Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Archive for ‘July, 2017’

Fish Spring Creek and Visit Klamath National Wildlife Refuge

Friday, July 28, 2017

I walked down to the Williamson River below the campground and took some pictures. I found a huge Black Huckleberry bush that was loaded with berries. There were also bushes everywhere with Red Currants. I quickly filled a water bottle with them. The Ponderosa Pines are so pretty. I can only imagine what they looked like 150 years ago. Across the street at the Logging Museum, there is a section of a tree taken from 38′ above ground. By the rings on the tree, it was determined to be 702 years old, 50 years before Marco Polo left for his first trip to China.

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I fished Spring Creek pretty hard all morning, throwing everything I had, but never moved a fish. Others were doing the same with the same results. I never know if there aren’t any fish, whether they are well-educated or well-fed. A hatch came off of little teeny things I didn’t recognize, so I tried a couple that looked similar. Nothing.

After eating lunch I drove north to Klamath National Wildlife Refuge, which was established with Duck Stamp funds. It is a huge, high plains, wetland marsh. There are canoe trails through the marsh that would be great to take. No one was at the park office, and I could see there were no canoes to rent, so I went on…..the long way. I think of Oregon as being wet with rain all the time. I haven’t seen rain in two weeks, and forests are dry as a bone. Driving north in the center of Oregon, it looks much like northern Nevada with hot, dry plains of sage grass.

Once I got back to Rt. 97 heading south, I filled with gas. You can drive all day and not see a gas station. I had a half tank, but I filled it. I drove a gravel road for 6 miles to Crescent Lake, which is supposed to be pretty. I did cross a beautiful stream that had a special regulations sign next to it. Arriving a half mile from Crescent Lake, cars were parked along the dirt road, so I pulled over. I was in the middle of a huge summer camp, one bit boy scout camp and one that looked like a girls’ camp. Walking down to the lake, I passed through all sorts of scouting projects, railings, crosswalks, shelters and rope swings. I heard lots of shouting down the lake where there were probably 100 kids doing something next to the lake. Wasn’t quite what I had imagined.

Work Day

Wednesday, July 25, 2017

Oil changed at Airport Buick GMC. They were great, Bob being my connect person. Poor internet, so I couldn’t do all the things I wanted while I waited, but was able to post. Went to three post offices before I was lucky enough to find my package from Airstream Supply. Went to Dick’s to look for better Gaiters, but they are in business with Field and Stream, so no luck with that. Went to Walmart For DEF and Diesel Kleen and decided to just do groceries there.

Back at camp had lunch and a little nap. Then did laundry and replaced the 30 amp socket. Tough, unbendable wire made it difficult. Then the back of the plastic cap wouldn’t fit all the way in, so I cut it off. Fortunately it finally went. Probably worked the wire coverings right over. Should cover them with electrical tape. Dirty, dusty connections caused the problem, not allowing a clean electrical connection. I will do better at cleaning these and I placed some dielectric grease on them. At the end of the day, it all got done.

Train Mountain Railroad Museum

Thursday, July 27, 2017

I fished the Williamson River for two hours from a rest area along Rt. 97. No fish bothered to even look at anything I had. Back at the parking lot, a gentleman asked where I was from. Smoking a Lucky Strike, he told me he was from Bend, about a hundred miles north. He moved there to get away from all the commotion in Portland, but said it’s worse than Portland now. He has done a lot of fishing in this area and said there are some big fish in this river. Walk upstream and you get into private property, but also lots more fish. His wife passed away a couple of years ago. Now at 83, he just likes to roam, although that wasn’t the word he used. It was something from a song. He is heading over to the coast and will go north, or wherever the roads take him. He sold his big camper when his wife died and put a camper shell on the back of his truck, which suits him fine now. “Probably cost less than this fancy box you have on your truck.” He has to go for prostate biopsy next week. I told him not to worry. Just get it out.

