What a great place to park!

Moraine Airpark has kindly permitted us to park all week near its entrance, which provides a lovely panorama of green grass out our windows, and a wonderful grid of pavement for the planes to……taxi……from their hangars to the runway, which we can use for walks with the boys.

Not very busy, although things pick up after work on a clear evening. But the longer we’re here, the more we find. Pretty obvious has been the hangar for two hospital Care Flight helicopters. Their turbine engines and chopper blades make quite the sound coming and going.

Then there’s a building with a “Waco” sign. I guess so….there are 8 Waco planes inside in various stages of distress, restoration, and completion! Turns out, the owner is president of the National Waco Club organization, and he’s really hustling because the annual reunion fly-in occurs in just three weeks! Amazing machines from the 1930s. Just a taste:

Ross and Ryan have REALLY enjoyed the noise of the planes as their pilots test them at the hangars, as they taxi to and from, and as they make the BIG noise taking off. Life is good!

It was supposed to be slow…..

We were all set for a slow week in Dayton because the twins had multiple medical appointments in town around the Memorial Day weekend. I undertook some work on the coach on Tuesday that went, and went, and kind of took on a life of its own, and when it was finished…..I was finished! My knees the next morning were so swollen and sore I couldn’t squat down! Old snow skiing damage.

So Wednesday we took it easy, and just drove around for errands, and headed to Larosa’s to pick up a pizza. While waiting for it in the parking lot, the tornado sirens began to blare…..we decided to dine in!

The restaurant staff ended up having everyone huddle in the bathroom hallway. Hail began pounding the roof, and wind was sucking open the double set of doors out front.

No tornado hit us, although one briefly touched down about a half mile away. But the hail…..almost 3 inches in diameter. Every car in the lot had dents.

The Big Taxi……sat through it with tail to the wind, and its big fiberglass tail cap suffered no mark. But there were two broken tail lights, and plastic covers on the three roof air conditioners looked like the aftermath of target practice with an AK-47! And the driver’s mirror.

Prom!

Ross and Ryan have attended school fulltime since they were 3 years old. They have spent the entire time in the Centerville Schools system, although the first 3 or 4 years were spent in special Montgomery County MRDD classrooms. Centerville district has been just wonderful the whole time, and the boys’ years in Centerville High School have been fabulous! The staff has always been hugely supportive and creative, loving and kind, energetic and devoted, and positive and enthusiastic!

At age 22, the twins have been granted high school diplomas, and we have withdrawn them from school just weeks ahead of the end of their 8th year in high school, so they could begin touring with us.

But there was no way they could miss the Special Prom!

The boys attended last year, where Ryan had a blast and Ross couldn’t put up with the blast! Ryan spent the entire time on the dance floor, and Ross spent the entire time walking the hallways with mom or dad. They are very different social personalities!

We made it back into town from Kokomo just in time to partially set up in the high school parking lot and change the boys’ clothes into suitable prom attire. The pictures below barely capture the fun and excitement they experienced this year; even Ross put up with the hullabaloo, because he was able to spend time with Michelle, one of his peer tutors!

Dayton!

Looks like we’ll make it to Dayton for Ross & Ryan’s special prom tonight….with their tux shirts & cumberbunds!

Eastwood Lake tomorrow afternoon. Swing by & sit under the awning with us! Gorgeous day….bring a chair! Bring a friend and two chairs!

This is the life!

A belated report from the dinner in St Joseph, MI on Sunday evening as we bid adieu to Michigan for awhile:

We parked the Taxi out in front of the Italian restaurant and opened the two front sliders so the living room was big and inviting, then went into the restaurant for a really fabulous meal with our dear friends. Afterward, we came out to the Taxi, turned on the fireplace, and sat around eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream!

Even Ross & Ryan enjoyed the evening, and Ryan demonstrated by holding the hand of his new friend, Rick.

This evening completed a day that captured the essence of our new arrangements: do life from place to place, spend the time to make the most of where you are, stay in touch with old friends and make new ones along the way, and help Ross and Ryan experience life to the fullest possible.

In fact, the evening did not complete the day, because we wanted to stop by Apple Valley Market in Berrien Springs on our way to Tuesday’s coach work in Elkhart. We figured a quick stop at the store, then on to Niles where we’d stop for the night at a Wal-Mart.

Did the store, and arrived in Niles. Big sign in parking lot: “no overnight parking.” Oops, city ordinance.

Drove 20 miles farther to Elkhart where we knew the Wal-Mart parking lot offered authorized parking. Ran across detour on the way, that sent us onto strange roads in the night. Arrived in Elkhart at 10:50pm.

Thus our day was actually completed.

