Because We Can - Fulltime RV'ing

Journal Archive 8/11 - 8/20 2011

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Thursday August 11 Iron Mountain, Michigan

Moving south


Lazy day today, though we did move an hour south to Iron Mountain. The road was great except for one small stretch of just a few miles, while the scenery made for a pleasant time. Once we remarked how long the drive seemed, and looking at my watch I couldn't believe we'd only been on the road for 20 minutes. It reminds me of the clock with only the days of the week showing, sometimes this Life is exactly like that.


This one is for Linda. Looking at it I asked her "Why did you take this picture?" wondering if it was because there was a mail carrier in it.
"I thought the clouds were really pretty." was the the answer I received. Looking at it I can see she was right, but then she usually is, it's just that I have a hard time admitting it.

The RV park turned out to be a pleasant surprise, being dotted with tall trees, but with enough openings that both dishes could find their satellites. Once again we have no sewer hookup, but that has been the rule in the U.P.. This morning we dumped before we headed out even though we wouldn't have needed to, or at least I thought that to be the case before we dumped. When it seemed like it was taking forever to empty the gray water, I made a comment about the tank sure being full. I swear Linda was dragging her toe in the dirt as she said "I may have used a little more water than usual. I read on the Internet to double wash the beet greens, so that's what I did and there was grit in the water after the second rinsing." What's not to love about a woman who is that considerate.


Last night Linda put a pot of beans on to soak. This morning she cooked them, but when it was time to leave Ishpeming they weren't done. After we arrived in Iron Mountain she put them back on and when they were pronounced done, it was time to add the spices, which is my job. We had them for supper along with our fillet mignon tacos, something that was first for us. Usually the sliced beef in our tacos is flavorful but a little on the chewy side. Guess cheap cuts of meat will do that. Tonight they were melt in your mouth good, and while it probably isn't the best use of fillet mignon, we're not complaining.

I have to back up a bit and relate something that took place during our exploratory trip into Iron Mountain in the Explorer today. First we stopped at a grocery store to get a single bunch of cilantro for those tacos. However upon exiting the store we had several full grocery bags, as she who can not resist a bargain lived up to her reputation. I have no complaints, as everything she bought was definitely needed, it's just that she seemed to do it under false pretenses which served to ratchet up the tension level a notch or two, especially since my reason for going into town was look at the old buildings and become familiar with the downtown area.

We had completed our exploration and were on the far side of town when I started to turn around. That was when she saw the Walmart further down the road and wanted to stop. There might have been a few words exchanged in a less than a harmonious atmosphere, but eventually we were parked at the Walmart. When I pressed her on what was so important about stopping right now, she not so gently explained to me, she wanted to get another basket just like the one I picked out a few days ago for the front of the coach, especially since it was working perfectly. See, I can do something right on occasion.

Things didn't go well in the store, as first we couldn't find the basket section to save ourselves, but after wander through the entire housewares section and seeing a basket to save ourselves, Linda asked a clerk and discovered baskets were in the fabrics department. Which I guess figures, but by which method I haven't a clue. Then when we finally found the baskets, they didn't have the style we had bought before. I didn't say anything, and Linda didn't say anything. We just left the store. Then in the parking lot when she said, "Things just didn't go well in there, did they." We both burst out laughing. As always, don't be afraid to laugh, love and retire early.

161.6 1.2 .9

Friday August 12 Iron Mountain, Michigan

Mostly museums


I've started to think that Linda has been infected by some kind of tourist bug. Everyday it's, "What are we going to do today?" As if we have to go off and find something to entertain ourselves, else we, or she at least, will be bored out of our, (her) mind. What's wrong with just sitting and doing not much of anything every once in a while. Of course it may seem to her that on the days we move from one place to the next that's what we are doing, since I do all the driving, even the part about driving into and exploring each new town.

That's not really a complaint, just an observation, mostly because every time we come back from our daily outing I find myself exited over whatever it was that we saw or did. Guess it's one of those darned if you do, darned if you don't things. And all of it is my mind to boot. Is this what getting old is like?

Venturing out this morning, we ended up buying a three museum package for the Cornish Pump Museum, Heritage Museum, as well as the Glider Museum. Not because we are big into small town museums, though we are, but because they all sounded interesting. That got us into see the largest Cornish Pump ever built in the United States. As always, photos don't do justice to things that are far beyond the normal in size, but the fly wheel in the foreground is some forty feet in diameter. It was a case of walking into the room where it is housed and just saying, "WOW! Is it ever big."


This steam powered pump was used to dewater three nearby mines until the advent of more powerful electric motors rendered it obsolete. Fortunately it wasn't scrapped, but has been saved so that we have an opportunity to see a past that is never coming back. It was Linda that pointed to the nut you can see to the left of the sign and just above the top of the fence, exclaiming, "That nut must be at least a foot across!" That observation says more about the size of what we were seeing than anything I can say.


