Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Pictorial Anniversary Retrospective

Hi all, Dianne here.  This post will be a little different, so if you're looking for travel info, you might skip this one!  Since Roger and I use this blog as a "virtual scrapbook" for ourselves, we can indulge ourselves now and then with a trip down memory lane.  (It also helps that I scanned many of our old photos onto the computer when we were preparing to full-time.)  Don't worry, this won't be mushy -- Roger is the mushy one in our family!

Thirty-nine years ago today, two 22-year-old kids tied the knot at the First Presbyterian Church in Frankfort, Indiana.

Roger's family welcomed me with open arms. 

 One of my favorite photos was taken after one of his mom's delicious Sunday dinners as I attempted to help his mom dry the dishes.  
This playful nature of Roger's was dormant during his last years at work, but resurfaced once he retired and we took off on our full-timing adventure.  

No photos taken on our first date, a blind date arranged by our good friends Jay and Nancy (shown here in an early photo in front of our first "real" house in Pendleton, Indiana.)  That friendship has also stood the test of time, and we will be meeting up with them this month to "catch up."  

Since we are camped near West Lafayette, Indiana, we thought it'd be fun to revisit the site of our second date:

This retention pond next to the bridge over the Wabash River doesn't look like much here, but back in the winter of 1970-1971 it was known as Sigma Nu's "Snake Lake" and was frozen solid.  This pond is just down the hill from the former site of the Sigma Nu fraternity house at Purdue (sadly, the fraternity was moved to a new house and an apartment building now sits in the spot on the hill overlooking the Wabash River).  I had never in my life ice skated, so this was the first of many new experiences for me once I hooked up with this adventurous soul.  (When he proposed on Christmas Eve 1971, my "other present" was a pair of ice skates).

Snake Lake was also the site of his-and-her dunkings when Roger and I first got "lavaliered" and then "pinned."

Only problem with planning a wedding while you're still in college is that no job was awaiting Roger upon his graduation, like we naively assumed would be.  

Family came to the rescue, and our first six weeks were spent in my grandmother's log cabin retreat in the woods outside Mulberry, Indiana.  No hot water, no shower or tub, lots of spiders and mice!  We took baths by heating water on top of the stove and pouring it into a blue plastic boat that my cousins and I used to play in on the adjacent Wildcat Creek.  As a side note, this log cabin is what gave me my love of the outdoors.  Growing up, many hours were spent here with my cousins playing, exploring, walking the trails, building lean-tos in the woods as carefree kids.  

In the fall, Roger's family helped us out.  His dad helped me get a secretarial job at Delco-Remy in Anderson, Indiana while Roger continued to look for a teaching job.  We moved (again rent-free) into the little rental house his parents owned next door to where Roger grew up and his parents still lived.  (This is the same little house we purchased from Roger's uncle for our daughter and granddaughter to live in rent-free, which we sold last summer).  

Starting with our honeymoon on Cape Cod, our priorities have always focused on whatever travel we could afford at the time.  When we were 24 years old, we blew a gift from my grandmother on a two-week Hawaiian vacation.  Looking back, I am appalled that we used that precious money that way, but we have no regrets!   Whatever we would have purchased with it would be long-gone, but the memory will last forever.

Whether whitewater rafting on the New River, traveling to London and Tuscany with friends (the afore-mentioned Jay and Nancy, who can also be spotted in the raft above), 

multiple cruises, vacations and camping with our girls, our lives have always centered around travel whenever we could do it.  

More random favorite photos:

We've been blessed with two beautiful daughters.
Our family has only grown slightly since then, but by one very important little girl, our granddaughter, Kaia.  

She turned 13 yesterday, the day before our anniversary.  Our girls are spread east and west (Florida and California), so our new home on wheels is just what we need to visit back and forth.

Back to the present:  What did we do on our special day?   Jewelry?  Roger knows better than to buy me jewelry (I'm not into bling).  Flowers?  We are surrounded by wildflowers here at Prophetstown State Park; no need to buy flowers.  Candy?  Specifically, chocolate?........

