Because We Can - Fulltime RV'ing

Journal Archive 7/11 - 7/20 2011

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July 11 Monday

Rainy? Only if you think that way.


It was about mid-morning when it started, it being the rain. I had taken a walk around the campground earlier and had noticed a good bit of activity at the sites with tents. Now I knew why. I also knew why Linda had said Tuesday or Wednesday would be better days to go over to the island. But why is it that I was the only one so out of touch with the weather?


Looking at this gull we could see something that was enjoying the rain. Looking the other way, we could see a group of not so happy campers. They were the tenters who had slept in, or had thought the rain was coming later. It also brought to mind the vacation Linda and I once spent up here in the U.P. where it rained so much we had to cut the tent off the poles to take it down. But today we can just sit in our home and read, watch TV or work on the computer as the sky opens up.


And open up it did, not just for a brief downpour, but for a continuous heavy rain. We couldn't remember the last time it rained so hard for so long, and not only that, we were going to need to go out into it as we were meeting another couple for lunch in town. To venture out Linda choose an umbrella while I picked my trusty Alaskan rain jacket. Outside the coach, the ground was covered with water. No make that, the ground was flooded an inch or more deep. It had rained when we were in Alaska last summer, but never this much.


A couple of days ago we had received an email from a fulltiming couple who have been reading the Daily Journal for several years, and who were also heading to St. Ignace for a few days. Today we met for lunch and had a great time visiting with Peggy and David. Fulltiming is about many things, but most of all it is about connections, and sometimes there are more connections that we realize.

In March we had stopped at the SKP park in Hondo, Texas to have the recall done on our refrigerator, and also to visit with the brand new managers, Ron and Ally, whose blog Linda had been following for some time. We hadn't expected them to be there, but they had to come early because the former managers had a family emergency and had to leave early. Those former mangers were, David and Peggy, making it not only a small world, but a world where you get to meet the nicest people.


Anyone who reads or writes a blog knows that we are all the same, with food photos being a key part of everyone's Life, and so, not having posted any for few days, or I think I haven't, I'll take this opportunity to make up for it. Linda and I decided to try one of the U.P. staples, whitefish, and while it was good, it really was exactly what the name implies, white fish. Since there are probably numerous ways they fix it, I look forward to trying it once again if I get the chance.


The afternoon proved to be just the opposite of the morning as far as the weather was concerned. The sun came out, the temperature rose and the water level around the coach receded. We took time out to visit with Roger and Diane, our Retama neighbors, who had just arrived at the same park we are in. To be accurate, Roger had planned their trip months ago and we were staying at the same park they were staying at, only we had arrived first.

Not only that, but we have been very closely following their blog of their travels from Duluth across the U.P. and are going to be regular copy cats of the places they visited, as well as where they stayed, as we travel to the places where they just came from. What's that thing about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery?


Knowing they had a hard day of driving today, we had them up to our place for dinner, and while we had no views of the bridge, we did have grilled red sweet peppers and genuine, grass fed, Indiana beef hamburgers as a special treat since they lived in Indiana before becoming fulltimers. We also got to try our cherry slushy mix we bought at the Cherry Festival, and everyone pronounced it right on. It is amazing how flavorful the combination of cherry and merlot can taste.

Today reminded me of how so many people look at life, looking at the morning rain and seeing their day washed away. They think about living Life on the road but see only obstacles. They spend their days thinking about what might be, or what might have been. How great it was to be able to spend time today with two couples who didn't think that way.

164.2 1 3.5

July 12 Tuesday

Out to the island


Today was our day to go out to the island, where given the nice sunny day that was forecast, we planned to do a little of this and a little of that. We'd been there so long ago that neither of us remembered much about it. We had both done our own research as to what was there and what we would like to see. Now it was time to go and experience, while probably paying little attention to what we had researched.


There are three different companies that operate ferries between St. Ignace and the island. Linda having done her research, found that by buying our tickets online we could not only get a reduced price, we could leave from the ferry dock closest to the park, and not have to drive over to the other side of town. Of course the tickets weren't there when we arrived, but they sent them over on the boat we were leaving on, meaning everything worked just as it should, which made Linda a happy girl.