Besides the pump, the museum had other buildings that contained more old items pertaining to the history of mining in the area. Take this old miner for example who is obviously unhappy to be called up from the underground to pose for a picture some tourist lady wanted to take. Linda had a special fascination with what were termed man cars, the mine cars with seats that hauled the miners around the mine. I never did find out why, but if I thought it might be because she thinks packing all men off underground is a good idea, I probably wouldn't be far off.


See what I mean? Looks a little bit like a jail on wheels, with only the bars on the side missing. As always, we spent far more time here than we thought we would, causing me to wonder if Linda is not becoming more acceptable of my passion for museums. Most likely it was more that this was a part of history that was very well presented and that after spending so many weeks up here in mining country, we now have a keen interest in knowing more about mining and the people who lived and worked here. Especially since it was now all tying together, from the men and women, the iron furnaces, charcoal kilns and iron mines to iron pigs and the ships that provided the transportation for each. And to think, we still have copper country coming up.


Then it was off to the Heritage Museum, which only being open Tuesday through Friday, meant that if we didn't see it today, we weren't going to see it at all. Typical of small town history museums it was jammed with ever so many interesting items, including several we had never seen before, and I thought Linda had found another one when I heard her camera clicking away around the corner. As it turned out, it was only a reminder of the bucolic life she lived while growing up a hill girl. Between this for her and a man car for me, it looks like she has Life pretty well figured out.


I promised myself I would not post all those photos of interesting artifacts we saw in the museum, leaving it to Linda to post away in her blog if she ever blogs about today. Here is a photo that shows just how interested I was in all they had. Please ignore the the folding bathtub that dominates the photo. I don't know how it got into the photo in the first place, since as I was standing there staring intently at a display case, I could hear Linda talking about how interesting it was, what I was looking at that is, and that she needed to take some photos. Then this is what comes out. A photo that shows more of a bathtub than me. You'd think she was more interested in it than me. It's always impossible to figure out women.


In the afternoon Linda had a special moment, and no it wasn't that I was sent off underground in a man car. When Linda's brother got married way back when, his bride also had a kid sister, and when they visited Linda's farm, she and Linda would play together, climbing trees, scrambling on the roofs of the farm buildings and doing all the things that wild kid sisters do. It had been fifty years since they last saw each other, and it was amazing to listen to them take up right where they left off, as if no time at all had passed by.

This started back a few weeks ago when Linda got a facebook message from Chris saying that if we were in Manistique, we were only a hundred miles away from Iron Mountain where she lived and we should come visit her. It's taken awhile, but here we are, temporarily living in Iron Mountain so they could get together. How many missed opportunities are there in Life? How many times do we say, "I wish I had done that." Today Chris and Linda were doing it, and that is what makes life, Life.

160 1.6 .7

Saturday August 13 Iron Mountain, Michigan

Friends and food


With it having been a while since there was a breakfast food photo featured, here's what started my day. Linda's was similar with the exception of a lack of smoked fish sausage, and I can add that before we arrived in the U.P., smoked fish sausage was something I wouldn't have imagined eating for breakfast myself. That's one of the joys of traveling and being exposed to new localities and regional specialties. Up here we have enjoyed lake trout, smoked fish, smoked fish sausage and of course, pasties. Wonder what we will find a few weeks from now when we cross into northern Wisconsin and Minnesota, though something tells me fish will be part of it.


I have to say those sure looked like nice ones. Linda on the other hand didn't need any tomatoes, so all we ended up with was a dozen organic eggs, along with some beets and a yellow watermelon. Guess I hadn't noticed the melons, focusing my attention on other things, but Linda thought the yellow watermelon would be good, and was it ever. I can't say for sure what is that I don't like about the taste of regular watermelon, but these had all the taste of watermelon without whatever it is that I don't like.


Back at the coach I busied myself on the computer, getting caught up on some ebook reading, while Linda busied herself in the kitchen, baking the delicious apple dessert she had recently discovered. The same one that we have been eating for dessert most nights. I need to give her a couple of more opportunities to bake it, having to confirm that it is as good as it seems to be. After all, when it comes to a potentially great dessert there is no such thing as too much quality control testing. Once it's approved I'll have to get her to write up the recipe so it can be posted. That is one area where I have really fallen down, posting more of her great recipes. But for now we will just do some additional confirmation taste testing, after all you have to start somewhere with recipe posts.


I was so engrossed in what I was doing that I didn't notice Linda was missing until I noticed she was missing. Establishing that she wasn't in the coach, I proceeded outside where what to my wandering eyes did appear, but a woman in sanding gear. We'd bought the urethane finish last month, but had either been to busy, or had weather problems until now to refinish this folding table. It was special to her, having been her favorite aunt's, and while we were using it daily inside, she wanted it refinished, and that was what she was doing.

