Saturday, September 29, 2012


The Nomads Annual Meeting came to a close on Friday morning and the members are drifting away to meet up again at some future service project or the next annual meeting.  We have made a lot of new friends and look forward to working with them sometime/someplace.

We went back to the county park where we spent some time last week, but we didn’t stay.  The “weekenders” had taken over, and we didn’t have reservations.  We might have been able to grab a last spot, but it was crowded, noisy, and already smoky.  We came back to the fairground where a very few NOMADS haven’t yet left, and returned to our original spot.  It is quiet and flat here, and our neighbors are great.

The drive to the county park was very colorful!  The leaves in some areas are almost at 100% color.  With all the hills and windy roads around here, it is a very pretty time of the year for a drive.

By the way, the fairgrounds are in Hamburg, NY which is where the sandwich of the same name was originally offered to the public.  According to local legend a couple of food vendors at the county fair had been serving sliced, grilled sausage to their customers until they ran out of sausage and began to substitute spiced ground beef in its place.  That was in 1885.  Similarly, the nearby city of Buffalo is supposedly the birthplace of spicy chicken wings.

The forecast is for rain tomorrow.  We’ll probably go to church in Hamburg, then have a quiet day as we smell the delicious sticky chicken cooking in the crockpot.  It’s nice to have a stay at home day – just so the rain doesn’t stay around too long!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Nomads Annual Meeting

There are only two days left of our first Nomads Annual Meeting.  We’ve met so many friendly fellow Nomads here!  There are about 210 attendees at this meeting, some from as far away as Seattle. 

On Monday, we opted to participate in an excursion to ride on the Erie Canal.  We went through 2 locks on the river.  The weather wasn’t too bad so Bob sat on the upper deck and enjoyed the scenery.  Paige spent her time on the enclosed lower deck and some time outside also.  Here are a couple pictures:


While on the boat, Bob spotted a Friendly’s Restaurant – a sandwich and ice cream restaurant we knew from our time in Strongsville, OH.  After the boat ride, Bob suggested that we stop for a quick lunch and ice cream.  Other Nomads from the tour also stopped there so we got together at tables and met more new people.

Yesterday was the big auction day to raise money for the agencies that need financial help in order to get their work done.  They have a silent auction as well as some items sold in a traditional auction.  Most items go for outrageous amounts as everyone knows the money goes to a good cause.

We’ve been attending seminars relating to different aspects of our project work.  Tomorrow Bob and I will be taking the training to become Project Leaders. 

We also eat a lot!  Tonight was a potluck dinner where we had the opportunity to meet more new people.  Tomorrow night is a catered meal and a ceremony for everyone who wants to renew their wedding vows.  As of tonight, we plan on participating in that.

 The meeting will be ending on Friday morning.  We plan on doing a boat load of laundry after the close and then probably go back to the county park again.

Saturday, September 22, 2012


We have relocated, from the county park mentioned in our prior posting, to the Erie County Fairgrounds in Hamburg NY.  Here is another shot of where we were in Erie County

Our friendly neighborhood deer – 5 of them


And here is our current location

We moved on Thursday so that we could get settled early.  One of the local people suggested a few things to see and do, including a trip to a grocery store.  Wegmans is a local chain that is known to be an innovator.  Paige’s first reactions were “Oh my!” and “Oh, Wow!”  It’s hard to put into any other words, but size, selection, and staff level were all outstanding.  A shopping trip became a unique experience.

A cool and rainy weekend has been forecast, so we took advantage of Friday’s weather (cloudy and mild, with only a couple sprinkles) to ride the motorcycle: south to Jamestown, northwest to Lake Erie, northeast along the shoreline to the Dunkirk lighthouse, and back to Hamburg.  We forgot to bring either the camera or the smartphone, so we have no pictures to share, but let’s say it was very pleasant.  Lots of reminders of Fall – leaves are starting to turn colors and many pumpkins for sale along the ride.  Very pretty!

As of Saturday morning many RVs are already here, with more Nomads pulling in today and tomorrow.  The annual meeting doesn’t officially start until Monday but nearly half of the people are here.  We have found it so easy to meet and talk to many new friends and a few we have worked with in the past 19 months.  Today is a big “garage sale” next door at the county’s event center.  We also have a local farmers’ market and a yarn store to check out.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Back among the Digital

We have come out of Ontario, into Buffalo, New York.  Our phones and MiFi systems work once again.
We drove past the fairgrounds where our Nomads group will be holding our annual meeting next week, but it is too early for us to park there now.  Instead we’ve parked at a county park about 20 miles away.  There are about 60 camping sites here, but only one other is being used.  We expect this location to be very quiet.  As I write this, 2 deer are eating their way through the park.

Our Canadian route was a good choice:
-         More Tim Hortons than we could possibly stop at
-         Nice locals to chat with at the TH in London
-         Saved about 120 miles (over the Ohio route)
-         Only one toll bridge, but less cost than OH+NY tolls
And Best of All
-         No political ads on TV

 The only bad part was the cost of the campground where we stayed last night.  It was an older park, and in marginal shape, but the cost was the highest we’ve paid since we hit the road over 20 months ago.

We’ve been able to see all 5 of the Great Lakes and the Welland ship canal (used by ships to bypass Niagara Falls) since we left Duluth.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Middle of the Mitten

Petoskey Michigan has a lot of older homes with lots of “gingerbread” trim. Here is an example:

After a couple of days there, we traveled south to the “Middle of the Mitten”.  Michigan’s lower peninsula is often called the mitten, due to its shape (like the palm of a right hand mitten).  If local people are asked where they are from, they point at their right palm to show position in relation to Lakes Michigan and Huron.

