Saturday, October 01, 2011

One more perfect day

We had a decent night at the Wal-Mart campground. About midnight, the guy with the vacuum cleaner truck drove up and down all the aisles. It only took him about thirty minutes. :-)

In the morning we decided to drive by the Ozark R.V. Park just in case there was an opening for the night. There was, plus there were vacant sites for Thursday night as well. When I inquired about vacancies on Thursday, the guy behind the counter was very involved with his iPad. I sensed that I was disturbing something more important then generating income for his boss and saying "We're full" was quicker then registering us. Turns out that was true. On Friday, the manager said there were indeed sites available for last night as well. It turned out well.  The free night at Wal-Mart paid for the admission to the Folk Center.
This RV park has a paved path leading into the Folk Center which was the only practical way for us to gain access. There are shuttle buses that run from the main parking lot into the Crafts Village but,strangely enough,they are not handicap accessible, and even if Carol could get into the bus, there was no place to carry her scooter.

The Ozark Dulcimer Gathering is taking place for the next two weeks, at the campground we're in. Each day there lessons, demonstrations and entertainment.

Some of the entertainment.

Look at the tall guy playing the washtub.

A number of years ago when we were touring Ontario, we heard about an event called The Fiddlers on the Trent. It was a gathering of fiddlers that was being held in a campground east of Toronto. We called and managed to get the very last spot. We were the only Yanks there and had a most wonderful time. Neither of us have any musical skills of any type. We just say we're professional listeners.

The Ozark Folk Center is a state park. There is Crafts Village with areas demonstrating Ozark crafts like candle making, gun smithing, weaving, basket making and such,as well as buildings transferred from around the region. There was a cooper shop. It never occurred to me just how complex the process of making a barrel by hand really was.

The old one room school house.

Two relocated homes.

There is an on-site restaurant; the Iron Skillet. On Friday night they have a seafood buffet for $11. Now for $11 you don't get New England lobster, Clams Casino and Oysters Rockefeller, but it was very good. The fried shrimp and hush-puppies were excellent.

On Saturday morning we made one last Wal-Mart stop before heading over to the Regional Lazy Daze GTG.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Michigan to Arkansas

We entered Port Huron, Michigan from Sarnia, Ontario, Canada on July 21st. It’s been two very enjoyable months in MI. Last night we were talking about past travels and Carol thought this might just be the most enjoyable trip to date.
We spent last night, the 25th, at the Holland State Park. On the 26th, we “camped” in the Truck/Bus/RV parking lot at the Four Winds Casino in New Buffalo, MI. We treated ourselves to an excellent buffet dinner. It was among the very best casino dinners we can recall.

Heading to Mountain View, AR

Tuesday the 27th.
It was raining when we got up and it rained steadily until after noon. After that it turned into a grey and chilly day. We’re missing our Florida sunshine.
We drove south through Indiana, around the Gary, Indiana- Chicago area then south on I-55. The truck traffic was heavy as expected. Tonight we’re at the Riverside Campground just north of Springfield, IL. It’s a nice community campground set in a wooded area. $15/night for a water/elect site.

First thing we went to the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville,IL. We had been there before on a previous trip. They have an 11:30 am mass.

After that we continued west into Missouri to the Meramec State Park near Sullivan. $19/night for a nice site with electricity. As a comparison, Michigan SP’s cost from $27 to $29/night plus an $8/day park admission charge.
Right near our campsite is a Burr Oak tree that was a sapling in about 1700. I think this is the oldest tree we have ever seen except for some redwoods and sequoias.

We decided to just finish the drive to Mountain View rather then spending another night someplace. Plus we wanted two days to explore Mountain View before the Lazy Daze GTG began. The plan was to stay at an RV park that is adjacent to the Ozark Folk Center then just walk over in the morning but they were full. Seems there was a dulcimer convention going on in the immediate neighborhood. We drove to a nice city park for the afternoon then went out to dinner at a bar-b-que place. The restaurant was OK but nothing remarkable. After dinner we went to the downtown area. Rather disappointing. We were expecting a fairly high quality, well kept area. Mostly junk stores. Not really worth a visit in our opinion. They do have a Farmers Market on Saturday morning.

Tonight’s “campground” is Wal-Mart. Tomorrow we’ll spend the day at the Ozark Folk Center. There is a restaurant associated with the Folk Center; the Skillet. On Friday night they have a seafood buffet. We’ll be there.

We were talking about some weight issues last night. :-)
As soon as we get home, it's diet and exercise. In the mean time
Laissez les bons temps rouler.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Grand Haven

We arrived at the Grand Haven State Park on Tuesday, the 20th. We got a very nice site directly on the beach overlooking the jetty and lighthouse.
Saw Pam Summers Lazy Daze as soon as we pulled in. Later in the day, Pam stopped by for a nice visit.
We’ve been to Grand Haven before but during July when the place was packed. This time, we had our choice of campsites. This is our favorite MI state park. There is a 2 mile long paved multi-use trail running along the waterfront to the downtown area; that was our daily walk.
On Wednesday we walked down to the Farmers Market for some fresh veggies.
Our initial plan was to stay here for two days then continue south. It’s just so nice, we’re staying until Sunday.

On Friday we went downtown and had lunch and stopped by the very nice bakery once again. We’ll be home by about October 7th. Back to our standard meals which do not include frequent stops by the bakery. Incidentally, Fort Pierce has a wonderful bakery, the Sunrise City Bakery. Each Saturday we go walking downtown to the Green Market and buy one sticky bun to split three ways. That’s our sole weekly treat.
The downtown area in Grand Haven was having a contest to see who could build the most beautiful “rocket fish”. Over the years, we’ve seen other communities with a mascot of sorts. Fort Pierce has the manatee, Burlington, VT has the cow. Other mascots we’ve seen are moose, pigs, salmon and hodags. A hodag is a creature that is said to live in the swamps near Rhinelander, Wisconsin.
Here are some pictures of rocket fish and one of a hodag.

An angle rocket fish

Hodag sculpture made from several verified eyewitness accounts.

Friday was a very windy day. We were entertained by a group of sailboarders and kite flyers. The stunt kites were especially interesting.

Sunday was a grey and rainy day. We did the laundry then went grocery shopping winding up for the night at the Holland State Park campground. Filled the gas tank at "only" $3.55/gal. About the cheapest gas of this trip.

We built one last fire from some wood we scrounged from here and there.

Tomorrow we continue south towards Mountain View, Arkansas with the plan of arriving on Saturday, October 1st.