I left her alone to her work and memories, returning when it came time to carry it inside. She was running her hand over it, and because it looked so smooth, I touched it too. Oops, it wasn't smooth at all, and to my question, she answered, "Maybe the water I used to wipe off the sawdust raised the grain." I could see she was a little upset, so we just put it away for now, and I'll help her more the next time. There are times we just don't know what to do, and this was one of them where we both made the wrong choice. Life isn't perfect, but it is all we have.


Then just when you need that proverbial shoulder to lean on, it magically appears, in this case our great friends, John and Judy. They are meandering their way to Portland, Oregon, and one of those meanders brought them to Iron Mountain for a couple of nights. In late June we had meandered into Grand Rapids to spend time with them, and here it was, a reflected deja vu all over again. I may even have out done Yogi with that one. After hours of talking and appetizers, we had a dinner of baked butter garlic lake trout and fillet mignon, accompanied with a delicious Michigan wine and ending with Linda's apple dessert and pear brandy.

We all have traditions as we grow up, and then add new ones when we have a family of our own. When we started on the road called full timing we added the 4 o'clock peanut hour, something that has fallen into disfavor with Linda's realization she was better off not eating peanuts. I guess you could say my fixing the meals is a tradition, or at least Linda occasionally reminds me it is whenever I seem to skip a meal. Tonight was the continuation of a tradition that John and Judy started when they had a meal ready for us when we met them in Carlsbad, New Mexico a number of years ago after a long days drive. Since then, the one that is staying in a park always has a meal ready for the other when they arrive. A new Life, a new tradition, living or existing, the choice is ours, and all while the clock ticks forever onward.

161 1 .3

Sunday August 14 Iron Mountain, Michigan

A very nice day


There is a train track that runs beside the RV park we are staying in. A couple of days ago Linda wondered whether trains ever use it and I pointed out that if the rails were rusty, then no, but if they were shiny, then yes. Driving out that day we looked at the tracks and they were shiny, still we had never seen or heard a train, so I quipped something about either they pass by when we are gone, or it is in the middle of the night when we are sleeping so we don't hear them.

What was unknown is now known. With a road crossing only 500 feet away from our site, a crossing that only has a wooden railroad sign, meaning that when a train does come down the tracks, it comes slowly and with horns blaring. "Good grief, what is that!!" was what I thought I could make out of what Linda was saying above the raucous blasts we were hearing. I had wondered if I should stop and look both ways before crossing those tracks, but no more. If a person couldn't hear that horn they weren't just deaf, they were dead, and even then they wouldn't be for long, as the sound was the proverbial "loud enough to wake the dead". As for the train itself, it just ambled down the tracks, not making hardly any noise, and what there was was soft and rhythmic enough to put the dead back to sleep, as well as to quiet the ringing in the ears of the living.


Ever wonder what a ski jumper sees coming down the hill just before he or she takes flight? Disregarding the people on the jump and the fact that all is green rather than white, what they see is tiny postage sized buildings, and even tinier cars far below. The only way to get to the top is to walk, and just above where I took this photo, it curves up so steeply it looks to be nearly vertical even though it isn't. Wearing Teva's there was no way in the world I was going to be climbing up there, and the two people who did literally went up on all fours and came down on the seat of their pants as it was impossible for them to stand. For me it a case of this man knowing his limitations. With age comes knowledge as well as loss of hair.


Besides the ski jump, there was a return trip to the Cornish Pump Museum and a visit to the Glider Museum. All three are worthy of a visit, though with the Glider Museum having just opened, there is still much to be done, but even as a work in progress, it is very interesting. Iron Mountain had the plant where Ford made it wooden car bodies, and during WW II it was turned into a glider plant. It was in the town of Kingsford, a name people recognize because of its connection to a product Ford developed to use the scrap wood from the plant, charcoal briquettes. Ford's stubbornness and politics may have been legendary, but no one can ever doubt he was a genius. Ford, Porsche and Ferrari, the names live on, while Government Motors lives on the taxpayers bail out. To me it's the difference between genius and junk coupled with incompetent executives.

With all that activity today comes an appetite, which was solved with a stop at Dobber's Pasties, where they served pasties just like Henry Ford built Model T's. Inexpensive, lots of them, and in any type as long as it was beef. To be fair they did have other types on the menu but we were there late enough in the afternoon that they were out of everything but beef. As has been the case with each pasty we have eaten in the U.P., they tasted different from all the others even though it was basically the same ingredients.

