Monday, December 5, 2011

Catching up–The drive from Michigan to Georgia

I am very behind in blogging so I am going to attempt to catch up with one post. (It seems like I always start these blogs with “I’m behind in blogging”)

From Michigan, I headed to Mountain View, Arkansas for a regional Lazy Daze Get Together.  Before going there, I took a detour in Indiana and went to the RV/Motorhome Museum.

Above is a 1931 Model AA Ford Housecar, below is the interior.

As I have stated before, I don’t typically go for museums, but this one was worth it for those of us into RVing.

After a stop or 2, I made it to Mountain View for the Get Together.  We had more than 20 Lazy Daze RVs from the 3 different Lazy Daze groups.  It was held at the Sylamore Creek Campground.

Views from the campground--

I enjoyed hiking a couple of times at nearby Blanchard Springs. 

From Arkansas, I headed to Memphis.  Last time I was in Memphis I decided not to go to Graceland, but after talking with some folks at the Get Together I decided to give it a try.  I enjoyed it, except that I kept humming Elvis songs all afternoon.

The house was not as big as I expected, but the interior was a bit too much for me.

One of many wall of Gold records and other awards -

Elvis and family graves (and crowds)

From Memphis I headed to Huntsville, AL.  While there I stayed at Mont Sano State Park.  From my campsite I could not get phone or internet service.  But a quick walk to the overlook before gave me great service.


While in Huntsville, I visited the U.S. Space and Rocket Center for a few hours.

Apollo 16 Command module -

Gemini Suit -

Saturn 5 Rocket -


Then I headed to Winder, GA for a week, where I stayed at Fort Yargo State Park.  I have stayed at this park several times in the past. 

As soon as I got there, I noticed an unwelcome visitor -

While I like birds, I didn’t like this one pecking on my mirrors and dirtying up my car.  I ended up putting bags over my RV exterior mirrors so the bird would not peck at them.


I had never walked around the lake at Ft. Yargo, it is a 7 mile hike and became my daily walk while there.


On the walk (or you can drive to it), I passed this 1793 log blockhouse which was part of Fort Yargo.  Also behind the blockhouse was an interesting beehive oven.

After Winder, I headed to Mountain City, GA.   I stayed a month visiting with my mom, going to doctor appointments and visiting friends.  My mom and I went hiking a couple of times to Tallulah Gorge and were surprised to learn that they were letting the water thru the dam, so the kayakers and rafters were going down the river (they only do this a few times each year).  We enjoyed watching them. 


If you remember the last time I was in GA, was when the tornadoes hit and did a lot of damage in several states.  We drove around Lake Burton (or is it Lake Rabun – I get the 2 confused) and looked at the damage and construction (or reconstruction – depending on the damage to the home). The picture below is the remains of a house that blew down the hill and into the garage. 

While there, my mom showed me what she bought for her Shih Tzu – Gabi, a Christmas dress!  Other than coats to keep her warm, I think this is her first outfit.

Well, that is the Condensed version of my trip from Michigan to Georgia.  While in GA, we had several nights that got below freezing – I don’t like it that cold. So for most of December, I am in warmer weather.  

I am currently on Sanibel Island in SW Florida, where it was 80 degrees today!  I’ll blog about this later.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Grand Haven State Park–Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

I went to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park one day while staying in Grand Haven.  I like some gardens, but I wasn’t sure about the sculpture park.  I’m not really into art.  But I enjoyed this Park!!  This Park is huge, it’s 132 acres and has 1000 volunteers. 

I first visited the indoor gardens and particularly enjoyed the Pitcher Plant Room.  I have always found carnivorous plants interesting. 

They also had many beautiful orchids -


Thirty or so years ago, I was camping and trying to take a picture of an armadillo but could not get a good picture.  The armadillo’s kept moving, so all my pictures were blurry.  So I rather enjoyed one of the first sculptures I saw.  (I eventually got some good pictures of armadillo’s)


After the indoor garden, I walked outside and decided I was going to like this place.

First Sculpture I saw, Mad Mom -

I think this was my favorite – Espaliered Girl.

Some of the sculptures were small, while others were huge.



Most of the sculptures I could understand or at least enjoy, but some of them are a bit bizarre.

When I first saw this, I thought it was some type of box for utilities.  Nope, it’s a sculpture called For J. W.


I didn’t really understand this next one either.  While I am sure many people appreciate it, it looked to me like some kids made it.

Woman and Bird -


I ended up walking about 5 miles around this park.  What a great place to spend a day.

One last sunset picture taken from Grand Haven State Park --


In case you can’t tell, it’s a reflection of the lighthouse and sunset in the rear window of my RV.

Grand Haven State Park, MI

Well, I thought I would catch up on my blog while in GA, but I have not touched it for several weeks!!  I am going to try to catch up during the next week.

After Lake Leelanau, Mi, I headed to Grand Haven State Park in Grand Haven, MI.  The State Park is on Lake Michigan, but the sites are very small.  I knew about this before making the reservations, but was still surprised.


The spots were basically wide enough for my RV and car.   Some of the RVs with slides didn’t have room for their car.  But as you can see, that is Lake Michigan behind my RV.  So small, paved site with a nice view.   The picture below was taken just a few feet from my campsite on a windy day. 