After lunch I stopped at the Ranger station and got a top map, which helped a lot, then went to Chiloquin to get a few groceries. I went the back way because of road construction and drove past train cars sitting on both sides of the road. There was a dirt road going through the properties. Then a gate with a sign for Train Mountain Railroad Museum was just ahead, so I turned in. Larry Brannon and Ernie, you would love this! Three groups run it. There is a non-profit that administers it. Friends of Train Mountain help and make donations. Then there is a group of train enthusiasts who come and work on various projects. Many bring their own trains, operating them on 36 miles of 71/2” gauge, 1/8 scale tracks. There are rides you can take through the property, picnic areas. I hope to get back for a ride through the park. They even have a 6-acre campground. Trains are huge in this area, so there are many enthusiasts. You can check it out at http://trainmtn.org/tmrr/.

I made a nice split pea and lentil soup.

Lost Creek Lake

July 24, 2014

There are two Lost Creeks and they are appropriately named. Neither had any water in them, or I could not find an access to the one on the east side of the lake. Lucky I didn’t. Loggers were working above it. Way up on the top of a vertical mountain right above the stream. Let one of those trees go and you are done for! It was fun to explore the area in the morning. By the middle of the day, it gets too hot for much activity. Too hot, too much dust, I washed the truck and returned to the trailer. Think I’ll head back to Collier State Park.

Fishing Rogue River With Steve Crisler?

July 20, 2017

I met Steve at 5 am at Highway Products. I thought he was getting a license and he thought I was, so we had to wait two hours until Wallmart opened at 7:00. However we had a nice breakfast and I got to meet the nicest girl at Walmart  I bought a year’s fishing license and salmon/steelhead something or other for $144 and we were off.

Steve did a great job of explaining the six rods he had, how they worked and how we would fish before we left the landing. I could have been listening to Gordon Sutton. He is 32 years old and very nice guy. We set out and it was very slow, catching a few small trout, mostly on the two salmon egg spinning rigs. I was interested in how he was able to work this nice boat. Then we hooked the big one in between two rapids with some trees in the middle. Steve said you have to horse him. “Don’t let him get down stream from you”. With constant coaching and great oarsmanship on the Pavati drift boat, we managed to net a huge 32 pound King Salmon, took some pictures and then set him free.

We caught a few more little ones, but we were getting into the heat of the day now – all my fault for not getting the license earlier. We fished one hole particularly hard, but it didn’t happen. The salmon run is early, and really heats up in October. Last October Steve and two clients caught 66 in one day. I love the boat and would love a half day lesson on how to handle it.

Back at Highway Products I bought two cleats to go on the Headache rack and had them delivered, and I returned a tool they left in my truck. I had lunch back at the trailer, but it was oppressively hot! I took a half-hour nap and woke up groggy and sweating. I didn’t care how cold that river was, I was going in! Changing into my bathing suit, I walked across the field, down a path to the river. It’s cold, very cold! It comes out of the bottom of Lost Creek Reservoir and is 49 degrees. It is also running fast, maybe 8 miles an hour. This is not a river you mess around with. You could lose your life here. Steve has pulled two bodies out of the river. I registered all that, but it was hot, very hot, so I walked into the river and its slippery, round rocks. Up to my knees, I stopped and reconsidered. Still hot, I picked up some water and wet my hair and head. After walking around a bit, I finally took the plunge. It was very cold, but I was at last relieved. After a minute or two, I did the vertical plunge again. I got out and walked along the path beside the river. Huge blackberry bushes lined the path, and they were ripe with berries. I ate my way along to the north. A bike trail goes for 30 miles through the little towns along the river. I turned around and walked to the other end of the park.

After showering and shaving, I went to the Rogue City Library. This is a very nice library! With music and videos and a spacious book collection. While my computer updated, I perused the books looking for fishing this area. I tried the computer, but you had to have a card. Before I could think about it, a lady warned me they were closing in 10 minutes. Meanwhile my operating system was in the middle of an update that would take 15 minutes! Somehow it managed to finish at 7:00. Around the corner, I found a convenience store that had some Yellow Tail Shiraz. Since Jim Batten liked it, I bought some and headed home for dinner and a glass of wine. it was a good day.

Errands and Move

Saturday, July 15, 2017

With no available campsites in Valley of the Rogue State Park, or anywhere else around Medford or Crater Lake, I needed to move by 1:00, but first I had a bunch of errands to run. There was a farmer’s market in Medford. I needed groceries, a haircut and to do laundry. Looking for the laundry, I found a barber shop, but the laundry was closed. I went into the Big Y Berber shop and met Jim. Barbers know everything that is going on in town. He told me the farmer’s market was good and where I would find a laundromat. Then we talked trucks since he also had a GMC. 