One of the great things about these delicious meat pies is that no matter what the difference in taste, they are always good. As luck would have it we had first tried the "best" place in town to get pasties, a little hole in the wall place that unfortunately was closed, it being Sunday afternoon. Still, since we are going to be in town a few more days, having extended our stay, something tells me that Jean Kay's Pasties, a take out only shop where they make pasties the old fashioned way with cubed flank steak and not the ground meat most other places use is going to get a visit. After all, how will we know if one is better than the other unless we try each. Sounds like a great plan to me.


While John and I were sitting at the table, Linda disappeared, something she has been doing more often lately, or maybe I have finally started realizing she is gone. Whatever, she was soon back with a bag of Trenary Toast, which was immediately opened and sampled. We all agreed that for all the comments about it being like biscotti, the only similarity would be that it really needed to be dunked into hot coffee or cocoa to be enjoyed. Otherwise it was just hard cinnamon toast. Hope that doesn't mean we have failed the Yooper test and are only want-to-be Yoopers.


Our day wasn't over though, as we spent the late afternoon and early evening at Linda's co-aunt's house. I don't know what you call two people who have a brother and sister who got married. I know they are both aunt's to Charles and Judy's children, and the kids call them Aunt Linda and Aunt Chris. Though we did see a Facebook message today that said, "Oh great, my Aunties are getting together", so maybe they've attained the age of being Aunties rather than Aunts. Linda and Chris, as the kid sisters in their respective families still think of themselves as two kids climbing trees and playing together, so either way is alright I guess, though I know enough not to call Linda an Auntie to her face.

Chris and her husband Don live on a gorgeous lake, and besides a wonderful meal, we enjoyed several cruises on their pontoon boat. I'll let Linda post the loon, hummingbird and sunset photos, and having been married to her for over four decades, I can assure you she will. I will end with a comment that Chris made about one of her sons. It seems he was a groomsman at his sisters wedding, and when it came time for the tuxedo fitting it really wasn't his thing, so he gave the fitter about 15 seconds to get his measurements and was out of there. The sleeves of his jacket turned out to be several inches too short, so his white shirt sleeves hung out. Then his shoes were the wrong size, being too small so he walked down the aisle wearing his lumberjack boots. At that point in the story Chris, stopped, smiled and said, "He's a REAL Yooper." To which I will add, "May we all be real in whatever we do."

162. 1.2 1.5

Monday August 15 Iron Mountain, Michigan

Into a mine


While driving out of the RV park yesterday on one of our sojourns, we saw the owner trimming trees, now we know why. About a dozen 43 or 45 foot Beaver coaches spent the night here. Iron Mountain was obviously only a stopping point for them, as they arrived in the late afternoon and left early this morning. It reminds us of why we do not think that we would enjoy an RV caravan. Their schedule is your schedule. Just to put icing on the cake, there was drop dead gorgeous Prevost beside us last night, and this is more a campground than a RV park.


Ever wonder what a really nice looking coach looks like? While this may not be it, it is home, and I'd rather have what I have than to be dreaming about what I might have someday but likely never will have. Amazing what just do it will accomplish, though along those lines, the inspiration for my just do it attitude left today for points west. We were sad to see John and Judy leave, but now we have plans to do a no- RV fly, drive and cruise short trip to Alaska with them next summer, and a canal boat cruise in Europe the following year. Have to keep the adventure in our Life of adventure, you know.


I will not bore you with a dozen photos of the underground mine tour we took at the Iron Mountain Mine in Norway, knowing that Linda will make up for any lack of photos on my part. We took the train into the mine, then walked the different shafts to see where they had mined the ore. Deep inside the mine is a hole some 1300 feet deep that is filled with water, or so our guide said. We had to take his word for it since it was on the other side of a cave-in, and while it was an interesting tour, our guide seemed bored and the mine itself wasn't any different than other mines we have toured with the exception of having less of everything. At $12 an adult it really wasn't worth it, but we wouldn't have known that had we not taken it. Someday we hope to find a mine where you are lowered in cage, now that will be one mine tour to remember.


An old miner that has just come out of the mine. It sure doesn't look like Neil Young, but what was going through this miner's head was. You keep me searching and I'm growing old, keep me searching for a heart of gold. One thing we both noticed on the tour was that just before we entered the mine tunnel, it got much colder, mostly because the temperature in the mine stays between 38 and 43 degrees year around. To provide air conditioning to their office/museum/gift shop building, they simply have a blower and large pipe to blow air from the mine into the building. I'd say that is a pretty cool idea.


We met this little girl or guy on our way back to the RV park. We'd never been to an Alpaca farm before, but I can't say that anymore. After looking around the gift shop, we met him on the way back to the Explorer. We'd been so busy looking at the Alpacas in the distance we didn't notice the ones just a few feet away. Note the dark spots on the ground to the side, behind him. Cows go when they have to go, where ever they are. Alpacas go to the bathroom. It may just be a spot on the ground, but they go there when they have to go, and that's for both numbers. You just never know what you are going to learn going down the full time roads of Life.