But none of it took away from the great feelings from the time spent at breakfast and at dinner with friends.

Life is so good!

Short version from my phone: plans for So Haven rerouted by issue with coach that occurred in same system as earlier work. Went clear back to charLOTT, they looked & pronounced it good but found another, new issue and fixed it.

Arrived late last night on AU campus, had a good park, quick breakfast with dear Gretchen, and now we sit on the banks of the St Joe River for late lunch for Ross & Ryan. Actually, it’s cold & raining, so we’re in the Taxi in a parking lot watching the swollen waters go past a boat launch.

Supper shortly for “the big people” with dear friends Deb & Rick, Dena, and Nina. Liable to have great fun!

See, miss out on So Haven but changed schedule works well with friends!

That’s another reason we’ve done “the big change.”

Simple joys……

Hoffmaster State Park really was wonderful. We were nearly alone, it rained like the dickens at night but never a drop when we were awake, so we walked a bunch with Ross and Ryan, and the fresh green growth surrounding us made it all…….superlative!

And the practicalities: loaded up with good water and dumped our holding tanks on the way in, so did laundry, then dumped tanks again and topped off the water on the way out! Our lives are clogged with these mundane realities.

Headed up to Muskegon.

What a place! I’ve sold it short my whole life (well, so far), but no more! Nothing like being there just to explore….to help you find what’s really there. They’ve got not just the Lake Michigan shoreline, but also a huge bay. And they seem to realize their treasures are the water and the shoreline, because they devote so much street-scaping, traffic routing, and special parking and turn arrangements along the bay and lake. Everything is about water and sand!

The day began fairly cool and hazy, but by early afternoon it was sunny and hot. Welcome to Michigan summer. We walked, and walked some more. Tried some playground equipment just up from the lake’s waves. Ate a very late lunch in the Taxi.

Decided to start back down the coast a short bit for the night, so went to Grand Haven for the evening and strolled the channel with Ross & Ryan in their push chairs (so we could cover some ground but all live to tell about it). Hot, so we found some ice cream. Started down the pier toward the lighthouse, but it was getting late.

Headed out in the Taxi at 8p for the night’s stopping point: Wal-Mart south of Grand Haven. Oops, the city doesn’t allow living in your coach on streets or parking lots open to the public.

Found ourselves 24 miles father south at the same Wal-Mart north of Holland where we stayed two nights ago!

Figuring we’ll stay around South Haven tomorrow night.

Yesssss, Holland!

The nice evening in the Wal-Mart parking lot included doing a load of laundry, and the constant din of traffic about 5 feet from our windows (which were open because the evening and night were warm enough that a breeze was needed to sleep at all) and the service trucks for the store (which was open all night) kept us from falling into a sleep that was too deep.

Ok, enough whining, it was free and convenient for our route. Nice and level, too. Ate breakfast and showered in the Wal-Mart parking lot, behind our curtains.

Tulip Festival!

We cruised downtown at 10a on a Wednesday, and had the place to ourselves! Drove around, walked in parks, drove right onto Windmill Island, Robyn climbed up inside the windmill, we ate some Dutch food, and we saw, smelled, and touched more tulips than we had ever seen before! Our pictures don’t do them justice! Some very unusual ones, with fantastic shapes to their petals, and beds with fabulous mixtures of color and size.

We celebrated in the early afternoon by going up the coast above Grand Haven to Hoffmaster State Park. There were 3 campsites occupied out of 293; solitude was the word of the day. We decided to rough it, and asked for an unpaved campsite 😉

Our campsite was just a short hike through some glorious woods and sand dunes to Lake Michigan. Check out the happy faces as the boys enjoyed sand and cold lake water on their feet. Ross wanted to just sit down in the lake like he does with bath water, and was most unhappy that Robyn kept him from it!

The day saw temps pushing 80, and we ended it plugged into 50 amps that ran our ACs and another load of laundry. And no curtains, just a panorama of fresh greenery. Roughing it on a gravel campsite.

Onward and northward tomorrow. Maybe back down around Berrien Springs on Sunday. Maybe Cracker Barrel in Stevensville for breakfast on Monday; love to do breakfast with some of you then!

Holland, at last!

Ahhhh, Holland during Tulip Festival! Cloudy day that began with some sprinkles clears up as we travel west, and sun breaks through as we hit the coast! Went straight to the beach and Big Red, the Holland Harbor lighthouse (see Cool stuff photo). Drove through town but never found a spot to stop the Taxi, so kept driving. Tried to book a site in the state park, but even though it was nearly deserted, it was completely reserved through the weekend because of the festival!

We had a blast!

So guess where we stayed? Check out our view of the setting sun: