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volume 3                         September 1992                         number 5
Our Summer in Michigan
Family, Friends, and Cherries
It has been a cold, rainy summer in Michigan this year, but our stay was made warm and wonderful by family visits and the friendship of the staff at our home Coast to Coast park, Smoke Rise in Davison, Michigan. 

When we discovered Smoke Rise Resort two years ago, we hoped that by joining, our families would come to enjoy the facilities and see us at the same time.  The location was perfect --- just one hour from Lansing and two of Ron's kids and 45 minutes from Ron's sister, my Mom and one sister. It wasn't that far from other family members either. And the facilities are first class. It is the nicest Coast to Coast campground we have visited. This summer is the first time we have been back to Smoke Rise since we purchased our membership and we are tickled that we had lots of family visits.


Our first guests were Gail and Ray (Ron's sister and brother-in-law).  They came for dinner one night. Next to visit was my mother but that visit was cut short (see Family News pg 2). Marty (Ron's daughter) came with two of her children for one full day. Ryan and Kailee had fun at the beach and grandpa enjoyed having them (I was at the hospital with my mother most of the day). 

Ron's son Kurt brought a tent and stayed over a weekend. The tenting area at Smoke Rise, is in a wooded section resembling a national forest but a few steps through the woods --- civilization. Kurt was with his girlfriend Jodi and two teen age boys (her son and a friend).  The boys fished most of the first day and well into the night, and played volleyball etc. They had fun.

Karl (Ron's son), Donna and their children stopped by for a day and left 4-1/2 yr old Richard and 6 yr old Mary for two nights.The weather wasn't too good, but we had fun.  We taught them how to play Uno and were amazed at how well they understood and played. Kids are smarter these days.

My sister Beth and her four girls came for two days and stayed in one of the cabins right on the lake. The girls (Laura, Kathleen, Colleen and Allison) kept busy the whole time with basketball, volleyball, table tennis, swimming and fishing and the teenagers seemed to find the boys in camp or was it the other way around? 

Ron's mom who was visiting in Michigan came out and stayed one night.  She is getting used to our little house and her bed here (the dinette makes into a bed). Her visit was an opportunity to see her newest great grandchild, Taylor. Ron's daughter Susie, her husband Ross and 10 month daughter Taylor were in Michigan for a month (they live in Newburgh, NY) so they came and stayed in a cabin with Ron's other daughter Marty, her husband Bryan and three children Erika, Ryan and Kailee. They two days of swimming at the beach and pool, fishing, bike riding, campfires and good talks.

So just like we talk about in the book, family visits are important and can be easily arranged.  We can't wait until next time and plan to host a couple of reunions at Smoke Rise---Ron's family then mine.

The rest of our time in Michigan was taken up with doctor and dentist appointments, several great seminars on full-timing. We also did some other book business (see book report pg 9).  We never lacked for something to do in fact, we were so busy that we didn't get to do some of the things we wanted to do. 


              by Ron

It's easy to see why Leelanau Peninsula is so popular. It produces three wonderful products: cherries, wine and white fish. We sampled them all. 

Friend Jim Neve certainly knows how to prepare baked white fish---delicious. You can buy fresh or smoked white fish on the dock at the Leland harbor.

Once again we are indebted to mechanic son-in-law Bryan Graham. He not only replaced a broken power steering hose in minutes, but replaced our rear duals and house battery at cost. Thanks Bryan. 

My sixtieth passed without much trauma and I certainly don't feel older. It is a good excuse, however, to get out of some things. I don't feel the need to "prove" myself in those reunion sports events anymore. It's a nice feeling.

I can't imagine that other people have grandchildren as smart as mine. I do wish, however, that Richard would have let me win once in a while at Uno.

We have fun dreaming about a new motor home. Barb certainly deserves one and it will happen one day. I only want one accessory ---a musical horn that plays "On the Road Again" so I can play it as we leave the campground. I heard one at Smoke Rise and sure would like to have one. It could also play the MSU fight song. 

Fruits and vegetables are the order of the day now that we are out of Michigan and we are certainly in a good place to mend our ways. Up state New York has an abundance of roadside vegetable and fruit stands. I promise to get skinny. 

We left Smoke Rise on Thursday July 30th and headed towards Northport, but on the way up, stopped in Cadillac to visit Gene and Donna Beyer. They are RVers but not full-time. Although Donna retired from the State of Michigan nearly one year ago, Gene still works. He is the office manager for MDOT's Cadillac office. They have a beautiful old home in town and I was impressed with all the stately homes in that city. Neat city!  For a minute, I wanted to buy a big house there and settle down --- you know how I am!  We parked our house next to theirs on a nice level spot that Gene had cultivated for his Southwind motorhome. Donna fixed a delicious meal (Honolulu Chicken) and we tried to catch up on three years, in just one evening. 

