Monday, September 29, 2014

Quick Trip to Michigan & Back.

A week ago tomorrow, Abby & I started our quick trip to Michigan & back. After work our first leg was to Albert Lea, MN, driving through rain & darkness, we arrive late at the Comfort Inn. After a good breakfast the next leg takes us to J&P Cycle in Anamosa, IA, LeClaire, IA, and ending in South Bend, IN. All of a 500+ miles that day.

On the Mighty Mississippi lunch at Go
Fish, Princeton, IA
J&P Cycle is a well know aftermarket supplier of accessary's for motorcycle parts. They have a smaller show room than I expected, but a real friendly staff. I think they're more into mail order retail than store front.

Our next stop is in Princeton, IA for lunch on the Mighty Mississippi, oh local food is so good!

Mike Wolfe's American Pickers,
LeClaire, IA
After lunch, we travel a short distance to LeClaire, IA home base of Mike Wolfe. Abby & I love to watch his show "American Pickers" and was all pumped to stop by the store. I was a little disappointed with the size of the shop. With all the stuff they seem to pick on the TV show, I was expecting a bigger shop full of stuff. Not so, more a tourist attraction, if you know what I mean.

Basillica of the Sacred Heart.
Our drive continues onto South Bend, IN. Home to the University of Notre Dame, Studebaker Automobile Museum, & James Oliver's "Copshaholm". There's probably more in South Bend, but these are the places we took time to see.

Our morning started with breakfast at the Sunrise Cafe, with Brenda Wilson our host. Brenda & I figures it was probably 42 years since we last saw each other. The food was great and the business was busy that morning, so we didn't have much time to chat with each other, but it was sure good to see her and hope that if any of you get close to South Bend that you take time to stop by and say Hi.

Our next stop this morning is Notre Dame. We entered the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the luck of the Irish was with us. A tour guide came to us and showed us around. What a beautiful place.  On our way back to our car, we were walking past the on campus Fire Department, and the Chief was out front and we had a great conversation with him about the history and needs of a Fire Department on campus.

Abby always has room
for Blue Moon Ice
After the campus our next stop was going to be the Studebaker Museum, not knowing that there are other sights to take in at this location, one of them being "Copshaholm", home of James Oliver. What a wonderful home the Oliver's left South Bend. A 2 hour tour was a little longer than we expected, but was very enjoyable. The Architecture is truly amazing and very beautiful.

Joyce, John, & Bob in Marlette.
A quick walk through the Studebaker Museum didn't do it justice, so we might just have to return.

A quick drive to Grand Ledge, MI finds us at the home of Ron & Blanche Daren's, my ole college friends. Good food, drink, and conversation goes into the evening, there just isn't enough time for all of the fun we were having.

John with Almona.
Friday finds us driving towards the old home town of Marlette, MI, we have a lunch scheduled at noon with our family friends, one time neighbors, my mentor, Bob & Joyce Myotte. A feast Joyce prepared for us. Bob said he was glad we stopped by so that he get a feast like Joyce prepared, I told him it didn't really look like he's missed to many meals, lol. We had a great lunch and great conversation. It's nice to see friends of the past.

John & Kristie
Off to Caro, MI, were we're going to drop into see Almona Bradley, she told us she's 99, and she's looking good and sharp as a tack. We talked of the old days on the farm, of her friendship with Mom & Dad, playing cards, and going to the strawberry social over by Snover, MI.

40 Mile Point Light House.
Lake Huron, MI
We also make a stop at the Walmart in Caro, MI and we find niece Kristie working hard. As she is at work, we didn't have much time to chat, but it was great seeing her again!

We head North from the thumb of MI, ending up in Alpena, MI. The colors thus far are slow in turning, with only a few trees showing orange, red, & yellow. Our drive North takes us to 40 mile point, a light house on Lake Huron. Michigan has the most light houses in the nation. A true national treasure they are.

Onto Mackinaw City, MI, where we find the Mackinaw Bridge, gateway to the UP of Michigan, also home to fudge, which we bought some, Michigan made wine and beer, which we also bought, & other tourist trap items, which Abby may have bought.

Reflections in Wakefield, MI
The colors thus far have been so so to say the least. How soon that changed upon us crossing the bridge  into the UP. Before we get to far from the bridge it's lunch time, and what do you have for lunch in the UP, Pasties, our choice was Suzi's and they were tasty. Our journey finds us in Houghton-Hancock area around 7PM and we found no rooms in the inns. A couple of calls finds us lodging in Ontonagon, MI at Peterson's. Very nice cabins and very comfortable.