When I first saw this I was thinking Linda was looking into a mirror. Then I realized it was two individuals, both with big, beautiful, toothy smiles, staring at each other. I thought that Alpacas had a habit of spitting at things they didn't like, but I wasn't sure. Back at the coach I read that they do spit but that it is mostly reserved for other Alpacas. They will on occasion spit at a human, but I take it that this Alpaca knew what I know about Linda. That she is not a grizzly to trifle with if you value your Life.

Tomorrow is a planned day of rest and relaxation with nothing planned. Our Life is not a vacation where we have to be on the go every day, it's just living. I often wonder how the people who write RV blogs that have all these places they visit every day, then write about them while posting two dozen pictures, do it. They must love it or they wouldn't do it. We love the way we live and that is why we do it the way we do. Either way, there aren't enough hours in the day to do all we want to do, but there is always tomorrow. I once read that if all we ever do is look ahead for our tomorrows, there is nothing behind us in our yesterdays. How true, and how sad.

161.6 .6 .9

Tuesday August 16 Iron Mountain, Michigan

Rest and relaxation


Since we weren't doing much of anything today, I drove into town in the morning and did some site seeing. That's site seeing as in seeing the sites, not doing anything more. Now this isn't something I do very often since most of the time we never venture out until late morning at the earliest, but today it was fun. Just an observation, but the parking lot at McDonalds was jam packed, while the other fast food places either had only a few cars or weren't even open. While several of the local places had a number of cars, it was nothing like at McDonalds, but I was only looking, not stopping to eat.

Speaking of food, I'd fixed our usual scrambled eggs for breakfast, though I had fish sausage while Linda had grilled pork as her side. Add a handful of fresh cherries and was it ever good. Try to go into McDonalds and order that! Though that's probably why the McDonalds was packed, and it was only Linda and I eating what we had fixed. And if you're wondering where the eggs and meat are in the above photo, I didn't take the photo at breakfast so you get to see our lunch, and it sure isn't McDonalds food.


We always agree, which is one of the things we do agree on, that opposites attracted in our case, and as if to prove the point here is Linda's idea of a day of rest. Okay, so the day of rest was my idea, still she has her own ideas as to what to do when we don't do anything, which today was to do something. She'd been working on sanding this table for a few days, doing the legs one day and working the top another day. Now it was time to spray the finish on it. She was able to apply several coats before the end of the day, with several more to come tomorrow, if we get to Ishpeming early enough that is. We lose one hour passing back into the Eastern Time Zone again, but with the plan being to arrive in the very early afternoon, she should still be able to fill the coach with fumes at least once.

"I don't want the neighbors to smell the fumes because they're sitting outside."
"Don't worry, it isn't going to happen."
"How do you know?"
"Can't you tell which way the wind is blowing?"
Now this was where I had the opportunity to get into real trouble, because how could she not tell which way the wind was blowing, what with her hair blowing in her face if she stood one way, and not if she stood another. Summoning all the tact I could muster at the moment, I said, "Since the coach fills with fumes every time you spray I think it is blowing away from them." Problem solved, and I watched as she once again happily sprayed away, again filling the coach with fumes. Like I said, we are opposites.


In the afternoon, back into town I went, just walking the streets and looking at the old buildings and homes. I never did find the massive old houses of the iron and lumber barons, but this town is so nice, I know we will be back again, especially with Chris and Don living nearby. My money is on the girls climbing a tree next time, just as they did as kids, though I'd bet the climbing up as being far easier than the climbing down. As for the photo, sometimes that woman just has no quit. Though in this case I think the fact she also had no clean clothes she likes to wear also had something to do with it. I thought about saying something like, if she didn't have anything to wear it was okay by me, but valuing my life, I didn't.


I don't mean to imply that I spent most of the day walking around town, or that Linda worked all day. Nothing is farther from the truth, because most of the day was spent just enjoying doing mostly nothing. There were the hummers at the feeder to provide a continual diversion from mundane things, then in the evening we spent some time talking with out neighbors, who were from New Zealand. For the past three years they have spent six months of the year in the US driving around in an RV they bought, which they put into storage in California when they are back in New Zealand. As with many things in Life, there are many people who tell you what you can't do and then there are the few who just do it.

161.6 0 .9

Wednesday August 16 Ishpeming, Michigan

On the move


Jumping ahead a little with this one but you will just have to indulge me. Every day when I finish writing the Daily Journal I say to myself something about how much time it took to write it. While I tend to be a fast thinker, my typing speed shouldn't even be using the word speed to describe it. Then there are days like this. I usually write the Daily Journal in the morning of the next day, like right now being the 18th as I write the 17th's, and normally I love to write, though sometimes I just want to get on with the day, and on very rare occasions I feel like crap and really don't want to write, or to do much of anything, for that matter. Today is one of the latter.