I found the laundry and finally figured out the machines. I was surprised to find more men than women, but on Saturday morning it was busy. While waiting for the wash, I pulled the plug on the cooler in the bed of the truck to let the now warm water out. A guy walked by giving me a strange look as water appeared to be pouring out from under the truck. I told him what I had done. Another strange look. After checking the washing machines, I stood outside wondering if I should go across the street to a car wash, but it looked like a drive through, which wouldn’t work with bikes covered with a rubber tarp covering the truck bed. The guy with the strange look came out and we exchanged pleasantries. Kenny was from Medford, mid 40’s with a bit of a paunch. He worked at a gun shop and at a tool and die place that makes bolts for rifles. He knows guns and the history of gun making. We talked about self-defense pistols, then moved on to hunting and fishing the area. He said it’s so vast, there are still places unexplored. People get lost all the time. 

He had some very interesting views on politics and the state of the country, its infrastructure, drug use and Oregon’s governor and how she got there. After moving the wash to dryers, we returned to our talking spot. We went on to President Trump and congress. It was obvious that Kenny was well-read, a religious fellow and he needed a dentist. I enjoyed our conversation that continued as we folded laundry. We shook hands, and he said, “God bless you”. 

The farmer’s market was small, but I bought a few things, then went to a grocery store to fill out the list. Hurrying back to the State Park, there were still no vacancies, but it was wide open from Sunday on. The very nice girl, Amanda, with a great smile suggested Collier Memorial State Park to the east. She looks so much like Karen Carpenter! Sitting in the rest area next to the park, I had lunch and looked at the options. It was 92 degrees and hot. With the luxury of Lew’s solar installation, I ran the air conditioner for about an hour while I stewed over driving almost two hours for a one night stay. There were National Forest sites along the way, so I would check them out as well. 

45 minutes into the drive, the road wound its way up a big mountain. I stopped in National Forest campground, but it was filled, at least with the few places I might have gotten into. I was fortunate to be able to get around the loop. Kept going up and up the mountain, finally topping out with a huge lake to my right. Around the top of the lake, trees open to a giant, flat grassy plain with water abounding. Cattle grazed in lush surroundings. They have replaced the buffalo across the west, and there are gazillions of them, black angus mostly. I stopped to take pictures the best I could. The volcanic mountain that holds Crater Lake was off in the distance, with snow still covering the top. A beautiful spring creek wound its way through the plain. 

Ahead a camper was pulled over with a blown out tire, rubber littered the lonely road behind it. I stopped to see if I could help, but there wasn’t much I could do. They would have to unhook and drive a long way to a town and hope they could get a tire. They had used their spare a few days before. I know how they feel! 

Finally arriving at the campground, a nice ranger named Leigh greeted me with a smile. No sites were available. Although I had driven a very remote road to get here, the park is right off of 97, a major north/south highway in the center of the state. She said there was a National Forest campground a mile and a half down a dirt and gravel road, and it is beside a stream. She said they have nice sites and they are big. I crept down the corrugated, dusty gravel road. I was nervous turning into the campground. It was 5:00. Leigh had given me a list of campgrounds in the area and pointed out several she liked. I was relieved to only see four campers, and there were 20 sites – pretty sites! 

I chose a big shaded site that looked great. Two big boulders guarded the front. Tired now, I made myself slow down. I had to go back and forth a number of times to make the tight turn. It probably would have been easier earlier in the day. Finally making it, I unhooked, leveled the trailer, prepared dinner and walked back to the self-register station. A gentleman named Heiner was being pulled by two chihuahuas. They looked like a sled dog team with their harnesses on. Heiner introduced himself. They just bought a new “Skinny Winny”, a Winebago on a Mercedes Van chassis with a 3500 diesel engine – nice! Heiner is a researcher at Cal Davis in plant engineering. He said we won’t have to worry about it, but our great grandchildren will not have enough food unless major changes are made. I asked how our water supplies were doing. He grumbled, “Yea, that’s another issue”. 

I went back for dinner and a glass of wine. I was surprised to see people pulling in throughout the evening. Traveling 97 not doubt, you can’t beat the $10 price. With a senior pass it is only $5! 