We travel on Sunday to our friends in Cold Springs, MN, watch a very impressive debut of a rookie QB Teddy B. of the MN Vikings, again good conversations with out dear friends Bob & Deb.

Around 2200 miles on this trip. Lots of time in the car. Short periods of conversations with friends, lots of friends we were not able to look up, hopefully next time to all that we missed!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

2014 Sturgis

Taking off at 6 AM.
The 2014 Sturgis Ride is history for me and my friends, Donny Meyer, Ron & Linda Bublitz. We left at 6 AM on Friday August 1st, 2014. This was only 9 hours after Abby got home from her stay in Sweden. We got to visit only for about 1 hour that night.

The morning was a chilly morning of 55*F so the first leg of our trip to Redfield, SD,  we drove through fog in low wet areas. Coffee was in order, and some of my fellow riders elected to add more layers. By the time we reached Pierre it was warming up and the layers added in Redfield were coming off. The day ended up being very warm.

Linda, Donny, & me, sorry Ron
no room for you in this selfie.
This goes on & on & on.......
From Pierre this year a different route than the normal Hwy. 34 route was in store. We all wanted to ride a little South and go through the Badlands of SD. The fee to get into the Badlands is controlled by the Federal government, and was $10.00 for motorcycles, and this was good for 10 days. The time we spent that day was long enough as the heat was very intense, pushing 90 degrees plus.

This trip is number four for the group I ride with. The first day we go into Sturgis and check it out. Everyone looks older, as we do, but happy! People are easy to talk to. The food smells the same. The bands are loud. The traffic gets heavy. Lots of people here to have fun. Lots of people here to make money. If you like motorcycling, and what goes with it, this event is a must.

Deadwood, SD
 The Sturgis rally is not confined to the town of Sturgis, it's about the Black Hills, the little towns that make up this beautiful region of South Dakota. It also includes Wyoming directly. Devils Tower, Hulett, Aladdin, the town you can buy for a cool $1.5 million(firm). The all open up their arms to you! They all want a piece of the action. There's music, beer, fellowship, tourism, and lots of it.
Stone House Saloon
The bikes are beautiful, they come in all styles, sizes, color's, brands. Mostly Harley, but there is also Honda, Kawasaki, BMW, etc. There's bikes right off the floor and ready to ride. There's custom's that many hours of labor and love  made them possible.
This custom could be bought for

This trip ended up being 1400 miles this year. Over all it was a good trip and we're looking forward to next year which will the the 75th Annual Sturgis Rally. Remember ride safe, protective gear is a must, wear a helmet.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Girls in my life!

Three girls in my life, Abby for 35 years, Becca for 34, and now Scout for almost 2 years. They're quite the 3-sum! A man could only wish for a 3-sum like this and I'm proud to say that they're in my life! Since Scout was born it's been traveling over the "pond" for visits. Twice now in Sweden and twice in Berlin. I could name some of the sights and locations we've taken in, but none of them are bigger than just spending time with this 3-sum.

Whether having coffee early in the morning with Scout or sitting outside with Becca, these are the moments that bring memories.

The time we spend together is great, but definitely not long enough, yet! For me this trip is over, I've come back to South Dakota and will go back to work tomorrow. The memories are stuck in my mind, and will be hard to get out of my head. I'll be plotting out in my head the next trip we'll be taking over the pond..counting the days...dreaming...

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Entrance to Skansen.

No trip to Sweden would be complete without going to Skansen,  this  according to  me,  is the Greenfield Village of Sweden.(Sort of) The old Village gives you a taste of the past, the zoo is a wonderful walk about the animals of the region. It's a must see if you ever come this way.

Swedish Meatballs & Mashed Potatoes.
Also a must is a plate of Swedish Meatballs & Mashed potatoes, my trip almost complete with this one checked off the list. The Swedes, as most of Europe also enjoy a beer with lunch, usually 3.5%, so when in Rome..

Our walk around Skansen reflects back to 2012, our first trip to Sweden just after Scouts birth. The two pictures show a then picture of Scout and Becca, and one in 2014.