The motto of the Star Line is "High Tail It To Mackinac" which is exactly what they do, with each of their boats sporting a rooster tail of water. While we didn't seem to get to the island any faster, it sure made for a cool photo the one or two times we turned around to look as we sat up on the open top deck, along with almost everyone else making the trip. And this in a way is the general impression we got of the island itself, it is more about the show than the go.


Everyone who goes to the island has those special things they do and we were no exception, though it may be that our things are a little different from most people, like getting a lot of smashed pennies for Zachary. There must have been a half dozen or more penny smashers scattered up and down the main street, and we smashed pennies at most of them. Linda had the hard job, which was deciding which design to get. Some people collect every design at each machine, but we like to get just one, which causes Linda to really have to choose at times.


With no motorized vehicles on the island, you either walk, bike or use horse drawn carriages to get around. We are also not talking flat land here, and we saw more that one "want to be" bike rider turn around part way up a hill and decide that bike riding wasn't as much fun as they thought. Originally Linda had thought that a carriage ride would be fun, but once out of the main street area, there were so few people, we just walked everywhere, letting the old people take the carriages.

We did spend a good deal of time in the fort, watching the demonstrations and going through the buildings. In a perverse way it reminded us of Venice, though by not even the slenderest stretch of the imagination is it Venice. Main street here is akin to St. Marks, and the rest of the island is akin to, well the rest of the island, Venice Island that is away from all the tourists. As I've said so many times before, if we only knew what the rest of the world was like, how different our view of our own country would be.


Lunch also brought back memories, and while it wasn't the same as sitting on that narrow balcony high above a Swiss lake, it was in it's own way just as memorable. As Linda said, we could go down to the main street and get what most likely would be junk food, or we could take our chances on the food, but at least have a great view. We ended up with both great food and a great view.

I should point out that we did not totally forsake junk food, or at least the idea of sweet treats. Before we left the island, there was the required search for just the right fudge. Wanting sugar free, we discovered that only one company had any, the others saying they didn't get their shipment today. The one that had the kind we were looking for, made it themselves, which was nice to know, and Linda was glad to help reduce their inventory by three big slices, two for her and one for me.


The actual highlight of the trip wasn't what you think it was. With only horsepower provided by horses, there is still pollution, and that pollution has to swept up. We saw this out near the cemeteries, we have this thing about cemeteries you know, and it sure gave us a chuckle. However, the highlight of the trip was simply the ability to get away from people, to walk those back roads and smaller trails, to lose ourselves in the forest, and for a few brief moments, shut out the world.


I suspect that many come to the island hoping to do the same thing, but whether they achieve it, only they can say. As for us, it was another great day, but then again, Life is how you look at it.

164.6 .4 3.9

July 13 Wednesday

A day of living history and living


Back across the bridge for a day trip, our destination being Fort Michilimackinac, another Michigan State Park. As was the case yesterday, we ended up staying far longer than we thought we would, and enjoying every minute of it. They had numerous living history activities during the day, some being episodic and others continuous. The re-enactors were great, their costumes looking like they had lived in them for a while and their knowledge of the era, something they wanted to share. I tried my best to fit in, but seemed to be lacking whatever it was that they had.


While I was playing redcoat, Linda was playing archeologist. They have done a great job of displaying what once was, even though the British dismantled the fort and burned what was left. They say this is the longest continuously ongoing archeological excavation in the country. It took a minute to realize that what remains of the original fort is actually underground, but to display it, they have built underground rooms.


With hostilities threatening to break out at any moment, the redcoats enrolled some local citizens into a hastily formed militia unit. It was one of those, you had to be there, moments, and it was amazing how quickly the enrollees learned the rudiments of marching. It was a day to dispell another of those Hollywood ideas, this one being the redcoats of the redcoats. The bright scarlet coat so prominently seen in the movies was worn only by officers, the enlisted man's being more of a rust color.


Just a very short walk away was the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, and while we didn't go on a tour, it was interesting noticing the differences in the exterior between the west coast lighthouses we are so familiar with, and this one. We know we will have the opportunity to see many more over the next month, as Michigan had more lighthouses than any other state.


In the evening we went down to Roger and Dianne's site to spend some time together, to eat and also to do something that we have never seen done on any of the blogs we read. Fulltimers love to get together, to go out to eat, to grill at their site, to have their choice of beverages and to just talk. Sometimes they go wine tasting, or as we did with John and Judy a few weeks back, break out the various brands of bourbon they enjoy and have a tasting.


