Exploring the Bruce

Bruce Peninsula

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I mentioned our trip up the Bruce Peninsula in last week’s blog, but we wanted to try a little video presentation, so if you’d like to see the waves crash, give it a watch:

 

 

Illegal Pie!

When we crossed the border from Canada back to the USofA, we were asked if we had any illegal substances aboard.  Fruit qualifies.  I told the nice officer I thought we had about 4 peaches in the fridge.  He said they are not legal to bring into the States, asked a few more questions, and then said you are free to go… Eat those peaches!  It turns out we had 6 of them, and some strawberries too.  We decided to get rid of all the evidence quickly; we made a pie!  An experimental, illegal substance pie.  Cherryl ground the wheat, making the flour; I made the crust, and she made the awesome Peach-Strawberry Pie innards.  Our crust didn’t work too well – not very pretty and a little too healthy tasting 😉 but overall the pie was a success!  The insides made good topping for breakfast pancakes!

 

iPhone Photo Class

We saw a class offered on creative portrait photography… and had great fun with it.  I’m only going to show you a few…

Cherryl’s self portrait as reflected in a Tesla:

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And a shot of both of us. Can you figure it out?

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Mundane Life Events

Just in case you think exploring Our Next Horizon is a never ending Avalanche of Adventure, we present this short description of one of the more mundane aspects of nomad life:

 

Another not so thrilling event is getting service done.  Here is an early morning deposit of our home to get its filters and fluids changed. (How often do you do that for your home??)

 

We were also going to have any open recalls addressed, and fix a sticky blinker switch.  I thought we should do it soon, as I was told our 3 year warranty was over sometime mid- November. The service guy told me it was good we brought it in when we did… the warranty was up the NEXT DAY!  The part needed for the blinker switch is backordered, but no problem with the warranty because I started the repair in time.  We will have to get it finished somewhere else… but saved a bunch by getting it started!  God is Good!

Camping in Michigan

 

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Notice we had a lake view from the front right side of our house…  😉

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O Canada!

Algoma Central Railway

The railway was incorporated in 1899, with the intention of making a line all the way to Hudson’s Bay.  They started north from Sault Ste. Marie, but by 1914 they had given up on reaching the Bay.  It was used for some lumber and ore transport, but what really made it big was the famous “Group of Seven”.  Haven’t heard of the Group of Seven?  Then I guess you aren’t Canadian.  Seven artists rented a boxcar, fitted it out kind of like a motorhome, and spent the summer of 1918 on side tracks of the railway, painting their impressions of the beautiful landscape.  They had so much fun they did it for about 5 more years.  Their work was to Canada like Thomas Moran’s paintings were to the U.S. and Yellowstone.  (If you don’t know about him, look it up.  His work was a lot of the reason Yellowstone was made into our first National Park, and that started the whole National Park thing elsewhere in the world). (but I digress…)  So the Group of Seven popularized the Sault Ste. Marie area and the train, and now it runs daily 114 miles (4.5 hours) up into a beautiful park, lets you hike for 90 minutes, and then ride back again.

Most of the native animals avoid the noisy train, and stay out of sight.  But when the railway was being built, they noticed Bull Moose seemed to be drawn by the train whistle or horn.  During mating season they would sometimes try to challenge the trains!  They tell of one Moose that stood in the middle of the track, staring down the engine. Even when the engineer gently pushed him, he turned and walked… right down the tracks for a long way.  He might have to give in, but not too easily!

I never shoot through glass or from moving vehicles… unless I am on a train, in Canada, and it’s raining, and the windows don’t open anyway.

 

Once at the park, it was raining like crazy.  And we, like crazy, hiked all over in the rain.  First destination was a lookout post.  What did we think we would see??  Well, it was beautiful, but quite soggy!

 

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Then we took the trail to Black Beaver Falls (below left) and Bridal Veil Falls (below other).

 

The last part of the trail was so rain-soaked we walked on the tracks most of the way back.  And it was nice to know the train couldn’t leave without us if we were standing on the tracks!  Rather like a Moose.

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So, soaking wet made the trip back home seem quite long.  We were cold and soggy and very glad to get back to a nice warm home!

