Crossing the Creek

Always interesting to run across familiar names….

We went for a run with some friends to Turkey Run State Park, which is west of Indianapolis just 20 miles short of the Illinois border.

Lovely park that features a river named Sugar Creek.

You know, like Little Sugar Creek…the river five miles from our long-time home in Centerville, OH!

We drove through Montgomery County to get there…you know, like the county where our long-time home…well, you get it.

The large park had numerous areas for many different activities, and all were in use!
DSC_9844_aWe made the mistake of trying this suspension bridge….too shaky and too narrow to walk three-wide….Ross didn’t like to go first, and Ryan couldn’t even be pulled along!
DSC_9854_aIt sure was at the crossroads of activity for the park!

Just outside the park was a side road with its river crossing challenge for the car:
DSC_9876_aDSC_9917_aWhat a cool day!

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I’m on fire!

Ross and I went for a walk this evening….waiting until dusk because the sun was so hot today!

We’re parked at the county fairgrounds outside Kokomo, IN, and there’s traffic in and out and through it all day. Wonderful place with lots of activity.

Including fire hose practice tonight!

We heard big engines coming, then saw the red paint and lots of lights, and knew we were in for some excitement!

No emergency, they were gathering for some continuing ed….using the grassy fields of the fairgrounds to stretch out the hoses and shoot some water!
DSC_9965_aNotice Ross way in the back on the left? He was greatly taken by the sound of those big engines….at high idle to pump the water.

He was even allowed to get up close and personal with the tanker engine!
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Why the long face?

We drove through some of America’s farmland…Indiana fields freshly planted…brown earth stretching for miles.

Stopped to exercise the boys at the county fairgrounds in Frankfort, and discovered a small, casual horse event!

Turns out the local Red Hat Society was having tryouts for the group that will appear in an upcoming parade. The horses were subjected to recorded crowd noise, the up-close appearance of a wild-looking clown, and generally distracted…in order to determine which horses could handle the special circumstances of a parade.

Below, there’s even one that passed the Ryan “hands-on” test!
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A very special recognition

The three large armfuls I call sons are alive and well today because they have a wonderful mother who brought them into this world, and they have another wonderful mother who has kept them alive and well.

A special salute for Sharon, to recognize her very crucial role of bringing our sons into this great big world…she did it well!
DSC_5143_aFor the past 20 years, the boys have heard the voice of Robyn and felt her loving hands as she raised them from little boys to become the young men they are today. She has a very special spirit that has been crucial for this odyssey we call life! I salute her strength, her determination, and her love….
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Land…I mean water…ho!

We probably should’ve bought a boat instead of a coach…we just love water!

Since leaving the California North Coast March 18, we’ve touched the Gulf waters, Atlantic waters, toured past numerous lakes, and crossed countless rivers. Each brings us a special experience, whether it’s the scenery, the waterfowl, the refreshing breeze, or the many boats & ships & watercraft floating past.

We’ve finally reached one of our favorites…the waters of Lake Michigan. The special experience for us with Lake Michigan always involves….

Lighthouses!
DSC_9297_aWe have finally finished all our routine doctor appointments, routine and not-so-routine coach maintenance appointments, and we’ve stopped for a few days outside Grand Rapids at the farm of our friends Rich and Laura.

It’s just a few miles to Grand Haven and one of the most comfortable waterfront experiences we have encountered. The Grand River runs behind Rich & Laura’s property, and passes Grand Haven’s downtown as it empties into Lake Michigan. The city has really done a lovely job of developing the river- and lakefronts for many types of recreation. We like the part where we walk along the river’s edge, past the sandy shoreline, and out on the pier past the lighthouse to the very end with the red building!

And we sometimes play around a little in our pictures. Notice how Robyn has framed herself with the rescue flotation ring…
DSC_9274_aNotice the Coast Guard boat in the channel seems to be steering right for us? Oops, they were…an alarm triggers with the Coast Guard when you pull the ring off its hook. The boat was already in the channel, so they didn’t launch because of us…but we put the ring back pronto and walked away quickly….

Notice also that we were wearing winter coats? It was in the mid-50s, but the wind was brisk and cutting.

I mention that to help you understand the significance of the next photo.
DSC_9253_aI really was taking a quick shot of Ross in order to gauge the scene and verify an exposure, in preparation for Robyn and Ryan joining him in a photo. I didn’t even notice until I got home that I had caught two college guys jumping off the pier! We came upon them shortly as they climbed out…all pink and shivering…but I thought they’d swum out from shore…

While we were out and about enjoying the shoreline…Laura was back at the ranch doing spring mulching. She does it in a big way….
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It’s a guy thing

When Jared learned of our tentative schedule to arrive at Sharon’s place outside Charlotte, NC, he said “Ooooo, too bad you’re not coming a week earlier…I’d meet you there!”

Oh?

HA, turned out a once-yearly event was scheduled near Charlotte Motor Speedway…only place in the world, and only one weekend…

Four-wide NHRA drag racing!

We changed our plans immediately, and bought tickets…
DSC_8412_aDSC_9066_aDSC_8404_aSee what I mean? If two cars racing are great, can you imagine how fabulous it was to see, hear, and feel four cars going off at once?

You can’t?

Oh, sorry, you must be a woman…it’s a guy thing. Every guy in the place wanted the job of that photographer for National Dragster. All the other media had to stay outside the concrete barriers to shoot….but HE got to put his camera down on the track between cars and shoot from just feet way!

HUH, CAN’T HEAR YOU…we were 50 to 500 feet away, wearing ear plugs, and I couldn’t hear well for 24 hours.

Robyn and I went to the drags 45 years ago, and we thought it was loud and technologically advanced then…hoo boy, how things have changed!

Now the funny cars and top fuel dragsters put out close to 10,000 horsepower, and between rounds a tractor rolls tires backward on the track surface to lay down even more grippy rubber!
DSC_8571_aDSC_8598_aEver wonder why they call them funny cars? That stripped-down car with no body is transformed by a single piece of fiberglass that can be lifted by one guy at the nose…into a car that can achieve 325 miles per hour in less than 4 seconds! At full throttle, the engine guzzles fuel at about a gallon per second.
DSC_8476_aThere’s quite a process to actually launching these cars, made even larger when it has to be coordinated for four at a time!
DSC_8613_aBut when they launch…it’s all worthwhile!
DSC_8628_aDSC_8643_aJared and I moved around in order to catch the views and sounds from all angles. At one point, I was at the start on one side and he was near the end on the other….
DSC_9228_aThe top dogs at these races are the Top Fuel cars, that run the same engine as the funny cars but don’t have to push all that body work through the air….
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