Thinking outside the box by thinking of the box, we, okay so it was my idea, decided to do something different in the wine tasting world. Merlot has been the wine of choice for Roger, Dianne, and myself for a long time, and while we do enjoy a bottle of fine wine, our beverage of choice comes out of a box, and usually one that that is labeled Franzia Merlot.


With that in mind, Linda and I have been buying different boxes of merlot for the big event which was taking place tonight, a merlot box wine tasting extravaganza. The lineup included the higher end, for a box wine, Bota Box, as well as Franzia, Almaden, Vella and Founder's Oak. Now we may not have the most probing of noses nor the most discerning of palates, but we do know what we like, and what we would buy again. Just as some people think nothing of paying $10 to $20 dollars a bottle for their usual drinking wine, we think nothing of spending in that same range for a box of wine.


To make sure the tasting was the best it could be, we used new plastic cups and also did a second tasting using a wine aerator to see if that improved the taste of these outstanding wines. The results of the tasting were startling to say the least, though the top wine was no surprise. The Bota Box was the runaway winner, being judged first on all scorecards. It had a wonderful smell, a good smooth feel in the mouth, a nice taste and a delicate lingering after taste. I have no idea if those are ways that wines are supposed to be described, but that was what we thought about it.

Our next favorite wine was a total surprise, it being the wine all of us thought would be the lowest rated before we did the tasting. The Founder's Oak by Carlo Rossi had a pleasant smell, even though we couldn't figure out what it was. The feel in the mouth was silky and the taste not only popped out with a slight fruitiness, it continued to linger in the mouth. We are decidedly not wine drinkers, but we finally decided it probably had a strong resemblance to a Sangiovese.

The next three from third to last were, Almaden, Franzia and bringing up the rear, Vella. We judged them to lacking in smell, with only the Franzia having much taste, and that was judged as very harsh. Oh how the mighty have fallen. From being our wine of choice, Franzia is now on the buy only if all that available is Vella. As far as Vella is concerned, we will drink the rest of the box so it doesn't go to waste, but never again.

To sum up, Bota Box to fill that high end merlot bottle when we need to go somewhere and impress someone who might want to sample what we are drinking. Founder's Oak as that one we prefer to drink, and also the best value. Almaden and Franzia when that is all the store has. Tap water before the Vella, unless nothing but a wine will do.

Life is what you make it. And today we made it different.

July 14 Thursday

Lazy day and shopping


Well, knock me over with a feather but was I ever dense. Since we arrived in the straits area we have seen statues, plaques and references to Father Marquette. Some we have looked at, but there are enough of them that after a while I wold look and not see. Then today it happened. While out we stopped at the Father Marquette national memorial, which wasn't really anything special, I had my eyes opened.

There was a sign saying the museum had burned back in 2001 or some such year, but there was an interpretive trail. We found the trail to deal with the plant life of the area, but there was a display with information about Father Marquette. It was while looking at a bronze plaque that I read about how he and Louis Jolliet explored the area. That was when it hit me, this the Marquette of Marquette and Jolliet, the men who had explored the Mississippi in the 1600's. Reading their adventure as very young boy had given me my first glimpse into what history was all about and set me off on the path that led to the love of history I still have to this day. Small world, one we will run into again and again as we travel the U.P., and one we will explore more and more.


Just a brief note on shopping, which we did today at the grocery store near the park. As always, Linda picked up their discount card, and saved us some real money on our favorite, Bob Evans spicy sausage. Besides being very convenient, it had everything we were looking for, which wasn't much, but it was not like most small town groceries with a limited stock, and produce that is in sad shape. The fact that it is in such a highly touristed area may have something to do with the nice fresh produce.


It is not always the big things that give pleasure, sometimes it something you don't even expect. Linda's exclamation, "Look it's putting out babies," had gotten my attention a few days ago, and while I had barely been able to see them then, today they were very obvious. Just because we live in a small space with wheels doesn't mean that it isn't living.