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Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre

Bushplanes are the only way in or out of much of the Canadian forest lands.  This museum is dedicated to the interesting machines (and pilots) who make this land accessible.

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A large part of the exhibit is about fire fighting… Canadians seem to rule the world when it comes to using planes for fire fighting.  One model of their awesome planes can skim over a lake and pick up 6,000 pounds of water in 12 seconds!  They drop millions of gallons of water on forest fires in an amazingly short time.  They have to be sure there are no ground crews in the dump zone: the weight of the falling water can snap tree limbs and mess up a fire fighters whole day.

So here’s a firefighter and his lookout tower:

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Lunch and Walking

On “Moving Days” we tend to be rolling around lunchtime.  Sometimes we eat as we go (If we really have to be someplace), but often we pull over somewhere, have lunch, and then go for an exploratory walk.  In the middle of nowhere.  Or anywhere.  One day, somewhere east of Sault Ste. Marie, on our after-lunch walk, we came upon an old cemetery.  This stone had an imaginative display:

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There were several French-looking stones that were quite different in tone:

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These are from early 1900’s.  The one on the right died on my birthday, (except almost 50 years prior), at 7 months old.  Sad.

 

Owen Sound

St George’s Anglican Church caught my eye… there are several beautiful churches nearby, but this was the most interesting architecture.

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Bruce Peninsula National Park / Grotto

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It’s rather fun to have a whole region named after one’s self!  The Bruce Peninsula is very picturesque, and very popular.  We have seen several Provincial Parks, which are like our State Parks, but Bruce gets a National Park status.  There are all kinds of Bruce named places and companies and congregations and whatever scattered all over the place.  The Bruce Trail, Canada’s oldest and longest footpath, runs all the way from the Niagra River to the tip of Bruce Peninsula – over 500 miles.  We did a couple hundred yards of it…

Ok, we’d probably have done more, except it was VERY windy and really cold.  The waves breaking over the rocky shoreline were very impressive.  The wind was blowing so violently it was hard to hold still enough to shoot pictures; and the freezing fingers didn’t help out much!

 

A nice hike through the forest leads to a rock arch and a deep grotto.  This area is so popular in the summer that you have to reserve a parking time slot ahead of time.

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I will say I wasn’t the least bit tempted to jump… but this sign makes it look like some have been.

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The Sweet Shop in town had some more fun signs:

 

Canadian Campsites

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Yoopers!

For the last week we have been associating with Yoopers.  Voluntarily!  Seems that residents of Michigan’s U.P., or Upper Peninsula, are called Yoopers.  And very nice ‘ers they are.  We’ve enjoyed their beautiful environment.

 

Sand Point Lighthouse

Construction was started on Sand Point Lighthouse in 1864.  John Terry was appointed to be the light keeper, but he died just before the lighthouse was finished.  His wife, Mary, lit the lamp for the first time on May 13, 1868. (Happy Bday Lori!)  She ended up serving as the light keeper until 1886 when she died in a “mysterious fire” in the lighthouse.  Was it an accident?  Or was she murdered, the lighthouse robbed, and fire set to cover the deed? It was never discovered what really happened…

The lighthouse was shut down in 1939 when a new light was installed in the harbor.

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The harbor at Sand Point was very peaceful.

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Sunrise from our bedroom window:

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Mackinac Island

This beautiful island is named for the reaction my Dad would have had here:
Mac – in – awe.  Sometimes it is spelled with a “w” as the last letter, most of the time with a “c”.  Usually the pronunciation is blamed on the Indians who lived here, but I think it more likely the French influence.  They seem to love lots of letters that they don’t bother to pronounce.

The trip to the island starts with loading our bikes onto a ferry, at a very nice terminal.

The ferry takes only about 15 minutes, and gives a nice view of the Mackinac Bridge.  Some of the ferries throw up a big “rooster tail” of water, looking to me like the most inefficiently trimmed jet boat ever.  I asked the captain of our ferry about that… He said they have a third diesel engine just to pump water up and out the back like that – just for show.  Make the kiddies happy!  They are powered with two diesels running huge props.

 

 

The most prestigious lodging on the island is the Grand Hotel:

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The island is unique in that no cars are allowed.  Transportation is by bicycle or horse drawn carriages.  Or of course, you can use your feet.  The architecture is elegant, the scenery gorgeous… just watch out on the street for all the exhaust from the horse drawn vehicles!

There must be 500 shops selling fudge!

 

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The bike trails are plentiful and plenty pretty.  Sometimes a bit challenging to avoid horse exhaust…

 

A stone arch makes for a nice framed ocean view:

 

Sugar Loaf Rock stands all alone it its clearing, much larger than it appears in the photo:

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From the lookout you can see it rising far above the treeline.

 

While at the lookout, a pair of Bald Eagles flew right by us!  Magnificent!

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The main fort on the island is Fort Mackinac (Who’d have guessed?) which is NOT pictured here.  This is Fort Holmes, up above the much larger fort, and on the highest point of the island.  This is a re-creation, but very interesting to note construction techniques and a great place to eat lunch!

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We have a photo (somewhere) of both of our lovely daughters on this cannon, taken many years ago.  Sorry they couldn’t be here this time!

 

Here’s the Arch Rock from sea level:

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Everything is so well manicured, it’s hard to tell the golf courses from the hotel lawns.

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Three Churches

The first is the evangelical protestant Mission Church.  Built in 1829, it hosted very simple worship services, in a very modest interior with enclosed pews.

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In marked contrast to the Mission Church is the Saint Anne’s Church.  This Catholic congregation got started on the island in 1670.  It later moved to the mainland in St. Ignace, and later again moved to what is now Mackinac City.  The first church dedicated to Saint Anne was built in 1742.  In 1780 the building was moved across the ice to the island, near the fort, and then later moved to this site.  This church structure was built in 1874.  I can’t believe all the moving!!  And you will notice this is far more ornate, with fancy woodwork and impressive stained glass windows.IMG_1860

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The third church I’m featuring here is the “Little Stone” Church.  It was built by the Union Congregational Church in 1904, and 10 years later they added hand painted stained glass windows.  These have almost photo-like images for the faces, and the scenes depict the progress of the protestant movement on the island.

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The Grand Hotel

If you are privileged to stay at the Grand, you must arrive in a classy carriage.

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These two seemed dressed appropriately, (I’m pretty sure they worked there) but the fascination with the cell phones somewhat ruined the effect.

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There were hundreds of butterflies in the flower gardens… so I shot a few.

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Before we left, we had to get something at what is billed as America’s Oldest Grocery Store.  I’m not sure how they have decided this.  Maybe they sell the oldest groceries??

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Ste. Anne’s from the water:

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A little lighthouse guarding the harbor entrance:

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Back home

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In a park Gladstone, MI, is this interesting collection of concrete figures, made around 1910, to honor the Indians who were there first.  They are life sized, and remarkably colorful.

 

The park in Gladstone

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We’ve heard many times that Lake Michigan is very high right now.  We’ve seen docks either underwater, or floating way off kilter, but this playground was the most striking evidence we’ve seen so far!

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Another sign (literally) is this rock.  “Chi-Sin” or “Big Rock” sits near the shore as a water level indicator.  I include this sign here to show how it is usually far out of the water…

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And here it is today… the one on the left.  Under a fair bit of water.

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McGulpin Point Lighthouse

… was closed.  So you don’t have to read a lot of history about it.

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So now we have moved our home to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada.  Talk about funny pronunciations… “Sault” is pronounced “Sioux”.  Does that help?  Or “Sue” if you’re not French. Or “Sue” if you’re a lawyer.

Anyway, “Sault” means “Rapids”, so the name is really “Saint Mary’s Rapids”.  The rapids have been augmented by a series of locks, so the resulting channel is a huge shipping route from Lake Superior to Lake Huron, and eventually out to the Atlantic.  [The locks are called the “Soo Locks”, just to further complicate things!]

The St. Mary’s river forms the border between the USA and Canada.  A walk along the Canadian shore in the evening was fascinating, both in the beautiful colors present and the interesting swirling of the water coming from the locks.