We left the next morning for Northport (north of Traverse City) and a week long visit with friends Jim and Norma Neve. We won't discuss the pinochle games we played till late most evenings (those men must cheat), but the other things we did were great. The first night, we drove into Traverse City to take advantage of the Elks buffet and dancing --- like old times. 

On Sunday we went to the chicken dinner at Holy Rosary Parish. It was out of this world. They served 1230 dinners which included 2,500 lbs of chicken, 105 lbs of bread made into the most delicious stuffing we have ever eaten, mashed potatoes, tangy home made sole slaw, cucumbers in sour cream, green beans, and home made rolls. For dessert there were pies --- apple, cherry, or lemon meringue all baked at the church. Sue Rosinski, co-ordinater of the dinner said they baked 295 pies for the event. Many of the churches in the peninsula greet the tourists in the summer by holding these dinners.

We spent one afternoon visiting four of the wineries in the peninsula. Michigan produces a good wine and we purchased a few for our wine cellar (the bottom of Ron's closet holds four bottles). Another day, we visited the Peshawbestown (pronounced shaw-be-town) Indian Casino just north of Suttons Bay. Norma is not a gambler, but was a good sport and watched as Ron and Jim played the video poker machines. They were ahead so Norma decided to buy some quarters and try. She didn't even use her whole roll of quarters and parlayed that into over $100. She left with the casino's money and was hooked. We wonder if Jim will be able to keep her out of there now. The rest of us lost.

The cherry harvest
The Leelanau Peninsula is where most of Michigan's cherries are grown. All around the Neve's property are cherry orchards and we were lucky enough to be there at harvest time. Got to see how they shake the trees, catch the cherries, put them into tanks with ice cold water (each tank weighs one ton - 1,000 lbs of cherries and 1,000 lbs of water) and deliver them a mile or so down the road where they get washed with more very cold water and await the semi truck that will take them to the processing plant. The 420 water comes from a very deep well. Cold water is needed to firm up these tart cherries so they can be processed. They are transported in the cold water tanks and at the processing plant, they go one step further and wash them with cooled water (360). We drove the short distance to a local processing plant. At Northern Michigan Fruit Company we got a special tour of the facilities by owner Bob Weaver. The cherries are weighed, graded, sorted, pitted then flash frozen. Bob said his processed cherries are sold to bakeries and also used for flavorings.

Michigan grows four kinds of cherries --- two sweets, a light cherry which is bleached and soaked in brine (ends up as a maraschino cherry) and the tart. 70% of the tart cherries produced in the U.S. come from Michigan and the Traverse City area. Tart cherries end up in the canneries and are the cherry that you use to make pies. Cherries this year were good, but that brought the price down a little. The tart's commercial price was only 35 cents/ lb compared to 50 cents last year. As farmer Norm Neilsen pointed to his orchard overlooking Lake  Michigan he said, "I could make more money if I sold this land for the view."  But he has no intention of getting out of the business;  he was born on this farm and just came back to it for his retirement. It was a great learning experience. 

Don't you agree that even after the most exciting vacation in paradise, it's good to get home and back in your old routine? Somehow it's like a comfy old chair --- good to curl up in with a book. And now that you're home, you might have time to read. Remember how you thought you'd read on your vacation?  Even though eating out is fun, a steady diet of it isn't. Home again, you can fix that favorite dish that only you can fix and you can have your coffee the way you like it and when you like it. Even if your routine means getting up early and going to work, there is comfort in knowing the job and co-workers are there, the mail is in the mailbox and life can get back to normal. 

We carry our house with us so we are really always home but to us being home means being back in our chosen lifestyle---on the road and doing our thing. And even though we had a marvelous vacation in England and six delightful weeks at our home park with lots of family around, it is good to be back home, in our routine and on the road again. 

We like our house, small as it is, our bed, our cooking, time to read, time to work on the computer, listening to a new radio station, driving a new road, visiting a new restaurant, seeing new sights, talking to fellow campers, studying the map and ploting the next stop and packing up and moving down the road. This is our normal routine and after we sit a while, we are ready to get back to normal. This is hard for most people to understand.

When we were at the LBJ ranch last spring, Mary Helen, a fellow volunteer and co-worker, was quite sick. The staff was concerned and wanted to make her comfortable. Ranger Sandy Hodges offered her house and a real bed, but as we would have predicted, it was turned down. The four of us (RVers) discussed this phenomenon: non RVers have a difficult time comprehending anyone feeling at home in an RV. We understood their care and concern, but we are as comfortable in our home and lifestyle as they are in theirs. 