After dinner we walked down to Roger and Dianne's site for a last night get together. Even though we are up north, the weather has been wonderful, and tonight was no exception. Linda summed it up perfectly, we try to find cooler weather in the summer and the last two years we have. Cool of course being relative, with anything under 80 being cool to us.


Based on that previous photo you might have thought we sat around a fire and enjoyed ourselves. Not so, it wasn't long after that, that those flames receded, and the pyro-moms proceeded to attempt a resuscitation. Eventually all hands were dispatched to acquire twigs and other small combustibles, but even with the addition of special South Dakota fire starter material, it just wasn't going to burn. Eventually Dianne got a bucket and went off to fill it with water so she could extinguish the last of the smoldering hulk. It was at that moment a small flame appeared and continued to burn, not enough to give any real light or heat, but a flame it was. I know fires can't think, but at least up until this incident I didn't think they had feelings either.


I know it is out of focus, but that was the best I could do holding the camera by hand. Linda was a good help, saying, "The camera is moving," every time I tried to take another picture. The reason for the photo was the blurry lights, lights that looked decidedly like Christmas lights.

Then I found this on the park website: Straits State Park--Christmas in July, Start Date: July 16, 2011, End Date: July 16, 2011, Why wait for the snow to fly? Celebrate Christmas while its still warm with a Santa-led bicycle parade, hay ride, campsite decorating contest, kids games and crafts.

They really were Christmas lights, and we were going to miss the celebration. It also explained why some of the individual sites in the park had far more than the usual amount of weekender lights at their sites. What can we say, it was was just another day living the good Life, and tomorrow will find us heading north to the Soo Locks where we plan to stay at least three days, and possibly more depending on how we like it. No plans, no schedule, no worries. What a tough way to live.

162.6 .8 1.9

July 15 Friday

Heading north


Walking around the campground this morning, the Christmas in July crowd was apparent. Unfortunately we weren't going to be able to watch the festivities this afternoon, as Sault Ste. Marie was beckoning. There is a lot we want to do while there, and we are already thinking we will be staying longer than the three nights we first planned.

We had already decided that today would not be rushed, particularly since it was only some 60 miles or so up to Sault Ste. Marie. Checkout time was at 1:00 PM, but we got antsy and were packing up at noon. Had to dump first, particularly since the dump was so handy and no one was there. There are times we prefer to dump after the drive, usually because we think we need some agitation of the material in the black tank, but not today. Perhaps eating lots of beans are beneficial in more ways than we think. [Editor's comment -- TMI]


Every morning I watch the Tour de France, and every morning I strain to hear the commentary, keeping the volume low so as to not awaken Linda, mostly because an early morning encounter with a disgruntled grizzly is something I'd prefer to avoid. Sometimes there are things that are so obvious that we don't see them, and the photo shows one of them. The near speaker is angled away from where I sit at the computer, but is perfect if one sits on the couch. Of course there are two other speakers angled towards the couch, so guess what.


Remove four screws, very, very long screws I might add, rotate the speaker 90°'s, and replace the screws. Of course it wasn't that simple because I first thought all I would need was the square end screw driver. I got it from the bay, and prepared to remove the screws. After reaching up, I decided that I needed the the small stool to stand on, otherwise my arm wasn't going to make it. Back outside to the bay, returning with the stool, it was but a few more turns until I realized that these screws were very long and I really needed the drill to take them out.

Back down to the bay I went, but showing that Linda isn't the only smart person in the family, I also grabbed the extension cord, saving myself yet another trip. Once you have the right tools, the job is easy and this was no exception, almost. While putting the screws back in, there was a loud crack heard at one point. Looking at the base after it was all back up, I could see a small crack.

"Is that a crack?" "I thought that loud crack I heard meant that you'd cracked it." "Yes, dear, but it's just a small crack", I replied. "I knew you were going to break it when you got the drill." I must admit that was also going through my head at the time, but it was a choice between using a power tool and having my arm fall off. That woman doesn't miss anything, does she. And thanks to me she isn't going to miss any sleep either as the rearranged speaker is working great. The real question is why did it take me over five and a half years to do it? Maybe I'd better figure what those times she looks at me and just shakes her head, mean.