The photo shows the reason why, a late evening after dessert binge of fresh homemade blueberry jam on crackers with peanut butter. Was it ever good, both when Linda was making it and when we were pigging out on it, all the while knowing we would pay the price in the morning. So please excuse me if this Daily Journal is a little briefer than usual, but darn it, my stomach hurts. But did it ever taste good going down!!! And now back to the 17th.


We drove back to Ishpeming today, arriving in the early afternoon with a repair job the first order of business. In the end there was nothing to repair, but a week ago the front heat pump tripped the circuit breaker several times when I was heating up the front of the coach while doing my early morning writing. So before we plugged the cord into the RV park electric box, I checked to make sure all the connections were tight in our circuit breaker box. That had been the cause of the problem several years ago when the air conditioner kept tripping, however nothing was loose, and in typical fashion I forgot to check the connections at the heat pump itself, something that Linda will surely have on the list for our next move.


Just an observation, but I think this is also a basic truism. Ever notice something that happens when RVer's who have dogs pull into or back into a site? The first thing that happens is out comes the dog on a leash to do its thing. Ever notice how almost invariably the dog has got to go really bad, so bad that it isn't off to the dog walk even if there is one. No, often it's off to the closest vacant site, and there the dog can do its thing. Sometimes the dog owner is so unable to walk due to age that they couldn't take the dog to the open areas to walk them if the want to, but they can still make it to the neighboring vacant site. And we wonder what's wrong with America and blame it on the politicians when it really starts with us. The "I want mine, the heck with you" attitude most of us will deny having. As for people like the one in the photo above, I know what I call them and it isn't nice. If the dog's pee and crap is good enough for the neighbors site, why isn't it good enough for their own site? Looks like a irritated stomach has led to an irritated mind this morning. Besides, the foregoing obviously doesn't apply to any readers of the Daily Journal, because someone intelligent enough to read my writing is someone smart enough to use the park dog run and/or open areas.


We hadn't been here long before Linda announce she was going to the roadside market we had shopped at the last time we were here. Returning with two quarts of wild blueberries, she immediately donned her super cook cloak and proceeded to turn those little berries in a basket into wonderful jam in a jar. That of course led to the present state of indigestion we both are suffering from. But at least when the golden jam ring came by last night, we reached out and grabbed it. As the saying goes; Better to suffer the slings and arrows of too much jam, than to let it sit on the shelf for someday that may never come.

I'll not say it was too much of just do it, but it was close. Have a great day! And with food weighing on my mind, Linda typed up her Apple Yogurt Cake recipe, it it is now posted on the dessert recipe page. Since I just bragged about how smart you readers are a few paragraphs back, I don't need to post a link as you can easily find it yourself.

162.6 .8 1.7

Thursday August 18 Ishpeming, Michigan

Into town


Yesterday I wrote "So please excuse me if this Daily Journal is a little briefer than usual, but darn it, my stomach hurts. But did it ever taste good going down!!!". Today, which is actually tomorrow, you can see what I meant. As the saying goes: Some days its all you can do to keep a good man down. Or at least it something reasonably close to that. Man, Peanut Butter Jar and Trash Can, the latter being exactly where that jar ended up. This is going to be one big sea change, though the fact Linda has also eschewed peanut butter for almond butter will be a big help. It looks like by leaving the world of natural peanut butter behind, I have now joined the new age nut butter movement. Sometimes I wonder why does everything we do have to have a label, but for now I'll wear this one.


Today was to be a Marquette day, and since it is only 20 minutes away, we didn't worry about what time we left to drive over. It was on the way that Linda casually mentioned she had a few non grocery items she wanted to get at the Walmart. Recently, in an unfortunate event that I purposefully failed to mention in the Daily Journal, I was taught that when she suggests we stop some place it is not actually a suggestion, rather it is actually a direct order, and ignoring it is punishable, at the least by flogging, and at the worst by something I don't even want to think about.

It turned out that my knowledge of the phrase "a few things" and hers are not the same. At some point I stated aloud to no one in particular, "I thought we had stopped for just a few things." Unfortunately, from the end of the aisle I heard, "And just what do YOU consider a FEW things to be." Pushing the cart to the end of the aisle I told her in no uncertain terms that she already had enough in the cart and we were leaving right NOW. Then I snapped out of my Walter Mitty moment, at which time I asked her if I could help her reach the paper towels. Clint Eastwood drags an obstinate woman off to the barn and she comes back smiling. If I tried that with Linda I'd most likely come back minus something.


