Thursday, August 30, 2007

Adventure Prep

We're almost ready to set out for our 2007 Ann Arbor adventure. Laundry baskets, suitcases, totes, and book bags are stuffed and ready to load into the car. The mail will be forwarded, the paper is stopped, and the neighbors are notified. Best of all, the apartment in Ann Arbor is ready and waiting. It has 2 bedrooms, 2 baths, outdoor patio, car port, wi-fi, and A.C. I think we will be most comfy.

The first Michigan football game is Saturday at noon and I can't wait! No games for me all season last year, and I'm READY!! There are games for 4 weeks in a row. Tom and Peter G. are coming on the 8th for the Oregon game, and they'll stay with us :) We may have friends coming on the 15th for the Notre Dame game.

During the next 6 weeks downstate, we plan to see old friends, visit Doug and Odette, go geocaching, and maybe see some other U of M athletic events besides football. We also want to meet halfway with Sharon and John for lunch or dinner one day, and go to the movies with Jan! I'm sure we'll have plenty to do, and the time will go by too quickly!

We're ready - yaaay!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Winnie the Guinea

Dylan has some new pets. His Mom and Dad have allowed him to pick out two (2) guinea pigs! He's very excited! It sounds like he will be a very, very responsible pet owner! He named them Winnie the Guinea and Georgalina. Winnie is the brown and white one, and Georgalina is the gray one with a cowlick. Dylan says it's a guinea pig bad hair life!

Chip and Laurie built a custom-made cage with a chloroplast bottom. They have bought the pets a "Snack Shack" and have given them a tennis ball for a toy. They all sit and watch the guinea pigs now instead of TV.

I think that 9 3/4 is just about the perfect age to become responsible for little pets, and I think that W. and G. are very lucky little guineas.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Day in Cattle Track

The weather report was ominous, but the day turned out to be almost ideal - just a little bit on the hot and sticky side. The plan was to meet Tim and Susie for lunch at Maggie's (a great spot in Cadillac) and then spend the day caching. It worked out extremely well. (Almost.) We stopped on the way down to do a couple of caches at Meauwataka...and had a tragic accident with our Magellan GPS - luckily we had another GPS with us.

The lunch was great, the company was wonderful as usual, and the geocaching was successful. Here are Dick's logs:

8/22/2007 You found Meauwataka Mall
We set out today for a leisurely patch of cachin' in Cadillac with friends. This was our first stop. We have driven this route many times before the 131 extension opened. Now days - not so much.We pulled in about 10:30 and Ol' Sharp Eyes had the cache back to the car before I had my bag out of the back. Took nothing, just signed the log and left our card and a TB. The road to the east is all torn up but that way lies the next cache. Thanks for the fun.

8/22/2007 You found Meauwataka's Mushroom Spot
This was our second stop on a Cadillac cachin' day. We found the first stage with a little looking after the GPS settled down, we spotted the final from the car. The inside of the log book baggie was sticky so we took the wipes. Traded some school supplies for them. We also traded TBs. Returned the cache to it's proper location and then disaster struck. When I closed the hatch, I slammed it on the GPS breaking the screen. Since I've done it twice before, broken the screen, not slammed it in the door, I knew that we are going to be out $100. Thank goodness we carry a back up. Putting the best face we could on the event, we drove off for lunch. Thanks for the hunt.

8/22/2007 You found Pickled Haring
This was our last stop in a day of caching teamed up with the Dino Duo. It was only 4:30 and we had only scored a dozen but we aren't as young as we used to be. (Yesterday) We took nothing, left a carabiner light, and interrupted the stories long enough to return the cache to its proper location. Thanks for the hunt and for providing a cache that was a part of an extremely enjoyable day.