It was an easy drive, straight up I-75, and then across a country road south of town over to the river, before turning and following the river to the RV park. It was our kind of park, wide open with no trees, and it wasn't long before we were connected to the outside world. We are in the second row, but even so, we found that seeing the ships as they pass by, is no problem. We will also have to move to another site if we want to stay longer, but that will be no problem, as there are many sites back away from the river that are open. With a wonderful cool breeze blowing, plus a fire pit and picnic table at the site, and the many interesting places to see nearby, this looks like a park to hang out at for a while.


Not my typical food photo, but important never the less. The last of our Zatarain's Creole Mustard went into the sweet potato salad Linda made this afternoon, meaning we were about to break new ground in the spicy mustard realm. French's Mustard people we are not, so back to the bottom of the closet I went, where I found three different jars. Linda picked the horseradish, while I selected the jalapeno, which we used to accompany the beer brats, sweet peppers and carmelized onions that Linda fixed.

As we sat out at the table, another freighter came by, making for a perfect meal in more ways than one. It has been 43 years since we were first here, driving up for the Labor Day weekend from northeastern Ohio. We both remember the snow flurries of that weekend, but that didn't interfere with the great time we had. While we could never have imagined that we would be back all these years later, living fulltime in an RV, in a way that fun filled adventurous trip was really the first steps on the trail that led us to where we are now. As always, Life is not a dress rehearsal, Life is meant to be lived. Yesterday is gone forever and tomorrow may never come, the choice is ours.

162.6 0 1.9

July 16 Saturday

A side trip


Along with the decision to spend a few more days in Sault Ste. Marie came the realization that we did not need to be morning to night vacationers while here. We do want to take the boat trip through the locks, as well as visit several of the local museums, but there is no rush, plus the weather forecast is looking very good. With that in mind, we lazed around the coach much of the morning, then headed out for something that one of our readers had suggested.

Around the bend some 20 plus miles to the west was an overlook, a cemetery, and a lighthouse, and that was where we were going today. Sometimes it is the journey, at other times the destination, and on some occasions it is both. Today was the latter. We could have taken the direct route by following the GPS, but this is beautiful country, so we wandered. We even managed to get slightly lost, though all that meant was seeing a little more of the country than we thought we would. This is a world of hay, huge fields of it, but at last we turned up the road to the overlook, along with the signs that said it was one lane and sure enough it was, but there is still room to pass if both vehicles are partially off the road. As we discovered when we came back down the road, the place where we met this truck when we went up the hill was the narrowest spot on the road, but isn't that the way it always is.


One of those, the photo just doesn't do it justice, places. At the RV park, the giant freighters as just that, huge, but it is because they are close. Up here they are small as they traverse the St. Mary's River in the distance. Across the way we could see windmills along the ridge in Canada, and with a cool breeze blowing, it was a quiet, comfortable place. There was a trail that led down to the lake below to a picnic area, but we passed on that, with both of us not particularly liking the idea of hiking all the back up.


Across the road from the overlook was a cemetery, which we of course had to visit. While there were a few markers dating from the late 1800's, many of the burials were more recent. But that wasn't what made this cemetery different, it was that nearly all of the burials were Native Americans.


It is always interesting to realize how different the burial customs of different cultures are. It was also sad to realize just how young many of those buried here were. It seemed as if there was a disproportionate number of people under the age of 50. It was also a cemetery where we saw the mass grave of a number of the crew members of a ship that sank in late 1919. After their ice encased bodies washed ashore in the spring of 1920, they were buried together here.


Lunch was eaten within view of the Point Iroquois Lighthouse, and accompanied with some very nasty biting flies. For some reason they took a genuine liking to the taste of my ankles, leaving Linda pretty much alone. Even worse was that the lighthouse tower was closed, so while we could visit the museum in the keepers house, we couldn't climb to the top. But as always, it is better to see the outside of a lighthouse than not see it all.


Back at the RV park, the biting flies left behind at the lighthouse, we enjoyed the warm late afternoon weather, catching up on our reading and simply living Life. I always marvel at the blogs of people who are on the go every day, visiting this and that, eating at one restaurant after another, touristing from morning to night. Then, the visit done, moving on to another place to repeat the same. We did a little of that at first, but no more. Doesn't mean that one way is better than the other, but what is does mean is that each person needs to find the Life they enjoy, and we certainly enjoy ours.