Marquette is a fascinating town with a number of old buildings, both residential and commercial. To that end, we really enjoyed walking the streets and looking at them. They often used the red sandstone similar to what we have seen elsewhere in the U.P., and we are going to miss it when we finally turn south. Taking a break from our explorations, lunch was again a picnic at Presque Isle Park, only this time we didn't get to see them loading an ore boat.


Presque Isle Park has a loop drive, and after lunch, we set off to check it out. There were several cool view points, and Linda will no doubt give you the 25 photo look at what we saw. I did like this one, not just of the good looking man, but because it shows that while we are adventurous in what do, foolhardy we are not. The signs warn that there is a dangerous overhang, and while I couldn't see how extensive it was, I was hopefully going to err on the side of caution. We try to keep in mind that life isn't Life unless you are around to live it. Maybe it was only 15 feet at the most down to the water, but that sign is there for a reason.


On the way back to the coach after a full day of touristing, Linda mentioned that we needed to stop at the RV dealer located next to the RV park. Seems she does pay attention to my mumbling on occasion, and after watching me loop the water hose around the post to keep the filter upright whenever we hookup, she surprised me by ordering a filter stand. We keep adding accessories and pretty soon we're going to look like weekenders. Just joking, just joking. I sometimes think this should be the RVer's motto: We live a Life that's full, traveling each and every highway, but much more than this, we do it our way.

162.6 .2 1.9

Friday August 19 Ishpeming, Michigan

Mine and museum


I guess I could start today with mention of the fact I saw a lady from a 5th wheel several sites down, take her dog for a walk in the children's play area where it promptly did its business in several spots and several ways, but I won't. What I will mention is the rain we had this morning, the dark clouds boiling overhead, a glance at the weather radar confirming we were going to get it, and not just a few drops. Linda's first thought was to check the front door to see if there was repeat of the leak from a few weeks ago, but there wasn't. Who knows, maybe the door wasn't closed all the way that time.


Lunch today elicited the following from Linda, "I take it that we are out of lettuce." Darn that woman, how can she be so perceptive at times. I had hoped to remember to get some the last two times we stopped at the grocery store, but now it was too late. With the option of defense (I didn't realize I had used most of it), offense (The pieces have been getting smaller lately, you should have noticed and put it on the list. With all the cooking I do, I can't do everything else), to flee (by busying myself and ignoring her), in the end I chose to grovel (I forgot, sorry, I'll try to remember next time). Needless to say, my choice of action had an immediate calming effect and marital harmony was maintained. Maybe I should collect all these things I do like this and publish them. It could be titled, The Wise Husband, with the subtitle Is a Live Husband.


We spent the afternoon at the nearby mining museum, also taking the mine tour, and learning there is an underground mine in Minnesota that you ride down 2,341 feet via a cage. Unfortunately the underground part of that mine is closed this summer for maintenance, but it is already down for our future travels, as is a salt mine in Kansas that a reader alerted us to.

This is a, takes one to know one, photo. Messing with the sweet young hill girl I married has taught me that it would probably safer to play with dynamite at times. Along that line, in the mining museum there was a section on explosives, and guess who just couldn't resist touching the dynamite. In this case, one kind of dynamite was just a piece of wood wrapped in red paper, the other a nuclear bombshell in woman's clothing. I remember first looking at her and thinking, what a bombshell, but being young I forgot what happens when the powder ignites. Maybe I've got to learn to stop playing with matches.


While the mine was an underground mine with three deep shafts that were now completely sealed, plus they were filled with water, the museum also had this truck to show how mining is done today. With the exception of a nearby Kennecott Corporation nickel mine that is set to begin shipping ore in 2013, all mining in the region is now done via the open pit method. No longer will a town be marked by the head frames rising above it like Ishpeming with the gigantic "C" shaft visible from almost every where. It will be the huge pits filled with water that aren't going to be nearly as impressive. We know they aren't for us.


Linda was really into the displays, spending forever in the room with the rock and mineral collection, then climbing into a large shovel bucket that was used to scoop up tons of rock and ore in a single bite. I marveled at how she was even taking photos of the signs that described what she was seeing. There were coal mines in the area around where she had grown up, so it was natural she should be interested in the iron mines of the U.P..


You can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl. Put a flower, fungus or bug in front of her, and out comes the camera. Maybe it was best I didn't know her as a little girl, she was probably one of those that pulled the wings off of bugs and chased the boys around with them. While she was taking the photo, I probably should have walked up to her and said, "I see you've found a fine example of Walker’s Cicada, which are an annual cicada with a range includes the area." But I couldn't because I didn't have a clue as to what that bug was, having spent my early childhood years pulling the wings off bugs and chasing the girls with them.

