Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Norway Michigan, Albino Deer, Rapids, and Waterfalls
Dave and Jane are two friends we met at Waterssedge, the rv park we winter in, and they have a beautiful ten acre piece of land near Norway Micgigan. We had talked with Dave, he was fishing, and he told us to just pull in and hook up. Soon after we arrived Jane got home and Dave followed later that evening,(He did have some northern and walleye fillets and so we of course talked about the fishing).
We also bought some rock, more beautiful tiger eye, and some orbicular leopard skin agate. They also had some stunning Mexican crazy lace agate and I am kicking myself for not buying any. We spent the rest of the day checking out local artists and their shops and we traded stories and techniques for wire wrapping.
We had a nice time there, buying rock, visiting with friends, and plan on returning there as part of a future fall leaf trip. The Upper Peninsula is such a nice place to be and a real relief after the heavy traffic out east. Clear skies.
Thursday, May 26, 2011
The Soo Locks
So we got to the Soo locks and passed through security. Inside was a small museum with displays and of course the usual film describing the history of the locks and their importance to the US and Canada. It surprised me that a whole division of troops had been placed there to guard the locks during World War II.
We headed out to view the locks . A ship wasn't due to lock through until 1:30 pm so we left the locks and walked along the street, full of shops that sold fudge.
Buying some at the first store we returned outside only to see the ship had arrived early and was already being lowered. We returned to the truck, passed through security and joined the crowd, ok probably ten others, as the ship finished its lowering and then left the lock heading down to Lake Huron.
well I mainly munched on fudge. The drive back to St Ignace was short and of course tree lined . Others places beckoned but not today. We do hope to return this way someday as we head to into eastern Canada and down through Maine Clear skies.
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Hunting Petoskey Stones? Start At Baileys Place
As soon as we came down the Appalachians and entered Ohio the forest gave way to the prairie and farm fields appeared. We were still in a hurry and so we drove west and then north entering Michigan. We had done this leg before and so we splurged and spent a night in an rv park, resting, showering, and dumping the tanks along with recharging batteries.
Our first attempt was marred by storms as we drove west on the highway and stopped to check out rocky points along the north shore of Lake Michigan. We found some rock, but it was mostly dolomite and it usually destroys fossils during its formation. Dark storm clouds promised and delivered heavy rain and so cut our day short but it was nice to get out of the truck.
As soon as we entered she greeted us warmly and it became obvious that we had entered the presence of a master lapidarist whose expertise was in Petoskey stones. We told her of our prospecting and of our love of stone and wire wrapping and she told us how Petoskey stones were prepared. It involved cutting slicing and stabilizing, something we have never done so she took us into her workshop and showed us a crock pot filled with Petoskey stones sitting in a bath of opticon.
She warned us of the fake Petoskey stones, actually coral from Indonesia and fossil coral from China and she showed us how to recognize it. She also told us to go to town and look at the fake stuff being sold as Petoskey Stone,(Shame on you few merchants who sell such junk to unsuspecting tourists, the color and the center of the fakes are quite different).
Baileys told us that a place to look for our own stones was right in town along the shoreline, She also said that the last six years had been unusual springs and that the ice hadn't plowed up any new material during the spring ice out, making the rock hounding poor.
Driving into town we parked behind Glens Supermarket, where theres a large lot, and after eating a hurried lunch we headed down to the shore. I waded out and saw the green moss growing on the submerged rocks that Bailey had told us about. Returning to the high water mark I started to shovel stones with my feet as the surface has been picked by thousands of rock hounds.
It was a day well spent as we ended up with lots of Petoskey rough to work. Besides the pieces we had found Bailey had sold us some beautiful rock for sawing, slabbing, and cabbing and so it starts anew as nine pounds of rock are stored in the fifth wheel. If you hunt Petoskey stones you should take the drive to the Town of Petoskey and stop at Baileys Place, where you will meet a mistress of stone, Thank you Bailey! Clear skies
Sunday, May 22, 2011
The Peabody Museum, Yale
Arriving at Yale we parked next to the museum and fed money into the parking meter. The old stately buildings looked fitting for such a storied place and the front of the museum was beautifully carved stone, what could be more fitting.
The minerals called and I hurried to the third floor and stopped as I reached the first display of diamonds in the rough. Having hunted Wyoming diamonds for the past two summers, and not finding any, I stared at the stones refreshing myself and my mind with the image of a rough stones, how I someday hope to find a double pyramid shaped specimen!