There is a nice board walk that led from town to the campground and on to the pier above.  I walked it several times most days. 

I enjoyed watching all kind of water sports from my site.

Wave Runner -

Surfers -

Another Surfer - Taken from the Pier, looking back at the campground and my RV.

Sailing at sunset-

Kite Boarding - grand_har_kite_boardingI also saw kayaks, and whatever it’s called when they stand on a surf-like board and paddle. 

And one more sunset picture -

One day, I drove into Grand Rapids and went to the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.  I enjoyed it so much that I am going to blog about it next.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Lake Leelanau, MI (north of Traverse City)

After Petoskey, I headed to Lake Leelanau, MI.  This city is about 22 miles North of Traverse City.  There were several places I wanted to go in Traverse City and I wanted to visit Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. 

I had visited Sleeping Bear Dunes a couple of times before, but the only hiking I had done was the Dunes Trail.  I wanted to do other trails this time (and hopefully not as difficult as 3.5 miles on sand dunes).  I ended up hiking 2 smaller trails and walking a couple of miles around their scenic overlooks.

Above is the Dunes Climb!    It is the start of the Dunes Trail.  I didn’t walk up it this time, but had to stop to get a picture.

Some people walk up and slide down, others jump down like this kid!

lake_lee_sleeping_bear_dune1It’s a long way down this dune to Lake Michigan.  Some people do walk down.  In this area, there were several signs warning people that it could take a long time to walk back up and also that if they need help coming up (as in a rescue) it will cost $$$$. 

I stayed at Lake Leelanau RV Park, which is right on Lake Leelanau.  Early one morning, I kept hearing a lot of boats and I later found out there was a fishing tournament that day.  Next time I would probably stay at one of the state or national parks. 

One day, I drove to and up Old Mission Peninsula to Old Mission Lighthouse.  It was a nice drive that led to a nice hike – until the sleet started!!

The lighthouse was built in 1870.   I had just started down one of the trails when it started raining and then I realized it was mixed with sleet.  I didn’t hike very long, I headed back to the car!!

I visited Traverse City a few times.  One day I went to Gallery 55.  This is a “art and fine crafts”  gallery/store.  It is a great store.  I’m not much of a shopper, but I would visit it again when in the area.  I found out that the building it is in was originally a 19th century insane asylum.  One of the items I was interested in looking at was the Fordite Jewelry.  (Gallery 55 info on Fordite)  I like jewelry that isn’t common and really liked the idea of this recycled item! 

While in Traverse City, one day I saw this -

A cruise ship!  I didn’t think this was a common site, so I asked while at the Farmer’s Market and I was told that this was the first time in 4 years that one had been in this area.

From here, I headed down to Grand Haven, MI.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Petoskey, Michigan

After leaving the Upper Peninsula, I went to Petoskey State Park in Petoskey, MI.  This area is known for the Petoskey Stone. This is a fossil of a coral that lived 350 million years ago.  I found a few small ones.  Below is a picture of 4 small Petoskey Stones, 2 Horn corals and one rock with some type of coral fossil.

There is a great bike path that goes through Petoskey.  One day I went on a 22 mile ride and on another a 16 mile ride.  For part of the trip, it is right beside Lake Michigan and goes past the marina. 



An interesting sign along the bike trail close to Harbor Springs -

I’ve seen signs saying caution low planes, but never – Caution Jet Plane.  The bike trail went right beside the end of the runway.  I would hate to be on the path when a jet landed or took off!!

While in Wisconsin and Michigan, I have been intrigued by the black squirrels.  I saw them for the first time years ago, but they still amaze me.  They are fairly common in this area, but I am used to the gray squirrel.  I never got a good picture of one, but they look just like a gray squirrel, but are solid black. ( Wikipedia Black squirrel info)

One day, I drove to Charlevoix.  One of the reasons was to look at some homes.  I had read about the “mushroom” homes and I was curious about them.  Earl Young designed and built these homes starting in 1918.  These homes have become a tourist attraction in the area.  The first one I saw is called Half House.  I expected to see a hobbit or munchkin come out the door.  Some people call these “Fairy Tale” homes.

Mushroom house is below.  I read that some of the walls inside the house are 3 feet thick! 

Another of the homes was built with huge boulders.  I really liked this home. While it didn’t have a wavy roof like the others, I loved the use of the huge rocks.

Front view -


Rear View – (note the view of Lake Michigan)


This home is for sale, so if anyone has 1.25 million they want to give me I would gladly let you visit when you are in town!!!

On the way out of Charlevoix, I saw this -

At first I thought it was a building, but then I realized it was the Draw Bridge that was raised.  According to the locals, I was “bridged” (had to wait on the bridge).

Every morning I would walk in the park about 3.5 miles. A couple of mornings it was cool and there was dew on the plants on this sand dune. 


When driving or biking through Petoskey, I would pass the Bay View Association.  This area is a National Historic Landmark and is associated with the United Methodist Church.  Apparently in the late 1800’s this was started as a “camp meeting”. (Info on Bay View) All of the homes are Victorian and I enjoyed driving/riding around the area.  One of my favorites was this green home on a hill off the main street.

Some homes were small, some big, some white, some a bit more colorful -


Some sunset pictures taken from the beach, just a few sites down from my campsite.


Next I head to Lake Leelanlu, Mi, which is just North of Traverse City.