Cindy's Summer 2007 Blog
July 1st 2007 Enjoying the Cincinnati Zoo
I can hardly believe that we are through half of the year already. This year is just flying by. I remember when I was a child and it seemed like forever between birthdays. Now it seems like a blink of an eye and I am getting older and older. Speaking of being a child, the last time that I went to a zoo my 21 year old daughter was only 12. Needless to say, it has been to long since I have taken advantage of the opportunity.
Pat and I decided to go to the Cincinnati Zoo which is world renowned for their breeding program and the amount of animals they have kept from disappearing in the wild. This was the first chance that I had to use my new camera, which I love. It is a Canon 30D which will allow me to use all of the lenses that we currently have for our Canon 1D. Man, what a difference it makes compared to the point and shoot I was stuck with. I had so much fun trying to capture just the right expression on these charming animals faces that the 8 full hours we spent there just flew by.
I was very glad to find that the Cincinnati Zoo gives the animals quite a bit of room to roam around and the animals generally seemed happy. The Zoo was very clean and had many places to eat lunch in and also offered cooling stations for the humans as well as the animals. Fortunately Pat and I didn't need a cooling station because it rained for the first part of our visit. I found it pretty cool that even though it was down pouring, we could barley feel it, due to the coverage from the trees over head. I would actually recommend going to this zoo on a rainy day. All of the animals were out, taking advantage of the cool bath that Mother Nature was providing for them.
I would also recommend getting to the zoo as early as possible. Especially if you want to take pictures. Pat and I got there at 10:00am, we stayed till after closing, 6:30, and we still didn't see all of the exhibits. I know for sure that we missed the elephants and I don't know what else but we missed an entire wing of the 75 acre piece of property. It's pretty neat that this big patch of land is located right smack in the middle of downtown Cincinnati. The surrounding area looks like it has been established for a long time. Like any big city, the heart of down town was not the nicest part of town however, the parking is gated and plenty of security guards made us feel safe leaving our Sunline Camper alone for so long.
I had some favorite animals that entertained me the longest which include the Orangutan, the White Lions, which used to be managed by Siegfried & Roy, and the Gorillas. The 47 year old Silver Back Gorilla was incredible and the female had the cutest little baby. She tended to this baby more than any human would for their infant child. The White Lions seemed very much at peace in their enclosure. I some how think they are glad to be retired from show business.
By the end of the day, we were beat. Pat had weighed his camera pack and the darn thing weighs 50 pounds. Plus I had my camera and the tripod which were about 12 extra pounds. Add to that the 15 extra pounds that I am carrying around my thighs, and waist area and we were loaded down.
I can't say enough about how much fun we had. If you haven't been to a Zoo in a while, you have most likely forgotten just what you are missing. This experience is not just for kids, although there sure were alot of them running around with nothing but excitement and wonder in their eyes. Take a day or even two and enjoy a top notch Zoo in your area. My only recommendation is to be sure it is the type of Zoo that is contributing to the well fare of the animal. Putting animals on display in a small area and not contributing to the growth of the species is not the kind of Zoo that makes you fell good when you leave.
The Cincinnati Zoo is one of the best Zoos in the US and if it's not a huge trip from your home, go there as adults or bring your kids. This makes for a great time young or old.
I'm very proud to say, that all of these shots are my own. Most of the time, Pat and I share photos on the Blogs, but this time, armed with my new piece of equipment, I was taking just as many pictures as Pat was. As soon as we can sort through the literally thousands of shots we both took, we'll put a gallery up for everyone to enjoy.
If you're into photography, the Cincinnati Zoo is like traveling on an outrageous Safari, all for only the measly cost of the gate fee. How many other people can get exotic animal shots only a few hours from home?
July 3rd 2007
Ok, We've gotten into Michigan and will be spending the next few days with family, so I don't think the posts will be too frequent.
In the mean time, check out the Cincinnati Zoo Gallery that's on the site. I really hope everyone has a great and safe Holiday. I also hope everyone realizes how lucky we are to be celebrating a holiday based on our Freedom and you all know how lucky we really are. God Bless our Troops and bring them home safe!!
July Summary and Catching up
I must apologize for being away for so long. The month of July has been a whirlwind of activities. We began with the celebration over the 4th and have continued to be celebrating one thing or another ever since. The best thing for me to do to catch up for the month is to attach a few photos of the variety of thrills and chills that we have had over the last 30 days since I have not been attending to my blog.
A night at the Red Dog celebrating our friend Jess's birthday turned into a sleep over at her house for 15 people, here are just a few of the fun pic's.