Interstate 70 West

Write-ups in previous post. At the top is Boot Hill in Ogallala, Nebraska. Love the statue. Below are the Bonneville Salt Flats

Driving Across America on I-70 and I-80

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Nail found in tire seen on lower right

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Now and then when you think you have a heavy load…..check out a double trailer frequently seen.

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Driver taking a nap with his head in his hand

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North Salt Lake

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Bonneville Salt Flats

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Now that’s a load!!

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Deeth, Nevada, population, 28

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Sunset in Winnemucca, Nevada at the very nice New Frontier Campground.

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New Frontier Campground

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They have all the tricks here. Insulated water connections for when it freezes.

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Sheldon National Wildlife Preserve

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The volcano where Crater Lake formed.

Monday, July 10 – 14, 2017

Leaving Columbus, Ohio in the early morning rain, it was a bit hectic making the right turns in heavier traffic than I expected at 6:30. Once I got on I70, things settled out. Ohio and Indiana are beautiful country. Just turn the music on, set cruise control and relax. I am still getting used to the new truck, a 2015 GMC Denali diesel. What is it capable of? Can I leave it on cruise control? What kind of diesel should I buy? What is this DEF stuff? Should I use an additive every time I fill up? Then there’s the infotainment center. It is a cool interface, the neatest part is being able to get satellite weather along the route.

There is heavy truck traffic since this is a huge transportation route. 90% of all truckers are very professional, drive very well and know the roads. Like anything else, there are some idiots who drive those huge rigs too fast, some thinking they are playing a video game. I have tremendous respect for truckers. I think I’m driving a big rig until I pull into a rest area and park between these giant trailer-trucks. I marvel at their abilities inside cities, navigating tight streets and backing into delivery sites, mostly without backup cameras. Speaking of which, I LOVE my backup cameras installed by Todd and his crew at Auto Trim Design. Thanks Todd! (I get no kickbacks or benefits from ANY business or company). It is soooo nice to look in the rearview mirror and look out the back of the trailer like you were driving a car. I put another camera on the back of the truck, which is a little crazy since the truck has one built in. But it always stays on whether you are in reverse or not, and you can see the hitch ball about 5 times bigger than the truck’s camera. I do like the truck’s camera for backing into parking places, but I still look at both cameras.

Anyway, those truckers put up with cars dodging in front of them alongside and behind. Mostly they can’t see what’s behind them. I travel 64 miles an hour in the right lane. That means trucks are passing me all day. Invariably there is a car or another truck pushing behind them. They really appreciate flashing your lights to let them know they can pull over ahead of you. Most will blink their tail lights to say thank you. I started doing the same for them. At first I tapped the brakes twice to say thank you, but I quickly realized that was dangerous. In an aha moment I realized I could use the emergency signal on top of the steering wheel column.

Indiana was beautiful with lots of corn fields and rolling hills. I arrived late to camp, checked in, set up, had a glass of wine, a quick dinner and went to bed.

Driving through Kansas City was nerve-wracking, as it is in all cities. There’s just so much craziness in cities. People driving too fast, switching lanes, talking on their phones, texting – and I still don’t know how they do that. Ed showed me how to dictate into the phone, which he does for everything. With a little practice, that became very valuable, and you can do it mostly hands-free. You just have to touch that little microphone, and there is something in settings you have to do, but I’ve already forgotten what it was. I had planned to go through Kansas City at 10:00, so it could have been much worse. Then I cut north on I29 to cross over to I80 through Nebraska. I29 was a very nice road with pretty countryside. North Platte was my destination for the night.

On Wednesday I drove from North Platte, Nebraska to Rock Springs, Wyoming. I planned the trip to drive 500-600 miles a day. That’s one tank of fuel in the GMC, so I would fill up at day’s end before going to the campground. On this stretch I realized I was following the California Trail. I didn’t want to be distracted from driving on this trip because I had a schedule to keep. I have an appointment at Highway Products in White City, Oregon on Monday. But when I saw a sign for Boot Hill in Ogallala, Nebraska, I had to go see it. There were other things in Ogallala, but I told myself to just go to Boot Hill. In the middle of a neighborhood, I parked in front of someone’s house and walked across the street to Boot Hill. Settlers traveling from Independence, Missouri would travel 2000 miles to California in 4-6 months. Driving it and looking at the land, you get a real feel for what they did. Some think I’m crazy to drive across the country pulling a trailer. Imagine walking it, oxen pulling a wagon that would carry half what I can put in my truck. Those wagons were small!