161.8 .8 1.1

July 17 Sunday

Not what we expected


So much for the nice cool weather of the U.P., as the heat wave that has been pummeling the midwest drifted north today. It was a day the sound of RV air conditioners could be heard throughout the park, at least to the few hardy souls that were outside, and believe me, there was a singular lack of outdoor activity to be seen. Fortunately the morning was nice, and it was during that time that we looked around, seeing a number of empty sites, and tried to get them for the extended days we are going to be here. No luck, but we did get a nice site down at the other end of the park that we can move to tomorrow. Interestingly enough, the sites on either side of us never did have anyone in them all day. The view of the river is really nice where were are moving, so other than the inconvenience of the move, it will actually be a better spot than what we have now.

We had thought we were being very smart with our planning for the day, going into town during the afternoon, then taking the 4 PM Soo Locks Boat Tour. The tour boat dock is just down the road from the park and we had noted when driving back yesterday that there were few cars in the lot at that time, leading us to believe the last tour of the day would be less crowded. That was probably right, but we never did find out if it was true. Just after lunch, when I asked Linda about going downtown, she said it was too hot to be outside, and it really was.

That didn't prevent me from venturing out on my own, mostly because the lack of traffic on a Sunday afternoon makes that the best time to explore the downtown areas of a city. Be forewarned that there is a major sewer project underway in the downtown area, with both east west as well as north south detours. Since I parked the Explorer and walked around it didn't bother me, but the heat sure did. I have to say that Linda knows when it is too miserable to be outside, and was she ever right today.


One thing I was definitely going to do was to be back at the coach so we could make that Soo Lock Tour, and at 3:25 I was back. Linda was a ready to go, but taking one look at me she asked was it as hot outside as it looked. After a very brief discussion, we decided to postpone the lock cruise until tomorrow morning when it should be cooler. Since the new time is not long after Linda normally wakes up, and we also have to move to the new site, it will be interesting to see if our new plans remain unchanged. We did get to watch the last of the Women's World Cup Soccer match, including the emotional roller coaster that ended with the winning kick by the Japanese team who never lost their poise even when the U.S. went ahead late in the match. Soccer and Bike Racing, our choice of sports that we watch are definitely not for everyone. Guess we like to watch real professional athletes instead of the over paid and performance enhanced baseball, basketball and football players the masses worship.


It never did actually cool down, but towards evening, it did cool off some, so after a late and quick dinner of cold barbecued pork that Linda had gotten out of the freezer earlier in the day, smart woman, sweet potato salad and cold baked beans, we headed outside. When I asked Linda if she wanted a fire tonight she wasn't sure, but when I started to cut some wood up for one, she decided it was a good idea, even if it was still hotter than she liked. The interesting thing was that no one had taken the sites on either side of us, and if they are not occupied over the next few days when we have to move, I'd bet that Linda will be up at the office stirring the pot big time.


This might be the real reason the sites next to us were empty, the word about how the woman at our site builds a mighty big smoke has gotten out. It was actually pretty funny, as the initial fire Linda built didn't want to light at first, the paper burning, but the wood never catching. That necessitated a trip back into the coach on my part for more paper, the use of which resulted in the wood catching fire, but just barely. I think it has more to do with Linda being totally out of fire making practice, as we decided the last time we had a fire was in Alberta last September.


During all this fire preparation and smoke production, I had found a feather laying in the grass. While we sat up wind from Linda's smoke that she had built, and since there was no fire to watch, we both took to reading. That was when I got the bright idea of sticking the feather into Linda's hair, and giving her the Indian name of Big White Smoke. Needless to say that did not go over well with the quickly renamed, Growling Grizzly, so from then on, I left her to tend to the fire while I kept my nose in my book.


Obviously she was doing more than just reading, though exactly what it was is hard to tell. One thing I did not do was to look at her and tell her maybe her name should be Spotted Chin. In the end we stayed outside until it was too dark to read, then extinguished the fire, giving off one last big round of smoke, and went inside. The air conditioner was still running and I think I heard her say, "It's cold in here.", but I couldn't be sure, though the next thing I know, she's turning off the air conditioner. I guess some women are just naturally hard to please, but at least the coach wasn't filled with the smell of wood smoke as we went to sleep with lightening lighting up the sky to the west.