We were last in this area a little over 5 years ago, when we bought our first RV: a pickup  truck and fifth wheel trailer.

Carol and Jack, the former owners, live near here and we’ve been meaning to get back and see them.  They are the parents of dear friend, Rob (of Rob and KJ-fame).   Here they are, seated in our slightly larger motorhome.

We went out to dinner with them last night and traded stories about their past trips as well as ours.  It was a great time and we so enjoyed our visit with these great folks!

Today was spent doing errands and maintenance.  We found that there is a Tim Horton’s close by in Midland.  Yipee!  We found it after some difficulty (the Android app, TimmyMe didn’t have an accurate map, grrrr!).

This afternoon was spent installing another water pump.  We had installed two of them earlier in the year, in Phoenix (that failed early on) and also in California. The last one failed this week, after 6 months.  Camping World replaced it with a different model and a $50 refund.  Bob got it all installed today and it works great.  There’s always maintenance on your “stuff”!!    

After a day of household errands, we will be rolling again tomorrow – into Canada.  We will use Ontario as a shortcut from Michigan to the Buffalo NY area.  Since we didn’t get the “International” option for cell phones and data, this means we will be off of the digital grid until Monday when we enter New York.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Into the East

Wednesday morning we crossed the line into the Eastern time zone.  For a couple of long-time Midwesterners, this one is hardest to adjust to.  Prime time shows and nightly news are on 1 hour later – being old now we have a hard time staying up.  Paige tries to stay on Central Time to cope with this. 

We have been in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula many times before, usually on long distance motorcycle trips.  Traveling in our RV (complete with our own kitchen and bathroom) makes it easy to pull off the highway for lunch, and a walk on the rocky beach.  This is the view of Lake Michigan at Manistique:

We also had the fun(?) of crossing the Makinac Bridge while they had small craft warnings on the lake below and reduced speeds for high profile vehicles, along with 4 runners who were blocking one of the two lanes going across.

We thought of Nick Russell (the publisher of “Gyspy Journal”) and his fun with high bridges all the way across.  Also, there was maintenance happening with large equipment on the bridge.  Being from Minneapolis and experiencing the 35W bridge collapse, Paige broke out in a cold sweat!

On previous trips we rushed through a lot of the country; now we can slow down to experience more of it.  We are parked for a couple of days in Petoskey MI.  Last evening we took a drive through town and also down the shoreline to Charlevoix.  Along the way, we saw the Golf Club, Equestrian Resort, Yacht Club and MotorCoach Resort.  This is a “high-end” vacation strip, not our normal neighborhood.  We parked at the low-end KOA and are just fine!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Small World

Four Hundred and ten days ago, and over 2500 miles from here we ran into a couple from Wisconsin (Cheryl and Butch) who were traveling up the Alaska Highway to do some fishing.  We were returning to the lower 48 after seeing Alaska and visiting relatives there.  We were standing in the campground talking about what to see and where to go and ended up swapping some groceries: we gave them some salmon and they gave us some smoked meats from Nueskes in Wittenburg Wisconsin where Cheryl worked.  All year long we’ve been telling people that these were the BEST HOT DOGS EVER.

On Monday morning we detoured on our way to Michigan to stop at Nueskes company store to stock up on some more.  We asked if they knew which employee might have been on a fishing trip to Alaska last summer (being old, we didn’t remember her name), and it was Cheryl behind the counter waiting on us.  Is this a Small World, or what?  The store manager said it was unusual to catch her behind the counter since she and Butch take lots of fishing trips.  We had a great visit with her and gave her one more jar of salmon as she told us she’s been hoarding that original jar we gave her.  Now she’ll have a spare.

We ended the day just across the state line into Michigan and have been planning our next few days.  We will catch up on some housekeeping here, and slowly (for a change) see both the Upper and Lower Peninsulas before crossing into Canada at Sarnia next weekend.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Fall is Here

After getting a new rear tire on a slightly rainy Saturday, Sunday turned out to be a great day for a motorcycle ride through northern Wisconsin’s colors.  The state’s website shows this area to be at about 30% of peak color.  Here we are at Timm’s Hill, the highest point in Wisconsin.

We hadn’t seen our good friends the Almekinders for about 2 years, so we really enjoyed this time together to catch up.  In addition to the motorcycle ride, we spent time visiting, eating, and checking out a couple of Bob’s job sites (he builds beautiful homes) and his hot GTO.

Today we’re heading east and will stop at Nueske’s near Green Bay.  They make GREAT bacon, and many other smoked meats!

Go Vikings!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Rolling Again

As mentioned in our last blog, we are back on the road once again.

We ended the summer on Labor Day weekend with a visit from David and Valentina to the cabin.  Mom also came up to spend a couple afternoons with us.  Steve, Deanna, and Ryan brought their new toy up to their cabin – a new SeaDoo.  Steve pulled Valentina and Ryan on the tube behind the SeaDoo and put on several hours.  They thoroughly enjoyed it and the weather was great!

 Labor Day is past, the days are getting shorter, the trees are turning colors:
 The birds are making ready to migrate, and so are we. 

After a quick stop in Duluth Thursday morning, and lunch at the Anchor Bar and Grill (a “D, D, & D-spot”) with Mom in Superior, we began our trip east across northern Wisconsin to a campground near our friends, the Almekinders.  We have traveled a lot with them on motorcycle trips during our working lives, but haven’t seen them in person for nearly 2 years.  We plan to catch up a lot in conversations, and get a good bit of motorcycling done this weekend. 

After spending so much time in one place, we have to re-learn our traveling routines.