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Opening Door County

Becky’s Birthday

We gave our daughter a surprise birthday party in our “home”.  It was fun because our grandkids helped decorate and did a pretty good job of not letting the cat out of the bag…

At least Becky acted surprised!

Nothing better than a good bowl of Melting Ice Cream Birthday Cake!

 

Omro Wisconsin

We had a great time for about two weeks at their house, and then it was time to move on.     We were headed for Door County, Wisconsin.  We are trying to have short driving days, to help us remember we’re retired and don’t have to do 9 hour marathon driving days.  So we stopped at a campground in Omro.  No frills, just long level sites and electrical hookups.  Water and dump station near the office.  But only $15.  A great place if you are just passing through.

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Door County

A small peninsula cuts from eastern Wisconsin into Lake Michigan, and creates Green Bay on its western shore.  A couple of miles north of the tip of this promontory is Washington Island.  The small stretch of water between the peninsula and the island looks fairly safe, but storms can arise almost instantly out of nowhere and turn it into a very treacherous channel.  When French trappers arrived here in the early 1600’s, the local Indians told about how many lives had been lost in making that crossing.  They gave the channel the attractive name “Porte des Morts”, or “Door of Death”.  Over the years the peninsula was called the Door of Death Peninsula, and then just Door Peninsula, and now is officially Door County.  We haven’t yet braved crossing the Door of Death, but we sure are impressed with how beautiful everything is here!  We had loosely planned to stay maybe five days… but have extended our reservation to ten days.

It has rained a lot since we’ve arrived, but we still love it here.  We’ve spent a little time riding bikes through the forest, looking at nice beaches, checking out quaint towns, shopping at huge produce markets, and eating very well!  (We have made some awesome scones, and some terrific home made bread in our convection oven.  Our first baking in the convection oven has turned out very well, and we are encouraged!  Some have said you can’t bake in convection… WRONG!)  

Last night was our 43rd anniversary! (Congrats to us!)  We went out to dinner and then to an interesting theatrical venue.  The Peninsula Players have been doing professional Summer Stock productions for 84 years on the shore of Green Bay!  They are the longest running professional summer theater in the country.

The play was called “George Washington’s Teeth”, and I thought as part of my ongoing professional continuing education I really should see it. 😉  It was well done and fun, but the coolest part was the beautiful grounds and facility.  Right on the bay, they have a lot of chairs in a lightly wooded area, and a large bonfire.  I’ve never sat on a log by a lakeshore 5 minutes before curtain time before!  I didn’t take any pictures there, but here is a promo of the company you might enjoy.  If you don’t like it, I didn’t make it, so fine…

 

We are staying at the Wagon Trail Campground near the northern tip of Door County.  They claim to “Specialize in Quiet Nights and Secluded Sites”.  Our spot is both quiet and secluded, and absolutely gorgeous.

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Many trails lead from the campsite off into the forest.  Our bikes really aren’t mountain bikes, but managed these trails adequately.  Absolutely beautiful!

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The water is high now, so lots of docks are low in the water or under water.  We’ve had a lot of rain, and sometimes a lot of wind as well.

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The little towns are adorable.  I plan on shooting architecture photos next week,  but here’s a cute house on the highway.

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We took a Trolley Tour from Egg Harbor up through the Peninsula State Park and around the old town of Ephraim.  The driver/tour guide was a lot of fun, and described almost everything as the “Best in the country” or “Best in the world”.  Who knows? Maybe he’s right!

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State Fair!

Minnesota State Fair

I’ll admit it… I thought it was super crowded at the International Pathfinder Camporee at Oshkosh.  Close to 60,000 people, close to each other… close enough for me.  Well, the Minnesota State Fair has roughly 225,000 people EVERY DAY!  And even more the day we went! (I’m sure they didn’t count us).

It was great fun, and greatly tiring!  Exhibits, Dock Jumping Dog Shows, Lumberjack and Lumberjill Shows, Lots of Carnival Rides, Tons of “Eat only at State Fair Food”, uncountable Animals, and PEOPLE!  I’m sure we saw about 5% of what was available, and that took most of the day!