162.4 .6 1.7

July 18 Monday

And the skies opened up


The forecast called for a 30% chance of thunderstorms during the night, and we certainly got that and more. The first line of them hit just after midnight, and the rain coming in through the open window beside me, woke me up. The second series came just before dawn, and was a major cloudburst according to Linda. I don't know because I slept right through it, probably because the first ones had kept me awake for a long time. But the result was that more than one site turned into a lake, though fortunately ours wasn't one of them.


We were moving to another site today, and when we were looking at the available ones to pick from yesterday, site 100 was high on our list. Now we were glad we had decided on site 61, and not site 100. While having a waterfront site is nice, having an inch of water in the site isn't, unless you live in a boat. The original plan for the day had been to get up early, move to the new site, then go on a morning cruise through the locks. Linda was certainly up early enough, but unfortunately so was the rain, as it was drizzling on and off. With two more days here, the lock cruise can once again wait until another day.


Besides moving, it was also decreed to be water filter change day by she who keeps track of such things. "Do you think we should change the water filter?" To which I reply, "Maybe." "It's been a long time, and I think it should be changed." To which I replied, "Maybe." Once we are at the new site, I find the filter wrench and new cartridge beside the filter, which tells me that it is most definitely time to change the thing. Interestingly enough, though we have used several types of filters, we still have no idea as to which one works best, but we do still have a couple of types we haven't tried yet. I believe it is called working up from the cheap to the expensive.


Remember that first photo of the day? The one with most of the site underwater? Well, it wasn't our new site, but it was the one right next to where we were moving, as well as where our hookups are located. It was somewhat of a challenge to figure out the best way to attach the water. I wasn't up to standing in the water to do it, so by using the plastic stool I was high and dry. It took a while to decide what was the best way to hook it up and despite what it looks like, the hose never really got close to falling into the water.


The electric was a different story, and not wanting to end up looking shockingly like Albert Einstein, the plastic stool was an important part of the process. First thing was to check and make sure there was no zing when touching the box, followed by a quick check of the circuit breaker to make sure it was off, and it was.


Then came the final moment, when the cord was plugged in and the breaker was flipped on. Fortunately everything happened just as planned, and even though I may have been flirting with a Darwin Award nomination, nothing of significance happened, and the coach had electric. It also wasn't long after that we had the air conditioner on, it was so muggy.


In the afternoon we went to the River Museum, then drove down to the locks to get another smashed penny for Zachary. Then it was back to the RV park, as it was deemed uncomfortable to be outside by she who has control of such matters, and seconded by he who says, "Yes dear."


Another night, another fire, but that is really not what this photo is all about. I will admit to not getting the fire started the first time, and then when it did start, it was the mirror image to the fire Linda Much Smoke made last evening. Eventually it did burst into flame and actually looked like a fire is supposed to look like. But back to the reason for the photo. Take a look at my toe. Note the large piece of paper towel wrapped around the end of it soaking up the blood.

I have been informed by she who cleans and bandages gouged toes that the next time I buy sandals, they will have a closed toe like her Keen's. Either that, or I will be acting as my own toe doctor in the future. I really don't see what all the fuss is about, after all I only try to take part of a toe off once a month or so at the most. I'd think that by now she would be so used to patching me up, that it wouldn't bother her at all. Guess I'll just never understand how that woman thinks.

163 .8 2.3

July 19 Tuesday

Being tourists


There was no doubt about it, we had been spotted. Not as in being spotted, but as in being spotted upon. Sometime during the night they came out, hundreds upon hundreds of them, and for whatever reason, they particularly like the ends of the slideouts. That's not to say that they don't like the windows and even the front of the coach, they do, and it will be interesting to see just how long they hang around.


Linda, after doing a little Googling, determined they were Mayflies, which I thought was pretty good detective work on her part. They are also on and around the front door, some are dead, they live only a very brief time, others won't move no matter what you do, and others will fly away. Though as I discovered they don't fly very far, and were just as likely to land on my bare legs as anywhere else. The way Linda picks them up and examines them I can tell she wasn't scared of icky bugs when she was little girl. Most likely she was the one with the bug in her fingers chasing the boys who were squealing for her to stop it.