By the time they got to Ogallala, they had traveled 480 miles or so, following the Platte River Valley, which is quite pretty. On a good day, they would only cover 20 miles, so they had been on the trail a month. Many would die along the way, and Boot Hill would be a high burial place where animals might not get to the bodies. Some were children, some were killed in violence, or with their boots on. Thus the name Boot Hill. The best part was the statue of a trail boss, and there is a pretty view of the town and valley.

The Platte River is divided into branches and bands, all of which were pretty. To have seen these plains with elk, buffalo, wolves, coyotes and deer in a pristine valley must have been something. It would be fun to follow the trail with time to study it.

On Thursday my goal was to drive from Rock Springs, Wyoming to Winnemucca, Nevada. As I set up the night before at Rock Springs KOA, I noticed a nail in the back left trailer tire. I was up at 4:00 and took a nice shower and shaved. On my way back to the trailer, a gentleman next to me said, “I’m glad you are awake. I need to hook up and get on the road. I didn’t want to wake you”. A very interesting guy with Oregon license plates on a work truck I had admired as I set up last night. He is from the states, lives in New Zealand and works as an engineer and fiberoptic cable installer on the railroad. I could see they were doing a lot of work on the railroad on my drive yesterday.

I jacked the trailer up, took the tire off and drove it to Dan’s Tire Service that was rated 4.6/5.0. It opened at 7:30 and I got there at 7:15. A very nice gentleman with his arm in a sling was just unlocking. He took the tire and said it should be an easy fix and to come back at 8:30. Returning to the campground, I took the spare tire out and put it on the trailer. Trying to find things in the truck now is a bit of a mess, but I found the torque wrench and sockets and torqued the nuts. Back at Dan’s, I happily paid $16 for the tire repair. The gentleman had his sling off, so I asked about it. He was just two weeks out of rotator cuff surgery, with which I am very familiar. Amazingly, he has no pain and showed me his stitches. I showed him my healed scars from surgery several years ago. I don’t how Dan’s only got 4.6 stars. A fellow checking out ahead of me thanked him profusely for the great service. They are out of the way in Rock Springs, but if you need help, go find them!

I didn’t get on the road until 10:00, but all-in-all I was very happy to have done it in that time, and thankful I didn’t have to buy a new tire. Goodyear Marathons are notorious for blowouts. Kelly can tell you the stories. They are also rated for top speed of 65mph. I have also learned you should change your RV tires every four years. These are three years old and look great. I have gotten used to traveling 64mph, so it doesn’t bother me really, although there are times I would love to do more. Driving a trailer 75 or 80mph is asking for trouble. In 8 hours of driving you will arrive 40 minutes sooner for each 5mph increase. Nice, but not a big deal. There are times when you have to drive faster for safety and self-defense, particularly in heavy traffic. This was the case today in Salt Lake City.

Once you have changed a few flat tires, you become sensitive to the amount of rubber along the sides of highways. In the middle of Salt Lake City on a 10-lane interstate 80, traffic was crazy. A work truck passed me pulling a steel trailer loaded with heavy stuff. In the dull recesses of my mind it was recorded as such, but I was trying to stay on the right highway and not make a wrong turn. I was in the middle lane with cars zipping in and out of lanes to gain a few seconds in their frantic schedules. Then the work truck’s trailer tire that was so heavily loaded started to unravel. The dull senses recorded it, but didn’t react. The driver must have felt it, as he started to switch lanes to the right, but the tire now delaminated, unraveling, and came apart, bits of rubber flying in the air. Then the huge unraveled piece flew six feet in the air. Traveling at 75 miles an hour in heavy traffic in these circumstances shoots adrenaline through my body in a millisecond. A small piece of rubber hit my truck or trailer, but I glanced in the side mirror and dodged the big piece of tire. I could see the truck swerving back and forth trying to maintain control and also trying to get out of traffic. I stomped the gas and shot past him, unable to look back to see what else happened.

