Monday, July 26, 2010

There's No Place Like Home.....Day 11

I know, from the lack of frantic emails from any of you, that you all know I was in a motel that had poor WiFi service last night.  There were at least 3 people in the lobby with their computers at the Comfort Inn in Portage, Indiana, frantically trying to connect.  I was one of them only for a short time.  I give up more easily than some, I guess.  After 3 calls to the front desk, they wanted me to place a call to Calcutta to find out how to "fix" my problem.  I stopped at that point. (You notice, of course, that I have given you the name of this motel so that it will never happen to YOU!!!)

Yesterday, Sunday, was a lovely day.  We drove the most miles of any day of this trip, going south through Wisconsin.  The big question seemed to be whether to go to Chicago or not.  As a person with "undiagnosed ADD" I dealt with this problem by ignoring it and looking elsewhere on the map.  (We've been to Chicago, and really did not feel like going through that traffic.)

We nearly stumbled over Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.  Remember that book I used last summer called 1001 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die, that I carried around like a religious tome?  It was in the back seat, and it helped us to decide to go to Lake Geneva.

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, was an early resort area, as far back as the Civil War.  Wealthy people who had lost their homes in the great fire in Chicago also came there to build summer homes to get away from the city during the rebuilding.  One of these was the Wrigley family, but there are many more whose names you would recognize.

It was a summer Sunday, and it was crowded. The lake was busy with thousands of boats and swimmers. The parks were full, all the benches were being sat upon, the restaurants were bustling.  It was, all in all, a fun and exciting place to spend an afternoon.

One really cool feature of Lake Geneva is that the wealthy people who own mansions on the lake more or less "invite" you to walk along the lakefront and look at their homes.  A sign by a narrow walkway tells you to stay on the path, don't litter, and other rules that most of us know and follow, and we viewed the lifestyles of the rich and famous for a short while.  Lake Geneva is called the Newport of the Midwest.

The hugest mansion turned out to be a wedding gift that was turned down by some wealthy daughter.(Poor thing!  I can't help but wonder what she DID want!!!)  The mansion sat empty for many years, then sold to another family.  Since this "home" looks like Buckingham Palace, the upkeep must have been hideous, and we were nearly relieved to find that it is now divided into condominiums.

I took lots of photos, of course. One woman, a realtor who knows that she is fortunate to live in a home so wonderful, had painted motivational sayings all over a fence next to the walkway, I suppose to encourage us to work hard and maybe be so lucky.  A gate leading to her home (locked, of course) said "Expect a Miracle."  We do.

The little town of Lake Geneva is full of antique buildings and some very exciting looking shops.  No time for shopping, though, so we just window-shopped. 

Hunger hit, and we saw a sign that said "Chicago Pizza" on a cute little corner place.  Once inside, we ordered a small Chicago-style pizza, and a Chicago hot dog.  There not being an Akron pizza or an Akron hot dog probably made this all the more exciting.  The hot dog was interesting.........a poppy-seeded hot dog bun (I can't even buy those!) with a big deep red hot dog, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, dill pickle slices, and some hot peppers, all crammed into the bun.  Yum!

While we waited for this feast, we read a newspaper review which was taped into the table top for posterity. It told of "Jackie," one of the 5 children of the pizza parlor owner, who had gone to Italy to compete in the World's Best Pizza competition. (Sort of an Iron Chef type thing.....)  She had made the deep dish Chicago pizza that we had just ordered, and WON the World's BEST Chicago-Style Pizza!

This pizza has TWO crusts! on top and one on the bottom. Our waitress, Jessica, also one of the 5 children raised in the pizza parlor, gave us all the details.  She told us that Jackie now lives in Medina, Ohio (11 miles up the road from our house) and is marrying a fellow who started Romeo's Pizza Parlor in Medina...............they apparently met while attending pizza parlor owner events. (Life is good.) Can you imagine them cooking together?  What do you think they'll make?

The pizza WAS fabulous.  I will be googling this topic later this week, of course.  I also need to find some poppy-seeded hot dog buns.

Thelma took us towards "home."  We hit the "Take us home" button, and Thelma never hesitates to go right for the gusto, so in spite of our wishes, we ended up last night driving through Chicago's network of expressways, seeing downtown up close and personal, before we finally exited Illinois and entered Indiana.

I put a call in to my cousin, Carrie Yarger, and asked if we could visit my other cousin, her dad, Hugh Warren, and his wife Lois.  They are located at an assisted living home outside of South Bend.  We set a date for Monday, checked into yet another Comfort Inn, and after the sad saga of the ineffective internet, went to bed.

This morning we headed out to visit the Warrens, and forgetting that a time change was going to happen to us, we were "late" getting there.  We arrived as Hugh and Lois were having lunch, which looked scrumptious, and we sat and visited with them both in the dining room and then in one of their rooms.  My relatives are truly precious to me, as I do not have a lot of them, so it was a special hour or so, enjoying being with folks who "look like me," and have the same DNA.

We overruled Thelma, and took the roads less traveled by to get home today. We traveled on Rt. 6 across Indiana and into Ohio, then Rt 20 and then Rt. 18.  We toyed with the idea of stopping at Romeo's Pizza Parlor in Medina to give Jackie a hello from her sister back in Lake Geneva, but we had eaten enough pizza, and really wanted to go home.

Here we are!  I've unloaded my teensy tiny suitcase and thrown all the clothes I used down the laundry chute already.  99% of what I packed, I used.  My one and only souvenir, a yellow ball cap that says "Mackinac Island" on it, has been added to my stack of hats.  The little bottles of shampoo and conditioner await your visits.

I always feel sad when we come home. It's over.

To be perfectly truthful, we really did not plan to visit all 5 of the Great Lakes, in one trip.  We always say to each other, "What was your favorite thing?"  then " What was your least favorite thing?" when we rehash our trips.

My favorite: Mackinac Island and the Lucy and Desi Museum.  My least favorite: poor internet service

I've already ordered The Long Long Trailer, starring Lucy and Desi, from 

I received an email from Choice Hotels, asking me to evaluate the hotel near Buffalo where we spent one night.  I have to admit that I don't even REMEMBER the hotel near Buffalo.  I've slept since then.

That's why I write a journal!  Thanks for following along.  I will let you know when we're heading out the next time, so we can travel together again.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Going South............ Day 9

We got up this morning and after breakfast we took another walk on the boardwalk of Manistique, this time going in the opposite direction.  The wildflowers were so lovely next to Lake Michigan!  We had to be quick, as rain was trying to start up, and when we later drove out of our motel it was in full-drizzle.

