Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gypsy Journal Seminars

Tuesday morning we went and had coffee and donuts and then started our day of seminars. They had quite a lot to choose from on subjects such as fire safety and other issues related to rvs, computer related such as blogging, using picasa and google earth, , crafts, beginning kayaking and bicycling and many others. Our first class was on fire safety. Of course they start off by scaring you showing a film on how fast a motorhome can burn up. But it is a very important subject and we ended up buying some fire extinguishers to keep in different parts of the motorhome including one that goes behind the refrigerator which is one of the main places fires start. Who knew? They gave a lot of other could tips of this subject. After this we went through the vendor tents and then after having some lunch went to a few more seminars. One is managing digital photos with picasa and the other email issues on the road. They were put on by Geeks on Tour. The "geeks" are Chris and Jim Guld, who have been computer support professionals since the 80's. They decided to full time rv in 2003 and put on seminars and write tutorials and have videos on various computer subjects that are of interest to those of us on the road as will as anyone interested in learning about picasa, blogging and other internet related subjects. We found the seminars to be very helpful.
In the evening Nick had some interesting entertainment. The Hoosier Honey Beauty contest. Pretty funny.
The winner with Nick Russell

The winner was Jim Guld from Geeks on Tour that we didn't realize until the next day when we went to another of their seminars. 

Monday, August 30, 2010

Eastern Gypsy Journal Rally

Monday afternoon we arrived at Elkhart Campground. We checked in and got set up and then went and signed in for the rally. They will be having seminars, vendors with rv related product and some entertainment at night. They also gave out door prices. We got one the first night, which was a $10 off coupon for Applebee's restaurant. They gave a lot of restaurant coupons out the first night so people had time to use them in the area while they were here. Nick is a very funny man. He definitely could be a stand up comedian. In addition to the journal, he writes a separate blog called Nick's Blog about their travels. He also writes a blog called Bad Nick. He is not PC and has his own opinions on a variety of subjects, whether political or everyday life. You can't label him as conservative or liberal as he just speaks his mind. I don't always agree with him but just love reading his blog and the comments he gets from others.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Traveling south through Michigan

We left Sault Saint Marie and crossed the Mackinaw Bridge that we had gone under the other day.
Mackinaw Bridge

We had originally thought about going through eastern Michigan and through Buffalo, NY. However, we read a rv travel site called Gypsy Journal. It is written by Nick Russell and is about his travels in his and his wife, Terry's, life on the road. He is a journalist and works on the road, writing a rv travel newspaper, books and also puts on rv rallies. We decided at last moment to attend the rally Nick and Terry are putting on in Elkhart, Indiana starting on August 30th. We will make a stop in Coppersville, Michigan at a campground called Conestoga Campground. It is in the southwestern portion of the state  and is on the Grand River. We got there late Friday afternoon. We didn't do all that much while there, only venturing out to get some groceries at a Wal Mart in Grand Haven.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

We got a sunny day and so decided to go to Mackinac Island. To get there you need to go by Ferry from Mackinaw City or St Ignace.
The Mackinac Bridge is the one of the world's most beautiful bridges and the longest suspension bridge in the Americas, with a total length of 8,614 feet suspended. It is currently the third longest suspension bridge in the world.
The Straits link Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The 5 mile long Mackinac Bridge (Big Mac) links Michigan's Lower and Upper peninsulas.
Coming into Mackinac Island
Carriage Ride
In 1875, Mackinac (pronounced Mackinaw) became the nation's 2nd National Park. 20 years later the park was turned over to the State of Michigan. 85% of the Island are administered by the Mackinac Island State Park Commission.                                                                                                                                        There are no cars, except a few goverment vehicles such as a police car, ambulance and fire engines, allowed on the island. They are behind closed doors. Transportation is by foot, horse carriages and bikes. We ended up taking a carriage tour through the island.                                                                                 I would love to come back another time and bring our bikes. There is a beautiful trail around the island itself. The tour took us by some museums, arch rock and Fort Mackinac, which is Michigan's only original Revolutionary War Fort. We had some lunch at the Seabiscuit Cafe which has an appropriate horse theme. We had several appetizers which were very good.

Arch Rock

Heading to the main street of Mackinac
Horses and Bicycles
Street Sweeper

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


We just took it easy on the weekend as Joe is still improving but not completely better yet. We left Monday and made an one night stop at Baraga State Park in Michigan. It overlooks scenic Keweenaws Bay which emptys into Lake Superior. We then headed onto Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. It is on the eastern end of the Upper Peninsula on the Canadian border separated from its twin city, Sault Saint Marie, Ontario Canada by the St Mary River. The picture taken showing the Canada site was taken from the campground we stayed at on the US side, Aune-Osborne Campground. We were in the back but had a small view of the river.