I was told that you are almost required (by tradition) to buy a bucket of cookies from Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar.  This Sweetie has three locations on the fairgrounds where you can buy a cup or a bucket of chocolate chip cookies (what other types are there?). Some folks waited 45 mins or more in line to get their cookies!  We got our bucket miles from the entrance and spent only 5 mins in line…  They make well over 2 million cookies per day!! That’s 200,000 per hour! In the 12 days of the State Fair, they go through 54 tons of chocolate chips and 62 tons of flour!  Huge trays come out of the ovens, and while you watch, the workers scoop them into buckets, overflowing the top to dangerous levels!  If you do the math, it seems like everyone attending the fair must eat 10 cookies… As you might guess, I tried to do my share.  Awesome cookies, straight out of the oven…

Here is my attempt to document our day at the fair:

 

The next day we decided to watch Rogers & Hammerstein’s movie “State Fair”.  You’ve got to love the lyrics of the theme song:

“Our State Fair is a great State Fair – don’t miss it, don’t even be late.
It’s Dollars to Doughnuts that our State Fair is the best State Fair in our State”

 

Fun with Less People

A little time bike riding (Some with wheels on feet) took us to a nice park, playground, and a small lake.

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Home Projects

I had the privilege of helping Kevin with an exciting home project… I’ll show you more when it is finished!  We got to use plenty of wood working tools and feel very manly! 😉

I also am working on a couple projects for our Fudge Ripple Home on Wheels.  A few weeks ago I installed a water softener, which provides nice soft water regardless of what the water is like where we stop.  At the same time I got a water De-ionizer, and a small pressure washer, for cleaning the coach.  It removes EVERYTHING from the water (except the water itself).  When you wash or at least rinse with De-I water, it dries without any spotting.  A great way to keep the coach looking new!  The hard part is finding a place to install it!  I wanted to use empty space under the hood (in front of the motorhome) and not take up valuable storage space in the basement.  I’ve had to move the airhorns, and the windshield washer fluid reservoir, and some other small parts, to make room.  So now the pump and tanks are installed, and ALL I have left to do is get water and power to the whole thing.

 

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And so ends another long week…

What’sa Wissota?

After leaving the scene of the Camporee, we started out towards our kid’s place in Minnesota.  We figure being retired gives us the right to only travel a few hours per day… So we spent a quiet weekend in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin on the way.  We didn’t see any falls, but did spend some time at the Lake Wissota State Park.

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The lake was created in 1917 when a hydroelectric dam was completed at the confluence of five rivers.  One of the engineers on the project took the first syllable of Wisconsin and the last two of Minnesota and came up with a name for the lake they created.

A small village was built nearby to house the 700 or so workers that would build the dam.  It was complete with water and sewer systems, houses, bungalows, bunkhouses, a central dining hall and a school.  In 1918 the dam was producing electricity at a rate  equivalent of 1,120 tons of coal per day.  Today that’s worth about 16,000 homes.

 

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A surprising amount of the State Park is prairie.  Very pretty and makes for nice bike rides (Level!)

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Our campsite in Chippewa Falls was quiet and peaceful.  We’d requested a site with full hookups, and when I showed up the camp host wanted to show it to me in case I wanted to choose a different site.  He was afraid, with our big rig, it would be too difficult to back into.  I assured him it turns sharper than one might think, and that I would try it.  It involved a reverse U-turn, but with my faithful wife on the wireless radio to guide me, we made it in one seamless turn.  He had left, but was watching from a little ways down the road.  He then came up and said I needed to give him lessons on backing up; he was very impressed.  He talked about that to anyone who would listen all weekend.  Funny.

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Camporee Cleanup

The Camporee is History

The Camporee ended with a bang, literally, as a HUGE fireworks show lit up the sky forever!  I heard many kids say they had never seen a show this amazing!  There is only so much an iPhone can do to capture the essence of a fireworks show!  It was a fitting culmination of a great time for thousands of happy campers!

The first part of the week the campers left, and we and MANY others took everything apart.  The stage alone was put on at least 24 semi trailers. (Some may have left before I could count them).  More than 50 semi trailers were filled with other supplies and equipment.