We began the month by joining some friends of ours and their family a few hours north of us at their cottage on the lake. We had a birthday party for our friend Lauren and lit off some fire works while rejoicing in the fact that we live in a free country due to our forefathers. We celebrated the fact that we have so many brave men and women that have continued to fight for our freedom and the better of our nation.
We also swilled some beers while boating with some of our closest friends who we haven't seen since March. Acting like children when the water cannons were brought out, dunking each other and just plain ol' acting goofy. But that's what good friends are for, acting childish and having a blast doing it.
The following week I had the pleasure of joining 10 girlfriends at a cottage on Higgins Lake here in Michigan. Our annual Girls Weekend with the only rule of "No men allowed!" This has been an annual trip for me and these girls for the past 5 years, but some of them have been making this pilgrimage for around 15 years! The 10 of us became 9 of us due to one of the women's unfortunate bout with spinal meningitis at 3 a.m. on the first night of our escapades. That did not stop our party though and we just kept right on going. The 9 of us continued to act like a bunch of 13 year old school girls at a slumber party.
The weekend was an excursion from our every day lives which we all look forward to every year. This years theme was a Diamond Auction and Dinner Party. We all brought costumes and were given our hand book on the different personalities that we were to portray for the weekend. Everyone brings plenty of incredible food, drinks and whatever else we can over-indulge in for our weekend away from reality and the men in our lives.
The games that we played were incredibly goofy and the jewelry that we bid on during the auction was great. I came home with such great stuff for my family, which they all thought I had spent the weekend shopping at a high end jewelry store. The work that was put into this years event took an entire year to sort out and was worth every bit of effort. Thanks girl for the great time, I will never forget it.
Throughout the month we have been trying to get our things together to complete our income taxes from last year and trying to sell our remaining home we have here in Michigan. We have decided that this two year trip is going to be extended to approximately five years and neither of us want the hassle of a rental property.
Our thoughts of coming back to Michigan to live when our North American tour is finished have been somewhat squashed due to the failing economy here in our state. Although we do love the summers here and love to be around our family, we just can't see suffering through the blistering cold Michigan winters.
Every time we come home from a trip, we spend any time we have at our home repairing, updating and replacing things that will make the home more appealing to a buyer. I keep telling my husband that we cannot be emotionally attached to this house. We have spent the last eight years updating this 1940's home and making it exactly what we would want in a house. The master closet is 8'x10' for goodness sakes, what girl wouldn't love that.
Every inch of space in this house has been custom designed specifically for us and our needs. Our yard is a safe haven of flowers and serenity that I have put many hours into to make it feel just right. Pats' barn is his castle, with an upstairs loft and a tool room that he could spend hours in just tinkering. I guess this is just another life lesson on "Stuff is not what makes us happy"
On the third weekend of the month, we took our two nieces camping with us. My my, what a time we had. It is so fun to see kids having a great time and really enjoying life. Children don't have the heavy responsibilities that us adults carry around so they are so light hearted and genuinely fun to be around. We spent the days in some type of water, be it kayaking or swimming, and the nights sitting by a fire, roasting marshmallows that no one likes.
We stayed up late watching movies while eating junk food and slept in as late as we could.
Pats 34th birthday was the 27th of July and we celebrated by just being with family. I told Pat that we used to celebrate our special days with presents when we had a job, now we celebrate with presence of the people we love.
I like this much better! Pat just couldn't hang with us party girls, he was passed out by 11:46 p.m. I guess his age really is starting to show!
After the weekend with the girls, we came home and painted the outside of our house and did some weeding along with more sprucing up on the inside, since our renters have now moved out. I will really miss our home and all of the memories that we will be leaving behind. The many parties and the memories of our daughter growing up there.
I can still see the evidence of her locking herself out all the time by the dented foot print on her window sill, which she learned to climb through.
We had many water fights in the bathroom, which would start with someone dumping a pitcher of ice water on who ever was in the shower. This would end with the shivering person pulling the shower head attachment off and dousing the other person with the shower water until they could scramble out of the bathroom.
The fond memories of pumpkin fights during carving season where someone would grab the innards of a pumpkin and put the entire mess on someone's head eventually ending with an all out war of pumpkin guts being splattered around the house. I had to clean that goop off of walls, ceilings, cabinets and floors for months afterwards. But those memories will last a lifetime for us.
I can picture my daughter Donielle getting ready for her first dance, dressing and putting on her make-up for the first time. All of those Halloween costumes we would make for her before sending her on her way to the surrounding neighborhoods to get a years supply of goodies to bring home and hide under her pillow for that late night sweet tooth of hers.