A trip to Harry's Chocolate Shop was just the ticket.  No chocolate there, however; for you uninitiated, Harry's Chocolate Shop is a bar on the Purdue University campus.

Just a nice lunch in a place dripping with atmosphere.  We then walked around campus a bit.  This was actually appropriate, since much of our time during our dating year-and-a-half was spent there.  Roger wanted to get a closer look at the new construction at Mackey Arena (the basketball venue):

We ducked into three spirit shops and stocked up on additional Purdue garb.  

When's MY turn?

Hey!  That's MY shirt!

You've GOT to be kidding!

Here, Charlie, I'll help you get it off!
The pet photos of the day show all three of our pets modeling the Purdue pet jersey that we bought on impulse (they have to share it).   

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Banks of the Wabash - Our Indiana Home

Ahhhhhhhhh!  One of the most peaceful and restful campgrounds that we have encountered --- and so very close to where we both grew up.  Prophetstown State Park (on the banks of the Wabash River) is just outside of West Lafayette, Indiana and only a few miles from my alma mater, Purdue.

Roger here...   We have been to Prophetstown several times over the past six years; in fact, it has always been one of our favorite places to relax and decompress.  No hassles here, just an amazingly private, beautiful, and well-landscaped setting to kick back and enjoy life. We like it so much that we will be here for nine nights.  But first.... our last few days at Lake Leelanau, MI and a short stop in Grand Rapids.

The hot weather north of Traverse City forced a slow-down with our activities.  We really did not feel like hiking, or biking, or even going to the beach.  However, we did enjoy  multiple games of six-handed spades (in the shade)....  accompanied by Chuck's breakfast juice.  I just read that Bloody Marys are actually good for you.  Gotta love that tomato juice.

The few times that they were not wrestling, Bandido and Sophie enjoyed quiet time in the shade under the picnic table.  They really are "best buds."

On our last evening, we all piled into Chuck's truck for a very short drive to Leland for dinner.  Leland is located on a small bit of land between Lake Leelanau and Lake Michigan.  A flowing river connects the two lakes in the center of town.  It was originally a fishing village, and in some respects it still is.  The older part of town is called Fish Town --- filled with rustic fishing huts on the river that have been turned into various shops.
My dad would have loved staying in the hotel next to the water, so that he could sit on the balcony and listen to the falls.

Chuck took a great picture of Dianne and me in front of the Fish Town Water Falls:

A very kind couple took a picture of our entire group:

On to dinner at the Bluebird.  A friend of Cindy's had recommended this place for its whitefish.  Even the non-fish-lovers in our group agreed that the fish dishes were excellent.  Dianne had whitefish.  I had trout.  We enjoyed a table by the window, looking over the river.  I am hungry again just thinking about those meals. 

After goodbyes on Saturday morning, we all headed south.  Chuck, Cindy, Audrey and Pat were headed back to their homes near Indy.  Dianne and I were aiming the motor home toward Grand Rapids for a two-night stay.  We had two things in mind:

First, we needed to replenish our basic supplies.  There is a Costco in Grand Rapids.  We had accumulated $380+ dollars worth of rewards by using our Costco American Express credit card.  (Dianne here:  This rebate/reward is an annual shopping spree for us.  We received the rebate months ago, but this is the first time we've been near a Costco since last August.  Our rebate expires next month, so this shopping spree was a "must do"!)

After little more than an hour, we managed to fill our back seat with needed items.

The second order of business was to meet new friends.  John and Judy (from the Grand Rapids area) are mutual friends with our Retama neighbors, Bob and Linda.  Linda knew that we would be traveling through the Grand Rapids area, and gave us information to contact John and Judy.  We are glad she did.

John and Judy are full-timers, but they have spent the past several months near their hometown.  They met with us at our campsite and helped us share some Michigan wine.  Later we joined them for dinner at a Mexican restaurant.  What nice people.  We certainly hope to see them again.  

