A new friend

Ryan met a new friend the other day, and was transfixed by the experience….check it out.

Actually, Adel, the mother on the right, is the daughter of a long-time dear friend of Robyn’s. Adel introduced her sweet son to Ryan by engaging in Ryan’s exploration of the parking lot surface outside our coach. They each found treasures that were then carefully passed from one hand to another so all could appreciate their significance!

We met Adel, her husband, Jose, and their two children while parked at Andrews University, where he’s a student.

Ryan’s been having a poor response to a medication change, and so we’ve been limiting our interactions with others. With the super-warm weather for a few days, we moved on to Mishawaka where we could spend time in the air conditioned mall and a couple of large stores (and park in their lots). On our way to some work scheduled south of Elkhart to spiff-up a couple things on the coach.

Taken back in time

You understand, Robyn and I met while in high school on the campus of Andrews University, in Berrien Springs, MI. It was a long time ago….we enjoy the nostalgia.

Our plan to park this weekend in front of a home of friends off campus had to change, because we simply were too long and too tall to fit. At the suggestion of Gary B, who works on the edge of campus in the Adventist headquarters building for the Lake Union Conference, we ended up parking out behind their building.

How little did he know the significance of that spot.

The photo below shows the coach in the center, way in the distance. Right in front of the camera, in the nice green space between the trees, once stood the home I lived in for four years just after we moved here as I started first grade. That was 52 years ago!

This space, and more land to the right, have become the front entrance to the university.

It’s been a lot of fun to sit in our coach and gaze across the road to the beautiful spot that was my home more than a half-century ago….

There’s a trend here….

Just when you think you might die, along comes good fortune. Ha, make that wonderful fortune!

The trend is that we’re parked in a campsite along the Michigan coast for the third night in a row, right on the sandy beach in view of a lighthouse for the second night in a row!

Nice trend.

The reason we thought we might die, is because the weather in this Great State of Michigan is notoriously changeable (“if you don’t like the Michigan weather, just wait 10 minutes”) and we’ve gone from 66 on Tuesday to a predicted 90 degrees today!

Ahhhh, but the shoreline can be a really great place on a hot day….with a nice breeze.

Yeah, how about 20-30 mph winds! Whew, saved.

Another great channel to walk along, another great boardwalk, another pretty harbor, more sand in our toes, more boats burbling past. Yep, nice trend.

We’ll head over to Andrews University tomorrow, probably park out in front of the home of our old Dayton friends Gary & Maryann B on Ridge Ave….who won’t be there, but it’s the thought that counts!

But we’re not done with The Great Lake….we plan to catch the lighthouse and pier at St Joseph before we leave these parts!

Deja vu all over again

If you look back on this blog to May 12 of last year, you will find this same picture there….we really like Dairy Treats and Grand Haven!

Thank you Michigan for a glorious day! About 72, sunny, breezy, and we were in Grand Haven!

Simply parked at the curb downtown, got an olive burger for lunch, said hi to Marcia H at work (a friend from grade school!), pulled out the push chairs, and started down the lovely boardwalk alongside the channel to Lake Michigan.

Ahhhhhh.

We pushed the boys, they walked some, we stopped so they could enjoy the sand, we went way out on the pier where the concrete deteriorates and the ride gets plenty bumpy in the chairs. It was great.

On the way back, we stopped in the campground office to see if they might have an open site for just one night, here at the early start of the holiday weekend. They did! We took it!

Check out our campsite!

Of course, we hope tomorrow to get down to Holland and get a spot for the night in their beach-front campground….oh my goodness, how much more of this can we take?

It’s actually pretty silly, because the “campground” in both cases is just pavement along the beach, without shade or anything resembling a park. But there’s sure a lot of SAND, and lots of LAKE.

It’s a digression from our usual, and we’re having fun! (Look at the grin on Ross in the final photo.)

A rollercoaster

What a day!

We woke up feeling a bit blue, because we faced leaving Rich & Laura and their estate, and moving on. They’ve been so much fun!

And to make that point even more obvious, Laura had to play one more joke. We’d been talking with them for days about why we don’t have a car-in-tow, or “toad” in RV lingo, but why we have been considering one. Laura had an idea this morning and ran into town. She bought the little figure, made his little sign, and put it on our back ladder! She caught me and said I should look at something on the back of the coach.

Youuuuuuuu little trickster!

So sad to leave….but what a send-off.

The tears were short-lived, because we were heading to Lake Michigan. We’ve not seen it in more than six months. Check out the photos of our day along the shore in Muskegon.

Chilly 60s. Strong breeze on-shore. Mostly sunny. Mostly we were alone on the beach.

The capper came when Robyn inquired and was given permission for us to park in the lot of a private marina. We’re parked facing Muskegon Lake, just over the sand dunes from Lake Michigan!