I think I am starting to understand the empty nest feeling that everyone talks about. Since we have been traveling, this emotion has not had a chance to catch up to me. Being in our house has made that emotion hit home.
This brings us to August and the sweltering heat of summer time that we are enjoying. I will be on my blog much more now since I am assuming we won't be as busy this month. Sorry for the disappearance during the month of July and I will try to be accessible from now on. Every one can stop bombarding me with the many emails of where have I been and when am I coming back. Thanks for letting me know that you have missed me though and I hope you enjoy the rest of the blogs.
August 7th 2007
Pat and I have been keeping in contact with some nice people over the web site from the Sunline Owners Club. A few months ago the group came to a decision that we should all meet each other since it seemed that everyone has so much in common and would get along well.
We chose the destination spot of MEXICO!!!, Pennsylvania that is, in the Buttonwood Campground. It seemed like a central spot since most of us Sunline owners are from the North East area.
It took Pat and I just about 10 hours to drive straight thru and left us with quite a cloudy head since we are not used to such long treks with the camper. Usually 4-6 hours is our max, then we will find a quiet spot to rest or just get out and move around for a hike or paddle somewhere.
This trip was well worth the lengthy time in the passengers seat since we had such a great weekend. We ended up with a turn out of over 20 people, with a few last minute cancellations due to technical problems with some A/C units. We all had such a nice weekend of conversation face to face and could finally put a face with the names we had grown to know.
A few of us spent one of our afternoons on a kayaking trip down the Juanita River. We rented some kayaks this time instead of bringing our own due to some upgrades that Pat is doing to the rack on the truck.
The Juanita was a perfect way to spend a hot afternoon. The river was like bath water but it was still very refreshing after sitting in 90-100 degree weather. All of us got along so well and we learned about each others family and friends, places we have been to and the goals we have for other places to visit.
I have to say that one of the individuals that we met on our trip really stood out in my mind. He was the nicest guy with a great sense of humor. He had the answers to any question that we might have about any Sunline make or model and was happy to share his knowledge with us all.
I have never met anyone with such a passion about his hobby. The shocking part of this young man is that he was half our age. He had nothing but respect for his elders and could carry any conversation like a pro. Thanks to Jill and Dave for raising a young man that was such a pleasure to be around.
We headed out on Monday afternoon to get back to Michigan in order to leave again on Wednesday. We stopped at a little place we saw signs for on the side of the rode called Woodland Campground. This place is really nice with its private little fishing hole and plenty of hiking trails to keep myself and the dogs very happy. We have found Pennsylvania to be very enjoyable. The people we have met are all very nice, accommodating and ready to strike up a conversation at any time.
The campground that we stayed in over the weekend was also exceptional. The Buttonwood Campground offered every thing from horse shoes, kayaking, a game room to a swimming pool surrounded with beautiful landscaping. They also took the time to come out and get acquainted with the group and give us a little background about the historical place. The grounds were something out of a garden magazine with its own Hosta Garden and Morning Glories growing every where. They came up with so many unique settings for gardens that I have never seen before.
The campground owners also offered events such as an Ice Cream Sunday Party, which they fed around 100 people free ice cream! The following night they popped up some kettle corn in an old, huge kettle which was popped over an open flame. Unfortunately we missed out on the Mennonite farmers market on Saturday morning which was just up the street from us. Like I said Pennsylvania has alot to offer, from it's rolling Appalachian Mountains to its flowing rivers and babbling brooks, we really like this State and cant wait to explore more of it.
August 8th 2007
It seems as though we have just come from a long weekend of heavy partying due to the lengthy drive that we had in the past two days. I am not crazy about the "Lets hurry up and get there!" attitude that we have adopted lately. It seems as though we have just pulled in the driveway and it's time to go again.
I spent the day getting some new carpet installed in our house that we are putting on the market, having the other carpet cleaned and some last minute yard work before we take off for the weekend. The house goes on the market Friday, my wish is that it will sell before we come back on Sunday!!
August 9th 2007
Our getting ready and heading out early for our weekend get away has been pushed ahead a bit as to get more things completed on our house. We spent the morning packing things into our luggage, which is so much more difficult than just bringing our house with us, and putting some food together for the trip.
Pat decided that since we are not towing the camper this time that I should drive the truck. Now, I'm not sure if anyone remembers this in my earlier blogs, but my end of the deal is cooking, cleaning, and dogs. Pats end of the deal is breaking down the outside of the camp and driving. Personally, I think that is a pretty even trade, maybe a little light on Pats end. When he came up with this ingenious plan, I thought it was stepping over the chore boundaries.