Our first stop was a little town, also on Lake Michigan, called Escanaba.  It also looks to be a place to vacation, and after driving through the town we visited the Sand Point Lighthouse there.  The sad tale told by the sign nearby was of the lighthouse keeper who suddenly died, shortly before the lighthouse was to be lit for the very first time. This left his widow to run it, and she did that for 22 years. Then, in 1886, there was a "mysterious fire" that killed her.

The odd thing is that one other lighthouse we visited had the same sad story about it. The keeper died just before the first lighting, and his widow ran the show until her death.  I know it is presumptuous of us, be we think there was a lighthouse-keeper serial killer running loose on the banks of the Great Lakes back in the 1800's.........and for some reason, he wanted to keep those widows in a tower of sorts......
Perhaps we've been watching too much Law and Order recently.

We took a picnic to the Fish Creek Camp Grounds somewhere along Lake Michigan, and had to eat in the car due to the drizzle, but it was still lovely. There was a very strange man in the campground, however, and we sort of got the creeps from the way he was watching us, so we moved our car to the other end of the park............again.................the Too Much Law and Order Syndrome, probably.

Crossing over from Michigan into Wisconsin involved a stop at the Welcome Center.  The couple running it today wanted us to see EVERYTHING.  We just agreed to do so, then left with our hands full of coupons and brochures.  It's nice to see enthusiastic people at a state line......and not just hitch-hiking.

We did use one of those coupons at the local Cheese Shop.  They had a lot of other things besides cheese, too.  Shoes and moccassins, jewelry, dolls, wine, beer, and stuff for "Yoopers."

 It has taken  us a few days to "get it," with the word "Yooper," and it happened in the Cheese Shop:  A Yooper is a person who lives or loves the U.P.  which means the Upper Peninsula.  Now, if you knew this, Hooray for you, but to us it was a revelation that might not have happened had we not seen "Yooper Lover" on a pair of camouflage boxer shorts at the Cheese Shop. You had to look twice and wonder what a Yooper could possibly be..............

The rest of the day we just drove down the western side of Lake Michigan, listening to our audio book (which is really really really getting exciting......) until it was time to hunker down for the night.  We are at a Holiday Inn Express outside of Racine, Wisconsin. 

I have a call in to a high school friend who lives in Mundelein, Illinois.  If things work out, we might be able to meet up with her and her husband tomorrow, for lunch.  If we don't hear back from them, we will  be heading for Chicago and points east of there in the morning.  We don't know if we will stop there or not yet.  We really haven't decided. 

I am running out of clothes.  I am proud to say that I have worn nearly every item I packed, including the jeans and sweatshirt.  The one thing I have not worn is my "good clothes" for the dressy evening that has not happened.  Maybe tomorrow.  I might just wear them in the car to say I wore it all.

Friday, July 23, 2010

5 Great Ones! Day 8

Today we accomplished a fete that we didn't really plan on doing:  It sort of "evolved." 

As we continued to see one Great Lake after another  (Erie, Ontario....then Huron......and Michigan....) we decided that to complete the entire "tour," it was not only good to, but also necessary to see the 5th Great Lake: Superior! 

This afternoon, we accomplished this goal (which we just decided was a must-do last night.)

This morning we left our lovely motel in St. Ignace, Michigan, with two coupons in our pocket. They were for "gold tokens" at the Kewadin Casino nearby.  Since these were free, we felt compelled to use them.  Thelma graciously rushed us to the casino. Surprisingly, there were not throngs of people there.  Of course, this was in the far north woods, and most of the tourists were probably over at Mackinac.  We got a quick lesson in how to use this casino from a couple in line ahead of us, who had just spent all last night gambling and seemed to be back ,for their vacation, to have another go at it.

We won money at the "gold token" machines!  Then we had to spend our own money, which we were less willing to do.  I broke totally even, winning $10 and spending the same amount, and Randy walked away the big winner with $10.50 !!  Lunch money!!! (Ya gotta know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away, know when to run...........and we decided to RUN!)

We managed to rip ourselves away from the casino, knowing that our eyes would become lifeless and longing, like the couple we'd met in the line, if we stayed there.  This place really has a good plan, though.  The hotel gives its guests 2 free rolls of "gold tokens."  You get another one just for being a first-time guest there, and for your Mackinac Bridge ticket or your ferry ticket to Mackinanc Island you get another roll for each.  We had left our tickets in the trash can, so didn't claim those last ones, but we would probably still be sitting on a stool pushing a button if we had.  Getting hooked on those machines is very easy. (Right, Alison?)

Our driving goal today was Sault St. Marie, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  At this point, Lake Superior meets Lake Huron, and Lake Michigan, also. Sault St. Marie is the location of the Soo Locks where freighters pass through locks to go from one lake to another.

The word "Sault," according to this reading teacher, SHOULD be pronounced like "salt"....but oh no....up here it is pronounced "soo"..........and as a famous person from this location said in so many words, no wonder the kids in this city cannot spell. (That's not how he said it, but that's what he said.)
So say "Soo Saint Marie," and you've got it.  You also won't make a fool of yourself when you say the name of this city in public.  (I speak from experience.)

The one and only thing we did in Sault St. Marie, besides having a Subway sandwich which we carried off to a green space to eat, was go to the top of the Tower of History.  This is a tall concrete tower that is 21 stories tall that let us look over the entire area where the ships and freighters pass through the locks. We could see all 3 of the Great Lakes that met there, and some lovely "tall ships" that were passing by.

We also saw some of the largest spiders that have ever appeared in North America.  For this I paid money.  Once up, all I wanted to do was come down.   Oh well....................

Once back on ground, we asked Thelma to take us to northern Lake Michigan, so that we could ride down the western side of that lake, going south. Our audio novel is really getting good, so driving was not a problem.

Thelma only tried to lose us in the woods once, and we are "onto her," so got back on the main road quickly again.

After a lovely afternoon of driving west on Rt. 2 that skims the northern shore of Lake Michigan, we came to the small town of Manistique, Michigan.   There are motels here, and we are located at the Comfort Inn tonight.  Across the street is Lake Michigan, lapping the shore. There is a lovely red lighthouse that we walked on a boardwalk to see, a beach where we wet our feet in the water, a Big Boy restaurant  right next door (remember them?) where we ate al fresco.  I had fried shrimp and Randy had pot roast. We watched the waves from our patio dining area, then took our walk.

