Tuesday, July 26, 2011

July 25 - Indiana Dulcimer Festival

This two day festival took place in Woodburn, IN, not far from Fort Wayne and was such a well organized, relaxed, and friendly festival that included some of the best instructors in the dulcimer world.  There was some neat technology going on, too.  Instructors would sit facing the class but a camera hung over  them and the projected image was flipped so to us it looked like we were looking over his shoulder instead of at a mirror image of what we were trying to do.  They also had a computer and camera set up that would automatically send a copy of the photo to you via email.  We opted for this group shot.  Left to right: Jerry and Sandy (We met them at Sleeping Bear Dunes in 2007.), Mary Jane (We met her in Mountain View two years ago.) and Nancy (We met her in Mountain View last year.).

Jerry and Sandy

Nancy checking out my trike.

Sandy enjoying a ride, too.

A while back, Jen sent us a link of Bing Futch playing the dulcimer and told us how much she liked him so of course I had to have my photo taken with him so I could send it to her.  Bing is an amazing player, singer, and performer and such an upbeat and kind person.

July 21 - Jackson, MI

We met this lovely family while we were hosting at Sleeping Bear Dunes in Glen Arbor, MI, in 2007 and have stayed in touch on and off since then.  Since we were going to be within 35 miles of Jackson we contacted them to see if we could get together for dinner.  Beth couldn't make it but we saw her after dinner when we went to their house to play cards.  The kids have grown up so much in the last few years, but they are still great kids and we had the nicest visit with this exceptionally warm and wonderful family.  Dinner was excellent, too.  We ate at a little hole in the wall place called the Oaktree Cafe in downtown Jackson.

July 20 - Lake Michigan Ferry

The Badger ready to board vehicles for the four hour ferry ride across Lake Michigan.  The other options to get to the other side of the Lake include a very long drive north across the UP of Michigan or going south and driving through Chicago.  The ferry was expensive - $343 for us and our RV - but worth it.  It was no Sapphire Princess but they had fountain drinks and good popcorn and we had our Kindles so we were happy.

Cost is determined by measuring from the back bumper of the truck to the back bumper of the 5th wheel - 28' for us.  Workers drive all the vehicles onto the ferry.  The guy who backed our RV in knew what he was doing.

Our RV was the last vehicle boarded and the first vehicle off the ferry.  Workers also drive all vehicles off the ferry and into the parking lot

Roger and Marie

Farewell to Manitowoc.  We wish we'd had more time to hang out with Roger and Marie and bike the Maritime Trail.

July 19 - Manitowoc, WI

Next stop was the home of Mountain View "family", Roger and Marie.  In addition to giving us a lovely place to stay complete with water and electricity, they took us on not one, not two, but three tours of downtown.  Inside joke.  What happened was that Galen hurt his back and needed a chiropractor.  There are three in town and on opposite sides of town and we drove back and forth three times trying to get in to see one of them.  We were eventually successful and Galen felt much better and we had fun joking about the tours of downtown for the rest of our visit.  :-)

One of the other places, besides downtown, Roger and Marie took us was so drive by and see these where they make these humungous Manitowoc cranes.  The photos don't do them justice.  I think the largest crane can lift 5 tons over 700'.  One of these cranes is currently being used to build a dam in an extremely remote area in Africa.  I wonder how much it costs one to rent one of these babies for over two years.

We ended our day with delicious Cedar Creek ice cream cones.  Galen and I shared one.

Maria, Roger, and Cedar Creek Cow.


July 18 - Polar, WI

Doesn't this look like a pleasant place to park an RV for a few days?  It was!  This is Liz and Norm's place and we had such a nice visit.  Liz spoiled us rotten by feeding us every day - a treat we didn't expect.  The weather wasn't bad at first, but miserable heat and humidity caught up to us.

A close-up of the barn and a snowball bush.

This is the lovely country church that Liz and Norm go to.  We played music with Liz on Sunday morning and on Saturday afternoon found a geocache in the church cemetery.

July 15 - Friendship, Wisconsin

We have been staying at a variety of places as we've travel east across the country.  The 21 &13 Cafe (at the junction of routes 21 & 13 in Friendship) was a good place because we could walk to supper and breakfast.  We met an older couple at supper who had trikes just like mine.  Why is it called the 21 &13 Cafe? 

