Monday, October 21, 2019

Almost a year has gone by.

I've been very bad about keeping up with this blog thing. Let's see if I can make an update. It might be a long one but there's a whole year to catch up on. The biggest news is Paula's retirement. After 38 years working for Haagen Daz/Bread & Chocolate/Cafe Latte she said goodbye. I know she really loved her job and did it extremely well. They hired a very young woman to fill her seat. Let's hope she can continue to operate the business office as well as Paula had. I still want to get my sourdough bread there. She left at the end of May. We had a great summer! We went on a road trip July 26th. Headed over to Wisconsin where we stopped at good friend Sheila Ochowicz summer lake home. Really nice dinner and wonderful conversations. Swimming in great water. Wish we could have stayed longer than one night.

Made it to Cleveland on the 27th. I got to crew on Denny & Katie's sailboat for the regatta. We won mostly because of my work on the jib and spinnaker. I wore my high visibility shirt in case I went overboard.  That's downtown Cleveland in the background. 

Had a very nice, too short, visit with Katie, Denny, and Abbie (my favorite niece).

Does Buck look comfortable?

Headed over to Niagara Falls on the 29th. Rode the "Maid of the Mist" boat up to the base of the falls. It was cool to see. Very wet too.

We joined a program called "Harvest Hosts." Members are able to stay at host locations for free in their campers. There are about 1000 locations now. Wineries, golf courses, museums, farms. We stayed at the first one near Niagara Falls. A great farm. Paula bought a ton of stuff in the farm store so it really wasn't a "free" spot. Buck had lots of fun running through the orchard.

We decided not to bring the car trailer on this trip. Most of our stops were going to be visiting friends and relatives so we figured our bikes would be fine. Next stop was our friends Amy (Peterson) and Bill Peck. They have a huge dairy farm in the Finger Lakes Saratoga area of New York. Their son was showing a heifer so that was fun to watch. They have a beautiful house with a swimming pool.

I think she really liked me:

Cows as far as you can see. And this is only one of their several barns.

This baby liked me too:

The milking parlor has 40 stations. They milk 1000 cows. Each cow gets milked 3 times a day. A tanker truck full of milk about every day.

The kids (4 boys ages 4-11) really liked Buck. They tried to trade their labs for Buck.

Again, too short of a visit. Very fun time though. Probably best to leave before wearing out our welcome.

We found the dump station in Albany, NY.

Made it to Rick & Laurie's (Velleu/Gage) country home on July 31st. It's a wonderful relaxing place about a couple hours north of Manhattan. Hudson River Valley. Laurie's daughter is getting married on August 10. Paula wanted to get there early to help with the preparations. The wedding is taking place at the country house.

Our campsite for the next couple weeks out behind the barn. Wonderful site, very quiet.

This is Buck and I helping with the prep.

Managed to get in a few bike rides too.

Buck really loved roaming and protecting the grounds.

I guess I didn't get any pictures of the four of us. I do like this shot I got of Rick finally relaxing after the wedding. There was almost no time for relaxing before the wedding, at least for Rick. That's Laurie's granddaughter. Paula had the best time doing all sorts of crafting things getting ready. I liked being able to help too. Even though I much prefer to relax in my old age. Their country house is such a great venue for relaxing.

We went into the City (Manhattan) for a day of visit with George. Also caught a big band show at "The Iridium." Why do people wait for hours to walk up and down stairs that go nowhere?

Paula's sister is Connie and she is very missed. We go visit her bench whenever we get to the City. Central Park. (I wore my high vis shirt again, in case I got lost in the crowds)

We left New York with lots of crying on August 13. Slept in a truck stop in Maryland that night. Made it to Williamsburg, VA, on the 14th.

We stayed here for 5 days, visiting great friends Jeff & Cindy Brett. Got some nice runs and bike rides in. Saw some historic areas. Learned a lot about the early years of our country. We rented that car for our visit. Buck even got a good history lesson. Here we are at Fort Monroe inspecting the moat.

From there we went to my favorite nephew's (and niece-in-law's) home. Nick & Jessica. We managed to get a great campsite real close to their place.

They're both officers in the army assigned to Fort Bragg. Got a nice tour of the fort and met several of their co-workers. It's fun to see how great these kids have turned into adults.

From Fayetteville we went to Charleston, SC. We met up with Pam Cadden, she used to work with Paula and has lived in Charleston for many years. It was nice to have dinner with her and catch up. Then we went to a Harvest Host farm. They had lots of animals to interest Buck. Then we went to visit our favorite niece-in-law, Erin (Bartlett) Blumel. Her husband, our favorite nephew Mike Blumel, is an Army Ranger assigned to secret missions so he was not in country. Had lots of fun touring Savannah, GA. Getting to know Erin better and spend some nice time with her was great.

We scored a great campsite, real close to their house.

Had a nice visit and dinner at Paula's cousin Gerry and Ann's house too.

I think Mike & Erin's dog likes me.

We left Savannah and went to a Harvest Host farm/zoo in northern Georgia. Lots of cool animals that we could feed treats to. This is my buddy George:

Hey Mike, what day is it?

On the road again. My happy place.

From Georgia, to Tennessee, and back to Georgia. The highway winds a bit in this area.

Back to Tennessee

This is a normal fuel stop. I usually get about 9-10 mpg and go about 700 miles on a filling.

We use "Carmin the Garmin" for navigation. Apparently she has confusion about how to spell Memphis.

Stayed at a great Harvest Host location near Cobdin, Illinois. A winery called "Star View Winery." Beautiful location. Found a super nice deserted hard pack gravel road to run on.

The only complaints on the Harvest Host web site were about the lack of a large level area in the lot. I agree. But I didn't complain because the rest was so nice. Young couple that own it were super nice too.

So there you have it. We were on the road for 33 days and covered 4,000 miles. Not a single problem with the motorhome. I just love having a "Truck Conversion." 12 liter Caterpillar motor and 10 speed transmission hauls the mail. We had the most wonderful time made even better by Paula not having to worry about work.

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