I love this little place.  There are boats in the lake, and in a river that seems to head into the main part of the town.  We will investigate it in the morning (and get the real estate brochures...................hahah!)

Our northernmost point was Sault St. Marie, Michigan. Our easternmost point was Lily Dale, New York.  Tomorrow we will hit our westernmost point............and obviously, we are headed home.

But it ain't over til it's over!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Day 7, The Bucket List Shortens

Last night, while still in Gaylord, Michigan, we attended another outdoor concert. This time it was a "community orchestra" concert, where we sat on our beach chairs, and heard both young and old musicians from the city and surrounding areas play lovely music, very professionally.  Marches seemed to be the favored type of music, but we were impressed with the talent in that little town! 

This followed a dinner at the local favorite restaurant,  The Sugar Bowl.  (Randy gagged at the name of the place, but we were assured by our motel clerk that it was THE place to eat.)  The food was good, and my favorite thing was a new discovery:  It was a Greek soup, and apparently is a "traditional" Greek soup.  Its ethnic name is "Avgolomono," but its American name is Greek Lemon Rice Chicken Soup, which pretty much defines it.

I confess that after tasting it, as though it were a fine wine, and analyzing it, I googled its American name, and got a variety of recipes.  The gist of them all seems to be vegetable or chicken broth, rice, garlic, fresh lemon juice, and an egg that is mixed into the hot soup very slowly along with that lemon juice.  I will make it when I get home, just because it is pretty and hot.

This morning we were up very early, ate the hotel breakfast under the direction of the "Motel Breakfast Nazi," and were on our way north on I75.  We were going to Mackinac Island, a place on my mental Bucket List of places that have to be seen in this lifetime.

I need to identify the recommenders (is there such a word?) of the book Innocent as Jeff and Linda Albert.  We listened to the audio book some more on the one hour drive north, and now we think we know "whodunnit."  More on this if we are right.

They, along with Len and Toby Liberman, also told me to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which is currently keeping me awake at night, and weighing down my purse, since I never go anywhere without a book.  Add that to my 'travel gear' and that purse is heavy!

We had actually called ahead and made a motel reservation at a Quality Inn at Saint Ignace, Michigan, for tonight.

 I know, I know.  That's not our style, but we decided to avoid the regular routine in favor of a quick check-in this morning, and no worry about where we'd be tonight. The day itself was to be full.  Sometimes we just have to do things like regular people.

We had to cross the Mackinac Bridge in order to get to St. Ignace. This bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the entire Western Hemisphere.  It is technically 5 miles long, and is beautiful to see stretching across the point where Lake Michigan on the west meets Lake Huron on the east.  The Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse was on the southern end of the bridge. The Upper Peninsula is on the northern side of the bridge.

Thelma decided to give us her version of a misguided tour of the Northern Woods once we got off the bridge. We had told her the motel's address. I am sure it is because we would not let her "speak" for the entire morning's ride.  She took us onto a gravel road on the banks of Lake Michigan, letting us drive slowly behind a woodsman in a pick-up truck who was out to exercise his hunting dogs. The dogs ran along next to the truck as the man ate pork rinds and drove the truck.  This went on for a mile or so, and I know I heard Thelma chuckle evilly.......  Not as bad as when she tried to kill us on a mountain in Virginia, but that is another story.

Once at the motel, things really were wonderful.  The desk clerk called for our complimentary shuttle bus which took us to the ferry, which took us quickly out to Mackinac Island.

We had a lovely day !  Mackinac Island is the only city in the entire country that has no automobiles allowed on its streets.  If you don't walk, you bike or take a horse-drawn buggy.  Even the suitcases of the people who stay in the hotels and inns are delivered either by horse-drawn vehicles or by bicycle. (We saw one man who could not even see over the pile of luggage in his bike basket, and he had other bags strapped to his person.)

Every thing that is needed for restaurants, (except for fish) building, repair, furnishings and such has to be delivered to the island by way of cargo boats, then delivered by bicycle or horse cart.  We saw a floral delivery that was done on foot, up a hill!

The streets are filled with horses and carts and people and bicycles, therefore.  The acrid odor of horse urine and road apples fill the air. (One little child was screaming that the place "smells like a zoo!")  But this is part of the charm, I suppose.

One long street, right off the boat ramp, Historic Market Street, is busy with shops.  Every other shop is selling home-made fudge. We found that they gave free samples, and that kept us from buying a hunk to wear home on our hips.  The gift shops, jewelry stores, tee shirt shops, restaurants, and fudge shops were bustling with many many tourists.

We walked up the road and saw two very old churches, some lovely inns and b+b's,  and Fort Mackinac.  We knew that we did not have the stamina today to climb the hill up to that fort and go through it, with all the other things that seemed to be there to see. (Trust me, we did a fair share of walking without the fort tour.)

It took us awhile to climb up to the Grand Hotel. That's the one you see in all the promos for this place.  And it IS grand.  The garden in the front was in itself awesome.  Unfortunately, the hotel has chosen to eliminate visitors from the hotel unless they are registered guests.  For a ten dollar fee each, we could have wandered through the lobbies of the hotel.  We chose not to do this, so just wandered around in the street and garden a bit before going back down the hill to eat lunch.  There is a restaurant at the Grand Hotel by the gate, where many chose to eat, but we had our eye on a place downtown.

Our choice was called The Pink Pony, and it had a pink toy pony hanging over the front door of this hotel.  No fee to enter here!  We had a lovely lunch on the back patio, under yellow umbrellas.  Randy had a fabulous tomato bisque soup, and I had a Gorgonzola salad with balsamic dressing. We enjoyed a glass of wine, and then took off on foot back down Market Street. 

We continued our walk, taking photos of lovely gardens and inns.  We came to the Mackinac Public Library.  Most people continued to walk right on by this little building, but we decided to go inside.  You can tell a lot about a town by its library, we have found.

The Mackinac Island Public Library is the best well-kept little secret in the entire city, we think.  The lovely large room, which is painted a robin's egg blue with white trim, has a back wall of wide open doors that look out over the  Round Island Lighthouse and the bay.  Six white chairs, Adirondacks and rockers combined, sit on the back deck, inviting the reader to, "Sit. Enjoy. Listen. Read."  And we did.  The waves lapping on the shore and the gulls calling to each other were the only sounds we heard as we sat there enjoying the summer sun, the quiet, the book from my purse,  a little nap for Randy, and the contentment that comes with finding a small piece of Heaven.