Salt Lake City was disappointing. It was likely a beautiful spot when the Mormons arrived, but now it is an ugly, huge city. Driving along the Great Salt Lake was interesting though. There should be enough salt to supply the world! Over the mountain and down the road I-80 goes right through the middle of the Bonneville Salt Flats. It is huge! Road construction constricted traffic to one lane with cones in the middle and a speed limit of 65. This means you can’t look up, glance around or slow down. I don’t know how far it was across, but maybe 45 minutes of driving. A rest area at the far side was a welcome site.

On Friday my goal was to drive from New Frontier RV Park to Valley of the Rogue State Park in Oregon, a fairly easy day, but I made an into a difficult one. I changed my mind about going to a KOA in Medford, Oregon and hanging out for two days before going to Highway Products on Monday. I thought a day or two in a National Park was just what I needed after driving across country. My mistake was not calling for a campsite in Crater Lake National Park as well as grossly underestimating Oregon citizens’ desire to go camping. Not only was the National Park completely filled, but the KOA was filled. Mom and Pop RV parks were filled. I could have found a place in the national forest, but I was getting low on fuel. The truck will travel all day on a 39 gallon tank of gas, or 500-600 miles. I had not seen a gas station all day!!!

Driving Rt 95 is a very cool drive. It is remote! If you want to get away from it all, take 95. Who knows what is out in that semi-desert? Like to go off road? Load up your jeep, take all your supplies. You had best have good maps, a compass and GPS, and you’d better know how to use them. The road goes through the Pronghorn Preserve, miles and miles of sagebrush desert. Didn’t see a pronghorn or a Bighorn goat, but it was mid-day and hot. I was now following the Oregon Trail, and I cannot imagine walking this!

I crossed into Oregon in the middle of the park. Then down a steep, curvy mountain on the edge of a cliff – not my kind of road, but I must say it was cool. The views were spectacular, but who could take their eyes off the road? I would have been scared to death driving that part in the Nissan, but the big GMC diesel makes it easy.

Across the desert floor, up over a mountain and there was water, a lake, green grass, farms. What a change! A curvy road follows a beautiful stream. A sports car on this part would be fun. Then over a mountain and follow another beautiful river. Over another mountain and another beautiful river. Surely pioneers walking the Oregon Trail must have thought they were in heaven. The entire trip from Kansas City follows the California Trail or the Oregon Trail.

I was very fortunate to find a campsite at Valley of the Rogue State Park. It was only one night, but surely something would open up tomorrow. I had made the trip across the country in five days and I was tired. Then I thought of those in the great western migration walking sometimes with no shoes. I had seen a lot of beautiful country, most of which I had never seen. Now I am in Oregon and look forward to exploring this state for the next four weeks before picking Kelly up at the Airport in Vancouver.

Ed and Deb’s Lake House and Traverse City, Michigan

July 5-9, 2017

Driving to Sugar Grove, I met my good friends Ed McGlumphy and Diego Genoves at Ed and Debbie’s new lake house. Ed and I had talked about meeting as I was heading west. I asked him where he wanted to go, and he said there was a great store in Traverse City, Michigan that has great furnishings for cabins. That sounded like a good adventure, so we passed it by Diego, who lives in Mexico City. I was very surprised and happy to hear that he had booked a flight!

We enjoyed a great evening at the lake house. What a find they made with this house, as it is in perfect shape, not too big, but with plenty of space. With kayaks, a canoe and pontoon boat, they are ready to go! We took the inaugural pontoon boat cruise around the lake and happily made it without incident. It was great to also see Greg and Michele Michaels, Kelly McGlumphy and Lisa Knowbloch, also from OSU. After a great dinner, everyone headed back except Ed, Diego and I, so we were the first to stay in the new cabin. Ed spent the night on the sleeping porch, and said it was great.

We got a reasonable start heading out to Traverse City. It was a long drive made longer by heavy rains in Columbus and some missed turns as we were talking a lot. The real adventure came when we got close to Schecks Place State Forest Campground. The iPhone GPS took us down a sand road, which I expected, but three more turns and it started to look dicey. Some deep sand almost got us stuck. Then we ran into a dead end and had to back out. We could hear people playing music in the campground, but we couldn’t get there. Finally a man on a 4-wheeler gave us good directions. We were lucky to find a spot, but we found a good one and settled in.

