Tuesday, August 29, 2017

7.28.17- 8.23.17 We’re on the road again!

7.28.17- 8.23.17    We’re on the road again!

The idea for a trip often comes with a constellation of scheduled events, a window of opportunity, and a ‘why not’ attitude.  Our scheduled events included Tom’s 50th high school reunion in New York, and our annual family vacation in Maine.  It made sense from there to keep going.  We had a couple of low level warranty items in the motorhome that could be resolved … in California.  These nuggets of a road trip gave birth to this summer/fall adventure.

Tom’s reunion was interesting.  Fifty years of post-high school living has burnished many of the sharp edges off classmates. The mean ones aren’t so mean, the cool kids aren’t so cool, and life has turned into a great equalizer.  It was great catching up with old friends, getting re-acquainted with others, and meeting new people.While moving northward, we had some time to kill so we visited a few sites:

The new tappan Zee Bridge - The northbound span opened a couple weeks after we crossed northbound on the old span.  New one is being built right beside the old one.

Croton Dam – stretching across Croton River about 22 miles north of NYC.  Built 1892-1906, at the time of completion, it was the tallest dam in the world at 297 feet. It is the third largest cut stone structure in the world.

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery  (Tarrytown, NY) – Incorporated in 1849, This National Historic Place contains the graves of numerous famous people including Washington Irving (author of “Legend of Sleepy Hollow”), Elizabeth Arden (cosmetics empire founder), Andrew Carnegie (businessman and philanthropist), Walter Chrysler, William Rockefeller, Charles Sheeler (one of Kris’s favorite painters).  

The graveyard borders the property of the Old Dutch Church of Sleepy Hallow (founded in 1685), also with its own very old graveyard.  As graveyards go, Sleepy Hollow is very pretty.

Fort McClary (Kittery, Maine) – Named after an officer shot at Bunker Hill, this is a lovely, small, former defensive fortification dating to 1844.

We had the pleasure of visiting longtime friends on the way to family vacation.  Thank you, Jim and Wendy, Pete and Sue, Jim and Suzanne, Larry and Olivia for your warm hospitality.  We hope you plan a trip to Maryland soon.

The family vacation with four generations and a cast of 28 was held at Nawandyn (http://www.mainelakeestate.com ), a repeat location for us that suits our family needs well.  The week flew by.  

The first Annual Golf Team Tournament Winners

Becky and John stayed with us for another couple of days in the Lake Winnipesaukee area.  Some of the homes we saw on the lake cruise palatial! 

Way different than what I remembered from being there in the 1950’s. 

We celebrated Juniper’s 4th birthday at the campfire.

Still heading north, we visited old Camp Sloane friends, Mike, Skip and Marcia, then scooted across Southern Canada to Sault Ste. Marie, dropping into Michigan to visit Tom and Marilyn, Scott and Linda, and Stephany, all friends from home who summer in Michigan.    We are driveway surfing with the motor home.  Kids would call this couch surfing.  We also had the pleasure of connecting with a long lost cousin (Sue) who was following our Facebook posts and met us for lunch along the way.  We had no idea she lived in Michigan.   Thank you Facebook! 

A day tour on Mackinac Island was fun.  The ferry ride out took only 15 minutes. The strategically located island was originally occupied by Native Americans, then settled by Europeans in the 1600’s as a fur trading center.  Mackinac Island National Park (which covers much of the island) is the second national park to be established after Yellowstone.

There are no cars on the island, only horse drawn carriages and bikes, in order to maintain the Colonial to Victorian periods character.  

The carriages transport everything that needs moving on the island (tourists, retail goods, food, restaurant supplies, trash etc)

This guy was having a rough day!

Our carriage tour took us by spectacular ‘summer’ homes, and the entrance to the Grand Hotel. 

We toured Fort Mackinaw – a former British outpost garrisoned from the late 1780’s Following the French and Indian War to keep the American rebels from gaining control of Michigan .  The Americans failed to gain control of the fort in the War of 1812.  The island and surrounding mainland was returned to the United States by the Treaty of Ghent.

Kris was fascinated by the early medical research that occurred on the island.  Obviously long before the protection of research participants rights!

This suspension bridge connects the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan.  The towers of the five mile long bridge rise 552 feet above the water, with the road deck 200 feet off the water.  Reminds us of Bay Bridge at home.

We visited friends on Mullet Lake, named after the surveyor who mapped the land in 1843. 

While the boys played golf, Marilyn took Kris to some local sites, including the MOST unusual 'Nun Doll Museum' (I kid you not), where there are 525 dolls and 20 mannequins with 217 different habits or vestments.

Loved the ride on a restored 1955 Chris Craft.  Thank you Tom and Marilyn! 

From Mullet Lake, we went to Bay View Michigan, about 1 hour away.  It is a National Historic Landmark resort community founded in 1865 by the Methodist church.  The community developed around the Chataugua program of educational lectures and music.  Kris loved the town walk-about with the Victorian era architecture. 

Harbor Springs, very near Bay View, sits on Little Traverse bay, off Lake Michigan which shelters the deepest natural harbor in the great lakes.  The town is known for its ‘old money’ and magnificent resort homes.  And they are magnificent as are their yachts!

We've had an extensive tour of northern Michigan historic architecture!

On to more natural sites ... Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore stretches 35 miles along Lake Michigan’s Eastern Shore.  The natural dunes, exceeding 450 feet in elevation, were deposits from receding glaciers.

To get an idea on scale, you can barely see people walking in the lower right of the picture, near the water.  There are warning posted signs indicating that it takes 2 hours to walk up the hill, and that rescues for unprepared hikers are very expensive.

Working our way south from Sleeping Bear, we accidentally stumble on Point Betsie Lighthouse.  Built in 1858, the navigational lighthouse signal could be seen for 24 miles.  This was one of the earliest US Life Saving Stations, AND the rescue boats were manufactured in Curtis Bay, Baltimore!  

Later in the afternoon, we pulled off the highway to see the astrological marvel, although only 75% where we were.

We visited friends on Gunn lake, South Central Michigan, before our second big push westward. Thank you Scott and Linda for letting us do the mountain of laundry that had accumulated, and for feeding us so well.

Night Night 

Next Stops … South Dakota!