Back at the coach the pot of chili Linda had put on this morning was awaiting, but with one exception. Normally this would be accompanied by copious quantities of peanut butter and jelly on crackers. Not tonight, and it was okay though, as I made up for the loss of the PBJ by having three bowls of chili. It had turned out to be a really great day, so much so that we decided to extend our stay for two more nights. And to top it off, we added the town of Calumet to our list of places to visit out near Copper Harbor. The more places we visit, the more places we find to visit. At least for us, the dog days of summer, aren't, as each day has seemingly led to new places to go and things to do.

162.2 .4 1.5

Saturday August 20 Ishpeming, Michigan

Food day


No, it's not a photo of yellow goo from outer space come to take over the world. I try to be good, I really do, but unfortunately a certain person living in the coach doesn't like black pepper as much as I do. The last great pepper incident caused me to stop putting fresh ground pepper in the eggs. Yesterday I tried again after that long hiatus. "Cough, Cough, Cough." Loud sounds of coughing and choking and sputtering heard coming from the opposite side of the coach. "You put pepper on the eggs again, didn't you?"
"Yes, buy only a little."
"A little for you is a little too much for me."
"I just can't win", I muttered under my breathe while sighing and deciding the only way this is going to work is for that other person to pepper the eggs or for me to pepper mine after they are plated. So now you know how this morning's unpeppered eggs came to be the first photo in today's Daily Journal.


We spent almost the entire day in Marquette, from cemeteries to museums to food markets, and for anything non-food, I bet Linda will have her usual two dozen plus photos on her blog. As for me, as I said above, it's food day. She thought she had pulled a fast one on me here, disappearing around the corner when my attention was elsewhere, but from the delicious smells in the air I determined the only place she could have gone, was into the Marquette Bakery, and I was right. As you can see I caught her red handed with the goods, a whole grain baguette and two croissants, one cheese and the other ham and cheese.


Near the bakery was the local food co-op, another absolutely necessary stop. We loaded up the cart with all the normal things one buys in places like this, including three kinds of chips that sure weren't of the potato variety. They even had imported cheese with a rind that smells and tastes like a barnyard, the kind I like so much. Then Linda discovered the real reason we had come into the store. That's not fresh ground peanut butter she grinding, that's fresh ground almond butter. Talk about one happy little girl, was she ever, and I was too, what with my newly inaugurated nut butter regime.


While she was grinding away, filling two containers I'll have you know, I brightly remarked, "It sure does look good to me."
That elicited a big laugh from Linda, so much so she had to pause the grinding for a few seconds. When she started it back up I heard, "Well, it looks like #@*% to me." Truth was, she was right. You could say her comment fits right in with today's theme: FOOD - buying, eating, and the aftermath.


Linda was really prepared for the local farmers market as the two bags under her arm indicate. And by the time we left, those bags were full of tomatoes, peaches, a melon and an eggplant, fresh, ripe and mostly organic, the best kind there is. Even though we had arrived in the last hour the market was open, we still had to wait in line to make our purchases. This market had more "arts" than the others we have been to in the U.P., but the lookers were at those booths, while the buyers were at the produce stands.


For lunch we finally had our first taste of those Jean Kay's pasties that we have heard so much about. These are not to be confused with the Jean Kay's down in Iron Mountain which has only the name in common, having been previously owned by the person who now owns the Marquette shop. Jean Kay's - Marquette, remember that and you will be okay. No doubt, what constitutes a great pastie is a debatable subject, but we now know without a shred of doubt what the best pasties we have ever tasted are, Jean Kay's, hands down in a slam dunk. To twist a line from Arnie, "We'll be back."


If you're going to eat croissants and pasties at a picnic table in Presque Park with a wonderful view of Lake Superior, the only thing left to do is to go to the very best ice cream shop on the U.P., the Jilbert Dairy store, which is located at the dairy plant. Everywhere we have traveled in the U.P. we have seen signs announcing Jilbert Ice Cream sold here, but until today our resolve to protect our waistlines has never faltered. Nothing like a Jilbert Moose Tracks sundae, complete with hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry to make us realize the error of our ways. It's been along time since we've eaten real ice cream since we always try to buy the low fat, sugar free type. Nothing like a little indulgence on occasion to remind you that trying to eat healthy has a terrible cost. Like giving up some of the best things on earth.

I'll end the day with the following two photos, titled: 1.You can take the girl from the farm, but you can't take the farm from the girl. 2. Laughing bear with cub behind.




Personal note: Today would have been my brother's birthday, but he never reached 21 thanks to Vietnam. Today we still fight stupid, senseless wars with more young men dying so politicians can wave the flag and tell us they are doing it to protect us. When will we ever learn, when will we ever learn.

162.6 .4 1.9

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