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The tear down pictures basically look just like putting it up – in reverse

 

We turned in our golf cart – there were 1,000 golf carts for workers to use. (Coincidentally there were also 1,000 Porta Potties added to the existing bathrooms for the EAA camp).

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This is what 1,000 golf carts look like

 

We watched them stack dumpsters three high, and line them all up, getting ready for something huge to cart them off.  I figured over 200 dumpsters in one area alone!

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Hundreds of dumpsters, stacked 3 high

 

We were privileged to have our new friend Winston, and long time friends Marilyn Oliver and Pastor Ron Whitehead (Head man over all this awesome Camporee) over for dinner after things got a little quieter Monday evening.  Winston couldn’t believe he got to meet Ron, so we did a short video so his family would believe him! Winston supervised cooking fresh corn in coconut milk, garlic, turmeric and curry – Fantastic!

 

It was a little sad to see everything taken apart, and the place empty out… but a little peace was good too!

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EAA Again

Last week I tried to go through the EAA museum, but it was insanely crowded.  I decided it would be better to do it this week, after the Camporee Crowd had left.  After our Maranatha team had finished its work, and the whole place cleared out, I figured I should be able to spend lots of time looking at the fabulous displays in the museum.  My new buddy Winston wanted to go too, so we spent the morning at the museum… but not inside.  We chose to go outside, to “Pioneer Airport” – a re-creation of a 1930’s style airport.  There are plenty of planes to look at in hangers there, but the best part is being able to fly in some of them!

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Sculpture of generations of flight near Pioneer Airport

 

Winston had told me that when he was a young man, growing up in Trinidad, he wanted to be a pilot.  He even got accepted into a flying school, but his father squashed the idea.  He has only been in a small GA aircraft once.  I figured he needed to get in an old biplane! (And of course I did too…)

My flight was in a 1927 Swallow.  This particular plane is believed to be the oldest plane still flying paying passengers!  It looks pretty good for being 92 years old!  The Swallow was designed to support a new industry: air mail.  This plane never carried mail, but is special because its first owner was the first woman in the state of New York to own an airplane. She loved flying, and even flew advertising flights for Old Gold cigarettes. (I forgive her)

The Swallow now has a larger engine, still a radial, and has had an electrical system and radio added.  But she’s basically the same gal she was in 1927!  We did a couple gentle maneuvers; a lazy 8 and a stall.  A great way to see the countryside!

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My Pilot, sitting in the seat behind me…

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Winston’s flight was in a 1929 Travel Air E-4000.  Travel Air was state of the art in those days, and built rugged airplanes suited for the grass runways then available.  The three principals of the company had worked building the Swallow, and proposed some enhancements to their boss.  He refused to listen to any ideas of change, so they all quit, and started Travel Air.  Their plane was very successful, but ironically, when it was time to improve on their design, they couldn’t agree which way to go.  So they all quit and formed their own companies.  They were Clyde Cessna, Walter Beech, and Lloyd Stearman…  Those of you who like airplanes will know those names and their companies!

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The only crazy thing… we spent our whole time in Pioneer Airport, and I never got to see more of the museum inside.  Guess I’ll have to come back! 😉

 

 

Pine Harbor Campground

We are now in a pretty wooded campground in Chippewa, Wisconsin.  Looking forward to a peaceful weekend.

55,000 Thousand People!

Here we are with over 55,000 others at the International Pathfinder Camporee in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  This is the main stage being assembled last week, in preparation for the evening meetings.  It was built with the top layer first, then raised up a bit, and another layer installed under the top layer, and so on for several layers.

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The theme is “Chosen” – saying we are chosen of God, and we need to choose to respond to Him as well.  Every evening there has been a play portraying a part of David’s life, how he was chosen of God, and times when he trusted God and times he failed to do so.  The production has been very well done, and the stage, scenery and effects are great.

We are fortunate to be staying in our “home on wheels” in an area of RV’s.  We have full hookups and are very comfortable.  The pictures below were taken from on our roof.  You’ll notice the “street” in front of us is pretty open and not busy.  Most other places in this huge area are packed with tents.  In these pictures it looks like RV’s go on forever – but that is only about 2 percent of the real estate here.  The tents literally go on for miles. We walked a big circle around maybe a quarter of the lot before everyone arrived and it was 3 miles.