The bundle of joy in the left picture is starting to grow, yet Becca remains the same. Skansen is a great place to leisurely walk about, but with a little one along it's great to have the stroller with.
Becca & Scout at Skansen.

Our stay here has been in a Caravan(camper), about a 18' long, not much space, but it does bring a taste of years past, of the family fun days of Lake Pickerel. At the end of long days it's tubby time for Scout and Grabby doesn't let the warm water go by without a good foot soak.

3 girls resting!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Friday BBQ

Ina on the right with Sister
Lotta, our BBQ host.
This past Friday we were invited to a BBQ at Becca's neighbor Maria's MorMor's(Grandmother) home, hosted by Maria's mother Ina. She did a marvelous job on the grille, cooking vegetables and the meat in  a timely manner. Like at home we had way too much food but it was delicious!

Of course in the typical BBQ fashion beer & wine was aplenty. Abby & I are at a great disadvantage that we do not speak Swedish, but everyone there was pleasant enough to speak English most of the time.
Abby, Maria, Becca, & Fredrik
The picture at the right is Abby & Becca with brother & sister Maria & Fredrik, daughter & son of Ina. We had a tremendous time in conversation with them. Maria is closing in on her law degree & Fredrik is chasing his dream as a football(soccer) player.

View from atop of Utö. 
Saturday, Grabby & Grandpapa took Scout to Utö, a island of the Stockholm Archipelago. My sailor friends would love this area! Unbelievable, the number of yacht's and large sailboats in this area.

Sunday is a relaxation day, there was also a threat of rain in the forecast, which we never got. Grabby, Scout, & Grandpapa went for morning walk in the "little forest" nearby and are now heading for the beach for an afternoon dip.
Grandpapa, Scout, & Grabby in
the "little forest".

Friday, July 11, 2014

July 2014 Relaxation with Scout!

Being picked up at Airport.
Our trip this Summer finds us in a camper parked next to Becca's & Jesper's home in Dalaro, Sweden for me this will be a two week trip until the 19th and for Abby it's until the 31st. Life is not always fair!

Oh well, weather so far has been great, most days start with a walk after breakfast with Pilar, a cup of coffee with Becca & Jesper, then down to the beach for a swim and sand castle building, the Baltic is chilly for us, Abby has yet to go all the way in!

Grabby, Scout, & Becca walking to the car.

We haven't been camping for years, but so far this has been fun! We have a little table out our door where we eat and spend time with Scout.

Scout's cup never got full,
imagine that.
This morning instead of going to the beach, we went blue berry picking.  Now for my Michigan friends, these berry's are upper MI berry's not Thumb Area berry's, takes a lot of them to make a cup.

Food in Sweden, like our last few trips to Europe, has been great for me. I wake up in the morning's with low blood sugar, blood pressure is going down, and I am sleeping better than I do at home. Not sure what it is, but life seems better over here for me. I keep telling Abby that we're moving over here if my numbers keep dropping like they do.

Scout & Becca offering a toast!

On her own.
Our little Scout is growing up quick! She likes the water, to splash in, she likes to pick up sticks when we're out walking, she such a pleasant girl, when we meet others and shake hands, she wants all of us to do it! She like to make toast when we're having a drink, even if it's just water. This trip she has expanded herself to going down the slide by herself. Growing up fast. A few English words are said, as with Swedish words, quite a mix going on with her.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

See you soon.

Julie, Abby, Scout, & Ben on the Muni.
We're getting to be seasoned at traveling about the cities we travel to. Becca is a good teacher when it comes to riding on mass transits. From the tube in London, Tokyo, Sweden, Berlin, and now San Francisco, getting around in these great cities seem easy upon reflection. On this trip, 7 day passes get us rides on the  Muni, Buses, & Cable Cars. The muni literally runs right behind our apartment, we could jump onto it off our deck, the stop is less than a 1/16th of mile. In San Francisco the lingo is In bound & Out bound. We ride to Powell station in bound to walk, maybe 100 yards to the cable cars, or to end of line and then maybe a 500 yards to Pier 1 and the waterfront street car. These streets cars are painted & labeled in the colors of varies cities in the US & Central America.

