Tuesday, November 27, 2012

 So much big stuff has happened since the last update!  No, nothing crazy like a job or a relationship (get real!).  Other big stuff.

I finally got to see the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit.  Great place, and not simply a car museum, like you might expect.  They had a bit of everything.  The furniture section was impressive, as were the motors.  Not motors from cars, these were the first engines ever made, giant, multi-story behemoths that powered cities or pumped water from mines.  Too big to photograph.  Check it out for yourself.  It's worth the trip.  

I toured the museum with Frankie, who you may remember from earlier blog posts.  He's the team director for the racing team I worked with.  It was great to see him again and as a bonus, I got to hang out with his family.  
That's Frankie checking out the chair Lincoln was killed in.

Railroad snowplow.  Frankie leaned on it and it rolled 4 feet!!

Then it was over to Grand Rapids to spend a weekend with Jeff and Catrina.   I wish I could have spent stayed longer, its always a good time since I became the "favorite uncle."  


Fieros Forever, outside of Midland, Michigan.  

Then off to Bay City, my former-adapted-hometown.  I got to have Thanksgiving dinner with some great people, the type who make you feel like family even though they met you just minutes earlier.  

Also, without even being arrested I managed to get a thorough tour of the Bay County Jail, and then spent part of a night-shift on patrol with one of the deputies.  It was a great time and I wish I could say more about what we did and show pictures of stuff, but they frowned on the pictures.  Suffice to say, it was a great time and many thanks to the people that made it possible.

Days like this make me think I should have headed south a month ago...

And as if going to jail wasn't excitement enough, My buddy Paul and I volunteered for a shift in a retail store on Black Friday!  We stood in for the owner of Jack's Bike Shop for a short 5-hour shift.  Another adventure that had the potential for disaster but instead was both a good deed and a great day.

Paul behind the counter.
Me, assembling bikes. 
Finally leaving Michigan behind me (till the next time), I made a quick stop in Ohio that turned into a day off.  Being retired is tougher than you think (no its not) and it's important to know when to take a day off.  I read some papers, worked on crossword puzzles, sat in a hot tub, played with the dogs...  It was a great, relaxing day.

I get partial credit for assisting with the construction of two gingerbread houses.  

Peppermint Patty flavored (and sized) birthday cake.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Idaho to Michigan

From Idaho, my next stop was in South Dakota.  Along the way I had a humorous de-ja-vu moment.  I was in Wyoming, pulled up to the left turn lane at a stop-light, and while waiting for a green it struck me that the combination of street and sidewalk and vacant lots and shady businesses looked very familiar.  That in itself did not bother me, it happens all the time.  But as I made my left turn it occurred to me where I’d been that made this place seem so familiar.  It was that exact place, 4 months earlier.  I had walked through that intersection on my way to dinner after checking into a motel and parking the bicycle for the day, back in June.  
Craters of the Moon, Idaho.  
Wyoming, elevation 9000 feet.

     On to Spearfish, SD.  I’d been meaning to get out there since retirement began, but let’s face it, it’s not really near anything.   That shouldn’t stop you from seeing the Black Hills.  Very spectacular country, and well worth the detour to see.  Maybe even better when the weather is more hospitable.  Niece Donna took me on several beautiful hikes in the area

Hiking in South Dakota was fun but the weather convinced me that I should be moving on.  I made it to Milwaukee in three days when I had planned on two.  I thought I could spend two nights there and see most of the people I wanted to see, then drive to Michigan by noon.  Reason prevailed and I spent one night in Milwaukee, saw only a fraction of the people I wanted to.  The drive to Michigan was only 120 miles but most of that was through Chicago and it took me 3 weeks.  Well, it seemed like three weeks.  It was more like 7 hours.  I got to the home of my friend James at about 7 PM, exhausted, unable to follow directions from the GPS…  It was a long tough drive.  

Then Friday morning, the reason for all my hurrying.  I finally got to pick up the new bike.  It’s a bike I wanted since they first came out (they were sold out when I tried to get one) and I bought this one on ebay without seeing it, without testing it… sent a check for the full amount and asked the seller to store it for me for 6 weeks.  Andy was great for every step of the way and when I picked up the bike it was clean and the battery was charged and the world is a great place.

The Corn Palace.  I always thought it was a museum, but it's not.
From there I headed north to Traverse City to see some friends in a mountain bike race.  As if to remind me that it’s too late in the year for me to be this far north, it snowed.  And yet I linger…

I’ve been camping in the Manistee National Forest and wishing it was just forty degrees warmer.  I’d even be happy if it was just forty degrees.  But I have friends to see here and I’m tired of hurrying to get somewhere.  So I put up with the weather.  As I write this the forecast calls for temps in the 60s (good!) and thunderstorms (bad!).  As soon as the rain clears, the temps go back to the 30s.  Oh well.  It still beats working.