8/22/2007 You found I Lost The Game
We won "The Game", if we played "The Game", because, due to a disaster earlier in the day, we had never heard of "The Game" until we sat down to log it. Teamed with the Dino Duo, we had only the coordinates to work with as we found the cache, "The Game" was never mentioned.
Maybe we didn't play "The Game". It would appear that, if one plays "The Game" by rule they must lose. Since we didn't think of "The Game" we didn't lose. Since we didn't lose, we must not have been playing.
However, since Rule 1 says "You are playing the game.", we must have been playing and since we didn't think of "The Game" therefor we must have won.
We appeal to the almighty arbitrator to grant us a ruling, otherwise we may never sleep again.
Signed the log and dropped of a TB. Thanks for the fun.

8/22/2007 You found geo medicine
Quick grab. Chalk up another smilie.

8/22/2007 You found It'll Blow You Away
A quick grab while teamed up with Dino Duo. The magnet is missing and the log book is damp because the baggie is torn. We replaced the baggie after we signed the log. Thanks for bringing us here and reminding us of "The Great War" that made the world safe for Democracy.

8/22/2007 You found Clock Zeebo
After a great lunch and fun conversation with Tim and Susie of the Dino Duo, we began an afternoon of caching in Cadillac. Because of an earlier disaster in which I smashed our main GPS in the car door, we had to depend upon them to give us the coordinates to load into our backup. This is an interesting spot and a great hide but I'm afraid we chased away a trio of youngsters who were only trying to eat their lunch in peace. Thanks for the fun beginning to a great day.

8/22/2007 You found An Evening Stroll in Cadillac
A great hide! Interestingly, we had contemplated a hide at a similar spot in the cache owners home town. Since we were teamed up with the experienced Dino Duo, this was a quick find. We signed the log and left a stuffed toy, then we drove off marveling at Koda's ingenuity. Thanks for the adventure.

8/22/2007 You found Deep In The Cedar
Clever!! We were thrown off looking for what was not there. The Dino Dude spotted it quickly and led the rest of us to the spot. Signed the log and left a Geopin. Thanks for the hunt.

8/22/2007 You found NOT!
Tagging along with the Dino Duo, they showed us this clever puzzle. After an earlier disaster, we were using the backup GPS which did not have the cords, educated snooping led us to the prize. Thanks for the hunt.

8/22/2007 You found Mill No.1
We were out for an afternoon of caching in the Cadillac area teamed up with the Dino Duo. We found the cache after a short search and signed the log. Thanks for the history lesson. We enjoyed the area.

8/22/2007 You found Stroll The Paved Pathway Again
We came down to Cadillac for an afternoon of caching with the Dino Duo. After a great lunch at Maggies, (as recommended by the cache owner) (BTW, our waitress was Lyndsey, look for her on American Idol) we set out for a leisurely afternoon of caching in the Cadillac area. We had visited this spot with them last year. Found the cache, signed the log and left a TB. Thanks for the fun.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Some of Our Weekend Caching

8/19/2007 You found Don't Fall for City Hall
We spent the weekend working on finding a cache in each of the UP counties. To commemorate the finds, we have been naming one of our 50th Anniversary Geocoins after the county and placing it in one of that county's caches. Since we were running out of weekend, Delta was to be our last stop before the dash for home. We were afraid that this cache would be too small but as luck would have it, our Delta coin just fit. Found the cache about 3:00, signed the log, dropped the coin and hit the road. Thanks for the cache.

8/19/2007 You found Apple Blossom Trail Cache
We spent the weekend working on finding a cache in each of the UP counties. To commemorate the finds, we have been naming one of our 50th Anniversary Geocoins after the county and placing it in one of that county's caches. We chose Apple Blossom as the spot to start out Iron County coin. It was a pleasant walk to the cache along a beautiful trail. The hide is very well designed and appreciated. We will move the Silver Fox TB. We left some Sun and Bug wipes as well as our coin. Thanks much for the fun.

8/19/2007 You found Roadside Park in Powers
We came up across the bridge for a weekend in which we hoped to find a cache in each county that thus far had eluded us and to begin the travels of one of our new 50th Anniversary Geocoins in it. This cache in Powers seemed to be perfect. We found it quickly and signed the log, left a stuffed Walrus and launched our Menominee coin. Thanks for the hunt.