Once past the bugs, and the bug babe, it was off to the Tower of History and then later, the Valley Camp Ship Museum. I don't know if the tower was really worth what it cost, the displays being nothing special and while you get a good view of the locks and the town, it wasn't something to necessarily write home about. I will say that we were both intrigued by these elk hoove shoes, but given what a person weighs and what an elk weighs, as well as how an elk walks, I would think a good tracker could tell that it wasn't really an elk that made the tracks. Just another of those mysteries of Life we occasionally happen across.


Since we had paid the money to get in and then took the elevator to the top as Linda Don't Walks insisted, here is the requisite view of the locks from the top. It isn't hard to figure out why they call it the Tower of History instead of the Soo Locks Overlook Tower.


There was only one other person besides Linda and myself up at the top of the tower, and Linda being the special person that she is, she provided an ongoing demonstration of the best way to safely look out from the tower. When I eventually walked up to her, her words were, "You took my picture, didn't you." My reply was, "You'll find out tomorrow." And now she knows.


Our next stop was the real thing, the SS Valley Camp. A retired Great Lakes ore carrier that has been turned into a wonderful museum. We had toured it back in 1969 just weeks after it had first opened, and long before it had all the displays it does today. In fact somewhere in my Life Treasures drawer I have kept starting as a little boy, there is a taconite pellet I picked up from the hold during that visit over forty years ago.


When we were giving lighthouse tours, it was always interesting to ask the group the question, "Which state has the most lighthouses?" because most times no one knew it was Michigan. Michigan may have the most lighthouses, but their lenses are certainly not as big as the first order coastal lenses. Contrast the Umpqua River lens that was over seven feet tall with this typical fourth order Great Lakes lens. The things we never thought we would know when we became fulltimers.


One of those times when words fail to add anything.

163.2 .2 2.5

July 20 Wednesday

Not much going on


Some days just are, and although that was not what we had planned for today, that was how it turned out. Not that we hadn't planned to do something, we had, it was just that it decided to be rainy most of the morning, and very hot and humid in the afternoon, read: indoor weather. Now we plan to take the Soo Lock cruise in the morning, then drive over to Newberry for a few nights, before heading done to Fayette for a while.

I won't bore you with tales of Linda trekking over to the laundry in the rain only to discover all the machines had just been started and it was almost a half hour before they would done. I also won't tell you about how she walked back over to the coach in the rain and told me about her fruitless trip. I will say that the language she used to describe what had taken place certainly brightened up the coach for a while on the gloomy day. [Editor's comments: do believe Bob is hearing unspoken words now]

To admit that the highlight of our day was a late afternoon trip to the Sault Ste Marie Framer's Market would go a long way in letting you know what else happened to us today. The Farmer's Market has been on Linda's schedule since we first arrived, and the reason was so that we could buy some farm fresh eggs, and that was what we did. All of three dozen of those healthy suckers to be sure, so there are going to be eggs in our future in a big way.


The eggs weren't the only things we bought, as farm fresh sugar peas, green beans and blueberries found there way into our bag. However with us about to be heading off into the hinterlands of the U.P., or at least I think that is where we will be the next week or so unless our plans change again, we still needed some more in the way of vegetables. And no, we did not buy any more box wine, but it sure was fun looking at all the types they had and wondering what a tasting of them would be like. However I think finding the best chillable red box wine just wouldn't do it for us after our recent Merlot box wine tasting.

In the end we did get what we came for and also one more thing. That item will be part of our dinner tomorrow night, but you will just have to wait till then to find out. As a heads up, we are supposed to get an update to our MotoSat transponder tomorrow, but we are not only moving, we are also going to a place where reviewers say the trees are big and Verizon cell coverage is poor, so you will have to excuse us if we don't post for a few days, particularly if luck is not with us. If luck is with us you will know because I will be posting. Funny how that works, isn't it.

I think just how easy it would have been to be disappointed over the rain today, especially should we have been in our former life with limited days based on vacation time. I think of the fun we had at the Farmer's Market, buying three dozen eggs for goodness sakes. I think of our plans for tomorrow, and the forum post I discovered listing out places to visit and things to do in the area we are heading to next week. I think of the lumberjack festival that is taking place this weekend in the town we will be in. Sara N. Dipity, or merely good luck? Who knows, but we sure do love the Life we live.

163.6 .4 2.9

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