As I write this we are in a campground in up-state New York. We are publishing a little early to finish the chapter on Michigan then we will get busy seeing the sights in the east and will report on all of our adventures. We plan to do some biking around the Finger Lakes, visit the wineries around Hammondsport, check out the White Mountains in New Hampshire, see, hike and bike Acadia National Park, eat sea food in Maine, check out the coast of Connecticut and visit the historic spots in Boston before the next newsletter is printed. But there will be lots of time to be at home in our house too. We don't go
everyday. That's the beauty of this lifestyle. Since we have our house and all it's comforts with us, we are home, no matter where we are, but it's especially good to be on the road again.

This 'N That
by Barb

I did not clean out the storage locker while I was in Michigan. Not because I decided to keep all that stuff either; I just ran out of time and frankly I wasn't in the mood to tackle it. When I looked into some of the things we saved, I just shook my head. Why???  Most of the things we carefully saved do not mean a thing to us anymore and we must get rid of them. Next time we are in Michigan, perhaps we can get our kids together and let them at it; the rest goes to charities. I refuse to have another moving sale --- especially from a storage

I took some of my cook books out of storage temporarily and copied favorite recipes on a new software program, "Micro Cookbook". Now I can clip all the recipes I want, transfering them to disk and it won't take up any room. I put the cookbooks back in storage for dealing with another day. I wish my kids were near. I'd let them have at the books since they love to cook so much. There's no way that I could choose who gets what. Next time!! 

Ron and I took a second trip to the big city of Detroit (besides the trip to be on the radio). We went to the beautifully restored Fox theater to see the movie Casablanca. Yep, the old black and white version. It was like going back in time and fun. Good movie!!

For about one hour before the movie, one can tour the theater (self guiding) while being overwhelmed with the sounds of the gigantic Wurlitzer Organ. It was installed in 1928 at a cost of more than $100,000 and is one of only 5 such instruments created by the Wurlitzer Company.

If you ever get near Detroit, get a Detroit Free Press/News and see what's playing. We went to a matinee to save a few pennies but I'd go anytime.

Our quiz this month deals with the old movie Casablanca. Let me know how you do. I'm sure we have some movie buffs in our readership. 

While down in Detroit, we checked out where I used to live (when I was a youngin') and it got us talking about going back in time. I've always said I'd like to go to different time periods for just a day or two --- just to see what it was like. Anyone share this desire?

I believe in goals so we are making a list of things we want to do before we leave this earth. So far we have:  Sail to a tropical island on a windjammer; Cover the backcountry of Glacier National Park on horseback;  Raft the Colorado, Snake or Salmon rivers;  Take a long bike trip (several days) somewhere in the U.S.;  Visit Scotland (without a bike); Do an auto tour of southern Spain;  Take our house on a Ferry to Alaska then drive back;  Ride the roller coaster at Fiesta Texas (we will do that next spring);  Golf Torey Pines in California; Attend a Rodeo. Have you made your list?

If you ever get to Batavia, NY or any where near it (it is only 15 miles east of Indian Falls Lake Resort CCC park), be sure to go to Sunny's for dinner. It is behind the Mall, right down town and don't be fooled by the dim lighting and atmosphere; it is not expensive. We ordered spaghetti and it was hands down the best I've ever eaten and it was piping hot --- not microwave warmed. They state that all pasta is cooked per order. Each meal comes with an Antipasto, large tossed salad with home made dressings (we had poppy seed, yummy!) and loaf of home made bread. We were so full after eating just a little of
the pasta that we brought it home and it made another whole meal. No kidding!!

We are getting excited at all the up-coming reviews on the book. Our poor little truck looks a little weighed down with 11 cases of books in the back. Please don't lend your copy of the book. Give your friends an order blank or blank piece of paper with the info so they can order their own and we can lighten the truck. Thanks.

What do you remember about this movie?

1.  What year was the movie made?

2.  Can you name the four stars?

3.  Casablanca was nominated for 7 academy awards, but how many did it actually receive (if any)?

4.  Is the phrase "Play it again Sam", which is often quoted from this movie, accurate?

5.  The Lockeed Electra 12A airplane shown taking off at     the end of "Casablanca" is now part of _____________? 


1.  1943

2.  Humphrey Bogart, Ingrid Bergman,  Paul Henreid & Claude Rains

3.  3, Best screenplay, Best Director, Best Movie

4.  NO --- She said,"Play it Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By."  Later Ric says, "If she can stand it, I can.  Play it."

5.  The Great American Movie Ride at Florida's Walt Disney World.

Copyright © 1999, Movin' On with Ron & BarbTM- All Rights Reserved 

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