reunion...they talked 'war' stories like you wouldn't believe. Susie and I were able to say a word or two occasionally.
 The next morning, Bob and I hiked the trail at the campground.This bridge leads to the trail.
 Sol is in the distance as viewed from the bridge.
Pete and Susie came to visit at the campground and brought some German items to share: Nuernberger brats, brotchen, and black forest cake! After hiking a portion of the trail again, we grilled hamburgers and had some of that deliciously wonderful cake.

That night we met Pete, Susie, and Matt (their 16 year old son) at a pizza place. Matt had lots of questions for Bob and Pete--mostly verification of army stories he had heard over the years.

The next day, we didn't get together until late in the day. It was time to cook those bratwursts and share more stories. And, yes, we ate some more of that cake!
 It was great to see Pete again and meet Susie and Matt. We hope we don't have to wait 34 more more years before our paths cross again!

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Making Our Way to Indiana

Bob and I said goodbye to Connie and Larry for a day. We were headed to Sparta, Michigan, to visit a friend of mine. Connie and Larry went to Muskegon to tour a submarine.

Bob and I used our Harvest Host membership to stay at Apple Country Soapworks in Sparta.The soapworks is located in a house that used to be a stagecoach stop. We had a view of the house on one side of Sol.
On the other we had a view of an apple orchard. The trees are not the apple trees we are used to seeing. These trees have been grafted to another tree base and grow on supports. These trees are 3 years old and bearing fruit. They were just planted last year. Two advantages to these are that new trees bear fruit in 3 years and there is no need for a ladder to pick the apples.
After getting set up we talked with Jayne, the owner of the soapworks. Then it was on to Downtown Trini's to meet the parent of two of my former students. The family moved to Michigan just after Bob and I retired. I enjoyed catching up with Renee and was glad to hear that she and the girls are doing well.
After lunch, it was back to Sol to plan our route for the next day.

I did take a walk around the property and saw these two in a coop not far from Sol. At one time, there was also a herd of goats. But now, there are  just two hens and a dog named Otter.
The next day we didn't travel far. We made it to Gun Lake Casino to meet Connie and Larry. They left for the day to visit Holland, Michigan, while Bob and I stayed at Sol to catch up on chores.

After a noisy night---there was a train track near the casino, we all got on the road. Destination: Elkhart, Indiana.

More of the Area Near Sleeping Bear Dunes

Our second full day at Sleeping Bear Dunes, Platte River Campground, was a road trip to Traverse City so Connie and Larry could get their mail. We took the back roads to Traverse City. The countryside is beautiful--forests mixed with farmland. Once Connie and Larry retrieved their mail, it was on to Sam's for a little shopping.

Shopping activated our appetites, so, Connie found a brewery with a restaurant on the peninsula leading to the lighthouse. No, we didn't go to the lighthouse, but we did enjoy lunch at Jolly Pumpkin--Old Mission. It was located in what looked to be large, old house near the lake.
On return to Platte River Campground, Bob and I planned our hike for the following day. We decided to hike from the campground. We did around 8 miles of the Platte River Plains Trails. The trail started at the end of the campground loop and went through the forest on a wide trail.
 We came to a dune that overlooked Lake Michigan. Bob made it to the top first, so he was looking down on me.
 After our view from the dune, we hiked the last 1/4 mile in deep sand to get close to the lake.
We hiked along the lakeshore until we got to the next leg of our hike which took us to the primitive campsite in the forest. From there we followed the difficult cross county ski trail, just a narrow path through trees with small ponds along the way. The trail widened as we neared the campground.
On Sunday, we drove to Frankfort to check out the town. Connie and Larry met us at Stormcloud Brewing Company. They brought Pegs 'n' Jokers and we had an enjoyable time playing and people watching at Stormcloud.

On the way back to the campground, we stopped at Betsie Point Lighthouse.The lighthouse overlooks a very rugged coast of Lake Michigan. Work has been done to reinforce the shoreline next to the lighthouse.
 The red building behind Bob is the foghorn building.
 Unlike other lighthouses we visited, this one is short, only 34 steps to the top. It still has a light, but it is not an LED like the one in Au Sable Lighthouse on Lake Superior.
On Monday, Bob and I returned to Traverse City to walk around Front Street.
This walkway led from the parking area to the shopping area.
We enjoyed walking and shopping in Traverse City. It is a town we would like to visit again.
 Tuesday would be our last day at Platte River Campground. Bob and I did some more hiking. We drove south from the campground to Old Indian Trailhead. The trailhead leads to two trails--Green Arrow and Black Loop. Bob and I hiked both trails.
 There was a spur off Black Loop that led to Lake Michigan.
 Most of Black Loop was also the difficult cross country ski trail in the winter. It had many ups and downs and curves.
 Along both trails we saw more small ponds or lakes. Near these areas, the mosquitoes were buzzing.
 After our hike, Bob and I returned to Frankfort to look through the stores and pick up a few groceries. We went in the bookstore looking for a Michigan Gazetteer and made an interesting discovery. They not only had the gazetteer, but, the owners said someone else from DeLand had been in a few days earlier and left copies of his new book:  Inside the Front Page---it was our neighbor Russ! Unfortunately, he left the day after he delivered his book. He is the one who told us about Sleeping Bear!
We thoroughly enjoyed our time at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, but it was time to move on. Time to move south to visit a friend and then on to Indiana.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Scenic Route and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

From Bay City, Bob and I took the scenic drive to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We headed west from Bay City on US 10. We made a stop for gas in Cadillac, Michigan, which also looked like a nice place to spend a few days, but it was on to Sleeping Bear.
 When we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to find that the campsites that were sand on Google Earth when we made our reservation, were now paved and very level! Our site would have been great, except, the picnic table and fire ring were on the driver's side of the RV...very inconvenient.
 The weather wasn't going to cooperate on our first day, so we drove Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive and did a couple of short hikes. The weather was overcast and windy, with rain expected. We were lucky and didn't get any rain while we were sightseeing.

As were were driving to the scenic loop, we came across a tree that fell on the highway. Bob and I stopped to see if we could be of assistance, but there was more tree than we could see from the road--it went back in the woods about 100 feet! Several other cars stopped, also. One man had a small hand saw and was starting to cut the tree when an emergency vehicle arrived. We let the expert finish the job and continued on our way.

 The first sight on the scenic drive was a covered bridge.

Our second stop was an overlook of  Little and Big Glen Lakes. If you look closely, you can see the highway between the lakes.
 And yes, the leaves are starting to turn!
Next we went to an overlook of the dunes. The sand is not white like Florida dunes, but a light orange color.
Then we found a stop with a short hike--Cottonwood Hiking Trail. The cottonwood trees along the trail are much smaller than the cottonwoods we see out west.
After hiking the mile and a half loop, we continued on our way to a pull-out that had a basswood tree nearby that has battled the elements and sandy environment to become one of the most pictured trees in the area.
 As we were taking photos, no one else even looked toward the tree, they just kept driving.
Our last stop on the drive was an overlook of Lake Michigan.
 The dunes here are so steep, there is a sign warning people not to try to go down to the lake...there is a $3000 fee if you have to be rescued!
From the scenic drive we continued on to Glen Arbor. Connie and Larry met us for lunch at the Cherry Republic.
 After lunch, Bob and I walked around town. One of the sights was a 'soleful' tree.
 We enjoyed our first full day of sightseeing in the area and were looking forward to the rest of our stay.