When all these people arrived, they hit local stores, like Walmart, to get things they had forgotten or had decided not to take with them.  They also needed food to feed their groups. Here are pictures of empty shelves at the Walmart where fruits and vegetables should have been.  Camping supplies were also sold out.

 

 

 

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It is impossible to describe what over 55K people on one big field look like!  People as far as you can see!

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Over 100 countries are represented here, and they all are very proud of their flags!

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There have been hundreds of activities for the kids – I have no idea how they even decide what they would like to do!  We’ve spent a few hours just looking around at the tents full of educational opportunities, entertaining shows, delicious foods and lots more.  They have had hundreds of kids donate over 30,000 hours of community service in the Oshkosh area.  We’ve seen evidence of horseback riding, water skiing, and basketball competitions. The plethora of things to do would give you a headache!

 

EAA

Of course this is at the Experimental Aircraft Association grounds in Oshkosh… so one has to visit the amazing EAA museum.  We got far too little time there; I think we’ll come back next week when the crowds are a bit less!

The machine on the bottom right is a weight and balance calculator for old bombers.  It would let you calculate all the parameters before you actually loaded fuel and payload.

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A section is dedicated to the “Rutan Legacy”- Burt and Dick Rutan and their amazing unconventional aircraft.  Space Ship One in the foreground here was the first non-government manned spacecraft that was able to go to space and back, and again within 2 weeks.   Voyager was the first manned (and womaned) aircraft to fly around the world without refueling.  11 days in a cockpit far smaller than a regular twin bed.  Amazing!

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After spacecraft it only seems fitting to include a moon shot of my own- last night was a beautiful full moon.

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Doing Duluth

Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, Minneapolis

Becky and the grandkids spent an afternoon with us at the zoo.  Giraffes figured prominently…

The conservatory portion is very pretty, but we only saw it from the outside.  Grandkids are more interested in animals… but it did look like Peter would loved to have walked in among the water lilies like the worker was doing.

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Our cute grandkids got to feed a giraffe!

Headed North

With all three families together, we loaded up Kevin’s Polaris General, and headed for a rented Lake House, a bit north of Duluth, Minnesota…

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Lake Superior Marine Museum & Maritime Visitor Center

The focal point of this museum area in Duluth is the Aerial Lift Bridge.  It is one of only two of this type in the world, the other being in France.  Built in 1905, it originally had a trolley car suspended from the top structure, and would take pedestrians across for a nickel.  Horses and carriages and even some cars made the trip.  With car traffic becoming more common, the bridge was upgraded in 1930 by having a roadway that lifts straight up.  The roadway weighs about 900 tons, but with that same amount of counterweights, it is said it takes very little electricity to open or close it.

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A land locked tug:

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Island Lake, Minnesota

Our hosts for the beautiful lake house warned us that some phone wires would be too low for the motorhome… but they have done this before and had a special stick made to lift them so we could drive under!

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The house was on the shore of Island Lake.  You may notice a few islands!

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Sunrise over the lake:

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An early morning double rainbow seemed a great omen…

 

 

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We had several kayaks, a paddle board, a paddle boat, and several tubes.  Time spent playing in and on the water was wonderful!

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We also got some fun rides in “The General”… and it’s never really done till you get stuck!

Here is a short video recap of our time on the lake and on the trail…

 

Split Rock Lighthouse

1905 saw some of the worst storms Lake Superior has ever seen.  29 ships were lost that year in one storm alone.  With Radar and GPS decades away from being invented, during a storm it was very hard for ships to navigate and stay off the very rocky coastlines.  In response to that disastrous year, the Split Rock lighthouse was created.  The 133 foot cliff was a great spot for a light, but there were no roads anywhere near it.  So a derrick was built to lift all the supplies up the steep cliff to build the beacon.  For years it was only accessible by boat, but now the road makes it much easier (and safer) to visit the lighthouse.  While there we were treated to a torrential downpour, complete with extremely close lightning and deafening thunder!  It added to the mystique of the old lighthouse!

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