Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa

Windows 8 - %@*$& - Arghhhh!
I look forward to the day when I can say “I just love my new computer!” In the meantime, it is a struggle. Seems that everything is so different. My apologies that there won't be any photos in this blog posting – haven't learned much about photos yet.

Michigan's Upper Peninsula – trees, trees and more trees!
This is a beautiful place – lots of trees along the southerly route I took to go from the high and long toll bridge to get from lower and upper Michigan. The highway goes through many small to tiny towns. I chose a campground sort of in the middle of the peninsula – and across from the entrance to the 95,000 acre Seney National Wildlife Refuge. It was established in 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt The diverse habitats, including provide a home to a wide variety of plant and wildlife species. And I got to see many of them during the three-hour driving tour.

Wisconsin – finally back in agricultural country
Dairy farms and feed crops provided a different kind of beauty. I enjoyed sunsets and sunrises and miles of mowed grasses. I found two nice RV campgrounds, staying in one of them for three nights to enjoy the family of Bald Eagles that nested nearby. My campsite backed up to the Chetek River – peaceful and beautiful.

Minnesota – back with friends and family
First stop was Annandale, Minnesota, for a few days with Elizabeth and Mike, friends I met while volunteering at McDowell Mountain Park outside Phoenix. Besides some good visiting and walking time, Elizabeth signed me up to help with the town's 28th annual triathlon; I was posted at a busy intersection where I was to keep the spectators from encroaching on the bicycle course. Jeremiah parked easily in the driveway of their home, a few blocks from downtown and a stone's throw from Pleasant Lake. Elizabeth and I, and another friend of hers, spent an early evening lazily kayaking in the lake. On my last evening there, I enjoyed a band concert that the Annandale Community Band – Elizabeth plays the flute – performed for a nearby senior center.

Medford, Minnesota, on a farm
The same farm my mother visited when she was a child. I parked Jeremiah under huge trees with views of corn fields, sounds coming from cows, pigs and several dogs, and had sweet visiting time with my mom's cousin Gloria. I also played my 'every-other-year' game of progressive rummy with family members.

And the weather turned cold! Nights were in the high 40s and days were chilly, too, Good weather to stay inside – besides the mosquitoes were abundant – to work on a very difficult jigsaw puzzle (had less than half down when I left), read and work crossword puzzles. I braved the mosquitoes long enough to pull some rhubarb that I cooked down to make a delicious sauce.

Iowa – that's where the tall corn grows!
And the state of my birth 75 years ago. Jeremiah is parked at Pinicon Ridge Campground where Sharon and Jim, also friends from my McDowell Mountain Park days, are volunteer hosts here in summers. Campsites are large and parking areas are graveled and level. The Wapsipinicon River flows through the park and now has a lovely bridge that gets campers from one side to the other. Yesterday I spent the afternoon with Sharon and a group of ladies who make small blankets that they give away. It was quite a production! This evening it is a fish fry for friends from their school years.

Westward Ho tomorrow – Wednesday, July 31
My destination will be the Kansas City area to visit my cousins. Then after backtracking a little bit, I'm hoping to visit friends (also from McDowell Park) on the Missouri side of Kansas City. Stops after that will take me north into Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota before heading west again.

Your thought for this posting is an Italian proverb:

After the game, the King and the pawn go into the same box.