8/19/2007 You found US 2 and M 95 Travel Bug Resort
We came up across the bridge for a weekend in which we hoped to find a cache in each county that thus far had eluded us and to begin the travels of one of our new 50th Anniversary Geocoins in it. A conveniently located TB Exchange was perfect for us. Here we launched our coin, "Dickinson". We also picked up a few TB's that we think we can help along the way. Thanks for such a fun stop.

8/19/2007 You found Ghost Town of the Pine Days
Rats! We are on a quest to find a cache in each of Michigan's 83 counties and thought this was in Gogebic. Just a couple of miles short of the line. We enjoyed the ride through the red pine plantation and the history of the spot. Thanks for bringing us back here.

8/19/2007 You couldn't find Another Roadside Park...
We are on a quest to find a cache in each of Michigan's counties and launch one of our coins in it. We had hoped that this would be our Gogebic cache. Alas it was not to be. We looked in the spot that both the clue and the GPS led us but could not find a cache. Oh well.

8/19/2007 You found Bruce Crossing
A quick stop and grab, the log book is full so we left a new mini log in the container. TFTC

8/18/2007 You found Cliff Mine History Lesson
We enjoyed the history lesson. It is neat to walk back in the woods and find such a huge patch of myrtle. Amazing what nature can do in a hundred years. We took a number of pictures and traded a geopin and a pack of Crayolas for some shark teeth. Thanks for the hunt.

8/18/2007 You found SENECA LAKE
We are on a quest to find a cache in each of Michigan's 83 counties. This morning we drove from Naubinway to the Keweenaw, the thermometer in the car read 33º. What's up with that? We found the cache quickly about 2:00 and signed the log. We had some coins made up to commemorate our 50th wedding anniversary and we started the one we have named Keweenaw here. Thanks for the fun.

8/18/2007 You found Where's the Light?
We are on a quest to find a cache in each of Michigan's 83 counties. This morning as we drove up from Naubinway, the thermometer in the car read 33º. What's up with that? Looking for a spot along the beach, we could tell that this one would be perfect. After an enjoyable drive from the main road, it was a surprise to find a campground back here. We found the cache quickly about noon, signed the log, and traded a geopin for some "Luck of the Irish" coins. We had some Geocoins made up to commemorate our 50th wedding anniversary and we started the one we have named Baraga here. Thanks for the fun.

8/18/2007 You found Baraga TB Pitstop
On a caching weekend in the UP. Found with no trouble and, as we had no bug to drop off, we just signed the log as the owner instructed.

8/18/2007 You found Copper Country Heritage
We are on a quest to find a cache in every county in Michigan, this is our first Houghton County cache. The log books are both full and badly need to be replaced. We found a spot on the margin and signed the log. TFTC

8/18/2007 You couldn't find Anchor Away
We are on a quest to find a cache in every county in Michigan, this is our first attempt in Baraga County and this time the Bear bit us. We gave it all the time we could spare and came up empty. Kudos to those who found it easily.

8/18/2007 You couldn't find Bridges of Keweenaw County - Gratiot River
No Joy for us today. We gave it our best shot with no success. Oh well. Noticing that the guard rails have all been replaced recently lead us to believe (hope?)that it might be missing.

8/18/2007 You found TURKEY SHOOT CACHE
Finding the cache was the easy part, getting to it was the adventure. We were on Cliff Drive and our auto routing sent us up Ojibway Rd. At first it was passable if rough but the part east of the snowmobile trail rapidly deteriorated. We backed down and debated whether to go north or south on the trail. The shaky looking wooden bridge decided for us and so we drove south along the abandoned RR grade for about two miles (two years?). Never has asphalt looked so good. The drive was one we will remember. We took nothing from the cache, just signed the log and left a package of toys. Thanks for the fun.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Earthquake in Peru - Report from Maria Ximena

Here is an eyewitness report of today's earthquake in Peru from our friend Maria Ximena, whom we met on our cruise. It's a very emotional letter, and it's interesting to read her "English as a third or fourth language" description! (Japanese, French, Peruvian {Spanish}, English) "Replique" must mean aftershock, don't you think?