Friday, August 20, 2010

3M Museum and Lighthouse

Another cool,cloudy day. We decided to drive into Two Harbors. We stopped at the 3M Museum.

Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing was founded in Two Harbors in 1902. The Museum is located in the original office building and highlights the development of 3M and their products. We were interested in it as when we both worked at Utilities Supply Company, an industrial tool company, we sold 3m products, such as their sandpaper. Their early inovations were waterproof sandpaper, masking tape and cellophane "Scotch tape". Now of course they are a hugh corporation with 132 plants andn 167,000 employees worldwide. Across the street from the Museum is a park. You can see the stage where different events take placed during the summer.

We then drove over to Two Harbors Light Station which is the oldest operating light station on the North Shore and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Driving along the North Shore

Tuesday and Wednesday we just took it easy, just doing some shopping in Duluth and Two Harbors. Also more rain. Had another thunder/lightning show one night. At first, since we have been traveling, we enjoyed this as we don't get see much lightning or rain for that matter, in SO CAL. However, with all the storms we have been having, and it's summer!!!, I said enough already.

Thursday looked nice and so we decided to take advantage and go for a drive north. We stopped at Gooseberry Falls State Park, which is the most popular state park in Minnesota. There are five waterfalls found in the park. We walked down to a few of them to check them out.

We also stopped at Silver Bay Marina to eat the lunch that we brought with us. Joe's appetite has still not come back and so no going out to lunch or dinner yet. The Marina is next to Northshore Mining, a taconite processing factility. It produces and ships taconite pellets to steel producers throughout the country. Big mining area. 3M is in Two Harbors and we may take a tour there this week.

Monday, August 16, 2010

North Shore of Minnesota

We arrived at Penmarallter Campground in Two Harbors, MN Monday afternoon. It is about 20 miles north of Duluth and is on Lake Superior. It is a pretty nice campground, though no water views. We later saw some nice places right on the water but we already had some mail being sent here. Joe is continuing to recover but not 100% yet. Here we are in Minnesota, land of a 1,000 lakes and we might not be able to even kayak while we are in this state. He does need to take it a little easy for awhile to get better so we have many opportunities to kayak and bike, etc in the future.
Pictures are taken from the MH going through Duluth. The North Shore Drive is an All American Road and spans 145 miles from Duluth to the Canadian border. There is a lot of biking in the area as well. The Gitchi-Gami State Trail , once completed will be a 86 mile non-motorized paved trail between Two Harbors and Grand Marais. It will be a safe alternative to riding on Highway 61. There are already about 28 miles completed in sections.

That's LIfe

We have had a lot of good times so far and only a few not so good such as having to get new tires and dental issues. However, we have now run into a pretty scary time. Joe had not been feeling well all week but seem to be better Friday, the 13th (sign of things to come?). We left Maplewood State Park on are way to Duluth,MN. Joe was driving and doing fine. Then he was starting to have problems keeping the motor home straight and said it was the wind. It seems a little more than that to me and when he said he had a little double vision, I had him pull over and I took over. I was doing fine. Joe started actually a little weird, laughing a lot and seemed almost like he was drunk or something. Then I stopped to get gas and when he got out of the motor home, his balance was completely gone. I ran into the store and had someone call 911. The paramedics arrived within minutes and when we explained how he was feeling and mentioned he is diabetic, they checked his blood sugar right away and it was extremely low. They gave him something and by the time we got to the Hospital in Aitkin, 20 miles away, he was more himself. They did some tests and determined he must have been bitten by a deer tick and had anaplasmosis, tick disease, which is similar to lyme disease. He hadn't been eating much as he had no appetite and that is why he ended up with such low blood pressure. They decided to keep him overnight. I got a ride back to the MH with the paramedics and drove the MH back to the Hospital. Joe ended up staying in the Hospital for 2 nights and then we also stayed a third night in the area so he could go back to the Hospital for one more set of blood tests to make sure his white count and blood sugar were more regulated. He will be on antibiotics for 2 weeks. One week is enough for anaplasmosis but as it is possible to test for lyme disease this early, the doctor recommended he stay on it for 3 weeks which is the time needed for it. When trying to determine how he got it, the doctor was first confused. It is very prevalent in Minn but we had only been in the state for 5 days and it usually takes more like 10 or 15 to start showing symptoms. When we mentioned we had been in South Dakota, he said it is prevalent in the Black Hills which is exactly where we were to fit the timing. Anyway, we were very glad to finally be able to leave. I do say that everyone from the person in the store at the gas station who called 911 and told me I could leave the MH there as long as needed to the paramedics and the doctors and nurses were so nice and helpful and made a bad experience a little easier.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Maplewood State Park