Julie & Ben in the cell block.
 Today we get off at Pier 1, stop for a coffee at Starbucks, hop onto the streetcar to Pier 33, onto the ferry to the "Rock", Alcatraz to look around. Ben grew up watching the movie, "The Rock", and was very excited about touring here, as was Julie, Abby, Scout, and I. We did have a little problem, as the walk up to the top is equal to walking up 13 stories. This was a bit to much for Abby & Scout and they waited for us to do the tour. The National Parks handed out audio tours for all visitors to listen about the history of the "The Rock". Again this made a very interesting time inside. Like Ben said at the end, just imagine, standing in a space that some of this countries biggest criminals stood!
Scout & Ben

 On our way back, Ben puts on the sling to relieve Abby, and to get some more bonding time with Scout. Friday night we take a four block walk down hill to a Irish pub. The food was great, a nice little neighborhood bar & grille.

San Francisco is a testing city to get around in. Lots of hills, both ways are hard on the old bodies.

See you later is what we say in this family, never using the "g" word! Even this is hard to say, but we look forward to our next excursion, probably next August to Dublin, that will be soon, until then "face time" will have to do....
See ya soon!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ben & Julie Arrival in San Francisco.

Julie, Ben, & Becca back together again.
Adventure is what we do. Abby, Scout, & I venture out to San Francisco Airport to pick up Ben & Julie. We jump on the J muni and ride to end of line, switch over to the BART line, and one transfer later arrive at SFO. We connect with the kids pretty easy, reverse our route back to our Air BnB rental and after almost 2 years the kids reconnect with Becca. She has pizza waiting for our supper.
Muir Woods

Julie & Scout
Scout is fast to sleep upon their arrival, Abby carries her in the sling. Scout awakes and finally meets her aunt and uncle, warming up to them very fast.

Ben & Scout

Thursday we take a tour to Muir Woods, ageless Redwoods just North of San Francisco, we load unto the tour bus, only our family and 2 others, it's like a private tour, over the Golden Gate we ride. It's a little misty out, but the 1 hour 15 walk about in the woods is majestic. The smells of wet forest is awesome, the hugh burls on some of the trees are spectacular. I would love getting one of them to turn on the lathe.
Becca, Scout, Steven, & Jayme

We arrive back into San Francisco in time for supper with our old friend's Ron & Blanche Deren's son Steven and his fiance Jayme. Wow, such an handsome couple they are, and great conversation we had. 

Steven & Jayme has set their date for October 11th, 2014 for a wedding on Maui. I hope for the best for them, I did offer some advice to Steven, I told him to remember, "a happy wife, makes a happy life."

Our vacation days are winding down, today we're heading out to the "The Rock", hopefully missing the forecasted rain, but it doesn't look good at 100% chances.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

San Francisco Tuesday

Traveling is hard when you change time zones. Baby Scout wakes up the first night at 330am, that's 11am internal clock time for her. Last night she goes to sleep at 5pm, but sleeps in until 530am today. It's also hard on Grandpa, it only being 2 hours difference, my internal clock is all messed up too.

Tuesday we go with Becca to Air BnB's home office and we take a tour of it with Becca. Our girl knows a lot of people in her company, and they're from all corners of the world. They also have a food service in their headquarters, if you have seen the movie "Interns" with Owen Wilson you'll understand what they have. So we had a good breakfast there.

End of line on the Mason-Powell trolley.
Elmo on the street.
Afterwards, Becca has meetings to get to, so we headed to Fisherman's Wharf with Scout. These trips for us always gets us more walking and exercise. Today is a gorgeous day, sunshine, not a lot of tourist, but enough of them. All ages and nationality's.

We've got our routes down, on the muni's J-Church and Trolley. They're very user friendly, and we've met some very nice people on them  A older lady sat next to Abby and Scout yesterday, she's been in San Fran since 1959, coming west from Chicago.

We get back to our apartment around 130pm, rest up for a 1/2 hour and off to Deloris Park, about 2 blocks N of the apartment. This is not a normal 2 blocks, it's up a hill, about 37 degree grade and then down a 37 degree grade hill. I think the travel guides say there are 43 hills consisting of 49 square miles that make up San Francisco. The parking on the streets are to say the least very interesting at times.

In the park we find lots of kids and moms mostly playing in a newly built play area. Sand boxes, rubber surfaced area's to protect the falls, all very modern.

Read time with Grabby.

After supper, it's read time and then shortly thereafter our tired lil flicka Scout falls to sleep on Grabby's lap. Wednesday Ben & Julie arrive, we're looking forward to that as I know they are too.

Tired lil flicka, fast to sleep.