Wow, what an experience..We are so glad that her family is all OK. We sat with her and her father at dinner on the cruise, and Maria Ximena hung out with us during the day. She and Jana really hit it off. Her father does not speak English.

Here is Maria Ximena's account of the earthquake in Lima. Sounds like a very emotional experience for everyone!

From: Maria Ximena Wong []
Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2007 1:54 PM
To: Jana Steiger
Subject: Re: It takes an earthquake!


Thanks for the note :D

I am fine, thanks, we are all fine.

Let me tell you about the moment itself: I was going back home from visiting some friend and since all the buses were full I decided to walk (30 min distance to my house... ok with me... though it was cold) I was crossing 2 main avenues going through the residence of the ambassador of Japan (which new house is very protected in some many ways since some terrorist attack their other house) and then a lady standing in the street told me: the earth must be moving very hard... look at the street light... so I look at it and saw it moving!!! and a few meters away I stop and felt the earth moving... but I guess at that moment it was starting (or the structure of the residence avoid me to feel it the way it really happened) cause I thought it may be a earthquake that may be over soon and didnt pay much attention (it last more or less 2 minutes!!!)... the lights went off for a few seconds and a big yellow light appear in the sky... what is that??... I havent heard about it in the news yet.... so I kept on walking and everyone was outside their offices, houses, aparments.... I thought: it may be longer than I thought since everyone is outside... but nobody was scared or talking about it, just outside waiting... I arrive to my house and the girl who helps us in the cleaning said: did you feel it????? I was horrible!!! and she was red almost crying... so I told her what I just told you and she said that it was good that I didnt really feel it cause it was horrible!!! she felt that the walls were going to fall over her and she run to the garden and felt like walls where gum moving toward her!! then she told me that my mom called to see how we were and she got worried when she knew I was outside... phone lines were dead, cell phones dead too... we turned on the radio to listen to the news: 2 earthquakes in the south of Lima 7.5 and 7.9 that where felt in all the country!!! the wave even reached Colombia... later I heard that the wave reached Chile too... we were in the kitchen and she showed me that the earthquake open 2 furnitures full of plates... she saw when they opened and went so scared, that the plates may fall, that didnt wanted to even try to get the key to get out of the house so she stayed in the garden. Then while we were sitting in the kitchen listening to radio and also trying to contact my mom brrrmmmm!!!! the first replique!!! course we took the key and walk out from the house!!!... in front of my house theres a new building and all the people who lived there were outside really scared cause the construction materials weren´t the best and they were scared of going upstairs again... can you imagine how they may feel the earthquake??... like the entire building was going to fall!!! before going to bed we turn on the tv and heard the news in cnn and also in local channels: tsunami alarm has been cancelled (dont know why honestly!!!) also be prepared for more repliques in the next days.... it was 11.30pm more or less when I felt one of the 140 repliques that were registered... this morning my cousin felt another one at her job and she told her mom that all her co-workers run desperately

A church in Ica, south of Lima, was destroyed.. also all or most of the walls of the new/morden buildings were affected... also the ones from old buildings.... the windows of a university which has windows instead of wall were broken

My dad was at his office and he had to close all the doors and stay inside to prevent any thief to take advantage of situation
My mom was with her friends and all of them panic and start shouting (you never know how you will react)... she told me that she thought it was the end...
My bro call us at midnight, from France, after reading the email and listening to the news
My aunt, who lives with us, called from Mexico
Some relatives went out from shower, one was in pijamas, a little niece we have was in her door scared unable to move...
One cousin was coming back home and the friend who was driving the car was scared about his sister who was somewhere with his nephew and suddenly in the news he heard that something happened to a building near that area and panic and my cousin try to calmed him by tellking everything was going to be ok. Also her classmate panic cause she has a kid and cried worried about her kid
Also some relatives we have in Spain called us in midnight
A cousin called telling us that she heard in Japan suffered another earthquake... later in the news we heard that the first earthquake was in Japan, the wave reached Bahamas (I think), and then this ones that had nothing to do with the others

Thanks again for your note, take care!