Th opal display showed all the fire one could expect and there were even tiger eye slabs, polished and shimmering with their chaytoyancy. I looked at the stunning specimens and realized how some of our specimens were of the same quality, its all in the cut after all.
The Egyptian room was fascinating and I wonder what my sister in law Mona felt as she gazed at the plunder of tomb robbers. Probably about the same as I did as we later strolled along dinosaur displays many collected/robbed from Wyoming. Dinosaurs from Wyoming need to stay in Wyoming!
We enjoyed the Native American display,(Hmmm no case filled with Germino's bones), where we both marveled at the bead work and the ivory carvings and I felt my need to carve jade growing stronger as new projects materialized in my mind.
Now the Peabody Museum isn't the best one we have visited and certainly not the biggest but it does have nice displays and is well worth visiting. Of course its simply the tip of the iceberg of fossils and specimens stored in the back rooms.It was still well worth the visit to walk the floors and enjoy the stories written in stone and bone. Clear skies.
Note big isn't necessarily best. If you want to see a great mineral display be sure to visit the Geology Museum in Rapid City South Dakota and for one of the best dinosaur display go to Thermopolis and its dinosaur Center. There they have an actual archeopteryx fossil found in Wyoming and quite simply priceless, the one at the Peabody is a cast.
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
A Connecticut Wedding and a Family Reunion
I thought of what I thought our marriage is, about a man clinging to his wife and a wife to her husband. About always being there, about how we have stood besides each other in sickness and in health and I thought of how much the newly weds were in love. It was so obvious that they were really meant for each other.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Springtime In Connecticut
Our nieces wedding is tomorrow and we have had a great time as its a family reunion. Its the first time in twelve years that siblings have all been back together, too long. For now let me just post some pictures of the flowers in my brothers back yard. Clear skies
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
In our travels we have visited Vicksburg, Fort Sumter, Antietam, and now Gettysburg. They all tell of the same messages. We fought for states rights, we fought because free slaves would take our jobs, we fought to end slavery, or we fought to preserve the Union....
The parallels today of what is happening in our country and the greed that seems to drive it all sickens me. I was raised a Catholic and the Bibles Beautitudes were hammered into me by sisters who dedicated their lives to teaching me what is really important in life, and so I became a teacher. If only people could see what we have seen and traveled the roads we have traveled......Clear skies
Monday, May 9, 2011
Shenandoah National Park,A short Day on the Skyline Drive
Friends had told us not to take our fifth wheel along the road but of course we wanted to see for ourselves if it would be possible to go this way,(We have traveled the Natchez Trace and strongly recommend it!).
It didn't look to good as we neared the parks North Entrance Station. A sign warned that the side of the arched overhang was only 12.2 feet but the arch looked higher and we are only 13 feet tall. We showed our pass and started to climb, driving through a thick hardwood forest.
Stopping we took some images of the tunnel from the Tunnel Overlook. A group of young men asked us to take their image and I had trouble with their camera but at last I got it.. They thanked us for rour kindness and I thought how nice young people can be.
It didn't take long for us to reach Winchester and our house, which is what we call our fifth wheel. We had checked some things off our list and had added to our knowledge of the east, it is time to head into Pennsylvania for a few days at Gettysburg and then to my nieces wedding in Connecticut. A long awaited family reunion. Clear skies
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Antietam and Harpers Ferry, Hisory All around Us
We left the visitor center and walked to Dunken Church, a prominent sight during the battle of Antietam. From there we drove the auto tour reading of the courage and honor of men long dead, The stories and monuments of the cornfield, such sacred ground. The monument to Hood's Texans who suffered 82 percent causalities in their charge but stabilized the Confederates line.
Our history lesson wasn't done as we asked the directions to Harpers Ferry and headed down narrow roads along the Potomac. Arriving at the park we showed our entrance pass, parked, and were quickly on the bus. The recorded history of the Harpers Ferry started its talk and I couldn't hear because the young people behind us were chatting. Using my sternest teachers voice I turned and said, Miss, we are trying to hear the recording would you please be quiet? The twenty something was pissed and snarled back at me but at least she shut up.