I decided that maybe if I drove then I could get Pat to take the initiative to cook dinner or clean the bathroom or something. This could be the beginning of a whole new freedom from those daily tasks. I began at 3:30 and I drove for just about 20 minutes before my sleep spell kicked in.
This is the reason why I don't drive, not only am I terrible with large trucks passing me and I hate road work or construction barricades, but I also fall asleep at the wheel. I pulled over for some coffee so that I could brave the rest of the 3 hour drive. Within 20 more minutes my head was bobbing like I was sitting thru a boring sermon in a Catholic Church. I pulled over into a gas station so that Pat could finish the rest of our drive.
Pat came to the decision that I had to get over falling asleep. I think he feels like it is a choice I make to take a nap while behind the wheel of a fast moving, large vehicle. I assume he thought I would snap out of it when I felt the rumbles on the side of the road or something. I got out of the drivers seat and tried to get into the passengers seat with no such luck. Pat locked the door so that I couldn't get in.
Here I am in the parking lot of the Flying J yelling "I am not driving" and pounding on the window. When he refused to open the door, I crawled into the back seat of the passenger side and began to finish my coffee.
Here goes the big blow hard yelling "This is unbelievable, I can't even believe that you are acting like a little kid and won't drive. You have not driven 2 miles in the last 12,000 and we are not even towing the trailer. I refuse to get behind that wheel and we aren't moving until you drive."
This began a stand off! Him breathing all of that hot air in my face was not going to get me to drive again. I felt like I was endangering both of us if I tried to drive and I was sticking to that. Pat continued to elaborate on just how angry he was going to be with me if I didn't get into the drivers seat immediately.
This had absolutely no effect on me as I sat sipping my coffee. I am sure that the full gas station was taking in our 20 minute episode, wondering if it will escalate beyond yelling and who is going to drive. When I finally came to my senses and said "I don't care what you say, I will not drive" Pat got into the drivers seat and made me get into the passenger seat in the front.
I think I remember him saying something about "This is not Driving Miss Daisy you know"
Who in the heck would want a sleeping person driving a vehicle? I had already tried coffee, slapping myself in the face, singing and rolling down the window. I just stink at staying awake while driving. To make up for my tantrum and unwillingness to cooperate, I ended up giving Pat a much needed manicure to keep him awake while driving. All's well that ends well.
August 10th 2007
This trip to Cheboygan Michigan is our second annual Chain of Lakes trip. We take a boat out thru Mullet Lake, Lake Huron and Burt Lake. Each lake has some rivers to go thru to get to the next and it makes for a very scenic trip. We stop at different restaurants and such on the way, since this is a start early, finish late day, lots of food is a must. We have such a great time with the group of friends that we go with. Everyone has alot in common and gets along very well, considering it is three couples in a boat.
Something about being on a boat, I have found tends to make couples argue for some reason. Especially the Captain and his wife due to the speed of the boat, bad directions, a spider on board or some other reason which could also depend on the weather. This is never an issue with this group of people, we all just laugh our butts off and have a great time. I am sure this has something to do with the fact that we went thru 8 cases of beer in 3 days, not to mention the ones we drank in the various restaurants we ate in. Not only were we soaked on the outside, we were soaked on the inside!
Out of the three lakes I would have to say that Mullet Lake is my favorite. The water is clear and warm with no fear of having large sea creatures come up to nibble on me like I would have in an ocean.
Although we did see some old photos from the 40's of huge Sturgeon, some over 6 feet long that were caught in Mullet Lake. I just erased that from my memory and had a great time floating in the lake until my skin pruned. I think we must have been in the water for at least two hours at a time, just hanging out and goofing around. We all had our favorite floating devices, mine being wearing a life preserver upside down, with my legs in the arm holes. It is basically like sitting in a chair in the water.
By Saturday night on the trip back thru the waterways it was dark, getting chilly and all were asleep except for the Captain, Shawn, and his wife, Julie. They navigated us thru the narrow passageways, the open water and even a rain storm to get us all home safe and sound.
When we departed from one another on Sunday, it seemed as though the weekend was just a flash in the pan. All of us were exhausted from the constant going for 3 days. I woke up with stomach pains from the laughter that we shared together all weekend.
True friends are hard to find, even though these are only a handful, I feel very blessed to have them. Until next year I will hold these memories and photos dear to me and refer to them on a rainy day to put a smile on my face.
August 13th 2007
I told Pat that I just wanted a day of just doing nothing but relaxing. The rainy days we used to have of playing Scrabble, reading, or a few other choice time passers.