We told NO ONE about the Mackinac Public Library.  If we had, it would not be the secret that I am now sharing with you!

We found, by pedometer reading, that we had walked nearly six miles by this time. We dragged ourselves back down Market Street to the only place labelled "BAR" that we could find, and cooled off with a tall Miller Light at the Horn's Gaslight Bar (established in 1933) at the bar.

Thus fortified, we returned to the ferry place, waited for the next one, and returned to land and  St. Ignace and our pre-registered room.

Dinner was at a place recommended by our shuttle driver, called The Galley.  We had fried fish and chips;  nothing extraordinary, but very fresh.

We are now resting, feet up, and have a "sort of plan" for tomorrow morning at least.

I remember when I was a little girl, in about the third grade, and some other little girl came back from a trip to Mackinac Island. I was enormously jealous.  She went on and on and on about the one thing that had impressed her the most: She had eaten a very large amount of fudge there.

It's too bad she didn't know about the library!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Missing in Action

                        "My life is a party to be experienced and shared with everyone I know."
                                              Louise Hay

That is the daily quote for my positive thought tear-off-a-page-calendar from yesterday, the day that I "went missing."  I was not in danger or really missing (and thank you, Alexis, for wondering what happened to me!)  We were just in a cute little cabin on the shore of Lake Huron, and it didn't have any Wi-Fi service!

And when I say "little," believe me I MEAN little!!! If I were a spitter, which I am not, I could have spit across the entire room, and done a really fine job of it.  It had a double bed and a single bed. We used the single to hold our "stuff."

On Tuesday morning, we crossed the border back into the United States. There is something about knowing that we are citizens of the place where we are that gives us a sense of security. We KNOW the laws, the rules, and how to read the signs.  Canada was beautiful, and we are definitely going back, but as I said in my last post,  there is just something weird about not understanding the "rules" of any place. For instance, after Randy turned right on a red light, I asked him if he was sure that it was legal in Canada. His answer was that he surely hoped so, because not knowing the law was not going to be an excuse if it were NOT legal. (The same as how many bottles of wine one may carry in and out of the country...........!)

The first thing we did when we arrived in Michigan is drive 20 miles west, only to decide that we needed to drive those 20 miles back east so we could visit a AAA to get all new maps and tour books. You have to remember that we have our car filled with books for New England, Nova Scotia, etc...........and we have changed what we pass off as "minds" a couple of times in the past week, so those books are of no use to us here.  In Port Huron, Michigan, we loaded up with new books, and then we headed north on Rt. 25.

The new "plan," if you want to call it that, was to drive entirely around the "Thumb" of Michigan. That is the piece of land that sticks up like a thumb into Lake Huron.  It has many lighthouses on the shores and hundreds of shipwrecks out in the lake.

Our first stop was for a picnic lunch in Lexington, Michigan, which had a beautiful harbor and park. We walked wayyyyyyyyy out into the harbor on a walkway that was surrounded by giant rocks. Randy wanted to bring one home, but it was far too large to even discuss further. A very old lady who also was contemplating taking one home made Randy realize the impossibility of it all.

Going north a bit more we came to Harbor Beach, a little town that just had a good feeling about it. The Harbor Beach Lighthouse was in the distance from the shore. We rented our little teensy cabin, ate dinner at the local Ma and Pa restaurant, and then took those very useful beach chairs "downtown" to the town green to enjoy the 26th Michigan National Guard Army Band which just happened to have a gig in this town. 

We sat with several hundred citizens and watched two of the best fiddle players we've ever heard, and then some very patriotic music.  We stood and clapped and cheered for their veterans, just as we would have cheered for our own.  Ice cream followed at the local ice cream parlor (all home-made). 

Back to our teeny tiny cabin, we took a glass of wine down to Lake Huron and sat quietly on a set of steps to watch birds flying in and out of some marshes nearby.  Two very young deer, one with his first fuzzy antlers, came out of the woods. They were more curious about us than we were about them, and since we sat very still, they both came within feet of us to look us over quite well before they wandered back into the wood.

We were asleep within a few minutes in that teensy little cabin.

For those of you watching the map, you can see that we only drove about 66 miles on Tuesday.  No matter.

Today we continued our drive around The Thumb, and found some really great vacation spots up on the top of it.  We stopped at one other lighthouse and went through its little museum.  Only a couple of towns seem to cater to tourists, it seems.  The ones we liked a lot were Port Austin,  Port Crescent, and Caseville.  After that it's just a drive again.

When we finally had completed The Thumb, we had a picnic lunch in a city park in Bay City, Michigan.
This was a very nice city with parks and a beautiful harbor, lovely stores, and we understand that they host a fabulous art show sometime each summer.

We then gave Thelma a thrill by actually following "her" directions, and got onto Interstate 75 going north.

Poor Thelma.  She always wants to take the main highways.  We don't.  No, we do not know how to tell her that, and if we did, we'd forget to reset her, and then when we DO want to go by the quickest route she wouldn't know that.  We have gotten so that the "mute" button on Thelma is usually on, and we just know that if she could, she would be yelling at us all the time. Sometimes we shout at her. "Shut up!" is the most common one, but occasionally we just laugh and say things like, "That's what YOU think, Thelma! We are NOT going that way, so get over yourself!!"  Why do we even have Thelma along, you ask?  We would never travel without her! Thelma knows where parks and hotels and grocery stores are located. She got us to the AAA yesterday.  It's definitely a love/hate relationship, however.

We drove for a couple of hours, listening to Innocent by Scott Turow.  One of you had recommended it, and we made a point of watching the DVD Presumed Innocent before we left Akron (recommended by the same reader,) so the miles went flying by.  The book is getting quite good.

We have landed in  Gaylord, Michigan.  We chose this city because it has a "sister city" in Switzerland, and has many buildings that look Swiss. Chalets are all over the main drag, and the motels have that sort of decor also.  In the winter 173 inches  of snow usually fall here, and there are some ski places which make it like Switzerland.  There are 15 golf courses nearby, they tell us.  We are in a great Quality Inn, and are going to go downtown to find some local food, and then probably take our trusty beach chairs to the 8:00 band concert in the center of the city, on Main Street.

Are we having fun?  You bet!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Oh, Canada !

We awoke to rain, which I had not expected. Having to make several trips to the car to choose "cold weather clothing," I had to wear my shower cap outside to keep my hair dry.  My umbrella, of course, was in the car. In and out of the motel, I ran into the same man both going and coming, and he obviously had never seen a woman wearing a shower cap with her clothing on, (or off either, perhaps,)  but I just smiled and kept on walking.  I heard Philip, in my head, saying, "Mom, you will never see these people again!"  (I should hope.)

After we had called every single person we needed to tell goodbye forever to, we left our motel and crossed the Peace Bridge into Canada.  We didn't call them because we were afraid, but because our cell phone charges would be hideous if we use them over here!

We really had not "done our homework" for "international travel," as the cell phone companies call crossing the border into Canada.  We had not looked up the rate of exchange for our money, how to read metric speed limits, or how much wine we were allowed to carry across the border.    We will reserve the details of this particular issue until later, but we have just given a very nice bottle of pinot grigio to the marvelously efficient desk clerk of the Comfort Inn in Point Edward, Ontario, where we very soon will be asleep.

Once into Canada, we kept looking at the map to see "Where are we, anyway?" relation to the United States.  At one point we realized that we were going to completely circle Lake Erie......and that we were directly north of Akron at another point.  Having already been to Toronto together a couple of times, and having been to Niagara Falls several times, we bypassed those locations and headed west instead.  We stopped at one winery only. (Who needed more wine????) 

At some point near Vineland, we saw a huge rusted shipwreck on the shore of Lake Ontario. This required braking quickly and turning off onto a side road.  The ship still had its sails rolled and attached to the masts, but the ship itself was totally rusted and had grass and other greenery growing all over the deck.  The anchor was still pulled up, and the sides were rusted and falling off.  Not one single sign told us any details about this huge ship, so we cannot tell you a name or date for this shipwreck, but it was really quite a relic. A father and his adult son were on their way to the shore as we were leaving, and we asked them if they knew any details. The son told us that he had driven by it every day on his way to work for ten years, and had no information, but he finally decided to go take a closer look at it today. So we know it's at least ten years there.

Very close to this shipwreck was a lovely restaurant on the banks of Lake Ontario, called The Lake House.  We went there for lunch because I could see they had colorful red umbrellas on their back patio, and we always try to eat "al fresco" in the summer if we can.  We were not  disappointed.  While the sun shone on the Lake Ontario, and we could see Toronto directly across it, Randy ate fried calamari, and I had a plate full of steamed Prince Edward Island mussels with tomatoes in garlic sauce with wine.  Beautiful food !

Then we drove west for the rest of the afternoon.  Somewhere directly north of Akron, Ohio, we realized that the scenery looked a whole lot like Akron, Ohio. We would not have known we were in a "foreign country" except for the fact that the speed limit signs say "100"---- which gave us sort of a cheap thrill, until we translated this to 60 MPH.  Thelma's "miles to go" didn't jive with the road signs, either. After we blamed Thelma for awhile, we had to apologize to "her," when we realized that "she" was telling us MILES, and the signs were written in KILOMETERS.  (Duh.....)

We did stop to exchange some cash for Canadian money this morning, and it is very pretty, with silver strips on the bills. I am trying to spend it all, as fast as I can, so I don't have to turn it in when we cross the border tomorrow. Who knew that they have a $2 coin??  I received one in change this afternoon, and was about to tell the clerk that he couldn't possibly have given me enough change, when he gave me the two-dollar coin lesson: it has 2 different metals on it, and it's worth $2.

We refueled somewhere along the way, and a gas station attendant (remember them?) came out to pump the gas into our car, and we took our credit card into the station to sign the bill, just like we used to do back in the day in the states!

Tonight we had a quick dinner at a Tim Horton's, and then sat on a beach on Lake Huron here in Sarnia.  Those beach chairs got used !  We collected some very large round rocks for our yard on that beach, and a big bag of smaller ones, too.

We can't help but notice that we have crossed the River Thames, been to London (and Woodstock!), and driven on the Queen's Highway today. We are in a lovely suburb of Sarnia tonight, which is perched on the western border of Ontario. We will cross over into Michigan in the morning.

Our original intent had been to see a LOT of Canada this summer, but we (wisely, I think) decided to do a smaller portion of this enormous country.  Even though it is our northern neighbor, it still is a foreign country, and this was our "test case."  We still have plenty to see in the good old USA, also!

The cell phones should be back on by noon.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 3: I love Lucy : Jamestown, New York

After breakfast, we took a walk in downtown Jamestown, New York.  Two blocks down from our hotel was the Desilu Theatre, and next to that was the Lucille Ball-Desi Arnez Museum. 

Lucille Ball was a native of Jamestown, New York! Her first box of hair dye was actually purchased on the site of the museum, back when it was a drug store. (The site of my first box is still the same drug store it was way back when, in case the biographers ask you later.............)  The YMCA that she held a lifetime membership to is up Main Street, about a block. Her face, which has been determined is THE face that more people in the entire world recognize, is all over town. A portrait of her, which is beautiful, hangs over the main desk in the Clarion Hotel where we stayed. (It used to hang in her home in Hollywood, according to the desk clerk.) Townfolk wear tee shirts that say, "I Love Lucy."  And they do.

The museum was a fun hour of our lives.  We got the AAA discount and the old age one, too, and for one full hour we browsed through the lives of Lucy and Desi, seeing great relics and costumes.  We saw boxed board games that Lucy had "endorsed" with her photo on the boxtop, a film of Lucy's appearance on the Donny and Marie Osmond show, Desi's Mercedes, photographs of their private life, and Lucy's Emmy.  It made us feel very old, but at the same time, we realized that we were witnesses to a marvelous time in the birth of television.

We both laughed aloud hysterically at a short cut of the movie "The Long Long Trailer," made sometime near 1954, in which Lucy and Desi take a vacation in an extremely long travel trailer. Desi drives, and Lucy rides along in the back, dressed as a 50's housewife, preparing a marvelous meal for dinner.  The trailer hits a few bumps along the way, and Desi is singing his Cuban songs as he drives along. Lucy, in the meantime is riding along in the back of the trailer with a full-course meal on the counter top, complete with whipped cream. (No Lucy meal is complete without whipped cream.)  Desi is oblivious to the fact that Lucy has been thrown around a bit while she cooks, and she cannot get his attention. You sort of have to imagine it, if you haven't seen it, as we hadn't. Few comediennes would even attempt this scene today. The movie is on our list of things to rent or buy before we check out: The Bucket List of DVDs.

We left Jamestown after we had paid a visit to Lakewood Cemetery to visit the grave of Lucille Ball, where she has "come home" to be at rest with her entire family.  No huge sign points out how to find her grave, we found, so if you go, you have to look carefully for one arrow that sits next to a paving stone with a heart etched into the center of it.  It points to her very simple and unassuming marker on which are the names of her beloved family members, as well.  She left us all laughing, and keeps us laughing.

We had "the conversation" in the parking lot in front of the museum. Where do we want to go?  We didn't have a coin to flip, and knew we'd drop it under the car seat if we did, so we just draped the map of the United States across the front seat and pointed to places. We both knew where we DIDN'T want to go, and those places were ones we have seen more times than enough, roads we have travelled going and coming, or a couple of places we just were not in love with.  The decision was made:  GO NORTH (even though we have some hesitations about this....)

We drove through some of the same area that we had seen yesterday going and coming to Lily Dale, but continued north to Fredonia, where we had a quick lunch at a McDonald's. We met up with a young man there who we had seen at Lily Dale, and exchanged our impressions of our day there. His were favorable, as well.

As we approached Interstate 90, "Louise," (the car) refused to enter it, and drove right on over it!  Before we could turn around, the map let us know that there is more than one way to skin a cat or get to Buffalo, and we chose the path less travelled by, Route 5.  Instead of rushing cars and an occasional rest stop, we drove along the banks of Lake Erie at a leisurely pace, stopped at one lake overview, took a coffee break, and arrived in Lackawanna, New York at about 3:45 this afternoon.

Lackawanna is the birthplace of Randy's mother, Frances Hope Gracia Gillenwater Lemasters.  We decided to stop there just to check out the little city, and to be able to tell Fran that we had been there on her behalf.  "Thelma," (our GPS unit) took us to the very center of the city, and along the way we noticed signs pointing to the Basilica of Our Lady of Victory. Having visited a "Basilica" in Santa Fe (and Saint Peter's in Rome, myself,) we knew that this was worth a look-see, so we headed towards it, only to find that it IS the center of Lackawanna.

Amazing. That is the best word to describe this marvelous tribute to the Catholic faith.  It seemed to be a small version of St. Peter's, with angels and statues all over the top and surrounding it. ....But the INSIDE was magnificent!  The ceiling is 125 feet high, all painted with glorious scenes of angels. A brochure tells us that there are 2,500 angels at this Basilica. Inside, the stations of the cross surround the main sanctuary, and the man who created them took 14 years to carve them.  A life's work.  We were in awe, to put it mildly. As a builder, Randy commented repeatedly that he had never seen such workmanship.  This was a serendipitous "find" on this trip, and a wonderful one.

We continued north to Buffalo, where we located a Comfort Inn  (another miracle) and had a fast food dinner.  We are sort of tired, but cannot figure out why.  Perhaps it is because we realize we are on our OWN time schedule for a little while, and we are starting to relax.  Tomorrow is another adventure in itself, we think, but "I will worry about that tomorrow." 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lily Dale, New York............

This has been a peculiar and invigorating day. 

We rebooked this hotel room, first off.  It is NOT a deal, but it IS available..........and I have decided, after crossing the state of New York a few times, that if you have a room in New York State, you had pretty much better hang on to it!

There is a vast wasteland across New York.  We remember, some years ago, traveling in the dark and finding NOTHING.  No gas, no motels:  NOTHING.  It's a big state, and I have my own viewpoint on it. (Those of you who live in this state might skip a few paragraphs, as I am going to say what I think.) 

There are some 8 million people living in ONE city in the state of New York.  There are lots of other folks spread around over the state, but EVERYTHING is in New York City, and  ALMOST NOTHING in the way of creature comforts is in the rest of the state, as far as hotels or care for travelers.  (Did I hear a scream?????) 

I didn't say NOTHING is in New York, or we certainly would not be here to see some of it. There are wonderful lakes, wineries, vacation locales, sights to see, and much to enjoy........but you'd better have a helicopter to get you in and out of here, because if you are looking for a (reasonably priced, quick to find) place to stay, forgeddaboudit.

If you are still screaming, then YOU get into YOUR car, and try to enjoy a serendipitous vacation in this state. New York is a gorgeous place, and when the hotel chains start building at every exit area, we will be back. We need some competition.

 Hey!  If you are considering starting a motel or hotel or even a bed and breakfast, I know a good place to build it. (If you build it, they will come.........BUT, actually: If you build it, "they" will already be parked in the front yard waiting for you to open it, in New York State.)
OK.......I just "heard" you....You said, "Why don't they make reservations?"

What fun would THAT be?????  Half the joy in this roaming stuff is the ROAMING!
My theory is that it ought to be ordered that all those people in that one big city need to spread themselves across the rest of this state, build some motels, hotels, and gas stations, and give each other some space, thereby giving those of us, who travel across this state,  places to stay and gas up. 

Yes, I do feel better. I have vented.  If you are yelling and looking for the place to add your rebuttal, forget it. I said "no comments" when I started this blog, and no comments there will be.  If you are irate, it's because you know I am right.  How many travelers have just disappeared into the darkness in New York State?  We will never know.  I just know that I am not going to be one of them, ever again.

Now that I have alienated some of my readers, let me tell you, the faithful readers, about our glorious day, and why we are still here in Jamestown.

We left here at 9 AM and went to visit Lily Dale, New York.  (I have decided to spell it as two words, effective today.........see?  I am able to be flexible!)

Lily Dale is a small gated community on a lake, which is inhabited and owned by a number of spiritualists.  The little cottages are lovely, and the lake is beautiful. Most importantly, the people who inhabit Lily Dale have one main purpose, and that is to prove that life is indeed, eternal.

In other words: This place is run by mediums.

Randy asked, "Why not averages?"

Then he asked, "Do you think they are happy mediums?"

I am not going to go into details here about our full day at Lily Dale, for we were there until 5 PM, but you can google it, if you like.  HBO ran a special on Lily Dale just this morning. The only word I can use to describe it is "awesome."

We left there, emotionally exhausted, but invigorated by the people we had encountered,  and the spirituality that was evident and alive. 

