Monday, August 22, 2016

Franklin Conservatory, Columbus, Ohio

Time to get caught up on some blogging. Just before we left Columbus, we toured the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. And on our way, we met our son Andy for lunch at a Venezuelan restaurant. So what is the staple of a Venezuelan meal -- plantains -- which are pretty much smashed fried bananas. Meals come on top of them or with them on the side, but they are all over the menu.

Gary visited the conservatory on one of his visits, but this was my first tour. They have several "climates" in their rooms, most of which we know well but the one thing they feature that we are not well acquainted with is bonsai gardening. Bonsais are trees grown in small pots and trimmed ongoing so they remain in a miniature state for the life of the tree which may be decades.

Here are some pictures from the conservatory. Click on any of them to make them full size.

And, by the way, we have moved back to Michigan.

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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Just Bouncing Around The Midwest

Bouncing around the Midwest was all we intended to do in most of our travels this year.  And we have done a pretty good job of it.  Columbus to Indiana to Detroit and for the past two weeks we have been back in Columbus.  The County Fair was going to roll into the Fairgrounds where we were staying in Michigan, so we took the opportunity to avoid that crowd and come see little Victor again…..and maybe his parents too.  We have had plenty of baby-sitting time and have enjoyed the little fellow immensely.  On Wednesday we will head back to Michigan to the same Fairgrounds again, and three weeks later come back to Columbus.    Yep, we are mastering this bounce around the Midwest thing.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Mud Hens and Frozen Custard

No, that was not one of our home cooked meals.  We took a road trip in just the vehicle to Toledo one night.  When we lived in southeast Michigan we used to like go to Toledo to take in a brewery we enjoy – Maumee Bay Brewing from where we can park free and just walk to the downtown stadium.  The brewery is an old brick building converted to a brewery, two pubs, a steak house, a comedy club and offices.  The whole structure is referred to as the Oliver House.  We each just had a bowl of pub soup so we could save room for hot dogs at the ballpark.

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For the second straight visit to a minor league ballpark, we only were able to buy standing room only tickets.  And for the second straight time it worked out well as we fairly quickly found some empty premium seats to occupy and I took my stab at catching a ball.

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The Mud Hens were cruising along but along also came the rains and the rains and the rains.  We finally gave up but did find out later they had eventually finished the game and maybe shot off their scheduled fireworks as well, but oh well, we enjoyed the Mud Hens securing a 5 to 2 lead and going on to the win.  And we got to see a couple of the Detroit Tigers – Jordan Zimmerman and JD Martinez on rehab assignments coming back from injuries.  Both will be back up with the parent club soon.

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So, what about the frozen custard?  That is another one of our local delicacies while traveling.  Actually we are not sure in just how many places they serve frozen custard instead of ice cream, but our last Michigan hometown – Wyandotte – we had one frozen custard stand that always ranks among the best.  Bob Jo’s has been at the same place and owned by the same family since 1947.  And what is frozen custard?  It is frozen milk and cream, but with egg whipped i to given it a smooth, rich texture, but without making it even as heavy as regular ice cream.  It is a wonderful treat served in a cone or as a sundae and dipped in nuts or sprinkles!

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Friday, July 29, 2016

How Is Alley Cat Doing?

At the Wayne County Fairgrounds in suburban Detroit, we are only about a mile as the crow flies from where we had a home on Belleville Lake for about 18 years.  We really enjoyed our time living there, but eventually we hit the wall with all the work that went with lake living and flower gardens and greatly downsized (as partial preparation for the ultimate downsizing of full time RVing).

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We don’t have a whole lot to report after a week here.  We have seen my mother several times and used her washer and dryer.  We had a family dinner at her house.  We took her to the casino once.  And we have met some friends. 

So with this somewhat slower pace, maybe it is time for a update on our kitty.  Alley has been with us for 11 years now after we literally found her in an alley one night when she was just a year old.   Someone had dumped her and after taking her for a stint at the pound to see if anyone would come for her, we went back and rescued her.  And she has done a ton of traveling with us ever since.