I miss the days of not having a time frame to be somewhere or a schedule of things to be done. It is so crazy since we have been home that I have started a chart for times and places to be which is booked thru the 23rd of August already.
After that we have some friends coming to visit from Florida from the 29th thru the 3rd. I must be patient for in only another month we should be dead line free!!!
September 20th Happy 10 year Wedding Anniversary To Us!!
These past few months have just flown by with all of the events that we have attended and the many friends that we have seen. It was hard to leave Milford for me this time, it was even more difficult than the first time which now seems like so long ago. When we said good-bye to everyone back in January, it was different, Michigan was cold and nasty and we couldn't wait to leave.
I have enjoyed my time with the in-laws, the nieces and nephews so much these past few months, that I cried for two days before we left. On the first few hours of our trip up north, I hardly said a word for fear that the tears would start again.
The second day on the road was a totally different feeling. I was ready to see some new things and the travel bug had once again grabbed my curiosities and given them some new life.
I have really started to use and enjoy my camera quite a bit more in the past few months. I am learning a lot about the film speed, the aperture settings and the settings needed to soften the water scenes to make them look the way I want. Thank goodness that Pat retained all of the info that we learned in our photo classes. It also helps that he studies everything he can get his hands on that has to do with photography.
Here are a few of my favorite photos that I have taken in the past few days and I'm proud that Pat is using my photos just as much as he uses his for the picture galleries. He's even used some of mine in his blog!!
Minors Castle is such a beautiful spot in the Upper Peninsula, just outside of Munising.
Sable Falls is located on the main road to Munising from Paradise, just outside Grand Marias. It is only as short hike from the parking area. The only bad part is it has 169 steps to get down to it. Going down isn't bad, although I find myself a little winded on the way back up.
September 22nd 2007
The past few nights have been some of the most sleepless that I have ever had. We have been staying in a campground directly on Lake Superior which allows for a whole lotta wind to pass us by. The first night we stayed here, we noticed an increase in the wind at around 10pm. By midnight I was awakened by the shaking of the camper at a velocity that was moving us!
I woke Pat up and said "Did you feel that?" Of course he said "What the Hell are you waking me up for?" Within a few seconds Pat was as awake as I was and feeling the wind almost carry us off.
His calming response to my sudden panic was " What is the worst thing that could happen to us?" Well that statement forced my mind to roam into every scary movie I had ever seen. I could hear that evil music from Wizard of Oz playing in my head DA DET DA DET DA DA DA. I could see our pour little camper being thrown into the treacherous waves of Lake Superior, only to loose a dog or a husband or both and have me saying "There's no place like home."
I made Pat go out in the storm and tighten our jacks down to stabilize us a little more, although that didn't make much of a difference. The strange part about the whole storm is that we woke up to the most incredibly clear morning filled with the suns rays and warm air. I would have thought that Jack Frost himself had shown up over night and brought the immediate surge of winter upon us. How lucky did we get to withstand such winds and live to tell about it?
The following night was much more terrorizing, I slept for not even a second. We had turned on the evening news and seen a weather advisory. What the heck is that anyway? Are they just trying to tell us "Don't worry, things are fine?" Or are they saying "You have been advised to kiss you butt good bye?"
I have never figured out those stupid weather terms: Doppler 500, Doppler 2000, Doppler 10,000! The worst part is they still have no idea what Mother Nature has in store for us.
The TV screen had blurbs every few minutes stating that a tornado warning was in effect for our area. Again the panic sent strange images into my head. I envisioned me holding onto the front door of the camper while cows and tractors blew past us like the movie Twister. Needless to say Pat didn't get much sleep either since every few minutes I would wake him and say "Did you feel that?"
I woke up this morning with two puff daddy eye balls, due to lack of sleep, and an attitude that would scare Mike Tyson himself. The first thing I said to Pat before we got on the road was "I need a nap!" This was at 10am.
Enough about the windy nights, let me tell you something about our daytime fun which made it all worth the lack of sleep. During the past few days we have been hiking to different waterfalls that are just spectacular. Each one has its own charm whether it is its height or the amount of water flowing or the rock formation which the water cascades from. All of Gods gifts are eye candy here in the UP and they are all so easy to get to.
While we were at Wagner Falls, I was talking with a couple that we had just met when I felt an ever so soft pinch on my butt. I turned around and saw one of our friends from Milford. Micki and her husband Jim had just bought a travel trailer and they were out doing the same thing we were.
We ended up talking for a while and instead of us leaving to head west that afternoon, we stayed in the campground with them having dinner and some drinks while getting to know each other again. We had such a good time together that Micki made us all breakfast the next morning and we watched a movie to pass the time since it was raining.
