A New Chapter...for awhile travel blog

Looking across one of the small lakes at our site at Petoskey...

The rear of the main building at Castle Farms

This is Norm. Every castle should have a dragon.

The view from the front

What was the World's Largest Cherry Pie...it's gone now; I ate it.

The only pic we took of the inside of the Kilwin's Chocolate...

The Mackinac Bridge from Mackinaw City...and yes they are spelled differently

The Mackinaw City Lighthouse

Our spot at Hearthside Grove

One of our neighbors

I did a couple repair thingies, we had leftover pizza for our traditional Friday dinner, went to the aptly named Sunset Park for the 9:31 sunset viewing, then a quick stop at the Bob-In Again Frozen Custard stand for some dessert then headed back to the shack for some bookkeeping work for the little woman and TV for me till I gave up about 11:45 – with sunset at 9:31 it throws off your night time schedule – while she kept trying to get a handle on just where I spent all our money.

Saturday was a S-L-O-W day. Michele did some more bookkeeping, I did some more house thingies, we went out to dinner and took a drive. When we were in Mt. Pleasant I had seen that they had Bob’s Big Boy restaurant and as luck would have it, they also have one here in Petoskey. I remember loving their cheeseburgers at the Big Boy in Cheyenne as a kid during our summer visits so my interest was piqued and off we went to rekindle a childhood memory. Either my taste buds have matured, my food tolerance was pretty low in my youth, or Bob’s has gone downhill like a freight train. In culinary terms, it was the yuckiest. That’s all I need to say.

We left there and did a drive from Petoskey, around the east end of Little Traverse Bay – a small part of Lake Michigan – and through the beautiful town of Harbor Springs, then along the coast on Michigan 119 on the stretch they call the Tunnel of Trees till we turned back toward home once we reached Cross Village. The drive was very scenic and we saw a deer – well, Michele did, I was too busy driving – and we watched a couple crows harass a bald eagle. Other than the wildlife interaction, it was a strictly scenic journey and we were back home before dark.

Sunday we slowly got moving and headed back south a bit to explore around the town of Charlevoix, specifically the Castle Farms. Castle Farms was built in 1918 by Albert Loeb, a Vice President of Sears Roebuck, to operate as a “model” dairy farm, whatever that is. In 1969 it was sold to a couple that turned it into a music theater and it hosted dozens of concerts – including a surprising number of big name acts – until the early 1990’s. It was then sold to the Mueller family in 2001 and after significant restoration, it is now used as a museum and as a venue for weddings and other events. We wandered through the grounds and buildings following their self-guided tour, past the gardens, model railroad, wedding venues and the obligatory gift shop, but had to pick up the pace toward the end to avoid the impending rain.

We had an acceptable Father’s Day lunch at Kelsey’s Lakeside Grill, made a quick photo stop at the World’s Largest Cherry Pie, then pointed the jeepster toward home for the evening.

Due to a slight miscalculation, my travel coordinator came to the shocking realization that Sunday was our last night at Petoskey RV Resort, not Monday like we had been planning on. So, Monday morning we juggled our next reservation and moved a grueling 20 minutes up the road to the Hearthside Grove Motorcoach Resort where Ms. Lucky had won a free 5 night stay as a door prize at the Tiffin Rally a while back.

Hearthside is, without a doubt, one of the nicest places we have ever parked the house. Almost all of the lots are privately owned and all are huge and perfectly landscaped – and rent for a minimum of $99 a night this time of year...good job Ms. Lucky! As part of your welcome paperwork they give you a list of lots for sale and they run from just about $100,000 to almost $500,000 with the most expensive having small cottages, water features, firepits and waterfront views...out of our league, by leaps and bounds.

And our coach is in the lower 5% of the coaches here price-wise. We have only seen 3 that are worth less than ours and there are quite a few that sell for north of $1 million, with some approaching $2 million. Again, that leaps and bounds thing. But that doesn’t stop us from walking the park most nights and gawking...and noticing that the vast majority of coaches and their towed vehicles are registered in Florida...hmmm.

Tuesday we did some errands in Petoskey, a beautiful, upscale town along the shores of Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay with lots of shops, restaurants and they are the birthplace of Kilwin’s Chocolate https://www.kilwins.com/kilwinschocolatekitchen, which we toured. The short 30 minute tour was basically an advertisement, but we did learn that even though they are a Michigan company they have more stores in Florida than any other state. Might have something to do with Florida’s year round summer heat adding to their ice cream sales. They did offer us some samples of different fudgey goodness things which we gladly accepted and then bought some more just to make sure the quality was not a fluke.

Tuesday evening the clouds had cleared out pretty well so we decided to head about 45 minutes north to Mackinaw City to see if we could get some good sunset and night time pictures of the Mackinac Bridge http://www.mackinacbridge.org/ that connects the main part of Michigan with the Upper Peninsula, and then to visit the Headlands International Dark Sky Park http://www.midarkskypark.org/ for some star gazing. Great idea; one big flaw. Tuesday happened to be the 2nd longest amount of daylight of the year...in other words it stayed too light, for too long to make the trip really worth while. Let’s just say, when we headed for home just after 11:00, it was still too light toward the west to really see a lot of stars. And with a 45+ minute drive to get back home, the trip was not what we had hoped for. Duh.

Wednesday morning was spent doing some computer stuff and washing the jeepster, then Michele went to a hair appointment while I tried – unsuccessfully – to reprogram the front blind which I had hoped would solve the problem. Some pasta, Caesar salad and garlic bread was dinner and a lack of enthusiasm kept us from doing anything other than a walk around the resort.

Thursday was the day I finally gave in and, with the assistance of the lovely wife, tackled removing the front blind and installing the new motor. Despite the occasional profanity, there was no throwing of tools...I have proudly been making some progress with my anger issues. Seems that whatever project I take on, it never goes smoothly and most require professional assistance...Mr. Handy I ain’t. But we persevered and as of this writing, it’s still attached and working. Keep in mind though, it still might come down while we’re driving, but that would just make for a more exciting journal update.

Friday morning we pointed the jeepster back south again for a 3+ hour drive past our previous home in Mt. Pleasant to the town of Alma for 2 reasons. First, Michele’s Aunt Rosie had flown in from New Jersey to help with the 2nd reason...Baby Ingrid arrived Wednesday morning, so since this would be our best opportunity to see all of them, we were up early and on the road by 8:00.

It wasn’t a bad trip until we got to just north of Mt. Pleasant. Southbound Highway 127 was closed due to flooding so we had to do a detour through Mt. Pleasant. We saw a lot of standing water on the detour and quite a few parked cars with water at least halfway up their doors and we drove through a couple spots where water was flowing over the road. While we were on 127 we counted at least 8 cars that had hit standing water and gone off the road ending up in various degrees of waist deep water and mud. The time added by the detour wasn’t horrible and we actually got to the hospital only about 15 minutes later than planned.

We gabbed with Rob, Sue and Aunt Rosie for a bit but since Jennifer and Ingrid – and probably Steven – were napping the 5 of us took off for some lunch, then headed back to meet the new addition and congratulate the new parents. Michele got to hold Ingrid and get some New Baby Smell on her clothes, then we had to dash back north because we had tickets for a show at the Odawa Casino in Petoskey.

We got home, had a snack, got dressed, then went to see comedian Billy Gardell, who played Mike on TV’s “Mike and Molly”, do his stand up routine. His opening act was a yawn, but Gardell was very good. After he got done we played for a little while and won a few bucks at the casino, then called it a night and were home about 11:30.

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