Tonight we are going to find a Bob Evans for a quick supper, then come back to this lovely room, and try to flip a coin to decide which direction we should head tomorrow.  We truly do not know where we want to go.

But we do know that we want to have a plethora of hotels or motels to choose from tomorrow night, so you can probably guess which direction we will NOT be going!   

Day One.............Out of the Driveway and Onto the Highway

This was a day of grueling work.  Randy had to finish a job he was working on, and I was trying frantically to clean the house.  I have this "thing," that I DON'T WANT TO COME HOME TO A MESSY HOUSE!  When I return, whenever that will be, I want to walk into a house that feels the same as the best  hotel I have stayed in on this trip!  I want clean, crisp sheets on the bed, vaccum marks on the carpet, plants that scream, "Welcome home!!! We need a drink!"  when I come into each room, and lights that are still turned off and on by timers so I don't even have to THINK about that.

I found spider egg sacks that are now great-grandparents, in the lower level of my house.  One throw rug begged me to throw it out. There was dust under my mother's mother's chest of horrors that might have belonged to my mother's mother.  I was "cleaning with a purpose," since we anticipate some family company on our return.........and I mean "on our return." That day.  I even made the bed for the company before we left. (I am really good under pressure.)

It was not until 3:17 PM that we got into the car. There was only one trip back into the house (which entailed unlocking the deadbolt only once, and opening the garage door only once) which was pretty good.   I quickly remembered something else, back in the car, but I would NOT admit that a second trip back inside the house was needed.  I won't even tell you what I left behind.  One trip back is pretty good. Two would have qualified me for "dementia." (The D word, as we call it.)

Before we started the car, I announced boldly to Randy, "OK. We are NOT going to argue or bicker on this trip. If we are even tempted to snarl, we will say out loud, "This is not important enough to argue about!" and then you can just say , "Kim, you are right, " and we can go on!"  Randy didn't think this was as funny as I did, but we got out of the driveway laughing, at any rate.

We didn't drive very far before the Wanderlust hit.  Randy said, about 40 miles from home, "Have you ever seen the FALLS in Newton Falls?"

"No," I answered, "but you did drive me through Newton Falls once."

"Do you WANT to see the falls in Newton Falls?" he asked.

"Not particularly, but if you do, then let's go see them, since that's what this is all plans, no expectations."

So we got off of 76E and headed north to Newton Falls, Ohio, a lovely little town with the most enormous hanging baskets of petunias on their street lights that I've ever seen.  The town is full of benches that are dedicated to the  memory of their deceased citizens.  We encountered nice people.

We found a sign directing us to "The Covered Bridge," and not having expected one, we followed the signs to the "oldest covered bridge in the state of Ohio which is still in operation."  It is also the only covered bridge with a pedestrian walkway built onto the side of it. We drove over it, then walked on the pedestrian walk, which crossed the Mahoning River. (This is the infamous river that caught fire back in the 70's, but we didn't even see smoke today.) (Darn!)

"The Falls" was a block or so away, and we walked down to see them, although I believed it was more of a dam than a "falls," but we are not going to argue about that.  We were there long enough to watch a fisherman lose his hook to a snag at the bottom of the river OR the largest fish alive in the Mahoning River. Take your pick.

Since we were there, I asked to find the cemetery, as one of my students from my years at Tod Children's Hospital, in Youngstown,  had been from Newton Falls, and I hoped to "visit" her place on this planet. We trudged through the Newton Falls Cemetery for almost an hour to no avail, looking for Melinda's grave. I knew, somehow, that there would be a Mickey Mouse on her grave or marker, but we did not find Melinda OR Mickey today. They are not there.

We had asked "Thelma," (our trusty GPS unit) how to get to Lily Dale, New York. Lilydale, Lily Dale.......we have seen it spelled both ways, and Thelma seemed to find it, and we headed north and east.  Erie, Pennsylvania, presented challenges with some kind of "Roar on the Shore" event and heavy traffic, but we went on past.  We did wonder what "Roar on the Shore" is all about. I envisioned folks standing on the shores of Presque Isle, roaring like lions, but I pretty much am sure that something else goes on there.

Not terribly long after our departure from home, we started looking for lodging.  Due to the "Roaring"and the other events that we found were happening on the coast of Lake Erie, we realized that either every hotel was booked solid, or the going rate was nearly $190  for a basic room.  We kept on driving.  I did encounter one nearly hysterical woman, when we stopped for gas, who couldn't find a room for the night..........and she was ahead of us, also going east. I controlled the urge to race her out of the gas station and get ahead of her on the freeway, but only because I was not the one driving at that point!

We investigated a number of hotels and motels, and almost got over the threshold of a very unpainted and scary bed and breakfast.........but visions of Psycho prevailed, and we looked at each other and ran back to the car.  One "hotel" HAD no hotel:  It had 7 bikers propped on the front porch, beers in hand, raging tattoos, and  amazing hair colors.  We peeked inside the "hotel" to find the saloon, which resembled a place in which John Wayne has beaten up half a town of ne're-do-wells.  We could not see through the smoke.  However, one girl on the porch, the one with bright yellow hair and black leather clothes, was really nice when I asked her where the hotel was. She pointed down the street to the previously-mentioned bed and breakfast.

We are currently on the 5th floor of a wonderful Clarion Hotel in downtown Jamestown, New York. We've had a carry-out pizza for a late dinner, watched "Medium" on TV, and collapsed. Randy is asleep while Jay Leno does his thing, and I do mine.

 I have asked Randy several times this afternoon, "Are you relaxing yet?"

I think that when he made the choice to turn off to see the falls in Newton Falls, and we did, that he let go and relaxed.  It is nice not to have any agenda, to just make a choice or two as we go along, with no real expectations.  We expect Serendipity.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The Packing................

My car is currently in the garage, so I can get in and out of it, undetected. I wouldn't want my neighbors to know that I am obsessive-compulsive about "placement" of items in the car, but I am.

Randy and I have certain spots for certain things, and sometimes one of us gets the idea that one of those spots can be changed...............and sometimes we discuss it before the decision  is made.  Or not.   Ahem.