Wheeeeee!

Now we’re having fun!

We had a good time at the Spartan Chassis factory…..if you can have fun parked in a large parking lot at night gazing out across a large gravel lot, sitting in a customer waiting room all day while they work on the coach, waiting to find out what other maintenance needs to be done, and waiting for the bill.

No, really, we did have a good time, because we had fun with other customers as we traded stories of our travels, there were plenty of nice parking lots to walk with Ross & Ryan and the weather was wonderful, and the coach is good to go for another year (and it’s even more smooth to drive because of the work).

But the best part was leaving!

We enjoy driving across Michigan, as flat and boring as it can be, because it brings back fond memories for Robyn and me of our early days together, and because it brings us back in touch with dear friends from long ago.

And dear friends from short ago: we left Spartan to head to the farm of Rich and Laura, campers we met Christmas Day along the ocean in South Carolina and again in Georgia. She brought us freshly baked cookies, and he brought us freshly cut and split firewood! We had a riot with them for several weeks this past winter, and they invited us to stop by their farm in Coopersville, MI whenever we could.

We were a little concerned about finding their place, because Google Maps was showing us the middle of a field for their address!

We needn’t have worried….Rich & Laura took good care with their directions:

So here we are, and just look at their back yard!

Laura even had some whimsy for us (we needed a much larger table for all the food we ate!).

Oh baby!

Sorry, this post was prepared several days ago, but was interrupted….

by a weak cell signal to upload these photos,

and then Ryan had another big seizure right at bedtime, squad took him and Robyn to the nearby hospital, Ross and I got up at 6 the next morning and picked them up, and we drove on our way to Pokagon State Park in Indiana. Ryan took another day to get all the ER meds out of his system, and he’s been sleeping it off for about 24 hours now. We’re adjusting his meds some more….

So, here’s the post that was ready to go, waiting for photos:

(Titled: This is a resort, not a campground!)

Missy, you were right: Maumee Bay State Park probably has no peer within 400 miles!

Your first clue…..as you drive up….is the golf course out front. Then *The Lodge* which is NOT done up in huge timbers and a shake roof. It is the headquarters for a resort and conference center. “Cottages”, along the shore but back in the woods on one side of the drive and backed up to the golf course on the other, could hold their own in a Colorado ski village. This park is modern, built from scratch in the 1970s over what used to be called Black Swamp.

The nice people here loaned us the huge golf cart for awhile today; it sure helped us cover some of the vast distances involved for proper exploration!

Yesterday, Robyn caught the Magnolia Warbler while on another walk with Carolyn G. Today, I caught the patriotic Barn Swallow.

We leave tomorrow for Pokagon State Park in Indiana. Parting will be sweet sorrow….we’ll miss the constant bird songs, but we’ll be closer to setting foot in Michigan!

A nice new loop

We’ve started a one-month loop that will take us into Michigan for the first time in more than six months.

Ahhhh, but first we spend 4 days in Maumee Bay State Park in the middle of “The Biggest Week in American Birding”. It’s actually 10 days.

Birders come from all over to this part of Ohio’s Lake Erie coastline, because the migrating birds congregate before taking the shortest hop across Lake Erie due to the geography here and in Canada directly across.

Our dear friend and avid/accomplished birder, Carolyn G picked up Robyn this morning at our campsite and gave her a personal tour of several key areas. The varied terrain of woods, marshes, beach, and acres of shrubbery provide cover for countless species. Mind you, the birds don’t just jump out and stand on the pathway waiting to be noticed! Carolyn’s experienced eyes and ears (and binoculars) found them time and again, and Robyn struggled to see half. She also struggled to photograph the lovely and uncommon ones they encountered (“if they’d only sit closer to the path and sit still!“).

We have one shot to share, of a Prothonotary Warbler, if memory serves correctly.

Maybe tomorrow will bring more photo success!

We’re camped nearly on the beach, so we spent some time this evening along the shore. Oh my goodness, Robyn found some large driftwood that was caught over-and-under so it was springy. As you can see, Ross found it greatly entertaining!

You have to understand Ryan’s major need for stability to appreciate his great reluctance to enjoy this experience! It might have been different for him if he’d started the bouncing rather than encountering after Ross, or maybe he would have become accustomed to it and begun to enjoy the exhilaration. We’ll never know, because rain started to splatter…..

World, meet Micah Wayne Barton


A number of you know my niece, Nikki. This is her sweet son, born this morning at 9:08! My brother’s first grandchild.

We awoke this morning in Kokomo, intending to head to Dayton for the weekend, but learned of this bundle of joy shortly after his birth. We immediately changed our plan, and drove straight to the hospital in Florence, KY. We’re able to park overnight here, so will head up to Dayton tomorrow….after one last look at Micah and mom!