I think this world gets smaller (and I keep getting bigger) every passing day! The following day Pat and I took a great boat trip on Lake Superior. When Pat bought the tickets the lady told him that the seas would be rough with 3-6 foot waves. We both get very sea sick but thought we would chance it anyway.
Just before the full boat left from the dock, the captain informed us that if anyone gets sea sick he would advise taking the trip another day. He explained that the water is extremely rough and sickness would be inevitable if one is vulnerable to it. At that point 8 people departed the boat and went to the office to get their money back.
The first time we were on this water, both Pat and I got sick. I know both of us get sea sick due to every single deep sea fishing boat we have went on, both of us are chumming over the side within an hour into it. I looked at Pat and said "I've thrown up in better places than this before" and we prepared for a good time.
I highly recommended the Pictured Rocks boat trip if ever in the area of Munising. The shoreline is incredibly breath taking and the water looks just like a deep blue ocean. At one point Pat looked a bit green and when I saw numerous people walking up to the Captain to get the small red bag with the Hazardous Waste sign on the side, I almost blew my cookies too.
When we stepped off of the boat we both high-fived each other, congratulating ourselves for our iron stomachs.
Make sure to check out the Pictured Rocks Photo Gallery we posted to see some of our pictures from the beautiful lake shore.
September 23rd 2007
After spending another windy night in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Marquette, I was ready to head a ways inland to find a nice calm spot to get some sleep. I never would have dreamed that we would find the spot that we did! We ended up at Bond Falls Campground which is very primitive, no hook ups and no people.
We have settled our camper into a tight spot which is over looking one of the most gorgeous views I have ever seen. This man made lake is full of old tree stumps protruding from the water, tiny little islands every where and the most vivid array of colors to stimulate my senses.
I told Pat that I could stay here for months if the weather stayed like this. All we can hear is the wind rustling through the colorful trees. Every now and then we hear a Loon calling to us from the water or a small wood pecker having a meal in the trees above us. The dogs are constantly on full alert due to the chipmunks and squirrels that keep taunting them from the woods.
At one point a chipmunk walked right in between the two of them and Luca picked him up and threw him across the camp site. The chipmunk scurried away as Lucy gave Luca the evil eye for getting rid of the fun so quickly.
The dogs are loving it because they don't have to wear their leashes here. I think this trip has extended Lucy's life line. She has become such a different dog since we have been on the road. She is just like a puppy, curious and filled with energy.
Pat and I road the motorcycle to the Falls which this campground is named for. Its pretty cool that the CCC back in the 1940's devised this whole waterfall from the diversion of the Ontonagon River. It's hard to imagine this could be possible when I saw the size of this thing. When we walked up the water fall I told pat that I would expect to see King Kong approaching from the woods. It is surreal how the gentle changing of the colors and the incredible force of the water contradict each other yet blend so naturally. I went off on my own and hiked about the hills while Pat did his thing.
We both ended up with some photos that could be framed and sold. It is really hard not to with the outrageous beauty in front of us.
September 24th 2007
I woke up this morning to hear the sounds of absolutely nothing! It doesn't get much better than this. After breakfast, we all took a long walk around one of the islands and looked on in amazement to the colorful leaves blowing in the cool breeze. I shared a cup of tea with the Loons on the lake which call to each other with a curious sound.
Today we are spending our time just taking in all of the blessing that we have been given on this earth. Laying on the beach, reading or sleeping is how I choose to pass the time on another beautiful fall day in the Upper Peninsula!
Make sure to check out our Bond Falls Gallery for an amazing assortment of photos from our visit.
September 25th 2007
I am glad that we had packed everything up the night before since it poured buckets of rain on us all night. We were laying in bed watching the lightning bolts strike sporadically all around us. Some how I am getting used to this glorious opportunity and I didn't feel the need this time to go out and strap some old tires to the roof of the camper. (Why do people do that?) I spent yesterday reading a whole entire book, Flowers in the Attic. I know that most people have read this book years ago, however, I have just recently found the series of books in our barn. Pretty darn creepy book and a real easy read.
Every now and then while I was laying on the beach reading, a large gust of wind filled with sand would blast across me, filling my eyes, ears and hair with fine grains of Michigan sand.
I didn't realize the extent of my sand intake until after I had come inside and climbed into bed to get away from a few annoying, biting flies. Naturally, when I realized that I was dropping sand all over the sheets, I moved onto Pats side of the bed and just relaxed, letting the beach fall from my head and land on his side of the bed instead of mine. Pat couldn't figure out why I was giggling when he said "I feel like my whole body is being exfoliated from being in this bed." I made up some excuse about the dog jumping up into bed and couldn't believe how much worse his side was than mime.
We drove to Ontonagon in the morning to pick up our over night package which takes two days to get there. Apparently we are just to far from the hustle of a big town to receive any thing in 24 hours. We found a nice campground which runs along the Ontonagon River called The River Pines Campground. They offered a laundry facility which we took full advantage of and also supplied us with cable TV (Yeah!). After we finished the laundry we drove around the out skirts of town to find something to occupy our time, while waiting for the Mail Stork to arrive.
We ended up at the town of Old Victoria. We took a tour through the cabins that were built here in 1899 by The Victoria Copper Mining Company. This was a great little excursion to learn some of the history of our great country. How we pillaged the earth of trees and minerals with no plan as to how it would effect generations to come.
Global warming, who would have thunk it!
This historical land mark has been preserved by the Society for the Restoration of Old Victory. The few cabins that still remain are in surprisingly good condition and are decorated for the era in which they were built. We met with a nice couple who brought us through the neighborhood of historic cabins, explaining the different structures and how the displayed equipment was used and such. This was a great find for us to enjoy especially with the fall colors as the background for our photos.
Here is a link to our Old Victoria Ghost Town Gallery
September 26th 2007
We headed for The Porcupine Mountains as soon as we got some breakfast under our belts. The drive to the mountains was just spectacular. The gold and reds are just beginning to peek. T
his part of Michigan is such a difference from the lower part of the state. The rolling hills and the views from the peaks of the mountain range kept bring the word "WOW" to my mind, over and over. We stopped at the visitor center for the Porcupine Mountains and found a 3 hour trail, one way, that we thought would give us a good work out and lots of photo ops. The hike brought us up to what is called Mirror Lake.
The hike was challenging with the 35 pound photo backpack that I had strapped onto my back, but well worth it. Thankfully, I have been outside running the dogs daily and doing a little weight lifting on every picnic table we have stopped at.
Every time I go outside with my little mat and my 10 pound weights, Pat says "Come on, can't you just do that inside?" Unfortunately the huge amount of floor space in the camper does not allow for room to do flies.
We had lunch on the top of the mountain and hand fed a little Red Squirrel some nuts and peanut butter and jelly. We saw some snakes on the way back down the mountain which totally freaked me out. Pat says they are just garner snakes but I didn't see a shovel or hoe with them. We stopped at Lake of the Clouds on the way back down the hike which was just after an exhausting hike back up a steep incline.
It was perfect timing since we got to see the sunset and watch the moon rise simultaneously over the water. After our pizza dinner in our little camper, we zonked out at 9:30, sleeping soundly though the night.
September 27th 2007
We drove out of the state of Michigan and into Wisconsin. We decided to take a look at the Apostle Islands while we were driving near them and maybe kayak them if the weather is good. As we pulled into Wisconsin, we noticed that we could get a full signal on our phones. We took advantage of this time to download our web site since we haven't had any signal in 4 days now.
While we were parked on the side of the road, in a gas station parking lot, we heard a knock at the door. When we opened the door it was our tour guides from the Old Victoria Mine community. They were headed to a race track in Wisconsin, saw our rig and decided to say hello since we got along so well during our tour.
The half hour tour ended being almost two hours before we quit talking with one another. It's funny how many nice people we meet who we seem to have so much in common with. They also have a camper and do quite a bit of traveling themselves bringing along a cute Lab with them when they travel.
After we got back onto the road for a bit, I asked Pat what was in the middle of the road ahead of us. We both thought either a deer or a large dog. After we reached within 100 yards of the obstacle, we realized that we were seeing two wild wolves.
We had already seen coyotes so we new that these were much bigger. One was grey and one was black, both weighing at least 100 pounds. We came to a complete stop in the middle of the road and watched as the black wolf watered the bushes on the side of the road marking his territory. Before we even thought about taking a picture, the wolves were gone. What an amazing sight to see these elusive animals in their own habitat.
We traveled on to find a campground overlooking the Apostle Islands. We rented some wet suits from a local outfitter, Living Adventure and are going to try and do a short kayak trip in the morning. We spoke to a gentleman at the tourist information center and to be honest, he scared the crap out of me. He informed us that the water is very unpredictable in the fall and winter. He let us know that if we turn over we must have on a wet suit due to the fact that the water is only around 40 degrees right now. He also let us know that a man died this June when his kayak flipped and he went into hyperthermia and drowned before anyone could get to him. YIKES!
September 28th 2007 Paddling the Apostle Islands
I woke up this morning with an almost dismal feeling of dread. After hearing the guy at the information center tell us how during this part of the year Lake Superior can be a KILLER! I have been freaking out ever since. I at first thought that Pat might want to skip the excursion since he was putzing around the camper until noon.
I tried to keep myself looking extremely busy so that his thought pattern would not go to the water. I had just finished updating my blog when Pat said "Are you ready" DA DA DA DU!!!
The time had come to put on these skin tight suits and slither our boats into the frozen tundra of a killer sea. OK, now you know where my thoughts were. I tried to stay calm and act like I was looking forward to braving the ten foot waves.
Pat said we would drive down to the spot to put our kayaks in and if the water looked rough, we would not go. I was calmed by his gesture to sooth my fears.
As we drove to the place to unload, Pat asked me "What's wrong?" I told him I felt like I was going to throw up. He reassured me that I am the best kayaker ever and he would rather have me by his side if something went wrong more than anyone else. I think he called me a few chicken names and encouraged me to tempt fate.
I agreed to go on one condition: If I at any time while on the water I seemed scared of the waves or was being eaten by a 12 foot sturgeon, that we could turn around. Pat agreed to my conditions and we headed to the water. After we both put on our skin tight wet suits, I sang my new theme song "Long Lost Zuhelian Friends" and did a little cheer for myself while dancing around the parking lot and off we went.
Man did we ever have fun! At no point did a wave try to make me succumb to its vicious power nor did a prehistoric Sturgeon try and capsize me. The water was calm and beautiful and the rocky shore line was breath taking. We saw a large bald eagle soaring above our heads, then land on a perch just above us. We went into the caves and I even went under an archway as my boat scrapped on both sides. We spent a few hours paddling the clear blue, cold waters of the Superior and again I have concurred one of my idiotic fears. Thanks Pat for making me go!
If you'd like, check out our Apostle Island Gallery Here
September 29th 2007
Every time that I type on this blog and I put the date and the year I think," Do people really need to see the year every time I start a new day?" I mean is this site so over whelming for anyone that they forget which year they are in? Isn't it just a little to much info on every single day? Any way, I just had to vent for a minute. But maybe in a few years, if people are going back to find a certain date they found interesting and needed to look up, they can reference it faster....Or at least that's what Anal Pat tells me.
Ok, we started off the day with some sweet breakfast of French toast with bacon and some sliced bananas cooked in coconut oil. This is my new friend, coconut oil, I cook all of my breakfast stuff with it. It adds a crispness to pancakes, French toast or even just regular toast and it is supposed to be extremely good for you. Unfortunately, I love food, cooking it and eating it, so if I come across something special that I make I will try and let you know.
We drove the back roads for quite some time listening to the comedy channel on the satellite radio and cracking up the whole time. We passed a house with a bunch of logs in front of it and Pat came to a screeching halt in the middle of the road. Apparently he had seen this place earlier and decided to stop when he saw it again. I chose to make some sandwiches in the back instead of going in to explore.
In the middle of my mayo application, Pat came in and exclaimed "Come on, you gotta see this!" So in we went to what seemed like a land before time. Bill, the owner of this quaint little town, called the Wayward Wind Gallery & Studio, was more than happy to show us around his private little city.
The town consisted of 7 or 8 hand hewn buildings that were not plum or square in any direction. The place started with an outside wood working area which needed to be sheltered from the wind in the winter. What he ended up with is something has has to be seen to believe, like a little Hobbit village.
We spent some time in his place just wandering around, pointing and saying "Look at that" at almost every turn. It sure is neat to find treasures on the side of the road, especially when the gentleman that owns it is so nice.
We ended up trying to ride out a wind storm at a Wal-Mart in St. Croix Wisconsin. I called our friends in Minnesota to let them know we would but there the following weekend, stating where we had landed.
Derrick informed us we were only an hour from their house and we had to come out for this weekend also. Landing at the Smigiel's house, in any state, is always a good time. We sat by a fire drinking some Coors Lights and hanging with their neighbors. We talked of traveling, great places to see and things we all wanted to accomplish before our demise. A wonderful night had by all.
What a great day for a rain storm. The boys went to a football game and us girls laid around in our PJ's until 2:30! We ended up at a local watering hole, Floyds, for some brews and some grub and waited for the boys to show up to keep us in line.
Pat and I met many more new friends and made a great day of it. We wound it down by taking the dogs for a couple mile walk at just about midnight. Tish and I did an extra loop or two around the subdivision just because it turned into such a spectacular fall night.
Our September Gallery is chocked full of neat pictures from this past months adventures. Make sure to check it out and remember that sales of our photos are the only way we fund this adventure of our.