July 12- Ouch!

This break (circled) in the door of our refrigerator is about the length of the end of my index finger but the only way to get the door functional again is to totally replace the entire door at a cost of $214 plus shipping.  The glue in the photo ended up not working for more than a couple of days so the door is now being held together with three layers of Gorilla tape.  The door won't open all the way, but that is better than falling off like it did before.  We haven't ordered a new door yet because we need to know where we are going to be 10-14 days after it is ordered and we don't know yet where that will be.  So we'll wait and order it the end of July and get it in Mountain View in mid August.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

July 10 - Rapid City, SD

We stayed two night in Rapid City to catch our breath before hitting the road again.  The weather has been cooperative so we've been mixing Walmart parking lots with RV parks.
We went to First UMC in Rapid City and afterward found a geocache right at the church we didn't know was there until after the service.  We weren't finding it until the minister got us within six feet of it and I spotted it.

We ate here the last time we were in Rapid City, way back in 2002 or 2003, and it is still here so we walked to it for lunch after church and shared a buffalo patty melt.

The building really was an old fire station so is decorated with firefighter patches, ladders, and such.  Nice ambiance and good food, too.

Did you know there is a piece of the Berlin Wall in Rapid City?  We didn't.  This is a virtual cache so Galen has the GPS in hand.

One of the cool things about Rapid City is the statues of presidents on most of the street corners in town that appear to be life-sized.

July 7 - Garryowen, MT

Seventh Ranch Camp RV park is also a working ranch and we realized we had stayed here years ago when we pulled in.  It is located near the Custer Battlefield.  No sightseeing this time.  We just stopped for the night, but it isn't night yet in this photo.  I saw this out the window when I got up to make supper.  Galen took photos and I pulled the living area slide in.  The wind tried to help and rocked it once on the way in, but not much else happened.

The storm pretty much just blew over us.  You can see in this photo it is already clearing.

July 6 - Wallace, ID

This train station was moved to make room for the Interstate.  So glad they did.  It is a pretty building that houses a nice little gift shop and museum.

Downtown Wallace, ID.  No matter what direction you look in this town, you'll see mountains.

While Galen did the laundry, Lu, Larry and I went geocaching in town.  We didn't find the cache here.

We did find the one hidden here.

Eagle eye Larry spotted this one in a park at the edge of town.  It is the teeniest geocache I've ever seen.

After a pizza lunch, we took a tour of one of the silver mines.

Galen, Lu and Larry
Galen, Karen, Lu and Larry in their hard hats.

At the mine.

In the mine.

Ceiling reinforcement.  The "pins" holding this stuff into the ceiling go several feet into the rock.

An example of the set up for blasting.  It sounds like one blast, but is really three.  The last blast clears the mess out of the way from the first two.
Women are from Mars....

They sold coffee and ice cream at this funky place with a flying saucer outside.  I'm the only one who drinks coffee, but we all like ice cream.  It was a warm day so we had ice cream after the tour.
We didn't sit on this though.

July 5 - Route of the Hiawatha

The Route of the Hiawatha is a 17 mile bike trail through the mountains.  The Hiawatha was a train so the trail is full of trestles and tunnels.  A friend of mine shattered her shoulder in the very first tunnel and never got to ride the rest of the trail so I dedicate these photos to JaeDee!

Larry and Galen and my trike at the beginning of the trail.
This is the tunnel where JaeDee got hurt so badly.  The tunnel is 1.7 miles long, drippy, slippery, uneven, and dark.  I learned quickly to take my sunglasses off before I went in the tunnels.
A photo taken by Larry of Galen and I riding across one of the trestles.

I think this may be the one-way tunnel where we met the bus.  Not to worry.  There are barriers inside the tunnel to get behind until the bus passes.  Deer and moose get behind them, too.  We saw a deer.

The inside of the tunnel collapsed and is no longer used.

Larry riding over one of the trestles.

The grave of one of the men who worked on the railroad.

The view of a trestle from above.
Yay!  We made it to the end with four minutes to spare but we had to hustle the last half of the 17 miles just like we did the first time we rode this trail.

Larry in line waiting for a ride back up. 

The 17 mile trail is mostly downhill and a bus shuttles you to the mouth of that first long tunnel and you get to ride through it in the opposite direction.  I guess it is too dangerous for a bus to drive through.  :-)