Maria Ximena

pd I may start my MBA soon :D

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Family Mentos Display !!

We had some great Diet Coke and Mentos displays at Genfest this year. Finally, we are able to bring you the actual videos of this marvelous event. Thank you Jana, Dick, and YouTube! Shelly and Chris had a great display also. We have no video of it, but there are great photos of it on the GenFest2007 entry.

This is how the "pros" do it ;)

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Favorite Family Fotos

To see all of the proofs from GenFest, click here

These are my personal favorite pictures from the GenFest shoot. Naturally, they're pictures of our kids, plus my favorite group photo. It was amazing to get a picture with 28 people in it where everybody looks good! These are just proofs (obviously):

Thursday, August 09, 2007

On The Road

Dick had an appointment this morning (annual check-up), so we all went out to breakfast to get the day off to a good start.

Dick and I stayed in town to go to the Doctor and fill up the Ford for our trip today, while Laurie and Dylan went home to pack. Laurie not only packed, she changed the bed linens and just generally straightened everything up! I'm really going to miss Laurie!!

The disks with the GenFest professional pictures came in the mail, so our departure had to wait for some downloading, uploading, and e-mailing. I almost got it all finished! We're pleased with the proofs.

We left for Grand Rapids around 4 p.m., and we had a really pleasant drive. At one point we ran into some heavy rain - it was a real novelty for us - poor T.C. needs that rain in the worst way!

We're staying at the Sleep Inn near the airport - L & D are flying home tomorrow morning. This motel has a parrot in the lobby (Winslow III). We said hi and he said hi. Dylan snapped his fingers, and the bird made a snapping noise. We kept talking to it and all of a sudden he made a noise just like a telephone ringing! It was amazing!

We had dinner at Carrabba's, and everything was absolutely delicious.

It will be sad to say goodbye in the morning - we will really miss them. We have some geocaches lined up to search for on our way home tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Leelanau Day

What a gorgeous day for taking in all of the charms of Leelanau County. We loaded up the car and left around 10 a.m. and got home around 6 p.m. and we had a marvelous time!

We started out at the newly re-opened Empire Beach. They've put in a nice new sea wall to keep sand out of the parking lot, and a wonderful new playground which is a real kid magnet. Dylan and Laurie had a great time there.

We all posed at the light house there for pictures to put on the earth cache web log.

During the day we found 4 caches - 4 traditional and one earth cache on the top of the Sleeping Bear! Dick found two, Dylan found one, and Laurie and Dylan hiked to the top of the dune for us. Here are Dick's cache logs, minus the earth cache:
8/8/2007 You found Waiting For a Ride (Traditional Cache) [visit log]
Out for a day at the dunes with the Sharkie Crew, we pulled in for a quick P&G. The youngest Sharkie was impressed that his grandpa was able to score it so quickly.

8/8/2007 You found The Full Glen (Traditional Cache)
We were out for a day at the dunes with the Sharkie Crew and stopped for this on the way home. The container is in the National Lake Shore but if Tiki doesn't care, why should we. The youngest Sharkie quickly scored the container. We took nothing and left a key chain we picked up in the Cayman Islands.

8/8/2007 You found Beare Hugs (Traditional Cache)
We were out with the Sharkie Crew for a day at the dunes, the beach and the playground and stopped for a cache or two on the way. There were no ankle biters in view today. Perhaps they were all deep in their PB&J sandwiches. Took nothing and left a geobracelet. Thanks for the hunt.
For the earth cache, we had to get the elevations of Lake Michigan, the Dunes Climb parking lot, and the top of the dune.