The case of wine  (not a "crate" as I had miscalled it yesterday) is in the car, and it needs to be covered with the blanket to keep it cool. The used postal box with the AAA maps and books needs to be directly behind the center of the front console. When we cross over a state line, it's important to grab the next travel book and be on the ready, or we might miss something!  (We had to make a trip back to Iowa a few years ago just for this reason. We missed the Field of Dreams, because we didn't have the Iowa book on the navigator's lap.  Once we realized our error, and our loss, it became a prime re-visit location, and we were not satisfied until we had recrossed the Mississippi River and yelled, "If you build it, we will come!" in the center of a ball field, and looked for deceased loved ones in a cornfield.

Next to the box of maps should be my bag of books: In case I need to read, of course.  My habit of letting magazines stack up for months on end, then taking them on a trip is sometimes a game I play.  I read the magazine in the car while Randy drives, then when I finish it I will either leave it in a ladies room, or my favorite: approach someone who is obviously waiting idly, without reading material (God forbid!) and say, "Hi. I am the Queen of Recycling, and I have just finished this magazine. So I don't have to throw it away, could I give it to you to read?"  Actually, I have only done this twice, and the Queen bit only once..........but the expression on that woman's face was startled, and a little bit afraid. I wondered later if she thought I was some kind of criminal magazine attacker.   But she accepted the magazine!! ........and when I looked back, she was reading it. I am definitely going to do that this trip.  Maybe I should pack my tiara, just for fun.

Completed paperback books get left behind in drawers of motel dressers, to encourage the cleaning crew to read them. (Deep in my soul, I truly AM  a language arts teacher.)

The bag of cosmetics sits on the other side of the back seat. This includes shampoo, makeup, and any other item used in restrooms or in front of a mirror. It stays cool there, doesn't spill, and the bag is easy to carry into motels. We never use the shampoo in those motel rooms.  We bring them home to stock our guest bathroom. If you ever stay with us, you get the shower cap, shampoo, and lotion!

A box of bottled water and a cooler full of chilled foods sits on the floor directly behind the navigator. Picnics need to be planned.

In the back of the van should be 2 beach chairs.  You never know if we're going to a beach or a lake. One picnic we had was held in a deserted rowboat because we didn't have chairs along. 2 beach towels, a laundry bag, and 2 suitcases complete the rear cargo area.

In a few minutes I will go to the darkened garage (behind closed doors) and put all this stuff into the van, rearrange it, look it over, and get that great feeling of anticipation that comes with knowing that a trip is about to happen........especially since we don't know where we are going. (And for anyone who does not believe that.......I have 12, count them, 12 tour books in that box........because we truly do NOT know where we are going!)

Today I did a miraculous thing.  I managed to pack in ten minutes (that is not the miracle).  I managed to pack all the clothing I need in one SMALL  (repeat that: small!) suitcase!  I bet I still have some things I don't really need, but if I do spill Kool-Aid all over a tee shirt, I do not need to have a nervous breakdown over it.  (If I spill it several times, however, it could get hairy.......)

The 2 pairs of shoes, you ask? You knew that wasn't going to happen!!! Four. Four pairs, no more!! One will be on my feet. The walking shoes will be in the back with my suitcase, my shower shoes fit into that SMALL suitcase, and I threw in a pair of low heels to go with my "dressy" outfit. 4 pairs total. ( If you've been following the Cathy cartoons, you may see that I learned something from her.) I personally believe that I should win some kind of  Fewest-Number-of-Shoes-Taken-on-a-Vacation-Award, don't you??

We are hoping to leave in the morning, but that all depends on whether Randy finishes the job he is working on today.  He still has to pack his suitcase. I think I will wait until he has packed it, (probably a great big one, with 14 pairs of shoes and sandals),  before I yell ,"Ta-Da!!!" and show off my little teensy itty bitty suitcase.........

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Getting Ready.........not yet in motion

We've been saying that we are leaving on the 15th for about a month, now.  That's the day after tomorrow,.NO, it's TOMORROW !!!... and so far the only thing I have "prepared" is a pile of maps and AAA books showing Canada.

We might not be going to Canada!  We have thrown around the words "South Dakota" a few times in recent days, and I can see that we get excited when we breathe out those words......."Souuuuuth Du Kota" brings back wonderful memories.  We've been there twice during the Sturgis Rallies........800,000 motorcycles, and US IN A CAR.  Such fun! Such beauty.......we'd love to go back.

We've also actually really talked about Canada....hence the maps and stuff.........I think we're afraid to go there........will they have places we're familiar with, like McDonalds and Comfort Inns??? What if they speak French, and we don't?  Ok, Canada IS a possibility.

New York State......there's a place called Lilydale that I want to visit.  It could be "on the way" to anywhere else, and we could just "happen" to go there, maybe.  That might lead us back to Vermont or New Hampshire........or Maine..the ocean........

Randy, my darling husband, says that he gave me "THE LIST" after the last trip, and it has "everything we need to pack" on it...........but I cannot find the list, and I am not motivated to write up another one.

Usually, I just start packing. My suitcase rarely leaves the back end of the van, anyway, so it doesn't matter if it's heavy when it exits the house.  I throw in a number of underwear items, tee shirts, shorts, a pair of jeans, a sweatshirt, one "decent dress" in case we go somewhere really nice for dinner, a swim suit...........and 4 pairs of shoes, even though I will probably only wear a pair of walking shoes and a pair of sandals for the entire trip. This year I resolve to only take those two pairs of shoes.  And my rubber sandals to wear by the pools.  IF there are pools.

The coffee maker, the box of maps (for wherever), my journaling bag (filled with markers, pens, glue, and other good "stuff"), my BAG-O-BOOKS, a box full of food that can be taken out for picnics or eaten in the car.............a crate of wine (yes, a crate),  a heavy old comforter so I don't freeze my rear end off in chilly motels where we keep the air conditioner on HI since we're not paying the electric bill, my camera with a bag of batteries for it, and hey.............I just made a list !

Tomorrow is the day we will start to pack the car, maybe........since I don't really think we're going to get out of here on the 15th.  I believe the 16th will probably be Departure Day. It's just a gut thing.

This is my first "blog experience," and I am not sure if I am going to like it or not.  Just a minute ago, I wanted to use the word "ass" instead of "rear end," and I didn't feel comfortable doing that.  THAT is why I am not sure if I am going to like blogging or not.  But I do believe it would be nice to have my journals all nicely "archived," whatever that means.

I am going to now end this first "post" as they call it. I am going to have to learn the terminology to do this.  IF I like this, then maybe YOU will see it.  But I would have to send you an email, first, I suppose.