Friday, September 21, 2007

Ann Arbor Impressions

Happy Birthday Jana Louise!

We've been exercising every Monday, Wednesday and Friday here in Ann Arbor at the Von Maur Court in Briarwood Mall. I estimate that there are usually 40 - 50 participants of all kinds - male, female, white, black, and Asian, short, tall, skinny and fat. The oldest one appears to be in her 80s. One of the Asian women appears to be in her 30s or maybe even younger. Everybody is friendly and encouraging - there are all different levels of physical fitness ranging from the perkiest lady who bounces through all of the routines and then bounces out of the mall on her way home to the lady who sits through most of the exercises and does small movements with her arms and legs. The important thing about the fitness class is showing up and making an effort. We can feel it - Dick says the instructor finds all of your arthritis every time! When I get winded or my leg muscles feel too sore, I just sit down and take a mini-break - and it's all OK.

The city of Ann Arbor is in constant transition. It seems that everywhere you look, streets are closed for construction, and buildings are either going up or coming down.

It's hard to navigate in the downtown area - there are so many closed streets, and so many one way streets. We're finding that our little Subaru is maneuverable and easy to get around in.

On country roads in southern Michigan the underbrush and forest areas grow right up to the edge of the shoulders. It makes for very picturesque country roads, but I find that after living for the past 16 years in Grand Traverse County, I'm really used to the trimming, mowing and pruning along our roads. You can have that North Woods feeling, and still feel like you have some elbow room. Also, there are a lot of vines here that grow up into the trees and give them an unusual appearance - sometimes feels like you're driving through a Grimm Brother's fairy tale.

Which restaurant would you expect to be the most fun and delicious - Red Robin, a nationwide chain famous for burgers and spirits or Zingerman's Roadhouse, an offshoot of Zingerman's Deli, a local Ann Arbor favorite... Well, the Red Robin wins, hands down. It was so much fun - and the menu is different and interesting - it makes you want to come back and try something else! Zingerman's food was only so-so. We ate outside on the patio and were assaulted by flies. It was a real turn off.

Our apartment is just grand. I'm not sure what I expected, but it is more than satisfactory. We love it here, and we're having a wunnerful time!

Washtenaw/Ann Arbor Cachapalooza

The best challenge so far has been Fezzik's Views of Ann Arbor. It's a 5 stage multi-cache in Ann Arbor parking structures! The stages are all micros except for the final. They all require something special - decoding, unscrambling, head-scratching, hindu numerals, and research. When Dick discovered the final, we felt triumphant, ecstatic, excited, relieved and joyful! We loved this series so much that we named one of our 50th coins "Ann Arbor" and placed it in the cache. Then we noticed that the coin was picked up by Edward Applebee later the same day!
September 21 by basswoodbend (1407 found)
This has been a blast! Thanks for the imagination and effort that was expended in its creation. We have spent quite a bit of time and effort on this hunt over the past couple of weeks. Only one of the stages resulted in us proceeding directly to the next. The rest required us to sit back and cogitate for a day or two before the light bulbs were turned on and we saw how to proceed to the next goal. Scoring the final today gives us both a great sense of accomplishment. We signed the log, left our card and a geopin. We also took the Red Jeep. Since we are not sure which other Washtenaw County caches we might find, we only “Discovered” the Dilla.
We have created a coin to commemorate our 50th wedding anniversary and have been placing them in selected caches around the state. Since this is our favorite cache in our second favorite city, we traded the one we have named “Ann Arbor” for the coin that was in the cache.
Thanks and kudos to the Rodents for this creation. We greatly enjoyed the hunt.

We've done a couple of other quests in the area. Where the Road Ends was a fairly easy one. I was looking in the wrong place, but Dick came up with it. We really enjoyed doing Victory Mike's caches. The one by his front door was really fun and unique. We were hoping to see him, but he evidently wasn't home.
Found it 9/20/2007 You found Where the ROAD ENDS (Traditional Cache)
Nice park and grab. We traded cards and left a McToy. Thanks for the fun.

Found it 9/20/2007 You found Welcome Home Again (Traditional Cache)
This has been on our list for a couple of years but we just couldn't find our "Round To It". We finally brought it with us today. At the first stage, we traded a game pack and some bug wipes for a screwdriver and a Martha pin. At the final, we went "Knock Knock" but sadly, VM was not home. we are sorry we missed you. Maybe another time. We signed that log and left a geopin. Thanks for the hunt.

After that, Dick did a 4 or 5 stage multi-cache in Lillie Park, Pittsfield Township. It involved a lot of walking, so he dropped me off at home. He was gone for about an hour and a half, so I was glad I wasn't trying to walk it with him! He was successful, and he had a good time doing it.

Found it 9/20/2007 You found Lillie Park Nature Walk (Multi-cache)
This is a great cache! A walk in a great park and challenging set of puzzles, with a traditional container at the finish. When we first came to the area in the 50’s, this was an active gravel pit. At one point in time it was being considered for a garbage dump. This is much better. Because, when given the opportunity, I have a tendency to make the wrong choice, I turned the hunt in to more of a physical challenge than it needs to be. The route I chose led me to walk past the site of the final three times while collecting the clues. Found it this afternoon at about 5:30 and traded bug wipes and sun bloc for a poncho and left a TB. Thanks for the hunt and showing me what has been done to this old gravel pit.