OK.  Back to Prophetstown...  There is not much to report other than the tranquil atmosphere.  Our campsite is huge (they all are) and very private -- surrounded on three sides by pine trees.  After setting up camp, Dianne found a shady spot to do a sudoku and have a glass of wine. 

Bandido settled into a comfortable spot on top of the picnic table where he could monitor all the activity (or lack thereof). 

We are looking forward to a quiet evening listening to the tree frogs and cicadas.

The pet picture of the day is a dorky -- very dorky -- picture of me sitting next to my buddy.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Friend Time in Michigan

Hi all, Dianne here.  Not much time to write, but I'll try to update about our fun week so far with our Indiana camping buddies.

We met up with Chuck, Cindy, Pat, Audrey, and of course Sophie, the luckiest dog in Fishers, Indiana, at Wild Cherry RV Resort near Suttons Bay, Michigan.  Cindy and Audrey researched and found this RV Resort last summer when we spent a week together in Holland, Michigan.  

Roger and I arrived first, but were still setting up when the other two RVs pulled in.  We hadn't seen Pat and Audrey since last summer, so it was really good to see them arrive.  Chuck and Cindy visited us in Mission, Texas this March, but it is always good to meet up again.

Cindy and Pat have taken advantage of the free golf holes right next to our sites.  We've all enjoyed the view of the tranquil lake, surrounded by cat tails, right behind our RVs.

Despite the heat wave gripping the U.S., we've found comfortable seating in the shade for happy hour each evening.  

Bandido and Sophie started up their never-ending wrestling match that they began this March in Texas.

Day One included an afternoon at a dog-friendly beach.  It was so hot that Roger dipped Chaplin into the water to cool him off. After toughing it out for a while, we all concluded it was just too hot and went back to the RV park.  

Even our Sportbrellas (Audrey and Pat have one, too) didn't protect us from the heat this time.

On the way back we stopped for ice cream and visited the 1852 Grand Traverse lighthouse inside Leelanau State Park.  

Pat and Audrey climbed the lighthouse tower and toured the inside, while the rest of us wandered around the grounds with the dogs.

Day Two found the six of us (without the dogs) touring some of the local wineries.  Not too many dry reds here (short growing season), but some very nice whites and, of course, we had to try the local specialty, cherry wine.

One of the wineries, Black Star Farms, also makes a special raclette cheese, both aged and mild, right there at the winery.
Roger especially liked their Arcturos pinot noir rose, and we brought a bottle home.

They have an interesting "bunker" where they age their cheese and wine.

One of the very fun wineries was in Glen Arbor.  The Cherry Republic was a wonderland of all things cherry!  Cherry salsa, cherry barbecue sauce, TONS of free samples, candy, wine, etc. etc.  Pat and Audrey purchased some local cherry soda.  

Roger enjoyed the cherry hard cider, and I bought some barbecue sauce and salsa (after tasting the delicious samples). 

Another winery, Chateau Fontaine, had a very interesting wall inside the bathroom in addition to a  very nice 2009 Pinot Gris.  The wine pourer explained to us that it was the owner's "wine education":
(A whole wall of used corks!)

Day Three was a road trip to Traverse City, lunch (including cherry pie, of course), and shopping.

Day Four was a trip to a different nearby beach, this time without the dogs.  Another hot, hot day, but this time there was more of a breeze.  

We spent a lot of the time in the water, which was so clear and surprisingly cool (or cold, depending on who you ask) despite being so shallow we could wade waist deep 150 yards out.
The different shades of blue indicate the water depth, showing just how far out the shallow water goes.

Roger took a photo of his feet through the water, showing just how clear the water is here at Suttons Bay Beach.

We have two days left.  Not sure the agenda yet -- we're letting the other two couples decide on the activities, since we've already had a month in Michigan.  Tonight is my last night to cook (we each took two nights).  Tomorrow night we plan to eat out, on a quest for some local whitefish.

The pet photo of the day shows Chaplin during happy hour.  He's very content to hang out with the adults and stay out of the constant frenzy of activity surrounding Bandido and Sophie!