In the morning we headed into town to shop Woodland Creek Furniture. I quickly saw why Ed wanted to come here. It is a very cool place, and Ed was like a kid in a candy store. He introduced me to a new way of shopping…. with FaceTime. He showed his daughter, Kellye and wife Debbie around the store, pointing out things he thought would work. After a few hours, Ed’s head was overflowing, and we needed some lunch. The town was crowded, as they were in the middle of the National Cherry Festival. We had a good lunch at a pie shop and headed over to Morsels Expresso + Edibles shop, where a friend of Kellye’s works. We never saw her, but it is a great spot to get a coffee or sandwich, sit outside and watch kayakers paddle down the Boardman River.

In the afternoon, we headed down to the festival, buying some cherries, nut butters and cherry brats. We watched the cherry pie eating contest for a while, but the highlight of the day was the pit-spitting contest. Right up there with the Moose Dropping Festival in Talkeetna, Alaska, the pit-spitting was a happening. We practiced a bit, spitting into Lake Michigan and made maybe 15 feet. Then they rolled out this long mat on the boardwalk. It was marked to 110 feet! The announcer was great, first letting children give it a go. Encouraging and joshing at the same time, he kept the crowd entertained. I think 20′ was the best of the kids. Then came the adults. Anything that didn’t stay on the mat was not counted, rather like golf’s long-drive competitions. One big guy stepped up and fired one 45′. The trick seemed to be to really clean the pit of all cherry. Diego suggested biting them to make dimples like a golf ball. Then you have to hope for a great roll on the mat. The trick seemed to be to roll the tongue length-wise and fire the seed like a bullet. Two feet on the line, haul backwards and fire forward. After watching 10 contestants, we felt with practice on the off-season, we might have a shot.

Diego signed up for a half marathon, so we got up early and drove him to the start at about 6:30, the race starting at 7:00. He said it was a beautiful run along the coast of the peninsula jutting into Lake Michigan. Running along cherry orchards, farms and beautiful homes, he enjoyed it very much. Meanwhile, Ed and I went to the tip of the peninsula, looked at the lighthouse at the end, and slowly drove back. it is beautiful country. We stopped at a farm stand that was set up on the honor system, and bought the best cherries I have ever had. Back in town we went to an omelette shop and enjoyed a great breakfast.

There was a parade that morning besides the half marathon, so there was nowhere to park. I started to park 6 blocks away, but Ed suggested going back to town center, where we found a two-hour spot. Walking one block, we found ourselves at the finish line. I stepped between the crowds and into the street to look for Diego. Tugging on Ed’s shirt, I asked if that was Diego about a block away. “Yes”, so we snapped a few pictures as he came across the finish.

Back to Woodland Creek to make some purchases. Diego and I walked along what I guess was Woodland Creek behind the store while Ed shopped. Loading the box of cabin goodies, we headed back to camp for lunch. We stopped at a lodge just up from camp and booked kayaks for a 3:00 trip on the beautiful Boardman River that ran through our camp. After lunch and a little quiet time, we drove to the lodge. We were shuttled upstream with instructions to pull out when we saw the big sign at the lodge.

Ed was barely sitting in his kayak when it tipped over. Fortunately our driver quickly hopped in the water to help him. He was unstable as we continued downstream, so when we found a suitable spot, we switched boats and he was much more comfortable. Now in Ed’s former kayak, I could feel it was much more sensitive, smaller and more narrow. This is a beautiful river and a great kayak trip. We passed a gentleman working in his back yard. He said it was one of the top 10 trout streams in the country! I saw a few fish and one poor lady trying to fish between kayaks and inner tubes.

Another great fire and dinner cooked over the fire before we hit the beds early. We were on the road to Columbus by 7:30 in the morning. This time the drive was easier as we stayed on track. We had arranged to meet Mike Majchrowicz in Toledo on our way back. Mike also trained with us at Ohio State. We met at Tony Packo’s Restaurant. It was great to catch up a bit with Mike. He looked great and seemed quite content with life.

We got back to Columbus in time to get cleaned up and go to dinner to celebrate Debbie’s birthday. She had a tough week taking care of her mother, who had a small stroke. It was nice to enjoy a little more conversation before we had to go our separate ways. We have had some great adventures together, and this was another good one. We did a lot in five days!