We estimate that she has done over 40,000 miles of traveling including 43 US States and 4 Canadian Provinces.  She has traveled in a few different cars, 4 motor homes, and now hangs out in our travel trailer when we are parked.  So, how is she doing in the such small confines.  It seems she has adapted but we will share some pictures and let our readers decide for themselves.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Kamp Kevin

As we left Indiana on our way to Michigan, we made a stop in Ohio for a bit of work on the travel trailer. We have laughed in prior blog posts about the "free" nights of camping you get when you take your RV to the shop. And this visit was no exception. But when you buy and use any RV, pretty quickly improvements and repairs become desirable and necessary.

The shop we have used now for the fourth time is Cruising America RV Service Company in Celina, OH.

http://www.cruisingamericarvserviceco.com/

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It is an independent shop with good people doing quality work at reasonable prices. And we have kinda gotten to know the town of Celina on Grand Lake St Mary's.

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This time we had some cabinet modifications done, a ceiling hatch fan installed, a rear view camera added, more battery capacity added, and various repairs and modifications performed. Were camped there for 3 nights with most of the work done in one day.

We now are in Michigan camped at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Belleville, where we lived for a number of years. We will be visiting more family and friends and reacquainting ourselves with some things in southeastern Michigan.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Our Week In Indiana

We had a huge week in Indiana. Right after we moved from Columbus and got set up, we had a family barbeque to go to at the home of Gary's brother. Gary's sister also was there along a with a cousin and families. I guess we were so busy talking that no one thought to take any pictures. So here is one from um, er -- well at least a few years ago.

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On Monday, Gary wanted to ride a rails-to-trails bike trail near where he had gone to high school. We rode about 6 miles each way from Bunker Hill to Peru and back on the Nickel Plate Trail. It was a very good path. The ride was very enjoyable. We stopped a few times and grazed on wild black raspberries. It is a trail we would recommend highly. After the ride, we ate at our favorite place in Peru -- Mr. Weenie. We had one of those local delicacies we have reported on before -- the breaded and deep fried pork tenderloin sandwich.  (And we had two more at the Fair – Friends Church had the best one for our tastes, nice and thin and crispy.)

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Tuesday we stayed at the campground of Mississinewa Lake , an Indiana State Park.   Gary’s brother worked exactly 50 years ago on the construction of this flood control dam.   In true state park fashion Gary made a campfire and I actually cooked dinner over the hot coals. I was quite proud of myself. Gary called me, "Campfire Grandma Boone".

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On Wednesday and Friday we attended the Wabash County Fair. We watched Gary's two grand nephews show hogs, saw their other exhibits, and then watched them sell their animals at auction.  . It was quite an experience, not so much for Gary as our resident 4-Her, but for me as a city girl. I learned a lot!

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Thursday, we went to a minor league baseball game in Ft Wayne and again saw the Tincaps play in what we feel is one of the finest minor league parks we have ever been to. We went a bit early so I could also do some laundry. There is no washer/dryer in our travel trailer. I wondered why Gary took an interest in researching a Laundromat for me. When I got there it was essentially right across the street from our favorite brewery in Ft Wayne -- Mad Anthony. Of course I joined him after finishing the laundry and we had dinner and just walked to the game from there.

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When we arrived at the ballpark, there weren't two seats together left in the stadium. We took the tip -of a nephew, waited for standing room only to be sold for $5 each, and then by the fourth inning took unoccupied seats in a great area. And to make it an even better deal, Gary winds up catching a free t-shirt launched into the crowd between innings. It went way over our heads but hit the facing of the second deck and basically fell into Gary's lap. He didn't even have to stand to make the grab.

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Whew, and if that wasn't enough, on Saturday we went to a performance of the Peru Amateur Circus. In history, Peru was a major railroad town with 3 separate ones passing through the town. Back when circuses were traveling by rail, they found it convenient because of the railroads to winter in Peru. Some circus performers would also just winter in Peru and a group of them had ultimately settled in Peru. With that heritage, someone proposed about 60 years ago that Peru should have a citizen circus. And from its modest start in a tent that Gary can remember, they now have their own permanent circus building. Every summer for about 10 days, kids from 8 to 21 from all over Miami County put on circus performances. I never could have imagined the quality and professionalism of this production. Hundreds of people are involved and it is virtually a year-round effort.

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(Click on any of the pictures to make it larger.)