Monday we left Lake Poinsett and headed north through 23 miles of North Dakota and then turned east into Minnesota. We had about a 4 hour drive to Maplewood State Park. It is another beautiful green area that has about 5 lakes within the park area. We are in Otter Tail county and there are 1,000 lakes in this county alone. We didn't get a spot right on the lake but have a small view of it. Again we are in the midst of a lot of trees and so no satellite for tv watching. We still have internet and phone access though.
Unfortunately we haven't been able to go kayaking as Joe came down with a bout of some type of flu. He was up most of one night with aches and pains, chills and then a lot of sweating. He is still pretty weak as of today, Thursday. We had sun on Monday, rain off and on on Tuesday, sunny Wednesday. Then Wednesday night/Thursday morning came the lightning and thunder and more rain. We read this morning that there were 7 tornadoes in North Dakota and western Minnesota. Not sure how far from here. We haven't had any wind so far which is good. Looking at the forecast it seems there will be rain off and on no matter where we go in the near future.
Just part of traveling though. Joe though he was feeling better Wednesday and we tried for a bike ride but didn't go far as he started feeling bad again. Hopefully he will be back to his old self soon.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

More Lake Poinsett

We have been mostly taking it easy. Joe working a little but both of us have been doing a lot of reading. No TV due to so many trees. We did go out on the Lake kayaking and had an enjoyable few hours doing that. There were very few people during the week but more started coming in for the weekend. It was never filled completely though. We decided to stay through Monday instead of leaving Sunday as per our original plans. Sunday it had been clear and warm. However in the afternoon it started getting cloudy and looked like rain. All of a sudden, it started getting real windy and the waves started getting bigger and were crossing over the sandbags and under the motor home. As we had heard that the previous week had waves on the lake up to 5 feet, we decided to move to higher ground. We packed and moved up to the next level where we were in even more trees and still had a nice view of the water. We certainly have been getting into all types of different weather. Nothing like SO Cal. Took picture of another nice sunset from our new spot.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Biking, Swimming at Lake Poinsett

The weather is so very close to a time we spent in the Dominican Republic. It is uncanny. It is warm and has a very pleasant breeze. Just love waking up to the sounds of the water lapping up against the rocks. Just pure heaven. It makes the rereading of Nick's Blog (one of the blogs we follow of some other nomads traveling around this great country of ours) today so evermore prevalent. Those of us who are capturing this dream are truly blessed. I cannot not even explain the pure solitude we are currently enjoying.

We took a little bike ride around the campground. Later in the afternoon we took a swim right outside our camp spot. Whether we were inside or sitting outside under the awning, our views are fantastic. Being in the water. it again made us realize how much the water has increased. We found out that there should have been more than 20 feet of shosre line instead of none that it has now. We were barely out 3 feet from the shore and we were on our toes to keep our head out of water. It certainly shows the crazy weather patterns our country is currently experiencing. In our travels in the last couple of months we have seen many draught areas and we are now seeing areas of too much normal moisture.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Down the Road Again

The last three days at Rapid City we didn't do too much. We caught up on work, blog, updating addresses for our different accounts, etc and some shopping before we took off. Everytime someone new came into the rv resort now they had motorcycles. It is still a week to the Sturgis run. I can't even image what it will be like next week. In fact , when we left and started ending east towards Lake Poinsett, our next stop, we constantly saw people on motorcycles and trikes, or with motorhomes with trailers filled with bikes. We left around 10 AM and with time change, losing another hour, and stopping for gas and to make ourselves some lunch, it was 700 PM before we got to Lake Poinsett. It is near Arlington and is almost at the SD/Minnesota border. I do a few pictures on the way there. One of the rolled up hay that we saw everywhere. What can I say, I am a girl from Suburbia and thought it was interesting to see. Other picture taken from the car was taken as we drove over the Missouri River.
Long day. However, when we drove into the site and saw our spot, we were excited to see that we have another great place to stay. We are right on the water. THis is the closest to water we have ever been. In fact a little closer than we normally would have been here at the Lake. Unlike other lakes we have been to recently that are way down, this Lake is up from normal. They had an early thaw and then a lot of rain. In one of the pictures here you will see the rocks and sandbags they had to add. There was a pathway where the rocks were that is now 3 or 4 feet under water. About a week ago, they had a hugh storm and many of the summer homes along the lake were flooded.