Getting off the bus one of her male companions made a comment as to my rudeness as they passed and Renita remarked at how nicely I asked for them to be quiet. There is no way I could be a campground host as many of our friends do, I have simply used up my patience dealing with rude people.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Heading North into a Giant Traffic Jam
Entering Virginia we stated to climb the Blue Ridge Mountains and the truck traffic became heavy as the rigth lane was full of slow moving trucks and the second lane had trucks that were trying to pass. Our Chevy climbed the hill with ease and we passed vehicle after vehicle climbing to the gap,(Out west we call these passes but here they are called gaps, hence the term water gap?).
It was a beautiful drive and then we saw the sign, I 81 was closed ahead due to a sinkhole collapse. We were ready to stop anyway as we had driven over 340 miles,a a long day for us, and so we took exit 101 on I 81 for Claytor State Park.
The park was virtually empty and we had our choice of campsites. Campground D had a bunch of pull throughs and even though the online site said that the maximum was 35 feet we didn;t have to unhook our truck as we stayed attached and just slid.
Going to the kiosk I discovered that while camping cost just 26.25 we had to pay 5.25 in a pet fee for our dog! 5.25 for a shi-tsu! I talked with another camper and he said that you only had to pay 15 dollars for a week, how kind of Virginia, I thought as I decided to spend as little as possible in a state that charges for dogs.
It was pretty there and we did have a nice walk to the lake. We saw cardinals and titmouse and lots of eastern towhees and it was cold so cold! The temperature dropped to forty degrees that night and it frosted in the area but not where we were at. We left the next morning having no idea of the mess we were heading into.
The news had reported on the sink hole and the first sign we saw said a detour had been made so we thought no big deal right. The sign read that the detour was from exit 195 and then back on I 81 on mile marker 200. It didn't sound bad until I had to stand on my brakes as the truck in front of me suddenly stopped at mile marker 187, oh no a seven mile traffic jam!
A Virgina DOT pickup backed past us with its sign telling people to slow down, and I realized that the Virginia people didn't have a clue. It took us an hour to go two miles. As the next hour passed we reached an exit for I-64,(mile marker 191 and still four miles from the detour), and using the GPS and truckers atlas Renita found a route so we headed west and then north on US 11(At that point we wer still four miles from the detour exit).
It turned out to be a great decision as we only had to stop for a few minutes as we crossed under I 81 and we found the spot where the traffic was exiting the jam and merging onto 11. We made it past the jam! We did have to stop a few places but after 20 miles of detour we reentered 1-81 and sped back up!
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Charleston, Walking Around the Downtown.
After watching a lady making beautiful sweet grass woven baskets we determined that the parking spots were too small for our truck and so we got back on the trolley to spend a little time at the City Market. As we got off the trolley the City Market reminded me of the market in Boston but as we entered I didn't see any food stalls and I realized I was in for it, a day shopping in Charleston.
It seemed to me that every other stall was another basket weaver and while they were really beautiful we wondered how they would survive the low humidity of Wyoming. We decided not to purchase one but they were pretty neat.
The next day Renita wanted to return so we drove to Charleston and found a parking spot that we actually fit in It cost eight bucks but it was for all day and we don't often pay for parking, welcome to city life! We passed several sea food cafes and decided we would have sea food for lunch as it would be our last day on the coast.
Walking past construction we found more shops and even found a local artist who made blown glass art. He was even selling pieces which his parents made and then wrapped in silver wire, similar to our work. It was fun to talk with another person who understood and appreciated our work as he admired Renitas sodalite silver wrapped pendant.
Now I don't usually give a place a plug in my blog but if you ever find yourself in Charleston and love seafood you must eat at Hyman's. Seafood. Its that good! Oh I almost forgot to mention we were given free ice cream in a cup and of course I had the peach!
All in all we have enjoyed our time here, there is a lot more to see as we have barely scratched the surface and its a place we will come back to someday. The food was excellent but we both enjoyed the old town center of Savannah more than the downtown shopping in Charleston. It is simply too big for us. Clear skies
Monday, May 2, 2011
The Flags of Fort Sumter, Charleston South Carolina
At one time I had thirty four former students serving during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars and while I understood the necessity I said a prayer for all of them and for all who have served. As the towers fell down I cried for the firemen and policemen who gave their lives as I thought of my son who serves as a state trooper.
Such honor and courage and such a price we pay for freedom. Clear skies
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