We had a great lunch at Art's in Glen Arbor, and then Dylan wanted to go swimming. We went back to the Empire Beach. First he tried jumping off the dock in South Bar Lake, and then he swam in Lake Michigan.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Happy Confusion

Jana left last Sunday evening - but not before we all had a chance to
go see Harry Potter again. Tom and Dick hadn't seen it yet, so the rest
of us made the big sacrifice and went for the second time (wink, wink).

Jana's flight was uneventful, the way a flight should be, and she jiggedy jigged right on schedule.

Tom left early Monday morning, but his travel involved a few snafus,
such as getting to San Diego by way of Seattle and Alaska Air instead
of non-stop from Minneapolis on Northwest. These days, if you fly
Northwest, you must be flexible. By some miracle his bags arrived in
San Diego with him!

Monday was Chip's birthday, and we gave him the Great Wolf Lodge for one night. They had a great time - the water park is perfect for Chip and Dylan - they just love that! We met them for dinner Monday night and went to La Senorita - it's everybody's
favorite (well...really, it's hard to pick a favorite - we love the Mongolian Barbecue too). Tuesday morning after the gym Dick and I went to the Lodge to watch the guys play in the water - it's very entertaining! They spent two days doing that - they didn't get home until later Tuesday afternoon, and they were exhausted!

I'll never be able to remember all of the things that we have done this week - one night instead of dinner we went to Moomer's for ice cream - yum yum.

One afternoon L,C & D went tubing in the Boardman Rapids below Beitner Bridge. They had done that last year and had a really good time. The thing we didn't take into consideration this time was that Keystone Pond is being systematically lowered this summer because of the closing of the Keystone Dam. Consequently, the water is much more shallow, the banks are higher and unstable, and a lot of stumps and trash are exposed. It was a harrowing experience - the ground collapsed under Chip when he was standing on the bank, Laurie got some ugly bruises from bumping her back on sticks, stones, and stumps, and Dylan got a crayfish in his river shoe, which was quite unnerving. Everything turned out OK, but it could have been a disaster!

Dick took everybody geocaching, and we did some cache maintenance this week. Here are a couple of Laurie's logs:
August 1 by sharkie crew (177 found)
We found the cache with only one foot submerged in mud. Took a little bit of searching, but finally success!!!
Thanks for the adventure

August 1 by sharkie crew (177 found)
Practice makes perfect!!! Dad said how hard this was to find, but suddenly there it was. I'm sure the cache fairies were only having fun

We spent an afternoon on Spider Lake - boating and tubing behind the
pontoon. We've had perfect weather, and that was another beautiful day.
All we heard from back on the tube was "faster, faster!" There are more and more beauiful big homes on Spider Lake these's fun to see them all. We loved seeing all of the "M" flags!

We had a problem with one of the gas tank connectors on the boat that day on
Spider Lake - our boat saga this summer is another story altogether -
we've had some major problems dealing with the Grand Traverse Marina -
it's a real horror story. Maybe I'll deal with that here later...maybe.

Chip left very early Friday morning to go back to work. So now there are just four of us left here - I still start out setting the table for seven! Wishful thinking!

Friday afternoon we went downtown to soak up some essence of film festival. Front Street was closed for a street sale, so it was fun to walk around and see what was up. I bought Dylan some fudge, and Laurie bought some flip-flops and some Film Festival T-shirts. I sat in the Jay Smith walkway,and the people-watching was fabulous. It was another perfect day.

Saturday, Dick had arranged to take more geo-cachers to Power Island to find Michigan's oldest cache. Laurie, Dylan and I had tickets to see the Film Festival children's matinee at Lars Hockstad. We saw Arctic Tale, the story of Nanu the polar bear and Seela the walrus. We all enjoyed it a lot, except Dylan didn't like it when the Auntie Walrus died saving Seela. After the movie we picked up ice at Jack's, a picnic lunch at the Bad Dog Deli, and met Dick at the Bowers Harbor boat launch. We spent the afternoon on Power Island for more people-watching, socializing with the cachers, and jumping off the dock. Well, OK, only one of us jumped off the dock. Repeatedly. We got home around 7 p.m. last night, put the boat away, and collapsed.